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February 17, 2012

In-Depth Issues:

Thai Police Searching for Two More Suspects in Botched Terror Plot Against Israeli Diplomats (AP-Washington Post)
    Thai police said Friday they are searching for two more suspects in a botched terror plot against Israeli diplomats that has been blamed on Iran.
    One of the two new suspects may have been providing training in the use of explosives to three Iranian men who were detained after the plot, Bangkok police commissioner Lt. Gen. Winai Thongson said.
    The man of Middle Eastern descent was seen on closed circuit camera footage as he left a house that had been used by the Iranians. The roof of the residence was blown off later the same day after a cache of explosives there detonated accidentally.
    See also Iranian Woman Wanted over Bangkok Terror Plot Flees to Tehran (New York Post)
    An Iranian woman wanted over a failed bomb plot targeting Israeli diplomats in Bangkok has fled to Tehran, Thai authorities said Thursday.
    Leila Rohani - the fourth suspect wanted in connection with the series of blasts Tuesday - is accused of arranging a home in Bangkok for the three other suspects to use as a base.
    See also Thailand: Link Found to Thailand-India-Georgia Bombs - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)

Is Iran Helping Al-Qaeda Plot Atrocity? - Sam Kiley (Sky News-UK)
    Iran and al-Qaeda's core leadership under Ayman al-Zawahiri have established an "operational relationship" amid fears the terror group is planning a spectacular attack against the West in revenge for the killing of Osama bin Laden.
    Sky News' intelligence sources have said Iran has been supplying al-Qaeda with training in the use of advanced explosives, "some funding and a safe haven" as part of a deal first worked out in 2009.
    Al-Zawahiri is believed to be planning a "classic" al-Qaeda attack, simultaneously on multiple locations, which would confirm the mantle he has assumed as the leader of the global jihad.
    A source said: "Iran is the main route through which funding for the organizations is made, the main route for operatives to travel to Pakistan for training, and it is the only real way by which al-Zawahiri can control and order a major attack."
    "We do know that an operation is under way. We assess that the most likely target is to be European," a source said.
    A secret intelligence memo, seen by Sky News, said: "Against the background of intensive co-operation over recent months between Iran and al-Qaeda - with a view to conducting a joint attack against Western targets overseas....Iran has significantly stepped up its investment, maintenance and improvement of operational and intelligence ties with the al-Qaeda leadership in Pakistan in recent months."

Yemen Intercepts Iranian Ship with Weapons (UPI)
    Yemen has intercepted an Iranian ship loaded with heavy weapons believed to have been destined for al-Houthi rebels in Yemen, sources told
    Al-Watan, a Kuwait newspaper, reported the ship carried mortar launchers, anti-armor shells and other weapons.
    The al-Houthi rebels, a group of Shiite dissidents, have refused to recognize the Yemen central government's authority and call for a return to a Shiite Islamic governing system similar to Iran's.
    The al-Houthi rebels have in recent months extended their hold in three northern Yemen provinces: Sa'ada, al-Jawf and Hajjah.
    U.S. officials have said Iran could be attempting to rely on al-Houthi rebels to advance its cause in the region. If Iran won Yemen as an ally, it would have direct access to the Red Sea, which is near the Suez Canal and an international oil route as well as Israel.

Poll: 58 Percent of Americans Support Military Action to Prevent Iran Nukes (Pew Research Center)
    58% of Americans say it is important to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, even if it means taking military action, according to a Pew Research Center poll released Wednesday. Just 30% say it is more important to avoid a military conflict with Iran.
    Regarding the possibility that Israel may attack Iran's nuclear facilities, 51% say the U.S. should remain neutral. But for those saying the U.S. should take a position, 39% believe it should support an Israeli attack compared to 5% who say it should oppose such action.

Syrian Opposition Cleric: Appeal "Even" to Israel for Help in Treating Wounded (MEMRI)
    Syrian opposition cleric Sheik Adnan Al-'Ar'our told Al-Safa TV on Feb. 10:
    "I think we should even appeal to Israel. Maybe that would be easier. Perhaps they would give us....If it is possible, we appeal to them to treat the wounded."

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Israel to Buy Italy's Jet Trainer over South Korea's - Yuval Azulai (Globes)
    The Israel Ministry of Defense has decided to buy 30 Alenia Aermacchi M-346 jet trainers from Italy for the Israel Air Force, rather than South Korea's T-50 Golden Eagle. The Air Force found that the M-346 cost less and better meets the Air Force's needs.
    In exchange for the procurement deal, the Ministry of Defense intends to demand $1 billion in reciprocal procurements from Italy. The Italians will reportedly procure IAI's advanced AWACs planes and will jointly develop a new reconnaissance satellite with Israel.
    The South Koreans threatened that if Israel picked the M-346, Seoul would cancel current and future contracts for Israeli defense systems worth hundreds of millions of dollars that include radars, electronic warfare, and missile defense systems.
    A defense source said, "We can hope that South Korea will not cancel future arms deals....The competition was completely transparent."

German Reporter Recounts Abuse as a Prisoner in Iran (AP-Washington Post)
    Marcus Hellwig, 46, a reporter for Germany's mass-circulation Bild am Sonntag, was arrested with his photographer after entering Iran on a tourist visa in October 2010 and interviewing the son of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery in a case that generated international outrage.
    Hellwig was held in a facility run by the Pasdaran, Iran's feared Revolutionary Guard elite forces. His book Inshallah. Captive in Iran is being released in German on Friday.

Syrians Unleash the Power of Creative Dissent - David Feith (Wall Street Journal)
    Syrian activists have dyed the public fountains of Damascus and Hama blood red. They scribbled anti-regime slogans on hundreds of ping-pong balls and rolled them down into the Damascene streets from a tall hill.
    They created phantom demonstrations by recording rallies in one city and broadcasting them from loudspeakers hidden atop buildings in another.
    And so they forced Assad's goons to spend time frantically draining fountains, sweeping ping-pong balls from sidewalks, and chasing imaginary street protesters.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran a Threat to U.S. on Many Fronts - Suzanne Kelly
    Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday that Iran poses a threat on a number of fronts, including its ability to develop a nuclear weapon, and the fact that any nuclear attack would likely be delivered by a ballistic missile. "Iran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East, and it is expanding the scale, reach, and sophistication of its ballistic missile force, many of which are inherently capable of carrying a nuclear payload," Clapper said. "Iran's technical advancement, particularly in uranium enrichment, strengthens our assessment that Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons, making the central issue its political will to do so," Clapper said. (CNN)
        See also U.S. Intelligence Officials: Iran Not About to Abandon Nuclear Program - Natasha Mozgovaya
    The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency said Thursday that Iran is not close to abandoning its nuclear program, but is also unlikely to intentionally provoke conflict. According to Lt.-Gen. Ronald Burgess, director of the agency, Iran has the "technical, scientific and industrial capability to eventually produce nuclear weapons." The ballistic missiles it is currently developing could reach distances across the region and as far as Central Europe, said Burgess. He added that Iran could seek to engage terrorist proxies worldwide. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Transcript: Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on Worldwide Threats to U.S. National Security
    DIA director General Ron Burgess told Congress: "While international pressure against Iran has increased, including through sanctions, we assess that Tehran is not close to agreeing to abandoning its nuclear program."  (U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency)
  • Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Leader: Threats to Cut U.S. Aid Could Imperil Peace Deal with Israel
    Mohammed Morsi, the leader of the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest party, on Thursday rejected U.S. threats to cut aid over a dispute about nonprofit groups operating in the country, saying they are out of line and could imperil the peace deal with Israel. Morsi said the annual U.S. aid is part of its commitment to Egypt's 1979 treaty with Israel and should not be at risk because of the dispute over the nonprofit groups. "Brandishing threats to stop this aid is out of place. Otherwise, the peace deal would be reconsidered or it could flounder," he said.
        The Brotherhood's deputy chairman, Khairat el-Shater, told Al-Jazeera that U.S. aid should not be conditional and should continue to flow as "compensation" for years of supporting Mubarak's autocratic regime. (AP-Washington Post)
  • UN General Assembly Backs Call for Syria's Assad to Step Down - Patrick J. McDonnell
    The UN General Assembly on Thursday overwhelmingly condemned the Syrian government's "systematic violations of human rights" and backed a plan calling for President Bashar Assad to relinquish power. But the move seemed unlikely to make much difference on the ground in Syria, where opposition activists reported that at least 63 people were killed the same day, including 38 in the northwestern province of Idlib. The non-binding UN vote was 137 in favor and 12 against, with 17 abstentions. (Los Angeles Times-CNN)
        See also U.S. Officials Tie Terror Group to Syrian Bombings - Kimberly Dozier
    Top U.S. intelligence officials pointed to al-Qaeda in Iraq on Thursday as the likely culprit behind recent bombings in Syria. Though the U.S. has called for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down, his fall could lead to a power vacuum that al-Qaeda's largest regional affiliate or other extremist groups could fill, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Congress. (AP-Boston Globe)
  • Senators Unite on Pressuring Iran - Emmarie Huetteman
    Uniting in response to a string of aggressive gestures from Iran, a bipartisan group of 32 U.S. senators introduced a resolution Thursday endorsing continued economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran as it seeks to gain nuclear capability. "You have only two choices: peacefully negotiate to end your nuclear weapons program, or expect a military strike to disable that program," said Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The senators said that President Obama would receive bipartisan support should he decide that a military strike was necessary. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said, "The best way for Iran to survive is to abandon nuclear weapon ambitions and become a productive member of the family of nations."  (New York Times)
        See also U.S. Sanctions Iran's Ministry of Intelligence for Supporting Terrorism
    The U.S. Treasury Department announced Thursday that it added Iran's ministry of intelligence and security to its list of specially designated global terrorists, asserting that it supports global terrorism, commits human rights abuses against Iranians and participates in ongoing repression in Syria. The effect of sanctions will be largely symbolic as the ministry is not known to have holdings in the U.S. (AP-CBS News)
  • Obama Administration to Seek Waiver on UNESCO Funding Ban - Ron Kampeas
    The Obama administration formally announced its intention to ask Congress to waive a ban on funding UNESCO over its recognition of Palestinian statehood. "The Department of State intends to work with Congress to seek legislation that would provide authority to waive restrictions on paying the U.S. assessed contributions to UNESCO," says a footnote in the budget that the White House submitted to Congress this month. On Wednesday, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the chairwoman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said she plans to oppose such a waiver.
        U.S. funding for UNESCO was stopped late last year because of laws banning U.S. funding of any international organization that recognizes Palestinian statehood in the absence of a peace agreement with Israel. "Any effort to walk back this funding cutoff will pave the way for the Palestinian leadership's unilateral statehood scheme to drive on, and sends a disastrous message that the U.S. will fund UN bodies no matter what irresponsible decisions they make," she said. (JTA)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Calls on UN to Condemn Attacks on Diplomats
    In a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor on Thursday called upon the international community to condemn the recent terrorist attacks against Israeli diplomats around the world. Prosor requested that a strong message be transmitted to Iran, who, he said, is directly responsible for the bomb attacks in Georgia and India earlier in the week, as well as explosions in Thailand that were aimed at Israeli targets. "The Security Council must take practical steps against Iran, Hizbullah and terrorist infrastructures that collaborate with them across the world," Prosor wrote.
        Israel's move is reminiscent of action Saudi Arabia initiated in November after the U.S. uncovered an Iranian plot to kill Riyadh's envoy to Washington. The UN General Assembly passed a resolution by a vote of 106-9 deploring the plot. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel and Cyprus Upgrade Ties - Amiram Barkat and Inbal Omer
    Israel and Cyprus agreed Thursday to allow IDF planes and ships to use Cypriot airspace and territorial waters as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cypriot President Demetris Christofias signed a search and rescue agreement in Nicosia. Netanyahu was making the first ever visit of an Israeli prime minister to neighboring Cyprus. Christofias condemned the terrorist attacks against Israeli embassies in India and Georgia. He also said that Cyprus wanted to combine its gas discoveries with Israel's discoveries for the benefit of the people of the region. (Globes)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Turning India Into a Conflict Zone - B. Raman
    The terrorist attack with a magnetized improvised explosive device (IED) on an Israeli diplomatic vehicle in New Delhi on February 13 was well planned and well executed. The fact that all preparatory activities went unnoticed and undetected by the Indian agencies would indicate that Iran already has a strong intelligence presence in Indian territory - in the form of intelligence officers working undercover, sleeper cells in the Indian Shia community and among the large numbers of Iranians studying in India. Detecting and neutralizing the Iranian network in India is going to be a difficult task. Till now, the focus of our agencies has been on detecting and neutralizing the pro-Pakistan networks, which operated mainly through sympathizers in the Sunni community.
        If the Iranian hand is finally established, Indian intelligence agencies will have to pay greater attention and devote greater resources for coverage of Iranian intelligence activities, as well as its links with Hizbullah and the Iranian student community in India. We should make it clear to Iran that any use of Indian territory for terrorism against Israel could affect bilateral relations. The writer is former additional secretary, cabinet secretariat, government of India. (Times of India)
  • A New Wave of Anti-Americanism in Cairo - David Schenker
    As 16 U.S. citizens await trial in Egypt for accepting foreign financing to promote democracy, for the first time in more than 30 years there is a serious debate in Washington about whether to end the $1.3-billion annual military assistance to Cairo. By deciding to prosecute Americans, post-Mubarak Egypt has intentionally provoked a bilateral crisis. Yet with as little as $11 billion remaining in foreign reserves depleting at a rate of $2 billion a month, Egypt is on the precipice of an economic crisis.
        Fayza Mohamed Aboulnaga, the minister of planning and international cooperation, has emerged as a symbol of the new populist politics of post-revolution Egypt. She has consolidated her position by promoting crass conspiracy theories, suggesting that U.S. democracy funds are used for "acts of sabotage." After 30 years and $66 billion in U.S. funding, these claims of U.S. subversion are insulting.
        Facing extreme challenges at home and in need of distractions, anti-Americanism has become Cairo's preferred populist recourse. The writer is director of the program on Arab politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Los Angeles Times)
        See also From Bad to Worse in Egypt - Daniel Calingaert
    The ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has decided to ignore mounting U.S. and European criticism and escalate its crackdown on civil-society groups including those of Freedom House. The repression of civil society is far worse than anything seen under Mr. Mubarak. The SCAF has reneged on its promises to senior U.S. officials to allow the American groups to reopen their offices. Egypt's military rulers are doubling down on their bet that they can get away with this persecution of American democracy-assistance groups. The writer is vice president for policy at Freedom House in Washington. (Wall Street Journal Europe)
  • On Iran, a Stark Choice - Benny Morris
    Israel's leaders, reflecting Israeli public opinion, take very seriously Iran's oft-repeated threat to create a second Holocaust, to wipe the Jewish state - "the Zionist entity" or "Zionist regime," as the Iranians call it - off the map. They take equally seriously Iran's nuclear program, which the international community, after years of denial or at least skepticism, now accepts is geared to the production of nuclear weaponry. Israelis, at least those who don't bury their heads in the sand, believe that if the Iranians get nuclear weapons they will, in the end, use them - or at a minimum, cannot be relied on not to use them - and that Israel's very existence is at stake.
        The choice is clear and stark. Either Iran, led by fanatical, brutal and millenarian leaders, will get the bomb, or it will be prevented from doing so by military assault on its nuclear installations, by America or Israel. If the Americans, who have the capability to do a thorough job, don't do it - and they don't seem to have the stomach for it after Iraq and Afghanistan - then the Israelis, with their more limited capabilities, will have to.
        How Washington, which has repeatedly and more or less publicly vetoed the idea, would react to an Israeli strike deeply worries policymakers in Jerusalem. But it worries them far less than a nuclear-weaponized Iran. An Israeli or American attack on Iran would likely rile much of the Muslim world, causing wide-ranging political fallout. But the consequences of nuclear bombs hitting Tel Aviv and Haifa - effectively destroying Israel, a very small country - are even more dire. (Los Angeles Times)
  • The Causes of Stability and Unrest in the Middle East - Anthony H. Cordesman, and Nicholas S. Yarosh
    The "Arab spring" is likely to involve a decade or more of political, economic, and social unrest. The causes of unrest involve structural problems in governance, demographics, and economics. None can be solved in a few months or years. Most Middle East and North African states have no real political parties or pluralistic structures, and only the monarchies have a history of political legitimacy.
        There is no clear basis for representative government, no experience with political compromise, and no pattern of effective governance to build upon. Ethnic and religious issues often cut deep and have been repressed for decades. Justice systems are weak and/or corrupt, religious extremism challenges necessary social and economic change, and the security forces are often an equal or more serious problem.
        The U.S. and the West may still think in terms of rapid, stable democratic change, but none of the proper conditions exist in many states. The reality is that far too many revolutions eat their young and the hopes of those who cause them. Sudden successes are unlikely and even the best regimes will take years to meet popular hopes and expectations. (Center for Strategic & International Studies)
  • Detente in Doha? - Zvi Mazel
    Recently PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal affixed their signatures to a document naming Abbas head of the future joint transitional Palestinian government. The accord was to cement the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. The problem is that the agreement is incompatible with the nature and objectives of the two movements.
        The Fatah movement, established in 1965, holds a comfortable margin of control in all Palestinian institutions and is dominant in the Palestine Liberation Organization, recognized by all Arab states as the only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Hamas dreams of taking over the Palestinian Authority before implementing its main objective: destroying the State of Israel and establishing an Islamic regime on its ruins. Its military takeover of Gaza in 2007 and the expulsion of Fatah and the PA was a first step. Hamas now hopes to win the next elections to the parliament and to the presidency.
        Both the Doha document and the previous Cairo accord are silent on two key issues: relations with Israel, and the return of Gaza and the placement of its Hamas security forces under the authority of the central government in Ramallah. The writer is a former ambassador to Egypt and a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also The New PA-Hamas Agreement: Opening the Gates to the Trojan Horse - Jonathan D. Halevi (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • Syria

