Fighting Islamic Terrorism Precludes Engagement

February 11th, 2010

By Joseph Puder

Last March, soon after his inauguration, president Obama called for “Engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect with Iran .” In its attempt to differentiate itself from the previous Bush administration, the Obama administration has premised its Middle East policy and parenthetically fighting terrorism (the Obama people would never conceive of being politically incorrect by calling it Islamic terrorism) on “engagement” with Iran rather than Bush’s alleged confrontational style.

Under normal circumstances “engaging” with an adversary would be a standard feature of western diplomacy, involving elements of compromise vis a vis territory, resources, or some other material element.  If the U.S. or Israel were to deal with countries like Belgium , Sweden , Thailand or France , engagement would be welcomed.  War or resorting to violence would be inconceivable and confrontation unnecessary.

Even Cold War communist adversaries like the Soviet Union and China , though ideologically motivated, did not believe then nor believe now in the total destruction of their enemy.  Furthermore they are not ready to sacrifice their own people in order to achieve the goal of totally annihilating the U.S.   In short, neither China nor Russia is motivated by a messianic religious ideology.

Israel , the U.S. and the West are facing a different kind of ideology and for that matter an unfamiliar enemy.  The notion of a collective “suicide bomber” as we witnessed in the Iran -Iraq War, which saw the Ayatollah Khomeini handing the “keys to heaven” – paradise with 72 virgins – to Iranian teenagers, who would throw their young bodies against Iraqi tanks, or step into minefields, is still inconceivable to a westerner.

Americans experienced this phenomenon in Beirut in 1983, when Iranian trained and directed Hezbollah suicide bombers attacked the U.S. embassy and the Marine compound with a truck full of TNT and ready-to-die terrorists in order to maximize the number of Americans they could kill.  Their tactics resulted in the death of 241 Marines and the wounding of hundreds.  And, again in 1996, Iran planned and Hezbollah operatives executed the attack on the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia which killed 19 U.S. servicemen and injured scores of others.  Unfortunately, the Obama administration considers Jihadist suicide bombers a criminal justice matter rather than an religious/ideological war against the U.S. and the West.

Israel witnessed the same cruel worship of death when Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists used teenagers as expendable cannon fodder to kill a record number of Israeli teenagers in discothèques and pizza parlors.

The brainwashed teenagers whose handlers sent them to die were told that they will die as martyrs or Shaheeds – for Allah’s sake.  Cynically, the handlers did not send their own sons and daughters to martyrdom in the name of a cause that is motivated by a genocidal blood lust “to wipe out the Jews,” because Allah wills it…

Egyptian born Islamic scholar, Dr. Tawfik Hamid has pointed out that “In the case of dealing with an enemy who wants to commit a crime or declare a war, it is usually feasible to negotiate with such an enemy as his ambitions are typically focused on tangible things. Negotiations that can result in giving this enemy some satisfaction in achieving some of his worldly desires may be successful in ending the problem. Furthermore, the enemy in these circumstances will be more likely to surrender if he is going to die and will certainly hesitate to use WMD if his opponent is ready to use them against him as well.”

“The Jihadists,” on the other hand, Dr. Hamid adds, “cannot be satisfied by giving them some materialistic gains as their target is subjugating others to their ideology as Aiman Al-Zawaheri stated clearly that Al-Qaeda will stop terrorism if the US converted or surrendered to Islam. Furthermore, Jihadists are unlikely to surrender even if their decision will result in their annihilation or will cause a total destruction for their nation. Additionally, the Jihadists and ideologically motivated Islamists will not hesitate a second if they can use a WMD against their opponent as they evidently do not care for human life including the lives of their own Muslim people. Indeed, they will be happy to die in jihad for the “cause of Allah.”

It is inconceivable that America would negotiate with Al Qaeda, much less “engage” this murderous Jihadist group, so why would the Obama Administration consider “engaging” Iran , a country whose leadership possesses the same uncompromising ideology? The reigning Ayatollahs in Iran recognize their inability to destroy America outright, but they still believe in some sort of Armageddon that would usher in the appearance of the hidden 12th imam – the Shiite messiah.  One can hardly compromise with an entity – be it a state or a terrorist organization – that seeks to annihilate you because of your religion and way of life or force you to live under the constraints of Sharia law.

