Obama’s Transparent Presidency

President Barack Obama promised that his would be the most transparent administration in US history. And the truth is, it was. At least in relation to his policies toward the Muslim world, Obama told us precisely what he intended to do and then he did it.

A mere week remains of Obama’s tenure in office. But Obama remains intent on carrying on as if he will never leave power. He has pledged to continue to implement his goals for the next week and then to serve as the most outspoken ex-president in US history.

In all of Obama’s recent appearances, his message is one of vindication. I came. I succeeded. I will continue to succeed. I represent the good people, the people of tomorrow. My opponents represent the Manichean, backward past. We will fight them forever and we will prevail.

Tuesday Obama gave his final interview to the Israeli media to Ilana Dayan from Channel 2’s Uvda news magazine. Dayan usually tries to come off as an intellectual. On Tuesday’s show, she cast aside professionalism however, and succumbed to her inner teenybopper. Among her other questions, she asked Obama the secret to his preternatural ability to touch people’s souls.

The only significant exchange in their conversation came when Dayan asked Obama about the speech he gave on June 4, 2009, in Cairo. Does he still stand by all the things he said in that speech? Would he give that speech again today, given all that has since happened in the region, she asked.

Absolutely, Obama responded.

The speech, he insisted was “aspirational” rather than programmatic. And the aspirations that he expressed in that address were correct.

If Dayan had been able to put aside her hero worship for a moment, she would have stopped Obama right then and there. His claim was preposterous.

But, given her decision to expose herself as a slobbering groupie, Dayan let it slide.

To salvage the good name of the journalism, and more important, to understand Obama’s actual record and its consequences, it is critical however to return to that speech.

Obama’s speech at Cairo University was the most important speech of his presidency. In it he laid out both his “aspirational” vision of relations between the West and the Islamic world and his plans for implementing his vision. The fundamentally transformed world he will leave President-elect Donald Trump to contend with next Friday was transformed on the basis of that speech.

Obama’s address that day at Cairo University lasted for nearly an hour. In the first half he set out his framework for understanding the nature of the US’s relations with the Muslim world and the relationship between the Western world and Islam more generally. He also expressed his vision for how that relationship should change.

The US-led West he explained had sinned against the Muslim world through colonialism and racism.

It needed to make amends for its past and make Muslims feel comfortable and respected, particularly female Muslims, covered from head to toe.

As for the Muslims, well, September 11 was wrong but didn’t reflect the truth of Islam, which is extraordinary. Obama thrice praised “the Holy Koran.” He quoted it admiringly. He waxed poetic in his appreciation for all the great contributions Islamic civilization has made to the world – he even made up a few. And he insisted falsely that Islam has always been a significant part of the American experience.

In his dichotomy between two human paths – the West’s and Islam’s – although he faulted the records of both, Obama judged the US and the West more harshly than Islam.

In the second half of his address, Obama detailed his plans for changing the West’s relations with Islam in a manner that reflected the true natures of both.

In hindsight, it is clear that during the seven and a half years of his presidency that followed that speech, all of Obama’s actions involved implementing the policy blueprint he laid out in Cairo.

He never deviated from the course he spelled out.

Obama promised to withdraw US forces from Iraq regardless of the consequences. And he did.

He promised he would keep US forces in Afghanistan but gave them no clear mission other than being nice to everyone and giving Afghans a lot of money. And those have been his orders ever since.

Then he turned his attention to Israel and the Palestinians. Obama opened this section by presenting his ideological framework for understanding the conflict. Israel he insisted was not established out of respect of the Jews’ national rights to their historic homeland. It was established as a consolation prize to the Jews after the Holocaust.

That is, Israel is a product of European colonialism, just as Iran and Hamas claim.

In contrast, the Palestinians are the indigenous people of the land. They have been the primary victims of the colonial West’s post-Holocaust guilty conscience. Their suffering is real and legitimate.

Hamas’s opposition to Israel is legitimate, he indicated. Through omission, Obama made clear that he has no ideological problem with Hamas – only with its chosen means of achieving its goal.

