Friday, February 5, 2016

Obama at Muslim Brotherhood-linked Mosque: “Muslim Americans Keep Us Safe” - Robert Spencer

by Robert Spencer

And: “Islam has always been part of America.” Really?

When Barack Obama visited the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Islamic Society of Baltimore on Wednesday, he said: “The first thing I want to say is two words that Muslim Americans don’t hear often enough: Thank you.”

While Obama has been President, Muslims have murdered non-Muslims, avowedly in the cause of Islam, at Fort Hood, Boston, Chattanooga, and San Bernardino, and attempted to do so in many, many other places. Imagine if armed Baptists screaming “Jesus is Lord” had committed murder, and explained that they were doing so in order to advance Christianity, in four American cities, and had attempted to do so in many others. Imagine that those killers were supporters of a global Christian movement that had repeatedly called for attacks on U.S. civilians and declared its determination to destroy the United States.

Imagine how incongruous it would be in that case for the President of the United States to visit a church and say: “The first thing I want to say is two words that Christian Americans don’t hear often enough: Thank you.” And imagine how unlikely it would be that Barack Obama would ever have done that.

But his visit to the Islamic Society of Baltimore was the apotheosis of the Muslim victimhood myth, as he signaled yet again to the world (and worldwide jihadis) that in the U.S., Muslims are victims, victims of unwarranted concern over jihad terror, and thus that concern is likely to lessen even more, as Obama dismantles still more of our counter-terror apparatus.

“We’ve seen children bullied, we’ve seen mosques vandalized,” Obama claimed. “It’s not who we are. We’re one American family. And when any part of our family begins to feel separate or second class, it tears at the heart of our nation” – he said to his gender-segregated Muslim audience, with the women sitting in the back. In reality, Muslims are not victimized in American society: FBI hate crime statistics show that the hysteria over “Islamophobia” is unfounded, but that matters not at all to Barack Obama. At the mosque, he said: “If we’re serious about freedom of religion — and I’m talking to my fellow Christians who are the majority in this country — we have to understand that an attack on one faith is an attack on all faiths.”

Once again Obama felt free to scold and admonish Christians, but said nothing about Muslims in the U.S. needing to clean house and work for real reform that would mitigate jihad terror. And his premise was false: there is no attempt to restrict Muslims’ freedom of religion. Donald Trump hasn’t called for that; nor has Ben Carson or any serious analyst. But the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) (a representative of which accompanied Obama to the mosque Wednesday) and other Islamic advocacy groups have consistently charged that counter-terror efforts and attempts to restrict the political, supremacist and authoritarian aspects of Sharia that are at variance with Constitutional principles were tantamount to restricting Muslims’ religious freedom.

Now the President of the United States has endorsed their false narrative, which will only further stigmatize initiatives to understand the jihadis’ ideology and counter it effectively. He further criticized those who dare to suggest that Islam might have something to do with Islamic terrorism by criticizing those who say that the U.S. is at war with Islam: “That kind of mind-set helps our enemies,” he intoned. “It helps our enemies recruit. It makes us all less safe.”

The U.S. certainly isn’t at war with Islam, but segments of the Islamic world are at war with the U.S., and Obama did not explain what might be done to counter the beliefs that have given rise to that idea. He is, of course, against studying the beliefs of the enemy. Yet he said proudly: “Jefferson and John Adams had their own copies of the Qur’an,” without bothering to mention that they had them in order to understand the ideology of the enemy the new nation faced in the Barbary Pirates. They held, of course, the same ideology he ignores and denies today, the one he ordered all traces of removed from counterterror training.

“Islam,” Obama declared, “has always been part of America.” Really? There were Muslims at Jamestown? In the Massachusetts Bay Colony? At Roanoke? Obama’s statement is so wildly ridiculous that it doesn’t just invite parody; it pleads for it. Remember the Muslims among the Founding Fathers, Yahya al-Adams and Iskandar Hamilton? Remember the Muslims who told James Madison about Muhammad’s Constitution of Medina so that he could lay out the foundations of a republic in the U.S. Constitution? Remember the Muslims who fought so valiantly in the Revolutionary Jihad, and the Jihad of 1812, and the Mexican Jihad, and the Civil War, aka the Jihad Between the Caliphates? Remember all the controversies about whether Muslim soldiers in the Civil War could make sex slaves out of the wives and daughters of Confederate commanders? The jihad suicide attacks that broke the Germans’ will to fight on during World War I?

Burrowing deeper into fantasy, Obama proclaimed: “Generations of Muslim Americans helped to build our nation.” He didn’t mention the real contributions Muslims have made to our nation: you know, like rearranging the New York skyline, transforming government buildings into grim, nervous fortresses, making air travel into exercise in annoyance and humiliation that it is today, and draining the American economy with two futile wars and hundreds of billions spent on security and counterterror initiatives.

In detailing the contributions that Muslims have made to the U.S., Obama said: “Muslim Americans keep up safe. They are our police. They are our fire fighters. They’re in (the Department of) Homeland Security.” And remember: none of them were screened for jihadi sympathies. To have done so would have been “Islamophobic,” and transgressed against the prevailing dogma that Islam is a Religion of Peace that non-Muslims are wrong and bigoted to be concerned about.

The most ominous thing Obama said in this speech full of treacle and humbug was this: “We’re not going to strengthen our leadership around the world by allowing politicians to insult Muslims or pit groups of Americans against each other. That’s not who we are. That’s not keeping America safe.” So what is he going to do? Destroy the First Amendment and disallow politicians to insult Muslims?

Obama decried “phony tough talk and bluster and over-the-top claims.” Yet in the final analysis, that was all he offered.

Robert Spencer


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

Merkel’s Deadly Misstep - Stephen Brown

by Stephen Brown

The dark and tragic details of what the German chancellor’s open-door “refugee” policy really caused.

When German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced last August that her government would allow unregistered refugees to come to Germany, she set off the biggest migrant wave since the Second World War.

Despite the negative effects this huge influx of people has had on the German economy and society, such as the mass sexual molestation and rape of hundreds of women last New Year’s Eve in Cologne, increased crime and concerns for personal safety among native Germans, supporters of Merkel’s action believe it was nevertheless justified by the humanitarian emergency and the need to save lives.

But in an exclusive and revealing interview with the German newspaper Die Welt, an internationally recognised migration and Third World expert, Paul Collier, author of the book Exodus: How Migration Is Changing Our World, convincingly debunks this myth. Collier, a former director of the World Bank who currently holds an economics professorship at Oxford University, believes Merkel’s open-doors decision “…did not save a single Syrian from death.”

“Despite best intentions, Germany has, instead, dead people on its conscience,” Collier told Die Welt. “Many people understood Merkel’s words as an invitation and only after that did they actually set out on the dangerous journey, sacrifice their savings and entrust their lives to dubious smugglers.”

Meant as a humanitarian gesture, Collier maintains Merkel’s announcement had the opposite effect in regard to migrants’ safety and well-being. The refugees, he said, were already in safe, third states, such as Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, and did not come to Germany directly from “war and crisis countries.” But it was this “invitation” that caused them to leave these relatively safe havens, where most lived in tolerable conditions, and risk their lives on the arduous trip to Germany.

“With her communication,” Collier said, “she (Merkel) made migrants out of refugees.”

And for some, the journey was deadly. Three-year-old Alan Kurdi was the most famous child/refugee death that occurred after Merkel’s “invitation.” Along with his mother and a sibling, he drowned trying the smuggler’s route of reaching Europe, travelling by boat with his family from the Turkish coast to a nearby Greek island. A picture of him lying dead on a Turkish beach where his little body washed up flashed around the world, generating deep concern and much sympathy for the migrants. One report stated his father had paid smugglers more than $5,000.

While there is no exact figure regarding how many unfortunates have lost their lives on the trek to and through Europe, drowning deaths have increased in recent months. It is believed more than 250 people perished last month alone trying to reach a Greek island. And many of those who drowned were also children like Kurdi. They obviously would be the least able to fend for themselves in an emergency.

And even if the migrants reach the Promised Land, the “affluence heaven” of Germany, their suffering often does not end there. In fact, for some, this may constitute the worst part of their ordeal. In the refugee asylums the Germans hastily erected, life can be very dangerous. As is now well known, violence between young men of different ethnic groups is rampant, and the police’s ability to control it is minimal. But even worse, it is the women and children in these cramped accommodations who are most often victims of sexual assault.

In his Die Welt interview, Collier expressed a special interest in potential African migrants, especially the 100 million people living south of the equator. He cites a former World Bank economist, Serge Mikhailov, who holds that this region is “the next Afghanistan.” And it is this mass of humanity that could pose Europe’s next huge migrant crisis.

“The chaos in Africa is definitely increasing,” he said. “… above all, the situation in Mali and Niger is already very unstable. And then the German chancellor comes along and announces that Europe’s doors are open. Simply consider for a moment how that catches on with these people.”

When one speaks of Syrian refugees, Collier says this concerns 14 million. But hundreds of millions more living in poor countries “are setting out for the rich, western world."

“A colossal mass, which, when it is once set in motion, is scarcely still controllable,” he said.    

To avoid such a frightening prospect and human tragedy, Collier states that “a radical swing” in communication has to be made.

“Europe must clearly state that economic migrants should not even bother to set out on the journey at all,” he said.

And while Collier believes it is essential for Europe to help genuine refugees, those who fled their countries for reasons of “sheer survival,” this should be done in the secure, neighbouring countries of the conflict regions. These neighbouring nations are the ones legally obligated under international treaties for accepting them. They are also much easier and much safer to reach than Europe for those fleeing war. Besides, even genuine refugees have “no claim to a place” in Europe. And Collier can’t understand why this claim is even being discussed, calling it a “false debate.”

“Under international law, the European Union is not responsible for the acceptance of refugees,” he said. “It is however responsible for securing its own borders, either together or, when that is not possible, then just every state on its own.”

European aid to genuine refugees, Collier says, should take the form of helping the safe, third countries bear the costs of hosting the refugees. This is the policy Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States follow. The United Arab Emirates, for example, financially supports a camp in Jordan that houses thousands of refugees.

Collier would also like to see the European Union help create jobs for the refugees in these third countries. It is this lack of “prospects,” he says, that cause many to set out on the dangerous trip to Europe to seek their fortune there. Collier agrees with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble’s proposal for a Marshall Plan for refugees in the countries bordering the Syrian conflict.

The recent, mass influx of migrants will, in the end, benefit neither Syria nor Germany, Collier believes. Regarding Syria, educated and qualified Syrian migrants will want to set down roots in Germany. But these are exactly the people Syria will need to rebuild once the fighting stops.

As for Germany, the arrival of such large numbers of migrants will make integration “difficult.” And the more that arrive, the more challenging the integration task will become.

“For then the necessity to really open oneself language-wise and culturally to the host country sinks,” he said. “In future, difficult to control parallel societies will come into being.”

Collier says he cannot understand “even until today” why Merkel took the action that she did last August. Until last year, refugees were “no great theme” for Europeans. The Oxford professor blames the German chancellor for the refugee crisis, telling Die Welt: “Who else?”

“With that, she has definitely burdened Germany and Europe with a colossal problem, which no longer can be so simply solved.”

Stephen Brown is a contributing editor at He has a graduate degree in Russian and Eastern European history. Email him at


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

'Alawi Sect Showing Signs Of Opposition To Assad Regime - M. Terdiman

by M. Terdiman

The new movement aspires to collaborate with the Syrian revolution so as to ensure the 'Alawis' safety and their part in the future social and governmental makeup of the country.


In late November 2015, the "Upcoming Syria" movement was established in Istanbul. This is the first 'Alawi movement that opposes the Bashar Al-Assad regime in Syria. The movement's founders claim that for years, Assad tied the fate of the 'Alawi sect with his own in order to guarantee its loyalty, despite the fact that not all of its members supported him. The new movement aspires to collaborate with the Syrian revolution so as to ensure the 'Alawis' safety and their part in the future social and governmental makeup of the country.
Upcoming Syria has received the support of Assad's rival Turkey, and of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, which aspires to show that it represents all Syrian sects, thus alleviating minority fears regarding the post-Assad era in the country.
Concurrently, recent Arab media reports claim that officials in the 'Alawi sect have been in touch with various regional countries such as Turkey and Israel in an attempt to obtain guarantees for the safety of the sect in the period after Assad.
The establishment of the first 'Alawi oppositionist organ and the reports on efforts by sect officials to secure the 'Alawis' safety in the post-Assad era do not take place in a vacuum. Back in 2014 there were early signs of bitterness and criticism towards the regime within the 'Alawi sect, which were expressed on social media and also in articles published by 'Alawi writers.[1] Another expression of this disillusionment can be seen in the August 2015 'Alawi protests that took place in the Latakia and Tartus areas.
It should be mentioned that, despite the current wave of discontent, it appears as though the 'Alawi sect and the Upcoming Syria movement do not constitute a real threat to the regime; rather, it seems that Assad has thus far managed to contain the criticism emanating from his own sect and maintain its low profile.
It should also be mentioned that it is difficult to estimate what portion of the sect is loyal to the regime and what portion opposes it. However, these are still undoubtedly significant developments.
This report will discuss the Upcoming Syria movement and additional signs of displeasure with the Assad regime among members of the 'Alawi sect.
'Upcoming Syria' – The First 'Alawi Opposition Body
On November 21-22, 2015, the founding conference of Upcoming Syria - the first group of 'Alawi political oppositionists - was held in Istanbul. The conference opened with the singing of the movement anthem, titled "A Free Homeland Unites Us." The movement is headed by 'Alawi oppositionists who live outside of Syria, some of whom are members of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces.
Aspiring To Create 'Alawi Leaders And Add 'Alawi Voices To The Revolution
The movement's founder is Fouad Hamira, one of Syria's most prominent drama writers, who has a journalism degree from Damascus University. Hamira was arrested by Syrian security forces in mid-2013 after criticizing the regime. After his release he was exiled to Jordan and moved to Paris in December 2014.[2]
Fouad Hamira at the founding conference of the Upcoming Syria movement in Istanbul (image:, November 21, 2015)
Alongside Hamira, the movement is also led by Raghda Hassan, a writer and member of the outlawed Syrian Communist Labour Party, who served as an advisor for the head of the National Coalition's interim government. Hassan, who is in charge of the movement's public affairs, was arrested by Syrian security forces in the 1990s for her membership in the Communist Labour Party. In 2010, upon her release from prison, she left for Beirut, briefly returned to Syria, and ultimately moved to Turkey.[3] The movement's spokesman is 'Oubab Khalil who, until recently, managed the National Coalition's Washington office.[4]
Upcoming Syria logo (, November 17, 2015)
On the eve of the founding conference, the movement launched a Facebook page announcing the conference and the movement's goals, which also featured a promotional video.[5]
According to Fouad Hamira, he had been working to establish the movement since the onset of the revolution in 2011,[6] and it seems that its establishment at this point came in response to the increasing international efforts to solve the Syria crisis.
The movement's leaders describe it as an 'Alawi body meant to produce new leaders for the sect and to shape its political position, but stress that it is open to all Syrians. Speaking at the founding conference, Hamira addressed 'Alawis and expressed a desire "to refute the lie of the Bashar Al-Assad regime and convince them... that toppling [this] regime would first and foremost benefit the 'Alawis."[7] Hamira said further that one of the movement's goals was "to produce new leaders for the sect after the Assad family spent fifty years emptying the sect of its leaders, including its religious leaders, whom it transformed into its intelligence agents. We strive to create a cadre of new leaders and prepare them for the post-regime phase... We hope we can bring new added value to the Syrian revolution."[8]
According to him, "it is this regime and many of its supporters that brought about the [current] violence in Syria, and it is the role of all of us to convene here against those who still cause the death of Syrians. Therefore, the [Upcoming Syria] current calls on all to unite their political views and formulate realistic and unified positions of the Syrian oppositionist voice. The current's doors are open to all Syrians so that we can iron out our differences and later reach an agreement on presenting a political solution to the revolution. This regime will not be toppled by any particular sect or party... We have common values that we must share with all political forces and blocs that strive to find a solution for [the sake of] Syria and all Syrians."[9]
Raghda Hassan said at the conference: "This current was established to redefine the political view of the 'Alawi sect, to provide an answer to the common question on the Syrian street regarding the absence of the 'Alawi voice from the revolutionary arena, and to be the address for members of the 'Alawi sect involved in revolutionary action."[10] On another occasion she said: "We belong to the 'Alawi sect in terms of society and culture, but politically, we belong to any national Syrian plan that protects the multiculturalism and richness of the Syrian identity. Any solution that does not accept the revolution's goals as a fundamental condition cannot be legitimate after the extremely heavy price that the Syrian people has paid and continues to pay."[11]
'Alawi Sect Must Correct The Historic Mistake Of Supporting The Assad Regime
The closing statement of the conference condemned the Assad regime and its allies and called for reviving the original Syrian revolution and establishing a civil, democratic and pluralistic state. The statement reads: "Some Syrians who are members of the 'Alawi sect called to establish the Upcoming Syria current so that it would be a voice from the heart of the 'Alawi sect – [a voice] that does not presume to represent [the sect] but rather addresses it out of an understanding of its feelings and interests, and which attempts to correct the historic injustice done to the social, ideological, and political makeup of the sect in order to reformulate its ties with Syrians around it. In light of this, the current stresses the following:
"1. 'Alawis are a fundamental component in the Syria fabric that – like the other sects in the Syrian people – aspires to be liberated from tyranny and hopes to live in dignity and liberty. However, a number of objective and subjective factors have motivated members of the sect to become fuel for the war [machine] of the Assad regime and its allies... against Syrians demanding freedom, justice, and equality. These factors include:
"a. The method of marginalization and disrespect for [people's] intelligence that was employed by the Assad regime and its allies against the Syrian people in general and the 'Alawi sect in particular has led to the sidelining of the role of the important leaders and political, ideological, and even religious sources of authority in Syrian society as a whole and the 'Alawi sect in particular. This has caused Assad, his allies, and interested parties alongside him to become the sole source of authority for the sect on all levels, causing the sect to be perceived as sheltering in the shadow of the Assad regime against any threat to its interests or existence.
"b. For over fifty years, the Assad regime and its allies have manipulated the sectarian, tribal, and familial ties in Syrian society, and have exploited them to realize the interests [of the regime] and [ensure] legitimacy for it to remain [in power]. As a result, [the sense of] belonging and national awareness [of citizens] was damaged, leading to a sense of persecution [among various sects]. The 'Alawi sect was harmed the most from this devastating action since [the regime] intentionally tied [the 'Alawis'] interest and continued existence to Assad remaining in power.
"c. The increasingly sectarian discourse among extremist factions in the armed opposition played a crucial role in motivating the majority of the sect to count on the Assad regime, not in order to defend him but rather out of the self-delusion that he was protecting [the sect's] existence, its life, and its survival. Many of them felt as though the Assad regime protected them and that its ouster meant their destruction, or at the very least, their marginalization.
"d. The sectarian discourse that insists on portraying any Sunni as a legitimate son of the revolution and any 'Alawi as a legitimate son of the regime merely serves Assad and his allies and distorts the image of the revolution on the local, regional, and international levels.
"All this, as well as other factors and circumstances, led some members of the 'Alawi sect to make this mistake [of relying on Assad]. It should be stressed that admitting a mistake does not mean returning to the past, but rather preparing for a new stage meant to correct the path and the positions with the help of all Syrians. This admission is a chance to examine the reasons and conditions that led to this mistake and its results, in order to formulate true solutions for the problem, and to attempt to bring the sect back from its dependence on Assad and his allies.
Assad To Blame For Current Situation; We Strive For A Unified, Civil, Pluralist, Democratic State
"2. Based on the above, we in the Upcoming Syria current stress that Assad and his regime bear responsibility for the state of destruction, ruin, and death the country has reached. They are chiefly responsible for the military chaos and for the foreign intervention in all parts of the country, and Assad is the one who 'invited' violence by insisting on security and military solutions, and was initially responsible for the escalation of sectarian action as a result of his sectarian crimes, whose intended purpose was to bring us to the current state.
"3. The Upcoming Syria current regards any foreign presence on Syrian soil to be clear and open occupation, whether [it is an actual presence of] military forces or [is achieved] by assisting [various] forces [in Syria] that are alien to the country, its residents, the goals of its revolution, or anything Syrians aspire for in their homeland.
"4. We cannot regard anyone who carries weapons against the oppression and crimes of Assad as a rebel. Furthermore, Syria must not become [divided into] influence zones [ruled by] chaos, weapons, or warlords. Therefore, it is the duty [of Syrians] to regain [control] of the moral compass that caused the outbreak of the revolution and define in detail [the necessary] revolutionary action, in order to distance and set it apart from criminal action.
"5. In order to prevent further deterioration of the state into sectarian war, whose buds are clearly showing, and in order to prevent Syria from becoming the arena for a struggle between Islamic schools, ethnicities, or sects, we in the Upcoming Syria current strive to restore the [original] goals of the revolution which are: Establishing a civil, pluralist, democratic state; rejecting all partition plans;[12] ensuring the unity of [Syria's] territory and people; and ensuring the Syrian identity as a criterion for national belonging."[13]
Founding conference of the Upcoming Syria Stream (Source:, November 21, 2015)
No To Negotiations; Syrian Regime Will Be Toppled Only By Military Means
Ahead of the negotiations that are scheduled to in late January 2016 in Geneva between regime and opposition delegations, Fouad Hamira wrote, in an article that presumably reflects the position of his movement, that the only way to oust the Assad regime is by defeating it militarily: "The claim that [we can] negotiate with the Assad regime about its own downfall is silly. If the regime is willing to go, why has it been destroying the country for five years? And why has it killed about a million Syrians? Obviously, the regime will not negotiate its own downfall, especially considering that it is not being forced to negotiate on this basis [and] following the [military] achievements it has made recently with Russian and Iranian help...
"The opposition has two [options]: allowing the out of the question – or follow the principles of chess and not negotiate about the fate of the king. We are convinced that the regime... will never enter negotiations, under any heading, that will lead to its downfall. Therefore, the only remaining option is to act to topple it by military means. The Assad regime insists on taking the path of Qadhafi [i.e., fighting to the death], and this is what the opposition must realize. Bashar Al-Assad will be toppled only in the same way Qadhafi [was toppled].
"We realize that the international community is pushing for a political solution, but the opposition must convince it, by diplomatic means, that there is no choice but to topple the regime militarily. [The opposition must also convince it] and that the responsibility for ending all the tyrannical [measures taken by] the regime in its war against the Syrians rests with the Syrian people alone. I hope the opposition's slogan from now on will be 'no to negotiations,' and that everyone will realize that the toppling of the regime will not come about through negotiations but only by defeating it on the battlefield."[14]       
The Current Is Close To The National Coalition But Has Not Joined It
So far, the Upcoming Syria movement has not officially joined the National Coalition, but there seem to be close ties and cooperation between them. The movement needs the coalition's recognition because Western elements still regard the latter as the main representative of the Syrian opposition, and Hamira has in fact expressed willingness to join the coalition providing that his movement has "a decisive role in political decision-making and its presence is not of secondary [importance]."[15]
It should be mentioned that before the movement's founding, Hamira directed harsh criticism at the National Coalition for excluding the 'Alawi sect, yet expressed a willingness to cooperate with it. In April 2015, he said: "The 'Alawi sect in Syria is caught between the flames of the regime, which is not defending it, and the flames of its [non-'Alawi] compatriots, who do not accept it... I condemn the actions of the Syrian opposition, [both] the armed and the political opposition, that has not extended its hand to help [the 'Alawis], even though 80% of them do not support Bashar Al-Assad... The 'Alawis are not represented in the revolutionary bodies and nobody is encouraging them to [join them]." He added: "The 'Alawis must now have a correct understanding of the revolution, and the opposition must open up channels of communication with the 'Alawis... Had it been up to the ['Alawi] sect, it would have crushed Bashar Al-Assad, but [it is unable to do so because] it is besieged by the opposition."[16]
At the same time, the National Coalition and its backer, Turkey, need the Upcoming Syria movement. They consider its establishment a moral achievement – especially ahead of the possible renewal of the political process, and in light of claims that the National Coalition does not represent all Syrians, and also given the fears for the fate of minorities in Syria, especially the 'Alawis, in case the Assad regime collapses. These considerations underlie Turkey's support of the Upcoming Syria movement, as expressed by its hosting of the movement's founding conference in Istanbul. The conference was attended by senior figures from the National Coalition, including its chairman, Khaled Khoja. In his speech at the conference, Khoja underscored the importance of the new 'Alawi movement, saying: "The challenge facing us Syrians, of building our national identity, has become one of our most important challenges and struggles. This [Upcoming Syria] current, and the other political blocs and civil society organizations, are meant to build this identity, which the dictatorial barbaric regime caused us to lose... This blessed conference enriches the Syrian opposition. A piece of the mosaic was missing, but now [the mosaic] will be complete thanks to the presence of this important sect, the 'Alawi sect... There is a regional and global inclination to accelerate the political process. We are facing a complicated political process that will take place in parallel to the ongoing military situation on the ground. Hence, we wish to unite the political forces and the political stance of the opposition at large. The founding of this current [reflects the] rapprochement [between us] and the fact that we share [similar] political views..."[17]
The Coalition's secretary-general, Yahya Maktabi, likewise welcomed the movement's founding, calling it "an important step in the face of the upcoming challenges and hardships," but clarified that "the [Upcoming Syria] current has yet to submit an official request to become part of the National Coalition."[18]   
National Coalition Chairman Khaled Khoja (left) with Upcoming Syria founder Fouad Hamira at the movement's founding conference (image:, November 22, 2015)
Opposition Members Criticize The Current's Founding
In contrast to the National Coalition, which welcomed the founding of the Upcoming Syria movement, other opposition members harshly criticized the movement and its leaders. 'Alawi Syrian oppositionist Habib Salah accused Fouad Hamira of collaborating with the Syrian regime and of attempting to perpetuate the 'Alawi rule in Syria in the era following Assad. In an article he published, he wrote of Hamira: "[He] is actually a mercenary! A son of the regime! He does not represent anyone!... Fouad Hamira is not interested in the Syrian problem! He is depraved, from a national and revolutionary point of view, and a hedonist on the social level!..." Salah explained that the founders of Upcoming Syria feared that Assad's downfall would harm the 'Alawi sect and were trying to provide an 'Alawi alternative in order to preserve the sect's privileged position.[19]
Jihad Makdissi, the former spokesman for the Syrian foreign ministry, who defected, came out against the founding of an 'Alawi opposition current in a post on his Facebook page. Addressing Hamira, he said: "Your intentions are good, my friend... but the minority... cannot by itself assure the [other] minorities, either by [holding] a conference nor by [founding] a new current!... The Syrian struggle must remain a struggle for rights, duties, honor and full citizenship, not a struggle of sects and groups."[20]
Oppositionist journalist and activist Ahmad Salal, who lives in Paris, wrote in a similar vein in an article titled "An 'Alawi Current without 'Alawis," which was posted on an oppositionist website. He too came out against the founding of a separate 'Alawi oppositionist stream, and called on 'Alawi intellectuals to formulate national, rather than sectarian, plans. He stated that, contra to Hamira's claims, most 'Alawis cooperate with the regime against the Sunni majority.[21]
Reports: 'Alawi Figures Attempting To Obtain Guarantees For Day After Assad
Concurrently with the establishment of the 'Alawi oppositionist movement, recent reports in the Arab media claim that prominent 'Alawi figures are holding contacts with Turkey and Israel in an attempt to obtain guarantees for the day after Assad's ouster.
On November 9, 2015, a few days before the renewal of the talks in Vienna on a political settlement in Syria, the oppositionist Syrian website Orient News reported that the 'Alawi Syrian poet Adonis, along with representatives from the 'Alawi Council,[22] held Russian-brokered meetings with Israeli officials in Israel, followed by meetings with Turkish officials in Turkey. The report claims that the meetings were meant to obtain guarantees regarding the 'Alawi sect if it agreed to relinquish power in Syria, and to secure the future of relations between the 'Alawis in Syria and in Turkey.[23]
According to a November 22, 2015 report in the London daily Al-Arab, 'Alawi officers and high ranking officials were in touch with international and regional elements, and stressed to them that the 'Alawis do not oppose Assad's stepping down at the end of the transitional phase
in order to enable a reconciliation with the other sects. The daily cited "an 'Alawi source living in London" as saying: "We are willing to relinquish Assad in return for guarantees that prevent revenge against the sect after he steps down... We support him stepping down after the formation of a transitional government." The source added that only a minority in the 'Alawi sect still insists that Assad remain in power, out of its own narrow interests. According to the source, many 'Alawi youths were killed in the fighting in recent years, and therefore the majority of the sect supports a political solution that will end the bloodshed and protect the 'Alawi minority, even if this requires Assad to step down.[24]
It should be noted, however, that these reports rely on biased sources and are meant to portray the Assad regime as losing its grip on its own sect.
'Alawis Protest Against The Regime In Latakia, Tartus
As stated above, signs of bitterness and criticism of the regime within the 'Alawi sect appeared as early as 2014, due to the heavy price 'Alawis paid for their association with Assad and because the regime took their support for granted. This displeasure was expressed on social media and in articles published by 'Alawi writers. In August 2015, the criticism even escalated to widespread protests in Latakia and Tartus – 'Alawi cities that are considered regime strongholds.
The protests were triggered by reports that Hassan Al-Sheikh, an 'Alawi Syrian air defense colonel, had been murdered by Bashar Al-Assad's cousin Suleiman.[25] The Al-Sheikh family demanded the execution of Suleiman Al-Assad, and, in an attempt to alleviate tension, regime media reported that he had been arrested. However, subsequent reports of his release sparked protests in Latakia on August 6. Al-Arabiya TV reported that after 'Alawi religious leaders intervened and told the Al-Sheikh family that the sect's interests and security came before their own demand for justice, the victim's brother recanted his accusations against Suleiman Al-Assad, bringing the protests to an end.[26]
On August 10, 2015, at the height of the Latakia protests, 'Alawis also launched protests against the regime in Tartus, demanding to break the siege laid by ISIS on the Kweiris airbase in the Aleppo area and rescue the protestors' relatives and retrieve the bodies of the dead.[27]

Families of soldiers besieged in Kweiris demonstrate outside the office of the Tartus governor (Image:, August 22, 2015)
The regime did not remain apathetic in the face of these protests, especially since the siege of the airbase was a military and morale defeat for the Syrian army. After fierce efforts, the regime managed to break the siege and rescue those trapped in the airbase on November 10, 2015, thus meeting the protester's demands.
 * M. Terdiman is a research fellow at MEMRI.


[1] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 5702, Syrian 'Alawis Slam Assad Regime For Its Treatment Of 'Alawi Sect, April 2, 2014.
[2], December 12, 2014.
[3], January 30, 2015;, May 10, 2012.
[4], January 7, 2015.
[5], November 19, 2015.
[6] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), November 21, 2015.
[7], November 22, 2015.
[8] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), November 21, 2015.
[9], November 21, 2015.
[10], November 21, 2015.
[11], November 16, 2015.
[12] This refers to the partition of Syria along sectarian and ethnic lines: an 'Alawi statelet including the coast, Damascus and a narrow strip connecting them; a Druze statelet in the southeast of the country, a Kurdish one in the northeast, etc. 
[13], November 22, 2015.
[14] Orient-news-net, January 9, 2016.
[15], November 24, 2015.
[16], April 21, 2016.
[17], November 21, 2015.
[18], November 24, 2015.
[19], November 23, 2015.
[20] November 22, 2015.
[21], December 12, 2015.
[22] The 'Alawi Council is reportedly a group of respectable military, religious, and intellectual 'Alawi figures that has been active since 1963 and was a crucial component of the Syrian regime, with whom Hafez Al-Assad routinely consulted on all his decisions (, November 9, 2015). Russia's military attaché to Syria in 2000, Gen. Vladimir Fyodorov, attested to its existence, but no 'Alawi sources have confirmed it., March 26, 2015.
[23], November 9, 2015.
[24] Al-Arab (London), November 22, 2015.
[25], August 7, 2015.
[26], August 19, 2015.
[27] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London),, August 11, 2015.

M. Terdiman


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Damning Op-Ed Exposes How Hillary's Top Aides Are Rabidly Anti-Israel - Tiffany Gabbay

by Tiffany Gabbay

Will the American Jewish community continue to stand by her?

It's no secret that the majority of American Jews identify as Democrat and are heartily embracing Hillary Clinton as their pick for president. Many members of the Jewish-Democrat community mistakenly believe that, unlike President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton is actually a friend to Israel, but newly released emails prove what critics of the former Sec. of State have known for quite some time -- that she's anything but.

A new column penned by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach sheds light on the anti-Israel bent of Clinton's top advisers, thus begging the question: Why would someone supportive of Israel surround herself with such people? From Sid Blumenthal to former US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Pickering, Clinton's aides have proven, through the written word, how they really feel about the Jewish State:
It’s already been established that one of Hillary Clinton’s most trusted advisers, Sid Blumenthal, sent her dozens of anti-Israel articles, ideas and pieces of advice during her time as secretary of state. But the stream of anti-Israel advice received by Hillary was much more comprehensive than that which came from just one adviser. In the entire batch of Hillary’s emails, you will be hard pressed to find a single email that is sympathetic towards the Jewish state, from any of the people on whom she relied.
The negative, poisonous approach towards Israel throughout this cache of emails shows the atmosphere that Hillary had established around herself. These emails seem to demonstrate that a huge segment of her close advisers and confidants were attacking Israel, condemning Netanyahu, and strategizing about how to force Israel to withdraw from Judea and Samaria at all costs.
Below is a sampling of the kind of biased "advice" Hillary Clinton received by her top aides dating back years:
Sandy Berger was Hillary’s foreign policy adviser during her 2008 presidential campaign. In September 2010, he sent Hillary ideas on how to pressure Israel to make concessions for peace. Berger acknowledged “how fragile Abbas’s political position [is],” and how “Palestinians are in disarray,” and “Failure is a real possibility.” Berger was well aware, and informed Hillary, of the very real possibility that Israel would be placing its national security at grave risk in a deal that would very likely fail and lead to a Hamas takeover. But Berger felt the risks to Israeli lives were worth it. He advised of the need to make Netanyahu feel “uneasy about incurring our displeasure…”
Berger emphasized the need “to convince the prime minister — through various forms of overt persuasion and implicit pressure — to make the necessary compromises” and talks of the “possibility — to turn [Netanyahu’s] position against him.”
Boteach also notes how Berger accused American Jews of engaging in racism towards President Obama:
"At a political level, the past year has clearly demonstrated the degree to which the US has been hamstrung by its low ratings in Israel and among important segments of the domestic Jewish constituency…" He then added, “domestically, he faces a reservoir of skepticism on this issue which reflects many factors, including inexcusable prejudice."
Boteach goes on to name Anne Marie Slaughter, Hillary’s director of policy planning from 2009 to 2011 and Robert Russo, a top aide to Clinton, as additional sources of anti-Israel sentiment within the Clinton camp:
She [Slaughter] wrote to Hillary, “This may be a crazy idea… Suppose we launched a ‘Pledge for Palestine’ campaign… Such a campaign among billionaires/multi-millionaires around the world would reflect a strong vote of confidence in the building of a Palestinian state…”
She added, “there would also be a certain shaming effect re Israelis who, would be building settlements in the face of a pledge for peace.”
Hillary’s response to this email: “I am very interested-pls flesh out. Thx.”
Meanwhile, Russo sent an email to Clinton in 2012 regarding the passing of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s father. Russo encouraged Clinton to offer the Israeli PM her condolences (because she would not have thought of that on her own), while at the same time including an anti-Israel article in the email attacking both the PM and his late father as warmongers:
The article notes, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly denied that his father was a one-dimensional ideologue. He further emphasized that he himself was a different person from his father.” But then it goes on to say, without providing any proof whatsoever, “Israelis seemed in the dark about the extent of paternal influence on their leader,” and “To understand Bibi, you have to understand the father.”
It gets worse. Boteach also highlights how Thomas Pickering, former US Ambassador to Israel, urged Clinton in 2011 to foment Palestinian unrest -- "just like Tahrir Square" -- in an attempt to force Israel's hand in peace negotiations.

Boteach's piece provides additional examples of the virulently anti-Israel aides Hillary Clinton has surrounded herself. While a a tad lengthy, it is very much worth reading a passing along. It can be accessed in its entirety here. 

The main issue is that American Jews, by and large, simply cannot decouple themselves from their Democrat-identity because to them it would mean embracing the complete opposite -- the ideals and politics held by right-wing Christians. Most Jewish Democrats are married to the pro-choice, gay-marriage, climate-change and social-justice movements far more than they are to Israel advocacy. I've written about this issue in depth and unfortunately, Israel barely even registers as an identifying-component of American Jews' "Jewish identity."

Recall that a majority of Jewish voters supported Obama not once but twice. Sadly until Jewish Democrats engage in some serious self-reflection, there is little hope that as a community it will stop supporting Clinton no matter how anti-Israel she proves to be.

Tiffany Gabbay


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No more illusions: Come home - Isi Leibler

by Isi Leibler

Hat tip: Jean-Charles Bensoussan

European Jews who fail to see the writing on the wall are simply living in denial.

Objectively analyzing recent events can only lead to the dismal conclusion that the status of Diaspora Jewry, bad as it is, is only likely to deteriorate.

The horrific escalation of the global anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli tsunami extends to areas that are not even inhabited by Jews. The U.N. Human Rights Council and other human rights organizations, hijacked by Muslim and far-left elements, have been transformed into anti-Israel hate fest arenas. They employ blood libels against the Jewish state as a surrogate for the Jewish people, much like anti-Semites throughout the ages. The global community demonizes the only democratic state in the Middle East while downplaying the barbarism that pervades the region.

The epicenter of global anti-Semitism is the Arab world, where hatred of Jews has become endemic among both Sunni and Shiite religious extremists. The Palestinians are the most fiercely anti-Jewish Arab sector. After being brainwashed and incited by Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas and the Hamas mullahs, their hatred of Jews has evolved into a murderous religious frenzy.

Muslim migrants who settled into enclaves in Europe have imported their hatred and formed unholy alliances with traditional anti-Semites and political leftists -- including organizations purportedly promoting human rights -- to foment an environment of Jew-hatred reminiscent of the 1930s, immediately prior to the rise of Nazism.

The ongoing influx of millions of Muslim refugees will massively reinforce the existing Muslim anti-Semitic elements and permanently alter the demographics of Europe. Unlikely to be reversed, it will enable Islam to become an immensely powerful political force in many Western European countries. The implications for European Jews are horrendous, as the combination of the prevailing virulently anti-Israel public opinion and extremist Islamic political agitation will, in all likelihood, lead to even more extreme policies toward Israel. Despite lip service to the contrary, anti-Semitism will continue to thrive. 

Moreover, there is the constant danger of terrorist acts against Jews by jihadis who entered the country posing as refugees or by second-generation Muslims incubated by extremist European jihadi mullahs. Jews in Europe have been murdered and attacked in the streets, and armed guards or military forces are required to protect schools and synagogues. University students face concerted anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hostility, both casual and violent. Jews are warned not to draw attention to themselves and avoid being publicly identified as such.

To top it off, most European governments, even those like the French that have experienced jihadi terrorism, still direct their foreign policy to placate their Arab minorities by haranguing and applying their double standards against Israel. They refuse to recognize that the murder of Israeli civilians is a direct consequence of Palestinian incitement of religious frenzy and continuously condemn Israel for defending itself. They now seek to pressure Israel to create a Palestinian state despite the fact that such a criminal entity would represent an existential threat and merely prepare the ground for a takeover by the Islamic State group.

The absence of any sense of moral compass is highlighted by the despicable groveling of European countries toward the Iranian terrorist regime. The continent that was drenched with the blood of 6 million Jews during the Holocaust is currently hosting the leaders of a state that repeatedly calls for the elimination of Israel from the map and obscenely engages in Holocaust denial, even stooping to the grisly depths of state-sanctioned cartoon competitions lampooning the Final Solution. Yet in return for trade opportunities, most European leaders, including the pope, welcomed and embraced Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, without even referring to these abominations -- not to mention Iran's appalling human rights record. Nor did they take into account that much of the $150 billion of frozen assets the Iranians retrieve will be directed toward strengthening their terrorist surrogates.

European Jews who fail to see the writing on the wall are simply living in denial.
But Jew-hatred is not restricted to Europe. Jews in South Africa face an equally grim situation, and anti-Semitic forces in Latin America, encouraged by Muslim migrants and Iranian influence, have also increased dramatically over the past decade.

The situation in the United States, Canada and even Australia, while not comparable to Europe, has also taken a massive downturn since U.S. President Barack Obama assumed office. By its constant undermining and pressuring of the Israeli government, the Obama administration has effectively given a green light to the Europeans and others to intensify pressure against Israel. 

Fortunately, two factors have inhibited Obama from going much further. The shameful silence of the Jewish leadership cannot detract from the fact that committed Jews at the grass-roots level are still an influential force and remain loyal to Israel. More importantly, American public opinion is overwhelmingly pro-Israel, and the powerful and growing movement of evangelical Christians in America (and throughout the world) has now emerged as Israel's most fervent supporter and ally.

But there are concerns. Bipartisanship, which prevailed over the past few decades, has frayed considerably with the leftward lurch of the Democratic Party, accelerated under the Obama administration.
More worrying is the hardening of liberal policy against Israel; the toleration and support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement in academia; and above all, the intensity of frenzied anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic activity on campus. The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement in the United States (as in other parts of the world) is intimidating Jewish students, many of whom resist confrontations to avoid social stigma. 

Since Justin Trudeau displaced Stephen Harper as prime minister, Canada has rapidly followed the Obama approach to Israel. Canadian Jews were appalled when Trudeau's International Holocaust Remembrance Day message, like that of many European countries, omitted any mention of Jews.

Australia still retains a strongly pro-Israel government and is one of the most hospitable countries toward Jews. Yet there are today growing sections in the opposition Labor Party, partly influenced by Muslim electoral pressures, which have become virulently anti-Israeli.

Anti-Semitic outbursts have also grown considerably over the past few years, anti-Israel and BDS activities at university campuses have proliferated, and for the first time, armed guards have been deployed to protect Jewish schools. 

The situation of Diaspora Jews can therefore be summed up as disastrous in Europe and South Africa and worrisome in North America and Australia.

But thanks to the existence of Israel, today most Jews are able to determine their own fate. Now is the time for Diaspora Jews to honestly review their situation and plan for the future.

Yes, Israel is currently undergoing a difficult period. Yes, there are threats. But we should bear in mind that the Israel Defense Forces has never been as powerful and is capable, if necessary, of defeating all our adversaries simultaneously.

Above all, here in Israel there is a Jewish army, a Jewish police force and a Jewish community -- which is significantly different from a non-Jewish military presence grudgingly provided to protect Jews in the Diaspora.

As a former Diaspora Jew, I urge you to review the situation objectively. If you are a European Jew and want your children to be proud Jews, you should seriously weigh leaving now. 

Those in the U.S., Canada or Australia should consider encouraging their children to settle in Israel, their only true homeland.

The Israeli government and the Jewish Agency must get their act together. This is a historic moment, and every effort should be made to encourage Jews in countries under siege to come to Israel rather than relocating to another Diaspora community where they are likely to lose their Jewish identity. To achieve this, the government must formulate policies to ease their integration and open up every opportunity to provide employment.

Despite the inevitable spread of anti-Semitism, we will not be witnessing an overnight ingathering of the exiles. But the message to committed Jews who wish to ensure that their grandchildren remain Jewish is to objectively review their situation, consider coming home or at least encourage their children to make aliyah to the Jewish homeland. 

Those remaining in the Diaspora should intensify their efforts to ensure that their Jewish heritage is transmitted to their children. Above all, despite the vicious anti-Israeli climate, they must appreciate the centrality of Israel in their Judaism, without which their Jewish identity will wither and they will be lost to the Jewish people.

Isi Leibler's website can be viewed at He may be contacted at


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