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02 December 2012


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Clifford Kiracofe

"Azza Helal, the daughter of an Egyptian general, has become an icon of the protest movement after footage of her being badly beaten by security forces was posted on the internet.

Even as she was recovering, her fiancé was gunned down in another protest.

She says she has lost faith that the Islamists will deliver reform and justice for the country.

"[The generals] are still committing atrocities and the president doesn't punish them," she said.

"He's protecting them and they are protecting him. It is a two-way street.

"The president even honoured some of the generals who killed our people, so I don't trust him to reform or get justice.

"He and the Muslim Brotherhood just want power, that's all."

Alba Etie

Mr Kiracofe
Is there any view now that the MB, Salafist & wahabees could become unified under one transnational actor ? Could Erdogan be trolling these "troubled waters" to be in the Unifier of these various causes? Al Jezerra is reporting the President Putin is meeting with Erdogan in Ankara soon . Perhaps its an under appreciated irony that the Russians are now protecting Christians and other minorities in the Levant .


Thanks for the response. I believe this is bad news for US interests, and I think for most Egyptians too. Maybe Susan Rice and company can write some best sellers with a new ‘thesis’ once reality disproves their last one.

The Moar You Know

Is anyone in a position of power ever going to figure out that when someone in the Middle East agitates for "democracy", what they are agitating for is the right to live under an Islamic theocracy? Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Libya, Egypt and now Syria...when is the United States going to figure this out?

Hell, I had this figured out by the second time we went into Iraq, and I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer.


The kids on CNN are on right now expressing their bemusement at Mursis actions, saying "is this the way to run a democracy?"

Next segment is about the evil Assad Government bombing a village in Syria.


While I do not have a functioning crystal ball, I do know that you have to be careful about what you wish for, since you may get it.

Living in one of those "Islamic" societies may sound good in theory, until you actually have to. It is much easier to be in opposition, as Mr. Mursi and his brethren have been. Now they have to deliver and due to modern communications, the expectations are higher nowadays.

They also will need to keep the tourists coming and that will soon create some incompatibilities. I suspect that some expected features will become too expensive.

Clifford Kiracofe

My sense is that overall unity under one leader is a very long shot. But I do not doubt that the Turkish neo-Ottomans have visions of grandeur as do the Saudis with their Wahhabintern.

Russia has traditionally been concerned for the Orthodox in the region as have the French for the Roman Catholics. The British being neither tried to play the Turks against the Russians and later coached Herzl and supported Zionism as a way into the mix. I seem to recall the British encouraged the Druze to slaughter the French oriented Christians in Lebanon back in the 19th century. A new Crimean War coming?


So Syria will be the next state attempted to be brought into the ring of an Israeli buffer zone. What will Iran and Hezbollah have to say about all of that?

I was hoping he'd be smarter, but I guess Obama will go against Assad.



My sense is that what divides them all is a lot more potent than that which unites them. We should concentrate on that which divides them. pl

Clifford Kiracofe

I agree completely although I have limited expertise in this complex area.

The United States have formidable power and capabilities. Some of this is being today misused and wasted by the foreign policy establishment which through its incompetence creates ever more problems for us.

Our enemies, some of whom pretend to be our friends, should know that we can do them great harm should we choose so to do and adopt serious policies in our national interest.

Although our present misguided and counterproductive policies today reflect the influence of cosmopolitan and transnational elites, this can change.

Clifford Kiracofe

"Three of Morsi's aides have resigned over his decrees. Two members of the official National Council of Human Rights quit Monday, describing the decrees as "disastrous." They expressed "real fears" of Brotherhood hegemony in Egypt.

The draft constitution has been criticized for not protecting the rights of women and minority groups. Critics say it empowers Islamic religious clerics by giving them a say over legislation, while some articles were seen as tailored to get rid of Islamists' enemies."

The draft has a new article that seeks to define the principles of Islamic law by pointing to theological doctrines and their rules. "

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/12/03/egypt-election-commission-set-for-vote-on-draft-constitution/#ixzz2E225N8xN

Just what so-called principles of Islamic law? Just what theological doctines? Could someone provide data?

Also, interpretation? As I understand it, there are in the main 4 Sunni schools of law and one Shia school of law. Has Sharia ever been codified and universally accepted by the umma? Which Sharia? What Sharia? Do Sunnis agree on a single codified Sharia? What about all the various Shia sects? Do they agree on a single codified Sharia? If so, where is it?

Do all the MB in Egypt agree on a single codified Sharia? Do the Salafists agree with the MB on a codified Sharia? Where is it? Do the Syrian, Jordanian, and Palestinian MB agree on a single codified Sharia? What is it?

Where do we find a single codified authoritative Shariah binding on the umma? In the smoke of some shisha, perhaps?

(NB: I have nothing against shisha. I like apple, but that's just me.)



The differences among the four Sunni "schools" and the Shia conception of Sharia are the least of the difficulties in defining what the law of God means in Islam. This is so because there is infinite variety in agreement as to what Sharia may mean within those schools or indeed without them. Remember. Islam has no hierarchy. Consensus of a group (ijma') is all. pl


Personally I find the Copts rather intolerant compared to the Maronites, but I nonetheless hope we set up a route out for them-maybe Canada?

Clifford Kiracofe


Thanks. The legal dimension albeit complex is of interest as Washington, London, Paris etal claim to be supporting the war in Syria in order to create "democracy" and supporting the Islamists in Egypt to create "democracy."

If there is an infinite variety of interpretations and transitory consensus of random groups only, then western legal and constitutional norms would not seem possible in an "Islamic State" under "Shariah".

Rule of law depends on ... laws. In the western world, laws are codified as for example in the Corpus Juris Civilis of Justinian or in the US Corpus Juris Secundum. There is also precedent. As there is by definition no stable codified law of "Shariah", western concepts are not applicable.

Without hierarchy, where is authority? The whims of a random group deemed consensus?

The destruction of a secular Syria and its replacement by an "Islamic State" based on "Sharia" would foreclose any possibility of "democracy" understood in a western sense, it would seem.

Perhaps the Israelists at the State Department could write a speech for Hillary explaining how US support for Shariah-based "Islamic States" is in the US national interest. The Israelists at the Pentagon could do the same for Panetta.

The speeches could be rolled out with shisha all around. We can be edified as to Syria and Egypt and "democracy".

Alba Etie

Wonder if the 'match stick " for a new Crimean War might be the deployment of the Patriot batteries to Turkey ? And are the reports credible that Assad is making ready to use his chemical weapons ? If so does that mean NATO intervention in Syrian Civil war more likely - and could that escalate quickly with the Iranian Quds forces clashing with NATO forces ?


alba Etie

I thnk there is no likelihood that the Syrian Government will use chemical weapons. I suspect a propaganda ploy preparing the way for NATO intervention. pl



The infinite multiplicity of islamic ijma' groups never prevented strong central government in the Ottoman Empire or successor states from establishing an official version. This was usually done by funding the structure and/or appointing a government recognized authority such a a "national "mufti" who headed the establishment. This co-optation of the "clerical" system did not preclude the existence of rival semi-official sects such as the Shia community in the Eastern Province of S. Arabia. There will not be unity in Islam because the Islamic culture continent is inherently disunited. Remember . There is no hierarchy in Islam. It is a religion of laymen. pl

Clifford Kiracofe

Yes, this was the ploy used in the Iraq War. So it is reasonable to assume Washington will trot it out again for Syria.

Yellowcake, aluminum tubes, WMD...all false, of course.

In terms of sequence, war with Syria first, then with Iran...?



Pls make your comments less cryptic. they are difficult to understand. pl

Clifford Kiracofe


Thanks. Yes, inherently unstable.

Pakistan a supposedly "Islamic State" has had a number of constitutions which vary considerably. This raises the issue of the definition of an "Islamic State" and an "Islamic Constitution". There seems to be no agreement on what constitutes the proper "Islamic" Constitution either within countries or among countries or within "Dar-al-Islam" generally.

In the Egyptian case before us, the conflict between Islamist concepts of law and secular concepts is stark and should be instructive for the non-Muslim world.

I take it that there is no general agreement in the umma on precisely what is the model of Medina: of the Prophet and the the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs/Rashidun? Each individual Muslim can invent his/her own idea about this. EAch ijma group can invent their idea on this. In such circumstance, codification is inherently impossible.

There has been no news analysis of the Islamists' constitutional concept for Egypt and any differences between the MB (or even inside the MB) and the various Salafi ijma groups.

As the MB of Syria have had a longstanding plan for when they take over there, should they take over there would the "Islamist State" and "Islamist Constitution" for Syria be modeled on the Egyptian? Or? And what about the influential Salafi terrorist groups? In any event, it would seem that such an Islamic State and Constitution would not be "democratic" in the western sense.

Clifford Kiracofe

My sense is that the powers that be intend a war against Syria as the opening to a broader war involving Iran.

The pattern in the politics of the Iraq War was the WMD threat as the pretext. The choice of a pretext is always important if only to bamboozle enough of the ignornant masses for a time.

Arthur Ponsonby's "Falsehood in Wartime" anent WWI is the real classic: http://www.vlib.us/wwi/resources/archives/texts/t050824i/ponsonby.html



The WMD ploy seems to be working once again. A straw poll in the WP today indicates a 60% approval for intervention should Syria employ chemical weapons. pl


So the US should knowingly support a new government in Syria that will persecute religious minorities but make certain they can flee to Canada? How's that in the US national interest?

Clifford Kiracofe


Interesting and tracks with the Iraq War experience.

The Iraq War was agreed upon by George W and Blair in the early spring. Secret military preparations and actions went forward. Secret diplomacy was used in a number of ways. For example, India was warned well in advance and advised to stay out of it.

By late summer, the war was on behind the scenes but two problems presented themselves for Bush: Congress, and the UN. The WMD progpaganda campaign was successfully utilized to overcome the obstacles and the next thing we see is Bush appearing heavily drugged (Xanax?) on TV announcing our war. Obama doesn't need the Xanax.

As Arthur Ponsonby brilliantly wrote:

"War being established as a recognized institution to be resorted to when Governments quarrel, the people are more or less prepared. They quite willingly delude themselves in order to justify their own actions. They are anxious to find an excuse for displaying their patriotism, or they are disposed to seize the opportunity for the excitement and new life of adventure which war opens out to them. So there is a sort of national wink, everyone goes forward, and the individual, in his turn, takes up lying as a patriotic duty. In the low standard of morality which prevails in war-time, such a practice appears almost innocent. His efforts are sometimes a little crude, but he does his best to follow the example set. Agents are employed by authority and encouraged in so-called propaganda work. The type which came prominently to the front in the broadcasting of falsehood at recruiting meetings is now well known. The fate which overtook at least one of the most popular of them in this country exemplifies the depth of degradation to which public opinion sinks in a war atmosphere..."

His book is a masterpiece. We can place Blair, Cameron, Hague and the Brit Neocons into this context, Hollande being the "French poodle" this time.


"...everyone goes forward, and the individual, in his turn, takes up lying as a patriotic duty."

Great line. I was thinking of Colin Powell as I read the quote.

My favorite summation about going into Iraq was a comment by Brig Ali. In one short paragraph he said that everyone involved in getting us there knew it was a put-up job, but thought it would be a slam dunk. They in no way counted on the unbelievable incompetence of the Bush admin to screw it up so badly.

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