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Derinkuyu, or: the allure of the underground city

Derinkuyu, or: the allure of the underground city

My friend Robert and I finished reading Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us almost simultaneously – and we both noted one specific passage.

Before we get to that, however, the premise of Weisman’s book – though it does, more often than not, drift away from this otherwise fascinating central narrative – is: what would happen to the Earth if humans disappeared overnight? What would humans leave behind – and how long would those remnants last?
These questions lead Weisman at one point to discuss the underground cities of Cappadocia, Turkey, which, he says, will outlast nearly everything else humans have constructed here on Earth.

Manhattan will be gone, Los Angeles gone, Cape Canaveral flooded and covered with seaweed, London dissolving into post-Britannic muck, the Great Wall of China merely an undetectable line of minerals blowing across an abandoned landscape – but there, beneath the porous surface of Turkey, carved directly into tuff, there will still be underground cities.

Of course, I’m not entirely convinced by Weisman’s argument here – not that I have expertise in the field – but Turkey is a very seismically active country, for instance, and… it just doesn’t seem likely that these cities will be the last human traces to remain. But that’s something for another conversation.
In any case, Weisman writes:

No one knows how many underground cities lie beneath Cappadocia. Eight have been discovered, and many smaller villages, but there are doubtless more. The biggest, Derinkuyu, wasn’t discovered until 1965, when a resident cleaning the back wall of his cave house broke through a wall and discovered behind it a room that he’d never seen, which led to still another, and another. Eventually, spelunking archeologists found a maze of connecting chambers that descended at least 18 stories and 280 feet beneath the surface, ample enough to hold 30,000 people – and much remains to be excavated. One tunnel, wide enough for three people walking abreast, connects to another underground town six miles away. Other passages suggest that at one time all of Cappadocia, above and below the ground, was linked by a hidden network. Many still use the tunnels of this ancient subway as cellar storerooms.

I was excited to learn, meanwhile, that another – quite possibly larger – underground Cappadocian city, called Gaziemir, was only opened to tourists this summer (someone send me, please!), having been discovered in January 2007 (a discovery which doesn’t seem to have made the news outside Turkey).
So the next time the ground you’re walking on sounds hollow – perhaps it is… Whole new cities beneath our feet!

I was also excited to read, meanwhile, that these subsurface urban structures are acoustically sophisticated. In other words, Weisman writes, using “vertical communication shafts, it was possible to speak to another person on any level” down below. It’s a kind of geological party line, or terrestrial resonating gourd.

There were even ancient microbreweries down there, “equipped with tuff fermentation vats and basalt grinding wheels.”

Meanwhile, Robert, my co-reader of Weisman’s book, pointed out that the discovery of Derinkuyu, by a man who simply “broke through a wall and discovered behind it a room that he’d never seen, which led to still another, and another,” is surely the ultimate undiscovered room fantasy – and I have to agree.
However, it also reminded me of a scene from Foucault’s Pendulum – which is overwhelmingly my favorite novel (something I say with somewhat embarrassed hesitation because no one I have ever recommended it to – literally no one – not a single person! – has enjoyed, or even finished reading, it) – where we read about a French town called Provins.

In the novel, a deluded ex-colonel from the Italian military explains to two academic publishers that “something” has been in Provins “since prehistoric times: tunnels. A network of tunnels – real catacombs – extends beneath the hill.”

The man continues:

Some tunnels lead from building to building. You can enter a granary or a warehouse and come out in a church. Some tunnels are constructed with columns and vaulted ceilings. Even today, every house in the upper city still has a cellar with ogival vaults – there must be more than a hundred of them. And every cellar has an entrance to a tunnel.

The editors to whom this story has been told call the colonel out on this, pressing for more details, looking for evidence of what he claims. But the colonel parries – and then forges on. After all, he’s an ex-Fascist.
He’ll say what he likes.
As the colonel goes on, his story gets stranger: in 1894, he says, two Chevaliers went to visit an old granary in Provins, where they asked to be taken down into the tunnels.

Accompanied by the caretaker, they went down into one of the subterranean rooms, on the second level belowground. When the caretaker, trying to show that there were other levels even farther down, stamped on the earth, they heard echoes and reverberations. [The Chevaliers] promptly fetched lanterns and ropes and went into the unknown tunnels like boys down a mine, pulling themselves forward on their elbows, crawling through mysterious passages. [They soon] came to a great hall with a fine fireplace and a dry well in the center. They tied a stone to a rope, lowered it, and found that the well was eleven meters deep. They went back a week later with stronger ropes, and two companions lowered [one of the Chevaliers] into the well, where he discovered a big room with stone walls, ten meters square and five meters high. The others then followed him down.

So a few quick points:
1) Today’s city planners need to read more things like this! How exciting would it be if you could visit your grandparents in some small town somewhere, only to find that a door in the basement, which you thought led to a closet… actually opens up onto an underground Home Depot? Or a chapel. Or their neighbor’s house.
2) Do humans no longer build interesting subterranean structures like this – with the exception of militaries, where, to paraphrase Jonathan Glancey, we still see the architectural imagination at full flight – and I’m referring here to things like Yucca Mountain, something that would surely be too ambitious for almost any architectural design studio today – because they lack the imagination, or because of insurance liability? Is it possible that architectural critics today are lambasting the wrong people? It’s not that Daniel Libeskind or Peter Eisenman or Frank Gehry are boring, it’s simply that they’ve been hemmed in by unimaginative insurance regulations… Is insurance to blame for the state of contemporary architecture?
And if you called up State Farm to insure an underground city… what would happen?
Or if you tried to get UPS to deliver a package there?

[Image: A map, altered by BLDGBLOG, of an underground Cappadocian metropolis].

In any case, underground cities are far too broad and popular an idea to cover in one post – there’s even a Stephen King story about a maze of tunnels discovered beneath some kind of garment factory in Maine, where cleaners find a new, monstrous species of rat – and I’ve written about these subterranean worlds before. For instance, in Tokyo Secret City and in London Topological.
While I’m on the subject, then, London seems actually to be constructed more on re-buttressed volumes of air than it is on solid ground.
As Anthony Clayton writes in his Subterranean City: Beneath the Streets of London:

The heart of modern London contains a vast clandestine underworld of tunnels, telephone exchanges, nuclear bunkers and control centres… [s]ome of which are well documented, but the existence of others can be surmised only from careful scrutiny of government reports and accounts and occassional accidental disclosures reported in the news media.

Meanwhile, I can’t stop thinking about the fact that some of the underground cities in Cappadocia have not been fully explored. I also can’t help but wonder if more than two thousand years’ worth of earthquakes might not have collapsed some passages, or even shifted whole subcity systems, so that they are no longer accessible – and, thus, no longer known.
Could some building engineer one day shovel through the Earth’s surface and find a brand new underground city – or might not some archaeologist, scanning the hills with ground-penetrating radar, stumble upon an anomalous void, linked to other voids, and the voids lead to more voids, and he’s discovered yet another long-lost city?
It’s also worth pointing out, quickly, that there is a Jean Reno film, called Empire of the Wolves, that is at least partially set inside a subsurface Cappadocian complex. What’s interesting about this otherwise uninteresting film is that it uses the carved heads and statuary of Cappadocia not at all unlike the way Alfred Hitchcock used Mount Rushmore in his film North by Northwest: the final action scenes of both films take place literally on the face of the Earth.
In any case, I should be returning to the topic of underground cities quite soon.

SOURCE

Secret US Plot to wage war on Syria revealed!

US plot to wage Syria war revealed

Informed sources in Syria say they have discovered a pre-fabricated US scenario for the country’s future, seeking to wage war against the nation from various fronts, Press TV reports.

