Obama's Arabia: confidence without community organising

It's a mark of insanity to entertain democracy in an Islamic country despite Islam's totalitarian nature, so I pretty much rolled my eyeballs at Obama's entire "Arab spring" performance. There was just so much idiocy it was hard to keep up. But one thing is clear: Obama has loads of confected confidence matched only by his abundance of ignorance. So hold onto your stomach while we relive some of Captain Stupid's comments before we get to some sanity with Caroline Glick and others ...

Egypt transition must begin now, Obama tells Mubarak
"What is clear, and what I indicated tonight to President Mubarak is my belief that an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now," Obama said this morning, minutes after calling the Egyptian leader.
Obama confident next Egypt govt will be partner
"What I want is a representative government in Egypt and I have confidence that if Egypt moves in an orderly transition process, that we'll have a government in Egypt that we can work with together as a partner."
'There is something in the soul that cries out for freedom'
PRESIDENT BARACK Obama delivered a vibrant homage to the bravery, perseverance and non-violence of the Egyptian people, quoting the great American civil rights leader, Martin Luther King: “There is something in the soul that cries out for freedom.” ...

“There will be difficult days ahead,” he predicted. “But I am confident the people of Egypt can find the answers and do so peacefully and constructively and in the spirit of unity that has defined these last few weeks.”

Saying that “the spirit of peaceful protest and perseverance that the Egyptian people have shown can serve as a powerful wind” at the back of change ...

“This is the power of human dignity, and it can never be denied,” Mr Obama said.

“Egyptians have inspired us. They have done so by putting the lie to the idea that justice is best gained through violence. For in Egypt, it was the moral force of non-violence, not terrorism, not mindless killing, but non-violence; moral force that bent the arc of history towards justice once more.
White House: Helping install 'a democratic system' is goal in Libya
The White House suggested Tuesday that the mission in Libya is one of regime change despite emphatic statements from President Obama and military brass that the goal is not to remove Moammar Gadhafi from power.

According to a White House readout of a Monday night call between Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the two leaders "underscored their shared commitment to the goal of helping provide the Libyan people an opportunity to transform their country, by installing a democratic system that respects the people's will."
Obama Tells Qaddafi to Quit and Authorizes Refugee Airlifts
President Obama demanded Thursday that the embattled Libyan leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, “step down from power and leave” immediately, and said he would consider a full range of options to stem the bloodshed there ...

Speaking after he met with President Felipe Calderón of Mexico at the White House, he declared, “Muammar Qaddafi has lost the legitimacy to lead, and he must leave.”
Stop! Stop! I need a bucket!

OK, that was painful. I don't remember eating carrots ...

Anyway, now for some sanity from the woman who brought us We Con The World ...

Caroline Glick, Turkey's Cautionary Tale
As Der Spiegel reported last week, veteran journalists Ahmet Sik from the far-left Radikal newspaper and Nedim Sener from the highbrow Milliyet journal were among those rounded up. As radical leftists, both men oppose the AKP's Islamist politics. But they shared its interest in weakening the Turkish military.

... the arrest of Sik and Sener shows that the AKP's early embrace of investigative reporters and championing of a free press was purely opportunistic. Once Sik, Sener and the other 66 jailed reporters had finished discrediting the military, the regime had no need for them. Indeed, they became a threat.

Both Sik and Sener have recently written books documenting how Turkey's version of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Fetulah Gulen network, has taken over the country's security services.

... former Turkish president Suleyman Demirel warned that the AKP has established "an empire of fear" in Turkey.

TURKEY'S DESCENT into Islamist tyranny has not simply destroyed freedom in Turkey. It has transformed Turkey's strategic posture in a manner that is disastrous for the West. And yet, in this arena as well, the West refuses to notice what is happening....

TURKEY IS a cautionary tale for the West, which is now faced with the prospect of AKP-like regimes from Egypt to Tunisia to Jordan to the Persian Gulf. And the real issue that Western leaders must address is how things in Turkey were permitted to deteriorate to the point they have without any US or European official lifting a finger to stem the Islamist tide? The answer, it would seem, is a combination of professional laziness and cultural weakness. This mix of factors is also on display in the US's behavior toward the revolutionary forces active throughout much of the Arab world.

Professional laziness stands at the root of the West's decision not to contend with the unpleasant truth that the AKP is an Islamist party whose basic ideology has more in common with Osama bin Laden's values than with George Washington's. This truth was always available. Erdogan and his colleagues did not make any special efforts to hide what they stand for.

The West chose not to pay attention because its senior officials knew if they did, they would have to do something. They would have had to distance themselves from Turkey, remove Turkey from NATO and seek to contain the power of the Erdogan regime. And this would have been hard and unpleasant.

So, too, they knew that if they noticed the nature of the AKP they would have to throw themselves deep into Turkish society and defend the superiority of Western values over Islamist values. They would have had to locate and support Turkish leaders who are willing to adopt Western values and then cultivate, fund and empower them. This also would have been hard and unpleasant.

