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Report: Why the Arab Spring Failed

The Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs has issued a report by Jonathan W. Pidluzny, Ph.D., who is an assistant professor of government at Morehead State University.  Dr. Pidluzny has recently held academic fellowships with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and the Jack Miller Center.

The Arab Spring began in 2011 during the Obama administration and while Hillary Clinton was U.S. Secretary of State. This report by the Rubin Center provides an understanding of why it has failed. It failed not for the reasons you may think.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT.


WHY THE ARAB SPRING FAILED: THE CULTURAL ROOTS OF THE ARAB PREDICAMENT, A REVIEW ESSAY OF TAREK HEGGY’S THE ARAB COCOON AND THE ARAB MIND BOUND

By Jonathan W. Pidluzny

why the arab spring failedEvery year, life in the Arab Middle East gets worse for its inhabitants.  Tarek Heggy’s books The Arab Cocoon and The Arab Mind Bound (2011) argue that cultural factors are to blame.  With all eyes focused on the Arab Spring, his books did not receive the attention they deserved on publication.  They are worth revisiting today, because they help to explain why the Arab Spring failed.  Heggy argues that a “Bedouin model” of Islam spread wildly in recent decades with ruinous consequences for the region’s educational system and its politics.  This essay traces Heggy’s argument and explains why his cultural critique is also an argument against democratizing reforms.

The Arab Spring and the events that have followed will mark a turning point of lasting historical significance for the Arab world, though not the one Western observers envisioned when popular unrest first burst to the surface in 2011.  With the hopes roused by the “Arab Spring” extinguished (or worse) in virtually every country affected by its revolutions, the question Tarek Heggy took up in two books published as protestors first took to the streets is more urgent than ever.  The Arab Cocoon (2010)[1] and The Arab Mind Bound (2011)[2] boldly ask why the Arab world has proven so resistant to progress in all its forms. The books did not receive the attention they deserved when they were first published, probably because they offered a grim assessment of the Arab world’s predicament at a time the world was giddy with hope, naively confident the Middle East was finally on the cusp of meaningful, ground-up, democratic reform.

Heggy, a prominent advocate of political reform in Egypt and a successful oil-industry executive, published the first book before Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation in a Tunisian fruit market set the region ablaze, and the second, in early 2011, just as the uprisings were beginning to gain momentum in Egypt.  As a result, the author could only comment on the Arab Spring in passing, in an optimistic note appended to the second book just prior to its publication.  “I am certain,” he wrote, “that the revolutions of the youth of the middle class… will bring about the required change within the structure of the Muslim mind, Muslim culture and Islamic religious teaching.”[3]  Although Heggy’s hopes have been disappointed, his analysis of the political and cultural milieu in which the revolutions unfolded is all the more pertinent in light of the devastation it has wrought.  In fact, his analysis helps to explain the failure of the Arab Spring, even though he did not, himself, predict it would fail. The account Heggy puts forth–that it is Arab culture, broadly construed, that is holding the region back–helps to explain why steps toward openness and democracy can have illiberal and destabilizing consequences.

The problems Heggy catalogues are well known.  According to virtually every metric, the Arab world’s economic and political systems perform appallingly. The region’s governments are among the most corrupt on the planet; untouched by the third wave of democracy, the Arab world cannot, to this day, claim a single functioning liberal democracy; respect for the rights of women and minorities–never a shining example for the world–has deteriorated since the Arab Spring catapulted Islamist parties to power; abject poverty remains widespread, and opportunity for economic advancement nonexistent for huge proportions of unusually young populations; and violent ideologies claiming a basis in Islam’s sacred texts inspire new adherents every day, who are tearing the region apart.  The region fares no better in literary and intellectual pursuits.  In spite of the Arab world’s impressive achievements in the sciences and the arts during its golden age, the region makes very few cultural or scientific contributions of global importance today.[4]

Efforts to explain the region’s seemingly intractable resistance to progress and development, many of which blame America, the West, and Israel for the Mideast’s problems, have yielded an immense literature. Heggy’s answer sets his books apart.  He dispenses with the familiar tropes:  No, U.S. foreign policy and the existence of Israel are not the primary reasons for Mideast malaise.  Nor does he blame European colonialism, the global capitalist system, or the league of autocratic rulers who clung (and in places, continue to cling) to power thanks to oil revenues or outside military aid.  Instead, Heggy draws on his cosmopolitan background, long experience in the region as a businessman, and discussions with public intellectuals of every persuasion to offer a profound critique of the Arab mind.

Read more.

RELATED ARTICLE: White House Legitimizes Iran’s War Against Israel

The Arab Spring: Iran’s Unexpected Windfall

Even before this week it was clear that the only real beneficiary of the events pre-emptively described as the ‘Arab Spring’ looked likely to be Iran. This week that grim realisation became clearer still.

Firstly of course there is the realisation that Iran looks likely to ‘win’ in Syria. The fact that Russia has now come into the war fully on the same side as the Mullahs, fundamentally changes the prospects for the war’s outcome. The clarification of that war – a clarification Assad, Putin and the Mullahs always sought – between the most appalling force imaginable (ISIS) and the Assad regime makes it unlikely that any international body would not back Assad in such a final battle. It was not necessary that the Syrian war ended this way, but Western inaction coupled with intensive Iranian and Russian action helped make it so. Yet while everybody has considered the results of ISIS dominating Syria after a victory, few people in the West seem to have considered the possibility of what the region will look like after an Iranian-backed win in Syria. Not least what Hezbollah will look like in that country and how it will be emboldened in the wider region.

But it is not only in this theatre of operations, but on the global and nuclear stage that Iran has now made another gain.

This week the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran was ratified by the Iranian Parliament. There had been some confusion in the Western press about this, and not only over what role the Iranian Parliament had. The reports were also replete with moral confusions. Numerous papers on both sides of the Atlantic reported that ‘ring-wing’ ideologues in Iran had been trying to stop the deal. This allowed them to make a neat and offensive symmetry between Republicans and others opposed to the deal in the U.S. and those opposed in Iran. The none-too-subtle innuendo was that we’ve all got our nutters: Obama’s got the Republicans and the Iranians have got their equivalent.

Like so much that goes in to coverage about Iran, the significance of this vote is not understood. The fact that the nuclear deal has been ratified by the Iranian Parliament against some opposition is not a reminder that there are hardliners in Iran but rather a reminder that a majority of Iranian representatives saw what a good deal this was for them and their wider ambitions.

Iran looks set to win in Syria at around the same time they get tens of billions of cash injections thanks to the P5+1. And of course the right to continue their nuclear programme with Western blessing and an oversight and inspections system which is fit to do neither of these tasks. And of course this week Iran also test fired a new long-range ballistic missile. People in the West who were worried about Iran when it was cowed by sanctions are going to love what Iran does next after such a batch of victories.


mendozahjs

FROM THE DIRECTOR’S DESK  

For all their manufactured nature, every now and again, a TV debate that you happen to be in ends up resonating. So it has been today with a Sky News debate on whether British Prime Minister David Cameron has a coherent foreign policy. I happen to believe that he does, although this is not always immediately apparent.

As I explained in a recent article for Fathom about the Conservatives’ Israel policy here in the UK, Cameron has shown an “instinctive and decisive response to foreign policy crises” throughout his leadership tenure, despite these sometimes being shackled by realist tendencies around him. He has also had to deal with fractious Coalition politics and a growing isolationism among Conservative MPs which have restricted his freedom of movement. The real question is not what has passed but what is to be. In general, Western foreign policies have been guilty of a timid and confused approach over the past few years to any number of international problems.

What we now desperately need is Mr Cameron to not just take advantage of his changed domestic circumstances – where he has a majority, albeit small, and a number of Labour MPs now willing to vote to do the right thing on international matters regardless of the party whip to offset his own rebels – but to rediscover the interventionist verve and take charge. The post of Leader of the Free World, abandoned by President Obama, is vacant. Will Mr Cameron be bold enough to try and fill it?

Dr Alan Mendoza is Executive Director of The Henry Jackson Society
Follow Alan on Twitter: @AlanMendoza

What Really Drives Obama’s Destructive Mideast Policy?

It’s not a stretch to say that what ex-president Jimmy Carter did for Iran, Barack Obama is doing for the whole Middle East and beyond. Islamic State is on the move; jihadism in general is raging and all the rage; and with the Iran deal, the man who helped enable the “Arab Spring” may give us a nuclear winter.

A Mideast policy with such results has befuddled many. Why did Obama help overthrow Muammar Gaddafi and hurl Libya into turmoil? Why did he throw Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak under the bus? And why, as radio host Michael Savage asked late last week, does he have such a “vendetta” against Syria’s Bashar al-Assad?

It’s not enough to say that the Gaddafis and Assads of the world are bad men; the devil you know is often better than the devil you don’t know, and this certainly appears the case when turmoil and jihadists are the apparent alternatives to these strongmen’s rule. And Iran is governed by bad men, but Obama showed no interest in supporting dissidents there.

When analyzing the above, credulous liberals might say the president is merely interested in supporting “democracy,” some conservatives might explain it by way of incompetence, while yet others may aver that Muslim sympathies impel him to support jihadist causes. But the truth is perhaps a bit more nuanced, so let me suggest a different theory.

When discerning a person’s motivations, you must first consider what he is. Obama is a hardcore leftist, marinated in Marxism from his youth, raised by a leftist mother and grandparents and mentored by card-carrying Communist Party USA member Frank Marshall Davis. He also belonged to the socialist New Party in 1990s Chicago and, according to a 2007 study, owned the Senate’s most left-wing voting record; this means he was ahead of even that body’s only avowed socialist, Bernie Sanders (who was number two).

Now, one thing we know about hardcore leftists is that they generally consider religion the “opiate of the masses.” This brings us to the idea, embraced by 29 percent of Americans and 43 percent of Republicans, that Obama is a Muslim. Question: is it realistic to think that Obama truly believes in God and that God’s name is Allah? Does his support for the homosexual agenda (including faux marriage), women in combat and “transgenders” in the military reflect Sharia?

The reality? Obama is a de facto atheist. He deifies himself more than anyone else. But there’s an important distinction here almost universally missed by liberals and conservatives: Obama isn’t religiously Muslim.

But there’s every indication he’s culturally Muslim.

Having lived in the Islamic country of Indonesia between the ages of 6 and 10 with a Muslim stepfather, it’s likely that Obama’s earliest memories are of life in a Muslim culture. He also has characterized the Muslim call to prayer as “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset” (and recites it with an authentic accent) and has avoided Christian events while trumpeting his Muslim heritage. Yet however much this influences his thinking, it pales in comparison to something else that characterizes him and virtually all leftists.

Hatred for the West.

In Obama’s narrow universe, the West is the cause of most evil in the world. The West is oppressive, destructive and poisons everything it touches. And for justice to prevail, Western institutions and influence must be quashed.

Now consider the Middle East’s modern history. Syria’s current borders were created by the West after the fall of the Ottomans, and the CIA covertly backed the Arab world’s first military coup in that nation in 1949. Italy seized Libya from the Ottoman Empire in the Italo-Turkish War in 1911-12; in fact, the name “Libya” itself was adopted by Italy in 1934 during its colonization of the region and originated with the ancient Greeks (the birthplace of Western civilization), who used it to describe all of North Africa apart from Egypt. As for Egypt, it was part of the Cold War geopolitical tussle, first allied with the Soviet Union and then switching allegiance to the U.S. under President Anwar Sadat. Also note that the Assad dynasty has long been supported by — and Gaddafi was a longtime ally of — the Soviet Union/Russia.

But wouldn’t a leftist such as Obama welcome Soviet influence? First, the leftist line was that the Soviets’ Cold War activities were designed mainly to counterbalance Western imperialism — the Soviets wouldn’t have been in the Middle East if we weren’t. More significantly with Obama, however, I believe that in one sense he doesn’t distinguish between the West and Russia, in that he views them both as the oppressive “white world” (especially since the U.S.S.R. is no more).

You no doubt see the point. The modern Middle East is largely a Western construct, with Western-drawn borders and Western-facilitated strongmen. Obama sees Western influence and creations as the bane of humanity.

Ergo, not only is the enemy of my ideological enemy my friend, but, whatever the “Arab Street” may be, it can’t be worse than the world’s most evil force: the West.

This also helps shed light on Obama’s apparent antipathy for Israel, which he would also view as a Western invention, and his refusal to support dissidents in Iran. Remember that the Iranian theocracy, born in the Islamic Revolution of 1979, already represents the overthrow of the Western Mideast order.

This theory certainly explains Obama’s actions. No, it would not be a rational motivation, but much of what animates man is irrational. This is especially true of leftists, who, disbelieving in and disconnected from Truth, are driven by emotional attachment to misbegotten ideas.

Nor would Obama likely heed cooler-heads’ counsel. He lives in the echo chamber of his own mind, considering others’ opinions superfluous; he’s the very antithesis of the saying “Every man is my superior in that I may learn from him.” Note that he arrogantly stated in 2007 not only that he’d be a better political director than his political director, but also “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. [And] I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors.” Even more telling is a story related by economist and gun-rights advocate Dr. John Lott on Mark Levin’s radio show last Friday about the time when he and Obama were both in the University of Chicago’s employ. Obama didn’t attend the gatherings at which the staff exchanged ideas, except once, when he asked a fairly unintelligible question. Lott then saw Obama after the event and, trying to make friends and conversation, said (I’m paraphrasing), “You know, your question was interesting, but I think more people would have understood it if….” Lott never got to finish.

Because Obama, cold as ice, just turned his back.

And Obama long ago turned his back on reality and on the civilization that has given him everything. He hates the world’s Western-imposed order so much that he’s propelling the world toward disorder. And that’s the tragic result when you don’t realize that hatred is not a strategy.

EDITORS NOTE: You may contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com,

Putin to those who supported the “Arab Spring”: “Do you realize what you have done?”

“Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty and social disaster — and nobody cares a bit about human rights, including the right to life. I cannot help asking those who have forced that situation: Do you realize what you have done?”

No, they don’t realize what they have done, and they’re poised to do more of it. And those of us who warned at the time that the “Arab Spring” would not lead to “the triumph of democracy and progress,” but to “violence, poverty and social disaster,” were dismissed and derided as racist, bigoted “Islamophobes.” And no matter how often the establishment analysts get things wrong, and disastrously, fatally so, they never get called to account, and keep applying the same failed solutions over and over again.

