Thursday, May 19, 2011

Egypt Terrorism Watch: Bin Laden's Message and Mujihadeen Network Carries Threat to Egypt

As suggested yesterday, all signs are pointing to Al Qaeda looking to either join forces with organizations in Egypt and the "Levant" or simply move the next phase of their operations into that area.   

Bin Laden's latest, posthumous audio message just released largely concentrated on the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, congratulating the people on over throwing their dictators.  At the same time, he notably left off any mention of the democracy movements, giving most of the praise to the "lions" in Tahrir square.  

"Tunisia was the first but swiftly the knights of Egypt have taken a spark from the free people of Tunisia to Tahrir Square," said bin Laden, adding: "It has made the rulers worried."

He barely mentions Syria or Yemen nor Bahrain.  Bahrian's lack of mention is obvious.  This is a Shi'ite revolution with potential connections to Iran, though this may only be a chimera in order to make it look like Iran has more political power than they do.  Still, it would be unlikely that  Al Qaeda would make any attempt to support a Shia' rebellion against a Sunni government.

What is more telling is the continued references to Egypt, not only this from bin Laden, but also Zawahiri's last several messages.  What has been even more interesting is the selection of al Adel, an Egyptian, not Zawahiri, to be the "interim" head of al Qaeda.  It isn't completely surprising as the Egyptian contingent has held the largest number of seats on the Shura or Quetta council.  However, as suggested yesterday, this may not be just a political move for the general al Qaeda organization. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Egypt Terrorism Watch: Al Qaeda Returning to It's Roots

In a piece at Al Arham Online, Brad Nelson writes The Real Test For Al Qaeda

We can safely say 2011 has not been good for Al-Qaeda. First, the organisation witnessed people power movements throughout the Middle East, which have damaged the organisation’s credibility and relevancy on a number of levels.
For instance, these pro-democracy uprisings clearly showed that Muslims prefer to live in freedom rather than in a harshly repressive politico-religious straightjacket. Moreover, Egypt and Tunisia debunked the Al-Qaeda-propagated myth that political change can only occur through violence.

Additionally, the uprisings are the biggest series of events in the region in decades, yet Al-Qaeda was only an observer. It contributed nothing to the ouster of Mubarak and Ben Ali. Even worse, the leaders of Al-Qaeda did not foresee the uprisings, nor were they prepared to address them. The best Al-Qaeda could offer has been a few dated, rambling and incoherent statements that appeared to be composed before the fall of Mubarak.

And now, with the fall of Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda has suffered another major blow. Bin Laden is irreplaceable. He had the skill and charisma to recruit people into the organisation and inspire his followers into committing violence and destruction. Plus, under Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda popularized suicide terrorism, which is the ultimate form of loyalty and sacrifice to the organisation and to Osama himself.

The interim leader of AQ has been appointed, Saif al Adel, an Egyptian though the Iraq AQ has already publicly declared or al Zawahiri, also an Egyptian.  As Bergen notes abou al Adel, Baya, or an oath of loyalty was to Bin Laden himself, not to the cause and one of the key issues will be who, if anyone, can inspire the same loyalty.  The Saudi and Egyptian contingents have been at odds over the leadership of Al Qaeda from the beginning and these two groups have been even further at odds with the local organizations in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Information War: Rueters Photoshoped Golan Heights Image May 15

Don't know how long it will last but Reuters is using a photo-shopped image for it's headline on the Golan Heights protests.  Check here.  The guy is holding up a "key", his upraised arm is obviously photo shopped (see white line along grey shirt) and he is amazingly un-smokey considering the tire burning behind him.

Gotta love when the media buys obvious propaganda as the real thing.  I did read on twitter that tires were being brought up and burning, but thinking now that this is agitprop along with the twitter post.

Egypt, Syria, Israel and Palestine: Revolutionaries Selling Their Freedom Cheap and Their Top Bidder is Syria, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas

It is becoming very clear that the revolutionary youth in Egypt are determined to throw away everything they earned to act as proxies for the Muslim Brotherhood and their subsidiaries, Hamas, in the Gaza Strip.  The second runners up for the bid for cheap revolution are Hezbollah and Syria.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Egypt Terrorism Watch: Jail Breaks and Explosives

Contractor holding 15 bombs arrested in Giza (headed to Helwan, location of Tora Prison)

The contractor tried to pretend he was innocent bystander:

The suspect said he found the handbag in the street and on opening it discovered a mobile phone number on a piece of paper. He called the number and the man who answered asked him to bring the bag to a place near Tora in the Helwan governorate.

The prosecutor ordered that Mohamed be detained for four days pending investigation.
According to a security official, Mohamed was arrested in a taxi when a police officer stopped the driver to examine his license and noted the suspect’s confusion. Mohamed then tried to escape when the officer asked to search his bag.

Since the beginning of the revolution, jailbreaks are becoming pretty normal.  The revolutionaries believed that this was the regime trying to set criminals among them to scare them, but the reality is, as a friend pointed out, the majority of prisoners in Tora Prison are "political" and among those, mainly Islamists.  The same people all of the protesters believe are some form of at least "legitimate" party in Egypt (if not honest brokers, Wael Ghonim being one of those who have insisted that he has "looked into their eyes" as Bush said of Putin, and found only decent Egyptians who wanted to be free).

Meanwhile, calls for marches of unity against sectarian violence between Muslims and Christians were drowned out by the MB and Islamist screams for martyrs to march to Jerusalem. 

Middle East Revolutions: The Coming War For "Arab" Independence and Israel

There is among western nations a strange idea that the settlement of the Israel-Palestine issue into two, viable states will extinguish at least one of the complaints of the "Islamists" and general "Arab on the street".  An idea that this is the cause of "extremism", or one part of it, and a necessity to reduce the tensions between east and west.

This is probably the most naive concept to ever have taken root in the great foreign policy think tanks that have influenced state policy.  The formation of Israel is a matter of history defined by each side of the question.  Some basic information researched by this blog can be found here (Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII.)

The reality of this conflict comes down to two points: the war that never ended and the spirit of anti-colonialism that has never left the Arab constituency.  This is the war that has simply been put off for generations.  Largely because, no matter how often someone attempts implement Lawrence's idea of Arab Unity and an Arab Greater Nation, the desires and demands of the tribes, Shayks and political trends continuously drag them apart.  Because, while their may be a general designation of "Arab" among the population, it can never overcome the great divides within the entire community.

