American Universities Are Rehabilitating a Convicted Terrorist

In December, Sami al-Arian, a former professor of computer science, took part in an Indiana University-sponsored discussion of terrorism. While a computer scientist without specific expertise in cybersecurity might seem an unlikely candidate for such a panel, al-Arian has the additional qualification of being a convicted terrorist. David May and Melissa Sacks write:

Al-Arian was arrested in 2003 and sentenced in 2006 to 57 months in prison for conspiring to aid Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), an Iran-backed and U.S.-designated terrorist organization. . . . PIJ attacks have killed more than 100 people, including at least two American students. The group continues to plot attacks against Israeli civilians, and its decades-long campaign of firing rockets at Israeli population centers reached new heights in August 2022.

In his guilty plea, al-Arian, who worked as a computer-science professor at the University of South Florida (USF), confessed that he and several other co-conspirators were associated with the PIJ from the late 1980s to mid-1990s. PIJ members and associates used the university as cover to enter the United States. At USF, al-Arian co-founded a think tank and charity, both of which served as fronts for the PIJ in America.

Ignoring all this evidence, and despite his guilty plea, al-Arian has tried to present himself as an innocent victim of counterterrorism overreach. After more than a decade of litigation surrounding a related contempt-of-court indictment, the United States deported al-Arian to Turkey in 2015. But this did not stop him from rejoining American academic circles.

Following al-Arian’s 2006 conviction, the sentencing judge described al-Arian as a “master manipulator.” Nearly seventeen years later, al-Arian continues to pose as a professor while recruiting sympathetic colleagues to help him whitewash terrorism.

Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Academia, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Terrorism

Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy