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FTR #739 Turkish Taffy, Part 3

Gamaa al Islamiya: Check out the "Moderate" in the middle

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Introduction: This broadcast concludes a long series of programs, enfolding coverage of the WikiLeaks phenomenon with the coups and uprisings in the Middle East. (This complicated, deep analysis is synopsized in FTR #737.) Assessing Egypt, Libya and other countries affected by the “youthquake” in the Middle East, the broadcast analyzes the alleged “moderation” of the Islamist forces looming on the political horizon.

After reviewing the Al-Qaeda links of the Libyan fighters enjoying NATO  support, the program highlights the growing presence of Muslm Brotherhood terrorist outcroppings on the Egyptian political scene.

Wael Ghonim: Is he an Islamist?

Brotherhood offshoot Gamaa al Islamiya has been particularly visible in the wake of the Piggy-Back Coup, featuring convicted assassins of Anwar Sadat recycled as “democrats.”

Other terrorist elements who may benefit from the turmoil include al-Qaeda-linked elements in Yemen and Hezbollah.

A significant feature of the program concerns developments in Turkey. Billed as “moderates” and seen as a role model for emerging Islamist movements in the Middle East, the regime of Mr. Erdogan has seen the rise of the Gulen forces–again billed as “moderates.” Being investigated by the FBI for activities, the Gulen elements have apparently forged links inside of the Turkish secret police.

Program Highlights Include: The opinion that Egyptian Islamists want a secular government that will fail, ushering them into power in the wake of popular disillusionment; Egyptian uprising figure Wael Ghonim’s founding of an apparently Islamist website; Turkish security forces’ destruction of a book revealing Gulen penetration of that country’s police and intelligence establishments; a WikiLeaks “disclosure” about Mossad links with Bahrain and other Middle Eastern countries experiencing upheaval–a fact that may well polarize the populations of those countries and lead to war with Israel.

1. Turning to the subject of the Libyan conflict, the program reviews the fact that NATO fighters are helping forces aligned with al-Qaeda.

In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr al-Hasidi admitted that he had recruited “around 25” men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, are “today are on the front lines in Adjabiya”.

Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters “are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,” but added that the “members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader”.

His revelations came even as Idriss Deby Itno, Chad’s president, said al-Qaeda had managed to pillage military arsenals in the Libyan rebel zone and acquired arms, “including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries”.

Mr al-Hasidi admitted he had earlier fought against “the foreign invasion” in Afghanistan, before being “captured in 2002 in Peshwar, in Pakistan”. He was later handed over to the US, and then held in Libya before being released in 2008. . . .

“Libyan Rebel Commander Admits His Fighters Have al-Qaeda Links” by Praveen Swami, Nick Squires and Duncan Gardham; The Telegraph [UK]; 3/25/2011.

2. More on the Libyan fighter/al Qaeda link:

America is now at war to protect a Libyan province that’s been an epicenter of anti-American jihad.

In recent years, at mosques throughout eastern Libya, radical imams have been “urging worshippers to support jihad in Iraq and elsewhere,” according to WikiLeaked cables. More troubling: The city of Derna, east of Benghazi, was a “wellspring” of suicide bombers that targeted U.S. troops in Iraq.

By imposing a no-fly zone over Eastern Libya, the U.S. and its coalition partners have effectively embraced the breakaway republic of Cyrenaica. As you can see on the map above, Libya is a mashup of three historically distinct provinces. As recently as the 1940s, Cyrenaica was an independent emirate, with its capital in Benghazi.

The emnity between Cyrenaica and Tripolitania runs deep. The Emir of Cyrenaica awkwardly cobbled together modern Libya and ruled as its monarch. This is the same king that Qaddafi deposed in his coup of 1969. And the Qaddafi regime has seen the former king’s homeland as a threat ever since, as this Wikileaked cable from our Tripoli embassy explains:

Eastern Libya had suffered … from a lack of investment and government resources, part of a campaign by the al-Qadhafi regime to keep the area poor and, theoretically, less likely to develop as a viable alternative locus of power to Tripoli.

Another cable reports that the disrespect is mutual:

Residents of eastern Libya … view the al-Qadhafa clan [Qaddafi’s tribe] as uneducated, uncouth interlopers from an inconsequential part of the country who have “stolen” the right to rule in Libya.

That’s the background. Flash forward to 2008: A West Point analysis of a cache of al Qaeda records discovered that nearly 20 percent of foreign fighters in Iraq were Libyans, and that on a per-capita basis Libya nearly doubled Saudi Arabia as the top source of foreign fighters.

The word “fighter” here is misleading. For the most part, Libyans didn’t go to Iraq to fight; they went to blow themselves up — along with American G.I.’s. (Among those whose “work” was detailed in the al Qaeda records, 85 percent of the Libyans were listed as suicide bombers.) Overwhelmingly, these militants came “from cities in North‐East Libya, an area long known for Jihadi‐linked militancy.” [UPDATE: West Point’s Combatting Terrorism Center refused to comment on its own report.]

A WikiLeaked cable from 2008 explained that Cyrenaicans were waging jihad against U.S. troops as “a last act of defiance against the Qadhafi regime.” After the U.S. normalized relations with Qaddaffi in 2006, Cyrenacians believed they no longer had any shot at toppling him:

Many easterners feared the U.S. would not allow Qadhafi’s regime to fall and therefore viewed direct confrontation with the GOL [Government of Libya] in the near-term as a fool’s errand…. Fighting against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq represented a way for frustrated young radicals to strike a blow against both Qadhafi and against his perceived American backers.

The epicenter of Libyan jihadism is the city of Derna — the hometown of more than half of Libya’s foreign fighters, according the West Point analysis. The city of 80,000 has a history of violent resistance to occupying powers — including Americans, who captured the city in the First Barbary War.

A surprisingly readable cable titled “Die Hard in Derna” makes clear that the city “takes great pride” in having sent so many of its sons to kill American soldiers in Iraq, quoting one resident as saying: “It’s jihad — it’s our duty, and you’re talking about people who don’t have much else to be proud of.”

“U.S. Bombs Libya, Helps . . . Jihadists?!”; Rolling Stone; 3/21/2011.

3. In Yemen, the passing of the old order may weaken U.S. counter-terrorism capabilities.

Counterterrorism operations in Yemen have ground to a halt, allowing al-Qaida’s deadliest branch outside of Pakistan to operate more freely inside the country and to increase plotting for possible attacks against Europe and the United States, U.S. diplomats, intelligence analysts and counterterrorism officials say.

In the political tumult surrounding Yemen’s embattled president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, many Yemeni troops have abandoned their posts or have been summoned to the capital, Sanaa, to help support the tottering government, the officials said. Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the group’s affiliate, has stepped in to fill this power vacuum, and Yemeni security forces have come under increased attacks in recent weeks. . . .

“Unrest in Yemen Is Seen as an Opening to a Branch of al-Qaida” by Eric Schmitt [New York Times]; San Jose Mercury News; 4/4/2011.

4. The media darling of the Egyptian uprising–Google marketing executive Wael Ghonim–set up what appears to be an Islamist website (albeit a relatively “modern” one). A graduate of American University in Cairo (at which Muslim Brotherhood-linked elements embrace the economic theories of Ibn Khaldun), Ghonim is alleged to have developed one of the most popular websites in the Arab World.

Is Ghonim an Islamist? Is he Muslim Brotherhood?

We may be fairly confident that the driving elements behind what we have termed “the Piggy-Back Coup” will doubtless assure us of the “moderate” nature of the site and its contents. An English version of the website (perhaps edited for Western consumption) is available here.

. . . 1998–2002 – Helped in the launch of one of the most visited websites in the Arab world (http://www.islamway.com) . . .

“Wael Ghonim”; Wikipedia.org.

5. The forces of Gamma al Islamiya–a Muslim Brotherhood offshoot that assassinated Anwar Sadat and executed the Luxor massacre of 1997–is joining the “moderation” dance in Egypt. (Gamma al Islamiya is also tied to Sheikh Rahman, convicted in connection with the first World Trade Center attack.)

Nageh Ibrahim once spoke of slaying infidels and creating an Islamic state that would stretch from the Nile Delta to the vast deserts of Egypt’s south. Today he lives in a high-rise with a view of the Mediterranean Sea and has the soothing voice of a man who could lead a 12-step program on rejecting radicalism.

Ibrahim’s group, Gamaa al Islamiya, plotted notorious attacks, including the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat and the massacre at an ancient Luxor temple that killed 62 people, mostly tourists, in 1997. He spent 24 years in jail reading the Koran and tempering the rage of his youth.

“We were young and we took extreme measures. But now we’re old men and our time in prison has made us wiser,” he said. “Al Qaeda and Islamic militancy have lost their glamour. Look at what has happened. The young saw that violence didn’t bring change to Egypt, a peaceful revolution did.”

Ibrahim is one of an increasing number of ultraconservative and moderate Islamists seeking a political voice in a new Egypt. Since the downfall in February of President Hosni Mubarak, who for three decades kept religion far from the center of power, the Islamist message is unshackled. The Muslim Brotherhood, the largest opposition party, expects a strong showing in September’s parliamentary elections.

The secular reformers and twentysomething urbanites at the vanguard of the Jan. 25 revolution have found themselves eclipsed. They lack experience and grass-roots networks to compete with the Brotherhood and other religious groups that have quietly stoked their passions for this moment. In a sense, Mubarak’s obsession with both co-opting and crushing Islamists instilled in them the discipline and organization that now propels their political agendas. . . .

“Islamists in Egypt Seek Change through Politics” by Jeffrey Fleishman; Los Angeles Times; 4/2/2011.

6. An article from the Asia Times highlights an interesting possibility–that Muslim Brotherhood in
Egypt (and elsewhere?) wants a secular government in place to fail, and thus prepare the way for an Islamist government.

There are already signs that women, Coptic Christians and other, previously oppressed/marginalized segments of Egyptian society are on the receiving end of violent repression.

In an ironic twist, the referendum and the declaration pitted the old enemies – the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and Mubarak’s National Democratic Party (NDP) – against the liberal youth movement.

The liberals were particularly disappointed by the ICD, pointing out that the declaration includes 80% of the old constitution, including ”an outdated socialist quota” stipulating that half of the seats in the parliament are reserved for workers and farmers. A lot of ambiguity remained concerning when and by whom a more permanent constitution would be drafted, and what that would look like. ”Any modification or amendment of the current constitution will not achieve the aspirations of the people” said Ayman Nour, one of the leaders of the youth movement and former presidential candidate, in a recent interview with Asharq Al-Awsat.

At this point, the ICD was not a major surprise: the declaration followed, with some additions, the amendments considered at the referendum. Tension has been brewing for some time now, and another leader of the liberals, Mohamed ElBaradei, was physically attacked by Islamists during the voting. The ”25 January Revolutionary Youth Coalition,” including ElBaradei and Nour, largely voted ”No” in the polls, over concerns that the changes were insufficient and would not allow enough time for the opposition to organize for the elections.

The amendments, which opened the way for parliamentary and presidential elections this summer, benefited unfairly already established parties such as the NDP and the MB, the liberals claimed. The ”25 January,” on the other hand, considers itself a movement, and lacks grassroots party structures that are of vital importance in elections. It has threatened to organize a new ”million-man protest” on Friday, April 8, if broad demands, including tougher measures against former Mubarak regime officials, are not met.

Previously, I projected that the army and the Muslim Brotherhood may prop up a secular democratic government with hopes of using it as a scapegoat when the economy takes a turn to the worse, the political reforms stagnate, and disillusionment sets in. [1] Despite the spike in tensions, this is still a possibility, and it is important to note that the three main presidential candidates so far, Amr Moussa, Mohamed ElBaradei and Ayman Nour, are representatives of the liberal opposition. [Italics are mine–D.E] . . .

. . .
A government without a real power base is a disaster for democracy at a minimum, and most likely for the general well-being of society as well. The alternatives are not very good – or clear – either. Meanwhile, sectarian violence is soaring. Thirteen people were killed in clashes between Muslims and Coptic Christians in Cairo on March 9, an incident that came on the heels of several deadly attacks against Copts (who make up at least 10% of Egypt’s population) in the last months. More recently, on Sunday a group of terrorists attacked the Egypt-Israel natural gas pipeline for the second time in two months; the bomb they planted failed to explode.

Other worrisome internal developments include reports that women protesters were subjected to torture and humiliation by the army last month, including pseudo-scientific forced virginity tests. . .

“Egypt Moved by Deep Waters” by Victor Kotsev; Asian Times; 4/2/2011.

7.  Among the newly-minted “moderates” defining the Egyptian political landscape is one of Sadat’s assassins!

Abboud al-Zomor — the former intelligence officer who supplied the bullets that killed President Anwar el-Sadat and is Egypt’s most notorious newly released prisoner — waxes enthusiastic about ending the violent jihad he once led.

”The ballot boxes will decide who will win at the end of the day,” Mr. Zomor said during an interview in his large family compound in this hamlet on Cairo’s western edge. ”There is no longer any need for me to use violence against those who gave us our freedom and allowed us to be part of political life.”

In its drive to create a perfect Islamic state, his Islamic Group and other groups like it were once synonymous with some of the bloodiest terrorist attacks in Egypt. But they are now leaping aboard the democracy bandwagon, alarming those who believe that religious radicals are seeking to put in place strict Islamic law through ballots.

The public approval of the constitutional amendments on March 19 provided an early example of Islamist political muscle, the victory achieved in no small part by framing the yes vote as a religious duty. But perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Islamist campaign was the energy invested by religious organizations that once damned the democratic process as a Western, infidel innovation masterminded to undermine God’s laws.

Mr. Zomor, 64, with his bushy gray beard and nearly 30 years in prison, has emerged as a high-profile spokesman for that sea change since he was released on March 12.

He and other Salafis, or Islamic fundamentalists, rhapsodize about founding political parties and forging alliances with the more mainstream Muslim Brotherhood to maximize the religious vote.

Several reasons lie behind this remarkable turnabout, according to senior religious sheiks, junior members and experts.

Foremost is the desire to protect, if not strengthen, the second amendment of Egypt’s Constitution, which enshrines Shariah, or Islamic law, as the main source of Egyptian law. The parliament to be elected in September will guide the drafting of a new constitution.

”If the constitution is a liberal one this will be catastrophic,” said Sheik Abdel Moneim el-Shahat, scoffing at new demands for minority rights during a night class he teaches at a recently reopened Salafi mosque in Alexandria. ”I think next they will tell us that Christians must lead Muslims in the prayers!”

Second, the Salafis arrived late to the revolution, with many clerics emphatically supporting President Hosni Mubarak and condemning the protesters.

Young Salafis rebelled — extremely rare for a group that reveres tradition and hierarchy.

”The majority of the Salafi youth were the people who actually said, ‘No, this is impossible, we have to be part of this, it is a just cause,’ ” said Sherif Abdel Naser, a 24-year-old Egyptian-American who now attends political classes three nights a week at Sheik Shahat’s cramped mosque.

The Salafi movement is inspired by the puritan Wahhabi school of Islam that dominates Saudi Arabia, whose grand mufti churned out a fatwa condemning the Arab uprisings as a Western conspiracy to destroy the Islamic world. But an array of philosophies exists under the Salafi umbrella, ranging from apolitical groups that merely proselytize on the benefits of being a good Muslim to Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda. Ayman al-Zawahri, Al Qaeda’s No. 2, is an Egyptian Salafist.

Some Egyptians are convinced that the government released the likes of Mr. Zomor as a kind of bogeyman — to frighten the country about the possible downside of democracy. Mr. Zomor said Salafist violence was only a reaction to the repression of the Mubarak government, but he shocked many Egyptians by advocating punishments like amputating thieves’ hands.

In an example of fundamentalists now emerging into public light, the sons of Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind sheik who is serving a life sentence in the United States, convicted in a conspiracy to bomb the World Trade Center in 1993, recently addressed a conference at a five-star Cairo hotel, demanding that the United States release their ailing father. . . .

“Radicals’ Turn to Democracy Alarms Egypt” by Neil MacFarquhar; The New York Times; 4/2/2011.

8. Some observers feel that the events in the Middle East will benefit Hezbollah.

As the surge of revolutionary fervor that has taken the greater Middle East by storm continues to spread, many observers are grappling with the political uncertainties the tumult has produced from Morocco to the Persian Gulf and beyond.

The popular uprisings that prompted the ouster of the dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt and threaten the panoply of authoritarian despots clinging to power in other countries have already had a profound effect on regional politics. Despite their highly fluid nature, it is not too early to assess the impact of these events on the position of prominent actors such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah.The movement’s place amid the unfolding unrest bears special relevance, considering the open hostility that has characterized its relations with the recently toppled Hosni Mubarak regime and other governments threatened by the wave of protest. The popularity Hezbollah enjoys among a large segment of the very same people who have taken to the streets to demand political freedoms, rule of law, representative government and economic opportunities adds another dynamic worth closer examination.

Having weathered the massive Israeli assault during the July 2006 war and deftly outmaneuvering attempts by political opponents to undermine its position and blame it for the February 2005 assassination of Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, Hezbollah’s stock as a political party, social movement and paramilitary force in Lebanese and regional affairs continues to rise.

In characteristic fashion, Hezbollah has not been coy about articulating its positions on the uprisings that have shaken the foundations of power in the Middle East in various media outlets, particularly its own Beirut-based al-Manar satellite television network. [1]

Initially, however, Hezbollah adopted a cautious approach to the opposition activism that engulfed Tunisia and Egypt. Hezbollah was concerned that a show of support for the protests early on would tarnish their legitimacy and lend credence to allegations repeated by the embattled regimes that the protesters were acting at the behest of hostile foreign elements aiming to destabilize the region.

Hezbollah essentially opted to refrain from issuing an endorsement of the protests until the popular grassroots character of the rebellions entered into the discourse of global media coverage and analysis. Hezbollah’s secretary general Hassan Nasrallah encapsulated this point in a statement broadcast during a February 7 event in Beirut organized to support the opposition in Egypt: “In case we announced solidarity earlier, they would have said that the revolution was motivated by Hezbollah or Hamas cells or even by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Then, this real, original and patriotic movement would be accused of serving a foreign agenda”.

Hezbollah has since expressed solidarity with what it sees as the assertion of the true will of the Arab and Muslim masses who strive for social, political, and economic justice in the face of illegitimate and corrupt autocracies that it claims are beholden to the United States and Israel. . . .

“Arab Revolts Hand It to Hezbollah” by Chris Zambelis; Asia Times; 4/5/2011.

9. A measure of the moderation of the Turkish AK Party of Mr. Erdogan may be found in the Gulen schools.

The FBI and other U.S. federal agencies have been investigating whether a Turkish religious community operating hundreds of schools worldwide is involved in visa fraud to bring teachers from Turkey to the United States.

The claim was made in a broad analysis by the Philadelphia Enquirer on religious leader Fethullah Gülen, who the paper describes as “a major Islamic political figure in Turkey,” and the more than 120 charter schools in the United States that are linked to his movement.

“Religious scholars consider the Gülen strain of Islam moderate, and the investigation has no link to terrorism. Rather, it [the investigation] is focused on whether hundreds of Turkish teachers, administrators and other staffers employed under the ‘H1B visa program’ are misusing taxpayer money,” the newspaper wrote. H1B visas are meant to be reserved for workers with highly specialized skill sets.

The charter schools are funded with millions of taxpayer dollars, according to the daily. “Truebright [Science Academy in Pennsylvania] alone receives more than $3 million from the Philadelphia School District for its 348 pupils,” said the newspaper.

The Departments of Labor and Education are also involved in investigating the claims of kickbacks to the Muslim movement founded by Gülen, known as “Hizmet” (Service), according to the paper.

Gülen, who has been living in the United States since 1999, is a Turkish religious leader whose movement is considered one of the strongest fronts in the civilian struggle for power in Turkey, especially because of its influence over state structures in the country.

Worldwide, the Gülen movement is known mostly for the schools it has established in Turkey and in more than 80 countries.

Federal officials declined to comment on the nationwide inquiry, which is being coordinated by prosecutors in Pennsylvania’s Middle District in Scranton, the Philadelphia Enquirer wrote. A former leader of the parents’ group at a Gülen-founded charter school in State College, Pennsylvania, confirmed that federal authorities had interviewed her.

Although many have posited links between the Gülen movement and the charity schools around the world, followers deny the links.

The newspaper wrote that Bekir Aksoy, who acts as Gülen’s spokesman, said last Friday that he knew nothing about charter schools or an investigation. . . .

“FBI Investigating Gulen Schools in US”; Hurriyet Daily News; 3/21/2011.

10. A Turkish journalist was arrested for exposing the extent of the Gulen organization’s penetration of the Turkish police. Of particular significance, here, is the fact that Ahmet Sik, whose book was erased by the Turkish police, had opposed the Ergenekon plot–an alleged plot by Turkish military and security forces to stage a coup against the Islamist forces of Erdogan. (Some observers have suggested that Ergenekon was actually cooked up by the Erdogan forces to discredit the heirs to Turkish secularism and Kamal Attaturk.

Istanbul police raided a printing house Wednesday evening in search of computer files containing an unpublished book by an arrested suspect in the Ergenekon coup-plot case and erased the digital draft.

The printing house, İthaki, was the publisher that owned the rights to “İmamın Ordusu” (The Army of the Imam), an unpublished book by journalist Ahmet Şık, who was arrested two weeks ago. The book was found in digital form on a computer at the office of the dissident online news portal OdaTV; Şık has stated he did not know how it got there, calling the staff of the website people he would not stand together with in any case.

Şık’s arrest has been criticized in legal circles since the evidence against him was not revealed to his lawyers.

His unpublished book deals with the alleged organization founded within the Turkish police by the Fethullah Gülen religious community. This fact has led to suspicions that Şık was arrested due to the book’s contents, rather than his involvement in the alleged Ergenekon gang, which he has worked as a journalist to expose. . . .

“Turkish Police Raid Printing House, Erase Unpublished Book; Hurriyet Daily News; 3/24/2011.

11. The program concludes with a look at another of the “disclosures” being generated by WikiLeaks (WHERE are they coming from?). As the Piggy-Back Coup was gaining momentum, an item concerning Mossad connections with various embattled Middle East governments surfaced.

As with many (most?) of the WikiLeaks “leaks,” this could be reasonably surmised by an intelligent observer. Nonetheless, this seems primed to stir up pro-Islamist and anti-Semitic sentiments among the Arab population of those countries.

Wikileaks  founder Julian Assange released additional classified documents about Israel and the Middle East: Britain’s Guardian newspaper stated that the sensitive documents expose, among other things, Israeli criticism of the man who is the de facto head of state in Egypt, Hussein Tantawi Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

The diplomatic cables were transferred to Yedioth Ahronoth and some have been published on Friday.

One of the documents leaked to the Wikileaks site and published in the Guardian, addresses alleged relations between Israel’s security services and Bahrain.

In a cable describing a meeting between the US ambassador to the emirate and King Hamad in 2005, the US diplomat noted that the king admitted “that Bahrain already has contacts with Israel at the intelligence/security level (ie with Mossad) and indicated that Bahrain will be willing to move forward in other areas.”

In another cable, a US document from November 2009 newly released by Assange, Israeli security sources claim that Tantawi is an “obstacle” in efforts to foil smuggling from Sinai to the Gaza Strip. On the other hand, the document noted that Israel praised the actions of the man who was director of the General Intelligence Directorate at the time, Omar Suleiman, who now acts as Egypt’s vice president. Israeli security sources stated that he supports smuggling prevention. . . .

“Bahrain’s Secret Mossad Ties Revealed?”; ynetnews.com; 4/8/2011.

Discussion

9 comments for “FTR #739 Turkish Taffy, Part 3”

  1. Hello Dave,

    You and all of us, your followers, were right. Check this out. A nazi party is in the process of formation in Egypt… Does it look like a piggy back coup or not? This is incredible. Imagine all the people who said that we were pessimistic, nostalgic authoritarians… What will they say now? At least, we, the real progressives, can see clearly through the mud despite all the propaganda and lies. Cheers to all of us.

    Have a great day.

    http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=222367&R=R3

    Posted by Claude | May 30, 2011, 9:52 pm
  2. Here is a very interesting article by GermanyWatch on the role played by some German NGOs in the Arab Spring through social media:

    http://germanywatch.blogspot.com/2011/08/dodgy-ngos-and-arab-spring.html

    Posted by Claude | January 14, 2012, 2:57 pm
  3. It looks like the Arab Spring in the Gulf nations might become the Arab Fall:

    Saudi widens Arab Spring backlash with Bahrain ‘union’ plans
    AP
    03/05/2012

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — During a sermon last week at Bahrain’s Grand Mosque, the pro-government prayer leader offered sweeping praise for one of the Arab Spring’s counter-revolutions: Gulf rulers bonding together against dissent with powerful Saudi Arabia as their main guardian.

    The widening Saudi security stamp on the region is already taking shape in Bahrain, where more than a year of Shiite-led unrest shows no sign of easing and the Saudi influence over the embattled Sunni monarchy is on public display.

    Portraits of the Saudi King Abdullah — some showing him praying — dot the airport in Bahrain’s capital Manama. Bahrain’s red-and-white flag and the green Saudi colors are arranged with crossed staffs. State media continually lauds the Saudi-led military force that rolled into Bahrain last year as reinforcements against the uprising by the kingdom’s Shiite majority.

    “Gulf union is a long-awaited dream,” said Sheik Fareed al-Meftah at Friday prayers in Manama’s main Sunni mosque, referring to proposals to coordinate defense affairs and other policies among the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council stretching from Kuwait to Oman.

    “The first step is here,” al-Meftah added.

    Abdullah and Bahrain’s king, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, have met to discuss “union” plans, which are expected to be outlined in May. For the moment, few details have emerged. Gulf leaders have stressed the need for greater intelligence and military cooperation. It’s unclear, however, how deeply Bahrain and Saudi Arabia will attempt to merge in the first steps.

    The increasingly blurred national lines in Bahrain are a possible sneak preview of the wider Arab Spring backlash in the oil-rich Gulf, where Saudi power seeks to safeguard the region’s Sunni leadership and its strong opposition to possible attempts by Shiite giant Iran to expand influence. Meanwhile, Gulf rulers have selectively endorsed rebellions elsewhere, such as in Libya and Syria.

    Bahrain can be looked at as something of a Saudi colony now in the sense that policies are merged,” said Toby Jones, an expert on Bahraini affairs at Rutgers University. “But this is more than just a meeting of minds. It’s motivated by the fears of the Arab Spring.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 8, 2012, 10:49 pm
  4. It appears that the Gulenists have become so blatant in their coup plot fabrications that even Erodogan is starting to distance his party from them, although the show trial goes on:

    March 12, 2012, 5:56 pm
    A Moscow Show Trial on the Bosphorus

    Most tellingly, a torrent of evidence has come out since the documents first emerged that points to their fraudulent nature. The documents contain hundreds of anachronisms – names of NGOs, military installations, or firms that did not yet exist – that make clear beyond any reasonable doubt that they were produced years later and backdated to implicate the officers on trial. Some of the defendants have shown that they were outside the country at the time they are alleged to have prepared these documents or attended planning meetings.

    An American forensic specialist has determined that the “hand writing” on the CDs was actually produced by mechanically replicating individual letters from the notebooks of one of the defendants. Deviations from military formatting suggest the documents were prepared by individuals not fully familiar with the army’s style requirements. As long-time Turkey analyst Gareth Jenkins put it to the New Yorker: “It’s absolutely clear that these documents have been forged.”

    The prosecutors have bundled these bogus documents with authentic voice recordings from a military seminar held in March 2003. Pro-government media have made much of these recordings, in which some officers are heard making prejudicial statements about members of the governing party. But there is nothing in the proceedings to suggest those present were planning a coup. Even the prosecutors’ indictment makes clear that the case stands or falls with the authenticity of the digital documents.

    Erdoğan has recently distanced himself from the Gülenists, in part because of his party’s discomfort with their judicial manipulations. But he has yet to withdraw his support from the case against the military officers or to take action against the worst legal abuses taking place. (See here for a good recent overview.) Meanwhile, journalists who pry into such matters are silenced. Turkey currently holds more journalists in prison than China and Iran combined. Only recently have foreign journalists begun to penetrate the fog that surrounds the case and report on the blatant forgeries (see accounts in the New Yorker, Newsweek, and London Times).

    The travesty that the trial represents reached new heights last week when the judge ruled to move to the final stage of the trial, bypassing defendants’ requests for examination of the prosecution’s evidence. In effect, the judge decided to completely overlook the countless anachronisms, inconsistencies, and physical impossibilities on which the case rests. A guilty verdict has become virtually certain.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 13, 2012, 7:37 am
  5. @Pterrafractyl–

    Good show! Bear in mind that this is the “democratic” template upon which the “democracies” in the Middle East are being fashioned.

    Hold on to your seats!

    Posted by Dave Emory | March 13, 2012, 11:21 am
  6. @Pterrafractyl: Thanks for the info. Sadly, the world crime network is so terrified of legitimate democratization that their attempts to hijack every nation they can appears to be going into overdrive now.

    @Dave: I’m afraid you are definitely right on this, but maybe the people will wake up before it’s too late, when all their nations are banana republics ruled by crooked dictators(or even worse ones, if replacing current ones like al-Assad!)…which, btw, the extreme right has similar plans for this country (USA) as well.

    Posted by Steven L. | March 14, 2012, 3:24 am
  7. http://www.todayszaman.com/news-283601-.html

    Erdoğan hopes Islamic scholar Gülen returns to Turkey soon

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke before a crowd during the closing ceremony of the 10th Turkish Olympiads. (Photo: Today’s Zaman)

    15 June 2012 / TODAYSZAMAN.COM,

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has openly invited Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen to Turkey in a speech he delivered during the closing ceremony for the 10th Turkish Olympiads amid a standing ovation from a crowd of over 50,000.

    Erdoğan, who spoke after he was granted a special award by the organizing committee of the Olympiads, implied that Gülen, without directly mentioning his name, should return to Turkey as soon as possible. The well-known scholar has been residing in the US for nearly 13 years.

    “We want this yearning to end,” he said, receiving a lengthy standing ovation from the crowd, in a rare blunt invitation for Gülen to return to his homeland. Erdoğan added, “We want to see those who are abroad and longing for the homeland among us.”

    Responding to the lengthy applause, Erdoğan further said he understands that the crowd also wants “this yearning to end.”

    Gülen is a Turkish Islamic scholar well known for his teachings that promote mutual understanding and tolerance between different cultures and faiths. Now residing in the US, Gülen has pioneered educational activities in a number of countries, along with efforts to promote intercultural and interfaith activities around the world. The Turkish Olympiads are an initiative pioneered by schools associated with him.

    He has also written nearly 60 books in Turkish, most of which have been translated into dozens of languages. He was most recently honored with the EastWest Institute’s (EWI) 2011 EWI Peace Building Award for his contribution to world peace.

    Gülen is in self-imposed exile in the US even though there is not any legal hurdle that prevent him from returning to Turkey. Shortly after he went to the US, in 2000, then-State Security Court (DGM) prosecutor Nuh Mete Yüksel launched a case against him on charges of establishing an illegal organization, but he was eventually acquitted after eight years. Upon appeal, the General Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals upheld the acquittal.

    Posted by Vanfield | June 18, 2012, 3:16 pm
  8. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/21/turkish-court-military-guilty-coup

    Turk­ish court finds 330 mil­i­tary staff guilty of attempted coup

    Sen­tences to range between 15–20 years for offi­cers as civil­ian gov­ern­ment flexes mus­cles against once-supreme army

    Fri­day 21 Sep­tem­ber 2012

    A Turk­ish court has con­victed 330 for­mer and cur­rent mil­i­tary offi­cers of plot­ting a coup to over­throw prime min­is­ter Tayyip Erdogan’s government.

    The court ear­lier sen­tenced three for­mer gen­er­als to life in prison, which was reduced to 20 years each because the coup plot was unsuc­cess­ful, and two serv­ing and one for­mer gen­eral to 18 years.

    Sen­tenc­ing is still to come for the remain­ing 324 defen­dants con­victed of a role in the plot.

    The court ear­lier acquit­ted 34 offi­cers in the case, which has under­lined civil­ian dom­i­nance over the once all-powerful mil­i­tary in Turkey.

    The “Sledge­ham­mer” con­spir­acy is alleged to have included plans to bomb his­toric mosques in Istan­bul and trig­ger con­flict with Greece to pave the way for an army takeover.

    Pros­e­cu­tors had demanded 15–20 year jail sen­tences for the 365 defen­dants, 364 of them serv­ing and retired officers.

    The Turk­ish army has tra­di­tion­ally played a dom­i­nant role in pol­i­tics, stag­ing three coups between 1960 and 1980 and push­ing the country’s first Islamist-led gov­ern­ment from office in 1997.

    Its author­ity has been reined in sharply since Erdo­gan first came to power nearly a decade ago and the trial has been seen as a show of strength by a gov­ern­ment that has emerged from its shadow.

    Posted by R. Wilson | September 23, 2012, 12:19 pm
  9. […] In the mas­sive, intense For The Record series about the “Mus­lim Broth­er­hood Spring,” as we call it, we noted that the upheavals were the prod­uct of a GOP/Underground Reich fac­tion of U.S.intelligence exe­cut­ing a covert oper­a­tion begun dur­ing the clos­ing days of the sec­ond Bush admin­is­tra­tion,  and con­tin­ued under Obama, whose polit­i­cal for­tune would  fall vic­tim to the fall­out and blow­back from that oper­a­tion. Indeed, the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood has been ascen­dant in the affected coun­tries since that series was pro­duced. (That series is FTR #732 through FTR #739.) […]

    Posted by Have Turkish Citizens Had Enough of Erdogan’s Taffy? (Viva Attaturk!) | The Freedom Report | June 7, 2013, 3:43 pm

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