Saturday, September 20, 2014

Mudar Zahran: Gazans Speak Out: Hamas War Crimes

by Mudar Zahran

"If Hamas does not like you for any reason all they have to do now is say you are a Mossad agent and kill you." — A., a Fatah member in Gaza.
"Hamas wanted us butchered so it could win the media war against Israel showing our dead children on TV and then get money from Qatar." — T., former Hamas Ministry officer.
"They would fire rockets and then run away quickly, leaving us to face Israeli bombs for what they did." — D., Gazan journalist.
"Hamas imposed a curfew: anyone walking out in the street was shot. That way people had to stay in their homes, even if they were about to get bombed. Hamas held the whole Gazan population as a human shield." — K., graduate student
"The Israeli army allows supplies to come in and Hamas steals them. It seems even the Israelis care for us more than Hamas." — E., first-aid volunteer.
"We are under Hamas occupation, and if you ask most of us, we would rather be under Israeli occupation… We miss the days when we were able to work inside Israel and make good money. We miss the security and calm Israel provided when it was here." — S., graduate of an American university, former Hamas sympathizer.

While the world's media has been blaming Israel for the death of Gazan civilians during Operation Protective Edge, this correspondent decided to speak with Gazans themselves to hear what they had to say.

They spoke of Hamas atrocities and war crimes implicating Hamas in the civilian deaths of its own people.

Although Gazans, fearful of Hamas's revenge against them, were afraid to speak to the media, friends in the West Bank offered introductions to relatives in Gaza. One, a renowned Gazan academic, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that as soon as someone talked to a Western journalist, he was immediately questioned by Hamas and accused of "communicating with the Mossad". "Hamas makes sure that the average Gazan will not talk to Western journalists -- or actually any journalists at all," he said, continuing:
"Hamas does not want the truth about Gaza to come out. Hamas terrorizes and kills us just like Daesh [ISIS] terrorizes kills Iraqis. Hamas is a dictatorship that kills us. The Gazans you see praising Hamas on TV are either Hamas members or too afraid to speak against Hamas. Few foreign [Western] journalists were probably able to report what Gazans think of Hamas."
When asked what Gazans did think of Hamas, he said:
"The same as Iraqis thought of Saddam before he was toppled. He still won by 90-something percent in the presidential elections. If Hamas falls today in Gaza, people here will do what Iraqis did to Saddam's statue after he fell. But even though Western journalists may not have been able to speak freely with Gazans, they still need a story to send to their editor by the end of the day. So it is just easier and safer for them to stick to the official line."
"What was that," I asked: "'Blame Israel'?"

"I don't know about that," he said. "More like, 'Never blame Hamas!'. Hamas was making a 'statement': Opposing Hamas Means Death. Hamas is a dictatorship that kills us."
M., a journalist, confirmed his view. "I do not believe any of the people Hamas killed in the last weeks were Israeli spies," he said. "Hamas has killed many people for criticizing it, and claimed they were traitors working for Israel during the war."

That conversation took place four weeks before Hamas killed 21 alleged "Israeli Mossad agents."
D, a store owner, said:
"There were two major protests against Hamas during the third week of the war. When Hamas fighters opened fire at the protesters in the Bait Hanoun area and the Shijaiya, five were killed instantly. I saw that with my own eyes. Many were injured. A doctor at Shifa hospital told me that 35 were killed at both protests. He went and saw their bodies at the morgue."
To verify those reports, I spoke to a second Gazan academic, who holds a PhD. from a Western university, who stated:
"Hamas did kill protesters, no doubt about that. But we could not confirm how many were actually killed. If I have to guess, the number was more than reported. I am confident that not all of the 21 men Hamas killed on August 22 were collaborating with Israel. Hamas killed those men because it was weakened by Israel's attacks and felt endangered. So it went on a 'Salem Witch-Hunt.' They arrested everyone who opposed them and had to make a few examples to scare people from standing against Hamas. Hamas's tactic worked. Now Gazans are afraid to talk against Hamas even in front of their own family members. Gazans are probably afraid to criticize Hamas even in their sleep!"
As already reported by the award-winning journalist, Khaled Abu Toameh, Hamas killed one of its leaders, Ayman Taha, and blamed Israel for it.

Asked about Abu Toameh's report, S., a Gazan political activist said:
"Taha was already in Hamas's jail before Israeli operations started. Hamas imprisoned him and tortured him because he was critical of its radical policies. He had warned Hamas not to cooperate with Qatar and Iran. Eye-witnesses said they saw Hamas militants bring him alive into the yard of Shifa hospital in Gaza and shoot him dead. They kept mutilating his body in front of viewers and little children and left it on the hospital's yard for a few hours before allowing the staff to take it to the morgue."
A., a Fatah member in Gaza, spoke over Skype -- fearful that Hamas was intercepting phone lines:
"Even before the Israeli operation began, Hamas rounded up 400 of our members and other political-opposition figures. I would not be surprised if Hamas kills them all and then claims they were killed in an Israeli bombing. Hamas already beheaded a man known for opposing its views on the 22nd day of the war, then reported on its Facebook page that he was caught sending intelligence information to Israel. If Hamas does not like you for any reason, all they have to do now is claim you are a Mossad agent and kill you."
S. a medical worker, said:
"The Israeli army sends warnings to people [Gazans] to evacuate buildings before an attack. The Israelis either call or send a text message. Sometimes they call several times to make sure everyone has been evacuated. Hamas's strict policy, though, was not to allow us to evacuate. Many people got killed, locked inside their homes by Hamas militants. Hamas's official Al-Quds TV regularly issued warnings to Gazans not to evacuate their homes. Hamas militants would block the exits to the places residents were asked to evacuate. In the Shijaiya area, people received warnings from the Israelis and tried to evacuate the area, but Hamas militants blocked the exits and ordered people to return to their homes. Some of the people had no choice but to run towards the Israelis and ask for protection for their families. Hamas shot some of those people as they were running; the rest were forced to return to their homes and get bombed. This is how the Shijaiya massacre happened. More than 100 people were killed."
Another Gazan journalist, D., said:
"Hamas fired rockets from next to homes. Hamas was running from one home to another. Hamas lied when it claimed it was shooting from non-populated areas. To make things even worse for us, Hamas would fire from the balconies of homes and try to drag the Israelis into door-to-door battles and street-to-street fights -- a death sentence for all the civilians here. They would fire rockets and then run away quickly, leaving us to face Israeli bombs for what they did. They are cowards. If Hamas militants are not afraid of dying, why do they run after they fire rockets from our homes? Why don't they stay and die with us? Are they afraid to die and go to heaven? Isn't that what they claim they wish?"

Hamas boasted that Palestinian civilians were killed while Hamas's terrorists remained alive, hiding in their underground bunkers and tunnels. (Image source: Hamas video screenshot)

K, another graduate student at an Egyptian university who had gone to Gaza to see his family but was unable to leave after the war started, said on July 22:
"When people stopped listening to Hamas orders not to evacuate and began leaving their homes anyway, Hamas imposed a curfew: anyone walking out in the street was shot without being asked any questions. That way Hamas made sure people had to stay in their homes even if they were about to get bombed. God will ask Hamas on judgment day for those killers' blood."
I asked him if Hamas used people as "human shields." He said: "Hamas held the entire Gazan population as a human shield. My answer to you is yes."

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told the press on September 6 that Hamas had killed 120 Fatah members who broke the curfew.

T., a former Hamas Ministry officer, said: "Hamas fires from civilian areas for a good reason: The Israelis call the civilians and give them ten minutes to evacuate. This gives Hamas time to fire another rocket and run away."

Why, I asked, did Hamas not allow people to evacuate?
"Some people say Hamas wants civilians killed in order to gain global sympathy, but I believe this is not the main reason. I think the reason is that if all the people were allowed to evacuate their homes, they all would have ended up in a certain area in Gaza. If that happened, it would have made the rest of Gaza empty of civilians, and the Israelis would have been able to hit Hamas without worrying about civilians in all those empty areas. Hamas wanted civilians all over the place to confuse the Israelis and make their operations more difficult."
S., a Gazan businessman, said:
"The cease-fire Hamas agreed to carried the same conditions the Egyptians and the Israelis offered during the second week of the war -- after only 160 Gazans had been killed. Why did Hamas have to wait until 2,200 were killed, and then accept the very same offer? Hamas has blackmailed the world with the killed Gazan civilians to make itself look like a freedom fighter against an evil Israel. Hamas showed Gazans that it could not care less for their blood and their children. And why should Hamas care? Its leaders are either in mansions in Qatar or villas in Jordan. Mashaal [Khaled Mashaal, the head of Hamas] is in Qatar, Mohammad Nazzal is in Jordan and Abu Marzouk is in Cairo: why should they want a ceasefire? Everyone here in Gaza is wondering why Hamas rejected so many ceasefires. Hamas knows it will not defeat Israel's army, so why did it continue fighting? The answer is simple: Hamas wanted us butchered so it could win the media war against Israel by showing our dead children on TV and then get money from Qatar."
I asked S. if other Gazans shared his view. He said,
"Gazans are not stupid. We are now telling Hamas: Either you bring victory and liberate Palestine as you claim, or simply leave Gaza and maybe give it back to the Palestinian Authority or even Israel -- or even Egypt! We have had enough of Hamas's hallucinations and promises that never come true."
O., a researcher who lives in Gaza Strip's second largest city, Khan Younis, said:
"Most of us see Hamas as too radical and too stubborn, especially the way it was refusing ceasefires offered from Israel. They even refused a 24-hour ceasefire during the third week of the war. They denied us even 24 hours of quiet to bury the dead. Even some Hamas loyalists here are asking why Hamas refused several ceasefires and made us suffer. Hamas did this on purpose because Hamas is a slave to Qatar. Qatar wants the war to go on because it is a terrorist Islamist country, and Hamas wants more of us dead to appease its masters in Qatar. Let's be realistic, Hamas is in a bad shape now. Israel destroyed most tunnels; that is why Hamas had to join the ceasefire talks in Cairo. Were the Israelis' hits to Hamas not so painful, Hamas would not be negotiating in the first place. At the same time, Hamas is asking Israel for the impossible, like an open seaport and an airport. Israel would never allow that, and Hamas knows this, but Hamas might just be buying time by throwing out these demands. You have to keep in mind that Hamas is not concerned with our conditions as Gazans. After all it is our children who are dying, not the children of Hamas's leaders. Hamas is weak now, and I believe it lost most of its tunnels. Israel's Iron Dome destroyed so many of their rockets before they landed in Israel; that is why Hamas is being ruthless with Gazans. When Hamas locks people inside homes about to be bombed, when it kills people protesting against it and when it executes alleged traitors without even a trail, these are war crimes."
A report by the Washington Institute, released in July, also reports that most Gazans are not happy with Hamas's governance.

"It is true," said A., a teacher. "I do not know a single Gazan who is pro-Hamas at the moment, except for those on its payroll. Hamas maintains its control here through a military dictatorship, just like North Korea. People will be killed if they protest. Even Gazans living abroad fear to criticize Hamas because Hamas will take revenge on their relatives who are here."

