Middle East quotes of the week—follow the links to read the whole thing.
This week, al-Halbawi became the first Brotherhood leader to visit Tehran. There, he announced that he wanted for Egypt what Iran has today: “a true Islamic state.”
“Egypt and the world of Islam as a whole need leaders like President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,” he said in a speech.
Egypt, he said, should join “a new world order with Iran and Venezuela plus Hezbollah and Hamas to chase away the Americans. . . .
“Every night when I go to bed, I pray to wake up the next day to see Israel is wiped off the map,” the Brotherhood leader said.
Amir Taheri, “Whose vision will build the new Egypt?”New York Post, March 4, 2011
Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Abdolkarim Mousavi Ardabili issued a strong and highly critical statement on Saturday. After voicing his support for the recent uprisings in the Middle East, he continued,
“Without a doubt the experience of the Iranian nation over the past 30 years can be a strong basis for lessons to be taught to the popular movements…. It is regrettable and sad, however, that what is done by some in the name of defending Islam and Islamic government is against the religion, the law, morality, and human rights, and threatens the spirit of justice, search for the truth, and freedom that must be the basis for any government that is based on Islamic teachings. . . .
Grand Ayatollah Mousavi Ardabili is clearly referring to the numerous hardliners, from Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, Kayhan Managing Editor Hossein Shariatmadari, and several commanders in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to the ultrareactionary faction of Majles deputies and some of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s coterie, who have been relentlessly attacking the leaders of the Green Movement since February 14.
Muhammad Sahimi, “Ayatollah: Deeds in Islam’s Name Are ‘Against the Religion, Against the Law,’”Tehran Bureau, March 6, 2011
“We [men] wander around, play and amuse ourselves, looking for a secret woman toward whom we have no obligations and whom we can enjoy without the knowledge of the mother of [our] children. We get rid of her the minute she starts feeling like a married woman in the full sense of the word, one who has some rights with us. Exploiting her [difficult] circumstances, her loneliness and her poverty, we approach her with the heart of a poet, the conscience of a he-goat, the brute strength of an ox, and the cunning of a fox. We toy with her, peel her before eating, or eat her up, peel and all. We call this predatory act a misyar, misfar or mityar [marriage], so that we [can] say that we slaughtered our pretty prey in accordance with Islamic law.
“One of the recent innovations in quick marriages is the ‘day marriage.’ This is a very practical arrangement, in which you can ask permission [to leave] your place of work for an hour or two, in order to carry out your blessed attack and conquer your ‘secret, pretty young girl.’ It is best to rent an apartment for her close to your place of work, the better to hold private, intense meetings with her, during which you will address [your] painful issues from every angle. When you return home, and ask the mother of your children to keep the little ones quiet because you’ve [just] come home from work and are tired to the bone, she will say to you: ‘May Allah give you strength, father of my children. By God, if only all employees labored like you, our situation would not be as it is.’”
Khalaf Al-Harbi, quoted in “Saudi Columnist Criticizes Phenomenon of Pleasure Marriages,” MEMRI, March 7, 2011
Today, while the world is celebrating International Women’s Day, honoring the women who have made the world a better place, it is essential that we remember the innocent women of Iran and what they’ve lost at the hands of a vicious regime. . . .
Thousands of innocent young girls have been brought to prison for the most specious of reasons. They’re thrown into small cells, designed for just a few, along with sometimes 30 of their fellow victims. As a CIA spy in Iran, I was a witness to this.
Every few days, guards call out names over a loudspeaker. These women know what it means to have their names called, and they hold hands, praying that this will not be the day they are dragged out of their cell and executed. Those whose names are not called for execution are lined up and lashed. Many of them faint from the lashing, never knowing what the guards do with their unconscious bodies.
If they are called, they are raped before execution so they are no longer virgins and therefore, according to hardline Islamic beliefs, can no longer go to heaven.
Reza Kahlili, “Iran’s brutality toward women should shock West into seeking regime change,” Christian Science Monitor, March 8, 2011
“I say to every Muslim, Christian, and human being in these places: Protect your unity, your nation, and your honor, and do not let yourselves be humiliated. Get rid of the control of the U.S. and Israel. This is a conspiracy aimed at destroying this region, starting with Afghanistan, and continuing with Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, and so on. Everybody must treat this matter seriously.”
