Sunday, July 21, 2019

Britain: Iran's seizure of tanker a 'hostile act' - Ben Ariel


by Ben Ariel

Britain complains to UN over Iran's seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker in the Persian Gulf.


The Stena Impero at Bander Abass port
The Stena Impero at Bander Abass port
Reuters

Britain on Saturday denounced Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, rejecting Tehran’s explanation that it seized the vessel because it had been involved in an accident, Reuters reported.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards posted a video online showing speedboats pulling alongside the Stena Impero tanker, its name clearly visible. Troops wearing ski masks and carrying machine guns rappelled to its deck from a helicopter, the same tactics used by British Royal Marines to seize an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar two weeks ago.

British Defense Secretary Penny Mordaunt called the incident a “hostile act”, while Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he had expressed “extreme disappointment” by phone to his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Britain also summoned the Iranian charge d’affaires in London.

A spokesman for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Brigadier-General Ramezan Sharif, said Tehran had seized the ship in the Strait of Hormuz despite the “resistance and interference” of a British warship which had been escorting it. No British warship was visible in the video posted by the Guards.

Iran’s Fars news agency said the Guards had taken control of the Stena Impero on Friday after it collided with an Iranian fishing boat whose distress call it ignored.

In a letter to the UN Security Council on Saturday night, Britain said the tanker was approached by Iranian forces when it was in Omani territorial waters exercising its lawful right of passage, and the action “constitutes illegal interference.”

“Current tensions are extremely concerning, and our priority is to de-escalate. We do not seek confrontation with Iran,” the letter said. “But it is unacceptable and highly escalatory to threaten shipping going about its legitimate business through internationally recognized transit corridors.”

Another oil tanker, the Mesdar, was also boarded by Iranian personnel on Friday and temporarily forced to divert toward Iran, but later was allowed to continue on its route through the strait.

On Saturday, Algeria’s APS news agency said the Mesdar was owned by Algeria’s state oil company Sonatrach.

Friday’s incident came two weeks after the British naval force seized an Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar on suspicion that it was carrying crude oil to Syria, in violation of EU sanctions.

The detention of the tanker angered Iran, which condemned the move as an "illegal interception" and summoned the British ambassador in protest.


Ben Ariel

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/266245

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Time for Europe to Get Over The "Worst Deal Ever" - Con Coughlin


by Con Coughlin

Europe's insistence on sticking with the nuclear deal, and its refusal to support Washington's attempts to provide naval protection for international shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, could ultimately prove self-defeating.

  • Yet, while Iran shows no sign of scaling down its aggressive stance towards the US and its allies in the region, Europe continues to cling to the wreckage of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), to give the nuclear deal its proper name, in the misguided belief that the deal remains the best means of preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
  • The determination of the Europeans to stick with the nuclear deal at all costs was very much in evidence earlier this week during a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Brussels at which they came up with the decidedly bogus notion that Iran's breaches of the 2015 nuclear deal were not significant and therefore did not require the Europeans to withdraw from the JCPOA.
  • Europe's insistence on sticking with the nuclear deal, and its refusal to support Washington's attempts to provide naval protection for international shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, could ultimately prove self-defeating.
  • Europe is far more dependent on energy supplies from the Gulf than the US, and any further attempts by Iran to disrupt oil and gas supplies from the Gulf would have catastrophic consequences for Europe's economy.

While Iran shows no sign of scaling down its aggressive stance towards the US and its allies in the region, Europe continues to cling to the wreckage of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, in the misguided belief that the deal remains the best means of preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons. "Technically all the steps that have been taken, and that we regret have been taken, are reversible... We invite Iran to reverse the steps and go back to full compliance," Federica Mogherini, EU foreign policy chief, recently told EU foreign ministers. Pictured: Mogherini (left) stands with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, during her August 2017 visit to Iran. (Image source: European External Action Service/Flickr)

With tensions rising in the Gulf by the day as a result of Iran's increasingly provocative conduct, the refusal of the major European powers to back the Trump administration's determination to confront Iran is looking increasingly untenable.

In the past few months Iran has been blamed for a series of attacks on oil tankers operating in the Gulf, and forced a British Royal Navy warship to intervene when a number of fast patrol boats operated by the naval division of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) attempted to harass a British-owned tanker sailing through the Strait of Hormuz, the main shipping route into the oil-rich Gulf.

Additionally, US military officials at Central Command (CentCom) are currently investigating claims that Iran was behind the mysterious disappearance of the oil tanker Riah while sailing in Iranian waters at the weekend.

Also, Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have been blamed for carrying out a number of attacks against targets in neighbouring Saudi Arabia, including a missile attack on a Saudi civilian airport and a drone attack on a key Saudi pipeline.

Iran's most audacious act so far has been to shoot down an American naval drone conducting a reconnaissance mission in the Strait of Hormuz last month. The strike came within hours of provoking a military response from the Trump administration.

Meanwhile, as all this has been going on, the ayatollahs have announced that they have resumed work on enriching uranium, a blatant breach of the controversial nuclear accord Tehran signed with the world's leading powers in 2015.

Yet, while Iran shows no sign of scaling down its aggressive stance towards the US and its allies in the region, Europe continues to cling to the wreckage of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), to give the nuclear deal its proper name, in the misguided belief that the deal remains the best means of preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Europe's insistence on adopting a different approach to the White House in its dealings with Iran dates back to US President Donald Trump's original decision last year to withdraw from the JCPOA, after arguing it was the "worst deal ever."

That, however, is not a viewpoint supported by the European signatories to the deal -- Britain, France and Germany. They still wrongly cling to the illusion that the agreement is a triumph of diplomacy, and has severely limited Iran's ability to pursue its ambition of becoming a nuclear-armed power. Under the JCPOA deal, upon its sunset, a mere ten years away, in 2030, "Iran will be permitted to build an industrial-size nuclear industry" with the ability to build and potentially deliver as many nuclear weapons as it liked.

To this end the Europeans have actively sought to undermine the Trump administration's new sanctions regime against Tehran by trying to find ways to continue trading with Iran. The Europeans have even come up with their own trading framework -- the so-called Special Purpose Vehicle -- which is supposed to enable European companies to continue trading with Iran without attracting punitive measures from the US.

In fact the measure has become an exercise in futility, as major European business conglomerates such as Airbus have shown that they are far more interested in protecting their lucrative business ties with the US than dealing with an economic basket case like Iran.

But not even this setback has deterred the Europeans from pursuing their policy of appeasement towards the ayatollahs. The determination of the Europeans to stick with the nuclear deal at all costs was very much in evidence earlier this week during a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Brussels at which they came up with the decidedly bogus notion that Iran's breaches of the 2015 nuclear deal were not significant and therefore did not require the Europeans to withdraw from the JCPOA.

"Technically all the steps that have been taken, and that we regret have been taken, are reversible," Federica Mogherini, the EU's foreign policy chief, told EU foreign ministers.

As none of the signatories to the deal considered the breaches to be significant, they were not prepared to trigger the dispute mechanism which could lead to further sanctions.

"We invite Iran to reverse the steps and go back to full compliance," were her final words on the matter.

Europe's insistence on sticking with the nuclear deal, and its refusal to support Washington's attempts to provide naval protection for international shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, could ultimately prove self-defeating.

Europe is far more dependent on energy supplies from the Gulf than the US, and any further attempts by Iran to disrupt oil and gas supplies from the Gulf would have catastrophic consequences for Europe's economy.

Con Coughlin is the Telegraph's Defence Editor and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute. He is the author of "Khomeini's Ghost".

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/14554/europe-get-over-iran-deal

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The 'Slow Death' of Palestinians in Lebanon - Khaled Abu Toameh


by Khaled Abu Toameh

-- somehow, Lebanon's discriminatory and racist measures against Palestinians do not seem to bother pro-Palestinian groups around the world. These groups regularly turn a blind eye to the misery of Palestinians living in Arab countries.

  • The Lebanese authorities' measures against Palestinians again highlight the discrimination Palestinians have long been facing in this Arab country. "Palestinians in Lebanon," according to a 2017 report by the Associated Press, "suffer discrimination in nearly every aspect of daily life..." Lebanese law restricts Palestinians' ability to work in several professions, including law, medicine and engineering, and bars them from receiving social security benefits. In 2001, the Lebanese parliament also passed a law prohibiting Palestinians from owning property.
  • Yet, somehow, Lebanon's discriminatory and racist measures against Palestinians do not seem to bother pro-Palestinian groups around the world. These groups regularly turn a blind eye to the misery of Palestinians living in Arab countries. Instead, they set their sights on Israel, scrutinizing it for imagined abuses against Palestinians.
  • It is high time for the pro-Palestinian groups on university campuses in the US, Canada, Britain and Australia to organize an "Arab Apartheid Week" instead of accusing Israel of "discriminating" against Palestinians. It is also high time for the international media to take notice of anti-Palestinian measures taken by Lebanon against the Palestinians at a time when Israel is increasing the number of Palestinian workers allowed to enter Israel for work.
  • Who will address the following question: Why are the UN and other international institutions remaining silent as Palestinians are being thrown out of their jobs in an Arab country while more than 100,000 Palestinians enter Israel on a daily basis for work? Will we see an emergency meeting of the Arab League or the UN Security Council to denounce Lebanese apartheid and racism? Or are they too busy drafting resolutions condemning Israel, which has opened its doors wide open to Palestinian workers?

Somehow, Lebanon's discriminatory and racist measures against Palestinians do not seem to bother pro-Palestinian groups around the world. These groups regularly turn a blind eye to the anguish of Palestinians living in Arab countries. Instead, they set their sights on Israel, scrutinizing it for imagined abuses against Palestinians. Pictured: Burj Barajneh, a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon administered by UNRWA. (Image source: Al Jazeera English/Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

More than 100,000 Palestinians from the West Bank have permits to work in Israel, according to Palestinian and Israeli sources. In addition, the sources said, thousands of Palestinians enter Israel every day without permits.

On July 15, the number of Palestinian workers who entered Israel, according to the Israeli Defense Ministry, was estimated at more than 80,000.

Last week, as part of efforts to reach a truce agreement between Israel and Hamas, Israel was reported to have agreed to increase the number of Palestinian merchants and businessmen allowed to go from the Gaza Strip to Israel from 3,500 to 5,000.

Reports said that the latest Israeli gesture were the outcome of attempts by Egypt and the United Nations to prevent an all-out military confrontation between Israel and Hamas.

While Israel is constantly increasing the number of work permits for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Lebanon, on the contrary, has launched an unprecedented crackdown on illegal foreign workers, including Palestinians, thereby triggering a wave of protests among Palestinians living there.

The Lebanese authorities say the crackdown on illegal foreign workers is directed mostly against Syrians who fled to Lebanon after the beginning of the civil war in Syria in 2011. As part of this campaign against illegal workers, several businesses have been closed and many Palestinian and Syrian workers have been suspended from their jobs.

Lebanese Minister of Labor Kamil Abu Sulieman denied allegations that the campaign was organized as a "conspiracy" targeting the 450,000 Palestinians in his country. "The plan to combat illegal labor was prepared several months ago and does not target the Palestinians," Abu Sulieman said. "There is a labor law in Lebanon, and we have decided to implement it. We gave a six-month warning to all the illegal workers and businesses to seek proper permits."

The Lebanese minister admitted, however, that as a result of the campaign against illegal workers, some Palestinian businesses have been shut.

The Palestinians have rejected the minister's claims. Instead, they launched protests in different parts of Lebanon against the crackdown on illegal foreign workers. Protesters burned tires at the entrances to a number of refugee camps, and some Palestinian factions and officials, condemning the campaign, have asked the Lebanese authorities to halt their measures against Palestinian businessmen and workers.

"The Lebanese measures cause harm to the Palestinians," said Ali Faisal, member of the PLO's Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP). He urged the Lebanese authorities to rescind their measures against Palestinians and pointed out that the Palestinian contribution to Lebanon's economic growth is estimated at 11%. The DFLP official also noted that, "on various pretexts," Palestinians in Lebanon are legally barred from working in several professions.

Lebanese law restricts Palestinians' ability to work in several professions, including law, medicine and engineering, and bars them from receiving social security benefits. In 2001, the Lebanese parliament also passed a law prohibiting Palestinians from owning property.

According to reports in the Arab media, the Palestinian protests could mark the beginning of a Palestinian "Intifada" [uprising] against Lebanon. The reports said that anyhow Palestinians face difficulty in obtaining work permits from the Lebanese authorities.

"The rate of unemployment among Palestinians in Lebanon is very high," said Palestinian businessman Ziad Aref. "We have the right to work towards solving this problem. The new campaign by the Lebanese authorities will leave thousands of Palestinians jobless and aggravate the financial crisis."

Aref said he believes the rate of unemployment among Palestinians in Lebanon is estimated at 56%. He also took Palestinian leaders to task for failing to address the distress of Palestinian workers and businessmen there.

Palestinian leaders in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Lebanon say they are in daily contact with the Lebanese authorities in an attempt to halt the crackdown on Palestinian workers.

Senior PLO official Azzam al-Ahmed, who is in charge of the "Palestinian portfolio" in Lebanon, expressed deep concern over the Lebanese campaign against illegal foreign workers. He said he has contacted several Lebanese officials to warn them against harming any Palestinians.

Hamas, for its part, has accused the Lebanese authorities of employing a policy of "slow death" against Palestinians in Lebanon. Hamas said in a statement that the Lebanese campaign against illegal workers and businesses seemed to be part of a "conspiracy to liquidate the rights of Palestinian refugees. We will not accept any threat to the lives and future of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and we will thwart the policy of slow death."

The Lebanese authorities' measures against Palestinians again highlight the discrimination Palestinians have long been facing in this Arab country. "Palestinians in Lebanon," according to a 2017 report by the Associated Press, "suffer discrimination in nearly every aspect of daily life... Many live in settlements officially recognized as refugee camps, but better described as concrete ghettos ringed by checkpoints and, in some cases, blast walls and barbed wire."

"The discrimination and marginalization [Palestinians] suffer is compounded by the restrictions they face in the labour market, which contribute to high levels of unemployment, low wages and poor working conditions.," according to a UN report. "Until 2005, more than 70 jobs were barred to Palestinians - around 20 still are. The resultant poverty is exacerbated by restrictions placed on their access to state education and social services."

Yet, somehow, Lebanon's discriminatory and racist measures against Palestinians do not seem to bother pro-Palestinian groups around the world. These groups regularly turn a blind eye to the anguish of Palestinians living in Arab countries. Instead, they set their sights on Israel, scrutinizing it for imagined abuses against Palestinians.

It is high time for the pro-Palestinian groups on university campuses in the US, Canada, Britain and Australia to organize an "Arab Apartheid Week" instead of accusing Israel of "discriminating" against Palestinians. It is also high time for the international media to take notice of anti-Palestinian measures taken by Lebanon against the Palestinians at a time when Israel is increasing the number of Palestinian workers allowed to enter Israel for work.

Who will address the following question: Why are the UN and other international institutions remaining silent as Palestinians are being thrown out of their jobs in an Arab country, while more than 100,000 Palestinians enter Israel on a daily basis for work? Will we see an emergency meeting of the Arab League or the UN Security Council to denounce Lebanese apartheid and racism? Or are they too busy drafting resolutions condemning Israel, which has opened its doors wide open to Palestinian workers?
  • Follow Khaled Abu Toameh on Twitter

Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/14553/slow-death-palestinians-lebanon

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Benjamin Netanyahu: Israel’s Longest-Serving Prime Minister - Matthew Continetti


by Matthew Continetti

Hat tip: Darrell Simms
 

Netanyahu's economic and foreign policies have proven to be very beneficial to the Jewish state.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, 2018. (Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)

He persisted.
 
On July 20, Benjamin Netanyahu becomes Israel’s longest-serving prime minister. His first tenure lasted from 1996 to 1999. This second stint began in 2009. Bibi has won five elections since. The most recent victory, in April, was Pyrrhic. He failed to form a government. An unprecedented rematch is set for September.

Whatever the result, Netanyahu’s historical legacy is assured. He has proven to be not only a skilled and charismatic political operator, but also a remarkably effective steward of Israel’s prosperity and safety.

“A successful democratic statesman,” Irving Kristol wrote in 2001, “is one whose tenure in office is seen by his countrymen as representing a permanent contribution to the shaping of our democratic destiny. He is viewed as having expanded democratic horizons while nourishing the democratic spirit and reinforcing the popular commitment to self-government.” Kristol was describing Ronald Reagan. When interpreted through the fractal lens of Israeli politics, his words also apply to Netanyahu’s achievements in economics, diplomacy, and security.

Beginning with his first premiership, and continuing through his tenure as finance minister in Ariel Sharon’s government, Netanyahu has encouraged the modernization and reform of a once sclerotic economy. What Dan Senor and Saul Singer called Start-up Nation has to a great extent replaced the Israel of labor, cartel, and kibbutz. Today Israel is an entrepreneurial, high-tech economy with a highly educated workforce.

“There is nary an economic indicator that doesn’t look good,” Melrav Arlosoroff wrote in Haaretz last December. “Gross domestic product has risen an average of 3 percent or more annually, unemployment is at a record low, employment is at a record high, more ultra-Orthodox and Arabs are joining the labor force, and the national debt has fallen to 60 percent of GDP.” (We should be so lucky: America’s debt is 105 percent of GDP.)

Netanyahu loves to discuss this economic record. I once heard him rhapsodize over the wonders of desalinization. If water reclamation moves you, you must be a wonk. Netanyahu wasn’t simply boasting, however. He understands the relationship between economic growth and national power. It’s not just that increased revenues can be spent to maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge over her adversaries. Innovation has diplomatic applications as well. Other countries want to share in it. Foreign direct investment in Israel has surged since 2012. Tourism increased by about 50 percent during the past ten years.

There is a widespread assumption, especially in media, that Israel is isolated. This is a myth. Netanyahu has strengthened and expanded Israel’s alliances and relationships with world powers. Even in the midst of diplomatic daylight between his government and the Obama administration, Netanyahu could count on the support of leaders in the U.S. Congress and among the American people more broadly. His relationship with the current president, of course, has paid dividends. Finally, the U.S. embassy is located in Israel’s capital. And none of the candidates seeking to replace President Trump have said they would move it back to Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu has not limited himself to the U.S.-Israel relationship. He’s become close with the leaders of all the great powers, including Japan, India, Russia, and (most worrisomely) China. He has broadened the Israeli presence in Africa. And he has made remarkable diplomatic gains in the Arab world. “Israel is forging new diplomatic and economic ties with many countries, improving old ties with others, and expanding its trade and financial partnerships,” Elliott Abrams wrote in January 2018. Later that year, Netanyahu became the first Israeli prime minister since 1996 to visit Oman and meet with Sultan Qaboos.

No mystery why. This diplomatic campaign has taken place against the backdrop of a changing Middle East. The Palestinian issue has receded in importance. Iran has come to the fore. The Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, missile technology, proxy forces, terrorism, and malign behavior in the region concern not only Israel but also Sunni governments. Israel’s regional partnerships have strengthened as transnational nongovernmental organizations wage political and economic warfare against her. Global anti-Semitism threatens Jewish lives while serving as a reminder of Israel’s necessity. The Syrian civil war has made this picture worse by drawing Russia into a region from which she had been excluded for decades.

Netanyahu has endured because the Israeli public entrusts him with its security. The left discredited itself. It has collapsed as an effective political force. Its embrace of Oslo was a disaster that ended in bloodshed, separation, and stalemate. One of the secrets of Netanyahu’s success is that the alternatives to him are unpalatable. The Labor Party of Ehud Barak withdrew from Lebanon, and the Kadima Party under Ehud Olmert launched an unpopular war against Hezbollah whose outcome was ambiguous.

Though he likes showmanship, addressing the U.S. Congress, the United Nations, and most recently the world on the subject of Iran’s secret nuclear archive, caution defines Netanyahu’s defense policy. He has set red lines on Iranian technology transfer to Hezbollah and on nuclear enrichment. Violations of the former have led to Israeli strikes in Syria, while the Iranians have yet to cross the nuclear threshold of 90 percent enrichment.

Netanyahu is an immigration hawk and has fenced Israel’s borders. At the possible risk of Israel’s deterrent, he has struck Hamas in Gaza only when rocket launches on civilian populations become politically unbearable. He has considerable room for maneuver, however, because of his strength on security and his solid relationship with the American president.
 
Israel faces threats not only from Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas, but also from campaigns of vilification, delegitimization, incitement, boycott and divestment, and anti-Semitism. These threats are the reason Netanyahu has remained in power. And his handling of them guarantees him a place in the pantheon of Jewish leaders.

This piece was originally published in the Washington Free Beacon.


Matthew Continetti

Source: https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/07/benjamin-netanyahu-israels-longest-serving-prime-minister/

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Muslim cleric: If Muslims “rise to power through democracy, they will not allow an infidel to rule over them” - Robert Spencer


by Robert Spencer

Moderate Muslim spokesmen in the West should kindly explain how Sheikh Ahmad Badran is getting Islam all wrong. But they wont.


“Friday Sermon in Jatt, Israel by Sheikh Ahmad Badran: Once Muslims Come to Power, They Will Never Allow Infidels to Rule over Muslims,” MEMRI, June 28, 2019:

Sheikh Ahmad Badran said in a June 28, 2019 Friday sermon in Jatt, Israel that was uploaded to the Internet that the infidels should know that when the Muslims rule over them according to Islam, there will not be a single law that is not Islamic. He said that Muslims will never allow non-Muslims to rule over Muslims because Allah said infidels will never have sway over Muslims. Referring to Muslims who say that they are exploiting democracy in order to come to power, Badran advised infidels to not be fooled and explained that once these Muslims come to power, they, too, will never allow infidels to rule over Muslims. He also explained that when the Muslim Brotherhood “flirts” with infidels by saying they support alternation of power, they are just putting on an act in order to rise to power. He added that Muslims do not accept under any circumstances a pluralistic system that combines Islam and heresy.
Sheikh Ahmad Badran: “We should say to the infidels that when we rule according to Islam, there will not be a single law that will not be Islamic. That’s not all. We will never allow a non-Muslim to rule over Muslims. We should be clear about it. Some of our brothers say: ‘We exploit democracy in order to come to power.’ I am saying to the infidels: Don’t let yourselves be fooled. Our Muslim brothers – although we think they have chosen a wrong path… If they rise to power through democracy, and manage to consolidate their power, they will not allow an infidel to rule over them ever again. You can be sure about it. I am referring to Erdogan or Mohamed Morsi, may Allah have mercy on his soul. It’s all the same. Anywhere that Muslims come to power, by any method, they will not allow an infidel to rule over Muslims ever again. We do not accept a pluralistic system that combines Islam and heresy. There is only Islam.
[…]
“Infidels cannot rule over Muslims, because Allah says: ‘Allah will never grant the infidels sway over Muslims.’ If our Islamist brothers [from the Muslim Brotherhood] flirt with you, and tell you that they support alternation of power – they are just pretending to be miserable in order to rise to power. If they rise to power, they will not allow an infidel to rule over Muslims. There are no two ways about it.”

Robert Spencer

Source: https://www.jihadwatch.org/2019/07/muslim-cleric-rise-to-power-through-democracy-they-will-not-allow-an-infidel-to-rule-over-them-ever-again

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Erdoğan's American Gamble - Burak Bekdil


by Burak Bekdil

Turkey not only stands to jeopardize NATO security in the region but also presents Russia with a victory in its ongoing effort to sow division and distrust among NATO member states." — U.S. Representative John Sarbanes (D-Md.) July 12, 2019.

  • "Turkey's decision to proceed with the acquisition of the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile system presents a serious national security threat to the United States and to our NATO allies. By purchasing and integrating a sophisticated Russian missile defense system into NATO hardware, Turkey not only stands to jeopardize NATO security in the region but also presents Russia with a victory in its ongoing effort to sow division and distrust among NATO member states." — U.S. Representative John Sarbanes (D-Md.) July 12, 2019.
  • The S-400 can engage targets at a range of up to 400km (250 miles). It has been designed to shoot down NATO's aerial assets -- including U.S.-made F-35 fighter jets.
  • What Erdogan fears most is the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, passed by the US Senate in 2017: the CAATSA sanctions. The unemployment rate in Turkey is 13%, with 4.2 million people looking for work. The economy is in recession and the lira rate unstable.

Last week, Turkey took delivery of the first parts for the Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile systems it ordered. The S-400 can engage targets at a range of up to 400km (250 miles). It has been designed to shoot down NATO's aerial assets -- including U.S.-made F-35 fighter jets. Pictured: A Russian S-400 missile battery. (Image source: Vitaly Kuzmin/Wikimedia Commons)

Ever since Turkey officially selected the Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile system for its long-range air-aircraft and anti-missile architecture at the end of 2017, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has not changed his rhetoric that the purchase was "a done deal;" and that "it is Turkey's sovereign choice to deploy which air defense system is on its soil." In response, the U.S. administration threatened to suspend Turkey's membership in the multinational Joint Strike Fighter program, which is building the F-35 Lightning II fifth-generation fighter jet. The U.S. has also threatened Turkey with more sanctions within the Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. Industry officials say the CAATSA sanctions may cost Turkish companies more than $10 billion in lost (sub-) contracts. Turkey has committed to buy at least 100 F-35s and has already paid $1.4 billion.

Erdoğan just shrugs it off. He says that Turkey would consider co-production of the S-400 and the more advanced S-500 system with Russia; that the S-400 was Turkey's sovereign decision and that Turkey would also open negotiations for the acquisition or co-production of the Russian-made Su-57 fighter jet in place of the F-35s.

The S-400 can engage targets at a range of up to 400km (250 miles). It has been designed to shoot down NATO's aerial assets -- including the F-35s in the making.

The first parts of the S-400 systems arrived in Ankara on July 13.

U.S. Representative John Sarbanes (D-Md.) released the following statement on July 12:
"Turkey's decision to proceed with the acquisition of the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile system presents a serious national security threat to the United States and to our NATO allies. By purchasing and integrating a sophisticated Russian missile defense system into NATO hardware, Turkey not only stands to jeopardize NATO security in the region but also presents Russia with a victory in its ongoing effort to sow division and distrust among NATO member states. Under President Erdogan, Turkey has spiraled – perilously – into an anti-democratic, authoritarian regime whose actions have repeatedly undermined NATO defenses. In order to demonstrate that it can operate as a trusted and reliable partner in the region, Turkey must take immediate steps to completely dismantle and return the S-400 system to Russia."
Meanwhile, the Turkish lira fell and so far this year the country's economy has contracted again.

The relationship between Ankara and Washington could drift into a storm if the U.S. retaliates in the way it promised: Suspend Turkey's membership in the JSF program, stop Turkish pilots' training; fail to deliver other critical military gear, especially the smart munitions Turkey uses against Kurdish militants in its own southeast and/or in northern Syria and northern Iraq; sanction senior Turkish officials and defense companies involved in the S-400 program; and a new wave of economic sanctions may push the country's already fragile financial posture into a free fall.

One might use a bit of political acrobatics here: Squeeze Erdoğan further (economically) but without burning bridges: Erdogan will not be in charge by, say, 2074.

In Washington there are three options to deal with an ally-turned-menace:
  1. Since there are several other transactional issues for which the U.S. and Turkey remain dependent on each other, go soft on the sanctions.
  2. Recall the case of Pastor Andrew Brunson, when Turkey's economic downturn helped to secure the American pastor's release by squeezing Turkey economically. What Erdogan fears most are the U.S. CAATSA sanctions. According to the latest official statistics, the unemployment rate in Turkey is 13%, with 4.2 million people looking for work. The economy is in recession and the lira rate unstable.
  3. Devise a pragmatic blend of both plans to try to avoid permanently explosive damage to the country.
By becoming the first NATO ally to deploy the Russian-made S-400 air defense system on its soil and ignoring interoperability, NATO members will have to figure out how to deal with a new "frenemy."

Burak Bekdil, one of Turkey's leading journalists, was recently fired from the country's most noted newspaper after 29 years, for writing in Gatestone what is taking place in Turkey. He is a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/14552/erdogan-american-gamble

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Is the Democrats' wall of unreason on illegals cracking? Kyrsten Sinema breaks ranks - Monica Showalter


by Monica Showalter

Her proposal on ending asylum abuse is the first sign of statesmanship seen in ages from a Democratic Party engulfed in craziness.


Is the Democratic wall of craziness starting to crack?

Arizona's Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, of all people, the former Code Pinker in the tutu, has come up with a sensible, bipartisan immigration proposal for ending asylum abuse, a proposal so good any Republican can support it.

According to National Review:
Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.) has joined a bipartisan group of nine colleagues proposing a pilot program that would expedite the deportation of migrants who make invalid asylum claims.
The senators outlined the Operation Safe Return program, which would allow the deportation of migrants within 15 days if their asylum claims are not credible, in a letter sent to acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan on Wednesday.
“We write to urge you to use authorities in use as of June 30, 2019, to implement Operation Safe Return, a pilot program to rapidly, accurately, and fairly determine those families who have crossed the southern border that clearly do not have a valid legal claim and safely return them to their home countries,” the senators wrote. “Through this program, we expect that we can meet our commitments to humanitarian protections while ensuring proper efficiency, timeliness, order, and fairness in the credible fear screening process.”
Sinema and Republican senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin led the effort to develop the program in response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis that has arisen at border-detention facilities in recent months due to overcrowding.
That's addressing reality on the ground. It's an incredible break from the insanity, led by the far-left freshman House "squad," and highly visible in the Democratic presidential nomination race, of the Democrats now. This Democratic insanity wall has been evident in all sorts of acts and policy proposals. First the Democrats uniformly denied there was ever a border crisis despite the data. Then on the stateside they held out a banquet of incentives for illegal border crossers including free health care that Americans pay through the nose for. After that, they sought to thwart any reasonable effort by President Trump to get control of the border - no piddly $6 billion to build a wall so that the Border Patrol could focus on drug smugglers instead of babysit family units, no Defense money for a wall despite a clear national emergency. Not even money for toothpaste for detention centers, based on the votes from the squad. They also thwarted any effort to find out how many illegals are here via the Census. They yelled 'concentration camps' for illegal border crossers, called for the abolition of ICE, demanded the decriminalization of illegal border crossers, escorted rejected illegals back over into the U.S., and then screamed bloody murder about ICE raids to deport illegals who have already had their day in court and been ordered deported, throwing in legal advice for thwarting the process because nothing superceded the rights of illegals to stay. Democrats have been so solicitous of the interests of illegals in these acts, they have done it at the expense of Americans, making themselves the party of illegals and raising questions about whether they were more interested in importing a foreign cadre of socialist voters and padding congressional seat numbers than representing the country they were sworn to uphold.

And with the exception of that toothpaste vote, they were unanimous in their insanity. All ten hands went up at that Democratic debate on forking over taxpayer-paid free health care for illegals who haven't put a dime into the system. 

But something broke with Sinema's sensible, reality-based proposal. She's a blue Senator in a red state, which suggests she knows that voters aren't happy with the insanity wall. She must know that political tides can turn. What's more, she's got an election ahead in six years, quite a bit longer down the line than many Democrats, meaning she's in a safe spot in terms of fundraising from the left - the lefties will forget this in six years. The risk for her among her fellow leftists who bankroll candidates is actually fairly low.

And in taking her sane position, she will build up bipartisan support for whatever reelection she may want years late and that might not be forgotten, voters forget less.

Even more important, a crisis may be averted for her border state if her proposal goes through, which would be good news for migrant-flooded Arizona.

She did seem to have a record as a pragmatic problem-solver during her time in the House as representative. She also refused to make her Senate election about President Trump and she must have meant that, Trump hate isn't her sole animating force as it is with the crazy faction ruling the Democrats. She may look flaky but she doesn't act flaky, and that's important. What I suspect is happening is that she and all the other red-state and moderate Democrats have had enough of all the press attention going to the 'squad' and its crazy proposals, and now they are trying to counter with some sensible counterproposals just to get these people off the front page. It had to have taken guts for Sinema to do this, and we know she is going to take some abuse from the crazies for it. But the proposal is out and from an unexpected source, so now the narrative is cratering. The wall has cracked. That may mean the groupthink is broken and maybe there will be more of them coming. Anything to get Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez off the front page. Anything to end the reality that the Democrats have been buried in a wall of craziness. 

Call it statesmanship.


Monica Showalter

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2019/07/is_the_democrats_wall_of_unreason_on_illegals_cracking_kyrsten_sinema_breaks_ranks.html

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Planned Parenthood Pulls Plug on its Distinguished President - Joseph Klein


by Joseph Klein

Replaces physician with social justice activist to push extreme pro-abortion agenda.





Dr. Leana Wen, a highly distinguished physician, became the president of Planned Parenthood last fall. Her tenure as Planned Parenthood’s first Chinese American president did not last long, however. Planned Parenthood’s board threw Dr. Wen overboard just eight months later. Dr. Wen’s “sin” was that she was more interested in providing a wide range of health services and information to those who needed them rather than focus her work on stridently advocating abortion on demand. Planned Parenthood wanted a “more aggressive political leader,” according to the New York Times.

Dr. Wen supports women’s right to an abortion. However, she believes that Planned Parenthood could most effectively help women by considering abortion to be one of the health care services the organization provides, not its defining raison d'être. “I believe the best way to protect abortion care is to be clear that it is not a political issue, but a healthcare one, and that we can expand support for reproductive rights by finding common ground with the large majority of Americans who understand reproductive health care as the fundamental health care that it is,” she said. “I am leaving because the new Board Chairs and I have philosophical differences over the direction and future of Planned Parenthood.”

Dr. Wen’s health service priorities should have been no surprise to those at Planned Parenthood who hired her. Dr. Wen’s resume included stints on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and her public service as Baltimore’s health commissioner. Dr. Wen's work to combat the opioid epidemic in Baltimore was recognized by former President Barack Obama, who invited her to speak at the White House, and by Democrat Congressman Elijah Cummings, whose district includes just over half of Baltimore. Evidently, the powers that be at Planned Parenthood wanted to leverage Dr. Wen’s prestige to push their extreme pro-abortion agenda. They got rid of her when she would not go along.

After saying good-bye to Dr. Wen, Planned Parenthood appointed a social justice activist, Alexis McGill Johnson, as its acting president. The organization’s leadership traded a renowned physician with a record of public service in the health field for a board member whose past accomplishments included serving as Political Director to hip hop mogul Russell Simmons, Executive Director of Citizen Change founded by Sean “Diddy” Combs, and on the boards of the New York Civil Liberties Union and Center for Social Inclusion. Ms. Johnson was also the co-founder and co-director of the Perception Institute, which works on issues involving “race, gender, ethnic, and other identities.”   

Planned Parenthood has tried in the past to brand itself as a provider of a range of health care services for women. Dr. Wen could have helped. But we can now see in Dr. Wen’s firing that the branding was all show and no substance. Planned Parenthood is unabashedly an abortion propagandist organization and abortion mill.

Ironically, Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, with all her bigotry as discussed below, questioned the practice of abortion as a matter of principle.

In Sanger’s autobiography, she recounted an exchange she had with a  gynecologist in Germany, in which she “gently brought up the subject of abortion.” This was of interest to Sanger, given the fact that women were “campaigning for a bill before the Reichstag to permit operations to be performed lawfully in hospitals.” Sanger wrote that she asked the doctor, "Doesn't this seem a ridiculous substitute for contraceptives?’  She said that the doctor, who favored abortion, was indignant. Sanger then quoted from a speech she gave in Berlin: "Birth control has always been practiced, beginning with infanticide, which is abhorred, and then by abortion, nearly as bad. Contraception, on the other hand, is harmless." Later, she quoted herself as telling some people she encountered during a visit to Russia, who were inquiring about her views on abortion, “We don't want that. Birth control is different."

In an essay entitled, “Woman and the New Race,” Sanger wrote: “When motherhood becomes the fruit of a deep yearning, not the result of ignorance or accident, its children will become the foundation of a new race. There will be no killing of babies in the womb by abortion...”

Planned Parenthood still treats Margaret Sanger as its heroine. Planned Parenthood states on its website that it “traces its roots back to nurse, educator and founder Margaret Sanger — whose activism changed the world. Sanger had the  revolutionary idea that women should control their own bodies — and thus their own destinies. Imagine that!” Yes, but she did not favor Planned Parenthood’s leading service today – abortions on demand. Ripping a baby from a pregnant woman’s womb to perform a late term abortion and selling the body parts, as Planned Parenthood has reportedly done in some cases, is not what Sanger had in mind when she founded the organization.

Margaret Sanger favored other methods of birth control such as contraception, although some of her stated reasons reflected her bigotry.

Sanger believed in compulsory sterilization or segregation of the “whole dysgenic population” - the weak, disabled, and feeble-minded, for example - from mainstream U.S. society.

In an article entitled “The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda,” Sanger wrote that “the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective. Possibly drastic and Spartan methods may be forced upon society if it continues complacently to encourage the chance and chaotic breeding that has resulted from our stupidly cruel sentimentalism.”

In an article published by the New York Times in 1924, Sanger, the president of what was then called the American Birth Control League, defined birth control in racial terms. She said that it means “the release and cultivation of the better racial elements in our society, and the gradual suppression, elimination, and eventual extirpation of defective stocks – those human weeds which threaten the blooming of the finest flowers of American civilization.”

Sanger made other controversial statements, although her defenders claim they were being mischaracterized as to her intent. For example, in connection with the Negro Project, in which she was involved to promote birth control in black communities, Sanger sought to enlist participation by black ministers. But she wrote in a letter some words susceptible of a racist interpretation, "We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members." It’s not clear whether she was using the ministers to cover up the ultimate racist objective of the project or whether she wanted the ministers to allay any misunderstandings in the black communities the project was serving. Even putting the most benign spin on her words, Sanger was condescending.

Margaret Sanger is no role model to be sure, and it is not the intent of this article to sugar coat her prejudices and the horrific remedies she proposed to root out those she considered to be unfit “human weeds.” Planned Parenthood stands on the shoulders of this bigot. But Planned Parenthood’s leadership has done Sanger one better. They advocate for abortion on demand, which Sager opposed. The result is an abortion rate among non-Hispanic black women that was reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its Abortion Surveillance report for 2015, released on November 23, 2018, to be significantly higher than that of non-Hispanic white women – 25.8 abortions per 1,000 compared to 6.6 abortions per 1,000, respectively. Non-Hispanic white women and non-Hispanic black women accounted for the largest percentages of all abortions (36.9% and 36.0%, respectively), according to the report, even though white Americans constituted more than five times the percentage of the U.S. population than black Americans.

Planned Parenthood wants more aggressive advocacy of abortion on demand, to the exclusion of the provision of other health care services and health information that Dr. Wen fought for and lost. It has placed many of its abortion facilities at or near black communities. Abortion is Planned Parenthood’s tool of choice to sharply control population growth, particularly in black communities. The left-wing Democrat presidential candidates are all in.


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: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/274354/planned-parenthood-pulls-plug-its-distinguished-joseph-klein

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CAIR’s Obstruction of Trump’s ICE Raids - Anne-Christine Hoff


by Anne-Christine Hoff


CAIR’s efforts to undermine the ongoing ICE raids is part of the organization making immigration and naturalization issues front and center for its efforts.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the self-described “Muslim civil rights organization” with a history of undermining law enforcement, has put the migrant crisis front and center of its newest efforts.

Last week the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of CAIR reissued a community advisory aimed at undermining law enforcement efforts to conduct raids on illegal migrants who face a court removal order. The Trump administration has said it is focusing its efforts on carrying out removal orders on migrants involved in criminal activity.

Among the rights CAIR-DFW (and the national chapter) advises these undocumented immigrants to exercise in their “Know Your Rights” pamphlet are:
  1. The right to not open the door;
  2. The right to not answer questions;
  3. The right to refuse to sign papers;
  4. The legal right to have a lawyer present;
Of course, none of what CAIR says is untrue. Migrants do have such rights in our country, even though they have broken our laws by entering the country illegally. However, the scale of the problem is unprecedented. As stated by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in the Associated Press, in May alone, 137,887 migrants were taken into custody at the Mexican border, the highest number since 2007.

CBP’s executive director of operations Randy Howe stated on June 5, “We are bursting at the seams. This can’t continue.”

According to BuzzFeed, former ICE director and commissioner of CBP Mark Morgan, argued that 2,000 immigrants were ordered deported for failing to appear in court. The commissioner further contended that they had been given an adequate level of due process and a chance to make their case in court.

But CAIR’s “Know Your Rights” pamphlet is a reminder of the organization’s long history of urging its supporters to resist cooperating with law enforcement. In 2011 CAIR caught flack after it shared a poster instructing supporters to “Build a Wall of Resistance-Don’t talk to the FBI”.

While CAIR later argued that displaying the anti-FBI poster had been a mistake, it was part of a larger pattern. As a Minneapolis Somali activist testified before Congress, CAIR had deliberately urged community members not to talk to the FBI about missing children whom parents feared had been recruited by the terror group Al-Shabaab.

In 2014, CAIR in Los Angeles held a press conference asking for the public’s help to identify a confidential FBI informant in a terrorism case and threatening to publicly release the informant’s identity. “I can’t say we won’t,” CAIR Los Angeles’ senior attorney was quoted as saying.
In 2016 North Texas CAIR leader Alia Salem “warned” local Muslims of expected FBI interviews as federal agents sought leads in an Al Qaeda investigation.

CAIR’s efforts to undermine the ongoing ICE raids is part of the organization making immigration and naturalization issues front and center for its efforts. 

In the same vein, the Newsweek Media Group, the Immigrant Defense Project, the Arab American Association of New York, and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration collaborated to publish this short video called “What to Do if ICE Comes to your Home.” The video mixes Spanish and English and features six actors advising illegals or their advocates on how to refuse to cooperate with ICE in order to be able to stay in the country. 

The Arab American Association of New York (AAANY) boasts the divisive Linda Sarsour as its former executive director. Sarsour has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and is a regular speaker at Muslim Brotherhood sponsored events. For example, in April 2017 she gave the keynote address at ICNA-MAS Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. Both ICNA and MAS were named in a May 1991 Muslim Brotherhood document, called “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” as an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood. That document was entered into evidence during the Holy Land Foundation Trial as “Elbarasse Search-3”.

According to Clarion Project, AAANY also lists Qatar Foundation International (QFI) as a “supporter.” QFI’s ties to the Qatari Islamist government and the Muslim Brotherhood are well-documented in a report written by Middle East Forum in February 2019. QFI is also a supporter of Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, the terrorism-advocating spiritual leader of the Brotherhood. 

Just a week before the reissue of its community alert for illegal migrants, CAIR-DFW sent out a triumphant press release “CAIR-DFW Welcomes the Government’s decision to drop the citizenship question from the 2020 census.”

CAIR DFW’s Acting Executive Director Ekram Haque described the idea of adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census as “nefarious to begin with.” It’s not clear how asking about citizenship on the census falls under CAIR’s self-declared mission of Muslim civil rights advocacy.

Increasingly law enforcement, especially the Border Patrol and ICE, faces a challenging job in a dangerous climate. CAIR’s efforts to obstruct and undermine lawful deportation orders is yet another example of the group’s reckless disregard for the right of lawful citizens to be safe and secure.


Anne-Christine Hoff is the Dallas associate of the Counter Islamist Grid. You can follow her on Twitter.


Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2019/07/cairs_obstruction_of_trumps_ice_raids.html

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