What’s Holding the Arab World Back?

anti-semitismPublished on Jan 30, 2017 by PragerU

What’s holding the Arab world back? Why, by nearly every measure, are Muslim nations so far behind the West economically, culturally and scientifically? Bret Stephens, Global View columnist for the Wall Street Journal, explains.

Egypt & Russia: Cold War Alliances Revived

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U.S. support for the Muslim Brotherhood and the nuclear deal with Iran is propelling the Arab world into the arms of Russia. The Egyptian government, formerly a U.S. ally, will buy $2 billion in arms from Russia, signaling a strategic realignment in the Middle East that leaves Putin in control.

Egypt’s open embrace of Russia started immediately after the Obama Administration suspended some military aid to the Egyptian government in response to the overthrow of President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. While American aid continued unabated after the Islamists took over, it was cut after they were overthrown.

Support for America and President Obama in particular collapsed in Egypt in response. Only a single percent of Egyptians have confidence in the U.S. and three percent have confidence in Obama. The U.S. support for the Brotherhood has made it a casualty of the regional backlash against the Muslim Brotherhood.

Saudi Arabia is embarking on a similar course. Saudi officials now openly talk to reporters about how their country will be more independent in reaction to U.S. policy. Reports about the acquisition of Pakistani nuclear weapons are met with non-denials. The Saudis offered Russia a strategic alliance and major oil partnership if Putin abandons the Assad regime.

“We’ve seen several red lines put forward by the president [Obama], which went along and became pinkish as time grew, and eventually ended up completely white,” said Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former director of Saudi intelligence.

The Royal Family of Bahrain, a foe of Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, feels the same way. Crown Prince al-Khalifa recently said, “America seems to suffer from schizophrenia when it deals with the Arab world.”

He compared the U.S. unfavorably to Russia; a shocking assessment considering Bahrain’s hostility to Putin.

“The Russians have proved that they are reliable friends,” he explained.

This trend didn’t start after the Arab Spring brought the Muslim Brotherhood to the forefront. It started shortly after President Obama took the oath of office. By June 2010, Egyptian and Jordanian officials were privately fretting about American diplomacy, specifically how the administration was reaching out to Syria.

“Only if you’re tough with America and adopt an anti-U.S. stance will the U.S. have a more flexible attitude and pay you,” an Egyptian official anonymously stated.

Read more at Front Page

 

Bahrain Crown Prince: U.S. Policy Will Lead to Arab -Russia Alliance

Bahrain Crown Prince

Using unusually hostile language, al-Khalifa said “America seems to suffer from schizophrenia when it deals with the Arab world.”

BY RYAN MAURO:

The Crown Prince of Bahrain, Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, blasted U.S. foreign policy in a new interview and warned that its “schizophrenia” will lead the Arab world to ally with Russia.

Using unusually hostile language, al-Khalifa said American policy is “transient and reactive,” and “America seems to suffer from schizophrenia when it deals with the Arab world.” He specifically pointed to the nuclear deal with Iran and the U.S. support for the overthrow of Egyptian President Mubarak.

The Crown Prince detests Russian assistance to the Syrian regime, but said it proves that that Russia is more dependable.

“The Russians have proved that they are reliable friends,” he remarked.

The Bahraini Foreign Minister likewise expressed his view that the U.S. is not valuing Bahrain’s opinion.

“You do not need to reassure us. You need to listen to us, because we know Iran well,” he said.

Bahrain is governed by a pro-Western monarchy and is the base of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. It is an important strategic ally and an enemy of both Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. In 2011, Saudi forces helped the Sunni Bahraini leadership crush an uprising by its Shiite-majority population.

Egypt has already turned to Russia after the U.S. cut off some its military aid following the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Egyptians and Russians are on the cusp of signing a massive $2 billion arms deal that includes Mig-29 fighter jets, anti-tank missiles and air defense systems. Some reports suggest the number could be as high as $4 billion.

Read more at Clarion Project

 

Patrick Poole: Day One Highlights from the World Summit on Counter Terrorism

1185075_10151793556875999_1809247653_nBy Patrick Poole:

As I noted in my previous post, I’m reporting from the 2013 World Summit on Counter Terrorism in Herliya, Israel. The first day’s session was entirely in Hebrew with translation via earphones (rendering my recorder irrelevant), so I’m going to rely on translations from the Israeli media to cover the highlights.

The keynote speaker was Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who said that Israel would stay out of the Syria crisis unless“red lines were transgressed,” meaning retaliatory attacks directed at Israel in the event of a U.S. attack. Included in those “red lines” would also be transferring chemical weapons to Hezbollah.

But he also warned that inaction by the U.S. would also have consequences. This is particularly interesting, as the conference falls six years after Israel launched an attack on Syria’s nuclear weapons development facility.

As the Times of Israel noted, most of Ya’alon’s speech was directed at challenging Western misconceptions of the region and expressing skepticism at the efforts to bring democracy to the Arab world. Of particular note was the aspirations of the Palestinians to form a state:

One of the most incredible things in a period when the notion of the nation-state is collapsing before our eyes is that there are those who are trying to advance, in one way or another, the founding of yet another nation-state — even as it remains unclear how the people of Jenin are connected to the people of Hebron, and uncertain that there is a common denominator between those in Judea and Samaria and those in Gaza.

Former Mossad chief Shabtai Shavit noted the incompatibility between Western norms and the intentions of jihadists in the fight against terrorism:

Western culture espouses the values ​​of tolerance and acceptance of the other, but radical Islam is not willing to accept the other and according to its perception the “infidels” must die. Since the West places an emphasis on morality, it tries to fight terrorism while its hands are tied. The tension between the need for security and morality is also expressed by means of preventing and combating terrorism. With technological developments I predict that eventually the technology will evolve into an effective tool in fighting terrorism, but until that development will come, terrorism will have already been at work in the non-conventional arena.

remarkable statement by former Israeli National Security Council director Uzi Arad not only questioned the effectiveness of a U.S. strike against Syria, but also its legality under international law (a point also made during today’s session by Syracuse University professor William Banks):

Syria is not a signatory to international conventions against the use of chemical weapons. You cannot say that Assad violated an international convention Syria is not signed onto.

I find it hard to believe that intervention will bring about a substantially better situation. The best thing now would be for Obama to carefully bring the crisis to an end, without creating negative ramifications in the region and the world, whether before or after an attack.

One personal observation from my interactions the past two days with Israeli officials: not a one has had a positive thing to say about President Obama.

I hope to post more thoughts later.

For more information see the facebook page: ICT: International Institute for Counter-Terrorism

Video – Egypt army chief: New clashes won’t be tolerated

APTOPIX Mideast Egypt(AP) CAIRO, By MAGGIE MICHAEL:

Egypt’s military leader vowed Sunday that the army will not tolerate further political violence after nationwide clashes that left hundreds dead, as security forces detained Muslim Brotherhood members in raids aimed at disrupting planned rallies.

Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi, who led the July 3 coup that toppled President Mohammed Morsi, again said the army has no intention of seizing power in the Arab world’s most populous country. El-Sissi removed Morsi after four days of mass rallies by millions of Egyptians who demanded the president step down.

“We will not stand by silently watching the destruction of the country and the people or the torching the nation and terrorizing the citizens,” he said in a speech aired on state television.

The general said that the military didn’t seek power but instead “have the honor to protect the people’s will _ which is much dearer (than) ruling Egypt.”

El-Sissi also said Islamists must be included in the country’s politics moving forward. A military timetable calls for the nation’s constitution to be amended and for presidential and parliamentary elections to be held in 2014.

“We have given many chances … to end the crisis peacefully and call for the followers of the former regime to participate in rebuilding the democratic track and integrate in the political process and the future map instead of confrontations and destroying the Egyptian state,” he told a gathering of top military commanders and police chiefs.

El-Sissi’s remarks come ahead of an anticipated harsher stance by the military-backed government toward the Brotherhood. The Cabinet held an emergency meeting Sunday to discuss potentially banning the group, a long-outlawed organization that swept to power in the country’s first democratic elections a year ago.

A possible ban _ which authorities say would be implemented over the group’s use of violence _ would be a repeat of the decades-long struggle between the state and the Brotherhood. It also would drain the group’s financial resources and allow for mass arrests of its members. That likely would diminish the chances of a negotiated solution to the crisis and push it again underground.

The Brotherhood, however, has shown no signs of backing down.

Under the banner of an anti-coup alliance, the group said it will hold a demonstration in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court in southern Cairo later Sunday. Authorities already stationed armored vehicles and troops at the building, which could turn into another focal point of street violence.

More than 800 people have been killed nationwide since Wednesday’s dismantling of two encampments of Morsi supporters in Cairo _ an act that sparked fierce clashes. Some 70 police officers were killed in clashes with protesters or retaliatory attacks during the same period, according to the Interior Ministry.

In an attempt to cripple the Brotherhood’s protest plans, authorities carried out raids early Sunday morning, detaining at least 300 mid-level officials and field operatives in several cities, according to security officials and group statements.

In Egypt’s second-largest city Alexandria, the Brotherhood said on its official website that security forces stormed houses of 34 officials and former lawmakers, but only arrested seven people. Among those targeted was Medhat el-Haddad, the brother of top Morsi’s aide Essam el-Haddad.

In Assiut, 320 kilometers (200 miles) south of Cairo, 163 of the group’s officials and operatives were rounded up in different towns in the province, security officials said. They said those arrested face charges of instigating violence and orchestrating attacks on police stations and churches.

In the city of Suez, nine people were arrested after being caught on film attacking army vehicles, burning churches and assaulting Christian-owned stores, officials said.

In ancient southern city of Luxor, more than 20 Brotherhood senior officials were detained, officials said.

Read more at Breitbart

 

Statement of General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi 08/18/2013:

 

Is Islam Compatible With Democracy?

download (13)By Alon Ben-Meir:

The question raised by the ouster of Egypt’s President Morsi is whether Islam is compatible with democracy or any form of government that empowers the people and limits the power of leaders to hold merely representative offices with limited terms of public service.

Islam is the most recent of the Abrahamic religions to emerge on the world stage. Monotheism in general, and specifically as it developed in the Dark and Middle Ages, in principle reflects extremely authoritarian regimes.

Theologically, it posits a cosmic or heavenly hierarchy with absolute authority in God, angels in go-between positions, and a fallen humanity in need of salvation at the base of the pyramidal power structure.

It is no surprise then that in the centuries wherein the Catholic Church was at its zenith of influence in the West, political power was held by kings, popes, emperors, and powerful nepotistic and despotic elite with huge economic chasms between the people and their rulers.

Obviously, these structures were not compatible with democracy.

Christianity and Judaism, being monotheistic, are no less inheritors of this stratified and centralized power paradigm, but unlike Islam these religions were effectively secularized and toned down during the century of the European Enlightenment.

Thinkers like Descartes, Locke, Spinoza, Kant, Voltaire, Rousseau, Hume, and Hegel paved the way for Marx, Schopenhauer, Buber, and Sartre to challenge conventional approaches to religious ideologies and political formations.

Traditional monotheism, with its highly categorized view of man and God, may not in itself be wholly compatible with democracy, but modern Western monotheism gradually molded itself to new ways of thinking during the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, and was certainly forced to do so amid rapid scientific and technological advances.

The Islamic world enjoyed its own renaissance during the Islamic Golden Age (mid-8th to mid-13th century) with advances in the sciences, mathematics, and literature, yet the period declined and has never been restored to its former glory.

Where are Islam’s corresponding great modern philosophers and scientists who can pave the way for a similar transformation of both radical and even secular Islam in the Arab world?

In the Arab world today, the majority of its intellectuals are clerics, imams, and thinkers emerging from the core of Islamic values. Radical Islam simply does not routinely nurture free thinkers willing to brave the fires of what might otherwise become an Islamic Inquisition.

Is it even possible to transition from hierarchical religious authoritarianism to a modernized and even secularized form of Islamic democracy — one that accepts the separation of church and state?

While the possibility and harsh eventuality remains, this is a tall order since Islam, perhaps more than other monotheistic religions, invites itself into every aspect of social life. More specifically, Islam is inherently and by definition inconsistent with the separation of church and state.

It is instructive that the seeming separation between the two occurred under ruthless secular dictators such Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Hafez Assad’s family in Syria, and Qaddafi’s Libya. In all these instances, the authoritarianism seen in the rule of the Islamist Morsi was still there.

The Middle East is not the only place where religious ideology might compel people to vote against their own social, economic, and political interests. But history teaches that if there is any prospect in wedding Islam to democratic ideals, efforts to do so must concurrently work on religious, economic, and political levels.

Religiously, the concept of the separation of church and state has practically no hold in Islamic thinking. The idea is entirely foreign to most Islamic orthodoxy, and even if a political party were secular in name, they dare not forsake the basic tenets of Islam.

Read more at American Thinker

Feminist Protest Exposes Tunisian Islamist Justice

web-femen-1-gettyby IPT News: