Our Common Good

According to reports in the print version of Israel’s Yediot Achronot, the Obama Administration has recently warned Israel that an attack against Iran could mean an end to their existing peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan.

The officials warned that a unilateral Israeli attack “is just what the Iranians need,” and that it would cause a huge public backlash against Israel across the Muslim world, forcing the nations scrap their deals to placate protesters.

“What happened with the film against Mohammed is just a preview of what will happen in case of an Israeli strike,” one of the officials said, lamenting “today the Arab leaders do not control their peoples, the streets control the leaders.”

Israeli officials have repeatedly threatened to attack Iran, with some speculation it might happen before the US election in November. It has been suggested by some officials that a US attack might come at some point after the election, which seems to be an option Israel prefers to starting the war themselves.

theatlantic:

Fortress America: How the U.S. Designs its Embassies

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo is an unusual building.
For one thing, as you can see in the center photo above, it’s over 10 stories high — most embassies are much shorter. For another, it’s right in the middle of downtown Cairo, in a posh area called Garden City, a stone’s throw from the Nile and a short walk from Tahrir Square.
On normal days, this prominent location underscores that the U.S. is an engaged and important presence in Egyptian affairs. This past week, it made the building a quickly accessible assembly point for protesters and the site of a violent stand-off.
Issues like these are the subject of serious debate in the world of embassy design, where architects try to construct buildings that will, in good times and bad, represent American values while they withstand the force of bombs. For the people who build embassies, that’s a difficult balance, and one that has shifted many times in the last few decades between two competing schools of thought: isolation and civic engagement.

Read more. [Images: State Department/SOM]

Interesting read.

theatlantic:

Fortress America: How the U.S. Designs its Embassies

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo is an unusual building.

For one thing, as you can see in the center photo above, it’s over 10 stories high — most embassies are much shorter. For another, it’s right in the middle of downtown Cairo, in a posh area called Garden City, a stone’s throw from the Nile and a short walk from Tahrir Square.

On normal days, this prominent location underscores that the U.S. is an engaged and important presence in Egyptian affairs. This past week, it made the building a quickly accessible assembly point for protesters and the site of a violent stand-off.

Issues like these are the subject of serious debate in the world of embassy design, where architects try to construct buildings that will, in good times and bad, represent American values while they withstand the force of bombs. For the people who build embassies, that’s a difficult balance, and one that has shifted many times in the last few decades between two competing schools of thought: isolation and civic engagement.

Read more. [Images: State Department/SOM]

Interesting read.

Mitt Romney did not “gaffe” about the protest at the U.S. Embassy in Egypt or the killing of diplomats at the Benghazi Consulate. The whole concept of the “gaffe” has been Silly-Putty-ed into meaninglessness by campaign 2012, yes, but that’s not what I mean. What Mitt Romney said about the attacks, fact-challenged as it was, synced up neatly with what he’s been saying about foreign policy for years.

To understand this, you have to roll up your sleeves, clear your afternoon, and look at the cover of Romney’s book, No Apology. The candidate’s foreign policy boils down into two big, star-spangled concepts. No. 1: The job of the president is to speak up for America, all the time, through a megaphone if necessary. No. 2: Barack Obama, who does not speak like this, is the second coming of Jimmy Carter.

Morris Sadek, a Coptic Christian who lives in suburban Washington, D.C., whose anti-Islam campaigning led to the revocation of his Egyptian citizenship earlier this year, had an exclusive story for Gamel Girgis, who covers Christian emigrants for al Youm al Sabaa, the Seventh Day, a daily newspaper here. Sadek had a movie clip he wanted Girgis to see; he e-mailed him a link.

“He told me he produced a movie last year and wanted to screen it on Sept. 11th to reveal what was behind the terrorists’ actions that day, Islam,” Girgis said, recalling the first call, which came on Sept. 4. Sadek, a longtime source, “considers me the boldest journalist, the only one that would publish such stories.”

Girgis said he watched the movie and found it insulting. He didn’t want to write about it. But Sadek called Girgis back and urged him to, telling him he could not deny that the movie existed.

Two days later, Sept. 6, Girgis published a three-paragraph article, calling the movie “shocking” and warning it could fuel sectarian tensions between Egyptian Christians and Muslims. Girgis concluded that the video “is just a passing crisis that doesn’t affect the bond between Muslims and Copts.”

In hindsight, that sentiment seems wildly optimistic. Five days later, thousands of Egyptians stormed the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and burned the American flag while as many as 125 armed men overwhelmed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. Three days after that, protests in 23 countries included the sacking of the German embassy in Sudan and the burning of the American School in Tunisia.

Whether the Benghazi attack was linked to anger over the video remains uncertain – witnesses have said there was no protest preceding the attack – but the trauma of those deaths will likely scar U.S. perceptions for years, and while Saturday seemed calm across the region, the U.S. State Department made clear it fears the violence has not ended. In a statement, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the Obama administration remained concerned about developments in Sudan.

More….

It’s true: Fox News mainstreams Pamela Geller’s Islamophobic hate speech.

mediamattersforamerica:

Saturday on Fox News, guest Pamela Geller — leader of Stop Islamization of America —  said Obama is “sanctioning these murderous rages that these Muslim mobs have been going on.”

Fox hosted this far right-wing blogger on Friday too, where she claimed Obama was “submitting” the U.S. to Sharia law.

This is nothing new. Fox always takes advantage of heightened fears and emotions after international tragedies occur. It’s their excuse to push their deep-seeded Islamophobia.

“Which brings us, weirdly, to the Republican vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan’s decision,” she said, in the midst of the crisis, to speak at the Values Voters Summit, a hard-right conference that features appearances by a a right wing agitator named Frank Gaffney.

Gaffney is an anti-Islamist who trucks in elaborate conspiracy theories, and who authored a 10-part video series called, “The Muslim Brotherhood in America: The Enemy Within,” which makes all manner of wild allegations that the U.S. government has been infiltrated by Islamic extremists, including Secretary of State Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, wife of disgraced congressman Rep. Anthony Weiner.

Earlier this year, Secretary Clinton’s motorcade was attacked in Egypt after Gaffney spread a rumor through right wing websites that Clinton had rigged the Egyptian elections to favor the Muslim Brotherhood.  The charges were taken seriously by parties opposed to the Brotherhood in Egypt, resulting in the eruption of violence.

“That’s these guys,” Maddow said of the Values Voters Summit.  ”That’s the event Paul Ryan spoke at today.”

Another interesting speaker, whose name is next to Ryan’s in the Values Voters summit is Kamal Saleem, who, in his official bio, is listed as “author, comma, former terrorist.”  Saleem claims to be a former Muslim extremist who was converted to Christianity, although, Maddow points out, “the FBI is not at all interested in him.”

Saleem speaks to Christian groups and spins an elaborate conspiracy theory claiming to have been part of a covert Islamic jihad aimed at taking over the U.S. through the university system and President Obama’s administration.  Obama, he says, is “secretly praying Muslim prayers when it looks like President Obama is praying to the American flag, he is secretly praying Muslim prayers.”  He also claims that if the federal government relaxes immigration laws, “we’ll all be wearing ragheads.”

“As our embassies burned today,” said Maddow, “Paul Ryan spoke today at this event just a little while before Kamal Saleem did.”

(via Maddow: Ryan spoke at fringe conference Friday alongside ‘former terrorist’ | The Raw Story)

shihtzuman:

In an interview aired this morning with George Stephanopoulos, the host told Mitt Romney that, despite his claims to the contrary, the Obama administration never showed sympathy for attackers in Egypt and Libya. How did the candidate explain the discrepancy? He didn’t — Romney dodged the question and let the lie stand.

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Morris Sadek, an Egyptian-American anti-Muslim activist, managed in one week’s time to take an overlooked YouTube video featuring a lame attack on Islam and turn it into a flashpoint with violent extremists, with deadly consequences. As the New York Times reported last night, Sadek drew attention to the obscure video clip “in an Arabic-language blog post and an e-mail newsletter in English publicizing the latest publicity stunt of the Florida pastor Terry Jones, reviled in the Muslim world for burning copies of the Koran.” Within days the clip was making the rounds in Egypt, prompting denunciations from politicians and generating press coverage, and culminating in protests and a deadly attack in Libya.

Sadek, who has worked with Jones in the past, says he is fighting for the rights of his fellow Coptic Christians in Egypt. Unfortunately he seems much more focused on attacking Muslims than helping the Copts. Sadek pulled his Facebook profile around 1 pm today, but we were able to take a look beforehand. Here’s what we found.
 
Sadek is a supporter of ACT! for America, which believes that President Obama has embraced the Muslim Brotherhood. The group rallied its supporters last month behind Michelle Bachmann’s anti-Muslim witch hunt against Huma Abedin and others. Here’s Sadek with ACT! For America president Brigitte Gabriel at one of the group’s 2010 events.
 
Sadek is a man of many interests. He’s a member of these groups, among many others: Islam is of the Devil, Warriors of Christ, and OBAMA IS THE WORST PRESIDENT EVER! Agree?. Sadek is also a fan of the Republican Party, George Bush, Allen West (for president no less!), and number of other Islamophobic, conservative and/or Republican institutions and leaders. Ironically enough, he’s also a fan of the American embassy in Cairo, which was overrun by the protests that he sparked:
Now to be clear, Sadek has every right to carry out his work, and the violent extremists behind yesterday’s attack bear full responsibility for their actions. But we can and should hold Sadek to account for his own bigoted views and actions, which have poured gasoline on the fire and made it that much more difficult for the United States to achieve its strategic and diplomatic goals. It’s also made life worse for the very people in Egypt that Sadek claims to be fighting for.
 
This is not the first time that the actions of extremist Christian activists in America have boiled over in the Middle East. As the New York Times reported in July, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s motorcade “was pelted with shoes and tomatoes by Egyptian protesters” motivated by conspiracy theories that “originated with American conservatives” – two of whom, Jerry Boykin and Frank Gaffney, will be speaking at the upcoming Values Voter Summit.
How are conservatives responding to the violence in Egypt and Libya?

mediamattersforamerica:

In short, the right-wing media is using this as an excuse to baselessly criticize Obama’s national security policies, while protecting Mitt Romney’s politicization of the events in Libya and Egypt. All this while completely ignoring the President’s record with Bin Laden. 

theatlantic:

mlee525:

If you haven’t been following this story, here are the details of what’s happened in Libya and Egypt provided by The Atlantic. (You can also follow them on Tumblr.)

Excellent coverage of the events leading up to and the response following last night’s murder of Chris Stevens, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya and the charges around the U.S. response to September 11 protests against the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Thanks!

The violence took a domestic political turn, in part thanks to a statement released early Tuesday by the staff of the Cairo embassy, which condemned the film and the “continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.”

The Romney campaign’s statement seemed to be an attempt to capitalize on the appearance that the Obama administration — which has overseen the Arab Spring, and the rise of Islamist governments in both Egypt and Libya — was capitulating to the sensitivities of an unruly Muslim crowd, rather than backing the right of an American citizen to release a disrespectful film.

But the statement criticized by the Romney campaign came early in the day, before the attacks on the two embassies, and was put out not by the White House, but by the Cairo embassy itself.

The White House later disavowed the statement as not approved by Washington, according to a senior administration official speaking to Politico.

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt also commented on the statement from the Romney campaign. “We are shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Governor Romney would choose to launch a political attack,” LaBolt said in a statement.

In a statement released late Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the attack on the mission in Benghazi “in the strongest” terms, and added that while the U.S. “deplores” the denigration of religion depicted in the film, it would not countenance such violent responses.

"Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet," Clinton said. "The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind."

The Libyan government also released a statement condemning the attack on the American Consulate, calling it a “cowardly act.” And the Muslim Brotherhood, the ruling Islamist party in Egypt, said on its Twitter page that that it “regret the attacks on [the U.S. Embassy] by angry protesters, and we urge citizens to express their opinion peacefully.”

One has to wonder if Terry Jones will feel the smallest amount of regret over what his hate has wrought. 

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton faced unprecedented protests on Saturday as she arrived in Egypt for key talks with President Mohammed Mursi.

Youth activists, MPs and journalists condemned the meeting, with many accusing the US of wanting to control the country.

The “Leftist Youth” movement in Alexandria announced it would protest Clinton’s planned visit to the city’s iconic library on Sunday, calling on activists to gather at the library’s steps to prevent the Secretary from accessing the lobby.

The Egyptian Al Shorouk newspaper quoted Hassan Juma, coordinator of the movement in Alexandria, as saying: “We reject US intervention in Egypt’s internal affairs and them dictating orders to the free people of Egypt.”

He also warned the Mursi of the repercussions Alexandria visit, claiming it would “arouse the wrath” of Egyptians.

Juma reminded the president of the fate of the ousted president Hosni Mubarak, saying that his alliance with America turned the people against him.

MP Mohamed Abu Hamed called on his personal Twitter account for a rally on Saturday in front of the presidential palace to protest Clinton’s visit.

Jounalist Tawfiq Okasha, the owner of Alfaraen channel, called on Friday evening for activists to form a human chain from the Four Seasons hotel to the US Embassy.

The US Secretary of State is visiting Cairo for two days, where she will meet with Mursi and a number civil society activists. US Ambassador Anne Patterson described the visit as “very important.”

Dictator Mubarak, who has toppled in a popular uprising last year, was a close ally of the United States and Israel.

Opposition to previous US state visits was violently suppressed by the country’s security forces.

1. Several center-left parties in Tunisia have formed a centrist party for the next election. The Progressive Democratic Party only got 16 seats in parliament, despite being a popular party, and it is determined to improve its electoral position.

2. Omar Suleiman, the former head of Egyptian military intelligence, has thrown his hat in the ring as a candidate for the presidency. He denies that he is the candidate of the Egyptian military. But a leader of the Jama’at al-Islami said his candidacy is a slap in the face of those who died struggling against the old regime of Hosni Mubarak (Suleiman was close to the old regime).

3. Members of the radical Yemeni Ansar al-Shariah or helpers of Islamic law, attacked a base near the city of Lawdar in Abyan province, killing four soldiers and wounding some ten others.

4. Troops loyal to deposed president Ali Abduallah Saleh who had taken over the airport in Sanaa on Saturday abruptly withdrew from the facility on Sunday, allowing it to reopen. President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi had late last week removed several loyalists to the former regime from their posts in the military. He has complained that the former president still uses these commanders to exercise control over the government.

5. The plan for a Syrian ceasefire in fell apart on Sunday. The ruling Baath regime abruptly put a new precondition for withdrawing militarily from the cities in rebellion, saying that first the guerrillas would have to disarm.

Breaking News: A rocket, fired from Egypt, explodes in Israel’s town of Eilat.

SarahLee:  Not seeing anything on Google about this yet.  Source?

solieman:

 
Support 99% from Tahrir Square ……. to protesters in USA

solieman:

Support 99% from Tahrir Square ……. to protesters in USA