Wednesday, July 27, 2016

EU builds illegal Palestinian homes - next to Israeli town - Ido Ben Porat and Rachel Kaplan




by Ido Ben Porat and Rachel Kaplan

Residents of the town of Carmel, in the Har Hevron region, were shocked on Shabbat to discover their new Palestinian neighbors.




EU-sponsored Palestinian caravan, near Carmel town
EU-sponsored Palestinian caravan, near Carmel town
Regavim Movement
The European Union has expanded its illegal building activities - to the southern Har Hevron area.

Until now, the EU has sponsored illegal construction mostly in the Adumim region, east of Jerusalem.

However, last Shabbat, residents of the town of Carmel were shocked to discover two new, large, EU-sponsored trailer homes, placed over Shabbat, only ten meters away from the town.

The trailers, mostly provided for Palestinian citizens, break international law and are a security threat for Israelis.

Recently, the Palestinian Authority have invested massive funds and resources in the Har Hevron region. Last week, the PA planted groves right up to the fence of Carmel, in an effort to steal sovereign Israeli land.

Several weeks ago, the Prime Minister of the PA, Rami Hamdallah, visited the Palestinian outpost next to the town. A video clip posted on the internet shows his security standing next to the town, armed with handguns - even though that's illegal in Area C.

"We're talking about a significant uptick in the illegal construction activities of the EU," explains Oved Arad, director of local activities for the Regavim Movement.

"In the last four years, they placed around a thousand houses like these in the Adumim area," Arad adds. "We're not just talking about a major infraction on the rule of law by foreign counties, rather about a dangerous, clearly strategic phenomenon.

"If we don't want to see similar number in Har Hevron, we need to deal with the problem while it is still small."




Illegal buildings funded by the EU
Photo: Regavim NGO

The Palestinian outpost next to the town of Carmel (Credit: Regavim Movement)


Ido Ben Porat and Rachel Kaplan

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/215548

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Palestinian flag waved at Democratic National Convention - Shai Landesman




by Shai Landesman

Activists using the title "Progressive for Palestine" raise Palestinian flag in audience during platform vote at DNC.



Palestinian flag at DNC
Palestinian flag at DNC
Ariel Shnabel, NRG Makor Rishon
The Democratic National Convention (DNC), opened in Philadelphia yesterday (Monday) under a cloud of scandal, as recent leaks of emails between Democratic party officials showed a clear bias in favor of Hillary Clinton over Senator Bernie Sanders in the race for the party's nomination, together with a readiness to actively interfere in the primary process.

Nevertheless, Senator Sanders did indeed call for his supporters to campaign and vote for Clinton on the first day of the convention, but the influence of his campaign in pulling the party to the left is still tangible.

One of the consequences of the leftward swing within the Democratic party has been a renewed questioning of its support for Israel. Support for the Jewish state has traditionally been a bipartisan issue in the US but Sanders had been associated with some anti-Israel sentiments, in spite of his being Jewish. He called for a "more balanced" Middle East policy, and greatly exaggerated the Palestinian death toll in operation Protective Edge. He even employed a "Jewish Outreach" staffer who made vehemently anti-Israel statement on the internet, ultimately suspending her.

The Sanders campaign has thus become associated with a new, more extremely "progressive" wing of the Democratic party, and that wing reared its head at the DNC yesterday.

Activists identifying themselves on twitter as being "Progressive for Palestine" raised a Palestinian flag in the middle of the convention floor, making it clearly visible to the overhead cameras, and held up signs reading: "I support Palestinian human rights."


Shai Landesman

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/215544

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Obama's pledge to take in refugees stands despite German terror attacks - Rick Moran




by Rick Moran

--the process of screening refugees from the Middle East has been cut from 18-24 months to less than 3 months in order for the president to reach his goal of 10,000 refugees admitted by the end of the fiscal year in September


President Obama's decision to increase the number of Syrian refugees the U.S. will take in this year is unaffected by the terror attacks in Germany carried out by three refugees, the White House says.

Washington Examiner:
The 10,000 Syrian refugees the president wants to admit by October are subjected to more thorough screening and vetting than anyone trying to enter the United States, White House spokesman Josh Earnest stressed Monday.
"That's why the president has confidence ramping up the number of refugees admitted to the United States," Earnest told reporters during his daily briefing. "Obviously, almost all of them are innocent people fleeing violence in their own countries — some of them are innocents fleeing genocide.
"The president feels like the U.S. has a responsibility to do our part to try to provide relief for people fleeing that type of violence," he said.
Stressing that Obama's top priority is the safety and the security of the American people, Earnest said the screening process for Syrian refugees involves running their names through a wide variety of U.S. and international law enforcement, military and intelligence agency databases.
"So I can understand why people are concerned about our national security — the president is concerned about our national security ... That is why he has ensured that refugees admitted to the United States are subjected to all the screening," he said.
The total number of Syrian refugees admitted to the United States this fiscal year has risen to roughly 6,700, according to several reports that cite the State Department.
After a slow start, the State Department hired more employees to provide screenings, and began admitting refugees at a more rapid clip this summer.
German authorities have said two Syrian refugees and one Afghan refugee are responsible for three attacks over the last week.
The screening process is far from foolproof, and Earnest is being disingenuous at best in claiming that it is adequate.  In fact, the process of screening refugees from the Middle East has been cut from 18-24 months to less than 3 months in order for the president to reach his goal of 10,000 refugees admitted by the end of the fiscal year in September.