M., a Gazan television producer, stated:
"Of course I am against Israel and I want it out of Gaza and out of the West Bank, but I still believe Hamas is more of a threat to the Palestinian people. Hamas took over Gaza by killing us [Palestinians] and throwing our young men from high buildings. That is what Hamas is about: murder and power. Hamas is also delusional. Its leaders refused the Egyptian cease-fire proposal, they got hit hard by the Israelis, and then when the war stopped, they declared victory. Even the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, admitted it when he lost Ohoud war [A war in which pagan Arabs defeated Muhammad's army and in which Muhammad was almost killed]. Hamas lives in its own fantasy world. Hamas wanted the dead bodies to make Israel look ugly. The media has exerted a huge pressure on Israel for every dead Gazan. In that sense, Hamas's tactic has worked, and we have seen more Western tolerance of Hamas, especially in Europe. Of course Hamas doesn't care if we all die so long as it achieves its goals. We are not going to accept living under Hamas any longer. Even if there is calm, and the firing stops, we are going to still be under Hamas's mercy, where all basic living standards are considered luxuries. Hamas is just buying time by going to the ceasefire talks. Hamas does not want a ceasefire."
When asked why that was, he said, "Ask Qatar's Sheikh, not me. He is Hamas's god who gives them billions and tells them what to do. May God curse Qatar!"

A first-aid volunteer, E., said that Hamas militants had confiscated 150 truckloads of humanitarian supplies the day before. He said the supplies were donated by charities in the West Bank and that their delivery was facilitated by the IDF. He commented: "This theft angers all of us [Gazans]. The Israeli army allows supplies to come in, and Hamas steals them. It seems even the Israelis care for us more than Hamas."

Another aid worker, A., confirmed that Hamas steals the humanitarian supplies given to Gaza. "They [Hamas] take most of it, sell it to us, and just give us the stuff they do not want."

A Gazan mosque's imam said that the most precious aid item Hamas stole was water. "Gazans are thirsty and Hamas is stealing the water bottles provided to us for free and selling them at 20 Israeli shekels [approximately $5] for the big bottle and 10 Israeli shekels for the small one."

H., who did not want his profession to be mentioned, lost one of his legs in an Israeli raid. I asked him who he thought was responsible for his injury. He stated:
"Hamas was. My father received a text-message from the Israeli army warning him that our area was going to be bombed, and Hamas prevented us from leaving. They said there was a curfew. A curfew, can you believe that? I swear to God, we will take revenge on Hamas. I swear to God I will stand on my other foot and fight against Hamas. Even if Israel leaves them alone, we will not. What had my two-year-old nephew done to be killed under the rubble of our home so Khaled Mashaal [Hamas leader based in Qatar] could be happy? We want change at any cost. I am not claiming the Israelis are innocent, but I know Hamas has fired rockets from every residential spot in Gaza. If that was not hiding behind civilians, then it was stupidity and recklessness. Nobody who is normal, in his right mind, in Gaza supports Hamas. People have lost parents, children and friends, and have nothing more to lose. I believe if given the chance and the weapons, they will stand against Hamas."
K., a Gazan school teacher agreed:
"When Hamas starts caring for our children we will start caring for Hamas. Hamas has one policy, to attack Israel; so Israel attacks back, and gets us killed and Hamas then gets more money from Arabs and Erdogan [Turkey's president]. My son has autism; he cannot handle the sounds of rockets and bombs landing. Why would I support Hamas, which causes this suffering to him? Gazans have had enough of Hamas, any claims that we love Hamas is just propaganda. A recent poll indicates that most of us support Hamas; this is not true, except maybe in the West Bank where they have not yet lived under Hamas rule. I cannot accuse the polling center of fabricating the poll, but my safest explanation for the result is that Gazans polled are too afraid to give their true opinions of Hamas. Hamas watches everything here. Most Gazans now have to deal with the aftermath of the war. Almost 300,000 Gazans are now homeless and Hamas is not providing them with anything. So why would they or their extended families have any love for Hamas? Would there be any common sense to that? Most Gazans are angry at Hamas, and most of us would love to see them replaced by any other force."
Despite all Hamas has done to Gazans, they do not seem to hold much love -- or less hatred -- for Israel.

S., a graduate of an American university and a former Hamas sympathizer, warned:
"Don't get fooled. Gazans are not in love with Israel yet, but they do not want to fight Israel anymore. We do not want to embrace Israel; we just want to live normally without wars. We want to live and work in Israel like we used to. We are under Hamas occupation, and if you ask most of us, we would rather be under Israeli occupation, instead. I would welcome Netanyahu to rule Gaza so long as Hamas leaves, and I think most Gazans feel the same way. We miss the days when we were able to work inside Israel and make good money, we miss the security and calm Israel provided when it was here, but politically speaking, we just think of it as the better of two evils: Israel and Hamas."
M., who lost his 11 year old daughter in an Israeli bombing said: "I will not forgive either Hamas or Israel for losing my daughter. If you ask me if I hate Israelis, my answer would be no, but do I love them? Of course not. There is too much blood between us, but I can only hope someday we both will move on and heal our wounds."

When asked what he would do if he were in Israel's place, being attacked non-stop by Hamas, he responded: "I do not care if both Israel and Gaza burn in hell."
F., a Gazan physician, said:
"I wish Israel never existed, but as it does not seem to be going away, I would rather be working in Israel like I used to before the first Intifada, not fighting it. Hamas sympathizers, apologists and appeasers should be ashamed of themselves for supporting a terrorist organization that has butchered civilians, Israeli and Palestinian. Apparently a group of Israelis is working on bringing Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to trial in the International Criminal Court. But perhaps the world should consider putting all the Hamas leaders on trial for crimes against the Gazan people."

Mudar Zahran


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

Caroline Glick: Why Rouhani loves NY

by Caroline Glick

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s trip to New York next week will be a welcome relief for the Iranian leader. Finally, he’ll be somewhere where he’s appreciated, even loved.

Ahead of his trip to America, the US media continued its practice of presenting Rouhani as a moderate, and a natural ally for the US. NBC News’ Anne Curry interviewed Rouhani in Tehran, focusing her attention on his dim view of Islamic State.

Rouhani told Curry, “From the viewpoint of the Islamic tenets and culture, killing an innocent people equals the killing of the whole humanity. And therefore, the killing and beheading of innocent people in fact is a matter of shame for them and it’s the matter of concern and sorrow for all the human and all the mankind.”

