Radical Islam will be result of U.S. push for democracy, Mubarak told Israel’s Ben-Eliezer during a phone call on Thursday.

Mubarak slammed U.S. in phone call with Israeli MK before resignation

Radical Islam will be result of U.S. push for democracy, Mubarak told Israel’s Ben-Eliezer during a phone call on Thursday.

By Reuters

Hosni Mubarak had harsh words for the United States and what he described as its misguided quest for democracy in the Middle East in a telephone call with an Israeli lawmaker a day before he quit as Egypt’s president.

The legislator, former cabinet minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, said on TV Friday that he came away from the 20-minute conversation on Thursday with the feeling the 82-year-old leader realized “it was the end of the Mubarak era”.

“He had very tough things to say about the United States,” said Ben-Eliezer, a member of the Labor Party who has held talks with Mubarak on numerous occasions while serving in various Israeli coalition governments.

“He gave me a lesson in democracy and said: ‘We see the democracy the United States spearheaded in Iran and with Hamas, in Gaza, and that’s the fate of the Middle East,'” Ben-Eliezer said.

“‘They may be talking about democracy but they don’t know what they’re talking about and the result will be extremism and radical Islam,'” he quoted Mubarak as saying.

U.S. support for pro-democracy elements in Iran has not led to regime change in the Islamic Republic, and Hamas, a group Washington considers to be a terrorist organization, won a 2006 Palestinian election promoted by the United States.

Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 after a coalition government it formed with Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas collapsed in a power struggle.

Ben-Eliezer said Mubarak expanded in the telephone call on “what he expects will happen in the Middle East after his fall”.

“He contended the snowball (of civil unrest) won’t stop in Egypt and it wouldn’t skip any Arab country in the Middle East and in the Gulf.

“He said ‘I won’t be surprised if in the future you see more extremism and radical Islam and more disturbances — dramatic changes and upheavals,” Ben-Eliezer added.

Egypt in 1979 became the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel and has backed U.S.-led efforts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of an Iran-style Islamist revolution in Egypt should Mubarak’s Muslim Brotherhood rivals eventually take over.

“He repeated the sentence, ‘I have been serving my country, Egypt, for 61 years. Do they want me to run away? I won’t run away. Do they want to throw me out? I won’t leave. If need be, I will be killed here,'” Ben-Eliezer said.

Pew poll offers insights into Egyptians

Pew poll offers insights into Egyptians

K.E.
Campbell

 

The population of Egypt is approximately 80.5 million,
90% of which is Muslim (mostly Sunni). A poll released by Pew
Research Center
in December 2010 provides some interesting insights into
Egyptians. The poll of Muslims only was taken in Spring 2010.

30% have a favorable view of Hezb’allah
49% have a positive view of Hamas
20% have a positive view of al Qaeda (72% have a negative view)
19% have a positive view of Osama bin Laden
48% say Islam plays a large role in their country’s political
life
85% consider Islamic influence over political life to be a positive thing
for their country
61% see no struggle between those who want to modernize their country and
Islamic fundamentalists
54% support making gender segregation in the workplace the law in their
country
82% endorse the stoning of people who commit adultery
77% support whippings and cutting off of hands for crimes like theft and
robbery
84% support the death penalty for those who leave the Muslim
religion
59% say democracy is preferable to any other kind of government
20% support suicide bombing in defense of Islam
46% say suicide bombings are never justified
61% express concern about Islamic extremism in their
country

 

White House Super Bowl Party Menu Sticks to ‘Let’s Move’ Theme

White House Super Bowl Party Menu Sticks to ‘Let’s Move’ Theme

By Doug Powers  •  February 7, 2011 11:31 AM

**Written by Doug Powers

Michelle Obama is tightly focused on regulating restaurant nutrition and her anti-obesity campaign these days, so last night’s White House Super Bowl party stuck to the “Let’s move” theme — in a “Hey, there’s cheeseburgers and buffalo wings over there, let’s move!kind of way:

The menu, released by the White House:

*Bratwurst
*Kielbasa
*Cheeseburgers
*Deep Dish Pizza
*Buffalo Wings
*German Potato Salad
*Twice Baked Potatoes
*Snyders Potato Chips and Pretzels
*Chips and Dips
*Salad
*Ice Cream

An article in the Chicago Sun Times explains why the menu is in no way hypocritical:

But the White House Super Bowl menu does not conflict with her healthy eating drive because she has always allowed for lapses when it comes to food-we-love-but-is-bad-for-us, with instructions that junky eats be consumed rarely and in moderation.

That’s right — remember when FLOTUS mercifully approved Thanksgiving pie? We are granted calorie waivers on occasion.

The Obamas should be trusted to know what’s best for their kids and to define “moderation” on their own terms without outside interference and free from accusations of hypocrisy — provided the rest of us are receiving the same considerations in return and not under threat of being chased down by food cops clutching BMI calipers or with restaurants being told what to serve because we’re too stupid to order properly. But that’s not happening.

One more thing — not to nitpick, but the environmentally-conscious White House also violated a basic tenet found in “‘green’ your Super Bowl party” rules & regs by serving beers that weren’t brewed locally:

Beers paid tribute to the states of the Super Bowl teams: Wisconsin’s Hinterland Pale Ale & Amber Ale, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania’s Yuengling Lager and Light.

Paging Al Gore!

Update: As the attendees were scarfing on the best cheeseburgers ever, this PSA from Let’s Move was airing.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

Amateur Hour at the White House

Amateur Hour at the White House
Posted By Stephen Brown On February 10, 2011 @ 12:45 am In Daily Mailer, FrontPage | 51 Comments
As strikes in Egypt have spread, violence has increased and demonstrators have widened their area of protest in Cairo right up to the parliament building, the White House responded to Egypt’s continuing problems by pressuring the Egyptian government to cancel the country’s 30-year-old emergency law – in the middle of a national emergency.
Continuing the White House’s almost constant interference in Egypt’s internal affairs, Vice President Joe Biden telephoned his Egyptian counterpart, Omar Suleiman, on Tuesday and asked him to lift the emergency law, one of the most important tools the Egyptian government possesses to prevent the country’s slide into chaos and a subsequent Muslim Brotherhood takeover.
“The government has not taken the necessary steps that the people of Egypt need to see. That’s why more and more people come out to register their grievances,” said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs as justification for Biden’s request, although negotiations between the government and opposition have just begun.
The Biden phone call occurred after a week of foreign policy stumbling, which saw a scrambling White House, surprised by the disturbances in Tunisia and Egypt, waffle in its position regarding Egypt’s political situation. When the disturbances first broke out in the most important and populous state in the Arab world, the White House at first backed the Egyptian government, believing it could control the situation. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even called the Egyptian regime “stable.”
But on Monday last week, US envoy Frank Wiesner asked Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to resign, which Mubarak refused to do, since he rightly believed his resignation would lead to chaos. Then, on Tuesday, in another misstep; Obama personally phoned Mubarak and essentially told his Egyptian counterpart it was time to step aside. Mubarak once more declined to oblige, having just said in a speech to the nation he would step down in September. Mubarak’s refusal, however, prompted strong words the following day from Gibbs, who said: “Not September. Now means now.”
On the weekend, the White House, however, backtracked on its policy regarding Mubarak’s immediate removal. Clinton told journalists removing Mubarak too hastily would threaten the transition to democracy, while Wiesner, who had just asked Mubarak a few days earlier to step down, said at a conference in Munich: “President Mubarak’s role remains extremely critical in the days ahead.”
Shlomo Averni, a former Israeli diplomat, sums up the impression the Obama administration’s diplomatic confusion has made in a column he wrote that was excerpted in Asia Times:

Many in Israel have been shocked and dismayed by the inconsistency, bordering on amateurism, of the US response to events in Egypt. First the president, then Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, then again the president’s special envoy (Frank Wiesner) to Hosni Mubarak, have oscillated between distancing themselves from one of America’s staunchest allies and calling for him to step down, further calls for him to do it as soon as possible and then, taking a U-turn, endorsing an “orderly transition” headed by Omar Suleiman, his intelligence chief.

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The Biden phone call represents another zag in the White House’s constantly shifting policy position. It indicates the administration has returned to its position of a quick transition, which probably also involves Mubarak’s leaving, or at least his removal from the levers of power, since he is the one most closely identified with this law. But besides the additional turmoil the law’s removal would bring to the already boiling Egyptian streets by lessening the security forces’ authority, it is astonishing the White house has not taken into consideration the other negative effects its lifting would have.
If Biden’s suggestion were heeded, the most dangerous consequence would involve the hundreds of religious extremists that were locked up in Egyptian prisons under the emergency law. Its cancellation would mean they would probably have to be released, which would only add gas to the Egyptian fire, possibly even ignite a terrorism campaign.
Al Qadea recognises the great, destabilising influence these prisoners would have on Egypt’s already volatile situation and places a high value in getting them out of jail. Al Qaeda’s Iraqi affiliate has expressed this priority by calling for attacks on Egyptian prisons to release their comrades. Egyptian prisons have already been stormed and, after heavy gun battles, dozens of religious extremists escaped. Al Qadea’s Iraqi branch has also called for the Egyptian protesters to wage jihad, the first such call by the terrorist organization.
Just as dangerous, the lifting of the emergency law would see a curtailment of the powers of the intelligence agencies that were responsible for putting the religious extremists in prison in the first place. Since these intelligence agencies are the Islamists’ true enemies in Egypt, the extremists would like nothing better than to see them weakened, so they can go about their sinister work of taking over the country. If Egypt is to experience a peaceful transition to a post-Mubarak government, it is essential that these intelligence agencies remain in place with their current powers intact.
To its credit, the Egyptian government did not acquiesce to Biden’s request to cancel the emergency law. Unlike the White House, it is familiar with Egyptian society and culture and is well aware of the danger this action would involve. Such a retreat would represent weakness to the regime’s opponents and lead to many other demands, which would precipitate a descent into chaos. One does not have to look any further than Pakistan and Somalia to realise Islamists thrive in chaotic societies. Egypt would be no different. The Muslim Brotherhood is waiting in the wings to take over. And it is not the non-violent, democracy-respecting, purely religious organization leftist and liberal media outlets are portraying it to be.
Biden’s misplaced phone call not only reveals the extent the Obama administration has turned its back on Egypt’s government, but it is showing the world it does not pay to be a long-time ally of America. In the New York Times, John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is quoted as saying the Egyptian crisis has caused America’s other allies to question “what sort of longevity there is to the notion of alliances.” Since coming into office in 2009, Obama has treated Israel shabbily and betrayed America’s allies in Eastern Europe in favour of Russia over the installation of an anti-nuclear deterrent. And in an unprecedented act of betrayal, it has recently been learned, Obama told the Russians the size of the British nuclear arsenal in exchange for their signature on the START treaty.
Interestingly, besides Israel, a New York Times story reveals it is America’s other Arab allies in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, who, also fearing instability, are asking Obama to go slow during the transition period in Egypt and “not to cut loose …Hosni Mubarak, too hastily, or throw its weight behind the democracy movement in a way that could further destabilize the region.” The Times story says “few voices have been as urgent, insistent or persuasive” as these. Since stability in Egypt is essential to regional peace, one can only hope the White House will listen to these voices from the Muslim world, since it appears to be deaf to all others.