February 2011

Egypt s Revolt: The Economic Dimaesion / Prof.B.Rubin

The very savvy columnist Spengler has kindly given me permission to quote in advance his column in the Asia Times. He writes:

"There's an economic dimension to the problem is quite worrying. Structural changes in the world food market will make jumps in the price of grains such as we had during the last few months and in 2007-2008 a regular occurrence. A spike in food prices were certainly a factor in the timing of the revolts.

The State of Human Rights at the United Nations / Hillel Neuer

Testimony of Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch
Before the Committee on Foreign Affairs
House of Representatives, United States Congress
January 25, 2010

Distinguished members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me to appear before you today. The urgent problem that I wish to address concerns the state of human rights at the United Nations.

Egypt - What Next? Col.(ret.)Dr.Jacques Neriah

How the Israeli Press Is Interpreting Obama’s Policy on EgyptEgypt – What Next?

Mubarak’s regime in Egypt is on the verge of collapse as the stalemate continues between the army and the crowds. The army is trying to exhaust the demonstrators and at the same time appear to the silent majority as the force which saves Egypt from anarchy. The army conducts nightly arrests, especially among members of the Muslim Brotherhood, but they soon regain their freedom as the crowds invade the regime’s prisons.

Egypt: The American Debate has gone Stark,Raving Crazy /Prof.B.Rubin

Egypt: The American Debate Has Gone Stark, Raving Crazy

February 3, 2011

As I pointed out recently the mass media in America generally presents only one side of the debate nowadays. Then, it publishes nonsense which survives because it is protected from the withering critique it deserves. And even people who should know better are just losing it.

Consider one example (Roger Cohen has gone beyond ridicule so let's focus on someone who should know better). I regret criticizing Robert Kagan of the Brookings Institution as he is one of the smarter, saner people.

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood: In Their Own Words / Jonathan D.Halevi

The Muslim Brotherhood has taken a greater role in organizing the protest against the Egyptian regime as it unfolds its independent political agenda. Rashad al-Bayumi, the Brotherhood's second-in-command, announced in an interview with Japanese TV that the group would join a transitional government in order to cancel the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, as it "offends the Arabs' dignity and destroys the interests of Egypt and other Arab states." He further stressed that Egypt does not need American aid.

PA Television :Anti - Israel Incitement Never Stopped / Prof. B.Rubin

04 Feb 2011 11:03 AM PST

The genuinely (relatively) moderate Palestinian Daoud Kuttab wrote an op-ed in The New York Times that beautifully shows the kind of thing Israel and Israelis and those friendly to Israel have to deal with daily.

He wrote:

"Palestine television, which falls under the president’s [Mahmoud Abbas's] powers, was totally revamped and cleaned of anti-Israeli incitement."

Turkey's Government :Cheer Egypt's Demonstrations:Suppress Those At Home / Prof.B.Rubin

04 Feb 2011 04:37 PM PST

Labor unions marched to protest the reduction of workers’ rights in Ankara. The government declared the demonstration illegal, gassed demonstrators, and police attacked the demonstrators. Opposition members of parliament were among those injured.

This event came one day after the government spokesman said, of Egypt, that governments must listen to the people. Since 2007, the stealth-Islamist AKP government has banned anti-government protests and broken up those that attempted to demonstrate.

Iran Views the Egyptian Revolution as Direct Continuation of Khomein's Revolution / Lt.Col.(ret.) Michael Segall

February 3, 2011

Iran perceives the Egyptian revolution as the direct continuation of the Islamist revolution of Ayatollah Khomeini. In Tehran’s view, the events in Egypt validate Iran’s political doctrine, according to which “true Islam” is the only alternative to the decades-long American hegemony in the Middle East and the path toward independence and the resurrection of the Islamic nations. Iran has stressed the similarities between the two nations and added that the fate of Mubarak will be similar to that of the Shah.

Saudi Arabia Contends with the Social Media Challenge / Joshua Teityelbaum

8 February 2011
Although they express admiration, Saudis and Gulf residents have no desire to see the chaos on the streets of Cairo and Tunis repeat itself in the squares of Jeddah and Riyadh. Gulf regimes are autocratic, but they do not engender the type of hatred demonstrated towards Mubarak and Ben Ali, and they do not run police states.