The sources said the US strategy includes attacks on Syrian diplomatic missions abroad. According to the American scenario, the Syrian opposition abroad would engage in taking over the country’s diplomatic missions and use them as bases for directing and carrying out terrorist activities within the country.

The US plan is set to refer Syria to UN’s human rights commission and the General Assembly on November 23 as well as the the International Criminal Court in an effort to formally declare the Damascus government as a “war criminal,” sources say.

The American scenario also provides a role for Turkey in a NATO defense ministers’ meeting, in which Ankara would be commissioned to move its forces across the Syrian border in an effort to establish a buffer zone inside Syria and facilitate the supply of weaponry and arms to the so-called ‘contra forces‘ inside the country and trigger insurgency activities and potentially a civil war across the nation.

Wahhabi insurgents based in the Syrian city of Tripoli would then launch attacks on the border villages of the country.

Moreover, the Syrian sources said, the US scheme provides that the Israeli regime, along with Jordan, would also declare their readiness to engage in military operations against Damascus.

The latest discovery comes as the Arab League (AL) announced the suspension of Syria during an emergency session in the Egyptian capital of Cairo on Saturday and called for the imposition of sanctions against Syria.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem has described the AL decision as “illegitimate and dangerous.”

The Arab League has also proposed to dispatch an observer mission of 30-50 members to Syria in a supposed effort to end unrest in the country.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March, with demonstrations held both in favor of and against President Bashar al-Assad.

Millions of Syrians took to the streets in several cities across the country on Sunday to condemn the Arab League decision and its siding with US-led anti-Syria measures. Demonstrators also expressed their support for the government of President Assad.

SOURCE

Japan, Turkey, Poland, Mexico the Rising World Powers?

Japan, Turkey, Poland, Mexico the Rising World Powers?

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Talk about taking the long view. Stratfor founder George Friedman takes a stab at predicting what the world will look like a hundred years from now in a provocative forthcoming book, The Next 100 Years.

Contrary to those who see the rise of China as the next major historical development, Friedman argues that the next century will continue to to be dominated by the United States.

There are many who predict that China is the next challenger to the United States, not Russia. I don’t agree with that view for three reasons. First, when you look at a map of China closely, you see that it is really a very isolated country physically. Second, China has not been a major naval power for centuries, and building a navy requires a long time not only to build ships but to create well-trained and experienced sailors.

Third, there is a deeper reason for not worrying about China. China is inherently unstable. Whenever it opens its borders to the outside world, the coastal region becomes prosperous, but the vast majority of Chinese in the interior remain impoverished. This leads to tension, conflict, and instability. It also leads to economic decisions made for political reasons, resulting in inefficiency and corruption.

The inherent power of the United States coupled with its geographic position makes the United States the pivotal actor of the twenty-first century.

Friedman sees Japan, Turkey, Poland and Mexico potentially emerging a major players on the world political stage.

With a history of militarism, Japan will not remain the marginal pacifistic power it has been. It cannot. Its own deep population problems and abhorrence of large- scale immigration will force it to look for new workers in other countries.

Turkey is a stable platform in the midst of chaos. The Balkans, the Caucasus, and the Arab world to the south are all unstable. As Turkey’s power grows — and its economy and military are already the most powerful in the region — so will Turkish influence.

Two factors make Poland’s reemergence as a world power possible.

First will be the decline of Germany. Its economy is large and still growing, but it has lost the dynamism it has had for two centuries. In addition, its population is going to fall dramatically in the next fifty years, further undermining its economic power. Second, as the Russians press on the Poles from the east, the Germans won’t have an appetite for a third war with Russia. The United States, however, will back Poland, providing it with massive economic and technical support. Wars — when your country isn’t destroyed—stimulate economic growth, and Poland will become the leading power in a coalition of states facing the Russians.

Finally, Mexico will be emboldened by the population bust in the developed world that will create a major labor shortage in advanced industrial countries, Friedman argues.