Likewise, in post-Mubarak Egypt, it is easier to believe fairy tales about Facebook revolutions and Westernized student leaders than face the harsh truth that from Amr Moussa to Mohamed ElBaradei to Yousef Qaradawi there are no leaders in post-Mubarak Egypt who support the peace with Israel or believe that Egypt has common interests with Israel and the US. There are no potential leaders in Egypt who share Western values of individual liberty and human rights.

And as in Turkey, the price for recognizing these inconvenient facts is taking effective action to counter them. As in Turkey, the West will be forced to do hard things like develop a policy of containing rather than engaging Egypt, and of identifying and cultivating forces in Egyptian society that are willing to embrace John Locke, John Stuart Mill and Adam Smith over Hassan al-Banna and Qaradawi.

Rather than do any of these hard things, Western leaders have lied to themselves about the nature of these forces and regimes. They have told themselves that there is no problem with the likes of Erdogan and his Egyptian cohorts, and opted to limit their meddling in the internal affairs of others to endless attempts to undermine and overthrow successive pro- Western, democratic, non-leftist governments in Israel. These governments, they have argued, must be replaced by leftist parties in order to feed the West's fantasy that all the problems of the region, all its Qaradawis and Erdogans, will magically become Thomas Jeffersons and John Adamses if Israel would just cut a deal with the PLO.

This fantasy is convenient for lazy Western cultural cowards. They know that there will be no pushback for their policies. Israel won't attack them. And by pretending the Islamists share their values and strategic interests they are free to take no action to defend their values and strategic interests from Islamist assault.

But while this strategy has been convenient for policymakers, it has done great damage to their countries. The growing menace that is Islamist Turkey teaches us that professional laziness and cultural squeamishness are recipes for strategic disasters...
And there's the rub: Western values have to be cultivated. Even if you are Captain Stupid who doesn't acknowledge that Islam is anti-democratic, you'd still have to be extra stupid not to notice the Arab world's tendency towards mullah-rule and therefore the need for cultivation. But extra stupid is what Captain Confidence is. (For the record, I favour containment, not cultivation).

Here's some pictures from modern-moderate-secular Turkey ...

Caroline Glick on Captain Stupid

Caroline Glick: "President Bush was right to say that tyrannies breed radicalism and instability, that's absolutely true, but the antidote for that is not when you have masses of Islamists on the street calling for overthrow of allied regimes with the United States, the time to deal with that is when they aren't on the streets and the United States never really did that. The United States really never said "OK, we're going to push liberal democratic agenda in Egypt, in Saudi Arabia, in anywhere ..."

... They're under the impression that if you have elections then everybody's going to prove that Western values are universal values. Then you have elections and they prove that Western values are not universal values, they're imbued and they're learned. And they're not being learned and not being imbued in the Arab world, and therefore a democratic election in the Arab world is going to bring about the rule of Islamic totalitarians not the rule of Jeffersonian democrats

... the first thing the US should do is just shut up because everything Obama and Hillary are saying is just making things worse ..."

Caroline Glick on Conditions For Peace

That's right, Captain Stupid, the "arc of history" is bent by what the Muslims teach their children i.e. who is organised at the community level, not by blind confidence.

And now for some other voices of sanity ...

Andrew G. Bostom, Qaradawi and The Treason of the Intellectuals
Last Friday (2/18/11) marked the triumphal return to Cairo of Muslim Brotherhood "Spiritual Guide" Yusuf al-Qaradawi. After years of exile, his public re-emergence in Egypt was sanctioned by the nation's provisional military rulers. Qaradawi's own words were accompanied by images and actions during his appearance which should have shattered the delusive view that the turmoil leading to President Mubarak's resignation augured the emergence of a modern, democratic Egyptian society devoted to Western conceptions of individual liberty and equality before the law.

Egyptian cleric Safwat Higazi can be seen prominently behind al-Qaradawi for the duration of the latter's speech. Recently Higazi, during his Arabic-language program "Age of Glory," broadcast on the Egyptian al-Nas satellite television network, issued an unabashed call for aggressive violent, jihad. He quoted a hadith from ‘Ali, the son-in-law of the Muslim prophet Muhammad and Islam's fourth "Rightly Guided" caliph, in which ‘Ali tells his sons: "Go, fight, and please your grandfather [i.e. Muhammad]. Let him be pleased with you. Fighting is what pleases the prophet (peace be upon him)." Higazi also urged jihadists, graphically, when attacking non-Muslim infidels to "Strike and split the head, and cut it in half." ...
Qaradawi addresses huge crowd in Cairo, bans Leftist uprising leader Ghonim from stage
Google executive Wael Ghonim, who emerged as a leading voice in Egypt's uprising, was barred from the stage in Tahrir Square on Friday by security guards, an AFP photographer said. Ghonim tried to take the stage in Tahrir, the epicentre of anti-regime protests that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, but men who appeared to be guarding influential Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi barred him from doing so.