Rashad Bayoumi, quoted in “Rashad Bayoumi, Deputy General Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood: There Is an American-Zionist Conspiracy to Destroy the Arab Region,” MEMRI, March 9, 2011
Less than a week into the massive Cairo street demonstrations, a prominent U.S. foreign policy expert pushed back against supporting them: “No one really knows a great deal about the protesters.”
When all at once the people of Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Bahrain, Algeria and even Iran (a Feb. 20 protest by tens of thousands was barely noticed) summoned the courage to take to the streets for greater freedom, the U.S. foreign-policy establishment seemed like stunned deer staring into the incandescent images on television and wondering, Who are these people? . . .
The we-have-no-clue-who-they-are excuse is utterly lame. Scholars at places like the American Enterprise Institute, the Carnegie Middle East Center and elsewhere have been writing in detail for years about these people, pleading with the policy establishment to recognize how volatile the “stability” status quo had become. . . .
None of this is to gainsay the interests of the world economy in the region. But America’s leaders should not let that become an excuse to forget who they are and where they came from. Soviet-era dissidents have said and written that among the things that sustained them was that their heads were filled with the ideas drawn from America’s freedoms.
Daniel Hennington, “Is U.S. Democracy Just Talk?”Wall Street Journal, March 9, 2011
With forces loyal to Moammar Kadafi continuing to pound and push rebel forces into retreat, America’s top intelligence official said the Libyan dictator was likely to prevail in the long term, a fresh indication that the current reliance on diplomacy by Western nations may not be enough to topple him. . . .
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said that if the four-decade dictator was able to defeat the rebels, “it would signal to rulers across the region that the best way to maintain power in the face of peaceful demands for justice is through swift and merciless violence.”
“Perhaps the greater concern for all of us should be what it would mean for America’s credibility and moral standing if a tyrant were allowed to massacre Arabs and Muslims in Libya, and we watched it happen,” McCain said.
Ken Kilanian and Peter Nicholas, “U.S. officials are at odds over Libya outcome,” Los Angeles Times, March 10, 2011
David Cameron this week insisted that the Iranians “would not be missed” if they carried out their threat to boycott the London Olympics.
The prime minister’s strong rebuke came in an exclusive interview with the Jewish News, just days after the country’s Olympic committee hinted that it and other Arab states could stay away over the Games’ logo, which it claims spelled out the word “Zion”.
The International Olympic Committee said it would reply to the Iranians “quietly” to dismiss racism claims, but Cameron said bluntly: “It’s completely paranoid. If the Iranians don’t want to come, don’t come, we won’t miss you. It would be a crazy reason for not coming.”
Justin Cohen, “PM exclusive: ‘If the Iranians don’t want to come, we won’t miss them,’”TotallyJewish.com, March 10, 2011
The United States will suffer the same defeat as that experienced by despotic Mideast regimes, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quoted as saying by Iran’s Fars news agency on Thursday, as the country’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared the era of worldwide “hegemonic powers” was over. . . .
“Not only corrupted and despotic rulers but the United States and other world powers with an aggressive nature will finally suffer a defeat by nations and God’s promises will come true,” Khamenei said.
“Iran Supreme Leader: U.S. will share the fate of fallen Mideast regimes,” Haaretz, March 11, 2011
Mohammed Nabil Taha, an 11-year-old Palestinian boy, died this week at the entrance to a Lebanese hospital after doctors refused to help him because his family could not afford to pay for medical treatment.
The tragic case of Taha highlights the plight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who live in impoverished refugee camps in Lebanon and who are the victims of an Apartheid system that denies them access to work, education and medical care.
Ironically, the boy’s death at the entrance to the hospital coincided with Israel Apartheid Week, a festival of hatred and incitement organized by anti-Israel activists on university campuses in the US, Canada and other countries.
It is highly unlikely that the folks behind the festival have heard about the case of Taha. Judging from past experiences, it is also highly unlikely that they would publicize the case after they heard about it.
Why should anyone care about a Palestinian boy who is denied medical treatment by an Arab hospital? This is a story that does not have an anti-Israel angle to it.
Khaled Abu Toameh, “Where Is The Outcry Against Arab Apartheid?” Hudson Institute, March 11, 2011
The District Court in Qatif has sentenced a man in his twenties to four months in prison and 120 lashes for kissing and embracing a girl in public.
The man’s actions were caught on security cameras at a shopping mall in the Eastern Province. The sentence also bars him from frequenting the mall for two years.
Khaled al-Balahadi, “Jail, lashes for public kissing,” Saudi Gazette, March 11, 2011