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memri
December 26, 2018 No.
701

2018 Editor's Picks: MEMRI Daily Brief And Inquiry & Analysis Reports

The following are selections from the MEMRI Daily Brief series and the MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis series from 2018, by various MEMRI researchers and focused on a variety of topics.
 

Germany Is Far Removed From Its Dark Past, But Its Iran Policy Is Sordid

By: Yigal Carmon

If any country in the world could be expected to be extremely cautious about aligning with anyone calling for Israel's annihilation, it would be Germany, regardless of any extenuating circumstances – economic, political or otherwise.

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Transforming America's Arab Voice In An Era Of Regional Crisis

By: Alberto M. Fernandez

Does the United States have anything meaningful to say to Arabic-speaking audiences in the Middle East?  The obvious answer is, "yes, of course."  But some have told me that, in the Age of Trump, the answer would be "no."

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Islamic Scholar Maulana Ilyas Qasmi Speaking At Event Organized By Pakistani NGO: 'Defense Of The State Of Medina Lies In The Killing Of Jews'

By: Tufail Ahmad

Addressing an event organized by jihadi non-governmental organization Al-Rehmat Trust in Peshawar, the capital of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Islamic scholar Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Qasmi justified the killing of Jews to protect the religious nature of an Islamic state, declaring: "The defense of the State of Medina lies in the killing of Jews."

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Western Governments Fail To Address Cyber Jihad And Terrorist Use Of Encryption – Which Has Moved From American To European Platforms

By: Steven Stalinsky

The following is an op-ed by MEMRI Executive Director Steven Stalinsky that was originally published in The Wall Street Journal on April 12, 2018.

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Facing New U.S. Comprehensive Strategy Against It, Iranian Regime Officials Cling To JCPOA – Which Gives Iran Nuclear State Status Under UN Security Council Resolution

By: A. Savyon and U. Kafash

In the months preceding the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA nuclear deal, Iranian regime officials have stated that they were prepared for this possibility, and some even spoke about an immediate resumption of uranium enrichment and of Iran's nuclear program. However, following President Donald Trump's May 5, 2018 announcement of the U.S.'s withdrawal, Iran's reaction showed a complete reversal. Today, Iran is clinging to the JCPOA, and to Europe, which still supports it.

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A Jewish Organization Lobbies On Behalf Of Pakistan's New Antisemitic And Pro-Jihad Prime Minister

By: Yigal Carmon and Tufail Ahmad

Imran Khan, the cricketer-turned-politician who is now Pakistan's prime minister, is in a win-win situation. To his Pakistani audiences, Khan blames "the Jewish lobby," the Jews, America, and Israel for the many ills that bedevil Pakistan. This earns him the sympathy and support of Pakistani voters. At the same time, a member of that "Jewish lobby" that Khan singles out for attack is actually going to bat for him and advocating for U.S. support for Pakistan.

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'Leader Of ISIS In Turkey' Sentenced To 14 Years In Prison For Terror Offenses; His Organization Continues To Operate Dozens Of Social Media Accounts – Including On Facebook, Instagram, And WhatsApp – And To Produce Videos And A Monthly Magazine

By: A. Smith

On June 27, 2018, the court board of the second criminal court of Sakarya province in Turkey sentenced Halis Bayancuk aka Ebu Hanzala to 12 years and six months in prison for the crime of "establishing and managing an armed terror organization" and to another year, six months, and 22 days for "organization propaganda," for a total sentence of 14 years and 22 days.

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Palestinian Authority Schoolbooks For 2017-18: Increased Indoctrination To Jihad And Martyrdom

By: B. Chernitsky

In July 2017, the Palestinian Authority (PA) schoolbooks for the 2017-18 school year were published. Some of the books are new, and some remained unchanged. An examination of the middle-school books for Islamic Education, some of which have been replaced, shows a significant increase in focus on the early Islamic tenets of shahada (martyrdom), fidaa (self-sacrifice) and tadhiya (sacrifice) as part of jihad for the sake of Allah, and their modern manifestations as part of the Palestinian struggle against Israel.

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Sharp Shifts In Saudi Policy On Syria Crisis: From Recognition Of Assad Regime To Willingness To Join Military Action Against Him

By: A. Smith

In recent weeks, there have been indications of a possible shift in Saudi Arabia's policy vis-à-vis Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and recognition of his regime. These indications have prompted various predictions regarding the possibility of normalization of Saudi-Syrian relations and of the long-range ramifications of this recognition for the Syria crisis, for Syria's relations with Arab countries, and perhaps even for the balance of power in the region.

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'Démocratie Participative' – A Blatantly Antisemitic, Racist, Anti-LGBTQ French Website – Says It's Owned By U.S. Citizen, Protected By First Amendment

By: N. Szerman and R. Sosnow

The French website Démocratie participative ("Participating in Democracy," Democratieparticipative.biz) is openly and proudly antisemitic, racist, and anti-LGBTQ, and a platform for aggressive populist sentiment against anyone not white, Christian, or straight unless they share its views. Thus, on October 18, 2018, the website called Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan – who is neither white nor Christian, but is a known antisemite – "honorable," in a article featuring a tweet by Farrakhan stating "I'm not an antisemite. I'm anti-Termite."

