Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Global push against Islamic State grows

by Yoni Hirsch, Eli Leon, The Associated Press and Israel Hayom Staff

Diplomats from around world gather in Paris seeking coherent strategy against the Islamic State • Poll shows that most Americans have "just some" to "very little" confidence that Obama can actually achieve his objective of defeating the Islamic State.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Saturday
Photo credit: AP

Yoni Hirsch, Eli Leon, The Associated Press and Israel Hayom Staff

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=20105

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Khaled Abu Toameh: Why Many Arabs and Muslims Do Not Trust Obama

by Khaled Abu Toameh

Many Arabs and Muslims identify with the terrorists' anti-Western objectives ideology; they are afraid of being dubbed traitors and U.S. agents for joining non-Muslims in a war that would result in the death of many Muslims, and they are afraid their people would rise up against them.
Many Arab and Muslim leaders view the Islamic State as a by-product of failed U.S. policies, especially the current U.S. Administration's weak-kneed support for Iraq's Nuri al-Maliki. Some of these leaders, such as Egypt's Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, consider the U.S. to be a major ally of the Muslim Brotherhood. Sisi and his regime will never forgive Obama for his support for the Muslim Brotherhood.
Also, they do not seem to have much confidence in the Obama Administration, which is perceived as weak and incompetent when it comes to combating Islamists.

"This is not our war and we should not be taking part in it."

That is how many Arabs and Muslims reacted to US President Barack Obama's plan to form an international coalition to fight the Islamic State [IS] terrorist organization, which is operating in Iraq and Syria and threatening to invade more Arab countries.

Islamic State terrorists have killed and wounded tens of thousands of Arabs and Muslims, mostly over the past few months. By contrast, Islamic State has targeted only a few Westerners, three of whom were beheaded in recent weeks.

Islamic State terrorists are also responsible for the displacement of millions of Iraqis and Syrians, and for the murder of many others.

Still, the atrocities committed by Islamic State against Arabs and Muslims, in addition to the immediate threat it poses to many of their countries, do not seem to be sufficient reason for them to declare war on the group.

While some Arabs and Muslims would prefer to see the U.S. and its Western allies fight Islamic State, others have voiced strong opposition to the new U.S.-led coalition against the group, mainly because they identify with the terrorists' anti-Western objectives and ideology.

Arab leaders last week told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that they would contribute "in many aspects" to the anti-Islamic State coalition. But most are not prepared to commit ground troops to the battle against its estimated 30,000 jihadis.

The Arab leaders who want the U.S. to wage war on Islamic State are afraid of being dubbed traitors and U.S. agents for joining non-Muslims in a war on a group that seeks to establish an Islamic Caliphate. Their main fear is that their people would rise up against them once they were seen fighting alongside non-Muslims in a war that would result in the death of many Muslims.

The most these Arab leaders are prepared to do to help the emerging U.S.-led coalition is provide logistical and intelligence aid to the Americans and their Western allies in the war on Islamic State.

Jordan, for its part, has agreed to train members of Iraqi tribes to help them fight Islamic State terrorists in Iraq. Jordan and most of the Gulf countries are also reported to be opposed to serving as launching pads for airstrikes on the terrorist bases in Iraq and Syria.

Although they have formally agreed to join the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State, it appears that Arab leaders do not trust the Obama Administration when it comes to combating Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East.

Some of these leaders, such as Egypt's Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, consider the U.S. Administration to be a major ally of the Muslim Brotherhood. Sisi and his regime will never forgive Obama for his support for the Muslim Brotherhood and deposed President Mohamed Morsi.

Will Sisi ever forgive the Obama Administration for its support of the Muslim Brotherhood? Above, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry chats with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo on July 22, 2014. (Image source: U.S. State Department)
Moreover, many Arabs and Muslims view Islamic State as a by-product of failed U.S. policies in the Middle East in the aftermath of the "Arab Spring." They say that the current U.S. Administration's weak-kneed support for former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his repressive measures against Sunnis paved the way for the emergence of Islamic State. They point out that Obama's hesitance to support the moderate and secular opposition in Syria also facilitated Islamic State's infiltration into that country.

Worse, there is no shortage of Arabs and Muslims who are convinced that Islamic State is actually an invention of Americans and "Zionists" to destroy the Arab world and tarnish the image of Islam.

The head of Egypt's Al-Azhar University, Sunni Islam's highest seat of learning, was recently quoted as saying that Islamic State terrorists were "colonial creations" serving a "Zionist" scheme to "destroy the Arab world."

Many Arabs and Muslims probably do not like Islamic State and view it as a real threat. But at the same time, they also do not seem to have much confidence in the Obama Administration, which is perceived as weak and incompetent when it comes to combating Islamists. They simply do not trust the Obama Administration.

Sheikh Yusuf al Qaradawi, Chairman of the Qatari-based International Union of Muslim Scholars, who is no fan of Islamic State, has also come out against the emerging U.S.-led coalition.

"Our ideological differences with Islamic State do not mean that we agree to an American attack on the group," al-Qaradawi explained. "America does not care about the values of Islam. It only cares about its own interests."

