Thursday, May 25, 2017

ISIS is redoubling its efforts - Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror




by Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror

There is no way to completely eradicate Islamic State's brand of terrorism, but Israel's preventative model has much to teach the world.


The atrocious terrorist attack in Manchester on Tuesday was not an isolated incident, and one can hedge that other attacks may take place all over the world. It is highly likely that as the holy month of Ramadan begins on Friday night, Islamic terrorist organizations will redouble their efforts to that effect. Ramadan aside, terrorist attacks will remain the principle effort of the Islamic State for the foreseeable future.



There is no way to completely eradicate this sort of terrorism. The cultural change U.S. President Donald Trump called for in Saudi Arabia, which includes denouncing Islamic extremism and launching an all out war against terrorism, is an issue for generations. It is not at all certain if the leaders of these countries, which gathered in Riyadh to hear Trump, can make the change needed. Some of them notably drew Islamist elements close and have been encouraging them for decades. It will be difficult to end these relationships on such short notice, if at all.


The task of readying countries under the threat of terrorism is not simple, either. Even Israel, which is many times more prepared than most countries to deal with terrorists, is unable to neutralize every terrorist attack as it is in the making.

Israel's advantage can be seen on three fronts: First of all, it has a legal system that enables it to deal with terrorists decisively, and not as just as another criminal act. The main difference compared with other countries is that Israel terrorist prevention organizations, such as the Shin Bet security agency and the police, have the ability to arrest every terror suspect before he has the chance to carry out his nefarious plans. If the arrest in question is based on sensitive intelligence, Israel has the option of employing administrative detention -- approved by the courts, of course, to protect it. 

Moreover, to prevent terrorist attacks in Israel, intelligence gathering may include more invasive measures than those used in most other Western countries and generally speaking, the protocols on the use such intelligence are less restricting. This is the price the Israeli public pays to successfully fight terrorism. There is no such thing as a free lunch -- not here.

Finally, combating terrorism requires cooperation between organizations inside the country, along with a no less tight cooperation with other countries from which terrorists come. Many countries have much to improve on these issues. Israeli experience shows that even though maximum efforts do not promise zero terrorist incidences, they can be reduced drastically.


Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror

Source:  http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=19099

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Despite all the politicians’ clichés of bravery, there is a sickness in our society - and I fear it’s terminal - Katie Hopkins




by Katie Hopkins

Hat tip: Sefton Bergson  (originally from Manchester)


'This country is sick. It is calling out for a doctor. We need to know what will cure us. What action do we take? What do we do? How can we stop the hurt?

I knelt by my bed as I heard the news.
They said eighteen dead at the Ariana Grande concert; now it’s 22. Including an eight year-old. A 16-year-old. Others still missing.
Another terror attack in Britain. A terror attack on our youngest girls, excited, thrilled, filled up by life after watching Ariana Grande perform.
A police officer hugs a young girl outside the Manchester Arena, where a devastating terror attack took place last night  

A police officer hugs a young girl outside the Manchester Arena, where a devastating terror attack took place last night  
Armed police at a block of flats in Manchester today, as the city reels from last night's attack
Armed police at a block of flats in Manchester today, as the city reels from last night's attack
'I knelt by my bed as I heard the news. They said eighteen dead at the Ariana Grande concert; now it’s 22. Including an eight year-old. A 16-year-old. Others still missing'
I knelt by my bed as I heard the news. They said eighteen dead at the Ariana Grande concert; now it’s 22. Including an eight year-old. A 16-year-old. Others still missing'
Cut down by ball-bearings from a home-made bomb as they piled out into the street with their mums, their friends, their futures ahead of them.
The worst kind of death. The most savage of attacks.
I wanted to vomit. Crouching at the end of my bed, I wanted to be physically sick, knowing what this would mean for today.
It would mean the eunuch politicians peddling their narrative that we will carry on as normal, that we stand united. Trying to find some hope to hang on to.

Eight-year-old Saffie Roussos is among the victims
Victims eight-year-old Saffie Roussos and 18-year-old Georgina Callander, who is pictured with the concert's star, Ariana Granda
'Another terror attack in Britain. A terror attack on our youngest girls, excited, thrilled, filled up by life after watching Ariana Grande perform'
'Another terror attack in Britain. A terror attack on our youngest girls, excited, thrilled, filled up by life after watching Ariana Grande perform'
It would mean Andy Burnham, the new mayor of Greater Manchester, right there to tell us it would be business as usual in Manchester.
I want to scream at him. Business as usual? BUSINESS AS USUAL?
Tell that to the mother of 16-year-old Georgina Callander. Someone slaughtered her most special thing, the tiny baby she carried, birthed, equipped with all the things she could protect her from the world with, smiling at her loveliness as she became a young woman.
And you say it is business as usual? The dead never get to carry on as normal.
This is not usual, Andy. This is not 'part and parcel' of city life, Sadiq.
This country is not usual. It is absurd. Disgusting. Forlorn. Broken.
And we will have a full day of this, this standard response to terror. A narrative so drilled into the minds of the terrified that they cling on to it for fear of drowning in the horror. Like a bit of flotsam in the sea long after the boat has sunk, and all you feel is numb.
'Cut down by ball-bearings from a home-made bomb as they piled out into the street with their mums, their friends, their futures ahead of them'
'Cut down by ball-bearings from a home-made bomb as they piled out into the street with their mums, their friends, their futures ahead of them'
'We stand united. We are not broken. We are strong.'
'We stand united. We are not broken. We are strong.'
Repeated like a mantra.
The new Lord's Prayer of a terrorised generation.
Saying it over and over, faster and faster as the sharks circle and it becomes clear that hope is fading fast. That this could be the end. If not this time, then the next one. Or the one after that.
'I wanted to vomit. Crouching at the end of my bed, I wanted to be physically sick, knowing what this would mean for today'

