Saturday, November 7, 2015

The hand that wields the knife - Nadav Shragai

by Nadav Shragai

The Palestinian Authority's political zigzagging is more puzzling than ever • Fatah officials fan the flames of incitement, while PA security forces collaborate with the Israeli military to stop surging violence from spiraling into a full-blown intifada.

A masked Palestinian boy holds a knife during an anti-Israeli protest in the Gaza Strip
Photo credit: Reuters

Nadav Shragai


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

Palestinians: A World of Lies, Deception and Fabrications - Bassam Tawil

by Bassam Tawil

  • The only astonishing thing is that Abbas and the Palestinian leaders continue to refer to their wave of terrorism and bloodbath as a "peaceful, popular uprising."
  • The terrorists were doubtless inspired by their president's words. It is this kind of officially-sanctioned rhetoric that encourages young Palestinians to stab the first Jew they see.
  • This is not only a mountainous lie; it is an attempt on the part of the Palestinian Authority leadership to deceive the world into believing that Israeli security forces killed these poor innocent terrorists who were merely part of a peaceful protest. These "innocent" Palestinian men and women were "merely" in the process of trying to stab people to death.
  • The world in which Abbas and the Palestinian leadership live is a world of lies, fabrications and deception aimed at demonizing Israel and murdering Jews. The goal is not only to murder as many Jews as possible, but also to force Israel to its knees so that it will vanish as soon as possible.
  • Welcome to the world of the Palestinians, where we lie and then believe our own lies. And then want the rest of the world to believe them, too.

Sadly, the Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders are continuing to bury their heads in the sand and lying to everyone -- from their people to the international community.

The current wave of Palestinian terrorism has entered its fourth week, but our leaders, above all the PA President Mahmoud Abbas, are continuing to talk about a "peaceful, popular uprising" against Israel. This wave of Palestinian stabbings, shootings and vehicular ramming has been anything but either "popular" or "peaceful."

President Abbas and his top PLO and Fatah leaders have yet to explain to us what is peaceful and popular about stabbing an 80-year-old lady named Ruti Malka in Rishon Lezion, and a 70-year-old Jewish woman Jerusalem.

Instead of denouncing the terror attacks perpetrated by his people, Abbas continues to attack Israel for shooting the knife-wielding assailants to stop them. He has not missed one opportunity in the past four weeks to make false and libelous accusations against Israel. These include claims that Israelis are carrying out "summary executions" of "innocent" Palestinian men and women. In reality, these "innocent" Palestinian men and women were "merely" in the process of trying to stab people to death.

At two separate meetings of the PLO and Fatah leaderships in Ramallah this week, Abbas repeated his bogus charge that Israel is "committing war crimes" and working to "alter" the status quo on the Haram al-Sharif, or Temple Mount. He has also made these charges during meetings with Western leaders and government officials in Ramallah and abroad.

Instead of appealing to his people to refrain from carrying out terrorist attacks, Abbas and the PLO and Fatah leaders "voiced appreciation for the heroic steadfastness" of the Palestinians who, he said, are "defending their holy sites and the national project." The Palestinian leaders consider the terrorists who murdered and wounded scores of Israelis as "defenders" of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

It was Abbas who said just a few days before the eruption of current wave of terrorism, that Palestinians "won't allow Jews to contaminate, with their filthy feet, our holy sites." He also stated that "every drop of blood that is spilled in Jerusalem is pure blood" and that the terrorists would go to Paradise.

The terrorists who took to the streets to commit murder were doubtless inspired by their president's words. It is this kind of rhetoric, officially-sanctioned, that encourages young men and women to carry a knife and stab the first Jew they see. Abbas went so far as to tell the terrorists that it is their duty to "defend" the Islamic holy sites. He assured them that if they are killed by Israeli security forces, they will end up in Paradise.

Abbas's firing up his people to murder is happening at a time as his Palestinian Authority-controlled media continues its massive campaign of firing up the same people to murder, while hailing terrorists as "martyrs" and "heroes." At the same time, this media is promoting fraudulent conspiracy theories, such as the lie that Israeli soldiers and policemen have been "planting" knives next to the bodies of the terrorists.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (right) ignited competition among radical groups as to which faction could incite the most violence. Left: official PA media incite Palestinians, from a young age, to murder Jews.

This week, Abbas's envoy to the UN, Riyad Mansour, repeated the old-new blood lie that Israel is harvesting the organs of dead Palestinians.

Such libels, lies and vilifications are intended to radicalize Palestinians still further and drive them towards pursuing their terrorist attacks against Israelis. Such defamation is also aimed at spreading hated against Jews around the world, thus endangering lives in the U.S., France, Britain and elsewhere.

Abbas and his PA and Fatah leaders and officials are working hard not only to demonize and delegitimize Israelis, but also, through lies and blood-libels, Jews everywhere.

The only astonishing thing is that Abbas and the Palestinian leaders continue to refer to their wave of terrorism and bloodbath as a "peaceful, popular uprising." Not only is this a mountainous lie; it is an attempt on the part of the Palestinian Authority leadership to deceive the world into believing that Israel's mighty security forces killed these poor innocent terrorists who were merely part of a peaceful protest against those awful Israeli "occupiers."

Abbas knows very well that the terrorists were not participating in any "peaceful" demonstration in the West Bank or Jerusalem. He knows very well that the terrorists are "lone wolves" whom he himself has whipped up to murder Jews for no other reason than that they are Jews. Yet this knowledge has not stopped Abbas and the rest of the Palestinian leadership from continuing to lie to the world and their own people about the nature of these terrorist attacks.

In this regard, Abbas and the Palestinian leadership are following with the famous Arab Proverb, "He hit me and cried, and then came to complain." The Palestinians involved in the current wave of terrorism against Israelis are the same ones complaining to the world about Israel. It is no surprise that many in the international community are rushing to endorse the false narrative of the Palestinian leadership.

In the twisted world of Abbas, there is no wave of stabbings and vehicular attacks against Jews. In the twisted world of Abbas, there are no terrorists. Stabbing elderly Jewish women and a 13-year-old Jewish boy, according to Abbas, is part of a "peaceful, popular" protest. In the eyes of Palestinian leaders, most of the terrorists who have been encouraged by Palestinian leaders to murder Jews are "innocent victims" who have had knives placed next to them by Israeli policemen and soldiers in order to frame them.

This is the world in which Abbas and the Palestinian leadership live. It is a world of lies, fabrications and deception aimed at demonizing Israel and murdering Jews. The ultimate goal is not only to murder as many Jews as possible, but also to force Israel to its knees in the hope that it will vanish as soon as possible.

Welcome to the world of the Palestinians, where we lie and believe our own lies. And then want the rest of the world to believe them, too.

Bassam Tawil is a scholar based in the Middle East.


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

Obama Unleashes His Pro-Criminal Agenda - Matthew Vadum

by Matthew Vadum

The president is freeing prisoners prematurely by the thousands -- and giving them special privileges.

President Obama is attempting to fundamentally redefine and mainstream criminal behavior by fast-tracking criminals' federal employment applications, weakening criminal law penalties, and trafficking in get-out-of-jail-free cards for tens of thousands of imprisoned federal drug offenders.

Releasing prisoners because it's not fair to keep them locked up for their crimes, defending lawless so-called sanctuary cities, and banning the metaphorical (and sometimes literal) criminal record box on job applications, are Obama's goals.

Pinal County, Ariz., Sheriff Paul Babeu (R) warns that the administration's claim that the roughly 1,700 illegal alien inmates -- who are part of the group of 6,112 new parolees -- will face deportation is nonsense. "There’s no chance of them being deported to their country of origin and this is just another lie."

But Obama doesn't care about what his critics say.

The most radical left-wing American president in history is defining deviancy down by attempting to de-stigmatize criminality. The Left views criminals -- especially minorities -- as victims of society, oppressed for mere nonconformism. Because it needs their votes, the Left is pressing for the restoration of felons' voting rights. 

Of course, a criminal record carries with it a degree of social stigma, as it should. Removing or watering down that socially beneficial stigma reduces disincentives to commit crimes and hinders the marginalization of the antisocial. Without stigma and social ostracism, society would eventually collapse.

This is fine by our malignantly narcissistic Marxist president who, seeing the law in capitalist America largely as an instrument of oppression, seeks to blunt and retrofit it.

This racial polarizer continually pushes the lie that he is a racial healer. To him the fact that African-Americans are the most incarcerated group in the U.S. is proof not that they commit a lot of crimes but that they are innocent victims of racist, systemic discrimination in a country where race relations haven't improved much since Jim Crow.

"One of the things that I've consistently said as president is that I'm the president of all people," Obama said Monday. "I am very proud that my presidency can help to galvanize and mobilize America on behalf of issues of racial disparity and racial injustice."

Obama hopes the next president will "be just as concerned as I am because this is part of what it means to perfect our union." To Obama, perfection is code for destruction.

He is not motivated by compassion. He wants to make criminals -- an important constituency for the Democratic Party -- mainstream, even cool, and he's done more for the cause than gangsta rappers could ever hope to achieve on their own.

Obama is depopulating the nation’s prisons. The scheduled release of 6,112 allegedly non-violent drug offenders over the past week, the largest one-time release of federal inmates ever, constitutes "the largest prison break in U.S. history," said Sheriff Babeu. More mass prisoner purges are planned.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) warned recently that "when we release large numbers of criminals early, we know that a substantial number of those individuals will commit murders, rapes, assaults, robberies, and other violent crimes that would have been prevented had they remained in prison."

FBI Director James Comey agrees. In a recent speech Comey said when he was a prosecutor in Virginia:

The notion of a “non-violent” drug gang member would have elicited a tired laugh from a resident of Richmond’s worst neighborhoods. Because the entire trade was a plague of violence that strangled Richmond’s black neighborhoods. The lookouts, runners, mill-workers, enforcers, and dealers were all cut from the same suffocating cloth. Whether they pulled the trigger or not, those folks were killing the community.

White House retainers were also reportedly freaked out when Comey warned of the "Ferguson effect," which refers to police failing to enforce the law, avoiding discretionary enforcement activities, or failing to defend themselves properly, all because they don't want to be accused of racism. For serially, publicly criticizing Obama's huge explusion of "non-violent" prisoners and the increasingly violent Black Lives Matter movement, Comey was summoned to the White House.

Obama is simultaneously rolling out the red carpet for criminals in the hope they will secure jobs in the federal government.

The most felon-friendly president in American history directed federal agencies this week to "ban the box" in hiring decisions, which means they will be forbidden from asking prospective government employees about their criminal histories on job applications. At some indefinite point in the hiring process a criminal record check will take place -- at least in theory.

It amounts to an executive clemency that initially nullifies criminal convictions of ex-cons seeking federal employment and effectively penalizes law-abiding citizens for their good behavior, making them the equals of criminals.

Under Obama some agencies already process applications subject to an eventual criminal check, but this new diktat requires uniform human resources rules across all agencies.The government "should not use criminal history to screen out applicants before we even look at their qualifications," Obama speechified Monday.

A criminal record is "relevant ...we're not suggesting ignore it," the man whose administration is now substituting the Orwellian euphemism "justice-involved youth" for "juvenile delinquent," told an audience.

"Give folks a chance to get through the door ... so they can make their case," said the man who hired the as-of-now un-indicted Hillary Clinton as his secretary of state. 

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights promptly griped that the box-banning wasn't enough. They want criminal inquiries delayed on applications for employment with federal contractors as well.

The profoundly ugly idea today's leftists share is that criminality itself is an illegitimate concept. The leftist chanting of mindless "no one is illegal" drivel at open-borders rallies is part of the same school of thought. 

Two-time Communist Party USA vice presidential candidate Angela Davis blazed a trail years ago by demanding the release of all minority criminals because they were "political prisoners" of the racist United States, victims of a capitalist “prison-industrial complex.” Along the same lines, communist lawyer and Sixties counterculture hero William Kunstler opined that "any criminal trial in this country is an oppression" and that police are "an army of occupation" in big cities.

Obama and his beloved Black Lives Matter movement, an ongoing RICO conspiracy that embraces looting as legitimate, even healthy, political expression, are carrying on the "social justice" efforts of Bill Ayers, Davis, and Kunstler.

Obama's sustained assault on America's legal infrastructure has become particularly fierce in the twilight years of his presidency because, having conned his away into the Oval Office twice, he knows he will never have to face the voters again. Obama knows he'll get away with all the damage he is inflicting on America -- and that spineless congressional Republicans, even many self-described conservatives, won't do much to stop him.

If he could, Obama would force all employers to waste resources non-judgmentally processing the applications of criminals. Banks would have to consider applicants with embezzlement convictions and pray evidence of that criminality surfaces before they're given keys to the vault.

Hillary, now a presidential candidate, sympathizes. In what may turn out to be the greatest campaign trail Freudian slip of all time, Mrs. Clinton, currently under FBI investigation, said Oct. 30 that "as president I will take steps to 'ban the box,' so former presidents won’t have to declare their criminal history at the very start of the hiring process."

The former first lady, who suffered what Bill Clinton called a "terrible" traumatic brain injury that "required six months of very serious work to get over," did not correct herself. The proposed policy, in the improbable form stated by Hillary, apparently would not apply to her husband because he has always managed to sleaze his way out of criminal accusations. 

Obama also supports the sanctuary cities movement which gave illegal aliens permission to rob, rape, and murder Americans. Cheered on by the Left, hundreds of sanctuary jurisdictions that are in open rebellion against federal law, frustrate immigration enforcement efforts and shield illegal aliens as a matter of policy. Obama is fine with dangerous illegal alien criminals being dumped in the nation's cities.

The notorious wife-beating outlaw sheriff of San Francisco, Ross Mirkarimi (D), whose gun permit was revoked and driver's license suspended in February for failure to report a car accident, is a poster boy for both the sanctuary cities and anti-incarceration movements. Over the objections of immigration authorities, he released an oft-deported illegal alien from Mexico who went on to murder young Kate Steinle in a highly-publicized case.

It would seem Mirkarimi, who admires Angela Davis, did it because in his twisted mind it was simply the right thing to do.

"This country's criminal justice system over generations has been built on an ethos of retribution, and yet, the strain of mass incarceration at the expense of public education funding has reinforced the school-to-prison-pipeline,” Mirkarimi said in May.

In previous decades Mirkarimi's blather was reduced to the slogan, "bread, not bombs." Government resources spent on the armed forces that protect the nation are wasted. Similarly, using such resources to protect the nation from criminals is also wasted.

But in a hopeful sign, even the latte-liberal voters of the Golden Gate City have finally had enough of their silly sheriff.

The former Green Party standard-bearer was crushingly defeated on Tuesday night by a 2 to 1 margin.

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


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

Remembering Rabin and Shamir, correctly - David M. Weinberg

by David M. Weinberg

Lessons for Netanyahu as he faces Obama next week: Don't let Israel be pushed off course for imaginary, temporary relief.

This week, Israel marked the 20th anniversary of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination, as well as what would have been the 100th birthday of late Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. 

There are lessons to be learned about the way we remember these two great leaders, both of blessed memory. This is especially true for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who next week once again enters the lion's den -- meeting U.S. President Barack Obama in the White House -- after a long period of conflict regarding policy toward Iran and the Palestinians.

Rabin's true legacy is Israel's struggle for secure and defensible borders and a unified Jerusalem, and great wariness of Palestinian statehood. The use of Rabin's name to support a galloping-forward, two-state-solution peace process is left-wing historical revisionism.

Like the majority of Israelis, then and now, Rabin was willing to take risks and give the peace process a chance. But he remained suspicious of his Palestinian partners, skeptical about the outcome, very wary of a full-fledged Palestinian state, and insistent on maintaining defensible borders for Israel.

In fact, Rabin may have been close to calling-off the Oslo process -- according to his closet advisers and family members, and scholars.

His daughter Dalia told Yedioth Ahronoth in 2010 that "many people who were close to father told me that on the eve of the murder he considered stopping the Oslo process because of the terror that was running rampant in the streets, and because he felt that Yasser Arafat was not delivering on his promises."

"Father after all wasn't a blind man running forward without thought. I wouldn't rule out the possibility that he was considering a U-turn, doing a reverse on our side. After all he was someone for whom the national security of the state was sacrosanct and above all," said Dalia Rabin.

Last week, Dalia Rabin similarly told The Times of Israel that "as the waves of terror hit the peace process ... I have the feeling that he [Yitzhak Rabin] wouldn't have let it continue. There would have been a stage where he would have decided: We're in a phased process. Let's evaluate what we have achieved and what the price has been. He wouldn't have stopped Oslo, but he would have done what Oslo enabled him to do: to look at it as a process and assess whether it was working."

In his 2008 book "The Long Short Way," Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon wrote that a few weeks before the assassination, Rabin told him (then the IDF Military Intelligence chief) that after the next Israeli elections "he [Rabin] was going to 'set things straight' with the Oslo process, because Arafat could no longer be trusted." And this was before the murderous Second Intifada!

Professor Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, surmised much the same thing in his 1999 award-winning book, "Rabin and Israel's National Security": "Rabin did not exclude the possibility that the Oslo agreements might not lead to reconciliation. He was not sure that an agreement on final status issues with the Palestinians could be reached. ... He perceived an improved strategic environment containing less chances for existential dangers, but he knew that such military challenges still existed. He was unmoved in the belief that an armed peace was the best to which Israel could aspire in the near future."

In his famous last speech in the Knesset, on Oct. 5, 1995, a month before his assassination, Rabin in fact specifically distanced himself from Palestinian statehood. "We view a permanent solution [as involving] a Palestinian entity which is less than a state," Rabin pointedly said.

Rabin then rejected the notion of withdrawal to anything approximating the 1967 lines, and dismissed any thought of dividing Jerusalem: "We will not return to the June 4, 1967 lines. The security border of the State of Israel will be located in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest meaning of that term." (Rabin meant to include the eastern slopes of the West Bank hills -- a 1,200-foot topographical barrier ridge.) 

"The responsibility for external security along the borders with Egypt and Jordan, as well as control over the airspace above all of the territories and Gaza Strip maritime zone, will remain in our hands," he averred. "And first and foremost in our concerns is a united Jerusalem," Rabin continued, "as the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty."

So Netanyahu might point out to Obama this coming week that the ongoing drive by America, Europe and the Israeli Left to establish a full-blown Palestinian state in the grandest contours, and with the malfeasant Palestinian leaders we are currently stuck with -- does not accord with the so-called "Rabin heritage" at all. 

In fact, Netanyahu's skepticism of the Palestinians today, and his insistence on permanent Israeli military control of the entire West Bank envelope, is very much in line with Rabin's positions of the early 1990s. 

By contrast, the clap-happy advocacy of unfettered Palestinian statehood as if Oslo had no bitter aftertaste -- which we hear today from Obama, former President Shimon Peres and the like -- does not accord with the "Rabin heritage" one bit.

Netanyahu might also take heed of the bitter lesson learned by Shamir in his dealings with former U.S. President George H. W. Bush.

According to Moshe Arens, who was defense minister under Shamir, Shamir thought he was buying preferential treatment from the U.S. by acceding to Bush's entreaties to stay out of the fighting in Iraq in 1991. Shamir thought that he was clearly signaling his priorities to Bush, leader-to-leader. "I'll give you restraint in Iraq and you lay off on settlements" as it were.

When I asked Shamir about this in 1999 (as I interviewed him for my masters thesis), he said: "I knew that the settlement issue wouldn't go away. But I made a calculation: I felt that we really could better stand up for ourselves on the diplomatic and settlement issues in this way. You have to choose your battles. Indeed, we prevailed diplomatically after the war. Settlements continued. Madrid was a success from our point of view. Never had they given in to us as much as they did."

What can this teach us with regard to Netanyahu's current policy dilemmas?

Well, despite the leeway Shamir thought he had purchased from Bush, after the Gulf War the conflict between Washington and Jerusalem over settlements intensified and became embroiled in the dispute over loan guarantees. These guarantees were denied to Shamir's government because of continuing Israeli settlement activity -- notwithstanding whatever "understandings" Shamir thought he had reached with Bush. 

Many observers believe that this dispute played a role in the defeat of the Shamir government in the 1992 Israeli elections.

The Shamir experience would suggest that calculations of "accrued credit" and presumed "trade-offs" make for faulty and dangerous policymaking. 

The lesson for Netanyahu is that he should be guided by Israel's strategic and operational considerations regarding each issue on its own merits -- regarding the need to confront Iran, to push back against the violent Palestinians, to build in Jerusalem and the settlement bloc, and so on.

Netanyahu should have no illusions of implicit understandings with Obama or linkages that might imaginarily accrue Israel credit in the current White House. 

We must not let Israel be pushed off course for ersatz, temporary relief.

David M. Weinberg


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Sinai Terror Attack Could Easily Have Been in Minneapolis - Daniel John Sobieski

by Daniel John Sobieski

We need a president who doesn't think the war on terror is won or over, or that it doesn't matter here what happens over there.

Before the Russian Airbus 321 was blown apart 30,000 feet over the Sinai by what a growing consensus of intelligence experts believe to be a bomb planted by a passenger or airport worker, a man who would later fight and die for the Islamic State (IS) worked at the Minneapolis airport with security clearance and access to the tarmac and aircraft.

It could have happened here. It may yet. As Investor’s Business Daily reported in September, 2014:
Fox affiliate KMSP-TV in Minneapolis-St. Paul has reported the case of Abdirahmaan Muhumed, who, before he went to Syria to fight and die for IS, worked at Delta Global Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines. His job was to clean aircraft, and he had a security clearance that gave him unfettered access to the tarmac and passenger jets….
The New York Daily News reports that the 29-year-old Muhumed died in the same battle as 33-year-old Douglas McCain, another Minnesotan recruited by IS. Muhumed and McCain were said to be friends in high school, with Muhumed becoming politically active in the Twin Cities Somali community. He was one of at least 16 Minnesotans, according to Reuters, who have gone overseas to fight and train with IS.
So we have already had one airport worker with Islamic State sympathies who instead of fighting and dying over there could have easily become one of the “lone wolves” the Islamic State constantly recruits through videos, statements, and social media.