The Arab Gulf States and the Iranian Nuclear Challenge / Yoel Guzansky

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.

Egypt: The Muslim Brothers / Prof.B.Rubin

10 Feb 2011
A.How the West's Favorite Islamist Spins His Web to Ensnare Them

"The Islamic Ummah['s]...rightful position which was intended by Allah, [is] the most exalted nation among men, as the leaders of humanity....Jihad [is] 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..."
Mustafa Mashhur, Jihad Is The Way, (Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader, 1996-2002)

Egypt:The Muslim Brothers / Pfof.B.Rubin Part Two

C.Western Blindness on the Muslim Brotherhood's Extremism is Beyond Ridiculous

Doug Saunders, chief foreign affairs writer for Canada's Globe and Mail, considered the country's best newspaper, writes an article, "Who's Afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood?"

Answer: I am and so is every sensible person.

But I'm also afraid of the Doug Saunders of the world whose blindness is likely to produce disaster. Here's the key section:

Iran:Preconditions and Provocations / Lt.Col. (ret.)Michael Segall

February 10, 2011
The telling, if predictable, failure of the most recent talks with Iran concerning its nuclear ambitions highlights the country's intransigence, which is not likely to soften anytime soon.

For Iran, last month's talks in Turkey offered an opportunity to show how the center of power has shifted from Western dominance to Islamic hegemony under Tehran's leadership.

Iran's behavior during the talks in Istanbul once again demonstrated the limits of dialogue and engagement with the regime.

BBC: Jeremy Bowen and the Muslim Brothers / Ray Cook

Israel Diary – Jeremy Bowen in Wonderland
Ray Cook on February 1st, 2011
I had to laugh at BBC Middle East reporter Jeremy Bowen’s take on the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt on the BBC News website:

Unlike the jihadis, it does not believe it is at war with the West. It is conservative, relatively moderate and non-violent. But it is highly critical of Western policy in the Middle East.

Egypt:The Muslim Borothers / Prof.B.Rubin Part Three

How Do We Know What Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Wants? Because It Tells Us!

11 Feb 2011

In the scores of articles that have appeared about the Muslim Brotherhood, I have not seen scarcely a single one in a newspaper (here's a Los Angeles Times op-ed that does so) that suggests the group might cause some alarm. I have also not seen any mention of the Brotherhood’s political platform. Yet if you are going to analyze the attitudes of the Brotherhood might it not be of some use to consider its main political blueprint for Egypt's future?

Egypt:Mubarak's Last Salvo? Col.(ret.)DR.Jacques Neriah

February 13, 2011
The dramatic fifty-word statement on Feb.11 by Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman announcing that President Mubarak had decided to step down from the office of the President of the Republic and had charged the High Council of the Armed Forces with administering the affairs of the country has raised many questions about the whole procedure, its legality, and its relevance to the Egyptian Constitution.

In fact, the resignation statement does not comply to the formulations of the constitution and in fact is unconstitutional because of the following:

Martin Gilbert and the Warning from History / Ray Cook

12 Feb 2011
Well, I’ve been back for more than a week, but reading Martin Gilbert’s latest tour de force, ‘In Ishmael’s House’ (published by Yale) whilst I was in Israel and watching the outbreak of the Egyptian popular uprising, which also occurred whilst I was there, has given me much food for thought.

So I thought I’d take the liberty of extending my Israel diary from the comfort of my home in England.

Egypt:New Government Has no Illusions about the Muslim Brothers / Prof.B.Rubin

February 12, 2011
Pay close attention. This is an important signal of where the Egyptian regime is going. Tarek Heggy, one of Egypt’s most distinguished intellectuals and a man who, more than anyone else I know, predicted the course of events there, has written an analysis of the Muslim Brotherhood.

It is the best thing on the Brotherhood written recently and I think it reflects what Egypt’s current rulers believe.

A Middle East Political Earthquake? Amb.Zvi Mazel

February 14, 2011
Nobody knows if a democratic system will emerge in Egypt. During the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s, Egypt experienced a similar period when, under the leadership of the Wafd Party, liberal democracy was introduced. However, the democracy was fragile and was accompanied by violence from the Muslim Brotherhood and fascist groups.