Germany is now paying the price for its foolhardy refugee policies.  The truth is, they don't know how many jihadists hitched a ride on the refugee wave or how many terrorists they missed. 

There is no way to adequately vet a refugee in less than three months.  Rushing them here to meet an artificial timetable set for political reasons is hardly taking national security seriously.


Rick Moran

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2016/07/obamas_pledge_to_take_in_refugees_stands_despite_german_terror_attacks.html

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Ethnic Opposition to Iran’s Regime Is on the Rise - Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall




by Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall

The Iranian regime, which so far has been spared the regional repercussions of the Arab Spring – or Islamic Awakening as the regime calls it – is now starting to feel the effects.


Institute for Contemporary Affairs
Founded jointly with the Wechsler Family Foundation
Vol. 16, No. 12

Iran’s Ethnic Diversity (U.S. Institute of Peace)
Iran’s Ethnic Diversity (U.S. Institute of Peace)
  • Since June 2016, Iran has been enduring terror attacks and assassinations by ethnic-opposition elements operating within its territory and adjacent to it.
  • Attacks on Iranian petroleum infrastructure in Ahvaz are a reaction to Iran’s ongoing repressive policy against the Arab minority in Ahvaz, including the ongoing arrests, trials, executions, and expulsions of young people in that area.
  • There are currently six to seven million Kurds living in Iran. Although they are part of the Iranian state, they may be distinguished from the Shiite minority by language and religion (most Kurds are Sunnis).
  • The Arab Sunni fighters’ targeting of the oil facilities, if it gains momentum, could pose a problem for Iran just as it is trying to renew oil exports after the lifting of sanctions. Attacks on energy infrastructure for gas and oil could foster an unsafe, unstable environment for international energy companies.
  • Iran’s security forces have been cracking down on the Arabs, augmenting this population’s discontent along with its separatist aspirations.
  • The Iranian regime, which so far has been spared the regional repercussions of the Arab Spring – or Islamic Awakening as the regime calls it – is now starting to feel the effects.
Since June 2016 and to a lesser extent before then as well, Iran has been enduring terror attacks and assassinations by ethnic-opposition elements operating within its territory and adjacent to it. These include Kurds in the north and near the Iraqi border, Salafi Sunnis near Iran’s eastern border with Pakistan, and Sunni Arabs in the Khuzestan province near the Iraqi border in the southwest. 

The Growing Arab Opposition

Early in June, a Sunni group called Suqour al-Ahvaz (Hawks of Ahvaz) took responsibility for an explosion that caused a fire at the Bou-Ali-Sina Petrochemical Complex in Bandar-E Mahshahr, Khuzestan.1, 2   Iran denied their boast and claimed it was a leak that had led to the explosion.3 The complex where the explosion occurred is known for protest demonstrations over the difficult employment conditions there.

Twitter post
The group also issued a statement calling for continued resistance to the Iranian occupation of Arab lands, which had “crossed a red line.” The statement also said the explosion was a reaction to Iran’s repressive policy against the Arab minority in Ahvaz, including ongoing arrests, trials, executions, and expulsions of young people in the area, and warned of further attacks on vital infrastructures and strategic facilities in Iran. The group’s spokesman said this was a new tactic aimed at damaging the Iranian economy, which thrives at the expense of the people of Ahvaz who live under the poverty threshold.

Furthermore, in an appeal to a target audience in Arab countries that is fearful of Iran, the group emphasized that it condemned Iran’s involvement in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia and averred that it also intended to take action in the “Iranian interior” and to continue the “legitimate struggle until the Arab people of Ahvaz receive their full rights to their land.”4

On July 11, the group said it had attacked another oil facility in the area.5 It was the gas and liquid gas pipeline of the Marun Oil and Gas Exploitation Company at the Marun oil field in Khuzestan. One worker was killed and another wounded.6  Subsequently, a state of emergency was reported in Ahvaz.7

On July 17, 2016, the al-Farouq Battalion of Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA) targeted oil pipelines in the Johar as-Sabaa’ (Haftkel) district (75km northeast of Ahvaz). According to the group’s statement, the perpetrators managed to escape despite IRGC efforts to capture them. ASMLA reported that IRGC set up a security cordon around the area.8

A commander in the al-Faruq Battalions said that that the operation came in response to the ongoing transgressions of the Persian occupation state against the Arab people of Ahvaz and the spreading sectarian strife and immoral intervention in the affairs of neighboring countries including Saudi Arabia. He threatened further attacks, adding that the al-Faruq Battalions performed a careful study of the strategic target points on the oil pipelines stretching from the Johar as-Sabaa’ area to the inside of Iran, and they had managed to infiltrate the security cordon on this important economic region and successfully carry out this special attack.9

The sabotaged Bou-Ali-Sina Petrochemical Complex in Bandar-E Mahshahr, Khuzestan

The sabotaged Bou-Ali-Sina Petrochemical Complex in Bandar-E Mahshahr, Khuzestan
The sabotaged Bou-Ali-Sina Petrochemical Complex in Bandar-E Mahshahr, Khuzestan

Social media reacted to the attacks with the hashtag #TheAhvazisshakeIran trending on Twitter and praising the resistance. The Elaph newspaper claims that the ASMLA recently warned that they will begin targeting foreign oil companies that work with Iran, and that invest in the oil of the Ahvaz region.10

In March, ASMALA called on all international oil companies not to legitimize and collaborate with the “Iranian regime’s oppression of the Ahwazi people by rushing to invest in the Iranian oil sector following the lifting of international sanctions.” ASMLA stressed that “the profits attained by the Iranian regime from the sale of the oil and gas resources in Ahwaz are used both in the brutal oppression of the Ahwazi people, who are denied any share in or profit from their own resources, and in funding terrorist entities which actively work to destabilize security and stability in the Arab world and elsewhere.11” 

Long live Arab Ahwaz
“Long live Arab Ahwaz” (Twitter)12

Over three million Arabs live in oil-rich Khuzestan. Unemployment has risen and air pollution is measured at very high levels. If the attack was indeed perpetrated by this group, then the Arab opposition has dealt a very hard blow to Iran’s oil and gas industry.

In mid-June, another Sunni opposition group, the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA), announced that it had attacked an oil pipeline in the Zarqan area of Khuzestan. The group claimed it had also carried out additional, similar attacks. Its military wing, the Martyr Mohye al-Din al-Nasir Battalions, posted a short video showing the pipeline that was blown up and asserted that the attack was a reaction to Iranian security forces’ activities in the area.

The statement issued by the group read:
In conjunction with the 11th anniversary of the founding of ASMLA, the Martyr Razi al-Zarqani Battalion conducted a special operation targeting oil pipelines in the Zarqan area of the provincial capital [that] crippled the flow of oil from Ahvaz toward Tehran [dubbed “the capital of the occupation”]. [T]he targeting of the main oil pipelines came in response to the arbitrary Persian occupation arrests against Ahvazi activists as well as its continuing crimes against the rights of the Arab Ahvazi people and its profaning of the Arab nation. The Martyr Mohye al-Din al-Nasir Battalions will continue its special operations against the centers of the occupation state and its oil installations until the liberation of the last inch of Ahvazi soil.
The Iranian media gave the event almost zero coverage, and Iranian security forces imposed a closure on the area where it had occurred.

Global Jihad

Twitter post 

In eastern Iran near the Pakistani border, groups affiliated with global jihad continue to act against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Border Guard Command forces stationed in the area,  sometimes hitting them hard. In June the global-jihad group Jaish al-Adl attacked Iranian forces operating in the Sistan and Balochistan Province. Ansar al-Furqan, a jihadi organization active in the Balochistan area, claimed it had killed dozens of Iranian soldiers in a suicide bombing13  in the city of Khash.14 Near the Pakistani border in Sistan and Balochistan, five members of the Border Guard Command were killed in a clash with armed Sunni elements who fled back into Pakistan.15

The Iranian Kurds

Along with the intensified activity of the separatist forces in Khuzestan and the jihadi groups along the Pakistani and Afghani borders, June also saw stepped-up activity by the Kurdish opposition in Iran. In June, the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) attacked IRGC patrols along the Iran-Iraq border in the area of Oshnavieh and Sarvabad, cities that neighbor the Kurdish enclave in northern Iraq. Several IRGC members and Kurdish fighters were killed in the clashes.16 In another incident in June some fighters of another Kurdish group, PartiyaJiyana Azad a Kurdistanê (PJAK), were killed. The PJAK has links with the Turkish PKK near the city of Sardasht along the Iraqi border.

Currently, six to seven million Kurds live in Iran. Although they are part of the Iranian state, they are distinct from the Shiite minority in several major regards, including language and religion (most Kurds are Sunnis). The Kurds, who are mainly concentrated along the Iraqi border, are poor compared to Iranians who live in the large cities. At the end of May 2016, President Hassan Rouhani visited some Kurdish areas and promised that centers for the study of the Kurdish language would be established and that Kurdish-populated parts of northwestern Iran would be developed after years of neglect:17 According to Rouhani,
The Islamic Republic of Iran heed [sic] the problems of its diverse people; our security now is far more than the territories located beyond the borders but having the same ethnic population; Kurds enjoy better situation [sic] in terms of security than their counterparts in Iraq, Turkey, and Syria; it is an honor for the Islamic Republic not to succumb to religion and ethnicity in providing its people with the same level of development and welfare.
The KDPI has long striven for independence in the Kurdish regions of northern Iran. The increased activity stems from growing awareness of possible Kurdish independence in Syria along the Turkish border, and of the freedom and relative independence enjoyed by Kurds in northern Iraq. The group’s military arm, which numbers thousands of fighters, is based in northern Iraq but has not been absorbed by the Kurdish population there. The KDPI is trying to pursue an independent agenda but appears to be caught between conflicting interests; to some extent, the Kurdish groups in the four main countries with sizable Kurdish populations (Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran) are waging struggles against each other.

