Welcome to the Middle East Today

The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

Apr 30, 2011

Spring Revolution in the Arab World

The success of the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia was attributed to several factors. They include the army support of the protestors the massive population density who backed the revolution and the efficient technological communications network set by the organizers of the revolution. For these major reasons, the revolutions were successful and the protests lasted only a few weeks.

On the other hand, the protestors’ movements in several other Arab states are still going on and their consequences have been brutal and destructive. Yemen, Libya and recently Syria have joined the ranks of countries experiencing civil wars.

The latest news about the Yemeni revolution, which has been going on for more than two months, led the Gulf Council to mediate the conflict and bring it to an end. The Gulf proposal has been accepted by both feuding parties. The president of Yemen, Ali Saleh, will surrender his position to the vice president within 30 days. He and his family were also granted immunity from prosecution. This part of the agreement was rejected by the young people, but was accepted by the other political opposition parties. The young people are still demanding the prosecution of President Saleh for the crimes committed and the corruption during his 30 years of rule. Despite the fact that the protestors’ movements in Yemen were supported by massive population density, President Saleh was also supported by counter protesters, as well as the Yemeni army, who did not protect the protestors. The army was divided and the Republican Guard was led by President Saleh’s son. This neutralized the armed forces. In some cities, even the army was against the protestors. This gave President Saleh some protection and delayed his decision to resign.

The situation in Libya is the worst type, where the Gadhafi army has turned its military might against the Libyan population. This has led to heavy casualties and injuries. The slaughter of people will only stop by the elimination of Gadhafi and his family from power. During the past four decades, Col. Gadhafi became intoxicated by his power and was running the country and its population as his property. He must be removed, regardless of the cost.

The Syrian situation is getting more critical due to the increasing deaths of some of the protestors in several Syrian cities. At the beginning of the protest a few weeks ago, the people were calling for political reforms and an end to corruption and for free elections. The president of Syria, Bashar Assad, promised to bring reforms and he ended the emergency law, which has been in effect for nearly 50 years. This was not enough and the protestors’ demands were escalated by asking for the removal of the Assad regime and for new elections. The Syrian security responded by calling on the Syrian army to stop the protestors in many cities throughout the country. The clashes between the army and the protestors led to the killing of more than 453 people, according human rights organizations, and to the arrests of over 2,000 activists.

This harsh treatment did not stop the protestors in various Syrian cities, even when the security stopped water and power.

Furthermore, 230 members of Syria’s ruling Baath Party have resigned in protest over the government’s excessive brutality against the protestors. It was also reported that clashes between members of the Syrian armed forces took place when some officers refused to fire their arms against the protestors and as a result, were shot by their fellow army officers.

The basic, major problem in Syria is attributed to the fact that the whole country has been ruled by the al-Assad family for more than four decades. Most important government positions are held by family members and close relatives of this family. The Syrian army’s top ranking positions are also held by the Alawite minority group, who constitute no more than 8% of the total Syrian population. These members of the Assad family are well known as the most corrupt government officials in the country. In addition, Syria has been ruled with an iron fist and no other political party is permitted to operate in Syria.

The protestors’ movement was inspirited by what happened in Egypt and Tunisia by young people who were connected to various modes of technological communications. As usual, the public, which has been politically suppressed, joined in spontaneously. The movement spread even when Syrian security used excessive brutality to disperse the population.

If the Syrian government succeeds in stopping the protestors, it will be for a temporary and short period before it explodes again. The only way for the Syrian government to stop the movement is to implement rapid political reforms.

Furthermore, political heads of state In Syrian, Yemen and Libya have seen what happened to the heads of state in Tunisia and Egypt: jail and humiliation. They will not give up their authority to face similar consequences. Regardless, in the end, they will pay a heavy price for their ruthless actions and suppression.

The population in the Arab world has succeeded in overcoming fear and has begun to breathe more freely.

Wall Street and Oil Companies Greed

American consumers have been complaining about the increasing fuel prices, which have exceeded $4.15 per gallon. In 2008 a similar wave of oil price increase took place and the American consumers began to complain. At that time, some American politicians began to feel the pressure from voters and promised to investigate the matter. At the same time, the Saudi oil minister, in a public statement, said they have nothing to do with the increase in oil prices. Those responsible for it are part of Wall Street. A few weeks later, it was revealed that two Dutch financial Commodity firms and an American firm at Wall Street were behind the increase in oil prices. Exxon Mobil posted $42.2 bullion as record profit in 2008.

Again, a few days ago President Obama’s response to the public’s complaints about the increase in oil price was that the situations needed to be investigated to see if there is price manipulation. President Obama is well aware of how the gambling casino of Wall Street operates. Commodity prices are manipulated by the greedy gamblers of Wall Street, who profit greatly from such games, all under the concept of capitalism, supply and demand and free enterprise. At the end of the game, it is the American consumer in particular who ends up paying the price for the needed commodity. Also, the rest of the world’s consumers are also being affected in some ways as well. It was reported that in 2011 Exxon Mobil Company $10.7 billion as first quarter earning

The Saudi President of Aramco Oil Company, Mr. Khalid al-Falih, expressed his concern about the increases in oil prices. He said that there is no shortage of oil in the world market. He further stressed that the Saudi oil company has a surplus and even has the capacity to produce more than 9 million barrels of oil per day if there is a demand for it. Mr. al-Falih expressed his concern about the increasing cost of oil on the world economy. (www.ahram.org, 4/27/2011).

The Saudi Aramco Oil Company is the biggest oil producer in the world and they are in control of 25% of the oil reserves in the world. It is of interest to know that the Saudi government is more concerned about the world economy than the greedy oil companies and gamblers of Wall Street are. They always look for an excuse to justify their unnatural bidding on commodities that ends up netting them billions of dollars in profit. For example, they used the protestors movements in the Middle East as an excuse to create the fear that oil shipment to consumers would be in danger and began their higher bidding on what the future cost would be. To illustrate this point further, the latest clashes in Syria between protestors and the Syrian army was used as an excuse by Wall Street gamblers to justify their phony claims. First of all, Syria is not an oil producing country that the world depends on. Second, what is happening in Syria is far away from the countries that produce oil and that the world’s oil consumers depend on.

Those who should be blamed for the abuse of the American consumers are American politicians who are elected by the consumers. The tragedy is reflected in the American political system, because voters put politicians in office to represent their interests. However, in reality, politicians are being influenced by lobbyists who represent not just oil companies, but big industrial corporations, who end up paying for the cost of their election.

The Lobbyists ended up spending $3.5 billion last year (2010) to grease the wheels of American politicians. I would say, without hesitation, that the majority of the American voters are politically illiterate. Wall Street needs to be regulated for the benefit of all and not only a few. The taxpayers should have not bailed out Wall Street in 2008, because in the end this benefitted those who needed the benefit the least.

Apr 29, 2011

Spring Revolution in the Arab World

The turns of political tsunami in Tunisia and Egypt and have already impacted the political states in the Arab world. Both political regimes of Tunisia and Egypt have been removed with minimal causalities, due to two factors. First, the armies in both states did not support the regime and refused to turn their guns against their populations. Second, the massive support of the younger generation’s revolution provided a strong backing that led to the success of the revolutions in both Tunisia and Egypt. Both factors led to a shorter period of time in which to force the regimes to surrender their powers. I would add another factor that the young generation, especially of Egypt, utilized: technology, especially Facebook, which facilitated the planning and execution of their revolt. The planning started nearly six months prior to the 25th of January 2011, during the summer of 2010. The major cause behind this was the killing of Khalid Said by the police in Alexandria. Said was a well-known blogger connected with other young people all over Egypt. His death led many of the Facebook participants to reach a boiling point, which created the Khalid Said page on the Internet. That facilitated communication to millions of people, young and middle aged, exposing the filth, crimes and corruption of Hosni Mubarak’s regime. The Egyptian revolution was already on track even before the Tunisian revolution began. Nevertheless, many analysts in Egypt and other places were saying that the Tunisian revolution would have no impact on Egypt or any other states in the Arab world. These remarks, made by various people and experts, insinuated that Egypt is different from Tunisia.

These experts or analysts have failed to see or examine the consequences of dictatorship rule in all Arab states during the past six decades, since independence from Western colonialism. They failed to see that Western colonialist rule was replaced by national colonialist rulers. The transition was smooth and Arab authoritarian rulers took the submission of their people for granted. A few rebellions took place here and there in the Arab world and were silenced and/or crushed, as was the case in Syria, Algeria, Sudan, Iraq and Lebanon. The experts have failed to examine the forces that led to the revolution in Tunisia and Egypt. Two years ago, in 2009, I developed a blog to put emphasis on the problems and challenges facing the Arab world. These problems include population growth and its impact on the social, political and economic sectors of Arab society.

The problems of desertification and the shortage of fresh water in all Arab states led to the fact that not a single Arab state could be classified as self sufficient in food production. Another problem is poverty, which in some states like Egypt affects nearly 50% of the population. This percentage might be higher in other Arab states. The tragedy of this situation is reflected in the lavish living of nearly 10% of the Arab population, which reflects good side of being rich and wealthy and this leads to frustration. Furthermore, there is the problem of high unemployment, especially among the younger generation (between the ages of 15 and 29 years old) who constitute more than 50% of the total population. Many of the unemployed are college graduates who were unable to find jobs.

The experts and analysts were not even aware that the educated and unemployed are a walking ticking bomb. That bomb exploded in Tunisia by the unemployed college graduate, Mohamed Bouazizi, who set himself on fire.

The problem that analysts have failed to see is the absence of democratic institutions and the lack of transparency and accountability, which encourages corruption and spreads at all governmental levels. Hundreds of billions of dollars were transferred illegally from Arab states into Western financial institutions, instead of being invested at home to create jobs for the unemployed.

The analysts have failed to assess the impact of fraudulent parliamentary elections year after year, where the ruling governmental political parties are always the winners.

These major factors, in addition to others, led to the political explosion that is still going on in the majority of Arab states. The spring revolutions in the Arab states were expected by those who were well aware of what was going on in the Arab world. Personally, I thought it would occur even soone

Apr 27, 2011

Pressing Needs for Job Creation

Throughout history and since the dawn of civilization more than five thousand years ago, Egypt has played a major role in the Middle East region. Egypt’s role in the Arab world is very critical politically, economically and demographically. Egypt has the largest population size in the region, with over 85 million people. Its annual population increase is around 1.3 million people per year, which is nearly more than one fourth of the population of the U.A.E. However, the United Arab Emirates GNI is more than 25 times that of Egypt, which is $2,070 per person per year. The point I am trying to bring to the attention of the readers is the fact that the distribution of wealth in the Arab world reflects a wide gap between the rich and poor states.

It is unfortunate that Arab states with the largest populations are among the poorest in the region. Egypt, which I consider to be the heart of the Arab world, has recently opened its doors to a new political chapter of democracy and freedom, which has begun to impact all Arab states. In order for that revolution to continue its success, Egypt needs economic investments from especially the well to do Arab states in the Gulf region. Economic investment is very important for the Egyptian economy, because it is needed to create new jobs for the millions of unemployed young people. Furthermore, it has been reported that the Egyptian Prime Minister Esam Sharaf visited the Arab Gulf region to assure their governments Egypt’s support of their securities. Also, he is trying to encourage the governments and well-to-do individuals and companies to consider economic investment in Egypt.

Additional economic investment by these states is very important to turn the economic trend back since its down turn as a result of the 25th of January Revolution. Unfortunately, it has been reported that the United Arab Emirates, which is not included in the prime minister’s visit of the Gulf region, is pursuing a new negative political policy towards Egypt. It was announced that the UAE government is refusing to extend the work permits of Egyptian workers due to Egypt’s recent policy of prosecuting its former president and its new policy towards Iran. (almasry-alyoum.com, 4/25/2011).

If such news is correct, those responsible for initiating that policy are wrong. First of all, the Egyptian foreign minister made it clear that the Gulf region is a “red line” for any foreign interference. The establishment of diplomatic relations with the Iran will discourage it from any hostile attempts toward its neighbors. Second, the UAE should encourage and accept more Egyptian workers instead of terminating their visas. If the Egyptian economy and political stability is threatened, it will also impact the rest of the Arab world as well.

It has been reported that more than $2.6 trillion is available in Arab banks, which netted a profit of over $35 billion last year (2010). Also, the report revealed that the number of private accounts in Arab banks has exceeded $15 trillion as of 2010.

The president of Arab banks and financial institutions, Mr. Adnan A. Yousef, stated that new reform policies are needed to allow and encourage Arab investments in light of the new changes taking place in the Arab world. He further pointed out that the Arab world needs to create more than 18 million new jobs during the next ten years to meet the needs of young people entering the job market. (Aljazeera.net, 4/19/2011).

The presidents of Arab banking and financial institutions and others are optimistic in light of the success of revolutions, especially the Egyptian one.

In previous years, Arab governments, especially the oil producing ones, in addition to wealthy individuals, directed their investments towards Western societies and the U.S. in particular. It is understandable that the government corruption in the Arab world in general discourages foreign investments.

Since the corrupt regime in Egypt was thrown out, hopefully it will encourage investors to direct their financial investments toward Egypt, which will pay off of them and the Egyptian people in the long run.

Apr 25, 2011

Proposed Gulf States Federation

The consequences of the people’s revolutions in Arab states and their impact on the political leadership have clearly reflected that political dictatorship is no longer acceptable. In Egypt, the leadership of the young generation became more aware of Arab nationalism, which was reflected in their support of uprisings in all Arab states that were calling for freedom and political change. Furthermore, some professional organizations even called for a federation between Egypt, Sudan and Libya after the removal of the Gadhafi regime.

In the Gulf area, there was an uprising in Bahrain and a few attempts to start protests in Saudi Arabia that were crushed by the security forces. The people’s protests in the Gulf region led to a new revival of political federation. It has been reported that the political leadership in the Gulf region is discussing the formation of the political federation among the six states in the region. The proposed federation will unite its foreign policy, defense and security of the region. However, the proposed federation will not lead to the creation of one state. Each member state of the Gulf Council will continue to have its own individual independence and political leadership. The main objective behind the proposed strategy, as it was stated by the political leadership, is to face the Iranian threat to the Gulf states.

It is interesting to see how the Gulf heads of states, in particular the Bahraini and the Saudi, have reacted to the protestors who were asking for fair and equal treatment between the Sunni and Shiaa segments of the population. The Bahraini Shiaa, who constitute more than two thirds of the population and are viewed as a minority, were allocated only 18 seats out of 40 in parliament.

The Shiaa of Saudi Arabia are also discriminated against by the Sunni population, whose number is estimated to be more than 10% of the population. Both states blame Iran for the uprising of the Shiaa in their populations. This is nothing but an excuse used by the governments to justify the suppression of their Arab Shiaa minorities. Therefore, the proposed idea of a federation among the six Gulf Council states is an excuse to justify the interference of one state in the internal affairs of another as the Saudis did in Bahrain. A few weeks ago the Saudi government sent 2,000 soldiers and crushed the Bahraini uprising. The Secret agenda reflects the fact that if the uprising succeeds in one of the Gulf states, it will have an impact on the rest since none of these states have a democratic institution. It is very logical that when a minority in a society is suppressed and treated unfairly like the others in the same society, some of those that are suppressed might cooperate with outsiders as a result if it can bring them justice. The majority of Arab political leaders who are still in power have not learned a lesson yet despite the upheaval that has been taking place in the region. The idea to create a phony federation will not work. The Gulf Council Commission has been working for years to develop one common currency for its members and so far they have failed to achieve it. This is a common phenomenon among Arab political head of states that agreed to create an Arab Common Market in 1947 and they are still discussing the idea. For example, Europe, which started its European Common Market in 1957, has not only implemented it, but now has 27 members in the organization.

The differences between both groups is that the Arab states are run by corrupt political leadership, while the European states are run by democratic institutions.

Apr 24, 2011

The Federation of Egypt, Sudan and Libya

More than fifty years ago when I was a teenager, I developed a deep conviction that the main factor or major force that will lead to progress and development was through the unity of Arab states. This conviction and belief increased and it became part of my academic mission to advocate that strategy.

Arab unity is not a new thought, but it was part of Arab history for more than seven centuries, since the rise of Islam during the 7th century A.D.

I recently read two articles titled “New Federation Between Egypt, Libya and Sudan” (almasry-alyoum.com, 4/18/2011) and “Persian Gulf States Federation to Stop the Iranian Aggression” (shorouknews.com, 4/20/2011). Regardless, the content and emphasis in both articles seems to be that the impact of Arab uprisings, which have been going on since December 2010, have begun to create new political, economic and cultural thoughts, especially among the young generation in the Arab world. Arab youth’s mode of communication was reflected verbally during their protests in support of the political uprising going on in various Arab states.

The young Arab generation is more aware than their parents of the cultural bonds that connect them with their peers in various Arab states. Their vision, politically and culturally, transcend the political boundaries that Western colonialism created, especially since the end of World War I.

The idea of federation between Egypt, Libya and Sudan is very logical for several reasons. First, the three states share natural boundaries where, throughout history and until recently, the populations in these three countries moved freely. As a matter of fact, the tribal social structure in Eastern Libya and Western Egypt still exist despite the political boundaries. Also, it should be recognized that the number of Egyptian workers in Libya has been estimated to be between 1.5 and 1.7 million people before the beginning of the revolution a few weeks ago. This number equals to almost ¼ of the Libyan population.

Second, similar situations politically, economically and demographically have existed between Egypt and Sudan throughout history. Until the mid-20th century, Egypt and Sudan were part of one kingdom.

Third, people’s mobility among the three states was reflected in the millions of workers, especially Egyptians in Libya and Sudan and vice versa. Libyans keep talking a bout their tribal relatives not only in Western Egypt but also in its rural parts as well.

Fourth, the economic and natural resources in addition to the demographic factors tend to compliment each other. Sudan’s agricultural lands and water availability are a very important environmental, political and economic asset not only to the proposed federation, but to the Arab world as a whole.

At the present, not a single Arab state could be classified as food self-sufficient. Sudan’s area size is equal to 2.5 million square kilometers and a population of 31 million as of 2010. Egypt possesses the know-how, the technology and the skilled manpower needed for the agricultural investment. Libyan oil resources and parts of its income form the sale of oil could provide part of the capital needed for agricultural development.

Libyan oil reserves have been estimated at 40 billion barrel, in addition to 50 trillion cu.ft of gas. Its income from oil exports exceeds $40 billion per year. The total population of Libya as of 2010 is around 6.5 million people and its size is 1.77 million square km.

The three states compliment each other. Sudan provides the rich agricultural lands and water. Libya provides the financial funds for investment. Egypt provides the know-how, the agricultural skilled labor and modern agricultural technology needed, as well as the engineering skills to build infrastructure needed for agricultural developments.

There are other factors that compliment the proposed federation, such as that the population in the three states share the same religion (Islam), they speak the same language (Arabic) and they share many cultural characteristics.

However, there is one requirement needed to make this dream a reality, which is the liberation of Libya from the authoritarian corrupt regime of Gadhafi.

It has been reported by foreign press that the Egyptian government sent light arms to the rebels in Libya, but the military High Council has denied that. In the meantime, the Egyptian National Lawyers Association, at a press conference, called on the Egyptian government to support the Libyan Rebel forces. It has also called on Dar-il-ifta to issue a fatwa to encourage people to go to Libya and support their war efforts. In addition to that, the Lawyers Association is preparing a suit against the Gadhafi regime, which is using Egyptian workers in Libya as human shields against the rebels.

This by itself justifies Egyptian interference and support for the liberation of Libya. At the same time, some of the NATO members, Britain and France, have been calling for more military help to protect the Libyan population from the savage attacks Gadhafi’s troops have been mounting against unarmed civilians.

It has been reported that more than 10,000 civilians have been killed and nearly 55,000 have been injured since the war started (al-masry-alyoum.com, 4/20/2011). Furthermore, the Gadhafi troops have used cluster bombs, which is prohibited by international law. Israel used cluster bombs against the Lebanese people in 2006. I wonder if they supplied Gadhafi’s army with such weapons

Apr 20, 2011

Attempt to Delay U.S. Troops’ Withdrawal from Iraq

The New York Times (4/17/11) reported that the speaker of the House of Representatives of the American Congress, John A. Boehner, was in Iraq. According to the report, Mr. Boehner met with the Iraq Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to discuss delaying the withdrawal of U.S. troops, which is scheduled for December 31, 2011. The rationale used by Mr. Boehner is that the Iraqi army is not yet capable of protecting Iraqi security and further training is needed.