If there is one Arab leader who is really concerned about the repercussions of a war on Islamic State, it is Jordan's King Abdullah, who is facing growing domestic pressure to stay away from the U.S.-led coalition.

Ironically, this opposition comes despite Jordan clearly appearing to be the next target of the Islamic State jihadis. Some reports have even suggested that Islamic State terrorists have already succeeded in infiltrating the kingdom.

King Abdullah's dilemma is that if he joins the U.S.-led coalition, his country would be plunged into turmoil and instability. Yet the monarch is well aware that failure to take part in the war would facilitate the jihadis' mission of invading his kingdom.

Over the past week, many Jordanians have publicly come out against the idea of Jordan joining the new coalition. These voices are not coming only from Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood, but also from secular individuals and groups.

Last week, 21 Jordanian parliament members wrote a letter to their government warning it against helping the Americans and their allies in the war on Islamic State.
Six Jordanian secular parties also joined the call in a statement addressed to the government: "We must resist imperialist schemes and continue to raise the motto of democracy, independence and freedom."

Reflecting widespread skepticism over Obama's intentions, Jordanian writer Maher Abu Tair, who is closely associated with King Abdullah, sounded an alarm: "Getting Jordan involved in the confrontation with Islamic State is a dangerous matter. If everyone is truly worried about Jordan, why not support it socially and economically instead of dragging it into a quagmire?"

Reflecting similar sentiments, another Jordanian writer, Abdel Hadi al Katamin, said: "Yes, this is not our war and we have nothing to do with it and we don't need it. We don't want to wage war on behalf of others in return for nothing and just to appease Obama. Not everything we hear and watch is correct. The best solution is for us to protect our borders and prevent Islamic State from infiltrating our country. If they come, then it will be our war."

Khaled Abu Toameh

Source: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4705/obama-arabs-muslims

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Burak Bekdil: Turkey's New Government: Old Wine in a New Bottle

by Burak Bekdil

In 2011, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party [AKP] won a landslide election victory, garnering almost half of the national vote. Customarily, he read out his government's program in parliament:
"One of the most important prerequisites for stability in the [Middle East] region is a humanitarian and peaceful solution to the Palestinian dispute....The key to peace is a two-state solution that should come under UN resolutions and [parties that can live in] peace with each other. Turkey will keep on actively supporting any reconciliation to revive peace talks... It is out of the question that our ties with Israel normalize unless Israel apologizes for this unlawful incident [Israel's raid on the Mavi Marmara flotilla], pays compensation for our citizens who lost their lives and removes the embargo on Gaza."
Four years and two wars later, Erdogan was elected Turkey's president and appointed Ahmet Davutoglu, his foreign policy czar since 2009, as his prime minister and heir.
On Sept. 1, Davutoglu, customarily, read out his government's program in parliament:
"One of the most important prerequisites to sustainable stability in the Middle East is to find a just, comprehensive and viable solution to the Palestinian dispute.... Turkey's efforts for an end to the human tragedy in Palestine, achievement of sustainable peace in the region and support for the unity government in Palestine will continue on.... Any progress in the process of normalization of ties with Israel, which began after Israel apologized in 2013 for the Mavi Marmara attack, will not be possible unless Israel stopped its military strikes on Gaza and removed restrictions [on Gaza]."
Judging from the two manifestations of governance in 2011 and last week, the only major change in Turkey's foreign policy calculus is that Erdogan devoted only six pages to foreign policy whereas Davutoglu's text contains 19 pages on foreign policy.

That is, of course, if we do not count Yalcin Akdogan, Erdogan's top political advisor in 2011. Akdogan, now deputy prime minister, left everyone speechless last year when he remarked that, "[Syrian President Bashar al-Assad] could wish to win support from Arab countries by creating further polarization [tensions] with Israel. This trap should be avoided."

How ironic that Erdogan's men were complaining of "traps set on creating tensions with Israel in order to win Arab hearts and minds." With that pace of events, a Turkish foreign minister could accuse Greece of trying to revive the Ottoman Empire. Not just the sky, but apparently all outer space, is the limit in Turkish political hypocrisy. Happily, the new Turkish cabinet has one more Israel-obsessive member.

When Prime Minister Davutoglu declared his government's program in parliament he was full of hope and optimism that Turkey would soon achieve the place it deserves to achieve in a better world order -- an optimism he never abandoned while he was at the helm of the country's foreign policy. Ironically, as he was speaking, Turkish diplomatic missions, once opened with Kodak-moment, half-baked ceremonies, seemed to be deserted: Cairo, Jerusalem, Damascus, Mosul, Basra, and Baghdad pending. Turkey's ambassador recently appointed to Tripoli is still stuck in Ankara, not able to leave "for safety reasons."

What would the Turkish consul general in Mosul -- now a hostage of the Islamic State [IS], along with 48 others consisting of consulate personnel and their families -- think about Davutoglu's grandiose portrayal of Turkey's foreign policy successes if he could watch the prime minister's speech in the dungeon in which he is being kept by Davutoglu's one-time allies?

These Turkish hostages have been kept, since June 11, by a terrorist army which even al-Qaeda says it thinks is too violent, extreme and radical. If the hostages could be interviewed by a journalist while Davutoglu proudly spoke of Turkey's greatness, their quotations would probably not be suitable for print.

Davutoglu is a dreamer of a future that will blend neo-Ottomanism with pan-Islamism. Despite outstanding failures in a span of five years, he still -- perhaps childishly -- believes that the overthrown dictatorships in the formerly Ottoman Muslim lands will one day be replaced with Islamic regimes, thus creating a regional "Muslim Brotherhood belt" under Turkey's leadership.

When his ideals fail, Davutoglu does two things: he asserts that they failed not because his vision was wrong but because the world order is wrong, and must be corrected; and he tends to find euphemisms. After the IS took 49 Turks hostage, Davutoglu's deputy minister said that "they were not actually being kept hostage," but "were merely interned." How nice! Perhaps the Turkish consulate personnel are now playing backgammon with IS's backgammon heavyweights. Meanwhile, the standard Turkish official attribution to the IS is that it is "an organization," with careful abstinence of the word "terrorist." Do the Turks think that the Islamic State is a charity organization?

June 2015 will be election time in Turkey, again. As there is more than enough evidence that Erdogan, Davutoglu & Co. always win votes by Israel-bashing in a country that is increasingly anti-Semitic, it should not be a surprise if Ankara quietly requested its Hamas comrades to start a new war prior to the June parliamentary elections so that the AKP will win again.

Burak Bekdil, based in Ankara, is a Turkish columnist for the Hürriyet Daily News and a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.
Source: http://www.meforum.org/4810/turkey-new-government-old-wine-in-a-new-bottle

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Ben-Dror Yemini: Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism

by Ben-Dror Yemini

We have yet to witness a military campaign devoid of anomalies, and Operation Protective Edge was no different. Rule of law presides in Israel, and as such, even if Israel's anomalies are far smaller than those of other countries in similar situations, state has a duty to investigate them all.

For two left-wing groups, B'Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories and Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights, the probes to be conducted by the Israel Defense Forces will not do.

And they are already preparing excuses to cooperate with the commission of inquiry set up by UN Human Rights Council, with its findings already a foregone conclusion, and with William Schabas appointed to deliver the goods. According to Yesh Din attorney Michael Sfard, the IDF investigations do not meet the necessary international standards.

William Schabas, Head of UN inquiry into the conflict in Gaza
William Schabas, Head of UN inquiry into the conflict in Gaza

I asked the spokeswoman for Yesh Din for information about investigations conducted by countries such as the United States and Britain, which Israel would do well to follow. After all, there have been an endless number of reports pertaining to war crimes on the part of both countries.

I received a vague response to the effect that Sfard was not referring to Britain and the US. Then who was he referring to? After all, these are the two Western countries that over the past decade have been more involved in wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, than any others.

A review of how other countries act in such circumstances is therefore a worthy exercise.

In September 2003, British soldiers were accused of sadistically abusing prisoners in Basra, Iraq. They were tried. Nine soldiers were acquitted of all charges; and just one was found guilty of "inhumane conduct" and was jailed for one year.

In another incident, in 2005, US Marines forces were charged with killing 24 civilians, including women and children, in Haditha, Iraq. Following lengthy legal proceedings, just one soldier was convicted of a marginal offense. None of them served jail time. And one can go on. There are more stories of this kind.

In some cases, the prosecution was in possession of video evidence – for example, the Collateral Damage video clip, leaked by Bradley Manning, who was jailed for 35 years for passing on hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the WikiLeaks Web site. The perpetrators, Cobra helicopter pilots, walked away unscathed and free of indictments.

Bradley Manning (Photo: Reuters)
Bradley Manning (Photo: Reuters)

Do civilized countries tend to show leniency towards soldiers who commit irregular acts or even war crimes? It appears so. Aside from instances of malicious murder, one would be hard pressed to find American or British soldiers who have paid a high price for anomalies during war time.

Even the brutal torturing and subsequent death of an Afghan detainee, known as Dilawar of Yakubi, resulted in ludicrous jail terms of just two and three months.

Attorney Sfard's claim was that Israel operates differently to other civilized countries. He's right. Israel adopts a far more stringent approach than the British and Americans. But to hell with the facts. The propaganda machine will continue to churn out baseless claims.

* * *
Is Anti-Zionism also anti-Semitism? Let's check. While the recent war raged, the medical journal, The Lancet, published an open letter against Israel's alleged war crimes – another example of academics being recruited into the Hamas propaganda machine.

Two of the people behind the initiative were Dr. Paola Manduca and Dr. Swee Ang. Concurrent with the letter came an additional petition, claiming acts of slaughter, published by Israeli academics, among them members of the nomadic band of every anti-Israeli petition, like Shlomo Sand, Yehouda Shenhav, Anat Matar, Udi Adiv and Adi Ophir – good souls.

On the other side of the political map, the racist-anti-Semitic right, one finds American David Duke. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion appears amateurish in comparison to the dark plots he attributes to the Jews.

In late 2013, Duke was expelled from Italy following an attempt to set up an all-European neo-Nazi movement. As part of his smear campaign, Duke released a horror film, CNN, Goldman Sachs & the Zio Matrix, about the threat of world domination posed by Zionism.

American White nationalist David Duke
American White nationalist David Duke

What's interesting is the fact, as revealed by NGO Monitor, that both Manduca and Ang, from the Lancet letter, spoke highly of Duke's film and warmly recommended it – at the same time they were launching their anti-Israel initiative.

Manduca wrote: "See this video before it is removed from circulation – Please do pass on to others who you think would be interested and would pass on. The whole world needs to know." Hurry, hurry, because the Zionists may take the video down. They control the global media after all. Their control is so absolute, so much so that the anti-Semitic video still remains on YouTube.

The radical left and extreme right are divided on numerous issues. Yet when it comes to one particular issue, they are remarkably united – hatred for Israel and support for Hamas. Some would call it anti-Zionism. Its true name, unmasked, is anti-Semitism.

* * *   The New York Times ran an investigative report about research institutions that receive funding from foreign governments. These investments pay off. Instead of hiring lobbyists, they are paying researchers. And the documented findings, with their academic flavor, arrive as background papers on the desks of senior government officials. It is forbidden, we are told, to single out individuals. One must, therefore, single out the backers.

Qatar, for example, which finances Hamas and other Jihadi organizations, has undertaken to donate $14 million to the prestigious Brookings Institution. One of the studies to be conducted will deal with the relations between the United States and the Arab world. Is there any chance that the research will also deal with Qatar's funding of Jihad and terrorism?

The investigative report forgot to mention a far greater problem – donations to universities. One of the largest donations of this kind, some $20 million, is credited to Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, and went to the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, founded by Prof. John Esposito, at Georgetown University.

Esposito hasn't stopped repaying the kindness. His research on the Muslim world is a mixture of sycophancy and whitewashing. Bin Talal donates generous sums to other institutions too. The Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University also bears his name.

Esposito recently signed a letter in support of an absolute academic boycott on Israel. The signatories, more than 100 members of the academe, make it clear that they will not retract their position until Israel, among other things, "respects, protects and promotes the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties."

In other words, they will not rest until Israel declares its own demise. Also among the signatories are Ilan Pappe, Eyal Sivan and Ariella Azoulay. One can always find Israelis to join the party.

Just to clarify matters, there is no such thing as "the right of return" in international law – and UN Resolution 194, on which they base their argument, makes no mention of it either.

To the contrary, the European Court of Human Rights, the most important in the world perhaps, rejected a demand for compensation and repatriation filed by Greeks who were expelled from the Turkish part of Cyprus.

Tens of millions who suffered deportation and uprooting in the previous century in the framework of the establishment of new nation states were not afforded the right of return. But academics have never allowed themselves to be thrown off by the facts. And it's not happening only due to Bin Talal's big money, but due to him too.

Ben-Dror Yemini

Source: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4570484,00.html

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Robert Spencer: The War at Home

by Robert Spencer


As the Islamic State beheads a third hostage and the world recoils in horror and reassures itself that all this has nothing to do with Islam, it is useful to remember that jihad activity continues in the United States – although hardly anyone notices amid the rush to dissociate Islam from the mounting violence committed in its name and in accord with its literal teachings.

Take, for example, a Muslim from Seattle, Ali Muhammad Brown. KING 5 News reported that Brown is “currently in jail on $5 million bail for the alleged murder of a college student in late June.” He has “already been charged with gunning down two men at 29th and King Street in Seattle’s Leschi neighborhood on June 1.” And he is “now the prime suspect in a fourth homicide.”

The report noted laconically in its fifth paragraph, without elaboration, that “multiple sources with knowledge of the investigation say Brown told police he carried out the murders because he was on a jihad to kill Americans.” NJ.com added, also deep in its story on Brown’s murders: “Prosecutors say Brown is a devout Muslim who had become angered by U.S. military intervention in the Islamic world, which he referred to as ‘evil.”

That report also noted: “Ali Muhammad Brown said he considered it his mission to murder 19-year-old Brendan Tevlin as an act of ‘vengeance’ for innocent lives lost in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Iran. ‘All these lives are taken every single day by America, by this government. So a life for a life.’” This is a reference to the Qur’an: “We ordained therein for them: ‘Life for life, eye for eye, nose or nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal’” (5:45).

New York radio host Todd Pettengill, host of WPLJ’s “The Todd Show,” said that Brown’s murder of Tevlin was evidence that “domestic terrorism is already here.” Pettengill declared: “It was in fact an act of jihad, perpetrated by a fellow American who sympathized more with those who want to annihilate us than with his own country and its people.”

Pettengill is right. Domestic terrorism is indeed already here. And it was here before Ali Muhammad Brown went on his killing spree. Another Muslim from Seattle, Musab Mohamed Masmari, was sentenced on July 31 to ten years in prison for pouring gasoline onto a stairway in a famous gay nightclub, Neighbours, and setting the stairway on fire last New Year’s Eve, when the club was crowded. If the fire had not been put out – the carnage would have been great.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Greenberg said: “One of Masmari’s close associates was interviewed by investigators and reported that Masmari confided in him that he ‘burned a gay club’ and that he did it because ‘what these people are doing is wrong.’” In another report from February, we learn that an informant told the FBI before this attack that Masmari could be planning “terrorist activity,” and that he had “opined that homosexuals should be exterminated.”

This incident should have been the impetus for a national discussion of violent Sharia enforcement in the U.S., and an examination of what could be done to stop Sharia vigilantism. Instead, the mainstream media largely ignored the obvious motive; in this report, it is discussed as “homophobia,” with no hint that this was one of the first incidents of violent Sharia enforcement in the U.S.

There are many more recent domestic terrorism cases as well. In mid-June, a Tampa Muslim named Sami Osmakac was convicted of plotting to bomb a Tampa bar and then blow himself up in a jihad-martyrdom suicide attack in another crowded area of the city. Osmakac said of non-Muslims: “We will go after every one of them, their kindergartens, their shopping centers, their nightclubs, their police stations, their courthouses and everything until we have an Islamic state the whole world.” Shades of “slay them wherever you find them” (cf. Qur’an 2:191; 4:89; 9:5).

Then there was Ahmed Abassi, who, according to the New York Post, wanted to derail a New York-to-Toronto Amtrak train. He also discussed with another jihad terrorist “a plot to release bacteria in the air or water to kill up to 100,000 people.” He was also, according to Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara, plotting to “commit acts of terror and develop a network of terrorists here” in the U.S.

Abassi could have gotten fifty years in prison, but he “avoided terrorism charges by pleading guilty in Manhattan federal court to lying on his visa application and to immigration officials when asked why he flew to the United States in 2013.” Consequently, he could soon be a free man. What could possibly go wrong?

And let’s not forget Mufid Elfgeeh, a Muslim businessman from Rochester, New York. AP reported on June 2 that Mufid Elfgeeh “bought two handguns and the silencers as part of a plan to kill members of the U.S. armed forces returning from war as well as Shiite Muslims in western New York.”

AP, as anxious as Barack Obama or David Cameron to absolve Islam of responsibility for the evils done in its name, explained that Elfgeeh (like Ali Muhammad Brown) was plotting to kill troops “as vengeance for American actions overseas.” So why did he want to kill Shi’ites as well? As vengeance for Iran being a bitter enemy of his bitter enemy, the U.S.? Obviously Elfgeeh is a Sunni Islamic jihadist who wants to kill members of groups that he considers to be enemies of Islam. But AP will never tell you that.

The war is not just in Iraq and Syria (and Nigeria, and Thailand, and the Philippines, and Afghanistan, and Israel, and Egypt, and on and on). It is in the United States already. That war is the Islamic jihad against the West and the free world. There will be many more men like Ali Muhammad Brown and Musab Mohamed Masmari in the United States in the coming years. Actions like theirs will one day, not too long from now, be a more or less daily occurrence in the United States. But no need to be concerned: just remember, when things get really hot, that all this has nothing to do with Islam.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book, Arab Winter Comes to America: The Truth About the War We're In, is now available.

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/robert-spencer/the-war-at-home/

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Benghazi bombshell: Diplomat tells of secret operation to withhold damaging docs from review board

by Rick Moran

A potentially damaging and explosive revelation in the investigation of the Benghazi affair by the Daily Signal's Sheryl Attkisson. You may recall that Attkisson was forced out of her job at CBS for aggressively reporting on various Obama administration scandals.

This has the potential to derail Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell told Attkisson that there was an after hours operation set up in the basement of the State Department building that was supposed to go through all the documentation to be handed over to the Accountability Review Board and remove documents that may reflect badly on anyone in his department or on "the seventh floor" - a euphemism for the office of the Secretary of State.
Maxwell says the weekend document session was held in the basement of the State Department’s Foggy Bottom headquarters in a room underneath the “jogger’s entrance.” He describes it as a large space, outfitted with computers and big screen monitors, intended for emergency planning, and with small offices on the periphery.
When he arrived, Maxwell says he observed boxes and stacks of documents. He says a State Department office director, whom Maxwell described as close to Clinton’s top advisers, was there. Though the office director technically worked for him, Maxwell says he wasn’t consulted about her weekend assignment.
She told me, ‘Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light,’” says Maxwell. He says “seventh floor” was State Department shorthand for then-Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisors.
“I asked her, ‘But isn’t that unethical?’ She responded, ‘Ray, those are our orders.’ ”
A few minutes after he arrived, Maxwell says in walked two high-ranking State Department officials.
Maxwell says the two officials, close confidants of Clinton, appeared to check in on the operation and soon left.
The ARB report was a transparent phony - a whitewash. But pehaps the co-chairs of the committee were sandbagged:
When the ARB issued its call for documents in early October 2012, the executive directorate of the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs was put in charge of collecting all emails and relevant material. It was gathered, boxed and—Maxwell says—ended up in the basement room prior to being turned over.
In May 2013, when critics questioned the ARB’s investigation as not thorough enough, co-chairmen Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Adm. Mike Mullen stated, “we had unfettered access to everyone and everything including all the documentation we needed.”
Maxwell says when he heard that statement, he couldn’t help but wonder if the ARB—perhaps unknowingly—had received from his bureau a scrubbed set of documents with the most damaging material missing.
Maxwell believes the ARB - as well as his being put on leave for a year with no charges filed - were part of an effort to misdirect Congress.
“The ARB inquiry was, at best, a shoddily executed attempt at damage control, both in Foggy Bottom and on Capitol Hill,” says Maxwell. He views the after-hours operation he witnessed in the State Department basement as “an exercise in misdirection.”
Maxwell was a big supporter of President Obama, contributing to his campaign in 2008. He also admired Hillary Clinton. To say he was disillusioned with both is an understatement. He was put on leave following the issuance of the ARB report with no explanation. Seeking one, he visited the State Department ombudsman:
Several weeks after he was placed on leave with no formal accusations, Maxwell made an appointment to address his status with a State Department ombudsman.
“She told me, ‘You are taking this all too personally, Raymond. It is not about you,’” Maxwell says.
“I told her that ‘My name is on TV and I’m on administrative leave, it seems like it’s about me.’ Then she said, ‘You’re not harmed, you’re still getting paid. Don’t watch TV. Take your wife on a cruise. It’s not about you; it’s about Hillary and 2016.”
Maxwell apparently told this story to Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the Benghazi select committee, as well as Rep. Jason Chaffetz of the Oversight Committee. Chavetz had this to say:
When reached for comment, Chaffetz told me that Maxwell’s allegations “go to the heart of the integrity of the State Department.”
“The allegations are as serious as it gets, and it’s something we have obviously followed up and pursued,” Chaffetz says. “I’m 100 percent confident the Benghazi Select Committee is going to dive deep on that issue.”
Maxwell may be one of the first witnesses called to testify.