Rather than fire missiles at Israel, he said, Hamas should learn from its fellow victims of white European colonialist racists in South Africa, in India, and among the African-American community.

Like them Hamas should use nonviolent means to achieve its just aims.

Obama’s decision attack Israel at the UN Security Council last month, his attempts to force Israel to accept Hamas’s cease-fire demands during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, his consistent demand that Israel renounce Jewish civil and property rights in united Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, his current refusal to rule out the possibility of enabling another anti-Israel resolution to pass at the Security Council next week, and his contempt for the Israeli Right all are explained, envisioned and justified explicitly or implicitly in his Cairo speech.

One of the more notable but less discussed aspects of Obama’s assertion that the Palestinians are in the right and Israel is in the wrong in the speech, was his embrace of Hamas. Obama made no mention of the PLO or the Palestinian Authority or Fatah in his speech. He mentioned only Hamas – the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which shares the Brotherhood’s commitment to annihilating Israel and wiping out the Jewish people worldwide.

Sitting in the audience that day in Cairo were members of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.

Then-Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak rightly viewed Obama’s insistence that the brothers be invited to his address as a hostile act. Due to this assessment, Mubarak boycotted the speech and refused to greet Obama at the Cairo airport.

Two years later, Obama supported Mubarak’s overthrow and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to replace him.

Back to the speech.

Having embraced the Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian branch, branded Israel a colonial implant and discredited the US’s moral claim to world leadership, Obama turned his attention to Iran.

Obama made clear that his intention as president was to appease the ayatollahs. America he explained had earned their hatred because in 1953 the CIA overthrew the pro-Soviet regime in Iran and installed the pro-American shah in its place.

True, since then the Iranians have done all sorts of mean things to America. But America’s original sin of intervening in 1953 justified Iran’s aggression.

Obama indicated that he intended to appease Iran by enabling its illicit nuclear program to progress.

Ignoring the fact that Iran’s illegal nuclear program placed it in material breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Obama argued that as an NPT signatory, Iran had a right to a peaceful nuclear program. As for the US and the rest of the members of the nuclear club, Obama intended to convince everyone to destroy their nuclear arsenals.

And in the succeeding years, he took a hacksaw to America’s nuclear force.

After Obama’s speech in Cairo, no one had any cause for surprise at the reports this week that he approved the transfer of 116 tons of uranium to Iran. Likewise, no one should have been surprised by his nuclear deal or by his willingness to see Iran take over Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. No one should be surprised by his cash payoffs to the regime or his passivity in the face of repeated Iranian acts of aggression against US naval vessels in the Strait of Hormuz.

Everything that Obama has done since he gave that speech was alluded to or spelled out that day.

Certainly, nothing he has done was inconsistent with what he said.

The consequences of Obama’s worldview and the policies he laid out in Cairo have been an unmitigated disaster for everyone. The Islamic world is in turmoil. The rising forces are those that Obama favored that day: The jihadists.

ISIS, which Obama allowed to develop and grow, has become the ideological guide not only of jihadists in the Middle East but of Muslims in the West as well. Consequently it has destabilized not only Iraq and Syria but Europe as well. As the victims of the Islamist massacres in San Bernardino, Boston, Ft. Hood, Orlando and beyond can attest, American citizens are also paying the price for Obama’s program.

Thanks to Obama, the Iranian regime survived the Green Revolution. Due to his policies, Iran is both the master of its nuclear fate and the rising regional hegemon.

Together with its Russian partners, whose return to regional power after a 30-year absence Obama enabled, Iran has overseen the ethnic cleansing and genocide of Sunnis in Syria and paved the way for the refugee crisis that threatens the future of the European Union.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s Islamist leader, was a principle beneficiary of Obama’s admiration of Islamism. Erdogan rode Obama’s wave to destroy the last vestiges of the secular Turkish Republic.

Now he is poised to leave NATO in favor of an alliance with Russia.

