Friday, March 2, 2018

Analysis: What is Iran thinking? - Yochanan Visser




by Yochanan Visser


Iran has an ulterior motive in the Yemen Civil War and in all its other subversive actions, and annihilating Israel fits right in.


Iran is lying through its teeth again about its involvement in the devastating Yemeni war which has killed thousands of people and caused a huge humanitarian crisis making 80 percent of the population of Yemen dependent on some form of foreign aid.

This week, after Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning Iran for violating an arms embargo by supplying weapons and missiles to the Ansar Allah (Houthi) militia in Yemen, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry denied his country had sent weapons to Yemen while blasting Great Britain for “dishonest behavior” in drafting the resolution.

"We don’t send weapons to Yemen. Such allegations and attempts are made to project the blame on others by those who want to use the existing situation against Iran," the spokesman, Bahram Qassemi told reporters in Tehran.

“We are witnessing a [sic] dishonest behavior from the British government that uses the international mechanisms to defend the aggressor despite its slogans about a peaceful settlement of the Yemen crisis," Qassemi charged.

He then claimed that whatever happens in Yemen “is the result of the export of British and American arms.”

Qassemi’s remarks came after General Joseph Votel, head of the U.S. Central Command in the Middle East (CENTCOM,) sounded the alarm about Iran’s involvement in Yemen.

Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee, Votel claimed the Islamic Republic has achieved in five years in Yemen what it took two decades to do in Lebanon, which has been turned into an Iranian client state.

“Iran has extended its tentacles across the region through numerous proxies, including Lebanese Hezbollah operating in multiple countries, hardline Iranian-backed Shia militia groups (SMGs) in Iraq and Syria, and Iranian support has enabled the Houthis,” according to the CENTCOM commander.

If you wonder who’s speaking the truth about Iran’s involvement in Yemen, you don’t need a recently leaked report by UN experts which unequivocally stated Iran is delivering military aid to Ansar Allah.

All you have to do is read what Ali Akbar Velayati, one of the top advisers on foreign policy to Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei, said on the sidelines of a recent conference in support of a new Palestinian Intifada, held in Tehran at the beginning of February.

"Our presence in the region is inevitable. We will continue this process, so as to become the most decisive force in the region,” according to Velayati.

“We are present in Iraq, Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon, at the behest of and in coordination with the governments of these countries,” he continued.

“We help Yemen because it is our human duty to do so. Saudi Arabia must know that this ongoing process will make Yemen its Vietnam," the former Iranian Foreign Minister said.

By making this statement Velayati proved two things.

First, Iran is again using the so-called Al-Taqqiyah tactic to deceive its enemies.

According to the authoritative Islamic text, Al-Taqiyya Fi Al-Islam, “Taqiyyah (deception) is of fundamental importance in Islam. Practically every Islamic sect agrees to it and practices it…Taqiyyah is very prevalent in Islamic politics, especially in the modern era.”

The Iranians are masters in using Al-Taqqiyah to advance their imperialistic agenda for the Middle East and now even claim that they are not building a coalition of Shiite forces in Syria and Iraq which will confront Israel in the future.

During an interview with the BBC, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said his country's presence in Syria “was not aimed at creating a new front against Israel” and denied Iran had recently sent a large attack drone into Israeli airspace.

Secondly, Velayati revealed for the first time that Iran’s military aid to Ansar Allah is not aimed at winning the civil war in Yemen, but at destabilizing Saudi Arabia, which is the custodian of the Muslim holy places.

To understand why Iran uses Yemen as a springboard to destabilize and eventually take over Saudi Arabia one has to understand Iran’s so-called Mahdi doctrine.

One of the pillars of this messianic doctrine, which envisions the return of the Shiite messiah Mahdi, also called the hidden twelfth imam, is the beginning of an Islamic uprising that will spread all over the world. This uprising will be accompanied by mayhem and chaos as well as an increase in natural and man-made disasters.

So, according to the mullahs, the wars in Iraq were a good thing because they resulted in growing Shiite (Iranian) dominance over the country which in the future will house the capital of Mahdi’s imperium.

The second pillar is the rise of Iran which prepares the world for the coming of the Mahdi, according to the doctrine.

Another important event which will hasten the coming of the Shiiite messiah is “a holy revolution” which is to take place in Yemen,” according to a documentary produced by the Iranian regime in 2011.

The (Shiite) soldiers of Mahdi will enter Saudi Arabia and the Muslim holy places via Yemen after a bloody battle which involves the Houthis, an Arab legion, the U.S. and Israel, according to the documentary “the Coming is upon us”.

The film also predicts the end of Israel. The Jewish State will have to confront “extra forces which will arrive from Iraq”.

“The annihilation of the Zionist regime and the conquering of ‘Beitol Moghadas’ (Jerusalem) is one of the most important events in the age of the Coming,” the voiceover in the movie says.

From here it’s easy to understand why Ansar Allah in 2016 blocked a UN brokered peace deal between the parties in Yemen and why Iran is currently meddling in the upcoming Iraqi elections.

It also explains why Iran is building up a force consisting of Shiite militias in both Iraq and Syria and why the Islamic Republic decided to engage Israel directly for the first time recently and is trying to get a foothold on the Syrian Golan heights.


Yochanan Visser is an independent journalist/analyst who worked for many years as Middle East correspondent for Western Journalism.com in Arizona and was a frequent publicist for the main Dutch paper De Volkskrant. He authored a book in the Dutch language about the cognitive war against Israel and now lives in Gush Etzion. He writes a twice weekly analysis of current issues for Arutz Sheva.

Source: https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/242603

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Palestinians: The "Ugly Crime" of a School Curriculum - Bassam Tawil




by Bassam Tawil

The Palestinian Authority and its Minister of Education, Sabri Saidam, want Arab schools in Jerusalem to teach the students why Muslims should be killing Jews.