The United States will be competing for increasingly scarce immigrants and will be doing everything it can to induce Mexicans to come to the United States—an ironic but inevitable shift.

These changes will lead to the final crisis of the twenty-first century. As the Europeans slip out, the Mexicans, like the Turks, will rise in the rankings until by the late twenty-first century they will be one of the major economic powers in the world. During the great migration north encouraged by the United States, the population balance in the old Mexican Cession (that is, the areas of the United States taken from Mexico in the nineteenth century) will shift dramatically until much of the region is predominantly Mexican.

By 2080 I expect there to be a serious confrontation between the United States and an increasingly powerful and assertive Mexico. That confrontation may well have unforeseen consequences for the United States, and will likely not end by 2100.

SOURCE

Turkey emerging as leader in North Africa and Arab world

Turkey emerging as leader in North Africa, Arab world, says EP member

A former Belgian prime minister and a member of the European Parliament has said Turkey is emerging as a leader of the North African and Arab world while praising the country’s attitude toward the public demand for democracy and reforms in those regions.

Guy Verhofstadt, who served as the Belgian prime minister from 1999 to 2008 and is currently a member of the European Parliament and leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), spoke to Sunday’s Zaman in an exclusive interview. ALDE is the third-largest political group in the 736-member European Parliament.

“I find the position of Turkey very courageous [toward public revolutions in the Arab world and North Africa] and very important for the rest of the world. And I don’t think that Turkey is isolated. Actually, the opposite is true — because Turkey is becoming the political leader, I should say, of a whole range of countries from reformed Morocco, democratic Tunisia, Libya without Gaddafi and Egypt that still has to find its way in the next month, in the next year and a number of other countries.

I see Turkey emerging as a leader for a whole new region in North Africa and the Arab world,” Verhofstadt said.

Since the beginning of the public revolts in the Arab world and North Africa early this year, which has so far resulted in the toppling of some long-time dictators, Turkey has been calling on these countries to heed the demands of their people to expand democracy and freedoms while calling on them to avoid the use of violence against anti-government protesters.

Verhofstadt also praised Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an’s messages on secularism during a tour of Arab Spring nations last month, saying that he found Erdo?an’s remarks honest.

During a televised interview in Egypt, Erdo?an urged Egyptians to not be afraid of secularism and that they should embrace it. “A devout Muslim can successfully govern a secular state,” he said.

“I think he is very honest about what he said in Egypt. Mr. Erdo?an is personally a Muslim, that’s very clear; he has repeated that several times already. But on the other hand, when it comes to the political aspect of the issue and the way a state is organized, the state has to be secular. Otherwise you end up mixing up religion and politics and that’s always a bad thing. So I think it is one of the big achievements of Turkey that it has created a society that is democratic, albeit with some problems from time to time, but it is basically democratic and secular and thus keeps religion and politics separate and gives freedom of religion to everybody. The values that are emerging now in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya are not Western values; they are values for the whole world. They are universal values, indeed,”
he said.

Verhofstadt was in Turkey earlier this month with an EU delegation. They visited the party groups in Parliament. Sharing his impressions from the Turkey visit, he said he saw a Turkey that is in good shape economically, with growth figures around 9 to 10 percent.

He said the reason for his visit was the relationship between Turkey and the European Union, which is not in a good state at the moment. Verhofstadt acknowledged that Turkey’s negotiations with the EU are blocked at the moment while voicing his belief that the year 2012 could be a crucial year for unblocking the negotiations.

EU countries unanimously agreed to open official accession talks with Turkey in 2005 before German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy came to power. Sarkozy claims Turkey does not belong in Europe, while Merkel promotes a “privileged partnership” that falls short of membership, a formula Ankara categorically rejects. In Berlin in May 2009, Merkel and Sarkozy made a joint statement declaring that they shared a common position regarding Turkey’s accession to the EU in that it should be offered a privileged partnership, not full EU membership.

Although having started accession negotiations with the EU in 2005, Turkey has only been able to open talks on 13 out of 35 chapters thus far, and talks have been provisionally completed on only one chapter.

Verhofstadt said he is in favor of full accession for Turkey into the European Union, and he does not believe in other alternatives such as privileged partnership.

“Because, in fact, Turkish people also don’t want this [privileged partnership]. They want to be part of the European Union. And I think because of the economic strength of Turkey and at the same time the political weight of Turkey in the region, there are more reasons today than there were two or three years ago to support the full accession of Turkey,”
he said.

When asked whether progress in Turkey’s accession talks is possible without a change of attitude by Germany and France regarding Turkey’s membership, he said he finds the year 2012 crucial as change is possible in the political leadership in Europe and in a number of other countries.

“That’s one of the opportunities. The second opportunity is that I think everybody accepts that we create a new, positive political agenda between Turkey and the European Union based, for example, on the facilitation and liberalization of visas. This is a very important thing,”
he added.

The EU offers a limited explanation as to why Turkey is the only EU candidate country that is not exempt from visa requirements, while the usual spectacle of long lines and waiting times for Schengen visas in front of EU member country embassies significantly add to the distaste felt by society.

Verhofstadt also dwelled on the claims of some Turks who say Turkey no longer needs the EU because it has a very strong economy. He said this kind of thinking is wrong because a huge part of the gross national product of Turkey is created by exports to the EU.

“Look to the European Union and certainly the eurozone as an internal market of 400-500 million people, who are consumers at the same time. I think Turkey has an enormous interest in investing in that internal market and having full access to that. And in the end, that is the aim of full membership in the EU, naturally, that Turkey becomes a part of that internal market. So, I think it would be a mistake to follow those who say ‘the center of gravity is shifting to the north of Africa.’ I think Turkey has a role to play as the bridge between the European Union on the one side and the democratic Arab world and a democratic North Africa on the other,” he said.

SOURCE

Turkey Predicts Alliance With Egypt as Regional Anchors

By ANTHONY SHADID

Burhan Ozbilici/Associated Press

Turkey’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, predicted an “axis of democracy” in his region.

The portrait was described by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey in an hourlong interview before he was to leave for the United Nations, where a contentious debate was expected this week over a Palestinian bid for recognition as a state. Viewed by many as the architect of a foreign policy that has made Turkey one of the most relevant players in the Muslim world, Mr. Davutoglu pointed to that issue and others to describe a region in the midst of a transformation. Turkey, he said, was “right at the center of everything.”

He declared that Israel was solely responsible for the near collapse in relations with Turkey, once an ally, and he accused Syria’s president of lying to him after Turkish officials offered the government there a “last chance” to salvage power by halting its brutal crackdown on dissent.

Strikingly, he predicted a partnership between Turkey and Egypt, two of the region’s militarily strongest and most populous and influential countries, which he said could create a new axis of power at a time when American influence in the Middle East seems to be diminishing.

“This is what we want,”
Mr. Davutoglu said.

“This will not be an axis against any other country — not Israel, not Iran, not any other country, but this will be an axis of democracy, real democracy,
” he added. “That will be an axis of democracy of the two biggest nations in our region, from the north to the south, from the Black Sea down to the Nile Valley in Sudan.”

His comments came after a tour last week by Turkish leaders — Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Mr. Davutoglu among them — of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, the three Arab countries that have undergone revolutions this year. His criticism of old allies and embrace of new ones underscored the confidence of Turkey these days, as it tries to position itself on the winning side in a region unrecognizable from a year ago.

Unlike an anxious Israel, a skeptical Iran and a United States whose regional policy has been criticized as seeming muddled and even contradictory at times, Turkey has recovered from early missteps to offer itself as a model for democratic transition and economic growth at a time when the Middle East and northern Africa have been seized by radical change. The remarkably warm reception of Turkey in the Arab world — a region Turks once viewed with disdain — is a development almost as seismic as the Arab revolts and revolutions themselves.

Mr. Davutoglu credited a “psychological affinity” between Turkey and much of the Arab world, which was ruled by the Ottoman Empire for four centuries from Istanbul.

The foreign minister, 52, remains more scholar than politician, though he has a diplomat’s knack for bridging divides. Cerebral and soft-spoken, he offered a speech this summer to Libyan rebels in Benghazi — in Arabic. Soon after the revolution in Tunisia, he hailed the people there as the “sons of Ibn Khaldoun,” one of the Arab world’s greatest philosophers, born in Tunis in the 14th century. “We’re not here to teach you,” he said. “You know what to do. Ibn Khaldoun’s grandsons deserve the best political system.”

That sense of cultural affinity has facilitated Turkey’s entry into the region, as has the successful model of Mr. Davutoglu’s Justice and Development Party, whose deeply pious leaders have won three consecutive elections, presided over a booming economy and inaugurated reform that has made Turkey a more liberal, modern and confident place. Mr. Erdogan’s defense of Palestinian rights and criticism of Israel — relations between Turkey and Israel collapsed after Israeli troops killed nine people on board a Turkish flotilla trying to break the blockade of Gaza in 2010 — has bolstered his popularity.

Last week, Mr. Erdogan was afforded a rapturous welcome in Egypt, where thoroughfares were adorned with his billboard-size portraits. (“Lend us Erdogan for a month!” wrote a columnist in Al Wafd, an Egyptian newspaper.)

Mr. Davutolglu, who accompanied him there, said Egypt would become the focus of Turkish efforts, as an older American-backed order, buttressed by Israel, Saudi Arabia and, to a lesser extent, prerevolutionary Egypt, begins to crumble. On the vote over a Palestinian state, the United States, in particular, finds itself almost completely isolated.

He also predicted that Turkey’s $1.5 billion investment in Egypt would grow to $5 billion within two years and that total trade would increase to $5 billion, from $3.5 billion now, by the end of 2012, then $10 billion by 2015. As if to underscore the importance Turkey saw in economic cooperation, 280 businessmen accompanied the Turkish delegation, and Mr. Davutoglu said they signed about $1 billion in contracts in a single day.

“For democracy, we need a strong economy,
” he said.

Other countries — Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel — would undoubtedly look upon an Egyptian-Turkish axis with alarm. Just a year ago, Egypt’s own president, Hosni Mubarak, viewed Turkey, and Mr. Erdogan in particular, with skepticism and suspicion. But in the view of Mr. Davutoglu, such an alliance was a force for stability.

“For the regional balance of power, we want to have a strong, very strong Egypt,” said Mr. Davutoglu, who has visited the Egyptian capital five times since Mr. Mubarak was overthrown in February. “Some people may think Egypt and Turkey are competing. No. This is our strategic decision. We want a strong Egypt now.”

The phrase “zero problems” is a famous dictum written by Mr. Davutoglu, who served as Mr. Erdogan’s chief foreign policy adviser before becoming foreign minister. By it, he meant that Turkey would strive to end conflicts with its neighbors. Successes have been few. Problems remain with Armenia, and Turkey was unable to resolve the conflict in Cyprus, still divided into Greek and Turkish zones. Turkey’s agreement to host a radar installation as part of a NATO missile defense system has rankled neighboring Iran.

Most spectacularly, its relations with Israel collapsed after the Israeli government refused a series of Turkish demands that followed the attack on the boat: an apology, compensation for the victims and a lifting of Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip.

“Nobody can blame Turkey or any other country in the region for its isolation,” he said of Israel. “It was Israel and the government’s decision to isolate themselves. And they will be isolated even more if they continue this policy of rejecting any proposal.”