Prime Minister al-Maliki’s response was that the Iraq security forces are ready to protect the country’s national security. Furthermore, the U.S. troops will leave Iraq on schedule, according to the U.S. and Iraqi governments’ signed agreement. However, it was agreed that 119 American soldiers would stay in Iraq to train Iraqi forces on the new weapons purchased from the U.S. by the Iraqi government.

It is a very strange strategy that the U.S. government has been pursuing vis-a-vis Iraq. A few weeks earlier, the American Secretary of Defense Mr. Gates visited Iraq to discuss the same problem with the Iraqi Prime Minister. He was told that there is no need for American troops to delay their withdrawal.

It seems to me that the American strategy of colonialism, despite its negative consequences on Iraq as well as on the U.S., is not going to end.

A few points need to be made to shed light on American political and military strategies. First, why was the American military Viceroy Mr. P. Brenner’s first priority after the Iraq invasion of 2003 to dismantle the Iraqi army of nearly 500,000 soldiers? Also, why did he give an order to destroy its military armaments and turn it into metal scraps that were then shipped out of Iraq? Mr. Brennan was not only satisfied with his plan to destroy Iraqi military forces, but he also did similar things to Iraqi industries. He dismantled more than 500 government owned industries and contributed to the unemployment of over 500,000 Iraqi workers. The U.S. invasion of Iraq under false pretenses was planned for the benefit of American oil companies, Israel and the American military industrial complex. The U.S invasion destroyed Iraq economically, politically and environmentally and put the country 50 years behind.

Furthermore, the American invasion of Iraq produced many negative consequences to the U.S. as well. Let me refer to only two negative points. First, it caused the deaths of more than 4,500 American soldiers. Second, it cost the American taxpayers between 2.5 and 3 trillion dollars, according to an estimate made by well-known American economists. The U.S. borrowed money from foreign states such as China to fight foreign wars. It also amazing to see the number one Republic leader, Mr. Boehner, is trying to pressure the Iraqi government to delay the departure of U.S. troops from Iraq. Meanwhile, he has been appearing on TV screens to show the American people that the Republicans are very concerned about American budget deficit. He wants to slash spending from programs that help the poor and the needy, but he is not concerned about military spending. He should be asked a simple question – how much does it cost the American taxpayers to keep nearly 50,000 American troops in Iraq per year?

I am sure it will be more than 38 billion dollars, which they slashed from the recent budget agreement between Republicans and Democrats. Furthermore, if the Republicans are concerned about foreign debt, which exceeds 14 trillion dollars, why is the U.S. still fighting a war in Afghanistan to protect a corrupt regime? I am sure that the cost of that war exceeds the 38 billion dollars taken away from needed programs.

Apr 19, 2011

The Continuous Spring Protests

Most states in the Arab world are still experiencing people’s protests demanding reforms such as freedom of expression, political reforms, free elections and an end to political and financial corruption.

All of these demands are legitimate and the political leadership in these states continues to promise to respond to the demands of the protestors. The following reflects the latest.

In Jordan, the protestors in Amman, Zarka and other cities are demanding the prosecution of those who stole the public assets. Some of them fled the country to escape prosecution. The protestors were calling for the revival of the gift of April of 1989, which led to the removal of the emergency law and the return to the freedom of political parties and election. Furthermore, the crowds were calling for the cancelation of the Arab peace agreement with Israel.

The young people of March the 24th were part of the protest movement who also called for the resignation of the government and requested political reforms that will lead to free elections. In Zarka city, the security forces were attacked by the Islamic Salafi group, which led to the injuries of more than 80 people. Many of these were members of the police force. Also, members of the Salafi group were arrested, including their leader Abu Muhamid il Tahawi. This group was carrying knives that were used against the security forces. According to revealed reports, more than 30 members of this group were arrested.

During the same period, King Abdallah met with tribal Jordanian leaders and assured them of the government’s intention of a wide range of political and economic reforms. The tribal segment of the Jordanian population reflects the basic support for the regime. The Jordanians of Palestinian background, who constitute more than half of the population, are the backbone of the protestors movement, in addition to liberal and highly educated individuals form the Jordanian segment. Nevertheless, I continue to say that unless real reforms are made, political unrest will continue.

In Syria, the political protests continue in many cities including Damascus, repeating the same demands for political reforms. Tear gas was used to disperse the protestors. At the same time, the protestors removed the pictures of Bashar il-Assad and called for his resignation. The people are demanding that the regime respond to their demands. President Assad has already formed a new government and promised a broad range of political reforms. How fast he will implement such reforms will influence the future political trends in Syria.

In Iraq, the Iraqi population has started an uprising against their newly elected members of parliament, who they have accused of being puppets for the American occupying forces. The Iraqi youth are the most active of those who have been marginalized by al Maliki regime. They feel that the present ruling groups came with the occupying American forces, who have destroyed Iraq politically, economically, socially and environmentally. What the young Iraqi people are objecting to is the establishment of a sectarian political structure under the pretext of democratic principle, which has been adopted. The young people are calling for the establishment of true democracy that will usher in a better future for all Iraqis and the removal of political division influenced by sectarianism in the country. They are calling for more political freedom and an end to political corruption.

In Algeria, the protestors’ movement is still active. However, President Abed al-Aziz bin-Taflika promised constitution reform in response to people’s demands for freedom, free elections and an end to corruption. The emergency law has been lifted and more political reform is being implemented to avoid a similar uprising that took place in 1988, which led to the deaths of more than 160,000 people. The Algerian president, who is 74 years old, will respond to the peoples’ request in the end. However, how far he will go remains to be seen.

The situations in Yemen and Libya are getting worse and more bloodshed and destruction will continue until the removal of both dictators.

Apr 17, 2011

The Arab Spring Uprising

Since the December 2010 uprising in Tunisia and the January 25th Revolution in Egypt nearly a month later that led to the fall of both regimes, the political impact has continued. However, since then the vast majority of the Arab states have experienced people protesting against their own governments demanding political reforms and an end to the corruption. In some states, the people have demanded the resignation of their governments, to be replaced by freely elected ones. The two Arab states that have experienced the most violent response from their governments are Yemen and Libya.

In Yemen, the protestors’ movement is in its 11th week of continuous protests by millions of people in all cities in Yemen. The government’s violent response against the protestors led to the killings of hundreds of people in addition to the many injuries. The Arab Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has offered to mediate the Yemeni conflict and to end the violence. The council suggested that the Yemeni president Ali Saleh resign and turn over his authority to his deputy and allow the opposition group to form their cabinet and call for an election. Also, GCC suggested that President Saleh leave office without holding him for trial. The opposition group rejected the GCC suggestion and insisted on trying the president for the crimes he committed and the corruption that took place during the past three decades of his rule.