'I wanted to vomit. Crouching at the end of my bed, I wanted to be physically sick, knowing what this would mean for today'
Next time could be my daughter, my child.
After the Westminster terror attack on March 26 I said we were cowed. That we were like ants, carrying on as normal, waiting for the next footstep to fall.
And today I see this to be true. Ants, squashed by a car, hewn in half by a truck, bounced off the bonnet of a 4x4, punctured by ballbearings and shrapnel from a hardware store.
And the only thing we ants can do is act busy. Whip ourselves up into a frenzy of activity. Move this way and that. Scurry about carrying things. Film ourselves walking to work. Make posters about 'having a cup of tea', get cross about what is said on twitter.
'After the Westminster terror attack on 26 March I said we were cowed. That we were like ants, carrying on as normal, waiting for the next footstep to fall'
'After the Westminster terror attack on 26 March I said we were cowed. That we were like ants, carrying on as normal, waiting for the next footstep to fall'

We celebrate the first responders, as we should. The bravery of the people there to save us. And anyone else who joined the battle to save our souls. The kindness of the taxi drivers. The staff of the arena. The people of Manchester who opened their doors to offer whatever they had.
These people are angels amongst us. Holding, helping, healing.
A homeless gentleman hugged a woman as she died in his arms, there so she did not die alone.
But no, Andy Burnham, they are not yours to use. Not extras in your charade of defiance.
'We celebrate the first responders, as we should. The bravery of the people there to save us. And anyone else who joined the battle to save our souls. The kindness of the taxi drivers. The staff of the arena'
'We celebrate the first responders, as we should. The bravery of the people there to save us. And anyone else who joined the battle to save our souls. The kindness of the taxi drivers. The staff of the arena'
Do not use these acts of kindness to support your false narrative that this is us standing up to terror.
The people helping are reacting instinctively. Battling against blood and death.
They are not standing up to terror. They are not showing we are strong. They are trying to scoop up the handfuls of flesh that is weak and stop it bleeding.
They are being decent humans. They should be applauded. Rewarded. Not manipulated by impotent politicians into standing as a perverse symbol of how terror will never beat us.
'Do not use these acts of kindness to support your false narrative that this is us standing up to terror'
'Do not use these acts of kindness to support your false narrative that this is us standing up to terror'
Because it is beating us. It is grinding us down. We are worn down by it all.
Some think my divisive talk should be outlawed, should be illegal, because 'it's what the terrorists want'.
People have rung my bosses on the radio demanding I am sacked for my tweets because my divisiveness is what ISIS wants.
These people have bought the narrative, hook, line and sinker.
They are channeling their impotence and anger at me.
'The people helping are reacting instinctively. Battling against blood and death. They are not standing up to terror. They are not showing we are strong. They are trying to scoop up the handfuls of flesh that is weak and stop it bleeding'
'The people helping are reacting instinctively. Battling against blood and death. They are not standing up to terror. They are not showing we are strong. They are trying to scoop up the handfuls of flesh that is weak and stop it bleeding'
In truth, the terrorists couldn't give a stuff what I tweet or write or say. They couldn't care less if we stand divided or pretend to be united.
If anything, united in one place, we are an easier target.
The terrorists want us dead. They want the infidel to be slaughtered. And they spread their message most effectively by targeting our children, our little girls.
Try and deny you don't feel a change in the mood of our country. Try and deny you don't feel we are a little bit less.
Tell me you don't feel like you've taken a battering, made it to the twelfth then someone punched you square in the stomach, drawing the air from you in one long ooof.
'The terrorists want us dead. They want the infidel to be slaughtered. And they spread their message most effectively by targeting our children, our little girls'
'The terrorists want us dead. They want the infidel to be slaughtered. And they spread their message most effectively by targeting our children, our little girls'
Do you find yourself looking around for comfort in the small things — the Chelsea flowers, pictures of cute cats, a phone call to your mum, an extra big hug for your daughter, another text to your son to check he is safe? I have rung my husband twice today just to listen to him speak.
I heard a lady on the radio wanting to share, to hold on to something, to grab onto the piece of flotsam that keeps us all afloat. She said her 16-year-old daughter stopped her to ask where she was working today. Wanting to know if she would be safe.
You see, it's not the acts of walking over a bridge, or getting on a train, or going to work on the underground that are the truths of how we feel.
It’s the fear in the margins, the double-checking, the anxious wait for someone to be home. The moment between hearing there is a bomb, and knowing your child is safe in another city, another place.
'This country is sick. It is calling out for a doctor. We need to know what will cure us. What action do we take? What do we do? How can we stop the hurt? I look back to the missing persons and see little Saffie Roussos, smiling aged eight, now confirmed dead. And I wonder if we are too sick to be saved'
'This country is sick. It is calling out for a doctor. We need to know what will cure us. What action do we take? What do we do? How can we stop the hurt? I look back to the missing persons and see little Saffie Roussos, smiling aged eight, now confirmed dead. And I wonder if we are too sick to be saved'
When the only option is to carry on as normal, what the hell else are we going to do?
Carrying on as normal is not defiance. Or strength. It is the default.
When someone dies in our family, we carry on as before because the alternative is to lie down under our duvet and hope the world goes away.
And sometimes we even try that for a bit, too.
But in the end, reluctantly, we default and carry on as normal. This does not make us strong. Or united. It makes us desperate to feel better.
This country is sick. It is calling out for a doctor. We need to know what will cure us. What action do we take? What do we do? How can we stop the hurt?
I look back to the missing persons and see little Saffie Roussos, smiling aged eight, now confirmed dead.
And I wonder if we are too sick to be saved.