Rick Moran

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2014/09/benghazi_bombshell_diplomat_tells_of_secret_operation_to_withhold_damaging_docs_from_review_board.html

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Obama Betrays the Constitution, his Voters and Tradition

by Tim Jones

On September 11, Bruce Ackerman, a Yale professor of law and political science, had an opinion piece published in the New York Times fittingly titled "Obama Betrays the Constitution". 

Ackerman describes how Obama has broken with the "tradition" of presidents abiding by the Constitution as well as betraying the majority of Americans who twice elected him to the highest office in the land. But why are we surprised at his "betrayal" and break with with "tradition"?

This is the logical conclusion of Progressivism that began almost exactly 100 years ago with Woodrow Wilson becoming the first "progressive" Democratic president to decide that he was going to unilaterally redefine what rights meant under the Constitution, from negative rights (generically meaning freedom from interference) to positive right (i.e., the gov't decides what's in the best interest of everyone and legislates that "right" into law) 
The watershed events were FDR's New Deal and LBJ's Great Society, which created behemoth federal bureaucracies in the name of providing those "rights" for Americans. Obama has taken federal power as defined by Wilson, FDR, LBJ, and Progressivism to its logical conclusion by asserting executive actions and war powers without the consent of congress because in his words, if congress is not going to act, "I have to do what's right for the American people'.

Finally, it is not surprising that Obama has betrayed his two electoral majorities. He came into office portraying himself as a centrist in disguise but slowly the mask has been falling away and the genuine Alynskyite that he is has been revealed for all to see at last. Power and only power has been the end-game all along.

Tim Jones

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2014/09/obama_betrays_the_constitution_his_voters_and_tradition.html

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

A Resilient Nation

by Ari Lieberman

Israel Since the Six-Day War
By Leslie Stein
Polity, 441 pp.
The recent Hamas-initiated spate of violence in Gaza coupled with the gruesome murder-kidnapping of three Israeli teens by Hamas terrorists in the Judea district has once again brought the Arab-Israeli conflict to the forefront and served to further underscore the violent and nefarious nature of Palestinian rejectionism. One thing that all parties to the Arab-Israeli conflict would agree upon is that there is no shortage of experts willing to express their views on the subject and no shortage of books covering the topic. Many of these books lack any meaningful insight or context or are marked by shoddy scholarship while others are so laced with bias that they read more like banal apparatchik propaganda and impart little if any understanding of the subject.

This, fortunately, is not the case for Leslie Stein’s scholarly work, Israel Since the Six-Day War. This meticulously sourced book represents the last and final chapter of a trilogy of books he authored, the first covering Israel’s formative pre-state years and the second, encompassing the period from Israel’s War of Independence until shortly after the Six-Day War. His latest book does not disappoint and should be mandatory reading for university students, academics, politicians or anyone wishing to gain an insightful understanding of the Arab-Israeli conflict and its political machinations and military dimensions.

For those not privy to his previous books, Stein provides the reader with a brief but detailed history of the conflict up to and including the Six-Day War. In addition to providing excellent analysis of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the book also offers analysis and insight into Israel’s political system, its economic growth and successful efforts at integrating various disparate groups, including Russians, Ethiopians and Israeli Arabs, into Israeli society.

Stein offers a comprehensive review of Israel’s wars and major military engagements since 1967, up to and including Israel’s naval interception of the Mavi Marmara in 2010. Inexplicably however, there is no mention of Operation Orchard, Israel’s successful 2007 strike against a Syrian nuclear bomb-making facility in the Deir ez-Zor region. The strike takes on added significance in light of Assad’s liberal use of WMDs against his own people and the emergence of ISIS and other extremist Islamist groups wishing to inflict mass casualties.

Of particular interest is Stein’s exceptional analysis of the Oslo Accords and its ultimate demise. In 1993, Israel and the PLO, with much pomp and ceremony, signed the Declaration of Principles on the White House lawn. The agreement was designed to be a blueprint for placing the respective parties on the path toward peaceful resolution of all outstanding issues and Arafat was to make a speech in front of numerous world dignitaries where he was to forswear terrorism and wanton acts of violence. The speech, however, was disappointingly devoid of any such reference.

Moreover, Stein sardonically notes that the very day that Arafat “was performing his role as peace-maker and basking in the adoration of politicians and the world media” he issued a prerecorded message in Jordan informing his Arab audience that he had “just accomplished the first step in the PLO’s 1974 plan of dismantling Israel by stages.” Arafat repeated this pernicious theme a few months later when during an off-the-record talk at a Johannesburg mosque, he compared the PLO’s agreement with Israel to Mohammed’s 10-year treaty with the Quraish tribe. Two years later, after achieving military parity, Mohammed abrogated the treaty and vanquished the Quraish.

Stein characterizes Arafat as duplicitous, conniving and malevolent and places the collapse of the Oslo Accords and the conflagration that followed largely on his shoulders. His successor, Mahmoud Abbas, whom Stein describes as a man “who unjustifiably acquired the reputation of being a moderate” does not fare much better.

In meticulous fashion, Stein spells out the repeated and egregious PLO violations of the Accords. For example the agreement specified that the PLO was to have a force no larger than 9,000 troops and its weapons were limited to automatic rifles. However, the force swelled to 30,000 and then 50,000. PLO apparatchiks took advantage of their VIP status to smuggle weapons outlawed under Oslo, such as Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs), anti-tank missiles and anti-aircraft guns.

Moreover, the agreement stipulated that the PLO was required to amend its charter and remove portions calling for Israel’s destruction, curb anti-Israel and often times, anti-Semitic incitement and institute measures to suppress terrorism. Needless to say, the PLO failed to live up to its obligations.

Stein is also critical of Israel’s elder statesman, Shimon Peres, hailed as the architect of Oslo, as well as those on the far left for failing to recognize and take action against blatant PLO violations of executed agreements. He also takes them to task for stubbornly clinging to preconceived notions about the peace process and foolishly engaging in wishful thinking. A sort of cognitive dissonance took hold, with Peres and co. unable to countenance any doubts about the wisdom of the entire process. Arafat’s Oslo indiscretions, both major and minor, were routinely overlooked and ignored while Israeli authorities, hoping that goodwill gestures would be met by the same, continued making unilateral concessions while failing to enforce reciprocity. So delusional was Peres that even when confronted with documented proof of Arafat’s involvement with terror, he was largely dismissive of the accusation.

Stein likens Israel’s ostrich-like stance during the Oslo years to its stubbornly held beliefs in connection with the Arab ability and willingness to wage war just prior to the outbreak of hostilities in October 1973. There to, despite the obvious signs of impending war, Israeli leaders stubbornly clung to preconceived notions which led to the army’s woeful unpreparedness when a two-front war finally erupted. While Israel won that war, many lives would have been saved had Israel been more prudent and taken proactive measures in response to the obvious writing on the wall. Similarly, by the time Israel finally put Oslo to rest and initiated a concerted and successful effort against Palestinian terrorism, Arafat’s war had claimed the lives of 1009 Israelis, 78% of whom were civilians.

Stein also takes a swipe at the United Nations, which he regards as today’s modern day purveyor of anti-Israelism and astutely characterizes the body of being co-opted by Muslim nations and their allies. He accuses the body of exercising hypocrisy in the extreme when it comes to Israel, providing ample examples of the damning charge. He also puts the lie to the spurious and malevolent claim leveled by Israel’s shrillest and often times anti-Semitic critics that Israel is an “Apartheid state.” Drawing on a multitude of examples, he dispatches with the canard piecemeal and nothing underscores the point better than the criminal case of Israel’s former disgraced president, Moshe Katzav, who is currently serving a seven-year sentence for sexual assault.

Katzav’s case wound its way before Israel’s High Court of Justice (the equivalent of the United States Supreme Court) where a three-judge panel found him guilty. Salim Joubran, an Israeli Arab, was one of the court’s panel members. It would have been unthinkable for there to have been a judge of color sitting on the highest court during Apartheid-era South Africa let alone one capable of sentencing South Africa’s Afrikaner president to a lengthy prison term.

Stein concludes his book by taking a dim view of the prospects for peace with the Palestinians. Palestinian intransigence and the Palestinian Authority’s inability to countenance two states – Jewish and Arab – for two peoples remains the primary stumbling block. Adding to the complication is the extremist ISIS-like group Hamas, which commands a wide following among Palestinians in Gaza and Judea and Samaria. As for Abbas, even if he was willing, his ability to conclude a deal remains remote given his weak stature and lack of a mandate.

Stein takes an equally stoic view of Iran and its nuclear ambitions. He notes that by now it should be clear that the Obama administration is unwilling to take the decisive steps necessary to thwart the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions and an Israeli strike is unlikely to set back the clock in any meaningful way. Stein therefore concludes that in the absence of a credible American threat, a nuclear Iran is a foregone conclusion.

