Friday, February 28, 2020

Israel's Election: What Do the Iranians and Palestinians Want? - Bassam Tawil


by Bassam Tawil

Abbas, not surprisingly, would doubtless prefer Israelis to replace Netanyahu with a weak leader who would comply with all his demands and take Israel back to the indefensible pre-1967 armistice lines

Translations of this item:

  • The Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip seem to have endorsed the banner of Netanyahu's political rivals in Israel: "Anyone but Bibi (Netanyahu's nickname)." The two Palestinian groups ' perceive Netanyahu as a major threat to their dream of destroying Israel and as someone who has further strengthened Israel's standing in the international arena.
  • The Palestinians are apparently convinced that it would be easier to extort concessions from inexperienced politicians such as Benny Gantz, Moshe Ya'alon and Gabi Ashkenazi. For the Palestinians, Netanyahu is a hard nut to crack. His strong stance against their tactics of intimidation have been, for them, a source of concern.
  • Abbas and his officials, in short, are telling the Israelis: "Look, we have a problem here. This man, Netanyahu, will not surrender to us -- and that is why you need to elect a new leader."
  • Abbas, not surprisingly, would doubtless prefer Israelis to replace Netanyahu with a weak leader who would comply with all his demands and take Israel back to the indefensible pre-1967 armistice lines -- a move that would most likely result in the militias of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Iran sitting on the West Bank hilltops overlooking Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport.

The Palestinians are doing their absolute utmost to ensure that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party do not win in Israel's general election on Monday, March 2. Pictured: Central and northern Israel, seen from space. (Photo by Space Frontiers/Getty Images)

The Palestinians are doing their absolute utmost to ensure that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party do not win in Israel's general election on Monday, March 2.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank, and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, seem to have endorsed the banner of Netanyahu's political rivals in Israel: "Anyone but Bibi (Netanyahu's nickname)." The two Palestinian groups perceive Netanyahu as a major threat to their dream of destroying Israel and as someone who has further strengthened Israel's standing in the international arena.

In a last-minute, apparently desperate attempt to undermine the current Israeli prime minister's chances of winning another election, the PA has launched a public relations campaign to explain to the Israeli public why they should not vote for Netanyahu.

The campaign, orchestrated personally by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, aims to scare Israeli voters by warning them that casting their ballots for Netanyahu would mean the end of the Middle East "peace process" -- a euphemism for Palestinians retaking territory "from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea " -- or, in other words, all of Israel, as set forth in the 1974 Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Phased Plan, which advocates accepting any land one can and then using that as a base from which to acquire the rest.

Abbas's latest attempt to scare the Israeli public began earlier this month, when he dispatched 20 Palestinian officials to a meeting with Israeli "peace activists" in Tel Aviv. Organized by a left-wing anti-Netanyahu group called the Israeli Peace Parliament, the meeting was held under the banner: "Two States for Two People" and "No to Annexation." (The "annexation" refers to Netanyahu's plan to apply Israeli law to some parts of the West Bank, particularly the Jordan Valley and several Jewish communities).

Abbas sent his officials to Tel Aviv for the meeting not to promote peace with Israel, but evidently to convince Israelis not to vote for Netanyahu. That is what one concludes by listening to the statements of the Palestinians who attended the "peace" gathering. These officials included former Palestinian cabinet ministers and parliament members, as well as senior officials of Abbas's ruling Fatah faction.

Although the meeting in Tel Aviv was also held under the banner, "Yes to Peace," the Palestinian (and Israeli) speakers devoted most of their speeches to condemning US President Donald Trump's recently unveiled plan for Middle East peace.

The speakers also spent much of their time bad-mouthing Netanyahu and depicting him as a "threat" to peace and stability in the region. The Palestinians who attended the meeting did not offer an alternative to the peace plan. The only "plan" they came with to Tel Aviv is one that sees Israel submit unconditionally to all of Abbas's demands: for the present, a full Israeli withdrawal to the armistice lines of 1949, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.

The message the Palestinians were hoping to send to Israeli voters through the meeting seemed to be: "Vote for a candidate who will accept all of our demands and dictates, or else we, the Palestinians, will make you sorry that you didn't."

In yet another attempt to influence the upcoming Israeli election, Abbas ordered his so-called Palestinian Committee for Interaction with Israeli Society, a group consisting of several PLO and Fatah officials and pundits, to invite prominent Israeli (Jewish) journalists to Ramallah, the present de facto Palestinian capital in the West Bank, for a tour of the city and meetings with senior Palestinian officials.

Abbas and his associates went out of their way to pamper the journalists and make sure they felt happy and comfortable in Ramallah, to a point where religiously observant journalists were even offered kosher food ordered from a nearby Jewish village.

Why did Abbas invite the journalists to Ramallah? To inform them that Palestinians want peace -- and are even ready to sign a peace agreement with Israel within the next two weeks! Ready, that is, if -- and only if -- the Israeli government agrees to Abbas's demands and retreats to the pre-1967 lines, where in 1949, fighting had stopped. Abbas and his officials, in short, are telling the Israelis: "Look, we have a problem here. This man, Netanyahu, will not surrender to us -- and that is why you need to elect a new leader."

Although Palestinian officials have not said so openly, they have made it clear that they would prefer to see Netanyahu's rivals in the Blue and White Party in power.