What is the Real Meaning of Egypt's Revolution / Prof.B.Rubin

February 14, 2011
"The People Toppled the Government,” is al-Ahram's headline, and the general interpretation of the Egyptian revolution around the world. That's true but only partly true. Mubarak's pedestal was shaken by the people but he was pushed off it by the army and the establishment.

Let's remember something that nobody wants to hear right now. The revolution in Egypt succeeded because the army didn't want President Husni Mubarak any more. When people say things like: The army wouldn't shoot down its own people. Why? It has done so before.

The Egyptian Supreme Council under Field Marshal Tantawi / Col. (ret.)DR.Jacques Neriah

February 16, 2011
The Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces Under Field Marshal Tantawi: A Recipe for Revolution or More of the Same?

Egypt is ruled today by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, under the leadership of Field Marshal Muhammad Hussein Tantawi. The country is now ruled under military law, something which the masses did not expect and which does not fit in with the idea of democratic reform.

Faces of Israel - Hasbara Strikes Back / Ray Cook

16 Feb 2011
The Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora affairs in Israel today published its new-improved Hasbara initiative called Faces of Israel.

The plan involves a disparate group of young people representing a cross-section of Israeli society who will travel yo the USA and Canada initially and present a different image of Israel from the usual political, diplomatic and high-prestige personalities who are the norm.

Here is what is proposed:

End of An Era / Amb.Zvi Mazel

February 14, 2011 by
Nobody knows if a democratic system will emerge in Egypt. During the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s, Egypt experienced a similar period when, under the leadership of the Wafd Party, liberal democracy was introduced. However, the democracy was fragile and was accompanied by violence from the Muslim Brotherhood and fascist groups.


I never supported settlements. But,the settlement issue is not the major issue between Israel and the Palestinians. The real issue is the "right of return."

Until 1967 there were no settlements in Gaza or the Western bank. Still, the Palestinians rejected 4 opportunities to have a state along Israel because they were against a Jewish state altogether:

1936/7 – the Peel Commission proposed a Jewish and an Arab state to solve the conflict. The Jews agreed – the Palestinians rejected the proposal.

Egypt:The Muslim Brothers / Prof.B.Rubin Part Four

February 18, 2011
A.Qaradawi, World's Leading Islamist Tries to Take Charge of the Revolution

Let history show that neither the New York Times nor the Washington Post reported on the return of the world's single most important Islamic cleric to Cairo to begin what he hopes to be the transformation of Egypt inTo a revolutionary anti-American state.

Where is Tunisia Heading / Col.(ret.) DR.Jacques Neriah

February 21, 2011
It's not clear what role Libya is playing in developments in Tunisia. Mu'ammar Qaddafi, a close friend of deposed Tunisian President Ben Ali, contended that the Ben Ali regime was preferred by the Tunisians.

The elected Tunisian prime minister, Mohammed Ghannouchi, is himself a product of the Ben Ali system and his perspective is not assumed to differ from that of his predecessors. The composition of the interim Tunisian government demonstrates the direction the regime has chosen. The new faces in the government are all members of the legal opposition.

Libyan Massacres - UN Enquiries? Ray Cook

20 Feb 2011
I eagerly await the UN’s enquiry into the violent suppression of the popular demonstrations in Libya.

According to the latest reports there was what has been characterised as a ‘massacre’ by the BBC in Benghazi. At least 200 protesters have been killed.

But not just killed by executed by snipers with deliberately lethal shots to the head and heart.

Syria's Triumph in Lebanon: Au Revoir Les Ententes / Gary C.Gambill

Since the ignominious withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon in 2005, Damascus has managed to regain dominion over the country by exploiting its adversaries' conflicting interests and weak resolve.

As the Lebanese political crisis worsened, and their own situation became more perilous, their focus became more and more narrow; rather than rallying the Lebanese people to save their state, they focused on rallying foreign support… they remained at war with each other over strategy and control of policy.

Jordan's Future Challenges / Juan J.Stemmann

For years, King Abdallah has successfully steered Jordan's ship through the turbulent waters of a tempestuous regional context and a complex economic and social situation within the country. However, the country has not been immune to the wave of unrest sweeping the region following the revolts that toppled President Ben Ali in Tunisia and President Mubarak in Egypt, and the king will have to institute greater and more fundamental reforms in order to maintain the basic pact between the monarchy and the people and to prevent Jordanians from beginning to question the legitimacy of his rule.

The Most Moderate Democracy Advocate in Egypt Speaks / Prof/B.Rubin


-----------------------------------Television Interview on Egypt
Egypt: The Most Moderate Democracy Advocate Speaks And Says A Lot
23 Feb 2011

Although a little dated, you might find this television interview I did on the Egyptian revolution and its aftermath to be of interest.

There is no more courageous, sincere, and moderate person in Egypt than the blogger who is known as Sandmonkey. He faced serious harassment under the Mubarak regime and is a big supporter of the democracy movement in his country.

Libya:The End of the "L'enfant Terrible"? Col. (ret.) RD.Jacques Neriah

Libya, holder of Africa’s largest oil reserves, is the latest Arab nation to be rocked by protests that culminated in the ouster of Tunisia’s president and the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. But, unlike Tunisia, Egypt, and other “orderly” Arab states, any end of Kaddafi’s four-decade rule may not be enough to stabilize the country since Libya has no succession procedure.

Italian Auther Umberto Eco Against Boycotting Israel

February 24, 2011
Celebrated Italian novelist Umberto Eco yesterday challenged those who advocate cultural boycotts and said that censuring artists because of actions committed by their governments was akin to racism.

Eco, a guest of the 25th Jerusalem International Book Fair, made the comments at a press conference.

Italian writer Umberto Eco speaking during a press conference at the 25th Annual Book Fair in Jerusalem, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011.

Western Media and the Middle East / Prof. B.Rubin

A.Media and Middle East: Wow, These People Are Repressive Dictators! Who Knew?
B.Egypt: The Muslim Brotherhood and Democracy: Listen to Those Who Know Best
23 Feb 2011

A.For those of us who have been trying to talk about Middle East dictators for a long time--I wrote my book on the subject, Modern Dictators, more than a quarter-century ago--it is amusing to see how people are lining up to be "horrified" by those evil repressive regimes.

Nothing Lasts For Ever: Even the most Glittering Reign / DR.Israel Bar-Nir

Even the Longest, the Most Glittering Reign Must Come to an End Someday
24 February 2011

Iran and Human Rights:Another UN Face / Mehrtash Rastegar

24 February 2011
While the Iranian police are using tear gas and electric prods to crack down on anti-government protesters, the UN Commission on the Status of Women is preparing to welcome the Islamic Republic as its newest member when its 56th session gets under way in New York.

Americans:Buy Israeli Goods on March 30 to Counter Boycott Movement

Campaigners call on American shoppers to buy Israeli goods on 30 March to counter boycott movement
25 February 2011

UN Human Rights Council reads my Blog / Ray Cook

Is Judge Richard Goldstone packing his bag for Tripoli
26 Feb 2011

Last week I accused the UNHRC of double-standards for not calling for an enquiry into Gadaffi’s attack on his own citizens.

Today, at last, they have listened to me.

See the UN News centre report here.

The United Nations Human Rights Council today strongly condemned the recent violence in Libya and ordered an international inquiry into alleged abuses, while also recommending that the country’s membership in the UN’s top human rights body be suspended.

Egypt's Revolution:The More They Reassure Us, The More Wy Worry / Prof.B.Rubin

24 Feb 2011
I think I was the first person to warn that the Egyptian revolution wasn't all roses but also had a dangerous amount of thorns. And the more Western governments and media reassure us, the more we worry. Why? Because it shows they have no idea what they are facing and no idea of what they are doing.

Egypt's Future Starts Coming Into Focus:There's Good News and Bad News / Prof.B.Rubin

February 27, 2011
“All that [glitters] is not gold;
Often have you heard that told...
Gilded tombs do worms enfold….
--William Shakespeare, “Merchant of Venice”

Is this the long-awaited Arab Spring of Democracy or is it a stealth Islamist revolution? Every country is different and most governments other than Egypt and Tunisia, possibly Bahrain, Yemen, and Libya, will survive. One should not assume the results will be the blessings of democracy or the sufferings of an even worse dictatorship. Facts, not assumptions, should produce conclusions.