Another Manchurian Candidate, Barack Obama, Success – The Destruction of American Foreign Policy

World learns to manage without the US

Another Manchurian Candidate, Barack Obama, Success – The Destruction of American Foreign Policy

From an article by David P. Goldman
Asia Times
August 19, 2013

The giant sucking sound you here, I said on August 15 on CNBC’s The Kudlow Report, is the implosion of America’s influence in the Middle East. Vladimir Putin’s August 17 offer of Russian military assistance to the Egyptian army after US President Barack Obama cancelled joint exercises with the Egyptians denotes a post-Cold-War low point in America’s standing. Along with Russia, Saudi Arabia and China are collaborating to contain the damage left by American blundering. They have being doing this quietly for more than a year.

The pipe-dream has popped of Egyptian democracy led by a Muslim Brotherhood weaned from its wicked past, but official Washington has not woken up. Egypt was on the verge of starvation when military pushed out Mohammed Morsi. Most of the Egyptian poor had been living on nothing but state-subsidized bread for months, and even bread supplies were at risk. The military brought in US$12 billion of aid from the Gulf States, enough to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. That’s the reality. It’s the one thing that Russia, Saudi Arabia and Israel agree about.

America’s whimsical attitude towards Egypt is not a blunder but rather a catastrophic institutional failure. President Obama has surrounded himself with a camarilla (A group of confidential, often scheming advisers; a cabal), with Susan Rice as National Security Advisor, flanked by Valerie Jarrett, the Iranian-born public housing millionaire. Compared to Obama’s team, Zbigniew Brzezinski was an intellectual colossus at Jimmy Carter’s NSC. These are amateurs, and it is anyone’s guess what they will do from one day to the next.

By default, Republican policy is defined by Senator John McCain, whom the head of Egypt’s ruling National Salvation Party dismissed as a “senile old man” after the senator’s last visit to Cairo. McCain’s belief in Egyptian democracy is echoed by a few high-profile Republican pundits, for example, Reuel Marc Gerecht, Robert Kagan, and Max Boot. Most of the Republican foreign policy community disagrees, by my informal poll. Former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld blasted Obama for undermining the Egyptian military’s ability to keep order, but his statement went unreported by major media.

It doesn’t matter what the Republican experts think. Few elected Republicans will challenge McCain, because the voters are sick of hearing about Egypt and don’t trust Republicans after the debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Neither party has an institutional capacity for intelligent deliberation about American interests. Among the veterans of the Reagan and Bush administrations, there are many who understand clearly what is afoot in the world, but the Republican Party is incapable of acting on their advice. That is why the institutional failure is so profound. Republican legislators live in terror of a primary challenge from isolationists like Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), and will defer to the Quixotesque McCain.

Other regional and world powers will do their best to contain the mess.

Russia and Saudi Arabia might be the unlikeliest of partners, but they have a profound common interest in containing jihadist radicalism in general and the Muslim Brotherhood in particular. Both countries backed Egypt’s military unequivocally. Russia Today reported August 7 that “Saudi Arabia has reportedly offered to buy arms worth up to $15 billion from Russia, and provided a raft of economic and political concessions to the Kremlin – all in a bid to weaken Moscow’s endorsement of Syrian President Bashar Assad.”

No such thing will happen, to be sure. But the Russians and Saudis probably will collaborate to prune the Syrian opposition of fanatics who threaten the Saudi regime as well as Russian security interests in the Caucasus. Chechnyan fighters – along with jihadists from around the world – are active in Syria, which has become a petrie dish for Islamic radicalism on par with Afghanistan during the 1970s.

The Saudis, meanwhile, have installed Chinese missiles aimed at Iran. There are unverifiable reports that Saudi Arabia already has deployed nuclear weapons sourced from Pakistan. The veracity of the reports is of small relevance; if the Saudis do not have such weapons now, they will acquire them if and when Iran succeeds in building nuclear weapons. What seems clear is that Riyadh is relying not on Washington but on Beijing for the capacity to deliver nuclear weapons. China has a profound interest in Saudi security. It is the largest importer of Saudi oil. America might wean itself of dependence on imported oil some time during the next decade, but China will need the Persian Gulf for the indefinite future.

A Russian-Chinese-Saudi condominium of interests has been in preparation for more than a year. On July 30, 2012, I wrote (for the Gatestone Institute):

The fact is that the Muslim Brotherhood and its various offshoots represent a threat to everyone in the region:

The Saudi monarchy fears that the Brotherhood will overthrow it (not an idle threat, since the Brotherhood doesn’t look like a bad choice for Saudis who aren’t one of the few thousand beneficiaries of the royal family’s largesse;
The Russians fear that Islamic radicalism will get out of control in the Caucasus and perhaps elsewhere as Russia evolves into a Muslim-majority country;
The Chinese fear the Uyghurs, a Turkic Muslim people who comprise half the population of China’s western Xinjiang province.