The Palestinians are apparently convinced that it would be easier to extort concessions from inexperienced politicians such as Benny Gantz, Moshe Ya'alon and Gabi Ashkenazi.

For the Palestinians, Netanyahu is a hard nut to crack. His strong stance against their tactics of intimidation have been a source of concern.

Abbas and his officials have made it clear that they want nothing to do with any Israeli leader who calls them out for their lies and double-talk.

Abbas, not surprisingly, would doubtless prefer Israelis to replace Netanyahu with a weak leader who would comply with all his demands and take Israel back to the indefensible pre-1967 armistice lines -- a move that would most likely result in Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Iran sitting on the West Bank hilltops overlooking Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport.

The Palestinians appear to want an Israeli leader who will also not call them out for paying salaries and stipends to Palestinian terrorists and their families for murdering Jews, and who will not call them out for their continued hostile incitement against Israel. They also appear to want an Israeli leader who will not have such strong and close relations with the US.

The Palestinians, in addition, seem to be hoping for an Israeli leader who will not be able to promote normalization between Israel and diverse Arab states -- as Netanyahu has successfully managed to do in the past few years, and who will not boost Israel's standing in the international community or hold close ties with world leaders such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump, as Israel's current prime minister does.

Similarly, Iran and its Palestinian proxies, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, appear desperate to see Netanyahu voted out of office. For them, Netanyahu is a nightmare: he actively and effectively blocks their ongoing attempts to extend their control over the region, in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq. The Iranians are angry about Israeli airstrikes on their bases and those of their Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad allies in Syria. Netanyahu has been doing his utmost to prevent Iran from taking over Syria and bringing its threat against Israel closer to Israel's border.

Iran, it seems, has ordered Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad to resume their terror attacks against Israel from the Gaza Strip one week before the election. The terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip and their masters in Tehran seem persuaded that upgrading their attacks against Israel will terrorize Israelis into voting Netanyahu out of office.

By firing dozens of rockets at Israel this week, the Palestinian terrorists apparently sought to send a message to Israeli voters that they need to elect a new leader because Netanyahu cannot provide them with security and calm.

Iran and its Palestinian and Lebanese allies in the Middle East appear to think that if a weak leader replaces Netanyahu, they can continue to amass weapons and complete their scheme of expanding their control over Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. They seem to view Netanyahu as an obstacle to achieving these objectives.

Like many Arabs, Palestinians clearly consider Netanyahu a tough leader who stands up to terrorists' threats and attacks, but they dislike that he has managed to garner a great deal of respect in the international community -- even the President of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, openly met with him in public.

The terrorists of the Middle East have always despised Netanyahu. They pray for the day that he is ousted from office -- whether by the ballot box or by the courts, for accepting cigars and champagne from his friends. If that happens, Iran, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah will no doubt celebrate -- publicly passing out candies, as they often do each time a Jew is killed or injured in a terrorist attack.

The Palestinians' attempt to influence Israeli voters is not only a bid at meddling in the internal affairs of Israel, but also a dangerous attempt to persuade Israelis to choose a weak and inexperienced leader whom they believe they can play for a fool and control through terrorism and threats.

It is up to Israel's voters which way they will go.


Bassam Tawil is based in the Middle East

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15646/israel-election-iranians-palestinians

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter



Even as Democrats infantilize black voters, Trump reaches out to them - Andrea Widburg


by Andrea Widburg


Trump is the first Republican candidate in generations to tell blacks that the Republican Party should be their party.



From 1865 to 1932, African Americans were Republicans. Franklin Roosevelt, though, started the Democrats’ Devil’s bargain with blacks: government benefits for votes. This was a disaster for blacks, making them unhealthily dependent on the government. Trump, however, is moving aggressively to convince blacks that they’ve got nothing to lose by giving Republicans a try.

Despite Democrat efforts to claim Abraham Lincoln for their own, the reality is that abolitionism created the Republican Party and Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president. Once blacks were enfranchised, and for decades afterward, they voted a straight Republican ticket. For them, Democrats were the party of Jim Crow, segregation within the federal workforce, and the KKK.

The Depression changed this. Because they were already economically fragile, it hit blacks especially hard. Although Roosevelt was comfortable discriminating against blacks, his strong voting base in the Jim Crow south meant he sent a lot of New Deal programs that way. Inevitably, blacks benefitted from these programs, so they switched their allegiance to the Democrat Party.

This switch reached its apex with Johnson’s Great Society legislation. Whether or not Johnson ever said, “We’ll have those n*****s voting Democratic for 200 years,” it’s certain that Johnson understood that he could anchor blacks to the Democrat Party through perpetual government largesse:
These Negroes, they're getting pretty uppity these days and that's a problem for us since they've got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we've got to do something about this, we've got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference.
Once the legislation passed, scores of well-meaning college students went to black neighborhoods, telling residents that the welfare provisions under new legislation were essentially reparations. The result was disastrous, as black economic gains collapsed and nuclear families disappeared. Husbands and fathers became superfluous because the system gave single mothers more money than husbands could earn.

Once having started mainlining government welfare, the majority of the black community was hooked – and that was true even in households that were not direct recipients of that welfare. Blacks developed an unbreakable attachment to their Democrat dealers.

The bond between blacks and Democrats eventually was so strong that Republican candidates considered wasted every campaign dollar spent on outreach to the black community. That is until Donald Trump came along. He’s changed the paradigm.

