Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Most Discreet Israeli Intervention in Syria

by Jonathan Spyer

Since the outbreak of the civil war in Syria in 2011, Israeli officials have observed events to the north with caution and concern. The concern has derived from the presence of anti-Israel paramilitary and terrorist elements on both sides of the fighting lines in Syria.

The caution, meanwhile, relates to the very deep aversion felt in the Israeli system toward the possibility of Israel's being sucked in to the morass of the Syrian war. Israel's Lebanon experience has left a deep institutional memory warning against overly ambitious incursions into the affairs of neighboring states.

Nevertheless, evidence is emerging of an increasing, though still modest Israeli involvement in events beyond the separation of forces line on the Golan Heights.

The least ambiguous evidence of Israeli activity related to Syria is the series of air raids against weapons convoys headed for Lebanon. These have been attributed by foreign media to Israel, and were carried out to prevent the transfer of certain weapons systems from Syria to Hizballah.

However, the latest emerging indications relate not to activity deep within the skies above Syria. Rather, the contacts in question are happening, discreetly, very close to the ground, and very close to the border.

Israeli officials have observed with concern the recent ebb and flow of the fighting in the Deraa and Quneitra provinces in southern Syria. The rebel fighters in this area, as elsewhere, are a varied and disparate group. The southern front is the focus of the limited western and Arab support offered the rebels.

A western command center at which US, Jordanian, Saudi, British and French personnel are present has been established to coordinate aid to the rebels in the south.

But the 'moderate' rebels of the Supreme Military Command and the related Syrian Revolutionaries Front, who benefit from the modest flow of western and Saudi aid, are not the only anti-Assad fighters in the south.

Jabhat al-Nusra, the official Syrian franchise of al-Qaeda, is also playing a major role in the fighting in the south. The Salafi Ahrar al-Sham group is also present in force among the southern rebels. These groups operate in coordination with the western supported fighters.

In recent weeks, forces led by al-Nusra have made major territorial advances. In late April, these forces captured eastern Tel al-Akhmar (the red hill). This hill is situated five kilometers from the Israeli border on the Golan Heights. Western Tel al-Akhmar, which is just 2km from the first Israeli positions, was captured earlier in the month.

Rebel forces hope to push on to Quneitra itself. Their intention is to establish a contiguous strip of rebel-controlled territory in across western Deraa and Quneitra provinces – just 100km southwest of Damascus.

For Israel, the possibility that al-Qaeda linked jihadis should establish themselves along one of its borderlines represents a nightmare scenario. In a video released after the capture of the hill, a Nusra spokesman was heard to praise Osama Bin-Laden as the 'lion of Islam', and to vow continued war on 'Jews and crusaders.'

So the problem is clear. What is Israel doing to respond to it?

In addition to increasing drone surveillance and intelligence gathering across the border, the evidence suggests that Israel has established contact with non-jihadi, western supported rebel elements, with the intention of ensuring that the jihadis are prevented from establishing themselves along the ceasefire line on the Golan.

The medical care afforded wounded Syrian fighters has served to facilitate this process. 1000 or so Syrian fighters have received this, with the more lightly wounded being treated at the IDF field hospital established close to the border, and others in hospitals in northern Israel.

Colonel Abdullah al-Bashir, who commands the Supreme Military Council, a prominent western backed rebel element, was among the military personnel to be treated in Israel.

In addition to the direct contacts with the rebels, Israel is also in contact with local leaders across the border, with the intention of offering them inducements to refuse shelter and medical care to the jihadi fighters.

The Israeli contacts with the rebels are probably coordinated with the western backers of these forces. According to one report, there are Israeli representatives at the western and Jordanian command center coordinating support for the rebels in northern Jordan.

Israeli support for western-backed rebels in this arena is made yet more necessary by the fact that defeat for the rebellion in Deraa and Quneitra runs the risk of bringing not the status quo ante bellum, but rather Hizballah, to the border.

Fighters from the Shia Islamist movement are present among pro-regime forces battling in the south. In early March, IDF troops fired at what they said was a Hizballah team trying to place a bomb in the border area.

So is the southern border coming to resemble south Lebanon in the 1980s? Is Israel being sucked into another commitment across a northern border?

Precisely because the lesson of Lebanon is so deeply etched on the collective memory of the Israeli system, it is likely that the Israeli footprint in southern Syria will remain discernible, but light. There are no ideal options. Nusra, according to one source, is stronger than it appears, since it has allowed pro-western forces to take credit for a number of operations. It does this so as to keep western support flowing into the area, from which Nusra itself will then benefit. So any strengthening of the rebels in the south carries with it the risk of assisting precisely the enemy that it is supposed to thwart. But the alternative of passive acquiescence to either al-Qaeda or Hizballah assembling along the border is probably worse.

A complicated political and military eco-system has emerged in southern Syria, just across the ceasefire line in the Golan Heights. Israel will do its best to preserve its vital interests, while avoiding an overt presence in this arena. Maintaining the balance is not simple. As of now, it may be said that Israel is actively, if discreetly, engaged in southern Syria.

Jonathan Spyer is a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.


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Syria's ISIS Crucifying Opponents, Justifying Horror with Quran Passages

by Jonathan Spyer and Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi

Evidence is mounting that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is systematically committing atrocities in eastern and northern Syria, its areas of control.
While individual incidents of brutality have been well-documented, the near-impossibility of on-the-spot reporting in the area controlled by the organization has made it difficult to build a general description of the situation there. However, as more and more witnesses come forward, the picture is gradually becoming clearer.

Public executions are a regular weekly occurrence in Raqqa city, the provincial capital controlled by ISIS. In a number of verified cases, the bodies of executed people have been "crucified" — placed on crosses in public areas after execution by other means, supposedly to act as a deterrent to others. (Note: at least one crucifixion of a living victim by an Islamist group has occurred recently, in Yemen.Video here.)

ISIS invoked Qur'an 5:33 in a case of two people being crucified in Raqqa for supposedly carrying out an IED attack against ISIS. The Quran passage stipulates that, among a number of punishments, those who "wage war on God and His Messenger" may be crucified.

An earlier case in Raqqa in late March was also justified as the appropriate penalty for alleged stealing and murder, though it was not officially advertised by ISIS. The case seems to fall under the same framework of Quran 5:33, which also mentions "striving to cause corruption on Earth" as an offense that can warrant crucifixion.

Crucifixions are by no means the exclusive realm of ISIS: they can also be carried out in Saudi Arabia for crimes such as terrorism and highway robbery. The issue is that ISIS is defining itself as the one and only true Islamic state; in their view, waging war on ISIS thus constitutes waging war on "God and His Messenger."

For ISIS, Raqqa — often described in ISIS circles as the "capital" of ISIS — is very much the prototype model Islamic city, where aspects of Islamic law are first introduced and are then spread to other areas of ISIS-held territory. (Their territory currently encompasses all major urban areas in Raqqa province, eastern Aleppo province, and most of southern and central Hasakah province). The crucifixions are a case-in-point: once implemented officially in Raqqa, the practice then spread to other ISIS strongholds, most notably the Aleppo provincial towns of Maskanah and Manbij.

As in Raqqa, those subjected to crucifixion are suspected of having had ties to rival underground rebel groups trying to undermine ISIS with clandestine attacks. In Maskanah, the crucifixion was presented as the "punishment for apostasy" for one of three alleged "shabiha" members.

By invoking apostasy, ISIS likely is referencing this hadith, where it is stipulated that one of the cases in which a Muslim's blood may be lawfully shed is for fighting against God and His Messenger (similar to Qur'an 5:33). In this case, the punishment is crucifixion or exile. The crime in question has been interpreted to be apostasy.

Also in Raqqa, Christians have had the first dhimmi pact from ISIS imposed upon them.

Christians there are required to pay a special tax (jizya) to the ISIS authorities. Christians may not publicly wear crosses, pray in the presence of Muslims, or repair or renovate places of worship. As with the crucifixions, ISIS invoked Qur'anic justification for imposing the dhimmi pact: Qur'an 9:29. (This invocation was largely overlooked in prior media coverage of this development.) ISIS later announced that arrangements were underway for the imposition of the dhimmi pact on Christians in Hasakah province living under ISIS dominion.

Last month, a group of activists in Raqqa city formed a group called "Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently" with hopes of spreading information about the city's current condition. The 20 members of the group were then sentenced to death by ISIS for "non-belief in Islam." A large cash prize has been offered by ISIS for information leading to their capture.

The horror gets worse: the most shocking evidence of brutality comes from witnesses to the jails maintained by ISIS.

Perwer Janfrosh, a 25-year-old Syrian Kurd from the city of Kobani, was arrested by ISIS while attempting to cross the Syrian-Turkish border. He was held for five days in an ISIS jail in the town of Jarabulus in northern Syria.

Janfrosh claims to have witnessed the torture and killing of a Kurdish man for the "crime" of raising the flag of the Kurdish YPG militia in the town, and also the torture of Arab residents of the town who had been arrested for drinking alcohol.

Said al-Adlubi, a Syrian Arab refugee and former fighter with the Free Syrian Army, told the "Rescue Christians" organization that he witnessed the slaughter of kidnapped Christians in ISIS captivity who were killed because ransom had not been paid.

Adlubi also said he had seen a gruesome mortuary maintained by ISIS, where the corpses of slaughtered prisoners were hung on hooks. Rescue Christians spoke with a second witness — Kamil Toume, a Syrian Christian and former prisoner of ISIS — who confirmed Adlubi's account of the "slaughterhouses."

Janfrosh and Adlubi both spoke of being described as "apostates" by their ISIS captors. Apostasy is a crime punishable by death according to Sharia law.

The brutality of ISIS ultimately is no surprise: the group already considers itself a state (dawla), not a mere group or organization (jamaat, or tanzim). Those descriptors are considered insulting by ISIS. ISIS intends to establish itself for the long-run, and is not open to power-sharing, compromise, or accountability at the hands of arbitration by a third-party. Totalitarianism is thus the natural consequence, as is the wider infighting between ISIS and other rebel groups across many parts of Syria. Most notably, intense fighting has occurred with Syria's official al-Qaeda affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, as ISIS seeks to connect Anbar province in western Iraq with its territorial holdings in Syria.

Jonathan Spyer is a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and a fellow at the Middle East Forum. Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi is a student at Brasenose College, Oxford University, and a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Jonathan Spyer and Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi


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

Top Terrorist Reveals Inner Workings of 'Hamas Inc.'

by Yaakov Levi

Hamas terrorist in Gaza
Hamas terrorist in Gaza
Flash 90
The Israel Security Agency (ISA, or Shin Bet) on Thursday announced the arrest of a top Hamas terrorist, Mohammed Toameh, who was captured in April.

A member of Hamas' top decision-making body, Toameh revealed how Hamas was using Islamic groups inside Israel to fund terror attacks and Hamas activities in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel – and how the terror group makes its money.

The 51-year old Toameh, originally from Tul Karem in Samaria, has been living in Saudi Arabia for almost 40 years. He joined the Muslim Brotherhood in 1983, moving over to Hamas when that terror group was established in 1987.

In 2004, he was named a member of Hamas' “General Shura Council,” the terror group's top decision-making body, headed by Khaled Mashaal. Toameh said that a total of 8 Muslim Brotherhood members, representing “world Jihad,” are members of the Council.

The terrorist was arrested on April 14 as he attempted to enter Israel from Jordan, via the Allenby Bridge crossing. He was indicted Thursday in a Samaria military court, Shabak officials said. Under interrogation, he told investigators about Hamas' use of Israeli Arab groups to fund various activities designed to foment unrest inside Israel.

Paying to keep Jews off the Temple Mount

For example, he said, the Islamist groups inside Israel launder Hamas cash and “donate” it to a group of young Muslims on the Temple Mount.

Ostensibly studying Islam, the true task of the members of that group, Toameh said, was to prevent Jews from ascending the Mount. It is they who begin to riot and throw rocks and stones when Jewish groups try to visit the Temple Mount, he said. For this “work,” members of the group earn between NIS 4,000-5,000 a month according to Toameh.

Another group involved in these riots, Amara al-Aqsa, was closed down by the Shabak in 2013 on suspicion of cooperation with Hamas. Toameh confirmed that the terror group indeed worked the Jerusalem Islamist group.

There is a particularly strong connection between the Islamic Movement in Israel, headed by Sheikh Raed Salah, and Hamas, Toameh said. The Israeli government recently began to discuss banning the group headed by Salah, a serial troublemaker responsible for dozens of incidents of unrest throughout Israel. Toameh said that Hamas tries to keep its relationship with Salah and other Muslim groups in Israel as secret as possible.

Following the money

Like any army, a terrorist group lives on its stomach, so money is needed to fund its terror projects – and Toameh, as it happens was the Shura Council's Chief Financial Officer. The Shabak knew that Iran had in recent months stopped funding Hamas, angry over its support of the Syrian rebellion, but according to Toameh, Hamas has plenty of other money sources.

Among them is an investment forum, built and managed by Hamas terrorists, called the Palestinian Business Forum (PBF), which counts among its members top business people in the PA and several Arab countries.

Hamas raises money for “investment projects” from members of the PBF, Toameh said – and in addition, owns a great deal of valuable real estate in Saudi Arabia. And, he added, Hamas controls a number of “charities” which raise money for “Palestinian refugees” around the world.

Some of that Hamas real estate is in PA-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria, Toameh said. Several years ago, he personally transported 750,000 Saudi Riyals (almost $3 million) to Islamist groups in Israel under the cover of a mosque construction project in Tul Karem. The mosques were never built, but the cash was used for Hamas activities, he said.

In addition, Toameh said, one should not mistake Hamas' recent reconciliation with Fatah as a softening of its political position; Hamas' goal of replacing Israel with an Arab, Muslim sharia-based state has not changed.

However, he said in recent years the terror group has decided that it could have more influence on the political process in the PA by joining with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the internationally recognized representative of the "Palestinian people," which has never renounced terror.

Mohammed Toameh Shabak

Yaakov Levi


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Palestinians: BDS Activists Are Troublemakers, Criminals

by Khaled Abu Toameh

The Palestinian Authority's move against the BDS activists shows that it considers the movement a threat to Palestinian interests.
A Palestinian Authority official in Ramallah explained that BDS and its followers make the Palestinians appear as if they are all radicals who are only interested in boycotting and delegitimizing Israel.
"No, we do not support the boycott of Israel." — Mahmoud Abbas, President, Palestinian Authority.
At university campuses in the US, Canada, Australia and Europe, they are hailed as heroes campaigning for Palestinian rights. But in Ramallah, ironically, activists belonging to the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] movement are seen by the Palestinian Authority [PA] as trouble-makers and law-breakers.

For some PA officials, BDS is a movement that acts against the true interests of the Palestinians. They say that the actions of those promoting BDS make the Palestinians appear as if they are not interested in peace and coexistence with Israel. BDS activists in Ramallah have succeeded in preventing several planned meetings between Israelis and Palestinians in Ramallah and east Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Authority is also worried that BDS is harming the Palestinians' relations with other countries. The most recent example of BDS efforts to damage Palestinians' relations with friendly countries occurred a few weeks ago, when the "anti-normalization" activists tried to disrupt a performance by an Indian dance troupe in Ramallah.

A PA official in Ramallah explained that BDS and its followers make the Palestinians appear as if they are all radicals who are only interested in boycotting and delegitimizing Israel. "This goes against the PLO's official policy, which is to seek a peace agreement with Israel based on the two-state solution," he said.

In the first case of its kind, four prominent BDS activists this week went on trial before a Palestinian Authority court for "provoking riots and breach of public tranquility."

The four men, Zeid Shuaibi, Abdel Jawad Hamayel, Fadi Quran and Fajr Harb, were detained by PA security forces after protesting against the performance of an Indian dance troupe.
The four Palestinian BDS activists stand during their court appearance in Ramallah. (Image source: Wattan TV video screenshot)

During the show, which was attended by senior PA officials, the BDS activists protested against the presence of the dance troupe in Ramallah because its members had also performed in Tel Aviv.
The protesters accused the Indian dancers of violating their campaign for boycotting Israel, claiming that their appearance in Tel Aviv was a form of "normalization" with Israel.

The incident seriously embarrassed the Palestinian Authority leadership and resulted in a decision to prosecute the four BDS activists.

The four appeared in court on May 28 to face the charges against them. However, the trial was postponed until July 14 because state witnesses failed to appear in court.

The decision to prosecute the BDS activists has drawn strong condemnations from the anti-Israel movement and other Palestinians.

Omar Barghouti, one of the leaders of the BDS movement, said that the PA should be put on trial for bringing the four men to court. "If the four men are brought before a court, then we should prosecute the Palestinian Authority for serving the Israeli occupation's project," he said. "The decision to prosecute the four men was taken in collusion with the fierce Israeli campaign against the BDS."

Amnesty International also criticized the Palestinian Authority and called for dropping the charges against the four activists. "We urge the PA to drop the criminal charges against them and to ensure an independent and impartial investigation into their allegations of ill-treatment," Amnesty said in a statement:
Amnesty International emphasizes that peaceful expression and protest must never be punished as criminal offences and that imprisonment is always a disproportionate restriction on freedom of expression. Furthermore, the reported treatment of the four men once in custody has undermined their right to a fair trial and raises concerns that they are being punished for their political protest.
The Palestinian Authority's move against the BDS activists shows that it considers the movement a threat to Palestinian interests.

Abbas himself has come out in public against the BDS movement. During the funeral of former South African President Nelson Mandela last year, when asked about BDS, Abbas told reporters: "No, we do not support the boycott of Israel."

Abbas and the Palestinian Authority have good reason to oppose the BDS movement. BDS leaders and supporters are opposed to the PA leadership's contacts with Israelis and have often denounced Abbas for conducting peace talks and security coordination with Israel.

The Palestinian Authority has come to the conclusion that the BDS activists are in fact anti-peace extremists whose goal is to prevent any peaceful settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. The decision to prosecute the four Ramallah activists is also aimed at sending a message to BDS supporters worldwide that the movement is acting against the true interests of the Palestinians and promoting hatred and bigotry.

It now remains to be seen whether BDS supporters around the world will absorb the message and realize that apart from being anti-Israel, BDS is also an anti-Palestinian and anti-peace movement.

Khaled Abu Toameh


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Florida Congressman Accepts Money from Radical Muslim Group

by Joe Kaufman


Emerge USA is a Florida-based organization whose unstated goal is to give radical Muslims a political voice in America. One way they do this is by getting their leaders placed in key positions of power. Another way is by making friends with those already in power. United States Representative from Florida, Joe Garcia, is one of those friends. He has accepted thousands of dollars from Emerge for his 2014 reelection bid, and he has returned the favor by helping the group raise more money.

Earlier this month, Emerge held its annual fundraising dinner in Miami, at the DoubleTree Hotel and Airport Convention Center. Featured at the event was Sayed Ammar Nakshawani, an Islamic lecturer from England who is a devotee of Iran’s deceased terrorist leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and who has called for the destruction of Israel.

In a speech found on YouTube and the lecture section of his website, titled ‘Sayed Khomeini’s Quds Day,’ Nakshawani states, “The shame in this world is that, if we put ourselves down to a two-state solution, we would allow a country which has broken 60 UN resolutions to have their own freedom of peace. It is barbaric that this Zionist state is allowed to continue.”

Emerge advertised Nakshawani in an event flyer as well as an Emerge-produced video of Nakshawani telling people to attend.

Given Emerge’s past, having this man speak was no surprise. What was a surprise, though, was that a sitting U.S. Congressman, Joe Garcia, would also be speaking at the event, even after the leader of his political party, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, cancelled her keynote address in front of the same group just two years prior.

One of the two co-chairmen of Emerge is South Florida attorney Khurrum Basir Wahid. According to his bio, Wahid specializes in defending “individuals charged with allegedly committing or conspiring to commit acts of terrorism.”

Wahid’s clients include: Rafiq Abdus Sabir, who received a 25 year prison sentence for conspiring to provide material support to al-Qaeda; al-Qaeda member Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, who was given a life sentence for plotting to assassinate President George W. Bush; Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami al-Arian, who is presently under house arrest in Virginia; and Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan, a Miami, Florida imam who was convicted of funneling tens of thousands of dollars to the Taliban for the express purpose of murdering American troops.

Prior to helping found Emerge, Wahid was a legal advisor for the national office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and a director of CAIR’s Florida chapter. In 2007 and 2008, CAIR was named by the U.S. Justice Department as a co-conspirator to the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas.

In 2011, Wahid himself was placed on a U.S. government terrorist watch list.

The other co-chairman of Emerge is Afaq J. Durrani. Durrani is the General Secretary of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH), a sizable community organization consisting of 19 area mosques. ISGH is a subsidiary of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which like CAIR, was named by the U.S. government a co-conspirator in the financing of Hamas.

Durrani is heavily involved in the Democratic Party. According to his Emerge bio, he is part of the Texas State Democratic Executive Committee; he is President of the Asian American Democrats of Texas; and in 2012, he served as a National Delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

Durrani’s attachment to the Democratic Party may be a big reason for Emerge’s attraction to having Democrat members of Congress speak at Emerge annual functions. That, of course, does not mean that those Congressmen need to oblige the group. Though, Garcia certainly has.

Ten photos featuring Congressman Garcia at the fundraising banquet are found on the Emerge Facebook page, some showing him speaking at the podium, many with a huge smile on his face. One of the photos is of him playfully grabbing the arm of co-founder and former Emerge President Farooq Mitha.

Mitha, who serves in the Obama Administration as the Special Assistant to the Director of the Department of Defense Office of Small Business Programs (DOD OSBP), has spoken at at least one ISNA conference. As well, in February 2011, he participated in an event sponsored by the Center for American Progress (CAP), a group exposed less than a year later as being a vehicle for anti-Semitic and anti-Israel statements and positions.

It is interesting that Garcia would agree to speak at an Emerge function, as the head of the Democratic Party Debbie Wasserman Schultz canceled her keynote address in front of Emerge just two years earlier, after the group was exposed by this author as an extremist front. Congressman Alcee Hastings also cancelled his participation at the same event.

Last year’s speaker was Democrat Congressman Keith Ellison. Garcia should not look to Ellison as someone to be emulated, though, because Ellison is widely seen as a prominent supporter of radical Muslim groups and an Islamist himself. Ellison’s involvement with organizations such as Emerge is to be expected.

Regardless of the circumstances revolving around past Emerge participants, Garcia had a separate motivation that many involved in politics have been drawn to, that being money.

Garcia’s campaign quarterly finance reports covering July 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013 show that Emerge and its leadership donated thousands of dollars towards his reelection. In December, the Emerge USA Federal PAC donated $1000 to the Garcia campaign. In November, Emerge co-chair Khurrum Wahid gave $750 to Garcia. Wahid also donated $247 worth of food to Garcia, at a November 7th reception for Garcia held at Wahid’s law firm. Host committee members from the event, Khalid Mirza and Ashraf Amdani, each gave $1000.

On November 16, Emerge Secretary Amira Ishoof gave $750. Amira and her husband Saif Ishoof both attended the Garcia Emerge banquet. Saif is a founding director of Emerge. Prior to getting involved with the group, Saif was the rally organizer and contact for the extreme anti-Israel group, March for Justice. The other contact and spokesman of the group was Nidal Sakr, who was arrested this past March after returning to the U.S. from Egypt where he was a rally organizer for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Today, Saif Ishoof is a director for Nur-Ul-Islam Academy, a Muslim children’s school located in Cooper City, Florida whose former Vice President was Raed Musa Awad. Awad was the Florida representative for the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), a Hamas charity that was shut down by the U.S. government in December 2001. Awad was also the imam who oversaw the conversion to Islam by convicted terrorist and “Dirty Bomber,” Jose Padilla.

Joe Garcia’s willingness to accept money from an organization such as Emerge is troubling to say the least, and his enthusiasm and eagerness to speak in front of the group is evidence that his acceptance of the money was no mistake. Garcia’s interaction with Emerge could very well be his political undoing.

Click here if you wish to sign a petition to encourage Congressman Garcia to return the money that he received from Emerge. Please be respectful in your comments.

Joe Kaufman


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Iranian Power Struggle Reaches New Heights, Threats Exchanged

by IPT News

Rifts between clerical and elite circles in Iran have been intensifying over the past year. MEMRI has consistently reported on the power struggle characterizing the pragmatic camp featuring Hashemi Rafsanjani and President Hassan Rohani and the ideological camp consisting of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and senior officials within the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Now, the conflict between the rival camps is reaching new heights, as both sides are engaging in verbal threats against the other.

The ideological camp is referring to the pragmatic leaders as traitors who are engaging in 'fitna' (popular unrest) and deviating from the principles of the Islamic Revolution, representing a "deviant stream" of the current era. The ideological camp is also accused of being puppets of the U.S. and trying to impose Western culture over Iranian society.

Officials within the ideological camp implicitly warned that if Rohani did not follow Khamenei's orders, he could suffer the same political demise endured by previous leaders, including former president Khatami and protest movement leaders Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi who are under house arrest since 2009.

In April 2014, a computer game was created online by an official regime sanctioned organization, allowing players to kill "fitna leaders", including moderate and protest movement figures. The game also allowed players to shoot down U.S., British, and Israeli flags. The game was blocked following Iranian public pressure and MEMRI continues to hold a copy of it.

However, the Pragmatic camp claims that the ideological camp act like Zionists who were pleased with the failure of the May 2014 round of nuclear negotiations. The pragmatic leaders have also called for more dialogue with the U.S. and continued efforts to open Iran up to the international community, advocating for more difficult decisions with respect to the nuclear program. It also threatened that the Iranian people will "enter the arena" (take to the streets) if the ideological camp continues to oppose the people's will.

This growing feud has forced the Iranian Army chief of staff Hassan Firouzabadi to call on the regime's senior officials to "avoid schism, rumors, and baseless accusations."

IPT News


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Asst. Sec. of State Misleads Congress on Terror Salaries

by Itamar Marcus, Nan J Zilberdik

Assistant secretary for the Near East Anne Patterson
Assistant secretary for the Near East Anne Patterson

In testimony to Congress, US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Ambassador Anne W. Patterson, defended the Palestinian Authority (PA) practice of paying salaries to terrorists in prison saying "they have to provide for the families."

However, Palestinian Media Watch has documented repeatedly that this is not correct. According to PA law and in practice the PA does not give stipends to terrorist prisoners' families but salaries to the terrorist prisoners themselves.

PMW has already reported that the PA Minister of Prisoners vocally rejected the claim that the payments are social welfare aid to the prisoners' families, stressing instead that the prisoners receive salaries "out of esteem."

This was likewise corroborated by Chairman of the PA-funded Prisoners' Club Qadura Fares when he announced that the PA had decided on a final version of the law, "which considers payments made to prisoners 'salaries,' (Arabic: ratib) to which no other term applies."

In addition, when challenged by Congressman Weber at the hearing on the Administration's Middle East and North Africa Budget Request for 2015 about possibly cutting off US funding because of the PA salary program to terrorists, Assistant Secretary Patterson twice told the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa that she "knows" that the PA "are going to try to phase that out, and we should give them an opportunity to do so."

There is nothing in all the activities and statements of the PA to back up that claim, says PMW. The watchdog group adds that it has not encountered any PA statements regarding a "phasing out" of the salaries to terrorists. To the contrary, in 2013 and 2014, PA officials have regularly been adding additional regulations and benefits for prisoners. In addition, they have reiterated in government meetings and in public statements to Palestinians that the salaries and other benefits to prisoners are a high priority for the Palestinian Authority and will continue.

At a government meeting earlier this month, PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said the PA places "prisoners at the top of its priorities" and that they will continue to implement the "Prisoners' and Released [Prisoners'] Law" - which specifically refers to salaries and other payments to prisoners.

Patterson's statement that the PA is "phasing out" these payments to terrorists therefore contradicts the public policy and statements by PA officials.

In 2013, when the British and Norwegian governments told their parliaments that the PA told them the money was for "families," PMW released a report entitled "Is the PA lying to European governments in order to receive European funding?" After this report's release, the Norwegian Foreign Minister publicly acknowledged that PMW's documentation was correct and said he had reported incorrectly to parliament because: "it is unfortunate that the information that was first communicated [by the Norwegian Foreign Ministry] to Parliament and which was based on information obtained from the PA at the time, in retrospect, is imprecise."

The PA Minister of Prisoner Affairs has publicly rejected the European demand not to pay salaries to terrorist prisoners, telling official PA TV last November: "The Europeans want their money that comes to us to remain clean – not to go to families of those they claim to be terrorists... These [prisoners] are heroes..."

When asked if she know how much the PA pays prisoners a year by Congressman Weber, Assistant Secretary Patterson only mentioned PA's payments to families, and the PA's payments to "people after they're released," leaving out the largest payments, which go to imprisoned terrorists: "No, I don't have a figure, they pay families whose relatives are imprisoned and then they do pay some of these people after they're released..."

PMW's special report to a UK Parliamentary Committee investigating payments to the PA, which was publicized earlier this year documents that in 2013 the PA paid over $100 million to terrorist prisoners, and more benefits totaling an additional $46 million dollars are being added in 2014.

Asked why the US has not acted on the issue of the PA's payments to terrorists, despite knowing about it for a long time, Assistant Secretary Patterson said: "I think, one, it is a political issue for the Palestinians, that these people are in jail, they have to provide for the families, and again I think they plan to phase it out."

During his question time, Congressman Weber also asked Assistant Secretary Patterson if she knew "who initially sounded the alarm that this money was going to those terrorists," the Assistant Secretary did not know, but answered it had "been the case for some time."

Palestinian Media Watch originally reported that the PA pays salaries to terrorists in 2011, and has continuously and repeatedly issued updates and reports highlighting these ongoing payments and the US' and EU countries' funding of them. Even the PA has acknowledged that PMW reports have brought the information to American and European leaders who "know the facts by heart" and "question" the PA.

In a recent interview with the British daily The Telegraph, the PA also corroborated that the salary figures exposed by PMW are correct: "When the Sunday Telegraph approached the Palestinian Authority to investigate these claims, officials confirmed that the payments quoted by PMW are 'around the real figures'. And they were unapologetic."

Recently, official PA TV rebroadcast a rare interview with the wife of a prisoner who complains that she does not get any money from the salary that her husband receives monthly from the Palestinian Authority while imprisoned in Israel. The interview constitutes final confirmation of Palestinian Media Watch's contention that the money paid to terrorists is not "social welfare" paid to the terrorists' families, but rewards to the terrorists themselves. The program also includes an interview with PA Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Issa Karake, who confirms that only the prisoner controls the money and only he has the right to appoint a power of attorney. See PMW's original report on this interview here.

This broadcast also refutes the claim made by Assistant Secretary of State Ambassador Patterson that the PA gives salaries to terrorists because "they have to provide for the families."

Itamar Marcus, Nan J Zilberdik, PMW


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

The Greatest Murder Machine in History

by Mike Konrad

When one thinks of mass murder, Hitler comes to mind. If not Hitler, then Tojo, Stalin, or Mao. Credit is given to the 20th-century totalitarians as the worst species of tyranny to have ever arisen. However, the alarming truth is that Islam has killed more than any of these, and may surpass all of them combined in numbers and cruelty.

The enormity of the slaughters of the "religion of peace" are so far beyond comprehension that even honest historians overlook the scale. When one looks beyond our myopic focus, Islam is the greatest killing machine in the history of mankind, bar none.

The Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. -- Will Durant, as quoted on Daniel Pipes site.

Conservative estimates place the number at 80 million dead Indians.

According to some calculations, the Indian (subcontinent) population decreased by 80 million between 1000 (conquest of Afghanistan) and 1525 (end of Delhi Sultanate). -- Koenrad Elst as quoted on Daniel Pipes site

80 Million?! The conquistadors' crimes pale into insignificance at that number. No wonder Hitler admired Islam as a fighting religion. He stood in awe of Islam, whose butchery even he did not surpass.

Over 110 Million Blacks were killed by Islam.
... a minumum of 28 Million African were enslaved in the Muslim Middle East. Since, at least, 80 percent of those captured by Muslim slave traders were calculated to have died before reaching the slave market, it is believed that the death toll from 1400 years of Arab and Muslim slave raids into Africa could have been as high as 112 Millions. When added to the number of those sold in the slave markets, the total number of African victims of the trans-Saharan and East African slave trade could be significantly higher than 140 Million people. -- John Allembillah Azumah, author of The Legacy of Arab-Islam in Africa: A Quest for Inter-religious Dialogue
Add just those two numbers alone together, and Islam has surpassed the victims of 20th-century totalitarianism. However, it does not end there. Add the millions who died at the hand of Muslims in the Sudan in our lifetime.

Much of Islamic slavery was sexual in nature, with a preference for women. Those men who were captured were castrated. The mulatto children of the women were often killed, which explains why Islam was not demographically shifted towards the black race, unlike slaves in the West, who bore children to breed a mestizo class. Add in those dead children; and we arrive at well over 200 million.

Remember that in the 7th century, North Africa was almost totally Christian. What happened to them?
By the year 750, a hundred years after the conquest of Jerusalem, at least 50 percent of the world's Christians found themselves under Muslim hegemony… Today there is no indigenous Christianity in the region [of Northwest Africa], no communities of Christians whose history can be traced to antiquity.-- "Christianity Face to Face with Islam," CERC
What happened to those Christian millions? Some converted. The rest? Lost to history.

We know that over 1 million Europeans were enslaved by Barbary Pirates. How many died is anybody's guess.
...for the 250 years between 1530 and 1780, the figure could easily have been as high as 1,250,000 - BBC
In the Middle Ages…
…many slaves were passed through Armenia and were castrated there to fill the Muslim demand for eunuchs. -- Slavery in Early Medieval Europe.
The same practice ran through Islamic Spain. North Europeans captured from raids up to Iceland, or purchased, were butchered in the castratoriums of Iberia. Many died from the operations that ran for centuries.

The number of dead from the Muslim conquest of the Balkans and Southern Italy is unknown, but again the numbers add up, surely into the millions over the centuries. Don't forget the 1.5 million Armenian Christians killed by the Turks during WWI. We do know that over five centuries, vast numbers of Christian boys were kidnapped to become Islamic Janissary mercenaries for the Turks. Add those in, too.

Muslims prized blonde women for their harems; and so enslaved Slavic women were purchased in the bazaars of the Crimean Caliphate. In Muslim Spain, an annual tribute of 100 Visigothic [blonde] women was required from Spain's Cantabrian coast.
For decades, 100 virgins per year were required by the Muslim rulers of Spain from the conquered population. The tribute was only stopped when the Spaniards began fighting back -- Jihad: Islam's 1,300 Year War Against Western Civilisation
Add in the death toll from the Reconquista and the numbers climb higher.

Research has shown that the Dark Ages were not caused by the Goths, who eventually assimilated and Christianized:
…the real destroyers of classical civilization were the Muslims. It was the Arab Invasions... which broke the unity of the Mediterranean world and turned the Middle Sea -- previously one of the world’s most important trading highways -- into a battleground. It was only after the appearance of Islam... that the cities of the West, which depended upon the Mediterranean trade for their survival, began to die. -- Islam Caused the Dark Ages
Add in those unknown millions who died as a consequence.

How many know the horrors of the conquest of Malaysia? The Buddhists of Thailand and Malaysia were slaughtered en masse.
When attacked and massacred by the Muslims, the Buddhists initially did not make any attempt to escape from their murderers. They accepted death with an air of fatalism and destiny. And hence they are not around today to tell their story. – History of
We may never know the numbers of dead.
After Muslims came to power in the early 15th century, animist hill peoples eventually disappeared due to their enslavement and ‘incorporation’ into the Muslim population of Malaya, Sumatra, Borneo, and Java via raids, tribute and purchase, especially of children. Java was the largest exporter of slaves around 1500. -- Islam Monitor
In the same manner, Islam arrived in the Philippines. Only the appearance of the Spanish stopped a total collapse, and confined Islam to the southern islands.
The coming of the Spanish saved the Philippines from Islam, except for the Southern tip where the population had been converted to Islam.-- History of
Again, the number of dead is unknown; but add them to the total.

The animist Filipinos were eager to ally with the Spanish against Islam. In fact, much of Southeast Asia welcomed the Spanish and Portuguese as preferable to Islam.
...from the 17th century successive Thai kings allied themselves with the seafaring Western powers – the Portuguese and the Dutch and succeeded in staving off the threat of Islam from the Muslim Malays and their Arab overlords.-- History of
A few galleons and muskets were not enough to conquer Asia. Islam had made the Europeans initially appear as liberators; and to a certain extent they were. Who were the real imperialists?

Even today...
...Malaysian Jihadis are plotting to transform multi-ethnic Malaysia into an Islamic Caliphate, and fomenting trouble in Southern Thailand.-- History of
Add this all up. The African victims. The Indian victims. The European victims. Add in the Armenian genocide. Then add in the lesser known, but no doubt quite large number of victims of Eastern Asia. Add in the jihad committed by Muslims against China, which was invaded in 651 AD. Add in the Crimean Khanate predations on the Slavs, especially their women.

Though the numbers are not clear, what is obvious is that Islam is the greatest murder machine in history bar none, possibly exceeding 250 million dead. Possibly one-third to one-half or more of all those killed by war or slavery in history can be traced to Islam; and this is just a cursory examination.

Now consider the over 125 Million women today who have been genitally mutilated for Islamic honor's sake. In spite of what apologists tell you, the practice is almost totally confined to Islamic areas.
New information from Iraqi Kurdistan raises the possibility that the problem is more prevalent in the Middle East than previously believed and that FGM is far more tied to religion than many Western academics and activists admit. – “Is Female Genital Mutilation an Islamic Problem?” ME Quarterly
Once thought concentrated in Africa, FGM has now been discovered to be common wherever Islam is found.
There are indications that FGM might be a phenomenon of epidemic proportions in the Arab Middle East. Hosken, for instance, notes that traditionally all women in the Persian Gulf region were mutilated. Arab governments refuse to address the problem. -- "Is Female Genital Mutilation an Islamic Problem?" ME Quarterly
Remember that this has gone on for 1400 years; and was imposed on a population that had been formerly Christian or pagan.

FGM is practiced on large scale in Islamic Indonesia; and is increasing.
...far from scaling down, the problem of FGM in Indonesia has escalated sharply. The mass ceremonies in Bandung have grown bigger and more popular every year. -- Guardian
The horrified British author of that Guardian article is still deluded that Islam does not support FGM, when in fact it is now settled that FGM is a core Islamic practice. Islamic women have been brainwashed to support their own abuse.
Abu Sahlieh further cited Muhammad as saying, "Circumcision is a sunna (tradition) for the men and makruma (honorable deed) for the women." -- “Is Female Genital Mutilation an Islamic Problem?” ME Quarterly
What other tyranny does this? Not even the Nazis mutilated their own women!

Unlike the 20th-century totalitarians whose killing fury consumed themselves, reducing their longevity, Islam paces itself. In the end, though slower, Islam has killed and tortured far more than any other creed, religious or secular. Unlike secular tyranny, Islam, by virtue of its polygamy and sexual predations, reproduces itself and increases.

Other tyrannies are furious infections, which burn hot, but are soon overcome. Islam is a slow terminal cancer, which metastasizes, and takes over. It never retreats. Its methods are more insidious, often imperceptible at first, driven by demographics. Like cancer, excision may be the only cure.

So whenever you read about this or that Israeli outrage -- and there may be truth to the complaint -- place the news in context. Look whom the Israelis are fighting against. Islam is like nothing else in history.

Mike Konrad is the pen name of an American who is not Jewish, Latin, or Arab. He runs a website,, where he discusses the subculture of Arabs in Latin America. He wishes his Spanish were better.


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