Katie Hopkins

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4534016/Katie-Hopkins-Manchester-Arena-terrorist-attack.html

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Brennan Testimony Undercuts Left’s Collusion Narrative - Joseph Klein




by Joseph Klein


Still no hard evidence revealed to support conspiracy allegations against Trump campaign.




Like Ahab, the obsessive sea captain who sought revenge on the great white whale Moby Dick, the left and their cohorts in the mainstream media continue their obsessive quest for “evidence” to bring down their nemesis, President Trump. Unfortunately for the destroy-Trump crowd, their Russia conspiracy narrative has been undercut by none other than the anti-Trump former CIA Director, John Brennan. Mr. Brennan has just delivered his first public remarks on the alleged ties between Russia and the Trump campaign since he left office last January.

Mr. Brennan admitted, during his congressional testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, that he could not say whether there was any evidence pointing to alleged “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia. In fact, Brennan was very careful in the way he phrased what had been uncovered while he was the CIA director – “information intelligence about interactions and contacts between U.S. persons and the Russians.” (Emphasis added) Although “interactions” and contacts” do not amount to collusion, and Brennan conceded that contacts between foreign governments and a presidential campaign are not inherently suspicious, Brennan still thought they warranted a full-scale intelligence investigation in Trump’s case.

Not satisfied with Brennan’s attempt to dance around the issue of whether he knew of any evidence of actual collusion, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) said to Brennan, “I asked you about collusion, coordination, and conspiracy, and you used the word ‘contact'. Contact could be benign or not benign. So was it contact you saw…what was the nature of what you saw?”

Stating that he focused on intelligence, not on analyzing evidence of potential criminal wrong-doing, Brennan replied, “I saw interaction. But I don’t know. I don’t have sufficient information to make a determination whether or not there was cooperation or complicity or collusion.”

Neither does anyone else who has been searching for proof of alleged collusion, as far as we know.

In a complete state of denial, a writer for the left wing ThinkProgress claimed that Congressman Gowdy’s questioning “backfired.” In truth, Gowdy’s questioning was right on the mark.

Brennan also testified that he was not aware of any inappropriate requests from President Trump to the intelligence community for help in dealing with the “Russian collusion” or Flynn investigations. More specifically, when asked by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) whether he was aware of any efforts the president had made to enlist the support of the intelligence community personnel to push back on a narrative involving alleged collusion, Brennan replied that he was “unaware of that.” Brennan also said that he was “unaware” of any attempts by President Trump to enlist the help of members of the intelligence community to drop the Flynn investigation.

Again, the left wing writer for ThinkProgress got it all wrong, citing a story in the Washington Post to support his contention that “Trump and others in his inner circle have repeatedly tried to enlist officials to publicly downplay the situation.” Brennan, certainly no friend of Trump’s, testified that he was unaware of such efforts. As for the Washington Post, several of its recent stories seeking to embarrass President Trump have been discredited.

Brennan also testified that, as far back as last summer, he knew that Russia was trying to interfere in the presidential election. He even warned the head of Russia's FSB security service that such interference would hurt ties between Russia and the United States. "It should be clear to everyone Russia brazenly interfered in our 2016 presidential election process and that they undertook these activities despite our strong protests and explicit warning that they do not do so," Brennan testified.

