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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 20-May-2013
20-May-13 World View -- Israel's army to begin using live fire on West Bank Palestinians

Web Log - May, 2013

20-May-13 World View -- Israel's army to begin using live fire on West Bank Palestinians

Interest in Hizb ut-Tahrir grows after Marathon bomber visited Dagestan

This morning's key headlines from

Interest in Hizb ut-Tahrir grows after Marathon bomber visited Dagestan

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, left (dead), and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, right (captured) - the Boston Marathon bombers (AP)
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, left (dead), and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, right (captured) - the Boston Marathon bombers (AP)

Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami (Hut - the Party of Islamic Liberation) is a pan-Islamic political party, founded in Jerusalem in 1953, which promotes the Islamic way of life in countries around the world, and speaks out against U.S. policies across the Muslim world. However, unlike al-Qaeda and some other international pro-Islamic groups, HuT publicly renounces violence, and has not been associated with terrorist acts. It views itself as an educational and cultural party that encourages mass conversions to Islam by showing that Islam reflects their real concerns, and by exposing the plans and conspiracies of others. The oppose "Islamists" like the Muslim Brotherhood who "[come] in to power with no Islam but to promote the idea of secular/civil state in line with America's wishes." Instead, their main purpose is to unite all the Islamic nations into a single Islamic state or caliphate by creating a Community of Hizb ut-Tahrir, whose members will work together like the companions of the Prophet Muhammad.

HuT has been designated as a terrorist organization by Russia and some central Asian countries, but not by the United States nor by most European countries. In addition, the last major HuT World Congress was held in the United States.

Interest in HuT has grown since it was learned that the Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev met with his third cousin, Magomed Kartashov, the leader of an HuT offshoot, the Union of the Just, in Kizlyar, Dagestan, during his six-month visit to Russia. According to a Time magazine report:

"On May 5, three agents from Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) ... interrogated Kartashov for the first time about the Boston bombings.... The FSB agents were interested in whether Kartashov and Tsarnaev had ever discussed Islamic radicalism. ...

Kartashov told them that they had, but claimed that Tsarnaev was the one trying to "pull him in to extremism." According to his lawyer..., "Kartashov tried to talk [Tsarnaev] out of his interest in extremism."

[The story] matches the accounts of five other men in Dagestan who know Kartashov and spent time with Tsarnaev. All of them dismiss the notion that Tsarnaev was radicalized in Dagestan. Instead, the picture that emerges from their accounts is of a young man who already carried a deep interest in Islamic radicalism when he went to Russia from his home in Massachusetts. But that curiosity evolved during his visit. The members of Kartashov's circle say they tried to disabuse Tsarnaev of his sympathies for local militants. By the end of his time in Dagestan, Tsarnaev's interests seem to have shifted from the local insurgency to a more global notion of Islamic struggle -- closer to the one espoused by Kartashov's organization."

The issue of when Tsarnaev "became radicalized" has become a much-discussed question. I discussed this question at length in "20-Apr-13 World View -- Generational analysis of Boston Marathon bombings", where I wrote that he most likely developed radical attitudes towards the U.S. while he was growing up Kyrgyzstan, near the Fergana Valley. Later, as an adult living in Boston, he found a way to translate those attitudes into action. Jamestown and Vesti (Kyrgyzstan - translated) and Time and Hizb ut-Tahrir web site

Israel's army to begin using live fire on West Bank Palestinian protesters

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) are changing policies and are increasingly willing to use live fire "if necessary" on West Bank Palestinian protesters that threaten Jewish settlements. According to the IDF, there has been an escalation in Arab attacks on Israeli civilians:

"Their brazenness has crossed the line -- they are doing what they didn't do for years, like reaching the fence of an Israeli community and throwing rocks into the community, causing injuries. ...

There is a change in the decisiveness, in the determination to end this phenomenon... I hope the other side realizes that the 'silk glove treatment' is over."

In 2003 I wrote that there would be a huge new Mideast war between Jews and Arabs, refighting the genocidal 1948 war that followed the partitioning of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel. (See "Mideast Roadmap - Will it bring peace?" from 2003.) There have been three wars since then -- the war between Israelis and Hizbollah, fought largely on Lebanon's soil in 2006; the war between Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah in Gaza in 2008, that led to Hamas control of Gaza; Operation Cast Lead, the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza early in 2009; and Israel's military action in Gaza in November 2012. The increased use of rock-throwing by Palestinian protesters in the West Bank, triggering the use of live fire by the IDF, are part of the continuing spiral into full-scale war. Israel National News

Qatar competes with Russia and Iran for influence in the Mideast

On one side in Syria, the United States, the European Union, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are backing the opposition -- though there are different factions with ideologies ranging from Syrian nationalist to Islamic jihadist. On the other side, Russia is supporting the Bashar al-Assad regime in order to retain its influence in the Mideast, while Iran and Hezbollah are support the al-Assad regime as part of the overall conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims. Qatar and Russia, in particularly, are supplying arms to opposing sides, fueling the sectarian proxy war. The last great Sunni-Shia battle in the Middle East involved near-constant war between the Sunni Ottoman Empire and Iran's Shia Safavid Empire during the 16th and 17th centuries, which the Ottomans won by a small margin, ultimately securing control over Iraq.

However, Qatar's ambitions for regional hegemony go beyond Syria. Russia and Iran would like to gain greater influence in Egypt, but Qatar is using its oil wealth to provide billions of dollars in aid and loans to Egypt's government, led by the Muslim Brotherhood. Furthermore, Qatar is supporting Hamas, which recently broke with its long-time ally al-Assad and moved its headquarters from Syria's capital, Damascus, to Qatar's capital, Doha. However, critics in Egypt allege that Qatar is less interested in supporting Egypt than they are in supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, providing Russia and Iran their own opportunities to gain influence. Globe and Mail (Toronto) and Gulf News

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 20-May-13 World View -- Israel's army to begin using live fire on West Bank Palestinians thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (20-May-2013) Permanent Link
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