United States is not “entitled to be displeased” with Cyprus – FM

United States is not “entitled to be displeased” with Cyprus – FM

famagusta gazette

Ioannis Kasoulides
Ioannis Kasoulides

FOREIGN MINISTER Ioannis Kasoulides has hit back at the US government, after officials in Washington expressed displeasure at a recent trip to Moscow by President Nicos Anastasiades.

“The [US] discontent focused on the fact that they believe that Putin’s government should be isolated by the 28 EU Member States and all other members of the North Atlantic Alliance”, Kasoulides was quoted as telling CyBC, by Russian agency Sputnik.

But he added that the United States is not “entitled to be displeased,” as Washington does not seem to be concerned by the aggressive policy of Turkey toward Cyprus, at the same time blaming Moscow for the crisis in Ukraine.

Washington rebuked Anastasiades on Monday after his widely publicised trip to Russia last week.

The US signaled how angry it is with Cyprus when Marie Harf, the Deputy Spokesperson for the US Department of State said this is not the time for “business as usual with Russia”.

She made the unusually sharp remark after being asked to comment on the recent visit of Anastasiades to Moscow and St Petersburg.

The visit came amid strong Russia-West tensions over Ukraine, the worst since the Cold War.

Putin Exports American “Color Technology”–will he instigate color revolution in the US?

Security experts shape Russian strategy to counter color revolutions – report


Policemen block protest rally at Manezhnaya Square in Moscow December 30, 2014. (Reuters/Tatyana Makeyeva)

Policemen block protest rally at Manezhnaya Square in Moscow December 30, 2014. (Reuters/Tatyana Makeyeva)

The research body with Russia’s Security Council will soon present a detailed plan of action aimed at preventing forced regime changes through mass unrest, known as the “color revolutions,” a popular daily reported.

The research center is headed by the Security Council’s secretary Nikolai Patrushev, who was the director of Russia’s Federal Security Service, the FSB, between 1999 and 2008 – during Vladimir Putin’s first two presidential terms.

According to Kommersant daily, the center is in charge of evaluation and forecasting various external and internal threats that could affect the country’s socio-economic development and national security.

The newspaper quoted an unnamed source close to the top law enforcement command, saying that Russian officials are taking the threat of a “color revolution” in the country more seriously, and the issue will likely be on the agenda of the nearest session of the Security Council dedicated to international relations.

The Security Council prepared a list of proposed measures that could negate the possible threat.

The daily quoted one of the experts, former security officer and now a professor at Moscow State University, Andrey Manoilo, who said the council supports a complex approach to the problem that would include measures against “network protest activities” and propaganda work against “romantic revolutionary stereotype,” which attracts a lot of people in the protest movements.

Any color revolution presents itself as a natural manifestation of the people’s will, while in reality it is a chain of actions pre-planned from abroad on a very precise pattern. We can fight it only by breaking the technology chain,” Manoilo told reporters.

President Vladimir Putin again addressed the dangers of color revolutions at Wednesday’s session of the Interior Ministry’s committee. “The extremists’ actions become more complicated. We are facing attempts to use the so called ‘color technologies’ in organizing illegal street protests to open propaganda of hatred and strife on social networks,” he said.

In November last year, Putin named color revolutions as a main tool used by forces that seek to reshape the world.

In the modern world extremism is used as a geopolitical tool for redistribution of spheres of interest. We can see the tragic consequences of the wave of the so-called color revolutions, the shock experienced by people in the countries that went through the irresponsible experiments of hidden, or sometimes brute and direct interference with their lives,” the Russian leader said.

Putin also noted in his speech that everyone advocating the freedom of assembly and expression must remember the responsibility that comes together with these rights.

However, Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stated that the fight against extremism must not turn into a campaign against dissidents. “All people have the right to suggest solutions for and approaches to current problems, and they have the right to form parties and groups, to participate in elections and fight for power,” Putin told the Security Council members in November. “The most important thing is to ensure that the process of realizing citizens’ political preferences is civilized and strictly within the framework of the law,” he said.

The Emergence of the Sunni Axis in the Middle East

 The Emergence of the Sunni Axis in the Middle East


Yoel Guzansky and Gallia Lindenstrauss
Much focus in the Middle East in recent years has centered on the growing
influence of Iran and the creation of a sphere of influence under its
leadership stretching from Iran to Iraq, Syria, and Hizbollah in Lebanon.
Terms such as “radical axis,” “Shiite Crescent,” and “resistance camp,”
which were designed to reflect this alliance, whether by emphasizing
the political-strategic element or the ideological-sectarian element, have
become part of the general lexicon. The upheavals that have gripped the
Arab world since late 2010, however, have led to the formation of a new
geopolitical landscape, with changes in the composition and cohesion of
the radical axis. They have also sparked the formation of an Arab-Turkish/
monarchial-republican Sunni axis, which constitutes a counterweight to
Iran, and is challenging the power and influence of Iran and its proxies in
the region. This increased Sunni activism began even before the so-called
Arab Spring, which aggravated the sectarian tension between Sunnis and
Shiites and between the Arabs and Iran, but peaked in the wake of the
events. Classic balance of power considerations and inter-ethnic rivalries
are intertwined in this activism, particularly on the part of the Arab Gulf
states, whose goal is to form a Sunni front and obstruct Iran.
The Sunni perception of the Iranian threat stems from sectarian
enmity and anxiety about Iran’s rising influence in the region – a concern
that grew with the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime and the
assumption of a leading role by the Shiite majority in Iraq.1
Iran also tried to take credit for key developments such as the Israeli withdrawal from the security zone in Lebanon in 2000 and the withdrawal from the Gaza
Strip in 2005.2
In addition, there is the fear that future Iranian nuclear

weapons capability will result in a profound geostrategic change in the
Middle East, followed by the strengthening of the Iranian-led axis and
the increasing sense of empowerment among its members. The radical
axis plays a key role in Iran’s security perception, and Iran serves as
material and ideological strategic depth for its fellow axis members.
Iran has an interest in portraying itself as a leader of the radical forces in
order to enhance the sense of its power, and it regards the other members
of the axis as a means of promoting its regional ambitions. However,
the weakening of the Assad regime, the distancing of Hamas from the
radical axis following the outbreak of civil war in Syria, and internal
Lebanese restrictions on Hizbollah have made this axis less attractive
and significantly weakened it. Its cohesion naturally also depends on the
behavior of external actors that are able to affect the priorities of the axis
Against the background of an apparent weakening of the Iran-led axis,
this article examines what presents as the emerging Sunni camp, focusing
on the strengths and weaknesses of this axis. Indeed, the weakness of
the Arab regimes, particularly Egypt, the historical distrust between
Turkey and the Arab countries, and the disunity and lack of a clear and
unified strategy among the members of this axis impact negatively on the
potential new power equations created by the Arab Spring. Beyond these
issues, the question of what interests are common to the members of the
Sunni axis and the US and Israel will also be considered: ostensibly, the
axis and Israel and the West share some interests, at least in the short
term. Yet while these regimes are considered pro-Western and more
moderate toward Israel than Iran, they still largely represent and support
an Islamic ideology, which in its extreme version vigorously opposes
Israel. Finally, many believe that the strengthening of the Sunni axis is
primarily due to the weakening of the Shiite axis, reflecting a zero-sum
game. From this perspective, if it becomes clear that the weakening of
the Shiite axis is temporary or partial, this will affect the strength of the
opposing axis.
Is There a Sunni Alliance?
Iran’s advancements in the nuclear sphere and the regional instability
have caused significant movement among the Sunni countries and
strengthened the realization that a more active policy is needed. Greater
political and security cooperation between Turkey, Egypt, and the Arab Gulf states, headed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, is perceived as
increasingly urgent, especially given the Iranian threat and the Syrian
civil war. More coordination on the strategy toward Iran on the part
of some of these states and a more publicly assertive stance is already
evident, and this positioning has invigorated the Sunni axis.
While the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
supported the no-fly zone over Libya, thereby paving the way to a Security
Council resolution on the issue and the overthrow of the Qaddafi regime,
Saudi Arabia regarded Mubarak’s overthrow as a painful loss and an
American betrayal of a loyal partner.3
Following the fall of the Mubarak
regime, Saudi Arabia responded firmly to the uprising in Bahrain, and in
March 2011 sent forces (under the GCC flag) to put down the riots. The
purpose was to deliver a message that Saudi Arabia would be willing to
employ all available means – from diplomacy and economics to military
measures – in its efforts to act as a counterweight against Iran (and
would stand by what it regarded as its interests, even in opposition to the
position of the US). Concern also existed about possible similar uprisings
by the Shiite minority within Saudi Arabia, which over the previous two
years had begun to foment potential unrest. Still another motive was
preventing Iran from increasing its influence in Bahrain.4
To a large extent, the Syrian civil war was a watershed in all matters
pertaining to the balance of power between the two axes. Before the
conflict began in Syria (where events have since made it a theater
of regional conflict), it appeared that the overthrow of the pseudorepublican regimes in North Africa was to the benefit of the Iranian-led
radical camp, which would be able to exploit the chaos to heighten its
influence in various arenas. The spread of protest to Syria, however, gave
the Sunni countries a golden opportunity. They have turned their back
on Assad and now await his downfall, if only because Iran would thereby
lose a key ally. From their perspective, Assad’s fall would restore Iran to
its “natural size.”
Hamas, which in the wake of the Syrian civil war distanced itself from
its traditional benefactors of Iran and Syria and even publicly condemned
the Assad regime, has begun to take shelter under the diplomatic and
economic umbrella of the Sunni axis. Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense
in the Gaza Strip in 2012 boosted the Sunni axis, because Sunni states
helped bring about the ceasefire agreement. Iran was disturbed by the
way that Egypt and its allies (Qatar and Turkey) led the mediation for a ceasefire, with Cairo becoming the primary contact during the fighting.
According to Iran, these states earning are becoming patrons of the
Palestinian cause, and are earning political and public relations points
while shunting Iran to the sidelines. They are depriving Iran of credit for
the military aid it gave Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which enabled the latter
to fight against Israel. When Iran’s substantial diplomatic and economic
isolation are added to the picture, it appears that momentum is on the side
of the Sunni bloc states. The possibility that Assad’s regime will give way
to a regime controlled by the Sunni majority in Syria would constitute
decisive confirmation of the revival of the Sunni axis, after a decade in
which it was at a disadvantage, following the “loss” of Iraq to Iran.
The ongoing plunge in Iran’s popularity in public opinion, as reflected
in surveys conducted in Arab and Muslim countries in recent years, has
likewise contributed to a rise in the popularity of the Sunni camp. In all
the countries surveyed other than Lebanon and Iraq, Iran’s role in Bahrain
and Syria was perceived as more negative than positive. In addition,
except for Lebanon and Libya, the number of respondents who thought
that Iran was developing nuclear weapons was greater than the number
who thought that Iran was pursuing peaceful nuclear development.5
contrast, despite some erosion in Turkey’s popularity in the Middle East
and North Africa, it remains the country in the region most positively
The Key Members of the Emerging Axis
Saudi Arabia’seffort to unite the monarchies out of concern about popular
unrest against them, and to form a monarchial bloc as a counterweight
against Iran, has thus far been unsuccessful. In December 2011, Saudi
King Abdullah called on the six Arab Gulf states “to go beyond the stage
of cooperation to the stage of union in one entity.” However, despite