At Tuesday’s debate in South Carolina, the Democrats did the usual thing, promising African Americans everything. It was blatant vote-buying with taxpayer money. Sen. Tim Scott understood what was happening and found it an “embarrassing performance,” “patronizing,” and “a hot mess.” He had more to say about the blatant pandering:
"What you saw on the stage yesterday was as if there were no white folks watching seven white candidates talk about black people," said Scott. "Listen to Amy Klobuchar's praising of the First Step Act (passed by Trump) and then watch how they denigrated each other," said Scott. "(Tom) Steyer owned personal prisons, private prisons. They talked about (Joe) Biden passing the 1990s crime bill. They talked about (Mike) Bloomberg. They bombed Bloomberg on the stop and frisk policies."
Unlike the Democrats, in 2016, Trump appealed to all voters, not to skin-color blocks. He made only one specific pitch to blacks: “What the hell do you have to lose?” Then, Trump set about implementing economic policies that helped all Americans, especially blacks – and, with Blexit, blacks increasingly have responded.

Now, Trump is doubling down on outreach to the black community:
The Trump campaign is opening field offices in swing states targeted directly at attracting black voters, a demographic the president has been aggressively courting in his re-election efforts.
The offices are planned for 15 cities with large African American communities and will be used for campaign events and activities, as well as meet-and-greets with surrogates.
"We see the numbers coming up in the polls and the demand on the ground when we do these types of events, so it's really important that we take this next step and really bring those voters into the party," said Katrina Pierson, a senior Trump campaign adviser.
Campaign officials say the goal is get their message directly to African Americans, getting around what they can the "filter" of the media. Offices will feature promotional videos and pamphlets touting President Trump's record on issues such as African American employment and addressing disparities in the criminal justice system.
It's soul-destroying for people to be perpetually dependent on government largesse. Trump promises more than just economic well-being. He promises to help heal damaged black communities.


Andrea Widburg

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2020/02/even_as_democrats_infantilize_black_voters_trump_reaches_out_to_them.html

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter



Trump Wins Major Court Victory on Sanctuary Cities - Joseph Klein


by Joseph Klein

Finally, a federal court comes to its senses on immigration.





President Trump scored a major court victory in his continuing fight against lawless sanctuary states and cities. The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled Wednesday that the Trump administration can withhold grants from sanctuary states and cities, overturning a lower court decision. New York City and seven states had sued the administration, seeking to reverse the Justice Department’s announced decision in 2017 affecting their grants. The Justice Department announced that it would withhold grant money from cities and states until they take certain steps to cooperate more fully with federal immigration authorities seeking to enforce the nation’s immigration laws.

At stake are millions of dollars in Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants to support state and local criminal justice efforts. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that these grants can be legally withheld from cities and states refusing to comply with three immigration-related conditions designed to assist federal immigration officers apprehend illegal immigrants. In order to be eligible to receive the grants, the grant applicants must:
  1.    certify their willingness to comply with applicable federal law that precludes government entities and officials from prohibiting or restricting the sharing of citizenship or alien‐status information with federal immigration authorities; 
  2.    provide assurance that, upon written request of federal immigration authorities, the grant recipients would provide notice of an incarcerated alien’s scheduled release date; and
  3.    certify that grant recipients would afford federal authorities with access to incarcerated suspected aliens in order for those authorities to determine the aliens’ right to remain in the United States. 
The appeals court concluded that “the plain language of the relevant statutes authorizes the Attorney General to impose the challenged conditions.” These conditions, the court decision said, “help the federal government enforce national immigration laws and policies supported by successive Democratic and Republican administrations. But more to the authorization point, they ensure that applicants satisfy particular statutory grant requirements imposed by Congress and subject to Attorney General oversight.”

Citing Supreme Court precedent, the appeals court held that, in the realm of immigration policy, the federal government maintains “broad” and “preeminent” power, meaning that state and local governments are prohibited from pursuing “policies that undermine federal law.” The court observed that “there is something disquieting in the idea of States and localities seeking federal funds to enforce their own laws while themselves hampering the enforcement of federal laws, or worse, violating those laws.” Adopting policies that interfere with federal immigration law enforcement and effectively encouraging the harboring of illegal aliens to prevent their detection by federal authorities is “disquieting,” to say the least.

In reaching its decision, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals did something that at least three of its peer courts in other federal circuits – including, not surprisingly, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals - did not bother to do. It interpreted the applicable federal statutory language as written, not as judicial activists would have preferred to suit their own policy preferences. The court ruled that the attorney general was authorized under relevant federal statutory law to impose the three grant conditions.

“Repeatedly and throughout its pronouncement of Byrne Program statutory requirements,” the court opinion said, “Congress makes clear that a grant applicant demonstrates qualification by satisfying statutory requirements in such form and according to such rules as the Attorney General establishes. This confers considerable authority on the Attorney General.” The court carefully analyzed each challenged condition and the statutory provisions supporting it.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals also made short shrift of any constitutional objections to the statutory authority as relates to the grant conditions imposed by the attorney general. The “anticommandeering principle” adopted by the Supreme Court, which prohibits the federal government from compelling the states to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program, is not applicable here. “A commandeering challenge to a federal statute,” the court stated, “depends on there being pertinent authority ‘reserved to the States,’” as the Tenth Amendment stipulates. In the immigration policy context, there would be no such general authority reserved to the states to undermine federal immigration law by enacting contrary laws of their own.

