May 8, 2006 6:42 pm


Dr. Eli Karmon sent me these two invaluable articles. They do not make happy reading. The first analyzes Egypt as a New Front of al-Qaeda and the second looks at the emergence of Palestine as a playground for Islamist actors.

We have no easy choices left:

Israel, the moderate elements in the PA, Egypt, Jordan, the US and Europe will be torn in the coming months by daunting choices: Let Hamas take control of the Palestinian Authority and"Talibanize" it, with the risk of a spillover to the neighborhood? Let the Iranian nuclear genie out of the bottle? Push for further democratization in the region, thus favoring growing Islamist successes? Or decisively challenge these threats and risk more terrorist activity in the near future, with the hope of victory relegated to the long term?

I choose the last option. It was indecisiveness of moderate elements that landed us in the mess in which we are. It seems that only Islamist terror can galvanize them to action. As long as terrorism strikes in Israel and the US, the Muslim powers that be are happy to provide then with the necessary excuses. Once it strikes home they blame the US.

The nationalist editorial board of Al Ahram is typical. It opposed the removal of saddam and supported the"Iraqi resistance." Now, that Egypt has become a major Al Qaeda target, the editors posit Egypt as a loyal American ally. In this week's editorial entitled "the Culture of terrorism," they whine:

America has exploited all the capacities of its allies and friends who have cooperated with it in full loyalty and naiveté without realising the true, selfish goal Washington seeks behind the global war on terror; that is, the protection of its borders and interests. Meanwhile, America's friends and partners in this war are bearing the brunt, including London, Casablanca, Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and elsewhere.

Was the real goal of Bush's war on terror to displace hell on earth from America onto its allies?

Our good Saudi allies are even more direct in their efforts to convince young hot heads to redirect their wrath onto the agreed upon bloody borders of Islam. Note the words of Saudi Cleric Nasser bin Suleiman Al-'Omar and do not forget he is a state appointed cleric:

"Whoever is familiar with the Sunna and the Hadith knows that a battle against the enemies of Allah awaits on the horizon, in which the Muslims will be victorious. This is confirmed by the reliable hadiths, as well as by reality.

"But some young people wish to expedite this, and because of their love for jihad, get involved in things that are not jihad. As I've said, all these minor battles, which took place in certain Muslim countries, only delay the victory. This diverts the strife and calamity into the lands of the Muslims, instead of aiming them directly at the enemies.

"Yes, there are places where jihad is proper - in Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq, Chechnya, Kashmir, and the Philippines. There are many places where jihad is undoubtedly proper."

Sorry, guys, I wish you had the good sense to act before Jihad boomeranged. But you did not. So, as far as I am concerned, you deserve what you get. Unfortunately, as always, it's your innocent people who will pay.

In the meantime, Al Ahram editors, how about writing an editorial asking for the release from prison of Ayman Nour? Unexpected success in the presidential elections should not mean incarceration.

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