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The Donkey is Dead

Once upon a time a mad Caliph demanded of an old servant of his that he teach a donkey to talk for his amusement. If he refused, he would be put to death. If he failed he would be put to death as well. The old servant shrugged and asked for a year's time in which to complete the task. When other servants asked him why he had accepted, he answered. "A year is a long time. Either the Caliph will die, the donkey will die, or the donkey will learn to speak."

It's been quite a few years and the donkey is on its last legs. Obama has done to half a dozen countries what Carter did to Iran. The Islamists are in ascendance and the Caliphate genie has been let out of the bottle. Down the road they may well implode, but for the moment they are a rising political force in the region. The handful of Muslim countries that could have been accused of having moderate governments are gone now.

The posse of "Islamist Whisperers" in the press, lead among them Thomas Friedman, are busy looking for fallback positions. In his latest column he explains that the Islamist victories only came about because the dictators prevented "independent, secular, democratic parties" from developing. What he fails to understand is that the dictators were the only force maintaining a modicum of secularism, not because they were freethinking atheists, but because many of them had come out of the military and wanted a functioning state, instead of a theocracy.

In Turkey the military was the guarantor of secularism until the European Friedmans decided that it was much better to back the Islamist AKP and its democratic commitment to turning Turkey into an Islamist state. Now the generals are locked up and a sneering imbecile who bankrupted his country to funnel money to his associates and create a temporary economic boom is threatening Europe.

The Shah of Iran, Ben Ali and Mubarak are just a few of the badly flawed rulers who nevertheless maintained some measure of social freedom, rather than democracy, and paid the price when the idiots that we elected decided that the region would be better off if it were in the hands of the Islamists.

Secular and democratic are a contradiction in terms where the majority of the population supports the Islamists. The secular activists that Friedman and the Western media embraced are an out of touch elite that is more familiar with Twitter than with the ordinary Egyptian. They have more in common with the dictators they are campaigning to overthrow, and in many cases have familial connections to the ruling class. Had the West succeeded in shoving El-Baradei into the top spot sans election, then they might have taken power, otherwise they are going to remain in the Islamist shadow.

But never fear, Friedman promises that once the liberal independent secularists get some time to learn how the whole elections thing works, then the Islamists will have to "compete with legitimate secular parties".

Reading Friedman is like arguing with the proponent of a completely discredited theory who keeps asserting that given time it will finally stand up to the test. But does the mustached wonder of the Times really believe that the Islamists will wait around for the secularists to compete with them? Friedman and the rest of the gang dismissed the idea that Egypt would follow Iran, but now he might want to take a second look at the history of Iran. Islamist democracy begins when the old regime falls and ends when they take power.

In FriedmanLand (TM) if the Islamists rig elections then the people will rise up and overthrow them. But how well did that work out in Iran? The difference between the Islamists and Mubarak is that the jolly bearded boys don't care how many bodies they stack up and the only people they answer to are even more extreme than they are.

The media is still operating under the delusion that the Islamists will maintain democracy once they have profited from it, and that only shows their basic ignorance. The essence of the Islamist agenda is to deny people the freedom to live the way they want to. And that being so why would they allow  any parties that don't toe the Koranic line to play in their new sandbox when that would be in violation of their principles?

Financial analysts have popped up to inform us that the Muslim Brotherhood is pro-business, which it true is in the same way that Iran's leaders are pro-business, and Mubarak was pro-business and Vladimir Putin and the rulers of the People's Republic of China are pro-business. Meaning that they like money and running an oligarchy which will control much of the country's industry or solicit bribes from those businesses it doesn't control. To a financial analyst this is good news, but he might want to take a closer look at what the GDP of Persian might have been today if it wasn't overrun by black robed parasites and their pet thugs.

Saudi Arabia and the rest of the tribal oil states are good examples of pro-business Islamists, but the profits that don't get funneled into palaces, prostitutes and bread and circuses for their people, are invested into terrorism and buying up Western useful idiots to do their bidding. A financial analysis might begin by taking a look at the economic cost of their terrorist investments to the free world, not to mention the demographic Jihad with its attendant rapes, murders and social services costs.

Most of the new acquisitions for the Caliphate are not in the same financial position as Saudi Arabia. Turkey at least had its proximity to Europe, Egypt doesn't have a whole lot to offer. Some of its most lucrative financial interactions were with Israel and the country benefited from American aid. No matter how softly the Brotherhood starts out and even if we're saddled with Obama for another four years, that money is going to stop coming. 

For Israel the death of the donkey is a mixture of good and bad news. Bad news because it's likely to have a war on its hands, but good news because there's going to be a drop in interest in trying to force the Jewish state to make the donkey talk. Ever since Oslo, Israel has been expected to soothe the savage beast with the music of appeasement and if the donkey kept refusing to speak, that was still Israel's fault. But it's hard to expect anyone to make a dead donkey talk and the Brotherhood, which doesn't recognize Israel, is not going to be willing to talk anything but temporary truce.

A sign of the times is that even Friedman is forced to concede that he understands "Israel not ceding territory in this uncertain period to a divided Palestinian movement". This is one of the rare occasions where anyone in the New York Times has acknowledged that negotiating with half a wannabe state makes absolutely no sense. But Friedman being himself quickly spoils it by holding up PA PM Salam Fayyad as a pinata full of wonderful possibilities like peace, joy and sunshine.

"Israel has an Arab awakening in its own backyard in the person of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad," Friedman insists. "He’s been the most radical Arab leader of all." If being an appointed leader who has never run for office or done much of anything besides reorganize the Authority under the supervision of Western governments makes you a one man awakening then Tom is setting the barrier rather low.

Fayyad didn't rise to power through popular acclaim and he hasn't won an election. The PA isn't holding any elections at all, which is the kind of behavior that Friedman denounces from some Arab rulers, but praises in others. Fayyadism isn't some national movement as the Times would like you to believe, it's the foolish fetishism of a few columnists desperate to pretend that the same broken PA is about to cast off its cocoon and fly away as a beautiful Brussels Blue butterfly.

Friedman whines that Netanyahu isn't empowering Fayyad to do his magical best and that the lovely security services who murder Israelis on their break aren't being given enough responsibility. But Tom is right to worry. Hamas will take Ramallah when it decides to and if the Brotherhood takes Cairo then the PA will lose any friends it had over there. And once Hamas controls all of it, then the donkey will be well and truly dead. There will be no peace process to bemoan or try to resurrect. Like the Norwegian Blue parrot it is pining for fjords of the Palestine that might have been in the minds of all the Friedmans. That wonderful democratic secular independent state that would have Oslo in the Gaza strip.

Two years ago I wrote an article suggesting that Netanyahu was playing the Caliph's game, waiting out the demands of the Obama Administration and hoping that the clock would run out on its plans for peace. While the Friedmans hoped that the donkey would learn to speak, and many American Jews hoped that the Caliph would be forced off the throne, instead the donkey appears to be dying.

The dead donkey has implications for more than just Israel. The facade of normalcy kept the myth of a moderate Muslim world going. A world in which Iran and Saudi Arabia were the exceptions not the rule. But if sizable portions of the Muslim world were to turn into open theocracies with the attendant treatment of women, the game might well be up.

(Spanish language translation at Reflexiones Sobre Y Medio Oriente El Mundo)


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Sorry sultan, but this meme will never die. They say that if the cause for Love doesnt die then the Love wont firm and that is true here as well.

    Friedman, et al, dont propose these things because they are well meaning idiots. They propose these things because they are extremely corrupt. We are the ones acting as well meaning idiots when we fantasize otherwise.

    20 years ago, when Oslo began, i grimly joked to a roommate that when the inevitable failures mounted up people would realize the truth and we could point to them and say "we told you so!"

    Well we didnt count on the ability of pundits to continuously move the goalposts. Sultan, this was never about peace, this was about business, control, and a good amount of Jew hatred.

    It is profitable for many people to keep the Jews from having a true "third commonwealth". We have a lot more potential as a people than anyone gives us credit for but TPTB know it.

  3. It's not just women who suffer state-sponsored persecution in islamofascist states -- it's anyone non-muslime as well.

    The 21st century is certainly getting off to an ugly start. I wonder if the islamonazis will be detonating any nuclear devices in kafir countries in my lifetime?

  4. The main cause for this primitive religion of Islam to so easily take the hearts of the Arab masses is the utter lack of education and illiteracy so wide spread in that world combined with a source of income for their governments i.e. oil, that requieres no own initiative to develop. What is easier for an uneducated poor man than to adhere to a dogmatic all encompassing and simple set of rules where thinking and questioning is not only not enticed but outright forbidden. This in combination with a population growth from the bottom up group that drowns any possibility of a stable economic middle class ever taking enough hold to form a "backbone"of society.

  5. Anonymous1/12/11

    "but the profits that don't get funneled into palaces, prostitutes and bread and circuses"

    There's a well known hotel in Kensington, London, where the arabs keep all their blond, white, Russian hookers throughout the summer. They take up entire floors and keep the women supplied with champagne and coke. I know management there. They themselves stay in the more well known luxury hotels that many would recognize the names of. Even if you didn't know this, to go into the lobby of this hotel, you would think you were in the world's most expensive brothel. The women are so obvious. All this costs oil-money.

  6. @Anonymous You could call it an outsourced Hareem

  7. Anonymous1/12/11

    The title of your post 'The Donkey is Dead' says it all, and captures the make-believe Friedmans very well.
    I'm not sure who's worse - the Friedmans throughout the world or the rising caliphate; neither have any principles, ethics and grip on reality.
    Both of these groups or cult if you will worship their 'evil' idol no matter the cost to the rest of the world.
    The Friedmans wish of their utopian unicorns and lollipops is blowing up in their faces; what they wished for is about to come, and yet, they still can't admit how wrong they are.
    They let the genie out of the bottle; I'm awaiting to see how they handle the disaster they brought about associated with wars.
    For the rest of us - may God help us all!

  8. Anonymous1/12/11

    The donkey has been brain dead and on a breathing machine for about 30 years. Only external machinations ever gave even the appearance of life. Most major historical inflections have clear causes, at least in retrospect for most observers.

    Today pundits fatuously explain every branch and leaf of the tree of Western economic collapse, telling us that tinkering by experts will fix it all, painlessly. A glimpse at the forest, however, shows that living beyond our means for several generations, accumulating unprecedented debt is the quite-understandable cause of our financial woes. It does not take expertise to know this fact.

    Similarly, it has been crystal clear since the modern founding of the state of Israel that the arabs have never sought peace, only momentary respite or tactical advantage (hudna). This is no secret. Only Western liberals seem unable to understand this simple fact, as they are unable to understand the simple language of the Second Amendment or that, indeed, self-defense is a fundamental human right.

    The net result of this willful ignorance, most unfortunately, will likely be a massive war in the Middle East and economic/social collapse in the West. The Friedmans of the world write from what they believe are the ever-safe environs of the New York Times. While they are busy telling Israel what to do, they deem themselves beyond the reach of mankind's follies and chaos. They are deluded, and their delusions are likely - soon - to be shattered in ways they think unimaginable.

    Thank you, Daniel. We are indeed in the lion's den, and the writing is on the wall for all who choose to read it.

  9. Thank you for another excellent essay Daniel. Thank you for having the courage to speak out against the grain.

  10. The thrust of the original Donkey Is Dead story is that it was the Jews who suggested it to the caliph to buy themselves some time, but yes, the leftist Democrat presidents have been systematically handing the Middle East to Islamists since Carter and who knows how far they'll get and how much damage they'll do. Meanwhile the real Jews won't get that donkey story past a new caliph again :)

    Can you pass a basic test on the modern Muslim World, its key orgs. and leaders? Master all the facts free with the Historyscoper and become a force, free:


  11. L. King1/12/11

    Anwar al Bunni, a Syrian dissident said the following:

    "The regime’s political strategy depends on planting landmines throughout society. But the mine doesn’t explode if you place your leg on it—it explodes when you remove your leg from it. The regime planted the land mines then placed their legs on them so that if the regime goes, the society will explode. We can expect the same thing that happened in Lebanon to happen here. We suffer from the same problems of competing nationalisms, sectarianism, and extremism. So we are held hostage by a regime that says to us “if I leave, the world will end. You’ll suffer through civil war. Best leave me in place.”"


    Which explains exactly what what has been happening and why the Arab Winter is upon us.

  12. They act out when given the opportunity and plenty are willing to give them that opportunity.
    In the past people knew better.

  13. The Freidman's of the world will never seriously examine their fundamental premises. That is because the source of their premises is moral cowardice. The old fight or flight syndrome.

    Appeasement is always about the fear to confront, like a cornered rat, they only fight when nothing else is left. Acceptance of dhimmitude, forced conversion is all preferable to 'liberty or death!'

    They are the natural prey of the fanatic. Subconsciously knowing this is why they hate the 'sheepdog' so much. No one hates the cop or the soldier so much as the rabid pacifist.

  14. Anonymous1/12/11

    DG wroteBut if sizable portions of the Muslim world were to turn into open theocracies with the attendant treatment of women, the game might well be up.

    I see this as a consequence of 9/11. 9/11 set in train a sequence of events, planned or otherwise, that would eventually lead to an Islamic theocratic world (Calliphate), much like the Warsaw Pact divided the communist world from the Free world. Such a formation give the West/NATO a proper enemy. I believe that such an alignment will also address the 5th column problem that we have.

  15. Getting to the heart of the matter it is evident that the driving energy of the left is their hatred for God and this is why they are so enabling and in sync with the big lie Islam.
    They openly side with it against the 'old outdated Judeo-Christian foundations'
    which they work tirelessly to destroy and replace with their evil,totalitarian darkness where they sit as God.
    The state must replace God.
    This is what they have in common with their Islamist friends,that and haSatan the father of lies and everything dark and ugly which they allow and follow with religious devotion except for 1 thing.

    Israel is too much a reminder of God and this is why they unite with Islam to weaken and destroy it.

    "For whoever finds me finds life, And obtains favor from the LORD;
    But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul;
    All those who hate me love death."
    Proverbs 8

  16. Mindreader suggested that the 'problem' could be solved with education. It can't. Many (possibly most) highly educated Muslims in the West have exactly the same prejudices and beliefs in fanatical conspiracy theories as those in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East. And the Pakistanis are potentially the biggest problem of all.

    It took many years to de-Nazify Germany after WW2 even though that highly educated population had only been subjected to 11 years of Nazi brainwashing. How long will it take to de-Islamify the Muslim world when they have been subjected to the same propaganda for 1300 years?

  17. Anonymous1/12/11

    Hello Mr. Greenberg, I see that Erdogan is not very popular with you, is he now? I have been reading this blog for quite some time, and I generally agree with 99% of what you say, however, (in my humble opinion) I find that you are quite pessimist at times with respect to Israel's future, and perhaps a bit too condemning of Islam in general.

    For instance, Arabs from the UAE are obviously Arabs too like those Arabs from Misr (it is wrong to call them Egyptian) but they will never under any circumstances show disrespect to a western woman, no matter how careless she might have been with her attire.

    I will tell you a couple of things about Egypt. (I have lived and worked in many middle eastern countries).

    First off, 'Egypt' is the Arab Republic of Egypt. Virtually all Muslims living in Egypt, when asked in Arabic if they are Egyptian or Arab, they will reply 'Arab'. On the contrary, the Christian Copts, actually the descendants of true Egyptians, will always answer 'Egyptian'. Copts also speak a non-Arab dialect of the original Demotic Egyptian, the final form of evolution of Ancient Egyptian. So, Egypt is a country peopled by Arabs, Bedouins and Egyptian Christian Copts.

    That said, Egypt is a country of average wealth, with very, very poor inhabitants who are also generally illiterate and have extremely poor general education. Corruption is rampant, and many people are unemployed.

    There are far too many social problems, and some people tend to blame the USA and Israel for everything like you said. However, the people are generally mild and good-natured regardless if they are Arab or Egyptian.

    Egypt is tremendously important to the US because of the Suez Canal, which means that the US will do everything in her power to stabilize Egypt under her new AKP-style government, and will most probably succeed. My guess is that the MB will pursue a moderate policy when in power with AKP as a model. They know that they will starve if they don't, as America is literally feeding them by the spoon (they are importing most of their grain from the US of A in token prices, which is carried by Greek Merchant ships). I mention this for you to see that the help they are getting from the US is much more important and of greater magnitude than the mere monetary assistance that you are aware of.

    In short terms, the US more-or-less runs Egypt, and the Egyptian Elite is quite cool with that. What you see happening now I would call necessary upheaval, as like you yourself have noted, the era of the Ba'ath model of governance in the Levant has come to an end, and they must come up with something new, which will fool the people in tolerating them for another 20-30 years.

    BTW, everything you have written about sexual harassment on the streets of Egypt is more-or-less true, it happens to all western women, even Sfaradi or Mizrahi Israeli women who tan easily in the summer. It typically happens in crowded streets or markets or anywhere people tend to move through the crowd. Simple way for women to avoid this is to just wear a black scarf, sunglasses and a skirt and pretend to be a bit subdued. This would never happen in the Emirates or Qatar but it does happen in Egypt.

    Lastly, you can imagine that I am not quite the greatest fan of Islam in the world, however, putting too much emphasis on stating the same and the same things over and over again, sometimes tends to fetch the opposite result from that one might have sought in the first place. This is especially true when one addresses a mainly North American audience who generally tend to have very limited experience with Islam, or none at all.



  18. moshe1/12/11

    So, the first round results are out in Egypt. 47% FJP (Moslem Brotherhood) 27-33% al-Noor (Salafi). The seculars split the rest. It's going to be a fine struggle for power between the Ikwan and the Salafis.

    However, delusions to the contrary, nothing will stop the efforts of the international Left to destroy Israel. There are no rational reasons underpinning this effort. It is therefore impervious to reality. The sole reason for its existence is the fundamental Law of Nature, as omnipresent and immutable as Universal Gravitation -- Esav soneh et Ya'akov. Laws of nature do not change because of circumstances, nor do the effects they generate go away on a whim.

  19. The UAE will never show disrespect to a woman because of her attire?

    This is a country where Western women have been jailed for being alone in a room with a man. I won't mention their treatment of rape victims


    The Emiratis are if anything worse than Egyptians and there's a reason they're hated in the Arab world.

    There aren't any rape mobs in the UAE, but that's due to basic differences in wealth and population status. When you can just import all the prostitutes you want because people live well that's less likely to happen.

    As for Egypt, yes the MB is likely to model the AKP, which just means they'll suck up as much money and weapons from the US as they can while radicalizing the country until they're ready to make the break.

    I don't know about your last point, repetition sometimes gets the message through, but I try to vary the way I say things as well.

  20. Finally as far as being pessimistic, I would be happy to be shown to be wrong by future developments, but it's better to warn people that there's a crisis than to assume all will be well.

    shabbat shalom


  21. Anonymous2/12/11

    Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...it's better to warn people that there's a crisis than to assume all will be well.

    The crisis is already well and truly upon us, as till now, we are doing noting about it - which makes it worse.

    When we start the counter Jihad in earnest, it will appear as a crisis, but in fact will be the beginning of liberation.

  22. DP111, it will not be that. It will be the rise of a new Europe under the domination of Germany and the church, which has it's own hideous history of blood letting that makes what goes on today look like a Sunday school picnic by comparison.

  23. Have a happy Shabat Daniel. I hope that's not sacrilegious.

  24. @Lemon

    LOL, so the Catholic Church is going to rise again and institute the Inquisition?

    Yeah, it's not islamofascism we have to worry about, it's the CC. ;^)

  25. Anonymous3/12/11

    cornholio, if you are concerned about nuclear detonation in infidel countries, you just dont understand the real threat, and that is stealth jihad, which has already succeeded in europe, and will surely subdue north america, unless a drastic change in western thinking occurs. the most likely thing to change western thinking would be a few nukes detonated in infidel countries. if 9-11 wasnt enough to cause the united states to expel its muslim invaders, which any reasonable people would have done, possibly a few nukes will save us.

  26. Daniel, who is the islamic nutcase in the picture w/the zabiba?

  27. Anonymous6/12/11


    Fortunately, ordinary Germans as well as the constitution of Germany, will prevent that ugly scenario.

  28. I doubt it DP111. I doubt it seriously.

  29. Anonymous17/10/13

    Thomas Friedman is an excellent example of what's wrong with liberals. They're in love with their own delusional view of the world.


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