Saturday, April 25, 2015

Obama, Ayatollahs and the History Books - Dr. Mordechai Kedar

by Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Obama can choose to enter the history books as the president who prevented Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons or as the president who facilitated it.

I have always been of the opinion that logic is the force driving America's foreign policy. Recently, however, it has become apparent that there is a group among America's decision makers who want to reach a nuclear agreement with the Ayatollahs at any price.

From the moment the Ayatollahs became aware of this group and its goals, they hardened their positions in order to extract a permit to maintain a nuclear program - as a reward for doing the U.S. the favor of signing the agreement.

This, naturally, presages an agreement that is good for the Ayatollahs and bad for America and the world. Note that I am not saying "Iran" because most of the population of Iran - which is totally secular - wants the Ayatollahs to fall, and is not interested in an agreement that will give them economic breathing space and political power, whether or not they develop nuclear weapons.

I have summarized ten reasons that make it imperative that President Obama refrain from signing any agreement at all with the Ayatollahs. I have also spelled out the only way to keep them from obtaining nuclear arms.

1. The agreement signed in Lausanne at the beginning of April will not keep the Ayatollahs from obtaining nuclear weapons. President Obama actually admitted that. Perhaps it will make it take longer for them to obtain them, but Iranian nuclear weapons will go down in history as the achievement of Barack Obama.

2. The long term lesson learned from negotiations with the Ayatollahs has proven that, in every instance, they look for ways to lie, cheat, pull the wool over our eyes and hide the truth – all permissible under the rubric of "taqiyya", a Shiite legal dispensation which allows them to lie and cheat if it serves their interests. Is there anyone in the Western world who still believes them and their stated objectives?   Take Khamenei's injunction against developing nuclear weapons – it, too, is a form of "taqiyya".  After all, if he forbade them, why do they need a plutonium processing plant the nature of whose products is solely military?
3. An agreement that frees the Ayatollahs from sanctions will be a shot in the arm for the regime that totally negates the values which the entire West and particularly the United States of America claim to espouse. If the U.S. and Europe really believed in the rights of man, in democracy, freedom, women's rights, minority rights, homosexual and lesbian rights, freedom of religion and from religion, they would not sit at the same table with the Ayatollahs for any negotiations whatsoever.  That is why any agreement with the Ayatollahs is the West's betrayal of tens of millions of Iranians and an abrogation of their right to lead normal lives like those of the citizens of Europe and the United States.

4. Any agreement that does not include a complete end to the Iranian nuclear program will encourage the Ayatollahs in their view that this is the hand of God, proof that Allah himself granted them victory over the nonbelievers, Christians, Americans and Europeans, those wine-drinking pork-consumers.

5. The feeling of victory the Ayatollahs will have will send the entire Middle East into a political, military and governmental maelstrom, whose characteristics are already obvious in Yemen, which is a continuation of the bloodshed for which the Ayatollahs bear responsibility in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

6. An agreement with the ayatollahs will set off a race for nuclear arms in the entire Middle East, with the strong probability that dangerous nuclear materials will find their way to terrorist organizations which are difficult to find, destroy or deter.

7. One of the goals motivating the Ayatollahs is their declared desire to control Mecca and Medina in order to restore Islamic rule to the followers of Ali ibn Abi Talib. the fourth Caliph and founder of Shiism, who was murdered in the year 661 C.E. 

A nuclear agreement will advance that goal, one which can only be achieved by destroying Saudi Arabia's regime. Thus, the agreement will add to the tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which may lead to a general war in the Gulf and the destruction of oil and gas production in that region. One doesn't need much imagination to predict what will happen to the price of energy worldwide if that should occur.

8. Freeing the Ayatollahs from imposed sanctions will hand them tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars, which will be invested in various causes such as exporting terror, this with the help of Shiites in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, North and South America who will take heart and begin to work to restore Shiism to power over Islam and the world.

9. The billions that will reach the hands of the Ayatollahs will allow them to 'purchase' Western politicians, which will then paralyze the ability of these countries to act in their own interests against the Ayatollah's hostile takeover of Western countries.

10. An agreement with the Ayatollahs will cause militant Sunni Islamist groups spawned by the Muslim Brotherhood  - Al Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, Islamic State, Boko Haram,   al-Shabaab al-Mujahidin, Jebhat al Nusra,Hamas, and many other terror organizations in various parts of the world -  to accuse the United States and Europe of strengthening the Shiite side. This will lead to increased Sunni terror in Europe and the United States.

These ten reasons are enough to nix any agreement with the Ayatollahs, but the question that arises immediately is how to prevent them from obtaining nuclear weapons. The answer is straightforward: Western leaders – the group made up of the presidents of the USA, UK, France, Australia and Germany – must send the Ayatollahs an open letter stating the following:

"The party is over.  And so are the negotiations. We do not believe a word you are saying, nor have we fallen for the smiles on your Leader's face. That is why there will be no agreement. You have one week to dismantle, starting from this very minute, all the nuclear installations in Fordow, Natanz, Arac, Parchin and all the rest. Dismantle all the centrifuges and ship the parts to us by sea.

"Note carefully: our land, sea and air forces are surrounding you and are already revving up their engines.  A week from today, if you do not do as we demand, we will begin to flatten you down to ground level. 'Read our lips.' Take us seriously. Because we will not grant you an additional second.

"Signed: Barack Obama, David Cameron, Francois Hollande, Tony Abbot and Angela Merkel."

The more serious and credible this threat seems, the less chance there is that it will have to be implemented. The Ayatollahs are not suicidal, and at the head of their list of priorities is preserving their power, their country and their aspirations regarding the return of Islamic hegemony. They will elect to stay in power even if that means giving up their nuclear arsenal and this is the only way to convince them to give up their military nuclear plans. No other approach - certainly not an agreement- will prevent their nuclear armament and the catastrophic results for the world.

The only question remaining is whether the West's leadership has really resolved to keep the Ayatollahs from having nuclear weapons. As of now, it has not shown evidence of such resolve, which is why the Ayatollahs did not feel obligated to give up their nuclear military program. That is the main reason they have hardened their positions and are encouraging murder and mayhem in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Gaza, while exporting arms to war-torn regions in contravention of the 2007 UN Security Council Resolution 1747.

President Obama has to decide whether to enter the history books as the leader in whose period of office, the road to Iran's turning into a nuclear power was paved, just as the history books will always accuse Jimmy Carter of helping Khomeini seize control over Iran. In contrast, Obama can choose to enter the history books as the president who prevented Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, in which case his place is like that of Jack Kennedy, who stood up to Cuba in 1962 and confiscated their Russian rockets.

