Netanyahu to Obama: Stop Iran—Or I Will

Ya’alon, a former army chief of staff who is slated to serve as Netanyahu’s minister for strategic threats, dismissed the possibility of a revitalized peace process, telling me that “jihadists” interpret compromise as weakness. He cited the reaction to Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza four years ago. “The mistake of disengagement from Gaza was that we thought like Westerners, that compromise would defuse a problem—but it just encouraged the problem,” he said. “The jihadists saw withdrawal as a defeat of the West … Now, what do you signal to them if you are ready to divide Jerusalem, or if you’re ready to withdraw to the 1967 lines? In this kind of conflict, your ability to stand and be determined is more important than your firepower.”

216103127_f48d3d0e14_oAmerican administration sources tell me that President Obama won’t shy from pressuring Netanyahu on the Palestinian issue during his first visit to Washington as prime minister, which is scheduled for early May. But Netanyahu suggested that he and Obama already see eye-to-eye on such crucial issues as the threat posed by Hamas. “The Obama administration has recently said that Hamas has to first recognize Israel and cease the support of terror. That’s a very good definition. It says you have to cease being Hamas.”

When I noted that many in Washington doubt his commitment to curtailing Jewish settlement on the West Bank, he said, in reference to his previous term as prime minister, from 1996 to 1999, “I can only point to what I did as prime minister in the first round. I certainly didn’t build new settlements.”

Netanyahu will manage Israel’s relationship with Washington personally—his foreign minister,Avigdor Lieberman, of the anti-Arab Israel Beiteinu party, is deeply unpopular in Washington—and I asked him if he could foresee agreeing on a “grand bargain” with Obama, in which he would move forward on talks with the Palestinians in exchange for a robust American response to Iran’s nuclear program. He said: “We intend to move on the Palestinian track independent of what happens with Iran, and I hope the U.S. moves to stop Iran from gaining nuclear weapons regardless of what happens on the Palestinian track.”

In our conversation, Netanyahu gave his fullest public explication yet of why he believes President Obama must consider Iran’s nuclear ambitions to be his preeminent overseas challenge. “Why is this a hinge of history? Several bad results would emanate from this single development. First, Iran’s militant proxies would be able to fire rockets and engage in other terror activities while enjoying a nuclear umbrella. This raises the stakes of any confrontation that they’d force on Israel. Instead of being a local event, however painful, it becomes a global one. Second, this development would embolden Islamic militants far and wide, on many continents, who would believe that this is a providential sign, that this fanaticism is on the ultimate road to triumph.

“Third, they would be able to pose a real and credible threat to the supply of oil, to the overwhelming part of the world’s oil supply. Fourth, they may threaten to use these weapons or to give them to terrorist proxies of their own, or fabricate terror proxies. Finally, you’d create a great sea change in the balance of power in our area—nearly all the Arab regimes are dead-set opposed to Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. They fervently hope, even if they don’t say it, that the U.S. will act to prevent this, that it will use its political, economic, and, if necessary, military power to prevent this from happening.”

If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, Netanyahu asserted, Washington’s Arab allies would drift into Iran’s orbit. “The only way I can explain what will happen to such regimes is to give you an example from the past of what happened to one staunch ally of the United States, and a great champion of peace, when another aggressive power loomed large. I’m referring to the late King Hussein [of Jordan] … who was an unequalled champion of peace. The same King Hussein in many ways subordinated his country to Saddam Hussein when Saddam invaded Kuwait in 1990. Saddam seemed all-powerful, unchallenged by the United States, and until the U.S. extracted Kuwait from Saddam’s gullet, King Hussein was very much in Iraq’s orbit. The minute that changed, the minute Saddam was defeated, King Hussein came back to the Western camp.”

One of Iran’s goals, Netanyahu said, is to convince the moderate Arab countries not to enter peace treaties with Israel. Finally, he said, several countries in Iran’s neighborhood might try to develop nuclear weapons of their own. “Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons could spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. The Middle East is incendiary enough, but with a nuclear arms race it will become a tinderbox,” he said.

Few in Netanyahu’s inner circle believe that Iran has any short-term plans to drop a nuclear weapon on Tel Aviv, should it find a means to deliver it. The first-stage Iranian goal, in the understanding of Netanyahu and his advisers, is to frighten Israel’s most talented citizens into leaving their country.  “The idea is to keep attacking the Israelis on a daily basis, to weaken the willingness of the Jewish people to hold on to their homeland,” Moshe Ya’alon said. “The idea is to make a place that is supposed to be a safe haven for Jews unattractive for them. They are waging a war of attrition.”

The Israeli threat to strike Iran militarily if the West fails to stop the nuclear program may, of course, be a tremendous bluff. After all, such threats may just be aimed at motivating President Obama and others to grapple urgently with the problem. But Netanyahu and his advisers seem to believe sincerely that Israel would have difficulty surviving in a Middle East dominated by a nuclear Iran. And they are men predisposed to action; many, like Netanyahu, are former commandos.

As I waited in the Knesset cafeteria to see Netanyahu, I opened a book he edited of his late brother’s letters. Yoni Netanyahu, a commando leader, was killed in 1976 during the Israeli raid on Entebbe, and his family organized his letters in a book they titled Self-Portrait of a Hero. In one letter, Yoni wrote to his teenage brother, then living in America, who had apparently been in a fight after someone directed an anti-Semitic remark at him. “I see … that you had to release the surplus energy you stored up during the summer,” Yoni wrote. “There’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s too bad you sprained a finger in the process. In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with a good fist fight; on the contrary, if you’re young and you’re not seriously hurt, it won’t do you real harm. Remember what I told you? He who delivers the first blow, wins.”

The expansion of NATO puts the world in danger

A diplomat of the United Nations stated that the expansion of NATO will put world peace in danger.

Hans Christof von Spneck, an active diplomat in the United Nations and a critic of NATO warned about the expansion of NATO in an interview.

He also said in a German University that NATO is a threat to many countries right now. This threat creates reaction and the more that this organization grows the more danger it will present.

Islam Times

Suicide bomb in a Shia center in Pakistan killed 35

A suicide bomber went into a crowded Shia center in northern Pakistan killing at least 35 and injuring 150 others.

Unidentified men entered the Shia center Imampur of Islamabad causing explosions that killed 35 Shia Muslims and injured 150 others.

This suicide bomb occurred while people were in a session of mourning (azadari).

There were over 1500 people present and the explosion occurred near the door of the center.

Moments after the explosion the police came and the injured were taken to medical facilities.

Nobody has taken responsibility of the attack but the terrorist organization Sipah Sahaba, a major branch of the Taliban, has attacked Shia centers in northern Pakistan before.

Islam Times

Insecurity in America following the financial crisis

Three policemen have been killed in Pennsylvania putting fear into American’s hearts about a security crisis. In this case a 23-year-old man named Richard Poplawski lost his job and then fired at three policemen resulting in their deaths. This event happened one day after people were killed in an immigration center in New York. In that case, a person by the name of Jiverly Wong killed 13 people before committing suicide.

The possibility of a security crisis occurring in America increases with these two events. A number of such events have occurred after the financial crisis started in the summer of last year – all stemming from unemployment and poverty. For instance, at the end of January a person in Los Angeles killed his wife and five children after losing his job and before committing suicide. A few days later in Alabama a person killed ten people for the same reason. The repetition of these events shows that the American society is on the verge of anarchy stemming from the financial crisis. Zibigniew Brzezinski, a former advisor to Jimmy Carter, warned last month that America will see security problems. Therefore, in conditions where 600 thousand people loose their jobs every month joining the lines of unemployment the numbers of people who are loosing their homes are increasing. When they become homeless the chances of them becoming violent are greater. Statistics show that the percentage of unemployment in America has reached 8.5 percent and in some states this number has surpassed ten percent. It is predicted that this number will be two figures throughout America by the end of the year. The American government implemented strategies last month in order to combat the financial crisis and create job opportunities. They have not worked so far.

Islam Times

Islamic Leadership in an Islamic Government (Waly al-Faqih)

Conditions of Leadership

By: Imam Khomeini

The conditions that a leader must have directly stem from the nature of the Islamic government. After general conditions, such as sanity, there are two foundational conditions which are:

  1. Knowledge of the law.
  2. Justice.

When differences arose after the Noble Prophet (s) as to who would take on the responsibility of the caliphate there was no difference of opinion in whether the future leader must have merits. The only difference was in regards to which person had those merits.

Since the Islamic government is a government of laws it is necessary for the leader to know what those laws are – as has been mentioned in traditions. It is not only necessary for the leader to have this knowledge but anyone who has some sort of position must have this knowledge as well. But, the leader must have the most knowledge. Our imams used this to reason for their imamate – they would say that an imam must be better than the rest of the people. The criticisms that Shia scholars give are also in this regard where they say that so and so asked the ruling from the caliph who was unable to answer him and therefore the caliph is not suitable for caliphate. They also say that the caliph performed such and such action that was in opposition to Islamic law and therefore he is not suitable for caliphate.

Knowing the law and being just are foundational pillars for Muslims. Nothing else has as much importance, for instance knowledge about the angels, knowledge about the attributes of Allah, none of these matter in the issue of imamate. If one has knowledge about all fields of science and has discovered all of the laws of nature or is an amazing musician he will not become more suitable for leading an Islamic government than one who has knowledge about the law and is just. That which is related to caliphate and that which was discussed in the age of the Prophet (s) and the imams (a) and that which is certain amongst the Muslims is that the leader or the caliph must know Islamic laws and must be just in theological and ethical matters. Intellect denotes this as well because and Islamic government is a government of law – not a free-flowing government or a government clinging to the whims of an individual. If the leader does not know the law he is not suitable for leadership because if he follows someone the strength of the government would be broken and if he does not follow someone he would not be able to implement the law. The tradition: “Jurists rule over sultans” is certain. If sultans followed Islam they would have to follow jurists – they would have to ask the jurists what the law would be in various cases and how to implement it. In this case the real leaders are the jurists and that is why they must officially take control of the government and not give it to someone who is forced to follow them because they are ignorant of the law.

Of course, it is not necessary for general workers to know all Islamic laws and become jurists. Rather, it is enough for them to know the laws that are in relation to their work; it is enough to know their duties.

This was the case in the time of the Prophet (s) and the Commander of the Faithful (a). The leader must have these two merits, but their representatives and other workers who are sent to other lands must know the laws that are in relation to their work.

A leader must be perfect in theological beliefs and ethics. He must be just. He must not be polluted by sin. A person who wants to implement divine punishments in their correct places; a person who wants to take control of the public treasury; a person who Allah gives power over his servants must not sin. “My pledge does not reach the oppressors.”

If a leader is not just he would not act just in giving Muslims their rights, obtaining taxes, spending the money obtained from taxes correctly, and implementing divine punishments. It is possible that he would place those close to him over the society and spend the public treasury to his own benefit. (Walayat al-Faqih, p.58-61)

The door of ijtehad must always be open in an Islamic government. The nature of a revolution and a government dictates that ijtehadi opinions must be freely given – even if they oppose one another. Nobody should have the right to prevent this. But, what is important is correctly understanding governance and the society in which, according to them, the Islamic system can make plans for the benefit of Muslims. It is here that the term ijtehad used in the Islamic seminary is not enough, rather if a person is the most knowledgeable in regards to the sciences taught in the Islamic seminary but is unable to recognize what is in the best interest of the society or is unable to recognize righteous people from non-righteous people he would not have a political vision and would not have the ability to make correct decisions. This person is not a mujtahid in social or government matters and cannot become the leader of the society. (Sahifah Nur, v.21, p.47, 1988, Tehran)

Dear Shaykh Ali Mishkini:

After greetings, you wanted my viewpoint in regards to the constitution. Whatever the people in charge thought was correct act in accordance to it. I will not intervene – except in the matter of leadership. We cannot leave our Islamic country without a leader. We must choose someone who will defend the honor of Islam in the political world.

At the beginning I believed and insisted that the condition of being a marja’ is not necessary. A just mujtahid who is confirmed by the Khobregan and is respected throughout the country is enough. If the people vote for the Khobregan so that they determine which just mujtahid is suitable for leadership then his acceptance is the acceptance of the people. In this case he will be chosen by the people and his governance will be established.

I said this in regards to the constitution, but our friends insisted on the condition of being a marja’ and because of that I accepted. I knew at that time that this will not be applicable in the near future. (Sahifah, v.21, p.129, 1989, Tehran)

Islam Times

A Spanish judge was barred from looking into the bombings in Gaza

A number of human rights activists wanted a judge in Madrid to look into the bombings of Gaza in the year 2002. This movement was stopped.

The Israeli air force bombed Gaza in July, 2002 with a one-ton bomb resulting in the deaths of 14 and injuries of 11.

The lawyers against the case stated that since Israel has taken on the responsibility of investigating what happened this case should be closed in Spain.

It is worth mentioning that almost all of the Israeli leaders are accused of committing crimes in this case.

Islam Times

The Political Dimensions of Islam

By: Imam Khomeini

At the same time that Islam orders man to worship and at the same time that Islam shows man how to worship, it tells man how to live and how his relationship with other humans must be. Islam even tells us how an Islamic society must deal with other societies. There is no action or movement from an individual or a society that does not have a ruling in Islam. Therefore, it is clear that the concept of an Islamic leadership and being religious encompasses all facets of the society because Islam takes the responsibility of guiding a society in all of its dimensions. (Sahifah Nur, v.4, p.167-168, 1978, Paris)

Islam is not something that only looks at one side of an issue. Islam has rulings on all sides of all issues – all of the issues relating to the world, relating to politics, relating to the society, relating to economics, and relating to everything which the people of the world do not know about. Monotheistic religions came to glance at both sides of the issue; to devise a plan which would be implemented by both sides. It is not the case that it only deals with one side while the other side is left ambiguous. Islam is especially this way – more than the other religions. [The two sides are referring to matters of this world and matters of the hereafter] (Sahifah, v.9, p.137, 1979, Langarud)

The Glorious Quran which is in the hands of the Muslims is the same as it was from the beginning of Islam to now; one letter has not been added to it or taken away from it. When this Quran invites people to ponder it does not mean that they should sit in their homes and remember Allah; to remember Him in private. The issue is a social issue, it is an invitation to politics; an invitation to governance and at the same time all of these issues are acts of worship. Worship was not separated from politics and social benefits. In Islam, everything which has been encouraged has a spiritual dimension, even working in factories, farming on farms, teaching in schools – all of these are in the benefit of Islam and have spiritual dimensions. (Sahifah, v.18, p.275, 1984, Tehran)

Islam’s ethical rulings are also political. The ruling that is in the Quran which states that Muslims are brothers to one another is an ethical ruling, a social ruling, and a political ruling. If the members of the various tribes that have become Muslim believe in Allah and the Prophet they are brothers. In the same way that brothers love each other, all groups must love each other. In addition to this being one of the huge Islamic ethical and in addition to it having huge ethical results it is also a huge social ruling that has huge social results. (Sahifah, v.13, p.23, 1980)

It can be said that, without exception, all of the divine encouragements, even in personal matters and even in issues regarding one’s relationship with Allah, have a social and political dimension to them. (Sahifah, v.18, p.274, 1984, Tehran)

If you were able to understand the meaning of religion in Islamic culture you would clearly see that there is no contradiction between religious leadership and political leadership. Rather, just as political struggles are part of one’s religious duties leading political movements is part of the responsibility of religious leaders. (Sahifah, v.4, p.167, Paris, 1978)

The slogan that religion and politics are separate is one of the propagational aspects of the occupational forces who want to keep Muslims away from deciding their own destiny. In Islamic law political and social issues are discussed before matters of worship. The Prophet’s methods in regards to internal and external political issues show that one of the great battles of the Prophet (s) was a political battle.

The martyrdom of the Commander of the Faithful (a) and Hussayn (a) as well as the imprisonment, torture, and poisoning of other imams (a) was all on the path of Shia political battles against oppressors. In one word: fighting and political activity make up an important part of religious responsibility. (Sahifah, v.4, p.33, 1977, Paris)

Islam Times

Anti-Zionist protests held in Argentina

The people of Argentina held protests against Zionism on the Palestinian ‘Land Day.’ They defended the rights of Palestinians while standing up to the Zionists.

Thousands of people in Argentina protested in front of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires while chanting anti-Zionist slogans.

One of the protestors said: “The Argentinean people are unified with the Palestinians in their struggle. We will defend their rights until their land is freed.”

33 years ago the Zionist forces killed many Palestinians who stood up trying to defend their land. This day has been named the ‘Land Day’ in Palestine and Palestinians recognize it every year.

This year other countries joined in protest.

Islam Times

Unprecedented levels of unemployment in America

According to a report by ADP, the number of people who lost their jobs in March surpassed 742 thousand.

The American company ADP announced: “The numbers of Americans who lost their jobs in March surpassed 742 thousand. This increase was astonishing and surpassed all predictions.”

The economists all predicted that the number of people who would loose their jobs would be less than the 697 thousand who lost their jobs in February – they were wrong.

Economical analyzers added that the scale of unemployment in this country is predicted to surpass ten percent by the end of the year. This is a huge hurdle that Obama has to overcome and that he will not be able to overcome.

Islam Times

Castro criticizes the absence of poor countries in the G-20

Cuba’s revolutionary leader criticized the G-20 Summit because poor countries were absent in it.

Fidel Castro stated in an article written about the G-20 Summit in London: “180 countries were not present in this summit and the destiny of billions of people are dependant on the agreement made there.”

The former president of Cuba also emphasized that large industrial countries are facing huge contradictions between each other and even internally.

Castro added: “The Summit in London has started while huge economical contradictions and ideologies are complicating the international scene.”

The revolutionary leader of Cuba also criticized the media coverage of the summit. He recently said that the people of the world have the right to know about the financial crisis of the world.

Islam Times

« Older entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.