Caught by surprise by the Arab revolts — as pretty much everyone was — Turkey staggered. At least $15 billion in investments were lost in the civil war in Libya, and Turkish diplomats initially opposed NATO’s intervention. For years, Turkey cultivated ties with Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, seeing Syria as its fulcrum for integrating the region’s economies. Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Assad counted themselves as friends.

Syria’s failure to — as Mr. Davutoglu put it — heed Turkey’s advice has wrecked relations, and Turkey is now hosting Syrian opposition conferences and groups.

Last month, in meetings that lasted more than six hours, Mr. Davutoglu said Mr. Assad agreed on a Turkish road map — announcing a specific date for parliamentary elections by year’s end, repealing a constitutional provision that enshrined power in the ruling Baath Party, drafting a constitution by the newly elected Parliament and then holding another election once the constitution decided between a presidential or a parliamentary system. Despite face-to-face assurances, Mr. Assad did not follow through.

“For us, that was the last chance,” Mr. Davutoglu said.

Asked if he felt betrayed, he replied, “Yes, of course.”

Mr. Davutoglu accused Mr. Assad of “not fulfilling promises and not telling the truth.”

“This is the illusion of autocratic regimes,”
he said. “They think that in a few days they will control the situation. Not today, but tomorrow, next week, next month. They don’t see. And this is a vicious circle.”

SOURCE

Mutually Assured Destruction

Will the President and the Congress Send a Message to Turkey and Egypt That An Attack Upon Israel Will Be Viewed As An Attack Upon the U.S.?

By Ed Koch

Israel is now surrounded by Arab and other Muslim nations who believe this is the moment when they can finally destroy the Jewish state. They tried and failed to conquer Israel in five different wars since 1948. They are still trying.

Since the “Arab Spring” revolts in the Arab heartland of Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Syria, opinion-makers in the Western world have sought to glamorize those revolutions by comparing them to those by which eastern European countries freed themselves from Communist regimes imposed on them by the Soviet Union.

So when the uprisings took place against the existing repressive Arab governments, the media labeled the various revolutions the “Arab Spring.” That title was intended to convey that finally, the Arabs, heretofore stuck in medieval times, had come out of those dark ages and were now to be applauded and welcomed to the western world.

Some observers, including myself, have voiced great concern about the blind support in the west, particularly in our government, for the Arab revolutionary movements everywhere. In my view, it was harmful to our own – the U.S. – national security needs to throw the President of Egypt Hosni Mubarak under the bus by demanding his removal as President Obama did. Yes, he was a despot, described as an authoritarian in a world of Muslim dictatorships, but he believed in keeping good relations with the U.S. and keeping the peace with Israel established back in 1978 by Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin at Camp David. Those who overthrew him have made clear that their intention is to end that peace. The forces that are dominant in Egypt today are the military, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists. The goal of the military is to preserve their special niche as the principal governing power. The Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist factions are the strongest politically and most organized of all the civilian groups vying for power in the next presidential election.

As a result of the recent occupation and sacking of the Israeli embassy in Cairo while Egyptian police and army stood by, we know that the current interim Egyptian government has decided to cast aside peace with Israel and go with the Islamists. The Times of September 11th reported, “Egyptian military and security police officers largely stood by without interfering with the demolition. Instead, they clustered at the entrance to the embassy to keep protesters out. The security forces had pulled back from Tahrir Square and other areas before the start of the day to avoid clashes with the protesters, although the military had issued a stern warning on its Facebook page against property destruction.” The Israeli ambassador, his family and other Israeli officials were forced to flee the embassy in fear of their lives. Because of the entreaties of President Obama to the Egyptian government, they were saved from violence and permitted to board Israeli jets to go home to Israel.