Israel ’s engagement with the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the subsequent signing of the Oslo Accords is another example of asymmetric negotiations.  Israel sought a solution to the Palestinians’ statelessness by agreeing to territorial compromise.  The Palestinians however are determined to replace the Jewish State with an Arab-Islamic entity.

Since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993, Israel ’s relationship with the world has not changed for the better.  It is shunned, boycotted, condemned at the UN and by EU states and, subjected to constant pressure from the U.S. to make unilateral concessions.  At the same time, neither the Palestinian nor much of the Arab world have recognized the Jewish State’s right to exist, despite Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, and its willingness to accept a Palestinian State.

President Obama’s attempted engagement with Iran has been ridiculed and rejected by the Iranian regime.  Obama and the U.S. now appear to be weak and indecisive not only in the eyes of its Arab allies but especially in the minds of the Iranian Mullahs and the Islamic terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and al Qaeda.  Engagement attempts have only served to embolden these deadly Islamist ideologues.

ITAI Weekly Middle East Report

February 8th, 2010

Dear Board Members, Members, Donors and Friends:

American naivete is reflected in the Obama administration’s hope to “engage with Iran .”  It is simply a case of trying to engage someone who is bent on killing and hopes for martyrdom.

Iran under the Ayatollahs make not appear as suicidal as Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad or Hamas, but its ultimate goal is the same, to destroy the “Great Satan” i.e. America .

As a state rather than a mere terrorist organization Iran has created an Islamic terrorist web aimed at wiping out western interests in the Middle East and beyond.  Iran has used the cover of terrorist groups such as Hezbollah to cover itself.

It is high time for the Obama administration to realize than engaging (Islamist) terrorists is an oxymoron. And, that Iran being a terrorist sponsoring state along with Syria cannot be talked out of its messianic aims.

In this ITAI WEEKLY MIDDLE EAST REPORT we are once again dealing with Iran under the title FIGTHING ISLAMIC TERRORISM PRECLUDES ENGAGEMENT..  And, we are hoping that president Obama will finally look at reality in the face.


ITAI is looking for college interns to help with computer work and some public contact.  Please send e-mail to Joseph Puder at

The Continued Failure of U.S. Iran Policy

February 3rd, 2010

Pajamas Media – by Joseph Puder



The Unites States’ failure to deal effectively with Iran began during the administration of Jimmy Carter when the United States restrained the shah from using “excessive force” against the Khomeinist revolutionaries. This resulted in the overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of the radical Islamic Republic of Iran.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor, advised the president not to deal harshly with Ayatollah Khomeini and his cohorts lest a split occur within the Islamic opposition to the Russian presence in Afghanistan. At the time, both Democrats and Republicans considered the Islamists as a weapon against Soviet Communism and its local clients.

Few among today’s Capitol Hill legislators, and even fewer in the Obama administration, recognize the fact that U.S. credibility and deterrence are being compromised by the current U.S. policy towards Iran. The Arab Gulf states and Lebanon are hedging their bets on Iran emerging as the winner, and Saudi Arabia is also slowly moving towards Tehran, frustrated by America’s demonstrated weakness toward the Iranian mullahs.

Iran was offered a deal last October that would require it to transfer 70% of its stock of low-enriched uranium (LEU) abroad (to Russia and France) in return for fuel for a medical research reactor. The United States gave the Iranians a deadline of December 31, 2009, to come to terms.

Long delayed, the Iranians responded by sending a memo to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), rejecting key parts of the draft deal to ship most of its enriched uranium abroad. Iran has thus made a mockery of the U.S. deadline to accept the October deal.

The Iranian regime has proven to the world just how easy it is to defy the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) without suffering any consequences. Tehran knows that the UN Security Council will not approve tougher sanctions against it. China has invested billions of dollars in the Iranian oil and gas industries, and hence would veto such sanctions. Russia, which is also heavily invested in Iran, would also not approve tougher sanctions. Moreover, Moscow takes pleasure in humiliating the U.S.

Iran knows all too well that once it is in possession of a nuclear weapon, it would deter any future U.S. military action and leave the mullahs free to stir up even greater troubles for Washington in Iraq and Afghanistan, for Israel in Gaza and from Lebanon, and for the Arab Gulf states.

The Obama administration created a difficult situation and it is ultimately limited to two choices: either bombing Iran or living with a nuclear Iran. It has allowed Tehran to ignore every deadline, while continuing a policy of appeasement.

Sky News reported on July 22, 2009, that U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton “has warned America might cope with a nuclear Iran by arming U.S. allies in the Gulf and extending a ‘defense umbrella’ over the region.” Typical of the Obama administration’s appeasement policies, she added that “we will still hold the door open (for talks with Iran).”

In his new book Accomplice to Evil: Iran and the War against the West, PJM’s Michael Ledeen points out those future students of international relations will be outraged by the persistence of American presidents in appeasing the hostile mullahs and their desperate attempts to reach an agreement with the the Islamic state since 1979.

The Clinton administration sought a mega-deal with Iran by lifting sanctions previously imposed and publicly apologizing to the Iranian mullahs for America’s misdeeds towards Tehran (as President Obama is currently doing). The Iranian supreme leader, remaining steadfast in his position, has rebuffed these gestures and in so doing exposed our weaknesses and their contempt.

President George W. Bush also made an effort to reach a deal with Iran in 2008. Jack Straw, Britain’s foreign secretary at the time, persuaded former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that the Iranians were ready to halt uranium enrichment in exchange for the West lifting its sanctions against Iran. The Bush administration, believing it had a deal, prepared for Rice to make a statement attesting to the agreement at the UN General Assembly in September of that year.

This brief game of self-deception came to an end with the address of Iranian President Ahmadinejad at the General Assembly. He spoke of the coming of the 12th Imam — the Shiite messiah — and the ensuing Muslim domination of the world, but there was not a word about ending the uranium enrichment.

It is not that the U.S. lacks options. The military option is certainly available. The U.S. has the forces to eliminate both the nuclear weapons and the current repressive regime. Washington could also arm and train the Iranian minorities against the regime. It has chosen neither. The Obama administration failed to support the Iranian opposition following the rigged August elections. It shudders at the thought of forcing a regime change in Iran because of political correctness, a signature value of this administration.

Iranian minorities who comprise more than half of the population are in a state of rebellion against the regime, ready to spill their blood to end the rule of the repressive regime and Ahamdinejad, a despised and unlawful president. The people are taking up arms against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, killing and getting killed in the process. The Arabs of Ahwaz attempted and nearly succeeded in assassinating Ahmadinejad  a few years ago.

And yet the Obama administration, like previous administrations, continues with policies of dishonor, sacrificing American deterrence and credibility. To the Iranians and Middle Eastern Arabs, America appears weak and unwilling to fight the Iranian mullahs. The situation is reminiscent of Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler and the Nazis.

Persecution of Christians in the Arab Middle East

October 23rd, 2009

ITAIThe Interfaith Taskforce for America and Israel (ITAI) in conjunction with St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Cherry Hill, NJ, invites to participate in its program titled The Persecution of Christians in the Arab Middle East, Tuesday, October 27, 7:30 PM.

The presenters include Dr. Monir Dawoud, a native of Egypt, and President of the American Coptic Association.  Dr. Dawoud is a practicing medical doctor who studied theology in Egypt.  He has closely monitored the condition of his Coptic Christian brethrens in Egypt.

Joseph Hakim is a native of Lebanon, and vice president of the International Christian Union, which brings together the Christian minorities from throughout the Middle East.  Mr. Hakim’s family traces its origins to the early Christian community of Antioch in today’s Turkey.

For  ticket information and directions please contact St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church at 856-424-2229 or Joseph Puder at or call 856-772-3001.

Bush, Obama Take Two Different Approaches to Muslim Democracy

August 11th, 2009
Pajamas Media – by Joseph Puder

It may be a historical curiosity that both Condoleezza Rice — President Bush’s secretary of state — and President Barack Obama chose Cairo University as the venue to send their messages to the Arab world. Egypt, the most populous Arab country and the largest Arab recipient of U.S. foreign aid, is also the country from which President/dictator Hosni Mubarak pledges his support for the U.S. and the West, causing his countrymen to hate America for its support of their dictator. Mohamed Atta, the leader of the 9/11 al-Qaeda suicide bombers, was an upper-middle-class Egyptian.

What is significant about the two speeches delivered at Cairo University is the difference in tone and substance. Secretary of State Rice spoke to the Arab world by way of the Egyptian student audience with 9/11 very much on her mind when she said:

In our world today, a growing number of men and women are securing their liberty. And as these people gain the power to choose, they create democratic governments to protect their natural rights. We should all look to a future when every government respects the will of its citizens — because the ideal of democracy is universal …

For 60 years my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in the Middle East — and we achieved neither. Now we are taking a different course. We are supporting the democratic aspirations of all people.

The George W. Bush administration surmised correctly that terrorism perpetrated in the name of Islam was due to the absence of democracy and pluralism in the Arab world. Under dictators such as Abdul Nasser in Egypt, the failure of Arab socialism and nationalism to provide liberty and prosperity for their people made Islam the only safe avenue for protest and change. The mosque became the outlet for the frustration. Dr. Ayman al-Zahawiri, the second-in-command of al-Qaeda, found it easy to recruit future terrorists among privileged students who did not see a future for themselves in Egypt.

Obama’s Cairo speech was ostensibly meant to “repair America’s relations with Islam.” However, the tone of his June 4, 2009, speech was appeasing and apologetic. Obama blamed the West and America for the failures of Arab countries, rather than the Arab dictatorial leaders:

Tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations. Moreover, the sweeping change brought by modernity and globalization led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam.

Has President Obama deliberately lost sight of the fact that India, Singapore, and other South Asian countries were also colonized by Western powers, and that they too were treated as proxies? Modernity and globalism were visited upon these countries as well, and yet they have succeeded in bringing liberty and prosperity to their people without resorting to hateful terrorism in the name of Allah.

Obama continued:

Each nation gives life to this principle [democracy] in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. … America does not presume what is best for everyone.

From Obama’s words, are we to conclude that treating women as second-class citizens and excluding most of them from political life and the workforce is a fair and acceptable tradition because “each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its people”? In his partiality towards Arabs and Muslims, President Obama ignored the fact that there are universal standards for human rights and democratic behavior which are clearly outlined in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and they are more grossly abused in the Arab-Muslim world than by any other group, region, or people on the globe.

Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Obama went on to give Syria a free pass by ignoring its subversion of democracy in Lebanon and the murder of Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri. Meanwhile, he appeased Iran’s theocratic dictatorship, saying:

I recognize it will be hard to overcome decades of mistrust, but we will proceed with courage, rectitude, and resolve. There will be many issues to discuss between our two countries, and we are willing to move forward without preconditions on the basis of mutual respect.

In contrast to Obama, Condoleezza Rice was firm regarding these two terrorist supporting nations:

The case of Syria is especially serious … because as its neighbors embrace democracy or other political reforms, Syria is harboring or directly supporting groups committed to violence … in Lebanon, in Israel, in Iraq, and in the Palestinian territories.

In Iran … people are losing patience with an oppressive regime that denies them their liberty and their rights. The appearance of elections does not mask the organized cruelty of Iran’s theocratic state. The Iranian people are capable of liberty. They desire liberty. And they deserve liberty.

Such direct language did not come from Obama — not even after the 2009 fraudulent election results in Iran brought millions of Iranian protesters to the street.

The only bold statement Obama made in Cairo, for which he received his loudest applause, was when he used Israel as bait and exhibited misplaced moral equivalency. Bush’s secretary of state did not need to resort to blasting the only democracy in the Middle East.

While it is true that mistakes were made by Bush in his campaign for democracy in the Middle East — including his insistence on allowing Hamas to compete in the 2006 Palestinian elections before building democratic institutions — the Bush campaign for democracy did, however, give Middle Eastern Arabs and others hope.

In the end, Obama’s politically correct Cairo speech that excused Arab and Palestinian behavior has done little to further democracy or give hope to millions of oppressed Arabs as well as persecuted minorities (Baluchistan, Kurds, and Christians), let alone affect change.

Wrong, Mr. President — Jewish Settlements Expedited Peace Talks

June 26th, 2009
Pajamas Media – by Joseph Puder

President Obama demands that Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) be completely frozen as a precondition to peace negotiations with the Palestinians. If Barack Obama considers the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria an obstacle to peace, let him study objectively the course of events that took place in the 1980s. He would surely learn that it was the expansion of the Jewish settlements that drove the Palestinians to the negotiating table, which ultimately led to the Oslo Accords.

In the mid-1980s, Palestinian Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat boasted: “The womb of the Palestinian woman will defeat the Zionist.” Shortly thereafter, large waves of immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia arrived in Israel (some of them moved to the settlements) and defused the discussion in Israel over the demographic “time bomb.”

More significantly, in 1988, the Palestinian National Council (PNC) summit endorsed United Nations Resolution 242 and proceeded to declare an independent Palestinian state. The actions of the PNC came at least in part as a reaction to Ariel Sharon’s significant buildup of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. The PNC called additionally for “the annulment of all expropriation and annexation measures and the removal of the settlements established by Israel in the Palestinian and Arab territories since 1967.”

A month later, at UN headquarters in Geneva, Arafat was promised a dialogue with the U.S. if he would “renounce terrorism, and recognize the State of Israel.” At a hastily arranged press conference, Arafat mumbled the words demanded by the Americans, words he was unable to bring himself to utter at the UN session the day before.

Arafat was ultimately driven to do so in recognition of Israel’s establishing facts on the ground and the realization that unless they began to negotiate — preferably with the Americans — there would be nothing left to negotiate over.

The Palestinians and their western sympathizers contend that the “Jewish settlements” are “illegal” according to the Fourth Geneva Convention, which sought to protect against future atrocities such as those committed by the Nazis.

Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention is often cited as the basis by which the settlements are deemed to be “illegal.” However, the wording, which prohibits “individual or mass forcible transfers” and contains a prohibition not to “deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population,” clearly contradicts the fact that those who settled in the land did so voluntarily. Furthermore, the land in question, which had been occupied by Egypt and Jordan since 1948, was captured by Israel in 1967 during a defensive war.

Eugene V. Rostow, former dean of Yale Law School and undersecretary of state for political affairs between 1966 and 1969, noted that “the government of Israel neither ‘deported’ Palestinians nor ‘transferred’ Israelis during or after 1967.” Jewish property owners began to return to their previous homes in Hebron in 1968, acting on their own volition without government authorization.

Rostow also pointed out that the Geneva Convention applied only to acts by one signatory “carried out on the territory of another.” The West Bank, however, did not belong to any signatory power, for Jordan had no sovereign rights or legal claims there. Its legal status was defined as “an unallocated part of the British Mandate.”

Unable to beat Israel on the battlefield, an attempt is being made to delegitimize the state by its actions regarding settlements. Interestingly, the Oslo Accords signed in 1993 by Yasser Arafat do not prohibit settlements.

The settlements have never been and never will be an obstacle to peace. If and when honest and frank negotiations resume and a territorial agreement with the Palestinians is signed, Israel may well dismantle additional settlements in Judea and Samaria. History shows, however, that dismantling settlements and making territorial concessions only makes the Palestinians more aggressive and obstinate.

Israel uprooted Jewish families from their homes in Gaza and Samaria in what became a national trauma. But abandoning the Jewish settlement and their economic assets did not bring peace or reconciliation — instead it brought more violence and more death. For the Palestinians, these unilateral Israeli concessions were a sign of weakness, causing them to launch even more terrorist attacks.

The endlessly repeated refrain about the “occupied territories” is sheer propaganda, since the territories never belonged to Palestinian Arabs. The Palestinian Authority was given control of the areas, and the only reason Israel continues to exert control is in reaction to Palestinian Arab violence.

The real obstacle to peace is the refusal of the Arab world to accept the existence of a Jewish state in their midst. Although it occupies one-thousandth of the combined size of Muslim states, Israel’s existence in the Middle East is, to most Arabs, unacceptable and should be fought to the last drop of (Israeli) blood. The Palestinian struggle is not so much for Palestinian self-determination as it is for the destruction of the Jewish, infidel state.

U.S. pressure on Israel to dismantle the settlements is therefore dangerous because it will bring more violence, more terrorism, and more Israeli deaths. By pressuring Israel on this issue the U.S. will contribute to the creation of an area that will become “Judenrein,” as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and most of the rest of the Arab world are. And this action would certainly be in contravention to the precepts of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

If Yasser Arafat and his minions were able to negotiate with Israel while the Israeli settlements expanded through natural growth, why should Obama take this “holier than thou” approach? The Obama administration’s focus on the settlements is a ploy to appease the Arabs, especially the Saudis.

A genuine Arab-Palestinian acceptance of peace with the Jewish state is what should be the prerequisite for Obama’s demands.