The Obama administration has brought an accused Libyan terrorist named Ahmed Abu Khattala to Washington for trial. His saga reveals how the government views the Islamist threat, and it's discouraging. Fortunately, a much better alternative exists.
Abu Khattala stands accused of taking part in the murder of an ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi in September 2012. After an achingly slow investigation, during which time the suspect lived in the open and defiantly gave media interviews, the American military seized him on June 15. After being transported by sea and air to Washington, D.C., Abu Khattala was jailed, provided with a defense attorney, Michelle Peterson, indicted, arraigned, and, after listening to an Arabic translation of the proceedings, pleaded not guilty to a single charge of conspiracy and requested a halal diet. He potentially faces life in prison.
This scenario presents two problems. First, Abu Khattala enjoys the full panoply of protections offered by the U.S. legal system (he actually was read his Miranda rights, meaning his right to stay silent and to consult with a lawyer), making conviction uncertain. As The New York Times explains, proving the charges against him will be "particularly challenging" because of the circumstances of the attacks, which took place in the midst of a civil war and in a country brimming with hostility to the United States, where concerns about security meant that U.S. law investigators had to wait for weeks to go to the crime scenes to collect evidence, and the prosecution depends on testimony from Libyan witnesses brought over to the United States who may well falter under cross-examination. more >>
Islamist militant group Hamas has rejected an Egyptian-brokered proposal for a cease-fire with Israel, calling it a "joke" and launched rockets into Israel, as the war over Gaza continued Tuesday.
"We did not receive this declared paper from the Egyptians ... which means it's an initiative for the media. It's not a political initiative," said Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan, calling the proposal a "joke," according to CNN.
"It's not really an initiative. It's not really an idea, what they are trying to do is to corner the Palestinians and to help the Israelis more." more >>
For Egypt's Copts, the military's removal of President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood from power was nothing short of a miracle. After two and a half years in which Islamists dominated every electoral contest they faced, there was little if any hope on the horizon. Since the 25th of January revolution, Coptic despair manifested itself in an unprecedented wave of emigration from Egypt, which intensified during the Brotherhood's year in power. Following the massive demonstrations against the Brotherhood's rule and the military coup of July 3rd 2013, Copts were in a frenzied mood celebrating their deliverance; a deliverance that would prove short lived, however.
The Copts represent the Middle East's largest Christian population, and were once one of the pillars of early Christianity, with some of its early saints framing what it meant to be Christian. However, centuries of persecution and struggles for survival have left Copts a small minority in their homeland. Modernity brought new challenges to the community, though it removed the legal second-class status in which Copts lived in the Middle Ages. In recent years Copts have come under increasing pressure due to the discriminatory policies of successive governments, as well as violent attacks by their fellow citizens.
During President Morsi's rule, previous patterns of religious discrimination were reinforced and more alarming ones emerged. At the national level, Coptic representation in decision making bodies – from the Cabinet to the upper echelons of the bureaucracy – dwindled to the point of non-existence. Islamists dominated the drafting of the constitution and its articles were a clear setback to religious freedom and equality. Prominent Islamist leaders painted Copts as responsible for Egypt's ills and disasters, creating an incubating environment for violence. On a local level, violent attacks on Copts increased and in April 2013 they even reached the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo – the residence of the Pope. In the absence of the rule of law, forced evictions were imposed by local 'reconciliation' sessions. Blasphemy charges brought against Copts accused of insulting Islam were often accompanied by violent attacks on Copts in the area. more >>
Last week, the Washington Post ran a headline typical of the Western liberal media:
"Israel hits Gaza Homes." The sub-head said: "Children and women killed." All good journalists will defend this headline as no more than describing what happened in the seemingly endless clash between Arabs and Israelis. They will argue that when Israel its homes in Gaza, it is news. When Hamas rockets rain down on Israeli cities and towns-and homes, schools, and hospitals, it is not news. It happens ever day, so it becomes like a weather report. Thousands of Hamas rockets have been fired at Israeli homes. Thousands. This coverage brings to mind the old French saying: This animal is very wicked; when you attack it, it defends itself.
The late Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick saw all this coming. Her seminal article in the pages of Commentary Magazine in 1989-now twenty-five years old-was prophetic. "How the PLO was Legitimized" showed how Yasser Arafat's PLO ((Palestine Liberation Organization) used the tools of international diplomacy to "dumb down" international law on the targeting of civilians and the deliberate use of terrorism as a tactic for pushing one's way to power. more >>
Sometimes the underdog is wrong. The ruthlessly brutal regimes of Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, and Idi Amin were all weaker than the forces that ultimately vanquished them.
But for decades the Palestinians have mastered the art of persuading everyone that because they die in greater numbers and have inferior arms, they are more deserving of sympathy and support in their conflict with Israel. Here's why they're wrong:
1) Israel's military edge safeguards its survival in the world's toughest neighborhood. But if a SWAT team is better armed than a wild gunman they must neutralize, does that mean that they're at fault when the gunman dies? more >>
The Israeli-Hamas military conflict continued to escalate over the week, with Israeli airstrikes in response to rocket attacks driving Palestinians from their homes in Gaza.
Close to 17,000 Palestinians have fled their homes in northern Gaza and reached United Nations shelters, with officials sharing that at least 172 people have been killed and more than 1,250 wounded since last week.
Israel's military has been exchanging fire with Islamic militant group Hamas, with close to 1,000 rockets being fired from Gaza by Monday morning. BBC News reported that the mass evacuation in Gaza followed Israel's warning that it is prepared to launch a ground invasion. more >>