In essence, Brennan admitted that the Obama administration knowingly let the Russians continue their interference in the U.S. election with only a warning that U.S.-Russian ties would be affected if they did not stop. Obviously, they did not stop. Yet, Obama did not impose any new sanctions or take any other concrete action against Russia on account of such interference until after the election. That’s when the Russian interference, blown up into unsupported collusion allegations, became a Democratic Party talking point in trying to explain away President Trump’s victory over hapless Hillary Clinton.

John Brennan’s testimony provides nothing new that would advance the left's conspiracy narrative against President Trump. To the contrary, his testimony demonstrates once again that there is smoke but no fire to the whole “Russia-Trump campaign collusion” story. It also raises the question why the Obama administration did not take more forceful immediate action against Russia as soon as it knew the Russians' interference in last year’s election was underway. Could it be that Obama administration officials and deep state bureaucrats were waiting to ensnare Donald Trump in a manufactured scandal, buttressed by illegal leaks of out of context classified information, in case he actually won the election?

Joseph Klein is a Harvard-trained lawyer and the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom and Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam.

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/266794/brennan-testimony-undercuts-lefts-collusion-joseph-klein

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Terrorism Persists Because It Works - Alan M. Dershowitz




by Alan M. Dershowitz

To make it not work, the entire world must unite in never rewarding terrorism and always punishing those who facilitate it.

Every time a horrendous terrorist attack victimizes innocent victims we wring our hands and promise to increase security and take other necessary preventive measures. But we fail to recognize how friends and allies play such an important role in encouraging, incentivizing, and inciting terrorism.

If we are to have any chance of reducing terrorism, we must get to its root cause. It is not poverty, disenfranchisement, despair or any of the other abuse excuses offered to explain, if not to justify, terrorism as an act of desperation. It is anything but. Many terrorists, such as those who participated in the 9/11 attacks, were educated, well-off, mobile and even successful. They made a rational cost-benefit decision to murder innocent civilians for one simple reason: they believe that terrorism works.

And tragically they are right. The international community has rewarded terrorism while punishing those who try to fight it by reasonable means. It all began with a decision by Yasser Arafat and other Palestinian terrorist groups to employ the tactic of terrorism as a primary means of bringing the Palestinian issue to the forefront of world concern. Based on the merits and demerits of the Palestinian case, it does not deserve this stature. The treatment of the Tibetans by China, the Kurds by most of the Arab world, and the people of Chechen by Russia has been or at least as bad. But their response to grievances has been largely ignored by the international community and the media because they mostly sought remedies within the law rather than through terrorism.

The Palestinian situation has been different. The hijacking of airplanes, the murders of Olympic athletes at Munich, the killing of Israeli children at Ma'alot, and the many other terrorist atrocities perpetrated by Palestinian terrorists has elevated their cause above all other causes in the human rights community. Although the Palestinians have not yet gotten a state – because they twice rejected generous offers of statehood – their cause still dominates the United Nations and numerous human rights groups.

Other groups with grievances have learned from the success of Palestinian terrorism and have emulated the use of that barbaric tactic. Even today, when the Palestinian authority claims to reject terrorism, they reward the families of suicide bombers and other terrorists by large compensation packages that increase with the number of innocent victims. If the perpetrator of the Manchester massacre had been Palestinian and if the massacre had taken place in an Israeli auditorium, the Palestinian authority would have paid his family a small fortune for murdering so many children. There is a name for people and organizations that pay other people for killing innocent civilians: it's called accessory to murder. If the Mafia offered bounties to kill its opponents, no one would sympathize with those who made the offer. Yet the Palestinian leadership that does the same thing is welcomed and honored throughout the world.

The Palestinian authority also glorifies terrorists by naming parks, stadiums, streets and other public places after the mass murderers of children. Our "ally" Qatar finances Hamas which the United States has correctly declared to be a terrorist organization. Our enemy Iran, also finances, facilitates and encourages terrorism against the United States, Israel and other western democracies, without suffering any real consequences. The United Nations glorifies terrorism by placing countries that support terrorism in high positions of authority and honor and by welcoming with open arms the promoters of terrorism.

On the other hand Israel, which has led the world in efforts to combat terrorism by reasonable and lawful means, gets attacked by the international community more than any other country in the world. Promoters of terrorism are treated better at the United Nations than opponents of terrorism. The boycott divestment tactic (BDS) is directed only against Israel and not against the many nations that support terrorism.

Terrorism will continue as long as it continues to bear fruits. The fruits may be different for different causes. Sometimes it is simply publicity. Sometimes it is a recruitment tool. Sometimes it brings about concessions as it did in many European countries. Some European countries that have now been plagued by terrorism even released captured Palestinian terrorists. England, France, Italy and Germany were among the countries that released Palestinian terrorists in the hope of preventing terrorist attacks on their soil. Their selfish and immoral tactic backfired: it only caused them to become even more inviting targets for the murderous terrorists.

But no matter how terrorism works, the reality that it does, will make it difficult if not impossible to stem its malignant spread around the world. To make it not work, the entire world must unite in never rewarding terrorism and always punishing those who facilitate it.

