shiite

Egypt: Political Schizophrenia
Unthinking people glibly say that Middle Eastern countries like Egypt and Iraq should hold democratic elections as though that is the end all be all solution.
Is that really the answer? Replace the current autocracies with democratically held elections?
But what if those countries have no traditions of democratic values ie freedom of the press, freedom of religion, open elections, freedom of speech and of assembly , separation of powers, civilian control of the military, independent courts? What then?
Egypt! That is what you get.
A year ago Egypt held democratic elections. They elected Mohammad Morsi President and put the radical Muslim Brotherhood into power.
Fools in the West watching this process cheered along. “Democracy may be messy” they argued “but it works”.
So how did that democratic election work out?
Not so good most would agree. Most especially the Egyptians
And so the crowds, now many millions strong, are back in Tahrir Square in Central Cairo and the military has overthrown this democratically elected government and the Obama administration now has egg all over its face and banners are everywhere condemning Obama and his ambassador for his support of this, to be sure, duly elected, radical Islamist government.
The military has long been the real power in Egypt going back to the time of Gamel Abdel Nasser in the 1950s when he, a colonel in the Egyptian army, led a coup that overthrew the regime of King Farouk.
And so the military has now taken over in Egypt and installed Adly Mansour, the Chief Justice of what is their Supreme Court, as the interim President. Free elections have been promised but no word as to when.
So Egypt experienced a year of a democratically elected government and what did it get them?
Chaos prompted by the religiously motivated policies of their president who put a radical theology ahead of economics and basic human rights.
Included in the leadership of that Morsi government were those who advocated cleansing Egypt of all semblances of idolatry such as the sphinx and traces of the Pharaohs.
How?
Blow them up just as like minded radical Islamists did in Afghanistan in 2001 when they dynamited two 1700 year old Bamiyan statues of the Buddha and tried to do again in 2007 in a remote village in Pakistan where they tried to dynamite a carving of the Buddha on a mountainside. In this act they were unsuccessful.
So it is not far fetched to believe that the Morsi government might have given the go ahead to radicals in their party for the blowing up of the sphinx? There was actually serious talk of this. And what would that have done to the local economy that employs thousands when the tourists no longer came?
Luxor is another Egyptian tourist mecca. I have been there. A radical group called Gamas Islamiya launched an attack there that resulted in the deaths of 58 tourists in the grand temple of Queen Hatshepsut in 1997.
President Morsi recently appointed as governor over Luxor, a man connected to that same group. This new governor to be of Luxor was going to implement policies that would have killed the tourist economy there such as strict adherence to Islamic dress codes for women, no alcohol, no mixing of the sexes. The locals, fearing the repercussion from the tourist trade , objected and the man dropped out.
And what of the Coptic Christians of Egypt?
They have lived under a cloud of fear for the past year, experiencing brutal oppression under the democratically elected Morsi government. A headline in the Los Angeles Times reads (4/12/13) “Egypt’s Coptic Christians Live in Fear of Islamic Extremists”.
Samir, an Egyptian Coptic High School Philosophy teacher was interviewed for this article while praying in a significant little Coptic Church, north of Cairo on the banks of the Nile. He said. “I feel unsafe ….they set a Christian man on fire the other day…seven Copts and one Muslim have died in clashes in recent days.”
(An aside: What of that church? I have actually visited there. Local tradition claims that the Holy Family stayed there during their flight from Herod into Egypt following the birth of Jesus. In fact locals will show you a very old tree that they claim provided shelter from the sun for the Holy Family. Interesting tradition.)
The Times further reports that “Scores of Copts have been killed in sectarian violence since early 2011 including 24 worshipers who died in a church bombing. Another Copt reported that “Copts are facing organized oppression and forced immigration ………..Islamist radicals want to get rid of Christians across the Middle East”.
So what are America’s interests in this situation? I would remind you that countries do not have friends. They have interests.
I refer you back to an article I wrote several days ago, the Ugly face of Radical Islam. that you can find in this blogs at www.holylandguru.com in which I argued that countries do not have friends. They have interests. Those forces that contribute to stability in Egypt are in our interests.
Written by Dr. Robert Grant 7/4/13

Dr Grant has been traveling to the lands of the Middle East for about 46 years and has been there over 125 times hosting holy land tours for his friends. As a result he has been designated the holy land guru by some.

On Facebook.com/HolyLandGuru

THE UGLY FACE OF RADICAL ISLAM
It is well to remember that in the world of real politique countries do not have “friends”. They have “interests”.
So where do America’s “interests” lie in the ongoing Syrian conflict? Not an easy question to answer.
We have an interest in maintaining stability in the region and anything or anyone that threatens that stability is an American concern. The Arab Spring has undermined that stability as the autocrats that were our “friends” have been replaced by revolutionaries of the Muslim Brotherhood stripe.
We have an interest in the unimpeded flow of oil . Ours and the world economies depend on this.
We have an interest in stemming the spread of radical Islamist influence in the region.
We have an unusual relationship with Israel that benefits both nations and we bristle at anything that threatens that alliance or the Jewish state.
Clearly these are American “interests and the disintegration of Syria into virtual chaos and civil war does not serve our “interests”.
An example of the law of unintended consequences at work.
During the Russian war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, the Mujahedeen were our “friends” and, as the President then of the American Freedom Coalition, I was actively involved in their political support in DC. We lobbied and organized rallies to help their cause.
I remember one young Afghan boy of about 12 who was there at one of the DC demonstrations. He was a beautiful child with a handsome face but I also remember how rough his hands were from the life he had to live in that hell hole. These were tough and brave people we admired and, most important, they were the enemies of our then enemy, the Soviet Union. That was America’s interest then.
The US Government gave them stinger missiles then that they used with great effect against the Russian helicopters and ultimately the Russians recognized the inevitable and packed their bags and went home licking their wounds. I wonder about that young boy. He would now be in his late 30s or early 40s. Many of those young fighters that I saw in DC then are now adults and may now be our enemies And what of those stingers?? Where are they?
When you strip away all of the extraneous noise, the Syrian conflict is really the latest chapter in a sectarian war that began in the 7th century when, following the death of Mohammed. Islam split into 2 warring factions over the question of how to select his successors.
The Sunni branch makes up about 85% of the Muslim world. The Shiites make up the balance of about 15%.
And they hate each other. Almost as much as many of them hate us.
Good current example of this at work. The Washington Times 6/25/13 reports that an Egyptian mob of 3000 Sunnis in the Giza district recently burned the houses of and murdered 4 Shiite Muslims..
According to these Egyptian Sunnis, their victims deserved what happened to them for being heretics. One Sunni is reported to have said “We’re happy about what happened. It should have happened long ago. Shiites are infidels”
Please understand: In this modern context the Shiites are Iran, and the majority population of Iraq (now ruled by a Shiite president) and the Alawites ( a branch of Shia Islam) of the Assad regime in Syria. Most of the rest of the Muslim world including the radical Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia, are Sunni.
The Sunni Saudis are no fans of the Alawite/Shia Syrian regime and have been actively trying to undercut Assad there..
In this context, the cruel nature of some of the Saudi religious leaders is seen for the EVIL system that it is. (emphasis intentional)
In January 2013, Newsmax reported the following story. “A Saudi Wahhabi preacher’s religious decree reveals barbaric justification emanating from the kingdom’s clerics. Saudi preacher……….issued a fatwa that allows jihadi fighters to rape Syrian women”. The stated justification for this decree? Because they have “not been with a woman for two years and” (according to this cleric, he) “is allowing them to engage in ‘intercourse marriage’ that lasts for a few hours ‘in order to give each fighter a turn’. It is the women’s duty” (according to this Muslim Imam…. Imagine if an American pastor made the same argument?) “ to acquiesce in this arrangement in order to reach paradise because it ‘boosts the determination of the Mujahideen in Syria’ as long as they” (the female victims) “are at least 14 years old, widowed or

divorced”.
Such is the religious mind set of Saudi Sunnis involved in this war to topple Assad.
Assad is a clearly a bad dude but it is hard to get into bed with the Saudis
So it is difficult to pick the “good guys” out in this Syrian civil war. And the longer this conflict continues the more difficult it will be to choose sides. The reason is that Islamists are now apparently flooding into Syria on the side of the rebels against the Assad government and they are the same crowd that wants us all dead.
However this all ends up, America’s interests will not be served well.
But clearly no American blood should be shed in this conflict. None. Regardless of what politicians may say, safely ensconced behind wooden desks in Washington DC.
And I welcome your opinion.
Dr. Bob Grant

Dr Robert Grant has been traveling to the Middle East for more than 46 years and has gone there over 125 times hosting groups of friends on holy land tours. As a result he hs been dubbed the holy land guru by some.

BTW I am new and trying to get established and would really appreciate it if you would ‘Like” my Facebook page at Facebook.com/HolyLandGuru

holy land tours

1948 plan to divide Palestine and provide for a Jewish state.

There are 4 groups that are mentioned in the current context of Israel and competing Arab interests in the region. The following is an attempt to differentiate between the different factions.

holy land tours

dome of the rock in Jerusalem visited on holy land tours with the Holy Land Guru

PLO 

It was established in 1964 in Jordan for the express purpose of destroying the then 16 year old Jewish state. Following the, from the Arab point of view, disastrous 1967 war when Jordan lost the West Bank and Old City of Jerusalem to Israel, the PLO organization gained a lot of power in Jordan to the point that they attempted to overthrow the Hashemite King Hussein and his Bedouin dominated army. Things came to a head in 1971 and the Jordanian Army crushed the PLO forces and expelled them from Jordan and they relocated to Southern Lebanon.arafat

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