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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Morning snippets

Just in case you don't already have enough to read....these will keep you busy all day.

Martin Sherman in YNet:
...[W]hy the Palestinians find themselves in the miserable state in which they are today: a chronic and cavalier disregard for the truth; an enduring propensity to blame others for their fate; and an obdurate refusal to take responsibility for their own actions - and inaction.
European Foundation for Democracy (German):
The Iranian rulers see in the new mass protests in Arabic states the reawakening of Islam and speak of the "new axis of Islam in the Middle East." They think that the Islamic revolution of 1979 was the beginning of the protests against the western and "Zionist" supremacy.
Shiraz Maher interview at Harry's Place:
[T]he Brotherhood might be marginal but it is neither bumbling nor benign. It is an astute movement watching [the West] betray the legitimate sentiments of young, ordinary Egyptians. That is what the Ikhwan is waiting for so it can pounce. A marginal movement could very suddenly find itself in the mainstream. I have good evidence from Alexandria that this is already starting to happen, and it is worth bearing in mind that the Brotherhood is much better organised there than in Cairo.
PMW translates the Muslim Brotherhood in their own words:
- "...Jihad for Allah is not limited to the specific region of the Islamic countries, since the Muslim homeland is one and is not divided, and the banner of Jihad has already been raised in some of its parts, and it shall continue to be raised, with the help of Allah, until every inch of the land of Islam will be liberated, the State of Islam will be established,..."

"... despite this, the [Muslim] Brotherhood is not rushed by youth's enthusiasm into immature and unplanned action which will not alter the bad reality and may even harm the Islamic activity, and will benefit the people of falsehood..."
- "... one should know that it is not necessary that the Muslims will repel every attack or damage caused by the enemies of Allah immediately, but [only] when ability and the circumstances are fit to it."
Khaled Abu Toameh in Hudson-NY:
Jordan's King Abdullah II has good reason to be worried about the future of the monarchy in the Hashemite Kingdom. If he fails to implement real political and economic reforms, Jordan could easily fall into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood group or turn into a Palestinian state.
Yoel Guzansky in Meria Journal:
The Gulf states' policy towards Iran's nuclear ambitions has combined elements of appeasement with a fundamental reliance on the United States as a defending and deterring force. Most Gulf states lack strategic depth, have small populations, and small, untrained armies. Moreover, their significant oil and natural gas reserves have made them the potential target for aggression and dependent on outside forces for defense. Despite the great wealth and inherent weakness of the Gulf states, they have remained largely on the sidelines in the international effort to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions.
Jackson Diehl on how the White House ignored warnings on Egypt:
The White House was warned, publicly and repeatedly, that Egypt was approaching a turning point and that the status quo was untenable - not by an intelligence agency but by a bipartisan group of Washington-based experts who pleaded, in vain, for a change of policy.

The Working Group on Egypt was formed a year ago to sound the alarm about Mubarak's crumbling regime. The first sentence of its opening statement: "Egypt is at a critical turning point." The group is still issuing detailed proposals about how to handle the crisis. On Monday, it warned that the administration "may acquiesce to an inadequate and possibly fraudulent transition process in Egypt." Sadly, the administration is still not listening.
Also in WaPo see George Will.

Nick Cohen in "Jesus, I'm Turning into a Jew!"
British Jews are living through a very dangerous period. They are the only ethnic minority whose slaughter official society will excuse. If a mass murderer bombed a mosque or black Pentecostal church, no respectable person would say that the “root cause” of the crime was an understandable repulsion at the deeds of al-Qaeda or a legitimate opposition to mass immigration. Rightly, they would blame the criminal for the crime.

If a synagogue is attacked, I guarantee that within minutes the airwaves will be filled with insinuating voices insisting that the “root cause” of the crime was a rational anger at the behaviour of Israel or the Jewish diaspora.
Evelyn Gordon in Contentions:
Only a pathological obsession with Israel could lead administration officials to blame America’s economic woes of late 2009 on a minor war fought by a marginal trading partner a full year earlier. And curing such pathology lies more in the realm of medical science than political science.

Nevertheless, it’s vital to understand just how deeply it runs. For it is shaping, or rather misshaping, the West’s foreign policy every day.

Arabs again digging on the Temple Mount - and destroying priceless treasures.

Richard Cohen in WaPo:
Certain pro-democracy advocates in the Western media envision a transition period of months that will produce democratic bliss in the region. Not likely. The Middle East must first pass through somewhat the same process as did Central and Eastern Europe. Before World War I, it had no democracies. The region was ruled by monarchies.

After the war, nearly every state (the Soviet Union was the most prominent exception) was a democracy and one, the most culturally and politically advanced of them all, had an exemplary constitution and a resplendent bouquet of political parties. Nevertheless, this country reeled from Weimar Republic to Nazi dictatorship in virtually no time at all.

The rest of Central and Eastern Europe was different only in degree, not in kind. By the end of the 1930s, these countries were mostly right-wing dictatorships of one sort or another. It took another World War, a Cold War and lots of help for democracy to take root. Even so, some of these countries show twitches of recidivism.

To think that the Middle East will vault this process is endearing but dotty.
Jeff Jacoby:
If Egypt is to have any hope of a transition to a genuine constitutional democracy, the Muslim Brotherhood must not be treated as a legitimate democratic partner. For more than 80 years, it has been a fervent exponent of Islamic, not secular, rule; of clerical, not popular, sovereignty. Its credo could hardly be more explicit, or more antidemocratic: "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Koran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope."
Myths and Facts:
Europe, of course, has the right to demand and ensure that before it accepts Turkey as a member of its Union, that country is capable of economic independence and stability and that it lives up to standards of democracy and rule of law, civil, political and social rights.

Israel has just as much right to demand from the EU and other Quartet members not to be forced into accepting a Palestinian Arab state on its borders which they themselves would not accept as a functional country.

At present, the international community, including the EU and the rest of the Quartet, is adopting a disturbingly low standard by which to judge PA readiness for statehood and should it continue upon its present course, it is highly unlikely that the creation of such a state will lead to the stability and prosperity so badly needed by the Palestinian Arab people, let alone bring about an end to the regional conflict.

The Guardian shows Wikileaks cables that indicate that Saudi Arabia does not have as much oil as it has claimed - it actually lied to get Western investments - and very soon it will not be able to pump as much oil as it needs to.

And, finally, Proud Zionist presents a new fictional BBC documentary in "Normal Israelis."

Any of these is worth their own blog post. I wish I had more time!

(h/t Zach N., Silke, DWM, SoccerDad, Yaacov L, DJK, Richard B, Emet)