Ghonim, who was angered by the episode, then left the square with his face hidden by an Egyptian flag.

Qaradawi gave a Friday sermon in the square, where hundreds of thousands of people gathered a week after Mubarak's fall, in which he called for Arab leaders to listen to their people.

Ghonim, Google's head of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa, administered a Facebook page that helped spark the uprising that toppled Mubarak's regime....
Robert Spencer: "The Leftist/Islamic Supremacist Alliance breaks down when the Islamic supremacists have no more use for the Leftists".

Spencer on Qaradawi: Egypt's New Hitler
With the Muslim Brotherhood almost certain to play a substantial role in the next Egyptian government, looming in the background is the man that Der Spiegel described this week as "the father figure of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood": Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Qaradawi has been praised by Saudi-funded Islamic scholar John Esposito as a champion of a "reformist interpretation of Islam and its relationship to democracy, pluralism and human rights." But numerous statements of Qaradawi demonstrate that he is anything but a "reformist" or a genuine champion of "democracy, pluralism and human rights" - and is, in fact, positively Hitlerian in his Jew-hatred and bloodlust.

Qaradawi, 84, is based in Qatar, but was born in Egypt, and still wields considerable influence there. During the uprising against the Mubarak regime, a Muslim website published a chapter from Qaradawi's book Laws of Jihad, including this passage: "One of the forms of jihad in Islam is jihad against evil and corruption within [the Islamic lands]. This jihad is crucial in order to protect society from collapse, disintegration, and perdition — for Muslim society has unique characteristics, and if these are lost, forgotten or destroyed, there will be no Muslim society." ...

And the things that Qaradawi tells the millions of Muslims that he reaches are anything but moderate. In January 2009, during a Friday sermon broadcast on Al-Jazeera, he prayed that Allah would kill all the Jews: "Oh Allah, take this oppressive, Jewish, Zionist band of people. Oh Allah, do not spare a single one of them. Oh Allah, count their numbers, and kill them, down to the very last one." He also declared: "Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by [Adolf] Hitler."...

Qaradawi has predicted that Islam will soon conquer Europe, but that this conquest will come not “by the sword but by preaching and ideology.” He also says that Muslims should obtain nuclear weapons, explaining: “The Koran referred to this, saying: ‘Prepare against them what force and steeds of war you can, to strike terror in the hearts of the enemies of Allah and of your own enemies, and others besides them, whom you do not know, but Allah knows.’ ‘Prepare against them what force and steeds of war you can.’” That’s Qur’an 8:60.

Qaradawi has also endorsed Islam’s traditional death penalty for apostasy ...
Melanie Phillips, The American debacle in Egypt
And here, thanks to Palestinian Media Watch, is the translated text of a 1995 book, Jihad is the Way, the last of a five-volume work, The Laws of Da’wa by Mustafa Mashhur, who headed the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt from 1996-2002. Here’s a flavour:

‘It should be known that jihad and preparation towards jihad are not only for the purpose of fending off assaults and attacks of Allah's enemies from Muslims, but are also for the purpose of realizing the great task of establishing an Islamic state and strengthening the religion and spreading it around the world.

...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 shall continue to be raised, with the help of Allah, until every inch of the land of Islam will be liberated, and the State of Islam established.

...The problems of the Islamic world - such as in Palestine, Afghanistan, Syria, Eritrea or the Philippines - are not issues of territories and nations, but of faith and religion.They are the problems of Islam and all Muslims, and their resolution cannot be negotiated and bargained by recognizing the enemy's right to the Islamic land he stole, and therefore there is no other option but jihad for Allah, and this is why jihad is the way.’

What was that again about ‘no overarching agenda’ and ‘not particularly extreme’?

This stupendous idiocy ... is due in no small measure to the mind-twisting influence of such revisionist sanitisers 'scholars' of Islam such as John Esposito and Karen Armstrong, whose work has been fallen upon with enthusiasm by government officials desperate to be told that Islam is a 'religion of peace' and that the jihadis of the Muslim Brotherhood are really just providing a social service.
Bary Rubin provides examples of the Brotherhood’s, ah, moderation:
... here is one example of its rhetoric from Rajab Hilal Hamida, a member of the Brotherhood in Egypt’s parliament, who proves that you don’t have to be moderate to run in elections:

‘From my point of view, Bin Ladin, al-Zawahiri and al-Zarqawi [the leaders of al-Qaida who staged the September 11 attacks and massive killings in Iraq] are not terrorists in the sense accepted by some. I support all their activities, since they are a thorn in the side of the Americans and the Zionists.…[On the other hand,] he who kills Muslim citizens is neither a jihad fighter nor a terrorist, but a criminal murderer. We must call things by their proper names!’

(start watching from 3:00 onwards)

File under: the great community organiser who wasn't.

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