As of 4/15/2011, the protestors’ uprising is continuing and the GCC mediation outcome has been put on hold. The next few days will show what the outcome will be.

In Libya, the conflict is getting worse and the war between the rebels and the Gadhafi troops is still going on. The rebels are facing an army with heavy military equipment, who are shelling and firing missiles at the unarmed civilian population.

IN the meantime, African states started mediation to stop the fighting and for an immediate ceasefire between the two sides. It was announced that Gadhafi has accepted the African proposal, but the rebels have insisted on the removal of Gadhafi from office before they accept the African proposal. The war in Libya continues.

There is a third type of political uprising in some Arab states, which has been less violent than the ones that have been taking place as mentioned. In Algeria and Morocco, the protestors’ movements have been less violent and the number of people who are involved in the public uprising has been smaller than in other Arab states. For example, in Algeria it has been reported that when a call for protest when issued, the number of government security was larger than the number of the protestors. This is attributed to a number of factors. First, the Algerian public has been watching the ugly turn of protestors’ movements in Libya and Yemen, which is producing many undesired consequences in both countries. Second, Algeria experienced an uprising nearly 25 years ago (1988) between the government forces and Islamic forces, which led to the deaths of more than 150,000 people during nearly a decade of conflict. Third, there is more freedom of expression, especially in the press, than in most Arab states that are experiencing uprising. Fourth, the government lifted the emergency law that has been in use for more than 19 years. Fifth, the government increased the financial rewards to their employees and offered young people the equivalent of 2 ½ hectares of land for free to use for agricultural cultivation. Also, the government encouraged young people to open small businesses without experiencing any difficulties from the government. It is of interest also that the few protests that took place in Algeria did call for reforms and an end to corruption, but not the removal of the government of President Abed al-Aziz biri-Tafleegah.

In Morocco, the situation has been less violent than in other Arab states. The protestors have been larger in number than in Algeria. Their demands are for more freedom and political reform. In some cases, some of the protestors demanded a constitutional reform and an elected government to limit the authority of the king. The king responded by initiating political reforms but I doubt that he will go further and surrender his own authority. The situation in Morocco is still unsettled and what the outcome will be in terms of political reform and an end to the corruption is to be seen.

The Fall of a Tyrant –Justice Prevails

History will record that Hosni Mubarak is the first head of state to be tried by a court in Egyptian history. The people of Egypt have demanded his removal and he surrendered his authority to military forces on February 11, 2011.

During the past three decades, Mubarak and his corrupt regime have abused the Egyptian public’s trust in many unthinkable ways. Mr. Mubarak and those who surround him have treated the people and Egypt as a whole as if it were a private ranch and those who were in it as serfs.

During the more than thirty years of authoritarian rule, those who objected or criticized Hosni Mubarak policy ended up in prison. Those who stole the public wealth were not held accountable due to the absence of accountability and transparency. During the previous three decades, fraudulent elections to parliament were standard procedure and the ruling party nominated the members to serve in the Egyptian parliament.

Furthermore, during Mubarak’s rule, Egypt lost its leadership of the Arab world and became a minor and uninfluential member in the Middle East region. Hosni Mubarak surrendered Egypt’s leading role and dignity to appease U.S. politicians and many of them were tools in the hands of Israeli politicians.

Since the dawn of civilization, more than five thousand years, Egypt was the leading power in the region. Under Mubarak he marginalized Egypt’s role and the public ended up paying the price politically, economically and socially.

That era is over, and the young people who initiated the revolution on January 25th should be saluted for their courage and convictions.

A new chapter of democracy emerged as a result of that revolution, which did not prevail until February 11, 2011. This is reflected in the investigation of previous high government officials who are in prison, accused of a broad range of crimes, from acts of corruption and theft of public wealth to crimes committed against protestors.

This new democratic trend reflects that nobody is above the law. Many people in Egypt were in doubt of that, until the general public prosecutor began his investigation of Hosni Mubarak and his two sons, Jamal and Alaa.

The whole world was watching when the prosecutor announced that the three of them were to be put in prison for 15 days for further investigations and a trial in Egypt’s criminal court.

Both sons Jamal and Alaa are now in Torra prison in Cairo and their father is still in the hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh. When he recovers, he will be sent to Torra prison.

That legal decision affirmed that the 25th of January Revolution opened a new chapter in the history of Egypt. Nobody is above the law.

Apr 14, 2011

Plotting A Counter Revolution

During the past few days, the Alarabiya TV station has aired recorded interviews with Hosni Mubarak in which he denies the accusations that have been revealed to the Egyptian public.

He said “he had to defend his and his family’s reputations and denied that he stole public money or even had foreign assets in foreign countries.”

The foreign press as well as Transparency International estimated the wealth of the Mubarak family to be between $ 40 and 70 billion.

However, Mr. Mubarak, in his interview, tried to appeal to the Egyptian people and to play on their emotions, saying that he had the right to defend himself and his family against the false propaganda that was mounted against him and his family.

Mubarak is entitled to defending himself, but the puzzling part is why he did it through a Saudi TV network and not an Egyptian one. Furthermore, the Alarabiya TV station kept showing the Mubarak recorded interview for almost two days.

In the meantime, Mubarak has been summoned by the state prosecutor for an investigation of corruption and the killing of protestors. Also, the prosecutor for investigation has summoned his sons Jamal and Alaa.

The protestors who have been calling for Mr. Mubarak and his family to be tried since January 25th have reached a point of impatience because of the slow reaction by the public prosecutor to act.

Meanwhile, it was reported that some leadership from the previous regime and members of the Egyptian National party met on Thursday evening before the protest the following day to create problems in Tahrir Square. The purpose behind it is to spoil the harmonious relationship between the protestors and the Egyptian military. Furthermore, the report revealed that some business leaders who were at the meeting provided large sums of money to recruit supporters to come to Tahrir Square and provide them with tents to stay in Tahrir until April 25th. The equipment was delivered Friday morning to a group of hoodlums. The army chased them through the streets that lead to the Square and on Saturday in the early morning, before the beginning of the curfew, they got entangled with members of the Egyptian army. This led to the shooting of two people and some of these were wearing army uniforms to mislead the Egyptian public. The army confirmed the plotting and arrested Ibrahim Kamil, a leading businessman, as well as a few assistants for investigation. (www.shorouknews.com, 4/1/2011).

A Historical Day to Celebrate

This popular and unique revolution ushered and opened a new chapter in the history of Egypt. It was a peaceful popular revolution that created a new model for political change. It calls for a democracy that incorporates political freedom, free expression, and accountability.

Egyptians express their pride by stating that the Revolution should be considered as grandiose as the building of the Pyramids.  Some are saying “ we waited for such a revolution for thousands of years!”

We should all request, especially those who initiated the revolution, that the 25th of January should be officially designated as a NATIONAL HOLIDAY.

We have posted this request on our blog hoping that we are joined by many.
Hani Fakhouri and Aleya Rouchdy

Apr 11, 2011

Ethiopia Water Strategy Threatens Egypt’s Survival

In previous posts I have shed light on the Nile River, which is the source of Egyptian life and without it, the country could not survive. 85% of the Nile River that reaches Egypt tends to come from the Blue Nile, which starts in Ethiopia and flows through Sudan and Egypt. During the past ten years, there have been continuous discussions

between Egypt the Nile River Basin countries, which consist of nine states, from where the White Nile starts to where it joins the Blue Nile. Ethiopia and the Nile basin countries have been pushing to change the 1929 and 1959 agreements with Egypt, which provides Egypt with 56 billion cu.met. of water per year.

Six of the ten countries have signed new agreements to cancel all previous international agreements regarding water sharing with Egypt. However, Egypt and Sudan have already rejected the proposed new argument. Furthermore, new problems began to emerge as a result of Ethiopia’s new strategy to build more dams on the Blue Nile that will have an impact on Egypt’s share of water.

During the past two decades, Ethiopia has been building dams to generate power and to expand its agricultural productivity.

However, these dams were being built in violation of international law, which states that international waterways, which are shared with other states, should not change their flows if it might affect others.

Nevertheless, Ethiopia began the construction of the following dams during the past two decades without consultations with Sudan or Egypt.

1) The Takizi Dam, with a capacity of 9 billion cu.met of water.

2) The Border Dam near the Sudanese border, with a storage capacity of 15 billion cu.met. of water.

3) The Karasroubi Dam, the Bieku Abu Dam and the Mindaia Dam. The three dams have the total storage capacity of 141 billion cu.met. of water.

All of these constructed dams generate electric power and have the capacity to irrigate at least one million hectare of agricultural lands. (www.ahram.org, 4/4/2011).

These dams were constructed without consultation of both Sudan and Egypt and it is in violation of international law. It is fait accompli type of an Ethiopian government policy, which threatens other countries environmentally, economically and also threatens the human rights of people who depend on the water from these international waterways.

It looks like the Ethiopian government was not satisfied with what they have already accomplished as far as dam construction goes. The Ethiopian prime minister has just announced the beginning of the construction of a huge dam on the Blue Nile River, 40 km from the Sudanese border. It is refereed to as the “Great Alfiah Dam”. The dam will cost around 4.9 billion dollars, which will generate 15,000 mega watts of electric power during the next ten years.

The proposed dam will have a storage capacity of 62 billion cu.met. of water out of the 71 billion cu.met that flows into Egypt.

Experts estimate that the dam will also impact the water level at Lake Nasser, which will decrease from 120 billion cu.met into 75 billion cu.met. by the time it is completed. This also will lower the generated electrical power by 20%.

The negative impact will further increase the underground water salt content, which will impact agricultural productivity in Egypt. (almasry-alyoum.com, 4/2/2011).

The list of dam construction seems to be expanding further. It has been announced that the Ethiopian government is planning to build the third Gibi dam at an estimated cost of 1.4 billion Euros, which will produce 1,800 mega watts of electrical power. Already, more than 400 international agencies “survival international” are objecting to the construction of the dam. Its construction will harm more than 200,000 Ethiopians who depend on fishing for their survival, in addition to agricultural cultivation. (www.aljazeera.net, 4/2/2011).

The impact of the Ethiopian government dams construction on Egypt is very serious and threatening to its survival in the long run. It has been stated by Egyptian experts that the loss of every 5 billion cu.met of water from the Blue Nile will remove one million Feddan (acres) from Egypt’s cultivated lands. This will lead to the deprivation of 5 million Egyptians from their annual income. Furthermore, the total amount of water that dams built by Ethiopia when completed will be equal to 165 billion cu.met. (www.ahram.org, 4/4/2011).

For that reason, the Egyptian prime minister and his water minister, in addition to a group of high-ranking experts, have recently visited Sudan to discuss among other things water security and the proposed joint agricultural projects.

Also they have been in contact with the Ethiopian government to be part of the discussion regarding g the proposed construction of dams.

Discussions are being conducted vis-à-vis international financing banks and states such as China, who is playing a major role in these projects, in addition to Europe and the U.S.

An attempt is being made by Egypt to stop the Ethiopian government water strategy. If this strategy is implemented it will put Egypt under the mercy of Ethiopia.

Protest in Iraq

During the past few weeks, the Iraqi people have been protesting against their recently elected government. Last Friday (4/8/11), the protests took place not just in Baghdad but in other cities throughout Iraq. The protestors referred to it as the “Departure Friday”. The people were calling for the departure of American troops from Iraq. This call was influenced by the visit of American Secretary of Defense, Mr. Gates, who is pushing the Iraqi government to extend American troops’ stay in Iraq after December 2011. This date was set by President Obama in 2008 after his election.

The U.S. government is using the rationale that the Iraqi government is not yet capable of maintaining its stability and will not be in a position to protect its airspace. Furthermore, the Iraqi military still needs the U.S. forces to train them on the armament that they have purchased from the U.S. Such American rationale has been rejected by the Iraqi people. The Iraqi people have said loudly that the U.S. invasion of their country and its occupation during the past eight years has ruined the country, politically, economically and environmentally. There will be no extension for American troops to stay in Iraq and no military basis will be permitted.

Such calls came from various groups who call themselves “The Established Conference of the Iraqi People Opposing American Occupation of Iraq”. This group consists of a broad base of people, such as religious and tribal leaders, in addition to the young people of Iraq. Even Mr. Assader, a Shiaa leader, threatened to reactivate his Shia (al-Mahdi) army to declare their struggle against the American occupying forces.

It is a very puzzling situation to see that the American government is attempting to stay in Iraq beyond December 2011, when at the same time, politicians in Washington are fighting a battle in Congress to cut the budget in order to deal with the huge deficit. I have not heard a single politician from either side saying that the U.S. should pull troops from Iraq and Afghanistan to save American taxpayers money. The American Defense budget, which exceeds $740 billion, is the holy cow of the American politicians. It is a tragedy when the U.S. government borrows billions of dollars from foreign nations such as China and others to fight foreign wars. I call such acts the most dangerous policies, which mortgage the life of future American generations. This reflects the decadence of the American military and colonialist policy.

The Iraqi people will do the American public a big service by demanding the total withdrawal of all American military forces from Iraq by the end of 2011.

Furthermore, the Iraqi protestors are even demanding the resignation of the Maliki government and the dissolution of the recently elected parliament. Corruption is deep-rooted at all government levels and millions of young people are unemployed. As I have pointed out in previous posts, the infrastructure is in very bad shape. There are shortages of electrical power and clean water for drinking, continuous increases in the cost of living and number of people who are living below the poverty index level is increasing.

The protestors are also demanding the release of all political prisoners. The people of Iraq will continue their protests until the government responds to their demands.

Apr 8, 2011

The Syrian Uprising

The impact of the Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions changed the political map of the rest of the Arab world. In some states, like Yemen and Libya, the uprisings have been very violent and lengthy. However, in Bahrain and Syria, the people have been uprising less violently than in the other two states. In Jordan, Morocco and Algeria, the uprisings have been milder by comparison to others.

Syria is one of the most secular states in the Arab world, with a population of 22.5 million people. Also, it is the most diversified Arab state in terms of religion and ethnic composition. Muslim Sunnis tend to be the majority in Syria. However, around one third of the population consists of Christian Arabs, Alawites (a Muslim Shiaa sect) and Druze (who are also an offshoot of Shiaa). Also, the ethnic composition consists of Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians and Druze. In addition there are over million Iraqi refugees in Syria and many are members of the Baath political party.

The government has operated under the political umbrella of the Baath party since 1963. The Baath party is ideologically oriented, which calls for Arab unity and a socialistic economy and freedom for all. Nevertheless, freedom of expression, politically and otherwise, does not exist in Syria.

Syria is run by an authoritarian regime with strict control of both the political and economic institutions. The political suppression led to the uprising that Syria has experienced during the past few weeks. It was reported that more than 60 people have been killed and many were arrested. This led President Bashar al-Assad to publicly announced political reforms to oppose the protests and ease the pressure created by the people’s uprising. He dissolved his cabinet and asked his previous agricultural minister Adel Sofar to form a new cabinet. He released some political prisoners. He further promised to end the emergency law that had been in effect since 1963. He insinuated that the reforms would permit political parties to be formed and operate freely. Presently, no political parties are permitted in Syria. In 1982, the government of Hafez al-Asad crushed the Muslim Brotherhood party’s revolt, which led to the deaths of more than 20,000 people. He also raised the salaries of government employees and lowered the prices of food.

The promises of political reforms made by Bashar al-Asad, if implemented, will satisfy the rioters and ease the pressure on the government. President Bashar is well liked by many people in Syria, which was reflected in the large masses of people who led an opposite uprising in his support. Nevertheless, high ranking Alawites, army officers as well as some relatives, who are well known as highly corrupt individuals, surrounds the president. I wonder if he can muster the power and determination to end their corruption and minimize their influence and power. This is to be seen.

The uprising that took place in Syria has also been manipulated abroad, especially in the U.S. The neo-cons have not learned a lesson from the blunder they orchestrated for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. That blunder led to the killing of more than 4500 American soldiers, in addition to more than a million Iraqi civilians. All such sacrifice was made for the benefit of Israel.

The neo-cons, the majority of whom are hardcore Jewish Zionists, are pressuring President Obama to interfere in support of the uprising and opposition to the Syrian regime. They are aware of Syrian opposition to Israeli policy and its support of Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon. This time their efforts will hopefully lead nowhere and their misguided policy for the benefit of Israeli will not materialize.

The regime in Syria will survive, because it has grassroots support especially among the majority of ethnic and religious minorities.

Apr 7, 2011

The Role of The Egyptian Military Forces

The Egyptian military establishment has played a very positive role in the success of the 25th of January Revolution, as was reflected in the following: first, the military refused to turn their arms against the Egyptian protesters. Second, they protected the protestors and this influenced the peaceful outcome of the revolution. Third, they assumed the role of authority after the collapse of Hosni Mubarak’s regime. In addition, they were also a major source of power, pressuring him to surrender his authority. Fourth, Supreme Council of the Armed Forces( SCAF) arraigned for a transitional government to run the country’s affairs until elections take place in September 2011.

Nevertheless, there are some puzzling questions being asked by the Egyptian public about the vague or hidden strategy of SCAF. The Egyptian people’s revolution from day one demanded the removal of Hosni Mubarak and his entire corrupt regime, including all high officials connected or related to them.

The SCAF responded by dissolving the parliament and Majlis il-Shura, but they kept the Egyptian National Democratic party that was headed by the previous president in tact. Even the headquarters of the party which was the property of the government was burned by the protestors.

The party that used to nominate more than 90% of members of parliaments in addition to all members of the cabinet, turned out to be the most corrupt segment of the Egyptian government still functioning. Why has this party not been dissolved?

The only two parties that have the organized political structure to run for a quick election are the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian National Democratic party. The ruling party of the previous regime should have been dissolved. If the election proceeds according to the timetable set, both parties will be the major winners in the upcoming election. Furthermore, a negative point is that the governorates council, which was elected during the previous regime and was part of it, is still in power and has not been dissolved.

It seems that those who have started the revolution have been marginalized. They were not given enough time to organize and develop their own political party structure in order to participate effectively in the upcoming election. Six months is not enough time to prepare. At least SCAF should have extended the period to one year so the young people would be ready for such a political task.

The age limits that the SCAF has set were unfair and it excluded potential qualified young people from running for political office. For example, the minimum age for president should have been 35 years old instead of 40. Also, the age for members of parliament should have been 25 years old instead of 30. The more critical qualification to run for any of these public offices is college education. In the previous governments, some people were nominated who were hardly able to read and write.

The SCAF so far did not expedite the trial of Mubarak and his family for all sorts of acts of corruption. Since he was the head of the previous regime, he should have been investigated first. However, the investigations of previous members of government took priority, which led some of the public to raise some questions as to why Mubarak and his family are still free. He was the main symbol of the previous regime and his trial should have taken priority over others. For that reason and others, the protestors during their gatherings in Tahrir Square (April 1, 2011) held a prompt trial for Mubarak and condemned him to death. The appointed prosecutor of the people issued a statement saying that he will announce his verdict on April 8th at the protest site in Tahrir Square.

The Supreme Council of the Military Forces should expedite Mubarak and his family’s trial and dissolve the National Democratic Party in order to avoid further negative speculation by the Egyptian public.

Apr 5, 2011

Islamophobia on the Rise

Senator Richard Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, conducted a hearing on the American Muslim Community’s role in the U.S. regarding terrorism. He attempted to correct the false impression that Representative Peter King, a Republican from New York, created. During his investigation two weeks ago, King tried to convey to the American public that the Muslim American community has been radicalized. However, he failed to produce any evidence to substantiate his claims. Representative King’s promised future investigation of the American Muslim Community is nothing but a failed attempt to appease some of his fanatic constituents.

Senator Durbin’s investigation was to clear the false impression Representative Peter King created and to set the record straight. He stated that American Muslims have served as the largest source of tips to authorities, tracking terror suspects, according to a recent university study. He continued to say that the American Muslim community represents one percent of the population, but they are victims in 14 percent of religious discrimination cases. These range from homicides and mosque burnings to job, school and zoning law abuses, according to the Justice Department. He warned against “guilt by association”. Furthermore, Senator Durbin emphasized that the nation’s struggle against terrorism is best served by information and not dark generalizations. (NYTimes.com, 4/2/2011).

In regard to the spread of Islamophobia, I have referred to various groups that have been attacking the American Muslim community and Islam in general. References were made to Terry Jones, among others, who threatened to burn the Quran because Islam is “not a religion”. Pressure was used by high-ranking politicians, including the president, and military leaders, urging Terry Jones not to go ahead with his threats because it would endanger the lives of American soldiers and threaten American national interests, especially in Islamic countries. Jones postponed the burning last year. However, recently, without much publicity or fanfare, he burned the Quran during a stupid “trial” he set in his church to justify his act. The news of the burning of the Quran spread in Islamic countries and in Northern Afghanistan there was a protest that led to the killing of 10 foreign U.N. staff, in addition to five Afghans. The protests were predicted last year in a warning sent to Terry Jones by General Petraeus and Security of Defense Gates, in addition to President Obama.

Islamophobia is on the rise and will continue as long as hardcore and ignorant conservative fanatics use Islam as a target to release their frustrations. The freedom of expression in the American Constitution has been abused and the federal government and the American Congress have failed to put an end to it. Such irresponsible personal behavior should be stopped by putting people like the Reverend Terry Jones in a mental institution. He should be held accountable for the killing of ten members of the U.N. Furthermore, those members of the U.N. who were in Afghanistan and killed by the protestors reflects barbaric and savage acts that are worse than Terry Jones’s act that incited such uncalled for criminal action. Also, keep in mind that the protest that took place during the past few days in Afghanistan led to the deaths of 51 people, according to the latest news reports.

Apr 3, 2011

Muslim Americans Under Attack

The CNN Network presented a program on 3/27/2011 “The Unwelcome Muslims Next Door”. The one-hour program focused on the discrimination being practiced against Muslim Americans. The emphasis was placed on some public opposition to the building of mosques in some southern states. Muslim Americans have the right to practice their religious faith according to the Constitution. However, I would venture to say that the majority of Americans have never read or are knowledgeable on the content of the American Constitution.

Furthermore, prior to the 1960s, American society was known as a racist, ageist and sexist society. Since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and the passage of federal law prohibiting discrimination, quite a bit of positive changes have taken place during the past four decades. Nevertheless, we still have a long way to go to convince the unenlightened and ignorant of conservative racists that all Americans are equal in front of the law and should be treated that way. It is regrettable to say that American Muslims are the target of discrimination on many fronts, especially since the tragic attack of 9/11. Bin Laden and his al-Qaeda have given a boost to the hypocrites, the extreme right, Zionists, evangelical Christians, conservative politicians and other interest groups to capitalize on bin Laden’s attack on 9/11. Let me make myself clear: bin Laden is a criminal who is using Islam to hide his political agenda. Second, the American public is not aware that Bin Laden was the creation of the CIA. He was recruited with around 10,000 – 11,000 young Muslims from the Middle East to fight America’s war in Afghanistan during the 1970s and 1980s. The Muslim jihadists were trained, armed and financed by the CIA. They have defeated the Communists and bled them to death. As a matter of fact, President Reagan welcomed representatives of those who fought Russian troops and referred to them, in front of the White House, as the “freedom fighters”.

These men were Muslims as well. However and unfortunately, bin Laden turned out to be a demon. But he does not represent 1.5 billion Muslims around the world who represent more than one fifth of the world population.

To condemn Muslims and discriminate against them as has been the case against Muslim Americans, is unjust and in contradiction with the American Constitution.

Since 9/11, acts of discrimination against Muslims have been increasing, not just in some southern states, but also in every region in the U.S. as well as in Western Europe.

For example, the recent congressional investigation conducted by Mr. King of the Committee on Homeland Security (3/11/2011) to investigate his foolish claim that is based on ignorance that 80% of American mosques are run by radical Muslims. He failed to produce any evidence to substantiate his claim.

Mr. King’s action as I see it is to appease some of his hardcore Jewish Zionist and Christian conservative constituents in New York. It is not unusual to see that some politicians will sell their consciences and souls for a contribution to ensure their reelections.

Another example that created a lot of publicity a year ago is the opposition to the construction of an Islamic Cultural Center in New York. Some opposed the plan because it was too close to Ground Zero. This is the site of the 9/11 attacks that caused the deaths of many people of nearly all religious backgrounds, including Muslim Americans. The attack against the construction of the Islamic Cultural Center was orchestrated by racists, including some politicians from both sides of the aisle. The reaction to the construction of the center is not only a violation of the America Constitution, but a disgraceful act against the basic principle that the founding fathers set for the American people.

Islamophobia was encouraged prior and after to the attack on 9/11. For example, some organized Jewish Zionist and evangelical Christian Zionist groups have used negative tactics against Islam in general and Muslim Americans in particular. The tactics used by both groups is reflected in their negative public actions against Muslims. The anti-Defamation League, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the American Jewish Committee opposed the unconditional rights of Muslim Americans to build their cultural center and mosque in New York. This regrettable behavior is not consistent with both the American Constitution nor compatible with Jewish values. As Sydney Levy, Jewish Voice for Peace, puts it “Standing against Islamophobia, again and always.”

It was explained well by Rabbi Haim, Dov Beliok “Jewish Voice for Peace”, that “It is painful to see some Jewish groups promoting hatred and fear of Muslims because they mistakenly believe it will help Israel. It is also deeply distressing to see this disturbing trend of scapegoating Muslim Americans being echoed at the highest levels of our government.” (Jewishvoiceforpeace.org, 3/10/2011).

American Evangelic Christian Zionist groups have been conducting negative campaigns against Islam and Muslim Americans and present Islam as a source of evil. For example, among other things, is the campaign that was conducted last year by Rev. Terry Jones of an evangelical church in Florida to burn 200 copies of the Koran because Islam is not a religion. I wonder if the REVEREND has the ability to understand what he reads. There are quite a few like Jones among evangelical Christian Zionist leaders who share negative views of Islam and refer to it as a religion of the devil.

Also, some American mass media have played negative roles in promoting Islamophobia. The Fox News Network gets the lion’s share in promoting Islamophobia, especially under the direction of Glenn Beck. He stated that 10% of Muslims are terrorists. I am sure that Mr. beck is an ignorant man and does not have the ability to calculate what the 10% means in actual statistical numbers. It means that there are 150 million Muslims who are terrorists out of the total 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide. Anyway, he is a promoter of hate and biases.

Also it is unfortunate that directly and indirectly some of the lobbyists of the American military industrial complex have promoted Islamic terrorism to justify more military spending. Islam has replaced Communism that was used during the Cold War as the demon that threatened the free world. After the collapse of Communism during the later part of the 1980s, Islam was use as a replacement for the Communist demons. A classic example is President George W. Bush’s description of the Iraq invasion as a “Crusaders’ war”.

One of the major blunders on the part of those who encourage Islamophobia is that they don’t have the ability to differentiate between Islam and terrorism. Associating Islam with evil can create and inflame passions, especially among the younger Muslim generation, which pushes them to retaliate.