The documented security failures of the TSA do not reassure us that American security is any better that the security at Sharm el-Sheikh. As ABC News reported in June:
An internal investigation of the Transportation Security Administration revealed security failures at dozens of the nation’s busiest airports, where undercover investigators were able to smuggle mock explosives or banned weapons through checkpoints in 95 percent of trials, ABC News has learned.
The series of tests were conducted by Homeland Security Red Teams who pose as passengers, setting out to beat the system.
According to officials briefed on the results of a recent Homeland Security Inspector General’s report, TSA agents failed 67 out of 70 tests, with Red Team members repeatedly able to get potential weapons through checkpoints.
In one test an undercover agent was stopped after setting off an alarm at a magnetometer, but TSA screeners failed to detect a fake explosive device that was taped to his back during a follow-on pat down.
We can safely say that the Islamic State, while ruthless and barbaric, is not stupid. And we face the very real possibility that al-Qaida, which the pundits told us were repelled by Islamic State tactics, may soon be working in tandem with it, if it hasn’t been already. The Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram has sworn allegiance to the Islamic State and the Sinai bombing took place on Muslim Brotherhood turf where Egypt is battling the Islamic State in the Sinai. As the International Business Times reported in September:
Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called on the group's militants to cooperate with Islamic State (IS) in fighting the US-led coalition in Syria and Iraq, though refused to endorse the group's self-proclaimed caliphate….
"Despite the big mistakes [of IS], if I were in Iraq or Syria I would co-operate with them in killing the crusaders and secularists and Shi'ites even though I don't recognize the legitimacy of their state, because the matter is bigger than that," said the Egyptian doctor, who took control of the jihadist group after Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011.
So the enemy of my enemy can be my friend, which begs the question, was it in the Sinai? Was it really a coincidence that a Russian airliner was brought down shortly after Moscow starting a bombing campaign in Syria to prop up the Assad regime?

Incredibly, the Obama administration wants to add to the Islamic State sympathizers that are already here and possibly already working at our airports by importing 10,000 Syrian refugees which the head of the FBI, who says there are active terror investigations in all 50 states,  admits cannot be properly vetted. If there are not among their number Islamic State agents ready to exploit our generosity, then certainly there are young and bitter Arab males vulnerable to Islamic State recruiting. As the Daily Caller notes:
FBI director James Comey said during a House Committee on Homeland Security hearing on Wednesday that the federal government does not have the ability to conduct thorough background checks on all of the 10,000 Syrian refugees that the Obama administration says will be allowed to come to the U.S.
“We can only query against that which we have collected,” Comey said in response to a line of questioning from Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson .
“And so if someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interest reflected in our database, we can query our database until the cows come home, but there will be nothing show up because we have no record of them.”
What we need is a president who doesn’t think the war on terror is won or over and thinks that it doesn’t matter here what happens over there. They are still trying to kill us. They are learning how to work together And they have already worked at our airports.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.


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Nuclear Deterrence: Credibility & Validity Seriously Eroded - Maj. Gen. (ret.) David Ivry

by Maj. Gen. (ret.) David Ivry

Maj. Gen. (ret.) David Ivry on the substantial changes in the credibility and validity of nuclear deterrence. Is there a point in promoting an agreement for a Middle East free of nuclear weapons?

Mathematically, deterrence is made up of the perception of the capabilities times the intention and willingness to put them to use. Over the last few decades, the number of military conflicts has risen dramatically, but they were all local or regional in scope, and nuclear deterrence was never considered.

The characteristics of the military conflicts of the last few decades, that were mostly low-intensity or asymmetrical, led to a situation where the limitations concerning the employment of conventional power determined the dosage, or intensity of that employment. Conventional power was never employed to its maximum potential. Obviously, in such situations, no one believes that it is possible to cause one of the sides to reach the threshold of justifying the employment of nuclear power.

The intention element in the deterrence equation equals zero. The result of anything multiplied by zero is, naturally, zero. In other words, no nuclear deterrence exists in the context of such conflicts.

During the Cold War era, many non-nuclear countries sheltered under the nuclear umbrellas of the leading superpowers, thus justifying their policies of avoiding the development of nuclear capabilities of their own. Whereas these countries could still be involved in limited-scope conflicts (and some were highly likely to become involved in such conflicts), and whereas nuclear deterrence is not actually a part of such conflicts, those countries must reconsider their policies regarding their military capabilities. Can they still rely on the assistance or actual involvement of other friendly forces? Accordingly, they also have to reconsider their policies regarding nuclear capabilities of their own.

We are witnessing the superpowers avoiding the employment of conventional power in various conflicts, and considerable hesitation on their part regarding the intensity of the power they do employ. The USA hesitated about attacking in Syria after it was proven that the Syrian Army had employed chemical weapons. When the issue of disarming the world of chemical weapons was on the agenda, it was explained that whenever chemical weapons were employed, the option of employing the nuclear capability will always be available.  In the Syrian case, even conventional weapons were not employed. I do not ignore the diplomatic achievement – Syria was disarmed of numerous elements of its chemical weapon arsenal – but that had no effect on the fact that many countries still faced questions marks regarding the extent to which they could rely on external forces.

Two trends of thought have evolved among non-nuclear countries, regarding the significance of the erosion in the credibility of the nuclear umbrella. Does it necessitate the development of an independent nuclear capability while risking a violation of the NPT, or will it be pointless to develop such a capability as no deterrence can be achieved through it in the context of limited-scope conflicts anyway.

In the new Middle East, the discourse regarding a regional nuclear disarmament has restarted very intensively. In the early 1990s, 14 countries, including Israel, participated in the Arms Control and Regional Security in the Middle East (ACRS) multilateral talks. The countries from the region that did not participate in the talks were Syria, Iran and Iraq. In those days it was already established that Iraq had violated the treaty, and there were concerns about Iran and Syria as well. 

The substantial changes in the credibility and validity of nuclear deterrence in the context of limited-scope conflicts and the questionable credibility and validity of the NPT after three countries from this region had violated their commitment to that treaty and were not treated as required raise a serious question: is there a point in promoting an agreement for a region free of nuclear weapons to which the State of Israel should commit, subject to certain provisions? If we only considered the credibility and validity aspects, it would seem to me that Israel should avoid any such commitment, namely – it must not rely on the credibility of disarmament. The considerations should be contemplated in the context of other political interests, such as the interests of initiating a regional discourse as a normalization-promoting element.

Maj. Gen. (ret.) David Ivry


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Turkey Still Besieges Its Kurds - Uzay Bulut

by Uzay Bulut

  • "They attacked even the wounded. Many people throughout Kurdistan have been arrested wholesale lately. Some of them participated in the election campaigns for our party. Many Turkish mainstream media outlets distort the facts and put the blame of the conflicts on Kurds. But it was the police that started the violence and conflicts... they murdered civilians knowingly and intentionally" — Ferhat Encu, Kurdish MP for the People's Democratic Party (HDP).
  • "The police broke F.A.'s teeth, tortured him, beat him and inserted a gun in his anus. ... When we saw him, there were bruises and marks of torture all over his body." — Zozan Acar, F.A.'s lawyer.
  • "We sent ambulances, but the police opened fire even at the ambulances. They open fire at anyone who go outside." — Seyfettin Aydemir, co-mayor of Silopi.
  • Even though the AKP won the majority of votes this week, on Nov. 3 a curfew was imposed on the Kurdish town of Silvan -- for the sixth time since Aug. 17. Just before the curfew, Muslum Tayar, 22, was killed by the police. They shot him from their armored vehicle.

For the past few years, the AKP government has proudly proclaimed that it wanted to resolve the Kurdish issue: "bring peace" to Turkey. But the government has kept attacking Kurds, including their legal political party, the People's Democratic Party (HDP).

"We target those who target Turkey. If they have not targeted Turkey, we do not target them," Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in televised comments on July 27.

But of all the civilian Kurds killed or tortured lately, which ones targeted Turkey? And how?

This year, the Turkish government and state authorities have been using "ditches," "barricades" or young Kurds clashing with police as excuses to terrorize the Kurdish provinces. The authorities claim that the Kurds are "terrorists," and that they, the authorities, are simply maintaining order and protecting lives.

The aim of the Turkish state and military, however, does not seem to be to "stop criminals." If you try to stop criminals, you do not daily commit crimes even more brutal than theirs.

The aim of the Turkish government seems to be to attack and destroy Kurds simply for being Kurds. They have been arbitrarily arrested, tortured or murdered wholesale ever since the Turkish Republic was established in 1923.

According to the state ideology and the mainstream media, if Kurds ask for rights, it is due to "American imperialism," "an Israeli scheme," or some other "external factor," never to the Kurds' genuine wish to live in dignity as equals.

The authorities could have negotiated with Kurdish politicians -- who declared several times that they were willing to reach a peaceful and democratic resolution for the Kurdish issue -- but they have not.

This week, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) won the plurality of votes (49.46%) and a majority of seats in parliament in the November 1 elections. The pro-Kurdish HDP lost votes but still achieved 10.75% percent of the popular vote, surpassing the 10% threshold required to remain in parliament. (In the June elections, the HDP had gained 13% of the vote, winning 80 seats in the parliament and ending 12 years of single-party rule of the AKP.)

Since the prior election in June, however, in which the popularity of the HDP had prevented the AKP from reaching a majority, Kurdish towns in Turkey's Kurdistan have suffered unending attacks, torture and murder by Turkish "security" forces, seemingly in an attempt to intimidate Turkey's Kurds and exact revenge on their support for the HDP.

Curfews were imposed on several Kurdish towns including Dargecit, Cizre, Silopi, Silvan, Varto, Yuksekova, and Sur -- all strongholds of the Kurdish political movement.

On October 10, the district governor of Dargecit wrote that a "curfew has been issued to provide order in Dargecit, to prevent crimes, to protect people's rights and liberties, to neutralize the members of the terrorist organization, to capture the wanted, and to maintain the security of people's life and property by removing barricades and ditches where explosives and were placed."

What the police did, however, had nothing to with the "objectives" in that statement. Instead, the police attacked the residents of Dargecit with heavy weaponry and arrested politicians in house raids, including the deputy co-mayor of the town.

In other Kurdish towns, excuses for the curfews by the state authorities were similar, but what the authorities brought was anything but "security of life and property." Instead again, they brought torture, starvation, destruction and murder.

The town of Cizre in the Kurdish province of Sirnak, for instance, was closed to the world for eight days, September 4-12.

A heavy bombardment by Turkish "security" forces kept residents trapped in their homes. Officials of the HDP were not even permitted to enter the town. In June's general elections, Cizre had voted overwhelmingly for the pro-Kurdish HDP -- by 91.97%.

People kept the dead bodies of their family members in refrigerators and sometimes in the cold storage depot of a chicken shop.[1]

The Kurdish town of Cizre in Turkey was indiscriminately bombarded by Turkish security forces in September. Many homes were heavily damaged or destroyed. Photographic evidence shows many buildings and vehicles in the town riddled with bullet holes.

The HDP party issued a long report on state violence against Kurds in Turkey, in which they wrote:
Although the Minister of EU Affairs, Ali Haydar Konca, and HDP deputies... convinced the Governor and Turkish armed forces to transfer the bodies to the morgue, the armed forces nevertheless fired bullets and gas cannisters on civilians and deputies during the transfers.... The armed forces started threatening all citizens of the town through public announcements such as, 'We will shoot anyone who steps out into the streets.' ... Many houses were... demolished by armored vehicles... State-appointed governors also declared the provinces of Lice, Silvan, Silopi and Yuksekova in the Kurdish region 'special security zones.' The people residing there were forbidden to go outside, and blockades were set up.... Dozens of civilians lost their lives or were injured; dozens of homes, businesses and vehicles were ruined.
The electricity was cut off. For eight days, people had difficulty finding food, medicine and water.

Meanwhile, Turkey's Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said: "Not a single civilian died in Cizre. The curfew will not continue forever. It will end only when it should end."

All the dead, however, were civilians.[2]

One of the people interviewed said:
They even shoot people trying to take the wounded to the hospital. There is problem of electricity. We are in the dark. We drink water that should not be drunk. There are families from Syria and Kobane here. They are in a desperate situation.
Ferhat Encu, a Kurdish Member of Parliament for the HDP, told Gatestone Institute that 21 people had been murdered in the town -- 15 shot dead. The rest lost their lives because they had not able to be taken to hospitals.

One of the victims, 75-year-old Mehmet Erdogan, who was shot in the head, had apparently gone outside to find bread. After the curfew, his body was found on the street. A nylon bag with pieces of bread inside was found beside him.[3]

When state authorities announced through a loudspeaker the lifting of the curfew, they said: "Our security forces have carried out a successful operation against members of the terrorist organization."

A reporter for the newspaper, Cumhuriyet, Mahmut Oral, wrote:
"Armored police vehicles are in the middle of the town. Panzers are travelling throughout the streets... There are still wounded, pregnant or sick people who have not been able to get medical treatment. There are still dead bodies in coolers or deep freezes. Mass burial ceremonies will be held."
(Photos of the aftermath of the curfew here. More photos here. A video from the Dicle News Agency shows the streets of Cizre turned into ruins.)

In the meantime, the interior ministry suspended the co-mayor of Cizre, Leyla Imret, 27, the youngest mayor in Turkey, who had won a record 83% of the votes in mayoral elections last March. The ministry accused her of encouraging her fellow Kurds to begin an armed uprising and of spreading "terror propaganda."[4]

The town of Silopi, one of the many strongholds of the Kurdish political movement in Turkey's Kurdistan, was also a victim of state violence. In the June 7 elections, its residents had voted overwhelmingly -- nearly 90% -- for the pro-Kurdish HDP. Before dawn on August 7, police blockaded Silopi; shot people randomly; murdered three people[5] and wounded many others. The police then set fire to six houses.

The co-mayor of Silopi, Seyfettin Aydemir, told the newspaper Evrensel, "Fires broke out in many houses during the clashes. We sent ambulances, but the police opened fire even at the ambulances. There are sharpshooters all around. They open fire at anyone who go outside."

Ferhat Encu, a Kurdish member of parliament for the HDP, told Gatestone Institute:
Silopi was under siege for days. They attacked even the wounded. People were terrorized, they could not go outside. Even we, as parliamentarians, had difficulty travelling across the town. We always used to take our cars to those neighborhoods to see what is happening. It was dangerous to walk through the streets. Even a child, aged 15 or 16, was shot on his back. Many people throughout Kurdistan were arrested wholesale -- innocent people. Some participated in election campaigns for our HDP party. People are worried.... Some youths dug ditches to stop the police from entering their neighborhoods and arresting and torturing them. But the police, on the pretext of filling the ditches, attacked the neighborhoods anyway. Many Turkish mainstream media outlets distort the facts and put the blame of the conflicts on Kurds. But it was the police that started the violence and conflicts. Armored vehicles travelled across the town to terrorize people, and opened fire at them. Many people packed their bags and fled. This much is clear: All of the civilians in the town -- both men and women -- were targeted by sharpshooters. They murdered civilians knowingly and intentionally.

"F.A.," one of the nine people detained while trying to take the wounded neighbors or friends to hospital, was tortured and raped while under detention.

"F.A. is about 20 or 21," his lawyer, Zozan Acar, told Gatestone Institute. "He was arrested in front of the hospital. We tried to go to the police station to see the detainees but the police stopped us. In the meantime, the police broke F.A.'s teeth, tortured him, beat him and inserted a gun in his anus. He fainted during the torture. Then he was taken to hospital. When we saw him, there were bruises and marks of torture all over his body." (Photos here.)

Serdar Acar, a doctor at Silopi state hospital, told IMC TV that the police put a gun to his head:
The police came into the hospital in a rush and said that there was a wounded police officer somewhere and that they needed an ambulance. When I said the ambulances should be called on the phone and that I had no authority to send ambulances out of the hospital, they put a gun to my head and tried to take me there by force. But I refused.
Some who came to the hospital had been wounded during police attacks. I saw the police break the windows of their cars and beat them... There were wounded people, including a child that had particles of a kind of bomb on her body. I don't know if it was a bomb that wounded them, but they had not been wounded by bullets.
Huseyin Bogatekin, a lawyer with the Libertarian Lawyers' Association, said:
The only authority here is police officers with heavy weapons, and lots of armored vehicles. We have observed a state of emergency and plenty of rights violations. We cannot find an authority to ask whether there has been a judicial process on these incidents. There is no prosecutor at the Silopi courthouse to whom we can submit a petition. Those under detention or interrogation have been completely abandoned to the police or other armed authorities. We do not know what kind of interrogation they will be exposed to. They are being tortured. There is no assurance that they will come out alive. We do not know if they have even been able to get reports out about the torture."
During that time, a video was released showing about 30 handcuffed Kurds in the town of Yuksekova, in the Kurdish Hakkari province of Turkey, lying face down, and surrounded by Turkish police officers, soldiers and vehicles. "You will see the power of the State of the Republic of Turkey!" an officer shouts at the Kurdish workers. "I know all of you! Whoever is committing treason, whoever is being a traitor will see a response! ...You will see the power of the Turk." [6]

It was under these circumstances that the HDP entered elections in Turkey. It was business as usual, Turkish style.

Even though the AKP won the plurality of votes and a majority of seats in parliament this week, on November 3 a new curfew was imposed on the Kurdish town of Silvan -- for the sixth time since August 17. Just before the curfew, Muslum Tayar, 22, was killed by the police. They shot him from their armored vehicle. His waiting family has still not been given his body. Since August 17, seven civilians have been murdered there. [7]

The telephone lines and internet connections have been cut. Many armored vehicles, helicopters, police and military forces have also been dispatched there.

Either through uprisings or legal politics, every time the Kurds have asked for national rights or even basic human rights in Turkey, they have been brutally suppressed.

They have nevertheless established an administration in Iraqi Kurdistan and are about to establish another one in Syrian Kurdistan.

Most significantly, in Turkey's elections in June, the Kurds won a great victory, thereby thwarting the plans of the ruling AKP government to amend the constitution to giving President Recep Tayyip Erdogan absolute power, like a Sultan.

And despite all the state terror, Kurds succeeded in entering the parliament again on November 1, and once again President Erdogan was deprived of a parliamentary supermajority for his AKP party, which would have granted him exclusive executive powers to rewrite Turkey's constitution and become a Sultan-like ruler for life.

Yet, the Turkish state and many Turkish people seem to feel affronted: Why have they not succeeded in defeating the Kurds, or at least "assimilating" them into "Turkishness"? This is, after all, the "modern," "secular," "democratic" Turkey, a member of NATO, and a state being considered for entry into the European Union.

What, then, is "peace"? In most democratic, civilized countries, one assumes that peace means an end to hostilities and the intent to abstain from further violence. It can also aim to secure the justice and respect the rights of all parties. But to Turkey, "peace" seems to mean a state in which you subjugate, terrorize, and if possible exterminate a people you have persecuted for decades. As long as Turkey is allowed to get away with ethnically cleansing groups it has been oppressing for hundreds of years, the ethnic cleansing will continue.
Uzay Bulut, born and raised a Muslim, is a Turkish journalist based in Ankara.

[1] 53-year-old Meryem Sune, a mother of 7, for instance, lost her life after being hit by a piece of shrapnel, but as people were not allowed to go outside, her family members could not bury her immediately. Her dead body was kept in a cold storage depot of a chicken shop for two days (photo). The body of Cemile Cagirga, 13, shot dead in front of her house, was also kept in a deep freeze by her family as they waited for the curfew to be lifted.
[2] The HDP reported the names of some of the civilians killed by Turkish police or soldiers: Muhammed Tahir (35 days old), Baran Çağlı (7 years old), Emin Yanaş (10 years old), Cemile Çagırca (13 years old), Adem İrtegün (16 years old), Osman Çağlı (18 years old), Emin Levent (19 years old), Özgür Taşkın (20 years old), Sait Çağdavul (21 years old), Eyüp Ergen (25 years old, health service worker), Mesut Sanrı (28 years old), Meryem Süne (53 years old), Hacı Ata Borçin (60 years old), Xetban Bülbül (71 years old), İbrahim Çiçek (80 years old). An IMC TV report, showing the town incessantly under incessant assault by the police, revealed the police at night announcing to the people of Cizre: "Armenians are proud of you. You are all Armenians" -- "Armenians" being used by many in Turkey as a curse word.
[3] Another victim was one-month-old baby Tahir Yaramis. On September 6, his parents tried to call an ambulance after Tahir became ill, but, as his father, Abdullah Yaramis, said: "The armored vehicles waiting at the beginning of the street prevented the ambulance from coming to our house. The ambulance went back after waiting there for a while."
[4] Some newspapers in Turkey, misquoting Imret's interview with Vice News, claimed that "Imret admitted to 'conducting civil war.'" Imret opposed the decision. "It is unacceptable," she said, "that I have been dismissed from my post due to a distorted news report." John Beck, the Vice News reporter, refuted the newspapers' false reporting.
[5] Mehmet Hidir Tanboga, 17, Hamdin Ulas, 58, Kamuran Bilin, 27.
[6] The latest victims of state violence in the town were a mother, Fatma Ay, 55, and her daughter, Berfin Okten, 14, according to the Dicle News Agency. On the night of August 30, while they were sleeping on the roof of their house, they were shot by district police sharpshooters located opposite their house. The mother died; her daughter was badly wounded and taken to a hospital in a neighboring city.
On August 29 in the town, three more people -- Halil Can, Ali Oduk and Faruk Aydin -- were murdered by the police. Some Turkish news agencies claimed that they had clashed with the police, but Ferhat Encu, an MP of Sirnak, who went to the area, said that the three young men were unarmed and had been running away from the police:
"When the youths realized that the police were following them, they were concerned and ran inside a house to hide from them. The house was besieged by police, who opened fire at the house... The youths were unarmed and were executed by the police."
The dead bodies were taken to the customs gate, instead of Silopi state hospital.
Seyfettin Aydemir, the co-mayor of Silopi, said that he was not there during the killing and that there was no data at hand to prove there were clashes between the police and the youths:
"The residents of the neighborhood told us that the three youths had sought shelter in that home. The police besieged and attacked it with heavy weaponry and bombs. Three people were executed. Thousands of bullets were shot at the house; and bombs were thrown. Everything around was covered with the marks of bullets and blood."
Ferhat Encu also posted photos of the house where those people were murdered.
[7] Muslum Tayar (22), Serhat Binen (25), Bilal Meygil (16), Vedat Akcanim (17), Hayriye Hudaverdi (75), Hasan Yilmaz (9), Ferhat Gensur (16).

Uzay Bulut, born and raised a Muslim, is a Turkish journalist based in Ankara.


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