CLAUDIA ROSSET: THE CELEBRITY TRIPS TO NORTH KOREA When former New Mexican Governor Bill Richardson made yet another of his many trips to North Korea, bringing with him Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, I was skeptical than anything good would come of it. North Korea has a long record of turning to its own advantage any overtures from the Free World, official […]

U.S. Policy Makes Mess of Mali by PETER BROOKES With pro-al-Qaeda Islamist militants running amok in northwest Africa in places like Mali and Algeria, seizing territory and taking hostages, it’s far from clear that Team Obama has the foggiest idea of what to do. That’s not going to cut it. It’s not like this is a new problem. Unleashed by the conflict in […]

Organization of Islamic Cooperation on the Defensive Over Shariah in America by CLARE M. LOPEZ ****

For all who’ve been working hard to educate Americans on the facts about Islamic Law (shariah), there are some encouraging signals. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and its affiliated network, including the Muslim Brotherhood in America, would seem to be in full-on defensive mode about shariah if a recent Brotherhood conference and a couple of new reports are indicative.

At the Muslim American Society (MAS)-Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) conference in Chicago, Illinois 21-25 December 2012, a few thousand mostly Arabic speaking Muslims circled the wagons for a five-day program aimed at rousing them to defense of Islam. The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), acknowledged in the Brotherhood’s 1991 “Explanatory Memorandum” as one of its organizations, and the Muslim American Society (MAS) co-sponsored the 11th Annual MAS-ICNA Convention. The Convention speakers roster featured Tariq Ramadan, scion of the Brotherhood’s al-Banna founding family; Nihad Awad, the Executive Director of HAMAS’ U.S. branch, CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations); Siraj Wahhaj, Imam of the al-Taqwa Mosque in Brooklyn, NY and included on a list of unindicted co-conspirators from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing trial; and Mohamed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the largest Muslim Brotherhood front group in the U.S.

The Convention theme of “Renaissance” was all about getting American Muslims to experience a “double revolution in intellect and psychology,” as Ramadan put it, so they’d be energized enough to stand up to an alleged atmosphere of “Islamophobia” in the U.S. that has shariah in its sights. This theme, of course, is straight out of the OIC’s “Islamophobia Observatory” which hyperventilates about such things at Foreign Ministers meetings and in regular reports posted to its website.

A 19 January 2013 report from the Brookings Institute’s Doha Center entitled, “A Rights Agenda For The Muslim World,” presents a full-throated apologia for the OIC’s allegedly frustrated efforts to get its recalcitrant member states to integrate shariah with modern international standards on human rights. The problem seems to be that the OIC allows some of those countries with a “conservative brand of Islam” too much leeway to cling to their “emphasis on national sovereignty,” which just wrecks the OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu’s sincere efforts to implement more effective “supra-national human rights mechanisms.” Apparently, according to the report’s author, Turan Kayaoglu, Ihsanoglu wants to make human rights the centerpiece of the OIC agenda, which Turan says “shows a gradual move away from emphasizing the centrality of shariah.” Supposedly, Ihsanoglu increasingly is willing to “discuss these issues in the context of international human rights rather than exclusively within that of Islamic law and tradition.” A quick check of the OIC website shows the “Islamophobia Observatory” is still up and the Human Rights page features the UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18 (the one about restricting free speech criticism of Islam) and other items about “combating intolerance, negative stereotyping, and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons, based on religion or belief”-i.e., Islam.

CLIFFORD MAY: DISCUSSING ISLAM IS A RELIGIOUS TABOO Can we at least agree that reports of al-Qaeda’s death have been greatly exaggerated? You’ll recall that Peter Bergen, a director at the New America Foundation and the national-security analyst for CNN, began pronouncing AQ dead last summer. At the Aspen Institute, he even gave a speech titled “Time to Declare Victory: Al Qaeda […]

LISA SCHIFFREN: WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND ****  Hillary Rodham famously began her career after Yale Law School, working on Capitol Hill, as a young staff attorney on Watergate Committee. She was known to feel deep, person antipathy for President Richard Nixon, and to take great pleasure in getting members of his administration who were hauled before the committee to squirm. There […]

ROBERT SPENCER ON ALGERIA: IT WAS A LESSON ON THE MEANING OF JIHAD**** At the height of the hostage crisis in Algeria, one of the kidnappers explained: “We’ve come in the name of Islam, to teach the Americans what Islam is.” As of Sunday evening, this exercise in religious education had claimed eighty-one lives and left BP’s natural gas plant in Algeria in a state of ruin, […]


“For me, this is not just a matter of policy. It’s personal,” said a verklempt Hillary Clinton choking back the tears at Wednesday’s Benghazi hearing. “I stood next to President Obama as the Marines carried those flag-draped caskets off the plane at Andrews. I put my arms around the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters, and the wives left alone to raise their children.”

Hillary may well have been sincere, but with the Clintons you never know. A classic maudlin moment during Bill Clinton’s presidency occurred immediately after a 1996 memorial service for Commerce Secretary Ron Brown. Brown, a sworn enemy of the Clintons in his final days, died in what the U.S. Air Force called an “inexplicable” plane crash in Croatia.

As Clinton and the Reverend Tony Campolo were walking back to the White House from the service, they were discussing, as Campolo later told me, the typically joyous black funerals they had attended in the past, and the conversation turned mirthful.

As Clinton leaned back to laugh, he suddenly locked on to an ABC News camera and reflexively downshifted to a funereal gear, dropping his head in seeming sadness and wiping an imagined tear from his eye. Campolo attributed the mood switch to a shift in conversation, claiming he confronted the president with the issue of the partial birth abortion bill recently passed by Congress. As I pointed out to Campolo, however, he kept on talking and laughing. Rush Limbaugh’s commentary on this video is a hoot.

WILLIAM BIGELOW: “MODERATE” ABU MAZEN/ABBAS ACCUSES ZIONISTS OF COLLABORATING WITH NAZIS Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, speaking on a Hezbollah-linked television station, claimed that Zionists worked with Nazis before World War II, spouting: “I challenge anyone to deny the relationship between Zionism and Nazism before World War II.” If anyone needs to do penance for collaborating with Nazis it would be the Palestinians, since their […]

‘What Difference Does It Make?’
Mrs. Clinton finds herself in a familiar, if ironic, role.

Hillary Clinton is ending her tenure as secretary of state in fiery fashion. “You really get the sense that [Mrs.] Clinton barely managed to restrain herself from dropping an F-bomb there,” remarks New York magazine’s Dan Amira. He refers to an exchange between the secretary and Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin at a Foreign Relations Committee hearing this morning.

Enlarge Image
Associated Press

Mrs. Clinton at the Senate this morning.

Johnson pressed her about the administration’s conflicting explanations for the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which killed the ambassador and three other Americans. “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans,” said the secretary snappishly to the senator. “Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator.”

So it’s “our job to figure out what happened” but it doesn’t make a difference what happened? Huh? What would we do without rhetorical questions? We suppose we’d answer them, as Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin does:

The answer to her question is clear. An administration that sought, for political purposes, to give the American people the idea that al-Qaeda had been “decimated” and was effectively out of commission had a clear motive during a presidential campaign to mislead the public about Benghazi. The fact that questions are still unanswered about this crime and that Clinton and President Obama seem more interested in burying this story along with the four Americans that died is an outrage that won’t be forgotten.

Especially if she runs for president in 2016. As we watched this exchange, it occurred to us that Mrs. Clinton was back in a familiar role, and an ironic one for someone who is supposed to be a feminist icon. Once again, she was helping the most powerful man in the world dodge accountability for scandalous behavior.

Hillary Pitches a Benghazi Shutout
‘What difference, at this point, does it make?’

In five hours of Congressional testimony Wednesday, Hillary Clinton took “responsibility” for the mishandling of the terrorist attacks on U.S. diplomats in Benghazi without ever saying she was responsible for much of anything. If nothing else, it was bravura blame-avoidance.

Though hailed as a tireless Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton blamed the “failure” to ensure security at the diplomatic mission on “the assistant secretary level or below.” She said she wasn’t aware of the cables from the late Ambassador Chris Stevens about deteriorating security. Nor about her department’s refusal for security reinforcements: “It was not brought to my attention.”

Mrs. Clinton did stay at State that evening to oversee the response to the anti-American protests in Cairo and later in Benghazi and stayed in phone contact with other officials. But she phoned President Obama only “later in the evening,” she said. The attack in Libya began after 3 p.m. Washington time and the standoff there and at a nearby CIA annex lasted another seven hours. No military help came. Mr. Stevens and three other Americans were murdered.