Saturday, April 20, 2013

Illusions About Why Muslim Brothers Kill

by Bruce Thornton


Despite the fervent wishes of the progressive media and the buffoonish David Sirota, who hoped the culprit was “a white guy,” the terrorists who bombed the Boston Marathon have turned out to be not white, Tea Party, tax-hating bitter clingers, but Chechen Muslims. Quelle surprise, as the French say. Now we’ll start hearing all the rationalizing interpretations for their act, few of which will state the obvious: they murdered people because Islam gives them the theological sanction to use violence against infidels whose existence threatens the Islamic hegemony sanctioned by Allah.

Of course, for the secular materialists and pundits of the left, whose minds are furnished with tired received wisdom and banal clich├ęs, such as statement is Islamophobic hate speech. Only Christianity and Judaism lead to violence, from the Crusades to Zionism. Islam is the tolerant “religion of peace” that created the Renaissance and treated Jews and Christians kindly. If Muslims act violently––over 20,000 violent attacks since 9/11––then they must have been provoked by Western bad behavior: colonialism, imperialism, greed for oil, support for Israel, disrespect of Islam and Mohammed, the War on Terror that has demonized Muslims. Or the terrorists are created by the inequities and costs of global capitalism, which give young Muslim men few educational or economic opportunities, creating frustration and despair that make them turn to a distorting heresy of Islam for relief. Or they are the products of oppressive political regimes that limit their freedom, violate their human rights, and stifle their aspirations.

We’ve heard all these explanations for over a decade now from both the left and the right. What we haven’t seen is very much evidence that they are remotely true. History provides no evidence that America’s alleged foreign policy sins outweigh the demonstrable concrete benefits to Muslims of our actions. America never had colonies in Muslim lands, and indeed after World War II resisted French and British attempts to reassert their authority over their one-time colonies, most obviously in the Suez Crisis of 1956. Since then, the U.S. armed the Afghans and helped them drive out the Soviets, rescued Kuwait and Saudi Arabia from the psychopathic sadist Saddam Hussein, bombed Christian Serbs to rescue Muslim Kosovars and Bosnians, liberated Shiite Iraqis from Hussein, liberated Afghans from the brutal Taliban, poured billions of dollars of aid to terrorist Palestinian regimes, used our jets to help the Muslims in Libya free themselves from the psychotic Gaddafi, and supported in word and coin the jihadist, America-hating, anti-Semitic Muslim Brothers in Egypt so that Muslims can enjoy “freedom and democracy.”

And that’s not all. We have incessantly protested our respect for the wonderful Islamic faith, censored our official communications and training programs to remove any references to jihadism or the Islamic theology that justifies holy war, euphemized jihadist attacks like the Fort Hood murders as “workplace violence,” invited sketchy imams to pray in the White House, filled our schools with curricula praising Islam and its contributions to civilization, scolded and prosecuted writers or cartoonists who exercise their First Amendment right to criticize Islam, abandoned “profiling” as a technique for identifying possible terrorists trying to board a plane or enter the country, hired as advisors to the FBI, the Pentagon, and the CIA Muslim apologists who recycle blatant lies and distortions––we have done all this liberating of Muslims and flattering of them and their faith, and they still don’t like us, and they still want to kill us.

This disconnect between our alleged bad behavior and the motives of the jihadists is starkly obvious in the case of the Boston terrorists. If Chechen Muslims have a beef with anyone, it’s the Russians. When jihadist terrorism became a problem in Chechnya, there were no “hearts and minds” campaigns, no solicitous outreach, no infusions of foreign aid, no apologies for past sins, no careful adherence to the laws of war, the Geneva conventions, or human rights, no courting of imams to provide insights into the wonderfulness of Islam. The Russians employed torture, assassination, group reprisals, and in the end ringed Grozny with artillery and left it in ruins. In the two Chechen wars the Russians killed around 150,000 people. In fact, Russia has been killing Muslims since the 18th century, and occupied Muslims lands in Central Asia for 80 years under the Soviet Union. So tell me, Senator Rand Paul or Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, if our foreign policy misbehavior explains jihadist hatred, how is that two centuries of Russian violence against Muslims is ignored, and all our blood and treasure spent to liberate and help Muslims count for nothing?

No more convincing are the other rationalizations for Muslim violence. Lack of education and economic opportunity exist all over the world, but African Christians and animists, or Indian Hindus and Buddhists don’t commit acts of terrorism with anywhere near the same frequency as Muslims. Plenty of people across the globe live under oppressive dictators who routinely violate human rights, and they don’t turn to terrorism against distant strangers in response. Tibetans aren’t donning suicide vests or bombing marathons. Millions and millions of impoverished everywhere don’t kill innocent people in random attacks in countries far from their homes. Every excuse for Muslim violence collapses beneath the weight of such facts. Meanwhile, the one factor all these killers––rich or poor, educated or not, politically oppressed or otherwise––have in common, Islam, is preemptively rejected as the explanation for the violence.

This “willful blindness,” as Andy McCarthy calls, has become dangerous. It reflects the arrogance of secular materialism, which has discounted religion as a mere life-style choice, usually benign––unless you’re talking about gun-toting, racist, misogynist, homophobic evangelical Christians, or racist, land-grabbing Zionist Jews. No, it’s about psychological trauma caused by globalization, or Islamophobia, or insensitive insults to Mohammed, or Israel’s oppression of Palestinians, or anything and everything other than the numerous passages in the Koran, hadiths, and 14 centuries of Islamic jurisprudence and theology, which clearly and consistently set out the doctrine of violent jihad against infidels.

So expect in the coming weeks the same old commentary about foreign-policy blowback, or two-bit psychological analyses of personal trauma, or Israel’s sins and Bush’s wars, or American intolerance and xenophobia, or our need to “reach out” and “engage” and “respect” and “understand” the fanatics who don’t want our outreach, tolerance, or respect, but our deaths. In short, expect more public reasons for the jihadists to believe we are weak and corrupt and thus deserving to die.

Bruce Thornton


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

Israel, the Happy Little Country

by Caroline Glick

As Independence Day celebrations were winding down Tuesday night, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made a guest appearance on Channel 2's left-wing satire show Eretz Nehederet. One of the final questions that the show's host Eyal Kitzis asked the premier was how he would like to be remembered after he leaves office.

Netanyahu thought a moment and said, "I'd like to be remembered as the leader who preserved Israel's security."

On the face of it, Netanyahu's stated aspiration might seem dull. In a year he'll be the longest-serving prime minister in the state's history, and all he wants is to preserve our national security? Why is he aiming so low? And yet, the studio audience reacted to Netanyahu's modest goal with a thunderclap of applause.

After pausing to gather his thoughts, a clearly befuddled Kitzis mumbled something along the lines of, "Well, if you manage to make peace as well, we wouldn't object." 

The audience was silent.

The disparity between the audience's exultation and Kitzis's shocked disappointment at Netanyahu's answer exposed - yet again - the yawning gap between the mainstream Israeli view of the world, and that shared by members of our elite class.

The Israeli public gave our elites the opportunity to try out their peace fantasies in the 1990s. We gave their peace a chance and got repaid with massive terror and international isolation.

We are not interested in repeating the experience.

We will be nice to leftists, if they are polite. We might even watch their shows, if there's nothing else on or they are mildly entertaining. But we won't listen to them anymore.

This is why US President Barack Obama's visit last month had no impact on public opinion or government policy.

Obama came, hugged Netanyahu and showered us with love just like Bill Clinton did back in the roaring '90s. He praised us to high heaven and told us he has our back. And then he told us we should force our leaders to give Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria to our sworn enemies even as they teach their children to aspire to kill our children.

And we smiled and wished him a pleasant flight home.

Obama had no idea what he was getting into when he came here. Like Kitzis and his colleagues on Channel 2, Obama surrounds himself with people who, like him, prefer fantasy to reality. In Obama's world, Islamic jihad is about the West, not about jihadists. In Obama's world, the most pressing issue on the international agenda is apartments for Jews in Jerusalem and Efrat. And in Obama's world, what Israelis need more than anything else is for leftist Europeans to love us.

Talk about retro.

But a lot has changed since the 1990s. Twenty years after Yitzhak Rabin shook Yasser Arafat's hand on the White House lawn and so officially ushered in Israel's Age of Terror, most Israelis don't really care what the Europeans or the Arabs think of us.

The Europeans prattle on about Israeli racism, and threaten to put yellow stars or some other nasty mark on Israeli goods. They ban Israeli books from their libraries in Scotland. They boycott Israeli universities, professors and students in England. In Italy they hold rallies for convicted mass murderer Marwan Barghouti at their national Senate. And in France they butcher Jewish children.

And then the likes of Catherine Ashton expect us to care what they think about us. 

Well, we don't.

For their part, Americans are bemoaning the resignation of the unelected Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, and insisting that he was a true partner for Israel, who just couldn't make a go of it due to forces beyond his control. While most recognize Fayyad's departure has nothing to do with Israel, some US pontificators have blamed Israel for Fayyad's failure. Elliott Abrams, for instance, wrote, "Israeli governments also gave him less cooperation than he deserved." To that we answer, Fayyad was nothing more than a Western delusion, like Arab peace with Israel.

Fayyad didn't have a chance of leading the Palestinians because he never personally killed a Jew. And the Palestinians only accept murderers as their leaders. But the fact that he never killed a Jew personally didn't render Fayyad a partner for Israel.

Fayyad dutifully used donor funds to pay the salaries of terrorists in Judea, Samaria and Gaza every month.

He led the Palestinian branch of the boycott, divestment and sanctions war against Israel. He made working for Israelis and buying Israeli goods criminal offenses. Fayyad personally led raids into private homes to inspect people's refrigerators to see if they had Israeli cottage cheese on their shelves. He organized and attended bonfires where they burned Israeli goods.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is not the sort of behavior you would expect a peace partner to engage in.

The Americans who insist on mourning Fayyad's departure refuse to accept the obvious fact that Palestinian aspirations for statehood are a cheap, shoddy, for-export-only Arab product. The Palestinians don't want a state. They want to destroy Israel. Unable to accept this basic fact, the Americans invent lies like Fayyad-as-peace partner and try to shove them down Israel's throats. Well good riddance, Salam Fayyad.

Obviously Fayyad is not the last word in Western delusion. They will think of a new perfect solution to replace him in short order.

But in their endless search for the next silver bullet, the Europeans and the Americans and their Israeli followers miss the fact that the easiest way to build a secure and peaceful world is not by wooing terrorists. The best way to achieve these goals is by accepting the world as it is. This is what the Israeli people has done. True, we needed to have our fantasies blown away in suicide bombings before we reconciled ourselves to this simple truth. But life has been better, happier and more secure since we did.

The "international community's" inability to accept that sober-minded contentment is better than pipe dream fantasies has caused leftist writers in Israel, Europe and the US alike to express mystification at a recent survey carried out by the OECD, which ranks Israelis among the happiest people in the world. The ranking made no sense to commentators.

Israelis work harder than other members of the OECD. We complain more than other members of the OECD. We don't have "peace." And yet, we are among the happiest people in the OECD.

What gives? For decades before we embarked on the phony peace process, Israel was a model socialist state. We had paralyzing tax rates and failed government industries that crowded private entrepreneurship out of the market. Monopolies ran every sector and provided shoddy goods and horrible services at astronomical prices. The Histadrut labor union owned most of the economy along with the government and in every sector, Histadrut commissars ensured that anyone with an ounce of initiative was subject to unending abuse.


Just around the time we began extricating ourselves from our socialist straitjacket, we were also recognizing that the peace thing wasn't everything it was cracked up to be. And at that point we began to understand that happiness and success aren't about what other people give you - money, treaties, a phone line after a five-year wait. Happiness and success are about what you accomplish.

At that point, sometime between 1996 and 2000, Israelis began creating large families and embracing the free market.

Today, with an average of three children per family, Israelis are the fecund outliers of the industrial world. And as David Goldman at PJ Media has demonstrated, there is a direct correlation between children and human happiness. This is why fruitful Israelis have the lowest suicide rate in the industrial world. When you have children, you have a future.

And when you have a future, you work hard to secure it, and have a generally optimistic outlook.

What could be so bad when your kid just lost his first tooth? Israelis are also happy because we see that we can build the future we want for our families and our country even without another glitzy signing ceremony at the White House every six months. Our country is getting stronger and more livable every day. And we know it.

Those on the international stage that share our view that life is about more than pieces of paper signed with Arab anti-Semites recognize what is happening. For them Israel is not "that shi**y little country." It's "The Little Engine that Could."

Take the Chinese. Last July China signed a deal with Israel to build an inland port in Eilat and a 180- km. freight railway to connect Eilat to Israel's Mediterranean ports in Ashdod and Haifa. The purpose of the project is to build an alternative to the Suez Canal, in Israel. The Chinese look at the region, and they see that Egypt is a failed state that can't even afford its wheat imports. The future of shipping along the Suez Canal is in doubt with riots in Port Said and Suez occurring on a regular basis.

On the other hand, Israel is a stable, prosperous, successful democracy that keeps moving from strength to strength. When the freight line is completed, as far as the global economy is concerned, Israel will become the most strategically important country in the region.

Then there is our newfound energy wealth. Israel became energy independent on March 30, when the Tamar offshore gas field began pumping natural gas to Israel. In two to three years, when the Leviathan gas field comes online, Israel will become one of the most important producers of natural gas in the world. Moreover, in 2017, Israel will likely begin extracting commercial quantities of oil from its massive oil shale deposits in the Shfela Basin near Beit Shemesh.

Geologists assess that the field alone contains some 250 billion barrels of oil, giving Israel oil parity with Saudi Arabia. Chinese, Russian and Australian firms are lining up to sign contracts with Israeli energy companies. International analysts assess that Israel's emergence as an energy power will have a stabilizing impact on the global economy and international security. Israel can end Asia's oil and gas hunger. It can reduce European dependence on Russia. It will remove OPEC's ability to dictate world oil prices through supply manipulation.

Israel's discovery of its energy riches couldn't have come at a more propitious time. Had Israel discovered its oil and gas 65 or even 20 years ago, we wouldn't have had the economic maturity to manage our resources responsibly. But now, with our free market, our hi-tech sector and our entrepreneurial culture, we can develop and manage our resources wisely and successfully.

At 65, Israel is becoming a mature, responsible, prosperous and powerful player in the international arena. The only thing we need to ensure that we enjoy the fruits of our labors is security. And the one thing we can do to squander it all is place our hopes in "peace." 

And so we won't, ever again.

Originally published in the Jerusalem Post.

Caroline Glick


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What Friday, April 19, 2013 Tells Us About Egypt and the World

by Barry Rubin

Salafist groups have called for a massive demonstration at noon in front of the High Court building on Ramses Street in Cairo to protest the acquittal of several officials from the Mubarak regime and at Mubarak’s release on bail pending a retrial. The retrial was required by the withdrawal of the judge. That retrial was necessitated  by the overturn on appeal of a previous life imprisonment verdict against Mubarak.

The Muslim Brotherhood has told members they can participate in the demonstration on a personal basis if they wish. The demonstration’s main demand is that the judiciary be restructured. The court system has stood as the last remaining institutional barrier to the Brotherhood’s total control of the country. While over time it would inevitably name new judges, many are impatient for the Islamist revolution to roll forward.

Also today, though, anti-Islamist movements are gathering at 1 pm at Tahrir Square, a nearby suburb, and Elqaed Ibrahim Square in Alexandria to demand that the Brotherhood be forced out of power.

At the Alexandria location, however, other Salafist groups have called for a 2 PM progrest against the anti-Islamists. Violence is quite possible.

Meanwhile, the economy is continuing to decline steeply and a plan for a massive IMF bail-out is stalled due to wrangling on the Egyptian government side.

This is the chaos into which Egypt is descending. In real terms, a revolution hailed by virtually everyone in the West has turned into a disaster. The choices seem to be either a Sharia state or a civil war, each accompanied by suffering and explosive instability.

Might the West learn something from this story? Lessons could include the idea that another supposed great solution–a revolution in Syria–is about to bring another disaster, while the utopian vision of an instant peace process imposed on Israel would bring a parallel disaster.  The Syrian story will happen; the “peace process” one won’t and Israel will be blamed for avoiding suicide.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.


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Syria, Hezb'allah, and EU Appeasement

by Noah Beck

The Syrian civil war may undo the European Union's attempts to appease Hezb'allah, and has revealed how the Iran-backed terrorist organization undermines -- rather than promotes -- Lebanon's interests. 

Following the July 2006 war that Hezb'allah provoked with Israel (in which Hezb'allah displayed its anti-ship, anti-tank, and UAV capabilities), UN Security Council Resolution 1701 required that all Lebanese militias disarm. By continuing to possess and acquire weapons since 2006, Hizb'allah has been in nonstop violation of Resolution 1701, but the UN Interim Force in Lebanon can hardly be expected to disarm one of the world's most powerful militias.

Hezb'allah is estimated to have 40-60,000 missiles and rockets, and other arms that many countries lack. To justify its massive arsenal, which exists beyond the control of the Lebanese government, Hezb'allah has relied on its image as a Lebanese organization protecting Lebanese sovereignty. But Hezb'allah's tolerance of repeated attacks on Lebanese citizens and territory by the Syrian army and air force (which bombed the Lebanese village of Arsal last week) completely contradicts Hezb'allah's stated rationale for its deadly arms.

Israel has forcefully responded to each border violation by the Assad regime and thereby provided an effective deterrent that is notably absent from the Lebanese border. Would the Syrian air force and army violate Lebanese sovereignty so frequently if Hezb'allah responded to Syrian violations the way Israel has? Hezb'allah has never even threatened to use (much less actually used) its formidable military force to protect Lebanon's interests against Syrian government incursions.

But Hezb'allah has used its weapons to pursue its own agenda in Syria by joining its Iranian patron in propping up the Assad regime. While the Lebanese government has exercised maximum restraint to avoid embroiling Lebanon in the explosive conflict next door, Hezb'allah has done the exact opposite by openly siding with a tyrant who kills his own people. Like his father Hafez Assad, who in 1982 slaughtered tens of thousands in Hama, Basher Assad has continued the family tradition of brute force to quell dissent using jets, attack helicopters, Scud missiles, and reportedly even poison gas. Hezb'allah has facilitated Assad's butchery with ground forces, training, Iranian-supplied arms and expertise, and other forms of support. Hezb'allah's participation in the Syrian regime's massacres directly jeopardizes the internal stability of Lebanon -- a country whose ethnically diverse components sympathize with different sides of the Syrian conflict. It also invites even more cross-border attacks into Lebanon by effectively widening the theater of combat. 

"A state within a state," Hezb'allah has frequently ventured into unwarranted conflicts, dragging the rest of Lebanon into costly wars with Israel and now Syria. But if ordinary Lebanese aren't confronting Hezb'allah, it's because -- after their own bloody civil war (from 1975 to 1990) -- they're afraid to challenge the most lethally-armed faction in the complex tinderbox that is Lebanon. Indeed, Lebanese can't even get justice for the 2005 assassination of their prime minister, Rafiq Hariri. The Special Tribunal for Lebanon, established to investigate the crime, issued arrest warrants against four senior members of Hezb'allah in connection with Hariri's assassination, and they remain free.

But what about the EU? Europe claims to support the Syrian rebels, yet its stubborn refusal to label Hezb'allah what it plainly is -- a terrorist organization -- empowers the Assad-Iran-Hezb'allah alliance fighting those very rebels. Current EU policy allows thousands of Hezb'allah members to conduct vital political and fund-raising activities on European territory, treating Hezb'allah as a Lebanese political and social movement, even though the group has been linked to terror plots on EU soil (Bulgaria and Cyprus), one of which killed an EU citizen.

Germany hosts about 1,000 members of the same terrorist organization that popularized suicide bombings with its 1983 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut (killing 58 Americans and Lebanese), the U.S. Marine barracks (killing 241 American peacekeepers) and the French barracks (killing 58 French soldiers). Hezb'allah was also behind the 1985 hijacking of TWA flight 847, the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Argentina (killing 29), the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires (killing 85), and the Khobar Towers housing complex in Saudi Arabia (killing 19 U.S servicemen), to list just some of its attacks.

The U.S. and Canada have rightly acknowledged the obvious in designating Hezb'allah a terrorist organization. Bahrain recently became the first Arab country to do so. So why has the European Union failed to blacklist Hezb'allah and halt the terror group's operations on EU soil? In a word: appeasement. France fears Hezb'allah retribution against French peacekeepers in Lebanon, and Germany worries about the many sleeper cells on its territory. 

But the EU's unprincipled stand may falter because of two possibilities: 1) Hezb'allah attacks against U.S. or Israeli targets on EU soil could kill enough Europeans to force a confrontation, 2) the EU policy of supporting the Syrian rebels and opposing Iranian nukes may prompt Hizb'allah to target European interests. A serious showdown looms, and the EU would be wise to take the offensive in facing the Hezb'allah threat on its territory.

Noah Beck is the author of The Last Israelis, a doomsday thriller about the Iranian nuclear threat and current geopolitical issues in the Middle East.


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Belgium vs. Islamic Jihadists

by Soeren Kern

Some 1,000 Muslims from across Europe are currently active as Islamic jihadists in Syria, which has replaced Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia as the main destination for militant Islamists to obtain immediate combat training with little or no official scrutiny.
Belgian police have carried out dozens of raids and arrested six Islamists -- including the pugnacious ringleader of a Belgian Salafist group called Sharia4Belgium -- suspected of recruiting foreign fighters for the war in Syria.

The crackdown reflects growing concerns in Belgium and elsewhere about the threat posed by Islamic jihadists, or holy warriors, when they return to Europe after obtaining combat experience in Syria.

Some 1,000 Muslims from across Europe are currently active as Islamic jihadists in Syria, which has replaced Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia as the main destination for militant Islamists seeking to obtain immediate combat training with little or no official scrutiny.

More than 200 Belgian police officers conducted 48 early morning raids on April 16 in the northern port city of Antwerp and in Vilvoorde, which is situated about 20 kilometers north of Brussels, home to most of the 70 young Belgians who are known to have departed for Syria in recent months.

Police seized computers, mobile phones and €30,000 ($40,000), although no weapons or explosives were found. One of those arrested was an unnamed jihadist who was wounded in Syria and just recently returned to Belgium.

According to the public prosecutor's office, the objective of the police operation was two-fold: to deter other volunteer jihadists from departing for Syria, and also to determine whether a group known as Sharia4Belgium "is a terrorist group," an offense that carries a 10-year jail term.

