The Widening Turkey-Saudi Arabia Rift

Picture-3-392x350By :

In an interview with Time magazine’s Fareed Zakaria, U.S. President Barack Obama named Recep Tayyip Erdogan as one of his five top international friends, along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, South Korea’s President Lee Myung-bak, and British Prime Minister David Cameron. Neither Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was included.

Although Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey and King Abdullah’s Saudi Arabia are both Sunni-Muslim states, their national interests and political aspirations are at odds with one another.  Erdogan has become President Obama’s trusted ally in the Middle East, while the Saudis are mistrustful of Obama and seek to lessen their dependence on the U.S. To show its displeasure with the Obama administration, Saudi Arabia renounced the UN Security Council seat it worked hard to get. Erdogan supported President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, while the Saudis were the first to congratulate General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt’s military chief, for overthrowing the Morsi-Muslim Brotherhood regime. In Syria, Erdogan supports the Muslim Brotherhood elements within the Syrian Sunni opposition, while the Saudis back the likes of radical al-Qaida affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Perhaps most interesting is the position of the two Islamic states on Israel and Hamas-ruled Gaza. Erdogan has recently divulged to Iran the identities of ten Iranian spies for Israel.  He also pushed to exclude Israel from NATO military exercises, and has been a major supporter of the Islamist terrorist group Hamas. The Saudis, on the other hand, have had and continue to have contacts with Israel, albeit, under the radar. Israel and Saudi Arabia share core issues, which include the dangerous prospect of a nuclear Iran, concern over the recent advances made by the Muslim Brotherhood since the “Arab Spring” began, and exasperation with the Obama administration over the handling of the Syrian crisis, and particularly with its naïve assessment of Iran’s “charm offensive.”

Read more at Front Page


Saudi Hypocrisy At Its Best

King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz

King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz

By Raymond Ibrahim:

Few things offer surreal experiences as when Islam and the West interact—when 7th century primordialism encounters 21st century relativism.  Consider the issue of “interfaith dialogue.” In principle, it is a decent thing: Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others trying to reach a common ground and professing mutual respect. But what does one make of the gross contradictions that emerge when a human-rights violating nation calls for “dialogue,” even as it enforces religious intolerance on its own turf?

Enter Saudi Arabia.  Birthplace of Islam, the Arabian kingdom is also the one Muslim nation that regularly sponsors interfaith initiatives in the West—even as its official policy back home is to demonize and persecute the very faiths it claims to want to have an interfaith dialogue with.

Back in 2008, for example, in what was deemed an unprecedented move, Saudi King Abdullah “made an impassioned plea for dialogue among Muslims, Christians, and Jews,” going so far as to refer to the latter two as “our brothers.” His stated goal was to develop “respect among religions.”

The Saudi monarch’s most recent initiative reached fruition recently, on November 26, 2012, when the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue was launched in the Austrian capital, Vienna. According to its own website, the center “was founded to enable, empower and encourage dialogue among followers of different religions and cultures around the world.” Lending international legitimacy to this Saudi gesture of goodwill, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was among those who attended the opening.

While all this ostensibly sounds well and good, consider the many incongruities, the many absurdities—initially demonstrated by the simple fact that Saudi Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Sudais, who was quoted praising the Austrian-based center as proof that “Islam is a religion of dialogue and understanding and not a religion of enmity, fanaticism, and violence,” is also on record calling Jews “monkeys and pigs” and Christians “cross worshippers.”

Nor is he just a run-of-the-mill sheikh: he is the government-appointed imam of Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mosque in Mecca—Islam’s holiest site, where Christians, Jews, and others are routinely condemned and cursed during the prayers of the faithful.

Read more at Front Page

Has the US Administration Decided to Get Rid of Jordan’s King Abdullah?

by Khaled Abu Toameh

Unless the US clarifies its position regarding King Abdullah and reiterates its full backing for his regime, the Muslim fundamentalists are likely to step up there efforts to create anarchy and lawlessness in the kingdom. Washington needs to reassure King Abdullah and his followers that it will not allow the creation of an Islamic terror republic in Jordan.

Has the US Administration decided to get rid of Jordan’s King Abdullah?

This is the question that many Jordanians have been asking in the past few days following a remark made by a spokesman for the US State Department.

Deputy State Department Spokesman Mark Toner managed to create panic [and anger] in the Royal Palace in Amman when he stated that there was “thirst for change” in Jordan and that the Jordanian people had “economic, political concerns,” as well as “aspirations.”

The spokesman’s remark has prompted some Jordanian government officials to talk about a US-led “conspiracy” to topple King Abdullah’s regime.

The talk about a “thirst for change” in Jordan is seen by the regime in Amman as a green light from the US to King Abdullah’s enemies to increase their efforts to overthrow the monarchy.

The US spokesman’s remark came as thousands of Jordanians took to the streets to protest against their government’s tough economic measures, which include cancelling subsidies for fuel and gas prices.

The widespread protests, which have been dubbed “The November Intifada,” have resulted in attacks on numerous government offices and security installations throughout the kingdom. Dozens of security officers have been injured, while more than 80 demonstrators have been arrested.

And for the first time, protesters in the Jordanian capital have been calling for overthrowing King Abdullah. In an unprecedented move, demonstrators last week tried to march on the monarch’s palace in Amman in scenes reminiscent of anti-regime protests in Tunisia, Libya, Yemen and Egypt.

The Jordanian authorities claim that non-Jordanian nationals who infiltrated the border have been involved in the violence, the worst to hit the kingdom in decades. The authorities say that Saudi and Syrian Muslim fundamentalists are responsible for attacks on government offices and other institutions, including banks.

Some Jordanian officials have pointed a blaming finger at Saudi Arabia and Qatar for encouraging the anti-regime protests and facilitating the infiltration of Muslim fundamentalists into the kingdom.

The officials believe that Jordan is paying the price of refusing to play a larger and stronger role in Saudi-Qatari efforts to topple Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

Hypocrisy: Saudi King Asks UN To Adopt Resolution Condemning Anything And Everything ‘That Insults Religions’ …

Midnight Watcher:

Yet all the while Saudi Arabia continues to export Islamic textbooks that do nothing but fuel Islamic supremacy and violent Jihad around the globe, textbooks which promote vitriolic hatred of Judaism and Christianity because “Jews and the Christians are enemies of the [Islamic] believers” …

The Jerusalem Post – “Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz on Saturday called on the UN to adopt a resolution condemning blasphemy, AFP reported.

‘I demand a UN resolution that condemns any country or group that insults religions and prophets,’ he reportedly said. ‘It is our duty and that of every Muslim to protect Islam and defend the prophets.’

The Saudi King is the latest Islamic leader to call for a ban on blasphemy following the release last month of the US-made Innocence of Muslims film, which triggered a wave of deadly anti-American violence across the Islamic world.

Abdullah also stressed the important of the ‘unity of the Islamic nation…to face the nation’s enemies.’” Source – The Jerusalem Post.

Flashback: New Study Shows That 80% of Mosques in America Teach Jihad Violence and Islamic Supremacism – “… Then there was the Center for Religious Freedom’s 2005 study, and the Mapping Sharia Project’s 2008 study. Each independently showed that upwards of 80% of mosques in America were preaching hatred of Jews and Christians and the necessity ultimately to impose Islamic rule. And now comes yet more confirmation that mosques in the U.S. are teaching these things, and again the percentage is remarkably similar: around 80% of mosques are found to be teaching jihad warfare and Islamic supremacism.” Read more.

Flashback: Report: Saudis Export Anti-Christian and Anti-Jewish Textbooks that Continue to Fuel Intolerance and Violence Around the Globe – “Textbooks used in Saudi Arabia’s schools contain virulent forms of anti-Christian and anti-Jewish bigotry that continue to fuel intolerance and violence around the globe, says a new report…  ‘Because of the Saudis’ great oil wealth, it is able to disseminate its textbooks … to many Muslim schools, mosques and libraries throughout the world. ‘This is not just hate mongering, it’s promoting violence,’ … Christians are referred to as ‘swine’ and Jews as ‘apes,’ …” Read more.

Flashback: ‘Fight The Jews And Kill Them’: Major American Publishers Protest Hate-Filled, Toxic Saudi Textbook Content – “An appeal to the government of Saudi Arabia to stop publishing hate-filled textbooks was issued today by seven current and former heads of major American publishing houses… Muslims in many countries have reported that over the past 20 to 30 years, local Islamic traditions have been transformed and radicalized under the growing influence of Saudi Salafist Islam, known as Wahhabism. The late president of Indonesia Abdurraham Wahid wrote that Wahhabism was making inroads even in his famously tolerant nation.” Read more.

UN agency funded with Saudi money wants to edit worldwide textbooks

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah wrote UNESCO a $20 million check, as the agency seeks to influence the content of worldwide textbooks. (AP)

By  h/t Tanya Grimsley

The UN agency that promotes education wants a say in how future textbooks are  written, and Saudi Arabia — a nation whose own school books have been  criticized for promoting hatred of Christians and Jews — is helping to bankroll  the effort.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)  is currently working with member states to revise its strategy for the  publication of textbooks and learning materials. According to UNESCO’s website,  experts from 21 countries met in Paris last month at a meeting financed by a  $29,000 Saudi donation and focused in part on “ways to ensure that content aimed  at students systematically reflects cultural and religious diversity, and avoids  gender stereotypes.”

Then, last week, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah cut a $20 million check to  UNESCO’s emergency fund.

Critics warn that the funding will come at a price, and predict the Saudis  will want input into what goes into rewritten textbooks.

“Saudi textbooks are extremely hateful and full of xenophobic texts,” said  Ali AlAhmed, author of the upcoming book “Saudi School Books: Objective  Education or Extremist Indoctrination?” and director of the Gulf Institute in  Washington, D.C.

According to AlAhmed, the Saudi funding “shows how xenophobic governments  like [that of] the Saudis are able to buy influence.” He said UNESCO was  betraying its mandate to uphold “value and standards of education and tolerance”  as he warned UNESCO and the UN system as a whole were “susceptible to financial  buyouts from countries like Saudi Arabia.”

Drawing from research in his upcoming book, which assessed Saudi school  textbooks for the last academic year, AlAhmed gave examples of what Saudi  children are taught. He said a guidebook says first-grade teachers should tell  students that:

  • “Adhering to Islam is the only path to enter heaven, and escape  hellfire.”
  • “It is from Islam to love Muslims, and to hate the unbelievers and not to  imitate them.”
  • “Examples of false religions [include] Judaism, Christianity.”

AlAhmed says a ninth-grade book teaches that, “The Jews and the Christians  are enemies of the believers. He says an 11th-grade book states, “The cursed  are: The Christians and all those who have erred from the true path, and  worshipped God with other than his orders.”

Read more at Fox News

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Is Jordan about to experience its first big moment of the Arab spring?

Jordan’s King Abdullah reviews Bedouin guards of honour in Amman, 2006. Photograph: Ali Jarekji/Reuters

By Ian Black:

Amman, Jordan‘s capital, has been largely spared the drama of events elsewhere in the Arab world over the past two years. Demonstrations in March 2011 were contained and protests since have been restricted to outlying areas – albeit in loyal East Bank heartlands such as Tafila and Ma’an. Talk of reform has been accompanied by three changes of prime minister. King Abdullah sacked his last one, Awn Khasawneh, because, the palace insisted, he was not moving fast enough. The other view is that he was getting too cosy in talks with the Islamic Action Front – the Jordanian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

So is Arab spring unrest about to hit the Hashemite kingdom? On Friday the IAF is organising a big rally under the resonant slogan “Save the Homeland.” Its target is the constitutional changes the king has approved in advance of parliamentary elections he says must be held by the end of the year — though the increasingly vocal IAF says the reforms are inadequate and insists it will boycott the polls. That would render them meaningless.

The IAF has been emboldened by the successes of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Tunisia and by the prominent role it is playing in the uprising in Syria next door. Complicating matters, many of its supporters are Jordanians of Palestinian origin, always a sensitive issue, as is the peace treaty with Israel. The Obeidat, a large East Bank clan, has just disowned one of its members who has accepted the post of Jordanian ambassador to Tel Aviv.

The king is under pressure from his western friends to respond convincingly to growing demands for change. Crucially, though, he plans to retain the power to appoint the prime minister and dismiss parliament at will. Overall the proposed new electoral system is still rigged in favour of regime supporters; Palestinian-Jordanians in particular will be significantly under-represented. Critics complain that reforms are more apparent than real.

Talk has been rife of a showdown on Friday — and perhaps a violent one. Young thugs wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the king’s image have been mobilised for a loyalist counter-demonstration and there are signs of an offically-inspired whispering campaign suggesting that the IAF will call on Abdullah to surrender power. It insists it is doing no such thing. The popular slogan the “people demand the fall of the regime” has barely been heard in the Hashemite kingdom.

Read more at the Guardian

Iran’s Ahmadinejad to attend Syria summit in Saudi Arabia – report


DUBAI (Reuters) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will attend a summit of Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia expected to focus on Syria, Iranian media said on Monday, as tensions between Tehran and Riyadh run high over their opposing stances on regional uprisings.

The extraordinary summit of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) is to be held in Mecca next week.

“Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be present at this summit at the invitation of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia,” Mohammad Reza Forghani, the director of international affairs in Ahmadinejad’s office, was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

Saudi Arabia’s Sunni leaders have accused predominantly Shi’ite Iran of stoking what they see as sectarian unrest in the region. Iran has expressed support for Shi’ite-led protests in Bahrain against the ruling Sunni Al Khalifa family, allies of Saudi Arabia.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said recently the OIC summit should focus on the unrest in Bahrain, Iran’s Fars News Agency reported.

The two regional powers also disagree on the uprising in Syria, where predominantly Sunni rebels are fighting to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad, whose Alawite power base is an offshoot of Shi’ism.

Iran has steadfastly supported Assad’s efforts to suppress the rebellion, and has accused Western powers and countries in the region of encouraging chaos in Syria by sending fighters and arms there.

Senior Iranian lawmaker Alaeddin Boroujerdi said on Sunday that the summit in Saudi Arabia would be unlikely to yield any results given Riyadh’s “hostile stances” toward Syria, Iranian media reported.

Ahmadinejad made his first official trip to Saudi Arabia in March 2007, when he and King Abdullah agreed to fight the spread of sectarian strife.