Both presidents – Carter and Kennedy – were Democrats. An American president does not have to be a Republican in order to stand firm and present a resolute view of the dangers threatening the US and the world. All he has to do is use the power that, through great expenditure and effort, the US has amassed in order to prevent a war that will drag the world into a nuclear cataclysm brought on by Ayatollahs who believe that Allah's hand prevents them from making mistakes.

The angel of history must have been joking when he allowed the 2002 Nobel Prize for Peace to be awarded to Jimmy Carter, "for his efforts to find peaceful solutions to international disputes, promoting democracy and human rights, economic and social development."

It might be interesting to know what the prize committee thought of Carter's efforts to promote democracy and human rights in Iran, when he allowed Khoumeni to gain control of the country.

The angel's laugh will be even louder if President Obama – who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2009 – will turn out to be the president that allowed the Ayatollahs to obtain nuclear weapons.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar


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

Palestinians Vote for Iran's New Ally: Hamas - Khaled Abu Toameh

by Khaled Abu Toameh

  • This is a vote of no confidence in Abbas and Fatah.
  • When you tell your people that Jews are awful, and do not want peace, and just want to kill Arabs and destroy their homes and holy sites, then people say, "This means Hamas is right. We should be killing the Jews and not making peace with them."
  • Hamas has now apparently realigned with Iran, which is "rebuilding relations with the military wing of Hamas," and has recently sent Hamas "tens of millions of dollars."
Hamas's crushing victory in the April 22 student council election at Bir Zeit University shows that the Islamist movement continues to maintain a strong presence in the West Bank.

Hamas supporters on campus won 26 seats, compared to 16 for their rivals in the Fatah faction, headed by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas.

The results of the election mean that Bilal Barghouti, who is serving 16 life terms in prison for his role in a series of suicide attacks against Israel, has become the "Honorary Chairman of the Bir Zeit University Student Council."

The Hamas victory came less than 48 hours after its supporters scored a major achievement on another campus: Palestine Polytechnic University in Hebron. There, Hamas supporters won the same number of seats as their rivals in Fatah – a move hailed by leaders of the Islamist movement as a "huge achievement."

Hamas supporters are shown in this video screenshot marching during a student council election rally at Bir Zeit University, near Ramallah, on April 20, 2015.

Besides being a political and moral victory for Hamas, this is a vote of no confidence in Abbas and Fatah.

The outcome of the election on both campuses shows that many Palestinians do not believe in Abbas's political program, particularly the peace process with Israel. Moreover, the results show that many Palestinians still do not consider Fatah a better alternative to Hamas.

In 2006, Fatah lost the Palestinian Legislative Council elections to Hamas largely because of its failure to reform and combat financial and administrative corruption. Since then, Fatah has done almost nothing to draw the conclusions from that defeat.

The same leaders who led Fatah to the 2006 defeat continue to hold key positions in Fatah, ignoring demands for reforms and transparency.

The landslide victory of Hamas at Bir Zeit University came in spite of an ongoing security clampdown by Abbas and Fatah on supporters of the Islamist movement in the West Bank.

In recent months, the crackdown reached university and college campuses, where dozens of students affiliated with Hamas have either been detained or summoned for interrogation by Palestinian Authority security forces.

The results of the Bir Zeit University election show that the crackdown has failed to weaken or deter Hamas supporters in the West Bank.

It is evident, in fact, that Abbas's campaign against Hamas has had a boomerang effect, resulting in increased support for the Islamist movement among Palestinians, especially those living in the West Bank. When you tell your people that the Jews are awful, and do not want peace, and just want to kill Arabs and destroy their homes and holy sites, then people say, "This means Hamas is right. We should be killing the Jews and not making peace with them."

Hamas sees its electoral triumph as a "victory for the project of resistance" against Israel. "This is a referendum that shows the strength of Hamas (in the West Bank)," said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri. "It's also a victory for our project of resistance."

Another Hamas official, Hussam Badran, said that the results of the university student council election "prove that the Palestinian people in general, and the youth in particular, have endorsed our program of resistance." He said the results also showed that Hamas continues to enjoy widespread support among Palestinians.

What the Hamas officials are saying is that many Palestinians continue to prefer the option of an armed struggle to peaceful negotiations with Israel.

Shortly after the Bir Zeit University results were announced, Hamas supporters took to the streets in various parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to celebrate their victory. On April 24, Hamas supporters are also planning a "victory rally" at Bir Zeit University to celebrate the results of the election.

The Hamas victory at Bir Zeit University shows why it is not a good idea, at this stage, to hold parliamentary or presidential elections in the Palestinian territories. Abbas himself has long been aware that a free and democratic election would result in another Hamas victory. That is why he has been in no rush to call on Palestinians to head to the ballot boxes.

But Abbas is not the only one who should be worried about the Hamas electoral victory. This is also bad news for efforts to revive the stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. In wake of the Hamas victory, it is hard to see how Abbas or any other Palestinian leader would sign any peace agreement with Israel.

The Hamas victory did not come as surprise to those who have been closely following the anti-Israel messages coming from the Palestinian Authority. The PA's incitement against Israel is one of the main reasons Palestinians have been turning to Hamas.

Hamas has apparently now realigned with Iran, which is "rebuilding relations with the military wing of Hamas." Iran also, it seems, has sent Hamas millions of dollars over the past few months. Hamas shares "the same long-term objectives as the ayatollahs: the complete destruction of the state of Israel," and to that end, wants to undermine and destroy anyone who recognizes Israel.

To avoid this, the Palestinian Authority must first stop its ongoing campaign to delegitimize and isolate Israel. This campaign is being waged through the media, mosques and public rhetoric.

The Palestinian Authority must also maintain security coordination with Israel. The coordination is vital to the PA itself, not just Israel. Without Israel's help, the PA will not be able to prevent Hamas from taking over the West Bank.

Finally, to stop the Palestinians from rallying around Hamas, the Palestinian Authority in general — and Fatah in particular — need to embark on comprehensive reforms. Above all, they need to stop blocking the emergence of new leadership, and get rid of all the icons of corruption and bad government.

Unless the PA does these three things, Hamas's popularity among Palestinians will continue to rise, bringing the Islamist movement closer to taking over the West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority is shooting itself in the foot.  Follow Khaled Abu Toameh on Twitter

Khaled Abu Toameh


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

WSJ Says Obama's Iran 'Obsession' Has Sunk the Democrats - Ari Yashar

by Ari Yashar

Deputy editor Henninger assesses how Obama's Iran 'legacy' will turn into another hostage crisis-like fiasco a la Carter for his party.

US President Barack Obama has saddled the Democratic party with a political time bomb in his "obsession" for a nuclear deal with Iran, according to Pulitzer prize finalist Daniel Henninger, deputy editor of the Wall Street Journal's editorial page.

Writing in an op-ed for the paper entitled "The Democrats Own Iran," Henninger wrote this week that, "the Democrats now own Iran - lock, stock and smoking centrifuges."

Aside from being stuck with responsibility for the deal allowing Iran to continue enriching uranium, he added, "the Democrats own Iran’s entire penetration in the region - Yemen, the Gulf of Aden, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon - pretty much anywhere Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wants to take them."

"Senate Democrats, attempting a magical illusion on American voters, say the Iran nuclear threat and the Iran terror threat are separate realities," wrote Henninger, noting that voters are unlikely to be so easily duped by Iran's actions and its nuclear aspirations.

He pointed out that the last time the Democratic "party’s fortunes went missing in Iran was during what history generally describes as 'Jimmy Carter’s hostage crisis,'" referencing the hostage crisis in which 52 Americans were held in Tehran.

Then-President Carter's incompetence in handling the crisis paved the way for Ronald Reagan to soundly romp Carter in 1980 elections, with the Democratic party's weak stance vis-a-vis giving the Republicans a steady boost as Henninger argues is posed to occur again.

"Until recently, the Democrats at least could argue that because Mr. Obama ended George Bush’s war in Iraq, he immunized them from direct political blame for the region’s troubles," he wrote. "That the decision to reduce the U.S.’s postwar presence in Iraq to zero allowed Islamic State to metastasize unimpeded was a morass they could push off into the ethers of the 'hopeless' Middle East."

"Except that the Democratic president erected a steel cable connecting himself directly to Tehran. This being Barack Obama, history had ordained that only he could take on Planet Iran and persuade its population of fanatic Shiite ayatollahs to change their worldview," said the deputy editor sarcastically.

Henninger wrote it is "now generally understood that completing a major nuclear-arms agreement with Iran was an obsession of Mr. Obama’s from early in his presidency."

The Democrats had raised enough questions regarding the dangers of such a deal to prevent Obama from making up an Iran nuclear deal "out of his own head," because the political risks for the party "were obvious."

"But starting about two weeks ago, the Democrats’ Iran hedge collapsed. The compromise on the Corker bill virtually ensures that whatever agreement John Kerry outputs in Switzerland - a deal that increasingly looks built on sand - will pass unimpeded through the Senate. It looks a lot like Obamacare, with congressional Democrats once again doing a pass-it-to-find-out-what’s-in-it for another Obama legacy."

In a similar manner to how Obama promised to "fix" the problems with Obamacare, he noted, "we assume Barack Obama and John Kerry are telling Senate Democrats that if something blows, they’ll handle it... The Iran framework’s fix is the assurance of 'snapback' sanctions, a word with no meaning whatsoever."

"But now...the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and the guided missile cruiser USS Normandy are in the Gulf of Aden, cat-and-mousing with an Iranian naval flotilla."

"The Democrats have no inoculation anymore," assessed the veteran journalist. "The party’s calculation that Hillary Clinton’s candidacy would bring home the presidency and Senate control after defeating vulnerable Republicans has a big fly in the goo: For the next 19 months, Iran is theirs."

Ari Yashar


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

Iran after the Bomb - James Lewis

by James Lewis

If elected, Hillary will continue the Obama policy of nuclear surrender because she was, after all, secretary of state while the nuclear disinformation operation was perpetrated. While these offenses should lead to impeachment, we know that the leftist political-media class will not allow that to happen. The United States has therefore been set back to the most unstable time of the nuclear age: The time when Stalin exploded his first bombs.

Obama has now created a worst-case scenario in the Middle East, by covering up Iran’s nuclear development for six years, while swearing up and down it would never happen. The media has finally admitted that the mullahs don’t even need to purify uranium with centrifuges; it can be done by a laser process that could be hidden anywhere in the world.

Admiral James Lyons (USN, ret) has publicly accused this administration of allowing Muslim Brotherhood penetration of our intelligence agencies. Admiral Lyons’ statement should be read carefully by anyone interested in U.S. national security, in this new age of nuclear danger. There is no question that Democrat presidents are receiving vast sums of money from secret foreign sources. Hillary has bluntly refused to talk about it.

If elected, Hillary will continue the Obama policy of nuclear surrender because she was, after all, secretary of state while the nuclear disinformation operation was perpetrated. While these offenses should lead to impeachment, we know that the leftist political-media class will not allow that to happen. The United States has therefore been set back to the most unstable time of the nuclear age: The time when Stalin exploded his first bombs.

America’s betrayal of its allies is already setting off a nuclear arms race among nations most threatened by Iranian aggression, especially Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Israel has an advanced nuclear and missile program, with improving anti-missile defenses. However, no current defensive system is foolproof.

As Benjamin Netanyahu pointed out in a Bill Maher interview several years ago, the mullahs are not like the Soviet Union: They are fanatical advocates of martyrdom war. All the Muslim war sects use suicide tactics, as we should have known after 9/11/01. Dying to go to heaven is right up their alley. This is therefore a different kind of nuclear threat from any we have faced before. The logic of mutually assured destruction doesn’t apply any more. Armageddon fits right into their wet dreams.

None of our defense doctrines fit the new scenario. George W. Bush invaded Iraq in 2003 precisely to preempt what was considered a nuclearizing rogue regime, Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. Saddam had his own generals convinced that he had WMDs, and major Western intelligence agencies were convinced. Saddam’s poison gas weapons were smuggled by the Russians into Syria before the U.S. invasion. Saddam had uranium ore, but his program was not nearly as advanced as Iran and North Korea are today. Bush didn’t lie about his belief in Saddam’s WMDs. He simply said what he was told by the CIA and allied intelligence agencies. They were all wrong, as they historically have been.

Bush was hung out to dry by our leftist media, and as a result, no American president is likely to try preemptive action against Iran and other nuclear rogues.

A new alliance is emerging among the threatened nations, including Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. Iran has conducted a very aggressive campaign against its self-proclaimed enemies, effectively taking over Lebanon, parts of Syria, and Iraq. They recently threatened to invade Jordan. Their aggression against Saudi Arabia goes back to 1979 and Khomeini himself. Iran has recently staged a successful revolt in Yemen, which controls the maritime chokepoint of the Red Sea, just as Iran also threatens the chokepoint of the Gulf, the Straits of Hormuz.

Obama’s response to Iran’s increasing threat to forty percent of the world’s oil supply has been weak and vacillating, as usual. A U.S. carrier group led by the George Washington has been sent to show the flag near Yemen, but the administration is talking out of both sides of its mouth, as usual. The Saudis and its Arab allies have bombed Yemen, but they lack the manpower to be effective. The Saudis have apparently used Al Qaida to stage some suicide bombings against Iran’s proxy tribe, the Houthis. As far as we can tell, the strategic chokepoint of Aden is lost to Iran.

Iran’s troops and proxy troops are fighting in Syria, with at least one incident near the northern border of Israel.

