Category Archives: Egypt

President Dumb

So Obama will not share information with the Egyptians bombing ISIS.

And, apparently, he was not willing to share information with Jordan either.

The dimwit holds a conference on “violent extremism” and avoids mentioning Islam.

Now there are righties who suggest that Obama is a Muslim, or that he has been captured by the Muslim Brotherhood; I don’t think so.

What I do think is that Obama, and his gang of soft power advisers, are in so far over their heads that they have not a clue what to do. What they are certain of is that “War is bad” and so they are trying to avoid war by being extra nice. I can’t help but think that death from laughter is taking its toll in ISIS.

There are a lot of things which America can and should be doing to deal with ISIS. One of those things is to provide a lot of material and intelligence support for the people willing to actually attack the beast. This, apparently, has escaped the dimwit in chief.

Counting the days until his term is over may be a luxury America cannot afford. Impeachment – for a variety of offences – may be the only solution. The only problem being that Obama gone means Joe Biden. Not a good choice but, perhaps, better than the present idiot.

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Taking Islamic Terror Seriously

The Daily Mail, whose coverage of the Paris atrocity has been outstanding, reports that there have been at least three incidents of “revenge” attacks overnight. The attacks have focused on mosques and a kebab shop rather than on actual Muslims.

The desire to lash out at the symbols of Islam (and a kebab shop) makes sense in the wake of the atrocity; but it actually reflects the correct perception that the political class is incapable of anything beyond in the moment police work and platitudes as to how the Charlie Hebdo attack had nothing to do with Islam. All of which is an indication that the political classes don’t have a clue what to do about terrorism and it roots in Islam.

This is largely because the political classes are in a state of deep denial as to what might be termed the root causes of Islamic terror. Here’s a hint – it is Islam and at its very root, the Koran.

Assorted “far right” commentators have taken the time to read the Koran and have been shocked at what it contains. Understanding the texture of the Koran requires a bit of knowledge of Mohammed’s story and how that influenced the early Mecca portion of the Koran and the later, much more violent, Medina surah. (A quick guide can be found here.) The “death to the unbelievers” portions are generally from the later period.

I argued yesterday that Islam is not a religion. It is, however, a political cult based upon a willingness to spread its power by the sword. Jihad is not a peaceful inner struggle, it is a tactic with the strategic goal of converting or killing unbelievers. (And for all those ahistorical dimwits out there moaning about how Christians have killed for their faith, find a single gospel story where Jesus exhorted the faithful to murder “unbelievers”. You won’t.)

Against this view are arrayed a good deal of scholarship which suggest the admonitions of Allah through his prophet were situation specific and the Juden haus of the Koran was directed at specific tribes of obstinate Jews who got in the way of the spread of Islam. Which may very well be true, but the first thing a serious approach to Islamic terror needs to recognize is that this liberal interpretation of Islam is not what drives the terrorists.

One would think that would be obvious, but listening to the great and good exonerate Islam at large for the Paris atrocity it becomes obvious they are willfully blind to the interpretation of the Koran which fuels Islamic terror. So long as the political class takes this Pollyanna approach there is not the slightest chance Islamic terror will be taken seriously enough to be defeated.

Rather than taking the mildest, most liberal, construction of the Koran, politicians and opinion leaders need to look at the darkest, nastiest, most brutal interpretation which, in fact, drives the lone wolves, the wolf packs and outfits like IS and Hamas. It is that dark version of Islam which implies a never ending war, mandated by God, until the Peace of Submission encompasses the entire world.

Armed with that understanding, the political class will be able to intellectually, and eventually tactically, separate the sheep from the goats. Understanding the dark, violent, side of Islam is the only way to beat Islamic terrorists. And to reach that understanding, the political class will have to actually learn some history and read within the Wahabbi and Safalist traditions. When they do they will discover that Islam is not, by the lights of its terrorist theologians, a religion so much as a complete tactical guide for the forceful conversion of all non-Muslims.

Happy clappy, kumbaya approaches to Islam which have so far characterized the Western elite’s limited engagement with the problem, rest on the presumption that only a tiny minority of Muslims accept the dark vision of Islam triumphant by the sword. To address Islamic terror that presumption needs to be tested against reality.

There is a fair bit of survey research which suggests that Muslims in Middle Eastern and European countries are broadly supportive of sharia law. A significant minority indicate support for the bloodier forms of jihad including IS and Hamas. Digging into this support will identify the sources of these profoundly anti-democratic views.

A root cause is just that: a cause to which specific acts of terror and support for terror can be traced. For example, it may well turn out that the Paris murderers were influenced by a specific imam, or a specific book or website. And there is where the pushback needs to happen.

Randomly bombing kabab shops will do nothing to address the roots of Islamic terrorism. Deporting radical imams, closing Islamic bookshops which sell hate literature and shutting down Islamic websites which support violent jihad are all easily justified and potentially effective ways of countering radical Islam.

As importantly, creating a chilly climate for Islamists is the least Western societies can do to protect themselves. Ending immigration from Muslim nations without positive security and cultural vetting – which will, because of the resources required, slow immigration to a trickle – is a necessary first step. Prohibiting the construction of mosques on the basis that they are political rather than religious buildings is another useful step. Cancelling the so called “reasonable accommodation” provisions which create gender segregation and allow self ghettoization should make Western countries less attractive.

Creating a hostile environment for Islamic terrorists will, necessarily, create a somewhat unpleasant environment for non-terrorist Muslims. Tough. There is no reason to accord a political movement’s members any privileges which are not enjoyed by the rest of the society. If someone shows up for a job interview wearing Nazi regalia we expect that fact to be taken into account. The political dress adopted by Muslims in the West should have exactly the same status.

A serious, measured, approach grounded in an understanding of Islam as a political movement with totalitarian aims will begin the process of defeating Islamic terror. The time to start was twenty years ago, but today will have to do.

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Useful Horror

Islamic terror

But it is Islam

The murder of a dozen people is, simply, horrible. It does not matter why they were murdered, the fact of their massacre is the horror in itself.

Even as the terrorists are still on the loose there are things which are clear about these murders. They were committed by Muslims in the name of Islam to shut up people who mocked Islam.

There is no room for Western liberal spin about lone wolves and metal illness. This was murder by and for Islam.

It was, if further demonstration was needed, proof that Islam is not compatible with liberal democracy. There may be individual Muslims who can meet the demands for tolerance and non-violent liberal democracy imposes;but Islam the religion/cult/ideology as it is presently constituted cannot. A fact underscored by President Sisi’s recent speech to the religious in Egypt.

Collective punishment is also contrary to the tenents of democracy;but that does not mean France or any other civilised nation needs to allow Islam to continue to undermine our Enlightenment values.

The first thing to do in the wake of these murders is to strip Islam of its status as a religion. Recognize that in its unreformed state Islam is a political cult and treat it that way.

Close the mosques. Once Islam is recognised as an essentially political cult there is no reason to allow it to preach it’s hateful doctrines which rely on the Koran which is, itself, a manual of incitement and justification for murder. Closing the mosques would send a clear message to the Muslims that their brand of hatred and violence was not welcome in France or anywhere else in the West.

Prohibit all immigration from Muslim nations by Muslims. Of course the poor Christians and others should be allowed to come but for a decade or two Muslim immigration to the West needs to end.

Third, systematically look at every recent Muslim immigrant and, if citizenship has not been granted, send them back to where ever they came from on the basis that the danger of Islam increases as it’s numbers increase. Once the non-citizens have been deported, look at the recent citizens and determine if their pledge of loyalty to their new country was honest or if loyalty to the political cult of Islam made taking such a pledge sincerely impossible. Look for evidence of conduct. Participation in radical activities, keeping women in bags, evidence of female genital mutilation would all suggest that loyalty to the cult made taking the citizenship oath honestly impossible.

The faint hearted will object that this program would deny Muslims the right of free speech and the right to freedom of religion. Even the most passionate advocate of free speech will draw the line at incitement and treason or sedition. At its core Islam incites murder, advocates treason and promotes sedition – silencing it does no damage to free speech. Recognising that Islam is a political cult puts it outside the protection extended to religions so the issue of religious freedom does not come up.

The murder of a dozen people by Islamic terrorists is a horror but it is the sort of atrocity which reminds people of how dangerous Islam actually is.

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Time for Fury

A second journalist, Steven Sotloff, has been beheaded by the medieval Islamists of IS.

There are many good reasons to eradicate IS and its enablers: genocide, ethnic and religious cleansing, rape as a tool of war, slavery – and the murder of one more person should not tip the balance. Rather, the balance should have been tipped long ago.

Pinprick airstrikes are not doing the job. Hellfire missles are too little, too late. It is time for serious air attack. Cluster munitions will make some impression. It is time for the Saudi airforce to start flying its 300 F-15s.

It is also time for there to be a single, short phone call from the American President to his allies saying that the US is going in and, if they would like to help they would be welcome.

Now, if the empty seat who occupies that office cannot bestir himself to defend the citizens of the Republic he serves the Constitution has provisions for that. Meanwhile, it is still important for Canada, Australia, the UK, Germany, France, Saudi, Jordan, Egypt, the UAE and Israel to begin the process of rolling back IS.

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A Modest Thought

Israel kicked Hamas’ ass in the last iteration of the ongoing Gaza War. Hamas and its Western media enablers are trying to spin it as some sort of victory but the fact they accepted the “no deal” terms which had been on offer for a month suggests otherwise.

Which does not change the fact that Hamas is still a terrorist force which is capable of shooting rockets and digging tunnels.

Iron Dome is doing an outstanding job of neutralizing the rockets but what about the tunnels and the leadership bunkers and underground arsenals. The Israeli Airforce and the Army made a good deal of progress but the fact is to take down the tunnel/bunker infrastructure would have required street by street fighting in nasty urban environments. A lot of Israeli soldiers would have died.

So, is there another way?

There may be. Gaza is a very small place much of it is only 6 kilometers wide. It is also a place, as the Hamas tunnellers have demonstrated, which has a soil geology almost ideal for tunnelling: sand, sandstone and loess.

Hamas uses hand labour – including child labour – to dig its tunnels.

Here is my suggestion for the underground equivalent of Iron Dome.

Imagine a couple of these big boys running along the Gaza Israel Border and building a series of tunnels which, in turn would be flooded with water from the Mediterranean. Now it might sound like an unrealistic project but the fact is that these giant machines can grind through 100 plus meters a week of hard soil, in the soft soil of the Gaza border they might well get that up to 200 or even 300 meters a week. Running two machines and focusing on the high priority sections of the border a defensive cordon of counter tunnels could be dug in a matter of a few months and Gaza could be entirely surrounded in a couple of years.

Offensively, smaller, faster tunnelling machines could head into Gaza and directly towards the Headquarters bunkers, arsenals and the locus points of attack tunnels. Here basic automated mining technology could be employed.

This is an intelligent coal mining machine. It can rip through coal – a rock generally harder than the rock in Gaza – at a 100-200 meters per day. The run from the Israeli border to, say Gaza City is a few kilometers. Running a number of these machines into the Hamas underground concentration points would avoid the casualties of a ground attack. The machine could look for and break into Hamas underground structures and then either blow them up or open up the flood gates from the water filled protection tunnels and simply flood Hamas out.

While all of these machines are expensive to buy and to run we’re talking hundreds of millions rather than billions. A sum Israel can certainly afford if it floods out the Hamas rats.

Arabs helping themselves

From the New York Times (via Blazing Catfur) we learn that Egypt and the UAE may well have bombed jihadis in Libya. Apparently they did not ask America for permission.

Twice in the last seven days, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have secretly teamed up to launch airstrikes against Islamist-allied militias battling for control of Tripoli, Libya, four senior American officials said, in a major escalation between the supporters and opponents over political Islam.

The United States, the officials said, was caught by surprise: Egypt and the Emirates, both close allies and military partners, acted without informing Washington or seeking its consent, leaving the Obama administration on the sidelines. Egyptian officials explicitly denied the operation to American diplomats, the officials said. NYT

This is excellent news if true simply because it is well past time for the Arab world to start cleaning up the mess in its backyard. Not asking the americans for permission is also good news as asking would have interrupted the Big Zeros Golf Game of Grief.

The jihadis, whether Libyan or IS or Hamas need a good deal of bombing and Israel only has the one airforce. The feckless Americans seem content to fly the occasional mission to blow up a few IS US Army surplus armoured vehicles but it is a serious of pin pricks. The ladies running US Foreign Policy seem to have a thing about proportionality (indeed, I suspect the “appropriate” word will come up. So the required waves of B-1s with the cluster munitions are sitting idle.

But Egypt and the UAE are relatively unconstrained and willing to fly 2500 miles to at least make an effort to forestall the jihadis.

With a little luck the Saudis, owners of a deeply impressive set of aircraft, will notice that flying time from their northern air bases to Syria or Iraq is about twenty minutes and that those lovely airplanes could drop a load of bombs, fire a few armour piercing missiles and run the ground attack cannon and be home for lunch. If they want to get really ambitious, they could fly a mission in the afternoon as well.

No doubt the ladies at State will have very large kittens at this sort of thing. The President’s back swing, sketchy at the best of times, will go to Hell. IS will be really angry and threaten to drive to Mecca.

So, basically, win/win.

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IS to ISN’T

If ever there was an opportunity to set Islamic terror back a couple of decades that opportunity is now in the wastelands of Syria and Iraq. 

The Islamic State is estimated to have 15,000 fighters out there beheading and crucifying and raping assorted minorities and lots of other Muslims.  They have a few ranks and APCs plus a fair bit of heavy weaponry and lots of cash. (Though given the intelligence failures of the current American regime it would be wise to double those estimates.) 

A division of Marines and serious air strikes – think cluster bomb more than precision munitions  get will stop IS and then Saudi financed Egyptians and Pakistani infantry can go in and kill them.  Not capture,  not take as prisoners,  kill. The actual killing needs to be done by their fellow Muslims and it needs to be done pretty much immediately. 

Soft power has been proven bullshit.  Time to let Is know what happens to bullies. 

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Crunch

The crunch and clangs you are hearing is the sound of the car wreck which passes for American foreign policy at the moment.

Russia is not keen at this stage for a binding U.N. Security Council resolution that would provide a framework to control Syria’s chemical weapons’ stocks, France’s foreign minister said after talks with his Russian counterpart on Tuesday. reuters

There was never much chance that Syria and Russia would actually act to sequester the chemical weapons. In the middle of a civil war it is not all that terrifically easy to deal with the logistics leave aside the politics.

However, faced with certain defeat in the House and a good chance of defeat in the Senate and the American people 3 or 4 to 1 against the idy, biddy, no really, really small, attack on Syria, Obama needed a way out. Putin threw a lead life buoy and the very dim Obama and the even dumber Kerry grabbed it. (The laughter echoing through the halls of the Kremlin can be heard in Damascus.)

Hitting Syria, or, more accurately blowing a raspberry in its general direction, was not the credibility piece here. Everyone knows that the US has awesome raspberry blowing capacity. The credibility was all about the President’s ability to deal with a complicated international situation. While the Court Press will hail the Russian “deal” as proof Obama can wield the power of his office for a peaceful outcome, anyone paying attention will know just how badly he and his team have done.

The audience here is not the Washington tounge bathing media nor, in fact, the American people: rather it is the Iranian, North Korean, Syrian, Russian, Israeli, Egyptian and world strategic elite. People whose job it is to assess the resolve of the American President.

I rather suspect that, no matter what the Big Zero and his spinners say tonight, the universal verdict will be:

Pwned

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#Egypt

While it is always delightful to see political Islam in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood take one in the eye the military coup does not really solve anything.

As Spengler pointed out two days ago, “Egypt needs about $20 billion a year in external subsidies; a smaller amount would forestall the worst effects of the economic crisis.”

The economics of Egypt have gone from awful to dire in the last ten years. Political Islam has pretty much destroyed the tourist industry which was, more or less, the only currency generator Egypt had. And the politics of subsidy – both food and fuel are heavily subsidized – mean that no one who hopes to get elected is going to inflict the pain necessary to turn the Egyptian economy around.

Spengler again, “Egypt remains a pre-modern society, with nearly 50% illiteracy, a 30% rate of consanguineal marriage, a 90% rate of female genital mutilation, and an un- or underemployment rate over 40%.”

Unfortunately, all of these are cultural rather than economic variables. Politically, from Nasser onwards, the Arab nationalist secularists were largely concerned with suppressing Islamic fundamentalism rather than offering alternatives to it. And, to that end, they were willing to largely ignore the rural and the poor in Egypt, silencing them with subsidy but offering very little else.

Various commentators have pointed to the weakness of Egyptian vivil institutions. The Army being the only relatively stable institution in the country. But, parallel to the Army, the Muslim Brotherhood provided what the government could not – hope.

Today’s coup is being celebrated. But it will solve nothing until and unless the Muslim Brotherhood’s institutional challenge is met with a deep commitment by the secularists to the creation of civil society.

Which is the best case scenario; the worst case is either a hight or low intensity, potentially three way, civil war between the displaced Brotherhood, the secularists (of all stripes) and the Army.

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The Deadly Crescent

David Goodman writes about Syria:

If we had a Syrian elite dedicated to modernization, free markets, and opportunity, we could have an economic recovery in Syria. But the country is locked into suppurating backwardness precisely because the dominant culture holds back individual initiative and enterprise. The longstanding hatreds among Sunnis and Shi’ites, and Kurds and Druze and Arabs, turn into a fight to the death as the ground shrinks beneath them. The pre-modern culture demands proofs of group loyalty in the form of atrocities which bind the combatants to an all-or-nothing outcome. The Sunni rebels appear quite as enthusiastic in their perpetration of atrocities as does the disgusting Assad government.david goodman

Which, I suspect, gets Syria about right.

Patrick Buchanan wrote up a bit of history in discussing Sykes-Picot which was the WWI treaty which carved up Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and such like.

I’ve just finished reading Philip Mansel’s brilliant history of the region, Levant, which gets the sweep of the history of the area very right indeed. The critical thing in Mansal’s book is the “black tide” of Islam sweeping up from the Gulf and destroying the cosmopolitan accommodation of Levantine culture. In Smyrna, Alexandria and Beruit the imposition of Islam has destroyed the mercantile, liberal cultures of the Mediterranean. It is a book of massacres, ethnic cleansing and a description of the corrosive effects of Islam.

There is a very good argument that we are looking at the first phase of a Thirty Year war in Islam. And those wars have never been anything but pure atrocity in the name of God.

For the West the best policy is, I think, to stay the Hell out and make sure that any of our “citizens” who participate are denied reentry to the West.

We might also, usefully, ensure that other than the Christians who are displaced, we prohibit immigration from any of the nations involved. Frankly, we have not the slightest idea which of them have blood on their hands. And, as we don’t, there is no reason at all to let mass murderers or their enablers into Canada.

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