“Putin: ‘Do you realize what you have done?,’” by Everett Rosenfeld, CNBC, September 28, 2015:

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday admonished those who supported democratic revolutions in the Middle East, telling the United Nations they led to the rise of a globally ambitious Islamic State.

“Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty and social disaster — and nobody cares a bit about human rights, including the right to life,” Putin said through a translator. “I cannot help asking those who have forced that situation: Do you realize what you have done?”

The Russian president added that the power vacuum following these revolutions led to the rise of terrorist groups in the region — including the Islamic State group.

He told the General Assembly it would be an “enormous mistake” not to cooperate with the Syrian government to combat the extremist group.

“No one but President (Bashar) Assad’s armed forces and Kurdish militia are truly fighting the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations in Syria,” he said.

In an earlier speech at the U.N. , President Barack Obama said it would be a mistake to think that Syria could be stable under Assad.

Acknowledging some of the criticism lobbed at Russia’s proposal, Putin said his country is only proposing to help save the world from terrorism.

“I must note that such an honest and frank approach from Russia has been recently used as a pretext to accuse it of its growing ambitions — as if those who say it has no ambitions at all. However, it’s not about Russia’s ambitions, dear colleagues, but about the recognition of the fact that we can no longer tolerate the current state of affairs in the world,” he said.

He proposed a “generally broad international coalition against terrorism,” likening the suggestion to the anti-Hitler coalition that brought together disparate interests to battle fascism in Europe.

Putin warned that international policy toward the region has led to an Islamic State with plans that “go further” than simply dominating the Middle East. And citing recent data about failures in successfully recruiting “moderate” Syrian opposition, Putin said countries opposed to Assad are simply worsening the situation.

“We believe that any attempts to play games with terrorists, let alone to arm them, are not just short-sighted, but hazardous. This may result in the global terrorist threat increasing dramatically and engulfing new regions,” the Russian leader said….

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Qatar Ambassador to U.S.: “We Don’t Support Hamas”

Qatar’s Ambassador to Washington  H.E. Mohammed Jaham Al-Kuwari is a veteran diplomat with 32 years of service to the small gas rich wealthy Arab state on a peninsula jutting into the Persian Gulf off Saudi Arabia.  American educated at the University of Portland, Oregon with graduate work at the University of Madrid in Spain, he speaks several languages including Farsi used during a diplomatic post in Tehran.  He has held a number of diplomatic posts, Foreign Ministry and Cabinet positions. As Qatar’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, he presented his credentials to President Obama in the Oval Office in March 2014. Ambassador Al-Kuwari spoke Friday, December 5th at the monthly meeting of the Tiger Bay Club in Pensacola, Florida.

Qatar with its capital of Doha has fewer subjects than the metropolitan Pensacola area, approximately 300,000. There are also upwards of 1.7 million foreign workers residing in Qatar with some evidence of human rights violations. Human Rights Watch in its 2014 World Report noted:

Migrants continue to experience serious rights violations, including forced labor and arbitrary restrictions on the right to leave Qatar, which expose them to exploitation and abuse by employers.

The soft spoken Qatari diplomatic representative flew in from “wintry DC” the prior evening to be greeted by Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward, Escambia County Commissioner Michael Underwood and the board of the Tiger Bay Club.  He presented a check for $10,000 to Mayor Hayward and proceeded to unroll a charm campaign on this Gulf Coast community in North West Florida with a heavy military presence.  Located in Northwest Florida are the famed Pensacola Naval Air Station, Navy Training and Information Dominance Commands, the Naval Flight Training Center at Whiting Field, the USAF Air Force Special Operation Command Headquarters at Hurlburt Field, Eglin and Tyndall Air bases.  It is not uncommon to see personnel from the six Arab States, members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, undergoing training at these facilities.  One of the Tiger Bay board members who attended the private dinner Thursday evening opined the Ambassador gave a “smooth performance.”

The Qatar Charm Campaign

Tiny Qatar across from Shiite Iran is endeavoring to explain the presence of the leaders from terror groups Hamas and Taliban ensconced in luxury in Doha.   There are also allegations by the US Treasury that some Qatar individuals and charities may have funded these groups, as well as, the self declared Islamic State, formerly ISIS. A bit ironic, as Ambassador Al-Kuwari said ISIS is a threat to them that needs to be addressed through immediate military action.

On the diplomatic side, Qatar is one of two Gulf Arab States, the other being Oman, that have diplomatic relationships with America’s ally in the Middle East, Israel.  He stressed their recognition of the State of Israel which has offices in Doha.  He spoke about the role of Qatar trying to bring about peace between the Jewish State and the Palestinians, what he repeatedly deemed as the principal  root cause of unrest and violence in the region. He spoke about the criticism from fellow Arab League members questioning why Qatar tolerates Israeli presence and Jewish visitors.

Ambassador Al Kuwari propounded the view that the Al Jazeera satellite TV network was founded as the “voice of the Arab Spring”, promoting democratic aspirations.  He pointed out Qatar’s own aspirations to build democratic institutions noting a possible future elected parliament, given the two century rule by the Al-Thani family.

“Qatar doesn’t support Hamas”

He astounded some in the audience when he claimed that Qatar does not support Hamas.  This despite the $1 billion pledge by Qatar made at a Cairo conference to underwrite one quarter of the $4 billion cost to rebuild Gaza after the third Hamas perpetrated war with Israel since 2008. In his Tiger Bay talk he referenced the 2,200 Gazans killed in IDF Operation Protective Edge, not mentioning that the majority were Hamas and Palestinian Islamic jihad operatives who had used civilians as human shields. Nor did he mention that the $400 millions pledged after the 2012 Gaza war may have been used to build the terror tunnels that enabled cross border attacks inside Israel during the recent summer war.   As he put it, “better to have Khaled Meshaal, the leader in Qatar than across the Gulf in Iran”.

As to questions concerning permitting a Taliban office in Qatar, the Ambassador said that was to facilitate discussions with the Afghan government leading to an inclusive democratic government.  He recommended the terror group relinquish its threats of violence and denial of empowerment of women through education.  He noted the role played by Qatar in release of several Taliban leaders from detention in Guantanamo in exchange for release of captive US Army Sergeant Bergdahl.  However he did not respond to questions as to whether any of the released Taliban commanders in Qatar were rumored to have subsequently joined ISIS.

When asked about the Muslim Brotherhood, he suggested that there could be democratically elected Islamist governments, decrying the imprisonment by Egyptian President el-Sisi of Brothers, liberals and human rights advocates by the newly elected government.  The Ambassador suggested that the Muslim Brotherhood may not have resorted to terrorism, which appears contradicted by Egyptian, Saudi and UAE designations.   He was, however, silent about the long term presence in Qatar of exiled Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood preacher, Yusuf al-Qaradawi founder of the Union of Good, a US Treasury Global Designated Terror Group supplying Hamas.

As Ambassador Al-Kuwari was finishing his presentation The Investigative Project was reporting:

 Interpol issued a bulletin Friday seeking the arrest of the Muslim Brotherhood’s most influential cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi. The bulletin was sparse on details but said that Egypt wanted the 88-year-old Qaradawi “to serve a sentence” for crimes including “incitement and assistance to commit intentional murder.” …  According to the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch, Interpol issued a “red notice” which is both its highest level alert, and a move subject to later review by the international police agency.

The Egyptian El-Sisi government had requested extradition by Qatar of al-Qaradawi to stand trial.

Ambassador Al-Kuwari painted a glowing picture of Qatar as the Switzerland of the Middle East with billions of dollars holding hundreds of international academic, business and interfaith conferences akin to Davos. He touted American universities like Cornell, Northwestern, Texas, and Virginia Commonwealth that set up programs in Doha. He said that Qatar wanted to invest in economic enterprises in the region to create jobs for the large number of unemployed university graduates.  In the US Qatar is spending $5 million funding university courses to teach Arabic.

 He emphasized the humanitarian contributions of Qatar reflected in the $100 million given for the rebuilding of New Orleans following hurricane Katrina, the $850 million to rebuild Haiti after the 2012 Earthquake in cooperation with the Clinton Foundation and a major push against Polio in the less developed world in conjunction with the Gates Foundation.  But there were also investments in the US, like the $1.5 billion City Center complex developed with the Hines group in Texas revitalizing a derelict section of Washington, DC.

When asked about the depiction of Islam as being prone to violence reflected in the barbarism of ISIS, he deplored that.  He contended that ISIS and Al Qaeda affiliates were a distinct minority that had infiltrated the demonstrated record of tolerance of Islam. His message was that Qatar was following the example of the 800 year Muslim reign in Al Andaluz, southern Spain, where allegedly Jews, Christian and Muslims lived in tolerance. This is not demonstrated by the history of intolerance and barbarism akin to that perpetrated by contemporary ISIS and the Taliban during the successive waves of invasion by extremist Berber-Muslims from North Africa.  He noted Qatar’s approval for building a new Catholic church.

Is Qatar a Frenemy?

Seasoned observers of the Middle East Region say that Qatar under the two century rule by the Al-Thani family “has been punching internationally above its weight class” to use the boxing analogy. Yet Qatar has often been referred to as a Frenemy.  Not exactly a friend, not exactly an enemy.

On the friend side Qatar has assisted in building several major bases including the forward command center at al-Udeid air base for the US Central Command, headquartered at MacDill Air Base just outside Tampa, Florida. Qatar has supplied air contingents in the US-led coalition of 60 countries seeking to “degrade and destroy” Sunni extremist group, the Islamic State, formerly ISIS. The capital, Doha has been turned into an international education hub for the Middle East with the aid of US academic institutions and think tanks like the Doha Center of the Washington, DC –based Brookings Institution.  Qatar has created jobs here in the US by purchasing $19 billion  of 50 Boeing 777s  for expansion of its Qatar Airways in major hubs  Dallas, Miami , Philadelphia to bolster existing facilities in Houston, Washington, DC, New York and Chicago .  Further, Qatar has signed agreements with the Pentagon to purchase more than $11 billion in Patriot Missiles, Apache helicopters and Javelin anti-tank missiles. Moreover, it acquired the Current TV channel, now Al Jazeera America, from former Vice President Al Gore and investors.

On the other hand, there is a troubling story.  Qatar in a New York Times op-ed by Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor called Qatar a “Club Med for Terrorists”. He was referring to providing sanctuary for Khaled Meshaal, the billionaire leader of Hamas.  Dr. Jonathan Schanzer of the Washington, DC-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies in testimony before the Joint Subcommittee on Foreign Affairs on September 9, 2014 said “that Qatar is currently Hamas’ ATM”:

“If you add up the annual $400 million that we believe has been pledged by the Qataris and perhaps the rumored $300 million provided by the Turks, then you’re looking at $700 million out of a roughly $1 billion budget,” Schanzer told members of Congress. “I’m no math major, but that would be 70 percent.

Earlier this year three Arab states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Bahrain, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, briefly withdrew their Ambassadors from Qatar.  They were, among other reasons, objecting to the Qatar funded Al Jazeera satellite TV network broadcasting across the region in Arabic the extremist inflammatory statements of exiled Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood preacher, Yusuf al Qaradawi.  In November 2014, the UAE joined Saudi Arabia placing the Muslim Brotherhood on its list of world terrorist organizations, including Hamas and, here in the US, Muslim Brotherhood affiliates, the Council of American Islamic Relations and Muslim American Society.

There are questions about what Qatar is doing concerning wealthy Qataris who have funded Al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusrah and the Sunni fundamentalist Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq.

There have been  accusations that some of the $220  billion funds for the infrastructure  in preparation for 2022 FIFA World Cup competition may have involved bribes to FIFA officials and  possible  diversion of contractor payments  to fund the Jihad of the Islamic State.

Some Members of Congress have called for black listing both Qatar and Turkey because of these individuals’ contributions to ISIS, even suggesting that the U.S. move CENTCOMM bases in Qatar elsewhere in the region. Those accusations led the US State Department while calling the current relationship with Qatar “productive”, to also state that “disruption of terrorist financing by Qatari individuals and charitable associations remains inconsistent”.

Conclusion

Qatari Ambassador Al-Kuwari’s Pensacola presentation will doubtless be repeated frequently during his Washington, DC posting. After all the campaign is laced with prospects of American communities and businesses receiving billions in economic rewards.  If Qatar is to succeed it might wisely follow the path of fellow Gulf Cooperation Council member Kuwait and rein in terrorist financiers in the tiny state. Qatar might start by honoring the Interpol Red Tag warrant for the arrest and extradition of Muslim Brotherhood preacher Al Qaradawi.  As to fostering peace between Israel and the Palestinians, if Qatar’s track record negotiating cease fire proposals with Turkey on behalf of Hamas in the recent summer Gaza war is any indication, that is an unlikely prospect.

Listen to the Qatar Ambassador’s Pensacola Tiger Bay Club presentation.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Israel’s “Long War”

Tom Jocelyn, the American counter terrorism expert and Senior Fellow at the Washington, DC-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies is the editor of The Long War Journal. It is a chronicle of the global Islamic jihad in the 21st Century, now in its 13th year. The global jihad was sparked by what the US State Department has taken to calling “core Al Qaeda”, most dramatically with 9/11. Subsequently it has metatisized driven by the Salafist doctrine seeking to replicate the great barbarism of the first jihad that burst out of the Arabian peninsula 14 Centuries ago. In many instances it has been a long war against indigenous populations, both Muslim and not. In the later case, it has witnessed the self-declared Caliphate of the Islamic State, formerly ISIS, confronting non-Muslims with the choice to convert, be subjugated, leave or be killed. It is sacralized barbarity emboldened with arms and advanced military technology abandoned by fleeing armies. It is financed by extortion and billions in booty, money seized in conquered territories and oil resources.

Mideast Israel Palestinians

Israeli Merkava tank leaving Gaza staging area August 5, 2014. Source: The Guardian.