But the Obama administration (and establishment Republicans like John McCain) insist that America must support democratically elected Islamist governments. That is deeply misguided. The Muslim Brotherhood is about as democratic as the Nazi Party, which also won a plebiscite confirming Adolf Hitler as leader of Germany. Tribal countries with high illiteracy rates are not a benchmark for democratic decision-making … As long as the United States declares its support for the humbug of Muslim democracy in Egypt and Syria, the rest of the world will treat us as hapless lunatics and go about the business of securing their own interests without us.

The Turks, to be sure, will complain about the fate of their friends in the Muslim Brotherhood, but there is little they can do. The Saudis finance most of their enormous current account deficit, and the Russians provide most of their energy.

Apart from the Egyptian events, American analysts have misread the world picture thoroughly.

On the American right, the consensus view for years held that Russia would implode economically and demographically. Russia’s total fertility rate, though, has risen from a calamitously low point of less than 1.2 live births per female in 1990 to about 1.7 in 2012, midway between Europe’s 1.5 and America’s 1.9. There is insufficient evidence to evaluate the trend, but it suggests that it is misguided to write Russia off for the time being. Not long ago, I heard the Russian chess champion and democracy advocate Gary Kasparov tell a Republican audience that Russia would go bankrupt if oil fell below $80 a barrel – an arithmetically nonsensical argument, but one the audience wanted to hear. Like it or not, Russia won’t go away.

American analysts view Russia’s problems with Muslims in the Caucasus with a degree of Schadenfreude. During the 1980s the Reagan administration supported jihadists in Afghanistan against the Russians because the Soviet Union was the greater evil. Today’s Russia is no friend of the United States, to be sure, but Islamist terrorism is today’s greater evil, and the United States would be well advised to follow the Saudi example and make common cause with Russia against Islamism.

In the case of China, the consensus has been that the Chinese economy would slow sharply this year, causing political problems. China’s June trade data suggest quite the opposite: a surge in imports (including a 26% year-on-year increase in iron ore and a 20% increase in oil) indicate that China is still growing comfortably in excess of 7% a year. China’s transition from an export model driven by cheap labor to a high-value-added manufacturing and service economy remains an enormous challenge, perhaps the biggest challenge in economic history, but there is no evidence to date that China is failing. Like it or not, China will continue to set the pace for world economic growth.

America, if it chose to exercise its power and cultivate its innate capabilities, still is capable of overshadowing the contenders. But it has not chosen to do so, and the reins have slipped out of Washington’s hands. Americans will hear about important developments in the future if and when other countries choose to make them public.

Mr. Goldman, president of Macrostrategy LLC, is a fellow at the Middle East Forum and the London Center for Policy Research.

The Problems of Second Generation American Muslims

The Problems of Second Generation American Muslims

Redacted from a much larger, in-depth article

By Peter Skerry
The Weekly Standard
JUN 24, 2013

The Boston Marathon bombings highlighted again, the challenges of assimilating Muslim youth. In general, we too easily overlook — even in the midst of a raging debate over our immigration policy — what Norman Podhoretz once referred to as “the brutal bargain” that immigrant children must accept in order to assimilate into the society their parents chose for them. For Muslims today, the drama involves not so much overcoming poverty and educational deficits but adapting to a society whose values are sharply at odds with their religious heritage.

Among Muslim-American youth, especially since 9/11, this has led to heightened criticism and suspicion of U.S. government policies at home and abroad. More generally, it has resulted in a hard-edged identity politics that has encouraged some young Muslims to define themselves not only in opposition to the government but to American society and culture.

Marcia Hermansen, a Muslim who is also a professor of Islamic studies at Loyola University in Chicago, recounts her shock when she “encountered some Muslim students on my campus who seemed to feel vindicated by the destruction and loss of life on September 11!” This trend was picked up by Pew pollsters who reported in 2007 that Muslims older than 30 were much less likely (28 percent) than those aged 18-29 (42 percent) to agree that, “There is a natural conflict between being a devout Muslim and living in a modern society.”

So today Muslim Americans are being reassured that it is permissible — even desirable — to have non-Muslim friends. And that it is okay to attend business lunches where non-Muslim colleagues drink alcohol. And that it is definitely a good idea to vote and get involved in civic and political affairs.

Other topics are addressed with discretion. Explicit displays of Islamic triumphalism are now rare. The topic of intermarriage with non-Muslims is typically avoided. Controversial political issues get finessed. Since 9/11, Muslim Americans have learned to be much more discreet about their views on Palestine and U.S. support for Israel. Much of the energy concerning such issues has been re-channeled into opposition to the wars in Afghanistan and especially in Iraq or to the Obama administration’s reliance on drones.

In most mosques here, leadership is up for grabs. Contrary to what non-Muslims think, imams are not necessarily in charge. They are typically foreigners who understand Islam but lack specific knowledge about American culture, society, and politics. Their command of English may also be limited.

One factor that weakens and even compromises Muslim-American leaders is the longstanding and pervasive presence of the Muslim Brotherhood here in the United States. Most of the major national organizations and their leaders either have direct ties to the Brotherhood or come out of that milieu. The Brothers also conceal their activities from their fellow Muslims, sometimes even their own families. Countless mosques have been riven by conflicts over clandestine Brotherhood efforts to take over boards, and the memories of such battles die hard.

The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, where Suhaib Webb is the imam, is a case in point. The ISBCC is explicitly and officially managed by the Muslim American Society (MAS). But, what Webb and his many non-Muslim supporters refuse to acknowledge is that MAS is the American branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. To knowledgeable observers inside and outside the community, this is simply incontrovertible. This lack of candor on the part of Muslim leaders understandably arouses anxieties among many Americans about their loyalty to this nation.

Yet perhaps an even more pressing question is how such deception further undermines the leadership needed to guide their own people forthrightly and authoritatively — especially troubled and turbulent Muslim-American youth.

Peter Skerry teaches political science at Boston College and is a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Eric Holder’s Dept. of Justice activity again under Congressional investigation

Dept. of Justice must release its financial links to Muslim Brotherhood

(Eric Holder and Obama with more American blood on their hands?)

The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) News
August 26, 2011

In the wake of yesterday’s IPT News report on the Justice Department’s (DOJ) handling of an investigation into a financial network with links to the Muslim Brotherhood, a prominent House lawmaker wants answers from the Obama Administration.

Rep. Frank Wolf, (R-VA), chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee overseeing the Justice Department, told the Investigative Project on Terrorism that DOJ is making a mistake by refusing to make public the details of the settlement it reached with the Islamic Investment Company of the Gulf (IICG). The Virginia lawmaker said that on Monday he will send administration officials a letter urging that all of the information about the case be made public.

Wolf said that if the administration balks, he is prepared to insert language into the Justice Department appropriations conference report to force the release of all information about the settlement. “But I’m hoping it won’t get to that point,” he said.

The IICG, which has operations on four continents and managed $1.6 billion in funds in December 2007, is a “wholly owned subsidiary” of DMI Trust, a company which has had prominent Muslim Brotherhood figures like Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Hassan al-Turabi on its board.

The Wall Street Journal reported in 2007 that a DMI affiliate called Faisal Private Bank had been named in two major terror investigations. In one of these, the Justice Department alleged that the bank (then known as Faisal Finance) was used by a Saudi businessman to wire $665,000 to the account of a top Hamas official, Mousa Abu Marzouk. Another Faisal Finance client was al Qaida official Mamduh Mahmud Salim, now serving a federal prison sentence for conspiring to murder Americans.

DMI and Faisal Finance have also been defendants in civil litigation brought by relatives of persons killed in the 9/11 attacks. Saudi Prince Mohamed al-Faisal, who founded DMI Trust nearly 30 years ago, remains on its board.

Veteran journalist Douglas Farah wrote that in the foreword to a DMI booklet published in 1981 entitled , “Studies on Islamic Economy and Transactions,” Dr. Ibrahim Mustapha Kamel wrote that DMI was founded my (sic) desire to engage a Jihad to lift the flaw on Islamic financial and economic transactions.” He wrote that the author of the book “remains what he also was, a lighthouse…We are following jihad in modern times.”

Justice Department officials haven’t denied reaching a settlement with the IICG. But they nonetheless refuse to release a copy or comment on it. Repeated attempts to obtain the settlement – or at least a clear explanation of why it cannot be released when most government settlements are included in the public record – have been unsuccessful.

On Wednesday, Justice Department spokesman Charles Miller stated that, “We will have no further comment” about the case. But in an interview with the IPT, Wolf said that response was unacceptable, particularly given a DOJ lawyer’s seeming acknowledgement earlier this year that there was no need to keep the information under seal.

The congressman said he was particularly troubled by the presence of Turabi on the DMI board for a decade during the 1980s and early 1990s. Wolf noted that during the period he was a director, Turabi urged Osama bin Laden to move his jihadist base to Sudan.

