Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

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Planning that dream N. African vacation? Check out our free travel guide

This is a travel guide for any­one plan­ning that North African dream vaca­tion you’ve always wanted to take. There’s a num­ber of great options, although each one has its own char­ac­ter. And with the Mus­lim Brother ascend­ing to power across North Africa, that local char­ac­ter appears to be in flux so a decent travel guide is a great way so save money. You don’t want to have to can­cel those tickets.

Egypt, the crown jewel of North African tourism, is a must-see coun­try. One word. Pyra­mids. That’s all you need to know. And with Egypt being one of the coun­tries in the process of get­ting Muslim-Brotherhooded (it’s a trend), one might rea­son­ably ask the ques­tion, “can I see the pyra­mids AND get trashed in Egypt now that the MB is the Pow­ers that Be?” That’s an excel­lent ques­tion. With the MB poised to take con­trol of all the levers of power in Egypt there have been under­stand­able con­cerns about just how tourism-friendly an Islamist Egypt might be. Prospec­tive vis­i­tors look­ing for indi­ca­tions of how an MB-run Egypt might treat future tourists should note that the MB has pro­fessed a strong com­mitt­ment to the health of Egypt’s busi­ness sec­tor. While West­ern jour­nal­ist often find this sur­pris­ing, it’s actu­ally a highly con­sis­tent trait in through­out the his­tory of this fas­cist Islamist orga­ni­za­tion of Egyp­ian ori­gin. Yes, his­tory is com­ing alive in Egypt. More specif­i­cally, the his­tory of 20th cen­tury Islam­o­fas­cist eco­nomic the­ory is com­ing alive in Egypt:

Finan­cial Times
May 16, 2012 5:07 pm
Islamists in tune with west over economy

By Jane Kinninmont

One of the sig­nif­i­cant realign­ments result­ing from the Arab spring is the grow­ing warmth between west­ern pol­icy mak­ers and Egypt’s Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. This is born out of neces­sity, but strength­ened by the sur­pris­ing dis­cov­ery that on eco­nomic issues, the west and the Islamists often see eye to eye.

Many of the dis­cus­sions between these two groups are not about the veil, alco­hol or even Camp David, but about busi­ness, invest­ment and jobs.

...

When it comes to the econ­omy, the Brotherhood’s pol­icy frame­work does not rep­re­sent a rad­i­cal change from the past, though there is more focus on social jus­tice and fight­ing cor­rup­tion: one rea­son Islamists are pop­u­lar is because they are seen as untainted by the bribery and crony­ism that bedev­illed the for­mer regime of Hosni Mubarak.

Although some Egyp­tians dis­trust the pri­vate sec­tor, Broth­er­hood rep­re­sen­ta­tives see it as the engine of growth. They are keen to reas­sure west­ern investors that Egypt — by far the largest coun­try in the Arab world with a pop­u­la­tion of 85m — remains a promis­ing place for busi­nesses. Their fail­ure to take a clear stance on a pro­posed $3.2bn Inter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund loan to Egypt seems to reflect inter­nal pol­i­tick­ing more than eco­nomic ide­ol­ogy; they want the cab­i­net to be replaced, and it is not in their inter­est to see funds roll in to sup­port the cur­rent one.

...

Main­stream Islamists in Tunisia and Morocco have also empha­sised free trade, and they hope inter­na­tional investors can help them cre­ate the jobs their con­stituents need. Lead­ers of Egypt’s Mus­lim Broth­er­hood have been wel­com­ing west­ern busi­ness del­e­ga­tions to the coun­try, and their polit­i­cal party, Free­dom and Jus­tice, met senior British investors and pol­icy mak­ers in the UK in March.

...

The Salafists are devel­op­ing their own ideas about the econ­omy, and are doing more than most to flag the need to develop the neglected and inse­cure Sinai; one of their MPs said it could become a Dubai-style trade zone. An Al-Nour eco­nomic spokesman has said the party’s aims for “halal tourism” are to cre­ate a par­al­lel, sharia-compliant mar­ket rather than ban­ning alco­hol or swap­ping biki­nis for burki­nis. Any smart politi­cian would think twice before mess­ing with an indus­try that attracted 14m vis­i­tors annu­ally before the revolution.

...

West­ern pol­icy mak­ers have barely begun to revise their rec­om­men­da­tions for Egypt’s econ­omy, despite the large-scale dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the western-backed eco­nomic poli­cies of Mubarak’s final years. Investors can help cre­ate jobs, but sus­tain­able devel­op­ment will need to go far beyond boost­ing trade and invest­ment to focus on issues such as decent work­ing con­di­tions, liv­ing wages, lit­er­acy, potable water and air pol­lu­tion (the sixth worst in the world).

If the Mus­lim Brotherhood’s private-sector focus fails to address these issues, there could be an angrier, hun­grier upris­ing to come. Could the next Egypt­ian rev­o­lu­tion be against a western-backed Mus­lim Brotherhood?

As you can see, with the ultra-conservative Salafists call­ing for ‘Dubai-style’ free-trade zone in the SInai (sounds saucy!), there appears to be a direct cor­re­la­tion between a party’s reli­gious fer­vor and their com­mitt­ment to far-right eco­nomic argle-bargle in today’s Egypt. And that seems to be true in Morocco an Tunisia too! Plus, the Salafist calls for ‘halal tourism’ are merely intended for a par­al­lel tourist sec­tor. So take heart, dear trav­el­ers, the gen­eral con­sen­sus amongst inter­na­tional obser­vors is that the MB is merely talk­ing about laws like ban­ning alco­hol, gender-separated beaches, and gen­eral reli­gious lunatic stuff that will kill tourism, etc. They won’t, it appears, actu­ally do it:

Bikini, alco­hol ban ‘just attempt to win votes’
Oliver Smith
The Tele­graph, Lon­don
June 1, 2012

Egypt­ian tourism author­i­ties have sought to reas­sure trav­ellers about the future of the coun­try as a hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion, despite fears of a crack­down on the sale of alco­hol and calls for seg­re­gated beaches.

Last week Mohamed Morsi of the Free­dom and Jus­tice Party (FJP) received a quar­ter of the votes in the country’s first pres­i­den­tial elec­tions since the over­throw of Hosni Mubarak. A run-off for the pres­i­dency between Morsi and Ahmed Shafik — a prime min­is­ter under Mubarak — is due to take place on June 16 and 17.

Extreme fac­tions within the FJP, which pos­sesses a par­lia­men­tary major­ity and has strong links to the Islamist Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, have demanded a ban on the sale of alco­hol across the coun­try, while calls have also been made for Egypt’s beaches to be seg­re­gated by sex and for reveal­ing swimwear to be out­lawed. It is feared that the elec­tion of Morsi could see such poli­cies put in place, but rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the country’s tourism indus­try said any changes would face strong opposition.

These calls are just rhetoric — it is an attempt to win votes,” said Omayma El Hus­seini, direc­tor of the Egypt­ian Tourist Office. “These peo­ple can say and promise what they want but they will not deliver anything.”

She added that eco­nomic con­cerns would make such changes dis­as­trous and sug­gested that an “intel­lec­tual con­flict” was devel­op­ing in the country.

“Tourism is very impor­tant to Egypt — it is the sec­ond high­est con­trib­u­tor to GDP,” she said. “The tourism indus­try and the lib­eral Mus­lims in Egypt will not let them screw it up.”

...

So are the calls for alco­hol bans, bikini bans, and gen­der seg­re­gated beaches all just cam­paign lies rhetoric in order to secure votes? Well, that’s cer­tainly a pos­si­bil­ity, espe­cially given the MB’s rapidly earned rep­u­ta­tion for lying to the pub­lic agres­sive cam­paign tac­tics. Then again, Mohammed Morsi is reported to be ‘more con­ser­v­a­tive than the con­ser­v­a­tives’ accord­ing to MB insid­ers so the sig­nals are rather mixed at this time.

So if you hap­pen to be plan­ning a booze & bikinis-based vaca­tion some­where near a pyra­mid any time soon, you might want to make it REALLY soon. Next week-ish could word. Or you may need to post­pone those ticket pur­chases for a cou­ple of weeks. The 2nd round of the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion between Mohommed Morsi and Mubarak-era strong­man Ahmed Shafiq is sched­uled for June 16th, so this issue might be resolved by then. That assumes Shafiq wins, in which case the beaches should definitly be open for busi­ness, although you might want to avoid pissed off look­ing men rid­ing camels.

And if you’re really anx­ious to book those plane tick­ets and can’t wait until the 16th to decide, well...you’re sort of in luck because we might know how this all plays out even sooner. And why is that? Well, because the MB, along with ‘ex’-MB can­di­date Abde Mon­eim Aboul Fotuoh and youth-backed can­di­date Hamdeen Sabahi, are mov­ing to get Shafiq thrown off the bal­lot. This is expected to inval­i­date the elec­tion, post­pone the military’s hand over of power, and force a new pres­i­den­tial vote, sans Shafiq:

NY Times
More Protests Loom in Egypt, Tar­get­ing Can­di­dacy of Mubarak’s Prime Min­is­ter
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
Pub­lished: June 4, 2012

CAIRO — The pres­i­den­tial can­di­date of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and two pop­u­lar rivals elim­i­nated before the runoff called on Mon­day for fur­ther street protests until Egypt’s cur­rent mil­i­tary rulers enforce leg­is­la­tion dis­qual­i­fy­ing the other remain­ing can­di­date, for­mer Pres­i­dent Hosni Mubarak’s last prime min­is­ter, Ahmed Shafik.

In a joint state­ment, the can­di­dates also endorsed a call for a major demon­stra­tion on Tues­day to protest what they called the weak ver­dict handed down over the week­end in Mr. Mubarak’s trial. Their state­ment was the most force­ful effort yet to use anger over the ver­dict to gal­va­nize oppo­si­tion to Mr. Shafik, long con­sid­ered a con­tender to suc­ceed Mr. Mubarak inside his author­i­tar­ian one-party sys­tem. But it was also the lat­est blow to the cred­i­bil­ity of Egypt’s first com­pet­i­tive pres­i­den­tial election.

The call for Mr. Shafik’s elim­i­na­tion came less than two weeks before he is set to face Mohamed Morsi of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood in the runoff, sched­uled for June 16 and 17. The new pres­i­dent is expected to take power from the mil­i­tary coun­cil that has gov­erned since Mr. Mubarak’s ouster 16 months ago; attempts to draft a new con­sti­tu­tion have so far dead­locked, which means the new pres­i­dent could play a for­ma­tive role in the shap­ing of Egypt’s charter.

The Mus­lim Broth­er­hood said in its own state­ment that all three can­di­dates agreed to demand not only a retrial of Mr. Mubarak but also legal action against Mr. Shafik for his role as Mr. Mubarak’s prime min­is­ter, “bring­ing to jus­tice those accused of con­niv­ing with the defen­dants by hid­ing evi­dence, includ­ing the prime min­is­ter and min­is­ter of inte­rior dur­ing that period, who are now seek­ing to abort the revolution.”

The Broth­er­hood urged sup­port for Mr. Morsi as “the can­di­date of the rev­o­lu­tion.” The Broth­er­hood is Egypt’s largest Islamist move­ment and dom­i­nates the newly elected Par­lia­ment. But Mr. Morsi and Mr. Shafik each won just under a quar­ter of the vote in the first round of bal­lot­ing last month, with Mr. Morsi just ahead of Mr. Shafik.

Ear­lier Mon­day, three elim­i­nated can­di­dates — Hamdeen Sabahi, a left­ist who nar­rowly trailed Mr. Shafik in the first round; Abdel Mon­eim Aboul Fotouh, a mod­er­ate for­mer Broth­er­hood leader who came in next with about 18 per­cent of the vote; and Khaled Ali, a human rights lawyer — held a joint news con­fer­ence to denounce the results of the first round as fraud­u­lent, cit­ing irreg­u­lar­i­ties and lim­its on monitoring.

Inter­na­tional observers have said many iso­lated abuses did not sab­o­tage the over­all fair­ness of the vote, and the three los­ing can­di­dates did not present new evi­dence. But because the three together had the sup­port of nearly half the vot­ers — more than either can­di­date in the runoff — their joint crit­i­cism threat­ens to under­mine the legit­i­macy of the final result and with it Egypt’s halt­ing tran­si­tion to democracy.

Mr. Aboul Fotouh and Mr. Sabahi met sep­a­rately with Mr. Morsi of the Broth­er­hood to issue the state­ment call­ing for more protests and the elim­i­na­tion of Mr. Shafik. Before the first round of the vot­ing, the Brotherhood-led Par­lia­ment passed leg­is­la­tion bar­ring Mr. Shafik and other top offi­cials of the Mubarak gov­ern­ment from seek­ing the pres­i­dency, and the rul­ing gen­er­als signed it. But the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion com­mis­sion set the leg­is­la­tion aside by refer­ring it to the Supreme Con­sti­tu­tional Court, and the court has not ruled on the matter.

It is highly unlikely that the leg­is­la­tion could be approved and enforced before the runoff, in part because the elec­tion com­mis­sion has said that it intends to retain the last word on how the leg­is­la­tion is car­ried out even if the court approves the restric­tion. Mr. Shafik’s elim­i­na­tion would require the can­cel­la­tion of the first round of results since there is no way to know which other can­di­date his vot­ers might have cho­sen. As a result, the military’s trans­fer of power would be postponed.

...

Yes, a court rul­ing that kicks out Shafiq and inval­i­dates the first round of the elec­tion is unlikely (although not entirely with­out prece­dent). And with no clear front-runner, it looks like prospec­tive tourists could be look­ing else­where for that dream North African vaca­tion. For­tu­nately, there are quite a few options for such adven­tur­ous trav­el­ers: For instance, there’s always Tunisia:

Protests threaten Tunisia tourism recov­ery
May 28, 2012 07:24AM GMT

A shadow has been cast over a recov­ery in inter­na­tional tourism to Tunisia amid reports of riot­ing by anti-alcohol protesters.

Bars and shops were attacked on Sat­ur­day as reli­gious ten­sions rose in the birth­place of the Arab spring upris­ings, the Sun­day Times reported.

Fol­low­ers of a fun­da­men­tal­ist inter­pre­ta­tion of Islam called Salafists rioted in protest at the arrest of four men in con­nec­tion with pre­vi­ous attacks on alco­hol sell­ers in the north­west­ern town of Jen­douba. Police responded with tear gas.

The riot­ers threw rocks and petrol bombs at the police sta­tion and secu­rity base where the men were being held, set­ting fire to the station.

...

Hmmm....ok, well, Tunisia might have a bit of a ‘drink­ing prob­lem’ at the moment. Well, Libya has great beaches, so that’s an option. Although you prob­a­bly don’t want to buy plane tick­ets for your drean des­ti­na­tion. Pas­sage by boat is rec­om­mended:

Libyans ask “Where is the state?” after air­port seized

By Hadeel Al Shalchi and Marie-Louise Gumuchian

TRIPOLI | Wed Jun 6, 2012 4:52am EDT

(Reuters) — Invad­ing Libya’s biggest inter­na­tional air­port was embar­rass­ingly easy: the attack­ers cut the wire perime­ter fence in broad day­light, and then drove onto the tar­mac while air­port secu­rity chiefs stood and watched.

The occu­pa­tion of Tripoli air­port for sev­eral hours on Mon­day by an armed mili­tia force has com­pelled pol­i­cy­mak­ers in Europe and the United States to ask what sort of coun­try they helped cre­ate when they joined the cam­paign last year to force Muam­mar Gaddafi from office.

Libya, home to Africa’s biggest proven oil reserves, is free from Gaddafi’s repres­sion, but it is a chaotic coun­try where nearly a year on from the end of the revolt, the state still barely exists.

Garbage piles up uncol­lected in sub­ur­ban streets, dri­vers park their cars in the mid­dle of high­ways, and, as inci­dents like the attack on the air­port under­score, rag-tag mili­tias who answer only to their own com­man­ders are more pow­er­ful than the police and army.

“How can these peo­ple ... close the air­port like this?” asked Adel Salama, a civil soci­ety activist in Zin­tan, a town whose fight­ers used to con­trol the air­port before hand­ing over to the cen­tral gov­ern­ment back in April.

...

If you hap­pen to have a fear of boats and/or angry mili­tias there’s still a num­ber of won­der­ful North African locales where you can still dance the night away to a tune or two. Unfor­tu­nately, that no longer includes Tim­buktu:

NY Times
In Tim­buktu, Harsh Change Under Islamists
By ADAM NOSSITER
Pub­lished: June 2, 2012

BAMAKO, Mali — Iso­lated for cen­turies by the harsh desert that sur­rounds it, Tim­buktu now finds itself even more cut off from the rest of the world.

Rebels who cap­tured the city in north­ern Mali in April have imposed a form of hard-edged Islamic rule, prompt­ing many res­i­dents to flee in fear and chang­ing the face of what had been a tol­er­ant and easy­go­ing des­ti­na­tion that drew tourists from around the world.

Women are now forced to wear full, face-covering veils. Music is banned from the radio. Cig­a­rettes are snatched from the mouths of pedes­tri­ans. And the look of the ancient mud-brick town is chang­ing. A centuries-old mon­u­ment, the shrine of a 15th-century saint, has been defaced; bars have been demol­ished; and black flags have been hung around town to honor Ansar Dine, or Defend­ers of the Faith, the rad­i­cal Islamist move­ment that emerged from the desert and turned life upside down.

“There is no lib­erty,” said Abdoulaye Ahmed, a tai­lor who fled Tim­buktu and came to Mali’s cap­i­tal last week. He added that the Islamist rebels “are con­stantly cir­cu­lat­ing with their guns. This is scar­ing peo­ple. The town is sinister.”

The sit­u­a­tion is said to be espe­cially trou­bling for women in Tim­buktu. “Women are liv­ing in ter­ri­ble fear,” said Baba Aicha Kalil, a well-known civic activist who is still liv­ing in the town, which once had a pop­u­la­tion of more than 50,000 but has expe­ri­enced a sig­nif­i­cant exo­dus since the rebels moved in.

They want to put a veil on every­thing,” Mrs. Kalil said, reached over a crackly tele­phone line from Tim­buktu, which is about 440 miles north­east of Bamako, at the edge of the Sahara. “They are every­where, every­where with their guns.”

All of north­ern Mali, an area the size of France, has been in the hands of a loose coali­tion of Islamists and nomadic Tuareg rebels since late March, when resis­tance by the Malian Army col­lapsed after a coup d’état by junior mil­i­tary offi­cers in the capital.

Since the takeover, how­ever, the Islamists of Ansar Dine, sup­ported by Al Qaeda, have gained the upper hand over the Tuaregs, and they are aggres­sively pro­mot­ing their brand of Islamic law, or Shariah.

...

Mrs. Kalil said that when the Islamists encoun­tered young peo­ple of the oppo­site sex together, they forced them to marry on the spot.

“We don’t want the Shariah here,” she said. “Truly we are liv­ing in mis­ery. Per­son­ally, I am deeply concerned.”

...

The ‘veil on every­thing’ theme might seem off­putting at first, but that’s only until you see the sav­ings on sun­screen. And mar­riage on the spot, eh? Invol­un­tary mar­riage, no less! Well, that’s one nitch in the tourism mar­ket Mali has cov­ered. So if invol­un­tary spon­ta­neous mar­riage is your ‘thing’, a trip to Tim­buktu just might do. And don’t feel to bad about your invol­un­tary spon­ta­neous mar­riage fetish. It’s pretty twisted alright, but there’s a lot of fairly pop­u­lar twisted fetishes and per­ver­sions out there. A lot. Watch out Vegas!

I hope you all found this a use­ful travel guide for uncer­tain times. And please do visit these des­ti­na­tions if it’s safe and you can afford it. Tourism really is more vital than ever to this region and it’s one of the pri­mary dri­ving forces in these soci­eties against the mad­ness of reli­gious fun­da­men­tal­ism and trib­al­ism. It keeps us all con­nected in mutu­ally ben­e­fi­cial ways and that kind of international/inter-worldview cohe­sion is some­thing in incred­i­bly short sup­ply these days. And with a global econ­omy in free fall, tourism is poised to take a hit glob­ally. That’s down­right dan­ger­ous for much of the devel­op­ing world so book those tick­ets if you can. If mil­lions of drunken US col­lege stu­dents can make it back from Mex­ico with their heads still screwed on straight any­thing is pos­si­ble. It’s com­pli­cated.

Keep in mind that even in these crazy times even the crazy Islamists almost never shoot the tourists, espe­cially in tourist-y areas. It doesn’t go down well with the locals. So seri­ously, buy those tick­ets and stay safe. It could do an immense amount of good right now.

Oh, and who am I kid­ding. Vegas, no one could replace you.

Discussion

12 comments for “Planning that dream N. African vacation? Check out our free travel guide”

  1. @Pterrafractyl–

    Excel­lent, excel­lent work! Not only good analysis/editing but more than a lit­tle clever.

    I hate to say it, B-U-T, I told you so, specif­i­cally in the exhaust­ing series mor­ph­ing from the over­lap­ping Wik­iLeaks analy­sis into the FTR#733–739 series about “The Mus­lim Broth­er­hood Spring.”

    This is not to engage in self-promotion/puffery, but, rather, to under­score that, once one has learned the ropes, as you clearly have, it is not dif­fi­cult to antic­i­pate the future, up to a point.

    The MB is “cor­po­ratist” and cor­po­ra­tions are the dom­i­nant power on earth.

    Dig­ging behind the “touchy/feely,” “pro­gres­sive” veneer of the events of early 2011, it was clear that cor­po­ratism would be the order of the day. Those events were launched by the Bush admin­is­tra­tion, enhanced by the far-right, Nazi-linked Wik­iLeaks oper­a­tion (with Karl Rove exert­ing a com­mand­ing pres­ence in Swe­den at the time), inspired by the CIA-linked the­o­reti­cian Gene Sharp (financed by Peter Ack­er­man, con­victed felon and “junk-bond king” Michael Milken’s right-hand man). None of this should come as a surprise.

    Real democ­racy and egal­i­tar­i­an­ism are anath­ema to the “men behind the cur­tain” in the “Cor­po­rate Spring.”

    What will be inter­est­ing to see is the extent to which the “tourism imper­a­tive” which would man­date booze and biki­nis weighs against the reli­gious dogma of those who would sur­gi­cally remove women’s cli­torises to keep them from hav­ing “impure thoughts.”

    Per­haps cas­trat­ing MB mem­bers and Salafis could present a viable interim solution–female tourists could wear biki­nis and the “altered” Islamists wouldn’t be tor­tured with “impure thoughts,” inspired by the sight of unclothed female anatomy.

    Another con­sid­er­a­tion con­cerns the extent to which the moguls of West­ern finance can real­ize their invest­ment dreams in a soci­ety in which a third of all males and more than half of all women are illiterate.

    Again, good show! Look­ing for­ward to more eggs in the nest!

    Dave Emory

    Posted by Dave Emory | June 9, 2012, 5:25 pm
  2. @Dave: Truly, a mas­ter­piece. Pter­rafractyl has once again, hit the nail squarely on the head, while inject­ing a fair dose of wit & humor. =)

    Posted by Steve L. | June 9, 2012, 7:53 pm
  3. @Dave: Thanks. And yeah, it’s pretty awful that the best approach for antic­i­pat­ing the future appears to be learn­ing the his­tory of applied ponerol­ogy and mass mind-control(i.e. the awful­ness that is main­stream media cov­er­age and edu­ca­tion, espe­cially for top­ics of great impor­tance). Part of what makes the Islam­o­fas­cist nexus such an instruc­tional chap­ter in the his­tory of applied ponerol­ogy is that it encom­passes two extremes of humanity’s “power for power’s sake, no holds barred” under­ly­ing mad­ness that seems to drive so many of history’s worst move­ments. We have the cold, cal­cu­lat­ing, almost sci­en­tific fas­cism of the futur­ist hyper-“free mar­ket” Lib­er­tar­i­ans like Peter Thiel at one extreme cou­pled with the lunacy fun­da­men­tal­ist Imam (or Preach­ers or Rab­bis) all work­ing together to serv­ing the same mas­ter: immense wealth and uncon­testable con­trol obtained through an ever-evolving appli­ca­tion of fascist/authoritarian the­o­ries. Whether it’s a direct nexus like the Rove/Norquist/al-Taqwa/Huber mil­lieu or an indi­rect com­mon ground like both Thiel, the Salafists, the GOP, and nearly the entire EU appar­ently, all simul­ta­ne­ously embrac­ing far-right eco­nom­ics and anti-democratic sen­ti­ments as the ONLY war forward.

    And in the mean time, all of this out of con­trol human “devel­op­ment” is send­ing the ecosys­tem into some sort of free fall. Sadly, I’m increas­ingly sus­pect­ing that eco­col­lapse may be one the pri­mary tools that the elites have in mind for all of the bro­ken soci­eties we’ve made. Espe­cially in the Mid­dle East and Africa. Cli­mate change and the deple­tion of fresh water is iron­i­cally going to make many of the most densely pop­u­lated regions of the world the most unin­hab­it­able the soon­est. That’s the self-reinforcing dynamic we’ve put into place between human­ity, how we live (our global econ­omy), and the bios­phere. I just can’t see what could turn that dynamic around at this late stage in the bat­tle to pre­vent eco­col­lapse and, quite frankly, I’m hav­ing an increas­ingly hard time believ­ing that many of our elites don’t view eco­col­lapse as per­haps the most excit­ing and “use­ful” global cri­sis in his­tory. A nice slow-ish cri­sis that gives human­ity no choice in spend­ing the next cen­tury endur­ing nature-enforced “aus­ter­ity”. It guar­an­tees that an end­less sequence of “hard choices” that “no one wanted to make” are going to get made. But, some­how, an author­i­tar­ian cor­po­ratist model of soci­ety with pull through in the end (because that’s the only model that can be tried). It doesn’t just kill two birds with one stone. It gets them ALL (and who wouldn’t appre­ci­ate that!).

    Speak­ing of pre­dic­tions, there was a panel dis­cus­sion I hap­pened to catch on CSPAN a cou­ple of months ago that con­tained a great exam­ple of why I sus­pect our elites are no bank­ing on eco­col­lapse: The March 3rd Fed­er­al­ist Soci­ety dis­cus­sion was enti­tled “Effects of Reg­u­la­tion on Tech­nol­ogy & Inno­va­tion”. Peter Thiel, one of the pan­elist, was asked a ques­tion that involved him giv­ing his pre­dic­tion of what the global econ­omy is going to look like over the next 50 years. It was a world where all of Ayn Rands dark pre­dic­tions come true and a lack of tech­no­log­i­cal inno­va­tion due to gov­ern­ment suf­fo­ca­tion of the pri­vate sec­tor results in the malthu­sian exhaus­tion of nat­ural resources. Coal will also be the fuel of the 21st Cen­tury. Biotech and non-computer-science engi­neer­ing fields are dead ends and the only two “Golden Gooses” that area still left out there to save human­ity from a slow grind into obliv­ion are com­put­ers and finance. And Frank-Dodd killed the finan­cial Golden-Goose on Wall Street so it’s down to just com­put­ers. Granted, this was a remark­ably self-serving answer: an IT/finance bil­lion­aire see the world end­ing unless it suf­fi­ciently embraces his vision of finance and IT. Shocker. But the key aspect to his answer that I found telling is the recog­ni­tion that human­ity is fac­ing a resource exhaus­tion “wall” And this was com­ing from a guy push­ing for fas­cist sea-societies, space colonies, and the replace­ment of democ­racy with mar­ket­places. Whether or not Thiel wants col­lapse he prepar­ing to profit immensely from it. And with all the arti­cles about hedge fund man­agers becom­ing sur­vival­ists there’s just a grow­ing trend of an expected sys­temic col­lapse. That’s going go be one hell of a mega-trend/meta-trend over the next few decades.

    So if hell on earth appears to be utopia for a pow­er­ful fac­tion of the world’s oli­garchs. At least finan­cial utopia. Nice. That makes me inclined to pre­dict that the long-term plan of the global elites for deal­ing with pop­u­la­tions fac­ing 50%+ rates of illit­er­acy and hope­less fun­da­men­tal­ist mania is sim­ply to starve them out of exis­tence. Just wait for “nature” to do its work in the form of a man-made eco­log­i­cal cat­a­stro­phe and an end­less sequence of incom­pe­tent attempts to use “mar­ket forces” to “fix” the “prob­lem” (hint: the global poor will be a big part of the resource “prob­lem” as smaller nations get trapped by col­laps­ing ecosys­tems that kill their economies). It’s part of what makes the “Mus­lim Broth­er­hood Spring” so depress­ing. A move­ment started by des­per­ate youth with no eco­nomic hope or future got high­jacked by an inter­na­tional net­work of ass­holes that are doing their damnedest to ensure that there’s really no bio­log­i­cal future at all in their coun­tries. Forever.

    This dan­ger of insane, fascist-driven resource deple­tion applies to the whole planet but the Mus­lim world is heav­ily con­cen­trated in regions that could be ren­dered barely hab­it­able by the tri­fecta of cli­mate change, pop­u­la­tion explo­sion, and resource deple­tion. They’re sort of ground zero for eco-collapse and their religious/political lead­er­ship is lead­ing that a mas­sive swath of human­ity off a cliff. First a bunch of poor Mus­lim nations get impov­er­ished by ass back­wards reli­gious fun­da­men­tal­ism and/or hor­ren­dously cor­rupt sec­u­lar gov­ern­ments, and then — as a con­se­quence of the hor­rific mis­man­age­ment, wars, sec­ond class sta­tus for women, over­pop­u­la­tion, and all the other lunacy that inevitably comes with soci­eties that embrace mad­ness and hap­pen to be the neigh­bors of the Mil­i­tary Indus­trial Com­plex — even­tu­ally these same soci­eties get led up to a point where life will lit­er­ally not be able to exist in their nations. At least not nearly as much life as before. That’s what I sus­pect the Mus­lim world’s rulers have in mind for their pop­u­laces: dumb ‘em up and starve them out. And that applies for the vast major­ity of the rest of the planet regard­less of religion.

    Grow­ing up, I wouldn’t have ever believed a “starve the beast” sce­nario could become the de-facto rule for the 21st cen­tury but after a review of the his­tory of 20th applied ponerol­ogy I just can’t rule it out any­more. Humanity’s lead­ers are actively steer­ing the planet into the ground. “steer­ing the planet into the ground” is a strange metaphor to apply to “the planet” given that it’s “the ground”, but it’s also an alarm­ingly apt metaphor for “the planet” if “the planet” is a metaphor for our bios­phere. We are fucked eco­log­i­cally speak­ing and that’s the dom­i­nant trend of the 21st cen­tury. Gov­ern­ments, espe­cially Islamist gov­ern­ments, are doing noth­ing about while simul­ta­ne­ously push­ing for pop­u­la­tion explo­sions and that’s pretty much like qui­etly push­ing “the big red but­ton”. Every one of these gov­ern­ments has to know that humanity’s hit­ting a real resource/pollution “wall”. We’re start­ing to see the first phase of in-your-face-across-the-board ecodegra­da­tion. It’s like the nat­ural ana­log to the in-your-face-across-the-board fas­cist takeover of the levers of power that have taken place since JFK but way worse.

    Ugh. I didn’t intend to go on an eco-rant but the Mus­lim Brotherhood-style takeover of much of the world is increas­ingly look­ing like one of the largest slow motion train wrecks in his­tory. Stu­pid eco­nom­ics cou­pled to stu­pid reli­gion right when we hit the indus­trial age, high tech, and the real­ity of a full planet. And with cli­mate change on top of all that. there’s just no real prepa­ra­tion at all being done for a very seri­ous, upcom­ing age of real resource “aus­ter­ity”. Just more reli­gion and illit­er­acy. And if the lit­er­ate world can have some­thing like this printed year after year with no mean­ing­ful response, what chance does the illit­er­ate world have?

    So, with all that in mind, if any­one was inclined to go on that dream eco-tourism adven­ture — like to a rain­for­est or some­thing like that — you may need to book those tick­ets sooner rather than later:

    UN Envi­ron­ment Pro­gram report says envi­ron­ment is at break­ing point
    AP From: AP June 07, 2012 11:37AM

    THE earth is being pushed to its bio­phys­i­cal lim­its and crit­i­cal thresh­olds have already been exceeded, accord­ing to a grim new report from the UN.

    In a 525-page report on the health of the planet, the the United Nations Envi­ron­ment Pro­gram paints a grim picture.

    It says: “Sev­eral crit­i­cal global, regional and local thresh­olds are close or have been exceeded.

    “... abrupt and pos­si­bly irre­versible changes to the life-support func­tions of the planet are likely to occur.”

    The report, which was released overnight, says changes include ris­ing sea lev­els, increased fre­quency and sever­ity of floods and droughts, and the col­lapse of fisheries.

    The report, which com­piles three years of work by 300 sci­en­tists, says about 20 per cent of ver­te­brate species are under threat of extinc­tion, coral reefs have declined by 38 per cent since 1980, green­house gas emis­sions could dou­ble over the next 50 years, and 90 per cent of water and fish sam­ples are con­t­a­m­i­nated by pesticides.

    It says lit­tle or no progress has been made over the past five years on nearly a third of the main envi­ron­men­tal goals, includ­ing global warm­ing. Sig­nif­i­cant progress has been made on just four of the 90 most impor­tant goals, the report says.

    “This is an indict­ment,” UNEP exec­u­tive direc­tor Achim Steiner said at a news con­fer­ence in Rio De Janeiro. “We live in an age of irre­spon­si­bil­ity that is also tes­ti­fied and doc­u­mented in this report.

    “In 1992 (when the first of the agency’s five reports was released) we talked about the future that was likely to occur.

    “This report 20 years later speaks to the fact that a num­ber of the things that we talked about in the future tense in 1992 have arrived,” Steiner said.

    “Once the tip­ping point occurs, you don’t wake up the next morn­ing and say, ‘This is ter­ri­ble, can we change it?’ We are con­demn­ing peo­ple to not hav­ing the choice.”

    Steiner said: “Change is pos­si­ble. Given what we know, we can move in another direction.”

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 10, 2012, 11:50 pm
  4. Dear Mr. Emory !

    I came to you here over Wikipedia by a Herff/Coogan –link**) under the J.v.Leers arti­cle, because I’m very inter­ested in Johann von Leers, sim­i­lar per­sons, nazi-islam and the ger­man and euro prepo­si­tions and over­lap­pins of “nordic”, new pagan­ist, anti-christisan and anti­semite ide­olo­gies or imag­ines with islam doc­trine and pow­ers like MB.
    Min­utes ago I found a new study research group about per­son and work of this pro­pa­gan­dist of ugly­ness Prof. J.v. Leers, installed at uni­ver­sity of Würzburg . . .

    — If You have more about race hygien­ist Amin Omar Leers ?

    But I think that it’s not anough only to pay atten­tion to this multi nazi activist as the pos­si­ble ger­man main link to islam a n d pos­si­bly as a spot­light to a post-1945 new ger­man– or euro– arab anti­west impe­ri­al­ist strat­egy, how it von Leers spelled in his wikipedia quoted let­ter to US-fascist H. Keith Thom­son.
    And, together with some other facts and devel­ope­ments, von Leers dreams seemed to be come true partly. — Per­haps You know the islamic car­rier of the west­ger­man past-49 diplo­mat “Murat” Wil­fried HOFMANN***), whom about crit­i­cans argue, he would have pub­lished a spe­cial Koran/Quran for naive ger­mans, means a defused and glosses edition !

    From Hitler and Himm­ler only few but impor­tant pro-islamic sen­tences are known. — But there was an more early strate­gist of “Jihad made in Ger­many”, so called by ara­bist http://www.trafoBerlin.de/autoren/Schwanitz_Wolfgang, — a diplo­mat again and a ger­man kind of Lawrence of Ara­bia, — Max Frei­herr from Oppenheim . . .

    In this con­nec­tions I want to ask you, what is more known about post-45 euro-/german strate­gies together with arab and iran lands rspl. pan-islamic orga­ni­za­tion; or on another way, how/do you or other good ana­lysts recept the so called EURABIA con­tracts under german-frensh lead in/ after 1973 ? His­tory doc­u­men­tarist Bat Ye’or said, this con­tracts with the ARAB LEAGUE have been called “Euro Arab Dia­log” and con­tents with the per­spec­tice on a new euro-arab (oeco­nomic) imperium, also an anti-israeli align for the mass medias and a pro islamic full cul­tural openess.

    — Not to for­get, that since 1946 ff or 49 ff anti­com­mu­nist effords under BND and CIA rspl. under Ex-Gen. Gehlen ( Wehrma­cht chap­ter “Fremde Heere Ost” / for­eign armies east) together with muslems from the rest of islamic led SS-divisions out of the sur­round­ing of Munich (again !) caused the main fol­low, that the MB jumped into wes­teu­rope ... .- Suit­able to the islam strat­gic mean­ing, how Ian John­son calles it “The 4th Mosque” with his book title.

    At last I wan’na ask you, whether you know an(other) good scource rspl. por­tal or books, per­haps in ger­man lan­guage, about islam — nazi and islam –KGB con­nec­tions, rela­tion­ships and projects.

    Bye-bye !
    Achim Schueman

    ***( From 1979 to 1983 he lead the Ref. NATO & Defense in germ. Auswär­ti­gen Amt (For­eign Min­istry) in Bonn.
    1980 he con­verted to sun­nit islam. 1983 – 1987 he was direc­tor for Infor­ma­tion at NATO in Brüs­sel. 1987 he became germ. Ambas­sor in Alge­ria. entsandt, than 1990 to Marocco.
    He is full mem­ber of Ahl al-Bayt Foun­da­tion for Islamic Thought in Amman (Jor­danien), co– adi­vi­sor & mem­ber of honor of the so called Cen­tral advi­sor board of Muslems in Ger­many, one of the more pro-arab minor­ity unions of muslems, he
    is mem­ber of Sharia-council of the muslem Bosna Bank Inter­na­tional in Sara­jewo. From 1994–2008 in 31 coun­tries he held ca. 350 lec­tures about islamic themes.
    2008 from read­ers of the berlin “Islamic News­pa­per” he was elected as “most impor­tant Mus­lim in[!] Deutsch­land”.
    About themes of islam Hof­mann wrote sev­eral books. Most of them are also avail­able in Arab (!) und Eng­lish; some in Alban­ian lan­guage, Bosniac, Frensh, Malay­alam, Turk­ish and Hun­gary. 1998 he pub­lished a new revise of the clas­si­cal Koran trans­la­tion from Max Hen­ning.
    Except that he is lit­er­a­ture crit­i­can of the Mark­field (Leices­ter­shire) quar­terly pub­lished Mus­lim World Book Review, of Oxford Jour­nal of Islamic Stud­ies and of the pak­istani quar­terly jour­nal Islamic Stud­ies tätig (until now ca. 200 crit­ics).
    Bedeath he pub­lished irreg­u­lar essay and arti­cles in the Islamis­chen Zeitung (Berlin), in Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Islamic Social Stud­ies (Wash­ing­ton, D.C.), Encoun­ters (Mark­field, LE,UK) and Islamic Stud­ies (Islam­abad).
    “Der Islam as an Alter­na­tive to west­ern lifestyle”,- comared to a pro­gram­matic book title Hof­mann under­stands islam as an alter­na­tive against west­ern live, what is seen as degen­er­ated by him ...” ( wikipedia)

    **( H e r f trans­lates & para­phrases the whole pas­sage in Eng­lish like in fol­low: Mohammed’s hos­til­ity to the Jews had one result: Ori­en­tal Jewry was com­pletely par­a­lyzed. Its back­bone was bro­ken. Ori­en­tal Jewry effec­tively did not par­tic­i­pate in [Euro­pean] Jewry’s tremen­dous rise to power in the last two cen­turies. Despised in the filthy lanes of the mel­lah (the walled Jew­ish quar­ter of a Moroc­can city, anal­o­gous to the Euro­pean ghetto) the Jews veg­e­tated there. They lived under a spe­cial law (that of a pro­tected minor­ity), which in con­trast to Europe did not per­mit usury or even traf­fic in stolen goods, but kept them in a state of oppres­sion and anx­i­ety. If the rest of the world had adopted a sim­i­lar pol­icy, we would not have a Jew­ish Ques­tion (Juden­frage).... As a reli­gion, Islam indeed per­formed an eter­nal ser­vice to the world: it pre­vented the threat­ened con­quest of Ara­bia by the Jews and van­quished the hor­ri­ble teach­ing of Jeho­vah by a pure reli­gion, which at that time opened the way to a higher cul­ture for numer­ous peo­ples. In: “Juden­tum und Islam als Gegen­sätze”, Zs. Die Juden­frage, Bd. 6, Nr. 24, 15. Dezem­ber 1942, S. 278, zit. nach Herf, The Jew­ish Enemy, S. 181

    Posted by Achim Schueman | June 11, 2012, 12:43 am
  5. Posted by Achim Schueman | June 11, 2012, 12:50 am
  6. Just a note to any prospec­tive Israeli tourists: Turkey is open for busi­ness...selec­tively:

    Erdo­gan: We don’t need Israeli tourists
    The Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter has repeated that Israel must apol­o­gize for the flotilla deaths and remove the Gaza block­ade.
    6 June 12 09:44, Globes correspondent

    “We don’t need Israeli tourists in Turkey and we don’t feel their absence,” Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan told jour­nal­ists from “Yediot Ahronot” and “Maariv” dur­ing a recep­tion in Istan­bul yes­ter­day. “We have replaced Israeli tourists with other tourists and last year we had 31 mil­lion tourists.”

    He added, “Only if Israel apol­o­gizes for IDF sol­diers board­ing the Mar­mara and killing Turk­ish activists, and pays com­pen­sa­tion to the fam­i­lies of the dead, and removes the ter­ri­ble block­ade on Gaza, will I be ready to meet with the Israeli prime min­is­ter, and per­haps nor­mal­ize rela­tions between the countries.”

    Erdo­gan con­tin­ued, “If and when Israel meets these con­di­tions, then rela­tions can flour­ish as they did in the past. We will not com­pro­mise over these con­di­tions, even if the price is a pro­tracted cri­sis between the countries.”

    ...

    Also, if any jour­nal­ists want to get a clar­i­fi­ca­tion of what exactly Erdo­gan meant, you may need to choose those ques­tions care­fully:

    In Turkey the right to free speech is being lost

    Erdo­gan is using a series of alleged plots to jus­tify a crack­down on dis­sent that threat­ens basic freedoms

    Mehdi Hasan
    guardian.co.uk, Sun­day 10 June 2012 12.00 EDT

    Which coun­try in the world cur­rently impris­ons more jour­nal­ists than any other? The People’s Repub­lic of China? Nope. Iran? Wrong again. The rather depress­ing answer is the Repub­lic of Turkey, where nearly 100 jour­nal­ists are behind bars, accord­ing to the Organ­i­sa­tion for Secu­rity and Co-operation in Europe. Yes, that’s right: mod­ern, sec­u­lar, western-oriented Turkey, with its demo­c­ra­t­i­cally elected gov­ern­ment, has locked away more mem­bers of the press than China and Iran combined.

    But this isn’t just about the press — stu­dents, aca­d­e­mics, artists and oppo­si­tion MPs have all recently been tar­geted for dar­ing to speak out against the gov­ern­ment of prime min­is­ter Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan and his mildly Islamist Jus­tice and Devel­op­ment Party, or AKP.

    There is a new cli­mate of fear in Istan­bul. When I vis­ited the city last week to host a dis­cus­sion show for al-Jazeera Eng­lish, I found jour­nal­ists speak­ing in hushed tones about the clam­p­down on free speech. Within 24 hours of our arrival, one of my al-Jazeera col­leagues was detained by police offi­cers, who went through his bag and rifled through one of my scripts. They loudly objected to a line refer­ring to the country’s “increas­ingly author­i­tar­ian gov­ern­ment”. Who says that Turks don’t do irony?

    ...

    Those of us who have long argued that elected Islamist par­ties should not be denied the oppor­tu­nity to gov­ern invested great hope in Erdo­gan and the AKP. But what I dis­cov­ered in Istan­bul is that there is still a long way to go. The truth is that Turkey can­not be the model, the tem­plate, for post-revolutionary, Muslim-majority coun­tries like Tunisia and Egypt until it first gets its own house in order. To inspire free­dom abroad, the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment must first guar­an­tee free­dom at home.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 11, 2012, 8:22 pm
  7. Just a note to the art lovers out there think­ing about attend­ing a Tunisian arts exhi­bi­tion....hel­mets and flame-retardant cloth­ing are rec­om­mended:

    Tunisian Salafi Islamists riot over “insult­ing” art

    By Tarek Amara and Lin Noueihed

    TUNIS | Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:35pm EDT

    (Reuters) — Thou­sands of Salafi Islamists, angered by an art exhi­bi­tion they say insults Mus­lims, ram­paged through parts of Tunis on Tues­day, rais­ing reli­gious ten­sions in the birth­place of the Arab Spring and pil­ing pres­sure on the mod­er­ate Islamist government.

    Pro­test­ers hurled rocks and petrol bombs at police sta­tions, a court house and the offices of sec­u­lar par­ties in some of the worst clashes since last year’s revolt ousted Pres­i­dent Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and launched upris­ings across the Arab world.

    Salafis, who fol­low a puri­tan­i­cal inter­pre­ta­tion of Islam, blocked streets and set tires alight in the work­ing class Ettadamen and Sidi Hus­sein dis­tricts of the cap­i­tal overnight.

    By morn­ing, protests had spread to a num­ber of res­i­den­tial dis­tricts in the cap­i­tal and to other cities, pos­ing one of the biggest threats yet to Tunisia’s demo­c­ra­tic transition.

    Stone-throwing youths stopped trams from pass­ing through the capital’s Inti­laqa dis­trict where demon­stra­tors entered mosques and used the loud­speak­ers to call on Tunisians to defend Islam.

    Some 2,500 Salafis were still clash­ing with police in the area by Tues­day evening, an inte­rior min­istry offi­cial said, adding that 162 peo­ple had been detained and 65 mem­bers of the secu­rity forces had been wounded try­ing to quell the riots.

    The inte­rior and defense min­istries imposed a night time cur­few on the cap­i­tal and seven other areas after Inte­rior Min­is­ter Ali Larayedh told par­lia­ment he expected the riots to con­tinue in the com­ing days, stretch­ing secu­rity forces.

    The clashes came a day after the Spring of Arts exhi­bi­tion in the upscale La Marsa sub­urb pro­voked an out­cry from some Tunisians who say it insulted Islam. The work that appears to have caused most fury spelt out the name of God using insects.

    “These artists are attack­ing Islam and this is not new. Islam is tar­geted,” said a youth, who gave his name as Ali and had removed his shirt as he pre­pared to con­front police in Ettadamen. “What added fuel to the flames is the government’s silence,” said Ali, who did not describe him­self as a Salafi.

    Offi­cials of the Islamist-led gov­ern­ment have con­demned the art works that they say were intended to insult and pro­voke, but said there was no excuse for the out­break of vio­lence that appeared planned and coor­di­nated and could under­mine eco­nomic recov­ery as the tourism and har­vest sea­sons get underway.

    Larayedh vowed the police would con­front any more acts of vio­lence, which he blamed on a mix of vio­lent Salafis, crim­i­nal gangs and Ben Ali loy­al­ists seek­ing to under­mine the revolution.

    ...

    While Islamists did not play a major role in the rev­o­lu­tion, the strug­gle over the role of Islam in gov­ern­ment and soci­ety has since emerged as the most divi­sive issue in Tunisian pol­i­tics and sev­eral clashes have erupted in recent months, some of them involv­ing attacks on alco­hol vendors.

    Salafis, some of whom are sym­pa­thetic to al Qaeda, want a broader role for reli­gion in the new Tunisia, alarm­ing sec­u­lar elites who fear they will seek to impose their views and ulti­mately under­mine the nascent democracy.

    Some sec­u­lar­ists had attended the offend­ing exhi­bi­tion, say­ing Tunisians had the right to artis­tic free­dom, and they have also come under phys­i­cal attack.

    A labor union office in the north­west­ern city of Jen­douba had been set alight by Salafis overnight while the offices of sec­u­lar par­ties nearby were attacked, Larayedh said, in an appar­ent effort to inflame ten­sions that are already bub­bling between the Islamist-led gov­ern­ment and the sec­u­lar opposition.

    Clashes also broke out in the coastal city of Sousse, where an art cen­tre came under attack by Salafis. A sec­u­lar party came under attack in the bor­der town of Tataouine and pro­test­ers blocked the road from Tunis to the city of Biz­erte, 60 km away.

    Larayedh said the vio­lence appeared orga­nized and some of it may have been inspired by a recent state­ment from al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri, rather than sim­ply an art exhibition.

    On Sun­day, Zawahri called on Tunisians to defend Islamic law from Ennahda, which won the first post-revolutionary elec­tion in North Africa in Octo­ber and has said it would not seek to impose sharia in the new con­sti­tu­tion that is being drawn up.

    The audio record­ing, released on Islamist web­sites, said Ennahda, which leads Tunisia’s gov­ern­ment in coali­tion with two sec­u­lar groups, had betrayed the religion.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 18, 2012, 1:36 pm
  8. Seri­ously wish I could visit the Roman ruins in Libya: Lep­tis Mag­nus as well as the ones in Syria, but I guess NATO dri­ven wars and the con­se­quen­tial anar­chy they bring once MB affil­i­ated goons take over (they’re 3 for 3 in the Pig­gy­back Coups now, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt now)
    Now Dave, please explain why the LIFG goons who were killing GIs in Iraq are run­ning Libya and assist­ing in the over­throw of the Syr­ian gov? Bonus points if you look into the career of Abdel­hakim Bel­haj, who may have been on the Turk­ish Flotilla in 2010)
    Also check out West Point’s report on Libyan Al Qaeda vol­un­teers, who are now work­ing in Syria:
    http://www.ctc.usma.edu/posts/al-qaidas-foreign-fighters-in-iraq-a-first-look-at-the-sinjar-records

    Posted by Doug Diggler | June 24, 2012, 3:17 pm
  9. While rad­i­cal Islamist groups may have played an out­sized role in the over­throw of the gov­ern­ment and Islamist move­ments in gen­eral were going to have an oppor­tu­nity to expand in the destroyed nations(don’t for­get that one of the unspo­ken goals of a con­flict is often to rad­i­cal­ize the afflicted pop­u­la­tion), the elec­tions in July made it pretty clear that the Islamists were not going to embraced by a major­ity of the Libyan peo­ple. So if you were won­der­ing about the polit­i­cal con­text of the ter­ror­ist attack on the US Con­sulate in Ben­c­hazi by al-Qaeda affil­i­ated mili­tias, the rejec­tion of the Islamists in the July elec­tions are a part of that con­text and twisted ratio­nal:

    Libyan Attack on US Con­sulate Tied to Elec­tions, Assas­si­na­tion
    By Joshua Phillip
    Epoch Times Staff

    Cre­ated: Sep­tem­ber 19, 2012 Last Updated: Sep­tem­ber 22, 2012

    There is still no offi­cial line on whether the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Libya was planned by ter­ror­ist groups or whether it was mil­i­tants who took the protests against an anti-Muslim film as an oppor­tu­nity to meet their own goals.

    ...

    This ties back to the Libyan elec­tions in July, which saw a non-Islamic party win the major­ity of seats. This was a major blow to Islamist groups, par­tic­u­larly the Arab Islamic extrem­ists, the Salafists—who only last month destroyed Sufi shrines in Libya, accord­ing to Reuters.

    A Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity report states, “Salafists have felt mar­gin­al­ized and threat­ened. Like in Egypt, they have played on anti-American sen­ti­ments to appeal to the pop­u­la­tion.

    The report out­lines a dis­cus­sion with Lina Khatib, head of the Pro­gram on Arab Reform and Democ­racy at Stan­ford University’s Cen­ter on Democ­racy, Devel­op­ment, and the Rule of Law.

    “The pro­duc­tion of the U.S. film pro­vided them with a way to orches­trate a high-profile action with sev­eral aims: send­ing a mes­sage of defi­ance to sec­u­lars and to the West; appeal­ing to the local pop­u­la­tion; and prov­ing that while they may have lost polit­i­cally, they are still a force to be reck­oned with mil­i­tar­ily,” Khatib said.

    The gen­eral idea of the report is that the “threat of democ­racy” was likely the moti­va­tion behind the killings. To this, Jere Van Dyk, author and jour­nal­ist who lived along­side Afghanistan’s Mujahideen in the 1980s and who was taken pris­oner by the Tal­iban in 2008, could not agree more.

    He told The Epoch Times that the Tal­iban fight­ers who held him cap­tive referred to democ­racy as a “west­ern reli­gion,” and that the recent attacks are those fight­ers try­ing to pre­vent democ­racy from tak­ing root.

    Prior to the attacks, U.S. busi­ness del­e­ga­tions were vis­it­ing Egypt and Libya. This is part of the pol­icy Obama announced in May 2011 to offer eco­nomic oppor­tu­ni­ties to coun­tries over­throw­ing oppres­sive regimes in the Arab Spring.

    ...

    So with all that in mind, very very nice Beng­hazi:

    NY Times
    2 Islamist Mili­tias Dis­band Amid Anger Over Killings
    By SULIMAN ALI ZWAY and KAREEM FAHIM
    Pub­lished: Sep­tem­ber 22, 2012

    BENGHAZI, Libya — Two Islamist mili­tias in the east­ern city of Dar­nah announced Sat­ur­day that they were dis­band­ing, bow­ing to a wave of anti-militia anger that has swept parts of Libya since a deadly attack on an Amer­i­can diplo­matic mis­sion on Sept. 11.

    A local polit­i­cal activist said that one of the mili­tias, the Abu Salim Brigade, had sur­ren­dered sev­eral bases in the city. A sec­ond mili­tia was also said to have agreed to dis­band, Reuters reported.

    The announce­ments came a day after tens of thou­sands of pro­test­ers marched in Beng­hazi demand­ing the dis­so­lu­tion of mili­tias formed dur­ing the revolt last year against Libya’s strong­man, Col. Muam­mar el-Qaddafi. Pro­test­ers stormed four bases in Beng­hazi, rout­ing a rogue Islamist mili­tia whose mem­bers were tied to the attack on the Amer­i­can mis­sion, in which the Amer­i­can ambas­sador and three other Amer­i­cans were killed.

    ...

    Once again thou­sands of poor, dis­em­pow­ered peo­ple in a war-torn nation show the rest of the civ­i­lized world just what real self-government is all about. When mon­sters take power, the self-governed get active. I know of a cer­tain city that just made it onto my “places I want to visit before I kick it” list.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 22, 2012, 8:43 pm
  10. This lat­est episode of Real Time with Bill Maher and guest Salmon Rushdie is worth lis­ten­ing to or watching.

    http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/real-time-with-bill-maher/id98746009

    Although I don’t expect to get the level of insight often found at this web­site, I do still appre­ci­ate see­ing out­spo­ken lib­er­als will­ing to call out the Islamist/Salafist “out­rage indus­try” (a term now used by the more enlight­ened types). Yet, when the con­ver­sa­tion comes around to mock­ing the aver­age arab for believ­ing that “The Inno­cence of Mus­lims” was a cre­ation of U.S. intel­li­gence, we really come to the nut of the prob­lem. Is the aver­age arab on the street wrong to see U.S. intel­li­gence behind this? I’m not so sure he/she is.

    Posted by GrumpusRex | September 25, 2012, 11:25 am
  11. Libya con­tin­ues to be one of those places that actu­ally gives one some hope for the future. To get a sense of just how dire Libya’s sit­u­a­tion is with the pri­vate own­er­ship of heavy weaponry, note that it’s not just guns or even rocket launch­ers that are being turned to the national gov­ern­ment. Peo­ple are dri­ving up to the weapons col­lec­tion sight with tanks....to hand over. Those are some folks that ‘get it’:

    Hun­dreds of Libyans han­dover their weapons
    By OSAMA ALFITORY | Asso­ci­ated Press — 09/29/2012

    BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — Hun­dreds of Libyans con­verged Sat­ur­day on a main square in Beng­hazi and another in Tripoli in response to a call from the mil­i­tary to hand over their weapons, some dri­ving in with armored per­son­nel car­ri­ers, tanks, vehi­cles with mounted anti-aircraft guns and hun­dreds of rocket launch­ers.

    The call by the Libyan chiefs of staff was pro­moted on a pri­vate TV sta­tion in August. But it may have gained trac­tion in the wake of the attack against the U.S. con­sulate in Beng­hazi in which the Amer­i­can ambas­sador and three staffers were killed. The inci­dent was fol­lowed by a pop­u­lar uproar against armed mili­tias which have increas­ingly chal­lenged gov­ern­ment author­i­ties.

    In response, the gov­ern­ment has called on all mili­tias to dis­band or join a com­mand cen­ter coor­di­nat­ing between the army and the mili­tias. The gov­ern­ment had relied on many mili­tias for secu­rity dur­ing the tur­moil fol­low­ing last year’s ouster and killing of long­time leader Moam­mar Gadhafi.

    Army Col. Omran al-Warfali said the turnout has been impressive.

    ...

    Ahmed Salem, an orga­nizer of the efforts in Beng­hazi, said over 800 cit­i­zens handed in weapons at the main col­lec­tion point. Over 600 dif­fer­ent types of arms were col­lected, includ­ing anti-aircraft guns, land mines, rocket launch­ers and artillery rockets.

    Moussa Omr, a for­mer fighter who lives on the out­skirts of Beng­hazi and who fought against Gad­hafi, said it was time to turn over his weapon to the state.

    “When I saw the announce­ment on tele­vi­sion I came to Beng­hazi with my wife and son to hand over my weapon to the national army because I want to move from the stage of the rev­o­lu­tion to state build­ing,” he said. “I trust the national army. They have been with us on the front­line and I know them one by one. I don’t need this weapon after today, the mili­tias have been expelled from Beng­hazi and the national army will pro­tect us.”

    ...

    Last week­end, thou­sands of pro­test­ers marched against the mili­tias in Beng­hazi, the cra­dle of the upris­ing against Gad­hafi, and stormed two of their compounds.

    In Tripoli, at least 200 for­mer fight­ers handed over their weapons, includ­ing two tanks, at the Mar­tyrs’ square in the city cen­ter. A cleric urged young fight­ers to give up their weapons. “The nation is built with knowl­edge not guns,” he said stand­ing in the square.

    But, of course, every soci­ety also has those folks that don’t ‘get it’ in so many dif­fer­ent ways:

    Pro-Salafist rally in Libya’s Beng­hazi turns violent

    By Ibrahim Majbari (AFP) – 09/28/2012

    BENGHAZI, Libya — Libyan demon­stra­tors lobbed hand grenades at secu­rity forces and set cars ablaze after a rally in Beng­hazi on Fri­day in sup­port of a hard­line Salafist group which was evicted from the sec­ond city.

    More than 200 men con­verged on Benghazi’s Al-Jalaa Hos­pi­tal, which was guarded by mem­bers of Ansar al-Sharia until Fri­day of last week, when anti-militia pro­test­ers forced them out, an AFP cor­re­spon­dent reported.

    “We want Ansar al-Sharia to come back and pro­tect this hos­pi­tal,” a plac­ard read.

    The crowd then marched on a nearby secu­rity forces building.

    Inte­rior min­istry forces fired warn­ing shots in the air from inside the base. Demon­stra­tors responded by throw­ing hand grenades at the outer walls and torch­ing two parked cars.

    Troops arrived quickly on the scene and the crowd dis­persed. Some 25 sol­diers took up posi­tion around the building.

    ...

    “Hey, we want to bring back the crazy Jihadist mili­tia to pro­tect the hos­pi­tal. Also, catch this live grenade.”

    I have a new the­ory on the Libyan Salafists’ mad­ness: This is all an elab­o­rate attempt to induce brain dam­age across the entire planet via repeated facepalm­ing. Even­tu­ally, so much brain dam­age will have been inflicted that we’ll all be ready for con­ver­sion to Salafism. The bril­liance of this tac­tic is that the more mind numb­ingly stu­pid one finds the Salafists, the more dam­age it inflicts.

    Stay strong Jean-Luc, stay strong.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 29, 2012, 7:12 pm
  12. @Rob Coogan:
    Yeah, the grow­ing CIA involve­ment in arm­ing the Syr­ian rebels has prob­a­bly made any dis­cus­sion of where any weapons head­ing to any Sunni insur­gen­cies in any coun­try a really touchy topic at this point.

    It’s also telling that, as much atten­tion as the story of the Libyan attack as received in the US media press and the increas­ing efforts on the part of the GOP to score polit­i­cal points in the wake of the attack, there hasn’t been much atten­tion paid to the fact that one of the Navy SEALS killed in the attack was there to find and destroy shoulder-launched surface-to-air mis­siles(maybe point­ing the fact that there was indeed an a pro­gram to find and destroy the mis­siles didn’t work out in the polit­i­cal cal­cu­lus?). And just last week, a senior Syr­ian rebel com­man­der was recently pub­licly com­plain­ing about the West block­ing the rebels from receiv­ing exactly that type of weapon. He also promised that the mis­siles never fall into the hands of the Islamist rebels forces and that the Syr­ian peo­ple didn’t really sup­port the Islamist any­ways. You have to won­der how that com­men­tary was received by the Syr­ian Islamists:

    West com­plicit in Syria ‘mas­sacres’: rebel leader

    By Michel Moutot (AFP) – 09/27/2012

    ATMEH, Syria — A Syr­ian rebel com­man­der has accused the West of being com­plicit in the “unprece­dented mas­sacres” com­mit­ted by Pres­i­dent Bashar al-Assad’s forces by refus­ing to arm the rebels with anti-aircraft weapons.

    Rebel offi­cer Ahmad al-Fajj, a brigadier-general in the reg­u­lar Syr­ian army before his defec­tion “in the first days of the rev­o­lu­tion,” spoke in the rebel Free Syr­ian Army-held vil­lage of Atmeh on the Turk­ish border.

    “The free peo­ples of the world — Euro­peans, Amer­i­cans — must under­stand that their gov­ern­ments are indi­rectly respon­si­ble for the killings in our coun­try,” Fajj, 64, said in an inter­view with AFP on Tuesday.

    “We asked all the arms deal­ers and traf­fick­ers in the region to sell us anti-aircraft mis­siles. They told us they needed the green light from the CIA and Mossad, and the light was red,” he said.

    “They won’t sell us anti-tank weapons for the same rea­son. All we have to defeat Bashar’s tanks are the RPGs we man­age to retrieve from the enemy.”

    He claimed that with surface-to-air mis­siles the rebels would be able to defeat the regime forces “in a week, a month at most.”

    Gen­eral Fajj, who bore an odd resem­blance to the late Hafez al-Assad, for­mer pres­i­dent and father of Bashar, said he could not fathom the West’s reluc­tance to sup­ply the rebels with the nec­es­sary anti-aircraft equipment.

    West­ern nations fear that such weapons may fall into the hands of mil­i­tant Islamists oper­at­ing in the country.

    “There aren’t many Islamists, less than a thou­sand in the whole of Syria. They have no power,” he asserted. “We con­trol the lib­er­ated areas and I can guar­an­tee you there is no chance they’d get hold of missiles.

    “If West­ern coun­tries had helped us from the begin­ning, they wouldn’t even be here as we wouldn’t need them. I assure you that after our vic­tory they will not pose a prob­lem. If they do we’ll deal with them. The Syr­ian peo­ple don’t sup­port them, they’re on our side.

    I can promise the free peo­ples of the world that if surface-to-air mis­siles are given to us, they will not fall into the hands of Islamist groups,” he said.

    As the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly opened in New York Tues­day, Fajj com­plained: “Demo­c­ra­tic coun­tries only sup­port us with words. This is shame­ful for the world. They can see what’s hap­pen­ing, build­ings being destroyed by air strikes, and they do nothing.”

    ...

    If the CIA really does have a hold on those mis­siles flow­ing directly to the Syr­ian rebels the Libyan attacks high­light the real­ity that there are other poten­tial sources for that kind of terrorist-friendly hard­ware. The use of shoulder-fired mis­siles by Syr­ian rebels or any­one else in the world will be some­thing to watch.

    It’s also going to be really inter­est­ing to see just how much real, grass-roots anti-Islamist sen­ti­ment emerges in the coun­tries that are cur­rently in upheaval and decid­ing whether to take the Islamist vs sec­u­lar path for­ward. The gov­ern­ment of Libya may have played a role in orga­niz­ing those Beng­hazi protests and Rove (or a Rove-like entity) could very eas­ily have had a hand in the pro­duc­tion of that inflam­ma­tory video, but the Islamists are bla­tantly crazy enough on their own to war­rant a seri­ous pub­lic back­lash. Their just bad at hold­ing power. So this fol­low­ing arti­cle may be a bit of self-serving report­ing or sim­ply pro­pa­ganda by Reuters, but it looks like the Libyan Islamist mili­tias really are gen­uinely stung by a pub­lic back­lash:

    Bit­terly, guer­ril­las yield streets of east Libya town

    By Peter Graff

    DERNA, Libya | Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:52pm EDT

    (Reuters) — A day after their once feared Islamist mili­tia decided to dis­band, a dozen die-hard fight­ers of the Abu Slim Brigade screamed towards us in their cars and piled out, red-faced with fury at the “infi­dels” come to wit­ness their retreat.

    We had arrived in the city of Derna, at the east­ern end of Libya’s long Mediter­ranean coast and known as a strong­hold of Islamist fight­ers, to find it transformed.

    The Abu Slim mili­tia of vet­eran guer­ril­las had dis­solved in the face of pop­u­lar anger, fuelled in part by pub­lic dis­gust at the killing of the respected U.S. ambas­sador two weeks ago.

    It was after­noon siesta time on Sun­day and there was no sign on the sleepy streets of the bearded gun­men who had once main­tained check­points and patrols.

    Derna has long had a rep­u­ta­tion across the Mid­dle East as a recruit­ment cen­tre for jihadi fight­ers who have trav­elled to fight in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

    ...

    ABU SLIM CAMP

    We first drove up to a camp in the cen­tre of town that had been vacated the pre­vi­ous day and was being inspected by a small group of mil­i­tary police­men in civil­ian clothes — a com­mon enough para­dox in Libya, where interim gov­ern­ments have put troops on the state pay­roll but not always into uniform.

    A fork­lift truck came and drove off to a scrap­yard car­ry­ing a rusty, six-barreled 105 mm rocket launcher, a Soviet-style Grad, which the mili­tia fight­ers had left behind in the camp.

    The sol­diers there said they would lead us to a larger camp for the Abu Slim force on the edge of the desert, a gar­gan­tuan base hous­ing some build­ings of a for­mer Gaddafi-era instal­la­tion on the out­skirts of the town.

    When we pulled up, the fam­ily that owns the land on which the base is built had already shown up to reclaim it from the fight­ers. They had spray-painted their name, Tajouri, on an out­side wall.

    One man from the fam­ily served us glasses of sweet tea at the gate and told us that a small num­ber of fight­ers were still present, in a dis­tant part of the camp, get­ting ready to depart.

    Inter­preter Ghaith Shen­nib went in to see if the fight­ers were will­ing to talk with us. He found them pack­ing their bags into pick-up trucks. When he said we were jour­nal­ists the leader of the small group could hardly con­tain his rage.

    “Get out of here! We are going. You can do your work after we are gone,” Shen­nib recalled him say­ing bit­terly. “What more do you want from us? We are already leaving.

    “It is you peo­ple from the media who turned soci­ety against us.”

    While his fight­ers were, he said, abid­ing by the order to dis­band, they would no longer rec­og­nize the leader who had ordered the brigade wound up.
    ...

    And this all brings us back to another issue that isn’t gen­er­ally talked about within the con­text of the global Islamist insur­gen­cies: where did all the weaponized ideas come from. Oh yeah, from our good friends:

    France24
    Lat­est update: 09/30/2012
    How Saudi petrodol­lars fuel rise of Salafism
    Since the 2011 Arab revolts, a loose net­work of under­ground zealots has evolved into a potent and highly vocal force. Behind the remark­able rise of Salafism lies the world’s lead­ing pro­ducer of oil – and extrem­ist Islam: Saudi Ara­bia.
    By Marc DAOU

    When pro­test­ers incensed by an anti-Muslim video scaled the walls of the US embassy in Cairo on Sep­tem­ber 11, tear­ing down the Stars and Stripes, a black flag could be seen float­ing above the bat­tered com­pound. From Sanaa, in Yemen, to Libya’s Beng­hazi, the same black ban­ner, emblem of the Salafists, soon became a ubiq­ui­tous sight as anti-US protests spread like wild­fire across the Arab world. The 2011 Arab upris­ings have served the Salafists well. With the old dic­ta­tors gone, a once sub­ter­ranean net­work of hard­lin­ers has sprung into promi­nence – funded by a wealthy Gulf patron locked in a post-Arab Spring rivalry with a fel­low Gulf monar­chy.

    The ‘pre­de­ces­sors’

    A puri­tan­i­cal branch of Islam, Salafism advo­cates a strict, lit­er­al­ist inter­pre­ta­tion of the Koran and a return to the prac­tices of the “Salaf” (the pre­de­ces­sors), as the Prophet Mohammed and his dis­ci­ples are known. While Salafist groups can dif­fer widely, from the peace­ful, qui­etist kind to the more vio­lent clus­ters, it is the lat­ter who have attracted most atten­tion in recent months.

    In Libya and Mali, rad­i­cal Salafists have been busy destroy­ing ancient shrines built by more mod­er­ate groups, such as Sufi Mus­lims. Fel­low extrem­ists in Tunisia have tried to silence sec­u­lar media and destroy “hereti­cal” art­work. And the pres­ence of Salafist fight­ing units in Syria has been largely doc­u­mented. Less well known is who is pay­ing for all this – and why.

    ‘Export-Wahhabism’

    For regional experts, diplo­mats and intel­li­gence ser­vices, the answer to the first ques­tion lies in the seem­ingly end­less flow of petrodol­lars com­ing from oil-rich Saudi Ara­bia. “There is plenty of evi­dence point­ing to the fact that Saudi money is financ­ing the var­i­ous Salafist groups,” said Samir Amghar, author of “Le salafisme d’aujourd’hui. Mou­ve­ments sec­taires en Occi­dent” (Con­tem­po­rary Salafism: Sec­tar­ian move­ments in the West).

    Accord­ing to Antoine Bas­bous, who heads the Paris-based Obser­va­tory of Arab Coun­tries, “the Salafism we hear about in Mali and North Africa is in fact the export ver­sion of Wah­habism,” a con­ser­v­a­tive branch of Sunni Islam actively pro­moted and prac­tised by Saudi Arabia’s rul­ing fam­ily. Since the 1970s oil crises pro­vided the rul­ing House of Saud with a seem­ingly end­less sup­ply of cash, “the Saudis have been financ­ing [Wah­habism] around the world to the tune of sev­eral mil­lion euros,” Bas­bous told FRANCE 24.

    Opaque chan­nels

    Not all of the cash comes from Saudi state cof­fers. “Tra­di­tion­ally, the money is handed out by mem­bers of the royal fam­ily, busi­ness­men or reli­gious lead­ers, and chan­nelled via Mus­lim char­i­ties and human­i­tar­ian orga­ni­za­tions,” said Karim Sader, a polit­i­cal ana­lyst who spe­cial­izes in the Gulf states, in an inter­view with FRANCE 24.

    Until the Arab Spring revolts upended the region’s polit­i­cal land­scape, these hid­den chan­nels enabled the Salafists’ Saudi patrons to cir­cum­vent the author­i­tar­ian regimes who were bent on crush­ing all Islamist groups. These were the same opaque chan­nels that allegedly sup­plied arms to extrem­ist groups, par­tic­u­larly in Pak­istan and Afghanistan, accord­ing to West­ern intel­li­gence officials.

    ...

    Gulf rival­ries

    The Saudi strat­egy is sim­i­lar to that adopted by its arch Gulf rival Qatar — a smaller but equally oil-rich king­dom — in its deal­ings with the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, the other great ben­e­fi­ciary of the Arab Spring. “When it comes to financ­ing Islamist par­ties, there is intense com­pe­ti­tion between Qatar and Saudi Ara­bia,” said Sader. “While the smaller emi­rate pours its end­less wealth on the more mod­er­ate and urbanised Mus­lim Broother­hood, mem­bers of the Saudi royal fam­ily tend to aim their petrodol­lars at the poorer, rural con­stituen­cies that form the back­bone of the Salafist support.”

    Accord­ing to Amghar, Saudi Ara­bia, a key US ally, has another, more prag­matic rea­son to sup­port the Salafists. “Hav­ing long turned a blind eye to the gen­er­ous fund­ing of all sorts of vio­lent jihadist groups by mem­bers of the Saudi estab­lish­ment, the royal fam­ily began exer­cis­ing closer con­trol in the wake of the Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001, ter­ror­ist attacks,” he says. By restrict­ing its financ­ing to more con­trol­lable groups based out­side its bor­ders, such as the Salafists, “Saudi Ara­bia ensures it will not be threat­ened by home-grown jihadists on its soil”. As Amghar con­cludes, that might explain why there were no pro­test­ers, let alone any black flags, out­side the US embassy in Riyadh this month.

    That last para­graph is worth repeating:

    Accord­ing to Amghar, Saudi Ara­bia, a key US ally, has another, more prag­matic rea­son to sup­port the Salafists. “Hav­ing long turned a blind eye to the gen­er­ous fund­ing of all sorts of vio­lent jihadist groups by mem­bers of the Saudi estab­lish­ment, the royal fam­ily began exer­cis­ing closer con­trol in the wake of the Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001, ter­ror­ist attacks,” he says. By restrict­ing its financ­ing to more con­trol­lable groups based out­side its bor­ders, such as the Salafists, “Saudi Ara­bia ensures it will not be threat­ened by home-grown jihadists on its soil”. As Amghar con­cludes, that might explain why there were no pro­test­ers, let alone any black flags, out­side the US embassy in Riyadh this month.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 1, 2012, 9:38 am

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