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Alan M. Dershowitz

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/10409/terrorism-persists-because-it-works

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European manhunt for Manchester bomber's network - debkaFile




by debkaFile

Intelligence services now believe that the suicide bomber manufactured several explosive devices and passed them on to other members of the network to us for more attacks.

British security services were in a race against time Wednesday, May 24, to prevent more terrorist attacks in the country, in the wake of Monday’s suicide bombing in Manchester which left 22 people dead and 64 injured – some 20 still in critical condition.

Intelligence services now believe that the suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, 22, manufactured several explosive devices and passed them on to other members of the network to use or for further distribution for more attacks. They reached this conclusion from the evidence of more that one device which they discovered while searching his address in a part of South Manchester.

For the first time since 2003, therefore, the British army is spread out in town centers across the United Kingdom. Prime Minister Theresa May Tuesday night raised the terrorist alert level to “critical” and mobilized 3,000 soldiers for armed patrols in the cities and at crowd centers, railway stations, airports and public institutions. Parliament and Buckingham Palace have been closed to visitors and surrounded by armed troops.


British security and intelligence services are freely admitting that Salman Abedi was known to the police - but not as a “high risk.” The part of South Manchester, where the bomber maintained one of his addresses, was known as the haunt of at least 16 Muslim extremists who went to Syria. Some were killed there fighting for ISIS..  Wednesday, five more suspects were picked up as Abedi’s associates.

More facts emerging about the Manchester bomber, who was born locally to Libyan parents and dropped out of university after two years, indicate that he managed to stay out of sight for some time, while collecting the materials for manufacturing bombs. Indeed, he has since been discovered to have traveled to Libya and returned home just days before he reached the packed Manchester Arena to blow up young music fans, without touching off red alarms.


The British are also embarrassed by their difference of opinion with the French authorities over which terrorist organization ran Abedi, although the Islamic State claimed responsibility for his attack.

British anti-terror intelligence officials believe he belonged to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group – LIFG, one of whose leaders is reputed to be an expert bombmaker. This group is based in Libya, where Abedi’s parents still live. With roots in Al Qaeda, the LIFG fought against Col. Qaddafi and was crushed. Some of its leaders who fled into exile ended up in Manchester.

However, French intelligence have information that the bomber used his Libyan trip for a secret side-journey to Syria where he had “proven links” with the Islamic State. This information was relayed to Prime Minister May by French interior Minister Gerard Collomb, and is being investigated by the British. Collomb urged the two countries to continue cooperating closely on counterterrorism efforts even though Britain was on its way out of the European Union.


But the top priority of the British authorities is determining who constructed the bomb that caused such carnage and locating any other devices that may have been smuggled out of Abedi’s address. Closed-circuit TV cameras showed Abedi placing an explosives-laden backpack on the ground in the foyer of Manchester Arena just as the Ariana Grande was ending. The manhunt for his support network has spread across western Europe.

Local police are still unable to determine the number of people missing after the blast. However, the longer they are not traced, the less chance of finding them alive, since those who were closest to the explosion will be hard to identity.


debkaFile

Source: http://debka.com/article/26070/European-manhunt-for-Manchester-bomber-s-network

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Rand Paul: Saudi Arabia’s Role in Backing Terrorism Raises Concerns with $100 Billion Arms Deal - Sen. Rand Paul




by Sen. Rand Paul

Last year, Congress overwhelmingly passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) to allow the family members of those killed in the 9/11 attacks to sue the government of Saudi Arabia for any part it played in those acts of terrorism.

President Obama vetoed JASTA, but Congress voted to override the veto.

Now, less than a year after Congress voted to let the victims and the families of victims of 9/11 sue Saudi Arabia, the current administration is proposing the largest-ever arms sale to Saudi Arabia.

The arms sale allows the Saudis to immediately get nearly $110 billion in American weapons and an unimaginable $350 billion in arms over 10 years.

After the veto override, former U.S. Senator Bob Graham stated, “[F]rom what I know today, there is ample evidence that 9/11 would not have happened but for the assistance provided by Saudi Arabia.” He went on to say, “The results of that assistance was (nearly) 3,000 persons murdered, 90 percent of them Americans. And a new wave of terrorism with Saudi financial and operational support has beset the world.”

The sale includes laser-guided bombs in the form of Paveway II and III weapons systems, as well as Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM), guidance that converts unguided bombs into smart munitions.

Selling military weapons to questionable allies is not in our national security interest. At some point, the United States must stop and realize that we are fueling an arms race in the Middle East.

Even Hillary Clinton questioned the loyalty of Saudi Arabia in an email released by WikiLeaks, saying, “We need … to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.”

When we choose to intervene and provide or sell weapons to one nation, we only invite other nations to match or grow their own armaments – Iran and Israel will likely devote more of their funds to keeping up.

Furthermore, U.S. military assistance to Saudi Arabia, which has come in the form of intelligence, refueling missions, and the sale of major U.S. defense equipment, has not abated the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.  If anything, it has exasperated it.

In January, the United Nations estimated that the war in Yemen had so far cost at least 10,000 lives, and horror stories of civilian casualties continue to emerge from the conflict, including a Saudi-led bombing of a funeral in October that wounded hundreds and killed over 100.

A coalition airstrike on a hospital in August killed 19 and injured 24, according to Doctors Without Borders.  And these are only a couple of the examples one could cite.

After the April airstrikes in Syria, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared, “We rededicate ourselves to holding to account any and all who commit crimes against the innocents anywhere in the world.”

Do we have to amend this statement to say, “… unless they have billions of dollars to invest in the United States”?

So what does the U.S. gain from cutting this deal with Saudi Arabia?

During my fight last year against a $1.15 billion sale of Abrams tanks and associated major defense articles to Saudi Arabia, CNN host Wolf Blitzer attempted to answer that question by discussing maintaining full employment at U.S. defense contractors.

He expressed concern that arms industry-related jobs were at risk of being lost if Congress did not allow the sale to proceed.  President Eisenhower warned our nation during his farewell address to be very wary of the military industrial complex and its encroachment on civil society. The moment when the best interests of defense contractors start determining what is in the national security interest of our country, the tail has begun to wag the dog.

Saudi Arabia’s relationship with radical elements is an open secret. Zalmay Khalilzad, a former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq, and the United Nations, wrote an article about Saudi Arabia’s admitted relationship with Islamic extremists. Regardless of its origins, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been using their ties with Islamic fundamentalists to further their influence throughout the Middle East and abroad through charities, schools, and social organizations.

In a New York Times op-ed, Ed Husain stated, “Al Qaeda, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Boko Haram, the Shabab and others are all violent Sunni Salafi groupings. For five decades, Saudi Arabia has been the official sponsor of Sunni Salafism across the globe.” Does this administration expect Congress to look the other way as it attempts to sell U.S. weapons to Saudi Arabia?

Since Saudi Arabia’s incursion into Yemen, Iran has started shipping weapons to Houthi rebels, Al Qaeda has increased its territorial presence, and ISIS has several satellite offices in the country. The U.S. and coalition naval blockade of incoming vessels is just one of many examples of heightened tensions and military escalation on the Arabian Peninsula.

Our prolonged military campaigns in the Middle East quagmire have not produced any net gains.

When President Trump spoke in Saudi Arabia, he proclaimed the United States would not tell other people “how to live” or “what to do.” That is a welcome change of tone from previous interventionist-happy leaders from both sides of the aisle.

Realism, however, doesn’t mean we should sell arms to a country that doesn’t share our values or enhance any strategic vital interest of America.

In the next few weeks, I, along with a bipartisan group of senators, will force a vote disapproving of this arms sale to Saudi Arabia.  Let’s hope the Senate will have the sense to stop this travesty.


Sen. Rand Paul

Source: http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/05/24/exclusive-rand-paul-saudi-arabias-role-in-backing-terrorism-raises-concerns-with-100-billion-arms-deal/

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Iconoclast in the Promised Land - Caroline Glick




by Caroline Glick


How the Israeli people are gauging Trump.



Originally published by the Jerusalem Post.

Israelis are greeting US President Donald Trump with cautious optimism. Their optimism stems from President Trump’s iconoclasm. Trump won the US presidential election based on a campaign of rejecting the prevailing narratives on US domestic and foreign policy that have long held sway among the elites. These narratives dictate and limit the boundaries of acceptable discourse in the US. Unfortunately, their relationship with facts and truth was never more than incidental. Indeed, in recent years that incidental link has vanished altogether along a wide swath of policy areas. On the domestic front, the most obvious examples of this disconnect between the prevailing narratives that dictate policies and the facts that guarantee the failure of those policies relate to US immigration policy and US healthcare policy.

American voters elected Trump because whether or not they supported his specific immigration and healthcare policies, they appreciated his willingness to state openly that the policies now in effect are having devastating impacts on American society.

Finally, Trump’s enthusiastic, unqualified support for Israel, his refusal to endorse the establishment of a Palestinian state and his pledge to move the US Embassy to Israel’s capital city Jerusalem were second importance only to his pledge to appoint Supreme Court justices that oppose abortion to his success in winning near wall-to-wall support from evangelical Christian voters.

It was because of his foreign policy iconoclasm that Israelis were, by and large, euphoric when Trump was finally inaugurated in January.

Since then, however, in significant ways, Trump has bowed to the narratives of the establishment. As a result, Israel’s euphoria at his election has been replaced by cautious optimism.

During his speech in Riyadh, in relation to both Iran and Islamic terrorism, Trump kept his promise to base his strategies for dealing with the threats on facts rather than narrative.

As far as Iran was concerned, Trump broke with convention by ignoring the meaningless presidential “elections” in Iran last Friday. Rather than embrace the common delusion that ballots mean something in Iran, when Iranian dictator Ali Khamenei decides who can run for election and decides who wins, Trump concentrated on facts. Iran is the primary engine of terrorism in the region and the world, he explained. Moreover, the world would be a better place, and the Iranian people would be better off, if the regime were overthrown.

On Islamic terrorism, Trump again ignored the advice of his national security adviser H.R. McMaster and refused to embrace the false narrative that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. Rather, standing before the leaders of the Islamic world, Trump exhorted them to confront “Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires.”

Trump’s decision to make the case outright to the Muslim leaders was all the more astounding because on the eve of his speech, McMaster demeaned his refusal to embrace the narrative that Islam is peace in an interview with ABC News. In McMaster’s insubordinate words, “The president will call [Islamic terrorism] whatever he wants to call it. But I think it’s important that whatever we call it, we recognize that these are not religious people and, in fact, these enemies of all civilizations, what they want to do is to cloak their criminal behavior under this false idea of some kind of religious war.”

McMaster then insisted that despite the fact that his boss continues to talk about “radical Islamic terrorism,” Trump is coming around to embracing the official narrative that Islam is unrelated to Islamic terrorism. “This is learning,” he said.

But while Trump has maintained his fact-based rhetoric on Iran, for instance, his actual policy is very similar to Obama’s. Rather than keep his campaign pledge and cancel the nuclear deal which guarantees Iran a nuclear arsenal in ten years, Trump chose to punt. He certified – wrongly – that Iran is abiding by the terms of the deal even as the Iranians are stockpiling uranium in excess of the amounts permitted under the deal and are barring weapons inspectors from entering their nuclear sites. So too, Trump has kept up Obama’s practice of keeping the public in the dark regarding what was actually agreed to with Iran by refusing to reveal the nuclear agreement’s secret protocols.

In other words, his policies have yet to match his rhetoric on Iran.

But then again, there is reason to give Trump the benefit of the doubt on Iran. It is more than possible that Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel is entirely about Iran. After all, Trump has enthusiastically joined the anti- Iran coalition that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu built with the Sunni regimes to try to mitigate the destructive consequences of Obama’s embrace of the ayatollahs. And he seems to be interested in using this coalition to rebuild US power in the Middle East while ending Iran’s unimpeded rise as a nuclear power and regional hegemon, just as Israel and the Sunnis had hoped.

The same inconsistency and lack of clarity about Trump’s intentions and his level of willingness to reject the establishment narrative on foreign policy is even more blatant in everything related to Israel and the Palestinian war against it.

During his speech in Riyadh, Trump repeated the obnoxious practice of his predecessors and left Israel off the long list of countries that are afflicted by terrorism. The notion at the heart of that deliberate snub is that terrorism against Israel is somehow different and frankly more acceptable, than terrorism against everyone else.

During his brief visit to Israel, Trump will also go to Bethlehem to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. This will be the two men’s second meeting in less than a month. By insisting on meeting with Abbas during his lightning visit to Israel, Trump signals that he agrees with the narrative view that the US cannot support Israel without also legitimizing and supporting the PLO and its terror funding kleptocracy, the Palestinian Authority.

Finally, even when Trump has adopted a position that repudiates the establishment’s line, the fact is that the establishment’s members dominate his foreign policy team. And as a consequence, they do everything they can to dilute the significance of his moves.

This was clearly in evidence in relation to Trump’s decision to visit the Western Wall on Monday. In the week that preceded his visit, embassy officers angrily rejected Israel’s request that Netanyahu join Trump during his visit to the Jewish holy site, insisting that the Western Wall isn’t in Israel.

In so acting, these Obama holdovers were backed by McMaster, who refuses to admit that the Western Wall is in Jerusalem, and by his Israel-Palestinians director at the National Security Council, Kris Bauman, who served on Obama’s anti-Israel foreign policy team and supports US recognition of Hamas.

In other words, even when Trump tries to embrace fact over narrative, his failure to populate his foreign policy team with iconoclasts like himself has made it all but impossible for him to abandon the anti-Israel narrative guiding US policy. None of this means that Israelis have lost hope in Trump. To the contrary. They have enormous hope in him. But they recognize that so long as the same hostile false narrative about Israel, and the establishment that clings to it dominate Trump’s thinking and policies, the promise of his presidency will not be met.

Caroline Glick is the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Israel Security Project and the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post. For more information on Ms. Glick's work, visit carolineglick.com.

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/266785/iconoclast-promised-land-caroline-glick

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Investigation into Alberto Nisman's death nominated for award - JTA




by JTA

Argentinian investigator dies under suspicious circumstances after accusing government of covering up Iranian role in Jewish center bombing.



Alberto Nisman
Alberto Nisman
Reuters
An Argentine news outlet’s investigation into the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman was shortlisted for the global Data Journalism Awards.

The nominees were announced Tuesday in London.

La Nacion Data Argentina analyzed 40,000 audio recordings from a tapped phone over two years, publishing the findings and developing a news app to search by topic or person.

Nisman had accused the Argentine government of covering up Iran’s involvement in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center, which killed 85 and injured 300.

The data analysis conducted by 120 volunteers triggered three major findings related to Iranian terrorist activities in Argentina:

* Iran’s local community paid bail to help a local activist accused of being a member of the violent movement Quebracho;

* A national senator from an official government party was discovered to be an active lobbyist for the Iranian government in partnership with local businessmen;

* Iran financed a local activist movement in favor of the Kirchner government for leading demonstrations and protests against the U.S. Embassy.

A federal judge requested that evidence from the transcribed recordings be used in the investigation against former Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman, who is accused of treason in Argentina in a lawsuit filed by fathers of two AMIA bombing victims.

The Argentine media company shares the shortlist for the Investigation of the Year award with The New York Times and Der Spiegel in Germany.

Launched in 2012, the Data Journalism Awards competition is organized by the Global Editors Network with support from the Google News Lab, Knight Foundation and Chartbeat.

Nisman, a Jewish prosecutor, was found shot to death on Jan. 18, 2015, hours before he was to present his allegations of a secret deal to cover up Iranian officials’ alleged role in the bombing of the AMIA center in Buenos Aires. His allegations named then-President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Timerman and the government as co-conspirators in a cover-up.


JTA

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/230136

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President Trump Should Extend His "Disruption" to Saudi Arabia - A. Z. Mohamed




by A. Z. Mohamed

It was ironic that Trump's address to the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh on May 21 was devoted to combating practices in which the House of Saud itself engages.

  • Although Washington and Riyadh have clear common interests, they share few values. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy. It is the cradle of Wahhabism, a particularly closed form of fundamentalist Islam. It has an abysmal human-rights record, denying its subjects and citizens civil and religious liberties. Such issues may be internal, but they have serious implications for America and the rest of the world.
  • The kingdom is unable to make the ideological argument against terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and ISIS, as according to its own religious ideology, the Quran prohibits Muslims from allying with non-Muslims.
  • It was ironic that Trump's address to the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh on May 21 was devoted to combating practices in which the House of Saud itself engages.
At an Israeli Independence Day event in Washington, D.C. on May 2, on the eve of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's meeting at the White House, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster referred to U.S. President Donald Trump as "not a super patient man," who "does not have time to debate over doctrine."

McMaster then said that those who call Trump "disruptive" are right, "and this is good... because we can no longer afford to invest in policies that do not advance the interests and values of the United States and our allies."

This was echoed by former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates days before Trump embarked on his first foreign trip to Riyadh, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and the Vatican -- albeit in relation to Pyongyang. In an interview with CBS News' "Face the Nation" on May 14, Gates said:
"There is a need for disruption. We've had three administrations follow a pretty consistent policy toward North Korea, and it really hasn't gotten us anywhere... [T]he tough talk on North Korea, the military deployments, sending the missile defense system to South Korea ... [Trump has] gotten China's attention to a degree that his predecessors have not."
However, Gates cautioned, "[T]here's the risk of being too spontaneous and too disruptive where you end up doing more harm than damage. And figuring out that balance is where having strong people around you matters."

In the first place, although Washington and Riyadh have clear common interests -- one realizes that although preventing Iran's imperialist expansion and nuclear program is of paramount importance -- it is crucial to remember that they share few values. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy. It is the cradle of Wahhabism, a particularly closed form of fundamentalist Islam. It has an abysmal human-rights record, denying its subjects and citizens civil and religious liberties. Such issues may be internal, but they have serious implications for America and the rest of the world.

Secondly, uncritical and unconditional U.S. support for the Saudis cause many Arab and Muslim states to accuse Washington of double standards -- accepting from Riyadh what it claims to reject from other Middle East regimes. It also leads them to view Saudi Arabia as a hypocritical American proxy in the Islamic world. The kingdom is unable to make the ideological argument against terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and ISIS, as according to its own religious ideology, the Quran prohibits Muslims from allying with non-Muslims.

Further, although Saudi Arabia is considered, even by Israeli officials, as a leading moderate Arab country, its version of Islam and its political regime are fiercely radical, suppressive, and xenophobic. It was ironic that Trump's address to the Arab Islamic American Summit at the King Abdulaziz Conference Center in Riyadh on May 21 was devoted to combating practices in which the House of Saud itself engages.


U.S. President Donald Trump and other Arab leaders attend the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on May 21, 2017. (Image source: Thaer Ghanaim/PPO via Getty Images)

This is where the "disruptive" approach comes in, but it is neither needed nor recommended in relation to consensus issues, such as stopping Iran's nuclear program and restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Instead, "disruption" should be used by the U.S. to encourage Saudi normalization with Israel; to minimize Saudi interference in the domestic affairs of its neighbors, and to curb its hawkish ambition to become a regional superpower.

It is precisely this type of "disruption" that is required to overcome the policy of previous American administrations, which -- in the words of McMaster -- "do not advance the interests and values of the United States and our allies."


A. Z. Mohamed is a Muslim born and raised in the Middle East.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/10407/trump-saudi-arabia-disruption

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