Iran’s Ethnic Diversity (U.S. Institute of Peace)
Iran’s Ethnic Diversity (U.S. Institute of Peace)

For example, the Kurds in northern Iraq’s Kurdish enclave are trying to maintain open channels for oil exportation both to Turkey and Iran and certainly, do not want to open a front with Iran despite the KDPI’s growing military activity. Likewise, the Kurds in northern Iraq are maintaining a careful policy of nonintervention in Turkey’s difficult and bloody struggle against the PKK, which sometimes includes Turkish bombing of Kurdish targets in northern Iraq. Iran, too, in the wake of clashes with the KDPI, has threatened that the IRGC will not hesitate to act against “terrorists” in their main strongholds in northern Iraq if they do not cease their activity, saying that “they will be targeted wherever they are.”18

In sum, last month Iran had to deal with subversive activity– though so far of low intensity – by a number of ethnic elements on all its borders in the northwest, the southwest, and the east of the country. The Arabs (in Khuzestan) and the Kurds are trying to pursue a separatist national agenda, and they are inspired by the geostrategic changes in the Middle East and the efforts to reshape it.

The Arab Sunni fighters’ targeting of the oil facilities, if it gains momentum, could pose a problem for Iran just as it is trying to renew its oil exports after the lifting of sanctions. Attacks on energy infrastructure for gas and oil could foster an unsafe, unstable environment for international energy companies. Such companies are in any case concerned about Iran’s intention to renew contracts using the buyback system, which is more beneficial for a state than for foreign companies. Iran has been reporting little on the attacks on its energy infrastructure, which have mainly been occurring in the Khuzestan province. Meanwhile, Iran’s security forces have been cracking down on the Arab minority there augmenting this population’s discontent along with its separatist aspirations.

It may be early to envision the mounting ethnic-religious protest in Iran causing a substantial change in the regime’s behavior. It is, however, clear that the Iranian regime, which so far has been spared the regional repercussions of the Arab Spring – or Islamic Awakening as the regime calls it – is now starting to feel its effects.

* * *
Notes
1http://www.shana.ir/fa/newsagency/pictorial/264440 ; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVMDGYVH8N8
2http://www.arabi21.co/story/919480/%D8%B5%D9%82%D9%88%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A3%D8%AD%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D8%AA%D8%AA%D8%A8%D9%86%D9%89-%D8%B9%D9%85%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%AA%D9%81%D8%AC%D9%8A%D8%B1-%D9%85%D9%86%D8%B4%D8%A3%D8%A9-%D9%85%D8%B9%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%86%D9%81%D8%B7%D9%8A%D8%A9
3http://www.shana.ir/fa/newsagency/264365/%d9%86%d8%b4%d8%aa%db%8c-%d8%af%d8%b1-%d9%88%d8%a7%d8%ad%d8%af-900-%d9%be%d8%a7%d8%b1%d8%a7%d8%b2%d8%a7%db%8c%d9%84%db%8c%d9%86-%d8%b3%d8%a8%d8%a8-%d8%a2%d8%aa%d8%b4-%d8%b3%d9%88%d8%b2%db%8c-%d9%be%d8%aa%d8%b1%d9%88%d8%b4%db%8c%d9%85%db%8c-%d8%a8%d9%88%d8%b9%d9%84%db%8c-%d8%b3%db%8c%d9%86%d8%a7-%d8%b4%d8%af
4 https://justpaste.it/w0dq
5 https://twitter.com/JAna__AlaAM/status/752612135885209600
6 http://www.shana.ir/en/newsagency/264746/Pipeline-Blast-in-Marun-Kills-1-Injures-Another
7 https://twitter.com/alhosam511/status/752498208966868992
8 http://www.albawaba.com/news/ahwazi-arab-resistance-blow-iranian-pipeline-863908
9 https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=584986431680996&id=422489744597333
10 http://elaph.com/Web/News/2016/7/1099323.html?entry=Iran
11 http://ahwazna.net/en-189_Ahwazi_movement_calls_on_intl_firms_not_to_partner_in_Irans_crimes_.html
12 https://twitter.com/popk999/status/751907997257961473
13 https://twitter.com/Al_Maqal_Pubs/status/742611565124325376
14https://sabq.org/%D9%85%D9%82%D8%AA%D9%84-%D9%88%D8%AC%D8%B1%D8%AD-%D8%B9%D8%B3%D9%83%D8%B1%D9%8A-%D8%A5%D9%8A%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%8A-%D8%A8%D9%80-%D8%AE%D8%A7%D8%B4-%D9%88%D8%A3%D8%AD%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%86%D9%81-%D8%B0%D9%8A%D9%86-%D9%8A-%D9%87%D8%AF%D9%8A-%D8%B3%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%AA%D9%87
15 http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/07/06/473906/Iran-border-guards-terrorists-Sistan–Baluchestan
16 http://www.azernews.az/region/98078.html
17 http://en.mehrnews.com/news/117008/Rouhani-unveils-largest-industrial-complex-in-western-Iran
18 http://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2016/06/26/1115831/irgc-to-target-terrorists-positions-wherever-they-are-commander


Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall

Source: http://jcpa.org/article/ethnic-opposition-to-irans-regime-is-on-the-rise/

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How Trains Are A Prime Target for Terrorists - Abigail R. Esman




by Abigail R. Esman

--------

On July 18, a young man stormed through a train outside of Wurzburg, Germany. Crying "Allahu Akbar," (God is greatest) he brandished an axe high into the air, then slashed at the men and women seated around him. Within minutes, the car, as one person described it, " looked like a slaughterhouse."

Then he fled.

By the time the day had ended, five people had been seriously wounded: four on the train, and a woman who had the misfortune of walking her dog at the moment he passed by. She remains in critical condition.
A day later, the Islamic State took credit for the attack, calling the killer, a 17-year-old refugee who was ultimately shot and killed by German police, a "soldier for ISIS." It was the first full-scale Islamic terrorist attack in Germany.