“Thus, where Congress places conditions on a State’s receipt of federal funds—whether directly, or by delegation of clarifying authority to an executive agency—there is no commandeering of reserved State power,” according to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals opinion, quoting a Supreme Court decision, so long as the State has ‘a legitimate choice whether to accept the federal conditions in exchange for federal funds.’”

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision is rooted in well-reasoned statutory and constitutional interpretation. It also makes the logical connection between eligibility for a federal grant aimed to support law enforcement and the recipient’s own willingness not to stand in the way of federal law enforcement regarding criminal detainees in their custody who are illegally in this country. As the Daily Wire has reported, evidence has shown that “the cities and states have actively prevented local law enforcement from communicating with federal authorities about criminal illegal aliens.” (Emphasis added)

It is one thing to say that the states and local law enforcement agencies are not obliged to use their own resources to pick up and hold illegal aliens who have not broken any state or local laws. It is quite another to say that states and localities who want to receive federal grant money can at the same time deliberately help those illegal aliens, already in their custody for having committed violent crimes, to elude the federal authorities and allow these criminals back into American communities.

Hopefully, as President Trump continues to fill the federal bench with strict constructionists, the wayward courts – especially the ultra-liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals – will come to their senses and stop twisting the law to reflect their left wing ideological bent.

* * *
Photo from ICE


Joseph Klein

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2020/02/trump-wins-major-court-victory-sanctuary-cities-joseph-klein/

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter



Coronavirus Exposes Iranian Deceit and Incompetence - Ari Lieberman


by Ari Lieberman

The Islamic Republic demonstrates once again why it can't be trusted.





On Monday, an Iranian lawmaker in the Iranian city of Qom reported that at least 50 people who reside in the city have died from the coronavirus, alternatively referred to as COVID-19. Ahmad Amiriabadi Farahani (pictured above) made the shocking revelation to media outlets and his claim was carried by Iran’s semiofficial ILNA news agency.

The city of Qom is considered to be a holy city by some Iranians and others who practice Shia Islam. That is significant because the city attracts devout Shia pilgrims and tourists, making it a transit point for spreading the virus to other regions. Indeed, despite quarantining efforts, the virus has already spread to other Iranian cities, and infected travelers coming from Iran have already been reported in Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Oman and Bahrain.

Farahani’s claim was immediately contradicted by Iran’s Deputy Health Minister, Iraj Harirchi, who at a press conference claimed that only 12 people died and 47 were infected. He further stated that he would resign if Amiriabadi’s claim was substantiated.

In an ironic twist, the following day, Iran’s health ministry announced that Harirchi was infected and under quarantine. This after he was seen coughing on those adjacent to him during the previous day’s press conference. The person entrusted with thwarting the spread of the COVID-19 virus was now its victim, an ominous development that does not inspire confidence. The ministry has since revised its statistics, noting that deaths from infections had climbed to 19 while 139 people were infected across Iran.

Iran has a long record of propagating fiction and its government officials are notorious dissemblers. However, even if we are to believe the health ministry’s statistics, and disregard Farahani’s assertions, it is still alarming for three reasons. First, it would still mean that the coronavirus death toll in Iran is the largest outside China. Second, it’s reasonable to assume that Iran is now ground zero for the coronavirus in the Mideast. Third, the mortality rate in Iran, as reported by Iranian health officials, is significantly higher than anywhere else in the world.

Thus far, the virus, which may have originated from a Chinese Level 4 microbiology lab near the Wuhan food market, has claimed the lives of 2,768 out of 81,191 people infected globally. Those infected with the COVID-19 virus have a mortality rate of about 3 percent. But according to Iranian health ministry figures, the mortality rate in Iran is a staggering 13.6 percent or 4.5 times higher than the global average.

There are two possible explanations for the confounding discrepancy in global versus Iranian mortality statistics. The first and most likely explanation is that the Iranians are lying, as is their wont, and that the rate of those infected with the virus is much higher than the government is willing to acknowledge. The second possibility is that Iran’s healthcare facilities are subpar leading to a higher than normal mortality rate.

Either way, it’s not a good situation for Iran. The nation is already reeling from a series of crushing sanctions imposed by the Trump administration. It cannot export its oil and its banking system has been cut off from Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) making international banking transactions impossible for the mullahs.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic in Iran, bordering nations have closed their borders with the Islamic Republic and suspended air service. Iran is now more isolated than ever.

Iran, which maintains close relations with China, has only itself to blame for its miserable predicament. The opaque nature of the regime lends itself to corruption, mismanagement and obfuscation. Iran’s downing of Ukrainian airline Flight 752 in January and its attempted deceitful cover-up after the fact, is typical of the regime’s behavior when confronted with adversity and embarrassment. Amazingly, Iran is still stonewalling on the investigation, refusing to hand over the plane’s black boxes, which may contain critical cockpit voice recordings and other digital information.

The Iranians played the same game with the coronavirus. There is good reason to believe that Iranian officials were aware of an outbreak in the city of Qom and took little if any preventive measures. By the time the government took meaningful action, it was a case of too little, too late. The virus had already spread beyond the confines of Qom.