  • A recent study of Palestinian textbooks found that Palestinian children are being taught to glorify and value terrorism and violence. The Palestinian Authority and its Minister of Education, Sabri Saidam, want Arab schools in Jerusalem to teach the students why Muslims should be killing Jews.
  • "Within the pages of the textbooks, children are being taught to be expendable. Messages such as: 'The Volcano of My Revenge'; 'The Longing of my Blood for my Land'; and 'I Shall Sacrifice My Blood to Saturate the Land' suffuse the [Palestinian] curriculum. Math books use numbers of dead martyrs to teach arithmetic. The vision of an Arab Palestine includes the entirety of what is now Israel, defined as the '1948 Occupied Territories.'" — IMPACT-se.
  • How come the Arab citizens of Israel have never complained about the Israeli educational system? The answer is because they evidently like the education that Israel has been offering them. It teaches them to value life, freedom of speech and democracy, and Arab Israelis admire it. They love the education Israel offers them because it does not demonize any race or group of people. They love it because it does not teach them to kill Jews, but to live with them in peace and security. This is the truth that the Palestinian Authority does not want to hear. This is the truth that it does not want the rest of the world to hear.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) Minister of Education, Sabri Saidam, is worried these days. He is not worried, he says, because Palestinian schoolchildren are being taught to hate Israel. He is not worried because Palestinian schoolchildren are being goaded by their leaders to carry out terror attacks against Jews, from stone-throwing to stabbings to ramming cars.

The PA minister of Education is worried, he says, about a "crime" that is about to be committed against Arab children in Jerusalem schools. The "crime," in his view, is that the children will be taught according to an Israeli, and not a Palestinian, curriculum.

Saidam sees the decision to apply the Israeli curriculum to Arab schools in Jerusalem as an "ugly crime of counterfeit." These are the exact words he used to denounce the decision to introduce the Israeli curriculum into Arab schools.

Why are the minister and the Palestinian Authority so truculently opposed to Arab schoolchildren studying according to the Israeli curriculum? Is this curriculum really an "ugly crime of counterfeit," as the minister says?

The main reason the PA leadership is opposed to the Israeli curriculum is because it does not promote hatred. The curriculum also does not demonize Arabs in parallel to the way the Palestinian curriculum demonizes Jews.

A recent study of Palestinian textbooks found that Palestinian children are being taught to glorify and value terrorism and violence. The study, called "Palestinian Elementary School Curriculum 2016-17: Radicalization and Revival of the PLO Program," was conducted by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education.

The Palestinian curriculum teaches students to be martyrs, demonizes and denies the existence of Israel, and focuses on a "'return' to an exclusively Palestinian homeland," according to the study.
Within the pages of the textbooks, children are being taught to be expendable. Messages such as: "The Volcano of My Revenge"; "The Longing of my Blood for my Land"; and "I Shall Sacrifice My Blood to Saturate the Land" suffuse the [Palestinian] curriculum. Math books use numbers of dead martyrs to teach arithmetic. The vision of an Arab Palestine includes the entirety of what is now Israel, defined as the "1948 Occupied Territories."
While Islam is not used as a radical political tool for this age group, negative messages linger regarding non-Muslims. And though Christian education is provided, Jewish roots are ignored. Arabs continue to be presented as original dwellers of the land. Palestinian identity, as conveyed to these children, is now more realistically based on Levantine-Palestinian folklore alongside Arabism, Islam, and the struggle against Israel.

"Within the pages of the [Palestinian Authority] textbooks, children are being taught to be expendable. Messages such as: 'The Longing of my Blood for my Land'; and 'I Shall Sacrifice My Blood to Saturate the Land'". (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Palestinian minister of education, then, is worried that Arab children in Jerusalem will no longer be exposed to the poison and brainwashing of the Palestinian curriculum. He is even worried that the Arab children will not be taught about the 1974 PLO's Phased Plan to conquer Israel in stages. Phase one (Article 2) is to create a Palestinian state on any territory vacated by Israel. The next phase (Article 8) is to use that territory to "foment an allied Arab assault against a truncated Jewish state."

This PLO Phased Plan is still an integral part of the Palestinian curriculum.

Saidam and his Palestinian Authority want Arab schools in Jerusalem to teach the students why Muslims should be killing Jews. Take, for example, the religious textbooks for the upper grades in Palestinian Authority schools, which include genocidal messages such as the following hadith (a record of the traditions or sayings of Prophet Mohammed), from Hadiths, Bukhari, Book number 4:
Fighting the Jews and victory over them: The Messenger [Mohammed] already announced [the good news] of the end of the Jews' oppression upon this Holy Land and the removal of their corruption and of their occupation thereof. [It is told] by Abu Hurayrah [one of Mohammed's Companions] that the Prophet said: "The End of Days will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Muslims will kill them to a point that a Jew will hide behind a rock or a tree, and then the rock or the tree will say: 'O Muslim, O God's servant, there is a Jew behind me, so come and kill him, except the salt bush (Gharqad), for it is one of the Jews' trees." Faith, (Sharia Studies) Grade 11, 2003, p 94.
The Palestinian Authority and its Ministry of Education are angry because this hadith has been removed from the textbooks in the Arab schools of Jerusalem.

The removal of the hadith, they argue, is an "ugly crime." In other words, the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah is fighting for the right of students to be taught that Jews are "corrupt" and "occupiers" and should be killed, even as they try to hide behind a rock or a tree.

Now has come a fatwa (Islamic religious decree) recently issued by Palestinian Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, prohibiting schoolchildren from studying in accordance with the Israeli curriculum.

"Teaching the Israeli curriculum in Palestinian schools is dangerous and abusive," the fatwa determined. "The Israeli curriculum consists of matters that contravene the Islamic faith, the Arab identity, and Palestinian values and traditions."

Conspicuously missing from the fatwa was even a single example of how the Israeli curriculum was dangerous and abusive to schoolchildren. The reason: there is nothing there -- in the Israeli curriculum -- that can poison the hearts and minds of the Arab students.

What the Palestinian Authority is failing to tell its people and the rest of the world is that there are hundreds of thousands of Arabs who do study according to the Israeli curriculum. These are the Arab citizens of Israel, who for the past 70 years have been studying in accordance with a curriculum set by successive Israeli governments.

Why is it all right for those Arab children to be studying according to a curriculum that does not contain bigotry and racism, while it is wrong for Arabs living in Jerusalem? Why is it alright for tens of thousands of Arabs to attend Israeli schools, universities and colleges and study according to Israeli curricula, while it is banned for Arabs in Jerusalem to do so?

The Arab citizens of Israel who studied in Israeli educational institutions are probably the most peaceful, pragmatic and moderate Arabs living in the Middle East. They are among the country's leading professors, lawyers, businessmen and physicians; they have their own political parties, members of parliament and sit on Israel's Supreme Court. This is what happens when a student gets a good education, free of indoctrination, incitement and messages of hate.

If the Israeli curriculum is as bad and dangerous as the Palestinian Authority claims, why are thousands of Arabs continuing to enroll in Hebrew University, Haifa University, Tel Aviv University and even the "settler" Ariel University in the northern West Bank? How come the Arab citizens of Israel have never complained about the Israeli educational system?

The number of Israeli Arabs pursuing bachelor's degrees at Israeli universities and colleges, has, in fact, jumped 60% over the last seven years to 47,000 in 2017, according to the Council for Higher Education in Israel. In just the past seven years, the number of Arab students studying in Israeli universities and colleges has climbed 78.5%, the council said.

The answer is because they evidently like the education that Israel has been offering them for the past 70 years. It is an education that teaches them to value life, freedom of speech and democracy, and Arab Israelis admire it. They love the education Israel offers them because it does not demonize any race or group of people. They love it because it does not teach them to kill Jews, but to live with them in peace and security.

This is the truth that the Palestinian Authority does not want to hear. This is the truth that it does not want the rest of the world to hear. Instead, the PA leadership in Ramallah wants to continue to teach children to hate Israel and Jews and prepare to destroy Israel.

The Palestinian minister of education can continue to talk about resisting the Israeli curriculum, but the good news is that the Arabs residents of Jerusalem and the Arab citizens of Israel will continue to knock on the doors of Israeli educational institutions to seek a good education.

The true intention of the Palestinian Authority, namely to raze Israel to the ground and wage jihad against the Jews, has once again been exposed. If one is seeking "ugly crimes," one need look no further.

Bassam Tawil is a Muslim based in the Middle East.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/11972/palestinians-israel-school-curriculum

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Mexicollusion - Lloyd Billingsley




by Lloyd Billingsley

Mueller-Democrat-Never-Trump axis ignores the real 2016 election interference.


The Schiff memo emerged at last on Saturday and President Trump called it a “total political and legal bust.” That charge was “ridiculous,” David French of National Review told Fox News, urging former FBI boss Robert Mueller to dig deeper and wider. While Democrats also support Mueller’s probe, they have been working three shifts to curtail the real investigation of 2016 election interference.

President Trump estimated that three to five million illegals had caused him to lose the popular vote, which Hillary Clinton carried by 2.8 million votes. Could any of those votes have been fraudulent?  After all, actual illegal voters would be more influential than any string of Facebook ads.

Trump duly launched the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity headed by vice president Mike Pence and Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach. Trouble was, Democrats such as California’s secretary of state Alex Padilla locked up the data.

“California’s participation would only serve to legitimize the false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud made by the President, the Vice President, and Mr. Kobach,” Padilla said in a statement. “The President’s Commission is a waste of taxpayer money and a distraction from the real threats to the integrity of our elections today: aging voting systems and documented Russian interference in our elections.”

Other states dominated by Democrats also refused to cooperate, so this January the president dissolved the advisory commission. That came after evidence of how foreign national in the United States illegally do in fact cast votes in American elections.

Based on an investigation by the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, last year a federal grand jury in Sacramento returned a nine-count indictment against Gustavo Araujo Lerma, 62, and his wife Maria Eva Velez, 64. Araujo is charged with aggravated identity theft, passport fraud, conspiracy to commit unlawful procurement of naturalization and citizenship, and five counts of voting by an alien.

As the court has documented, Araujo applied for U.S. passports under the assumed identity of Hiram Enrique Velez, a deceased U.S. citizen “whose identity Araujo fraudulently used for over 25 years.” During that time, the Mexican national obtained legal permanent resident status and ultimately U.S. citizenship for Velez, his wife. The couple had previously married in Mexico but did so again in Los Angeles in 1992 under the fake identity. This allowed Velez illegally to obtain status as the purported wife of a U.S. citizen.

The court is also charging that Araujo “committed illegal alien voting” by using the identity of Hiram Velez in numerous federal, state and local elections. So contrary to Feinstein and Padilla, there is evidence of voter fraud, and it’s easy to pull off.

Like the assassin in The Day of the Jackal, a person simply digs up records of someone who passed away, then steals their identity. Frederick Forsythe’s novel was published in 1971 but nobody in American government caught on to the trick. That’s how Gustavo Araujo got away with it for 25 years, brought in other illegals, and illegally voted in federal, state and local elections.

By some counts there are 11 million illegals in the United States, and 5.6 million are Mexican nationals. Both estimates are doubtless on the low side, same for the estimated three million illegals in California – about the same number of Russians living in all 50 states. It is reasonable to believe that many of the Mexicans “committed illegal alien voting,” and other document fraud, which is not a victimless crime.

As the Orange County Register noted, in 1996 some 743 non-citizens were found to have voted in the congressional race in which Democrat Loretta Sanchez upset Republican Bob Dornan. And “since then only a few safeguards have been put in place to prevent non-citizens from registering and voting.” For their part, Mexican politicians openly support Democrats.

Marcelo Ebrard was mayor of Mexico City from 2006-2012 and a Mexican presidential hopeful in 2011. As the New Yorker noted, in 2016, “Ebrard is working on Latino get-out-the-vote campaigns on behalf of Hillary Clinton.” So while the Clinton campaign and DNC tapped Russian sources for the Steele dossier, the Democrats’ 2016 candidate also found eager colluders in Mexico.

Meanwhile, the Advisory Commission shutdown does not end the search for voter fraud. President Trump turned over the investigation to the Department of Homeland Security, which knows who has Green Cards and temporary visas and can cross-check with voter rolls to see who actually voted. This non-conspiratorial inquiry should bring no objection from anyone concerned about election integrity.

In similar style, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should order the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service to go back at least 25 years and cross-check every passport application with birth and death records, a simple matter in the computer age. As with Gustavo Araujo, the nation needs to know how many false-documented illegals are voting in American elections, and who is colluding with them to enable voter fraud.  


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

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/269422/mexicollusion-lloyd-billingsley

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Why Turkey Wants to Invade the Greek Islands - Uzay Bulut




by Uzay Bulut

Although Turkey knows that the islands are legally and historically Greek, Turkish authorities want to occupy and Turkify them, presumably to further the campaign of annihilating the Greeks

  • Turkish propagandists also have been twisting facts to try to portray Greece as the aggressor.
  • Although Turkey knows that the islands are legally and historically Greek, Turkish authorities want to occupy and Turkify them, presumably to further the campaign of annihilating the Greeks, as they did in Anatolia from 1914 to 1923 and after.
  • Any attack against Greece should be treated as an attack against the West.
There is one issue on which Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its main opposition, the Republican People's Party (CHP), are in complete agreement: The conviction that the Greek islands are occupied Turkish territory and must be reconquered. So strong is this determination that the leaders of both parties have openly threatened to invade the Aegean.

The only conflict on this issue between the two parties is in competing to prove which is more powerful and patriotic, and which possesses the courage to carry out the threat against Greece. While the CHP is accusing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's AKP party of enabling Greece to occupy Turkish lands, the AKP is attacking the CHP, Turkey's founding party, for allowing Greece to take the islands through the 1924 Treaty of Lausanne, the 1932 Turkish-Italian Agreements, and the 1947 Paris Treaty, which recognized the islands of the Aegean as Greek territory.

In 2016, Erdoğan said that Turkey "gave away" the islands that "used to be ours" and are "within shouting distance." "There are still our mosques, our shrines there," he said, referring to the Ottoman occupation of the islands.

Two months earlier, at the "Conference on Turkey's New Security Concept," Erdoğan declared: "Lausanne... has never been a sacred text. Of course, we will discuss it and struggle to have a better one." Subsequently, pro-government media outlets published maps and photos of the islands in the Aegean, calling them the territory that "Erdoğan says we gave away at Lausanne."

To realize his ultimate goal of leaving behind a legacy that surpasses that of all other Turkish leaders, Erdoğan has set certain objectives for the year 2023, the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Turkish Republic, and 2071, the 1,000th anniversary of the 1071 Battle of Manzikert, during which Muslim Turkic jihadists from Central Asia defeated Christian Greek Byzantine forces in the Armenian highland of the Byzantine Empire.

The idea behind these goals is to create nationalistic cohesion towards annexing more land to Turkey. To alter the borders of Turkey, however, Erdoğan must change or annul the Lausanne Treaty. Ironically, ahead of his two-day official visit to Greece in December -- touted as a sign of a new era in Turkish-Greek relations -- Erdogan told Greek journalists that the Lausanne Treaty is in need of an update. During his trip, the first official visit to Greece by a Turkish head of state in 65 years, Erdoğan repeated his mantra that the Lausanne Treaty must be revised.


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that Turkey "gave away" Greek islands that "used to be ours" and are "within shouting distance". "There are still our mosques, our shrines there," he said, referring to the Ottoman occupation of the islands. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

The following month, Erdoğan targeted CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, again accusing the party that signed the Lausanne Treaty of giving away the islands during negotiations. "We will tell our nation about [this]," Erdoğan said. What this statement means is that Erdogan accepts that the islands legally belong to Greece. Yet, at the same time, he calls the Greek possession of the territory "an invasion" -- apparently because the islands were once within the borders of the Ottoman Empire -- and he now wants them back.

Meanwhile, the CHP has been equally aggressive in its rhetoric, with Kılıçdaroğlu telling the Turkish parliament that Greece has "occupied" 18 islands. When Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos was described as "uncomfortable" with this statement, CHP's deputy leader for foreign affairs, Öztürk Yılmaz, responded, "Greece should not test our patience." Yılmaz also reportedly stated that "Turkey is much more than its government," and that any Greek minister who provokes Turkey, will be "hit with a sledgehammer on the head...If [Kammenos] looks at history, he will see many examples of that."

History is, in fact, filled with examples of Turks carrying out murderous assaults against Anatolian Greeks. In one instance, the genocidal assault against Greek and Armenian Christians in Izmir in 1922 was highlighted in a speech before the parliament by Devlet Bahceli, the head of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP):
"If they [the Greeks] want to fall into the sea again -- if they feel like being chased after again -- they are welcome. The Turkish nation is ready and has the faith to do it again. Someone must explain to the Greek government what happened in 1921 and 1922. If there is no one to explain it to them, we know how to stick like a bullet on the Aegean, rain from the sky like a blessed victory, and teach history to the couriers of ahl al-salib [the people of the cross] all over again."
Turkish propagandists also have been twisting facts to try to portray Greece as the aggressor. Ümit Yalım, former secretary-general of the Ministry of National Defense, for example, said that "Greece has turned the Greek-occupied islands into arsenals and military outposts that Greece will use in its future military intervention against Turkey."

Turkish politicians all seem to have their own motivations for their obsession with the islands: Traditional Turkish expansionism, Turkification of Hellenic lands, neo-Ottomanism and Islam's flagship of conquest -- jihad. There are also strategic reasons for their wanting to invade the islands, which can be understood in a statement made by Deputy Prime Minister Tuğrul Türkeş about Turkey's control of Cyprus since 1974:
"There is this misinformation that Turkey is interested in Cyprus because there is a Turkish society there... Even if no Turks lived in Cyprus, Turkey would still have a Cyprus issue and it is impossible for Turkey to give up on that."
The same attitude and mentality apply to the Aegean islands. Although Turkey knows that the islands are legally and historically Greek, Turkish authorities want to occupy and Turkify them, presumably to further the campaign of annihilating the Greeks, as they did in Anatolia from 1914 to 1923 and after. The destruction of any remnant of Greek culture that existed in Asia Minor, a Greek land prior to the 11th century Turkish invasion, is almost complete. There are fewer than 2,000 Greeks left in Turkey today.

Given that Turkey brutally invaded Cyprus in 1974, its current threats against Greece -- from both ends of Turkey's political spectrum -- should not be taken lightly by the West. Greece is the birthplace of Western civilization. It borders the European Union. Any attack against Greece should be treated as an attack against the West. It is time for the West, which has remained silent in the face of Turkish atrocities, to stand up to Ankara.

Uzay Bulut is a Turkish journalist born and raised in Turkey. She is presently based in Washington D.C.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/11954/turkey-threats-greek-islands

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A New Era at the State Department? - A.J. Caschetta






by A.J. Caschetta

In pursuit of the ultimate peace deal, the "peace processors" ignore or excuse Palestinian diplomats who insist that Israel has no right to exist


Ever since the partition of UN Mandate Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel, the US State Department has promoted a grievance-based approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Its staffers' view Palestinian deprivation (of statehood, dreams, etc.) as the chief obstacle to peace. U.S. diplomatic efforts, therefore, have focused on appeasing those grievances. One year into the Trump administration, there are signs that this is changing.
After World War II, Loy Henderson, director of the Office of Near Eastern, African and South Asian Affairs, cultivated the culture that would define the State Department's entire Middle East outlook. Henderson filled his Office with specialists known as "Arabists" because of their love of the Arabic language and Arab culture. They suffered from what Robert D. Kaplan, in his seminal work on the topic, calls "localitis" and "clientitis," and their sympathies with Muslims were often accompanied by a rejection of the West and especially of Israel. In his Memoirs, Harry S. Truman wrote that State's "specialists on the Near East were almost without exception unfriendly to the idea of a Jewish state," adding, "some of them were also inclined to be anti-Semitic."

After the Six-Day War, when most Arab countries severed relations with the U.S. and closed American embassies, many Arabists found themselves without foreign posts. Their domination of the State Department subsided, and they were replaced by a new group – the "peace processors" – who were not immersed in Arab culture but rather in diplomatic culture. By the 1980s, they dominated the State Department, and they still do.

Though their motives may differ, the peace processors share the Arabists' trust that the Palestinians will negotiate rationally. In pursuit of the ultimate peace deal, they ignore or excuse Palestinian diplomats who insist that Israel has no right to exist, as though Palestinian irredentism was a negotiating ploy rather than a deeply-felt principle.

The cohesion of the U.S.-led coalition against Saddam Hussein in Desert Shield/Storm, heralded as a major diplomatic achievement, spurred a renewed faith that the diplomatic process itself can solve even the most intransigent of problems, of which the Israel-Palestinian conflict loomed large. The peace processors have always been driven by the theory that the right combination of Israeli concessions (land, water, money) will end Palestinian hostilities. They continue to downplay Palestinian rejectionism while emphasizing Palestinian cooperation.

Even the 2003 bombing of a State Department convoy in Gaza...elicited little more than a perfunctory telephone call from Secretary of State Colin Powell to the Palestinian Authority (PA), urging it to crack down on militants.

The peace processors thrived during the Obama years, especially during the tenure of Secretary of State John Kerry. In a 2016 Oxford Union speech Kerry waxed poetic about peace-making, or as he called it, "the art of diplomacy – [which] is to define the interests of all the parties and see where the sweet spot is that those interests can come together and hopefully be able to thread a very thin needle." The problem, to continue Kerry's mixed metaphor, is that under Kerry's leadership, the State Department expended most of its energies massaging the Palestinian sweet spot and trying to thread its very thin needle. Israeli interests, on the other hand, were largely ignored, and Israel was often blamed for Palestinian hostilities.

Donald Trump campaigned promising a different approach to Israel. He chose Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, a diplomat with no foreign policy record and few known political opinions. Tillerson began his tenure at the default State Department position – treating the PA and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, as legitimate and trustworthy peace partners, and ignoring or downplaying evidence to the contrary...

There's no doubt that Donald Trump's election initiated a major disruption at the State Department.

Then, in November, Tillerson announced the closure of the PLO mission in Washington, D.C., in compliance with a U.S. law prohibiting any Palestinian attempts to bring a case against Israel at the International Criminal Court. But when the PLO responded by threatening to cut off all contact with the U.S., the State Department rather obsequiously caved, announcing that the mission could remain open for a 90-day probationary period...

Subsequent events suggest a change in U.S. Israel policy, especially the announced plan to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, and the cutting of U.S. funding to UNRWA. Trump has also threatened to cut all aid to Palestinians. At Davos in January, he said that Palestinian disrespect for Vice President Mike Pence would cost them as well. Under normal circumstances, one might infer that these are coherent policy redirections. But it is not unreasonable to believe that they are impulsive reactions to perceived insults. They may also be bargaining chips in the president's famed deal-making art.

....

But these moves from the top down are not necessarily permanent. No one really believes Abbas will terminate all contact with the U.S. In fact, the PLO's man in Washington, Husam Zomlot, signalled in an interview just days ago that he's ready to talk: "It's not like I am not speaking to them. My phone is open."

Like Trump, Abbas is positioning for a better deal. When he comes back to his senses and apologizes, perhaps even personally thanks Donald Trump for reengaging, the State Department's peace processors will awaken from their drowse with a new Oslo, a new Road Map to Peace, and Israel will be squeezed again. As Daniel Pipes writes, "the American door is permanently open to Palestinians and when they wise up, some fabulous gift awaits them in the White House." Maybe next time there will be pressure for Israel to repeat Ariel Sharon's mistake and force all Israelis out of the West Bank, and after that out of East Jerusalem, and after that, who knows? Pressuring Israel to give up more land and money and make their nation less secure is the only strategy the peace processors know.

There's no doubt that Donald Trump's election initiated a major disruption at the State Department. Many long-serving senior officials resigned immediately before or after inauguration day. The hum of diplomats complaining that their expertise is being ignored has continued. When Elizabeth Shackelford (lauded by Foreign Policy a "rising star at the State Department") resigned very publicly in early December, she complained that State had "ceded to the Pentagon our authority to drive US foreign policy." The question is, will disruption lead to genuine change?

If outgoing senior diplomats are replaced with careerists and entrenched junior peace processors, the Trump shake-up will be just sound and fury. On the other hand, bringing in qualified experts from outside the State Department rank-and-file might lead to meaningful and important changes. If the rumor is true that David Schenker of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy will be the new Deputy Assistant for Near East Affairs, it's a good start.
Genuine change at the State Department will require more than one year of the unpredictable Trump administration. U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman recently began urging the State Department to stop using the term "occupation". When the State Department complies, we'll know something big has happened. Until then, celebrations are premature. 


A.J. Caschetta is a fellow at the Middle East Forum and a senior lecturer at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Source: http://www.meforum.org/7225/a-new-era-at-the-state-department

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Iran and Hezbollah's Terror in Argentina - Lawrence A. Franklin




by Lawrence A. Franklin

While Iran's nuclear, ballistic missile, and expansionist policies in the Middle East are well known, most of the Islamic Republic's operations in Latin America appear to have been proceeding underway, below the radar, for several decades.

  • If efforts to expose Iran's and Hezbollah's roles in the Argentinean bombings are successful, the information will elucidate for regional leaders the dark side of Iran's ties to sub-state terrorist groups to increase even further its influence in Latin America.
  • For decades, Iran has seemingly been employing both normative diplomatic ties and criminal links to export its Islamic revolution to the Western Hemisphere. By using similar methods of subversion, Iran appears already to have penetrated other Latin American nations, including Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil and some island countries in the Caribbean.
Iran's activities in Latin America are a direct challenge to U.S. primacy in the Western Hemisphere. Iran, it seems, wants to replace the U.S. as the power ally of Latin American countries.

While Iran's nuclear, ballistic missile, and expansionist policies in the Middle East are well known, most of the Islamic Republic's operations in Latin America appear to have been proceeding underway, below the radar, for several decades.

During a joint news conference on February 4 in Buenos Aires with Argentina's Minister of Foreign Affairs Jorge Faurie, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pledged to combat Hezbollah's fundraising in Latin America, which is used to finance its terrorist operations. This indicates that U.S. intelligence and enforcement agencies could be closely following Iranian and Hezbollah incursions into Central and South America. The Department of Justice, for instance, recently announced that it had established a Hezbollah Financing and Narcoterrorism Team (HFNT) to monitor and prosecute the criminal activities of Hezbollah, Iran's allied terrorist network in the region.

One model to study how Hezbollah and Iran appear to be working in tandem in Latin America is the July 18, 1994 terrorist bombing in Buenos Aires, Argentina, allegedly carried out by Hezbollah under the guidance of Iran. This terrorist act was executed when a van packed with 600 lbs. of explosives detonated outside the Jewish center there, the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA). When the building collapsed, 85 people were killed and at least 300 more wounded.

Declassified Argentine intelligence reports also clearly show that Hezbollah had carried out a previous bombing, in 1992, of the Israeli Embassy -- an attack in which 29 were killed and around 200 wounded.

Last month marked the third anniversary of the murder of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who claimed to have evidence that would expose the role Argentina's former president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, in obscuring Iran's alleged responsibility for the attack. Nisman had been leading an investigation into both Iran's potential role in the AMIA bombing and its possible cover-up by Kirchner.

Initially, Nisman's death seemed to doom any chance that those who had committed this act of terror would ever be prosecuted. Argentinian protestors, however, questioned initial reports that he had committed suicide and demanded that his death be investigated.

Nisman, who had publicly accused Kirchner of treason, was murdered by unknown assailants one day before he was officially to present his allegations against her.


Thousands of Argentinians protest on February 18, 2015 in Buenos Aires, with signs demanding "Truth and Justice," on the one-month anniversary of the murder of special prosecutor Alberto Nisman. Nisman was murdered by unknown assailants one day before he was officially to present allegations of treason against then-President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

In late 2015, after his election as President of Argentina, Mauricio Macri declared void his predecessor's agreement with Iran to establish a "truth commission" to determine responsibility for the bombing. The panel would have consisted of five commissioners, none of whom would even have been from Argentina or Iran.

To some, the Kirchner administration's decision to establish a truth commission with Iran, the possible perpetrator country of the terrorist bombing, may have appeared naïve or perhaps even treasonous. What could have motivated President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to reach a deal with a rogue state such as Iran's Islamic Republic? Reportedly, the Islamic Republic of Iran agreed to a mutually beneficial bartering arrangement whereby in exchange for Argentine grain, Argentina would receive Iranian oil -- if Argentina decided to bury the investigation.

The U.S. National Counterterrorism Center wrote that it believes Hezbollah is responsible for the bombing, and therefore by extension, that Iran may be as well.

At least one of the Hezbollah terrorists possibly responsible for the actual bombing may have come from Argentina's tri-border region with Brazil and Paraguay -- an area that has apparently long hosted a principal Hezbollah headquarters in South America.

Iran, for its part, is believed to have facilitated the execution of the AMIA bombing in 1994 by giving intelligence and logistical support to the Hezbollah agents through its embassy and an Iranian front organization in Buenos Aires. Mohsen Rabbani, thought to be in charge of target selection and surveillance of the bombing target, was Iran's cultural attaché at the Islamic Republic's Embassy in Buenos Aires at the time, and believed to have served as a financier and logistician of terror operations. Another Iranian diplomat, Ahmad Asghari, was an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) official attached to the Iranian embassy and may have assisted in the terrorist attack against AMIA. Abolghasem Mesbahi, an Iranian intelligence defector, testified that he was at a meeting in Mashhad, Iran on August 14, 1993, where senior Iranian government officials discussed the bombing plans.

President Macri's efforts to pursue justice regarding these acts of terror and the subsequent cover-up have recently been given a nudge by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. While visiting Buenos Aires, Netanyahu commemorated the 25th anniversary of the 1992 bombing of Israel's Embassy as well as the 1994 AMIA bombing. Netanyahu said: "Iran stood behind these events," and "It is time to hold Iran fully responsible in a public and a final way. It is time to do justice to the victims."

Iran has employed the same pattern of networking with sub-state terrorist groups, in Yemen with the Houthis; in Lebanon, with Hezbollah; and in the Gaza Strip with Hamas.

So far, all of the major Iranian players in these expeditions remain free from justice, even though specific Iranian officials were named by the IRGC defector Mesbahi and lead prosecutor Alberto Nisman as the primary decision-makers at least in the Argentine bombing plot.

Nisman's findings, in fact, convinced Interpol to issue a red notice -- the names of persons wanted for extradition -- for several Iranian officials. These included Iran's former Minister of Intelligence and Security, Ali Fallahian; Foreign Policy Advisor to Khamenei, Ali Velayati; and deceased former Iranian President Ali Akbar Rafsanjani.

This "Argentina Model" is a case study on how Iran may be using its diplomatic missions, foreign and domestic intelligence agencies, front organizations and Hezbollah-infested Lebanese diaspora in Latin America to establish not only terrorist networks and conduct terrorist operations, but also formidable business, economic and commercial relationships.[1] Those activities could also be nurturing criminal financing networks and anti-American and anti-Israeli political coalitions.[2]

For decades, Iran has seemingly been employing both normative diplomatic ties and criminal links to export its Islamic revolution to the Western Hemisphere. By using similar methods of subversion, Iran appears already to have penetrated other Latin American nations, including Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil and some island countries in the Caribbean.[3]

If efforts to expose Iran's and Hezbollah's roles in the Argentinean bombings are successful, the information will elucidate for regional leaders the dark side of Iran's ties to sub-state terrorist groups, which increase even further its influence in Latin America.
Dr. Lawrence A. Franklin was the Iran Desk Officer for Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. He also served on active duty with the U.S. Army and as a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve.

[1] Iran's Strategic Penetration of Latin America by Joseph Humire and Ilan Berman, p.26. Lexington Books, London, 2014.
[2] Ibid., p.27.
[3] Ibid., preface pp. 3-5.


Dr. Lawrence A. Franklin was the Iran Desk Officer for Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. He also served on active duty with the U.S. Army and as a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/11973/iran-hezbollah-argentina

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Trump’s Win is the Reichstag Fire of Internet Censorship - Daniel Greenfield




by Daniel Greenfield

Manufacture a crisis and eliminate free speech.




Trump’s election victory was the Reichstag fire of internet censorship. The fury and conspiracy theories that followed were not just about bringing down President Trump, but ending free speech online.

It’s no coincidence that the central conspiracy theory surrounding the 2016 election involves free speech or that the solution is internet censorship. The claim that Russian trolls and bots rigged the election has zero actual evidence behind it. But it’s a convenient tool for not only delegitimizing Trump, but the very idea of a free and open internet where anyone can say anything they choose.

Senator Ben Cardin, Rep. Jerry Nadler and other members of Congress compared the election influence conspiracy to Pearl Harbor. Rep. Jim Himes went even further, suggesting that it had eclipsed 9/11 by claiming that it, “is up there with Pearl Harbor in terms of its seriousness as a challenge to this country."

What they’re really saying is that Democrats losing an election is worse than the murder of 3,000 people. It’s why they will oppose a terror state travel ban until Islamic terrorists start voting Republican.

And what did this greatest attack since Pearl Harbor consist of? Speech. On the internet.

The central Russiagate conspiracy theory isn’t really about hacking: it’s about fake news sites and bots. The new Pearl Harbor comes from too many people saying the wrong things and the need to make them stop saying them. If they go on saying those things, it’s worse than the murder of 3,000 people.

If this was the new Pearl Harbor, does that mean we should be at war with Russia?

Democrats have little appetite for military conflict with anyone except Nevada ranchers. Trump has put more Russian fighters into the ground in one day of fighting than Obama did in eight years in office. When it comes to Moscow, the Democrats want to slap on some meaningless sanctions, before pushing the Reset Button once they get into the White House. It’s not Russia they want to crack down on, it’s us.

The accusations of treason and the cries of wartime emergency are pretexts for a domestic crackdown.

The election Reichstag fire manufactured a crisis that had to be urgently addressed. Alarmist wartime rhetoric justified civil rights violations from eavesdropping on Trump officials to internet censorship. The “collusion” effort to impeach Trump and imprison his associates through everything from eavesdropping to the Mueller investigation has been the loudest part of the campaign. Internet censorship has been the shadow campaign. Its implications aren’t as obvious, but extend far beyond this election.

The bulk of the remedies (beyond going back to paper ballots which are a lot easier for local lefty activists to stuff) involve internet censorship. The campaign began with alarmists warnings about Fake News. President Trump successfully seized the phrase and turned it against CNN, but the program to purge conservative material from Facebook, Google, and other services and sites is still going strong. 

Before the election, Obama had urged, "We are going to have to rebuild within this wild-wild-west-of-information flow some sort of curating function.” The talking point that the internet has become a dangerously unregulated environment is at the heart of the internet censorship campaign. The First Amendment prevented direct government action, so the regulation had to take another form.

The “curating” was managed by pressuring Facebook, Google and others to embed a middle layer of lefty non-profits, from media fact checkers to activist groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center, to determine what belonged and who didn’t belong on their services. The middle curation layer would promote “trustworthiness” and curtail “divisiveness”: Orwellian euphemisms for political censorship.

This middle layer allowed Google and Facebook to outsource censorship by curation to “trustworthy” organizations. Or at least those organizations considered trustworthy by the left. The same media echo chamber which had manufactured the speech crisis had put itself in charge of imposing the solution.

And the solution was restoring a media monopoly by turning the internet into a gated community.

Putting the left in charge of determining the “trustworthiness” of content is political censorship. And Google and Facebook’s control over huge swathes of the internet meant that the censors would gain control over the eyeballs of more people than any single government could possibly manage.

Without the banner of “Fake News”, the censorship is harder to track. Some of it gets reported. And much of the rest is anecdotal. It’s the shadowbannings, demonetizations and suspensions that have become part of life for vocal conservatives as part of the political repression after the 2016 election.

Some of the results were obvious. Others were algorithmic. Visits, hits, views and retweets dropped. Some users and sites were banned. Others vanished into the shadowban twilight. The many grades of censorship ranged from full bans to demonitzation. But all shared a common leftist political agenda.

After a year, the left has made significant inroads in banning and restricting conservatives. Some battles were temporarily won. Facebook is pulling back from its reliance on the left’s “fact check” sites, Google’s knowledge panels no longer roll Snopes smears into search results for conservative sites and Guidestar’s defacing of the non-profit listings for conservative sites with Southern Poverty Law Center ratings was also rolled back. But the left is still winning the censorship war as the internet is reshaped away from an open marketplace of ideas to a “trustworthy” source of ideas “curated” by non-profit lefty partners.


Political censorship, no matter how it’s disguised, might be hard to justify if there weren’t a “serious threat to our democracy” or if we weren’t facing the “worst attack on America” since Pearl Harbor.

In wartime only selfish people would insist on unrestricted freedom of speech on the internet.

In December, the activist left went to war for what it called, “Net Neutrality”. The war was fought with fake comments, death threats and calls to action by some of the biggest monopolies on the internet.

If you believed them, freedom on the internet was about to be wiped out by cable companies.
There are a handful of big companies that provide cable or satellite internet access in the United States. But there’s nothing like Google, which controls 88% of search and 42% of the digital ad market, or Facebook, which has a comparable grip on social media. Between them they control 70% of the digital ad market. No cable company enjoys an internet monopoly remotely comparable to that of Google.

Should we be more worried about a cable company with 20 million subscribers or online monopolies which act as the gatekeepers to the internet, shaping how we experience it for their own reasons?

The new internet censorship has emerged as a partnership between the media, allied non-profit groups and the huge gatekeeper monopolies and it bypasses conventional government censorship. And yet its origins lie with the Reichstag fire conspiracy deployed by Barack Obama and his intended successor.

The new censorship may not be implemented by government, but it originated with government. It is the action of the private arm of a public-private leftist coalition monopolizing political power. The same coalition that unleashed a new Watergate by eavesdropping on Trump officials is also changing what you see on Facebook. And both the public and private arms are doing it under the same pretext.

The accusations of treason and calls to limit freedom of speech as an act of social responsibility for the public good are familiar totalitarian responses to wartime conditions. The left manufactured a war. And it imposed wartime restrictions through public organizations like the FBI and private ones like Facebook.

The private side of the campaign is based on the talking point that the big monopolies have a social responsibility to emphasize trustworthy information and to censor divisive misinformation.

The pressure came first from the media and activist groups. Now it’s spreading to politicized companies like Unilever whose chief marketing officer issued an ultimatum warning sites that if they don’t clean up “divisive” content and replace it with a “positive contribution to society”, they will lose Unilever’s ads.

Euphemisms like “trustworthy” or “divisive” are markers for the left and the right. A Washington Post editorial or CNN tweet, no matter how abrasive, will never be seen as divisive. Lefty organizations that advocate for illegal aliens are making a “positive contribution” and conservatives ones that oppose them are “divisive”. The ability to determine what is “positive” or “divisive”, will not only drive viewers and money to left-wing sites while destroying conservative sites, but create red lines for conservative sites.

Those conservative sites that remain within the red lines on gun control, illegal aliens or Islamic terrorism can go on benefiting from search and social media traffic, those that don’t will be purged.

Dividing Americans by escalating the political conflict also escalates the crisis that justifies the censorship. The NFL protests, Antifa violence, shootings and riots all maintain the sense of urgency. As society explodes, the need to limit the “divisive” content increases. Once again, the left creates a crisis and then imposes restrictions on its political opponents to resolve the crisis that it created.

The left exploited Trump’s victory to manufacture a sense of crisis. The anger and fear it unleashed stampeded liberals into agitating (or at least remaining silent) on serious abuses of power from deploying national security organizations against political opponents to silencing them on the internet. By depicting them as representing an unacceptable domestic extremism and traitors in league with a foreign enemy, it justified any possible domestic abuse of authority.

Anyone who disagreed was in league with either the Nazis or the Russians. In a great historical irony, the left had deployed the Reichstag fire strategy against its opponents while accusing them of being Nazis.

There is a plot against America. It’s just not the one that the plotters keep using as their plot’s pretext.

It’s a plot against our election, not by the Russians, but by the left. It’s a plot against freedom of speech, not by the Russians, but by the left. The plotters took a Russian propaganda and influence operation and turned it into a pretext for the greatest assault on democracy and freedom in American history.

The Russians created some Facebook posts. The left is using that to end free speech on the internet.

If the left succeeds in reversing the outcome of the previous election, it will be a catastrophe for our age. If however it succeeds in censoring the internet, the catastrophe may last for generations.


Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/269437/trumps-win-reichstag-fire-internet-censorship-daniel-greenfield

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