Obama’s current story is that Iran should be allowed to become a “regional power,” but Obama can never be believed. A radical Muslim regime with nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles is a global power.

This series of strategic catastrophes is completely attributable to Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the influence of the Carter/Brzezinski foreign policy lobby. All three have been lavishly funded by radical Muslim regimes, including the Saudis, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Iran. Our foreign policy is for sale, and the result has been catastrophic.

Obama wanted to reverse the West’s victory in the Cold War. With the collusion of radical leftists in our institutions, as well as the European Union, he has done so. Europe has been massively infiltrated by Muslim immigration, commanded by the unelected but corrupt bureaucracy of the EU. If Obama and Hillary have their way, the same massive infiltration will expand here.

All this reflects a major long-term Leftist-Islamist alliance, both in Europe and the U.S. Nothing else can explain decades of suicidal immigration policies in Europe, which are still enforced by the unelected ruling class of the EU, and with the Obama administration, it is being copied here. Obama now claims that the United Nations can approve the fictional Iranian nuclear agreement instead of the U.S. Senate. Obama is who he is.

One great puzzle is the apparent collusion by Russia and China in Iran’s nuclear program. Russian intelligence has long penetrated the West, and under Putin it has gone back to that game. We know that China “persuaded” the Clinton administration to sell missile launching secrets to China by reclassifying a highly secret technology as non-secret.

But Russia and China are just as threatened by Iranian nukes and missiles as we are. They are therefore taking an enormous gamble with their own security -- after all, both have centuries of experience with Muslim invasions. Russia is only an hour’s airplane flight from Iran.

Obama’s “community organizer” strategy is to destroy existing pillars of stability with the aim of Obama himself rearranging the pieces afterwards. That was the aim of the “Arab Spring” campaign, and countries like Libya, Egypt, and Syria are still trying to recover from that disaster. Obama has done the same thing with the threat of a nuclear Iran, with malice aforethought.

I believe that Obama wants to go out in glory by imposing a coercive “settlement” on Israel, to compel it to retreat to indefensible borders -- the ceasefire lines of the War of Independence. Given Obama’s endless grandiosity, he may start a campaign for worldwide nuclear disarmament, which would force the United States and Israel to give up their (purely defensive) nuclear weapons.

An Obama “solution” would make no distinction between aggressive and last-ditch defensive use of nukes. It would pretend to have intrusive inspections in every nuclear-armed nation. It would appeal enormously to the wishful socialist masses who dream of world government by all the nice people. It would undermine national sovereignty and security wherever possible. It would impose worldwide taxes, and play poor nations against prosperous ones to empower the ruling classes. It would make Obama glorious wherever suckers can be found. It would meet the goals of the two most greedy imperialisms today: Obama’s radical Leftism and jihadist Islam.

Needless to say, such a dream treaty would be unenforceable, just as the Iranian “agreement” is unenforceable. It would reward the martyrdom fanatics and the cheaters. It would make the biggest armies the most powerful, including the Russians and Chinese. The U.S. saved Europe from Soviet aggression only by possessing nuclear weapons; the West never had conventional forces remotely adequate to defeat Soviet tank divisions.

Grandiose Napoleonic dreams are usually defeated by reality, and reality is the one thing Obama can’t control. Unconventional warfare is bound to grow even faster when all nations feel threatened, particularly electronic warfare, and in the future, even advanced biochemical warfare.

The nuclear balance of terror served to stabilize the world for six decades. Obama has broken the balance, and the result will not be universal peace and love. 

James Lewis


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

British Jewry's Islamist Problem - Samuel Westrop

by Samuel Westrop

At the heart of this complicity between Jewish leaders and Islamist networks, lie the flagship organizations of the Jewish and Muslim communities: the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Muslim Council of Britain.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) is Britain’s most prominent Islamic organization. It was established in 1997, by activists aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood and Jamaat-e-Islami, the Brotherhood’s South Asian cousin.

In 2013, Sheikh Muhammad Al-Husseini, a passionate Muslim supporter of interreligious dialogue and a tireless advocate for Britain’s Jewish community, was fired from his job at a London Jewish college. Muhammad had made the ultimate mistake within the world of interfaith dialogue: he had criticized its disciples.

Sheikh Al-Husseini dared to reveal that senior Jewish community leaders were conducting interfaith dialogue with pro-terror and anti-Semitic Islamist groups, while genuine moderate Muslims were left out in the cold.

The Sheikh is not alone in his concerns. In May 2013, a number of Bangladeshi, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist activists penned a letter to the Jewish community leadership. They asked if,
“Jewish interfaith representatives are talking to the ‘right kind of Muslims’. The ‘wrong kind of Muslims’ are associated with the extremist Jamaat-e-Islami, expressed in the UK through institutions such as the Islamic Foundation, Muslim Council of Britain and the East London Mosque. All three are currently being endorsed by Jewish interfaith involvement.”
At the heart of this complicity between Jewish leaders and Islamist networks, lie the flagship organizations of the Jewish and Muslim communities: the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Muslim Council of Britain.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) is Britain’s most prominent Islamic organization. It was established in 1997, by activists aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood and Jamaat-e-Islami, the Brotherhood’s South Asian cousin.

One of these founders was Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, a leading Islamist activist closely involved with various interfaith initiatives in Britain. In November 2013, the Bangladeshi War Crimes Tribunal sentenced Mueen-Uddin to death in absentia for his role in the mass-killings of journalists and intellectuals during the 1971 Bangladesh genocide.

Under Tony Blair, the British government relied upon the MCB to challenge violent Islamist narratives. The assumption was that political Islam would temper the allure of jihadist Islam. Hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money -- a great deal of which came out of counter-extremism funds -- was distributed between the MCB and its affiliates.

During this period, MCB officials regularly spoke alongside extremist preachers, periodically boycotted Holocaust Memorial Day, and expressed support for the terrorist group Hamas. Meanwhile, organizations affiliated to the MCB, such as the Islamic Forum of Europe, organized events with speakers such as Anwar Al-Awlaki, the late Al-Qaeda leader; and Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, whose forces have fought alongside the Taliban against British and American troops.

At the time, those who criticized the MCB were often dismissed as bigoted or paranoid. They were told to look up to the example set by the Jewish community through its interfaith work. After all, if the Jews say it’s kosher, what’s the problem?

Then, in 2009, the British government suddenly severed relations with the MCB, after The Observer revealed MCB officials and affiliates were among signatories to the Istanbul Declaration, a document that advocated attacks on British soldiers and Jewish communities. The government had finally realized the underlying ideology of the MCB was not so different from that of the jihadists.

Britain’s Jewish leadership, however, has never experienced any such enlightenment. Senior Jewish officials continue to regard the MCB as suitable partners for interfaith dialogue and counter-extremism efforts.

Vivian Wineman, for example, is the President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. He is also, however, chairman of the Inter Faith Network for the United Kingdom, a taxpayer-funded umbrella body for interfaith groups across Britain.

Wineman’s colleagues at the Inter Faith Network have included Ayub Laher, who belongs to the extreme Deobandi sect of Islam; and Manazir Ahsan, an MCB official who was a key coordinator of the protests against Salman Rushdie in the late 1980s. These days, Ahsan is director of the Islamic Foundation, the leading UK publisher of Islamist tracts.

In 2003, The Times of London reported that two of the Islamic Foundation’s trustees were named on a UN sanctions list of persons associated with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

The Islamic Foundation's current chairman, Khurshid Ahmad, has described Taliban rule in Afghanistan as “refulgent and splendid” and has warned of the “implication of Europe's being in the clasp of Jews.”

Despite these activities, the Islamic Foundation is a leading member body of Vivian Wineman’s Inter Faith Network. The Islamic Foundation, in fact, also runs its own interfaith initiative, which includes a prominent Jewish interfaith advocate, Mehri Niknam, on its advisory board.

The Inter Faith Network is by no means the only example of Jewish community representatives working closely with Islamist operatives. The National Council of Imams and Rabbis, for instance, brings Jewish community representatives in partnership with Islamist religious leaders such as Abdul Qayyum, a signatory to the unequivocally anti-Semitic and pro-terror Istanbul Declaration. Qayyum is also the chief Imam of the East London Mosque, the most prolific center in Europe for anti-Jewish and anti-Western hate preachers.

In September 2014, the Muslim Brotherhood charity and MCB affiliate, Islamic Relief, held a joint interfaith event with a Jewish community charity, World Jewish Relief, to “show solidarity with the people of Iraq.” Rabbi Janner-Klausner, who heads the British Jewry’s Reform movement, spoke alongside senior MCB officials.

Islamic Relief's directors have included Ahmed Al-Rawi, who, in 2004, expressed support for jihad against British and American forces in Iraq. In Gaza, Islamic Relief funds institutions tied to Hamas, such as the Islamic University of Gaza and the Al-Falah Benevolent Society. Islamic Relief’s fundraising events have included Islamist preachers such as Haitham Al-Haddad, who describes Jews as “pigs and apes.”

This year, following the terror attacks in Paris, Britain’s Chief Rabbi was happy to speak at an interfaith vigil alongside MCB officials and Ahmad Al Dubayan, a “Saudi diplomat” who is also a trustee of the King Fahad Academy, a London school where pupils were asked to “mention some repugnant characteristics of Jews.”

For decades, Islamist organizations in Britain have used fashionable interfaith dialogue to put a friendly face on a sinister ideology. By participating in government-supported interfaith programs, Islamist networks are able to advertise themselves as “moderates,” obtain public funding and acquire political backing.

To a considerable extent, Sheikh Al-Husseini believes, the continued support offered by British Jewish leaders to Islamist organizations has made this exploitation possible. By working with Islamist networks, the Jewish community has sent a clear message to government, media and other interfaith groups and charities: extremists should be heard, not shunned.

Sections of the Jewish community are also not supportive of their leadership’s activities. In August 2014, following yet another collaborative event between the Board of Deputies and the MCB, several former presidents of the Board of Deputies called on Vivian Wineman to resign. The government, they argued, had rightly distanced itself from the extremist MCB, while the Jewish community appears to have “effectively rehabilitated” the MCB’s reputation.

Sheikh Al-Husseini is baffled. “The one community you would expect to be most robust about Islamism,” he tells me, “is the Jewish community. And yet it is the Jewish leadership that has, bizarrely, been the most collusive with the MCB.”

Why, then, does Britain’s Jewish community leadership work with extremist groups?

An obvious suggestion would be that British Jewish leaders think groups such as the MCB are representative of British Muslims. A 2007 survey, however, revealed that 94% of British Muslims do not consider the MCB to represent their views.

The reality, however, is more sordid. Jewish community leaders know exactly what sort of groups they are embracing and what sort of ideas they are legitimizing. In truth, Jewish officials continue to do so because they believe the Islamist grip over Britain’s Muslim community is too deep-rooted to do anything about.

Ultimately, the Jewish leadership thinks it safer for their own reputations to play make-believe with the organized Islamists than risk working with the powerless moderates.

Sheikh Al-Husseini is not the only moderate Muslim voice cast aside in the name of interfaith. Within bodies such as the Inter Faith Network, moderate Muslim sects such as the Ahmadiyyas have seemingly been excluded from dialogue for fear of upsetting MCB affiliates.

Until Britain’s Jewish leadership rejects Islamist control over Britain’s Muslim community, and treats those British Muslims prepared to speak out against Islamism with the support they deserve, the future of British Jewry looks perilous indeed.

 Samuel Westrop is Director of Stand for Peace


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Times that try congressmen's souls - Clifford D. May

by Clifford D. May

Here's the sleight-of-hand: It is now apparent that Obama plans to present this nonbinding agreement to the United Nations Security Council where it will be passed as a Chapter VII resolution, making it "binding" for all U.N. members -- even if a majority of congressmen oppose it, implying that most Americans oppose it. 

Security Council members, including Russia and China, would then have veto power over key U.S. policies vis-à-vis Iran. And no future American president could abrogate the deal without being accused of violating international law.

Members of Congress are facing the test of their political lives. America's national security is about to be imperiled. American sovereignty is about to be surrendered. The U.S. constitution is about to be compromised. 

Members of Congress can recognize how serious these developments are and, with courage and conviction, defend America's national security, sovereignty and constitution. Or they can turn away.

Start with the constitution. President Barack Obama intends to cut a nuclear arms deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the world's leading sponsor of terrorism. It will be, self-evidently, the most consequential foreign policy agreement of the decade -- perhaps the century. That means -- or should -- that it rises to the level of a treaty. 

But Obama insists that he is merely negotiating an "executive agreement" -- and that he can impose it without the support of Congress. That is, as constitutional litigator David Rivkin understatedly put it, "constitutionally insufficient." Rivkin also notes that Obama cannot lift all existing statutorily based sanctions on his own authority; that would require new legislation.

Former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy elaborates, arguing that the U.S. constitution mandates that no "transformative" international agreement "can be binding unless it achieves either of two forms of congressional endorsement: a) super-majority approval by two-thirds of the Senate (i.e., 67 aye votes), or b) enactment through the normal legislative process, meaning passage by both chambers under their burdensome rules, then signature by the president."

Obama is in the process of turning this constitutional mandate on its head, saying that if members of Congress want to block his deal they will need 67 nay votes in the Senate (and 290 in the House). 

The president's defenders say he can do this because the agreement he is negotiating is "nonbinding" -- and congressional endorsement is necessary only for binding agreements. Here's the sleight-of-hand: It is now apparent that Obama plans to present this nonbinding agreement to the United Nations Security Council where it will be passed as a Chapter VII resolution, making it "binding" for all U.N. members -- even if a majority of congressmen oppose it, implying that most Americans oppose it. 

Security Council members, including Russia and China, would then have veto power over key U.S. policies vis-à-vis Iran. And no future American president could abrogate the deal without being accused of violating international law. 

Finally, there is the "deal" itself. As former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz have pointed out, negotiations intended to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear capability now appear to be providing Iran with exactly that capability.

Even now, in what were supposed to be the final stages of talks, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is drawing new red lines and Obama seems determined to appease him. For example, he now appears willing to provide substantial sanctions relief upon the signing of an agreement, rather than after Iran's rulers take verifiable steps to slow -- not dismantle -- their nuclear weapons program.

Obama is even offering to give Iran what amounts to a signing bonus: between $30 billion and $50 billion of oil revenue currently frozen in offshore accounts. What if Iran uses this money to support terrorists, back Islamist rebels in countries friendly to the U.S. and build missiles that can deliver nuclear warheads to Washington? The nonbinding non-treaty not approved by Congress would not prohibit such conduct. 

What if Iran's rulers block inspectors from military sites where nuclear weapons research may be taking place? Actually, Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami, deputy commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, said on Sunday that inspectors "will not even be permitted to inspect the most normal military site in their dreams." 

That should be a deal-killer but all the administration will say is that inspections will be "intrusive" and that sanctions can always be "snapped back." In fact, however, once the international sanctions architecture is dismantled, it will be impossible to reconstruct -- certainly not in a timely fashion. Secretaries Kissinger and Shultz made that clear, too. 

If members of Congress should decide to do the hard work of defending America's national security, sovereignty and constitution, what actions might they take in the weeks ahead? After passing the Corker-Cardin bill (useful because it at least gives members a chance to cast a vote on Iran), they'd pass a resolution declaring that any nuclear weapons accord with the Islamic Republic must take the form of a treaty requiring congressional consent. 

That could be followed by resolutions laying out minimum criteria for a "good deal." Shouldn't Iran agree that inspectors can go anywhere, anytime -- including to military facilities? Shouldn't sanctions relief be withheld until those inspectors say they have been given the access they need? 

And would it really be too much for Congress to demand that Iran's rulers stop sponsoring terrorism, release Americans hostages (including a journalist and a former Marine), stop building ICBMs and threatening Israelis with genocide?

I realize that even if a majority of members of Congress vote for such resolutions, they may not reach the president's desk because 60 votes in the Senate are required to overcome a filibuster. And Obama will veto any measures that clears that bar. But at least a serious national debate on these issues could begin.

I'd propose one more resolution: that Ali Khamenei must seal any deal by shaking Obama's hand.

I know: The supreme leader will never do that because he detests America, and because the goal of the global Islamic revolution he claims to lead is "Death to America!" I respectfully submit that members of Congress not ignore such facts; that they instead consider what such facts imply and whether a historic responsibility is not resting on their broad shoulders.

Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a columnist for The Washington Times.


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Former Commander: Next War With Hamas By End of 2015 - Tova Dvorin

by Tova Dvorin

Hamas's neglect of common Palestinians is riling up popular support for another war, says former IDF Southern Command chief.

Hamas is definitively preparing for another war against Israel, Brig. Gen. (res.) Zvika Fogel said Friday morning - hours after a rocket fired from Gaza struck the Sha'ar HaNegev region late Thursday night.

"Rocket production continues," Fogel, a former head of the IDF's Southern Command, told Army Radio. He predicted another war by "the end of 2015 or early 2016." 

Part of the problem, he indicated, is that Hamas is purposely neglecting its Palestinian Arab population, goading them into painting Israel as an even bigger scapegoat for their poverty and poor governance. 

"The population in the Gaza Strip since the operation [Op. Protective Edge - ed.] has been neglected, and pressure on Hamas is growing," he noted. 

The IAF launched airstrikes in Gaza shortly after the attack; Israel views Hamas as responsible given that Gaza is under its de facto control, regardless of the group's claims that it did not fire the rocket and is attempting to arrest the perpetrators. 

Hamas has been actively preparing for another war with Israel, and has been conducting test launches and digging terror tunnels into the Gaza Belt region.

A recent exposé revealed that Hamas has accelerated its tunnel-building using heavy machinery in order to expedite the upcoming conflict. 

Earlier this month, a Hamas MP told a local newspaper that the group "is following developments along the (Gaza) border very closely, and it will be they who decide the zero hour for any future conflict."

Tova Dvorin


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Why does the West apologize to Iran? - Dore Gold

by Dore Gold

Resurrecting the story of what the U.S. supposedly did in Iran in 1953, levels the moral playing field for Tehran. When Americans charge Iran with supporting terrorism or intervening in the affairs of its neighbors, Tehran can respond by saying that the U.S. is no better considering what it did in Iran back in 1953. The problem begins when some U.S. policymakers behave as though the Iranians have a point.

It is impossible to explain the present policy of the Obama administration toward Iran without an understanding of how a large part of the American foreign policy establishment actually believes that America shares the blame for the deterioration of relations between the two countries since 1979, when Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran, was overthrown and the Islamic Republic was founded. The key historical event that adherents to this school of thought repeatedly stress is the alleged role of the CIA in the 1953 coup against Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh.

Resurrecting the story of what the U.S. supposedly did in Iran in 1953, levels the moral playing field for Tehran. When Americans charge Iran with supporting terrorism or intervening in the affairs of its neighbors, Tehran can respond by saying that the U.S. is no better considering what it did in Iran back in 1953. The problem begins when some U.S. policymakers behave as though the Iranians have a point.

Last summer, one of the U.S.'s foremost Iran scholars, Ray Takeyh, defied the conventional wisdom by asserting in the quarterly Foreign Affairs that the idea that it was the CIA that overthrew Mosaddegh was a complete myth promoted by certain circles within the U.S. Takeyh, who served in the Obama administration under Dennis Ross, was extremely brave to take such a position. He writes that this notion has become not only a widely held belief, but it has also entered popular American culture as evidenced by the movie "Argo," starring and directed by Ben Affleck, which won the Academy Award for the Best Picture in 2013. The movie suggested that the violence of the Islamic Revolution was a response to the what the U.S. did to Iran twenty-five years earlier.