On Israel itself, Stein remains upbeat and optimistic. He notes that while the world experienced economic malaise during the global economic crisis of 2009-12, Israel’s GDP exceeded that of all other OECD nations. By every metric gauging economic growth – GDP, employment statistics and personal incomes – Israel continues to be among the Western world’s leaders. It maintains excellent educational and healthcare systems with modern and up-to-date infrastructure and has “all the trimmings of an affluent society.”

Socially too, Stein concludes that the outlook appears rosy. Despite the disparate nature of its population, nearly 93% of Israeli Jews noted that they were proud of their Israeli nationality and a Gallup poll ranked Israel 7th in terms of happiness. Israel’s enemies tend to dwell on claims of sagging Israeli morale and general sense of malaise. The hard empirical data suggests that nothing could be further from the truth. In point of fact, while Israel’s enemies continue their precipitous descent into blackness and medieval backwardness, Israel continues to grow stronger militarily, economically and socially.

Stein’s masterful account of Israel’s history since the Six-Day War is well worth reading. Novices wishing to get a firmer understanding of the complexities of the Arab-Israeli conflict as well as those well versed in the subject stand to gain immeasurably by adding this well-researched, scholarly text to their collections.

Ari Lieberman

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/ari-lieberman/a-resilient-nation/

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Experts Say Jordan in Danger - and Israel's Next in Line

by Cynthia Blank

Floods of refugees from regional turmoil could pose an existential threat to both Jordan and Israel - or result in a Palestinian state.
Za'atri tent city for Syrian refugees in Jordan
Za'atri tent city for Syrian refugees in Jordan
In a new article, Professor Arnon Sofer, head of the Chaikin Chair of Geo-Strategy at the University of Haifa, and Anton Berkovsky discuss the danger of immigration from the turmoil-filled Arab states to Israel. 

"Countries in the Middle East are currently in states of internal and external war, pressing the State of Israel to prepare for waves of immigrants from Arab countries to Israeli territory, which may endanger her existence," they wrote. 

According to Sofer and Berkovsky, the waves of immigrants already constitute a real danger to the future of Jordan. The worst case scenario being the movement of ISIS into Jordan, and subsequently creating a pure "Islamic State" within the country. 

According to the data presented in the article, 2013 showed a record number of immigrants in the world - more than 232 million people, or about 3.2% of the world's population. Professor Sofer suggests that the Middle East presents a unique picture. "Within 30 years (1950-1980), the population doubled, and in the next 30 years (1980-2010), the population doubled again. This is one of the main reasons why the demographics, economics, and politics of the Middle East have resulted in disorder and instability."  Sofer added that climate changes which led to severe water shortages in areas like North East Syria near the border with Turkey and Iraq, should also be taken into account. 

Sofer argues that the events of the Arab Spring, the Civil War in Syria, and repeated crises in Iraq, have already created waves of refugees, resulting in demographic changes in the population map that are beyond recognition. According to estimates, following the Civil War in Syria, 3-4 million people became refugees outside of Syria, and another 8 million have become refugees in their own homeland. Wars between the various factions in Iraq have led to 750 thousand refugees, who have already left Iraq - mainly to Jordan, and another 3 million refugees inside Iraq. These refugees, who flood into neighboring countries cause societal changes that threaten the stability of such countries. 

The most troubling possibility is Jordan. A million to a million and a half refugees from Iraq and Syria have become part of the population of 6.5 million citizens of Jordan. The Palestinian population rate decreased from 70% to about 60% of the total population, according to the study, while the percentage of Syrian refugees is estimated between 8%-15%. 

"The Jordan of 2014 presents a new ethnic mosaic, and the national dynamic has completely changed. It should be remembered that some of the refugees are intruders from extremist groups, such as ISIS. Other refugees are in such a terrible situation that it is easy for such radical groups to recruit them " noted Professor Sofer. 

Sofer suggests three possibilities: The first, and optimistic approach - allowing massive Western aid to maintain Jordan's stability; The second - The collapse of the kingdom and the outbreak of civil war, similar to the situation in Syria. In this scenario, Sofer envisions the Palestinians trying to take over the kingdom and establish a Palestinian state; The third and most dangerous option is for ISIS to take over large parts of the country thereby joining Jordan to their Sunni caliphate. The last two possibilities will cause hundreds of thousands of additional refugees to the Middle East. 

According to Prof. Sofer, if such events materialize and instability grows, there is a real danger to Israel. Not only would it mean the existence of unstable regimes, extreme and hostile, close to its borders, but also the fact that a considerable portion of the hundreds of thousands of refugees could attempt to enter Israel.

The authors say that according to the 2013 data, an estimated 250,000 immigrants remained in Israel illegally. Additionally, thousands of Palestinians have entered Israel since 1967. The dangers of demographic turmoil taking place in neighboring countries could cause these numbers to grow significantly. 

"Therefore, we must quickly prepare for new waves of immigration, in addition to those who have already entered Israel, mostly Palestinian and Arab immigrants from Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon," concluded Professor Sofer.

Cynthia Blank

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/185083#.VBc8DmN6h-h

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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