Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Iran's Schemes and Israel's Reactions - Joseph Puder




by Joseph Puder

Is a war brewing?


Last Saturday (February 10, 2018) Iran’s Islamic Republic resumed its provocation of Israel by sending a drone over Israeli territory. It was answered by force as expected.  An Israeli Apache Helicopter shot down the drone (it has not been verified whether the drone was armed or not) over northern Israel.  Iran’s involvement in Syria, including the deployment of Iran-backed Shiite militias, near Israel’s Golan Heights, has alarmed Israel.  Israel has accused Iran of building precision-guided missile factories for Hezbollah in Lebanon.  As Iran and its sponsored Shiite militias, including the Lebanese Hezbollah, continue to encroach on Israel’s border, Jerusalem has vowed to defend its territory and its people. A year ago, Israel’s missile defense batteries intercepted and destroyed several Iranian built drones used by Hezbollah to penetrate Israel’s airspace from Syria.  Saturday, Israeli fighter jets were able to hit and destroy the aerial defense system around Damascus that Russia helped to build.  

In retaliation over Iran’s drone attack, eight Israeli F-16 Fighter jets attacked numerous military targets inside Syria, including an airfield near Palmyra called T-4 base, where the drone originated.  One of the F-16 fighter jets was damaged during the attack while on the way back from the operation inside Syria.  Its two pilots managed to parachute down over Israeli territory. The F-16, which was abandoned by the pilots, crashed inside Israeli territory. One of the pilots was wounded, but is expected to fully recover.  The Syrian and Iranian media and government spokespeople celebrated the “downing” of the Israeli F-16 as a major accomplishment. Following the damage to the Israeli Fighter jet, a squadron of Israeli F-16’s returned to Syria and wiped out the Syrian/Iranian air-defense system throughout the Assad dominated Syria.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared on Sunday (February 11, 2018) that “Yesterday we dealt severe blows to the Iranian and Syrian forces.  We made it unequivocally clear to everyone that our rules have not changed one bit.  We will continue to strike at every attempt to strike at us.  This has been our policy and it will remain our policy.”  Yoav Galant, retired former army general, Cabinet Minister, and a member of Netanyahu’s Security Cabinet, told the Associated Press that “we do not just talk, we act.” Galant, a former IDF Deputy Chief of Staff, added, “I think that the Syrians now understand the fact that hosting the Iranians on Syrian soil harms them.” Israel’s Intelligence Minister Israel Katz told Army Radio that “They and we know that we hit, and it will take them some time to digest, understand, and ask how Israel knew how to hit those sites (a reference to the air-defense systems). These were concealed sites and we have intelligence agencies and the ability to know everything that is going on there, and yesterday we proved it.”

According to Arab News (February 11, 2018), Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, addressing a flag-waving crowd at the central Tehran’s Azadi Square, said that “They (a reference to the U.S. and Israel) wanted to create tension in the region…they wanted to divide Iraq, Syria…They wanted to create long-term chaos in Lebanon but…with our help their policies failed.”  For the Iranian-Shiite coalition, this day of fighting (Saturday, February 10, 2018) led to what Hezbollah has called “a new strategic era.”

In seven years of Iranian involvement on behalf of the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war, it was able to show a number of solid achievements, including saving the Alawite-led (a syncretic sect of the Twelver branch of Shiite Islam) Assad regime from total collapse.  Tehran, with Russian help, solidified Assad’s rule (but as their own puppet), and the Assad regime now controls two-thirds of Syria’s territory.  It is at this point that the Islamic Republic of Iran intends to change the balance of power on the Syrian-Israeli border. The Iranians took advantage of the chaos inside Syria to build up military assets that would target Israel, while at the same time, providing advanced weaponry to Hezbollah in Lebanon.



Iran is seeking to establish the Shiite Crescent or a land corridor from Iran through Iraq and Syria, to the Mediterranean Sea.  Even more important for the Tehran regime is to have a permanent presence and military bases on Syrian soil.  Now that it has consolidated its presence in Syria, Iran has turned its focus on the last obstacle that stands in its way to achieve its ultimate goal of becoming the regional hegemon - Israel.

Throughout the Syrian civil-war, Israel stayed largely out of it.  Israel did however launch occasional airstrikes on weapon convoys headed from Iran to the Hezbollah terror group.  In recent months though, Israel turned its attention to military sites suspected of hosting Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), and Shiite militias recruited by Iran from Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen, being too close to its borders.  

To sum up the effects of Israel’s operation, on February 10, 2018 Iran suffered casualties from the Israeli assault, as did the Syrian army. Israel managed to destroy a large number of Syrian anti-aircraft batteries, mainly SA-5 and SA-17 missiles, including some that were just received by Syria.  In addition, the Israeli raid destroyed a Syrian radar installation upon which the Syria’s air defense depend on. According to a statement by the IDF, this was the most painful blow against Syria’s air defense system since the First Lebanon War in 1982. When the smoke finally cleared over this day of fighting, each of the sides could have claimed a heroic victory, as well as a loss of assets. Israel lost one of its fighter jets and now finds itself susceptible to Iranian penetration.  Iran paid a price for violating Israeli sovereignty but the Assad regime paid the heaviest price for its participation in the incident.