As with the Egyptian revolution, where the case for unity revolved around ousting Mubarek and was almost instantly gone, unity is only over singular ideas and moments.  The Revolution in Egypt is quickly being overcome by the Muslim Brotherhood, the reality of sectarian divides and the weakness of all other parties.  The only idea that is bringing any sense of unity back to the greater polity is now "Palestine".

While secular Egyptian movements had intended to mobilize millions of Egyptians on Friday in order to support national unity and condemn attacks on Christians in Egypt, Islamist forces succeeded in turning the protest in support of what is referred to as the "Third Palestinian Intifada".

It seems true freedom will be sacrificed once again to the driving political ideologies of others.   This is, as with the failure of the Arab contingency to take what was about to be handed to them on three other occasions in the early twentieth century and turn it into a battle they are destined to lose.  Again. 

The current interim government of Egypt is blocking the movement to the Sinai.  They at least recognize that Egypt and the surrounding nations are hardly in a position to confront Israel directly.  While the marchers were chanting "millions of martyrs to Jerusalem", the reality of a "peasants' crusade" would, indeed, result in millions of martyrs that would result in Arab states attempting to go to war on behalf of the martyrs and, once again, failing.  That is, if they can convince Jordan to allow them to cross the territory or can figure out how to cross the narrow Sinai peninsula in great enough numbers not to be completely slaughtered and pile up in the hole as most attempted breaches in history have shown.

As with the last war with Israel, Jordan was coerced by it's association with the Arab League.  The Arab League is quickly becoming a farce, being replaced by things like the Gulf Cooperative Council and Egypt and Iran jockeying for political position in the region.

As Syria is torn in half by unknown forces that are similar to Egypt.  The Brotherhood, liberals, leftists, etc all looking to make it their own fight

What is more than likely is that the end state of the status of Israel and anything that could be called Palestine will come at the tip of a gun and missiles.  Not necessarily because the MB wants a greater war.  They would prefer to do it the slow way, the same way in which they have been Islamacizing Egypt, taking over by population density.  That is the purpose of pushing for the "Two state" plan to have Palestine recognized as a state with the 1967 agreed upon borders.  At that point they can allow in a greater part of the "refugees" for a population boom that would attempt to mirror Israel.

The obvious points of insisting on the right of return for "Palestinian Arabs" is to take over Israel by dent of population and, if it is not allowed to take that position, a continuous cause for war.  This last purpose is the most likely.  So long as there is some "enemy" that it can point to as the "cause", they can continue to consolidate their hold over the general populations of the Middle East, bringing their ideology into the main by slow degrees.   It is very ironic to read from the "liberals" (left, center left largely) that the US is looking for the next enemy to confront as it is "perpetually at war".  No one has examined that the perpetual theme of war is the status of any entity in power or coming to power because someone always wants that power.  People who think that there is a future of "sharing" or "social justice" washes greed (capitalism) away and creates peace.  It isn't "greed", it is power and the thirst for it will never end.  It is a matter of how that power is used and to whose benefit.

The liberals are being broken slowly by their inability to be anything separate except whether to implement a minimum or maximum wage or a taxation program.  They want a different education program but the MB has already taken that ministry through negotiations with SCAF.  They will get different, but it will be about on par with that offered by the previous administration except with the inclusion of more Islamist bent educators and any religious or "humanity" education will be from their perspective.  Of course, leftist ideology will remain the main theme when it comes to "social justice" because this is the most acceptable aspect for the Islamists.

The enemy of liberalism and democracy in Egypt is not the United States.  It is entirely Egyptian made and they are willingly throwing freedom under the bus.  Continuously there are posts that insist that the Islamists are part of Egypt and must be given their place at the table.  There is no perception of history that shows that the intellectuals and free thinkers consistently giving ideologies "space at the table" and then finding themselves the first to be oppressed, imprisoned and killed. 

The warnings fall on deaf ears and those ears will be followed by muted voices. 

The Brotherhood has shown again and again that they have the power of the street.  The NAC (National Association for Change), April 6 and various others called for a "unity march" in Tahrir while the Islamists issue a call through the mosques for a march to Palestine to remember "Nakba", the catastrophe, when Israel declared State Hood, May 14, 1948. 

The Islamists have shown their power.  The Liberals and the Leftists will get what is left over if there is much of anything as the Islamists slowly push the entirety of Egypt towards confrontation with Israel.

Syria Revoltion: Who is Fighting Nobody Knows

Golan Druze Perspectives On The Syrian Uprising

via Michael Totten Everybody is in the propaganda business:

So when the opportunity recently arose to join a tour to the area with a group of foreign journalists unable to currently get visas to enter Syria, I too went along to hear the next best thing; the perspective of the Golan Druze - most of whom who have friends and family in Syria - on the uprisings there. As so often is the case in the Middle East, not least when talking to the Druze, attempts to peel back the onion-like layers to get to the facts raised many more questions than they provided answers. 

The office of the Al Marsad human rights organisation in Majdal Shams is located near the village square, high up on the breezy slopes of Mount Hermon.  A little prior research had shown that Al Marsad's concept of human rights appears to be limited to writing reports and briefing foreign visitors exclusively on one subject: how awful the lives of the Druze residents of the Golan are under Israeli rule. At least one of its reports indicates that it has associations with the Hamas-linked 'European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza': the outfit which organises the flotillas, including the one last year which ended in extreme violence initiated by its IHH participants, and which was founded in 2007 by the Muslim Brotherhood's European branch – the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe.

Read the rest here



Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Iran's Unwanted Revolution?

We're talking about the Khamenei and Ahmadinejad going head to head for awhile.  This author says that we should be rooting for Khamenei because the cleric led government, as distasteful as it is, is some how more reasonable then the nationalist Ahmadinejad. 

Is it too much to ask that they continue clawing at each other until they both bleed to death?

And the beat goes on.

United States - Pakistan Relations: The Pretense of Ignorance

After reading a considerable amount on the subject, I can barely muster the outrage that the public face of both governments are showing.  

Is the United States saying that it didn't know?  After the numerous visits by politicians and military leaders to urge Pakistan to do more and the well known history of that government with extremists, it is difficult to believe that the US did not have some idea that the Pakistanis, or some elements within, were double dealing.  

At this moment, the US government is sounding considerably like the wronged mistress who complains loudly that "he said he was going to leave his wife and marry me." Ridiculous and, if true, unbelievably naive.  

I don't buy it.  The US knew that something was up or would not have been playing the same game.  

Obviously, the public outrage is for cover.  For Pakistan, for the US government to it's constituents who, if they are to believe the government, would be equally naive.  We have not traded billions of dollars to get one terrorist, nor to buy Pakistan's weak assistance.  We have used billions of dollars to get inside the largest state sponsor of terror, make contacts and discover exactly how far within and without the Pakistani government this endeavor goes.  

Who has been supplying the millions of dollars to buy fighters and weapons?  This isn't all drug money or from Saudi Arabia.  Has no one wondered where all of the Russian and Chinese AK-47's and RPGs are coming from?  The explosives to make IEDs?  As much as Pakistan may or may not be officially directing some aspect of the Afghanistan Insurgency/Terrorist network, there is much money and duplicity running around the globe.

Ignorance is bliss, they say, but it is hard to believe this pretense of ignorance.  What is more important is the message that is being sent that, strangely enough sounds like Bush's "you're either with us or against us".  A short term strategy that will shake the pillars of Pakistan, shake some people and information loose, but will not have them collapse.  Instead, the US will get a new bargain for the next billions spent or Pakistan will discover that the US knows just a little bit more about their internal workings.  

If there is one thing that Pakistani politicians and military leaders understand, it is survival.  They have many examples of what happens inside Pakistan to those who can no longer pay the headsman to put off their turn at the block.  

On that, there can be no pretense of ignorance.

Update: Seven al Qaeda have "surrendered" to Saudi authorities after bin Laden's death while others flee to Yemen.  The Saudis say that the men are with their families and their cases are being considered.

Pretense of ignorance.

Egypt Sectarian Clashes: The Root of All Evil Is Not Money, It is Ignorance

Nadia el Awady sent this via Twitter yesterday.  I thought it was an excellence explanation of the casual bigotry that occurs. 

The truth about Muslim-Copt Relations in Egypt

I finally settled in Egypt in 1986 when I started med school at Cairo University. It took only one year for my Muslim friends to teach me about what was proper in Muslim-Coptic relations in the country.

I remember befriending Mariam who had come from New York. She had the dark black hair of an Egyptian but an uncanny New Yorkan accent. It was nice to meet someone who came from a background similar to mine. Quickly my Muslim friends explained I could not befriend her. She’s Christian, I was told. So what, I asked. In Egypt, it’s not all right, was the answer.

By the end of that same year I had heard my Muslim friends say it was yucky to drink out of a cup a Copt had drank from; they explained that the way to identify a Copt was by their odd smell and their oily hair; and I saw them secretly sign to each other if someone speaking to them was a Copt by making a cross on the inside of their wrist or by whispering the word “Kuftis”, a word Egyptians use in place of Copt, stupidly thinking the Copts don’t know that’s what they mean.

Read also Nadia on the Hijab  and Sarrah's World about being a "halfie" or "half blood" in Egypt

My grandmother once told me that the root of all evil was money.  I have since learned that the root of all evil is actually ignorance. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sectarian Clashes in Egypt: Bad Romance, Honor and Religion

Days after the events of May 5, 2011 in the urban enclave of Imbaba, Cairo, Egypt, the truth was hard to come by, but it eventually will come out.  

Sectarian clashes have been occurring in Egypt for a very long time.  However, with the fall of Mubarek and the general extinguishing of his dreaded police state, the security that at least kept a lid on it is now gone and the actors seem more free than ever to push the boundaries.  Which they have been doing since right before the events of January 25.  Some of those events can be read here.

As with most stories, it seems that both sides involved in Friday's events can share the blame.  The basic facts can be found here.  The rest of the story can be best related to Western readers by invoking either "Romeo and Juliet" or, better yet, "West Side Story".  Is it true?  We don't know.  The young woman in question sent a video to an Islamist website that was then sent to Egypt Today, a local newspaper, that printed the "interview" whole.  She later "phoned in" an interview to TahrirTV, the Muslim Brotherhood's new Satellite television station.  Why she has not contacted one of the other "liberal" or less biased papers or stations is unanswered at this time.

It begins with a young woman named Abeer Fahkry(arabic).  

Monday, May 09, 2011

First Al Iraq al Qaeda First Affiliate to Acknowledge Zawahiri as Head of Al Qaeda

Iraq's Qaeda Pledges Allegiance to Zawahiri and Vows Revenge

In a statement posted on an Islamist website forum on Monday, the caliph of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISC), Abu Baker al-Baghdadi al-Husseini al-Qurashi, mourned bin Laden's death.
"I tell our brothers in al Qaeda organisation and on the top of them Sheikh Mujahid Ayman al-Zawahiri ... be merry, you have faithful men in the Islamic State of Iraq who are following the right path and will not quit or be forced out," he said in the statement.

Of course, they can still pull off a bombing or two, but they can't do anything like they did in 2005-6.

This seems to be the first acknowledgement of Zawahiri as the leader of Al Qaeda though AQ itself remains quiet on the subject, making announcements as the "leadership" without official or specific names.

Information War: Al Qaeda's Devolution and Zawahiri the Divisive Leader

Two good articles on the status of al Qaeda and Zawahiri as the next leader of Al Qaeda:

Al Qaeda Is It's Own Worst Enemy

After 9/11 and the destruction of al-Qaeda's headquarters in Afghanistan, al-Qaeda fractured into a moving target, a global cadre of autonomous cells which enabled it to continue to both elude and fight its enemies. However, with the globalisation of his jihad, bin Laden's authority was at once far-reaching and fragmented. Ceding command-and-control to self-defined "al-Qaeda" franchises brought enormous setbacks.

Al Qaeda: Bin Laden Assassination Inside Job? and the Next Battle Front - Egypt

This is an incredibly good read about how Al Qaeda has failed to do as it had intended at that it's decentralized structure, meant to insure survivability in an intelligence driven war, has probably hastened the demise of the organization and ideology.  Although, I would not count them out yet as you will read further down.  There is likely at least one more grand battle to come.

The second is a report linked by Bryan Preston of Pajamas Media that suggests that Zawahiri may have provided the information to find bin Laden as part of an internal power struggle.  While that may sound far fetched to some, it is not outside the realm of possibilities nor would it be out of character for the organization that, like any outlaw group, deals with contention inside the organization with swift and bloody retribution.

Historically, there are several instances where the removal of a rival, either ideological or in the direct line of command, have provided the opportunity for others to move up or consolidate their own power.  In the case of Zawahiri and Al Qaeda, the first suspected "deniable assassination" of a rival was the death of Abdullah Yusef Azzam.  Several other local militia leaders were also assassinated either by unknown entities or by ISI and other intelligence agencies.  Many of the local organizations suspected that it was a plot by the "foreign", (ie, Saudi and Egyptian) contingent to take control of the groups and bring them into their larger organization.