expectations that a union – even if only partial – would be announced,
the idea was suspended, ostensibly in order to give the members more
time to assess the proposed framework and settle their disputes. At the
same time, the regional unrest has to date not caused the downfall of
any of the monarchies in the region. Moreover, even though significant
disputes complicate relations among them, the Gulf states constitute the
most unified and effective bloc in the Arab world.
In addition to its natural inclination to remain behind the scenes and
focus on diplomatic mediation, Saudi Arabia faces significant challenges at home, including a potential succession crisis, internal and external
calls for political reform, and simmering unrest among the Shiites in
the eastern district, problems that make it difficult for Saudi Arabia to
assume a leading role. Yet Saudi Arabia, despite important structural
weaknesses, is still determined to promote a new regional order. The
kingdom, which supplies economic aid and advanced weaponry to the
opposition in Syria,7
wants to see Assad’s regime fall, if only because Iran
would thereby lose a key ally, the radical axis would be undermined, and
Saudi Arabia would have the opportunity of joining the leadership of a
larger and more unified Sunni camp. As long as it succeeds in managing
the conflict through its “clients,” the kingdom believes that with each
passing day, even if it is not nearing victory, it benefits from the situation,
because its enemies – Iran, the Assad regime, and Hizbollah – are
suffering casualties and growing weaker.
Qatar’senormous economic power and readiness to use it for political
purposes, combined with the weakness of several traditional power
centers stemming from the upheaval in the Arab world, have highlighted
the emirate’s growing power and its particular brand of foreign policy.
Qatar has been actively involved in most of the upheavals in the region,
from Libya to Syria, where the emirate is so far the leading contributor to
the rebels, with an estimate of $3 billion since the outbreak of the civil war.8
The October 2012 visit to the Gaza Strip by the Emir of Qatar was the first
visit there by a head of state since the Hamas takeover. Qatar’s activity in
the internal struggle between Fatah and Hamas in the Palestinian arena
is not new, but it underscores the drive to fill the vacuum left by Egyptian
weakness. The emirate’s goal is to assume a place of honor alongside
Egypt, which is preoccupied with internal problems, as a key sponsor
in the efforts to mediate between the two Palestinian movements. In
addition, the $8 billion in aid to Egypt by Qatar and its promise of future
investment in the Egyptian economy,9 even if it apparently comes without any official strings, will give it more influence over Egypt’s policy than it
enjoyed under the Mubarak regime, when relations between Cairo and
Doha were strained.
What motivates the involvement of this gas-rich emirate in the
regional revolutions? Probably it seeks to establish its leading role in the
Middle East and perhaps also to avoid any uprising in its own territory.
But Qatar’s power is not unlimited; its activism, particularly its support
for Islamic forces and Islamists in the region, is arousing opposition among the other monarchies, which fear the strengthening of elements
linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.
As a result of the Syrian crisis, Hamas has distanced itself from Iran
and Syria – providers of economic assistance and advanced weaponry
– while becoming closer to Egypt and Qatar, where several of its senior
officials reside. Qatar’s relations with Hamas in part led Israel in March
2011 to sever relations with Qatar and close its diplomatic delegation in
Doha, ban holders of Qatari passports from visiting the West Bank, and
halt cooperation between Qatar and Israel’s defense industries. Israel
was presumably not pleased by the Emir’s visit to the Gaza Strip and the
resulting gain for Hamas: even if the organization’s dissociation from the
radical axis is in itself positive, the new closeness had a negative impact
on relations between Israel and Qatar.
Turkey, which is trying to balance its rediscovery of the Middle East in
recent years with maintaining close relations with the West, constitutes
an important link in the emerging Sunni axis. While some Arab countries
remain ambivalent about Turkey’s efforts to return to a position of
leadership in the Middle East, its opposition to Israel and the option
of alternative Sunni leadership to Iran are perceived positively in Arab
capitals. On the other hand, Turkey’s “return” to the Middle East is likely
to be at the expense of some Arab countries’ standing in the leadership of
the Islamic world, and also in the Arab world. Negative memories of the
Ottoman Empire are still fresh in some capitals, and the Turkish model
threatens the conservative character of the Sunni monarchies.
The warm reception accorded Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
Erdogan on his September 2011 visit to Egypt10
was accompanied by criticism from the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Before his arrival in
Egypt, he stated, “A secular country respects all religions. Don’t be wary
of secularism. I hope there will be a secular state in Egypt.”11
He stressed that people should have the right to choose whether or not to be religious,
and cited himself as an example of a Muslim prime minister heading a
secular country. In response, a Muslim Brotherhood spokesman said
that Erdogan’s remarks were interference in Egypt’s internal affairs.12
Since then, the Turkish leadership has shown more caution, and has
emphasized that it does not intend to export the Turkish model, but only
wishes to assist those who have asked for its help.13
Operation Pillar of Defense exposed the problems in Turkish policy
toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Following the deterioration in relations between Israel and Turkey and Turkey’s unequivocal support
for Hamas, Turkey was left with no actual ability to mediate and exert
influence, beyond its statements condemning Israeli policy.14
The campaign once again demonstrated the fact that Turkey had lost its status
as the leading mediator in the region – a status it enjoyed before the Arab
uprising as a result of the weakness of the Arab countries, particularly
Egypt. At the same time, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s
apology to Erdogan in March 2013, and the prospect of some thawing
in Israeli-Turkish relations, could help bolster Turkish influence over
developments between Israel and the Palestinians.
Egypt profited both regionally and internationally from its success as
a mediator in Operation Pillar of Defense. The new Egyptian regime’s
ability to bring about a lull was a considerable achievement. Morsi did
not want prolonged escalation because he feared that it would increase
public criticism in general, especially from the Muslim Brotherhood, and
fuel demands for extreme measures such as revoking the Egyptian-Israeli
peace treaty, a move that could exact a heavy economic and political price
from Egypt in the international arena. Egypt will likely play a key role in
the future in moderating the conflict between Israel and Hamas, because
Egypt remains an acceptable mediator to both parties. On the other
hand, it is questionable whether Egypt can play a significant role in the
regional arena at a time when it must cope with dramatic internal events.
For example, Egyptian Minister of Defense General Abed al-Fatah alSisi warned in January 2013 15
that Egypt was in danger of disintegrating.
Its shaky economic situation, reflected in its almost total lack of foreign
currency reserves, a large budget deficit, and unemployment of nearly
25 percent among young people (while 60 percent of Egypt’s population
is below the age of 30),
forces Egypt to turn to new channels in a search
for resources. In March 2013, in order to encourage the Egyptian tourism
industry – and less likely as an overture to the regime in Tehran – Egypt
even renewed its direct flights to and from Iran, after a 34-year break.17
Cohesion of the Sunni Axis
Notwithstanding what appears to be a strengthening of the Sunni camp,
there is also a split within it. While Turkey, Qatar, and even Egypt under
Muslim Brotherhood leadership are inclined to support organizations
like Hamas and a considerable degree of change in the status quo, other
Gulf states as well as Jordan are concerned about the rise in power of political Islam and are trying to do their best to defend the status quo.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II even warned in this context that a new radical
axis, the “Muslim Brotherhood Crescent” centered in Egypt and Turkey,
was forming and threatening to change the character of the region.18
Furthermore, Erdogan’s aggressive line toward Israel in recent years is
not shared by Saudi Arabia and several other Gulf states, which prefer
quiet cooperation with Israel.19
Even with respect to the Syrian issue, where a greater convergence
of interests among the Sunni axis members would be expected, disputes
exist. The Saudis and the Qataris support different, at times competing,
factions within the rebels groups; Qatar, for example, backs the more
radical groups and works with the Muslim Brotherhood, which is
anathema to Riyadh. Also, there is a fundamental difference between
Turkey and Jordan on the one hand and Saudi Arabia on the other. As
countries bordering Syria, Turkey and Jordan must deal with influences
infiltrating from the Syrian civil war (refugees, a higher probability of
terrorism), and this constitutes a key factor underlying their policies.
Saudi Arabia is disappointed that Turkey’s harsh rhetoric toward
the Assad regime is not accompanied by physical measures.20
The prolonged stalemate in Syria is largely to Saudi Arabia’s benefit, because
it weakens its enemies and requires relatively little investment on its
part. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia fears that if and when Assad falls,
the power of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria will grow substantially,
which in turn might affect the stability of certain Gulf states. Egypt and
Qatar, however, the other leading partners in the axis, see matters quite
differently. Moreover, in the absence of a clear decision in Syria, the split
between the Sunni factions fighting in Syria and their respective backers
is liable to widen.21
There are even visible gaps in perception between the Sunni axis
members on the fundamental question that would presumably unite
them – Iran. Together with Egypt, which is bolstering its economic and
diplomatic ties with Iran, Turkey does not regard the threat from Iran in
the same way as do some of the Gulf states. For example, while Turkey is
proud of its mediation attempt in March 2010 with Brazil regarding the
Iranian nuclear program, some of the Gulf states were less approving.22
Furthermore, while these states agree that a Middle East free of
nuclear weapons is a desirable goal, the fact that it will probably prove
unachievable makes the discussion of other strategies urgent. Turkey holds that the Gulf states are exaggerating the threat of Iranian nuclear
capability, and claims that this question can only be solved through
negotiations. In addition, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
argued that the P5+1, which is negotiating with Iran, should include
Turkey and Saudi Arabia and become the P5+3.23
The internal weakness already existing in some Middle East and
North African countries, and expectations that this trend will continue
and gather momentum, may pose a significant challenge to the emerging
Sunni axis, which will find it difficult to formulate a clear message of
unity (on both the intra-Sunni and Sunni-Shiite fronts) that can convince
the masses. The weakness of these regimes is hazardous for the Sunni
axis for two main reasons. The first is that it can create additional hot
spots of Shiite-Sunni conflict, thereby dragging the Sunni axis states
into various levels of intervention in many places, including some near
their borders, which could sap their strength. (Yemen is an example of a
weak state in which Iran is stepping up its negative involvement, which
is liable to push Saudi Arabia again into military intervention. The same
can happen in Syria, which is in danger of splitting into cantons.) The
second is that this weakness at the national level also affects Egypt, one
of the main players in the Sunni axis’s current lineup. Building an axis on
such a shaky foundation guarantees trouble, and it is already apparent
that Iran is looking for ways to improve its relations with Egypt given the
latter’s weakness, despite Saudi Arabia’s efforts to block developments
of this kind.
The advantage of a multi-polar system lies in its flexibility.24
The question arises whether in the Middle East multi-polar flexibility is giving way to the creation of a more rigid bi-polar system. Such a development could
restrain Iran on the one hand, but also escalate local conflicts and spark a
general regional conflagration. The Sunni countries appear more willing
than ever to harness their diplomatic, economic, and even military assets
to the effort to obstruct Iran and its proxies. At the same time, they do
not regard the Iranian threat with an identical degree of alarm, and this
is therefore also a source of tension between these countries, joining
their differing views of the role of political Islam, with an emphasis on
the Muslim Brotherhood. The latter bone of contention between them
detracts from the axis’s ability to take joint action. Similarly, the outbreak of the Syrian civil war brought together different elements that want to
see Assad weakened, but no matter how this effort plays out, it will most
probably intensify existing rifts.
Thus if the rise of the Sunni axis persists, there will likely be a
paradigm shift in the Middle East dominated more by sectarian and
ideological colors. Iran’s power and influence may fade, but political
Islam will become stronger in the Middle East, which is liable to make
the region less tolerant toward Israel and the West. The Sunni Islamic
movements are already experiencing a golden age, and play a major role
in government in many of the states that have undergone a revolution.
For the Americans, the rise of the Sunni axis can potentially be a
positive development, as a source of regional legitimacy in the struggle
against the Iranian nuclear program. The three leading states in the
Sunni axis – Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt – are states where the US
has invested heavily in maintaining their Western orientation. Still,
there are difficult tensions in the relations between each of these three
states and the US. In particular, it appears that the challenges facing the
US in preserving its relations with Egypt under the Morsi regime will be
complex. Each of these three countries, however, has a strong incentive
to maintain its relations with the US at their current level. On the other
hand, where Syria is concerned, the active role of the Gulf states in
financing and arming the rebels, and the fact that jihadist factions are
exerting a growing influence on events in parts of that country, are likely
to constitute a threat to the US and Israel.25
From Israel’s perspective, greater regional firmness toward Iran is
a positive development. Indeed, what Israel and the Sunni axis have
shared in recent years was concern about Iran. This common interest
has reportedly also led to cooperation in intelligence and coordination
of positions with regard to Iran, at least between Israel and several of the
Arab Gulf states. Israel and several of the monarchies also share another
interest. To date, Israel and most of the monarchies have demonstrated
their preference for preserving the status quo and halting the rise of
political Islam, out of concern about the results of the upheaval in the
region – another reason for deepening the tacit alliance between them.
The geopolitical change portrayed here offers an opportunity to
further isolate Iran, limit its penetration of the Arab world, and complicate
its efforts to support its proxies on Israel’s borders.26
Furthermore, as
terrorist organizations like Hamas become closer to the Sunni axis, their operations against Israel are likely to be considerably more restrained,
even if Hamas wishes to continue receiving military support from Iran.
On the other hand, this trend could hamper Israel’s freedom of diplomatic
and military action. If and when Israel and Hamas square off militarily
again, Hamas will receive more diplomatic and economic support from
the Sunni axis countries than in the past. Furthermore, although the
Sunni countries are considered pro-Western with a more moderate
policy toward Israel than Iran, they still largely support Islamic ideology,
sometimes in an extreme version that vehemently opposes Israel.
1  Yoel Guzansky, “Iraq and the Arabs Following American Withdrawal,”
Strategic Assessment15, no. 3 (2012): 42.
2  Ofra Bengio and Meir Litvak also add the Second Lebanese War (2006) to
this list of “achievements.” See Ofra Bengio and Meir Litvak, “Introduction,”
in The Sunna and Shi’a in History: Division and Ecumenism in the Muslim Middle
East, eds. Ofra Bengio and Meir Litvak (New York: Palgrave, 2011), p. 9.
3  F. Stephen Larrabee, “Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation Council,” Turkish
Studies12, no. 4 (2011): 695.
4  John R. Bradley, After the Arab Spring: How the Islamists Hijacked the Middle
East Revolts (New York: Palgrave, 2012), p. 84.
5  Zogby Research Services, “Looking at Iran: How 20 Arab & Muslim Nations
View Iran & Its Policies,” March 5, 2013, http://www.aaiusa.org/page/-/
6  In an August 2012 survey by TESEV, a Turkish research institute, 69 percent
of those surveyed expressed positive views of Turkey, compared with 78
percent in 2011. Sixty-five percent of those surveyed in 2012 held positive
views of Egypt, 62 percent approved of the United Arab Emirates, and 60
percent approved of Saudi Arabia, compared with 37 percent who expressed
positive views of Iran. See also: Mensur Akgun and Sabiha Senyucel
Gundogar, The Perception of Turkey in the Middle East 2012(Istanbul: TESEV,
December 2012), p. 9.
7  C. J. Chivers and Eric Schmitt, “Saudis Step up Help for Rebels in Syria with
Croatian Arms,” New York Times, February 25, 2013.
8  “Qatar and Syria: Emirate has Boosted Rebellion but Created Confusion,
Too,” Financial Times, May 19, 2013.
9  Zvi Barel, “The Egyptian Heart in Qatar’s Pocket,” The Marker, April 18, 2013.
10 Aviel Magnezi, “Erdogan: Israel Jeopardizing its Future,” Ynet News,
September 13, 2011, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4121766,00.
11 “Egypt’s Islamists criticize Erdogan over Calls for Secular State,” Ynet News,
September 14, 2011, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4122413,00.
12 Ibid.
13  Gallia Lindenstrauss, “Turkey and the Arab Spring: Embracing People’s
Power,” EuroMeSCo Papers No. 14, March 2012, p. 13.
14  Uzi Rabi, “‘Operation Pillar of Defense’: A Window into the ‘New’ Middle
East,” Tel Aviv Notes, November 20, 2012.
15  “Egypt Army Chief warns of ‘State Collapse,” al-Jazeera, January 29, 2013,
16  “Egypt’s Economic Crisis,” New York Times, January 20, 2012; “Egypt’s
Economic Struggle,” New York Times, September 4, 2012; Ben W. Heineman,
Jr. “Egypt’s Economic Winter,” The Atlantic, December 18, 2012.
17  “First Iranian Tourists Arrive in Egypt Amid Tight Security,” al-Ahram, April
1, 2013.
18  Jeffrey Goldberg, “The Modern King in the Arab Spring,” The Atlantic, March
18, 2013.
19  Saban Kardas, “Turkey and the Gulf Dialogue in the Middle East,” TESEV
Foreign Policy Programme, November 2012, p. 5, http://www.tesev.org.tr/
and%20Gulf%20Dialogue_Saban%20Kardas.pdf; see also Yoel Guzansky,
“Israel’s Relations with the Arab Gulf States: Between Iran and the Arab
Spring,” Politique Etrangere (winter 2012-2013), http://politique-etrangere.
20  Kardas, “Turkey and the Gulf Dialogue in the Middle East,” p. 5.
21  Katrina Dalacoura, “The Arab Uprisings Two Years On: Ideology,
Sectarianism and the Changing Balance of Power,” Insight Turkey15, no. 1
(2013): 86.
22  Yoel Guzansky and Gallia Lindenstrauss, “Toward a Nuclear Middle East?”
in Strategic Survey for Israel 2012-2013, eds. Anat Kurz and Shlomo Brom (Tel
Aviv: Institute for National Security Studies, 2013), p. 61; Kardas, “Turkey
and the Gulf Dialogue in the Middle East,” pp. 5-6.
23  “Turkey’s Ties with Qatar, Saudi Arabia Unlikely to be Limited to Syrian
crisis,” Today’s Zaman, February 10, 2013.
24  Karl W. Deutsch and J. David Singer, “Multipolar Power Systems and
International Stability,” World Politics16, no. 3 (1964): 394.
25  Joshua Jacobs, “The Danger that Saudi Arabia will Turn Syria into an
Islamist Hotbed,” Christian Science Monitor,April 12, 2012; Halil M. Karaveli,
“Turkey, the Unhelpful Ally,” New York Times, February 27, 2013.
26  Neil Macfarquhar, “Sunni Leaders Gaining Clout in Mideast,” New York
Times, November 27, 2012.

Exporting Sectarian Civil War–Pioneered By Bush, reported to the deaf by Hersh

Hersh: Bush administration arranged support for militants attacking Lebanon

raw story

David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Tuesday May 22, 2007

In an interview on CNN International’s Your World Today, veteran journalist Seymour Hersh explains that the current violence in Lebanon is the result of an attempt by the Lebanese government to crack down on a militant Sunni group, Fatah al-Islam, that it formerly supported.

Last March, Hersh reported that American policy in the Middle East had shifted to opposing Iran, Syria, and their Shia allies at any cost, even if it meant backing hardline Sunni jihadists.

A key element of this policy shift was an agreement among Vice President Dick Cheney, Deputy National Security Advisor Elliot Abrams, and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi national security adviser, whereby the Saudis would covertly fund the Sunni Fatah al-Islam in Lebanon as a counterweight to the Shia Hezbollah.

Hersh points out that the current situation is much like that during the conflict in Afghanistan in the 1980’s � which gave rise to al Qaeda � with the same people involved in both the US and Saudi Arabia and the “same pattern” of the US using jihadists that the Saudis assure us they can control.

When asked why the administration would be acting in a way that appears to run counter to US interests, Hersh says that, since the Israelis lost to them last summer, “the fear of Hezbollah in Washington, particularly in the White House, is acute.”

As a result, Hersh implies, the Bush administration is no longer acting rationally in its policy. “We’re in the business of supporting the Sunnis anywhere we can against the Shia. … “We’re in the business of creating … sectarian violence.” And he describes the scheme of funding Fatah al-Islam as “a covert program we joined in with the Saudis as part of a bigger, broader program of doing everything we could to stop the spread of the Shia world, and it just simply — it bit us in the rear.”

HALA GORANI: Well, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported back in March that in order to defeate Hezbollah, the Lebanese government supported a Sunni militant group, the same ones they’re fighting today. Seymour joins us live from Washington. Thanks for being with us. What is the source of the financing according to your reporting on these groups, such as Fatah al-Islam in these camps of Nahr el Bared, for instance? Where are they getting the money and where are they getting the arms?

SEYMOUR HERSH: The key player is the Saudis. What I was writing about was sort of a private agreement that was made between the White House, we’re talking about Richard — Dick — Cheney and Elliott Abrams, one of the key aides in the White House, with Bandar. And the idea was to get support, covert support from the Saudis, to support various hard-line jihadists, Sunni groups, particularly in Lebanon, who would be seen in case of an actual confrontation with Hezbollah — the Shia group in the southern Lebanon — would be seen as an asset, as simple as that.

GORANI: The Senora government, in order to counter the influence of Hezbollah in Lebanon would be covertly according to your reporting funding groups like Fatah al-Islam that they’re having issues with right now?

HERSH: Unintended consequences once again, yes.

GORANI: And so if Saudi Arabia and the Senora government are doing this, whether it’s unintended or not, therefore it has the United States must have something to say about it or not?

HERSH: Well, the United States was deeply involved. This was a covert operation that Bandar ran with us. Don’t forget, if you remember, you know, we got into the war in Afghanistan with supporting Osama bin Laden, the mujahadin back in the late 1980s with Bandar and with people like Elliott Abrams around, the idea being that the Saudis promised us they could control — they could control the jihadists so we spent a lot of money and time, the United States in the late 1980s using and supporting the jihadists to help us beat the Russians in Afghanistan and they turned on us. And we have the same pattern, not as if there’s any lessons learned. It’s the same pattern, using the Saudis again to support jihadists, Saudis assuring us they can control these various group, the groups like the one that is in contact right now in Tripoli with the government.

GORANI: Sure, but the mujahadin in the ’80s was one era. Why would it be in the best interest of the United States of America right now to indirectly even if it is indirect empower these jihadi movements that are extremists that fight to the death in these Palestinian camps? Doesn’t it go against the interests not only of the Senora government but also of America and Lebanon now?

HERSH: The enemy of our enemy is our friend, much as the jihadist groups in Lebanon were also there to go after Nasrullah. Hezbollah, if you remember, last year defeated Israel, whether the Israelis want to acknowledge it, so you have in Hezbollah, a major threat to the American — look, the American role is very simple. Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, has been very articulate about it. We’re in the business now of supporting the Sunnis anywhere we can against the Shia, against the Shia in Iran, against the Shia in Lebanon, that is Nasrullah. Civil war. We’re in a business of creating in some places, Lebanon in particular, a sectarian violence.

GORANI: The Bush administration, of course, officials would disagree with that, so would the Senora government, openly pointing the finger at Syria, saying this is an offshoot of a Syrian group, Fatah al-Islam is, where else would it get its arms from if not Syria.

HERSH: You have to answer this question. If that’s true, Syria which is close — and criticized greatly by the Bush administration for being very close — to Hezbollah would also be supporting groups, Salafist groups — the logic breaks down. What it is simply is a covert program we joined in with the Saudis as part of a bigger broader program of doing everything we could to stop the spread of the Shia, the Shia world, and it bit us in the rear, as it’s happened before.

GORANI: Sure, but if it doesn’t make any sense for the Syrians to support them, why would it make any sense for the U.S. to indirectly, of course, to support, according to your reporting, by giving a billion dollars in aid, part of it military, to the Senora government — and if that is dispensed in a way that that government and the U.S. is not controlling extremist groups, then indirectly the United States, according to the article you wrote, would be supporting them. So why would it be in their best interest and what should it do according to the people you’ve spoken to?

HERSH: You’re assuming logic by the United States government. That’s okay. We’ll forget that one right now. Basically it’s very simple. These groups are seeing — when I was in Beirut doing interviews, I talked to officials who acknowledged the reason they were tolerating the radical jihadist groups was because they were seen as a protection against Hezbollah. The fear of Hezbollah in Washington, particularly in the White House, is acute. They just simply believe that Hassan Nasrallah is intent on waging war in America. Whether it’s true or not is another question. There is a supreme overwhelming fear of Hezbollah and we do not want Hezbollah to play an active role in the government in Lebanon and that’s been our policy, basically, which is support the Senora government, despite its weakness against the coalition. Not only Senora but Mr. Ahun, former military leader of Lebanon. There in a coalition that we absolutely abhor.

GORANI: All right, Seymour Hersh of “The New Yorker” magazine, thanks for joining us there and hopefully we’ll be able to speak a little bit in a few months’ time when those developments take shape in Lebanon and we know more. Thanks very much.

HERSH: glad to talk to you.

Netanyahu Addresses His Sheep–US CONGRESS (Israeli subsidized)

[It is only natural that Netenyahu would address the Congress, which has been bought and paid-for by AIPAC, Israel’s arm in America (he first stopped by AIPAC to thank them for their hard work).  Congress represents the Zionist state, in all matters.  Along with the White House, Congress has faithfully carried-out Net’s “Clean Break” strategy throughout North Africa and the Middle East, bringing ruin for the region and for the American and global economies.  It is only right that such a noted crowd as this bow in submission before their master, or at least their “paymaster.”  Congress has been bought and the United States has been sold to that piss-ant shit-hole, which other paid-for politicians planted in Palestine, NOT ISRAEL.  God does not protect the Israeli abomination, the Pentagon does. 

Their God is Money…PERIOD.]

Congress gave Netanyahu right to veto American policy

haaretz logo

If Netanyahu succeeds in foiling an accord and attacks Iran’s nuclear installations, who will bear the responsibility for the destruction wreaked by this armed confrontation?

netanyahu and his sheepPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to Congress on March 3, 2015. Photo by AFP
By Jonathan Lis

The speech is over, with applause duly resounding on Capitol Hill, and negotiations with Iran ahead of a framework agreement continue. Criticism of the Israeli spectacle in the United States capital addressed all there was to be said, and critics will now start to gauge the temperature of the cold shoulder the U.S. administration will show toward Israel.

During the entire noisy exchanges that took place the responsibility of one person, House Speaker John Boehner, never came up for discussion. He was the one who invited Netanyahu to speak before a joint session of the representatives of the American people. The argument is not over Boehner’s right to invite whoever he wants to, just as Netanyahu is far from being an unwilling captive. Netanyahu initiated the invitation, he coordinated the timing and his political goals are plainly in sight.

However, it is precisely the U.S. Congress, which is so friendly toward Israel and so concerned about its security and well-being, that could have been expected to remove an obstacle before the blind, especially when he is driving under the influence.

A demonstration meant to shame the speaker, staged by a few dozen Democrats who stayed away, is no substitute for good advice, especially since it was only part of the partisan political struggle in the U.S. The voice of close friends, who unconditionally ratify the annual aid package to Israel – larger than that given to any other country receiving U.S. aid – should have been heard loud and clear. It should have stated that “Netanyahu’s appearance is dangerous to Israel. It will damage strategic relations with the Administration and may insult a large part of the American public which foots the bill for the aid, and if Netanyahu doesn’t understand this we must him help do so.”

The Congress doesn’t need Netanyahu to explain the essence of the accord with Iran. It has the authority to legislate laws that will foil its signing. It can impose new sanctions on Iran and withhold increasing the budget required for the monitoring system that will supervise Iran’s nuclear installations, thus voiding the accord of any content. However, when it invites Netanyahu to deliver a speech it makes Israel a partner in decision-making over the future of Iran’s nuclear program, making the U.S. a negotiator on behalf of Israel.

The Congressmen who applauded him gave him “power of attorney,” enabling him to determine that the accord shaping up is “bad,” even though its details have yet to be worked out. Moreover, members of Congress, led by Boehner, will use Netanyahu to prove that the accord, when it is signed, endangers Israel and the world. They thereby gave Netanyahu a right to veto American policy.

There could be no greater and more important political victory than the status granted to Netanyahu. However, this victory is fraught with danger. Members of Congress did not ask him, nor did he offer an answer to the question of what happens if no deal is reached. They already know the answer, since Tuesday they gave him approval to use the “Israeli option” if he doesn’t succeed in thwarting the accord.

Netanyahu’s Israel will not wait to see if Iran attains nuclear weapons. The very existence of a nuclear program is the real threat in its view. Let’s assume that Netanyahu succeeds in foiling the reaching of an accord and Iran continues with its uranium enrichment program and Israel decides to attack its nuclear installations. Who will bear the responsibility for the destruction wreaked by this armed confrontation? John Boehner, who only provided the stage for Netanyahu’s rhetoric? Members of Congress who rose to their feet but didn’t warn him or Israel of the calamity that might befall Israel as a result of the sweeping success of the speech? They were only being polite.

Will anyone be able to complain that the Administration is not cooperating with Israel in its war with Iran after Netanyahu vetoed an accord?

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V. TERRY L. LOEWEN—the FBI builds another fake bomb plot


Terry Lee Loewen…a clearcut example of FBI entrapment and leading the individual into terrorist activity.  Loewen may have been self-radicalized, but it took FBI agents to radicalize the suspect to a new level of militant committment which didn’t exist prior to their radicalization efforts.  Terry was just another insignificant, disillusioned, middle-age, middle-class, American worker, with a broken marriage, who paid close attention to national news on the terror war. 

This was what originally motivated (“radicalized”) him into hating the American terror war, filling him with shame for the great pain we were inflicting upon the Muslim world.   Terry was known by his wife and son as a mild-mannered, quiet family guy.  His family does not know this other guy, the one who experienced a moment of epiphany, finally understanding the war and its ultimate cost inflicted upon the Muslim world.

Until baited by FBI seducers into taking part in an imaginary crime, Terry Loewen would have been no different than a lot of us.  Like most of the “bomb plots” busted here in the US since the start of the war, the FBI, once again, was the instigator of this terrorist plot to build a bomb facsimile and to draw clueless suckers to it.   There was no crime before the FBI created one, except for being another malcontent.  The man admitted himself, that he would not have been likely to follow his violent fantasies to fruition without “FBI agent 1” and “FBI agent 2” to supply a bomb for him.

Terry Lee Loewen first became “radicalized” on YouTube, where he came to closely follow the rantings of a group of three disillusioned Americans, who called themselves Revolution Muslim (even though the leader is Jewish).  All three of these flakes supposedly converted to Islam and adopted Muslim names after listening to the rhetoric of a Jamaican “Imam,” Abdullah el-Faisal

Loewen learned about Islam from a Jamaican Internet preacher and three East Coast deadbeats who were fronting a probable Mossad operation (the Jewish dude spent years in an Israeli rabbinical seminary).   He never met any real AQAP terrorists.

Zachary Adam Chesser, a.k.a., Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee and Jesse “Younes Abdullah Muhammad” Morton were the two “terrorists” who threatened South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker over anti-Islamic depictions of Mohammed.

Peter Chamberlin


Terry-Lee-LoewenTerry Lee Loewen

Feds say man ‘well on his way’ to becoming violent terrorist

kake news

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a man accused of plotting a suicide bomb attack at a Wichita, Kansas, airport was “well on his way” to becoming a violent terrorist before authorities began investigating him.

A heavily redacted government filing Monday seeks to counter defense arguments that an undercover FBI agent radicalized Terry Loewen. The defense contends the government conduct in the operation was entrapment and that terrorism-related charges against Loewen should be dismissed.

But prosecutors argued it would have been outrageous for the FBI to leave Terry Loewen to his own devices, trolling the internet for someone to help him.

Loewen was arrested in December 2013 when the former avionics technician tried to bring a van filled with inert explosives onto the tarmac at Mid-Continent Airport.

Loewen has pleaded not guilty.

Al-Khattab, a.k.a. Joseph Leonard Cohen Al-Khattab, a.k.a. Joseph Leonard Cohen, rabbinical studies in Israel, Revolution Muslim Leader Who Threatened Jews Pleads Guilty–ADL

Al-Khattab, a.k.a. Joseph Leonard Cohen2

Jesse Younes Abdullah Muhammad Morton and  Zachary Abu Talhah Chesser
Jesse “Younes Abdullah Muhammad” Morton & Zachary “Abu Talhah” Chesser
Morton spent time in Saudi

Chasidic Man Who Converted To Islam Admits Making Threats Against Jewish Groups

yeshiva world

alkA New Jersey man who co-founded a radical Islamic website has pleaded guilty to using the Internet to make threats against Jewish groups.

Forty-five-year-old Yousef Mohamid al-Khattab of Atlantic City started the Revolution Muslim website in 2007 with partner Jesse Curtis Morton.

Al-Khattab, who converted from Judaism and was previously known as Joseph Cohen, is the third person connected with Revolution Muslim to be convicted in federal court in Alexandria. Morton and another man, Zachary Chesser, admitted using the site to deliver thinly veiled threats against the creators of the “South Park” television show for perceived insults to the prophet Muhammad.

Al-Khattab’s guilty plea, announced Thursday, does not mention the “South Park” threats. In court documents, al-Khattab admits encouraging readers to “deal with” Jewish leaders or take other actions.

US v. Chesser, Zachary


[EDVA] Zachary Adam Chesser (a/k/a Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee) was arrested on charges that he provided material support to Al-Shabaab, a designated foreign terrorist organization. Chesser admitted to federal agents that he attempted on two occasions to travel to Somalia to join Al-Shabaab as a foreign fighter. According to the affidavit, Chesser maintained several online profiles dedicated to extremist jihad propaganda. These profiles were allegedly used by Chesser to post pro-jihad messages and videos online. In October 2010, Chesser pleaded guilty to a three-count criminal indictment that included charges of communicating threats against the writers of the “South Park” television show, soliciting violent jihadists to desensitize law enforcement, and attempting to provide material support to Al-Shabaab. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison in February 2011.

In May 2011, Jesse Curtis Morton, (aka Younus Abdullah Mohammad) is charged with communicating threats in the “South Park” episode. Morton helped run a website, RevolutionMuslim, with Zachary Chesser. In a jointly drafted statement for the group Revolution Muslim, convicted terrorist Zachary Chesser and Morton, threatened “South Park” producers with murder over illustrated depictions of the Prophet Muhammad. Morton pleaded guilty to his role in threatening the producers of “South Park” for their depiction of the Prophet Muhammad and related charges. He was sentenced to 138 months for using the Internet to solicit murder and encourage violent extremism. In October 2013, Yousef Mohamid al-Khattab (a.k.a. Joseph Cohen) of Atlantic City, NJ, pleaded guilty to using the Internet to support violent jihad and threaten Jewish organizations. Al-Khattab helped Morton found the Revolution Muslim website in 2007.