When it comes to the modern Jihadist movement, Turabi has been part of that “since the beginning,” working together for much of this time with Sudanese leader Omar Bashir, who has been indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

All of the information about Turabi and his relationship with IICG needs to be made public right away, Wolf said, adding that he was puzzled by the Obama Administration’s reluctance to make the information public.

“Maybe they’re afraid of the Saudis,” he speculated. But the administration said it wanted to be the most open one in American history, Wolf said, and he plans to hold the administration to that assertion when it comes to the probe of Jihadist terror networks.

From: Cheryl Jacobs Lewin

Where are the “Establishment” Protestant churches?

Where are the “Establshment” American Protestant Churches when their brethren are being slaughtered all over the Arab world?

Many times they prefer, by any stretch of their imaginations, to somehow blame the Israelis for whatever, wherever, Christian tragedy occurs. Don’t confuse anyone with the facts.

Egypt’s Other Extremists

While the Muslim Brotherhood gets all the ink, the Salafists go on a rampage.

Redacted from an article by Paul Marshall
The Weekly Standard, MAY 16, 2011

Judging the likely trajectory of post-Mubarak Egypt requires assessing the depth of public support for Islamism, and usually, this has meant assessing the strength and intentions of the Muslim Brotherhood. While the Brotherhood remains central, however, the country is also facing a frequently violent upsurge of Salafist versions of Islam.

The groups can overlap, but the Brotherhood tends to stress an Islamic state and political organization, and its members have no prescribed mode of dress, apart from modesty. In this sense they are a modern movement. The Salafists are often distinguishable by full beards for men and full face covering for women, and they stress emulating the piety and practice of the first three generations of Muslims (Salaf means “predecessor” or “forefather”). 

Strongly influenced by Wahhabi teachings, the Salafists have tended to follow local sheikhs rather than have a countrywide organization, and under Mubarak they were usually quiescent or else inclined to a violent extremism that led to rapid and severe repression by the regime’s efficient security apparatus. But many Salafists are now trying to take advantage of the widespread chaos in Egypt in order to impose their repressive version of Islam on their neighbors and ultimately on the country.

One Salafist target is Egypt’s Christians, the Copts, the largest non-Muslim minority in the Middle East On March 20, in Qena, Salafists, including an off-duty policeman, accused a Copt named Ayman Mitri of renting an apartment to a prostitute, cut off one of his ears, mutilated his other ear, and slashed his neck. The attackers then informed the police that they had carried out the punishment required by Islamic law. As was usual under Mubarak, the police refrained from pressing charges and called for a “reconciliation” meeting between the religious communities.

Also as under Mubarak, the authorities’ refusal to punish attacks on Christians has led to more attacks. On March 23, Salafists surrounded St. George’s church in Beni Ahmad and successfully demanded that a church expansion approved by the government be stopped. On March 27, they blockaded St. Mary’s church in Giza, saying it did not have a permit. After yet another “reconciliation” meeting between Copts and Muslims, services at the church were forbidden until it acquired a new permit. 

On March 28, Salafists attacked a liquor store in Kasr El-Bassil owned by a Copt, destroyed other stores, and demanded that coffee shops be closed. One villager was killed and eight others injured. On April 5, hundreds occupied St. John the Beloved church in Kamadeer, stopping repairs after heavy rain, and told Copts that they were not allowed to pray there any more. After yet another “reconciliation,” Copts were told to build a church 200 meters away, one without a dome, cross, bell, or any other external feature marking it as a church.

Beginning on April 15, over 10,000 demonstrators, mostly Salafists, protested in the southern province of Qena against the appointment of a new governor, Emad Mikhail, who is a Christian (the previous governor, Magdy Ayoub, was also Christian). Protesters blocked main roads, stopped buses to separate men and women passengers, and disrupted the main rail route in Upper Egypt for eight days. There were threats to bar Mikhail from the province and even to kill him. 

Perhaps thinking that these more extreme Islamist currents make it appear relatively moderate, the Brotherhood condemned the killing of Osama bin Laden. Already before that, it had become more outspoken about its own desire for an Islamic state. 

These newer statements about Islam and law by senior leaders of the Brotherhood have alarmed democracy activists and many others. In response, the Coptic Orthodox Church suspended its dialogue with the Brotherhood and dropped its plans to invite the group’s leaders to attend Easter celebrations.

Severe religious freedom violations engaged in or tolerated by the government of Egypt have increased dramatically since the release of last year’s report, with violence, including murder, escalating against Coptic Christians and other religious minorities. Since President Mubarak’s resignation from office in February, such violence continues unabated without the government’s bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Paul Marshall is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom and co-author, with Nina Shea, of the forthcoming Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes are Choking Freedom Worldwide.