But it was not the first Islamic terrorist attack on a train. Far from it: starting with the 2004 commuter train bombings in Madrid and the July 7, 2005 bombings of the London Underground, trains and metros have been a common target for extremist groups. Some efforts, like the bombing of the Brussels metro station this past April, succeeded; many more have failed. But the attempts, successful or not, betray a gaping hole in international security, and one that may not be easy to repair.

In fact, a 2007 report from the Council on Foreign Relations noted that "security professionals see trains as some of the likeliest targets." Consequently, when it comes to the possibility of a major attack on U.S. or European railway or metro systems, former Homeland Security officer Sean Burke told Boston's WCVB news, "We have to expect it. That's the bottom line."

Such an attack, if large enough, could be devastating. While air traffic remains substantial, five times as many people ride trains as fly in the United States, and in Europe, the rapid, efficient and low-cost trains often offer the best transportation options between countries, especially in an era of long airport security lines and early check-ins. Moreover, freight shipments, including highly toxic industrial chemicals, travel the same routes as passenger trains, frequently passing through densely populated areas. Because of this situation, the Council on Foreign Relations reported in 2007 that former White House Deputy Homeland Security Adviser Richard Falkenrath considered such trains "the single greatest danger of a potential terrorist attack in our country today.'"

Yet security on both continents is weak, and in Europe, often at the bare minimum; one will rarely find a policeman or other security personnel at a train station in the Netherlands, for instance. Even on international trains, like the high-speed Thalys between the Netherlands, Belgium, and France, customs and immigration officials are few and far between. Rarely is anyone asked for ID (let alone a passport), and there are, as in the U.S., no security screenings even at major rail stations like Paris' Gare du Nord and Berlin Hauptbanhof.
Which may in part explain why the real identity of the axe-wielder in Bavaria is still uncertain: at a July 20 press conference in Berlin, officials admitted that his name is still uncertain since he, like many other asylum seekers, entered the country without a passport or other identifying papers. Indeed, Time reports that, "Authorities have discovered that he could be from Afghanistan or Pakistan, and that the information he provided to officials in Germany could be partly or entirely false."

It also likely explains the many other, less successful attempts on European trains, such as the 2006 plot to bomb trains at the Cologne station; an attempt to blow up the main train station in Bonn in 2006; a suspected plot disrupted last New Year's Eve to send suicide bombers onto trains in Munich; and the foiled attack by Ayoub el Khassini, who opened fire on a Thalys train in August 2015. In the latter instance, three American tourists – two of whom were in the military - ultimately overpowered and subdued the Moroccan-born Belgian resident, who had boarded the train armed with a Kalashnikov, pistol, hammer, bottle of petrol, nearly 300 rounds of ammunition, and other weapons.

Yet, counterterrorism and national security officials in the U.S. as well as Europe admit there is little they can do. As Time notes, in Europe, "some of the trains linking major cities stop at countless small towns along the way," and the cost of installing metal detectors and setting up TSA-style inspections at all of these stations would be prohibitive. As Christophe Piednoel, a spokesman for the French SNCF railway told Liberation, "Stations are public places....We cannot ask the French to wait one hour before boarding a train. Moreover, 15,000 trains cross France every day, and traverse 3000 stations."

The same is true in the U.S., where some say Amtrak, which carries over 30 million passengers a year through 46 states and parts of Canada, is a prime target. Tracks pass through tunnels, across bridges, in and out of remote villages and major cities. As Burke also told WCVB, "The passenger rail system is designed to be open. It's specifically put in densely populated areas. [It's] a system that is vulnerable really from the beginning of its trip to the end of its trip."

Added to that is the threat of toxic, chemical freight, which is carried in pressurized tanks: the CFR report points out that "security along their route tends to be lax, and at times tanks sit unmonitored in rail yards for days at a time." Despite this fact, efforts to reroute such shipments have failed; not only are they costly, but impractical, since many of the shipments are themselves bound for populated areas, including major cities.

Despite this danger, the TSA all but overlooks train safety, budgeting just 2 percent of its spending on train and subway security, according to the New York Times. Even considering the practical complications and costs of adding metal detectors to all train stations and subway entrances in the country, this hardly seems like enough. New York subways are regularly patrolled by transit authority police who will perform random searches of bags, but with 5.6 million passengers riding the system daily, these measures scarcely seem adequate.

What is especially disturbing is that security officials, both in the U.S. and in many European countries, even seem aware of this: after the Paris attacks in November 2014, K-9 teams swept train stations across America. And after the Brussels metro attacks, train terminals saw a stepped up police and military presence in a number of major cities and even some smaller European towns. In New York and Washington, D.C., security was intensified not just on trains and subways, but also on bridges, tunnels, and even highways.

And then, suddenly, they were gone. It was as if the dangers in New York and Washington and Chicago were resolved, once the perpetrators of the attack in Brussels had been arrested or killed.

True, records show that TSA at airports have failed to stop a single terrorist attack (though they did find over 2,200 firearms, along with grenades, knives, and other weapons in 2015). At the same time, that may be because their presence discourages potential terrorists from attempting to strike on board a plane these days. There are, after all, easier options. Like trains.


