Saturday, December 19, 2015

Obama Administration Clears Path For Iran - Joseph Klein

by Joseph Klein

Give an inch, they take a mile...

Iran is already in flagrant violation of its obligations under United Nations Security Council resolutions referenced in the nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed on July 14, 2015, by Iran, the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany. Nevertheless, the Obama administration is making excuses for Iran. It is still on track to reward Iran soon with the freeing up of over $100 billion in frozen assets and the lifting of economic sanctions.

First, the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was not able to complete the full investigation of Iran’s suspected past work on a nuclear explosive device, which was supposed to be a precondition for moving forward with implementation of the JCPOA’s terms. Even with the limited information it was provided, including samplings and photographs taken as a result of Iran’s own self-inspection, the agency concluded that, at least through 2009, Iran had conducted such activities. The agency also stated in its report that Iran had appeared to cover its tracks at its Parchin military site:
“Since the Agency’s first request to Iran for access to the particular location of interest to it at the Parchin site in February 2012, extensive activities have taken place at this location. These activities, observed through commercial satellite imagery, appeared to show, inter alia, shrouding of the main building, the removal/replacement or refurbishment of its external wall structures, removal and replacement of part of the roof, and large amounts of liquid run-off emanating from the building…The Agency assesses that the extensive activities undertaken by Iran since February 2012 at the particular location of interest to the Agency seriously undermined the Agency’s ability to conduct effective verification.”
Despite the unanswered questions and even some evidence of a cover-up, the Obama administration and its negotiating partners closed the book on the IAEA’s investigation of Iran’s past nuclear arms related activities. Whatever may have happened in the past is ancient history, according to the thinking of the Obama administration. It is time, Secretary of State John Kerry said, for the IAEA to “turn its focus now to the full implementation and verification of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).” Yet if the “JCPOA cuts off all of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon,” as the White House claims on its website, why is the Obama administration interpreting the JCPOA in a way that would not apply it to cutting off Iran’s pathway to the delivery of a nuclear weapon? 

Whitewashing Iran’s past nuclear arms related work has been followed by utter inaction in the face of Iran’s current launching of ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. Iran reportedly launched such missiles both in October and last month. Indeed, Iran is not even trying to hide what it has done. It claims that it will do whatever it wants in connection with its missile program, irrespective of existing Security Council resolutions prohibiting such activities. After the October launch, for example, Iran’s Defense Minister declared, “We don’t ask permission from anyone.”

An investigation of the first missile test launch was undertaken by the Security Council’s Iran Sanctions Committee at the request of the United States and its Western allies. Following a briefing on December 15th by the Chair of the Iran Sanctions Committee criticizing Iran’s action as representing a clear violation of existing Security Council prohibitions, members of the Security Council blathered but took no concrete measures to enforce its resolutions.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, who is presiding over the Security Council this month, complained that “instead of an effective, timely response, the Security Council has dithered.” She added that “we have seen a troubling tendency to look the other way when these measures have been willfully violated in recent months.”

Ambassador Power is right, but she should be taking her complaint to her bosses, President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry. They have used twisted logic to draw a distinction between enrichment and production of nuclear materials for use in developing a bomb on the one hand, which the JCPOA covers, and missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads on the other hand, which the administration argues is not covered by the JCPOA. Kerry has actually gone so far as to agree with Iran’s position that the JCPOA does not prohibit Iran from test firing its missiles, even though the JCPOA itself and the Security Council resolution that adopted the JCPOA(Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015)) refer explicitly to pre-existing Security Council prohibitions still applicable to Iran’s missile program. Those missile-related embargo resolutions are terminable upon certain conditions set forth in the JCPOA, but remain in effect until those conditions are met.

“The issue of ballistic missiles is addressed by the provisions of the new United Nations Security Council Resolution [UNSCR], which do not constitute provisions of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” Kerry wrote in a letter to Senator Marco Rubio quoted by the Washington Free Beacon.  “Since the Security Council has called upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology, any such activity would be inconsistent with the UNSCR and a serious matter for the Security Council to review,” Kerry added.

In defense of his and Iran’s position that the missile tests do not constitute a breach of the JCPOA per se, Kerry is presumably relying on a footnote buried in Annex V of the JCPOA, stating: “The provisions of this Resolution do not constitute provisions of this JCPOA.” This means, according to Kerry, that no matter how many times Iran fires its missiles designed to carry nuclear weapons, such action will not stop the gravy train of economic relief the JCPOA provides to Iran from rolling along. Let the Security Council worry about it, says Kerry, while Iran continues to openly defy its existing resolutions.

Regrettably, as Ambassador Power observed, the Security Council has “dithered.” Relying on it to take any meaningful action against Iran regarding its missile launchings is doomed to fail so long as Russia (and possibly China) are ready to use their veto power. Obama and Kerry were willing to take that gamble in order to keep Iran from abandoning the deal.  They crafted the deceptive strategy of using Security Council Resolution 2231 adopting the JCPOA to supposedly give the JCPOA the force of international law, while at the same time contending that the pre-existing UN Security Council missile program prohibitions referenced in that same resolution and the JCPOA itself have nothing to do with the JCPOA. They have done so by drawing an artificial line between stages of the end to end nuclear weaponization program cycle to suit Iran’s demands. The uranium enrichment/plutonium stage for production of nuclear fuel usable to develop a nuclear bomb was separated out from the development of a missile capable of delivering it for the purposes of JCPOA implementation and enforcement, even though Iran itself had insisted on introducing the subject of its missile program into the final negotiations of the JCPOA. 

It is the first stage of the nuclear weaponization program cycle where Iran has made the most concessions. It is obligated to sharply reduce the number of centrifuges it will have running and to get rid of 98% of its enriched uranium supply, which will be subject to verification by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency. Reportedly, Iran is proceeding along this path, earning a gold star in Kerry’s book. Iran also must convert its Arak heavy water facility that was originally designed to produce plutonium. But Iran is playing a shell game. Iran has a long pattern of using negotiations to suspend certain nuclear-related activities on which it has achieved sufficient technical competence for its purposes, while continuing to work unimpeded on the next stages of the nuclear weaponization cycle where it needs to develop further technical competence.

Iran has already mastered the technology and operationalization of uranium enrichment sufficient to make enough nuclear fuel suitable for producing a nuclear bomb. Moreover, it will still be permitted to conduct further advanced research and development in this sphere during the term of the JCPOA. The focus of the Obama administration and its negotiating partners on limiting Iran’s activities in the enrichment stage is fighting yesterday’s battle. What Iran cares most about now is perfecting the technology of delivering a nuclear weapon fitted onto a missile that has been tested and proven to launch successfully.

Iran's testing of ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons calls into serious question Iran's intentions going forward in complying with the JCPOA overall. Iran is offering specious legalistic justifications, with John Kerry’s support, for walling off its nuclear capable missile testing and development work from JCPOA implementation and enforcement. This ruse demonstrate once and for all how fatally flawed Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran is proving to be.

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


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

Rubio, Cruz and US Global Leadership - Caroline Glick

by Caroline Glick

For the first time in a decade, Americans are beginning to think seriously about foreign policy. But are they too late?

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post.

At some point between 2006 and 2008, the American people decided to turn their backs on the world. Between the seeming futility of the war in Iraq and the financial collapse of 2008, Americans decided they’d had enough.

In Barack Obama, they found a leader who could channel their frustration. Obama’s foreign policy, based on denying the existence of radical Islam and projecting the responsibility for Islamic aggression on the US and its allies, suited their mood just fine. If America is responsible, then America can walk away. Once it is gone, so the thinking has gone, the Muslims will forget their anger and leave America alone.

Sadly, Obama’s foreign policy assumptions are utter nonsense. America’s abandonment of global leadership has not made things better. Over the past seven years, the legions of radical Islam have expanded and grown more powerful than ever before. And now in the aftermath of the jihadist massacres in Paris and San Bernadino, the threats have grown so abundant that even Obama cannot pretend them away.

As a consequence, for the first time in a decade, Americans are beginning to think seriously about foreign policy. But are they too late? Can the next president repair the damage Obama has caused? The Democrats give no cause for optimism. Led by former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential hopefuls stubbornly insist that there is nothing wrong with Obama’s foreign policy. If they are elected to succeed him, they pledge to follow in his footsteps.

On the Republican side, things are more encouraging, but also more complicated.

Republican presidential hopefuls are united in their rejection of Obama’s policy of ignoring the Islamic supremacist nature of the enemy. All reject the failed assumptions of Obama’s foreign policy.

All have pledged to abandon them on their first day in office. Yet for all their unity in rejecting Obama’s positions, Republicans are deeply divided over what alternative foreign policy they would adopt.

This divide has been seething under the surface throughout the Obama presidency. It burst into the open at the Republican presidential debate Wednesday night.

The importance of the dispute cannot be overstated.

Given the Democrats’ allegiance to Obama’s disastrous policies, the only hope for a restoration of American leadership is that a Republican wins the next election. But if Republicans nominate a candidate who fails to reconcile with the realities of the world as it is, then the chance for a reassertion of American leadership will diminish significantly.

To understand just how high the stakes are, you need to look no further than two events that occurred just before the Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate.

On Tuesday, the International Atomic Energy Agency voted to close its investigation of Iran’s nuclear program. As far as the UN’s nuclear watchdog is concerned, Iran is good to go.

The move is a scandal. Its consequences will be disastrous.

The IAEA acknowledges that Iran continued to advance its illicit military nuclear program at least until 2009. Tehran refuses to divulge its nuclear activities to IAEA investigators as it is required to do under binding UN Security Council resolutions.

Iran refuses to allow IAEA inspectors access to its illicit nuclear sites. As a consequence, the IAEA lacks a clear understanding of what Iran’s nuclear status is today and therefore has no capacity to prevent it from maintaining or expanding its nuclear capabilities. This means that the inspection regime Iran supposedly accepted under Obama’s nuclear deal is worthless.

The IAEA also accepts that since Iran concluded its nuclear accord with the world powers, it has conducted two tests of ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons, despite the fact that it is barred from doing so under binding Security Council resolutions.

But really, who cares? Certainly the Obama administration doesn’t. The sighs of relief emanating from the White House and the State Department after the IAEA decision were audible from Jerusalem to Tehran.

The IAEA’s decision has two direct consequences.

First, as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday, it paves the way for the cancellation of the UN’s economic sanctions against Iran within the month.

Second, with the IAEA’s decision, the last obstacle impeding Iran’s completion of its nuclear weapons program has been removed. Inspections are a thing of the past. Iran is in the clear.
As Iran struts across the nuclear finish line, the Sunni jihadists are closing their ranks.

Hours after the IAEA vote, Turkey and Qatar announced that Turkey is setting up a permanent military base in the Persian Gulf emirate for the first time since the fall of the Ottoman Empire a century ago. Their announcement indicates that the informal partnership between Turkey and Qatar on the one side, and Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State on the other hand, which first came to the fore last year during Operation Protective Edge, is now becoming a more formal alliance.

Just as the Obama administration has no problem with Iran going nuclear, so it has no problem with this new jihadist alliance.

During Operation Protective Edge, the administration supported this jihadist alliance against the Israeli-Egyptian partnership. Throughout Hamas’s war against Israel, Obama demanded that Israel and Egypt accept Hamas’s cease-fire terms, as they were presented by Turkey and Qatar.

Since Operation Protective Edge, the Americans have continued to insist that Israel and Egypt bow to Hamas’s demands and open Gaza’s international borders. The Americans have kept up their pressure on Israel and Egypt despite Hamas’s open alliance with ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula.

So, too, the Americans have kept Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at arm’s length, and continue to insist that the Muslim Brotherhood is a legitimate political force despite Sisi’s war against ISIS. Washington continues to embrace Qatar as a “moderate” force despite the emirate’s open support for the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and ISIS.

As for Turkey, it appears there is nothing Ankara can do that will dispel the US notion that it is a credible partner in the war on terror. Since 2011, Turkey has served as Hamas’s chief state sponsor, and as ISIS’s chief sponsor. It is waging war against the Kurds – the US’s strongest ally in its campaign against ISIS.

In other words, with the US’s blessing, the forces of both Shi’ite and Sunni jihad are on the march.

And the next president will have no grace period for repairing the damage.

Although the Republican debate Wednesday night was focused mainly on the war in Syria, its significance is far greater than one specific battlefield.

And while there were nine candidates on the stage, there were only two participants in this critical discussion.

Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz faced off after weeks of rising contention between their campaigns.

In so doing, they brought the dispute that has been seething through their party since the Bush presidency into the open.

Rubio argued that in Syria, the US needs to both defeat ISIS and overthrow President Bashar Assad.

Cruz countered that the US should ignore Assad and concentrate on utterly destroying ISIS. America’s national interest, he said, is not advanced by overthrowing Assad, because in all likelihood, Assad will be replaced by ISIS.

Cruz added that America’s experience in overthrowing Middle Eastern leaders has shown that it is a mistake to overthrow dictators. Things only got worse after America overthrew Saddam Hussein and supported the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi and Hosni Mubarak.

For his part, Rubio explained that since Assad is Iran’s puppet, leaving him in power empowers Iran. The longer he remains in power, the more control Iran will wield over Syria and Lebanon.

The two candidates’ dispute is far greater than the question of who rules Syria. Their disagreement on Syria isn’t a tactical argument. It goes to the core question of what is the proper role of American foreign policy.

Rubio’s commitment to overthrowing Assad is one component of a wider strategic commitment to fostering democratic governance in Syria. By embracing the cause of democratization through regime change, Rubio has become the standard bearer of George W. Bush’s foreign policy.

Bush’s foreign policy had two seemingly contradictory anchors – a belief that liberal values are universal, and cultural meekness.

Bush’s belief that open elections would serve as a panacea for the pathologies of the Islamic world was not supported by empirical data. Survey after survey showed that if left to their own devices, the people of Muslim world would choose to be led by Islamic supremacists. But Bush rejected the data and embraced the fantasy that free elections lead a society to embrace liberal norms of peace and human rights.

As to cultural meekness, since the end of the Cold War and with the rise of political correctness, the notion that America could call for other people to adopt American values fell into disrepute. For American foreign policy practitioners, the idea that American values and norms are superior to Islamic supremacist values smacked of cultural chauvinism.

Consequently, rather than urge the Islamic world to abandon Islamic supremacism in favor of liberal democracy, in their public diplomacy efforts, Americans sufficed with vapid pronouncements of love and respect for Islam.

Islamic supremacists, for their part stepped into the ideological void without hesitation. In Iraq, the Iranian regime spent hundreds of millions of dollars training Iranian-controlled militias, building Iranian-controlled political parties and publishing pro-Iranian newspapers as the US did nothing to support pro-American Iraqis.

Although many Republicans opposed Bush’s policies, few dared make their disagreement with the head of their party public. As a result, for many, Wednesday’s debate was the first time the foundations of Bush’s foreign policy were coherently and forcefully rejected before a national audience.

If Rubio is the heir to Bush, Cruz is the spokesman for Bush’s until now silent opposition. In their longheld view, democratization is not a proper aim of American foreign policy. Defeating America’s enemies is the proper aim of American foreign policy.

Rubio’s people claim that carpet bombing ISIS is not a strategy. They are right. There are parts missing from in Cruz’s position on Syria.

But then again, although still not comprehensive, Cruz’s foreign policy trajectory has much to recommend it. First and foremost, it is based on the world as it is, rather than a vision of how the world should be. It makes a clear distinction between America’s allies and America’s enemies and calls for the US to side with the former and fight the latter.

It is far from clear which side will win this fight for the heart of the Republican Party. And it is impossible to know who the next US president will be.

But whatever happens, the fact that after their seven-year vacation, the Americans are returning the real world is a cause for cautious celebration.

Caroline Glick


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

Is Islam a Religion of Peace? - Mark Durie

by Mark Durie

It was Muhammad himself who said to his non-Muslim neighbors aslim taslam, "surrender (i.e. convert to Islam) and you will be safe."

Originally published under the title "Here's Where the Phrase 'Islam Is A Religion of Peace' Came From. Politicians Should Stop Using It."

Days after the ISIS-inspired terrorist attack in San Bernardino, President Obama's address to the nation concerning the threat of ISIS missed the mark. In fact, President Obama seemed at times to be more concerned with Americans ostracizing Muslim communities through "suspicion and hate" than he was with protecting innocent American civilians from murder in the name of radical Islam.

It is high time for Western political leaders to stop responding to terrorism by naming Islam as "the religion of peace." It is time to have a hard conversation about Islam.

The West is in the throes of acute cognitive dissonance over Islam, whose brands are at war with each other. On the one hand we are told that Islam is the religion of peace. On the other hand we are confronted with an unending sequence of acts of terror committed in the name of the faith.

There is a depressing connection between the two brands: the louder one brand becomes, the more the volume is turned up on the other.

The slogan "religion of peace" has been steadily promoted by Western leaders in response to terrorism: George W. Bush and Jacques Chirac after 9/11, Tony Blair after 7/7, David Cameron after drummer Lee Riby was beheaded and after British tourists were slaughtered in Tunisia, and François Hollande after the Charlie Hebdo killings. After the beheading of 21 Copts on a Libyan beach Barack Obama called upon the world to "continue to lift up the voices of Muslim clerics and scholars who teach the true peaceful nature of Islam."

The claim that Islam is a 'religion of peace' first appeared in the 20th century.
One may well ask how "the religion of peace" became a brand of Islam, for the phrase cannot be found in the Qur'an, nor in the teachings of Muhammad.

Islam was first called the "religion of peace" as late as 1930, in the title of a book published in India by Ishtiaq Husain Qureshi. The phrase was slow to take off, but by the 1970s it was appearing more and more frequently in the writings of Muslims for Western audiences.

What does "religion of peace" actually mean?

Words for "peace" in European languages imply the absence of war, and freedom from disturbance. It is no coincidence that the German words Friede (peace) and frei (free) sound similar, because they come from the same root.

While there is a link in Arabic between salam, a word often translated "peace," and Islam, the real connection is found in the idea of safety.

The word Islam is based upon a military metaphor. Derived from aslama (surrender) its primary meaning is to make oneself safe (salama) through surrender. In its original meaning, a Muslim was someone who surrendered in warfare.

Thus, Islam did not stand for the absence of war, but for one of its intended outcomes: surrender leading to the "safety" of captivity. It was Muhammad himself who said to his non-Muslim neighbors aslim taslam, "surrender (i.e. convert to Islam) and you will be safe."

The religion of peace slogan has not gone uncontested. It has been rejected by many, including Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Melanie Phillips writing for The Times, who called it "pure myth." Even among Muslims the phrase has not only been challenged by radical clerics such as Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, but also by mainstream Muslim leaders.

Western leaders invariably respond to Muslim terrorism with pronouncements about Islam's peacefulness.
Sheikh Ramadan Al-Buti of Syria was one of the most widely respected traditionalist Sunni scholars before he was killed in 2013 by a suicide bomber. The year before he had been listed as number 27 in The Muslim 500, an annual inventory of the most influential Muslims in the world. According to Al-Buti, the claim that Islam is a peaceful religion was a "falsehood" imposed upon Muslims by Westerners to render Islam weak. He argued in The Jurisprudence of the Prophetic Biography that when non-Muslims fear Islamic jihad, their initial inclination is to accuse the religion of being violent. However they then change tack and craftily feed to Muslims the idea that Islam is peaceful, in order to make it so. He laments the gullibility of "simple-minded Muslims" who
readily accept this 'defense' as valid and begin bringing forth one piece of evidence after another to demonstrate that Islam is, indeed, a peaceable, conciliatory religion which has no reason to interfere in others' affairs. ... The aim ... is to erase the notion of jihad from the minds of all Muslims.
There does seem to be something to Al-Buti's theory, for it has invariably been after acts of violence done in the name of Islam that Western leaders have seen fit to make theological pronouncements about Islam's peacefulness. Who are they trying to convince?

In the long run this cannot be a fruitful strategy. It invites mockery, such as Palestinian cleric Abu Qatada's riposte to George Bush's declaration that "Islam is peace." Abu Qatada asked: "Is he some kind of Islamic scholar?"

We do need to have a difficult conversation about Islam. This is only just beginning, and it will take a long time. The process will not be helped by the knee-jerk tendency of Western leaders to pop up after every tragedy trying to have the last word on Islam. This strategy has failed, and it is time to go deeper.

Mark Durie is the pastor of an Anglican church, a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and Founder of the Institute for Spiritual Awareness.

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

Terrorism: Where to Turn? - Richard Prasquier

by Richard Prasquier

  • Our reaction should be directed not against the terrorists, but against those who indoctrinate, train and finance them -- and on working to eradicate this virus of the mind.
  • Where are the demands to boycott those who fund ISIS? Their names are well-known.
  • The "Crusaders" now seem exhausted. They simply do not want enemies.
  • These attacks -- like those before them -- were simply meant to sow terror: go kill as many people as you can.
  • The Pope can insist all he likes that we have entered a Third World War; it is so much more comforting to repeat that the main problem is "Israel's occupation".
After the November 13 attacks in Paris, there were concerns in the media that Europe did not fully understand the gravity of the threats posed by radical Islam. Frances's Minister of the Interior, Bernard Cazeneuve, however, certainly did not hide his prediction that, this year, a large scale attack would take place in France. It was not a matter of "if," but "when" and "where."

Thoughts first were for the victims, for those who will suffer all their lives -- young people who went out just to enjoy some music or eat with friends.

Next came the questions: about the claim of responsibility by ISIS, and how the coordinated attacks would nullify the "lone wolf" theory -- a hypothesis largely refuted anyway. These were commandos trained to kill, and to kill themselves too.

But what about the agile explosives handlers who prepare their suicide bomb belts and continue their grim task elsewhere? Perhaps they are preparing a second wave of "martyr attacks" in France? It is urgent to take their network down. One can only hope that any steps will not too quickly trigger the angelic protest of those who would prefer having lily white hands to having no hands at all.

A thought that is usually ducked -- when one does not understand something, one puts it out of his head -- is that often terrorists hope to live. Not so in the Paris attacks: the terrorists knew they would die and specifically intended to reach the Paradise of Allah and the rewards waiting for them there.

The desire to die while killing infidels, has become, in Islam, a highly powerful virus. We do not yet know how to "un-indoctrinate" people from it. And it is not a marginal problem. It is rotting an entire generation of young Muslims -- often to the distress of their parents. It requires more than just some crafted response, no matter how good the intentions are of anyone who tries that. Our reaction should be directed not against the terrorists, but against those who indoctrinate, train and finance them -- and on working to eradicate this virus of the mind. It is also important to set aside the usual sociological considerations: the British jihadist, just eliminated by a drone attack, was a high-level IT technician, not a "victim of capitalism."

Regarding targets, some people seemed surprised that the attacks were carried out in entertainment districts, without any specific links to Jews. Conspiracy theorists will doubtless be buzzing anyhow. On social media, the Mossad will no doubt stand accused, and the supporters of Bashar al-Assad will point to its supposed involvement as "proof" that the Zionists are colluding with ISIS!

The main point is that these attacks, like those before them -- on the U.S. in 2001, Madrid in 2004, and London in 2005, all quickly forgotten in our European memory -- were simply meant to sow terror: go kill as many people as you can.

The "Crusaders" now seem exhausted. They simply do not want enemies. The Pope can insist all he likes that we are in a Third World War; it is so much more comforting to repeat that the main problem is "Israel's occupation." So we waited impatiently the first article "establishing" some "link" between the Paris attack and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

We did not have to wait long. After a tiny period of mourning, calls for the international boycott of Israeli goods resumed -- most recently last week by Germany, which should know better. It agreed to label goods made on disputed land, so that people who dislike Jews and Palestinians who might want peace with Israel, will know what not to buy. No matter that goods from no other disputed lands are labeled -- Cyprus, Ukraine or Tibet -- or that labeling goods might put thousands of Palestinians out of work and into terrorism. Where are the demands to boycott those who fund ISIS? Their names are well-known.

Finally, what can be done on the geopolitical front to weaken ISIS? Two answers are usually given, each worse than the other. The first is that, considering that France had nothing to do in Syria to begin with -- the bombing of ISIS was used to explain (justify?) the attacks in Paris -- let us all just run away, leave ISIS alone and it will leave us in peace.

The other is, conversely, to fight ISIS with everything we have, and for that, support the "moderates." These are otherwise known as, incredibly, the Iranians, on the Shiite side -- the elites' new favorites -- and on the Sunni side, the Muslim Brotherhood.

This plan does not, however, take into account the dramatic Islamist religious radicalism, which has taken on the aspect of a new Nazism because of two men.

On the Sunni side is Hassan el Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. He put at the top the duties of believers a love of death in the name of Allah in the struggle against the infidel. Banna's disciple, Sayyid Qutb, is the spiritual father of Al Qaeda and ISIS.

On the Shiite side is Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who organized in Lebanon the first suicide bomb attack in 1982, and who sent tens of thousands of children onto Iraqi landmines. The only weapon the children had was a "key to paradise."

Hassan el Banna (left), the founder of the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood, put at the top the duties of believers a love of death in the name of Allah in the struggle against the infidel. Shiite Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (right) organized the first suicide bomb attack in 1982, and sent tens of thousands of children onto Iraqi landmines.

This is why to hear the elegant but bloodthirsty Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in his condolences to France, trying to pass off Iran as a victim of terrorism, makes one's heart stop. Such an announcement doubtless pleases the authorities. But what is important not to forget is that the enemies of our enemies are not necessarily our friends.
Richard Prasquier is President of Keren Hayesod France and Honorary Chairman of the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France (Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France). This article first appeared in a slightly different form in French. Gatestone thanks the author for his kind permission to publish it in English.

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

Egyptian TV admits Islam has no ties to Jerusalem - Karin McQuillan

by Karin McQuillan

Professor Ziedan told his Egyptian audience: "The religious aspect of the [Israeli-Arab] conflict is nonsense. … The only reason why Muslims insist on the sanctity of Jerusalem is simply politics."

Egyptian TV has been infamous for decades for its Arab-Nazi programming.
Every Egyptian leader from Nasser through Sadat to Mubarak has enshrined Nazi Jew-hatred in mainstream Egyptian culture out of both conviction and political calculation.  Nasser, trained by Nazis as a youth, spread the genocidal conspiracy theories of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion… On the Ramadan following 9/11, Mubarak presided over a thirty-week-long TV series dramatizing Elders and its genocidal message. 

So when Egypt TV runs a series of interviews declaring that Islam has no connection and no claim on Jerusalem, it is news-worthy.  Could it be a sign that Egypt understands their state-sponsored anti-semitism, used cynically to direct their people’s anger at Israel as a scapegoat, has backfired, and is fueling the jihadi threat to their own government?  If Egypt were to abandon their Nazi heritage it would be of historic importance.

The Egypt TV interviews are a repudiation of American liberal media, which has taken to shameful support of jihadi claims that the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem never existed and that Jews have no historical connection to the land of Israel.

The Egypt TV interviews were with Prof. Ziedan, the director of the museum in the Library of Alexandria, a well-known lecturer, university professor, columnist, and author of fifty-plus books.

Professor Ziedan told his Egyptian audience: "The religious aspect of the [Israeli-Arab] conflict is nonsense. … The only reason why Muslims insist on the sanctity of Jerusalem is simply politics."

Hat tip: Hillel Fendel and Chaim Silberstein at

Karin McQuillan


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

When All Else Fails, Erdogan Calls Israel - Shoshana Bryen

by Shoshana Bryen

  • Erdogan came to office in 2003 with a policy of "zero problems with neighbors," but has since led Turkey to problems with most, if not all, of them.
  • Turkey's foreign policy choices and current crises have combined to make Erdogan reach out to Israel for help.
  • Israel has weighed the price and found it acceptable: Israel will pay Turkey $20 million; Turkey will expel the Hamas leadership from Istanbul and will buy Israeli gas.
  • The restoration of relations with Israel is less a political reconciliation than an admission of the utter bankruptcy of Turkey's last five years of diplomatic endeavor.

The announcement of the restoration of Israel-Turkish relations should be seen in the context of Turkey having nowhere else to go.

Turkey's relations with Israel have been strained, to put it mildly, since 2010 when, through a non-profit organization, Turkey funded the 2010 Gaza Flotilla aimed at breaking the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

After a bloody confrontation, which ended in the deaths of nine Turks, Turkey demanded that Israel be tried in the International Criminal Court (ICC) and subjected to UN sanction. The ICC ruled that Israel's actions did not constitute war crimes. In addition, the UN's Palmer Commission concluded that the blockade of Gaza was legal, and that the IDF commandos who boarded the Mavi Marmara ship had faced "organized and violent resistance from a group of passengers," and were therefore required to use force for their own protection. The commission, however, did label the commandos' force "excessive and unreasonable."

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had already in the past show[n] hostility towards Israel. Already in 2009, then Prime Minister Erdogan denounced Israel's President Shimon Peres publicly at the Davos World Economic Forum. "When it comes to killing, you know very well how to kill. You know very well how to kill." When Hamas was thrown out of Damascus, Erdogan invited Hamas leaders Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyeh to put the terrorist organization's "West Bank and Jerusalem Headquarters" in Istanbul.

Speaking at the Paris rally in January 2015, after the murderous attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices and the terrorist murder of four Jews in a kosher supermarket, Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said, "Just as the massacre in Paris committed by terrorists is a crime against humanity, Netanyahu... has committed crimes against humanity." Erdogan, speaking in Ankara, said he could "hardly understand how he (Netanyahu) dared to go" to the march in the French capital. Just last month, Davutoglu told an audience, "Israel kneels down to us."

Not exactly.

Turkey's foreign policy choices and current crises have combined to make Erdogan reach out to Israel for help. Erdogan came to office as Prime Minister in 2003 with a policy of "zero problems with neighbors," but has since led Turkey to problems with most, if not all, of them. Alon Liel, former Director General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry said, "Turkey didn't do very well in the last five years in the region. Turkey needs friends."

That is an understatement.

Turkey helped Iran evade international sanctions, but has since fallen out with the Islamic Republic of Iran over its support of Syria's Bashar Assad. A Muslim Brotherhood supporter, Erdogan was close to Egypt's former President, Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Morsi, and has been an outspoken adversary of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Turkey was and remains a conduit for arms and money for various parties to the Syrian civil war. The U.S. has demanded that Erdogan seal Turkey's border with Syria, which he has not done. Turkey also has bombed Kurdish fighters; deployed its forces to Iraqi territory and declined to remove them; and sold ISIS oil on the black market. There are allegations that the Turkish government knew sarin gas was transferred to ISIS across Turkish territory. In November, Turkey shot down a Russian military jet, in the biggest move down the current slide of Turkish-Russian relations, which began when Vladimir Putin stepped in to prevent the collapse of Syria. [This is on top of historical animosity between Turkey, the successor to Muslim Ottoman rule, and Russia, the self-proclaimed defender of the Christian Orthodox Church.]

Russia, furious at the downing of its plane, instituted a series of economic sanctions against Turkey, the most important of which is suspension of the TurkStream project, designed to boost Russian gas exports to Turkey. Turkey is the second-largest importer of Russian gas, after Germany.

As a corrective to all of Turkey's "problems with neighbors," Erdogan raised the possibility of renewed relations with Israel -- which is currently finalizing the mechanism for developing large offshore natural gas fields. Erdogan told Turkish media last week that normalization of ties with Israel would have benefits for Turkey. Insisting that Israel must still end the blockade of Gaza (not happening), apologize, and pay reparations for the flotilla, Erdogan nevertheless made clear his desire for progress -- or at least for Israeli gas.

Which way will Turkish President Erdogan go on Israel?
Left: Erdogan (then Prime Minister) shakes hands with then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, on May 1, 2005. Right: Erdogan shakes hands with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on January 3, 2012.

It's not as if Turkish-Israel relations were ever entirely severed. Since the flotilla confrontation, Turkey-Israel trade doubled in the past five years, to $5.6 billion. While arms deals signed prior to 2010 have been put on hold, trade in civilian chemicals, agricultural products, and manufactured goods has increased. And, in one of those "only in the Middle East" stories, Turkish businesses have been shipping goods to Israel by sea, then trucking them across the country to Jordan and beyond, in order to avoid having to ship overland through Syria.

The basis for increased trade, including gas sales, is there, and Israel has weighed the price and found it acceptable. Israel will pay Turkey $20 million; Turkey will expel the Hamas leadership from Istanbul and will purchase Israeli gas.

After entering office in 2003, Erdogan offered Turkey as a model for democratic governance in a Muslim country. President Obama called him one of the foreign leaders with whom he was most comfortable. But Turkey's was always a double game. The restoration of relations with Israel is less a political reconciliation than an admission of the utter bankruptcy of Turkey's last five years of diplomatic endeavor.

Shoshana Bryen


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Anti-Israel Columbia Prof Hamid Dabashi a Big Hit in Germany - Clemens Heni

by Clemens Heni

-- a non-European like the Iranian-born Dabashi is not only welcomed, but embraced by German audiences for two reasons: hatred of Israel and the distortion of German crimes and the Holocaust.

[Ed.: Algemeiner title, "Columbia University Professor Popular in Germany for Hating Israel, Downplaying Holocaust."]

Hamid Dabashi
Columbia University Iranian studies scholar Hamid Dabashi has become the darling of German academe. It's no coincidence that he exemplifies academic hatred for Israel and the trivialization of Germans crimes and the Holocaust. 

Columbia's Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature, Dabashi has experienced a flurry of speaking engagements at German universities and organizations. In May 2015, he was invited to speak at Freie Universität Berlin. On November 26, he spoke at the Institute for Foreign Affairs, which is financed by the German Foreign Ministry, the state of Baden-Württemberg, and the city of Stuttgart in the Southwest of Germany. The event was hosted by the Berlin Social Science Center. The day before, Dabashi spoke at the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, associated with the Party of the Left, which is known for several antisemitic scandals in recent years. In May 2016, Dabashi will be one of the keynote speakers at the "Third Bremen Conference on Language and Literature in Colonial and Postcolonial Contexts."

Germany is a hotbed of academic antisemitism, particularly in the fields of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies. Germans are particularly pleased with non-European scholars, such as Dabashi, who will defame Israel and downplay the crimes of the Holocaust. French philosopher Vladimir Jankélévitch analyzed this new antisemitism as early as 1971 in his piece, "Forgiving?" 

("Pardonner?"), in which he noted Germans' need to accuse Jews of being "like Nazis." Turning their former victims, the Jews, into perpetrators diminishes the Germans' unprecedented crimes. Scholarship labels this the "inversion of truth." It can also be framed as "secondary anti-Semitism," a form of post-Holocaust antisemitism. Denying Auschwitz is for beginners.

Dabashi calls his new book, Can Non-Europeans Think? (April 2015), part three of his "Intifada trilogy." In it, Dabashi promotes the trope, popularized by anti-Israel activist Ilan Pappé, that Israel is committing an "incremental genocide" of the Palestinians. Palestinian sources themselves admit that the populations of Gaza and the West Bank have grown in recent decades, rendering this definition of "genocide" particularly perfidious.

As I demonstrated in my 2013 book, Dabashi wants to destroy the Jewish state of Israel, which he calls a "racist Apartheid state." He supported German former Waffen SS member and Nobel Prize Laureate Günter Grass after he'd written a nasty anti-Israel poem portraying Iran as a victim of Israeli aggression.

According to international scholarship and the US State Department, the comparison or equation of Israel to Nazi Germany is antisemitic in effect if not intent. In 2014, as Martin Kramer noted, Dabashi equated Auschwitz with Gaza with his article, "Gaza: Poetry after Auschwitz." In a leading German daily, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), Dirk Braunstein of the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research, an expert on the philosopher Theodor W. Adorno — whom Dabashi employed for his flawed comparison — proffered the same criticism.

Dabashi is eager to use Jewish philosophers such as Edmund Husserl, eminent Zionist Emmanuel Lévinas, and Adorno — who was very pro-Israel, as recent scholarship, including my own, has shown — for his anti-Semitic purposes. He is influenced by anti-Zionist, post-colonialist authors Edward Said, Gianni Vattimo, and Walter Mignolo. Mignolo, an Argentinian-born supporter of the anti-Jewish state resolution, "One State Solution," wrote the foreword to Dabashi's Can Non-Europeans Think?

In a 2012 article, Dabashi paraphrased French post-colonialist poet Aimé Césaire's Discourse sur le colonialisme/Discourse on Colonialism:
[T]he Jewish Holocaust was not an aberration in European history. Rather, Europeans actually perpetrated similar crimes against humanity on the colonised world at large.
This is an extreme distortion of history, a lie, and a denial of the unprecedented evil of the Holocaust, in which Germans (and their helpers) killed six million Jews. Never before was there the intention, plan, and the infrastructure to murder an entire people. Auschwitz was a complete breakdown of civilization and not in any way comparable to crimes committed during colonialism, imperialism, or any other atrocity in history. It was no less than the industrial slaughter of a people. Millions of other Jews were deported to the woods of Eastern Europe and eradicated. It was in every way unparalleled.

The government-sponsored German Institute for Foreign Affairs and other leading universities would never host a known neo-Nazi who claims that Israel is an "apartheid state," that Auschwitz was a mere "crime" on par with the 2014 Gaza war, and that the Iranian threat does not exist. However, a non-European like the Iranian-born Dabashi is not only welcomed, but embraced by German audiences for two reasons: hatred of Israel and the distortion of German crimes and the Holocaust.

Can non-Europeans think? Of course. Can non-Europeans be antisemites and hateful agitators, obsessed with the trivialization of the Shoah as well as with the destruction of the Jewish State? Obviously, yes. Dabashi proves the point.

Dr. Clemens Heni, is a political scientist, the Director of the Berlin International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (BICSA), a former Post-Doc at YALE. He is author of five books, including Schadenfreude. Islamic Studies and Antisemitism in Germany after 9/11 (2011, in German, 410 pages) and Antisemitism: A Specific Phenomenon: Holocaust Trivialization – Islamism – Post-colonial and Cosmopolitan anti-Zionism (2013, 648 pages, in English). He wrote this essay for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.


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Obama Admin. lost track of thousands of terror suspects - Ari Yashar

by Ari Yashar

State Department official admits to not knowing where thousands of foreigners who had visas pulled over terror threat currently are.
A US State Department official admitted on Thursday that US President Barack Obama's administration is not sure where thousands of foreigners in the US who had their visas pulled over terror suspicions currently are.

Michele Thoren Bond, assistant secretary for the Bureau of Consular Affairs, made the admission at a House oversight hearing that was investigating immigrant vetting processes so as to prevent terror attacks, reports Fox News.

Bond said that the US had revoked over 122,000 visas since 2001, including 9,500 over terrorism concerns.

When Committee chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) asked Bond to clarify about the present location of those who had their visas pulled, she admitted, "I don't know."

"You don’t have a clue do you?," said Chaffetz.

During the committee meeting, administration officials were questioned regarding the measures being taken to prevent Muslim terrorists from entering the US, in a discussion on the background checks of migrants.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services director Leon Rodriguez stated that background checks including those of social media activity are not being done on a large scale, and did not specify when the checks do take place.

"If half the employers are doing it in the United States of America, if colleges are doing it for students, why wouldn't Homeland Security do it?" said Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA). "We don't even look at their public stuff, that's what kills me."

The line of questioning has particular pertinence given that one of the Muslim terrorists who pledged loyalty to Islamic State (ISIS) before launching a lethal shooting spree in San Bernardino, California earlier this month entered the US on a K-1 fiancee visa last year.

That entry was permitted despite the fact that the FBI says she was already radicalized, having discussed jihad and martyrdom with her future husband who she carried out the attack with.

Obama is currently facing large criticism over his plan to bring in tens of thousands of Syrian migrants without a strict vetting process in place to ensure terrorists do not infiltrate their ranks. Reportedly many of the migrants who have recently been let in the country already have gone missing.

Ari Yashar


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Muslims in America: The Backlash Industry - A.J. Caschetta

by A.J. Caschetta

The Attorney General's not-so-veiled assault on free speech and common sense ignores the real assault while instead conjuring up hyperventilated fantasies.

The anti-Muslim backlash that U.S. mainstream media and NGOs have been warning about for years has yet to materialize.
Addressing the 10th Anniversary celebration of an Islamic advocacy group, Attorney General Loretta Lynch became the latest governmental official to warn of an impending anti-Muslim backlash. In the December 3rd speech, which echoed the admonitions of her predecessor Eric Holder, she took it a step further by vowing to prosecute those who speak or write about Islam in a way that she does not approve.

She described her "greatest fear" as "the incredibly disturbing rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric" and vowed to prosecute speech that "edges towards violence." Lynch's hyperbole is in line with fears of an ever-imminent anti-Muslim backlash that much of the media has been warning about since the afternoon of September 11, 2001. Of course the backlash never came.

The Attorney General's not-so-veiled assault on free speech and common sense ignores the real assault while instead conjuring up hyperventilated fantasies. In fact, American society has been incredibly tolerant of both Muslims and even Islamists – so much so that rather than focusing on the growing evidence of violent Islamists living among them, the majority of Americans seem more concerned about discomfiting their Muslim neighbors or being labeled Islamophobes. Consider the Redlands, California neighbors of the latest Islamist terrorists who were suspicious of the goings on in the Farook/Malik household but kept it to themselves, fearing the backlash that would befall them were they to be accused of "racial profiling" for speaking up.

American society has been incredibly tolerant of Muslims and even Islamists.
The history of the looming anti-Muslim backlash that never arrives is instructive. Logically, the original post-9/11 anti-Muslim backlash should have been the largest and most ferocious of the various backlashes, and indeed George W. Bush, members of his administration and members of Congress frequently warned Americans not to blame all Muslims for the acts committed by Al-Qaeda.

Even an anti-Israel leftist like Rachel Corrie Award recipient Delinda C. Hanley recognizes that there was no post-9/11 backlash. Writing in the Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs, Hanley gushed: "As a result of the effective campaign undertaken by America's leaders, non-governmental organizations and the media, a backlash that, in many nations, might have turned into a bloodbath was averted and, indeed, transformed into a celebration of diversity."

The group known as Human Rights Watch however tells a different tale. It documents in the same era a series of attacks amounting to "a nationwide wave of hate crimes against persons and institutions believed to be Arab or Muslim." The numbers are notable either for the "ferocity and extent" as HRW puts it, or for the remarkable calm they convey compared to the predicted carnage. For instance the 17-fold increase in anti-Muslim incidents sounds more alarming than the fact that there were 28 such events in 2000 compared with 481 in 2001.

It gets more interesting when one reads that these numbers include behavior ranging from "verbal taunts to employment discrimination to airport profiling to hate crimes." Since no actual numbers are listed for specific "crimes" one might suspect that there are far more verbal taunts than hate crimes among the 481.

Only two people have committed murders attributable to post-9/11 anti-Muslim backlash.
One rarely-cited statistic that deflates HRW's story is the number two: only two people committed murder attributed to the post-9/11 backlash: Frank Roque and Mark Stroman. Roque is the Arizona man who killed Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh gas station owner, and Stroman is the Texas man who killed Vasudev Patel, a non-Muslim Indian gas station attendant, and Waqar Hasan. In a nation of over 300 million people, only two became murderers after 9/11 as a result of their anti-Muslim rage.

After Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, M.D. went on a shooting spree at Fort Hood, US Army General George Casey told CNN that he was "concerned that this increased speculation could cause a backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers." Worse yet, on NBC after having acknowledged Hasan's attack as a "tragedy" Casey added "if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that's worse."

After the ISIS attacks in Paris on November 13, the media was awash with breathless prognostications about the imminent anti-Muslims backlash: The Atlantic, NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Al Jazeera, The Huffington Post, and many more.

Most Muslim advocacy groups (like CAIR and MPAC) are the prime movers of the backlash myth. In fact, the Attorney General's cautionary speech was given to a group called Muslim Advocates, which describes itself as a "national legal advocacy and educational organization." Her comforting words (to the Muslim audience) and admonition (to everyone else) might have been drawn from the Muslim Advocate's "study" titled "Anti-Muslim Bigotry Rises Alongside Hateful Rhetoric" which, as of this writing, lists 32 events comprising the post-San Bernardino backlash. Many of these purported backlash events are anecdotal. Most of the "assaults" are verbal. Four involve violence against Muslims or people perceived to be Muslims.

So while the left continues with its infantilizing condescension towards the American public, it ignores the FBI's own hate crime statistics which tell a different tale: 60.3 percent of all hate crimes in the U.S. are perpetrated against Jews while 13.7 percent are committed against Muslims. The anti-Muslim backlash is a chimera. If the Department of Justice gets its way, the real backlash will befall anyone questioning the received wisdom of the Obama administration and its media supporters.

A.J. Caschetta is a senior lecturer at the Rochester Institute of Technology and a Shillman-Ginsburg fellow at the Middle East Forum.


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