Takeyh does not deny that Western powers sought to get rid of Mosaddegh because of efforts to nationalize Iranian oil, which had been owned by Western oil companies. But he also shows that the British and American plots against the Iranian prime minister were ineffective, and ultimately failed. What really led to the fall of Mosaddegh were the widespread demonstrations on the streets against him by Iranian civilians that both the clerics and the military joined. Iran could not export its oil and its economy deteriorated sharply. The Iranian public was weary of the confrontation with the West and did not like Mosaddegh's refusal to compromise.

The Eisenhower administration appeared to have been surprised by the fall of Mosaddegh, according to Takeyh, because it was hardly in control of events on the ground. Considering the rage in the Iranian street at the time, Mosaddegh would probably have fallen from power without American or British meddling. Apparently, what helped spread the idea that America was pulling the strings behind the fall of Mosaddegh were the memoirs of Kermit Roosevelt Jr., who in 1953 worked for the CIA in Iran and inflated his own role in the Mosaddegh epic. 

Despite these facts, the myth persisted nonetheless that it was the West that overthrew Mosaddegh and brought back the Shah from exile. The Iranians seized upon this version of history because they could use the Western guilt over the fall of Mosaddegh as a negotiating tool to extract concessions from the U.S. "in situations that have nothing to do with 1953 ... such as the negotiations over the Iranian nuclear program." Indeed, the Iranians have been known to charge Western negotiators with trying to take control of Iran's natural resources; the discussion today may be about Iranian uranium mines, but the clear reference is to the struggle over Iranian oil sixty years ago. 

Takeyh writes that the theory of "American culpability has become so entrenched ... that it influences how American leaders think about Iran." The best proof of this has been the fact that American leaders keep apologizing for the overthrow of Mosaddegh despite all the years that have passed. Thus on March 17, 2000, then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright declared in a speech in Washington: "In 1953, the United States played a significant role in orchestrating the overthrow of Iran's popular prime minister, Mohammed Mosaddegh." She quoted then-President Bill Clinton as saying that the United States must bear "its fair share of responsibility" for the problems that have arisen in U.S.-Iranian relations. 

Did Albright's speech change anything in Tehran? Was the overthrow of Mosaddegh the single cause of all U.S.-Iranain problems so that an apology would get Iran alter its behavior in the Middle East? Robert Baer, who was involved in CIA operations across the Middle East, checked the impact of what Albright said: "It landed in Tehran with not so much as a ripple." Baer wrote that Albright "could have been reading her grocery list for all the Iranians cared." Baer, who spoke with Iranians who came out of the religious and military elites, was convinced that the Mosaddegh coup of 1953 no longer mattered, but it was useful for making some American officials defensive about their policy to Iran.

In the Cairo speech he gave on June 4, 2009, President Barack Obama also sought to take responsibility for the overthrow of Mosaddegh. He declared: "In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government." To his credit, Obama did not issue an apology, but his admission of an American role in the events of 1953 did place the U.S. in a position of somehow owing something to Iran. For Takyeh, adopting this narrative made Washington into a "sinner" seeking to atone for its previous acts. 

In order to fully understand the present American approach to Iran, it is a mistake to personalize the U.S. policy as the thinking of Obama alone. There has been a whole school of thought in Washington that firmly believed that the U.S. was the main source of Middle Eastern tensions and not Iran. The fall of Mosaddegh was only one incident to which this group refers. It believes, for example, that Iran sought a rapprochement with the U.S. after 9/11 but was rebuffed. It also believes that in 2003, Iran was prepared for a "grand bargain" with the U.S. but could not persuade the Washington elite of the sincerity of its outreach. In both cases, Tehran's hints that it sought a modus vivendi with the West were used to hide its true regional ambitions.

Thus the Iran issue is not just about centrifuges and inspections. It involves much broader questions that need to be answered about the real sources of Iranian behavior: are they a reaction to Western provocations or a product of an expansionist ideology of the Iranian leadership? Ultimately, the Iranian question is part of a deeper debate about historical truth that has been simmering below the surface in Washington for more than a decade but now is having a decisive impact on the most important issue on the global agenda today: the negotiations over Iran's nuclear program.

Dore Gold


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Report: IAF Struck Hezbollah Missile Convoys in Western Syria - Gil Ronen

by Gil Ronen

Two IAF raids reported on Wednesday and Friday targeted Hezbollah arms convoys. At least one person reported killed.

F-16 fighter jet
F-16 fighter jet
Flash 90
Syrian and Lebanese media are reporting at least two IAF raids that struck targets in Western Syria, but there is still confusion regarding when they took place and what targets were hit.

According to Channel 2's website, “unofficial media” in Syria and Lebanon said there were two attacks – the second one on Friday, against Hezbollah trucks that carried surface-to-surface missiles. Photographs that were published showed the remains of the bombed targets.

Another Hezbollah convoy was struck Wednesday at al-Qalamoun and at least one person was killed in that attack, according to Al Arabiya.

Al-Qalamoun is located near the region bordering Lebanon.

According to Lebanese television station LBC, the targets were centers and mobile forces from Brigades 65, 155 and 192 of the Syrian Army, which possess heavy missiles that were meant for Hezbollah, the Shiite Lebanese militia that is a proxy of Iran..

The IAF raid at al-Qalamoun hit a missile depot in the strategic western Syrian region, Al Arabiya News’ sister channel Al Hadath reported Thursday. 

Sources also told Al Hadath that two other IAF strikes on Wednesday had targeted a convoy carrying arms belonging to, or meant for, Hezbollah.

The sources reported several explosions at Al-Qutayfah, Yabroud and Qarah, on the outskirts of Damascus.

The IDF said in response to the reports that it does not comment on reports from foreign sources.

On April 4, Arab news sources reported that an unidentified jet believed to be Israeli destroyed warehouses in southern Libya that held weapons bought by Iran for Hamas.

According to the reports in Al Watan and other news outlets, the warehouses were completely destroyed. The weapons that were inside them had allegedly been purchased by Iran, by means of weapons dealers in Sudan and Chad, and were supposed to be smuggled to Hamas through Egypt, by means of the smuggling tunnels between Sinai and Gaza.

The destruction of the weapons stores in southern Libya was carried out in coordination with the Egyptian security and intelligence apparatuses, the reports claimed.

Al Watan added that Egypt allowed the Israeli jet to pass through its airspace en route to southern Libya.

On January 18, a reported IAF strike killed Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of Imad Mughniyeh, who was one of the personal bodyguards of Hezbollah's top terrorist Hassan Nasrallah.

A vehicle that Mughniyeh and his fellow Hezbollah terrorists were riding in had entered the Syrian side of the Golan from Lebanon. Also killed in the strike was an Iranian general.

Gil Ronen


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Spain: Barcelona's Would-Be Beheaders - Soeren Kern

by Soeren Kern

  • Prosecutors allege that, among other plots, the group was planning to kidnap a random member of the public, dress their victim in an orange jump suit, and then film him or her being beheaded.
  • Catalonia not only has the largest Muslim population in Spain, it also has the largest concentration of radical Islamists in Europe, and is a main center for Salafi-Jihadism on the continent.
  • "But what they do not know is that, once they allow us to vote, we will all vote for Islamic parties because we do not believe in left and right. This will make us win local councils and as we begin to accumulate power in the Catalan autonomous region, Islam will begin to be implemented." — Abdelwahab Huzi, Salafist preacher, Lleida.
Police in the northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia have arrested eleven members of a jihadist cell that was planning to behead a random person in Barcelona.

The cell, which prosecutors say was actively recruiting jihadists for the Islamic State, is also accused of planning to bomb public and private buildings in Catalonia, including a Jewish bookstore in Barcelona.

The arrests have drawn renewed attention to the spiraling problem of radical Islam in Catalonia, which has one of the largest per capita Muslim populations in Europe.

The cell — known as the Islamic Brotherhood for the Preaching of Jihad — was broken up on April 8, when more than 350 police officers conducted seven raids in five Catalan municipalities.

According to police, the cell's primary objective was to show that terrorist attacks such as those perpetrated by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria could be carried out in the West.

Spanish police arrest one of several Muslim jihadists who were conspiring to commit terror attacks in Catalonia, April 8, 2015. (Image source RTVE video screenshot)

Prosecutors allege that, among other plots, the group was planning to kidnap a random member of the public, dress their victim in an orange jump suit, and then film him or her being beheaded. The group also allegedly planned to kidnap for ransom the female branch manager of Banco Sabadell, a local Catalan bank, as a way to finance their terrorist activities. Apparently, the beheading was intended to induce the bank to pay the ransom.

The suspects are ten men and one woman, all between the ages of 17 and 45. Five of suspects are Spanish citizens, five are from Morocco and one is from Paraguay.

The ringleader of the cell has been identified as Antonio Sáez Martínez, a Spaniard who converted to Islam after marrying a Muslim woman. Also known as "Ali the Barber," Martínez worked as a hairdresser in Barberà del Vallès, a suburb of Barcelona.

According to a ten-page detention order signed by Santiago Pedraz, a judge at the high court (Audiencia Nacional) in Madrid, Spanish intelligence listened in on at least four telephone conversations between Martínez and other members of the cell in which they talked about radical Islam and planned attacks in Catalonia. Potential targets included police and military installations, as well as the Catalan Parliament building.

Martínez is an acquaintance of a Spanish neo-Nazi ideologue named Diego José Frías Álvarez. The two are said to share a mutual hatred of Jews and allegedly discussed bombing Jewish targets in Barcelona, including synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses.

A police raid on Álvarez's home uncovered a large cache of weapons, including grenades, military firearms, ammunition and sharpshooter rifle scopes.

The court document says that Álvarez also transferred weapons and explosives to Martínez. Police who raided the home of Martínez found bomb-making literature as well as a large quantity of chemicals. He is believed to have experimented with the chemicals in an effort to produce home-made explosives.

Police also discovered at the Martínez home a trove of radical Islamic literature, including writings by leading Salafist ideologues and books about the Islamic State and the Muslim Brotherhood. Other titles included "Recruiting Manual Al-Qaeda" and "The Anarchist Cookbook."

The court document shows that Martínez became radicalized within a very short time. A personal journal found at his home shows an entry dated July 13, 2012, the day of his conversion, when he wrote:
"My conversion to Islam has been a decisive moment for me... I am very happy with this new commitment and to be a Muslim in a Christian world dominated by the unfaithful and the impious... My mission is to become a good Muslim and do what is necessary to arrive at the end goal [paradise]."
Just three months later, in an entry dated September 14, 2012, Martínez mentioned jihad for the first time. He wrote:
"Every day I am more convinced that the greatest martyrs do not become martyrs because they want to, but because years of oppression toward the Muslim people. I am convinced that at some moment in the future I will put myself at the service of the global jihad."
In an entry dated October 26, 2012, Martínez wrote:
"I continue to believe in the interior jihad, but more importantly in the exterior jihad. After much reading, I am convinced that the world is divided into two camps: the global jihad against the Christians and Jews."
The court document identified another key member of the cell as Said Touay, a Moroccan whose Internet activities were monitored by Spanish police. Touay allegedly glorified the Islamic State and watched videos of radical Islamic preachers. According to the document, Touay was especially enamored of videos that showed extreme violence, including executions.

Touay was also overheard proposing attacks on sites in Barcelona. Police found dozens of photographs on his mobile phone, including prominent hotels, police buildings and shopping centers, which the cell allegedly studied to determine security vulnerabilities.

Police also monitored the movements of Gonzalo Cabezas, another Spanish convert to Islam. According to the court document, Cabezas met with the other members of the cell at Martínez's hair salon on September 13, 2014, when the group discussed the kidnapping plot mentioned previously.

On March 14, 2015, police observed Cabezas taking photographs of hotels situated near the Olympic Stadium, in the Montjuic district of Barcelona. Cabezas apparently suspected he was being monitored, and used a "secure" telephone calling card, but his cover was blown when his girlfriend accidentally called his secure number.

Police say the operation to dismantle the cell marks one of the most important victories to date in the fight against Islamic terrorism in Catalonia, home to 465,000 Muslims, who account for more than 6% of the total Catalan population of 7.5 million.

Catalonia not only has the largest Muslim population in Spain, it also has the largest concentration of radical Islamists in Europe, and is a main center for Salafi-Jihadism on the continent. Spanish intelligence believes that fully half the 100 Salafist mosques operating in Spain are located in Catalonia.

But much of Catalonia's problem with radical Islam is self-inflicted.

Muslim mass immigration has been a key component of the Catalan independence movement for many decades. In an effort to promote Catalan nationalism and the Catalan language, Catalonian pro-independence parties have deliberately promoted immigration from Muslim countries for more than three decades, in the belief that these immigrants — unlike those from Latin America — would learn the Catalan language rather than speak Spanish.

But many of those immigrants are attached to Salafism, a radically anti-Western ideology that seeks to impose Islamic Sharia law in Catalonia and other parts of Europe.

In an ominous sign for the future of Catalonia, Salafi preachers — who categorically reject democracy because it is a form of government designed by man rather than by Allah — are calling on Muslims who are eligible to vote to support Catalan separatist parties as a means firmly to establish Islamism in Catalonia.

Abdelwahab Houzi, a Salafi jihadist preacher in the Catalan city of Lleida, has declared: "Muslims should vote for pro-independence parties, as they need our votes. But what they do not know is that, once they allow us to vote, we will all vote for Islamic parties because we do not believe in left and right. This will make us win local councils and as we begin to accumulate power in the Catalan autonomous region, Islam will begin to be implemented."

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

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