Virtually alone and surrounded by these Jihadist forces is the Jewish nation of Israel. Israel has conducted a long war of its own over the 21 years since the conclusion of the 1993 Oslo Accords with the Palestinian Authority. An agreement orchestrated by former President Clinton between Israeli Prime Minister, the late Yitzhak Rabin and the late Yassir Arafat, first President of the Palestinian Authority. Arafat went on to ignite the Second Intifada in September 2000 using the excuse that the late Israeli PM Ariel Sharon had made an unauthorized visit to the Temple Mount. That intifada saw thousands of Israeli causalities, both dead and wounded,  that morphed into a seemingly unending series of military Operations. It began with Operation Defensive Shield following the bloody Park Hotel Passover suicide bombing in March 2002 that killed many Holocaust survivors. It culminated in the siege of Arafat in the Mukata in 2004 in Ramallah. A brief hiatus following the demise of Arafat saw Israel build a security barrier in the disputed territories that virtually brought to a close the Second Intifada. The late PM Sharon left Likud to found a new coalition party, Kadima, on the strength of a letter in 2004 with former President Bush giving Israel permission to defend itself with US assurances.

That led Sharon in 2005 to order the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza of 9000 settlers and 10,000 IDF personnel under the misguided pretext that it would make Israel more secure. The Bush Administration was preoccupied in the Long War in both Iraq and Afghanistan. It sought to foist the myopic view that the Islamist world could be transformed into budding western style democracies. This despite the rise of anti-democratic Muslim Brotherhood elements in Gaza, Egypt and other adjacent Muslim countries. They had been kept in check by autocracies supplied with both US and Russian military assistance and aid. Thus, the Bush Administration thought it had a willing peace partner in Arafat’s successor, the long serving PA President, Mahmoud Abbas. The Bush Administration prevailed upon Israel to relinquish its control over the strategic Philadelphi corridor along the Egyptian Gaza frontier installing Fatah bureaucrats. 2006 saw the one vote, one time election in Gaza of a Hamas dominated Palestinian Legislative Council. That  lead to the June 2007 ejection and literal defenestration of Fatah from Gaza, leaving Hamas virtually in control. Israel was forced to engage in a series of air assaults that resulted in assassinations of Hamas leaders, co-founder Sheik Yassin and Dr. Rantisi. Hamas took over the Rafah border with Egypt through which arms, rockets and missiles were infiltrated along with huge infusions of cash from foreign Muslim charities and backers, Iran and Qatar.

In 2006 Israel was embroiled in the Second Lebanon War with Iran proxy Hezbollah supplied by the former with thousands of rockets. That conflict was triggered by a kidnapping of two IDF soldiers followed by massive  Hezbollah artillery rocket barrages. The 34 day War with Hezbollah saw more than 4,000 rockets rain on Israel setting a pattern that was copied by Hamas in Gaza in 2009, 2012 and 2014. In that first clash with Hezbollah saw Israel’s population in the north sweltered in crude shelters or displaced to the central Mediterranean shore. It also sparked the development of technical countermeasures to protect the both Israel’s population and IDF defense. Those developments included the now recognized Iron Dome system of batteries equipped with Tamir anti-rocket missiles, and the less well known, Trophy system, used effectively in the most recent 2014 Operation protecting armored vehicles against anti-tank rockets and missiles. Just prior to the Second Lebanon War, a cross border raid by Hamas operatives kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, holding him hostage until released in an October 2011 exchange for 1,027 Palestinian terrorist prisoners held by Israel.

In June 2009, President Obama made a dramatic speech at Cairo University extending outreach, many believed that emboldened Islamist elements in the Muslim ummah. In December,2011 the self-immolation of a fruit vendor in Tunisia sparked the so-called Arab Spring that erupted in North Africa and the Middle East. Autocracies in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt were overturned. The latter witnessed the ousting of strongman Mubarak with rise of the Muslim Brotherhood that saw the election of one if its prominent leaders, Mohammed Morsi as its President in June 2012. Morsi was backed by a National Assembly  composed of dominate Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist parties. They sought to impose Sharia law on women, secular elements and the country’s ancient minority Coptic Christian community. Virtually, a year later, Morsi and thousands of Muslim Brotherhood leaders were ousted, jailed and killed during a coup by his Defense Minister Gen.Abdel- Fattah El-Sisi. He was engaged in a counter terrorism campaign against Hamas linked Salafist terror groups in the Sinai.

The overthrow of the Libyan strongman Qadaffi, with aid from the US and NATO, spawned chaos with warring tribal and jihadist militias. That culminating in the Benghazi attack that killed the US Ambassador and three other Americans, a communications aide, and two CIA-contractors on 9/11/2012.

Meanwhile, Israel was concerned about security on its southern border with Egypt in the Sinai. Following cross border attacks near the Red Sea resort of Eilat it constructed a 200 mile security barrier seeking to prevent intrusion, only to be left exposed to rocket attacks. On Israel’s north eastern Golan frontier a raging civil war in Syria, now well into its third year, saw the Assad regime forces ranging across the Golan frontier fighting opposition rebel groups. These included al Qaeda affiliates the Al Nusrah front and the extremist Salafist spinoff, the Islamic State, formerly ISIS.

The latest IDF Operation Protective Edge that began on July 8th with barrages from Gaza from both homemade and Iranian supplied long range rockets covered fourth fifths of Israel. It was triggered by a botched kidnapping by Hamas operatives and that resulted in the murder of three Jewish yeshiva students, whose remains were discovered on June 30th. The Palestinian Authority in late April had announced a unity government with Hamas that scuppered any chances of a possible final stage agreement sought by US Secretary of State Kerry. Hamas is a foreign terrorist group so designated by the US, Canada and the EU. Its 1988 Charter, had sought not only the destruction of Israel but the killing of Jews globally. Israeli PM Netanyahu and his coalition cabinet had no choice but to call up what ultimately would be a massed IDF force of 80,000 elite brigades and reservists to conduct the ground phase of Operation Protective Edge. That culminated in the launch of ground operations in Gaza that ended with the seventh truce on August 5th that is holding for the moment. That truce occurred ironically on the Jewish Fast Day of Tish B’Av commemorating historic catastrophes that have befallen the Jewish people over the millennia.

Jocelyn’s FDD Long War Journal had this entry:

Israel

Israel accepted a Gaza ceasefire plan that will start with a preliminary 72-hour truce beginning tomorrow morning. Israeli officials will work out further details of the ceasefire over the next few days in Egypt. As of Aug. 1, at least 2,909 rockets had been fired at Israel from Gaza and 66 Israelis had been killed. In the first fatal attack in Jerusalem in three years, a Palestinian construction worker drove an earthmover into a bus, flipping it over and killing one Israeli and wounding five more. PM Netanyahu’s spokesman said Israel’s military campaign to destroy the Gaza tunnels is coming to a close, but that the overall operation will not cease until Israel experiences an extended period of quiet and security.

Jonathan Spyer, of the GLORIA Centre in Herzliya, published an assessment of Israel’s Long War in a PJ Media article, “Netanyahu’s Long War Doctrine.”  In it he paid tribute to Netanyahu’s cautious, but resolute position, overwhelmingly supported by Israelis, to bring to a conclusion the Hamas genocidal threat to the Jewish nation. A threat backed and financed by Qatar, a wealthy gas-rich emirate, a supporter of Muslim Brotherhood and extremist Salafist al Qaeda spinoffs. Qatar and the terrorist Salafist groups it funded and gave sanctuary to, including Hamas leaders, are viewed by Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia as a dire threat to their regimes. That created a coalition of interest with Israel tacitly condoning the latter’s war against Hamas. The Administration in Washington and the UN were desperate to end hostilities seeking to engage MB supporting regimes in Turkey and Qatar to convince Hamas to stand down. Newly elected Egyptian President El-Sisi, who had ousted MB President Morsi and closed Gazan smuggling tunnels, had endeavored to broker several cease fires during the 28 day Operation Protective Edge. It became evident that Hamas had been seriously degraded, nearly three dozen terror tunnels neutralized, sustaining an estimated $5 billion in destruction of buildings and infrastructure in the 25 mile square area of Gaza. All while the world media falsely portrayed Israel as perpetrating mounting civilian casualties most graphically at UNWRA- run schools and refuge centers where over 180,000 Gaza residents had sought shelter. These schools were reported to have held rocket caches, that enabled Hamas rocketeers to launch barrages some of which misfired resulting  in civilian casualties. This barbaric strategy was confirmed in a captured combat manual of Hamas uncovered by the IDF in Gaza City.

As to Israeli PM Netanyahu’s conduct of Operation Protective Edge Spyer observed:

Netanyahu, in stark contrast to his image in Europe and to a lesser extent in North America, is deeply cautious when it comes to the use of military force.

Indeed, the record shows that Israel elected to begin a ground campaign on July 18th only when it became clear from its actions and its statements that Hamas was not interested in a return to the status quo.

Netanyahu’s caution derives, rather, from his perception that what Israel calls “wars” or “operations” are really only episodes in a long war in which the country is engaged against those who seek its destruction. In the present phase, these forces are gathered largely under the banner of radical Islam.

Spyer concludes his assessment of Netanyahu:

Netanyahu’s vision is a chilly one, though it is not ultimately pessimistic. It aims to provide firm, durable walls for the house that the Jews of Israel have constructed. Within those walls the energies of Israeli Jews will ensure success — provided that the walls can be kept secure, thus believes the Israeli prime minister. It is from the point of view of this broader strategic picture that the current actions of Israel need to be understood. Operation Protective Edge — like Cast Lead and Orchard and Lebanon 2006 and the others — is intended as a single action in a long and unfinished war.

The Tish B’Av truce concluding Operation Protective Edge saw IDF forces leave Gaza, remaining ready if the truce is broken to return, if recalled. The current truce may still hold, but, will not last, unless and until Gaza is demilitarized and its leadership dispatched.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on the New English Review.