Moreover, Iran’s healthcare system has long been neglected by the regime, which has instead chosen to spend its limited resources on fighting proxy wars in far-flung places, constructing ballistic missiles and developing a rogue nuclear program. Consequently, healthcare workers have neither the means nor the ability to contain and treat those infected. There are critical shortages on everything from facemasks to basic medicines and testing facilities.

What is astounding is that in light of all that we know about Iran’s duplicity and double-dealing, often at the expense of its own citizens, there are those who are still willing to sign nuclear agreements with this rogue regime. Former Secretary of State John Kerry and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn) have met with Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, in an effort to undermine the Trump administration and its efforts to force Iran to behave like a normal country. Such contacts may be in violation of the Logan Act, which prohibits any U.S. citizen from engaging, “without authority of the United States,” with hostile foreign governments in dispute with the United States.

We do not know the content of their conversations with Zarif but we do know that they did not discuss grandchildren and golf. Last July, the United States Treasury Department sanctioned Zarif due to his ministry’s close connection with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The IRGC is the entity responsible for supplying explosively formed penetrators to insurgents battling U.S. forces and their allies. These deadly EFPs were responsible for the deaths of at least 500 American servicemembers and the maiming of thousands. This fact seems to have had little effect on Kerry and Murphy and their decision to engage with a miscreant like Zarif and the outlaw regime he represents.

Iran’s citizens have had to endure much suffering under the oppressive, iron fist rule of the theocratic dictatorship. They’ve also endured endless lies and propaganda the result of which has led to further misery, sickness and isolation. The rapid spread of the coronavirus in Iran is symptomatic of a diseased regime, one that has held on to power for far too long. It is too soon to tell, but the coronavirus may spell the beginning of the end for the regime. The people of Iran have had their fill of lies and they may have reached their breaking point.


Ari Lieberman

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2020/02/coronavirus-exposes-iranian-deceit-and-ari-lieberman/

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter



Iranians are Losing Their Islamic Religion - Andrew Harrod


by Andrew Harrod

“God is moving powerfully inside of Iran”




“Islam is dead,” the “mosques are empty,” and “no one follows Islam inside of Iran,” an unidentified Iranian church leader stated in the 2019 film Sheep Among Wolves Volume II. The film marks a widely observed trend in recent decades of Iranians abandoning the cruel theocratic faith of Iran’s 1979-established Islamic Republic for Christianity.

“God is moving powerfully inside of Iran,” the church leader stated as the documentary examined how “Muslim-background Iranians are leading a quiet but mass exodus out of Islam.” Christian evangelists, who reach Iranians via means such as television broadcasting, have for several years reported on Iranians leaving Islam for Christianity. Other media reports have noted that Iranians “are leaving the mosques in droves” as atheists.

Estimates vary about Christianity’s Iranian revival, with some suggesting in 2019 that “70 percent of Iran’s people have rejected Islam.” Like others, Open Doors, an aid organization for Christians persecuted worldwide, cited at least 500,000 Iranian Christians that same year, compared to 500 known evangelical Christians in 1979, while some sources claimed one million covert believers. In a 2016 Christian Broadcasting Network interview, Iranian house church pastor Rahman Salehsafari, an evangelist among Iranians both in Iran and globally via Skype, stated that 100,000 Iranian Christians in 1994 had become three million.

Mark Bradley, a writer about Iranian Christianity, claimed in 2019 that more Iranians had become Christians in the past 25 years than the past 13 centuries combined. Iran has one of the world’s fastest-growing Christian communities, where demand outstrips Bible supply. David Yeghnazar, the executive director of the nonprofit Elam Ministries for Iranian Christians, argued in 2018 that “Iranians have become the most open people to the gospel.”

Iranians often note the role of dreams in conversions from Islam to Christianity. Dabrina Bet Tamraz, the daughter of Iranian parents imprisoned for their Christian evangelism, discussed this factor during a February 5 Family Research Council (FRC) event in Washington, DC. “Have you seen the white man, have you seen Jesus,” these Iranian Muslim converts to Christianity often ask each other.

Reza Safa, an Iranian Muslim convert to Christianity and evangelical pastor, predicted in 2019 that Iran would become the first majority-Muslim country to convert to Christianity, given the evangel’s wildfire spread despite harsh repression. Iranian-American evangelist Hormoz Shariat in 2016 declared that “Islam is experiencing its greatest defeat in its history in Iran today.” Most young Iranians “have been raised in a family where Islam was rejected and even ridiculed, or at least it was a non-issue.”

The “explosive growth of Christianity in Iran has been driven by the almost palpable spiritual hunger and disillusionment with the Islamic regime,” Open Doors has noted, similar to Iranian-American Texas church pastor Afshin Ziafat. “Ironically, because the Islamic Republic in Iran has tied religion and state so closely together, the people’s disappointment with the government has led to great skepticism of Islam,” he has written. For example, “Islam treats women as a second-class citizen,” Maryam Rostampour noted at FRC while discussing her traumatic Iranian imprisonment for her Christian faith.

Voice of the Martyrs Radio show host Todd Nettleton has heard similar irony from Iranian Christians who have told him that

over the past 20 years that the greatest missionary in the history of Iran—a history that predates Daniel in the Lions’ Den—is the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, leader of the 1979 Islamic Revolution that ended 2,500 years of Persian monarchy in Iran.
Sheep Among Wolves Volume II producers, who denounced that in Islam Satan “has built this entire demonic religion around obedience to a false god,” a “great counterfeit,” reached the same conclusion. “The best evangelist for Jesus was the Ayatollah Khomeini,” as the “ayatollahs brought the true face of Islam to light and people discovered it was a lie.” After four decades under the ayatollah’s Islamic law “utopia,” Iranians “had the worst devastation in the 5,000-year history of Iran.”