Obama and his followers see none of this. Faithful only to their ideology, Obama and his followers in the US and around the world refuse to see the connection between the policies borne of that ideology and their destructive consequences. They refuse to recognize that the hatred for Western civilization and in particular of the Jewish state Obama gave voice to in Cairo, and his parallel expression of admiration for radical Islamic enemies of the West, have had and will continue to have horrific consequences for the US and for the world as a whole.

Cairo is Obama’s legacy. His followers’ refusal to acknowledge this truth means that it falls to those Obama reviles to recognize the wages of the most transparent presidency in history. It is their responsibility to undo the ideological and concrete damage to humanity the program he first unveiled in that address and assiduously implemented ever since has wrought.

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post. 

What Will Replace ISIS?

Originally published on Sultan Knish.

Before long the same administration that declared the fighting in Iraq over several times will claim victory over ISIS. The timetable for its push against the Islamic State appears to have less do with the victimized Christians and Yazidis who have been prevented from coming here as refugees in favor of Syrian Muslims than with the Clinton presidential campaign. Like Obama’s declarations that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were over, the announcement that ISIS has been defeated will be premature.

It is based on a profound misunderstanding and misreading of Islamic terrorism.

Long before its current string of defeats, ISIS had begun evolving into another Al Qaeda; a multinational alliance of Jihadists scattered around the world. Bombing Mosul isn’t hard, but try bombing Marseille, Brussels or London. There is no doubt that the ability of ISIS to temporarily establish a caliphate allowed it to build a network that could carry out terror attacks from New York to Miami to Nice to Munich. But it would be dangerous to assume that losing Iraq and Syria will stop ISIS.

ISIS doesn’t matter. The idea of ISIS does. And the idea of ISIS is Islamic supremacism.

The organization we think of ISIS has transformed and rebranded countless times. Even now our leaders vacillate between calling it ISIS, ISIL or, more childishly, Daesh, while it dubs itself the Islamic State. We have been fighting it in one form or another for over a decade. It would be unrealistically optimistic to assume that the war will end just as this old enemy has shown its ability to strike deep in our own cities.

The bigger error though is to think that we are fighting an organization. We are fighting an idea. That is not to contend, as Obama does, that we can debate it to death. It is not the sort of idea that argues with words, but with bullets, bombs and swords. But neither does it just go away if you seize a city.

Al Qaeda in Iraq not only survived the death of Zarqawi, but it became even more dangerous under Baghdadi. It would be risky to assume that ISIS will die with him. Instead it may very well grow into a new phase of Al Qaeda, one that ties together some of the world’s deadliest Islamic terror groups into a network that is decentralized enough that it will not suffer from Al Qaeda’s leadership fatigue.

The rise of Islamic terrorism has been an incremental process in which new groups learn from the mistakes of the old and supersede them. If ISIS does recede into a localized oblivion, reemerging only on occasion to suicide bomb something or someone in Baghdad, then a deadlier and even more effective group is likely to take its place. Each group will move one step closer to realizing the caliphate.

To break the cycle, we must confront the idea of the caliphate at the heart of Islamic terrorism.

ISIS is not un-Islamic. It is ruthlessly and uncompromisingly Islamic in that, unlike its predecessors in the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda, it makes the fewest compromises to civilizational sensibilities. Its goals are the same as those of every Islamic political organization, including those dubbed moderate. It seeks to restore and enforce an Islamic system in every part of the Muslim world before moving on to conquer and subjugate the non-Muslim world. If this were merely some fringe belief held by a tiny minority of extremists, then it could be bombed to pieces in some Syrian or Iraqi backwater.

But it’s the driving force of Islam. That’s why it won’t go away. No amount of appeasement will banish it.

Taking in more Muslim settlers, pressuring Israel and letting the Muslim Brotherhood colonize our foreign policy won’t do it. We’ve tried it and it actually makes Islamic terrorism much worse.

When the announcement is made, the usual suspects will pat themselves on the back for having defeated ISIS by mobilizing a Muslim coalition. But it wasn’t Obama who mobilized a Muslim coalition. The coalition, such as it was, mobilized them. Obama provided useful support to Islamic state sponsors of terror, such as Iran and Turkey, assorted Islamic Jihadists on the ground, some blatantly associated with Sunni and Shiite terror groups in their internal Jihadist conflict with ISIS over who will fight us.

