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Fri, June 04, 2010 | Gaza Flotilla’s Leader Explains: It Was a Jihadist Attack not a “Humanitarian” Operation | By Barry Rubin

Bülent Yildirim, the main organizer of the Gaza Flotilla, explained at a Hamas rally in Gaza that the operation was no humanitarian effort but part of a global Jihad to overthrow governments and install Islamist dictatorships. He made no secret of that fact, as shown in the MEMRI translation and video.

Keep in mind as you read this that his group originated the project and was the main funder, that his followers controlled the biggest ship, and that they were most of those who attacked the Israeli soldiers. Thus, more than any other individual, Yildirim represents the thinking behind the operation, its direction, and the creation of a militarized group on board that started the violence in order to achieve the intended result. Notice, too, that he–and thus the organizers of the operation and those who created the violence–are totally indifferent to the loss of life they cause.

“My brothers,” he begins, “I have brought you the blessings of Saladin and Sultan Abd Al-Hamid. There are 70 million Sultan Abd Al-Hamids in Turkey, and they all support you. We congratulate you on your victory.”

Saladin, of course, defeated the Crusaders and destroyed their kingdoms, an analogy often used by Jihadists to describe what they are going to do to Israel by Jihadists. Sultan Abd al-Hamid was the last of the Ottoman Empire’s Islamic-oriented rulers. He thus represents what Yildirim sees as an Islamist Turkish state. He was also a caliph, that is, the leader of the Muslim world as successor to Muhammad. Many Islamists want to reestablish the caliphate, a single Muslim ruler over the whole Muslim-majority world (or even the whole world, period). The Turkish Islamists hate the Turkish Republic because it ended the caliphate.

Their goal, therefore, is not to succor the people of Gaza but to wipe out Israel and kill the Jews as “rightful” (his idea, not mine) successors to Muhammad who will fulfill his mandate. Again, I’m not saying this is what Islam is but that is the view of the revolutionary Islamists:

“Three to four years ago, some claimed that Hamas was a terrorist organization. When the Jews would kill our women and children, they would say: ‘Muhammad died and left only daughters.’ We are here, in Turkey, in Egypt, Syria, and everywhere, and our daughters and our boys can also defeat you.”

Yildirim continues: “Allah Akbar. Allah be praised. Allah Akbar. Allah be praised. Allah Akbar. Allah be praised. They have bombs, nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, but we have our hearts, we have our courage, and we are not afraid of anyone but Allah.”

This is the typical Islamist trope: they are stronger but we court martyrdom and we have the deity on our side. Of course, it is always better if the other side is never allowed to use its weapons in self-defense because that is deemed illegitimate and your Jihad is interpreted as a peaceful humanitarian effort by those who don’t listen to what you are actually saying.

Incidentally, the Arabic Translator says:

“They have used their nuclear and chemical weapons, and all their weapons, but all we have, after Allah, are our courageous hearts and our men.”

Note the difference. Yildrim only says they have the weapons, but Hamas—in its decidedly non-moderate way—says these weapons have been used. I hesitate to say it but we may soon be seeing claims that the Israeli soldiers used chemical weapons on the ship. Oh, yes, that claim has already surfaced in non-Muslim Portugal.

Yildirim adds: “Let me tell you that if it were not for the ceasefire, Istanbul, Ankara, Diyarbakir, and all of Turkey would be in Gaza.”

The ceasefire is that between Hamas and Israel. In other words, if the fighting renews, all Turks would go and fight for Hamas. This is not realistic, of course, but is a sign that Yildirim views the issue as a war of extermination against Israel. And, by the way, if he is advocating war this shows he puts Jihad and battle over the humanitarian well-being of Gazans. How many Gazans would be killed in that war? And what would those casualties be in terms of suffering compared to the delivery of outdated medicines and various other goods in the ships?

Yildirim continues by saying that if Allah so wills there will be no more embargo. This would mean, of course, that Hamas could get all the arms and military equipment it wants. Notice he doesn’t call for an easing of the embargo just to let in humanitarian needs and consumer goods. But wait! If Hamas spends the money on arms then that will reduce the living standards of Gazans!

So Yildirim, like Hamas, tells the people of Gaza: Don’t moderate! Don’t make peace with your neighbors! Fight the Jihad and be a martyr! Raise your children to be suicide bombers! And if the embargo is reduced and Western countries cozy up to Hamas there is good news and bad news.

The good news is that Gazans may get more consumer goods.

The bad news is that for the rest of their lives they will be forced to fight an endless war, suffer huge casualties, undergo material deprivations, lose their children to either mindless extremism or death, and live under an oppressive regime that will repress any freedom and turn women into chattel.

How humanitarian is that?

Then Yildirim threatens to overthrow any government that doesn’t support Hamas. Think of how the Egyptians, Saudis, and other governments feel about that:

Bülent Yildirim: “From here, I call upon all the leaders of the Islamic world, and upon all the peoples… Anyone who does not stand alongside Palestine – his throne will be toppled.”

Yildirim does not see the Western outpouring of criticism against Israel as increasing humanitarian sentiments but as a step toward Islamist revolution and the takeover of more countries:

Bülent Yildirim: “Last night, everything in the world has changed, and everything is progressing towards Islam. All the peoples of the Islamic world would want a leader like Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.”

Here is a direct pledge of allegiance to Turkey’s prime minister, the man behind the operation. So if Yildirim is a revolutionary Islamist who wants to destroy Israel, favors Jihad, and threatens moderate Arab regimes does that mean Erdogan, that model of a “moderate” Muslim “democrat” agree? Would he dissociate himself from Yildrim’s remarks?

Of course not.

Bülent Yildirim: “In conclusion, let me tell you, oh my Palestinian brothers, who are guarded by Allah and the angels – I wish we could take you away from here to Istanbul, and bring Istanbul here to be hit by the bombs instead of you.”

I wonder how the people of Istanbul generally feel about that wish? But if Erdogan continues with his adventurist, pro-Jihadist policies of alliance with Iran and Syria, who knows how much violence, instability, and suffering it will bring to the Turkish people? And that’s not a threat, it is a genuine fear for the well-being of a Turkish nation in the grip of such mad men and their patrons.

And if you have any doubt left about the nature of these “peace activists” and “humanitarians” just watch this in which the ship’s radio operators tell Israelis: A. go back to Auschwitz; B. We’re doing this against the United States and remember September 11. [Note: These are extracts from the exchanges over the radio.]


About the author:

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). His new edited books include Lebanon: Liberation, Conflict and Crisis; Guide to Islamist Movements; Conflict and Insurgency in the Middle East; The West and the Middle East (four volumes); and The Muslim Brotherhood. To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books go here. To see or subscribe to his blog, Rubin Reports, go here.


4 Comments to “Gaza Flotilla’s Leader Yildirim Explains That It Was a Jihadist Attack”

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  3. avatar Elisabeth says:

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