In a seven-page statement, the public prosecutor's office said one of those arrested was Fouad Belkacem (alias Abu Imran), a well-known Antwerp-based Islamist who is the main spokesman for Sharia4Belgium, and who has long called for turning Belgium into an Islamic state.

Although Belkacem had previously been sentenced to two years in prison in February 2012 for incitement to hatred and violence towards non-Muslims, he was released from prison in February 2013 and allowed to serve the rest of his sentence at home, provided he wear an ankle strap and promise not to speak with his followers. His re-arrest implies he violated the terms of his release.

Belgian prosecutor Eric Van Der Sypt told a news conference that "the investigation shows that Sharia4Belgium is part of a broad international jihadist movement" which is accused of providing ideological and martial arts training, organizing violent activities in Belgium and recruiting Islamist fighters for conflicts abroad. Van Der Sypt said Belgian authorities were aware of 33 people with links to Sharia4Belgium who were either fighting with, or on their way to fight with, al-Qaeda-inspired jihadists in Syria.

Sharia4Belgium had said in October 2012 that the organization was being dissolved, but that announcement appears to have been an example of taqiyya [dissimulation], a permitted form of deception to non-Muslims to advance the cause of Islam.

According to Stanny De Vlieger, the director of the federal judicial police in Antwerp, "The investigation shows that members of Sharia4Belgium have joined Salafi jihadists inspired by al-Qaeda and they appear to have participated in combat and even in the kidnapping and execution of those they call 'infidels.'"

Sharia4Belgium, which states that that it wants to implement Islamic Sharia law throughout Belgium, has been belligerent in its appeals to fellow Muslims to overthrow the democratic order in the country.

In one video, Belkacem declares that the black flag of Islamic jihad will "soon be flying on top of all the palaces in Europe."

The video, which has been translated into English by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), shows Belkacem dressed in military camouflage calling for the destruction of the Atomium, a monument in Brussels that is the national symbol of Belgium.

"This," Belkacem says, "is a short message to the King of Belgium and specifically to the Muslims in Belgium. This is the flag [black flag of jihad] that, Allah willing, will soon be flying on top of that building over there [the Belgian royal palace]. There you see the [Belgian] flag of the Taghut, the infidels, and soon the flag of 'there is no god but Allah' will be flying there, on top of that palace, and on top of all the other palaces in Europe, until Allah willing, we reach the White House…We will not rest, we will not stop, until this flag flies on top of that building [the royal palace]."

In September 2011, Sharia4Belgium established Belgium's first Islamic Sharia law court in Antwerp, the second-largest city in the country. Leaders of the group say the purpose of the court is to create a parallel Islamic legal system in Belgium to challenge the state's authority as the enforcer of the civil law protections guaranteed by the Belgian constitution.

The self-appointed Muslim judges running the Islamic Sharia court apply Islamic law, rather than the secular Belgian Family Law system, to resolve disputes involving questions of marriage and divorce, child custody and child support, as well as all inheritance-related matters.

Unlike Belgian civil law, Islamic Sharia law does not guarantee equal rights for men and women; critics of the Sharia court say it will undermine the rights of Muslim women in marriage and education.

Sharia4Belgium says the court in Antwerp will eventually expand its remit and handle criminal cases as well.

But Sharia4Belgium also says it expects non-Muslims to submit to Sharia law.
A partial archive of an earlier version of Sharia4Belgium's website includes a threat in the form of an invitation calling for all Belgians to convert to Islam and to submit to Sharia law or face the consequences.

The text says: "It is now 86 years since the fall of the Islamic Caliphate. The tyranny and corruption in this country [Belgium] has prevailed; we go from one scandal to another: Economic crises, paedophilia, crime, growing Islamophobia, etc.

"As in the past," it continues, " we [Muslims] have saved Europe from the dark ages, we now plan to do the same. Now we have the right solution for all crises and this is the observance of the divine law, namely Sharia. We call to implement Sharia in Belgium.

"Sharia is the perfect system for humanity...," it concludes. "As a result, we invite the royal family, parliament, all the aristocracy and every Belgian resident to submit to the light of Islam. Save yourself and your children of the painful punishment of the hereafter and grant yourself eternal life in paradise."

A cache of the background image for the Sharia4Belgium website has the black flag of jihad flying above the Belgian Parliament. Until recently, the Sharia4Belgium YouTube page (which has been shut down) was used to incite Muslims to Jihad, or Holy War. The group had posted videos with titles such as, "Jihad Is Obligatory," "Encouraging Jihad," "Duelling & Guerrilla Warfare," and "The Virtues of Martyrdom."

In a debate with Filip Dewinter, a Belgian politician who has raised public awareness of the dangers posed by radical Islam, Belkacem said: "There are a lot of Muslims in Belgian politics, which is something I cannot understand. You are either a Muslim or a democrat, you cannot be both. I have no business with infidels. My mission is to please Allah, not infidels."

Belkacem continued: "Let's turn Belgium into an Islamic state. We have enough judges, scholars and leaders who can become caliphs…Filip Dewinter is right. This is the beginning of the Islamization of Antwerp. And to all infidels: Adjust or get out!"

In an interview with the Belgian newspaper De Standaard, Anjem Choudary, a British Islamist who helped launch Sharia4Belgium in January 2010, said the implementation of Sharia law in Belgium will happen in one of the following four ways: "Either the majority of the population converts to Islam; or a foreign Islamic power conquers the country; or there will be a rebellion against the oppression of the Muslim people; or the Muslims will overthrow the ruling regime. Society will be united by Islam." 

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estrat├ęgicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook.

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Hagel to Finalize Weapons Sale to Saudi Arabia, UAE and Israel

by Nadine Makarem

The US is expected to finalize an extensive series of arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Israel during the visit of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to the region, which begins tomorrow.

