Friday, September 19, 2014

Ben Cohen: Will Oil Make or Break the Islamic State?

by Ben Cohen

Now, with the Islamic State's self-proclaimed caliphate having captured key oil wells in the Middle East this year, foreign oil has become an even more lethal financial weapon-of-choice for those seeking to destroy democracy and further escalate the War on Terror.
That President Barack Obama failed even to mention oil as a critical factor in the war against IS during his speech to the nation on September 10, is an omission both revealing and dangerous in terms of how his administration wants to depict the stakes involved in this latest confrontation with the jihadis.

America's failure to achieve energy independence over the last 30 years has resulted in exponential oil price increases that have hurt our nation. Trillions of dollars have left, and billions more continue to leave our economy to purchase oil from countries that seek our destruction, and to support madrassas [Islamic religious schools] that teach new Muslim generations how to hate -- and worse.

Now, with the self-proclaimed caliphate of the Islamic State [IS] having captured key oil wells in the Middle East this year, foreign oil has become an even more lethal financial weapon-of-choice for those seeking to destroy democracy and further escalate the War on Terror.

Recent reported developments: The Islamic State accelerated its rampage through northern Iraq at the beginning of the summer. Its terrorists quickly captured seven oil fields in the region with the capacity to produce 80,000 barrels of oil per day – assets worth, at international market prices, around $240 million per month.

The IS met virtually no armed resistance as it seized these fields. Indeed, two of them, Najma and Qayara, had already been abandoned as far back as February, when Sonangol, an Angolan company with a 75% stake in the fields, announced that its operations were no longer feasible because of the prevailing climate of insecurity.

Similar reports came from the other fields seized by IS. In early August, as IS terrorists captured the strategically vital Mosul dam, which provides water and electricity to the region, the Ain Zalah oil fields were taken with little resistance from the surrounding Kurdish peshmerga forces. Significantly, this particular seizure took place at the same time that the Kurdish political leadership was bemoaning the Obama Administration's reluctance to back them with weaponry, military advisers and air strikes. The White House had also attempted to prevent the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) from separately trading its own oil, in a bid to arrest the disintegration of Iraq as a federal state.

Kurdish peshmerga soldiers patrol an oil installation on the outskirts of Kirkuk, July 2014. (Image source: VOA video screenshot)

At the Ajeel oil fields near Tikrit, an on-site engineer reported that IS terrorists overran the wells -- which produce 28,000 barrels of oil per day -- as part of a coordinated onslaught against military and oil installations elsewhere in the locale. A few days after Ajeel fell to IS, a local official, Shallal Abdul Baban, reported that smuggling operations had begun. "People who buy the oil use paved roads controlled by militants and take it through the cities of Kifri or Qadir Karam to civil refineries or across the Iranian border," Abdul Baban said.

Despite these battlefield successes, IS remains some distance from Qatari or Saudi levels of oil wealth. Cut off from the international oil market, where a barrel of oil is valued at around $100, the terrorists have no choice but to sell for cash or barter their oil at much lower prices, using the services of Turkish, Iraqi and Iranian middlemen to collect the revenues. Additionally, the oil fields under IS control are, in terms of capacity, extremely modest when compared to the Kurdish-run oil fields around Kirkuk in the north and the Iraqi government-run oil fields around Basra in the south.

As the Wall Street Journal reported at the end of August, the Islamic State sells a barrel of heavy oil for between $26 and $35. A separate report from the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates the price per barrel even lower, at $12. All told, oil analysts calculate that revenues from Iraqi oil fields currently net the terrorists between $1-3 million per day: that is enough to shore up its Shari'a-law based reign of terror, but hardly the sum needed to create a functioning state capable of defending itself from the robust counter-attacks launched by Kurdish and Iraqi forces over the last few weeks.

IS's fragile jurisdiction over its Iraqi oil properties -- Ain Zalah, for example, was reported to have been retaken by the Kurdish peshmerga at the end of August -- is offset, however, by the iron fist it wields in neighboring Syria, where around 60% of the oil fields remain under IS control. Among those fields is Al Omar, which produced around 30,000 barrels per day prior to the outbreak of civil war in 2011. The fall of Al Omar was a key consideration in the decision of fighters previously associated with rival Islamist Nusra Front to throw in their lot with the IS instead. Now, IS is reported to be producing and smuggling approximately 50,000 barrels of oil per day in Syria alone, an amount worth $2 million per day in addition to its monetary gains in Iraq.

As a consequence, IS still retains the potential seriously to disrupt the oil exports upon which the Iraqi economy rests. A successful offensive in the south could significantly multiply the revenues available to the aspiring caliphate. Given the growth-potential for Iraq's oil industry – projected to reach 6.1 million barrels per day by 2020 – both the human rights and national security implications can be judged as disastrous.

For the moment, though, there are three main factors that can hamper the progress of the IS. First, further gains by Kurdish and Iraqi forces against the already-stretched IS will obstruct its ability to send trucks carrying oil into neighboring countries. Second, oil fields require maintenance. Most of the fields and equipment now under the control of the IS are old and decaying; without further investment, production levels will decline.

Finally, the oil with which IS may have intended to build its caliphate could turn out, ironically, to be its undoing. As IS's footprint has grown larger, its dependence on oil revenues has increased, at the expense of other revenue streams such as kidnappings (after the brutal decapitations of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, Western governments may be growing reluctant to pay ransoms), as well as the illicit trade in ancient religious artifacts, and extortion operations against those populations suffering under IS rule (non-Muslim minorities are apparently now forced to pay the special jizya tax to the terrorists.)

Hence it is crucial for the U.S. to provide significant Western assistance to forces, especially the Kurds, who are taking on IS directly. The more manpower and cash the IS is forced to spend to protect its oil fields, the more vulnerable their supply lines stretching from Syria into Iraq become.

Of course, IS can always follow the example of the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who set hundreds of oil wells in Kuwait ablaze when his occupation forces were expelled from the Gulf state in 1991. Indeed, when Kurdish peshmerga forces recaptured the Ain Zalah field, the retreating IS terrorists set three wells alight. That partly explains why the Kurds and their allies are wary of any military measures that might provoke the IS into a wider "burn-and-flee" maneuver.

That possibility should also compel western policy-makers to understand that the coming weeks will be critical to ensuring that the Islamist rogue state does not become a petro-state as well. That President Barack Obama failed even to mention oil as a critical factor in the war against IS during his speech to the nation on September 10 is an omission both revealing and dangerous in terms of how his administration wants to depict the stakes involved in this latest confrontation with the jihadis.

Ben Cohen


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

Sarah N. Stern: Hatred Masquerading as Scholarship in the Classroom

by Sarah N. Stern

“[T]hey will bomb Gaza back to the Stone Age they said, and that they did–and yet there are very few spots on planet earth today nobler to the human spirit of resistance to tyranny and injustice than Gaza–now held like a shining jewel on the loving ring of humanity around the globe–I kiss that noble ground and hold it dearer than cities full of ignoble postmodern architecture built on the stolen land of other people.”

– Hamid Dabashi, Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, referring to Israel’s Operation Protective Edge; Facebook, August 6, 2014. (link to source)

The above quote, replete with biases and omissions, does not simply represent the viewpoint of one lone professor. It represents an extensively held perspective that has become a rigid orthodoxy that permeates through many of our nation’s Middle Eastern Studies Departments. This bias is being spoon-fed to our nation’s college students and sold to them as scholarship. As American parents who save for years for their youngsters’ college tuitions, many of us should be outraged that this bigotry is masquerading as solid erudition to our youngsters. As American citizens, we should be outraged that this sort of thinking is being subsidized by the American government in the form of Title VI grants to universities, and is shaping the thinking of our current and future American thinkers and leaders.

In fact, so blatant are the biases of the program, that 218 scholars from Middle Eastern Studies programs across the country, ranging from Columbia University and New York University on the East, the University of Chicago University of Illinois, and Michigan State University in the Mid-West to University of California in Los Angeles, Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, San Diego, Riverside, Santa Cruz, and hundreds of points in between, have all recently signed a petition for an academic boycott of Israeli Universities and any joint program with Israeli scholars.

How did this come about?

Title VI of the Higher Education Opportunities Act, which had formerly been known as The National Defense Education Act was implemented in 1958, during the height of the Cold War, in order to ensure that we were prepared to confront the challenges of the Soviet threat.  At that time, it was felt that our students were woefully ill-equipped to be competitive in the world against the Soviets in their knowledge of foreign languages and regions. It was then determined that certain universities were to be granted sizeable sums of money from the federal government in order to establish and help maintain regional or area studies centers, such as African Studies, Asian Studies, Latin Studies, and Middle Eastern Studies etc. in order to ensure that our nation had a generation of well-trained regional experts to meet the national security and defense challenges arising out of the former Soviet Union.

Our government therefore provided tax payers’ dollars to give birth to a regional studies industry in order to meet a specific national and security need. However, with the ensuing years, the original legislative intent of Title VI was totally ignored, and the universities simply took the money without any sort of oversight.

Universities have always been the vanguard of the latest political fashions and trends. The very first institutions in Germany to willfully adopt Nazism were the universities. Indeed, Martin Heidegarr who was a famous philosopher and a Nazi sympathizer, fired the James Husserl, the father of phenomenology because he was a Jew.

Many products of the ‘70s, who had been profoundly affected by the anti-Viet Nam war movement, have ended up teaching on college campuses, where a rigid liberal orthodoxy has set in and dominated the classroom instruction.  This was reflected in a classic survey by Prof. Robert Lichter of George Masson University, Professor Stanley Rothman of Smith College and Professor Neil Nevitte of the University of Toronto,  which was based on a survey of 1,643 full-time faculty at 183 four-year schools.

The survey found that 72 percent of those teaching at American universities and colleges are liberal and 15 percent are conservative, says the study being published this week. The imbalance is almost as striking in partisan terms, with 50 percent of the faculty members surveyed identifying themselves as Democrats and 11 percent as Republicans. In elite universities, the disparity is even greater, with 87 per cent of faculty describing themselves as “liberal” and only 13 per cent describing themselves as “conservative.”

Another study that came out in 2012 by Professor Yoel Inbar and Professor Jorris Lammers, indicated that more than one third of the respondents said that they would discriminate against a conservative candidate for a faculty position. One respondent openly admitted that “if faculty members could figure out who was conservative, they would never have hired them.”