Both Zawahiri and bin Laden left Pakistan at that time under a cloud of suspicion and did not return until they were expelled from Sudan in 1998 after the notorious embassy bombings in Kenya and Nairobi.  By then, Zawahiri had firm control and confidence of bin Laden, his money and power base.  

Monday, May 02, 2011

On This Day: Names I Choose to Remember

In ancient (and now modern day Egypt), there was a practice of removing the Pharaoh's cartouche from all official mention.  I am going to follow that tradition by putting up names of people whose names I choose to remember:

Rick Rescorla: He didn't die for a cause.  He just did what he had to.

Todd Beamer: Facing sure death, he chose to fight until the end, he did not hide waiting for death to find him.

Rafael Peralta: A man who sacrificed so others might live, not a man who sacrificed others for his ego.

Capt. Brian Chontosh: He ran towards the fight to save his men, he did not hide behind his men to save himself.

Sgt Maj. Brad Kasal: He refused to leave until all of the wounded were extracted, he did not leave his men behind to be massacred while he escaped.

Michael P. Murphy: Broke cover to save his men and exposed himself to the enemy, he did not hide behind fifteen foot walls or a defenseless woman to save his own skin.

Sal Giunta: Actually spent fifteen months clinging to side of mountain without running water or a bathroom and ended up fighting off overwhelming odds to save his friends, he did not spend his days at leisure inside a million dollar mansion, taking lunch on a shaded patio in comfort while most of his men lived in caves and mud huts. 

Father Mychal P. Judge: Spent his life spreading the message of God's eternal love dying as he gave benedictions for rescuers saving lives and last rites to the dead and dying, he did not issue religious messages condoning murder and spreading hate in the name of God.

These names will continue to be listed until the Pharaoh's name is erased from memory.

9/11 We Did Not Forget

The only thing I have to say is that it was twenty two years too late. If you don't understand that, you never will.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Sharia Law v. Civil Law, Civil Law Must Prevail

My views on religion as a governing idea or power in the state (note, not faith as guiding principles of morality, but religious laws based on dogma), are clearly: no religious laws.  As this is occurring in my state, I want to make clear that, whatever people decide to do in their private lives is their own, but when it comes to matter of the law, it is the state law, not religious law that must prevail.

The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, Richard Callahan, assured Muslims on April 29th that “the Obama Administration would likely step in on behalf of Sharia law should any state try to ban it.”

Much depends on what a state law actually does. If parties to a judicial proceeding agreed freely and contractually to be bound by arbitration, the court concludes that they did so and that the arbitration procedures do not contravene requirements under state law, then it’s probably acceptable for the parties to be governed by their arbitration agreement. However, significant problems can arise when a judge has to analyze the suitability or findings of an arbitration proceeding — or for that matter anything else — under Sharia Law. With no background or training in Sharia Law, he would have to rely quite heavily on the expert testimony of “Islamic scholars.” In the event of disagreement between two experts, how could he decide which if either might be right? Both might be right or both might be wrong.

He goes on to use an example of child custody which, under many interpretations of Sharia law, leaves custody to the husband or some other male relative.  However, state law makes that decision based on what the judge determines is in the interest of the child's safety and well being, not on religious doctrine.

One other thing that is mentioned is that some aspects of Sharia law are interpreted differently among the many sects and schools of jurisprudence.  Not to mention that there are many who choose to give Sharia law a more modern interpretation re: rights, marriage, etc.  What he does not say directly is that there are simply too many "interpretations" for it to become good law governing a wide variety and swath of people.  On that ground alone it should be rejected.

Islam as a faith is each individual's choice.  Islam as the law, separate or part of any laws of a civil state, cannot exist because it expressly sets a different standard and does not, under many circumstances consider people to be equal before the law nor insure the protection of the parties.  Therefore, Sharia as any form of law besides private guidance cannot be accepted.  Unless we are willing to accept Catholicism as the law when deciding cases for Catholics, etc, etc, etc.

Read the rest here

Anti-Business and Dangerous

Via Hotair

Friday, April 29, 2011

Thoughts on Liberty: Knowledge, the Great Liberator

It has taken some time for me to decide whether I should write down my thoughts on Liberty.  As a person who has prided themselves on being an avaricious reader, it comes to mind that writing any ideas on the subject may be moot as it has been written about so often and so many times before by authors of much greater intellect.  It requires some form of ego to imagine that anyone has anything better or greater to say on the subject.  On the other hand, I have found that the best method to obtain some kind of reasoning on my own part is to write ideas down.  I have also determined that the only manner to obtain a better understanding of events, ideas and perceived truths is to put it into the open and allow it to be challenged, even if those challenges cause me some unease or frankly disabuse me of an idea I might have perceived as my own infallible truth.  

We live in extraordinary times.  Knowledge, the great liberator, is only a keystroke away.  That knowledge has led to real acts of liberation around the globe.  At the same time, liberty is under attack.  Nations long ruled by dictators attempt to turn it off and suppress knowledge.  Fanatics expressing decidedly illiberal ideas and oppressive ideologies are rampant.  The only saving grace of their liberal use of the great liberator called the internet is that society may now examine their ideas up close and compare them to their own ideas.  That is not to say that these ideas are all discarded.

It must be noted that, even as many embrace the liberty of knowledge, too many are still influenced towards ideas that are full of bigotry and fear.  That cannot be unexpected.  Historically, every time knowledge exerts it's power to liberate, great swaths of society seem to instantly withdraw into a more conservative and less free conglomeration.  Even those who would dub themselves "liberal" are easily persuaded into an almost fanatical rejection of ideas that challenge the thinking of the group.  In both cases of the so called liberals and conservatives, it is often militant rejection.   In many instances, regardless of who professes to be the guardians of liberty, they often express oppressive ideas.  

The hardening of these positions seems all the more wretched when viewed against the great back drop of the liberation of knowledge. 

What must be feared most is that history suggests, whenever the liberation of knowledge pushes forward, there is almost always some form of regression into both ignorance and fanatical superstition.  Most often this has been brought about by two catastrophes: the end of security by a large armed society enforcing some form of order and the destruction of technology.  This typically leads to the suppression of knowledge and the institution of religious dogma as the governing force of society instead of the natural laws of association.  

The institution of religion cannot be confused with faith and spirituality.  Religion demands strict adherence to rules and dogma, requiring abeyance to a hierarchy of leaders selected from among a few as the chosen representatives of whatever gods or God that may be presented.  Religion insists that there is a knowledge of greater power that can only be obtained through the abeyance to the chosen hierarchy and clinging to the institutions and rituals.  Faith and spirituality must insist that no one can know All things, but that there is a higher reason for existence.  To seek out this reason is the highest form of faith. 

Religion stifles, while faith pushes for self examination and the search for truth without the insistence that everyone else must believe religious dogma or be labeled a heretic.  Sometimes religion masquerades as political ideas and political ideas masquerade as religion.  In either case, neither can accept or sustain any form of inquiry because they would both be found fallible being shaped as they are by men who are anything but perfect.  

What must be considered the most egregious are those who claim to know God's will and believe it is their right and duty to enforce these ideas upon others with penalties for failure to adhere to the ritual and dogma, most often presented as blasphemy and heresy, those penalties ranging from ostracizing to prison to even death.  Those who claim to be the arbiters of God's will are the heretics and blasphemers because they have placed the All Mighty at the service of some men when He is the All Knowing and All Powerful over all men and nature, things seen and unseen.  Whatever He wills, will be and it has never required the active participation of men to make it so.  Whenever men suppose that it does require their action it is only the stretch of ego assuming they have been given a mission and a power far beyond their place in nature, not the will of God.

For those who do not see the All Mighty in nature or mankind, but instead see nothing but the force of Nature itself, then they must also know that Nature is infinite in it's design.  Whatever we may discover about it or whatever we may harness for the use of mankind is but a grain of sand compared to the intricate, various and yet practical design of Nature.  

What we can determine as truth is that God and Nature have given men the ability to think, to learn and to reason.  Not all men possess the same skills or have used this gift to their advantage, but it still exists.  The thinking mind, one that demands inquiry and searches for answers, is not the creation of some evil force, but of Nature itself.  If it was not meant for the purpose of inquiry and obtaining knowledge, then mankind would have been given the brain and instincts of an ant that only knows that it must collect sustenance, seek protection within the colony and service the queen in order to reproduce

Instead, for thousands of years, from the most primitive times until this moment and into the future, man has used his powers of reason and his intellect for inquiry.  He has used this ability to harness the basic provisions of nature to provide food, shelter and clothing among the least of things as well as medicine, language, writing and mechanics to improve upon his existence and society.  He has used it to seek knowledge of the universe, of God and of Nature in all of their vastness.  If this was not the will of God or the design of Nature then it would not exist.  .  

From that we can suppose that any inquiry and subsequent knowledge that leads to challenging religious, political and even social dogmas is the will of God and design of Nature.  All of that can be surmised to mean that to do so is the purpose of knowledge and meant to improve upon mankind's existence, making man closer to God and Nature, not further away.  Those who resist inquiry and knowledge are not doing the will of God or acting in Nature, but are resisting only their own loss of power over some part of society by their control of religious institutions and its governance of a population.  When instead, doing the will of God or following the design of Nature would be to foster inquiry and propagate knowledge among the faithful so that they may fulfill their reason for existence.

It is unfortunate that after thousands of years of existence and the great leaps in technology that expands the power of inquiry and provides an infinite library of knowledge that mankind must again assert his right to free inquiry and freedom of conscience.  Yet, man is forced to acknowledge that religious and political dogma still exists insisting that all that was worth knowing was written and established long before and any inquiry beyond that or demand for the liberating power of knowledge is heresy, evil and treason.  

Therefore, it is up to mankind to resist being pulled back into the darkness of ignorance and superstition.  To insist that it is in fact the will of God and the design of Nature to pursue knowledge and make inquiries into all ideas and sectors of life.  No idea must be considered too sacred to be challenged or too necessary to the common good of any part of society to resist it.  The obtaining of knowledge and its service to mankind is the Great Liberator.  Where God and Nature have created the rational mind and given the gift of knowledge, the Great Liberator, then Liberty itself must be the will of God and the design of Nature.

To deny knowledge and liberty is it's own form of heresy.  

If tomorrow security fails and technology falls bringing about the next lengthy decline into darkness and superstition, we may take comfort in knowing that God and Nature, in their infinite wisdom, have provided mankind with the power to once again raise a torch and the light the way.  That torch is man's rational mind and undying thirst for inquiry that leads, once again, to seeking knowledge, The Great Liberator.

John Stuart Mills: Tyranny of Majorities and Society

John Stuart Mills - On Liberty

Apart from the peculiar tenets of individual thinkers, there is also in the world at large an increasing inclination to stretch unduly the powers of society over the individual, both by the force of opinion and even by that of legislation: and as the tendency of all the changes taking place in the world is to strengthen society, and diminish the power of the individual, this encroachment is not one of the evils which tend spontaneously to disappear, but, on the contrary, to grow more and more formidable. The disposition of mankind, whether as rulers or as fellow-citizens to impose their own opinions and inclinations as a rule of conduct on others, is so energetically supported by some of the best and by some of the worst feelings incident to human nature, that it is hardly ever kept under restraint by anything but want of power; and as the power is not declining, but growing, unless a strong barrier of moral conviction can be raised against the mischief, we must expect, in the present circumstances of the world, to see it increase.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fight of the Century: Keynes v. Hayak on Controlled or Free Markets

via Instapundit

From Econostories, a great music video on the Fight of the Century: Keynes v. Hayak - Controlled Economics v. Free Market

President Obama, United States Foreign Policy, Current Events: In Search of Princpled Policy

This article was titled:

How the Arab Spring remade Obama’s foreign policy

It should have been titled "How World Events Make You Spin on Your Head and Do Incomprehensible and Contradictory Things When You Lack Defining Principles".

This spring, Obama officials often expressed impatience with questions about theory or about the elusive quest for an Obama doctrine. One senior Administration official reminded me what the former British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan said when asked what was likely to set the course of his government: “Events, dear boy, events.”

Obama has emphasized bureaucratic efficiency over ideology, and approached foreign policy as if it were case law, deciding his response to every threat or crisis on its own merits. “When you start applying blanket policies on the complexities of the current world situation, you’re going to get yourself into trouble,” he said in a recent interview with NBC News.
The appropriate response to that is when you do not have a set of principles to guide your policies, you are going to get yourself into trouble.  Principles do not make "blanket policies".  Principles are the foundation on which good policy is made.  "Events" may require policy reviews, but principles, not ideologies, invariably lead to the right policies. 

Read the entire article.  It is a tour de force of what happens to an administration and, thus, the United States, when policy is based on being determined "to break free of the old ideologies and categories" (ie, hope and change) instead of principles. President Obama, thus, the United States, is being pushed and swayed by the various events, being forced to react to every event instead of doing what he believes he is doing, threading a course for stability and strength.  Those who know history and complimentary foreign policy know that when you are forced to react to every changing event you are the weak link and "you’re going to get yourself into trouble".

Right policies are founded on good principles.  What are the principles that have historically led to "right policy" in the United States?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Middle East Revolutions:Technology Trumps Tyrants

This is a video of protests in Damascus, Syria.  The lights are cell phones.

Egypt Terrorism Watch: The Salafi Dynamite in Egypt's Pocket (Gaza)

As Egypt meets with a Hamas delegation from Gaza, Fatah al Islam and various Salafi Islamist adherents are challenging Hamas rule in the tiny sand pit of misery (video).  

The Salafi movement and Hamas have had several collisions in the last four years 

If the claim is true, Fatah al-Islam joins a long list of radical Islamist groups that have popped up in the Gaza Strip in recent years. They include Hizb al-Tahrir (Party of Liberation), Fatah al-Yasser, Qaida al-Islam, Army of Islam, Suyuf al-Haq (Swords of Justice) and the Nasser Eddin Brigades.

This report outlines the different groups and their history in Gaza.

The jihadist firebrands, who probably number only a few hundred, are divided between three main groups ideologically aligned with al-Qaida -- Jaish al-Islam, or Army of Islam; Tawhid wa'al-Jihad, or Monotheism and Holy War; and Jaish al-Umma, or Army of the Nation.

"Their ranks may be modest in number but their capacity to shape events inside Gaza and beyond is clearly on the rise," the Financial Times observed following the slaying of Arrigoni.

Jihadist groups emerged in Gaza after Israel's unilateral withdrawal in September 2005. They expanded during the subsequent fighting between Hamas and Israel.

Hamas' cease-fire with Israel following the invasion of Gaza by 12,000 Israeli troops in late December 2008 in a 22-day invasion that killed some 1,400 Palestinians, mainly civilians, has incensed the jihadists, as has Hamas' efforts to break out of its international isolation.

As the report adds, as Hamas is unable to provide basic government services or get any recognition from the international community, more and more young people are turning towards the Salafi groups.  

What gives the growing jihadist presence even greater menace is that many recruits are former members of Hamas who say Hamas has betrayed its origins and abandoned the war against Israel.

The jihadists are believed to be responsible for many of the recent rocket and mortar attacks on Israel that have raised tensions to 2008 levels.

Ratcheting up tensions with Israel and possibly dragging Egypt into a conflict it is in no position to act on.  Plus, there is the possible reciprocation of jihadist activity in Egypt. 

Cairo claimed in January, before the pro-democracy uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, that Jaish al-Islam was responsible for a Jan. 1 suicide bombing of a church near Alexandria that killed 21 Christians and wounded 100 others.

The Army of Islam denied that. But a senior Israeli official alleged in December that hundreds of militants, mainly from Yemen and including some trained by al-Qaida, have infiltrated Gaza from Egypt through smuggling tunnels under the border.
Radicalization in Palestinian areas and refugee camps has been on the rise with Fatah al Islam battling it out with the Lebanese Army in 2006.  There is suspected collusion between Al Qaeda and Fatah al Islam as well as Syria and Fatah al Islam.  Syria, who in turn, is a client state of Iran.

How often does Iran, a Shia majority theocracy, get mentioned in relationship with Sunni Salafi terrorist groups?  Too often.

Iran is not a friend to Egypt.  It does not want Egypt to be a potential rival power.  Iran would like Egypt to be one of the Emirates in their version of the revived Abbasid Caliphate

Middle East Revolutions: GCC Negotiating Deal for Saleh in Yemen To Step Down - analysis

Saleh Stepping Down in Yemen, with Immunity

April 25, 2011
by John F Moore
It is indeed true that the Yemeni people are denied some justice by this plan, but politics is, as they say, the art of the possible, and it should have been clear to all that Saleh would not leave willingly without immunity. Riding off into the sunset?

This is another development in a kind of crisis-behind-the-crisis: if leaders are subject to ill-treatment on their downfall, will their neighbors take notice and hold on to power with all their might? Saleh has seen Hosni Mubarak thrown in jail (again, justly) in recent days, and surely wishes to avoid a similar fate. The bloody crackdowns in Syria are the efforts of another tyrant to keep himself in power and out of the slammer. The Saleh deal is thus a positive step, in that it shows other troubled rulers that golden parachutes are available. However, it has a downside–the masses are still energized against the regime, because their demands have not been met. Will the elections sate them if they end up empowering a Saleh ally? Will the opposition parties be able to outmaneuver their uncompromising bases and enter the legal political game? If both of these questions are answered with a “no,” then Yemen runs a serious risk of civil war.
There is considerable questions as to whether this deal will actually go through.  The "protesters" are insistent that Saleh go now and go all the way along with any remains of the regime.  There is also the issue of the military which Moore suggests will not result in a military coup because the military is split. 
Jane Novak at Armies of Liberation has the report from BBC that Saleh refuses the deal saying that he will "not be subject to minorities", suggesting that the protesters do not represent a majority of Yemenis.  Her analysis of the situation is here.
Yemen is already suffering from “a security vacuum” and political and economic paralysis. Thirty days from now, the economic, political and security landscape is going to be much more bleak, with a level of damage that is nearly irrecoverable in the mid-term. The western consensus is that the protesters demands are immature and unrealistic, but they have it right. Saleh has to go immediately and be brought to trial for his many crimes. The requirement for a perfect transition plan prior to the executive’s departure was not applied in Egypt or Tunisia or contemplated in Libya and, like a war plan, won’t survive first contact with reality. The issue here is damage control. But any future state that is built on the crimes of the past will contain inherent triggers of conflict.

Middle East Revolutions: Iran's Proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon Foreing Minister Demands UN Representative Refuse UN Statement on Syria

Caretaker Foreign Minister Ali Shami called on Lebanon's ambassador to the United Nations Nawwaf Salam to reject the Security Council's expected draft statement on the developments on Syria.  The U.N. will discuss Syria later Tuesday.

Lebanon, Syria, Libya & Hizballah- Abu Muquwama at CNS

Boy, I would love to hear Hassan Nasrallah give some morally sanctimonious speech in which he explains why Gadhafi must be driven from office but that conspiracies against Bashar al-Asad are a Anglo-Zionist plot. And I suspect I am going to get that opportunity.