The deal, worth an estimated USD 10 billion, will involve the sale of military aircraft and missiles, including the first transfer of the V-22 Osprey ‘tilt-rotor’ transport aircraft to a foreign customer, according to the New York Times. 

American sales of military equipment to states in the Gulf are widely-perceived to be aimed at deterring Iranian attempts to build up its military power. Israeli leaders have also expressed alarm at Iran’s development of nuclear technology, and have threatened to take action to prevent Iran from developing the technology and materials necessary for the construction of a nuclear weapon. 

Hagel is expected to arrive in Israel tomorrow to discuss Israeli fears regarding Iran, before visiting Saudi Arabia and the UAE to put the finishing touches to the deal following a year of behind–the–scenes negotiations. 

In striking the deal, the US has had to walk a tightrope between supporting its traditional allies without seeming to antagonize Iran, all the while ensuring that Israel is able to retain its existing edge in hi-tech weaponry without emboldening it enough to launch an attack.

A previous agreement in 2010 included a purchase of over 80 of the latest version of the F-15 fighter-bomber at a cost of almost USD 30 billion by Saudi Arabia, which are still in the process of being transferred. The current deal includes an additional 26 F-16 warplanes for the UAE, worth about USD 5 billion alone, as well as the latest long-range air-to-surface missiles for the aircraft operated by both states. 

Meanwhile, as well as the Osprey aircraft, Israel will receive KC-135 air-to-air refueling planes, missiles designed to attack air defense networks, new radars for its existing combat jets, and almost USD 3 billion in financial aid.

The US is also understood to have given assurances to its Israeli ally that the weapons supplied to the Arab states will be subject to monitoring by US Air Force training personnel, and would not be used without consultation with the US.

The latest deal also follows the decision in recent years by the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait, to purchase a range of the latest US air-defense missiles optimized for intercepting ballistic missiles.

Nadine Makarem


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UNESCO Fails to Condemn Hamas

by Michael Curtis

All objective observers of Middle Eastern affairs understand that Hamas is determined to eliminate the State of Israel. They should also understand that by its behavior in March and April 2013 Hamas, is prepared to eliminate the non-Arab or pre-Arab history of areas it controls, in similar fashion to the actions of extreme Islamists in Pakistan and Mali who have destroyed evidence of other cultures. 

The Anthedon seaport is the oldest and the first known port of Gaza, and had a continuous history from 800 B.C. to 1100 A.D. during which time it was occupied by a series of rulers from neo-Assyrians to Islamic dynasties. Originally a Phoenician harbor and later a Roman site, the area of the seaport predates any Arab settlement. It was an important link in the interchange between Europe and the Middle East as the evidence of historical and archeological evolution shows. 

Because of the evidence, ruins of Roman temples and villas, mosaic floors, stone walls of the Roman period, Hellenistic and Persian constructions, underwater archeology, the Anthedon Harbor, which had been rediscovered in 1997, was in 2012 designated an international heritage site by UNESCO (UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) which is located in Paris. This was preceded on October 31, 2011 by the appointment of Palestine, which had had observer status since 1974, as a full member of UNESCO by the overwhelming vote of 107 in favor, 14 against, and 52 abstentions. As result the United States, which has been providing 22 per cent of the budget of UNESCO, stopped its payment of $60 million to the organization. 

The Hamas-run government which rules Gaza does have a ministry of tourism but so far has given little evidence of any real concern for Education, Science, or Culture, or interest in preserving monuments. It made this abundantly clear in March 2013 by its reckless attitude and indifference concerning the heritage site of Anthedon. The military wing of Hamas, Izz ad-Din al-Qassan Brigades, destroyed part of the harbor in order to expand its military training in the area which had begun in 2002.

A reasonable expectation would be that UNESCO would condemn this destruction by Hamas of a site that it itself had called historic. But the behavior and decisions of UNESCO, like those of the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly, often depart from objectivity and rationality. (In view of this, one is not surprised that in March 2012 Syria, a country that was slaughtering its own people in a civil war, was voted, by 35 to 8, to stay as a member of the Human Rights panel of UNESCO.)

By coincidence, the 191st session of the Executive Board of UNESCO, its biannual meeting, is taking place in Paris on April 10-25, 2013. The agenda of the meeting does not include the destruction of the historic harbor. It does however include five items concerning Palestinian issues. One affirms the existence of Palestinian sites at two places revered by the Jewish community, the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem. Other items focus on protection of educational and cultural institutions in the "occupied Palestinian territories," on the reconstruction and development of Gaza, and on criticism of Israel.

The decision of UNESCO about the two holy places had been a crucial indication of the organizational bias. Israel had announced that the two sites, one of which, Rachel's Tomb, is regarded as the third holiest site in Judaism and a place of Jewish pilgrimage, should be included among its national heritage sites. However, UNESCO, led by its director Irina Bokova, declared that the two were not exclusively Jewish sites but also belonged to Christians and Muslims. Going beyond its cultural concerns into political polemics, UNESCO held that to include them as Jewish sites would harm the "peace process."

UNESCO not only ignored the fact that Christians and Muslims had built over the structures at the sites during the Crusades and the Muslim conquest of the area. It also urged Israel to remove the sites from its heritage list because they were an "integral part of the occupied territories." It was thus minimizing the connection between Israel and the Jewish people and their cultural heritage as well as making a political statement.

In view of his more recent remarks about Israel being "a crime against humanity," it was not surprising that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan remarked at the time that the two places are "not and never will be Jewish sites, but are Islamic sites." Most recently, in February 2013, Palestinian rioters have thrown firebombs and grenades at Rachel's Tomb, arguably as a consequence of the UNESCO decision,

Even some individuals in Gaza more concerned with human rights than UNESCO appears to be have appealed to the Prime Minister of Gaza, Ismael Haniyeh, to "rescue" the historic site. They shame UNESCO in arguing that what happened at the ancient Harbor of Gaza is a serious harm to Palestinian culture and history.