Abigail R. Esman, the author, most recently, of Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West (Praeger, 2010), is a freelance writer based in New York and the Netherlands.

Source: http://www.investigativeproject.org/5531/how-trains-are-a-prime-target-for-terrorists

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How Trump’s Speech Won Over This Skeptical Voter - Yuri Justo




by Yuri Justo

Trump’s three major proposals are all very possible and could be completed within a few years.


I have not been a Trump supporter from the first. I much preferred Rubio, many of whose positions I still support. As a military aviator, John McCain’s story of heroism made him something of a secular saint, and I strongly supported him during his election run. As a believing Christian I was and am skeptical of Trump’s relationship with faith. But I was won over by Trump’s acceptance speech this last Thursday. What I heard was a plan: A plan with attainable, measurable objectives with outcomes directly tied to their accomplishment. This simplicity, modesty in scope, and realistic attainability completely changed my opinion about Trump.

First, Trump said that he will improve America’s security by building a wall. Building a serious border wall is a practical action that can be completed. Once complete it will improve security if supported properly. Examples from countries around the world prove this: For example, many years ago, I lived in the Palestinian West Bank territories. There was no real border, and weekly, suicide bombers would go from the Palestinian areas and blow themselves up wherever Jews would gather. Eventually Israel built its wall. This was very controversial. But no longer do suicide bombers attack. The wall worked. The same had to be done on Israel’s southern border as thousands of African refugees walked across the Sinai and into Israel. That wall also stopped the in-flow. Illegal immigration has been a subject of conversation ever since I could read the newspapers. A wall might finally end this conversation at least regarding the southern border.

Secondly, Trump said that he would re-negotiate our trade deals. This, he said, would improve the economy. When people ask: “When was America ever great?”, I think back to the mid-80s to the mid-90s. At that time, I remember Walmart being full of products that were “Made in America”. I remember visiting friends in small country towns that worked at factories making clothes. After NAFTA was enacted our factories made their way south of the border. Then came China’s entrance into the WTO: the shelves filled with Chinese products. Yes, things were cheaper -- but at what cost to our economy and our society? For 20 years wages have not risen for most workers. The American dream -- that our children will do better than us -- is in danger. Bernie Sanders’ popular candidacy showed that right and left, Americans want a re-negotiation of our trade deals. So, who better to work on a better deal for the country than the author of the Art of the Deal? 

Thirdly, Trump said that he would win the fight against ISIS. This is also eminently achievable. Under Obama we have fought ISIS with both hands behind our back. We have not tried to win, but rather have tried to use the minimum force necessary to prevent a total collapse. This gave ISIS years of safe haven. Years to perfect its recruiting strategies and plan attacks upon the weaknesses of the West. If ISIS had been swiftly defeated sometime around 2013 most likely the horrifying recent terrorist attacks around the world would also not have happened. As a veteran of the successful struggle against ISIS -- at that time called the Islamic State in Iraq -- I was maddened by Obama’s choice to throw our success away in 2011 and 2013 by first withdrawing and then choosing to only minimally assist the Iraqi Forces when ISIS invaded Iraq. Obama’s strategy has proven unrealistic and dangerous to the world’s safety. If we want to win, can we? Yes. Will Americans die in the fighting? Most likely. Can it happen quickly? Upon the president’s orders, the planning and preparations can begin; against such a militarily weak enemy, victory on the battlefield (defined as defeating militarily significant formations, not complete pacification) is merely a matter of time.

Trump’s three major proposals are all very possible and could be completed within a few years. There are 1,989 miles along our southern border. 700 miles of fencing have already been completed after 4 years of work. That leaves 1289 miles to go, almost all in Texas. As for trade deal re-negotiations, these can be accomplished relatively quickly: NAFTA negotiations began in 1991, and the agreement was signed by the end of 1992. Regarding winning against ISIS, the French faced a similar Islamist foe in Mali in 2013.  They began serious combat (eventually involving 4,000 soldiers) on 11 January, and were mopping up fleeing remnants by March 31, 2013.

Trump is not a messiah. He is not claiming to heal the planet and slow the oceans’ rise as Obama proclaimed in his acceptance speech. Instead, Trump is an executive, one who has listed his relatively modest objectives and milestones along the way. That is what I heard in his acceptance speech and I was won over.


Yuri Justo

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/07/how_trumps_speech_won_over_this_skeptical_voter.html

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Department of Homeland Security Targeting the Wrong Enemy - A.J. Caschetta




by A.J. Caschetta

The Obama era is one of willful blindness to the jihadist movement that has declared war on America.


  • President Obama has surrounded himself not with military strategists but rather with fiction writers, wide-eyed diplomats whose strategy is "don't do stupid shit," and law enforcement officials who believe that "Our most effective response to terror and hatred is compassion, unity and love."
  • Only "rightwing extremism" is obvious to the Obama Administration. Everything else is apparently too complex and nuanced for labels. Even Micah Xavier Johnson, who said that he was motivated by "Black Lives Matters" rhetoric and hatred of white people, is a conundrum to the president, who bizarrely asserted that it is "hard to untangle the motives of this shooter."
  • The Obama era is one of willful blindness to the jihadist movement that has declared war on America. CIA Director John Brennan purged the word "jihad" from the agency's vocabulary. Obama's two Attorneys General have done the same at the Department of Justice.
  • The federal government has spent the last 8 years pretending that "rightwing extremists" are more numerous and dangerous than the careful and intelligent jihadist attackers, whom it insists are just "madmen" or "troubled individuals."
Anyone surprised by President Barack Obama's recurring attempts at exploiting jihadist attacks in his efforts to restrict gun ownership should read the earliest known document concerning terrorism assembled by his administration. The unclassified assessment by Department of Homeland Security (DHS), titled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment," is dated April 7, 2009 -- a mere 77 days after Obama's inauguration.

The document was leaked shortly after its release to law enforcement officials across the country and made public by Roger Hedgecock on April 13, 2009. It laid out the new president's legislative and executive priorities on terrorism, guns and immigration. Uniquely combining these three issues would become a predictable, coordinated pattern during Obama's two terms in office.

The assessment boldly delineated the Tom Ridge and Janet Napolitano eras at the DHS. As Eli Lake wrote the day after the document was leaked, "Since its inception in 2003, the department has focused primarily on radicalization of Muslims and the prospect of homegrown Islamist terrorism." Under Obama's leadership, attention was directed away from Muslims and Islamist terrorism and redirected towards limiting the Second Amendment, scrutinizing military veterans and expanding both legal and illegal immigration.

Contrary to criticism of the Obama administration as uninterested in the plight of military veterans, the DHS assessment shows that vets were very much a priority. The document's authors, in fact, were worried that "military veterans facing significant challenges returning into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists."

The only significant acts of domestic terrorism perpetrated by veterans lately have not been inspired from the right, however: Micah Xavier Johnson and Gavin Long are products of a "left wing," anti-police, anti-establishment ideology. The assassinations they carried out fit the pattern of the so-called "New Left" wave of terror carried out in the 1970s by the Weather Underground and the Black Panthers.

The language of the document also foretells the Obama story. In its brief seven pages of text there are 25 references to gun control, weapons and ammunition-hoarding. Terrorists motivated by "anti-immigration" and "white supremacist" ideologies are mentioned 11 times, and veterans returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq are mentioned 9 times. Variations of "extremism," which would become Obama's preferred euphemism, occur 42 times.

Timothy McVeigh is the model terrorist in the document. DHS spokeswoman Sara Kuban said a goal of the report was "to prevent another Tim McVeigh from ever happening again."

The 1990s figure prominently in the DHS prognostication, meriting 17 references. The "poor economic climate," the Clinton "assault weapon" ban and "a perceived threat to US power and sovereignty by other foreign powers" are envisioned as parallel to the situation in 2009. Looking back at the 1990s and predicting similar troubles in the age of Obama, Napolitano's DHS made no mention of the most significant development in the evolution of political violence to occur in the 1990s: the rise of Al-Qaeda.

Military strategists worth their pay will recognize the DHS version of "preparing to fight the last war," but then Obama has surrounded himself not with military strategists but rather with fiction writers, wide-eyed diplomats whose strategy is limited to "don't do stupid shit," and law enforcement officials who believe that "Our most effective response to terror and hatred is compassion, unity and love."

In a passage about "the historical election of an African American president and the prospect of policy changes," there is a reference to "the shooting deaths of three police officers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on 4 April 2009." The shooter in question was Richard Poplawski, who ambushed the police called to his home to investigate a domestic disturbance. The DHS concludes that "his racist ideology and belief in antigovernment conspiracy theories" led to his "radicalization," though years later, after Poplawski was convicted and sentenced to death, reporters and even the jury were still unsure of his motives.

The Poplawski shooting occurred just three days before the date on the document. Compare that remarkably speedy conclusion to the way the Obama Administration has handled jihadist attacks. Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's November 5, 2009 attack in Fort Hood, Texas, and Alton Nolan's September 24, 2014 ritual beheading of a coworker at the Vaughan Foods plant in Moore, Oklahoma, are described as "workplace violence."

FBI Director James Comey expressed confusion over Omar Mateen's motives for the recent Orlando jihad attack, even though Mateen's attack was accompanied by the jihadist's battle cry "Allahu Akhbar" and a pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Caliph of the Islamic State during a 911 call. Before that it was the San Bernardino husband-wife jihadist team whose motives were ostensibly a mystery to the FBI.

Only "rightwing extremism" is obvious to the Obama Administration. Everything else is apparently too complex and nuanced for labels. Even Micah Xavier Johnson, who told Dallas police that he was motivated by "Black Lives Matters" rhetoric and hatred of white people, is a conundrum to the president, who bizarrely asserted that it is "hard to untangle the motives of this shooter."

Left: The 2009 Department of Homeland Security assessment titled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment." Right: Micah Xavier Johnson, who murdered five Dallas police officers and injured nine others, said that he was motivated by "Black Lives Matters" rhetoric and hatred of white people.

After the 2009 DHS assessment was widely and rightly criticized, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) complained that the administration "let its team devoted to non-Islamic domestic terrorism fall apart in the aftermath of... [the] controversial leaked report." But while the "Extremism and Radicalization Branch, Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division" may have been dropped, but the principles that led to the document were not.

Even more so than the Bush era, the Obama era is one of willful blindness to the global jihadist movement that has declared war on America. CIA Director John Brennan purged the word "jihad" from the agency's vocabulary. Obama's two Attorneys General have done the same at the Department of Justice.