The “allies” we are aiding today will be the ones bombing us tomorrow.

And that is why claiming credit for beating ISIS accomplishes nothing. ISIS is an expression of an Islamic impulse encoded in the Koran. Islamic groups differ in the tactical expression of that impulse. ISIS was nastier and uglier than most of the Islamic terror groups we had dealt with before this. Though even it found its Boko Haram affiliate in Nigeria occasionally a little too much to stomach.

If ISIS vanishes from the world stage, Islamic terrorism will be easier to dismiss. Or so the thinking goes. The Islamic State was better at viral videos than the media that tried to whitewash Islamic terror. It was hard to ignore. But a scattering of Islamic terror groups around the world will be forgotten by the public.

History suggests that’s wishful thinking.

Islamic terrorism has shown no signs of receding. Growing Muslim populations, both at home and in Muslim settlements in the West, and the increase in travel and communications, the infrastructure of globalism, spread it from the most backward to the most advanced parts of the world. Wealthy and unstable Muslim countries, rich in oil but poor in power, finance its spread through mosques and guns.

These are the ingredients that give us ISIS or any other combination or letters that stands for Islamic terror. To do anything meaningful about it, we would have to reverse the decline of the West.

Islam originally spread into a vacuum created by civilizational decline. Civilizational decline is why it is rising once again. An obscure local terror group eventually turned into ISIS by filling a power vacuum. Even as Obama performs another touchdown dance, some other group will be making that same journey. Its mission will be the familiar one of replacing our civilization with its own.

Until we come to terms with this civilizational struggle, we will go on fighting endless wars in the sand and coping with endless terror attacks in our own cities because we have failed to recognize the nature of the enemy. We are not fighting an acronym, whether it’s ISIS or ISIL; we are fighting an Islamic State.

This is a war to determine whether the future will belong to the West or to Islam.



Terrorism is a Mindset

(Our correspondent from Pashtun Times shares his thoughts on the source of radical Islam)

Terrorism. Extremism. Fundamentalism. Violence. Killing innocents. What exactly do we talk; or justify about? Is it the act of it? Or is it the thought process? Is it the action? Or is it the thinking and ideology behind the action? Is it really the 72 virgins or is it just the self-satisfaction of being harmful? Is it about trying hard to show how we can dominate the others to respect us of fear? Thinking fear is the only ultimate way to enforce a belief? Or are the 72 virgins more important than the family and the crying mother he is leaving behind? Is it the crying mother or actually a proud mother who is by thinking her son did a great job and maybe the son also knows about it? And if so why? Because this world is not giving her son the virgin when he needs? Or is it that he has nothing in life to do except read just one book in life and stay worthless and jobless? Therefore before dying herself the mother wants to see the end of her son’s struggle on earth? Whatever is the reasoning, these are not individualistic one off cases- as such cases are so many. And it is not just any result of just a few individual’s or family frustrations. It is a common phenomenon seen.

First let us get a few fundamental concepts right. Poverty is not an excuse for crime. And war is not a reason for producing future criminals. Bin Laden belonged to a very rich family and so do many other terrorists. There are millions of poor Muslims in India too. If war would have created terrorists then Vietnam would have been hub of global terrorists and a few other nations too. So stop blaming USA and any local civil war either. Of course Islam as a whole can never be blamed either because 200 million Malaysians and almost 175 million Indian Muslims are not terrorists. More importantly, only handful and very few brainwasher Imams and Molvis cannot be blamed alone either. Equally responsible are the societies where these people are born; the people they grow up with; the things they see and hear around them, throughout their lives. In the lands of Wahabis there are very few blasts. Why? Only because their law and order, police and army are more strong and strict? Or because they keep their land safe and fund terrorism outside in other Muslim countries? Even if that is true what is it that provokes people of those other countries to do the acts of terrorism? Is it only the misinterpretation of a holy book? Is it really that simple? Even if we accept that they are taught these things and are trained from childhood in Madrassahs then the question is whom to blame eventually? The preachers or the parents who are willingly sending their children there? Doing suicide blast is equal to burning after death which is Haram. How that will give Jannath/paradise? Plus if they are not Muslims after hanging let their bodies be burnt.

A Hindu friend, Prithwi Banerjee, told me that he is living and working in Afghanistan for over 7 years  with so much of pleasure, happiness and friendliness with all the Muslims around him. He said that he knows very well how much the Muslims in Afghanistan hate terrorism.

So, it also does not look good that the entire community is blamed for a few people. Moreover, it looks worse when people give justification of Islam is religion of peace as there is no need of that. Rather such justification makes things worse. If few people start saying that some of us are really so very bad people and are motivated by some of us only; then and only then they will start getting the proper empathy from everyone else globally. Justification makes them more close to the criminals. And telling all that terrorists have no religion is also like giving another unnecessary justification which does not change anything. More justifications like only 1 out of 10,000 are like this, Muslims are killing only Muslims so how you call them they are Muslims, and Islam prohibits killing of innocents; makes things worse. Everyone knows that. No need to justify. Are you saying that if they kill non-Muslims then we can call them to be true Muslims? Statements like ‘If the killers kill in the name of Allah or kill those people who does not know Kalma that does not make them followers of Allah’; this is not required. What is required is very sensible thinking for the entire society.

It has to be accepted that just doing blast, suicide attack or any other sort of attack on innocents are not the only part of terrorism. The real sort is in thinking process. Did the misinterpretors of the Koran come from Mars? No. Did those disciples of such hate preachers come from Moon? No. Are they creating any book of their own and misinterpreting it? No. Do they have any print media of their own and is it a global nexus of any sort? No. Then from where such thoughts of such acts are coming? It is coming from basic core thought process of the society. And that has to change. That social thought process is provoking the misinterpretations of the Koran. Even if the 1400 years old context means something drastic, today’s globalized thought should not take the wrong meaning out of that. When there is pure hatred of each and every citizen towards these people then nobody will give them shelter and then you will not need police or army to kill or capture them. If this does not change one cannot blame only the terrorists for doing wrong because then everyone is equally responsible. And those who are killing they do not think they are killing the innocent. They think anyone who is non follower is criminal. Word of Jihad is not their invention at least. Almost everyone needs to change themselves from inside to make sure these things stop. So stop blaming outsiders only. A small child does that. Blaming another boy in school for doing the wrong thing. Without internal motivation how can external motivation effect so hard? Without demand how can continuous supply work? Examples of such thoughts need to change:

  1. Thinking my God is better than yours
  2. Thinking this is the best religion – all others are rubbish
  3. Thinking Israel is pure Jews – but still ISIS is not Muslim
  4. Having soft corner for them who provoke Jihadi thought
  5. Being happy when US Army convoy is hit by the Taliban
  6. Being again and again fooled in the name of brotherhood
  7. Not being able to accept science in modern education
  8. Saying Congrats of Eid on Facebook only to all Muslims
  9. Being happy that Zakir Naik “defeated” Sri Sri in debate
  10. Saying Shah Rukh is our’s but unaware of Selina Jethley

I can go on. The list will become more than 50 and not just 10, but next time. There is shortage of space and time now. But I hope I have been able to clarify my points. And those people, who will show extremist reaction to this post, they are actually the very good examples of what I am talking about, where lies the real problem, and what they must change in themselves and their children. Always remember that getting rid of the responsibility by saying they do not belong to us is not a solution to save oneself. Would you have accepted a same reaction and logic of terrorism if people of another faith carry on the same thing? So stop making up fake stories of which big country is behind this and start counting how many millions of your own people indirectly supports or at least in the heart enjoys any such thing that happens. Think. There is time. And surely Allah needs you. To be a part who will actually start to get into the root of all these things and bring the peace back. Or else – the Dajjal being born and grown inside will finish everybody.