  • Tribal Bonds Strengthen the Gulf's Hand in a New Syria - Hassan Hassan
    Much has been said about the Gulf states' interest in regime change in Syria to steer Damascus away from Tehran and bolster their regional standing. When the regime falls, as it certainly will, the Gulf states are well-positioned because of deeply rooted tribal bonds that span Syria, especially in Al Jazira region (which makes up about 40% of the country), the countryside around cities like Deraa, Homs and Aleppo, and to a lesser degree near Hama, Damascus and even in the Druze stronghold of Suwaida.
        Members of the tribes migrated from the Arabian Peninsula to the Levant and Mesopotamia, some with Muslim campaigns in the 7th century and others later in search of water and grazing for livestock. The Sykes-Picot Agreement between France and Britain in 1916 divided Mesopotamia and the Levant along artificial national borders that persist today, splitting the tribes that spanned from Syria, Iraq and Jordan all the way to the Arabian Peninsula. Relations, nevertheless, have been maintained despite efforts by the Baathist regime to weaken tribal loyalties.
        The Egaidat is the largest tribal confederation in Al Jazira, with at least 1.5 million members, and links mainly to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The Shammar has at least one million members in Syria. Other tribal confederations with links abroad include the Al Neim, Al Eniza, and Al Dhafir. As the bloody crackdown in Syria continues, tribal kinships have grown closer. (The National-Abu Dhabi)
        See also Syrian Tribes Show Rapid Population Growth - Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
    A traditionally pro-natalist policy on the part of the Syrian government has meant that the tribally dominated peripheries of Syria in particular have witnessed rapid population growth, especially among the armed tribes of Deir ez Zor, which contains most of Syria's dwindling oil reserves. With Assad gone, these tribes will surely demand their fair share of oil revenues.
        In addition, the suburban slums of Syria's major cities are teeming with hundreds of thousands of displaced migrants, owing to climate change and severe water shortages, with 500,000 people displaced from areas inhabited by the Inezi tribe in eastern Syria. All this increases the possibility that the country will fall apart once Assad goes.
        For Israel, chaos is ultimately a good thing. It means that the Islamists and other hostile forces will be too distracted by infighting to focus any attention on fighting Israel. The writer, a student at Oxford University, is an adjunct Fellow at the Middle East Forum. (Ha'aretz)