The federal government has spent the last eight years pretending (maybe even believing) that "rightwing extremists" are more numerous and dangerous than the careful and intelligent jihadist attackers, whom it insists are just "madmen" or "troubled individuals."
 
 
A.J. Caschetta is a Shillman-Ginsburg fellow at the Middle East Forum and a senior lecturer at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
A.J. Caschetta

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/8549/dhs-rightwing-extremism

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Refugee Jihad Spreads in Germany - Joseph Klein




by Joseph Klein

Why the recent wave of attacks is only the beginning.





The German people are suffering the consequences of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s reckless open door “refugee” policy. Merkel laid down the welcome mat for around a million migrants last year, many of them from troubled areas of the Middle East and South Asia, including Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. There have been four violent attacks in Germany within just the past week. Two of them were committed by Syrian migrants. A third was committed by an Afghan asylum seeker. The fourth, a mass shooting in Munich, was committed by the German-born son of Iranian asylum-seekers.

ISIS had forewarned that attacks in Germany were coming. Shortly after the Brussels airport attack, ISIS sent out a call for an attack on Germany’s Cologne airport.  An ISIS video threatened to turn Germany into a “battle field” and targeted Chancellor Merkel for murder. After the attack in Nice, ISIS supporters celebrated on social media and said that Germany was next.

Now that the attacks have started, German government officials are trying to calm peoples’ fears, minimizing as much as possible any connection to ISIS.  Chancellor Merkel’s Chief of Staff Peter Altmaier actually claimed early last week, after the first attack, that terrorist acts committed by refugees are “not larger or smaller than that in the rest of the population."

However, the official explanations, including claims as to the mental instability of the perpetrators, ignore the reality that the attackers find legitimacy for acting on their hatred from the “new normal” of violence created by the successful actions of ISIS.

At least two of the most recent attacks in Germany have been directly linked to ISIS.

A Syrian asylum seeker, whom had pledged his allegiance to ISIS, blew himself up last Sunday and injured twelve other people, outside of a wine bar in the town of Ansbach.  It could have been far worse. His original target appeared to have been a music festival, but fortunately he was turned away because he did not have a ticket to the event. ISIS claimed that the suicide bomber "was a soldier of the Islamic State."

The Afghan refugee who attacked train passengers in Germany early last week, injuring four people, two of them critically, was found to have had an ISIS flag in his room. He is reported to have shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is great) several times. A news agency linked to ISIS claimed the assailant "carried out the operation in answer to the calls to target the countries of the coalition fighting the Islamic State."

A machete-wielding Syrian asylum-seeker, who killed a pregnant woman in Germany, was arrested on Sunday. The police claim that, based on the current evidence, “there is no indication that this was a terrorist attack."  Nevertheless, ISIS exploited the incident to urge more so-called “lone wolf” attacks.

The shooting spree at a shopping mall in Munich last Friday, which resulted in the deaths of nine people, in addition to the shooter who killed himself, appears to have been the work of a mentally deranged German born son of parents whom had emigrated from Iran. Deranged or not, the killer managed to shout out the Islamic rallying cry, “Allahu Akbar,” according to the Daily Mail. When some Germans gathered peaceably over the weekend to mourn the victims of this vicious attack, they were met by more shouts of “Allahu Akbar.”

Some German officials, channeling President Obama, are calling for stricter gun control even though Germany already has very strict laws and three of the four attacks during the last week were not carried out with guns.

Local authorities are also calling for the compulsory teaching of Islam in Germany’s schools. “It is appropriate to bring in classes on Islam in state schools or schools overseen by the state,” Gerd Landsberg, head of the association of local councils, said last week. This is multiculturalism on steroids. And it will most certainly backfire. Does anyone seriously think that jihadists are just going to sit back and outsource the teaching of Islam to “Crusader” schools using token Muslims as teachers whom the jihadists consider infidels? It is the mosques in Germany where youth are indoctrinated by radical imams. They also learn the path of jihad from their peers on the street or in jails, as well as from radical Islamist propaganda on the Internet.

At least some German officials concerned with security recognize that there is a problem with the flow of refugees entering their country. The following is a quote from Germany’s 2015 Annual Report on The Protection of The Constitution: Facts and Trends:

“Islamist organisations in Germany see the tide of refugees from Syria and Iraq as a chance to gain new followers by winning refugees over to their extremist ideology under the cover of humanitarian aid. Such activities are likely to increase in future. The contacts Salafists or Islamists make with refugees will remain relevant to Germany's domestic intelligence services…Particular attention has to be paid to so-called unaccompanied young refugees since, due to their situation, they are likely to be particularly susceptible to Islamist promises…Given the continuous immigration into Germany, it also has to be assumed that active or former members, supporters, and sympathisers of terrorist organisations as well as individuals with an extremist orientation and/or Islamistically motivated war criminals may be among the refugees.”

For years, Western European governments have tolerated the rise of radical Islam in their countries for fear of being branded Islamophobes. They also did not want to discourage Muslim immigrants needed to add to the labor force. However, the jihad cancer has grown out of control. Indeed, it is now reaching a near terminal state as Islamist refugees, who refuse to assimilate into the culture of their new home or accept its values, trample on the lives of their hosts. Germany is in the direct eye of the storm.


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

Source:  http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/263631/refugee-jihad-spreads-germany-joseph-klein

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