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And what of the situation with Turkey? Once a friend of Israel, it now has an Islamist government led by its prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has issued a statement tantamount to a declaration of war. The Times reported on September 10th, “The prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told Al Jazeera, the pan-Arab network, that he would use his warships to prevent Israeli commandos from again boarding a Gaza-bound ship as they did last year, killing nine passengers, and from letting Israel exploit natural gas resources at sea.”

While the United Nations, not normally a defender of Israel, recently issued a report that Israel had a right to blockade Gaza so as to prevent weapons from being brought into the Gaza Strip, now governed by Hamas, Turkey has rejected the report, and expelled the Israeli ambassador. Hamas has declared that it is at war with Israel, and that if it is ever in a position to do so, it will expel every Jew living in Israel who came to Palestine after 1917, and will use violence to achieve its goals. It has intentionally killed innocent civilians, sending thousands of rockets into southern Israel or allowing other terrorist groups to do so.

In addition to Hamas on its southern border, Israel is now facing an increasingly hostile Egypt, with an army of nearly one million and a population of 81 million. To Israel’s north is not only hostile Lebanon and Syria, but now Turkey with an army of one million and a population of 73 million.

It is also disturbing that there is a rising tide of Jew-hatred in Great Britain and in France. In Great Britain, that hatred was recently demonstrated by those who called themselves artists, who disrupted a concert by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zubin Mehta in London on September 1st. The police arrested no one who for a time prevented the audience of 5,000 from enjoying the evening. No speaker supporting Israel is permitted to speak at British universities. They are not invited or hooted down if invited.

France is working with the Palestinians to achieve their admission to the United Nations General Assembly. Israel’s only apparent defender on the European continent is Germany because of the continuous ongoing support of Israel by Chancellor Angela Merkel. I met and heard Chancellor Merkel in 2004 when I attended in Berlin the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) conference on rising anti-Semitism, when I served as chairman of the U.S. delegation. I was impressed by the depths of her sincerity in denouncing anti-Semitism and recognizing the depravity of the German nation under Hitler in its efforts to exterminate world Jewry.

The Muslim nations are undoubtedly licking their chops at what they would do if they were ever to be successful in defeating Israel on the battlefield or at the U.N. which is prepared to serve as the site of today’s Munich. If Assad of Syria is willing to kill innocent men, women and children in the streets and cities in Syria, what do you think he would do if his soldiers patrolled Tel Aviv?

The Arab countries’ threats to destroy Israel, a nation with a total population of 7.7 million, including 1.2 million Muslims, is not receiving front page coverage or denunciations from NATO nation leaders. The revolutionaries making up the “Arab Spring” are lauded by the opinion-makers here in the U.S. and even more so in Europe.

This past Sunday, we commemorated in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Shanksville, Pennsylvania the deaths of more than 3,000 innocent civilians on 9/11, committed by Islamic terrorists whose supporters run into the millions and are now located in at least 62 countries. Our NATO allies never supported the U.S. to the extent they promised when we invaded Afghanistan to punish the Afghan government for providing a refuge for al-Qaeda, which perpetrated the 9/11 atrocities and many others. In my judgment, as harsh as it sounds, many of those NATO countries, including Britain and France, would deliver the Jewish nation into the hands of their putative murderers if it gave them “peace in our time,” just as Chamberlain gave Czechoslovakia to the Nazis. Are we willing here in the U.S. to continue to fight for our precious liberties and support countries like Israel having the same moral and cultural values?

We in America, led by President Obama and Congress, must make it absolutely clear to the Islamist terrorists that we will never surrender. We will hunt them down as we did their leader, Osama bin Laden, and kill them.

The U.S. is Israel’s only friend and ally. It is not foolish or premature to ask what will the U.S. do when and if the Muslim nations surrounding Israel, this time led by Egypt and Turkey, supported by others, assault the Jewish nation? Will the President and the Congress come to its aid? Shouldn’t Israel know now? Shouldn’t the Muslim nations know?

I urge the President and the Congress to do for Israel what President Kennedy did during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. President Kennedy said “It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.”

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