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The volcano of Islamic terrorism

Islamic terrorism has dominated the history of Islam, as demonstrated by the murder of three of the first four Caliphs succeeding Muhammed: Umar ibn Abd al-Khattab (644 AD), Uthman Ibn Affan (656 AD) and Ali ibn Abi Talib (661 AD). Islamic terrorism has been one of the most active and dangerous volcanoes – domestically, regionally and globally – since the initial eruption of Islam in the 7th century. Historically, all Arab regimes have achieved, sustained and eventually lost power through domestic violence, subversion or terrorism.

Currently, irrespective of Israeli policies and the Palestinian issue, Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Libya have become battlegrounds of rival Islamic terror organizations. All pro-US Arab regimes such as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and the UAE face clear and present lethal terror threats. Iran and Saudi Arabia – the two leading world bankers of Islamic terrorism – confront each other militarily, economically, ideologically and religiously. Intra-Muslim fragmentation, unpredictability, instability, intolerance, subversion, terrorism and the provisional nature of Islamic regimes, their policies and agreements have been recently intensified in an unprecedented manner.

The lava of Islamic terrorism has consumed mostly Muslims in the abode of Islam, but it is aiming to sweep the abode of the “infidel,” and is currently spreading into the streets of the USA, Europe, Russia, China, India, Africa, Asia and Australia.

While most terrorists are Muslims, the majority of Muslims are not terrorists. However, most Muslim policy-makers have not represented the will of the majority, and the will of the majority has been systematically suppressed/oppressed in most Muslim societies (including Muslim communities in Western countries). These Muslim societies have never experienced democracy, exposing the majority to tectonic eruptions of violence by rogue regimes and organizations.

Contrary to conventional “wisdom”, the 1,400 year old volcanic Islamic terrorism has not been triggered by social and economic deprivation or by the absence of civil liberties. It has been triggered by the fourteen century old megalomaniacal, supremacist, intolerant, anti-democratic, repressive, non-negotiable and eternal aspiration – led by educated Islamic “elites” – to force the world of the “infidel” and the “apostate” to submit to Islam. The latter is, supposedly, the only legitimate religion, divinely ordained to rule the world.

According to the Qur’an, Islam is the only worthy/legitimate successor to the Abrahamic and Mosaic Judaism. Thus, the subordination of humanity to the legacy of Muhammed should be achieved, preferably, via nonviolent means (da’wah), deceit/doubletalk (Taqiyya’) and immigration (Hijra’’). But, in face of defiant “infidels” and “apostates,” the “believers” should resort to non-compromising, non-merciful violence (jihad), subversion, breach of international accords and terrorism.

Unlike the Western definition of terrorism (the deliberate and systematic targeting of civilians), the Qur’anic definition of terrorist (irhab) is the derivative of the verb arhaba (to terrify, scare), which is a tactic employed against the “infidel,” in order to advance the goals of Islam (Qur’an, Sura 8, verse 60). The Muslim bottom line is that “there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.”

Contrary to political-correctness – and as demonstrated by the 1,400 year old track record of Islamic violence and terrorism and the lack of intra-Muslim peaceful coexistence – Islam has never considered itself to be “a religion of peace” as defined by Western dictionaries. According to Muhammad’s legacy, the term salam – which is derived from the same root as Islam – is employed when addressing fellow Muslims, but not when addressing non-Muslims, unless constrained by temporary military, economic or political inferiority.

Furthermore, Arab/Muslim societies invoke Quranic verses and Islamic history precedents as guidelines for contemporary, daily, personal, tribal, regional and national conduct. For example, Qur’an, Sura 20, verses 47 -48 state that “Peace be on whoever follows the guidance [of Allah]… and punishment shall afflict those who deny and turn their back [on Allah].” Thus, salam is reserved only for those who submit/surrender themselves to Islam, while those who renege on their commitment to Islam are doomed. Moreover, any agreement with the “infidel” is defined as sulh, hudna’, a tenuous truce of limited duration, until the balance of power facilitates total submission of the “infidel” to Islam.

According to Hebrew University Prof. Moshe Sharon, a world renowned authority on Islam, “Islam came to being as a fighting religion…. Mohammed imposed his authority by means of his military strength… Islam was born in order to rule [humanity], as is only fitting for the religion of Allah which is one and exclusive…. The laws of Jihad form the basis of the relations between the Muslim world and the West…. The only possible relations between Muslims and non-Muslims are war or a limited ceasefire…. Jihad is the strategy and, therefore, agreements are a [tactical] interlude in the war [against the infidel]…. An agreement which contains anything beyond a limited armistice or ceasefire is null and void.”

Sacrificing reality and long-term national security on the altar of political correctness and short-term convenience, key Western policy-makers and public opinion molders have refused to recognize the central role (or any role) played by Islam – as advocated in Muslim schools, mosques, media and social media in Muslim and Western countries – in the intensifying threat of terrorism. These movers and shakers have, also, insisted that providing employment and educational opportunities is the most effective way to combat terrorism. Tariq Alhomayed, the former editor-in-chief of the leading Saudi daily, Asharq Al-Awsat, wrote on February 22, 2015: “ISIS is not looking for jobs, neither are Al Qaeda or Hezbollah…. According to President Obama, oppressing the opposition leads to extremism and terrorism. However, the oppression of the Green Revolution by the Iranian regime has not led to extremism or terrorism in Iran…. Why is the entire Middle East, except Iran, targeted by terrorism? Why are some of Al Qaeda’s leaders in Iran?”

Winston Churchill’s famous words on relations with communists apply even more so to terrorists: “Trying to maintain good relations with a communist is like wooing a crocodile. You do not know whether to tickle it under the chin or beat it over the head. When it opens its mouth, you cannot tell whether it is trying to smile or preparing to eat you up…. An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping that it will eat him last….”


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The Abraham Accords – the US, Arab interests and Israel

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan believe that the expansion of the Abraham Accords, the enhancement of Israel-Saudi defense and commercial cooperation and the conclusion of an Israel-Saudi Arabia peace accord are preconditioned upon major Israeli concessions to the Palestinian Authority.

Is such a belief consistent with Middle East reality?

Arab interests

*The signing of the Abraham Accords, and the role played by Saudi Arabia as a critical engine of the accords, were driven by the national security, economic and diplomatic interests of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and the Sudan.

*The Arab interest in peace accords with Israel was not triggered by the realization that the Jewish State was genuinely seeking peaceful-coexistence, nor by a departure from the fundamental tenets of Islam. It was motivated by the assessment that critical concerns of the respective Arab countries would be effectively-served by Israel’s advanced military (Qualitative Military Edge), technological and diplomatic capabilities in the face of mutual and lethal enemies, such as Iran’s Ayatollahs and Muslim Brotherhood terrorism.

*Saudi Arabia and the six Arab peace partners of Israel (including Egypt and Jordan) are aware that the Middle East resembles a volcano, which occasionally releases explosive lava – domestically and/or regionally – in an unpredictable manner, as evidenced by the 1,400-year-old stormy intra-Arab/Muslim relations, and recently demonstrated by the Arab Tsunami, which erupted in 2011 and still rages.

They wish to minimize the impact of rogue regimes, and therefore are apprehensive about the nature of the proposed Palestinian state, in view of the rogue Palestinian inter-Arab track record, which has transformed Palestinians into an intra-Arab role model of subversion, terrorism, treachery and ingratitude.

*They are anxious about the erosion of the US posture of deterrence, which is their most critical component of national security, and alarmed about the 43-year-old US diplomatic option toward Iran’s Ayatollahs, which has bolstered the Ayatollahs’ terroristic, drug trafficking and ballistic capabilities. They are also concerned about the US’ embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the largest Sunni terrorist entity with religious, educational, welfare and political branches. And, they are aware of the ineffectiveness of NATO (No Action Talk Only?), the European vacillation, and the vulnerability of all other Arab countries.

Israel’s role

*Saudi Arabia and the Arab partners to peace accords with Israel feel the machetes of the Ayatollahs and the Moslem Brotherhood at their throats. They consider Israel as the most reliable “life insurance agent” in the region.  They view Israel as the most effective US force-multiplier in the Middle East, and appreciate Israel’s proven posture of deterrence; flexing its military muscles against Iran’s Ayatollahs in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran itself and against Palestinian and Hezbollah terrorism. They respect Israel’s unique counter-terrorism intelligence and training capabilities, and its game-changing military and counter-terrorism battle tactics and technologies.

*The Arab view of Israel as a reliable partner on “a rainy day” has been bolstered by Israel’s willingness to defy US pressure, when it comes to Israel’s most critical national security and historic credos (e.g., Iran, Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria).  In addition, Saudi Arabia and Israel’s peace-partners aim to leverage Israel’s good-standing among most Americans – and therefore among most Senators and House Representatives – as a venue to enhance their military, commercial and diplomatic ties with the US.

*Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are preoccupied with the challenge of economic diversification, realizing that they are overly-reliant on oil and natural gas, which are exposed to price-volatility, depletion and could be replaced by emerging cleaner and more cost-effective energy.

Thus, they consider Israel’s ground-breaking technologies as a most effective vehicle to diversify their economy, create more jobs in non-energy sectors, and establish a base for alternative sources of national income, while bolstering homeland and national security.

*The Abraham Accords – as well as Israel’s peace accords with Egypt and Jordan – and the unprecedented expansion of defense and commercial cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Israel, demonstrate that critical Arab national security interests may supersede fundamental tenets of Islam, such as the 1,400-year-old rejection of any “infidel” sovereignty in “the abode of Islam.”  Moreover, critical national security interests may lead to a dramatic moderation of the (Arab) education system, which is the most authentic reflection of one’s vision and policies.

Thus, contrary to the Palestinian Authority, the United Arab Emirates has uprooted hate-education curriculum, replacing it with pro-Israel/Jewish curriculum.

Abraham Accords’ durability

*The success of the Abraham Accords was a result of avoiding the systematic mistakes committed by the US State Department. The latter has produced a litany of failed peace proposals, centered on the Palestinian issue, while the Abraham accords bypassed the Palestinian issue, avoiding a Palestinian veto, and focusing on Arab interests. Therefore, the durability of the Abraham Accords depends on the interests of the respective Arab countries, and not on the Palestinian issue, which is not a top priority for any Arab country.

*The durability of the Abraham Accords depends on the stability of the individual Arab countries and the Middle East at-large.

*The Abraham Accord have yielded initial and unprecedented signs of moderation, modernity and peaceful coexistence, which requires the US to support the respective pro-US Arab regimes, rather than pressuring them (e.g., Saudi Arabia and the UAE).

*However, one should not ignore the grave threats to the durability of the accords, posed by the volcanic nature of the unstable, highly-fragmented, unpredictable, violently intolerant, non-democratic and tenuous Middle East (as related to intra-Arab relations!).  These inherent threats would be dramatically alleviated by a resolute US support.

*A major threat to the Abraham Accord is the tenuous nature of most Arab regimes in the Middle East, which yields tenuous policies and tenuous accords. For example, in addition to the Arab Tsunami of 2010 (which is still raging on the Arab Street), non-ballot regime-change occurred (with a dramatic change of policy) in Egypt (2013, 2012, 1952), Iran (1979, 1953), Iraq (2003, 1968, 1963-twice, 1958), Libya (2011, 1969), Yemen (a civil war since the ’90s, 1990, 1962), etc.

*Regional stability, the Abraham Accords and US interests would be undermined by the proposed Palestinian state west of the Jordan River (bearing in mind the intra-Arab Palestinian track record). It would topple the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River; transforming Jordan into another platform of regional and global Islamic terrorism, similar to Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen; triggering a domino scenario, which would threaten every pro-US Arab oil-producing country in the Arabian Peninsula; yielding a robust tailwind to Iran’s Ayatollahs, Russia and China and a major headwind to the US.

*While Middle East reality defines policies and accords as variable components of national security, the topography and geography of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the Golan Heights are fixed components of Israel’s minimal security requirements in the reality of the non-Western Middle East. Israel’s fixed components of national security have secured its survival, and have dramatically enhanced its posture of deterrence. They transformed the Jewish State into a unique force and dollar multiplier for the US.

*The more durable the Abraham Accords and the more robust Israel’s posture of deterrence, the more stable the pro-US Arab regimes and the Middle East at-large; the more deterred are anti-US rogue regimes; the less potent are Middle Eastern epicenters of anti-US terrorism and drug trafficking; the more bolstered is the US global posture and the weaker is the posture of the US’ enemies and adversaries.

*Would the Arab regimes of the Abraham Accords precondition their critical ties with Israel upon Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, which they view as a rogue element? Would they sacrifice their national security and economic interests on the altar of the Palestinian issue? Would they cut off their nose to spite their face?

The fact that these Arab regimes concluded the Abraham Accords without preconditioning it upon Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, and that they limit their support of the Palestinians to talk, rather than walk, provides an answer to these three questions.

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The post-1967 turning point of US-Israel cooperation

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