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Posts Tagged ‘Arabs’

Current Iraqi Turmoil Predicted in 2011

Posted by Steve Markowitz on June 19, 2014

Below is a posting originally included on this Blog on November 6, 2011. For President Obama and his administration to now act as if the current catastrophe in Iraq was not predictable strains credibility.

U.S. Fears Surge of Qaeda Terror in Iraq (Originally Posted November 6, 2011

The New York Times published an interesting and disturbing story on Iraq and the potential for future terrorism emanating from that country. Following are quotes from the Time’s article:

  • As the United States prepares to withdraw its troops from Iraq by year’s end, senior American and Iraqi officials are expressing growing concern that Al Qaeda’s offshoot here, which just a few years ago waged a debilitating insurgency that plunged the country into a civil war, is poised for a deadly resurgence.
  • I cringe whenever anybody makes a pronouncement that Al Qaeda is on its last legs,” said Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, the American military’s top spokesman in Iraq. “I think one day we are going to look around and say it’s been a long time since we have heard from Al Qaeda, and maybe then we can say it is on its last legs.”
  • Iraqi analysts express fears that ties between Al Qaeda and members of the former ruling Baath Party may be re-forming.
  • According to General Buchanan, there are 800 to 1,000 people in Al Qaeda’s Iraq network, “from terrorists involved in operations to media to finance to fighters.”
  • A Defense Department official familiar with the Qaeda affiliate said that the group’s leaders and foot soldiers are Sunni Arabs from central, western and northern Iraq.

The Times articles both is curious and perplexing. This publication, along with many Left-leaning news media, was quite vocal during the Bush Administration with their position that Iraq under Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had no connections to international terrorism. Now, the media takes a contradictory position. While disappointing, this is not surprising for the mainstream media that has become a mouthpiece for the Left.


Posted in Iraq | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Palestinian Gets Death Sentence for Selling Home to Jews

Posted by Steve Markowitz on April 23, 2012

The Weekly Standard today published a barbaric story concerning the Palestinian Authority.  A former Palestinian official, Muhammad Abu Shahala, has been sentenced to death.  His heinous crime?  He reportedly had the gall to sell his home to Jews.

According to the Standard, shortly after the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994, one of the first laws they adopted was to make selling land to Jews a capital offense.  Another example of Muslim tolerance?

Barack Obama and other Leftists have proffered the view over the years that the problems between the Israelis and Palestinians would disappear if only both sides would sit down and talk.  How naïve.  The Palestinians and other Arab governments have been preaching anti-Semitism for decades.  They have raised their children filled with hate and bigotry.  Such hatred as deep-seated within their culture cannot be negotiated away.

Should the Palestinian Authority execute Abu Shahala, he will become another statistic added to the death side of the ledger by a corrupt and brutal Arab government.  How many innocents must die at the hands of these despots before the Arab masses get it?

Posted in Adam Smith, Anti-Semitism, Middle East | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How Saudi Arabia Avoids Protests

Posted by Steve Markowitz on June 9, 2011

Arab countries throughout the Middle East are in turmoil.  Dictators in Tunisia and Egypt have fallen.  Civil war exists in Libya and Yemen, and in Syria nearly 1,300 protestors have been killed by the Butcher of Bagdad.  Significant protests have also occurred in other countries including Bahrain and Jordan.

Significant by its absence from the turmoil is Saudi Arabia, the richest Arab country and the most important one relating to the world’s energy resources.  According to the New York Times, this calm has been bought with King Abdullah pumping $130 billion into the economy this year to increase salaries and other benefits.  With the price of oil at about $100, the King has a huge bag of cash available.

The other reason for the calm in Saudi Arabia is the close relationship between the royal family and religious clerics.  The chief cleric in the Kingdom even made a fatwa forbidding street protests.

The calm in Saudi Arabia is a good thing in the short run.  The last thing the world needs is for this country to implode.  However, that calm will be difficult to sustain in the Internet age for a country where women still cannot vote or drive cars.  In addition, when the oil money is depleted and royal family’s bribes stop flowing, Saudi citizens will become unhappy quickly.

