Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity

September 10, 2014
"Peace? Don't make me laugh."

“Peace? Don’t make me laugh.”

That’s actually a misquote of what the late, great Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban once said, but it’s accurate enough in this case. Writing in the International Business Times, Jack Moore reports that Egypt offered Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas a portion of the Sinai peninsula from which to form a Palestinian state… and Abbas refused:

Egyptian President General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has offered Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas the chance to create a Palestinian state in the Sinai Peninsula, according to local Israeli media.

The offer to the Palestinian President which, reports say Abbas has denied, would have seen 1,600 square kilometres of the Sinai Peninsula given to the Palestinian Authority, creating a Palestinian state five times the size of Gaza.

According to IDF Radio, the offer would see Abbas relinquish demands that Israel return to the 1967 borders.

In the new and enlarged Gaza, the territory would be demilitarised and Palestinian refugees, many who were unable to return to their towns after the creation of Israel, would have been able to settle there.

As part of the proposal, Palestinian cities in the occupied West Bank would have been autonomous and continued to be under Palestinian Authority control.

Sisi allegedly said to Abbas in the meeting: “You are now 80 years old, if you don’t accept this proposal, your successor will.”

The Palestinian Authority is yet to publicly comment on the initiative but unnamed sources said that Abbas rejected the deal in a meeting with Sisi.

Seems like a good deal to me: Israel will never go back to the 1967 borders, and rightfully so — they’re indefensible. The Palestinians would have their own homeland and, in return for demilitarization, they’d be free to make a prosperous country. You know, like those Jewish guys next door.

But, no. It seems there is no deal too good for the PLO, Hamas, or any other Palestinian group to turn down. But why? Why so obdurate? Why so bloody-minded? I think Robert Spencer nails it:

Of course he turned it down. The point is not to have a “Palestinian” state. The point is to destroy Israel. No one was crying about “occupation” between 1948 and 1967 when Egypt had Gaza and Jordan had Judea and Samaria. The “Palestinians” didn’t consider Egyptian and Jordanian rule to be “occupation.” Only Israeli rule is “occupation.” The hypocrisy of the entire “Palestinian” cause is as palpable as its dishonesty, but the world takes no notice.

Yep.


Things I thought I’d never see: Egyptians supporting Israel against Hamas

July 14, 2014
Seal of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Seal of the Muslim Brotherhood.

What’s next, lambs lying down with lions? Obama embracing the writings of Thomas Sowell?

While Egypt is a land rife with antisemitism (for example), it seems many Egyptians have found someone to hate even more than the Israelis — Hamas:

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi has thus far turned down appeals from Palestinians and other Arabs to work toward achieving a new ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas telephoned Sisi and urged him to intervene to achieve an “immediate ceasefire” between Israel and Hamas. Abbas later admitted that his appeal to Sisi and (other Arab leaders) had fallen on deaf ears.

Sisi’s decision not to intervene in the current crisis did not come as a surprise. In fact, Sisi and many Egyptians seem to be delighted that Hamas is being badly hurt.

Some Egyptians are even openly expressing hope that Israel will completely destroy Hamas, which they regard as the “armed branch of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization.”

Sisi’s Egypt has not forgiven Hamas for its alliance with Muslim Brotherhood and its involvement in terrorist attacks against Egyptian civilians and soldiers over the past year.

…and…

Egyptian ex-general Hamdi Bakhit was quoted as expressing hope that Israel would re-occupy the Gaza Strip. “This would be better than the Hamas rule,” he said.

…and…

[Egyptian TV presenter Amany al-Khayat’s] colleague, Azza Sami of the newspaper Al-Ahram, went as far as thanking Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for ordering the attack on Hamas. “Thank you Netanyahu and may God give us more [people] like you to destroy Hamas,” she wrote.

Emphases added. This is pretty amazing stuff, akin to us rooting for the Russians in a confrontation with the UK. But, on further thought, it’s not as surprising as one might think. Egyptians experienced a year or so under the thumb of the Muslim Brotherhood, which spawned Hamas, after Muhammad Morsi replaced Hosni Mubarak as president. To say it was a miserable year for Egypt would be an understatement. The economic mismanagement and social disorder finally resulted in a coup d’etat by the army, an act that had massive support from the people. After the coup, the Brotherhood did nothing to redeem itself with Egyptians, attacking the army, a popular institution in Egypt, in a guerrilla war that continues to this day, especially in Sinai. And Hamas supported their fellow Brothers in this.

In addition Egypt has been an economic basket case for years, unable to feed itself without massive and expensive imports. (Skip down to “Wheat prices 101.”) The situation is only getting worse. With such problems, many Egyptians are understandably reluctant to give aid to a Brotherhood offshoot. As the Egyptian paper El-Bayasher wrote:

“The standard of living for a Gazan citizen is much higher than that of an Egyptian citizen. The poor in Egypt are more in need than the poor in the Gaza Strip. Let Qatar spend as much as it wants on the Gaza Strip. We should not send anything that Egyptians are in need of.”

I doubt a majority of Egyptians feel this way, but that so many feel free to speak publicly what would have been unthinkable just a few years ago is a remarkable change. Egypt is Hamas’ lifeline in the region; this is indicative of how thoroughly they’ve screwed up.

Darn.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Snow in the desert: is there nothing global warming can’t do?

December 13, 2013
"The rare Egyptian snow-mummies"

“The rare Egyptian snow-mummies”

(Photo credit: AhramOnline)

Can’t wait to see how climate alarmists spin this — the first snowfall in Cairo, Egypt!, in over 100 years:

Snow coated domes and minarets Friday as a record Mideast storm compounded the suffering of Syrian refugees, sent the Israeli army scrambling to dig out stranded motorists and gave Egyptians a rare glimpse of snow in their capital.

Nearly three feet of snow closed roads in and out of Jerusalem, which is set in high hills, and thousands in and around the city were left without power. Israeli soldiers and police rescued hundreds trapped in their cars by snow and ice. In the West Bank, the branches of olive trees groaned under the weight of snow.

In Cairo, where local news reports said the last recorded snowfall was more than 100 years ago, children in outlying districts capered in white-covered streets, and adults marveled at the sight, tweeting pictures of snow-dusted parks and squares. In other parts of the city, rain and hail rocketed down.

I’ll lay 3-2 odds that some climate-change cultist will argue that this is due to “catastrophic man-caused climate change,” because, you know, “global warming” is a damaged brand since there hasn’t been any warming since 1997 or so.

After all, it just couldn’t be the ebb and flow of natural cycles. Nope, it has to be due to Man’s sins against Gaea. Or something. Because Al Gore, Michael Mann, and the IPCC said so.

Meanwhile, I’ll bet kids throughout the region are having a blast today.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Egyptian civil war underway? And the Obama response is “fore?”

August 14, 2013

It’s hard not to think that after this news:

Clashes between security forces and pro-Morsi protesters across Egypt have left nearly 100 dead and hundreds injured Wednesday, the country’s health ministry said, while police in riot gear and armored vehicles bulldozed two protest camps in Cairo.

Hamdi Abdel Karim, an Egypt Health Ministry spokesman, told Reuters that 95 people were killed and 874 were injured in the violence.

Khaled el-Khateeb, an Egyptian Health Ministry official, earlier told the Associated Press that at least 28 people were killed in Cairo, 25 in Minya province south of the capital and one each in the cities of Alexandria, Assiut and Ban Suef. Sky News cameraman Mick Deane and Gulf News reporter Habiba Ahmed Abd Elaziz were among the dead.

The violence prompted Egypt’s Interim President, Adly Mansour, to declare a monthlong state of emergency, ordering the armed forces to support the police in efforts to restore law and order and protect state facilities.

The camps that were cleared Wednesday in Cairo had been the catalyst of protests since former President Mohammed Morsi was overthrown by the Egypt’s military on July 3, with thousands calling for his reinstatement.

Don’t forget, millions called for his overthrow.

It’s almost reflexive to blame the Obama administration for this, but we’d do well to remember that, most of the time, a nation that find itself in trouble has itself to blame for most of it. In this case, an inability to grow enough food to feed itself and not enough money to buy what it needs to make up the difference; a worthless education system that produces useless, unemployable (except by the government) graduates; massive public corruption; and a society dominated by an intellectually and culturally sclerotic Islam all combine to produce the modern failing state of Egypt.

That isn’t to say Team Smart Power doesn’t deserve a share of the blame; their response to events in Egypt since before Mubarak’s fall has been clumsy, inconsistent, ignorant, and destructive of American and allied interests. I earlier quoted Water Mead politely eviscerating Obama’s Egyptian policy. In the New York Times, Foreign Affairs’ Jonathan Tepperman argues that this is another illustration of Obama playing both sides and coming up empty:

In just the last few weeks, the Russian government has used a show trial to silence a prominent activist, Egypt’s junta has massacred protesters, Turkey has cracked down on peaceful dissent, and the rulers of Cambodia and Zimbabwe have stolen elections — again.

In each case, the Obama administration has done little more than mutter objections under its breath. Such seeming indifference has infuriated human rights and democracy advocates, who are dismayed by the mismatch between the president’s occasional stirring speech and his everyday lack of action. . . .

By trying to play both sides, the Obama administration is winning over neither. It’s left with the worst of all worlds, and both Americans and the people of Egypt, Turkey, Cambodia, Zimbabwe (you can go down the list) are paying the price.

(The Times site seems to be down right now. The quote is taken from Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt newsletter. You should subscribe.)

I’m not arguing that Obama could have prevented what appears to be happening in Egypt –state failure– but a more intelligent, realistic policy would have encouraged Mubarak to plan for an orderly transition to a successor and also have seen that the only beneficiary of the quickly-called elections would be the very well organized and very anti-democratic Muslim Brotherhood. And then, possibly, we could have avoided the quickening collapse of what had been one of the linchpins of our foreign policy in the region.

Maybe then the President wouldn’t have to be annoyed with having his golfing vacation to Martha’s Vineyard interrupted.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Politely eviscerating Obama’s Mideast “policies”

August 8, 2013
Your Obama foreign policy team

Your Obama foreign policy team

I get the impression Walter Russell Mead is the kind of guy who can tell you with a  sad smile how dumb you’ve been while serving you tea and cookies and giving you a sympathetic pat on the shoulder. And get you to agree.

That said, the next three paragraphs are the equivalent of Mead jumping up and down, smashing crockery, and screaming that Team Obama is a bunch of flaming idiots:

The Obama administration has made a fundamental strategic choice that hasn’t worked out well. Officials decided to support the Muslim Brotherhood in the hope of detoxifying US relations in the Middle East and promoting moderation among Islamists across the world. Between Prime Minister Erdogan’s surging authoritarianism in Turkey and the unmitigated Morsi disaster in Egypt, that policy is pretty much a smoking ruin these days, and a shell-shocked administration is stumbling back to the drawing board with, it appears, few ideas about what to try next.

Adding insult to injury, the Obama administration has conducted itself erratically enough to have lost everyone’s respect in the process. It hastily and indecorously ditched long time ally Mubarak and embraced the Muslim Brotherhood only to drop the Brothers when the going got tough. It’s hard to blame anyone in Egypt right now for thinking that the Americans are worthless friends whose assurances are hollow and who will abandon you the minute you get into trouble. At every point along the way, the administration made the choices it did out of good motives, but it would be difficult to design a line of policy more calculated to undermine American prestige and influence than the one we chose.

Rarely has an administration looked as inconsequential and trifling as the Obama administration did this week as it tried to square the circle. It isn’t using the c-word because it doesn’t want to offend the military, but it bleats ineffectually about human rights in hopes of retaining a few shreds of credibility among the supporters of the ousted President. The armed forces appear to be treating the United States with indifference; our support won’t help and our scolding won’t hurt.

Sadly, I don’t think anyone in the administration will learn the lesson or have the least clue how to turn things around, if they can be turned around.

Read the whole thing; Mead is a must-follow. He’s also much more charitable toward the architects of the Hundred Acre Wood foreign policy than I would ever be. (See also and also.)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Chutzpah. That’s the only word for it

July 3, 2013

When the Boy-Butcher of Damascus calls on the dictator of Egypt to “heed the will of the people” and step down:

The Syrian regime, which is seeking to crush a more than two-year revolt against its own rule, is urging Egypt’s president to step down in line with his people’s wishes.

Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi says the only way Egypt can overcome its crisis is if President Mohammed Morsi realizes that the overwhelming majority of the Egyptian people reject his presence and want him out.

Al-Zoubi told reporters in Damascus Wednesday that Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood is a “terrorist” organization and a “U.S. tool.”

This, of course, comes as a sweet bit of revenge for Morsi’s call for Assad to resign. “Two can play that hypocritical game,” and all that.

Still, with over 100,000 casualties so far in Syria’s civil war, millions of refugees, and strong evidence of the use of poison gas by the Assad regime, it takes an extra spoonful of shamelessness to be able to advise another government about how to save its country.


With friends like these: Was Egypt involved in the #Benghazi massacre?

June 2, 2013
US Consulate, Benghazi

“For Reasons of State”

The idea seems insane — Egypt participating in the assault on our consulate, when they desperately need outside help to keep their economy (barely) functioning? Sounds like the stuff of conspiracy theories, and Egyptian society thrives on such, but journalist Cynthia Farahat presents enough interesting facts to make one go “hmmmm:”

The terrorist attack in Benghazi is far more disturbing than previously thought. Although it has not been reported in the U.S. media, the possibility exists that the Egyptian government may have played an operational role in the attack. YouTube videos of the terrorist strike raise a serious problem that only an Arabic speaker would detect: some of the terrorists are speaking in the Egyptian dialect of the Arabic language.

Indeed, one of the videos shot with a cell phone of one of the attackers emerged around the time four Americans were killed. It shows a mob approaching the American compound under siege, clearly telling the terrorists in the dialect of Upper Egypt: “Mahadesh, mahadesh yermi, Dr. Morsi ba’atna” —which translates to: “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot, Dr. Morsi sent us.”

The words “Mahadesh yermi” for “don’t shoot” are characteristically spoken in Egyptian Arabic, while Libyans from Benghazi would say, “Matermey” for “don’t shoot.”

“Dr. Morsi” refers, of course, to president Mohamed Morsi of Egypt. The name Morsi is Egyptian and does not exist in any other Arabic speaking country.

Farahat also draws an interesting connection to an event I had forgotten about: at a campaign rally a couple of days after the Benghazi massacre, Obama said Egypt is not an ally, an amazing statement of the deterioration in our relations, given the close cooperation between Egypt and the US over the prior 30 years.

Could it be that US intelligence had picked up on the same linguistic clues Farahat noticed and came to the same conclusion, and that Obama was sending a veiled message that “we know what you did?”

Later on, Farahat discusses a possible explanation for Egypt’s involvement (if they were) that makes the idea at least plausible for me: that Morsi needed to placate more radical Muslim Brotherhood factions and so sent some guys to Libya to establish his jihadi “street cred:”

According to the MB and Sunni doctrine, it’s only permissible for Islamist leaders to maintain a ten-year duration of hodna (Islamic truce) with an infidel nation. This raises the question of whether breaking the truce was the root of the Sep. 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi. That attack against America was, according to Islamist doctrine, the only way the MB would be allowed to renew a truce. The MB also might have possibly needed to legitimize their Islamic rule among their jihadist followers through exercising jihad.

So, you see, if true, Morsi had to participate in the massacre of our people in order to keep the hotheads on his side happy.

Nothing personal, you know?

Except it was very “personal” for Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Tyone Woods.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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