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Growing Calls In Jordan To Enact Political Reforms, Limit King's Powers

By: Z. Harel

In recent months, King 'Abdallah II of Jordan has been facing growing criticism within the country and calls to limit his powers, from both popular elements and political circles. On October 6, 2018, the "National Follow-Up Committee," a group of 143 politicians and military veterans, issued a statement in which they harshly protested what they called the dire condition of the country, the king's disregard of demands for reform, and the abuse of the powers conferred upon the king and his court, and called to curtail these powers. Since its initial release, the statement has been signed by over 1,000 people.

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Criticism In Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon Over Hizbullah's Involvement In Yemen, Support For Houthis

By: C. Jacob and H. Varulkar

In the recent months, tensions have increased between the Yemeni government and Hizbullah, who is accused of supporting and arming the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. The tension between the two sides rose after a Houthi delegation openly visited Lebanon on August 18, 2018 and met with Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah. The reports of this visit joined numerous other reports about support extended by Hizbullah to the Houthis on the rhetorical, financial and military levels.

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Shift In Saudi Media's Attitude To Israel – Part I: Saudi Writers, Intellectuals: Iran Is More Dangerous Than Israel; Peace With It Is Vital In Order To Repel Iranian Threat

By: Z. Harel

The mounting tension between Israel and Iran, which came to a head with Iran's firing of missiles at Israel from Syrian territory and Israel's counterattack on Iranian sites in that country, sparked a debate in Saudi Arabia regarding which side Saudis should support. Many Saudi intellectuals declared that, in case of a military confrontation between Iran and Israel, they would certainly support Israel, for Iran is the one threatening Saudi Arabia.

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Contrary To The Understandings Reached With Russia, Iranian And Iran-Affiliated Forces Are Participating In The Fighting In Southern Syria

By: Z. Harel

Recently, the Syrian army and the forces that back it, with the support of the Russians, managed to take control of a large part of the Dar'a governorate in southern Syria. This occurred following a military campaign against Syrian opposition factions that began on June 19, 2018. The very fact that this offensive took place in that area, as well as the participation of the Russian forces in it, constitute a violation of the de-escalation agreement in southwestern Syria that was signed by Russia, the United States, and Jordan in November 2017.

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Egyptian President El-Sisi Regime Comes Under Harsh Criticism Against Backdrop Of Egypt's Economic Crisis, Price Increases

By: C. Meital

In recent years Egypt has been experiencing a severe economic crisis. This crisis came to a head in 2016, prompting the government to accept an IMF reform plan which involved eliminating subsidies and raising the cost of goods and services. As part of the reform, in June 2018 Egypt announced increases in electricity and water rates, fuel prices, and public transportation fares.

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French Manifesto Calling To 'Declare Obsolete' Violent Quranic Verses Sparks Fury From Islamic Religious Establishment, Writers In Arab Media

By: Y. Graff

On April 21, 2018, the French daily Le Parisien published a manifesto signed by over 250 French public figures, including former president Nicolas Sarkozy, former prime minister Manuel Valls, and famous singer Charles Aznavour, condemning the "new antisemitism" that radical Islam is spreading in France. The manifesto appeared about a month after the murder of Mireille Knoll, an 85-year-old Jewish Holocaust survivor who was stabbed to death in her Paris apartment, and about a year after another Jewish woman, 65-year-old Sarah Halimi, was beaten to death on a Paris street. Both murders have been recognized by the French authorities as antisemitic hate crimes.

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Time For President Trump To Convene A Bletchley Park-Type Setting To Tackle Cyber Jihad

By: Steven Stalinsky

The following is an op-ed by MEMRI Executive Director Steven Stalinsky that was originally published in The Hill on February 8, 2018.

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Leading Salafi-Jihadis In Ein Al-Hilweh Palestinian Refugee Camp, Lebanon: The Struggle Against Israel Takes Priority Over The Struggles In Iraq And Syria

By: N. Mozes

In early March 2018, senior leaders of the Salafi-jihadi stream in the Ein Al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon called a meeting with Lebanese journalists to liberate Jerusalem and Palestine rather than to operate in Iraq and Syria, which had for nearly two decades been the global jihad's main arenas of activity. They said that as Palestinians, they had a responsibility to fight for and defend their own land.

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Campaign In West Bank Against Palestinian Authority's Sanctions On Gaza

By: S. Schneidmann

A campaign launched in the West Bank several weeks ago calls for lifting the sanctions that the Palestinian Authority (PA) has imposed on the Gaza Strip, which include the withholding of salaries from PA civil servants in Gaza and cutting the PA's payments to Israel for the electricity supplied to Gaza. The decision to impose the sanctions was taken by Palestinian President Mahmoud 'Abbas over a year ago, in April 2017, in response to Hamas's establishment of the Administrative Committee to manage Gaza's affairs on the grounds that the PA was not meeting its obligations in this respect.

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In Light Of IMF Pressure And Diminishing Foreign Aid, Jordan Seeks To End Economic, Political Dependence On Its Allies

By: Steven Stalinsky

In recent years, Jordan has been experiencing a grave and ongoing economic crisis that is steadily worsening due to the influx of Syrian refugees to the country and the diminishing of foreign aid. Jordanian King 'Abdallah addressed this in a June 4, 2018 meeting with journalists and newspaper editors, at which he said: "Jordan has been coping with unforeseen regional and economic circumstances, and there is no plan that can efficiently and rapidly meet this challenge.

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