  • Weekend Features

  • Arab Like Me - Lee Habeeb
    There are two kinds of Arabs in this world. Those who hate Jews, and those who don't. And in my life, as a Lebanese kid growing up in New Jersey, I have met more of the former than the latter. The fact is, Arabs don't all think alike. Some of us believe in a simple universal truth: that every Arab deserves to live in freedom, wherever he or she might call home. Some of us want Arab countries to be more like America and Israel, places where the individual can flourish.
        An Arab American friend of mine, a Jordanian, is well educated, and he speaks five languages. But mention the word "Israel," and watch his blood boil immediately. Why is all of his passion, all of his anger and rage, directed at this one country? Why is it not directed at Syria, I ask him? Why not at Hizbullah, which orchestrated the takeover of Lebanon? Why not at Hosni Mubarak when he was in power? Or Saddam Hussein? Why not at the ways in which some Muslims are persecuting Christians?
        Two reasons: fear, and envy. To the dismay of Arabs around the world, Jewish people turned an ancient piece of real estate in the Middle East into a thriving oasis of intellectual, political, religious, and commercial activity, where people are free to do as they please, with a functioning government that respects religious and economic freedom.
        I ask my friend why he is obsessed with the 1967 border dispute, and not some other border grudge, as it would not take long to find other countries unhappy with the ways in which territories were allocated as spoils of various 19th- and 20th-century wars. I tell him that using his logic, Mexican terrorists should be blowing themselves up in Houston and El Paso.
        I now ask Arabs who show such a knee-jerk reaction to Israel: Why do you hate Jews? They quickly point out that they have no beef with Jews. It's Israel they hate. To which I reply, "If Israel had been handed over to Bolivians or Albanians or Estonians, would you still hate it?" It makes the point: Despising Israel the way Israel is despised in much of the Arab world is all about anti-Semitism. The writer is vice president of content at Salem Radio Network. (National Review)
  • From Overseas Visitors, a Growing Demand to Study the Holocaust - Ethan Bronner
    Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial and museum, recently completed a 10-day seminar for 35 teachers and professors from Taiwan, most of whom had never before met a Jew. There were sessions on Nazi disputes over how to murder the Jews; propaganda art in the Third Reich; encounters with survivors; a history of anti-Semitism; and the dilemmas faced by leaders of the Jewish ghetto councils. "This week, I learned that inside the death camps people helped each other. It gives new meaning to human values," said Jen Hsiu-mei, a psychologist and early childhood educator.
        Seven decades after the Holocaust, with its survivors rapidly dying, Yad Vashem produces material in more than 20 languages, is active in 55 countries and puts on 70 seminars a year for groups of visiting educators. (New York Times)

Setting Standards: How the West Should Respond to Political Islam - Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Michael Herzog (BICOM-UK)

  • Islamist parties have taken the opportunity provided to them by the "Arab Spring" to achieve power through elections, benefiting from their strong organizational structures and good public image in a traditional societal environment.
  • This phenomenon has sparked a debate in the West between optimists, who believe these parties will moderate to cope with the realities of political power, and pessimists, who fear they will simply use democracy to gain power and promote radical, ideological agendas.
  • Islamists themselves are not monolithic, and are struggling to balance practical political demands with their ideological roots. At a regional level they are offered two competing models of Islamic governance in Turkey and Iran.
  • The West should use the leverage it gains from its economic support to apply criteria for dealing with Islamist parties, in order to influence their development. Those criteria should relate to the Islamist parties' positions on: non-violence, adherence to values of democracy, the application of Sharia law in public life, and attitudes to the West and Israel.
  • For the sake of the peace process, it is particularly important to maintain strict conditions with regard to Hamas, and to make clear to Egyptian Islamists that tampering with the Israel-Egypt peace treaty is a clear red line.

    The writer served as chief of staff and senior military aide and advisor to four Israeli ministers of defense over the last decade and was previously the head of the IDF's Strategic Planning Division.

        See also The Rise of Political Islam Presents Challenges - Lorna Fitzsimons
    Arab peoples have the right to elect whoever they choose. But we have a right to say who we are going to support both politically and economically. The writer is CEO of BICOM. (Huffington Post)
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