Embargo On Iranian Oil Delayed By Six Months
A European Union embargo on Iranian oil will likely be delayed by six months, Bloomberg‘s Thomas Penny reports.
The E.U. is holding for countries including Italy, Greece and Spain to find alternative sources.
New York oil prices have fallen 1.8% on the news.
Iran is the second largest OPEC oil producer, with 3.6 million barrels recovered per day last month.
- EU firms renew Iran oil deals to win sanction reprieve (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Japan agrees to cut dependency on Iranian oil as US scores significant coup against regime (telegraph.co.uk)
- EU split over Iran oil embargo (laaska.wordpress.com)
- Oil dips to near $101 as Iran embargo talks falter (mysanantonio.com)
- EU governments consider delay on any Iran oil ban – Reuters (reuters.com)
Canadian Minister Tells Enviros to F**k Off on Oilsands Obstructionism
Ronald Bailey | January 10, 2012
In a no-holds-barred open letter, Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver tells environmental radicals to take a hike, preferably off a high cliff.
Canada is on the edge of an historic choice: to diversify our energy markets away from our traditional trading partner in the United States or to continue with the status quo.
Virtually all our energy exports go to the US. As a country, we must seek new markets for our products and services and the booming Asia-Pacific economies have shown great interest in our oil, gas, metals and minerals. For our government, the choice is clear: we need to diversify our markets in order to create jobs and economic growth for Canadians across this country. We must expand our trade with the fast growing Asian economies. We know that increasing trade will help ensure the financial security of Canadians and their families.
Unfortunately, there are environmental and other radical groups that would seek to block this opportunity to diversify our trade. Their goal is to stop any major project no matter what the cost to Canadian families in lost jobs and economic growth. No forestry. No mining. No oil. No gas. No more hydro-electric dams.
These groups threaten to hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda. They seek to exploit any loophole they can find, stacking public hearings with bodies to ensure that delays kill good projects. They use funding from foreign special interest groups to undermine Canada’s national economic interest. They attract jet-setting celebrities with some of the largest personal carbon footprints in the world to lecture Canadians not to develop our natural resources. Finally, if all other avenues have failed, they will take a quintessential American approach: sue everyone and anyone to delay the project even further. They do this because they know it can work. It works because it helps them to achieve their ultimate objective: delay a project to the point it becomes economically unviable.
That bit about the “quintessential American approach” hurts only because it’s true.
So what did President Obama do in the face of environmentalist agitation? He caved. Our bravely decisive president tried to put off deciding on the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline which would link U.S. refineries to the Canadian oilsands production until after the 2012 presidential election. But as part of the deal to extend the payroll tax cut for two months, the Republicans in Congress set a deadline for President Obama to decide by February 21 whether or not the pipeline is in the U.S. national interest. So which Democratic interest group will the president choose to alienate? The unions or the environmental lobby?
- ‘Radical’ groups working against oilsands (cbc.ca)
- Joe Oliver’s open letter: The regulatory system is broken (business.financialpost.com)
- An open letter from Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver (theglobeandmail.com)
- Gateway pipeline: Minister slams ‘jet-setting celebrities’ and ‘radical’ environmentalists (calgaryherald.com)
- Minister takes on ‘radical’ environmentalists over Northern Gateway pipeline (calgaryherald.com)
Obama’s Cordray Appointment Mocks the Constitution
July 18, 2011: President Obama announces the nomination of former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to serve as the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
By Phil Kerpen Published January 04, 2012
In 2008 candidate Sen. Barack Obama famously said: “This is part of the whole theory of George Bush that he can make laws as he is going along. I disagree with that. I taught the Constitution for 10 years. I believe in the Constitution and I will obey the Constitution of the United States. We are not going to use signing statements as a way of doing and end run around Congress.”
Now, we find that not only was he kidding about signing statements – he recently used one to ignore about 20 provisions of the omnibus spending bill – but Obama also believes he can decide for himself that the Senate is in recess when it is not, overturn at least a hundred years of precedent, and bypass the Constitution’s
- Related Stories
- Obama Bypasses Senate, Installs New Consumer Chief
- Obama Takes Economic Message to Ohio
- Can Liberal Protesters Boost Obama for 2012?
- Financial watchdog director moves closer to approval — or a brick wall
- Senate Banking Panel Approves Obama’s Consumer Watchdog Nominee
Moreover, the president now considers it a political virtue that he is doing precisely what he criticized George Bush for doing: “make laws as he is going along.” Obama now says: “I refuse to take ‘No’ for an answer… when Congress refuses to act in a way that hurts our economy and puts people at risk, I have an obligation as president to do what I can without them.”
If he were acting within the confines of the law and the Constitution, the argument might make sense.But Obama has now adopted a theory of executive power so expansive that a reporter at a recent press conference understandably asked whether the president believes we have a virtual monarchy, a president of unlimited powers subject only to periodic elections but not to the rule of law.
According to a 1993 brief from the Clinton Justice Department, Congress must remain adjourned for at least three days before the adjournment constitutes a “recess” for the purposes the recess appointment power.
The origin of this three day period is Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution, which states: “Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days.”
In other words, the president can only recess appoint when the Senate has adjourned for more than three days, and the Senate cannot adjourn for more than three days without the consent of the House.
Speaker John Boehner has properly withheld that consent to prevent Obama from installing radical appointees into key positions.
There is recent precedent for this action and for its legitimacy.In fact, then-Obama Solicitor General Elena Kagan wrote to the Supreme Court on April 26, 2010:“Although a President may fill such vacancies through the use of his recess appointment power … the Senate may act to foreclose this option by declining to recess for more than two or three days at a time over a lengthy period. For example, the Senate did not recess intrasession for more than three days at a time for over a year beginning in late 2007.”
Obama’s attempt to “recess appoint” Richard Cordray while the Senate is in pro forma session is especially galling in light of the history of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the broad powers that Cordray – if Obama’s sleight of hand is permitted by the courts – will wield over the United States economy.
The CFPB has the power to interfere with every consumer financial transaction in the economy. It is housed in the Federal Reserve and funded out of Fed operations, not congressional appropriations, avoiding effective congressional oversight.
All power is vested in one individual – now, presumably Cordray – with no board or commission.None of this was part of Elizabeth Warren’s original design, which included a five-member commission that was funded and overseen by Congress.Senate Republicans have correctly called for reforms to make the new agency accountable before confirming a nominee and allowing it to begin writing rules that could have a major negative impact on the economy.
Obama doesn’t care.He’s making is up as he goes along.What a difference four years makes.
Phil Kerpenis vice president for policy at Americans for Prosperity and author of Democracy Denied: How Obama is Ignoring You and Bypassing Congress to Radically Transform America – and How to Stop Him.
- Obama’s 2012 Slogan: ‘Can’t Work With Others’ (genomega1.wordpress.com)
- Constitutional Scholar: White House Entirely Ignoring Article 1, Section 5 | CNSnews.com (manifestinjustice.wordpress.com)
- Is the Cordray Appointment Constitutional? (usnews.com)
- Constitutional Scholar: White House Entirely Ignoring Article 1, Section 5 | CNSnews.com (nootkabear.wordpress.com)
- Obama: Forget Congress; Richard Cordray’s my consumer… (shortformblog.tumblr.com)
- Obama bypassing Senate to appoint Richard Cordray consumer chief – Chicago Tribune (chicagotribune.com)
DOE sees rationing as US acts vs Iran
BY JOHN LOURENZE POQUIZ
The Department of Energy is readying its contingency plan in the event that the problem in Iran escalates and results in a local fuel supply shortage.
Energy Undersecretary Jose Layug said that the DOE is looking at mechanism where the government would ration fuel consumption in the event supplies become tight.
“We are reviewing our contingency plan. Part of that is cutting down consumption,” Layug told Malaya Business Insight.
“We would have a mechanism where people would be given allocations on the oil they consume. It’s a form of rationing,” he added.
Layug said that the Philippines sources only less than 1 percent of its requirements from Iran.
He said, however, local fuel supply would be threatened if the Strait of Hormuz, which is adjacent to Iran, would be blocked.
The strait is the only passage for ships carrying petroleum from major oil-exporting countries on the Arabian peninsula.
Layug said that because of the supply threats, world oil prices have been going up in past weeks, influencing local pump prices.
“In terms of Iran, (we source a) very small (amount). Less than 1 percent. But more importantly, ever since Iran test-fired its missiles (last week), the international market has gone up,” he said.
“In fact, for the past few weeks, the major reason for the price hikes is Iran. Prices in the international market have gone up,” he added.
Last week, oil firms raised the prices of their unleaded and premium gasoline products by P0.90 per liter. The price of regular gasoline went up P0.60 per liter, while diesel rose P0.30 per liter.
The sanctions approved by President Barack Obama on New Year’s Eve have highlighted the importance of Iranian oil supplies to East Asia’s energy-hungry economies. They have led to a clash of interests between Washington and key commercial and strategic partners over efforts to stop Iran’s nuclear program.
China, the biggest buyer of Iran’s oil, has publicly rejected US sanctions aimed at Tehran’s energy industry, while American allies Japan and South Korea are scrambling to find a compromise to keep critical supplies flowing.
Beijing is buying less Iranian crude this month, but analysts say China is unlikely to support an oil embargo. Instead, they say, the smaller purchases might be a tactic aimed at obtaining lower prices as the West squeezes Tehran.
“We are considering our response and are closely discussing the matter with the US,” a Japanese Foreign Ministry official, Kazuhiro Kawase, was quoted by The Associated Press as saying Friday.
A South Korean foreign ministry spokesman said this week Seoul is in talks with Washington aimed at “minimizing the negative impacts” of sanctions. South Korea imports 97 percent of its oil and depends on Iran for up to 10 percent of its supplies.
China’s foreign ministry rejected the sanctions this week and called for negotiations, leaving unclear whether Beijing might defy Washington, straining relations between the world’s biggest and second-biggest economies.
“Sanctioning is not the correct approach to easing tensions,” said a ministry spokesman, Hong Lei. “China opposes the placing of one’s domestic law above international law and imposing unilateral sanctions on other countries.”
US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is due to visit Beijing and Tokyo next week for talks that officials say will include the sanctions.
- Iran plans more war games in strait as sanctions bite (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Geithner to pressure China and Japan to back economic sanctions against Iran (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Asian Economies Look to Keep Iranian Oil Flowing (foxnews.com)
Beneath Growth, a Sea of Poison
Mike Brownfield January 6, 2012 at 10:40 am
Today’s jobs report from the Department of Labor was encouraging news for the U.S. economy. It shows that 200,000 jobs were created and the unemployment rate ticked down from 8.7 percent to 8.5 percent. Jobs were created in every sector of the economy save one — government! This report is consistent with other economic indicators and shows that the economy is finally coming out of its malaise. But like any reports, they must be put into context. The creation of 200,000 new jobs is solid growth and above the 130,000 to 150,000 new jobs that must be created to keep up with population growth. However, this doesn’t mean happy times are here again.
There are not enough Americans working or looking for work. In fact participation in the labor force is at its lowest point in 30 years as many potential workers are not yet even attempting to find jobs. Moreover, at this stage in a recovery, new jobs should be surging instead of averaging less than 140,000 for the last three months. So all is not well and President Obama should not check the “mission accomplished” box. In fact, Obama’s painful economic policies will only serve to further hamstring America’s economic engine, thereby preventing a truly strong, vibrant economy that the country is capable of having.
The President single-handedly unleashed another poison pill on Wednesday with the White House’s announcement that he will exact another illegal, unconstitutional end-run around Congress with the appointment of three new members to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) without Senate approval, all of whom are union officials. Here’s why that matters.
The NLRB is a five-member board that is responsible for investigating unfair labor practices, creating labor-related rules, and conducting elections for labor union representation. Last year the NLRB enacted measures shortening union elections to as little as 14 days, limiting employees’ ability to hear from both sides before they vote, allowing unions to cherry-pick which workers in a company can vote on unionizing, and preventing workers from insisting on a secret ballot in union drives, as Heritage’s James Sherk explains. These measures will make it much easier for unions to organize workers — but at the expense of workers’ rights. If workers want to join a union they have that right — management gets the union it deserves — but the government should not limit their rights in order to press workers into unionizing.
Prior to the President’s appointments, the NLRB had only three sitting members, with the one member’s term ending at the end of 2012. Were the NLRB to go down to two members, it wouldn’t have a quorum to conduct its business, meaning that the President’s Big Labor agenda couldn’t be enacted. Now, though, the President has appointed three new members who will undoubtedly carry out his agenda without any checks or balances.
And that agenda is to bolster America’s unions — a key constituency and political force standing behind the President. Unfortunately, their goal is not primarily to protect workers. The trouble is that the Big Labor agenda is fundamentally at odds with the pro-growth agenda that America is so thirsty for. Sherk explains:
Unions make businesses less competitive and discourage investment. This reduces job growth. Studies show that jobs fall by 5-10 percent at newly organized firms. Going forward, employment grows by three to four percentage points more slowly at unionized businesses than at otherwise identical non-union companies.
In short, America is witnessing President Obama put his Big Labor allies before workers, all in the guise of taking action on behalf of the American people. America’s job creators are sitting on the sidelines, as well, watching as this President takes actions that serve only to inject more poisonous uncertainty into the economy.
Apart from the economic ramifications of the President’s actions, the American people should also remember that his NLRB appointments are a blatantly unconstitutional, tyrannical abuse of power. The U.S. Constitution requires that the President receive the advice and consent of the Senate when making appointments — a requirement that President Obama entirely set aside in order to advance his agenda.
Today, the President may say he is finding success in fighting for the American worker, but in truth he is fighting for his political allies. Beneath the surface of his populist rhetoric, his policies are poisoning strong economic growth. And for the President, the Constitution is collateral damage.
- The Obama Administration is planning on a change to the nation’s immigration rules that would allow undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States while applying for citizenship.
- Was classified information leaked to filmmakers about how Osama bin Laden was killed? Representative Pete King (R-NY) says the Defense Department and the Central Intelligence Agency are investigating, according to The Hill.
- Twenty-five people were killed and dozens were wounded in Damascus, Syria, after a suicide bomber attacked a busy intersection. The explosion is the second attack in the Syrian capital in two weeks, The New York Times reports.
- Ready for a “gas-pocalypse”? The Los Angeles Times reports that record-high gas prices are headed even higher due to expensive oil and changes in refinery operations.
- LUNCHTIME CHAT: Join us today from 12-1 ET as we discuss the Stop Online Piracy Act. Find out how Congress’s actions might affect how you surf the Internet. Click here to join in!
- Obama defies lawmakers with recess appointments to NLRB (thehill.com)
- Obama Uses Recess Appointments to Keep NLRB Alive (crooksandliars.com)
- Union Bosses Applaud Obama’s Unconstitutional Appointments (actualgrit.wordpress.com)
- Obama NLRB Recess Appointments Thrill Labor, Infuriate Business – more signs that Obama has been unleashed? : 0) (jhaines6.wordpress.com)
- Obama Again Bypasses Congress, Appoints 3 To Labor Board (foxnews.com)
- Obama defies lawmakers with recess appointments to NLRB (whoopsies.wordpress.com)
- Romney Ad for S.C. Slams NLRB (blogs.wsj.com)
West in political crisis has echoes of 1930s
By Stella Dawson Sun Jan 1, 2012 8:04am EST
(Reuters) – Dysfunctional politics threatens to deliver a protracted period of slow global growth, possibly lasting well beyond 2012, which will only deepen the political and economic problems for the West.
The global financial crisis that began four years ago has morphed into a political crisis for the United States and Europe. Leaders incapable of wrestling their debt loads to manageable levels or reviving strong economic growth are stoking turmoil in markets and populist unrest among the citizenry.
The political malaise is also hastening the shift of world economic power toward developing countries led by China. At worst, it could cause a second global recession bringing with it political upheaval on a scale not seen since the 1930s.
These unpalatable scenarios are being sketched by a growing number of leading political strategists, academics and economists after an extraordinary year when the once unthinkable came to pass: the United States had its credit rating downgraded while the developing world enjoys upgrades; Europe went cap in hand to Beijing for a financial bailout; and Brazil overtook Britain within the G7 club of major economies.
The shifting international economic order toward developing countries is nothing new. But it has been happening at a faster pace than expected, accelerated by what these analysts have begun describing as Western democracy in crisis.
They see a government credibility problem in the United States and European Union, stemming from a perception that the political elite is too closely tied to the financial elite in the West, and their collusion caused the financial chaos of 2007 and 2008 and its messy aftermath, leaving the average citizen burdened with higher public debt, higher taxes, unemployment and austerity programs.
Left to pay for what voters see as the elite’s mistakes, public confidence in government has been undermined, and political paralysis has set in as Western leaders struggle to pull governmental levers that are not working effectively.
In contrast, developing nations have been modernizing their institutions and markets, delivering growth rates in the past decade triple those of the West. By 2020, the Centre for Economics and Business Research in London estimates that India and Russia will have joined China and Brazil in the G7 ranks as the biggest economies in the world based on total GDP output, ousting Britain and France. Only the United States, Japan and Germany will be left from the old G7 that dominated the international order since World War II.
Niall Ferguson, a prominent economic historian now at Harvard, calls this an historic power shift.
“For the better part of 500 years, it was Westerners on both sides of the Atlantic who could say that they had the best economic system, that they developed the best political system and so forth. And those claims have sounded increasingly hollow in our time,” Ferguson said in an interview.
The breakdown in public confidence caused by the financial crisis has revealed a deeper problem. “What we’re seeing in government is part of a wider crisis of Western institutions,” he said.
The Tea Party movement in the United States, the Occupy Wall Street movement and riots in Europe all are populist expressions of this breakdown of trust. Institutionally, it is reflected in a U.S. Congress deadlocked over taxes and spending with lawmakers so polarized by different narratives on the causes and fixes for the financial crisis that it is nearly impossible to reach decisions, even though both sides recognize that if left unchanged, their policies will bankrupt the nation, he said.
In Europe, leaders lurch from summit to summit, making partial decisions on fixing a debt crisis and trying to save the 17-member monetary union. But in the process the political elite in Brussels and the capitals are losing touch with their democratic base, which is uncertain it wants to pay the price required for monetary union through deep cutbacks.
Heather Conley, a former U.S. Under Secretary of State for European Affairs and now a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said this near political paralysis seen in the United States and Europe is common when governments are at an inflection point.
“Without decisive direction and leadership, we march in place or attempt to muddle through, uncertain of which path to take. The West is at such a moment,” she said.
“Only an external shock I fear will force us to take the uncertain (new) path. Or we will become so frustrated that the West will choose leaders who will take us in a radically new direction. I’m not sure our frustration level has reached that level, yet. But Europe may be arriving there soon.”
Governments in Greece, Italy and Spain have collapsed or been voted out of power in the past year, and 2012 brings presidential elections in the United States, France and Russia.
ASIA NOT IMMUNE
The fall-out from Europe’s debt crisis is being felt far and wide.
Japan already has endured nearly two decades of lost economic growth and weak political leadership after its financial bubble collapsed in the early 1990s.
George Friedman, geopolitical strategist and chief executive of Stratfor Global Intelligence, sees a distinct risk that China too will join the club of countries in political stalemate, subdued or stalled growth and popular unrest – with potentially serious consequences.
“When the United States, Europe and China go into a crisis of this sort, it can reasonably be said that the center of gravity of the world’s economy and most of its military power is in crisis. It is not a trivial moment,” Friedman wrote in “Dominoes of Doom” on the website EconomyWatch.com.
China’s economy, heavily dependent on exports, is slowing fast. Officials described the global economic outlook as “extremely grim” last month after its annual work conference, signaling deep concern as China enters a year of leadership change.
The Chinese government responded to the global recession spawned by the 2007-2008 financial meltdown with a massive credit expansion that has stoked inflation and fed a property boom. It also increased controls on the economy through state-owned companies, further concentrating state power, which Friedman sees as politically destabilizing as growth slows down.
Witness the past month villagers in southern China in a 10-day standoff with public officials over land expropriation, thousands marching in Haimen city to protest a power plant and a worker sit-in in Dongguan city demanding back pay after their paper plant closed.
The best that can be hoped for in 2012 is a muddling through, where economic growth in the United States averages around 2 percent compared with zero in the euro zone, analysts said. World growth, buoyed by emerging markets, looks set to average around 3 percent.
Martin Sass, founder of the New York based hedge fund M.D. Sass with $7.5 billion under management, is among those pinning his hopes on the elections breaking the stalemate. “I never expected the level of dysfunction in the U.S. and European lawmaking … and I never saw fundamentals count for so little in the stock market. Politics and contagion were the drivers of this underperforming market, not balance sheets and earnings.”
“It is going to take a new election in November (in the United States) to get any legislation through to deal with our problems,” Sass said.
If the political system starts functioning effectively again, Mohamed El-Erian, chief executive officer at PIMCO, the world’s largest bond fund, said it’s not too late for policymakers to catch up and avert serious economic downturn.
But elections alone may not prove the answer. To break the paralysis, political leaders need to offer a new vision, one that rebalances the cozy linkage between finance and politics, otherwise the credibility of the political system will remain compromised, said Scheherazade Rehman, professor of international affairs and finance at George Washington University.
“There has to be a shifting of our institutions. The banking system is at the heart of our economic system and with it extraordinary ties to the political system. We have to rethink the close relationship that caused the breakage,” she said.
The political crisis shot to the foreground this year as voters lost confidence in how governments responded to the 2007-2008 financial crisis, global recession and the resulting explosion in sovereign debt levels. Two narratives have emerged of what went wrong. The left casts the banker as the prime villain, unpunished by the political elite who allowed CEOs to violate all the principles of fiduciary and moral responsibility in pursuit of personal gain, which fuels the perception of a political system in collusion with a criminal financial elite it is unwilling to punish.
The right-wing narrative casts big government as the villain for exploiting the crisis to expand its regulatory powers that intrude on free markets, and to spend money on huge bailouts and social welfare programs that have only exploded the budget deficit.
In both narratives, the victim is the average citizen who is left paying a gigantic bill – through high unemployment, higher taxes and lost economic opportunity. Either way, the compact between political governance and economic life has broken.
“The political reaction, whether big government is seen at fault or big business, the reaction is that the system is tainted and there is too much crony capitalism at work,” said Raghuram Rajan, finance professor at the University of Chicago and former International Monetary Fund chief economist.
There is a distinct possibility that political dysfunction will continue well after the 2012 elections – held in May for France and November for the United States, while China completes its leadership handover by the spring of 2013.
In the United States, voters could return a divided and polarized Congress again, continuing the legislative standoff. One-party rule may prove little better, if the path chosen toward budgetary discipline is excessive taxation or ultra-steep budget cuts. In France, the election winner’s relationship with Germany and fellow EU leaders will prove critical.
Although Western democracy has demonstrated the flexibility to reform when facing severe challenges, the shadow of the 1930s looms large. This uncertainty over whether strong political leadership can emerge in 2012 is haunting markets.
John Browne, senior economic consultant to Euro Pacific Capital, is among the pessimists. He told clients in his year end note that American and European Union politicians have shown utter unwillingness to take tough decisions they know should be enacted to avoid looming global economic disaster.
“With an estimated $6 trillion plus solvency shortfall of the euro zone banks, and $16 trillion in U.S. public debt, it will take leadership of far greater caliber to avert a disaster. Such leadership is nowhere in sight,” he said.
(Reporting By Stella Dawson; editing by Claudia Parsons)
- Independence illusion (business.financialpost.com)
- Europe’s Far-Right Are Blaming This Minority For A Financial Crisis Again (businessinsider.com)
- Nation nervous as 2012 begins (mysanantonio.com)
- We are all Keynesians now (stimuluscapitalideas.wordpress.com)
- UK economy will be biggest in Europe in 4 decades, say experts (dailymail.co.uk)
Obama Recruits Qaradawi
The administration is working with a Muslim Brotherhood jurist.
The surrender is complete now. The Hindu reports that the Obama administration has turned to Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s leading jurist, to mediate secret negotiations between the United States and the Taliban.
I wrote about Qaradawi at length in The Grand Jihad and, here at NRO, have regularly catalogued his activities (see, e.g., here, here, here, here, and here; see also Andrew Bostom’s “Qaradawi’s Odious Vision”). For those who may be unfamiliar with him, he is the most influential Sunni Islamist in the world, thanks to such ventures as his al-Jazeera TV program (Sharia and Life) and website (IslamOnline.net). In 2003, he issued a fatwa calling for the killing of American troops in Iraq. As he put it,
Those killed fighting the American forces are martyrs given their good intentions since they consider these invading troops an enemy within their territories but without their will. . . . Although they are seen by some as being wrong, those defending against attempts to control Islamic countries have the intention of jihad and bear a spirit of the defense of their homeland.
Qaradawi urges that Islam must dominate the world, under a global caliphate governed by sharia. He maintains that Islam “will conquer Europe [and] will conquer America.” He sometimes qualifies that the conquering will be done “not through the sword but through da’wa,” but the qualification is a feint.
Da’wa sounds harmless — it refers to missionary work to spread Islam. Islam, however, is not like other religions. The idea is not to spread a set of spiritual principles but incrementally to impose a full-scale social system with its own authoritarian legal code, covering all aspects of life and instituting a caste system in which women and non-Muslims are subjugated. Nor is da’wa like other missionary work; it is the use of all available means of pressure — political campaigns, lawfare, infiltration of the media, control of the education system, etc. — to advance (a) the acceptance of Islamic principles and (b) the evisceration of principles (e.g., free speech, economic liberty) that undergird competitors, in particular, Western civilization. Moreover, the claim that da’wa is non-violent is frivolous. Much of the mission of da’wa is to rationalize terrorism as divinely mandated self-defense.
Thus does Sheikh Qaradawi champion Hamas, mass-murder attacks, and suicide bombings. “They are not suicide operations,” he brays. “These are heroic martyrdom operations.” Indeed, he elaborates, “The martyr operations is [sic] the greatest of all sorts of jihad in the cause of Allah.”
Thus does Qaradawi urge the destruction of Israel, rebuking clerics who dare counsel against killing civilians. “I am astonished,” he inveighs, “that some sheikhs deliver fatwas that betray the mujahideen, instead of supporting them and urging them to sacrifice and martyrdom.” As the Investigative Project on Terrorism recounts, when the imam of Mecca’s Grand Mosque issued guidance against the killing of civilians, Qaradawi upbraided him: “It is unfortunate to hear that the grand imam has said it was not permissible to kill civilians in any country or state, even in Israel.”
Not surprisingly, then, the sheikh is also wont to invoke what the West refuses to acknowledge: the Jew-hatred that is endemic in Islam because it is rooted in scripture — not in modern grievances that could be satisfied if only the West changed its policies and Israel had the good grace to disappear. As Qaradawi puts it, echoing the charter of Hamas (the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch):
This is what is told in the Hadith of Ibn-Omar and the Hadith of Abu-Hurairah: “You shall continue to fight the Jews and they will fight you, until the Muslims will kill them. And the Jew will hide behind the stone and the tree, and the stone and the tree will say: ‘Oh servant of Allah, Oh Muslim, this is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him!’ The resurrection will not come before this happens.” This is a text from the good omens in which we believe.
Qaradawi uses his al-Jazeera platform to preach this message to the Muslim masses. As the Middle East Media Research Institute and Robert Spencer document, in one memorable Friday “sermon” broadcast in 2009, he prayed that Allah would kill all Jews: “Oh Allah, take this oppressive, Jewish, Zionist band of people. Oh Allah, do not spare a single one of them. Oh Allah, count their numbers and kill them, down to the very last one.” He added that throughout history, Allah had imposed upon Jews “people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Adolph Hitler.”
After thousands of young Americans have laid down their lives to protect the United States from jihadist terror, President Obama apparently seeks to end the war by asking Qaradawi, a jihad-stoking enemy of the United States, to help him strike a deal that will install our Taliban enemies as part of the sharia state we have been building in Afghanistan. If the Hindu report is accurate, the price tag will include the release of Taliban prisoners from Gitmo — an element of the deal Reuters has also reported. The administration will also agree to the lifting of U.N. sanctions against the Taliban, and recognition of the Taliban as a legitimate political party (yes, just like the Muslim Brotherhood!). In return, the Taliban will pretend to forswear violence, to sever ties with al-Qaeda, and to cooperate with the rival Karzai regime.
It would mark one of the most shameful chapters in American history.
— Andrew C. McCarthy, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, is the author, most recently, of The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.
- “Egypt’s New Hitler,” Vile Jew-Hater Qaradawi, Key Mediator In U.S.-Taliban Talks (atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com)
- Radical Muslim Brotherhood Cleric Moderating Lopsided Taliban-U.S. Talks? (creepingsharia.wordpress.com)
- Our Brothers: (brothersjuddblog.com)
- The Guardian’s “democratic” Islamist leader: Kill every last Jew on earth (cifwatch.com)
- Getting Non-Muslim Religious Leaders to Repeat Muslim Brotherhood’s Mantras (creepingsharia.wordpress.com)
- Mediator in Taliban-U.S. talks backed Kashmir jihad (thehindu.com)
- Top Muslim Cleric al Qaradawi Calls for UN-Backed Invasion of Syria (ibtimes.com)