By Fr. George Welzbacher
September 23, 2012
If you think the fury currently raging throughout the Islamic world, with its mobs screaming "Death to America!" and "Obama! Obama! We're a billion OSAMAS!", is cause for serious concern, just wait till Iran gets the Bomb! Which is to say, pretty soon. As our implacable foe's progress towards acquisition of the Bomb accelerates, all that may be needed is another six months. Such at least is the estimate of Israel's intelligence services. Which means that, given our government's fairly manifest intent NOT to launch a strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, the lonely nation of Israel, with much less power at its disposal, will be compelled to do what it can. After Iran's leaders-the lunatic Ayatollah Khamenei and the venomous hate-spewing Ahmadinejab-have repeatedly and publicly declared that Israel's very "existence is an INSULT to humanity", "A CANCER THAT MUST BE WIPED FROM THE FACE OF THE EARTH," what choice does Israel have? Just as Hitler, even before he achieved power, disdained to conceal the principles that would drive his solution to what he referred to as "the Jewish problem", Iran's fatwas for Israel can scarcely be dismissed as idle talk.
Might not, however, an Israeli preemptive strike run the risk of provoking a more widely ranging Middle Eastern war? So indeed it might. After all, a few pistol shots from a lone gunman in Sarajevo in June of 1914 precipitated within a few weeks a general war in Europe and subsequent war across the globe. But can Israel afford to sit twiddling its thumbs until Annihilation Day? Alternatively, would the likely prospect, that of a wide-ranging Middle Eastern war, with the much more ominous prospect of other major nuclear powers' being drawn at some point into the conflict, not give pause to Iran's mullahs in their pursuit of the Bomb? Perhaps. If the mullahs were rational. But that is the point. The mullahs are not rational. As Muslims of the Shiite persuasion they believe in a mysterious personage called "the Twelfth Imam", who, having preternaturally slept for centuries hidden in a well, will one day appear to lead the last assault on the world of the unbelievers, an assault that will usher in the world-wide victory of Islam. And the Twelfth Imam's awakening will be preceded by, so it is written, a world-wide conflagration, a global catastrophe of some sort. So, to their way of thinking, an atomic world war might be just the very thing that will introduce the final triumph of Islam. Ergo! Bring it on!
All of which means that the next several months will be a time of grave and unprecedented danger for the United States and for the world. Which is, among many urgent reasons, the preponderant reason for praying as never before for wise and courageous leadership at our nation's helm.
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Here is Mark Steyn's commentary on the recent precipitous decline of America's prestige and power in Egypt and the entire Middle East.
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Happy Warrior, The Abhorrent Vacuum
The National Review, September 10, 2012
In the breast of the Western media, hopes of "Arab Spring" spring eternal. First we were told the Muslim Brotherhood would contest only a third of the seats in the Egyptian parliament, just to ensure they had some representation in the legislature among all those students, women, and Copts. Then we were told it would be half the seats, but don't worry, they had no plans to contest the presidency. Next we were told they were taking a run at the presidency, but most unlikely to win compared with all those far more appealing. time-serving hacks from transnationalist bureaucracies like the Arab League and the International Atomic Energy Agency who were itching to jump into the race. And finally, after the Brothers took the presidency and swept the parliament, we were assured that they would govern only in a finely calibrated balance of power with the secularist military.
Inevitably, within a few weeks of taking the oath of office, President Morsi FIRED the head of the supreme Council of the Armed Forces, PURGED the top brass, including the chief of staff and the heads of the air force and navy, and REVERSED such restraints on his power as they'd imposed. Equally inevitably, the view from Washington was that this was no more than "a generational change in military leadership." It is true that General Sisi is a younger man than Field Marshal Tantawi. However, the fact remains that, in his first MONTH in office, Mohamed Morsi [Egypt's new president] has accomplished what it's taken the post-Kemalist regime in Turkey its first DECADE to pull off: the END of the ARMY'S role as CONSTITUTIONAL GUARDIAN.
Indeed, he seems to have ENDED THE CONSTITUTION, such as it is. No piece of paper gives him the unilateral power to revoke Article 25 of the Constitution, but he did. No piece of paper gives him the authority to dismiss the Supreme Council's constitutional declaration on parliament, but he did. Whatever new piece of paper eventually emerges will be written by men appointed BY HIM ALONE. And why stop there? The independent newspaper al-Dustour ("The Constitution," indeed) has just had a print run seized for "harming the president through phrases and wording punishable by law." In whatever lucid moments he still enjoys in his prison cell, the unloved ex-"Pharaoh" [Mubarak] must marvel at that CNN coverage of the "Facebook Revolution": As Zvi Mazel wrote in the Jerusalem Post, "Morsi now holds dictatorial powers SURPASSING BY FAR those of erstwhile President Hosni Mubarak." [So much for "the Arab Spring!"]
Last year, an hour after Mubarak's resignation, I was interviewed on Fox News and said that this was THE DAWN OF THE POST- WESTERN Middle East. The modern Middle East was created by the British and French in the power vacuum left by the collapse of the Ottoman [i.e., The Turkish] Empire. Now another great power is waning-America-and in its own VACUUM competing successors are jostling, as London and Paris did, for regional advantage: the Muslim Brothers taking power in the secular kleptocracies; a soon-to-be-nuclear Iran, reluctant to let go of its client regime in Syria; and an ever more Islamized Turkey with neo-Ottoman ambitions in its old vilayets.
You don't have to be an uncovered woman or a Coptic Christian to recognize that from King Farouk to Mubarak to the Muslim Brothers is a pretty perverse notion of progress. After 9/11, we chose to fight a war on "terror"- to campaign against the MEANS rather than the ENDS. A decade later, men who share largely the SAME ends as al-Qaeda - the same view of society - control the second-biggest recipient of U.S. aid. [Egypt] Turkey is supposedly governed by "soft Islamists," although Mr. Erdogan can butch it up when he wants to: "The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets, and the faithful our soldiers." And, whatever nuanced differences one might detect, both Egypt and Turkey are now in the hands of conventional Islamic imperialists: As Erdogan told cheering crowds after his last election, "Believe me, Sarajevo won today as much as Istanbul, Beirut won as much as Izinir, Damascus won as much as Ankara, the West Bank and Jerusalem won as much as Diyarbakir!"
That's quite a sphere of influence he's claiming. If Iran didn't have compelling reasons to defy the West and go nuclear before the Arab Spring, it does now: The prototype Islamic Republic finds itself with rival models in Cairo and Ankara, and, in a contest for regional hegemony, imposing your nuclear umbrella on the Saudi monarchy and Gulf emirates is a relatively simple method of brand-differentiation. I doubt the RIVALRY between the Sunni Brothers, the Shia ayatollahs, and even the neo-Ottoman Turks can resolve itself PEACEFULLY, even before the nukes change the equation.
In an American election year, the Middle East is a side issue in a nation ever "broker" and, in large part, weary of global responsibilities it never sought. But, to modify Trotsky, YOU may not be interested in ISLAM, BUT ISLAM IS INTERESTED IN YOU. Would Morsi have moved so far so fast against a military bankrolled by U.S. taxpayers IF he had thought Washington would push back? Probably not. But he... correctly concluded he could do what he wanted and pay no price - as did Erdogan, a nominal NATO ally, when he all but formally broke off relations with Israel. As do the mullahs, daily.... The post-American world is being born.
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