Lebanon (controlled by Hezbollah/Hizballah) had the rotating seat on the Security Council and used it to vote to get a no fly zone, condemn Gadhafi and make a statement that Gadhafi must go.  Now they aren't as interested in seeing the same for Assad.  Hmmmm...Goose meet Gander.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Egypt and Democracy: Future Relations with United States

Egypt in the Middle of Arab Cold War:

Domestic and foreign policy are related in another way. As Egypt’s leaders struggle to deliver on economic and political reform, the temptation to grandstand on foreign policy only grows. International relations scholars call this the “diversionary theory of international conflict”—the notion that foreign conflict is initiated to divert attention from mounting problems at home. Young democracies, newly confident and eager to distance themselves from their predecessors, are particularly susceptible.

But as much as Egypt wishes to chart a new course on foreign policy, it is still bound by old constraints. Egypt remains vulnerable during a difficult phase of transition. It can afford to irritate its Western allies—but within limits. The U.S. and the European Union, as Egypt’s most important donors, will play a critical role in supporting the country’s economic and political revitalization. One obvious red line is the peace treaty with Israel. 

How can Egypt be both independent, serve the region and remain an ally with the US?  The writer suggests Qatar as the model:

Somehow, for instance, Qatar has figured out a way to both host the world’s largest pre-positioning U.S. military base and hold joint training exercises with Iranian frontier guards. And somehow, it’s worked—pushing the tiny gas-rich emirate into the ranks of the region’s most influential nations.

Libya and Syria Still on Fire with Iran in the Background

Misurata, Libya Monday, April 25, 2011 - Rebels believed to be on brink of crushing victory.  Libya's army seems to be made up of foreigners, children and whatever riff-raff or desperadoes are willing to trade their lives for what is becoming, literally, blood money (here if you tube won't load).

Check the Egyptian Chronicles for multiple videos from Syria including artillery and tanks being moved in to Daraa.  Reports official for 25 dead, but other reports suggesting that the number of dead are greater, they just can't be picked up off the street due to sniper fire.  Fog of War.

On Syria and Iran:

For Iran, its ties with Syria represent far more than just a rare friend in a region dominated by Arab suspicions of Tehran's aims. Syria is Iran's great enabler: a conduit for aid to powerful anti-Israel proxies Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Should Assad's regime fall, it could rob Iran of a loyal Arab partner in a region profoundly realigned by uprisings demanding more freedom and democracy.
"Iran and Syria represent the anti-US axis in the region. In that respect, Iran wants to ensure that Syria remains an ally," said Shadi Hamid, director of research at The Brookings Doha Center in Qatar. "The problem is that Iran's foreign policy has become quite inconsistent."
In the meantime, Iran is under another cyber attack and they are not nearly as good as the Chinese or the US at managing those attacks.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Free Speech: Terry Jones Jailed For "Peace and Security of Community"

Free Speech For ME But Not for THEE!
Terry Jones spent one hour in jail for refusing to pay a $1 fine.  He was charged with disturbing the peace.  What did the public prosecutor argue?

The public prosecutor argued that the protest had nothing to do with the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, and at stake were security and peace in the community.

 The judge fined each of the pastors involved a "symbolic" $1.  The amount doesn't really matter.  While the judge may have determined that this was the best way to signal he did not want to stifle free speech, any ruling against it on the grounds argued by the prosecutor suggests that free speech is, in fact, harmful, similar to some other act like destruction of property or assault. 

United States Foreign Policy: On Libya, Liberty and the Flight From Leadership

In a response to a post and commentary at Castle Argghhh! on the current efforts in Libya. 

Part of post in question:

It no longer matters how we got here. We intervened, and that changed everything.

By attacking armored columns with the “No Fly Zone” aircraft, we ensured the survival of the poorly-equipped-and-untrained rebellion in Libya against the much-better-armed-and-trained loyalist forces. That’s the world we live in, and those are the conditions we must deal with.

Whether or not the US, and to a lesser extent NATO, could have gotten the same in terms of strategic interests by doing nothing, by buying off or threatening Kaddafi, whether this was of a high enough order of national interest to do when balanced against the risks/means available/stratcomm incoherence is no longer the question. It has become “What do we do with the new conditions?
 To which John only added:

My closing thoughts - I'll reiterate one of my philosophical problems with US military power (stated from the perspective of a practitioner of same) - the danger of making it too easy to kill people, means you are too likely to kill people. If it isn't worth dying for, it isn't worth killing for. The point is not that I object to making war less lethal to the people we put in harm's way, or even more lethal to the target of our war making, it's that making it safer for us to kill has made us more likely to kill. Our doctrinal and policy analysis and frankly, fundamental ethics on the issue aren't anywhere near as advanced and refined as our technical ability.
 My response follows:

Friday, April 22, 2011

Freedom and the Fruits of Labor

"To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, 1816

Egypt and Democracy: Economics - Setting a Minimum Wage

During a short conversation on twitter, a debate occurred over the viability of setting a minimum wage in Egypt.  It is commonly understood that 43% of Egypt survives on $2/day.  Most of these are what is also commonly referred to as "day labor" wage earners.  In short, laborers who pick up work on a daily basis instead of being full time employees of a company or have even short to mid-term contracts for stable employment.  

At the same time, 23% of Egypt's workers belong to some form of union or syndicate that proposes to work for members' rights.  These have, in the past, been subject to government interference that included almost arbitrary acts of either minimal appeasement of demands or outright strike busting, either through police action or by government interaction/threats/co-opting union leadership.

Around 2% of Egypt's citizens/employed are either wealthy businessmen/land holders/investors or related top managers of firms.  Many of whom have had close relations with the last NDP regime or were basically co-oped by government due to it's high regulation, corruption, nepotism and various other problems that required some form of collusion in order to simply do business in Egypt.

Then there is an official 9.7% (appx) that are "unemployed" though this number could include those who work within the informal "day labor" sector having exhausted all other attempts at regular employment and, consequently, can be a higher or lower percentage during any economic drive or slump without registering any officially recognized radical change of "unemployment". With a 43% day laborer employment sector in a down turned economy, the real unemployment rate is likely closer to 18-20%.  This leaves a regularly employed, non-union employment sector between 17 and 22% of the employable population (43mil employment age means 7-10 million).

An interesting aspect of the revolution is the convergence of the middle class, educated revolutionaries with the very large underclass to bring down the regime.  Many of the underclass were called down into the streets with shouts about the cost of bread (and cucumbers, tomatoes, etc) and wages.  This isn't unusual for most historical revolutions. Economics, where there is a rising middle class who are eager for political participation and a still majority working poor underclass, have played a role in almost every revolution.  The issue that faces each of these revolutions is how to funnel that energy into both political and economic reforms that serve both of these factions' demands while not decimating the capital/growth sector.

One of the issues currently being discussed, in some cases as if it was THE economic plan, is the setting or raising of a minimum wage.  The current figure discussed is $1200LE (Egyptian pounds)/month.  At the current rate of exchange that is approximately $200 US, $6/day or three times the current average wage of 43% of population.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Middle East Revolutions: Massacre in Latikye, Syria April 19

Reported video of deadly shooting of peaceful protesters, Latikye, Syria, 19 April, 2011:

Michael Ledeen reports:

The Syrian killers probably thought nobody would be able to get it on video at night.  But they were wrong.  An amateur videographer was filming the demonstration, and was just about to go down to the street and join in, when the gunshots broke out.  A young girl behind him started to scream, he pushed her down…

Egypt and Democracy: More on Women's Rights - Freedom of/from the Hijab

An excellent blog post on the right's of women to wear the hijab or not to wear the hijab.

The struggle of the veiled Muslim woman in Europe has reached the hearts and minds of Muslims all over the world, including mine. Her struggle is their struggle. A woman has the right to choose, we all shout. Muslim women do not wear the headscarf/face veil out of oppression, we explain. In so many cases, they wear it as a matter of choice.

A woman, we shout, has the right to choose.

But do we Muslims really believe this or do we use this argument when it suits us?
Do women in Muslim countries – or for that matter do women living in Islamic communities all over the United States and Europe – truly have the right to choose? Does a woman truly have freedom of choice if the societal impacts of that choice have the potential to devastate the very core of her existence?

Nadia el Awady goes on to talk about the social and familial pressures that go on when women choose to "doff the hijab".

These women are immediately analyzed to their faces and behind their backs. Their original reasons for wearing the hijab were the wrong reasons. Her faith is weak. She has been moving in circles of friends who have tainted her soul. She has no proper understanding of the Islamic faith. She has opened too many doors to the devil and this is the result. The list goes on and on. And the snobby advice does as well. We’ll pray for you, dear sister. Remember to keep up your five daily prayers. That will save you. Be careful because you have started down the slippery slope to hell. We will pray to God to protect you and give you guidance.
 Read the rest here.

Also, the Sharia Glass Ceiling

Egypt and Democracy: Women's Rights in a Democratic Egypt and the Sharia Glass Ceiling

Valantina Cattane wrote in Egypt's Al Masry Al Youm about the struggle for women's equality in the new democratic Egypt: Path to Women's Equality Passes Through Constitution.  

The 1971 Egyptian Constitution, currently suspended, includes articles that ostensibly ensure equality and outlaw discrimination based on gender, ethnic origin, language, religion or belief. But according to Egyptian gender experts, the situation is far more complicated -- and discriminatory -- than a quick reading of the old constitution suggests.

And if women’s rights are to be guaranteed in post-Mubarak Egypt, the new version, written by a committee selected by the parliament elected in September 2011, will require substantial changes on laws regulating gender.

She points out that Article II of the 1971 Constitution was included as part of the amendments for referendum on March 19.  Article II is the section of the Constitution that states that Islam is the state religion and that Sharia law is the basis of law in Egypt.   Article II was also the contentious section that had various Imams in mosques across Egypt calling on their congregations to go out and vote on the grounds that a "no" on the referendum would vacate this article and endanger Islam and Sharia in Egypt.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Middle East Revolutions: Iran's proxy Hezbollah Supports Assad and Threatens Lebanon "Security"

Michael Ledeen and Michael Totten have done excellent jobs in outlining the various connections between Hezbollah, Iran and Syria.  Michael Totten's new book, Fatima Gate, is an expose on Hezbollah in Lebanon and the counter-revolution that thwarted Lebanon's Cedar Revolution.  Even as the Syrian's were forced to pull back, they provided material and monetary support to their co-tyrants in Hezbollah to take effective control of the country.  This is effectively Iran's "covert" war (if it can be called that) against Israel.  

Monday, Hezbollah issued a statement of unwavering support for Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and basically threatened what little "security" and peace Lebanon can claim:

"Today, we stand yet again by our sister Syria ... and by Syria's leaders who have refused to give into pressure or ... to conspire against the resistance," said Hezbollah MP Nawwaf Moussawi, in reference to the Shiite militant group.

"We are certain Syria will overcome this passing phase," he added.  "There is no stability in Lebanon without stability in Syria, no security in Lebanon without security in Syria."
Moussawi was basically echoing the Syrian Ambassador who had already threatened that:
any harm done to Syria will also harm Lebanon with the same magnitude or even more"
Lately, all of the "old revolutionaries", who have been in positions of power now for the last thirty or forty years, have all been claiming to be protecting the revolution from counter revolution.  Refusing to accept that, once the revolutionaries have taken effective control of the reins of power and institutions of government, they are no longer the revolutionaries.  They are the establishment:

Moussawi's spoke at a press conference entitled "In solidarity with Syria against the American-Zionist-Western plot to undermine its national, pan-Arab and resistance role," attended by pro-Syrian Lebanese politicians of all faiths.
There are two main themes going on here.  

Monday, April 18, 2011

United States Foreign Policy: Increasingly Out of Step

You can barely see it in the popular press, but the global insurrection is going great guns, despite the fecklessness of the so-called Western world.  And it’s going great guns in our enemies’ countries, not just in those of our (at least erstwhile) friends.

In Syria, for example, the anti-Assad demonstrations are getting bigger and are explicitly calling for regime change.  In Iran, there are ongoing strikes, violent anti-regime demonstrations in the oil regions in the west, adjoining Iraq (think Basra), and continued sabotage of the country’s gas pipelines.

He goes on to list out the many ways that people inside these countries are resisting.  Then there is this gem:

So what does our government do, when faced with a splendid opportunity to advance the cause of freedom, strike a blow at the world’s leading supporter of terrorism, and perhaps even convince waverers around the world that American support is worth something after all?
We tell the Syrian opposition to take a hike, that’s what.  As Eli Lake tells us,
The Obama administration has turned down a plea from Syria’s democratic opposition to step up diplomatic pressure on President Bashar Assad, who has violently repressed peaceful anti-government protests
Please read that again and notice that the Obama administration turned down a plea for DIPLOMATIC pressure on poor Assad.
There is a serious problem with our foreign policy.  It is completely out of step with current events and, for some reason, refuses to acknowledge that all of the aspirations of the United States for the spread of freedom and democracy are continuing to be met.  There is an ideological war being fought.  Not just outside the borders of the United States or within Islam, but within the State Department and various other departments and institutions responsible for advising and designing US foreign policy.