The US media and political establishment’s willingness to take Rouhani at his word when he says that he’s a moderate is one of the reasons that Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz was in such a desolate mood on Wednesday.

During a briefing with the foreign media, Steinitz described the state of negotiations between the US and its negotiating partners – Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany – and Iran regarding its illicit nuclear weapons program.

The briefing followed the latest round of the biennial Israeli-US strategic dialogue. Steinitz led the Israeli delegation to the talks, which focused on Iran, the week before nuclear talks were scheduled to be renewed.

One of Steinitz’s chief concerns was the US’s insistence that Rouhani is a moderate.

In his words, “The only thing that has changed [since Rouhani replaced president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] is the tone. The only difference is that the world was unwilling to hear from Ahmadinejad and [his nuclear negotiator Saeed] Jalili, what it is willing to listen to from Rouhani and [Iranian Foreign Minister Javad] Zarif.”

Unlike the Americans, the Iranian people are through with the fiction that Rouhani is a moderate, which is why he no doubt will be happier in New York than in Tehran.

Rouhani’s trip to New York coincides with his one-year anniversary in office. Since he took power, a thousand Iranians have been executed by the regime. Forty-five people were executed in just the past two weeks.

According to Iranian scholar Majid Rafizadeh, the public’s tolerance for regime violence has reached a breaking point.

In an article in the Frontpage Magazine online journal, Rafizadeh described how 3,000 people descended on regime executioners as they were poised to kill a youth in Mahmoudabad in northern Iran. The protest forced them to call off the show.
They murdered the young man the next day, when no one was looking.

As Iran scholar Dr. Michael Ledeen has explained, the rise in regime brutality is directly proportional to the threat it perceives from the public.

And the regime has good reason to be worried.

Anti-regime protests and strikes occur countrywide, every day.

For instance, from September 9-14, MEK, an Iranian opposition group, documented public protests against security forces and attacks on regime agents in Tehran, Zanzan, Bane, Qom, Karaj and Bandar Abbas.

These actions ran the gamut from a strike by a thousand gas workers in the Aslaviyah gas fields who protested searches of their dormitory rooms by regime agents, to two separate assaults on military vehicles in Zanzan, to youth responding violently in cities throughout the country when regime agents tried to enforce Islamic dress codes on women and girls.

Under the same Rouhani who waxed so poetically against beheadings when speaking to an overeager NBC reporter, not only have state executions have massively intensified. Public floggings, public hand amputations and other public demonstrations of regime brutality have also expanded to levels unseen in recent years.

Rouhani promised to protect women’s rights. Yet since he took office, women’s rights have been severely curtailed.

Last month, the Revolutionary Guards barred women from working as waitresses. In July, Tehran’s mayor barred women from sharing workspace with men. These moves and others like them, aimed at enforcing gender apartheid in all public places in the country, force millions of women into poverty. The official unemployment level for women is already hovering around 20 percent.

Then there are Iran’s other social ills, for instance drug addiction.

Iran has the highest level of drug addiction in the world. According to Babak Dinparast, a senior Iranian drug enforcement official, some 3.5 million Iranians, or 4.4% of the population, are drug users.

In April, Dinparast made the stunning claim that 53% of drug users are government employees.

According to the Iranian parliament’s research institute, the average productive hours of Iranian workers is 22 minutes a day.

In Transparency International’s ranking of administrative and economic corruption, Iran ranks 144th out of 177 countries.

In other words, Iran is coming apart at the seams. The people cannot stand the regime. The regime, incompetent and unwilling to tackle any of Iran’s problems, responds to the public’s outrage with massive, brutal repression.

If left to its own devices, in all likelihood, the Iranian regime would have been toppled five years ago when it falsified the results of the 2009 presidential elections, and so fomented the Green Revolution But the people of Iran didn’t bet on the regime’s ace in the hole: the Obama administration.

The same Obama administration that supported the overthrow of US allies in the war on Islamic jihad – Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi – stood by the Iranian regime as it massacred its people in the streets of Iranian cities for daring to demand their freedom.

If the 2009 Green Revolution was the gravest threat the regime had faced since the 1979 revolution brought it to power, today the regime is also imperiled.

On Monday, Iran’s dictator Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was released from the hospital after undergoing prostate surgery. Several strategic analyses published since then claim that his days are numbered and that as a consequence, the regime faces a period of profound uncertainty and instability.

The Iranian people are watching all of this, and waiting.

As was the case in 2009, the disaffected Iranians, who hate their regime and want good relations with the US and the West, remain the greatest threat to the regime.

Beyond its borders, Iran is also under stress. With its Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah forces committed to Syria in defense of Bashar Assad, Iran finds its position in Iraq threatened by the rising power of Islamic State.

Yet, as happened in 2009, in the midst of this gathering storm, the Obama administration is rushing to the mullahs’ rescue, begging Iran to support US efforts to fight Islamic State, indeed claiming that securing Iran’s support and cooperation is a necessary precondition for the mission’s success.

To say that this US policy is madness is an understatement.

As Michael Weiss documented in Foreign Policy in June, Iran and its puppet, the Syrian regime, played central roles in facilitating the development and empowerment of Islamic State both in Syria and Iraq. A defector from the Syrian Military Intelligence Directorate reported in January that the regime helped form Islamic State.

First, it sprang Sunni jihadist leaders from Sednaya prison in 2011. Then, it facilitated in the creation of the armed brigades that became Islamic State.

The idea was that through Islamic State, it could tarnish the reputation of all of its opponents by claiming they were all jihadists.

US military officers with deep knowledge of Iran’s role in Iraq told Weiss that Islamic State’s leadership entered Iraq from Iran.

A key al-Qaida financier, Olimzhon Adkhamovich Sadikov, was charged in February by the US Treasury Department with “provid[ing] logistical support and funding to al-Qaida’s Iran-based network.”

US Army Col. Rick Welch, who served as the military liaison to both the Sunni tribes and the Shi’ite militia in Iraq during the 2007-2008 US military surge, told Weiss that the assessment of Iraqi Sunnis and Shi’ites alike was that “Iran was funding any group that would keep Iraq in chaos.”

Iran sought chaos in order to prevent the establishment of a stable Iraqi government allied with the US while incrementally establishing Iranian control over the country.

Iran’s actions in Iraq and Syria, in other words, have for the past decade been focused on expanding Iranian power at the expense of the US and the Iraqi and Syrian people.

This behavior of course is in line with Iran’s global strategy. From its support for Hamas to its control over Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, from developing a strategic alliance with Venezuela to expanding its presence throughout South and Central America, through its closely cultivated relationship with Russia, Iran’s every move involves expanding its power and influence at America’s expense.

And yet, despite this, the Obama administration has made strengthening the Iranian regime and appeasing it the centerpiece of its Middle East policy.

President Barack Obama told Jeffrey Goldberg in March that Iran is a rational actor that the US can do business with.

He said, “If you look at Iranian behavior, they are strategic, and they’re not impulsive. They have a worldview, and they see their interests, and they respond to costs and benefits.”

As Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry apparently now perceive things, Iran opposes Islamic State, and therefore it will play a supportive role in the US campaign against Islamic State. Moreover, by participating in the campaign, Iran will demonstrate its good faith and so make it possible for the US to cut a deal with the mullahs that will legitimize their illicit uranium enrichment – because really, how big a threat can a country that opposes Islamic State be?

As for Iran, it sees its interest as having the US destroy Islamic State, and if possible, having the US pay Iran for the privilege of fighting Iran’s war – against the foe Iran did so much to create.

And this brings us back to Steinitz’s gloomy assessment of the talks with Iran. Steinitz warned against the growing prospect of the US caving in to Iran’s nuclear demands as a payoff for Iranian support against Islamic State.

In his words, “Some people might think, ‘Let’s clean the table, let’s close the [nuclear] file,” in order to get Iran on board against Islamic State.

Unfortunately for Steinitz, and for the rest of the world, including the US, the Obama administration seems bent on proving him right.

Today the Iranian regime is weaker than it has been since it violently repressed the Green Revolution.

And that is why Rouhani is happy to be coming to New York.

He is certain that now, as then, the Obama administration will save the regime. This, even as the mullahs advance their goal of becoming the hegemons of the Middle East at the US’s expense, and completing their nuclear weapons program, which will secure the regime for decades to come, and threaten America directly.

Caroline B. Glick is the author of The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East.


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

Matthew Vadum: Terrorists at the Border

by Matthew Vadum

A Democratic congressman tried to use the might of the federal government to crush an investigation into reports that an Islamic terrorist group is using the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juarez as a base for launching an attack on the U.S. using car bombs or other vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs).

The Islamofascist group in question is the extraordinarily brutal Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) that has been conquering swathes of the Middle East with the long-term goal of establishing an Islamic Caliphate. (ISIS is also known as the Islamic State group and by the Obama-preferred acronym ISIL, which stands for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.)

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of El Paso, Texas, contacted the local offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) “in an effort to identify—and evidently intimidate—sources that may have been used by” Judicial Watch, federal law enforcement sources told the  nonprofit good-government group.

Judicial Watch, which has been legally recognized by the courts as a media outlet, reported on the terrorist conspiracy on August 29. Citing high-level federal law enforcement, intelligence, and other sources, the group reported that the federal government was bracing for an imminent terrorist attack on the southern U.S. border.

Agents in the departments of Homeland Security, Defense, and Justice are all reportedly on alert and have been directed “to aggressively work all possible leads and sources concerning this imminent terrorist threat,” Judicial Watch reports.

O’Rourke’s office denies wrongdoing, but according to Judicial Watch the congressman’s telephone calls were followed by “a memo that came down through the chain of command threatening to terminate or criminally charge any agent who speaks to media of any kind.”

According to the Obama administration, Islamic terrorists are not operating in Ciudad Juarez. But the administration isn’t known for truth-telling. The White House has long downplayed the wave of violent crime, much of it committed by drug cartels, that rages along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The U.S. Border Patrol instructed its officers to steer clear of the most crime-infested portions of the border because they’re “too dangerous” and patrolling them could lead to an “international incident” involving a cross-border shooting, Judicial Watch previously reported.

Yet a parade of Democratic politicians including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano have declared the southern border to be secure despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

In addition to being soft on immigration and national security issues, left-wing lawmakers also don’t like being exposed by reporters.

In the Obama era Democratic politicians have a habit of punishing pesky journalists for doing their jobs. Many suspect the Obama White House played a decisive role in investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson’s abrupt departure from CBS News this past March after several of her news stories proved embarrassing to the administration.

Eric Holder’s Justice Department cracked down on investigative reporter Matthew Boyle, compounding its wrongdoing by unethically coordinating with the George Soros-funded character assassins at Media Matters for America.

And the Obama administration, in the words of CNN’s Jake Tapper, has used “the Espionage Act to go after whistleblowers who leaked to journalists … more than all previous administrations combined.” At least twice federal investigators have meddled in newsroom practices and put journalists in legal jeopardy.

Obama’s hostility to press freedoms doesn’t end there. His Federal Communications Commission wanted to place federal observers in newsrooms, ostensibly to study the news-gathering process. The media cried foul and the study has been dropped, at least for now.

Federal Election Commission chairman Lee E. Goodman, a Republican, warns that his Democratic FEC colleagues could try to ban books during election season by regulating book publishers. “We have wounded the free-press clause of the First Amendment,” Goodman said earlier this year after the commission failed to rule that a book by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was entitled to a routinely granted so-called media exemption.

This it “the same exemption that typically lets newspaper editorials, television channels and other outlets say what they want about political figures without worrying about campaign finance laws,” Fox News reported.

Many leftists want to go even farther in regulating the media by abolishing private news organizations altogether.

While the Obama administration dithers, the Australian government dramatically dismantled an ISIS plot to murder Australians for propaganda purposes.

Police in Sydney, Australia thwarted a plot Thursday by Islamic State supporters down under to randomly behead Australians.

“The raids involving 800 federal and state police officers – the largest in the country’s history – came in response to intelligence that an Islamic State group leader in the Middle East was calling on Australian supporters to kill, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said,” according to the New York Post.

“Abbott was asked about reports that the detainees were planning to behead a random person in Sydney. ‘That’s the intelligence we received,’ Abbott told reporters. ‘The exhortations – quite direct exhortations – were coming from an Australian who is apparently quite senior in ISIL to networks of support back in Australia to conduct demonstration killings here in this country.’

Will the Obama administration be as conscientious and effect as Australia has been when U.S.-born jihadis fighting for ISIS begin to return to America?

We’re going to find out, and probably sooner than you think.

Matthew Vadum is an award-winning investigative reporter and the author of the book, "Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers."


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Robert Spencer: Saudi Arabia’s Phony Anti-Terrorism Fatwa

by Robert Spencer

It is a popular aspect of media mythmaking about the Islamic State that it is so extreme that even other “extremists” such as al-Qaeda shun and repudiate it. But this claim, like the many declarations by both Muslim and non-Muslim leaders that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam, is always left unexplained and unsupported.

The recent Saudi statement against terrorism is yet another example of this. The credulous and ignorant will wax enthusiastic over this display of Saudi “moderation,” but in reality — yet again — the closer one looks, the less there is to see.

The Associated Press reported that
Saudi Arabia’s highest body of religious scholars issued a stern ruling on Wednesday calling terrorism a “heinous crime” and saying perpetrators including Islamic State militants deserve punishment in line with Islamic law.
The Council of Senior Religious Scholars said in its fatwa, or religious edict, that it backs the kingdom’s efforts to track down and punish followers of the Islamic State group and al-Qaida.
The House of Saud is in trouble. They’ve spent billions to propagate worldwide the view of Islam held by the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. They perhaps never envisioned the prospect of a caliphate practically on their doorstep, and challenging their own legitimacy: the monster they created is returning to haunt them, and they know that if they join any military action against the Islamic State, they could face an uprising at home from young Muslims who have imbibed the understanding of Islam that they have so energetically taught. Hence this fatwa: they hope to delegitimize now what they have spent billions to legitimize, and convince their own people that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam and must be rejected.

AP, as biased as it is, seems aware that this is the point of this fatwa: to preserve the Saudi monarchy. “The clerics,” it reported, “are appointed by the government and are seen as guardians of the kingdom’s ultraconservative Wahhabi school of Islam. The statement by the group of 21 scholars underpins the kingdom’s broader efforts to deter citizens from joining extremist groups that want to bring down the Western-allied monarchy.”

The report noted that Secretary of State John Kerry had gone to Saudi Arabia last week and “planned to ask Mideast countries to encourage government-controlled media and members of the religious establishment to speak out against extremism.”

How ironic: the understanding of Islam that Saudis have worked so hard to spread throughout the world is now “extremism.” But the Saudi statement points at others as the “extremists”: “The council’s condemnations extended to others the Saudi government opposes as well, including the Shiite Hawthi rebel group in Yemen and Saudi Hezbollah, a Shiite militant movement that was engaged in attacks in the kingdom in the 1980s and 1990s. It also criticized what it called ‘crimes of terrorism practiced by the Israeli occupation.’”

It sounds as if this is the Saudi Islamic scholars’ version of the hit on the Five Families. But note the hypocrisy: the Saudis are against the jihad terrorism of the Islamic State, al-Qaeda and Hizballah, but also against the foremost target of the global jihad, Israel — which shows that they’re not really against jihad terror at all. And what they’re really against is anything that would upset the House of Saud: “One of the greatest sins,” says the statement, is “disobeying the ruler.” This essentially makes it explicit: this is all about preserving the House of Saud, not about genuinely rejecting terrorism.

Yet “to help back up its religious ruling, the council referred to words of the Prophet Muhammad, who warned against following those who want to divide the nation.” The Islamic State, however, doesn’t want to “divide” Saudi Arabia. It wants to incorporate all of it into the Islamic State. But the scholars dismiss the new caliphate as a terrorist group: “The scholars added that any Muslim who thinks jihad — or striving in the path of God — means joining a terrorist group ‘is ignorant and has gone astray.’”

These scholars, remember, are in the country that for years has been the chief financier of jihad terrorism worldwide. But in any case, “the head of the council and grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheik Abdul-Aziz Al-Sheik, described the Islamic State and al-Qaida as Islam’s top enemies.”

“Islam” in that case means “Saudi Arabia.”

Amid all these condemnations of terrorist groups was one notable omission: “Notably absent from the council’s list is the Muslim Brotherhood, which Saudi authorities have outlawed and also branded as terrorist.” The Brotherhood also has significant support in Saudi Arabia, but it doesn’t pose a threat to the Saudi state at the moment. Thus there is no need to mention it and risk angering even more of the population than this present declaration will rile up.

The Saudi Gazette offered more detail, saying that the Saudi Scholars Commission and Ifta Council “said terrorism, which is rejected by Shariah, is contradictory to the principles and purpose of Islam, which came as a mercy to the world and for the goodness of mankind.”

Saudi Arabia is, of course, a Sharia state. It regularly practices beheadings, amputations, and the like. It subjugates and oppresses women. This is what the Saudi Scholars Commission and Ifta Council means by a “mercy to the world.” When they condemn “terrorism,” they don’t mean by the word what most Americans think of. They mean “anything that threatens the Saudi state.”