Posted in Middle East | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sudanese Ethnic Cleansing Begins Again

Posted by Steve Markowitz on May 30, 2011

MSNBC.Com has reported that ethnic cleansing has once again begun in Sudan, this time in the Abyei region of the country.  However, beginning in the early 1990’s that Sudan became synonymous with the word “genocide” in Darfur region.

That conflict was between the northern is part of Sudan dominated by Arabs and southern part made up of Christians and animists.  The southerners claimed that the northerners created an Arab Apartheid against non-Arabs in Darfur.  The results, which some have referred to as genocide, was up to 400,000 killed in Darfur.

Now, MSNBC.Com has reported that 150,000 Sudanese have fled their villages since the Sudanese army attacked Abyei last week.  United Nations spokesman on the ground in Sudan, Kouider Zerrouk, said “Abyei is now a ghost townThe only presence on the ground is SAF (North Sudan’s army) and (North Sudan-allied) Misseriya militias.”  Translation, the killings and ethnic cleansing that gripped Darfur has now moved to Abyei and the Arabs from the north are the once again the perpetrators.

John Prendergast of the advocacy group The Enough Project, was more pointed and said: “The ultimate strategy is to ethnically cleanse Abyei, similar to what the regime has done in parts of Darfur.  The international community must respond with more than appeals for calm and mild reproaches.  The time has come for serious consequences for the commission of war crimes, or they will continue“.

Unfortunately Mr. Prendergast, the people of Abyei will likely fare no better from the international community than the victims of Darfur did some years ago.  Both are victims of international political correctness that is racist in origin and does not allow for criticism of movements backed by Islamic countries.  A United Nations that allows countries like Libya and Syria to sit on its Human Rights Commission does not have the political will to focus on those poor folks dying in Abyei.

Posted in Sudan | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Yemeni President Preparing to Exit

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 24, 2011

The Wall Street Journal reported that Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh is preparing to step down.  Yemen, a poor and nearly dysfunctional Arab country on the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula, has been in the midst of violent protests for weeks.  Last week the protests reached a crescendo with 50 killed by government forces.  That led to Yemen’s second most powerful figure, General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar and some army units, joining the dissenters

The Yemen problem is playing out throughout the Arab Middle East.  Populations that have told by their leaders for years that the West and Israel are the sources of the Middle East’s problems are waking up to a cold reality.  They are realizing that the false narrative has been used merely to keep the despots that control them in power.

Now, protests in Syria are growing with protestors being killed by its government forces.  It is unlikely that Syrian’s dictator, Assad, will be able to stop the protests from growing out of control.  Then, Syria will follow in the footsteps of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

Saudi Arabia is also at risk of catching the spreading Tunisian flu.  With Yemen at its southern border, Arab protests are getting closer to the Royal Family.  Given the Saudi’s importance in the oil markets, instability in this country would have worldwide ramifications.

Strangely quiet to his point is Iran.  Given Iran’s strategic relationship with the Syrian dictator Assad, should the Syrian protests get out of control, the Iranian people will likely be the next to once again fill the street with protests.  Hopefully this time President Obama will not ignore their plight as he did during their last uprising.

The modern Middle East is made up of countries cobbled together by Europe after World War I, and to a smaller extent by the United Nations.  Many Middle East Arab countries are dominated by tribal clans.  However, the Europeans gave little consideration to the importance of these clans and thus created dysfunctional countries that have no nationalist identity to hold them together.  Understanding this, European governments and the United States were happy to see dictators who they could deal with take control of the countries.  This Progessive view of the Middle East is what is now disintegrating.

Given the dominance of the tribal clans in countries like Yemen and Libya, it is unlikely that the West will be able to once again impose its will on these countries.  It is therefore unlikely that the West’s intervention in Libya, no matter how noble, will be able stop the bloodshed.

The United Nations and Progressives in general have spent decades debating the legitimacy of only one Middle East country; Israel.  These Progressives may have focused on Israel as a convenient way of ignoring the mess that they created in the formation of many modern borders in the Middle East.  The growing violence in the Arab world will no longer allow for this cover-up.

Posted in Middle East, Yemen | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bahrain Government Blinks, as Protesters Take over Square; Who is Next?

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 20, 2011

Earlier this week the security forces of tiny Bahrain used deadly force in an effort to stop protests in their country.  After initial success, those efforts have failed.  Today those same forces pulled out of the country’s square after a brief confrontation with protesters.  It is now likely that Bahrain’s Sunni minority monarchy will fall, just as Egypt’s Mubarak did.

Bahrain is a small country, no larger than many cities.  Its strategic importance, however, is much larger.  Not only is it home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet in the Middle East, but it is a next door to Saudi Arabia, another Arab country with a Sunni led monarchy.  While Saudi Arabia has a Sunni majority population, it has a large Shiite minority concentrated in its oil rich region.

In addition to the protestors’ success in Bahrain, antigovernment demonstrations continued this weekend in Libya, Algeria and Yemen.  In Libya, the death toll has exceeded 100 demonstrations.

While many in the West see the protests in the Middle East merely as pro Democracy movements, this is an over simplification and includes the motivations of only some of the protestors.  In Bahrain it is a centuries old battle between Sunni and Shiite Arabs, a feud that is rooted in religious theology.  In some countries it is a battle between pro Iranian forces and those opposed to that Mullah run country.  In others, the cause is the more basic need of food.  Worldwide inflation caused by Western governmental meddling has resulted in food and commodities prices substantial rising.  Hungry people tend to become restless.

As the strategic forces remolding the Middle East continue to play out, the most important battles are yet to come.  They will likely occur in three countries: Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran.  While initially these contests will result in turmoil and could go badly for the West, it is also just as likely a positive outcome or one that at least leaves the world in an uncomfortable balance similar to what exist today will occur.  Here’s an out of the box scenario:  Nearly every dictator/theocracy falls in the Middle East.  Half of the Arab world that is currently dubious allies of the West become theocratic and less friendly to the West.  At the same time the Iranian people overthrow the Mullahs and that country once again becomes friendly to the West.

The historic happenings occurring in the Middle East show the utter failure of the West’s diplomatic policies toward  that region in the past four decades.  Throughout that period the narrative was that if the Israeli/Palestinian problem were resolved, the region would revert to peace and tranquility.  What nonsense.  Had Israel never come into existence, the thousand year rift between Sunnis and Shiites would still exist and dictators would still run most of the Islamic world in the Middle East.

It is time for a complete reevaluation of America’s Middle East policy and a study as to why the U.S. State Department got it so wrong.  Let’s start by cutting the State Department’s budget.  Fewer bureaucrats will mean fewer mistakes going forward.


Posted in Middle East | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Syria’s Assad and Jordan’s Abdullah Hearing Footsteps

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 1, 2011

While much of the world’s attention focused on Egypt, other Middle East countries are marching down their own paths towards radical change.

The Wall Street Journal had the unique opportunity to interview Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.  Assad is hearing the footsteps emanating from the unrest in Egypt.  Assad, who obtained power after the death of his dictator father’s decade rule, told the Journal: “If you didn’t see the need of reform before what happened in Egypt and Tunisia, it’s too late to do any reform.”  While Assad is appropriately reading the tea leaves, rarely can dictators stay in front of the curve when it comes to revolutionary changes demanded by the masses.

Also in the interview, Assad proved he still has much to learn from the protests hitting Egypt when he suggested that the Syrian people were less likely to protest his rule because fo his long-term anti-American and anti-Israeli stance stating: “Syria is stable. Why?  Because you have to be very closely linked to the beliefs of the people.  This is the core issue.  When there is divergence … you will have this vacuum that creates disturbances.”  While the Syrian people do not care much for the United States and even less for Israel, this will not protect Assad should the masses conclude that his rule is not benefited them.

The New York Times has just reports that the protests in Jordan has resulted in King Abdullah II dismissing his government and has appointed an ex-army general to form a new one.  The Jordanians are protesting rising prices and slowed political reforms.

What started just a month ago in Tunisia with a man burning himself to death due to his economic plight, has mushroomed into a world-changing event.  Then endgame is yet to play out with the real tests to come in Libya, Jordan, Syria, and yes, Iran and Saudi Arabia.  The outcome will depend on whether the Arab and Persian people want to become a partner in the greater world or continued their historic dreams of dominating it.

Posted in Egypt, Middle East | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »