The most influential Sunni leader in the Middle East has just admitted what many of us who grew up as Muslims in the Middle East have always known: that Islam could not exist today without the killing of apostates. Yusuf al-Qaradawi, head of the Muslim Brotherhood and one of the most respected leaders of the Sunni world, recently said on Egyptian television, “If they [Muslims] had gotten rid of the punishment [often death] for apostasy, Islam would not exist today.” The most striking thing about his statement, however, was that it was not an apology; it was a logical, proud justification for preserving the death penalty as a punishment for apostasy. Al-Qaradawi sounded matter-of-fact, indicating no moral conflict, nor even hesitation, about this policy in Islam. On the contrary, he asserted the legitimacy of Islamic laws in relying on vigilante street justice through fear, intimidation, torture and murder against any person who might dare to leave Islam.
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“If They [Muslims] Had Gotten Rid of the Punishment for Apostasy, Islam Would Not Exist Today” :: Gatestone Institute
“Syria’s response to the recent aggression of the Zionist regime (Israel) against this country will send this regime into a coma,” Deputy Chairman of Iranian Armed Forces’ Chief of Staff Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri said on Saturday.
He added that the Islamic anti-Israeli resistance movement has set its eyes on Syria’s “retaliatory measure” against the Israeli aggression.
The American and Israeli officials have come to fully realize that the self-restraint of the Syrian nation will not be unending, Jazayeri said.
Sounds like a coordinated response to the Israeli attack may be in the planning. This might be a bluff, but one cannot know for sure. Based on past comments by key players in the Middle East, the next war will be a game changer. So if retaliation comes then it might be a coordinated missile attack on Israel and potentially include chemical weapons. Nothing is off the table.
President Barack Obama has been warned that without U.S. intervention Syria would threaten the Middle East.
The Brookings Institution asserted that Syria could turn into a failed state with the potential to threaten its neighbors. In a briefing for Obama, the institution said the president must intervene to facilitate a transfer of power should the regime of President Bashar Assad fall.
Remember, Russia has effectively threatened nuclear war if the US invades Syria. Now if nothing is done, Syria could turn into a failed state.
A former head of US Central Command, which covers the Middle East, has said that a US and Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would not be a “one-time shot”, and it will not bring the programme to an end completely.
“If the US were to put a full-fledged strike campaign in there, that would probably take several weeks, and it could put this programme back for several years,” Admiral William Fallon told the research group American Security Project.
Although he did not rule out military action against Iran, Fallon said that Israel would face a more difficult task than when it secretly bombed nuclear sites in Iraq and Syria in earlier years. Israel is less capable than the US, he pointed out. “It’s not going to be a one-time shot. It’s not going to be like ’81 or even 2007.”
So it’s pretty much over. Iran will get nuclear weapons. Current estimates are mid-2014, but an attack by Israel or the US could delay the program.
Russia has concentrated five landing ships in the eastern Mediterranean in a show of force meant to deter Western nations from intervening militarily in Syria, The Sunday Times quoted a Russian diplomat as saying.
According to the report, the ships are carrying military vehicles and hundreds of Russian marines, and are being accompanied by combat vessels.
So the proxy war continues. However, if something goes wrong then it is entirely possible that we could see the jump to a great-power war.
2013 has been defined by the IDF as a “decisive year”, but there is a reasonable chance that it will become a year of war. Even if the year ends without war on some front, it can be stated that the IDF has never entered a work year with so many question marks as it will in 2013.
The assumption at the base of the IDF’s work plan for 2013 is that the Middle East is in a period of change, one which has yet to conclude – the upheavals are continuing. Processes of historical significance which in the past would take many years are occurring within weeks and even few days. It is not only the Middle East that’s changing either: the whole international system is changing as well. The US is no longer a singular world power. Russia, China and the developing countries are challenging it. Furthermore, the things taking place here influences the reality of 2013 as well.
In the case of a Syrian civil war, Iran is likely to do its utmost to bleed Israel diplomatically, economically and militarily by drawing it into a long guerrilla war in Syria. Tehran was hoping that this would happen during the recent conflict in Gaza, but was disappointed when the war only lasted eight days.
Hasan Hanizadeh, a Tehran-based strategic-affairs analyst, recently told the Associated Press that “Iran is concerned about the power of pro-Saudi forces if Assad is brought down.” Hanizadeh believes that as a result, “Iran is trying to organize other groups in Syria as alternatives, just in case.” Part of this organization is likely to include setting up weapons caches inside Syria which can also be used against Israeli targets.
Look around the world and big risks abound. One or more countries may drop out of the eurozone. Violence may spread across the Middle East. The US Congress may yet drive the country off its fiscal cliff and into recession. An island dispute between China and its neighbours may flare up, provoking the US to intervene in the Pacific. But in my view, the single greatest risk is that one of these events or some other throws the world into another global financial crisis, a “GFC II”.
This is a possibility for three reasons. …
Report warns that civil war fighting has split along sectarian lines, pitting ruling Alawites against majority Sunnis.
The Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah has confirmed that its members are in Syria fighting on behalf of the government, United Nations human rights investigators said on Thursday.
There are also reports that Iraqi Shias are coming to fight in Syria, and Iran confirmed in September that its Revolutionary Guards are in Syria providing assistance, the independent investigators led by Brazilian expert Paulo Pinheiro said in their latest 10-page report.