International political commentator David Goldman observed in a 2018 interview that many Iranians “see their country falling apart around them.” “Iran is going through really a set of catastrophic events economically, environmentally, and socially.” Accordingly, “Iran is one of the least religious countries in the world as measured by mosque attendance.”

Goldman compared Iran with the declining Soviet Union in 1980s, where “there were really no Communists outside the Central Committee.” As he wrote in 2015, Iran’s “theocratic elite has no more support at the grass roots than did the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in the 1980s.” Before the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, he stated in his interview, “you found fewer communists in Russia than, say, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.”

Iranians’ “deep and intractable national anomie, a loss of personal sense of purpose,” resulted in stunning infertility, Goldman wrote:

Iran’s fertility decline from about seven children per female in 1979 to just 1.6 in 2012 remains a conundrum to demographers. Never before in recorded history has the birth rate of a big country fallen so fast and so far. Iran’s population is aging faster than that of any other country in the world. In 2050, 30% of its people will be over 60, the same ratio as in the United States but with a tenth of America’s per capita GDP.
Another sign of Iranian despair is drug abuse in a country where alcohol and drugs are actually readily available, notwithstanding Islamic strictures. The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported in 2017 that “Iran is confronting the gravest addiction crisis in the world.” Officially 2.8 million people regularly consume drugs amidst Iran’s population of 80 million, but the real figure could be higher.

Iranian agony and Christianity’s message of hope are jeopardizing Iran’s Islamic Republic amidst a historically urbane population not well-disposed towards theocracy. That Iranian literacy rates have improved under the Islamic Republic and now exceed 85 percent only weakens blind faith. For the Islamic Republic, only severe repression can maintain power and forestall the dramatic political changes that an Iranian regime change would bring, as a forthcoming article will analyze.


Andrew Harrod

Source: https://www.jihadwatch.org/2020/02/iranians-are-losing-their-islamic-religion

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter



Hypocritical Democrats Block Born Alive Protection - Daniel John Sobieski


by Daniel John Sobieski

Democrats sustained a filibuster blocking a bill that would protect the lives of newborn infants that survive a botched abortion.


Following Rahm Emanuel’s maxim that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says the Trump reaction to the coronavirus is too little too late and quibbles over how much money is “enough” to fight a possible pandemic. Yet at the same time, such is cryin’ Chuck’s concern for human life that he and his Democrats sustained a filibuster blocking a bill that would protect the lives of newborn infants that survive a botched abortion.
Senate Democrats today blocked a request by Republicans to vote on a bill that would stop infanticide and provide medical care and treatment for babies who are born alive after botched abortions. The vote to stop the Democrat filibuster needed 60 votes but Democrats stopped the chamber from getting enough.v
The Senate voted 56-41 to end the filibuster and allow a debate and vote on the bill itself with Republicans supporting a vote on the anti-infanticide bill and Democrats opposing it. This is the third time Senate Democrats have blocked the bill to stop infanticide as 60 votes are needed to end the filibuster.
Democrats whine about children being separated from their families and allegedly kept in cages at the border, and they worry about them catching the coronavirus, but they believe in abortion from conception until birth and even after, beholden as they are to an intolerant left that says “reproductive care” includes leaving a newborn baby on a table untilvit dies, as Dem. Gov. Ralph Northam, states.v
In an interview with WTOP Radio on January 30, Northam described his support for legalization of late-term abortion -- even as a mother is “dilating,” per state delegate Kathy Tran -- and took the concept further, discussing euthanizing newborn babies even after comforting and “resuscitating” them:
When we talk about third-trimester abortions, these are done with the consent of, obviously, the mother, with the consent of the physicians -- more than one physician, by the way… The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mothers.”
They would decide if the “comfortable” baby would be killed or not. Now Senate Democrats, including the self-righteous hypocrite Chuck Schumer, have reaffirmed that babies that survive an attempt to kill them, babies that survive an abortion, be left to die on a table somewhere without any attempt to save them:
During the debate, Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska noted how pro-abortion Democrats refused to stand up and explain why they would block a vote to save babies from infanticide.
He said, “I urge my colleagues to picture a baby that’s already been born, that’s outside the womb gasping for air. That’s the only thing that today’s vote is actually about. We’re talking about babies that have already been born. Nothing in this bill touches abortion access.”
Perhaps Chuck Schumer would like to stand up on the Senate floor and explain why a human life gasping for air must be left to die on a table. This is an all too common occurrence defended by Democrats oh so concerned about fighting the coronavirus.v According to Congressional testimony:
Data that the CDC collects also confirms babies are born alive after attempted abortions.v Between the years 2003 and 2014 there were somewhere between 376 and 588 infant deaths under the medical code P96.4 which keeps track of babies born alive after a “termination of pregnancy.”
The CDC concluded that, of the 588 babies, 143 were “definitively” born alive after an attempted abortion and they lived from minutes to one or more days, with 48% of the babies living between one to four hours.v It also admitted that it’s possible the number is an underestimate.
We know it is an underestimate because these are just reported numbers from hospitals, not abortion facilities.v Kermit Gosnell is only one abortionist who was responsible for “hundreds of snippings” of born-alive babies, yet he did not report even one.v His numbers alone exceed the “definitive” numbers of the CDC.
The barbarism spawned by this indifference to human life knows no bounds, such as the baby born alive at 23 weeks that desperately gasped for air, fighting for its life, begging for its life, only to be thrown into a biohazard bag to die by an abortion clinic defended by Schumer’s Democrats who laughingly call such atrocities women’s health care:
Pierre Renelique was a Haitian-born man who received his medical education in that third-world country. He wasn’t a particularly good physician, not by American standards, anyway.v Nevertheless, after immigrating to the U.S., Renelique found a home working as an abortionist in South Florida, in the summer of 2006….
On July 19, 2006, 18-year-old Sycloria Williams sought out Renelique’s services North Miami abortion clinic where he worked.
She was 23 weeks pregnant.
Renelique inserted laminaria, gave her a drug that would stimulate uterine contractions, and sent her home with instructions to return to A Gyn Diagnostics in Hialeah the following morning when he would complete her abortion.
When Williams arrived at the Hialeah clinic the next morning at 9:00 a.m., she was already experiencing labor pains, but Renelique was nowhere to be found.
Despite an attempt to kill the infant, Williams birthed a baby girl who was in bad shape but with care by real doctors in a real medical setting, could have been saved. But panic ensued at a “clinic” designed to destroy human life run by those who had no idea how or desire to save it:
The tiny baby was writhing, her chest rising and falling as she struggled for her first breaths.
Had Gonzalez instead called an ambulance for the newborn infant, she would have had a good chance of survival.v Babies born at 23 weeks gestation often survive premature births if they receive proper medical care.
Instead, pandemonium broke out inside the clinic. (clinic co-owner) Gonzalez grabbed a pair of orange-handled desk scissors and severed the baby’s umbilical cord, but did not clamp it. She shoved the baby into a red biohazard bag along with caustic chemicals meant to speed decomposition, and tossed the baby onto the roof of the clinic.
This is Schumer’s idea of women’s health care. In recent hearings on the Born Alive bill, Sen. Ben Sasse made it clear why this barbarism should end:
“This hearing is not about overturning Roe v. Wade. In fact, this hearing is not actually about limiting access to abortion at all. This hearing isn’t a debate about third-trimester, or second-trimester, or first-trimester abortion. This hearing is about making sure that every newborn baby has a fighting chance -- whether she’s born in a labor and delivery ward or whether she’s born in an abortion clinic.”
Once again Schumer and the Democrats embrace, condone, and promote infanticide,v Their idea of women’s health care is to toss babies born alive and gasping for air on the roofs of abortion clinics where they will never have to worry about being infected with the coronavirus.


Daniel John Sobieski is a former editorial writer for Investor’s Business Daily and freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2020/02/hypocritical_democrats_block_born_alive_protection.html

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter



Iran's Election Result Has Seriously Undermined the Ayatollahs' Credibility - Con Coughlin


by Con Coughlin

The result is, as the outcome from the parliamentary elections has graphically illustrated, that growing numbers of ordinary Iranians are now desperate to see fundamental changes in the way their country is run.

  • In many respects the ayatollahs only have themselves to blame for this dire outcome. Prior to the poll they attempted to fix the election in their favour by refusing to allow large numbers of potential candidates, many of whom were highly critical of how the country is being run, even to contest the election.
  • This maneuver meant that around half of all candidates, including 90 serving members of the outgoing parliament, were disqualified prior to the election, prompting a nationwide boycott over what many Iranians regarded as a sham election.
  • The result is, as the outcome from the parliamentary elections has graphically illustrated, that growing numbers of ordinary Iranians are now desperate to see fundamental changes in the way their country is run, changes that can only take place when the ayatollahs finally admit that they can no longer have the support they need to keep their repressive regime in power.

Iran's ruling regime is facing a credibility crisis in the wake of this week's parliamentary election results, as the vast majority of Iranians demonstrated their contempt for the way their country is being run through the simple expedient of refusing to vote. Pictured: An Iranian man casts his ballot at a polling station in Tehran on February 21, 2020. (Photo by Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images)

Iran's ruling regime is facing a credibility crisis in the wake of this week's parliamentary election results, as the vast majority of Iranians demonstrated their contempt for the way their country is being run through the simple expedient of refusing to vote.

Prior to the vote, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country's Supreme Leader, made an impassioned plea to voters to demonstrate their support for the regime by casting their vote for the regime's designated candidates, warning that boycotting the election would provide US President Donald Trump with a propaganda victory.

"Anyone who cares about Iran's national interests should participate," he declared, adding that Iran's "enemies want to see what the results of the US maximum pressure are" -- a reference to the punitive sanctions regime that has been imposed on Tehran by the Trump administration.

To judge by the eventual outcome, though, the Iranian public had other ideas and, instead of responding to Mr Khamenei's rallying cry, chose to vent their deepening anger at the hardliners' responsible for running the country by opting not to vote.

While the hardliners tried to put a brave face on Sunday's result by claiming that the conservatives, who already run the legislature, had achieved an overwhelming victory, a closer inspection of the vote told a very different story, revealing that the country had experienced its lowest turn-out in an election since the 1979 Islamic revolution, with just 42 percent of the voters bothering to participate.

