Saturday, January 11, 2014

Palestinian State -- a US Interest?

by Yoram Ettinger

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is preoccupied with the attempt to establish a Palestinian state, as a means to advance peace and American interests. However, Congress -- which is charged by the constitution with supervising the administration -- has yet to conduct hearings on the impact of the proposed Palestinian state upon vital U.S. interests. Congress cannot relinquish its constitutional responsibility to probe, independently, the critical implications of a Palestinian state upon the U.S. economy, core values, and homeland and national security, as well as upon the stability of pro-U.S. Arab regimes in particular, and the Middle East in general.

Independent congressional scrutiny of this Palestinian state-driven policy is doubly essential against the backdrop of the systematic U.S. Middle East policy failures since 1947.

The U.S. administration track record

In 1948, the U.S. State Department opposed the establishment of a Jewish state. Assuming that Israel would be an ally of the Communist Bloc, and expecting Israel to be devastated by the invading Arab armies, the administration imposed a regional military embargo, while the British supplied arms to Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.

During the 1950s, the U.S. administration courted the Egyptian dictator, President Gamal Abdel Nasser, in an attempt to remove him from Soviet influence, offering financial aid and pressuring Israel to "end the occupation of the Negev," internationalize Western Jerusalem and evacuate the whole of Sinai. Instead, Nasser intensified his pro-USSR policy, subversion of pro-U.S. Arab regimes and support of Palestinian terrorism.

During the 1970s and 1980s, until the invasion of Kuwait, the U.S. administration supported Iraqi President Saddam Hussein through an intelligence-sharing agreement, the transfer of sensitive dual-use U.S. technologies and approval of five billion dollar loan guarantees.

In 1977, the administration, initially, opposed the Begin-Sadat peace initiative, lobbied for an international conference, and finally jumped on the peace bandwagon.

In 1979, the administration abandoned the Shah of Iran, facilitating the rise of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, which transformed Iran from a top ally of the U.S. to its sworn enemy.

From 1993 to 2000, the administration embraced Arafat as the harbinger of peace and democracy, elevating him to Most Frequent Visitor status in the White House. 

In 2005 and 2006, the administration encouraged the uprooting of Jewish communities from Gaza and the participation of Hamas in the Palestinian election, deluding itself that both would advance the cause of moderation, stability and peace.

In 2009, the administration turned its back on pro-U.S. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, facilitating the rise to power of the anti-U.S., transnational-terrorist Muslim Brotherhood. In 2011, the administration participated in the toppling of Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi's regime of terror, intensifying chaos in Libya, which has become an exporter of military systems to Muslim terrorist organizations. In 2013, the administration handed Russia an unexpected Syrian bonus. In 2014, the administration has managed to instill panic in Saudi Arabia and other Arab states, which are concerned about the U.S. potentially transforming Tehran from a controllable tactical -- to an uncontrollable strategic -- threat.

Mahmoud Abbas' track record

The background of Palestinian Authority President and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Mahmoud Abbas -- ostensibly a moderate compared with Hamas -- sheds light on the likely nature of the proposed Palestinian state. 

Abbas speaks fluent Russian as a result of his KGB training and his studies at Moscow's Patrice Lumumba University, where he wrote a Holocaust-denying doctoral thesis. He was the architect of PLO ties with the USSR and other ruthless communist regimes. In 1972, he oversaw the logistics of the Munich massacre of eleven Israeli athletes. In the late 1950s, 1966 and 1970, he fled Egypt, Syria and Jordan because of subversion. During the 1970s and 1980s he participated in the Palestinian plundering of southern Lebanon and the attempts to topple the central regime in Beirut, which triggered the 1976 Syrian invasion of Lebanon and a series of civil wars, causing some 200,000 fatalities and hundreds of thousands of refugees. In 1990, Abbas collaborated with Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, despite Kuwait's unique hospitality to 300,000 PLO-affiliated Palestinians. In 1993, he established the Palestinian Authority hate education system -- a most effective production line of terrorists. 

The impact on the Middle East

During the October 1994 signing of the Israel-Jordan peace treaty, top Jordanian military commanders urged their Israeli counterparts to refrain from establishing a Palestinian state, "lest it destroy the [pro-U.S.] Hashemite regime." Coupled with a terror-dominated Iraq, it would initiate a domino scenario, sweeping Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other oil-producing Arab regimes, causing havoc to the supply and price of oil and devastating the U.S. economy. 

Abbas' PLO was an early ally of Khomeini. Moreover, following his 2005 replacement of Arafat, Abbas' first visits were to Tehran and Damascus. A Palestinian state -- whether controlled by the PLO or (most probably) Hamas -- would provide Iran, as well as Russia, China and North Korea, improved access to the eastern flank of the Mediterranean, at the expense of the U.S. 

In 1994, the Palestinian Authority was established by PLO graduates of terrorist bases in the Sudan, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya and Tunisia, generating a robust tailwind to global Islamic terrorism. It has become a major terror academy, exporting terrorists to Iraq, Afghanistan, Latin America, Africa and Europe. Thus, the Palestinian Authority has sustained the legacy of Abbas' PLO, which has been the role model of international and Islamic terrorism, training worldwide terrorists in Jordan (1968-1970) and Lebanon (1970-1982). The PLO introduced commercial aircraft hijacking, carried out the 1973 murder of the U.S. ambassador to Sudan, and participated in the 1983 murder of 300 U.S. Marines in Lebanon.

A Palestinian state would reward a regime which is referred to by much of its population as "modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah," and has driven Christians away from Bethlehem. It would add another anti-U.S. vote at the U.N.

Both Hamas and the PLO follow in the footsteps of Palestinian leaders, who collaborated with Nazi Germany, the Communist Bloc, Khomeini, Saddam and bin Laden, and currently with Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba and other rogue regimes.

Hence, the proposal to establish a Palestinian state proves that policymakers are determined to learn from history by repeating -- rather than avoiding -- past dramatic blunders. 

Thorough congressional supervision could spare the U.S. a blow to its economic and national security interests.

Yoram Ettinger


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

How Saudi Hate Propaganda Empowered Iran

by James Lewis

Genocidal hate propaganda is back in the world, though it's never reported in the American and European media.  To report the constant stream of hate agitation against the West and Israel would undermine the socialist-Islamist alliance that apparently has run the world since Arab oil embargo of 1973.  On the web, is a scholarly source of translations of daily hate agitation among the hundreds of millions of people who speak Arabic, Urdu, and Persian (Farsi).  They are constantly drenched in ugly racial and cultural hatred.  

One part of that hate industry is paid for by Sunni Muslims like the Saudis and the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt.  Independently, the Iranian Shi'ites run both agit-prop and influence-buying operations in Europe and the United States.  In Italy the neo-fascist Five Star Movement dances to the tune played by the mullahs of Iran.

It now seems that modern jihadist warfare against the West started with the Arab oil embargo of 1973.  As Thomas Lifson has hinted in these pages, the Western green movements rose to tremendous power in countries like Germany about the same time.  Contrary to liberal delusions, oil powers and green politicians like Al Gore have huge common interests in blocking domestic energy production.  Lock down US oil production, and the Gulf Arabs and Iranians will control the price of oil from the biggest spigot in the world.  By squeezing the oil supply, greens and oil dictocrats have been buying political and media power since 1973.  By 1979, Jimmy Carter signaled American surrender to one of the biggest Gulf oil producers, the Iranian regime run by the medieval reactionary regime of  Ayatollah Khomeini. 

Those nice folks are now within months or so of obtaining nuclear weapons, any time they decide to sprint to the finish.  With that sword hanging over our heads, President Obama, who has failed to act against Iran's nuclear development for five years, is now conducting "peace" negotiations combining the US, Russia, the EU and Iran.  The first product of that gang of political thieves and robbers has been an open surrender to Iran's nuclear and great power ambitions. 

In other words, over the last five years Obama has lied and lied about America's intentions to block Iranian nukes, assuring the world that the martyrdom ideology of Iran would never be allowed to get the ultimate weapon of genocide.  It now seems that Obama has deliberately facilitated Iran's nukes with the aim of coercing Israel to withdraw to its 1948 ceasefire lines.  Which is where things stand right now. 

The enormous risk of Obama's brinkmanship is that Iran is inherently irrational in nuclear terms, constantly indoctrinating its children in the virtues of martyrdom in war.  Normal nuclear powers evolve toward stability, because they are not suicidal.  But a suicide-worshipping regime like Imperial Japan would have had no inhibitions about using nukes in a self-destructive Götterdämerung.  Hitler in his bunker would have used nukes.  Suicidal cult leaders like Jim Jones would use nukes.  And martyrdom-preaching mullahs might do so as well.  By protecting Iran's nuclear development over the last five years, Obama is therefore juggling with live grenades. 

Try dancing on a tightrope with nukes at stake and chances are dangerously high that somebody will fall off.  Since Israel is in possession of a reported 200 well-developed nukes, if it is driven to the last extreme it can go nuclear in a matter of minutes.   The same point applies to Russia, which could flatten the Iranian nuke industry in a few weeks by conventional arms alone.  Russia could also secretly facilitate an Israeli strike, as France did in the case of Saddam Hussein's nuclear plant Osirak in 1981. 

Obama likes to play double games, but the Russians are past masters at it.  So are the Saudis and Iranians.  This is the highest-stakes nuclear poker game since the death of Josef Stalin. 

Which brings us back to the poisoned stream of hate propaganda that the Saudis, Muslim Brothers, and Iranians have been pumping out to rouse their own populations plus the Western left since 1973.  The hate campaign has rebounded against the Saudis and Egyptians -- the Sunni axis -- because its worst enemy, Iran, is now able to make nukes in a few score days.  The poisoned arrows they have been launching against Israel and the West have now rebounded against them. 

The Saudis are now seeing their biggest enemy of the last 1,400 years gaining nukes as a result of all that hate propaganda.  It's not Israel but Iran that threatens Saudi family control over the Arabian Peninsula and its black gold.  Iran is the biggest Shi'ite power, just as the Saudi-Egyptian axis is the biggest Sunni power in the Middle East.  Egypt can provide the military manpower that Saudi Arabia needs.  The Saudis therefore desperately need Egypt, and Egypt needs Saudi money because it can't grow enough food for its people.  The Saudis therefore use their oil billions to support Egypt, and the Egyptian army guarantees Saudi safety against the Shi'ite heresy, only fifty miles away from Saudi Arabia, across the Gulf. 

Enter Obama, who presented his Epistle to the Muslims from Al Azhar University in Egypt five years ago, promising a pro-Muslim American policy and damn the consequences.  But there is no single Muslim world.  Islam is split into a thousand factions, from giant sectarian divisions like the Sunnis and Shi'ites, down to ancient vendettas between tribes and families. 

Four Muslim societies are now in the breakdown phase: Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya.  They are splintered in a Hobbesian war of all against all. 

Other Muslim regimes are teetering on the brink.  Saudi Arabia is subject to infiltration by Iran (which tried to overthrow the Saudis during the hajj to Mecca during the Khomeini years).  Smaller Gulf fiefdoms like Bahrain already have a majority Shi'ite population. 

Therefore Saudi Arabia is facing the same danger of disintegration.  Iran is constantly stirring up ancient hatreds and jealousies in the Arabian Peninsula itself.   The Saud family has only been in power for a hundred years, a smidgen of time in the way Islam counts time.  The Saudis were leveraged into power during World War I, when the Brits sent in Lawrence of Arabia to stir up an Arabian revolt against the Ottoman Turks.  Both the Saudis and the Hashemites royals were elevated to power as puppets of the British Empire. 

 Iran has always lusted to control the Arabian Peninsula, not just for its oil, but for its twin holy cities, Mecca and Medina.  Once Iran infiltrates and subverts the Arabs to overthrow the Saudi regime, they will be the protectors of the hajj pilgrimage, mandated as one of the primary duties of every Muslim.  Iran will then swing overwhelming power in the Muslim world.  At this time only 20% of Muslims follow Shi'ism.  Give the mullahs all that oil clout, plus Mecca and Medina, and they might overturn Sunni control and power throughout the Muslim world.

The biggest risk of Obama's community organizing shenanigans is therefore a regional war between Sunni imperialism (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Libya) and Shi'ite imperialism (Iran, Syria, and Lebanon).  As soon as Iran goes nuclear, the Saudis and Egyptians have arranged to import nuclear weapons from Pakistan.  A regional Sunni-Shi'ite war might therefore escalate very quickly.

Five years ago Obama promised a Muslim resurgence in the world in his speech from Al Azhar University in Cairo; in fact, he quickly ordered the president of Egypt, Hozni Mubarak, to resign in favor of the much more radical Muslim Brotherhood. 

(The Moobs have multiple agents of influence in this administration and in Hillary's campaign, in the person of Huma Abedin, former editor of a Muslim Sisterhood magazine who was publicized as Hillary's closest aide at the State Dept.)

In sum, with the connivance of the Obama Administration, Iran has come out victorious so far.  That outcome may have something to do with the fact that Valerie Jarrett, Obama's alter ego, was born in Iran. 

The mullahs now have almost everything they want: Israel is surrounded by the Shi'ite Crescent, with tens of thousands of missiles and rockets ranging from Iran itself to Syria and Lebanon (controlled by Iran's proxy terror group, Hezb'allah). 

But the mullahs are totalitarians, and they want it all: Jerusalem, Mecca, Medina, and the biggest oil source in the world, in the Arabian Peninsula. 

 Iran and the Arabs are divided theologically (each side consider the others to be a heretical sect against the one, true faith, a capital crime in the Muslim world).  The Arabs are ethnically different from the Persians.  Before the rise of Islam, the Persian Empire lorded it over much of the Middle East, with a sophisticated civilization never achieved by desert tribes.  In the first generations after Muhammed, Muslim jihadists swept out of Arabia and conquered both the Persian Empire and the Byzantine (Christian) Empire of North Africa and contemporary Turkey.

Such religious, racial, linguistic, political, dynastic and emotional fissures run very, very deep in the Muslim world. 

No wonder the Saudis are shaking in their sandals, watching their ancient Persian enemies rise to power only minutes away from their shores, as the rocket flies.  And not just the Saudis, but also the Egyptians, who are afraid of their own Muslim Brotherhood, Obama's allies whom he keeps trying to empower in Egypt, Jordan, and the rest. 

In the Benghazi scandal we found out that the United States, in the person of Ambassador Stevens, was actually supplying arms to an estimated 60,000 Al Qaeda rebels in Syria.  Why? The answer is the Shi'ite Crescent of Iran, Syria, and Lebanon.  Al Qaeda rebels in Syria are Sunni Muslims, while the Assad dictatorship in Syria is Shi'ite.  Naturally, the Saudi Sunnis have done everything in their power to slice the Shi'ite Crescent (Iran, Syria, Lebanon) in half.  The Saudis have therefore sponsored and armed murderous AQ rebels, who literally decapitated children in the village of Maloula, where the language of Jesus is still spoken, as we saw in iPhone photos that flashed around the internet.  Killing Christians and Jews is what AQ does best, as Americans should have learned after 9/11/01.  But in a pinch they will also kill Shi'ites, like the Assad regime in Syria.

When Ansar al Shari'a, an AQ-linked group, killed our ambassador and four other Americans in Benghazi, it was essentially a corrupt arms deal gone wrong.  The United States colluded with France and other European countries to overthrow Gadhafi in Libya, with Ambassador Stevens acting as the point man.  Stevens, who is a CIA plant under State Department cover, then worked to smuggle Gadhafi's vast arms supplies to the Sunni rebels in Syria.  That plot failed, because nobody can make a reliable agreement with the AQ's, who are themselves sliced and diced in the usual way of the Muslim world.  Ansar al-Sharia therefore decided to burn out the Americans at the Benghazi arms depot, and, according to some reports, steal tens of thousands of MANPAD anti-aircraft missiles for their own use. 

Obama spun many layers of lies and distractions to cover up Benghazi, which occurred only weeks before the presidential election.  The US media colluded in a massive cover-up, keeping American voters in the dark during the most crucial election of our lifetimes. 

If there is any consolation in the most bizarre and unnecessary conspiracy this country has ever engaged in, it is that Obama has met his foreign policy nemesis.  Domestically ObamaCare is teetering on the brink of failure.  In foreign policy every government in the world has been watching Obama's high wire juggling act in the Middle East in horrified fascination.  And the Saudis are now reaping the just harvest of anti-American and anti-Israel hatred they have sown throughout the Middle East and the world since 1973.  If Iran conquers the Arabian Peninsula the Saudis will have no one to blame but themselves. 

Obama still hopes to come out of this nuclear brinkmanship smelling like a rose, and if the worldwide media keep covering up the facts, he might still do so.  But all the dominos have to fall the right way, and in the newly "organized" Middle East, the chances of that happening are slim to none.

James Lewis


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

In Time for '14: IRS to Ramp Up Conservative Groups' Harassment

by J. Robert Smith

Ernest Istook's lead at the Washington Times says it best:

The Internal Revenue Service is getting a special new power: a "license to kill" groups that oppose the Obama agenda. James Bond's license to kill isn't nearly as broad.

Then this from Istook:

Meantime, Obama will do his usual posturing, preening and accusing, claiming he's protecting democracy from abusive secretive groups backed by "dark money" from fat cat donors. His actual agenda is to silence and punish those who disagree with him. The White House will hide behind the IRS. In turn, the IRS will hide behind a claim of protecting taxpayer confidentiality; they will stonewall both the public and the Congress.
Istook reports that the IRS will be operating under a new regulation this election year that redefines "common voter information activities by re-naming them 'candidate-related political activity.'"  That's if Congress fails to step in and quash the regulation in the next couple of weeks. 

In essence, the agency intends to tax speech aimed at serving an organization's goals; voter education about an issue or issues related to the organization's mission will be deemed candidate advocacy or restricted speech.        

As Istook writes, this amounts to a gag rule against 501(c)(4) groups, which are principally vehicles used by Tea Party and other conservative grassroots groups to conduct voter education campaigns.  Let's add that the IRS has demonstrated a propensity for "selective enforcement," given the facts of the unresolved scandal involving the nation's federal tax agency. 

If the new regulation is enacted, the earlier tacitly-backed White House effort by the IRS to intimidate and stall the creation of conservative groups by delaying their tax status will take on a new sinister turn.

In 2014, liberal 501(c)(4) groups could get passes while conservative groups get tagged.  But it matters not to Democrats, anyway.  Political parties and labor unions, chiefly, are exempt.  Note that Democrats' election year muscle comes mainly from unions. 

Writes Istook:

Even while Obama tries to suppress the Tea Party and conservatives, he will continue to use government resources for his propaganda, like the $684-million (minimum) spent to promote Obamacare. He also has the IRS's $12-billion budget. It's scary to contemplate the manpower and gadgetry that Obama's IRS can marshal against his political opponents. It far outweighs what MI-6 and Q could provide to James Bond.

As Istook points out, Congress has the power to stop this regulation.  It's important that Congress hear from citizens, though.  There's also a public comment period underway to formally register opposition to this speech-muzzling regulation.  Istook lays out the steps for recording opposition in his commentary.  

Chicago politics and Alinsky acolyte Barack Obama intends to continue to use the IRS to shutdown his opposition.  The Democrats have a critical need to hold the Senate in 2014, otherwise, Mr. Obama loses what remains of his leverage in Congress.  And a Republican-controlled Congress can then send measures to the president's desk repealing ObamaCare or portions thereof, among other voter-backed initiatives.  That would force the president to issue plenty of unpopular vetoes.   

Tea Party activists and grassroots conservatives need to voice their strong opposition now.

J. Robert Smith


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

As Obama Dithers, Egypt Ramps up its Nuclear Options

by Raymond Stock

After the fatally-flawed interim deal signed by the P5+1 in Geneva November 24 over Iran's nuclear program, America's slighted ally Egypt is now possibly pursuing its own nuclear option, amid fears of an atomic arms race between Tehran and its regional Sunni rivals in Cairo, Riyadh and beyond.

And no one seems to be paying attention.

Egypt's traditionally close relations with the U.S. have been severely strained since Minister of Defense General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi ousted the narrowly-elected President Mohamed Morsi after more than thirty million marched against him and the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), to which he belongs.

To the outrage of most Egyptians, the U.S. cut roughly a third in cash and equipment of its annual $1.6 billion of mainly military aid to Cairo in early October in punishment for the new regime's crackdown on the MB, which demands the return of Morsi -- and which Egypt now correctly classifies as a terrorist organization.

Yet the White House had boosted aid to Egypt even as Morsi grew more and more repressive, imposing his Islamist agenda on the country.

On October 6, Egypt's interim president, Adly Mansour, announced at the annual commemoration of Egypt's successful 1973 surprise attack on the Israelis across the Suez Canal that construction of a 1,000 MW light-water reactor to generate electricity at El-Debaa, 120 kilometers west of Alexandria -- the first of four planned in the country -- would go ahead.

Egypt's 60-year-old nuclear program is already the third largest in the region, after those of Israel and Iran.

On November 26, the respected Middle East news site Al-Monitor reported that Egypt expects to generate $4 billion in grants from interested international companies to finance the project.

Morsi, whom al-Sisi appointed Mansour to replace pending new elections next year, had earlier approved a similar plan, even obtaining a pledge of Russian "research assistance" for Egypt's nuclear expansion, as well as help in exploiting the nation's previously unknown major deposits of uranium.

In mid-November, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu visited Egypt, where they negotiated a deal through which Egypt will buy $2 billion worth of Russian military equipment.

"We want to give a new impetus to our relations and return them to the same high level that used to exist with the Soviet Union"—i.e., during the Cold War--Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmi is quoted as saying.

On November 11, the destroyer Varyag docked with an official welcome at Alexandria, the first Russian warship to visit one of Egypt's ports in decades.

It is not known if the Russians and their hosts also discussed Egypt's nuclear program in those talks.

Morsi -- whom the Iranians too had offered to help develop his nuclear program, and with whom he worked to have closer ties after three decades of frozen relations--was most likely interested in acquiring nuclear weapons, for which the MB has called since 2006.

That idea is still wildly popular in Egypt, even if the MB no longer is.

Yet unlike Iran, a major oil exporter, Egypt really does have an urgent, legitimate need to develop new sources of energy.

Rolling brownouts and blackouts have been increasingly common, especially in post-Mubarak Egypt.

But as al-Sisi and Obama drift further apart, there are good reasons to be aware, if not wary, of Egypt's push for nuclear power.

Egypt's nuclear program, which began in 1954, features two research reactors and a hot-cell laboratory, all located at Inshas in the Delta.

From the reactors' spent fuel rods, the hot-cell laboratory reportedly extracts at least six kilograms of plutonium -- enough for one nuclear bomb -- per year.

During the rule of Hosni Mubarak -- overthrown in February 2011 in a U.S.-backed coup propelled by public protests--the International Agency for Atomic Energy (IAEA) in 2004 opened an investigation into irradiation experiments and the unreported import of nuclear materials, and in 2007 and 2008 found traces of Highly-Enriched Uranium (HEU), all at Inshas.

After each, the IAEA issued brief, bland reports, but the last case is apparently still open, while similar traces of HEU found in facilities in Iran provided the first clue that Pakistan had been aiding Tehran's own drive for the bomb.

Mubarak also called for a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone (WMDFZ) in the Middle East--now a movement, co-led by Iran, obviously aimed at freeing Israel of its most effective last-ditch defenses.

Yet, although Egypt signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968, it has refused to sign the NPT's Additional Protocol, which permits spot inspections, as well as treaties banning the possession of chemical and biological weapons.

Al-Sisi shares Mubarak's antipathy for the ayatollahs, and rightly fears their growing rapprochement with a gullible U.S. eager to create a new alignment in the Middle East, at the expense of traditional Sunni allies.

That means not only Egypt but Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), who ultimately felt threatened by the MB in Egypt (the UAE is now prosecuting about thirty MB members accused of plotting subversion), which the Obama administration continues to stand by instead, despite the group's anti-Western ideology and actions.

There is now enormous support on the street for Egypt to shift its alliance away from the U.S., particularly toward Russia, especially after President Vladimir Putin's masterful diplomatic deflection of America's pusillanimous threat of a military strike against Moscow's Syrian client last fall.

The rift is not yet complete- -- though there still is no clear sign that the Obama administration will either fully accept the loss of Morsi, or actually stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and the means of delivering them.

Whatever Iran chooses to do when it finally gets the bomb, its very proximity to having these ultimate weapons could impel its neighbors to seek their own deterrent.

Sadly, no deterrent nor strategy of containment can control the dynamics of this most unstable region should Iran achieve its ultimate nuclear ambitions.

And a nuclear arms race between the Sunni states and Iran -- also, in the end, aimed at Israel -- would be even worse.

Raymond Stock, a Shillman-Ginsburg Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a former Assistant Professor of Arabic and Middle East Studies at Drew University, spent twenty years in Egypt, and was deported by the Mubarak regime in 2010.
Source: Fox News;

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Shurat HaDin Threatens Action Over ASA Boycott

by Elad Benari

Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Center, a Tel-Aviv based civil rights organization which has pioneered the use of legal actions against anti-Jewish and anti-Israel individuals and organizations in courtrooms around the world, on Thursday put the American Studies Association (ASA) on notice in the wake of its decision to adopt a resolution promoting an academic boycott of Israel.

In a statement, Shurat HaDin noted that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement’s academic boycott and the ASA’s December 17, 2013 resolution adopting it, represent unlawful racial discrimination on the basis of national origin and race, creed or religion as described under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (“Anti-Racism Convention”) and numerous other state and federal statutes in the United States.

“While anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli individuals and organizations around the world seek to harm Israel and its people using warfare, terrorism, and other illegal or deceitful tactics, Shurat HaDin believes in using existing laws to attain its objectives,” said the organization.

The organization has written a letter to  ASA president-elect Elizabeth Duggan, notifying  her it represents several Israeli professors and warning of their intention to file suit against the ASA in the United States courts, should it not take all immediate steps to cancel the boycott of Israeli institutions and academics.

In justifying its decision to boycott Israel, the ASA said the boycott was “in solidarity with scholars and students deprived of their academic freedom, and it aspires to enlarge that freedom for all, including Palestinians.”

The letter, signed by New York attorney Robert Tolchin and Shurat HaDin director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner,  notes that the BDS movement, by its very definition, seeks to make distinctions between, impose restrictions on and impose adverse preferences based on the Israeli national origin of goods, services, persons and organizations.

The movement also in effect makes a distinction between, imposes restrictions on and imposes adverse preference based Jewish racial and ethnic origin and the Israeli ethnic origin, notes the letter.

“While past cultural boycotts of Israel organized by the BDS movement have consisted of attempts to deprive the Israeli public of overseas performers planning to tour Israel by harassing them upon the announcement of concert dates and conversely, of Israeli cultural groups which tour other countries, academic boycotts attempt to sever ties between Israeli universities and local universities or prevent Israeli academics from lecturing,” said Shurat HaDin.

“Not only does this damage the local institution as much, if not more than the Israeli one, but it delivers no political message other than anti-Semitism,” it added.

“The December 2013 resolution by the ASA - adopted by only a portion of its membership - is the culmination of a long history of the resolution being circulated several times in the past few years - first in 2006, in response to the Second Lebanon War and then again in 2009, in the wake of Israel's Operation Cast Lead,” said Shurat HaDin.

Darshan-Leitner said, “It is quite simple, the law in the United States prohibits discrimination on the basis of any protected characteristic, faith, ethnicity, sexuality or disability.  The ASA boycott which targets Israelis because they are Israelis and Jews is illegal.”

“We commend those professors and academic institutions who have distanced themselves from this blinkered and hateful boycott, and we want to support their efforts by seeking legal clarification that the boycott amounts to unlawful discrimination based upon national origin.  One can only imagine the uproar if the boycott’s wording had the word gay, black or blind instead of Israel,” she added.

“Elizabeth Duggan and the ASA are now on notice; if they do not take all necessary steps to cancel the boycott of Israeli institutions and academics and if the organization, its membership, chapters and affiliates take any additional steps to engage in or implement any conduct of boycott against Israeli institutions or academics, they may find themselves with a lawsuit brought forth by Israeli professors,” said Darshan-Leitner.

In the weeks since the boycott was declared, at least four universities have already quit the ASA in protest. So far, no universities have actually come out in support of the boycott.

Top schools including Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Princeton, Boston University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Connecticut and University of Texas, among others, have already slammed the boycott.

The head of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has expressed opposition to the academic boycott, saying, "The concept of an academic boycott is antithetical to MIT values. It fundamentally violates the principles of academic freedom that are central to the excellence of MIT and American higher education.”

Shurat HaDin has had past successes in foiling attempts to boycott Israel. The organization has also been involved in a number of court actions ranging from a lawsuit against the government of North Korea, stopping the Gaza flotilla,  and forcing the trial of Hamas terrorists for their role in suicide bombings.

It recently sued a professor at Sydney University in Australia who engaged in an anti-Israel boycott of this nature.

Elad Benari


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

Time for Honesty from Obama on Iran

by Jonathan S. Tobin

How far are Democrats willing to go to squelch efforts to put a chill on the administration’s headlong rush to embrace Iran? We got a taste of just how important the effort to prevent the enactment of tougher sanctions on Iran is to the president this week when he assigned his Jewish surrogates the job of smearing mainstream Jewish groups that have been lobbying for the bill.

As JTA reports, Rabbi Jack Moline, the head of the National Jewish Democratic Council, slammed both AIPAC and the American Jewish Committee for engaging in what he called, ““strong-arm tactics, essentially threatening people that if they don’t vote a particular way, that somehow that makes them anti-Israel or means the abandonment of the Jewish community.” That was enough to prompt David Harris, the head of the liberal-leaning AJC to wonder what exactly Moline was up to by engaging in that kind of invective on the issue:
“We support the Iran sanctions bill, as do a bipartisan majority of U.S. senators,” he said. “Can a group differ with him on a critically important issue like Iran, where potentially existential issues are at stake, without being maligned or misrepresented, or is that the price we’re supposed to pay for honest disagreement?”
Yes, that is exactly the price. Especially when the stakes involve anything that would potentially upset the administration’s effort to create a new détente with Iran. Though it is highly unlikely that proponents of the measure have enough votes to override a threatened presidential veto, the administration is not only doing its utmost to spike the effort, it is calling out the dogs in yet another attempt to intimidate those determined to speak out in favor of stricter sanctions.

The NJDC’s stand is particularly discreditable since the group is trying to have it both ways on the issue. As JTA notes:
The National Jewish Democratic Council, in an effort to back a Democratic president while not expressly opposing intensified sanctions, issued a mixed verdict on the bill, saying it does not support its passage at present though the option of intensified sanctions should remain open down the road if the president seeks it.
This is utterly disingenuous since the sanctions bill wouldn’t go into effect until the interim nuclear deal signed in November runs its full course during which the Iranians will have six months to negotiate another agreement with the West and during which they will be able to continue refining uranium. Passage of the legislation will only strengthen President Obama’s hand in his dealings with Tehran and will underscore the point that he and Secretary of State John Kerry have continually made about the Geneva accord not fundamentally weakening the economic restrictions that brought the Islamist regime to the table in the first place.

However, the context of this dispute isn’t merely a spat among Jewish groups. The administration’s position on Iran has fundamentally shifted in the last several months during which secret talks with representatives of the ayatollahs were conducted. As articles in publications like the New York Times have made clear, Washington now regards Iran as a useful partner in Syria (where Tehran has ensured the survival of its ally Bashar Assad) and in Iraq. The move to step back from confrontation with Iran over its nuclear quest predated the election of faux moderate Hassan Rouhani last summer but it has now reached the point where the White House considers any move to put more pressure on the regime as a threat to the hopes for better relations with the ayatollahs.

Just as chief White House flack Jay Carney has falsely implied that support for more sanctions is tantamount to a desire for war with Iran, Moline seems to be reading from the same playbook when he claims Jewish groups that won’t keep quiet are misbehaving. Far from stepping out of line, AIPAC and the AJC are reminding members of Congress that they can’t have it both ways. If they are sincere about their campaign pledges to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons they can’t also refuse to back more sanctions. The same point applies to the president since the position that the sanctions are not only unnecessary but a hindrance to diplomacy is illogical.

It should be remembered that this administration opposed the current sanctions regime they claim is sufficient for their purposes. But while those who back the new bill hope diplomacy succeeds, they rightly understand that nothing short of a complete shutdown of all business with Tehran, including the embargo of Iranian oil, will be enough to convince the regime that it must abandon its nuclear dream. Having already sanctioned Iran’s “right” to enrich uranium, there seems little chance that the current diplomatic track will succeed in shutting down the centrifuges or the dismantling of its nuclear infrastructure.

Contrary to the White House spin, Iran is already showing signs that it is shaking off the problems created by the existing sanctions. As Mark Dubowitz and Rachel Ziemba wrote in a piece published by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the improvement in the Iranian economy — a trend that may be rooted in a belief that the sanctions will soon be lifted — is weakening the West’s leverage over Tehran at the very moment when the president needs it the most in order to get a diplomatic solution to the nuclear standoff with Iran.

As such, the enactment of new tougher sanctions could help convince Tehran that its efforts to stall the West on the nuclear issue will fail. But the president seems more afraid of “breaking faith” with a terror-supporting, anti-Semitic regime that remains a potent strategic threat to America’s Middle East allies than he is of appearing too solicitous of the feelings of the ayatollahs.

But the administration is still nervous about appearing to have openly abandoned efforts to isolate Iran. That’s why the White House is hoping the president’s veto threats as well as the attacks on sanctions supporters by attack dogs like Moline will prevent him from having to veto a measure that bolsters his stated policy aims.

Supporters of sanctions shouldn’t be intimidated by innuendo from either Carney or Moline. It is time for the administration to be honest with the American people about its Iran policy. If it is serious about stopping Iran’s nuclear threat, it should stop opposing the new bill. If not, the administration should end its prevarications and make a straightforward, public case for détente with the tyrants of Tehran — if they dare.

Jonathan S. Tobin


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The Middle East’s Disappearing Borders

by Seth Mandel

“The last year was a good one for al Qaeda, and for jihadism more broadly,” wrote the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Daveed Gartenstein-Ross earlier this week. He continued: “Al Qaeda affiliates drove Iraq to its highest violence levels since 2007, capped off a year of increasingly sophisticated attacks in the Horn of Africa with a notorious assault on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall, and took control of entire cities in northern Syria while attracting large numbers of foreigners to that battlefield.”

The article is among a recent crop of stories that have taken the Obama administration’s triumphant declarations of success against al-Qaeda from the category of “wishful thinking” to “punch line.” Al-Qaeda does not seem to be on the run, and the wider world of jihadism seems to be thriving as well. In the Middle East and North Africa, terrorists are doing the chasing, not the retreating. But in fact there is reason to believe there is more happening here than the normal ebb and flow of terrorism in a region that is no stranger to it. The most damaging story to the Obama administration’s narrative came yesterday from CNN’s Peter Bergen:
From around Aleppo in western Syria to small areas of Falluja in central Iraq, al Qaeda now controls territory that stretches more than 400 miles across the heart of the Middle East, according to English and Arab language news accounts as well as accounts on jihadist websites.
Indeed, al Qaeda appears to control more territory in the Arab world than it has done at any time in its history.
The focus of al Qaeda’s leaders has always been regime change in the Arab world in order to install Taliban-style regimes. Al Qaeda’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri acknowledged as much in his 2001 autobiography, “Knights Under the Banner of the Prophet,” when he explained that the most important strategic goal of al Qaeda was to seize control of a state, or part of a state, somewhere in the Muslim world, explaining that, “without achieving this goal our actions will mean nothing.”
Now al-Zawahiri is closer to his goal than he has ever been. On Friday al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq seized control of parts of the city of Falluja and parts of the city of Ramadi, both of which are located in Iraq’s restive Anbar Province.
Believe it or not, this is actually worse than it looks. Al-Qaeda may be close to claiming control of key parts of a state, and since that state is Iraq it’s bad enough. But pair the chaos in Iraq with the bloodshed elsewhere in the region, and what’s at stake is the very system of nation-states in the Middle East and North Africa.

That may sound alarmist, and we’re certainly not there yet. But consider the ongoing disaster in Syria, and the Wall Street Journal’s significant story on the reality of Bashar al-Assad’s survival:
In many ways, Syria as it was known before simply doesn’t exist any longer, U.S. officials say. Its place has been taken by a shattered state riven into sectarian enclaves, radicalized by war and positioned to send worrisome ripples out across the Middle East for years to come, say current and former officials.
In fact, U.S. officials think the chances of steering the outcome have shrunk dramatically. The intelligence assessments that once showed Mr. Assad on the verge of defeat now say he could remain in power for the foreseeable future in key parts of the country bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean coast. The U.S. doesn’t think he will be able to retake the whole country again, U.S. intelligence agencies believe. Areas outside his control are fracturing into warring enclaves along ethnic and sectarian lines, abutting a new al Qaeda-affiliated haven that sweeps from Syria into Iraq.
But of course it gets worse still. An al-Qaeda haven from Syria to Iraq doesn’t include Lebanon, but that state’s devolution began before the Syrian civil war and is only being exacerbated by it. Hezbollah already has its own state carved out in southern Lebanon (in addition to having a degree of control over the broader state’s politics), and Hezbollah seems to be upgrading its firepower, smuggling weapons in from Syria.

At the same time, Avi Issacharoff has noted that the violence spilling into Lebanon from Syria is also spilling into Hezbollah’s territory, threatening to engulf the state in a full-fledged civil war. With refugees, soldiers, and jihadists streaming across borders at will, the borders themselves have begun to fade. The Washington Post’s Liz Sly got the following, chilling quote from Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt:
“From Iran to Lebanon, there are no borders anymore,” said Walid Jumblatt, the leader of Lebanon’s minority Druze community. “Officially, they are still there, but will they be a few years from now? If there is more dislocation, the whole of the Middle East will crumble.”
Sly went on to mention the upcoming centennial of World War I, after which many of these lines in the sand were drawn, as the backdrop to the Syria peace negotiations. But the days of redrawing maps at will are long gone. The more likely outcome is that these borders will mean less and less, as power devolves back to ethnic enclaves instead of centralized authority. The irony for al-Qaeda is that it is closest to its goal of controlling a state just when that goal is danger of becoming irrelevant.

Seth Mandel


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MEMRI: Animated Clip on Indoctrination to Jihad


The following report/video is a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here.

A graphic novel, "The Journey of a Mujahid with Jabhat Al-Nusra," posted on the Internet in seven installments in November and December 2013, recounts the story of Mustafa, a young Muslim living in a Western country, who goes to Syria to wage jihad. There he discovers that young men like him are callously mistreated and exploited, and sometimes even used as cannon fodder.
Following are excerpts from the graphic novel:


"The Journey of a Mujahid with Jabhat Al-Nusra"

"Part One" 

"At dawn…"


Mustafa, a Muslim youth, prays in his room 
"After a few hours…" 
Mustafa plays a war game on the computer in his bedroom 
"Red platoon: attack, attack!" 
A knock on the door 
"Knock, knock…" 
Mustafa’s father is at the door 
Father: "Mustafa, it’s noon. Are you going to stay in your room all day, playing that computer game?
"Mustafa, your mother and I want a better future for you. You’ve finished high school, and that’s it. That was four years ago. Don’t you have aspirations for the future? We brought you and your brothers to this Western country so that you would have an opportunity for a better life. Look at your brothers – one has become an engineer and the other a doctor. I’m very proud of you, and I want a good future for you. Don’t disappoint me.
"In the afternoon…"
Bedroom door is slammed shut 
Mustafa’s hand is on the doorknob 
"In the afternoon…" 
Mustafa is playing soccer with other youths in the street 
A man in traditional Muslim garb calls out: "Mustafa!"
Mustafa: "Hello, Marwan."
Marwan: "Hey, cousin, how’re you doing? Where have you been? I’m surprised I haven’t seen you in the mosque lately."
Mustafa: "I know, Marwan. I’d like to spend more time with you in the mosque, but I’m very busy. I’ll do my best to make more time for it."


Marwan: "Okay, cousin. I know that living in a foreign country has its difficulties, but we must not forget where we have come from. We lead comfortable lives here, but Muslims are dying every day all over the world, defending Islam and the Muslims." 



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Beneath the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Charm Offensive

by Majid Rafizadeh

Even after the secret deals revealed by several outlets including The Washington Times between President Barack Obama and the Islamic Republic of Iran, President Obama continues to urge the international community and American people to place trust in the Iranian regime regarding its nuclear ambitions and economic sanctions. It is crucial to examine some of the recent underlying human rights records in Iran, which have surprisingly not elicited any criticism from the liberal politicians, and have gone untold in the liberal media. This raises an intriguing issue, as President Obama has not mentioned or even condemned the Islamists in Tehran for this appalling human rights record.

Although the new Iranian government has tried to project a moderate picture, and although President Obama seems to believe in the charm offensive of this Islamist state, recent human rights reports show that there has been no improvement in the Iranian regime’s human rights records. In fact, the situation has deteriorated under the new Iranian government. In addition to the continued persecution of minorities and non-Muslims, the recent appalling human rights records have shown an upswing in stoning and public executions, reminiscent of the Islamic Middle Ages and Sharia laws.

For the first several months of the new Iranian president’s term, activists both inside and outside of Iran have formed campaigns aiming to end executions in Iran, and to put an end to stoning and public executions.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is ranked second in the total number of executions, only after China. Though, if the proportion of the total population to the number of secret executions were considered, Iran would be ranked number one. According to the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, at least 529 people have been put to death in cities across the nation in 2013. Intriguingly, more than half of these executions, around 300, were carried out since President Rouhani assumed office in late August. Meaning that more than half of the executions were carried out in only the past four months.

It is also worth mentioning that most of the people who are executed, did not receive due process in court, and were mainly executed because of violations based on Islamic and Sharia law. Many of Iran’s condemned were accused of being a “Moharebeh” or “Mofsed fi Alard”, translated as meaning something near “waging war” against God and Islam.

Ironically, on Human Rights Day, the Head of Iran’s Judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani told high-ranking Judiciary officials, “The Judiciary will not take notice of irrational words and lies and will resolutely continue its work, because we believe that the highest human rights values are recognized in Islam.”

The stepped-up pace of public executions and stoning come as the new Iranian government is working to achieve its political objective of pushing for the West to take initiatives in lifting economic and political sanctions on Iran. President Obama has already taken steps to release billions of dollars, based on the recent executive order and nuclear deal.  Yet, there has not been any, or even slight, condemnation for this appalling and egregious human rights record.  The number of executions and stoning are on an upswing, as Iranian leaders are reaching another deal with the United States and the P5+1.

It is crucial to point out that the number of reported executions is official, and public— there are hundreds of others who are executed in secret locations, with some even executed collectively. For example, according to several credible reports, in Karaj’s Ghezel Hessar prison, eight prisoners were collectively executed on Thursday, December 18.

Recently, the European Parliament delegation returned from a six-day visit to Tehran, marking the first official visit to Iran in more than six years. The five-member delegation was led by the chairwoman of the European Parliament’s friendship delegation with Iran, an MEP for the Left party Cornelia Ernst, Austrian Social Democrats Isabelle Durant and Josef Weidenholzer, and Tarja Cronberg from Finnish Greens.  During their five-day visit, at least 38 death sentences were carried out, according to Iranian media sources. Many other executions in prisons were conducted in secret, with no news were released.

Nevertheless, the crucial issue is that there has been no condemnation or criticism issued by any liberal politicians in the delegation or from mainstream media. Instead, the liberal media and politicians continue to praise the new Iranian government for its charm offensive and “moderate” policies.

Many opposition activists have pointed out that the current Obama administration is the weakest in US history when it comes to dealing with the threat of Islamists in Iran and their hegemonic agenda. The Iranian Islamists are attempting to impose their geopolitical hegemonic ambitions and agenda, both in the region and globally. They have recently been extremely successful with this, because of the deals with President Obama and the process of lifting sanctions and pressures. The Iranian regime has also been able to increase its lucrative oil sales as well.

On the contrary, while in Islamic Republic of Iran Tarja Cronberg told EuroNews that she was impressed that women are now serving in the Iranian Parliament. Though the leftist and democratic members who are impressed by this face failed to mention the fact that only nine out of 290 parliament members are women.

While the leftists and social democrats remain silent in Europe regarding Iran’s appalling human rights records of executions and stoning, and while President Obama is proceeding with removing pressures and sanctions on Iran, it remains unclear whether President Obama will issue any sort of statement condemning or criticizing this appalling record of stoning and public executions.

Majid Rafizadeh


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