Unfortunately, the Middle Eastern Studies programs have enthusiastically embraced this liberal orthodoxy as a knee-jerk sympathy for the Palestinian cause, as the under-dog. Most classes reflect no appreciation for the struggles of the state of Israel, which they often describe in the most distorted, vulgar and hateful of terms, as “racist,” “imperialist,” “colonialist,” even as “war criminals” and “Nazi-like.”

Much of what passes for scholarship in the Academy in the United States has emanated from a simplistic treatise by the late professor of comparative English literature of Columbia University Edward Said, entitled, “Orientalism.”  “Orientalism,” which came out in 1978, is considered a foundational text of post-colonial theory that revolutionized the field. It tends to regard as suspect any scholar who, himself, is not a native of the Arab world. So that means scholars such as Bernard Lewis or Efraim Karsh are castigated as “orientalists” who have no real understanding of the field, and Edward Said, and his disciples, such as Joseph Mossad and Rashid Khalidi, are considered to be the genuine experts.

Much of the scholarship is oriented along this rigid, one-sided political agenda and is of an inferior quality, replete with errors of omission and commission. Students who are Jewish or whose beliefs do not conform to this agenda are often made to feel marginalized, as though their beliefs are antiquated and bigoted. Many students have reported being singled out for harassment in the classroom by professors when they challenge any of these ideas.

On the campus, this pseudo-scholarship has given an intellectual patina for the ancient hatred of anti-Semitism. We see this every year as the “Divest-Boycott-Sanctions,” (BDS) movement grows, and “Palestinian Solidarity Week” or “Israel Apartheid Week” grows in popularity on our nations’ college campuses.

A one-sided political agenda, at taxpayer’s expense, has often become a paltry substitute for a good, solid education in regional studies. Many of this is reported in the late Dr. Gary Tobin’s excellent book, “The Uncivil University: Politics & Propaganda in American Education.”

In many of these departments, not only is Israel portrayed as the cause for all the problems in the Middle East, the United Sates is depicted as “the mother of all ills” in the world. Many students who are graduates of Title VI programs tend to be more sympathetic to some of our nation’s foes than to their own nation. It is almost reflexive to blame America first in these programs for our “colonialism” or “imperialism.”

They are equally likely to blame Israel first when anything, whatsoever, erupts in the Middle East, including the Sunni-Shiite conflict, or ISIS taking over parts of Iraq, saying that this is “the underlying root cause of the problem,” and “our relationship with Israel is the source of our resentment, overseas.”

Of course, the more one studies the Middle East, the more one realizes that this is wholly ludicrous; that the region is replete with many ancient, tribal and atavistic rivalries that are not easily remedied. Yet, when one speaks to most graduates of Middle Eastern programs, they predictably pin the blame for everything that goes awry in the Middle East on this, or as a minimum say, “We will be more likely to win the favor of the parties if we get to the root cause, if we first resolve the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.”

One doubts that it is ever mentioned in the classroom that the Palestinians have been taught to despise and to vilify the Israeli, the Christian and the Jew, and that since 1993, they have been fed a steady diet of anti-Semitism that has metastasized like a cancer throughout the Palestinian body politic. When one of the parties can’t even say they recognize Israel’s right to live as a Jewish state, without choking over the words, that makes the odds of resolving this conflict rather low.

Almost as reflexively, when the United States is forced to enter into any conflict, the United States is almost reflexively blamed in the university classroom for meddling and inflaming the region. President Barack Obama’s policies seem to be almost wholly reflective of this sort of rigid analysis

One readily sees therefore, how the original intent of the Title VI legislation has been turned on its head. By now, many of the students who are graduates of these programs have already entered into positions of leadership, and one does not have to search any further than these programs when one fears that America is in a period of decline in our international standing in the world. Practically any step the United States takes as a moral leader is automatically looked upon with cynicism.

What makes this even more pernicious is that in order to get the Title VI grant from the government, the university professors in these departments must conduct “teacher training workshops” for teachers of kindergarten through twelfth grade, ensuring that these biases get transferred to our most vulnerable and impressionable youngsters who lack critical thinking skills.

From 2004 through 2008, I had been privileged to work with two of the most renowned experts in the field, Martin Kramer, author of many books including the seminal study on Title VI centers, “Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America,” and Stanley Kurtz, himself a former scholar of Indian Studies and renowned columnist for National review Online, in order to work with Congress to correct this.

We were successful in passing certain amendments to Title VI in 2008. These included a statuary requirement for: 1.) The Secretary of Education to develop a survey from a wide range of Federal agencies to find out what it is that they need for expertise in world regions and languages 2.) The Secretary of Education is to assist the universities who were recipients of Title VI funding in developing a survey to students to determine their areas of employment or post-graduate study. This survey should be administered by the university once every two years, and the results of the survey should be reported to the Secretary of Education. And most importantly: 3.) Each university which receives Title VI funding is to reflect “an explanation of how the activities funded by the grant will reflect diverse perspectives and a wide range of views and generate debate.”

The funding for this program is up for congressional renewal this year. From our discussions with educational congressional staffers on Capitol Hill, it appears as though it will automatically be put on “continuous resolution,” (which means, that because they don’t have the time or the inclination to take it up, the program, and its funding will remain in place).

However, it does not appear that any of these legally mandated requirements have been taken seriously. There has been zero congressional oversight, zero accountability and zero transparency to the revisions in the law that I had helped to enact.

I strongly suspect that all of these requirements, particularly the one which asks the university to describe what steps they have taken  “to encourage diverse perspectives,” are wholly glossed over, and that the DOE is simply rubber-stamping any university that applies for a grant from this program.

In the meantime, the use of our taxpayers’ dollars to fund these programs which trade flimsy propaganda as a paltry substitute for firm scholarship continues unabated. Much of this has simply served to give an intellectual patina to the ancient virus of antisemtism, a virus that has survived centuries of mutations, and for which there is no known antidote.

Sarah N. Stern is Founder and President of EMET, The Endowment for Middle East Truth, an unabashedly pro-American and pro-Israel think tank and policy shop in our nation’s capital.


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

Ilan Berman: Putting Islamic State in Proper Context

by Ilan Berman

Quite suddenly, all eyes are riveted on the Islamic State group. Ever since its self-proclaimed "emir," Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared the creation of a new "caliphate" during a speech in Mosul, Iraq, in June, his group has become global Public Enemy No. 1.

Islamic State is "beyond anything that we've seen," both in terms of its ambitions and its capabilities, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned last month. Similar sentiments abound within the global counterterrorism community, which has made Islamic State a near-singular focus in recent weeks. At the recent summit of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, one of the pre-eminent gatherings of its kind, Islamic State was the dominant topic of discussion over four days of meetings and workshops. Iran and Hezbollah, both of which remain pressing security challenges for the Jewish state, received remarkably short shrift. And Russia's actions in Ukraine -- which U.S. and European leaders have termed a type of "hybrid" warfare that has significant implications for the West -- got nary a mention.

All of this attention has served to inflate the image of Islamic State, positioning it as the next great adversary of the West. Often overlooked in this discourse, however, is the fact that Islamic State suffers from some real limitations and strategic constraints -- vulnerabilities that need to be understood and exploited as part of any serious Western strategy.

First, Islamic State's size is relative, in both human and territorial terms. The CIA now estimates that Islamic State could have upwards of 31,000 men under arms. That number makes it one of the largest terrorist groups on record. (By way of comparison, the State Department's counterterrorism bureau gauges al-Qaida's "core" and its two most potent affiliates, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, to number in the low thousands -- although, when indirect affiliates such as Nigeria's Boko Haram and Indonesia's Jemaah Islamiyah are factored in, the number is considerably higher.)

As impressive as this is, however, it is still far too meager to administer the group's current holdings. Experts now estimate that the group controls territory straddling Iraq and Syria exceeding the size of the state of Maryland. Controlling such a land mass requires massive manpower and materiel -- something that Islamic State, even with its growing ranks and current, deep pockets -- will find it difficult to amass and sustain.

Second, Islamic State is less popular than commonly understood among the constituency that really counts: Islamists themselves. As counterterrorism expert J. M. Berger recently pointed out in Foreign Policy, with a few notable exceptions, Islamic State seems to be experiencing considerable difficulty in wooing other significant jihadist groups to its cause despite its battlefield successes. Al-Qaida, in other words, remains the ideological center of gravity for Islamic militants, at least for the moment. That is perhaps why, rather than consolidating control of the territory it already possesses, the group is now actively taking the fight to ideological competitors like the Nusra Front in Syria as a way of burnishing its brand.

Third, there is good reason to believe that the current force strength of Islamic State is "soft," and could diminish quickly. The group may have become a magnet for foreign jihadists eager to fight in the next great holy war, but the growing administrative and policing responsibilities that it will need to assume in the weeks ahead may not appeal to many of these zealots. Nor will all of them stay and fight to the end if Islamic State begins to sustain serious battlefield reverses as a result of U.S. and coalition military operations. As a result, an attrition of forces -- perhaps even a significant one -- is reasonable to expect in the weeks ahead.

None of this means that urgent action is not needed. Like a rising tide, Islamic State's successes so far have elevated its status among extremists the world over. Denting the group's mystique and appearance of invulnerability is therefore key to eroding its global standing. Moreover, the longer al-Baghdadi's "caliphate" remains in existence, the easier it will be for his followers to frame Western action against it as a new crusade, or a civilizational conflict pitting the West against Islam.

For these reasons, time -- and determination -- remains of the essence. But the United States and its allies do themselves no favors by making Islamic State out to be a more formidable foe than it actually is. Just like al-Qaida, the organization from which it sprang, Islamic State has real vulnerabilities that can and should be leveraged.

Ilan Berman is vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington.


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Lawrence A. Franklin: Children as Suicide Bombers in Islamic Countries

by Lawrence A. Franklin

One Pakistani recruiter of child suicide bombers describes these children as "tools provided by God."
Another Muslim cleric in a madrassa [Islamic boys' school] describes child suicide bombers as "a gift from Allah that we have an unlimited number willing to be sacrificed to teach Americans a lesson."
Using children as suicide bombers will stop when... they stop "condoning the killing of innocents."

The most unconscionable form of child abuse is perhaps the least addressed by human rights organizations: the recruitment and indoctrination of children by jihadi extremists who transform them into suicide bombers and child soldiers.

Hamas's intentional targeting of Israel by missiles this summer from within densely populated neighborhoods of Gaza filled with Palestinian children is the most callous form of child-abuse yet devised.

During the recent hostilities between Hamas and Israel, media focus remained on the number of civilians -- especially children -- killed in Gaza. There was almost no mention, however of the cynical intent by Hamas to draw Israeli fire on its own people.

This deliberate infliction of harm and death on one's own populace was likely designed to win the propaganda war in an attempt to demonize Israel in the court of world opinion.

The absolute disregard by Hamas of its own citizenry underscores the brutal nature of this terrorist sub-state. It also raises the question of how, given the opportunity, Hamas would treat Israeli non-combatants. Actually, that can already be seen in the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish boys in Israel -- followed a few days later by intense rocket fire -- which precipitated the recent Gaza War. Hamas's apparent tendency to exploit the lives of innocents should not surprise: Islamic radicals seem to have a long history of abusing children to advance their goals.

Just recently, for instance, there was the mass kidnapping by the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram of young girls from their school in the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno -- an event covered, at least for a while, by the media. Before that, there was there was the attempted murder of the 15 year old Malala Yousafzsai, the outspoken Pakistani girl shot and wounded in the head by the Taliban because she wanted an education.

Where is the reporting, however, on the approximately 500 honor-killing murders of young girls and women in Pakistan each year?[1]

Apart from these spectacular events, if the media took a more methodical look at the daily crimes against children in the Islamic world, one might see the kidnapping of young boys and girls who are transformed by their terrorist abductors into warriors, sex slaves and often suicide bombers. While the widespread use of child soldiers, particularly in African countries has received prominent coverage by human rights organizations, the abuse of Muslim children in the same fashion is, inexplicably, under-reported.[2]

It is possible that the young girls kidnapped in Nigeria are also undergoing aspects of the indoctrination program mentioned above, if they are not already being married off to members of Boko Haram or sold as slaves. Similar kidnappings of young people occur on a daily basis in countries such as Pakistan.[3]

Sometimes the media attributes the employment of suicide bombers as a weapon of war to the "desperate" nature of an out-matched resistance force or to merely just another "normal" form of asymmetrical warfare. This reasoning is usually accompanied by commentary that underscores "the need to address the root causes of terrorism," such as poverty, unemployment, hopelessness, and political oppression.[4]

On occasion, some commentators also offer a theological justification for the use of children as suicide bombers. One Pakistani recruiter of child suicide bombers describes these children as "tools provided by God."[5] Another Muslim cleric at a madrassa [Islamic boys school] in Lahore, Pakistan refers to child suicide bombers as "a gift from Allah, that we have an unlimited number of youngsters willing to be sacrificed to teach Americans a lesson."[6]

There seems to be an unsettling ease about children in Islamic societies being duped into becoming suicide bombers -- starting with the environment in which the children are reared. The media seem comfortable not to report on the content of the textbooks in elementary level schools, particularly on the Arabian Peninsula and in Pakistani madrassas. Textbooks there, as in the Palestinian territories, are often are laced with hateful language describing Christians and Jews, as well as non-Muslims in general.[7] These textual references to "infidels" -- or any non-Muslim, or often even any Muslim not of one's proclivity -- are reinforced by vituperative sermons delivered by extremist Imams every Friday in mosques. Muslim children are taught to feel victimized by the West. Children are instructed that Islam is under a state of siege and must be resolutely defended even at great cost. It is a religious worldview that plays into the hands of manipulative recruiters.

The recruitment process of child candidates for suicide bombing missions is sophisticated and nuanced. Initially, a "spotter" will select a youngster out of a group for closer scrutiny. A "watcher" will be assigned to observe the daily routine of the child. The boy's family will be "checked out" to determine its probable reaction to its child's potential recruitment. If nominated, the child will usually be given a number of reliability tests. The nominee, for instance, may be assigned to report on the daily activity of a suspected political or religious adversary. The boy might be ordered to visit a mosque more frequently, especially at prayer times. Finally, the child will be encamped in land controlled by the terrorist group where he is placed under the "protection" of an older recruit.[8] So begins the isolation from parents, siblings, and the friends "on the block." His trainers, spiritual guide, and fellow martyr candidates become his new and constant companions and his surrogate family.

Some camps might require a child to perform a prayerful vigil watch even before the dawn prayer[9] -- a practice comparable to the chapel vigils that squires performed before being granted knighthood in medieval Christian Europe. The young recruit is expected to pray five times a day, the norm in Islamic societies.[10] In the late morning the recruits will be familiarized with various small arms, rudimentary surveillance techniques, and taught to operate different types of motor vehicles. The young recruits' free time will no longer be taken up by so-called decadent Western-produced TV shows and computer games. They will watch DVDs of Jihad operations conducted by their fellow combatants against infidel troops who have invaded Muslim countries such as in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Instructors in suicide-bomber training camps, run by al-Qaeda or Afghan Taliban terrorist networks in North Waziristan, Afghanistan, repeatedly reinforce the propaganda themes of sacrifice, heroism, and spiritual rewards, which they allege will be the blissful fate of those soon to be martyred [11] -- a psychological manipulation designed to exploit the young male egos of the recruits

A child soldier in Afghanistan, 2004. (Image source: Robin Kirk/Flickr)

Eventually, the mental isolation and inculcated sense of purpose succeeds in producing an ideologically committed terrorist acolyte who buys into the fantasy painted for him by the recruiter to desire the alleged rewards associated with martyrdom[12] -- perhaps being immortalized by the posting of his picture in his old neighborhood

The young recruit may have been talked out of his knowledge of the finality of death, or he may just be captivated by the glory, the promise of Paradise and financial security he will gain and, he might imagine, how his family will love him even more for such a gift. He probably does not even realize what harm he is doing to his victims: he has probably been taught that if murder is committed to further the cause of Islam, it is good. Daily lectures from spiritual guides will inform the recruits how much honor their sacrifice will bring their families. They will be told that upon their martyrdom, they will be granted immediate arrival in paradise. The recruits will be instructed that once in heaven they will be able to bargain with Allah for the salvation of their family members and friends.[13]

The harsh reality is that this form of child abuse snuffs out the life of a son as well as the victims who also are mourned by family and friends. Child abuse by suicide bombing will decrease only when humanity condemns this type of infanticide as abuse of the human rights of the child, as well as the perverse religiosity that justifies it. Using children as suicide bombers will end, as Golda Meir said, "when they love their children more than they hate us,"[14] and when they stop "condoning the killing of innocents."

[1] Jihad Watch Robert Spencer 2/15/04. Catholic blog quotes Pakistani Bishops' Justice and Peace Commission as claiming that about 700 Christian and 300 Hindu girls are kidnapped each year. See Fides News Service, 4/10/14.
[2] According to West Virginia University Professor of Health Sciences Dr. Muazzam Nasrullah, more than 500 women are killed each year. He suggests that the figure is official but there are many which are not reported.
[3] Pakistani Human Rights Commission Chairwoman Zohra Yusuf stated that in 2012, 913 young women were murdered in Pakistan under the rubric of "kala-kali," Punjabi slang for honor killing. Some of these killings are ordered by independent tribal or Sharia Courts. Often male members of families take the initiative in these murders, with only suspicion or accusation serving as justification.
[4] Abdellah Tourabi editor of the Moroccan weekly TelQuel who is an expert on Islamist Movements praises the film "Horses of God" which traces the path of two suicide bombers by commenting: "The reason I like this film is because it lingered on the process; these people didn't just carry out the attacks because they were poor but because of the whole ideological process behind it." AP: 21 May 2014.
[5] "Taliban Child Recruitment" by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. The Independent. 26 May 2014.
[6] "The Making of Pakistan's Suicide Bombers" by Kalsoom Lakhani. CTC Sentinel: Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. 3 June 2010. pp. 2-3.
[7] Nina Shea of Freedom House observes that hatred towards Christians and Jews remains a staple of Saudi Arabia's public education system. "This indoctrination begins in the first-grade texts and is reinforced and expanded each year, culminating in the 12h grade text that (the student's) religious obligation includes waging jihad against the infidel to spread Islam." Washington Post, 21 May 2006. p.B1.
[8] Combating Terrorism Center (CTC), West Point, New York. "Insight Into a Suicide Bomber Training Camp in Waziristan" by S.H. Tajik. CTC Sentinel: 3 Mar 2010.
[9] Ibid. The night vigil is called the tahajjud.
[10] Prepubescent children are not expected to pray five times a day. However, in suicide bomber training camps the candidates are instructed to pray at the normal times: Fajr: pre-dawn, Zuhr: noon, Asr: mid-after-noon, Maghrib: just after sunset, and Isha: after dark night prayer.
[11] Taliban Child Recruitment by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. The Independent, 26 May 2014.
[12] Abdellah Tourabi, Editor of the Moroccan Weekly TelQuel.
[13] "Failed Suicide Bomber Tells of Love of Martyrdom", New York Times, 6 July 2002. Many notes left behind by suicide bombers address their doubts whether some of their relatives would have been able to reach Paradise on their own unless assisted by their act of martyrdom."
[14] Golda Meir, the fourth Prime Minister of Israel uttered these words at a 1957 National Press Club Meeting in Washington D. C. See also A Land of Our Own: An Oral Autobiography, 1973, p. 242.

Lawrence A. Franklin


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Joseph Klein: Netanyahu’s ISIS Moral Clarity

by Joseph Klein

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talks at a news conference with U.S. President Barack Obama in Jerusalem 

Confronted with pure evil in the form of ISIS, President Barack Obama treats the jihadists as if they represented an isolated threat that can be dealt with on its own. ISIS (or ISIL as the U.S. government calls it, or the Islamic State as the jihadists now call themselves) has no relationship to Islam, according to the president and his Secretary of State John Kerry.

ISIS is “not Islamic,” Obama declared in his speech last week announcing the steps he intends to take to combat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. “And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.” It is “a terrorist organization, pure and simple,” Obama added.

In other words, according to the president, ISIS is for all intents and purposes made up of a bunch of nihilists who just engage in terrorism for terrorism’s sake. There is no purpose to what they are doing other than their pleasure in the deaths and mayhem they wreak, he would have us believe.

This fundamental misunderstanding of the enemy we are fighting will continue to result in Obama’s piecemeal muddle that passes for a “strategy.”  Are we even in a war? It depends on which member of the Obama administration is speaking and on what day. When are we going to start bombing ISIS in Syria as the president said he was prepared to do in his speech last week? Are we waiting to put together a “coalition” to bring the fight to ISIS on the ground while we send in some military advisors and otherwise limit ourselves to air strikes?  Apparently so, since the president has already made clear to the enemy what we will not do. And talking about coalitions, it seems that ISIS has had more success in that arena. All Obama and Kerry have managed to do so far is to cobble together vague pledges from some countries without specific commitments that we know of to contribute combat troops. ISIS, on the other hand, has reportedly recruited fighters from around seventy countries. These fighters are committed to ISIS’s fight for a caliphate. And the idea that we can find and train enough reliable so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels to “partner” with, who are motivated to take on the jihadists with “boots on the ground,” is a joke.

Indeed, ISIS and its other jihadist cohorts do have a vision, contrary to Obama’s confusion of terrorist tactics with their endgame of Islamic supremacy. Terrorist tactics, along with stealth jihad tactics of infiltration and manipulation of our institutions, serve to achieve this endgame. And while different jihadist groups may squabble among themselves over who represents the purest form of Islam, they are united by their hatred of the “infidels” – and the intent to covert, subjugate or kill as many of us as possible. Whatever name they go by, whether it is ISIS, Hamas, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, al-Shabab, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad or the Islamic Republic of Iran that supports some of these groups and others, they all represent an indivisible threat to global peace, security and individual liberties. They are, in short, part of a common enemy driven by the same pathological supremacist ideology.

Unlike President Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sees the threat and its animating ideology without rose-colored glasses. Addressing a conference of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Prime Minister Netanyahu described the repugnant vision as one of global supremacism.
We’ve seen this before. There’s a master race; now there’s a master faith. And that allows you to do anything to anyone, but first of all to your own people and then to everyone else… The goal is we establish a new Islamist dominion, first in the Middle East and in their warped thinking, throughout the world. They all agree on that. They are not limited in their scope to a territory. They’re not limited to borders.
While Obama went through the motions in commemorating the anniversary of 9/11 and has displayed moral confusion, Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke eloquently with moral clarity about what is at stake for the civilized world:
I believe that the battle against these groups is indivisible and it’s important not to let any of these groups succeed anywhere because if they gain ground somewhere, they gain ground everywhere. And their setbacks are also felt everywhere. If they gain ground, if they were to succeed, they would return humanity to a primitive early medievalism … where women are treated as chattel, as property and gays are stoned and minorities persecuted if they’re left alive at all.
Prime Minister Netanyahu knows firsthand that a true leader cannot make excuses for jihadists who fancy themselves as custodians of the “master faith” of Islam, nor negotiate with them. It does not make any difference how they label themselves. They are all branches of “the same poisonous tree,” as the prime minister put it. “These groups have absolutely no moral or other impediment to their mad desires. Once they have massive power, they will unleash all their violence, all their ideological zeal, all their hatred, with weapons of mass death,” he added.

President Obama mistakenly believes that he can separate the branches of the poisonous tree and engage with some of them as if they were unrelated fruit trees. Thus, his fruitless outreach to the Muslim Brotherhood and to the Iranian regime.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is under no such illusion. With moral clarity, he understands the jihadist ideology of Islam supremacism that we are up against and what is at stake if we do not defeat it.  President Obama does not, which places us at risk of another even deadlier attack on our homeland.

Joseph Klein is a Harvard-trained lawyer and the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom and Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam.


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John Kerry, Master Dhimmi

by Carol Brown

If you want to be part of what’s hot and trending, dhimmitude is all the rage. It’s a big tent sort of a movement, so all are welcome. No prior experience required, though liars and cowards are preferred.

This month (and the month isn’t even over yet), Secretary of State John Kerry really outdid himself, showing how it’s done for those who may be new to the dhimmitude circle.

CNS News reports:
One day after the Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) released a video showing the brutal beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff--the second American journalist ISIS has decapitated on video--Secretary of State John Kerry gave a speech saying that Islam is a “peaceful religion based on the dignity of all human beings,” and that ISIS is not “the real face of Islam.”
“I want to take advantage of this podium and of this moment to underscore as powerfully as I know how, that the face of Islam is not the butchers who killed Steven Sotloff. That’s ISIL,” Kerry said at a ceremony honoring Shaarik Zafar, who was just appointed as the State Department's special representative to Muslim communities.
“The face of Islam is not the nihilists who know only how to destroy, not to build,” he said. “It’s not masked cowards whose actions are an ugly insult to the peaceful religion that they violate every single day with their barbarity and whose fundamental principles they insult with their actions.”
“The real face of Islam is a peaceful religion based on the dignity of all human beings,” Kerry said. “It’s one where Muslim communities are leading the fight against poverty. It’s one where Muslim communities are providing basic healthcare and emergency assistance on the front lines of some of our most devastating humanitarian crises. And it is one where Muslim communities are advocating for universal human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the most basic freedom to practice one’s faith openly and freely.
“America’s faith communities, including American Muslims, are sources of strength for all of us. They’re an essential part of our national fabric, and we are committed to deepening our partnerships with them,” Kerry added.
Really, Mr. Kerry? Seriously? Are you uninformed, or lying? Because it’s got to be one of the two. Precisely how is the Muslim community in America a source of strength for all of us? And just how do you understand the directive to kill all infidels (and apostates and hypocrites) as actually meaning, hey, we respect all people? And where is this chorus of Muslim voices about you [sic] speak who are advocating for human rights?

Mr. Kerry. Really. Sir. You know you can’t just make stuff up, right? You can’t just say something and therefore it is so.

But, alas, the secretary proved he is no quitter. Nope. He continued to make the case that Islam is a peaceful religion. asserts:
And finally, and this is really – you can’t overstate this. We must continue to repudiate the gross distortion of Islam that ISIL is spreading, put an end to the sermons by extremists that brainwash young men to join these movements and commit mass atrocities in the name of God. I was very encouraged to hear that Saudi Arabia’s top clerics came out and declared terrorism a heinous crime under Sharia law….
Geez, Lousie! There’s nothing like looking to Wahhabi clerics in Saudi Arabia as one’s trusted source for information.

But Kerry still wasn’t through as he bent over backwards (or forwards, perhaps) to ensure that no one think we are actually at war with savages. Juuuuuuuuuuust a counterterrorism operation.

Fox News reports:
The United States is not at war with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL), Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday.
"What we are doing is engaging in a very significant counterterrorism operation….
By all means, whatever we do let’s not for goodness sake upset, enrage, tick off, irritate, annoy, or offend jihadists by suggesting we are at war with them. You know how nasty they can be if the United States doesn’t behave properly and is we don’t watch our words.

And that, my friends, is a short tutorial in Dhimmitude 101. Stay tuned for more installments. The Obama administration never disappoints.

Update from Rick Moran:

Carol Brown is not the only one to notice how ridiculous a spectacle Kerry has made of himself. From Breitbart:
Wednesday at the Senate Foreign Relation Committee hearing on U.S. strategy for combating ISIS, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) criticized President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry as "three senators" exercising "terrible judgment" on the U.S. strategy against ISIS. Kerry got into a heated exchange with Corker who said, "I want to say as I said personally, we have three senators, president, vice president, secretary of state, that are exercising terrible judgment right now. And to say that you're going to do this regardless of what we say, you're not going to ask for buy-in by the United States Senate or House of Representatives on behalf of the American people in a conflict that's going to be multiyear. Some people say a decade. Taking us into another country with a different enemy, is exercising the worst judgment possible."
"I've said this to you as strongly as I can personally, that in essence what you're saying to the chairman right now, saying if Congress wants to play a constructive role, we would welcome that, to me, this is a political game and I'm disappointed that you as secretary of state, being chairman of this committee, espousing the views you have espoused," he added.

Carol Brown


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Dr. Reuven Berko: The Bigger Picture

by Dr. Reuven Berko

The various travel advisories issued recently by the Counterterrorism Bureau have puzzled many Israelis, who have been wondering just how seriously to take them. Some have chosen to ignore them completely, saying that they are merely a way for security officials to cover all bases; some have chosen to lower their profiles, traveling in groups, whispering in Hebrew and exercising caution while abroad; while others have chosen to follow them to the letter and avoid travel destinations deemed too dangerous.

The most recent travel advisory, warning that Islamic State mujahedeen who return to their countries of origin from the killing fields of Iraq and Syria are planning to target European sites frequented by Israelis, makes one wonder whether European countries facing the threat of terrorism can protect their citizens and visitors.

The advisory essentially predicts the collapse of the West's domestic security apparatuses when faced with the growing unrest among its Muslim communities and the radicals they harbor, meaning that Europe is facing a greater threat from its domestic populations than from Islamic State murderers.

More than a few European anti-Semites try to find comfort in the fact that Jewish sites across Europe -- synagogues, embassies and museums -- are likely to be the focus of any Islamic rampage, saying any such attack would likely stem from the "Palestinian issue" and therefore that Europeans have nothing to worry about.

If I were a European, however, I would consider the Israeli travel advisory as a call to rally to Europe's aid. 

The combined reality of the blow Israel has dealt Hamas, which is a Muslim Brotherhood "subsidiary," and the aerial campaign waged against Islamic State by the United States and its allies, has infuriated radical Islamists worldwide, prompting them to call on the leaders of terrorist organizations in our region to form a coalition against this common enemy, saying that the blows dealt to these radicals by the West and the Arab countries that have joined its fight are the product of "a conspiracy led by Jews and global Zionism."

This sentiment lends the Quran's decree of "do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other" (Sura 5:51) even greater importance, as terrorist leaders seem to be willing to put their differences aside in favor of seeing organizations like al-Qaida, Islamic State and the Nusra Front band together against the "crusaders."

An old Arab proverb says, "Me against my brother; me and my brother against our cousin; and me, my brother and my cousin against the stranger," that is, the "crusaders." This method is tried and true: While the Muslim Brotherhood believes that Islamic State is too brutal and Islamic State believes the Muslim Brotherhood is passive, they both aspire to vanquish the "crusaders" and their allies and establish a global Islamic caliphate.

The unrest, mass protests and terrorism, which currently seem as if they have a purely anti-Semitic aspect, will soon focus on the "crusaders" themselves. Europe has received an unequivocal travel advisory from Israel's Counterterrorism Bureau, and it would be wise to pay attention.

Reuven Berko


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