Insofar as Israel’s defense policy is concerned, being surrounded by Iranian IRGC troops and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon and on its Golan Heights border with Syria, is intolerable and must not stand. The Iranians are not necessarily seeking a full-scale war with Israel at this time.  They will be content to change the existing equation, by forcing Israel to limit or stop its operations in Syria.  Israel, for its part, must prove the effectiveness of its deterrent power, by demonstrating to Bashar Assad that any attempt by Iran and its clients to deter Israel from acting in self-defense would exact a heavy price. This comes in direct conflict with Iran’s schemes to surround Israel with potential missile batteries that could reach all points inside Israel.  Israel’s natural reaction to these irreconcilable Iranian threats might eventually lead to a war between these two Middle Eastern powers.  


Joseph Puder

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/269357/irans-schemes-and-israels-reactions-joseph-puder

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Prager U Video: Communist Manifesto or Democratic Party Platform? - Prager University




by Prager University

America's most exciting - and disturbing - new game show.




It's no secret: The Democratic Party has a tendency to cozy up to socialists, but how far Left have they really become? To find out, Ami Horowitz took to the streets of New York to debut America's most exciting (and disturbing) game show: Communist Manifesto or Democratic Party Platform?




Prager University

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/269365/prager-u-video-communist-manifesto-or-democratic-prager-university

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Palestinians: Hamas and Fatah - United against Trump - Khaled Abu Toameh




by Khaled Abu Toameh

Although the details of the Trump plan still have not been made public, Palestinians across the political spectrum say they will never accept any peace initiative presented by the Trump administration.

  • The two rival parties, Fatah and Hamas, are prepared to lay aside their differences and work together to foil US President Donald Trump's plan for peace in the Middle East, the details of which remain unknown. Thwarting Trump's peace plan has become a top priority.
  • Although the details of the Trump plan still have not been made public, Palestinians across the political spectrum say they will never accept any peace initiative presented by the Trump administration.
  • The Palestinians know that no US peace plan would comply with their demands. Abbas's Fatah is demanding 100% of the territories Israel secured in 1967, namely the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Hamas, for its part, is demanding 100% of everything, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. As Hamas leaders repeatedly affirm, the goal is to "liberate all of Palestine," meaning all of Israel.
Hamas and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's ruling Fatah faction are continuing to contest control of the Gaza Strip.

However, the two rival parties are prepared to lay aside their differences and work together to foil US President Donald Trump's plan for peace in the Middle East, the details of which remain unknown.

Thwarting Trump's peace plan has become a top priority for Hamas and Fatah. This is a mission that seems to be much more important than alleviating the suffering of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, where 65% of families live under the poverty line.

Although the details of the Trump plan still have not been made public, Palestinians across the political spectrum say they will never accept any peace initiative presented by the Trump administration. Whatever the peace plan will be, the answer is No.

In the eyes of the Palestinian leaders, the US administration has shown unprecedented "hostility" towards the Palestinians.

The Palestinians are not only voicing strong opposition to Trump's plan, which is known as the "deal of the century." Hamas and Fatah are now saying that they will do their utmost to thwart it.


They say they see the plan as being as a "conspiracy aimed at eliminating the Palestinian cause and national rights." It is not clear why the Palestinians are opposed to a plan the details of which have not yet been made public.

The Palestinian rejection to the plan is evidently based on unconfirmed media reports and rumors.

In any event, the Palestinians know that no US peace plan would comply with their demands.

Abbas's Fatah is demanding 100% of the territories Israel secured in 1967, namely the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

Hamas, for its part, is demanding 100% of everything, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. As Hamas leaders repeatedly affirm, the goal is to "liberate all of Palestine," meaning all of Israel.

The Palestinians have not presented precisely how they intend to foil Trump's plan, if and when it is made public. At the very least, street protests and strong condemnations of the US, Israel and any Arab country that accepts the peace plan can be expected.

Hamas and Fatah, however, are still quarreling over the "reconciliation" agreement they signed in Cairo in November 2017.

According to Hamas, the agreement has failed because of Abbas's refusal to lift the sanctions he imposed on the Gaza Strip last year.

The sanctions include the forced retirement of thousands of Palestinian Authority civil servants and the suspension of social assistance to hundreds of families. In addition, Abbas has refused to pay Israel for electricity and fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip.

Turning the tables, however, Abbas and his government hold Hamas responsible for hindering the implementation of the "reconciliation" accord, which was achieved under the auspices of Egypt.

Hamas's refusal to disarm and cede military and political control of the Gaza Strip is the main obstacle threatening to sabotage the agreement, they charge.

Evidently, Hamas and Fatah care more about their wrangling for power than about the well-being of their people in the Gaza Strip.

The arm-twisting between the two rival parties is spurring intense suffering in the Gaza Strip, where a number of hospitals have been forced to close down as a result of severe shortage in medicine and generator fuel.

While Fatah and Hamas are continuing to hurl abuses at each other, however, they see eye to eye on the issue of Trump's "deal of the century."

Hamas and Fatah are willing to support each other and join forces in the war on the US administration's plan.

Former Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal has gone so far as to praise Abbas for his staunch opposition to the "deal of the century." The former Hamas leader said that his movement would even support Abbas in a standoff with the US administration.

In statements published on February 17, Mashaal said that Abbas was "the strongest party that is obstructing" Trump's plan. The Palestinians, Mashaal added, will be the only ones to stand against the plan.

Mashaal said that he was even prepared to forgive Abbas for punishing the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip -- all for the sake of thwarting the US peace plan.

"In spite of the measures he's imposing against the Gaza Strip and Hamas, the best solution would be to support Abbas in his opposition to the plan," he said. "Trump's 'deal of the century' won't pass as long as the Palestinians categorically reject it."


Mashaal's remarks echo those of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other radical Palestinian groups that have also emphasized that Trump's peace plan "won't pass." His remarks are also compatible with those made by Abbas and Fatah, who in the past few weeks have used every platform to express their rejection of the plan.

Take, for example, a recent statement issued by Fatah regarding the plan:
"Without Palestinian compliance, the 'deal of the century' won't pass. The Palestinians reject it. They (the Trump administration) won't find one Arab who will agree to betray Jerusalem and the Palestinian people."
In recent weeks, Abbas himself has also come out against Trump's plan – a move that has clearly earned him the backing of the former Hamas leader. Abbas says that he sees the plan as an attempt by the US administration to "impose dictates" on the Palestinians.

"We don't take instructions from anyone," Abbas was quoted as saying. " We have said 'no' to Trump and we won't accept his plan. We say 'no' and 1,000'no-s' when it comes to our fate, cause and people. We don't accept the US as a broker between us and Israel."

The Palestinian patients in the Gaza Strip who are dying for lack of proper medical treatment care little about Trump -- or about any peace plan. Neither do the thousands of employees who have been deprived of their salaries or the students who are unable to leave the Gaza Strip because of the continued closure (by Egypt) of the Rafah border crossing. For them, this is a battle of survival.

Hamas and Fatah leaders, meanwhile, are engaged in a rather different battle of survival: that of their leaders to retain their power.

They are prepared to continue fighting each other to the last Palestinian. It may be true that the Egyptians, in the "reconciliation" their brokered, failed to achieve Palestinian unity. The Trump administration has apparently succeeded where the Egyptians failed: in uniting Hamas and Fatah against an initiative for peace.


Pictured: Palestinian Authority President and leader of Fatah Mahmoud Abbas (right) meets with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal (left) on November 24, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt, as the two announced a partnership between their parties. (Photo by Mohammed al-Hams/Khaled Mashaal's Office of Media via Getty Images)
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Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist, is based in Jerusalem.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/11913/palestinians-hamas-fatah-trump

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Macron and Islam: "Appeasement and Dialogue" - Yves Mamou




by Yves Mamou

Macron: "We need to focus on appeasement and dialogue -  in other words, submission.

  • When French President Emanuel Macron recently said that "We are working on the structuring of Islam in France," it was only one part of a message, to prepare Muslims and non-Muslims for the big project: transforming Islam in France into the Islam of France.
  • Prison guards tried to explain that every day, their lives are in danger. In late January when the strike ended, Macron said privately that the danger was not radicalized Muslim prisoners but radicalized guards, and claimed that one of the main unions for prison guards had become "infiltrated" by undercover militants from the right-wing Front National party.
  • When US President Donald Trump announced the transfer of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv in Jerusalem, Macron immediately tweeted, "France does not approve the US decision. France supports the two-state solution, Israel and Palestine, living in peace and security with Jerusalem as the capital of the two states. We need to focus on appeasement and dialogue." The last sentence is a resumé of Macron's Islam policy: appeasement and dialogue -- in other words, submission.
During Emmanuel Macron's election campaign, and even after he became president, he carefully avoided France's two most dodgy topics: migrants and Islam. It did not take long, however, before Macron found himself caught up in both of them.

On February 11, 2018, however, Macron gave an interview to Journal du Dimanche: "We are working on the structuring of Islam in France and also on how to explain it, which is extremely important," Macron told the French weekly newspaper. Of course, nothing significant came out of the interview; it was only one part of a message, to prepare Muslims and non-Muslims for the big project: transforming Islam in France into the Islam of France. Although its contents are still unclear, the frame is usually the same: Muslims are supposedly victims, and a reform of France is necessary to make them peaceful and happy.

One wonders if the Islam of France will be really different from what it is today.

With Islam, an unbridled anti-Semitism in France has continued to soar. On January 29, 2018, an 8-year-old Jewish boy wearing a Jewish skullcap was attacked in the suburb of Sarcelles, near Paris. For a long time, Sarcelles was a suburb where Jews and Muslims once lived peacefully side by side. That has changed. In 2014, a pro-Palestinian demonstration escalated into an anti-Jewish pogrom, complete with shops burned and civilians attacked. On January 10, 2018, also in Sarcelles , an unidentified assailant armed with a knife slashed the face of a 15-year-old Jewish girl. On January 9, in the suburb of Creteil, a kosher grocery store that had been covered with swastikas days earlier was gutted in a fire. The police said they suspected arson.

Macron reacted strongly against the anti-Jewish violence. "It's the republic that is attacked," he said. Like all presidents before him, he took great care not to name the Islamist attacker.

In France, small groups of Muslims and Salafists have undertaken ethnically to purify territories that they see as their own. Every time an area is shared with Jews, the violence against them builds up. Between 30,000 and 60,000 Jews have already migrated from their homes -- generally in the eastern suburbs of Paris -- to other, safer parts of Paris.

As for asylum seekers, in 1981, there were 20,000 asylum seekers in France. In 2017, the number of economic migrants disguised as "asylum seekers" reached a historic mark of 100,000, announced the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA) on January 8, 2018. That 100,000 represents an increase of 17% from the year before.

As the government seems unable to control the situation, violence is soaring. On February 1, 2018, extremely violent clashes between Afghan and African migrants broke out in several parts of the coastal city of Calais, where a growing number of migrants go to try to cross the Channel to Great Britain. Twenty-two people were injured, four of them by gunfire. Those four are still in hospital and still in critical condition. The Minister of the Interior Gérard Collomb deplored "a degree of violence never seen before" in modern France.

Macron now knows that he will have to confront the issue of Islam and migrants. Since his election, he has had access to sensitive, disorienting information. Collomb has informed him about the state of the terrorist threat and the radicalization of young Muslims, aged 15-25 (25% of the Muslim population), who say they want to establish sharia law in France. Macron, apparently, is hesitating.

In December 2017, he delayed a speech he was about to deliver on the coexistence between the secular Republic and "monotheistic religions". Instead, Macron brought representatives of the six main religions (Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist) for a "nearly two hour" meeting, assisted by Collomb and Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer, in the president's Elysée Palace. Part of what was discussed has filtered out. Macron evidently reaffirmed that the "Republic is secular" but that "society does not have to be secular". In other words, in society, all religions must feel free to express themselves. Macron also said that he will be "vigilant" against an eventual "radicalization of secularism".

None of the clerics around the president pointed out that secularism has never killed anyone, while since 2015, Islamist terrorism has seen the murder of hundreds of citizens.

In January 2018, when a protest by prison guards erupted, the government was taken by surprise. For two weeks, television and radio airwaves were filled with testimonies about the terror that Islamist detainees were sowing throughout the whole prison system. Prison guards tried to explain that every day their lives are in danger.

In late January, when the strike ended, Macron said privately that the danger was not radicalized Muslim prisoners but radicalized guards. One of the main unions for prison guards, according to him, had become "infiltrated" by undercover militants from the right-wing Front National party. French politicians, as usual, mistake the effect for the cause. If prison guards are joining Front National, it is probably because they feel abandoned by politicians who are not doing their essential work: keeping dangerous people away from society.

Another headache for Macron are the 1,500 French jihadists who reached ISIS in Syria: what France should do about them. On December 9, 2017, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, disclosed that 500 French fighters who had joined the Islamic State were still in the Iraqi-Syrian area. In late December, 30 were arrested in northern Syria. Among them was Thomas Barnouin, a convert to Islam and close to Mohamed Merah, the killer of seven French citizens in 2012, and Emilie König, who recruited jihadists for ISIS. Many of these Frenchmen were requesting to be tried in France: in Iraq and Syria they would risk the death penalty.

Macron, apparently, is hesitating. In November 2017, he had declared on Channel 2 that the situation of jihadi women and children would be examined "on a case-by-case basis". He had sad that most of them would receive a humanitarian treatment; not be brought to court, and that jihadi women would receive "medical and psychiatric treatment." This "case by case" treatment -- no court, no prison, but medical care as well as money for gradual social rehabilitation -- is a solution that could in the end be worth it for all the French jihadists arrested in Iraq and Syria" the French daily Ouest-France explained.

In January 2018, the French Minister of Justice issued a public statement: "We will not let 'death penalty sentences' against French jihadists by Iraqis happen in Syrian courts". Maybe these killers will next be considered victims of intolerance by the discriminatory French.

On the diplomatic level, at first glance, Macron adopted a tough stance against "Islamic terrorism". In August 2017, in front of all of France's ambassadors, he said, "The fight against Islamist terrorism" must be "the first" priority, to "ensure the safety of our fellow citizens".

This martial announcement, however, targeted only ISIS, by now almost defeated. When a few Islamic states such as Turkey behaved like terrorist states, the official tone of the French president varied significantly. When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched a military offensive against the Kurds in Afrin (in Syrian Kurdistan), Macron immediately distanced himself from the Kurds. He considered publicly as "potential terrorists" these Kurdish Peshmergas whom the French military had been training in Iraq to fight ISIS.

The reason for this betrayal could well be the important Turkish population in France (between half a million and 800,000) as well as the growing influence inside the French Turkish population of a Muslim Turkish party, the Parti Egalité Justice ("Equality and Justice Party," PEJ). The PEJ is the French element of a network of political parties built by Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP), to influence each country in Europe, and to influence Europe as a whole through its Muslim population.

Recently, in Lyon, large numbers of Turkish Islamists demonstrated in front of the city hall to support Erdogan's war against the Kurds, while pro-Kurdish demonstrators were blocked by the police.

Macron seems to ignore that each Islamist victory in the Middle East has a euphoric effect on French jihadists (Turkish and non-Turkish) and brings them out of the woodwork.

Regarding Israel and the Palestinians, Macron seems to be positioning himself along the traditional arc of French diplomacy: "appeasement" resulting from the strong Muslim population living in France. When US President Donald Trump announced the transfer of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv in Jerusalem, Macron immediately tweeted:
"France does not approve the US decision. France supports the two-state solution, Israel and Palestine, living in peace and security, with Jerusalem as the capital of the two states. We need to focus on appeasement and dialogue."
The last sentence is a resumé of all Macron's Islam policy: appeasement and dialogue -- in other words, submission.

Like his predecessors, Macron is on his way to search for an imaginary amicable solution. Like his predecessors, he will fail -- and will have been president for nothing.


French President Emmanuel Macron hugs Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, on November 9, 2017 in Riyadh. (Image source: Office of the French Presidency)

Yves Mamou, author and journalist, based in France, worked for two decades as a journalist for Le Monde. He is completing a book, "Collaborators and Useful Idiots of Islamism in France," to be published in 2018.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/11908/france-macron-islam-appeasement

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Russian contractors in Syria test US and rebel forces - and lose big - John Smith




by John Smith

If defeating ISIS in short order wasn’t enough of an indicator, this attack shows there is a new sheriff in town, and dislodging the US from Syria will be a huge undertaking for Assad and his Russian backers.


Russian toughness and determination on the battlefield are legendary, but without operational coordination, modern communications, and fire support, it amounts to little against a well-defended position with US advisors and firepower. Business Insider has reported that a force composed of Russian mercenaries, Syrians, and Iranian proxy forces attacked a joint Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)–US position and suffered heavy losses with some sources saying that 300 Russian contractors were killed.

Reuters said that Assad’s force of about 500, launched an attack which included 122mm howitzers, T-55 and T-72 tanks, and multiple launch rocket systems. The tanks reportedly fired 20-30 rounds about 500 feet from the US-SDF base. But then:
The US-led coalition responded with "AC-130 gunships, F-15s, F-22s, Army Apache helicopter gunships, and Marine Corps artillery," according to Lucas Tomlinson, a Fox News reporter. CNN also reported that Himars (the US truck mounted multiple rocket launcher system), and MQ-9 drones were used in the attack.
"First of all, the bombers attacked, and then they cleaned up using Apaches," attack helicopters, Yevgeny Shabayev, a Cossack paramilitary leader with ties to Russia's military contractors, told Reuters.
USMC artillery opens fire in Syria
The US estimated that 100 attackers were killed, and that only one SDF fighter was wounded. However, Reuters cited a Bloomberg source who said the 300 Russian KIA number was “broadly correct.” Also, the Russian air force in Syria remained grounded after being warned by the US coalition about the attack, but it’s not known if the warning was passed to the ground troops. I don’t think I’m being too cynical here to suggest that maybe Assad didn’t want to pay the full price for what up to now has been an inferior product and so cut his losses in a brutal way.

Anyway, if defeating ISIS in short order wasn’t enough of an indicator, this attack shows there is a new sheriff in town and dislodging the US from Syria will be a huge undertaking for Assad and his Russian backers.

John Smith is the pen name of a former U.S. intelligence officer.

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/02/russian_contractors_in_syria_test_us_and_rebel_forces__and_lose_big.html

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Fatal Bureau of Investigation - Lloyd Billingsley




by Lloyd Billingsley

FBI bureaucratic failures and willful blindness rack up a horrifying body count.




After Nikolas Cruz gunned down 17 people at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, FBI special agent Robert Lasky, head of the bureau’s Miami division, said he “truly regrets” the pain caused by the FBI’s failure to act on a tip about the shooter. 

The FBI said it had no way to trace the tip, then FBI boss Christopher Wray said the message was never passed on to the FBI’s Miami field office, as official protocol required. Relatives of the victims might have noted the passive verb construction. In typical style, Wray failed to name the person who never passed on the tip, and offered no explanation why that person might have done so. 

Wray did say “we deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy.” In response to that admission Florida governor Rick Scott called for Wray to resign. Across the country Americans could make a case that Wray and many others in the FBI deserved much sterner measures. 

In 2013 Omar Mateen lost his job as security guard at Florida’s St. Lucie County courthouse. Mateen had made “inflammatory comments about women, Jews and the mass shooting at Ft. Hood.” The FBI twice questioned Mateen after he touted ties to terrorists, but FBI special agent Ronald Hopper told reporters “we were unable to verify the substance of his comments and the investigation was closed.” On June 12, 2016, Mateen gunned down 49 people and wounded 58 others at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. 

Mateen was born in the United States of Afghan parents but the Tsarnaev brothers, Termalan and Dzokhar, Muslims from the Caucuses region, entered the United States on tourist visas then claimed asylum. Russian intelligence warned the FBI the Tsarnaev brothers were dangerous but the FBI’s investigation found no links to terrorism.  On April 15, 2013, the brothers planted bombs at the Boston Marathon that killed three people and wounded at least 264. 

In 2008, the FBI had picked off emails between U.S. Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan and Islamist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a terrorist with ties to the 9/11 hijackers. In these emails, Hasan was asking for religious sanction to kill American soldiers. The FBI failed to interview Hasan or even make a phone call to his superiors, and no government agency took any steps to stop him. On November 5, 2009, at Fort Hood Texas, Hasan gunned down 13 unarmed American soldiers, including private Francheska Velez, 21, who was pregnant, and wounded more than 30 others. 

Senator Joseph Lieberman sought to make the Hasan-Awlaki emails public but the FBI blocked their release, and military prosecutors forbade their presentation in the trial. During those proceedings, reporters asked Robert Mueller, FBI boss from 2001-2013, if the bureau had dropped the ball by failing to act. “No,” Mueller responded, “I think, given the context of the discussions and the situation that the agents and the analysts were looking at, they took appropriate steps.” No word about any “regrets,” deep or otherwise, about Hasan’s victims. 

For POTUS 44, the Fort Hood attack was not terrorism or even “gun violence.” The mass murder was “workplace violence” and Mueller had no problem with that. POTUS 44, who as Barry Soetoro attended a Muslim school in Indonesia, proclaimed that the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. He also ordered that the FBI must not consider any links between Islam and terrorist attacks against the United States.


Mueller duly purged hundreds of counter-terrorism training materials of any hint that Islamic terrorists might pose a security problem. CAIR boss Nihad Awad thanked Mueller for his “pledge” to review FBI counterterrorism training.  So Mueller slavishly put political correctness above the safety of the American people, and that doubtless explains why the FBI looked the other way as the Tsarnaevs, Omar Mateen and others plotted their deadly actions. 

Mueller’s politically correct compliance also explains why deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who has problems of his own, tapped the former FBI boss to head up the Russia investigation. Mueller duly bulked up his team with big-time Clinton supporters but his probe has turned up no collusion with the Trump campaign, as the 2016 presidential loser and her media fan club charged. If Mueller wants to show some integrity, he should shut down the probe immediately. 

The former FBI boss’s preference for politics over safety, abetted by incompetence, has trickled down into similar inaction against walking red flags such as Nikolas Cruz. After his mass shooting Christopher Wray admitted the FBI failed and expressed deep regrets. President Trump and Congress need to lean on this guy more than a little bit. 

Peter Strzok worked three shifts exonerating Hillary Clinton and framing Donald Trump. That doesn’t sound much like the job description of the FBI’s chief of counterintelligence. So why is this partisan bigot still employed by the FBI in any capacity? 

Who are the FBI agents, and their bosses, who looked the other way in the Fort Hood, Boston Marathon and Orlando terrorist attacks? What, exactly, are they doing now? As in the Florida high-school shooting, the victims and their loved ones deserve some answers. 

If Christopher Wray won’t answer those questions, the president should fire him, just as he showed the door to Leakin’ James Comey. The people deserve an FBI director who tells the truth, shuns bureaucratic excuses, and puts their safety above political correctness.  


Lloyd Billingsley is the author of the new crime book, Lethal Injections: Elizabeth Tracy Mae Wettlaufer, Canada’s Serial Killer Nurse, and the recently updated Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation.

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/269367/fatal-bureau-investigation-lloyd-billingsley

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Did the Progressive 'Broward County Solution' Cost 17 Student Lives? - Jack Cashill




by Jack Cashill

This is how public schools in Florida and elsewhere are "dealing with" (that is, shuffling around) problem kids.


"We're not compromising school safety. We're really saving the lives of kids," boasted Michaelle Valbrun-Pope, executive director of Student Support Initiatives for Broward County Public Schools, in August 2017.

Valbrun-Pope was referring to what an article by Jeffrey Benzing in Public Source calls the "Broward County Solution." As Benzing relates, Broward County used to lead the state of Florida in sending students to the state's juvenile justice system. County leaders responded with a perfectly progressive solution: "lower arrests by not making arrests."

Authorities agreed to treat twelve different misdemeanor offenses as school-related issues, not criminal ones. The results impressed the people who initiated the program. Arrests dropped from more than a thousand in 2011-2012 to less than four hundred just four years later.

One particular motivation behind programs like Broward County's was the pressure from multiple sources to reduce the statistical disparity between black and Hispanic student arrests on one hand and white and Asian student arrests on the other. Benzing writes, for instance, how a Denver organization called "Padres & Jóvenes Unidos" successfully advocated for a program like Broward's to help achieve "racial and education equity" in Denver schools.

By virtue of his name alone, Nikolas de Jesús Cruz, the adopted son of Lynda and Roger Cruz, became a statistical Hispanic. As such, authorities at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland had every reason not to report his troubling and likely criminal behavior to the police.

According to a source who spoke to the Miami Herald, Cruz had been suspended from Stoneman Douglas High for fighting and also for being caught with bullets in his backpack. This was apparently at least one of the reasons why administrators reportedly emailed a warning to teachers against allowing Cruz on the campus with a backpack. He was later expelled for reasons that have not been disclosed, but he was apparently not arrested.

This is not the first time that this "solution" to school crime has produced lethal results. An earlier case in the nearby Miami-Dade County public school system should have been a warning, but unfortunately, the media conspired to suppress the details of the case. The victim in Miami-Dade was one Trayvon Martin.

Miami-Dade schools have their own police department. The exposure of the department's practices began inadvertently with the Miami Herald story on Martin's multiple suspensions. The article prompted M-DPD's police chief to launch a major internal affairs investigation into the possible leak of this information to the Herald.

As the investigation began, the officers realized immediately that they had a problem on their hands. "Oh, God, oh, my God, oh, God," one major reportedly said when first looking at Martin's data. He could see that Martin had been suspended twice already that school year for offenses that should have gotten him arrested. In each case, however, the case file on Martin was fudged to make the crime seem less serious than it was.

As one detective told investigators, the arrest statistics coming out of Martin's school, Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School, had been "quite high," and the detectives "needed to find some way to lower the stats." This directive allegedly came from the police chief. At least a few officers confirmed that the chief was particularly concerned with the arrest rates of minority males in the Miami-Dade system.

In July 2012, the Obama administration formalized the pressure on school districts with an executive order warning school districts to avoid "methods that result in disparate use of disciplinary tools." The White House focused on black students in particular and headlined the press release announcing this dubious stroke of racism "President Obama Signs New Initiative to Improve Educational Outcomes for African Americans."

Like Cruz, Martin was frequently suspended, three times in his final school year. In one case, Martin had been found with stolen jewelry and burglary tools in his backpack. Had he been arrested and not merely suspended, his parents and his teachers would have known how desperately far he had gone astray. Instead, Martin was "diverted" into nothing useful. Just days after his last non-arrest, he was allowed to wander the Retreat at Twin Lakes high and alone, looking, in George Zimmerman's immortal words, "like he's up to no good or he's on drugs or something."

The media's larger motive in suppressing the facts of this story was to protect the narrative of innocent black youth killed by white cop wannabe George Zimmerman. A secondary motive was to protect Obama's misbegotten quest to achieve racially statistical "equity" for youthful offenders by not arresting them for very real crimes.

Cruz had to have done something more troubling than carry bullets in his backpack. Before even talking about gun control, Republican leaders should demand a complete audit of Cruz's school records and the rethinking of the "Broward County Solution" wherever it is applied.

Jack Cashill

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/02/did_the_progressive_broward_county_solution_cost_17_student_lives.html

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Dems fear 'slow motion train wreck' in midterms - Thomas Lifson




by Thomas Lifson

Savor the schadenfreude. The smarter Dems have caught on to how screwed they are.


The smarter Dems in Congress are catching on that Trump hatred anchors their party to ending the Trump Boom. Hand them the majority and they’ll paralyze us with impeachment.

They know that Americans are responding to good economic times the way people always do: they like the party in power because they want the good times to continue. All those bonuses have tantalized millions who aren’t receiving them. They tell everyone that money is in the air for people willing to show up and work. People don’t want to upset the apple cart.

And this is freaking out the Democrats. 

They are watching their generic preference poll advantage collapse. And they all know that the Republicans always outperform the generic polls on Election Day. The RCP graph below has a strong lag factor, for it averages polls going back a month.

Heather Caygle reports in Politico:
[M]any Democrats say they’re watching nervously as polls start to trend in Republicans’ favor — and worry they’re witnessing the beginning of a slow-motion train wreck that they have no idea how to stop.
It’s a fun schadenfreude read. They are split on what to do, and arguing with each other while fearing for their political future. Some even suspect that all this focus on hating Trump might not be working.

Lots of luck selling that to the base, whose enthusiasm you absolutely need.

Thomas Lifson

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/02/dems_fear_slow_motion_train_wreck_in_midterms.html

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Hamas leaders in disarray, split over mixed signals from Tehran - debkaFile




by debkaFile

“Don’t pull the trigger until we are ready.” In other words, -- wait until Iran’s operations in Syria with its Shiite militias and Hizballah are ready to go for a military showdown with Israel.




It turns out that Al Qods chief Qassem Soleimani quietly directed Hamas leaders to hold their fire against Israel. Khaled Meshaal says:  Line up behind Mahmoud Abbas.

When Saleh Arouri, commander of the Hamas military arm, along with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ziyad Nahalah, visited Tehran on Feb. 14, they heard Gen. Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Middle East operations declaring in a fiery speech that “launching missiles at Israel is not enough.” But at a quiet meeting, the Iranian general secretly issued the reverse directive, DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources reveal. It was substantially, “Don’t pull the trigger until we are ready.” In other words, save your resources and strength for later; wait until Iran’s operations in Syria with its Shiite militias and Hizballah are ready to go for a military showdown with Israel.

The two Palestinian terrorist chiefs met with Soleimani twice last week. Nevertheless, on Friday, 16, a Hamas bomb was planted on the Gaza border on Friday. It exploded the next day injuring four Israeli soldiers – a provocation against Israel that held the potential of sparking a major confrontation.


Hamas leaders are evidently divided on where to go next.


They were further confused when their former leader Khaled Meshaal strongly advised Hamas terrorist chiefs to exercise restraint in their attacks on Israel – much like the Iranian general, but for the opposite reason. In their secret confabulations, Meshaal maintained that the Palestinians must now appreciate that their most dangerous foe is no longer Israel, but US President Donald Trump and his policy for the Palestinian-Israel dispute. He warned that Trump’s alliance with key Arab leaders, Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh el-Sisi and Saudi Crown Prince Muhammed Bin Salman, could lead to the eclipse of the entire Palestinian national movement. Therefore, he urged Hamas to line up behind its rival, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, regardless of the consequences, because he is spearheading a campaign against the US president.


At the same time, DEBKAfile’s sources in Washington reveal another Palestinian pivot:  Abbas too has begun singing a different tune. While announcing the severance of all Ramallah’s ties with the Trump administration, he suddenly put out covert messages of reassurance to the administration early Tuesday, Feb. 20: The US should not be concerned, he indicated, because the speech he delivers at the UN Security Council will indeed ask for full recognition of Palestine as a member state, but in milder terms than ever before. The Washington sources gained the impression that the Abbas is preparing to  “surprise even Israel.”  These messages were passed on to President Trump.


debkaFile

Source: https://www.debka.com/hamas-leaders-disarray-split-mixed-signals-tehran/

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Facebook “Intellectually Terrorizes” a Human Rights Activist - Magdi Khalil




by Magdi Khalil

Or, an urgent complaint to Facebook management.



 
FrontPageMag Editor’s note: Magdi Khalil, an Egyptian-born human right’s activist and Copt now living in America, explains how he escaped Egyptian-style terror only to suffer from a sort of Facebook Terrorism.  In the Arab world, Khalil is a well-known political analyst and prolific writer who frequently appears on Al Jazeera, where he debates dictatorial and radical Islamist opponents. 

My name is Magdi Khalil, I am an American citizen and a resident of Virginia. My Facebook page can be found here

I currently work as an analyst researcher at an American institution. For over 20 years, I have been a well-known commentator on Middle Eastern affairs and the executive editor of international pages for a Cairo-based newspaper. I also made more than a thousand TV appearances as a political commentator on various programs broadcast on Middle Eastern TV channels. I have published more than 2,000 articles and research, and authored a number of books. While most of my published work is in Arabic, I have also published many articles in English.

I am also a human rights advocate, and have been involved in founding several human rights centers, including Coptic Solidarity in Washington, and the Middle East Freedom Forum. I currently serve as a member of the advisory board of MEMRI, the board of directors of Coptic Solidarity, as well as being the director of the Middle East Freedom Forum.

Given my strong advocacy for human rights and the rights of religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East, and my outspoken stance and writings against Islamic terrorism, I naturally attracted the ire and hostility of Egyptian and Middle Eastern intelligence agencies, as well as extremist Islamic groups. My activities, including my Facebook page, became a favorite target for those agencies and groups, which have at their disposal electronic "militias" working to flood Facebook Administration and other social media with a deluge of false complaints against their perceived opponents.

Unfortunately, I have had to deal with this issue repeatedly. Furthermore, I suspect that there may be some staff members in Facebook Administration, particularly in Middle East-based offices, who support these entities and target their opponents.

My experience with Facebook can be summed up as follows:

1.    In August 2016, I called for a peaceful march in front of the White House in defense of oppressed Christians in Egypt. Following that announcement, my account was hacked (the hackers may have had some connection to the Egyptian Intelligence Agency). The hackers took control of my Facebook page, through my private email, removed my personal picture and switched it for that of an Islamic extremist, and posted a warning for people to refrain from joining the march claiming that ISIS will blow up the demonstrators. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation was informed for security purposes, and Facebook Administration was contacted regarding this issue, until finally the page was restored ten days later.

2.    On November 24, 2017, I posted an article on Facebook calling for religious reform in the Middle East. The article was deleted, and Facebook Administration did not allow me to post for several days, despite the fact that this was an opinion article, and absolutely did not include any call for hatred or violence.

3.    On December 5, 2017, I posted another opinion on Facebook regarding religious reform. It was removed by Facebook Administration and I was suspended from posting for two weeks.

4.    On February 2, 2018, I posted an opinion regarding Turkey (following its devastating military campaign in north of Syria), recalling the historical fact that the Ottomans have occupied Constantinople since 1453, and saying that one day it will be returned to its original ‘Byzantine’ owners. The post was deleted and my Facebook account was suspended for a month.

I am a US citizen, protected by the US Constitution. Everything I have posted, since I first signed up for my Facebook page, can still be accessed, and none of it violates US laws or Facebook rules. This falls under the freedom of opinion and speech, which is protected by the First Amendment to Constitution in the United States, as well as by international laws and human rights instruments. Being the director of a human rights center in Washington and a public figure, I hold myself accountable ethically and legally for everything I post on Facebook. If anyone takes issue with my writings, they can go to court, and I am ready to defend every word I wrote.

As a researcher and human rights activist, I see, to my great amazement, thousands of pages on Facebook full of hatred and incitement to violence against Christians, Jews and women in the Middle East. However, these pages are left undisturbed, while Facebook Administrators go after a human rights activist for posts wrote in support of human rights and freedoms, and to counter global terrorism which poses a threat to the whole world!!

I feel that I have been subject to a form of "intellectual terrorism" targeting thinkers, writers, and human rights activists, and meant to thwart activism, and undermine the role they play in defending the oppressed, especially in regions such as the Middle East. It seems there are deliberate acts leading to imposing the Middle East standards of tyranny and fascism to social media.

I have left Egypt to escape religious persecution and the restrictions that crippled my freedom to write and express my opinion, and I would not see my freedom suppressed in the United States, the land of the free. 

I am kindly asking Facebook Management to:

-       Immediately lift the ban on my Facebook page, and
-       Investigate on who is responsible for singling out my posts.

I would like to reaffirm that I hold myself ethically and legally accountable for every word that I wrote. If anyone takes issue with what I write, they can seek legal action, and I have full confidence in the American justice system.


Magdi Khalil is an Egyptian-born human right’s activist and Copt now living in America. He is a well-known political analyst and prolific writer who frequently appearances on Al Jazeera, where he debates dictatorial and radical Islamist opponents.

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/269363/facebook-intellectually-terrorizes-human-rights-magdi-khalil

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