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|The Arab Street Revolt and the Brotherhood: This Time It’s Different
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The Arab Street Revolt and the Brotherhood: This Time It’s Different
By Steven Simpson
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.
When Mohamed Bouazzi of Tunisia immolated himself on December 17, 2010, the incident barely was mentioned in most news media. After all, who cared about a troubled and insulted man with economic hardships in the barely known Maghrebi (North African) country of Tunisia? But Bouazzi’s desperate act has set off a chain reaction in the Arab world that will either lead to a domino effect of democracy for the Arab peoples, or an Islamist resurrection that has not been seen in centuries. And now with the downfall of Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, it appears that the Ikhwan al-Muslimun (the Muslim Brotherhood) may soon find itself in power and alter the Arab/Muslim world – as well as the world at large—to the extent that the Iranian revolution of 1979 will seem like an isolated incident.
Unlike the bloody and bloodless Arab military coups of the past, the Tunisian “coup” was carried out by the common street people who had decided that enough was enough when it came to the corruption of Tunisia’s dictator, Zine Abidene ben Ali. When the military announced (unprecedentedly) that it would not fire on the citizens, ben Ali knew that his days, if not hours, were numbered. His quick exit to Saudi Arabia took the Arab world by complete surprise. The Egyptian protests on the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, Ismailia, and other cities quickly followed, which has shaken to the very core most, if not all of the Arab dictators from Algeria to Yemen.
While the situation in Tunisia and Egypt is still in a state of flux, it is the departure of Hosni Mubarak after nearly thirty years in power that has caused a political earthquake throughout the region and world. It is Egypt that is at the heart of the Arab world, and with the exception of Jordan, the only Arab country to have made peace with Israel. It might not be an overstatement to say that as Egypt goes, so goes the Arab world. While it is probably too early to prognosticate about Egypt’s future, it appears that at the end of the day, Egypt will either be ruled by the military, or an Islamist government—be it de facto or de jure. At this point, it appears that the Islamists—while not yet at the forefront of this “street revolution”—have the most to benefit. This is bad news for America, the West, and of course, Israel. Indeed, Israel may come out the biggest loser.
The eminent scholar and writer, Dr. Daniel Pipes, Director of the Middle East Forum has written an interesting column, in which he seems to believe that military regimes with a more benign face will come to rule in Tunisia and Egypt. However, there are other factors that are at play here, and which have not been addressed yet.
To begin with, this is the first time in modern Arab history that common, regular people have forced from power corrupt dictatorial regimes without the army coming to the defense of the regimes. While deaths have occurred, there has been no concerted effort on the part of the Tunisian, Egyptian and Yemeni militaries to commit mass murder against its own citizens. This certainly came as a shock to the Arab dictators of these countries. Qaddafi of Libya (who by way of chiding the Tunisians for overthrowing ben Ali was in reality sending a signal to Libyans to stay quiet), Assad of Syria, and Abdullah of Saudi Arabia must now be looking over their shoulders, and sleeping with one eye open. If the armies of other Arab countries will also not fire on their fellow citizens, then what fear do the citizens have in overthrowing these corrupt totalitarian regimes that have oppressed their people for decades? This is a new factor that has never been seen in the Arab world. Without army support, the gates of the presidential palaces of the Arab “leaders” will be left open to the people. If and when that happens, the world is first liable to see extreme violence.
When the people are no longer afraid of the army – let alone the regime – why should they be satisfied with a “benign” military dictatorship? Egypt has been living under a military dictatorship since 1952 when the“Free Officers” under Gamal Abdel Nasser overthrew King Farouk. When Nasser unexpectedly died on September 8, 1970, he was quickly replaced by Anwar el-Sadat. When Sadat was shockingly assassinated on October 6, 1981 – by Islamist members of his own military – he was in turn replaced by his vice president, Hosni Mubarak, who has since been in power ruling throughout his reign under a state of emergency. Granted, Mubarak’s Egypt was not the totalitarian Gestapo-like state that Libya, Syria, Yemen and Saudi Arabia are. The same went for Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. It is interesting to note that with the exception of the hereditary Saudi monarchy, the dictators of the above mentioned “republics” were all grooming their sons to succeed them. This begs the question as to why they overthrew the monarchs of these countries in the first place. The Arab “republics” are monarchies in everything but name only. Now with Mubarak’s departure, it no longer seems a fait accompli that this hereditary succession will continue.
Finally, this brings us to the very dedicated, disciplined, and well funded Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt. Founded in 1928 by Hassan al Banna, it reached its zenith under the tutelage of Sayyid Qutb. While currently outlawed in Egypt, members of the Brotherhood are able to run as Independents in Egypt’s Parliament. The“Brothers” are currently led by Sa’ad al-Katatni. While there are factions within the Ikhwan, their supreme goal remains the Islamization of Egypt into a country ruled by the Shari’ah. Their motto is enough to make any civilized person shudder:
Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.
The Brotherhood—heavily influenced by Nazi ideology —as well as having excellent relations with Iran has learned from its violent past (including the assassination of al-Banna and the hanging of Qutb) that the key to victory lies through “peaceful” methods. If Egypt continues to spin out of control, Egyptians may very well look to them for guidance and leadership. A recent Pew poll showed that Egyptians want “more Islam” in their lives. This is in stark contrast to political pundits and “experts” who have practically discounted the Brotherhood as obsolete.
Indeed, a “useful idiot” as Mohammed el-Baradei , an anti-American, anti-Israeli apologist for Iran’s nuclear weapons program may be the key to the Ikhwan’s dreams of ruling Egypt. Already, they have endorsed him. Iran’s Khomeini used a similar tactic with his first prime minister, Mehdi Bazargan , a respected liberal academic, and then after consolidating power, pushed him aside. With an Ikhwan controlled government, the peace treaty with Israel will no longer exist, perhaps leading to another all-out Arab-Israeli war with Iran in the forefront. The global implications of this nightmare scenario are only beginning to dawn. To put it mildly, America, Israel, and the West are caught between an Arabic version of Scylla and Charybdis.
|20,000 servicemembers, vets lost homes in 2010
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20,000 servicemembers, vets lost homes in 2010
"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation."
Foreclosure rate in zip codes near military bases increased 32%
By Gregg Zoroya - USA Today-Jim Kelly- Patriot Freedom
Posted : Thursday Feb 3, 2011
More than 20,000 veterans, active-duty troops and reservists who took out special government-backed mortgages lost their homes last year — the highest number since 2003.
The rate of foreclosure filings in 2010 among 163 zip codes located near military bases rose 32 percent over 2008, according to RealtyTrac, a foreclosure research firm. This compares with a 2010 increase in foreclosures filings nationally of 23 percent over 2008.
The housing crisis has hit military families particularly hard in part because of transfers and the loss of civilian jobs left behind by reservists.
About 12,000 military families applied to the Pentagon’s expanded Homeowners Assistance Program. It makes up most of the difference in price for servicemembers who must transfer and sell their homes for less than they owe, or buys their houses outright.
“Our demand, in terms of (military) families coming to us for assistance went up 19 percent in 2010 over the previous year,” says Bill Nelson, executive director of USA Cares, a charity that provides financial assistance to Iraq and Afghanistan war-era troops.
Loans from private banks that are guaranteed by the Veterans Administration have historically outperformed other categories of mortgages, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. Through programs that include mortgage counselors, the VA helped 66,000 families avoid foreclosure last year, said Mike Frueh, VA assistant director for loan and property management.
“The 20,000 could have been much higher without that help,” Frueh said.
About 9,000 of some 12,000 military families who sought assistance under the Pentagon’s Homeowners Assistance Program were found eligible, said Don Chapman, an assistant program manager with the Army Corps of Engineers, which administers the plan.
“I hear so many sad stories every day of people calling me and telling me why they should be eligible and why we should be helping everyone and why we should be changing these dates,” Chapman said.
Former Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. William “Tim” Wymore nearly lost his home last year in St. Charles, Mo., after his health declined following six months in Iraq.
Weak, confined to a wheelchair and suffering chronic headaches, Wymore, 44, was forced to quit his job as a machinist. His wife, Shanna, left her job to care for him.
More than $1,800 in grants from USA Cares helped pay utilities and their mortgage. They managed to keep their home.
“There were points where we thought everything we had worked for was going to be gone,” Wymore said.
|WOMAN Stars Without Makeup - SEEING IS BELIEVING
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ALTERNATIVE NEWS SECTION
Stars Without Makeup
She's a diva on the red carpet and wherever she shows up, everyone notices. But she needs to thank her stylist, because without any makeup, she looks extremely pale and quite different from the artist so many girls want to imitate and boys wanna meet.
Drew Barrymore was named one of the most beautiful people on Earth by PEOPLE magazine; she even graced the cover. In fact, to prove her beauty they published pictures of her without any makeup. They "only" applied base to cover her imperfections and to add a little color.
After appearing in several music videos with rock band Aerosmith, the cute actress instantly made her way into the dreams of thousand of men everywhere and even won the award for 'Most Desirable Female' at the MTV Movie Awards. Well, we're sorry to turn those dreams into nightmares, but this is how her face looks without makeup.
She's one of the most desired women according to AskMen.com. Yes, Jessica Alba has a spectacular body, and also great fashion taste. But we wonder if they ever saw her with no makeup. For the record, we only recommend light makeup for her.
Yes, that's Salma Hayek without makeup on a typical beach day. What a difference! It's a rather drastic change. We hope she doesn't go out like that again, otherwise many will be disappointed.
With no makeup Cameron Diaz shows the world her acne. Also, her blue eyes are less noticeable, her skin color very pale, and her nose looks wider. Oh ... the magic of the shades and shadows!
Eva MendesAs you can see, Eva Mendes knows how not to abuse herself with makeup, although she loves to look tanned. Mendes' makeup gives her that bronze glow.
Change that little face Halle Berry, because we already saw your natural look and we do see the difference. The sexy actress, also considered one of the most desirable, knows how to take advantage of makeup.
They have said that the rumors about Katie Holmes not having a
perfect marriage with Tom Cruise are not true. But she cannot deny her tired look in the image at the left.
We know her as the pretty young singer, actress and entrepreneur. Her image, until now, has been radiant. But Hilary Duff's natural look tells us how miraculous makeup can be. At least we can tell many girls that with well-applied color, many flaws can be covered.
Britney Spears not only doesn't have makeup, she's also pretty untidy. The "Pop Princess" needs to improve her look now!
|The Homeland-Security Follies - Al Qaeda openly boasts of using tunnels to smuggle WMD’s into US
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The Homeland-Security Follies - Al Qaeda openly boasts of using tunnels to smuggle WMD’s into US
Just after Thanksgiving, a 2,200-foot cross-border tunnel was discovered in San Diego, complete with lighting and ventilation -- and even a rail system.
For most Americans, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's inaugural "state of US domestic security" speech yesterday will be notable mainly for marking the end of the useless "color code" threat system. But such trifling changes can never make up for the simple fact that her department -- despite its 200,000 employees and yearly budget of $56 billion -- isn't up to its task.
Just consider our most urgent security challenge: the Mexican drug cartels.
By our government's own estimates, the cartels are a deadly multinational conglomerate already present in at least 200 US cities. They've been at war with each other and with their own government for over four years, with no end in sight -- and 30,000 lives lost so far.
Napolitano: Runs a department that can't do its job.
They brazenly defend their interests on US soil -- sometimes with sophisticated military technologies, sometimes with ancient technologies like the huge catapult captured south of the border yesterday. The Texas Rangers are now using armed helicopters against the cartels -- while DHS' Border Patrol choppers are engaged in pointless "catch-and-release" missions against illegal immigrants.
Indeed, DHS efforts to secure our southern flank have failed miserably: In October, the department admitted that more than 1,000 miles of the 2,000-mile US-Mexico border were not under "effective federal control." Just after Thanksgiving, a 2,200-foot cross-border tunnel was discovered in San Diego, complete with lighting and ventilation -- and even a rail system.
The problem isn't just limited to the cartels: Al Qaeda openly boasts of using drug tunnels to smuggle weapons of mass destruction through our porous defenses. Fortunately, those boasts have proven empty -- at least so far.
To improve things, DHS tried to build a high-tech "virtual" border fence covering only a fraction of the border. The effort was recently canceled after wasting a billion taxpayer dollars.
The department seems uninterested in cost-effective solutions. For example, it's investing hundreds of millions to adapt the Predator UAV for border surveillance. Howard Whetzel, a retired US Army officer, developed a lower-tech alternative: Sentinel, a commercially produced, powered glider (with state-of-the-art sensors) that could perform Predator missions at a fraction of the cost. (Full disclosure: Whetzel is Allard's occasional business partner.)
Ten of the Sentinel gliders could provide stealthy surveillance of the entire border, for roughly $10 million -- while DHS wants 23 Predators to do that job, at a cost of at least $200 million over five years. Although Sentinel could be fully operational in 18 months, DHS won't even consider the idea.
The department's problems have nothing to do with which party is in power. Back in 2007, it admitted having made little headway in solving the communications "inter-operability" problems that plagued police and firefighters on 9/11. Yet it continues to waste millions on expensive, top-down, technical "solutions" to deeply embedded organizational and cultural problems.
DHS' own audit recently found that the process of providing intelligence reports to local police "fusion centers" is so slow that the information is largely worthless when it arrives. The main culprit: "the lengthy DHS headquarters review process."
Congress created DHS after 9/11 out of 22 different federal agencies -- without taking much care to see if the new creature would actually work. History shows this is no easy task. The modern Defense Department, created in 1947, needed three major shakeups over the next 40 years, until the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols reforms finally ended controversies that had simmered for over 40 years. Among the principal benefits: tighter partnership between the armed services -- and quantum leaps in information-sharing and communications interoperability.
Congress needs to see if those same lessons can apply to DHS. Just as it does elsewhere in the national security establishment, Congress should scrutinize DHS to determine what works, what does not -- and what must be changed to ensure our survival.