Saturday, August 8, 2015

Column One: Obama’s enemies list - Caroline B; Glick

by Caroline B. Glick

Today Iran is harming America directly in multiple ways.

In President Barack Obama’s defense of his nuclear deal with Iran Wednesday, he said there are only two types of people who will oppose his deal – Republican partisans and Israel- firsters – that is, traitors.

At American University, Obama castigated Republican lawmakers as the moral equivalent of Iranian jihadists saying, “Those [Iranian] hard-liners chanting ‘Death to America’ who have been most opposed to the deal... are making common cause with the Republican Caucus.”

He then turned his attention to Israel.

Obama explained that whether or not you believe the deal endangers Israel boils down to whom you trust more – him or Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And, he explained, he can be trusted to protect Israel better than Netanyahu can because “[I] have been a stalwart friend of Israel throughout my career.”

The truth is that it shouldn’t much matter to US lawmakers whether Obama or Netanyahu has it right about Israel. Israel isn’t a party to the deal and isn’t bound by it. If Israel decides it needs to act on its own, it will.

The US, on the other side, will be bound by the deal if Congress fails to kill it next month.

So the real question lawmakers need to ask is whether the deal is good for America. Is Obama right or wrong that only partisan zealots and disloyal Zionists could oppose his great diplomatic achievement? To determine the answer to that question, you need to do is ask another one. Does his deal make America safer or less safe? The best way to answer that question is to consider all the ways Iran threatens America today, and ask whether the agreement has no impact on those threats, or whether it mitigates or aggravates them.

Today Iran is harming America directly in multiple ways.

The most graphic way Iran is harming America today is by holding four Americans hostage. Iran’s decision not to release them over the course of negotiations indicates that at a minimum, the deal hasn’t helped them.

It doesn’t take much consideration to recognize that the hostages in Iran are much worse off today than they were before Obama concluded the deal on July 14.

The US had much more leverage to force the Iranians to release the hostages before it signed the deal than it does now. Now, not only do the Iranians have no reason to release the hostages, they have every reason to take more hostages.

Then there is Iranian-sponsored terrorism against the US.

In 2011, the FBI foiled an Iranian plot to murder the Saudi ambassador in Washington and bomb the Saudi and Israeli embassies in the US capital.

One of the terrorists set to participate in the attack allegedly penetrated US territory through the Mexican border.

The terrorist threat to the US emanating from Iran’s terrorist infrastructure in Latin America will rise steeply as a consequence of the nuclear deal.

As The Wall Street Journal’s Mary Anastasia O’Grady wrote last month, the sanctions relief the deal provides to Iran will enable it to massively expand its already formidable operations in the US’s backyard. Over the past two decades, Iran and Hezbollah have built up major presences in Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Bolivia.

Iran’s presence in Latin America also constitutes a strategic threat to US national security. Today Iran can use its bases of operations in Latin America to launch an electromagnetic pulse attack on the US from a ballistic missile, a satellite or even a merchant ship.

The US military is taking active steps to survive such an attack, which would destroy the US’s power grid. Among other things, it is returning the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to its former home in Cheyenne Mountain outside Colorado Springs.

But Obama has ignored the findings of the congressional EMP Commission and has failed to harden the US electronic grid to protect it from such attacks.

The economic and human devastation that would be caused by the destruction of the US electric grid is almost inconceivable. And now with the cash infusion that will come Iran’s way from Obama’s nuclear deal, it will be free to expand on its EMP capabilities in profound ways.

Through its naval aggression in the Strait of Hormuz Iran threatens the global economy. While the US was negotiating the nuclear deal with Iran, the Revolutionary Guards unlawfully interdicted – that is hijacked – the Marshall Islands-flagged Maersk Tigris and held its crew hostage for weeks.

Iran’s assault on the Tigris came just days after the US-flagged Maersk Kensington was surrounded and followed by Revolutionary Guards ships until it fled the strait.

A rational take-home message the Iranians can draw from the nuclear deal is that piracy pays.

Their naval aggression in the Strait of Hormuz was not met by American military force, but by American strategic collapse at Vienna.

This is doubly true when America’s listless response to Iran’s plan to use its Houthi proxy’s takeover of Yemen to control the Bab el-Mandab strait is taken into consideration. With the Bab el-Mandab, Iran will control all maritime traffic from the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. Rather than confront this clear and present danger to the global economy, America abandoned all its redlines in the nuclear talks.

Then there is Iran’s partnership 20-year partnership with al-Qaida.

The 9/11 Commission found in its report that four of the 9/11 terrorists transited Iran before traveling to the US. As former Defense Intelligence Agency director Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Mike Flynn told Fox News in the spring, Iranian cooperation with al-Qaida remains deep and strategic.

When the US Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, they seized hard drives containing more than a million documents related to al-Qaida operations. All but a few dozen remain classified.

According to Flynn and other US intelligence officials who spoke to The Weekly Standard, the documents expose Iran’s vast collaboration with al-Qaida.

The agreement Obama concluded with the mullahs gives a tailwind to Iran. Iran’s empowerment will undoubtedly be used to expand its use of al-Qaida terrorists as proxies in their joint war against the US.

Then there is Iran’s ballistic missile program.

The UN Security Council resolution passed two weeks ago cancels the UN-imposed embargoes on conventional arms and ballistic missile acquisitions by Iran. Since the nuclear deal facilities Iranian development of advanced nuclear technologies that will enable the mullahs to build nuclear weapons freely when the deal expires, the Security Council resolution means that by the time the deal expires, Iran will have the nuclear warheads and the intercontinental ballistic missiles required to carry out a nuclear attack on the US.

Obama said Wednesday that if Congress votes down his nuclear deal, “we will lose... America’s credibility as a leader of diplomacy. America’s credibility,” he explained, “is the anchor of the international system.”

Unfortunately, Obama got it backwards. It is the deal that destroys America’s credibility and so upends the international system which has rested on that credibility for the past 70 years.

The White House’s dangerous suppression of seized al-Qaida-Iran documents, like its listless response to Iran’s maritime aggression, its indifference to Iran’s massive presence in Latin America, its lackluster response to Iran’s terrorist activities in Latin America, and its belittlement of the importance of the regime’s stated goal to destroy America – not to mention its complete collapse on all its previous redlines over the course of the negotiations – are all signs of the disastrous toll the nuclear deal has already taken on America’s credibility, and indeed on US national security.

To defend a policy that empowers Iran, the administration has no choice but to serve as Iran’s agent. The deal destroys America’s credibility in fighting terrorism. By legitimizing and enriching the most prolific state sponsor of terrorism, the US has made a mockery of its claimed commitment to the fight.

The deal destroys the US’s credibility as an ally.

By serving as apologists for its worst enemy, the US has shown its allies that they cannot trust American security guarantees. How can Israel or Saudi Arabia trust America to defend them when it is endangering itself? The deal destroys 70 years of US nonproliferation efforts. By enabling Iran to become a nuclear power, the US has made a mockery of the very notion of nonproliferation and caused a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

The damage caused by the deal is already being felt. For instance, Europe, Russia and China are already beating a path to the ayatollahs’ doorstep to sign commercial and military deals with the regime.

But if Congress defeats the deal, it can mitigate the damage. By killing the deal, Congress will demonstrate that the American people are not ready to go down in defeat. They can show that the US remains committed to its own defense and the rebuilding of its strategic credibility worldwide.

In his meeting with Jewish leaders Tuesday, Obama acknowledged that his claim – repeated yet again Wednesday – that the only alternative to the deal is war, is a lie.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Greg Rosenbaum, chairman of the National Democratic Jewish Council, which is allied with the White House, said that Obama rejected the notion that war will break out if Congress rejects the deal with veto-overriding majorities in both houses.

According to Rosenbaum, Obama claimed that if Congress rejects his nuclear deal, eventually the US will have to carry out air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to prevent them from enriching uranium to weapons-grade levels.

“But,” he quoted Obama as saying, “the result of such a strike won’t be war with Iran.”

Rather, Obama said, Iran will respond to a US strike primarily by ratcheting up its terrorist attacks against Israel.

“I can assure,” Obama told the Jewish leaders, “that Israel will bear the brunt of the asymmetrical responses that Iran will have to a military strike on its nuclear facilities.”

What is notable here is that despite the fact that it will pay the heaviest price for a congressional defeat of the Iran deal, Israel is united in its opposition to the deal. This speaks volume about the gravity with which the Israeli public views the threats the agreement unleashed.

But again, Israel is not the only country that is imperiled by the nuclear deal. And Israelis are not the only ones who need to worry.

Obama wishes to convince the public that the deal’s opponents are either partisan extremists or traitors who care about Israel more than they care about America. But neither claim is true. The main reason Americans should oppose the deal is that it endangers America. And as a consequence, Americans who oppose the deal are neither partisans nor turncoats.

They are patriots.

Caroline B. Glick


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

Kerry's dangerous fantasy - Yoram Ettinger

by Yoram Ettinger

According to the daily voice of the Saudi king, the ayatollah regime "is like a monster that was tied to a tree and has been set loose. We are on a threshold of a bloody era ... expecting the worst-case scenario

Irrespective of Western attempts to portray Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Jordan and Egypt as supporters of the Iran nuclear deal, leaders of these countries, and especially the House of Saud, consider the accord a colossal, lethal threat. They see it as a reckless, short-sighted and self-destructive policy, which will initially plague the Arab world and subsequently the Western one, including the U.S. -- "the Great Satan" as the ayatollahs call it.

While Saudi leaders are restrained in their official reaction to the Iran nuclear agreement, they voice their authentic concerns and assessments via the House of Saud-owned media, which has traditionally served as a convenient venue, providing the element of deniability, sparing diplomatic inconvenience.

During a recent visit to Capitol Hill, I was told by legislators in both chambers, on both sides of the aisle: "While Israel is concerned about Iran's nuclearization, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are panicky."

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed, the House of Saud-appointed general manager of Al Arabiya TV and former editor-in-chief of the leading Saudi daily Asharq Al-Awsat, dismissed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's assertion that "once fully implemented, the Iran deal will contribute to the region's long-term security." 

According to the daily voice of the Saudi king, the ayatollah regime "is like a monster that was tied to a tree and has been set loose. We are on a threshold of a bloody era ... expecting the worst-case scenario. ... Tehran does not intend to drop its aims of regional dominance and destabilizing neighboring Arab countries. The lifting of sanctions will facilitate the transfer of funds and the purchase and shipment of arms [to terror organizations]. ... Tehran will become more dangerous."

Asharq Al-Awsat opinion page editor Mshari Al-Zaydi highlights a constructive alternative to the current Iran nuclear deal: the preconditioning of any benefit to the ayatollahs on a drastic transformation of the nature of their regime. The confidant of the House of Saud stated: "The real problem lies in the nature of Iran's rulers and the money that will flood the coffers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard. It will cause more strife in Arab countries. ... Iran's constitution calls for funding and arming militias loyal to Iran within Arab and Muslim countries. Washington will soon realize the consequences of their Iranian adventure." 

At this junction, in an increasingly globalized world, and against the backdrop of the ayatollahs' apocalyptic "Death to America" worldview and close ties with North Korea, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, the commercial, energy, national and homeland security consequences of the Iran nuclear agreement transcend the Persian Gulf, the Middle East and the Arab world. The implications of the game-changing agreement extend to the Western world, impacting Latin America, Mexico and every congressional district in the U.S.

In 2015, Kerry is attempting to assuage the concerns of the American people by portraying Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as moderates. He fails to note that they were handpicked by the ayatollahs, happily serving as their mouthpieces, due to their mastery of taqiyya (Islam-sanctioned double-talk and deception, especially when dealing with "infidels"). Upon concluding the current negotiation, Kerry praised Zarif, Iran's charmer-in-chief, as "a tough negotiator and a patriot," adding, "We approached these negotiations with mutual respect." 

During the 1990s and until the eruption of the civil war in Syria, Kerry was a member of a small group of senators who considered Syrian President Hafez Assad and his son and successor Bashar Assad -- otherwise treated as pariahs by the West -- to be moderate, constructive, potentially pro-U.S. and trustworthy. He prodded Israel to cede the strategically critical Golan Heights to Syria. Kerry was a frequent visitor to Damascus, asserting on March 16, 2011: "My judgment is that Syria will change as it embraces a legitimate relationship with the U.S. and the West and economic opportunities that come with it."

Kerry considered PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat a messenger of peace, embraced the anti-U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, dumped Egypt's pro-U.S. President Hosni Mubarak, turned a cold shoulder toward the country's current pro-U.S. President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, and referred to the violently intolerant Arab tsunami as the Arab Spring, "the new Arab awakening," transitioning from tyranny to democracy, the Facebook revolution and the reincarnation of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. 

Refuting Kerry's hope-driven policy, Amir Taheri, a senior Asharq Al-Awsat columnist and a leading expert on Persian Gulf politics, underlined Persian Gulf reality: "The assumption that the Rafsanjani/Rouhani faction is interested in reforms is far-fetched. ... In the third year of Rouhani's presidency the number of prisoners of conscience has almost doubled along with the number of executions; political parties and trade unions remain banned; more publications have been shut than under [former Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad; exporting terror has intensified with a 32% rise in the budget of the Quds Force, which controls Iran's terror network. ... Kerry is chasing a dangerous fantasy: helping a regime in deep crisis regain its bearings and do more mischief at home and abroad."

Echoing Saudi concerns that the Iran nuclear agreement dramatically bolsters the rogue ayatollah regime, precludes a regime change and erodes U.S. posture of deterrence, the veteran columnist adds: "The deal strengthens the radical hardliners in Tehran, who believe that they have carte blanche to pursue their imperial dream. ... [U.S. President Barack Obama's and Kerry's] diplomacy has made the world a much more dangerous place."

The U.S. power projection, which is essential for global stability, is further undermined when Obama evokes former President John F. Kennedy's Test Ban Treaty with the USSR -- an adversarial, nuclear superpower, deterred by mutually assured destruction -- to market the nuclear deal with Iran. Iran is a medium-size conventional power, a rogue, non-compliant, apocalyptic regime, not deterred by MAD, seeking capabilities to devastate "the arrogant, infidel, Great Satan." While Kennedy's policy constrained the bullish policies of the USSR, the Iran nuclear deal fuels the ayatollah's bullishness, significantly enhancing their financial and military capabilities, thus intensifying global instability.

Yoram Ettinger


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

Obama's Lies about Bush and Iraq - Arnold Ahlert

by Arnold Ahlert

Covering his betrayal of America with discredited falsehoods.

To order David Horowitz and Ben Johnson's book "Party of Defeat,” click here.

The president's speech on the Iranian deal, delivered at American University on Wednesday, was vintage Obama, as in a compendium of demagoguery, historical revisionism and outright lying. Nothing emphasized that more forcefully than the portion of the Obama's speech addressing the war in Iraq. Obama insisted U.S. involvement there was the result of "a mindset characterized by a preference for military action over diplomacy, a mindset that put a premium on unilateral U.S. action over the painstaking work of building international consensus, a mindset that exaggerated threats beyond what the intelligence supported.”

That is litany of falsehoods. First, it was a complete lack of military action against a rapidly metastasizing Islamist terror threat, studiously ignored during the Clinton years, that gave Osama bin Laden the ability to plan and execute the 9/11 attacks from the terrorist sanctuary provided to al Qaeda by the Taliban government in Afghanistan. That would be the same Bill Clinton, along with numerous other Democrats, including Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and Al Gore who provided ample incentive for the invasion of Iraq, characterizing Saddam Hussein and his burgeoning WMD program as a mortal threat to world peace and stability. Moreover, as David Horowitz and Ben Johnson explain in their book "Party of Defeat,” every Democrat who voted to authorize the use of military force in Iraq—including Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, John Edwards, Joe Biden, and Chuck Schumer—had access to the same National Intelligence Estimate that Bush and Republicans did.

It was a report, despite years of Democratic lying, that ultimately turned out to be correct. Two separate reports revealed the existence of large stocks of chemical weapons contained in the Al Muthanna Chemicals Weapons Complex that was overrun by ISIS last year. And in 2008, after Democrats had  campaigned for years on the slogan, “Bush Lied, people died,” the New York Times reported that "hundreds of tons of natural uranium” had been removed from Iraq’s main nuclear site and moved to Canada.

As Horowitz and Johnson explain, none of it mattered to a Democratic Party intent on undermining Bush and the war, an effort driven by pure partisan politics arising from the reality that anti-war Democrat Howard Dean vaulted to the top of the pack of Democratic presidential contenders in the 2004 campaign. Without missing a beat, presidential candidates John Edwards and John Kerry suddenly decided they were against the same war they had previously supported, and their Democrat colleagues embraced that defeatist change of heart with all the gusto they could muster. No one more so than Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton. Even before the surge that turned the tide of the Iraq war decisively in America’s favor was completed, Reid declared the war to be “lost.” Less than six months later, Clinton, with an eye towards her own 2008 presidential ambitions, attacked the integrity of Iraq commander Gen. David Petraeus, insisting reports on that success "require the willing suspension of disbelief.”

In short, the Party of Defeat was willing to facilitate America’s defeat in Iraq if it accrued to their political advantage. Toward the end they were aided and abetted by a cadre of leftists, from epidemiologist and unsuccessful New York Democrat congressman wannabe Les Roberts, who grossly overestimated “collateral damage” caused by coalition troops, to leftist newspapers such as the New York Times who elevated anti-war crank Cindy Sheehan to celebrity status, and the Washington Post, who along with the Times, published stories about the Bush administration’s top secret anti-terror programs, destroying them in the process.

Moreover, Obama’s assertions that Bush chose action over diplomacy and failed to build an international consensus are equally preposterous. Between 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq in March of 2003, both the United States and the United Kingdom undertook a painstaking effort to give Saddam Hussein an alternative to war, one that culminated in the unanimous adoption of Resolution 1441 by the U.N. Security Council in November 2002. That resolution gave Iraq "a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations” engendered by a series of previous resolutions Saddam Hussein had ignored for years. As for building international consensus, Bush amassed a coalition of 49 countries as of March 27, 2003, all of whom were willing to abet Hussein’s removal. 

What about the notable exceptions of France, Germany and Russia who resisted the idea of invading Iraq? All three were involved in the massive U.N.-based Oil for Food scandal involving billions of dollars in bribes between those nations and the Iraqi dictator that Horowitz and Johnson noted was the “largest theft on record.” 

That scandal is worth remembering following Obama’s demonstration of contempt for America's national sovereignty, revealed by the part of his speech explaining the deal was reached "between the international community and the Islamic Republic of Iran.” 

Obama dug an even deeper hole for himself further on. "Today, Iraq remains gripped by sectarian conflict, and the emergence of al-Qaida in Iraq has now evolved into ISIL,” he stated. "And ironically, the single greatest beneficiary in the region of that war was the Islamic Republic of Iran, which saw its strategic position strengthened by the removal of its long-standing enemy, Saddam Hussein.” 

It wasn’t the removal of Saddam Hussein that precipitated the rise of ISIS, the resurgence of al Qaeda and the strategic strengthening of Iran in that war-torn nation. It was Obama’s determination, against the advice of his military experts, to completely remove American troops in 2011, even as he told the nation he left behind "an Iraq that is sovereign, stable, and self-reliant,” a completely cynical election campaign calculation that was nonetheless described by Vice President Joe Biden as “one of the great achievements of this administration.”

Trying to deflect his disastrous foreign policy failures, Obama continued to bash Bush. "When the Bush administration took office, Iran had no centrifuges, the machines necessary to produce material for a bomb, that were spinning to enrich uranium,” Obama said. "But despite repeated warnings from the United States government, by the time I took office, Iran had installed several thousand centrifuges and showed no inclination to slow, much less halt, its program.” 

Like everything with this president, the devil in in the details. According to a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the majority of the growth in the number of first-generation IR-1 centrifuges at Iran’s main fuel enrichment plant at Natanz occurred after Obama took office. That facility had around 5,500 centrifuges at the beginning of Obama’s first term, and over 15,000 by May 2015. Add the Fordow facility to the mix, and the number increases to 19,000. 

That would be the same President Obama who promised the nation in 2012 that any deal with Iran would require them to shut down all of their centrifuges.

Make no mistake: the very same leftist disinformation campaign, replete with lying, historical revisionism and blatant propaganda points used to discredit the war in Iraq is the template being used to sell the Iranian deal to a recalcitrant public, as well as Democratic members of Congress who are once again being urged to elevate their loyalty to their party over their loyalty to the nation. It is a political pitch so simultaneously desperate and despicable that Obama felt compelled to insist Iranian leaders are "making common cause with the Republican caucus.” That unprecedented slander flies in the face of the reality that, completely unlike Republicans, the Iranian mullahs got everything they wanted in this deal, even as “Death to America, Death to Israel” remains their operative agenda. 

"The war against Islamofacism cannot be won if its religious roots are denied or its global reach is ignored,” Horowitz and Johnson warn. Obama's Iranian deal represents both damning realities. Iranian leadership believes in the version of Islam that must clear the way for the reemergence of the Twelfth or Hidden Imam and the final apocalypse that will allow Islam to prevail worldwide. With regard to global reach, the final deal completely contradicted the advice of Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who told Congress on July 7 the United States should, "under no circumstances...relieve pressure on Iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities and arms trafficking.” Only a week later the Washington Post reported negotiators “split the difference between lifting current U.N. prohibitions and keeping them indefinitely in place.” Iran will ostensibly adhere to an eight-year missile ban and a five-year conventional weapons ban. After that (or sooner if they cheat), Israeli Prime Minister’s warning will become reality. “I want to make it clear to you,” he told the American Jewish community Tuesday. “Iran is not building these ICBMs to hit Israel. They already have missiles that can hit Israel everywhere. They are building these ICBMs to hit you. To hit the United States.”

Horowitz and Johnson offered an even more important warning to Americans. The war on terror will not be won if “we allow a disloyal and hostile Left to dictate terms of the debate,” they state.

It is a debate being framed by a president so ideologically bankrupt he is willing to tell the nation there is no moral distinction to be made between members of an American opposition party and a cadre of terrorist-sponsoring Islamist fanatics determined to impose Sharia Law on the entire world by any means necessary. Above all else, Obama's speech makes one thing abundantly clear: for the first time in the history of the nation, we have a man in the Oval Office who doesn’t have America’s best interests at heart. Even worse the Party of Defeat will either back him directly or countenance their own irrelevancy and allow international ​"agreements" to supersede national security. It doesn’t get more terrifying than that. 

Arnold Ahlert


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

The Writing is On the Wall for the U.S. Military in the Persian Gulf - Stephen Bryen and Shoshana Bryen

by Stephen Bryen and Shoshana Bryen

In the simplest terms, the U.S. facing a nuclear Iran will either have to significantly change how it deploys to the Middle East and Persian Gulf, or get out of harm's way. The weakening of the overall American military posture under sequestration makes the latter most likely.

The long U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt is likely drawing to a close. What once worked to assure stability in the region and keep the oil flowing will not work in the face of Iranian nuclear capability, and the administration is disinclined to rethink a workable strategy. The United States will likely reengage, but only when the resulting chaos spreads to our shores, as it surely will.

How different it was twenty-five years ago this month, when President Bush (41) said Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait “would not stand.” American and allied forces rushed to the battlefield despite concerns about Iraq’s unconventional weapons -- primarily poison gas, which had already been used against the Kurds in the north. But Israel provided a counter-threat to Saddam, letting him know that if Israel were threatened with chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons it would join the war. It was a threat Saddam took seriously, as his nuclear program at Osirak had been destroyed by Israel a decade earlier.    

Israel’s counter-threat worked. Iraq fired some 80 Scud missiles at Israel and Saudi Arabia. None had chemical or biological warheads; and, of course, none were nuclear.

Without actually fighting, Israel proved to be a key security asset that allowed American troops to operate with relative freedom against Iraq.

Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, on the other hand, will similarly constrain American military planning, but this time Israel will not be able to offer a counter-threat. In the simplest terms, the U.S. facing a nuclear Iran will either have to significantly change how it deploys to the Middle East and Persian Gulf, or get out of harm's way. The weakening of the overall American military posture under sequestration makes the latter most likely.

There are a number of factors that need explication:
(1) Prior to the Israeli strike on Osirak, Iran had sent its own Phantom jets to try to knock out Iraq's centrifuge facility adjoining the reactor; reports have it that the Iranians also shared photo reconnaissance with Israel of their raid to help Israel pinpoint the right targets and finish the job. Israel's strike caused a firestorm in American policy circles because Washington had a secret relationship with Saddam Hussein and was turning a blind eye to the transfer of nuclear technology to that country. But Iraq could never be sure whether/when Israel would strike again. Thus Israel created an enforceable red line. The U.S. has none with Iran.
(2) The Shah of Iran was after nuclear weapons and delivery systems. The work started by the Shah simply continued under the Mullahs. As with Iraq, technology from many countries, Western and otherwise, flowed into Iran and is still pouring in. The scope of the Iranian nuclear drive dwarfs anything Iraq attempted.
(3) All "wannabe" nuclear powers follow multiple paths to weapons development. No country can afford to risk everything on a single solution that could fail for technical reasons, be blocked politically, or destroyed by a hostile force. Iran may be unique because it has positioned some of its nuclear weapons development capabilities outside the country, most notably in Syria where there were at least three sites, one of which was destroyed by Israel, and North Korea. Iran also has a very sensitive relationship with South Africa, which has highly enriched weapons grade uranium, enrichment facilities, and knows how to build nuclear weapons.
(4) Once Iran reaches nuclear weapons operational capability, if the United States wants to continue as the guarantor of regional stability it will have to introduce active nuclear forces into the region as a deterrent. Or, alternatively, it can decide to pull back from the area. But no responsible American planner can overlook the fact that Iran can achieve an operational capability in perhaps as little as five years. Not for nothing did the Obama administration keep the Pentagon out of the Iran negotiations. President Obama and Secretary Kerry were seeking a political -- not a military -- deal. The JPCOA is not an arms control agreement.
(5) This leaves Iran as an emerging nuclear power facing Israel, which is also a nuclear power. What isn't clear is whether the Israelis can risk a nuclear Iran or whether Israel has to conjure a way to destroy Iran's nuclear weapons capabilities. Prime Minister Menachim Begin acted on multiple fronts to kill the Iraqi program: before Osirak was taken out, Saddam's nuclear accomplices in Europe were raided and bombed and at least one top Iraqi scientist was killed in France. Iran is much farther down the road than Iraq was and it has moved some of its assets offshore -- in some cases to points outside Israel’s reach, i.e., North Korea. Europe will likely step up its cooperation with Iran to supply nuclear knowhow, just as the Russians are upping the ante.
(6) An American pullback from the Gulf is not anathema to the Obama administration or to the American public, and one can argue it has already happened. The U.S. is gone from Iraq and nearly so from Afghanistan. It is no longer either the protector of European and Asian energy supplies or the strategic partner of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, or Israel. Middle Eastern oil is no longer essential to the United States, which is nearly energy independent. Americans generally see no reason to protect oil resources for other countries, and are horrified by a culture war in the Middle East that is entirely alien to American values. The American public may be inclined to accept a decision that the U.S. can reduce its posture in the Gulf and not seek to play a significant military role in the area.  

This is an uncomfortable and dangerous situation and without some dramatic intervention does not augur well for the future. The spread of chaos under Iran’s nuclear shield will ultimately require a return of U.S. power, but it will happen under conditions far less favorable.

Stephen Bryen and Shoshana Bryen


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

Do Women’s Rights and Black Lives Matter in the Middle East and Africa? - Jack Kerwick

by Jack Kerwick

First, if it really is women’s rights and black lives, and not politics, that are the objects of concern, then the “pro-women” and “pro-black” forces should be screaming from the rooftops over the systematic degradation of women’s rights and black lives occurring in places like the Middle East and Africa.

Feminists and other “progressives” in America cry oppression at the mere suggestion that taxpayers shouldn’t be made to subsidize abortion services.

Black (and non-black) American activists scream that “Black Lives Matter” whenever a black criminal suspect dies in an altercation with police.

In the meantime, there is scarcely a peep from either of these sectors when it comes to the unrelenting brutality suffered by women and black Africans in places under the thumb of the Islamic State.

When I noted this selective outrage to a left-leaning colleague of mine, he responded that the one issue didn’t have anything to do with the other. But this response misses the point for two reasons.

First, if it really is women’s rights and black lives, and not politics, that are the objects of concern, then the “pro-women” and “pro-black” forces should be screaming from the rooftops over the systematic degradation of women’s rights and black lives occurring in places like the Middle East and Africa.

In short, ultimately, we are dealing with one problem: the problem of women’s rights and black lives.

Second, the notion that, in the year 2015, women and blacks in America suffer some sort of systemic oppression courtesy of white men is manifestly absurd.  Still, even assuming that it is true, even the most vocal supporters of a mother’s right to kill her offspring on the taxpayer’s dime and the Michael Browns of the world couldn’t conceivably think that the plight of blacks and women in America can be spoken of in the same breath as that of women and blacks in hot spots like Africa and the Middle East.

This being so, the Left’s silence on the topic of the latter is that much more deafening given its incessant wailing over the former. 

To say the least, this is a curious kind of phenomenon.  It raises reasonable questions as to the rationality, values, and motivations of those who, in Jesus’ words, prefer to “strain out the gnat” while “letting in the camel.”

Actually, it is a Republican politician from California, Congressman Ed Royce, who is calling attention to the dehumanization of women and “black lives” occurring under Islamic militants of the ISIS and Boko Haram varieties.

Royce is the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.  According to Open Doors, an organization that exists for the sake of serving persecuted Christians around the world, Royce explained that “violence against women is in fact a sinister and calculated strategy that goes to the heart of ISIS’s survival” (emphasis original).

In “forcing local women to marry into ISIS,” Royce continued, “the group expands its demographic base while reducing the population of those diverse communities it seeks to eradicate and replace” (emphasis original). 

Open Doors refers to an article published by the Hudson Institute’s Nina Shea.  Shea writes that while the crucifixions and beheadings of Christian men have garnered much media attention, the return of “sex slavery” has disappeared from the public’s eye.

A United Nations report released on August 5, 2014, claimed that “some 1,500 Yazidi and Christian persons [in Iraq] may have been forced into sexual slavery.”  There may be as many as 4,000 enslaved Yazidis.

Shea informs us of “an entire convent of Syrian Orthodox nuns” that were abducted in 2013 and held for ransom.  Just this past March, 135 Christian women and children were abducted from 35 Christian villages in Syria and sold into sex slavery. 

“‘Their families,” Shea writes, “‘unable to afford the $23 million ransom demanded, were told by ISIS, ‘They belong to us now.’”

One particularly ominous, heart wrenching account of the kind of brutality that Koranic literalists routinely inflict upon their victims comes from “a young Yazidi woman” who managed to speak by phone with activists from Compassion4Kurdistan:  “I’ve been raped thirty times and it’s not even lunchtime.  I can’t go to the toilet.  Please bomb us.”

Seventeen year-old girls have relayed accounts of how they, along with dozens of other kidnapped females as young as at least 12, were daily beaten, raped, and tormented by their captors—grown men as old as 50—who would refer to them as “war booty” and liken them to “goats bought at a market.”

Others, Shea writes, relay how “girls were separated by eye color” and according to whether they were “pretty” or “ugly.”  The “pretty” girls were then given to “high ranking ISIS members.”

Black lives in Africa are hardly doing any better.  In Nigeria, the Islamic fundamentalists in Boko Haram are giving ISIS a run for its money in terms of ruthlessness and cruelty.

Open Doors shares “Mercy’s” experience. Mercy is a 24 year-old Christian and single mother whose town was taken over by Boko Haram.  Mercy, her baby, and some others ran to the mountains to hide.  Still, Mercy would sneak back to her home for food during the cover of darkness.  Tragically, her luck ran out one morning and she was captured.

The building into which she was lead contained several other young women and girls who had been there for some time. Regularly, their captors would drag men from the town before the females and “slaughter” them in order to “intimidate” the latter.

Mercy, thankfully, climbed over a barbwire fence one evening while her Muslim tormenters and their captives were in prayer and escaped.

Ladi Apagu, a 16 year-old, escaped with Mercy.  Ladi had been held captive for four months. She had been given an Islamic name, but she often resisted saying Islamic prayer.  Ladi had been kicked by an Imam when she told him that she couldn’t perform Muslim prayer rituals because she was menstruating. 

Today she is has scars on her legs from the regular beatings that were visited upon her.  Yet, even worse, Ladi is psychologically scarred. Particularly difficult for her to escape is the experience of having watched many decent men brutally murdered before her eyes for refusing to join Boko Haram.

The next time we hear the by now predictable lamentations over a lack of “women’s rights” in America, or chants to the effect that “black lives matter,” perhaps knowing all of this will help us to keep perspective.   

Jack Kerwick


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

Why Isn't the Right-Wing Govt. Adopting the Levy Report? - Benny Toker

by Benny Toker

Famed activist questions why right-wing coalition doesn't pass commissioned report legalizing Jewish 'settlement.'

Moshe Zar
Moshe Zar
Flash 90
Moshe Zar, an activist and redeemer of land in Samaria, spoke to Arutz Sheva on Friday and expressed his disbelief that the right-wing coalition government is not passing the 2012 Levy Report, which proved the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria is legal according to international law.

Zar began by criticizing radical leftist organizations that have constantly worked against him, noting, "it used to be when I purchased lands I never dreamed that Jews would block me."

"I know some of them personally, and forgive me but they are traitors to the nation of Israel," he said. "They receive huge funds from foreign money that comes from all sorts of places, and they do it for greed."

The solution to the lawsuits by radical leftist groups against Jewish construction according to Zar is the implementation of the Levy Report, which despite being commissioned by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has yet to be adopted by his governments.

"There's a professional opinion by three legal experts led by (former Supreme Court) Judge Edmond Levy, peace be upon him, and Binyamin Netanyahu selected him," noted the activist. "So why aren't they accepting this opinion and putting an end to all the ridiculous lawsuits against settlement in the land of Israel?"

"We have a right-wing coalition, a prime minister of the Herut movement (that merged with Likud - ed.), a right-wing defense minister, an excellent justice minister, and an excellent internal security minister, all of them right-wingers, so let them all vote for the Edmond Levy Report."

While no member of the coalition government has raised the Levy Report, one party vowed to demand its adoption if elected - that party was the Yachad - Ha'am Itanu joint list with Otzma Yehudit that just missed out of the elections by roughly 10,000 votes.

Zar turned his attention to the recent Supreme Court demolition orders passed against the Draynoff housing complex in Samaria's Beit El, which came despite government processes to complete the full legalization of the structures.

"Agreements need to be honored from both sides, so how does it make sense to give a demolition order on buildings that have a fundamental certificate of approval? They need to remove the authority that the Supreme Court has taken for itself to cancel laws of the Knesset."

Despite the challenges, Zar remains optimistic, saying, "today there is construction and in all the towns they will build a lot, if not more than a lot. Once we were twenty guys and girls, and today there are 700,000 residents in Judea and Samaria. We need to be happy."

Aside from a building permit given after the demolition in Beit El, for the last two years or so there has been a complete covert Jewish construction freeze in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem for the most part as well.

Benny Toker


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

Sex Slaves, Beheadings and Twitter Terrorism - Soeren Kern

by Soeren Kern

  • "If European countries accept a wave of migrants, there will be terrorists among them. ... By accepting the migrants, we strongly facilitate the Islamic State's expansion to Europe." — Czech President Miloš Zeman.
  • "We are committed to being active participants in our society, but it has to be on Islam's terms, without compromising our own principles and values. Democracy is antithetical to Islam... The way forward for Muslims in Denmark is to resist the anti-Islamic integration policy and the aggressive foreign policy pursued by successive governments in this country." — Hizb-ut-Tahrir.
  • "If you talk about immigration, you are a xenophobe. If you talk about security, you are a fascist. If you talk about Islam, you are an Islamophobe." — French MP Henri Guaino.
  • "We cannot lose this war because it is fundamentally a war of civilization. It is our society, our civilization that we are defending." — French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

In Austria, a 26-year-old Bosnian immigrant named Alen Rizvanović drove his SUV at high speed through the main shopping areas of Graz, Austria's second-largest city, and rammed into a crowd. He then got out of his vehicle and began stabbing bystanders with a large knife. The June 21 attack left three people dead and 34 others injured.

Police were quick to rule out a religious motive and insisted that the attack was a random act of violence perpetrated by a deranged killer, but a subsequent investigation found that Rizvanović was a devout Muslim with many links to radical Islam.

On June 16, the Criminal Court of Vienna found ten Muslims guilty of attempting to join the Islamic State in Syria. A Turkish man accused of organizing transportation for the group of nine native Chechens, aged between 17 and 27, received a three-year jail term, while others got prison terms of between 19 months and three years. The men were arrested by Austrian border police in August 2014 as they were attempting to travel to Syria via Turkey.

The convictions came just weeks after a 14-year-old Turkish boy who downloaded bomb-making plans onto his Playstation console was sentenced to two years' detention after pleading guilty to terrorism charges. The boy, who was living in Sankt Pölten in northeast Austria, had also established contacts with jihadists linked to the Islamic State. Sixteen months of the sentence were suspended. The boy will serve what remains of the eight-month term in a juvenile detention center.

More than 200 Austrian citizens and residents have joined jihadist groups in the Middle East; 30 have been killed and around 70 have returned.

In Belgium, police on June 8 carried out 21 coordinated raids of suspected Islamist militants, mostly of Chechen origin, in Antwerp, Bredene, Louvain, Namur and Ostend. Some of those investigated were known to have received jihadist training in Afghanistan, Chechnya and Syria, but police found no evidence to confirm suspicions that they were planning an attack. Initially, 16 people were arrested, but later, all but two were released.

In Brussels, Françoise Schepmans, the mayor of the Molenbeek-Saint-Jean district of the capital, initiated dismissal proceedings against a police officer identified as Mohamed N. after he wrote in a debate on Facebook that he would kill "each and every Jew." Using the pseudonym Bebeto Gladiateur, the police officer wrote: "The word Jew itself is dirty. If I were in Israel, frankly, I would do to the Jews what they do with the Palestinians — slaughter each and every one of them." Schepmans said: "These statements shock me. I've never been ambiguous about those issues. I cannot accept that a municipal police officer has that attitude."

In Britain, a 22-year-old female refugee from Iraq was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for "twitter terrorism." Alaa Esayed, from Kennington, South London, was sentenced at the Old Bailey after pleading guilty to encouraging terrorism and disseminating a terrorist publication. Between June 2013 and May 2014, she posted on an open account to her 8,240 followers more than 45,000 tweets in Arabic, many of them encouraging violent jihad. Her account, which included a profile image of a woman in a burka and holding a Kalashnikov, was listed by Al-Qaeda as among the 66 most important jihadi accounts.

In Manchester, 33-year-old Iqbal Ali of Oldham was sentenced to life in prison for using threats and violence to force four women to serve as his sex slaves in a harem. Ali, allegedly as part of a 14-year campaign to "sleep with as many women as possible," subjected the women to beatings, physical punishment and public humiliation if they disobeyed him. He was caught when one of the women received hospital treatment for severe neck injuries after she collapsed in a pharmacy.

In Lancashire, 34-year-old Mohammad Liaqat was sentenced to two years in prison after he stormed into the Mount Carmel Roman Catholic High School in Accrington and attacked the headmaster over a dispute about the school's policy on beards. Liaqat said he was angered by the school's decision to ban two 14-year-old Muslim pupils from lessons because they refused to shave off their beards. Liaqat's own children were not involved in the case. He later turned up at the St. Oswald's RC Primary School, also in Lancashire, and attacked the principal there. Liaqat has been banned from having contact staff at four schools in the Accrington and Burnley areas.

More news about Islam in Britain during June 2015 can be found here.

In Cyprus, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides confirmed that a 26-year-old Lebanese-Canadian man — who was arrested after authorities found almost two tons of ammonium nitrate in his basement — was part of a Hezbollah bomb plot to attack Israeli and Jewish targets on the island. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the case was proof that Iran, which backs Hezbollah, continues to foment terrorism in the region.

In the Czech Republic, Saudi Arabia canceled a scheduled Czech-Saudi economic forum to protest against alleged anti-Islam statements by Czech officials. Czech President Miloš Zeman has issued statements in which he linked Islam with violence. In remarks on International Holocaust Remembrance Day in January, the 70-year-old president said: "The Islamic State is similar in character to the Nazi Germany of the early 1930s. If we are to prevent a super Holocaust and massive slaughters of people, we need concerted military action... under the aegis of the United Nations Security Council."

The Saudi-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), refuted the allegations. It said:
"The Czech President's statements on Islam are in line with the statements the President made in the past, where he linked believers in the Quran with anti-Semitic and racist Nazis and said that the enemy is anti-civilization spreading from North Africa to Indonesia, where two billion people live.
"Such statements not only show President Zeman's lack of knowledge and misunderstanding of Islam, but also ignore the historical facts that anti-Semitism and Nazism are a European phenomenon through and through. They have no roots in Islam, neither as a religion nor as a history or civilization. The Holocaust did not take place in the area from North Africa to Indonesia."
President Zeman has refused to apologize for his statement. On June 28, he said: "If European countries accept a wave of migrants, there will be terrorists among them. ... By accepting the migrants, we strongly facilitate the Islamic State's expansion to Europe."

In Denmark, Hizb ut-Tahrir, a radical Islamic group, told Muslims to boycott the June 18 general election because democracy is incompatible with Islam. In a press release, the group said:
"We are committed to being active participants in our society, but it has to be on Islam's terms, without compromising our own principles and values. Democracy is antithetical to Islam, and it is a sinking ship, even its own supporters lose increasingly confidence in the system and are looking for an alternative.
"The way forward for Muslims in Denmark is to resist the anti-Islamic integration policy and the aggressive foreign policy pursued by successive governments in this country. We must protect our Islamic identity and values ​​as well as disseminate the message of Islam to the wider society around us in word and deed. We also have the duty to call for and support the global work for the restoration of the Caliphate, the Islamic solution to the myriad of problems that we Muslims are facing globally."
With all votes counted, a bloc of center-right parties led by former Prime Minister Lokke Rasmussen ousted Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt's center-left coalition. The anti-immigration Danish People's Party became the second-largest party in parliament. The election results reflect voters' growing frustration with multiculturalism, Danish asylum and refugee policies and runaway immigration from Muslim countries.

New statistics released by the Danish Immigration Service showed that 90% of all asylum applications have been approved so far in 2015. This is in stark contrast to 2004, when only 10% of such applications were approved.

In Copenhagen, the Islamic Society in Denmark began accepting donations for the construction of a third mega-mosque in the capital. The project is expected to cost 80 million kroner ($11.7 million) and construction could begin in 2017.

In France, former president Nicolas Sarkozy's opposition party — recently rebranded "The Republicans" — held a meeting on the question of "Islam in France or Islam of France" as part of a roundtable discussion on the "crisis of values" in France. Sarkozy said: "The question is not to know what the Republic can do for Islam, but what Islam can do to become the Islam of France."

Muslim groups criticized the meeting. "We cannot participate in an initiative like this that stigmatizes Muslims," said Abdallah Zekri, the president of the National Observatory on Islamophobia. The organizer of the meeting, MP Henri Guaino, said: "Can we not talk about subjects that split opinion? If you talk about immigration, you are a xenophobe. If you talk about security, you are a fascist. If you talk about Islam, you are an Islamophobe."

Prime Minister Manuel Valls told a half-day conference on relations with the Muslim community on June 15 that "Islam is here to stay." He also stressed that there is no link between Islam and extremism. "We must say all of this is not Islam," Valls said. "The hate speech, anti-Semitism that hides behind anti-Zionism and hate for Israel ... the self-proclaimed imams in our neighborhoods and our prisons who are promoting violence and terrorism." The conference did not discuss radicalization because the issue was deemed to be too sensitive.

On June 28, Valls told iTele that there are between 10,000 and 15,000 salafists in France, and that 1,800 people were "linked" in some way to the Islamist cause. He said that the West was engaged in a "war against terrorism," adding: "We cannot lose this war because it is fundamentally a war of civilization. It is our society, our civilization that we are defending."

On June 6, Valls said that more than 850 French citizens or residents had travelled to fight in Syria and Iraq. More than 470 are still there and 110 are believed to have been killed on the battlefields.

On June 29, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve revealed that France has deported 40 imams for "preaching hatred" in the past three years. "We have deported 40 preachers of hatred since 2012," he said. "Since the beginning of the year we have examined 22 cases and around 10 imams and preachers of hatred have been expelled."

On June 7, Cazeneuve said that 113 French citizens or residents have died as jihadists on battlefields in the Middle East. There are 130 ongoing judicial proceedings concerning 650 persons related to terrorism, and 60 individuals have been banned from leaving the country.

In Lyon, Yassin Salhi, a 35-year-old father of three, confessed to beheading his boss and trying to blow up a chemical plant near the city. The severed head of his boss was found hanging on the fence of a site belonging to a US-based gas and chemicals company, next to two flags bearing the Muslim profession of faith. Salhi, a truck driver, was born in France to parents of Moroccan and Algerian descent. Before his arrest, Salhi took a picture of himself with the severed head and sent the image to a French jihadist fighting for the Islamic State in Syria. Salhi's wife said: "We are normal Muslims. We do Ramadan."

In Bordeaux, the De L'Orient à L'Occidental grocery store, whose owners recently converted to Islam, scrapped a "gender ban" after facing a barrage of criticism. In an effort to ensure that males and females did not come into contact with each other at the store, the owners attempted to ban women from shopping on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and to ban men on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

In Paris, the Administrative Court on June 23 rejected a case brought by a mother trying to sue the French government for failing to stop her teenage son from leaving to join jihadists in Syria. The boy was 16 when he left with three others from the southern French city of Nice in December 2013, taking a plane to Turkey and then traveling overland to Syria. His mother, identified only as Nadine A., argued that airport police in Nice should have stopped the boy because he had only a one-way ticket and no baggage. But the court ruled that the airport officers were not responsible, and it rejected her demand for €110,000 ($120,000) in compensation.

Meanwhile, more than a dozen members of Forsane Alizza (Knights of Pride), a group formed to defend Muslims against Islamophobia, went on trial in Paris on June 7 for allegedly plotting terrorist attacks. The group — formed in August 2010 by a 37-year-old Franco-Tunisian, Mohamed Achamlane, who refers to himself as "Emir" — put a message on its website demanding that French forces leave all Muslim-majority countries. The message said: "If our demands are ignored, we will consider the government to be at war against Muslims."

Members of the French Islamist group Forsane Alizza rally in the street. More than a dozen members of the group went on trial in June on charges of plotting terrorist attacks.

Achamlane also released videos of himself giving inflammatory speeches, using phrases such as, "By all-powerful Allah, we will put scars on France." The group also issued a list of "targets" including Jewish shops in the Paris region. In court, Achamlane said: "There is no radical or moderate Islam. There is only authentic Islam." The government described the group as a private militia, but the 15 members of the group denied that they were members of a terrorist group. If convicted, each member of the group faces up to ten years in prison.

In Germany, Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, in an interview with the newspaper Rheinische Post, said that the number of German jihadists fighting in Syria has risen to around 700. "The number has never been as high as it is now," he said. The number of violent Islamists in Germany who are "prepared to commit politically motivated crimes of considerable importance" was around 330. He said there are more than 500 ongoing counter-terrorism operations involving 800 Islamists.

Meanwhile, a debate erupted over whether Muslim students should be exempted from mandatory visits to former concentration camps as part of Holocaust education programs. The dispute centered on a proposal that would require students in all secondary schools in the southern state of Bavaria to visit Holocaust memorials as part of the school curriculum.

The proposal was opposed by the governing Christian Social Union, which said that "many children from Muslim families... have no connection to our past and... will need much more time before they can identify with our history. We need to be careful about how we address this issue with these children."

Also in Bavaria, the administrators of the Wilhelm-Diess-Gymnasium, a school in Pocking, warned parents not to let their daughters wear revealing clothing in order to avoid "misunderstandings" with the 200 Muslim refugees housed in emergency accommodations in a building next to the school. The letter said:
"The Syrian citizens are mainly Muslim and speak Arabic. The refugees have their own culture. Because our school is directly next to where they are staying, modest clothing should be worn in order to avoid disagreements. Revealing tops or blouses, short shorts or miniskirts could lead to misunderstandings."
A local politician quoted by Die Welt newspaper said:
"When Muslim teenage boys go to open air swimming pools, they are overwhelmed when they see girls in bikinis. These boys, who come from a culture where for women it is frowned upon to show naked skin, will follow girls and bother them without their realizing it. Naturally, this generates fear."
In Berlin's Neukölln district, a 26-year-old Muslim woman was allowed to begin an internship as a junior lawyer in the town hall. Local authorities had initially considered rejecting Betül Ulusoy's application because she insisted on wearing a Muslim headscarf. Berlin's neutrality law (Neutralitätsgesetz) stipulates that anyone who works for the city is prohibited from showing outward signs of religiosity. But city officials made an exception for Ulusoy, apparently in order to avoid being accused of Islamophobia.

In the Netherlands, the Dutch parliament voted against allowing MP Geert Wilders to stage an exhibition of American cartoons based on the Prophet Mohammed. Wilders said he was disappointed in the parliament's decision and pledged to show the cartoons during a television party political broadcast. But the national public broadcasting company NPO failed to air the video as planned. Wilders accused NPO of sabotage. On June 24, Wilders' video was finally aired on Dutch public television.

Also in June, Social Affairs Minister Lodewijk Asscher said that he was considering a plan that would require Turkish imams to take a course in the Dutch language and culture before they are allowed to move to the Netherlands. Such a course would "lay the foundations for successful integration," Asscher said. Yassin Elforkani from the Muslim lobby group CMO, which claims to represent nearly 400 mosques in the Netherlands, said that rather than "continually importing" imams from Turkey, the Netherlands should establish an indigenous imam training program similar to the one in Germany.

Meanwhile, a court in Rotterdam sentenced a 22-year-old man from Delft to four years in prison for planning to use the proceeds of an armed robbery to support jihadists in Syria. Police, who were tipped off by an informant, arrested Mohammed A. while he was on his way to carry out an armed robbery in Scheveningen. They found three guns in his car. The court ruled that Mohammed A. was guilty of a "serious terrorism offense" because he was planning to use the proceeds from the robbery to support violent jihad.

In Norway, the Police Security Service (PST) revealed that nearly a dozen refugees sent to Norway under the UN's quota system turned out to have close links to the terror groups Islamic State and the al-Nusra Front. Police also discovered that some refugees had backgrounds in Syria's secret police, and others were suspected of carrying out war crimes during the country's ongoing civil war.

The newspaper Dagbladet also reported that Islamic extremists are scouting refugee reception centers in Norway in search of new recruits for terrorism. According to the paper, several people who received asylum in Norway later became central figures in the country's radicalized Islamic community.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of Norwegians are converting to Islam, apparently because of a perceived need for stronger rules in Norway's liberal society. "Converting to Islam is perhaps the most extreme form of youthful rebellion today," Muslim convert and religion professor Anne Sofie Roald told the newspaper Aftenposten. She said she thinks conservative Islam represents clear limits and a new form of security in Norway's "anything goes" society.

In Spain, police arrested three young Frenchmen after they were caught driving a Mercedes at 235 kilometers per hour (146 miles per hour), almost twice the 120 km/h legal speed limit, on the AP-7 motorway through the southern province of Valencia. Police found €200,000 ($219,000) in cash stuffed in a duffel bag in the car's trunk; none of the three men was able to explain the provenance of the cash. A subsequent investigation found that one of the three men was being monitored by French authorities on suspicion that he had been recruited by the Islamic State and was preparing to leave for Syria.

On June 22, the trial of Nabil Benkaddour, a Moroccan who attempted to join the Islamic State in Syria, began at the High Court in Madrid. Benkaddour was arrested the southern Spanish region of Murcia in November 2014 after he tried to travel to Syria via Turkey. He was not allowed to board the plane, however, because he did not have a return ticket. Spanish police later discovered that Benkaddour had been "very active on radical jihadist forums on the Internet" and had broadcast videos used for jihadist indoctrination and recruitment. He had also posted a photograph of his three-year-old son holding a toy rifle, along with images of various terrorist leaders, with the message: "You have chosen the path of Jihad and we will follow it." Benkaddour faces two years in prison if the court finds him guilty of "glorifying terrorism."

In Sweden, police arrested two people in raids in Stockholm and provincial city of Orebro on June 1 as part of a crackdown on the recruitment of young men to fight with jihadists groups abroad. The Swedish Security Police (SAPO) said Orebro, a city of 140,000 people, has become the fourth largest Swedish source of recruits for Islamist groups after Malmo, Gothenburg and Stockholm. According to SAPO, about 300 Swedish nationals or residents are believed to have joined the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Around 35 of these have been killed and 80 have returned to Sweden.

On June 17, the Swedish government announced that it was contemplating drafting a new law that would ban its nationals from fighting with jihadist groups such as the Islamic State. "It is unacceptable that Swedish citizens are travelling to join the Islamic State, financing the group or fighting for it," Justice Minister Morgan Johansson and Interior Minister Anders Ygeman wrote in an article published by the newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

More news about Islam in Sweden during June 2015 can be found here. 

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.


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