For the first time, a U.S. government supports granting a government role to an extremist Islamic organization: the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
On Monday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Egypt’s new government will have to include a “whole host of important non-secular actors.” Most prominent among these is clearly the Muslim Brotherhood – which has made Islamic world domination one of its ultimate goals. It also opposes Egypt’s 30-year-old peace treaty with Israel.
Gibbs said the Muslim Brotherhood must reject violence and recognize democratic goals for the U.S. to be comfortable with it assuming a role in the new government. This caveat does not significantly alter the new American approach, which is very different than that of the previous Administration, in which George W. Bush pushed Mubarak for democratic reforms but never publicly accepted a role for Islamists.
Today, new White House chief of staff William Daley moderated the position very slightly, saying the U.S. hopes for a “strong, stable and secular Egyptian government.” Noting that the strengthening of the Muslim Brotherhood is “some people’s expectation [and] some people’s fear,” Daley acknowledged that the situation in Egypt is largely out of American control.
Obama’s new position, while not totally surprising, is worrisome to many. “The White House appears to be leaving Hosni Mubarak, an ally for three decades and lynchpin of Mideast stability, twisting slowly in the wind,” writes David Horowitz of the Freedom Center.”
And worse, it appears to be open to allowing the Muslim Brotherhood to play a key role in a ‘reformed’ Egyptian government, as long as the organization renounces violence and supports democracy. If the Obama White House really believes this is possible, it is even more hopelessly incompetent than we imagined!”
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, with 600,000 members, is not on official U.S. terrorism lists, as are Hamas and Hizbullah, but the American government has had no contact with it because of what Gibbs said were “questions over its commitment to the rule of law, democracy and nonviolence.”
It stands for the re-establishment of the Islamic Empire (Caliphate), the takeover, spiritually or otherwise, of the entire world, and jihad and martyrdom. It has front organizations in the UK, France, and the United States.
A former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, Dr. Dore Gold, writes of a fear that the Muslim Brotherhood, widely seen as having become moderate over the years, will “exploit a figure like [Mohammed] ElBaradei in order to hijack the Egyptian revolution at a later stage.”
Gold noted that ever since the Brotherhood was founded over 80 years ago, it has engaged in political terrorism, assassinating Prime Minister Mahmoud al-Nuqrashi Pasha in 1948, trying to kill President Abdul Nasser several years later, and more.
“A former Kuwaiti Minister of Education, Dr. Ahmad Al-Rab’i, argued in Al-Sharq al-Awsat on July 25, 2005 that the founders of most modern terrorist groups in the Middle East emerged from ‘the mantle’ of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Gold writes.
Even Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, says that the prospect of the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power “would be calamitous for U.S. security…
The [Brotherhood] supports Hamas and other terrorist groups, makes friendly noises to Iranian dictators and torturers, would be uncertain landlords of the critical Suez Canal, and opposes the Egyptian-Israeli agreement of 1979, widely regarded as the foundation of peace in the Mideast. Above all, the [Brotherhood] would endanger counter terrorism efforts in the region and worldwide…
The real danger is that our experts, pundits and professors will talk the Arab and American worlds into believing we can all trust the [Brotherhood]…”
By Daily Mail
At first glance it could be the latest scheme by the White House to boost the President’s flagging poll ratings. A confident Barack Obama is seen rousing a flag waving crowd as cheering supporters wave banners marked with his infectious election-time mantra – change.
But after a few seconds it becomes clear this is no desperate political gamble. It’s an ad from KFC China, which used an Obama look-alike to sell a new fried fish sandwich. In the commercial- which has since been pulled from Chinese TV screens- the ‘faux-bama’ calls for change.
‘Change, not only for your mom, but for you, your stomach, for a better taste’ the doppelgänger declares to a crowd waving American flags. The fake president appears to be on a roll, before being crushed by a giant sandwich that falls from above.
‘Mmm, change is good,’ the ‘President’ then says. The commercial ran in China just before the country’s president Hu Jintao visited the U.S. in January. According to Chinese media, the ad was created for the Hong Kong market only.
‘It was meant to be a spoof and no disrespect was intended,’ a spokesman for Yum! Brands, which operates KFC said in a statement. ‘It is no longer airing and will not be re-aired’. The current gaff by KFC isn’t the first time the company has had to apologise for its advertising.
Last year, an Australian advert that featured a white soccer fan calming down a bunch of rowdy black spectators with fried chicken caused outrage among African Americans.
KFC is one of the most popular fast food chain restaurants in China. Yum Brands – a Louisville, KY, company which owns KFC – posted higher than expected quarterly earnings yesterday. It gets a third of its revenue from China, where it operates more than 3,700 restaurants, mostly KFC outlets.
THE US war effort in Iraq would have been a “disastrous defeat” if president George W. Bush had left Donald Rumsfeld in charge of the Defence Department, John McCain says.
The former Republican presidential candidate hit back yesterday over unflattering comments made by Mr Rumsfeld in his new autobiography, Known and Unknown. Reviving a feud between the pair, Mr Rumsfeld describes Senator McCain in his book as “a man with a hair-trigger temper and a propensity to fashion and shift his positions to appeal to the media”.
Senator McCain, a fellow Republican, supported the Iraq war but argued for more US troops and resources. He said yesterday that he respected the former defence secretary but the pair had a “very, very strong difference of opinion” about the war strategy employed.
“Thank God, he was relieved of his duties and we put the surge in,” Senator McCain said on US-based ABC News. “Otherwise we would have had a disastrous defeat in Iraq.” Turning the tide of the war is credited to a military surge led by General David Petraeus, starting in 2007, a year after Mr Bush sacked Mr Rumsfeld.
Mr Rumsfeld, 78, argues in his book that he never received a request for more troops from US generals. “If anyone suggested . . . that the war plan lacked sufficient troops, they never informed me,” he writes. He is largely unapologetic about what went wrong after the Iraq war’s initial combat phase.
He accepts that “there may have been times when more troops could have helped”. He puts blame on others for mistakes, chiefly Paul Bremer, the diplomat in charge of post-war Iraq, former secretary of state Colin Powell and then national security adviser Condoleezza Rice. He blames Mr Bush for failing to settle disputes.
In his memoir published in November, Decision Points, Mr Bush wrote that he asked Mr Rumsfeld to “review the existing battle plans for Iraq” two months after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. But Mr Rumsfeld recalls Mr Bush directing him to review Iraq war plans just 15 days after the terrorist attacks.
His biggest regret, Mr Rumsfeld said, was that he did not force Mr Bush to accept his resignation after reports of abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, which be blamed on “a small group of prison guards who ran amok”.
He defends the use of harsh interrogation of prisoners that he authorised, saying the techniques were less harsh than those used by the CIA. He denies he or other Bush administration figures lied about former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein possessing weapons of mass destruction as a pretext to go to war, saying the truth was far less dramatic: “We were wrong.”
Politics, step aside. The Truth-O-Meter must address a matter of Southern pride. The honor and reputation of our local groundhog General Beauregard Lee. For three decades, the South’s most esteemed weather prognosticator has lived in the stout and lumpy shadow of Punxsutawney Phil.
Phil makes the rounds yearly on the morning talk shows. He’s made appearances with Oprah Winfrey and President Ronald Reagan. His agent even scored him a gig with Bill Murray in the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day.” On Wednesday, PolitiFact Georgia scribes rolled our eyes as the public fawned over Phil once again during Wednesday’s annual Groundhog Day celebration. Phil never saw his shadow, news accounts said. Spring will come early.
But should you really trust Phil? Beau’s website says our metro Atlanta celebrity is accurate 94 percent of the time. Phil’s record is a measly 85 percent, it said. That stat has been picked up by various news outlets. Does Beau really deserve second place to that Yankee glory hog? PolitiFact Georgia decided to settle this matter once and for all.
For the scoop on Beau’s record, we talked to Art Rilling, CEO and founder of Lilburn’s Yellow River Game Ranch, an attraction featuring people-friendly wildlife northeast of Atlanta. Beau lives there in a plantation-style manse named “Weathering Heights.” For the past 10 years, his staff has calculated the General’s accuracy by noting the number of days local temperatures hit the freezing mark during the six weeks after Feb. 2.
Beau, like Phil, predicted an early spring for 2011. Sadly, Phil’s staff has not tracked their groundhog’s predictions so diligently. Their official stance is that their marmot is “incapable of error, so his accuracy rate is 100 percent,” said Mike Johnston, vice president of the Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.
Wednesday was Punxsutawney’s 125th groundhog celebration. German settlers brought the tradition, which is based on ancient myths that say hedgehogs, which resemble groundhogs, have the power to predict the weather.
Phil’s predictions are not site-specific. If he says that spring will come early, it will, Johnston said. Somewhere. When Phil’s really wrong, Johnston added, it’s the fault of poor Groundhogeese-to-English translation. “People complain and tell us we’re just making it up as we go along,” Johnston said, “but after 125 years of doing it, we don’t need to.”
Before we go further, the staff of PolitiFact Georgia feels obliged to mention that meteorologists have officially determined that groundhogs cannot predict the weather.
Really. A tongue-in-cheek analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center concluded groundhogs show “no predictive skill.” (Why do this? To help get kids interested in the science of weather.)
Or, more bluntly, “you can’t take any stock in a groundhog predicting the weather,” said Tom Ross, a meteorologist who helped put together the NCDC’s report. It showed that between 1988 and 2010, Phil gave accurate national weather predictions 10 times out of 23 for a rate of 43 percent.
True, but that won’t stop us. Our groundhog’s honor is at stake. Since the keepers of Beau and Phil do not keep comparable statistics, we performed an independent analysis using the NCDC study and National Weather Service data for 2001 through 2010.
We defined “early spring” as a February with above-average temperatures. We then compared each groundhog’s prediction with temperatures nationally and in his respective hometown.
The NWS does not keep average February temperatures for the hamlet of Punxsutawney, Pa., so a kindly meteorologist gave us figures for Putneyville, Pa., a town at a similar elevation about 15 miles away.
We found that the General predicted whether spring will start early nationally with 60 percent accuracy. Phil’s rate was 30 percent. Beau predicted Atlanta weather with 50 percent accuracy. Phil got Punxsutawney’s right 40 percent of the time.
By our analysis, Beau’s staff overestimated his success, but he’s still 10 to 30 percentage points ahead of Phil. Georgia’s underhog is the champion, paws down. General, emerge from the shadows. Stand tall on your stubby legs. The Truth-O-Meter salutes you with a Mostly True.