A Day in the Life of the Middle East, July 28-29, 2011 (Egypt, Islamist Terrorism, Libya, Turkey)

By Barry Rubin

Good evening Mr. and Mrs. North and all you ships at sea!

FLASH: There was a huge demonstration in Tahrir Square. The main slogans:

--We demand Sharia!

--Free Omar Abd al Rahman! (in an American prison for bombing the World Trade Center the first time. Coming soon no doubt: anti-American terrorist attacks demanding he be freed)

--Hang Mubarak!

--Muslim-Christian unity (that’s nice but dependent on the Egyptian Christians supporting all of these other positions and then some).

--Reject US aid. (Great, go ahead. But the army won’t like it and President Barack Obama will insist on iving the money.)

--Down with Israel. (How many times have we been told there were no anti-Israel signs or slogans in Tahrir?)

--Most popular of all in terms of cheers: "The people want Sharia."

--Some heard,, “Oh, Obama! Oh, Obama, We're all Osama."

As Martin Kramer added, “Told you so.”

Not all Egyptians think this way, of course, just somewhere from a minimum of 20 million people up to 95 percent of the population.

Now, here is a French English-language television station's coverage (which I suspect is the same as that in much of the mass media). who staged the demonstration? "Ultraconservative Salafi Muslims and other Islamists." Oh, yes, that "other" includes the Muslim Brotherhood. So ultraconservative Islamists comprise at least 25 percent of Egypt's population? (I'll explain that figure in a forthcoming article.) Meanwhile, we are being told not to worry about the Brotherhood. I'd be vastly relieved if the U.S. government's leaders are as concerned about the revolutionary Islamists as they are by the Tea Party.

FLASH: The Washington Post has published an article based on U.S. intelligence information that Iran is actively helping al-Qaida in Afghanistan. A year ago I published an article based on an AP dispatch based on U.S. intelligence information that Iran was helping al-Qaida (long after September 11) and let it plan anti-American attacks from Iranian territory. For a round-up of the new story, see here.

Where’s the outrage? Where’s the policy shift?

FLASH! There’s no shame. Only days after the endless analysis of those who had allegedly incited the Norway terrorist (i.e., “anti-Jihadist” bloggers, the mass media swung back to total mystification when a Muslim soldier in the U.S. army was arrested for planning (still another) terrorist attack on Fort Hood.

The New York Times did say that the arrested man was a Muslim, albeit only at the end of the article and without drawing any conclusions about his possible motivations. This is despite the fact that the man refused to be deployed abroad because it was against his interpretation of Islam to fight any Muslims (presumably including al-Qaida ones).

The Guardian didn’t mention the Islamic factor at all.

And al-Jazira did find something in common between this guy and Nidal Hassan the (previous) Fort Hood terrorist: they both bought their weapons at the same store! Do all Islamist terrorists have to shop at Guns Galore?

In other words:

Norway: Intense “curiosity” as to why he did it! People cited in a 1500 page manifesto were blamed.

Fort Hood (twice): Total disinterest in motive. Even Hassan’s yelling “Allahu Akhbar” doesn’t tell us anything. Actually, as I wrote in detail at the time, Hassan was the only terrorist ever to give a Power Point presentation to his intended victims telling them why he was going to kill them.

Patrick Poole said it after the first attack: If the army and government does nothing it won’t be long before it happens again. This proves him to be correct.

Recommened Reading: Dave Rich's analysis of the Norway terrorist's manifesto is superb. He explains why the author is against fascism but in a sense wants to produce a twenty-first century version of fascism AND also calls for a Soviet-style governmental structure showing some bridge between the two ideologies AND is anti-Jewish generally without being "antisemitic" in a traditional sense AND turned against the English Defense League AND many other factors either missed or (often deliberately) obfuscated in other coverage.

FLASH: A few hours ago I analyzed the New York Daily News editorial that said the fear of radical Muslims “taking over” countries was a fantasy. I pointed out that the idea of such people seizing control of the United States, Britain, France, or other countries and imposing Sharia on them might well be a fantasy but their effort to seize control of the Muslim communities in those countries and imposing Sharia on them was a very real development.

Most Muslim immigrants just want to be left alone to pursue their lives but how can they do so if radical Islamists are running their neighborhoods, schools, and behavior, threatening to kill anyone who dissents? Now we have a vivid example of a neighborhood in London where not only have the Islamists largely taken over but the police refuse to help the people—including Muslims—being oppressed by them.

Read it all, the details are shocking.

The article begins:

“Victims say that officers in the borough of Tower Hamlets have ignored or downplayed outbreaks of hate crime, and suppressed evidence implicating Muslims in them, because they fear being accused of racism…..

“One victim, Mohammed Monzur Rahman, said he was left partially blind and with a dislocated shoulder after being attacked by a mob in Cannon Street Road, Shadwell, for smoking during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan last year….

“Teachers in several local schools have told The Sunday Telegraph that they feel `under pressure’ from local Muslim extremists…to enforce the compulsory wearing of the veil for Muslim girls.”

FLASH: Remember how the United Kingdom released the only imprisoned Lockerbie bomber because the man who helped kill more than 200 people was supposedly himself at death’s door? Well now we know definitively that he was just fine all the time. The release came about due to a combination of lying (probably including Libyan bribes) and the British government trying to get some oil deals. Somebody should go to prison for that one.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague says thatthe decision to let the bomber free was "a great mistake." It's a little late, right? this is why I write so that people don't have to say some day that supporting a revolution in Egypt without considering the consequences, being so weak in stopping Iran, or rushing to create a Palestinian state was "a great mistake" after it's too late.

Finally, FLASH, the four highest-ranking Turkish officers have resigned. A decade ago that might have signaled a military coup was about to happen. Today, it is probably in protest to the announced intent to prosecute his predecessor on a trumped-up charge.

The Islamist regime in Turkey is gutting the army. And we still get daily foolishness about how great the “Turkish model” is and how U.S. policy should try to spread it to other countries. Indeed, the Islamist prime minister of Turkey is Obama’s mediator on Syria! That’s like the U.S. president bringing in Fidel Castro to mediate the change of government in some South American country.

Soner Cagaptay, who I think is the world’s best analyst on Turkey, sees this as a turning point:

The European Parliament's Turkey rapporteur, Dutch Christian Democrat Ria Oomen-Ruijten, reacted by saying that Turkey is becoming more and more democratic country in which democratic institutions have an oversight on military decisions. Yes and one day it will be so "democratic" that the government will install an Islamist as head of the armed forces, totally transform them, and probably never leave office again.

The New York Times just reports the events--which is better than the usual—and gives no hint that the generals have a good case. Anywhere else in the world the imprisonment of hundreds of people on trumped-up treason and conspiracy charges would be portrayed as a repressive government that should be shunned.

FLASH: On the lighter side (hey, this is the Middle East!) What's the difference between Lebanon and Syria?

Answer: When a songwriter wrote a song ridiculing President Bashir al-Asad the regime kills him. In Lebanon, they merely put him in jail for a while and then let him out.

Recommended Reading: The UK Community Trust has published an excellent detailed report on terrorist attacks against Jews and Israel over the last fifty years. You can find it here.