They likewise redefine “tolerance”: “Tolerance is the essence of Islam, which came to maintain coexistence and peace on earth, the senior Ulema (Islamic scholars) said at the conclusion of the Council’s 80th session.” Tolerance? Remember: these apostles of Islamic tolerance believe that someone who has a Bible or a crucifix deserves arrest, imprisonment, and deportation or death.

The Orwellian redefinition machine went into overdrive when the scholars said: “Terrorism has nothing to do with jihad, and Islam rejects the deviant thought which causes bloodshed.” Except, that is, for the blood of apostates, heretics, adulterers, and all the others whose blood is called for under Sharia. The statement “described terrorism as any crime aimed at corrupting and undermining security, offenses against lives or property, homes, schools, hospitals, factories, bridges, state facilities or oil and gas pipelines, or blowing up or hijacking aeroplanes.”

And yet they condemn Israel, even though Hamas jihadists target Israeli lives and property, homes, schools, etc. What they really mean here is that terrorism involves offenses against Muslim lives and property.

Finally, “the council urged everyone to utilize all means to strengthen unity and cohesion.”
That is, utilize all means to strengthen the House of Saud. That is what this statement against terrorism is all about. Which will not keep it from being an object of celebration for the naïve and credulous.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book, Arab Winter Comes to America: The Truth About the War We're In, is now available.


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Michael Curtis: Obama and the Coalition of Nations

by Michael Curtis

What the world needs now may be love, but more urgently it needs the end of Islamist jihadism, the greatest danger to Western civilization and values. The arrest on September 18, 2014 in Sydney, Australia of 15 alleged jihadists, local Islamic State supporters, preparing to kidnap at random innocent persons and behead them in a gruesome spectacle in the streets of Sydney, is another reminder of that urgent need.

No wakeup call is required to realize that the same kind of direct threat exists against the homeland of the U.S. It serves no purpose to minimize, as some spokespersons for the Obama Administration have done, the danger to the U.S. and Western countries of terrorist attacks. Similarly shortsighted is the view of Daniel Benjamin, former State Department counterterrorism adviser, that public comments about the ISIS threat have been a “farce.”

It is equally pointless to relax one’s guard on the belief that there is no credible information of an impending attack on the West from IS. The world is now full of Jihadist groups, whether al-Qaeda, the Nusra Front, or the Islamic State, some of whose supporters are trained to carry out terrorist attacks in their Western countries of origin. For policy purposes, it is useful to list some of the groups to which attention should be paid.

The groups exist around the world: Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP); Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghrab (Aqim) in Mali; Boko Haram in Nigeria; Al-Shabab in Somalia; Taliban in Afghanistan; Ansar al-Sharia in Libya; Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia; Jemaah Islamiah in Indonesia; Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines; Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis in Egypt.  Above them all is the Islamic State (IS), (formerly ISIS or ISIL), in Iraq and Syria, a ruling state, a Caliphate, as well as a terrorist organization.

It needs to be repeated that IS, a Caliphate with enormous wealth, large quantities of weapons, and an appetite for power, has ambitions to expand its territorial control in the Middle East. Under its ruthless leader the Caliph and Commander in Chief, formerly known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who claims to be descended from the Prophet, the IS is first consolidating its rule, then plans to conquer the bordering Muslim states, and then to “battle against the Crusaders” (the West). IS has a governing structure and a functioning bureaucracy with two parts, one for Syria and the other for Iraq, each with 12 Governors, an eight-man Shura Council, the religious monitor, and a number of committees , each responsible for specific services.

Along with the ambition of IS in the Middle East, the Western individuals who have joined the ranks of IS pose a potential danger to their countries of origin, including the U.S. homeland. Thus the need for strong Western response to the threat is urgent. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has reported on his attempts to form a coalition, to enlist allies in the fight, to obtain the support of ten Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and some promises from others. Saudi Arabia has proposed training facilities and providing equipment for Syrian rebel fighters, though it will not commit troops against fellow Muslims.  

How should the West respond? There still appears to be no clear vision or comprehensive long-term U.S. strategy except the refusal to deploy ground forces. Vice President Joe Biden spoke of going to the “gates of hell” to deal with IS, but didn’t say where that was or who would be leading the charge. President Obama has cautiously vacillated in his decisions and in general is not willing for the American military to be involved in quarrels in foreign countries. The projected U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan indicates the misapprehension of this policy, since the Taliban are likely to become more powerful there. Obama has made clear on many occasions that American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq.

Above all, Obama is no lone ranger: his policy is alone together. He has increased the number of air raids on IS bases in Iraq, but not yet in Syria. He did send 475 troops to assist the Kurds with training, intelligence, and equipment. If there is to be a meaningful coalition of nations it is imperative that U.S. political and military leaders agree on a serious plan of action.

Troops from European countries, and certainly from the United States, are unlikely to participate in military action on the ground. The NATO countries are unlikely to provide much assistance. Indeed, only four of them (US, UK, Greece, and Estonia) spend at least 2 per cent of their GDP on defense as required. Britain did send four Tornado jets to Cyprus for reconnaissance flights, and also a Rivet Joint intelligence gathering aircraft.

Action by Western countries must continue embracing air strikes over Syria as well as Iraq, training those rebel groups in Iraq and Syria who are prepared to fight IS, monitoring of the borders of Syria, Turkey, and Iraq, controlling ISIS funds, and preventing would-be home grown jihadists from joining IS. An initial problem is that training of the rebel groups has been slow and should be speeded up.

Above all, Western help to the Kurds is crucial. The Syrian Kurds must be strengthened, even though the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) is designated as a terrorist group by the U.S. and Turkey. The Kurds, occupying parts of Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Turkey, the largest ethnic group in the world that is stateless, deserve a regime of their own, whether or not one accepts this conclusion they should be supplied with heavy weapons, including tanks and helicopters, with which to fight IS.

One country that is reluctant to join any international coalition is Turkey, though it is a NATO country with a large army. Turkey, which has a 560-mile border with Syria, was partly responsible for allowing ISIS to gain strength by allowing weapons, material, and foreign fighters from Europe and elsewhere to enter its country and travel through Syria to join ISIS terrorists.

So far Turkey has been unwilling to act for two stated reasons. The first is that the IS holds hostage 49 Turkish diplomats and their families who were captured in June 2014 when ISIS overran the Turkish Consulate in Mosul. The second is the animosity between Turkey and the Kurdish PKK, the group which has been among those leading the fight against IS.

Turkey has not acted as an ally or even a friend. It has allowed exiled members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to reside in its country. It has benefited from the oil smuggling by ISIS, at least $3 million a day, and from banking transactions. It generally minimized the threat of ISIS. It refused to sign the statement of September 11, 2014 issued in Saudi Arabia when regional leaders agreed to help stop foreign jihadists and funds going to the Islamic State. 

Turkey has declared that the U.S. cannot use the air bases on its territory, especially the large one at Incirlik, for airstrikes against IS. It appears that IS has some kind of unofficial office in Istanbul and has been actively recruiting in that city. More than 1000 Turks have joined IS, either for ideological reasons or for money, said to be $150 a day. This is attractive for Turks, of whom 17 per cent live below the poverty line. Turkey has also allowed anti-Assad Islamic extremists to operate within its territory. If Turkey is not forthcoming, a good case can be made for its removal from NATO.

The Obama Administration must persist in the effort, difficult though it is, to assemble a coalition of nations to overcome the most threatening menace in the world today, and to lead from in front.

Michael Curtis


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Thomas Lifson: Stunning: ex-SecDef Panetta on Obama's pullout from Iraq

by Thomas Lifson

President Obama’s complete pullout of forces from Iraq, squandering the victory there that was handed to him by President Bush, has been a historic disaster, allowing the creation of ISIS. The precise magnitude of that disaster is yet to be understood, but we know already that the president’s strategy to fight ISIS is regarded as unlikely to succeed thanks to the absence of ground troops.

Now, Obama’s Secretary of Defense at the time of the pullout is going public with his and the national security team’s opposition at the time to the pullout. Sixty Minutes has released a promotional video for tomorrow’s broadcast featuring Leon Panetta:

Panetta has always seemed to me to be an honest and decent man. But by speaking out now, he is not only alerting the public to Obama’s overruling of his advisors, he is letting us know that he is distancing himself from responsibility for a historic blunder. That suggests that he realizes a reckoning is coming and wants to escape blame.

One of the notable and deeply troubling aspects of Obama’s unilateral decision on the pullout is the complete absence of resignations in protest.  Where were the patriots when we needed them most?  Why did Panetta wait so long?

Thomas Lifson


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Frank Gaffney: 'N' (ن ) is for Nazarene The ISIS Mark of Oppression and Genocide

by Frank Gaffney

I just left a meeting with a Senior Congressman on Capitol Hill.

The information I received from that meeting astounded me.  The first thing I've done is sit down and write you this email ... the information is that important.

The Congressman and I were speaking about matters of national security.  The conversation naturally turned to the Islamic State (also referred to as ISIS or ISIL) and the threat it poses.  As we were talking, I explained the tragic use of the Arabic "N" on Christian houses ... and the Congressman had no idea what I was speaking about.  Once I was done explaining this, he told me he was positive few Americans are aware of this as well. 

Today alone, Islamic State jihadists will kill 100 or more Christians in Iraq and Syria.  They are attempting to commit genocide against Christians.  Now, you know me.  I rarely discuss religion.  But this isn't about religion as you'll soon read.

The Islamic State has an efficient method to their extermination practices.  They send "scout" troops into villages who identify and mark Christian homes with the Arabic letter "N" – which is shorthand for “Nasrani,” or Nazarene: a Christian.  The commando brigade follows shortly, and offers anyone who remains in these homes the choice of convert, submit or die.  If the jihadists opt for the latter, the usual methods include crucifixion or beheading – even of children!

The symbol I’m speaking about looks like this:

When I asked the Congressman why he thought he hadn't heard about this practice, he said something to me that was startling in its simplicity.  "They're beheading journalists.  As a result no journalist will go into this area to report, for fear of meeting the same fate."  As much as I typically blame a left-leaning media for the lack of important information ... I realized he was right.  The Islamic State has ensured they can conduct their Christian genocide in secret.

The reason:  Islamic State jihadists are headed here.  They do not want Americans to know what is in store for us.

The point the Congressman left me with was this:

If the media is too scared to report on, or lacks information to inform the public about these atrocities, it's up to CSP to get the message out.  He was adamant that the organizations who care most about America must inform Americans about this horror. 

He wants to work with me to make sure that this symbol becomes THE SYMBOL for fighting terrorists. I've been wearing a pin (see below) with this symbol on it since we received them only days ago, to show solidarity with Christians and to indicate that I will not let America fall into the hands of terrorists.

I know you're aware of the reports of Islamic State training grounds on the Mexican border.  I know you're probably aware of the reports of Islamic State sleeper cells that exist across this country.  I believe these reports are credible and the threat is real and imminent.  You and I are the exception.  The average American doesn't know and isn't prepared to fight.

This Congressman plans to wear one, and help me distribute the pin to other Members of Congress.  Given my full schedule, this is no small task.  But it's essential.

For a small, tax deductible donation we will send you one or more pins.  Please use this link to connect to the donation page and see the options available.  It was expensive to get them made on short notice -- but frankly, we just couldn't wait.  Please donate to get one for you and a handful for friends.  Help us inform America of the terror that awaits if we don't take action.
With best regards and heartfelt thanks for your love of our country and your help in securing it.

Frank Gaffney
President and CEO
Center for Security Policy

Frank Gaffney


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