For some time UNESCO has been politicized as another weapon in the non-military campaign against Israel, a country that has been singled out for alleged violations of international resolutions and human rights. It is unclear why, at this moment when the United States is concerned with financial problems, the Obama Administration is requesting another $77.7 million to fund UNESCO. In 1984, President Reagan withdrew the United States from UNESCO because of its poor management and its hostility to "the basic institutions of a free society, especially a free market and a free press." The U.S. in 2003, believing that UNESCO had introduced some reforms, did rejoin the organization. Yet the fact that it was only in 2011 that UNESCO ended its financial support for a Palestinian children's magazine that featured anti-Semitic content and praise of Adolf Hitler suggests that real reform is a long way off.

Michael Curtis


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Dempsey: U.S. Might be Unable to Secure All Syrian Chem Stocks

by Diane Barnes

The top U.S. military official on Wednesday said he is not fully confident that armed intervention could secure Syria's entire chemical arsenal.

"They’ve been moving it and the number of sites is quite numerous,” U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee in afternoon testimony.

Dempsey's warning echoed cautionary remarks issued last week by National Intelligence Director James Clapper. Syrian President Bashar Assad's embattled government is widely believed to hold hundreds of tons of blister and nerve agents.

“If we had confidence [that] the opposition ... could secure [Syria's chemical stockpile], then we could secure it," Dempsey said.

He added, though, that Syrian opposition forces have opposed any foreign military intervention in the country.

"If we had to go in there, it would be nonpermissive," Dempsey said.

Separately, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the Pentagon "is funding over $70 million for activities in Jordan, including providing training and equipment to detect and stop any [chemical weapons] transfer along its border with Syria."

Diane Barnes


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Bombing Suspects Lauded Jihad

by IPT News

[Editor's Note: This article was posted before Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured, but the information about who he is and what motivated him is no less relevant.]

While police in and around Boston hunt for 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the suspected Boston Marathon bombers, information gathered from various social media outlets indicate that he and his brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, harbored radical Islamic beliefs.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed overnight as police closed in on him and the hunt for Dzhokhar remains active. An MIT security officer was shot and killed in the firefight.

This is believed to be Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's Youtube page. Several of the posts feature radical Islamic rhetoric. In addition, a graphic video about Syria appears on Tsarnaev's page on a Russian version of Facebook.

The brothers came to the United States from Chechnya, a predominantly Muslim state which declared independence from Russia in 1991, resulting in years of violence and terrorist strikes. Another video Tsarnaev posted was simply called "Terrorists." But that video has been taken down. Yet another that was posted last summer, lauds "The promised emergence of the black flags from the promised land of Khorasan." It celebrates jihadis posing "with a flag of the Taliban's Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan," the Long War Journal reported. The video has an apocalyptic message anticipating a time when the forces of Islam, led by the Mahdi, the Guided One, will conquer the world prior to the Day of Judgment. Part of this battle will be the conquest of the Holy Land.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a boxer who told an interviewer in 2009 that he had no American friends. "I don't understand them," he said. An wish list believed to be Tamerlan's includes several books on forgery and the books The Lone Wolf And the Bear: Three Centuries of Chechen Defiance of Russian Rule and Allah's Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya, New Edition.

Eric Mercado, a former high school classmate of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, told CNN that he and his friends remember a conversation in which Tsarnaev said, "When justified, terrorism isn't necessarily a bad thing." The comment was dismissed as outlandish. "No one wants to believe that their friend from high school is a quote-unquote 'terrorist,'" Mercado said.

The bombs, reportedly packed inside pressure cookers, bear striking resemblances to instructions offered by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula's Inspire magazine. One article suggested that pressure cooker bombs should be "placed in crowded areas and left to blow up. More than one of these could be planted to explode at the same time. However, keep in mind that the range of the shrapnel in this operation is short range so the pressurized cooker or pipe should be placed close to the intended targets and should not be concealed from them by barriers such as walls."

IPT News


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American Laws for American Courts Legislation Wins Major Bipartisan Victory in Oklahoma

by David Reaboi

Oklahoma City, OK April 19, 2013—The American Laws for American Courts legislation to protect the fundamental constitutional rights of all Oklahoma residents against foreign legal doctrines, such as Shariah, was signed into law today by Governor Mary Fallin.
This unequivocal victory for Oklahoma and US law is the latest vindication of a long-term national trend supporting constitutional protections for ALL Americans  against foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines, such as Shariah, that have found their way into our court systems.
Center for Security Policy President and Chief Executive Officer Frank Gaffney applauded the passage into law of this important legislation:
“Oklahoma has played an important role in protecting America’s justice system from the incursion of foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines, such as Shariah. American Laws for American Courts is the primary 21st Century civil rights initiative to ensure constitutional liberties for all Americans. It is needed especially to protect women and children, who have been identified by international human rights organizations as the primary victims of discriminatory foreign laws, Shariah in particular.”         
The bill won a decisive bipartisan victory in both houses of the Oklahoma legislature. It was approved in the House of Representatives by an 85-7 margin and in the Senate by a 40-3 margin.
The legislation, sponsored by State Representative Sally Rogers Kern in the House and State Senator Gary Stanislawski in the Senate, is based closely on the American Laws for American Courts model promoted by the American Public Policy Alliance (APPA), which had previously won similar bipartisan approvals in Tennessee, Louisiana, Arizona and Kansas.
Representative Sally Kern stated:
"Today the will of the vast majority of the citizens of Oklahoman was acknowledged when HB1060, American Law for American Courts, was signed by Gov Fallin. Three years ago 71% of the voters approved State Question 755 prohibiting the use of Sharia Law in Oklahoma. That SQ was declared unconstitutional because it named a particular group. I have worked for three years to get ALAC passed so that the citizens of Oklahoma will be protected by the fundamental rights and liberties that our US Constitutional upholds without the fear of any foreign law being used against them."
A host of community and interfaith organizations came together to support the effort to pass this important legislation in Oklahoma, which culminated in the signing on Thursday.

David Reaboi

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

How UNRWA Steals Money from Those Who Need It Most

by Evelyn Gordon

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees is threatening to end relief operations for Syrian refugees, who currently number 1.3 million and counting, if it doesn’t receive the necessary funds soon. The agency says it has received only a third of the $1 billion it needs through June, and only $400 million of the $1.5 billion donors pledged earlier this year. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has warned explicitly that absent more funds, UNHCR will have to stop distributing food to refugees in Lebanon next month. And Jordan, which has the largest population of Syrian refugees, is threatening to close its borders to new entrants unless more aid is forthcoming urgently.

Meanwhile, another UN agency enjoys comfortable funding of about $1 billion a year to help a very different group of refugees–refugees who generally live in permanent homes rather than flimsy tents in makeshift camps; who have never faced the trauma of flight and dislocation, having lived all their lives in the place where they were born; who often have jobs that provide an income on top of their refugee benefits; and who enjoy regular access to schooling, healthcare and all the other benefits of non-refugee life. In short, these “refugees” are infinitely better off than their Syrian brethren–yet their generous funding continues undisturbed even as Syrian refugees are facing the imminent loss of such basics as food and fresh water. I am talking, of course, about UNRWA.

It has long been clear that UNRWA–which deals solely with Palestinian refugees, while UNHCR bears responsibility for all other refugees on the planet–is a major obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace. Since, unlike UNHCR, it grants refugee status to the original refugees’ descendants in perpetuity, the number of Palestinian refugees has ballooned from under 700,000 in 1949 to over five million today, even as the world’s non-Palestinian refugee population has shrunk from over 100 million to under 30 million. Moreover, while UNHCR’s primary goal is to resettle refugees, UNRWA hasn’t resettled a single refugee in its history: By its definition, refugees remain refugees even after acquiring citizenship in another country. It has thereby perpetuated and exacerbated the Palestinian refugee problem to the point where it has become the single greatest obstacle to an Israeli-Palestinian agreement: Israel cannot absorb five million Palestinian refugees (though it could easily absorb the fewer than 50,000 original refugees who still remain alive), yet under UNRWA’s rules, refugee status can’t be ended except by resettlement in Israel.

But an even more basic reason for abolishing UNRWA is the harm it does to the world’s most vulnerable people–real refugees like the Syrians. Were the Palestinians handled by UNHCR like all other refugees are, UNHCR would have the budgetary flexibility to temporarily divert aid from the Palestinians, who need it far less, to people who need it more, like the Syrians today. Instead, it is forced to watch helplessly as Syrian refugees go roofless and hungry while $1 billion in aid is squandered on Palestinians with homes, jobs, and all the comforts of settled life. 

Thus, anyone who claims to have a shred of genuine humanitarian concern ought to be agitating for UNRWA’s abolition and the Palestinians’ transfer to UNHCR’s auspices. Unfortunately for the Syrians, it seems that many of the world’s self-proclaimed humanitarians prefer harming Israel to helping those who need it most.
Evelyn Gordon


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Palestinians Cheer While America Mourns

by Ari Lieberman


On April 16, Palestinians in Gaza cheered. They danced in the streets and handed out candy and sweets to motorists and pedestrians alike. They were not however celebrating the inauguration of a new school or the completion of a hospital. Instead, they were celebrating death. On April 16, Palestinians of Gaza celebrated the Boston marathon atrocity. While our first responders were picking up severed limbs and tending to the wounded, Palestinians reveled in Boston’s misery.

The Palestinian reaction to the horrific events in Boston was unsurprising and was in fact quite predictable. After the 9-11 attacks that killed 3,000 people, the Palestinian response was quite similar. Old women were seen shrieking in jubilation while children passed out sweets and men cheered approvingly.

These are Israel’s so-called “peace partners.” These are the people who are demanding that Israel relinquish all the land liberated during the Six-Day War of 1967. And these are the people who want to establish a twenty-third dysfunctional Arab state called “Palestine” alongside Israel’s most vulnerable and populated areas.

April 17, 2013 marks the seventh anniversary of the Rosh Ha’ir suicide bombing in Tel-Aviv that claimed the lives of 11 civilians including Florida resident, 16-year-old Daniel Wultz. Then as now, civilians were targeted and murdered simply because they believed in freedom. Then as now, those who prepared the bombs made sure to pack them with an assortment of shrapnel to inflict maximum bloodletting. And then as now, Palestinian Arabs cheered as they witnessed mothers looking for their missing children and men unable to get up off the floor because of severed limbs. Their perverted culture – a culture that revels in death and destruction – encourages this type of aberrant reaction to the sufferings of others.

The Boston massacre and Rosh Ha’ir Arab homicide attack underscore the fact that the U.S. and Israel are inexorably bound by shared moral values and principles and it is precisely these principles – those which extol freedom and democracy – that infuriate our enemies. The Arab world, deeply suspicious, distrustful, misogynistic and xenophobic, is mired in medieval backwardness. Their hatred of the West, judging by their deviant reaction to the killing of innocents in Boston, New York and Tel-Aviv, is palpable.

It is time for those in the West who sanctimoniously clamor for the creation of a Palestinian state, to take a closer look at the people they are advocating for. People who cheer when civilians are butchered deserve their own [insane] asylum, not statehood.

Ari Lieberman


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