The result indicated that turnout had dropped by a third since the last parliamentary elections in 2016, which saw the victory of supposedly moderate politicians.

Perhaps the biggest embarrassment for the ayatollahs came in Tehran where, while the hardliners were able to claim victory by winning all 30 of the city's seats, they were able to achieve this feat because 75 percent of the city's registered voters decided not to cast their ballot.

Thus, far from securing the unequivocal declaration of support the ayatollahs had been seeking, Mr Khamenei and his acolytes have been left with a large amount of egg on their faces, as the decision by the overwhelming majority of voters not even to participate in the vote now raises serious questions about the entire credibility of the country's present ruling class.

In many respects the ayatollahs only have themselves to blame for this dire outcome. Prior to the poll they attempted to fix the election in their favour by refusing to allow large numbers of potential candidates, many of whom were highly critical of how the country is being run, even to contest the election.

This maneuver meant that around half of all candidates, including 90 serving members of the outgoing parliament, were disqualified prior to the election, prompting a nationwide boycott over what many Iranians regarded as a sham election.

The other factor that has played a significant role in the development of the increasingly hostile attitude that many Iranians apparently have towards their rulers is the regime's woeful record on a number of key issues, from its disastrous handling of the economy to, more recently, its hapless response to the assassination by a US drone strike of the country's notorious terrorist mastermind, Qassem Soleimani.

Having vowed to avenge the terrorist's demise, the regime then managed further to increase its international ostracism by accidentally shooting down a Ukrainian civilian aircraft, with the loss of all 176 passengers and crew on board.

The result is, as the outcome from the parliamentary elections has graphically illustrated, that growing numbers of ordinary Iranians are now desperate to see fundamental changes in the way their country is run, changes that can only take place when the ayatollahs finally admit that they can no longer have the support they need to keep their repressive regime in power.

Con Coughlin is the Telegraph's Defence and Foreign Affairs Editor and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15647/iran-election-result

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter



Bernie Sanders is not a social democrat, he's a lifelong communist. Dems have no gatekeepers - Ben Shapiro


by Ben Shapiro

As it turns out, there is hardly a single communist regime of the past half-century for which Sanders has not expressed some level of moral support.


This week, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the socialist Democratic presidential front-runner, made waves when he merely reiterated his lifelong warmth toward the viciously evil Cuban communist regime. Brushing off the human rights violations of Fidel Castro -- a man whose revolution ended with the murder or imprisonment of tens of thousands of his countrymen, and decades of impoverishment and repression for millions -- Sanders explained: "We're very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba, but you know, it's unfair to simply say everything is bad. ... When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing, even though Fidel Castro did it?"

But, of course, Sanders hasn't merely praised Castro's literacy programs (which, by the way, were propagandistic exploits. Cuba had an 80 percent literacy rate before Castro's coup).

Back in the 1980s, Sanders explained that he was "physically nauseated" by former President John F. Kennedy's "hatred for the Cuban revolution." In 1989, Sanders stated after visiting Cuba: "I did not see a hungry child. I did not see any homeless people." He said that the Cuban people "had an almost religious affection" for Castro.

IS BERNIE SANDERS’ 'DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM' REALLY JUST SOCIALISM?

As it turns out, there is hardly a single communist regime of the past half-century for which Sanders has not expressed some level of moral support.

This week, Sanders went out of his way to praise China, explaining: "It's is an authoritarian country. ... But can anyone deny -- I mean, the facts are clear -- that they have taken more people out of extreme poverty than any country in history?"
There is hardly a single communist regime of the past half-century for which Sanders has not expressed some level of moral support.
Naturally, Sanders neglects to mention that China's embrace of free trade and profit margin in the 1990s was responsible for that rise from poverty. That would cut against his socialist worldview.

Then there's the Nicaraguan communist regime of Daniel Ortega, which murdered thousands. Sanders celebrated the Sandinista revolution in the 1980s (he attended a rally at which protesters chanted, "the Yankee will die"), visited Nicaragua and returned to tut-tut Ortega's human rights abuses by citing Abraham Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus. It's no wonder Ortega has endorsed Sanders for the presidency.


Or how about the Venezuelan regime? Sanders refused to call socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro a dictator as late as last year, and refused to call opposition Juan Guaido the legitimate leader of the country. The Sanders Senate website carried an editorial for years that favorably compared the regime of Hugo Chavez with the poverty record of the United States.

And, of course, there's Sanders' long record of propagandizing on behalf of the Soviet regime. Not only did Sanders visit the Soviet Union for a honeymoon/business trip with his new wife in 1988; he returned and declared that Moscow had "the most effective mass transit system" he had ever seen. He then celebrated that the Soviets were moving "forward into some of the early visions of their revolution, what their revolution was about in 1917."

Sanders isn't a European social democrat, warm toward Denmark and Norway. He's a lifelong communist -- a man who declared himself fully on board with the nationalization of nearly every major American industry in the 1970s -- and an advocate for anti-Americanism abroad.

The fact that it has taken until the verge of his nomination as the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee for members of the media and fellow Democrats to take note of this rather important truth demonstrates that the left's gatekeeping function has been irrevocably broken.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM BEN SHAPIRO


Ben Shapiro

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/bernie-sanders-social-democrat-communist-ben-shapiro

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter