Saturday, May 6, 2017

The New, “Moderate” Hamas: Severe Cruelty to Jewish and Arab Prisoners and Their Families - P. David Hornik

by P. David Hornik

Even an anti-Israeli NGO is appalled.

Hamas is trying to project a new image. At a news conference in Doha, Qatar, on Monday, May 1, it announced a purportedly moderate new document—without indicating in any way that it was abrogating its notoriously anti-Semitic 1988 charter.

The New York Times—at least on the face of it—quickly took the bait. That day its lead headline read: “Hamas Tempers Extreme Stances in Bid for Power”—later revised to “In Palestinian Power Struggle, Hamas Moderates Talk on Israel.”

The article quotes Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum: “The document gives us a chance to connect with the outside world…. We are a pragmatic and civilized movement….”

Yet, elsewhere in the report, even the Times is unable to get too enthused about the new “Document of General Principles and Policies.”

The Times notes that it “reiterates the Hamas leadership’s view that it is open to a Palestinian state along the borders established after the 1967 war, though it does not renounce future claims to Palestinian rule over what is now Israel.” Or in the document’s more emphatic words:

Palestine…extends from the River Jordan in the east to the Mediterranean in the west…the establishment of the Zionist entity therein do[es] not annul the right of the Palestinian people to their entire land and do[es] not entrench any rights therein for the usurping Zionist entity. 
The Times also notes gingerly that the document “does not renounce violence.” Or as the document puts it:

The liberation of Palestine is the duty of the Palestinian people in particular and the duty of the Arab and Islamic Ummah in general…. Resisting the occupation with all means and methods is a legitimate right guaranteed by divine laws and by international norms and laws. 
And the Times says the new document “specifically weakens language from [the] 1988 charter proclaiming Jews as enemies and comparing their views to Nazism.” The new document, however, says: “Hamas does not wage a struggle against the Jews because they are Jewish but wages a struggle against the Zionists who occupy Palestine.”

In other words, no problem with the Jews, as long as their state is destroyed.

And finally, the Times—which, despite all these bows to reality, gave the Doha press conference top billing as if it heralded a major change—acknowledges what all experts confirm: that the new document “does not replace the original charter,” which remains fully in force.

Why did Hamas makes this bid for a better image at this time? The Times of Israel’s Avi Issacharoff notes that Hamas is in financial trouble:

Gulf states are closing the funding taps one by one and income from inside Gaza is dropping.
It is for this reason that the need arose to present a “friendlier face” to the world via this document of principles.
That and the intra-Palestinian struggle for power and influence; with Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas set, at that time, to meet with President Trump in Washington on Wednesday, Hamas wanted to keep itself in the public eye and try to boost its respectability.

In what appears to be bad timing for the group, however, on Tuesday Human Rights Watch released a report that puts the “pragmatic and civilized movement” in a very negative light.

Significantly, Human Rights Watch is no friend of Israel. As NGO Monitor notes, HRW exhibits “a deep-seated ideological bias against Israel,” regularly accuses it of war crimes, calls for the boycott of Israeli communities in the West Bank, and much else.

In “2 Israelis Who Entered Gaza Held Incommunicado,” however, even HRW is unsparing in its criticism of Hamas.

The two Israelis are Avraham Mangistu, of Ethiopian Jewish background, and Hisham al-Sayed, of Muslim Bedouin background. Mangistu is believed to have wandered into Gaza in September 2014, Sayed in April 2015.

Both men, HRW notes, have “serious mental health conditions”;

Sayed was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and Mangistu spent time in a psychiatric hospital.

And while Hamas claims the men are soldiers, HRW found that they “were not combatants or affiliated with the Israeli government when they entered Gaza.” Mangistu was found unfit to serve, and Sayed, also found unfit, volunteered for service but was discharged after three months.

But none of that has availed the two unfortunate men, who have been held incommunicado since straying into Gaza. There have been no visits from rights groups, no contacts with their families, no indications about their condition.

Hamas’s “price”—just for information about the men—would be Israel’s release of 54 Hamas security prisoners. 

Hamas is also holding the remains of two Israeli soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, who were killed in the 2014 Gaza War; on April 20 it released a “ghoulish” video taunting their parents.

Notwithstanding the ever so slightly spruced-up prose of its new document, it is, of course, the same Hamas as always—existing at the lowest depth of human depravity while claiming divine sanction for all its actions.

It would be nice to say the opposing Palestinian Authority/Fatah stream of the Palestinians is a lot better; but that is a different subject.

P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Beersheva and author of the book Choosing Life in Israel. His memoir, Destination Israel: Coming of Age and Finding Peace in the Middle East, is forthcoming from Liberty Island later this year.


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The Congressional Israel Victory Caucus - Actionable alternatives - Dr. Martin Sherman

by Dr. Martin Sherman

CIVC holds that peace can only be achieved by an unequivocal Israeli victory — and a commensurate unconditional Palestinian acknowledgement of defeat

“The major issue is not [attaining] an agreement, but ensuring the actual implementation of the agreement in practice. The number of agreements which the Arabs have violated is no less than number which they have kept.” –– Shimon Peres, And Now Tomorrow (Hebrew),  1978.

“Even if the Palestinians agree that their state have no army or weapons, who can guarantee that a Palestinian army would not be mustered later to encamp at the gates of Jerusalem and the approaches to the lowlands? And if the Palestinian state would be unarmed, how would it block terrorist acts perpetrated by extremists, fundamentalists or irredentists?” — Shimon Peres, The New Middle East, 1993.

Last week’s column was devoted to the launch of the Congressional Israel Victory Caucus (CVIC) by Reps. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Bill Johnson (R-OH), and initiated by the Middle East Forum headed by Daniel Pipes its founder and president.

In the column, I began an analysis of the initiative, setting out some of its considerable merits and pointing out several difficulties that need to be addressed and others that need to be avoided;  and undertook to continue to discuss further aspects relating to the practical implementation of this crucially important enterprise.

A brief reminder

Readers will recall that the underlying spirit of the CIVC departs sharply from long-standing conventional wisdom regarding the Israel-Palestinian conflict. It rejects the view that the resolution of this conflict is contingent on ongoing and ever-more generous Israeli concessions. Instead, the CIVC holds that this can only be achieved by an unequivocal Israeli victory — and a commensurate unconditional Palestinian acknowledgement of defeat. Accordingly, US policy should reflect understanding of this restructured rationale and allow Israel to implement it.

While warmly commending this prescription for a radical redirection of endeavor, I cautioned that several aspects of the initiative will have to be fleshed out if it is to be transmuted from the sphere of well-intentioned generic guidelines to the realm of actionable policy prescriptions for Israel.  

Accordingly, I urged the authors of the CIVC to provide an operational definition of what would comprise an irrefutable Israeli victory and an undeniable Palestinian defeat. For absent such a definition, it is neither possible for Israel to know what to accomplish on the one hand, nor to impose on the Palestinians on the other. 

This is particularly pertinent as a parallel caucus is planned for launch in the Knesset this summer — and which, if it is to be in anyway  politically relevant, will have to champion the implementation of specific policy prescriptions.

Moreover, I observed that it would be necessary to outline what Israel’s post-victory policy should comprise — lest surrender (real or feigned) become a means to attain the very “fruits of victory” denied prior to admission of defeat.

The relevance of this latter point is thrown into sharp relief by the third element I raised: The need to avoid being misled by inappropriate historical analogies in which victory/defeat did, in fact, result in ending conflict and war.  This is particularly true in the case of Germany and Japan, neither of which were adjacent to large swathes of ethnically kindred nations, which could provide a constant stream of incitement, insurgents and armaments to undermine any arrangement or undercut any post-victory resolution the victorious party may wish to implement.

Post-victory policy & the Palestinian-Arab-Muslim nexus

This is something that has — or at least, ought to have — dramatic impact on the design of post-victory policy regarding the Palestinian-Arabs, pursuant to their acceptance of defeat.

After all, what might seem prudent and pragmatic under one set of circumstance (in which the defeated populace is effectively decoupled from inimical extraneous influences) may well be foolhardy, even fatally fanciful under another (in which the defeated populace is effectively exposed to such influences).

Of course, the term “influence,” would embrace diverse elements such as the supply of materiel and personnel, financial support and ideological reinforcement.

Painted in admittedly very broad brush strokes, this is essentially the seminal difference between the possible post-victory arrangements that were plausible in the case of Germany and Japan on the one hand, but not in Iraq and Afghanistan, on the other. Clearly any post-victory scenario in the case of “Palestine,” embedded as it is in an Arab-Muslim milieu, would resemble Iraq/Afghanistan scenario rather than the German/Japan one.

Indeed, the Palestinian-Arabs have always identified themselves as an integral part of the “Arab nation” and, conversely, the wider Arab world has always identified them as an integral part of itself.

It is not difficult to see how this fact has direct and far-reaching bearing on the prudence and the practicality of establishing a state (or even some other self-governing quasi-state entity).   

Post-victory Palestinian policy

Accordingly, in a scenario, in which the defeated Palestinian-Arabs are detached and insulated from hostile inputs from the wider Arab world, it might well be reasonable to envisage the feasibility of a durable and docile Palestinian entity, chastened by defeat, and insulated from hostile incitement and insurgency, living in relative harmony alongside the Jewish nation-state.  

However, in an alternative — and a patently more plausible — scenario, in which they are not, this is hardly a likely outcome.

After all, any Palestinian-Arab administration, established in the wake of an unconditional surrender, will almost inevitably be seen in the wider, and largely inimical, Arab world, as a perfidious “puppet regime,” in the service of the heinous Zionist entity. As such, it is certain to be branded as illegitimate by much of the Arab/Muslim world, to which the bulk of Palestinian-Arabs, exposed to the perspectives of their ethnic kinfolk beyond their borders, see themselves as belonging. Cooperation with it is likely to be condemned as cowardly treason and resistance to it, lauded as a noble duty.

Without ongoing Israeli control, incipient revolt will always be simmering near the surface, threatening to erupt.  

Adding the emerging potential for turmoil in neighboring Jordan, where the majority of the population is reportedly of Palestinian origins, only exacerbates this imminent threat of incitement and agitation against any post-victory arrangement with Israel.

Ensuring the fruits of victory

Indeed, Pipes himself in Jordan at the Precipice, underscores the precarious position of the current regime, warning that for Jordan today “dangers are manifold. ISIS lurks in Syria and Iraq.”

He cites dour evaluations from senior Israeli diplomatic sources that “the Hashemite kingdom faces growing instability amid economic woes and an influx of Syrian refugees”issuing “a pessimistic assessment on the firmness of the regime.”

Little imagination is required to grasp what a tectonic effect regime-change in Jordan would herald for the viability of any arrangement involving a neighboring, perhaps even abutting, self-governing Palestinian entity, particularly if established on the assumption of that regime’s durability.  

Accordingly, unless Israel is willing to maintain permanent control of any post-victory Palestinian-Arab entity, it is virtually certain that any compliant Palestinian-Arab administration would be a target of irredentist subversion from a myriad of Judeophobic actors (both state and non-state) across the Arab world and beyond.

The most plausible conclusion that emerges from this analysis is that any post-victory policy, aimed at sustaining the fruits of Israeli victory and Palestinian defeat, must convey the unequivocal message that no such entity is forthcoming — ever.

For unless such hopes are extinguished permanently, there will always be room for belief that defeat is merely temporary and that, at some later stage, the Jewish state will somehow be purged from the region.  

The question now, of course is:  How is this to be accomplished?

Achieving victory: The “kinetic” route

Of course, the most common manner in which victory is achieved, and defeat inflicted, is by the use of naked military might. Indeed, it appears this is more or less what Pipes envisages. Thus, in his A New Strategy for Israeli Victory  he writes “Palestinians will have to pass through the bitter crucible of defeat, with all its deprivation, destruction, and despair…”

In last week’s column I raise a question as to the feasible scope of devastation that can be wrought upon the Palestinian-Arabs in order to bring about their unconditional capitulation. How many Palestinian casualties would Israel need to inflict in order to achieve this? 10,000 fatalities?  20,000? As a somber reminder — and a very rough yardstick — it should be recalled that in the 1948 War of Independence, Israel suffered losses of over 6,000 — around 1% of the total Jewish population then — without bringing about any thoughts of unconditional surrender.

Could Israel kill a commensurate number of Palestinian-Arabs — between 30,000-40,000 depending on which demographic estimate one accepts — without incurring international censure and sanctions? Could Israel inflict such death and devastation without precipitating massive popular clamor for international — even military — intervention, across the Arab world and in other Islamic countries such as Turkey and Iran?

And once the fighting subsides, would Israel be responsible for providing the defeated populace with food and shelter, and for shouldering the burden (at least partially) for the massive reconstruction called for?

Achieving victory: The “non-kinetic” route

There is, however, an alternative route to victory, one that is essentially “non-kinetic”,(or at least considerably less “kinetic,” than a full scale military invasion of Judea-Samaria and Gaza). It is an alternative that I have been advocating for over a decade and which I have designated the “Humanitarian Paradigm.”

In broad brush strokes, this involves differentiating between the Palestinian-Arab collective and individual Palestinian-Arabs. It calls for declaring the Palestinian-Arab collective precisely what it — and its leadership — declares itself to be, an implacable enemy of the Jewish nation-state…and for treating it as such.

The unavoidable imperative for this was aptly articulated by Israel Harel in Haaretz: “As long as Israel refrains from unequivocally defining the enemy, even the four brigades sent as reinforcements to Judea and Samara and the thousands of exhausted soldiers” will be of little avail, adding incisively: “The Palestinians, not terrorism, are the enemy. Terrorism is the means of combat that the Palestinians are using. Their ultimate goal is to expel us from our land.” 

Accordingly, the Jewish nation-state has neither moral obligation nor practical interest to sustain the social fabric or economic well-being of a collective dedicated to its destruction. To the contrary, an overwhelming case can be made — on both ethical and practical grounds — that it should let them collapse.

How humanitarian paradigm & CIVC dovetail

Israel should, therefore, give notice that it will begin a phased withdrawal of all merchandize and services it currently provides that enemy collective — water, electricity, fuel, postal services, communications, port facilities, tax collection or remittances.  

In parallel, it should cease recognition of the authority of the Palestinian-Arab regimes in Judea-Samaria and Gaza, while offering generous relocation grants to non-belligerent Palestinian-Arab individuals to provide them and their families with the opportunity of a better, safer life elsewhere in third-party countries out of harm’s way and free from the clutches of the cruel corrupt cliques –who have callously misled them from disaster to disaster for decades.

The political feasibility and the economic affordability of this policy paradigm have been discussed elsewhere so I will forego a repeated review of them here. However it should be clear that, given the abundance of external sources of inimical sentiment that can ignite aggression, it is only by permanently denuding the hostile Arab presence in the disputed territory, that Israel can ensure that this territory will not become a platform from which to launch attacks against it in the future (see Shimon Peres in introductory excerpts). This is the only way to smother Arab hopes of someday prying loose the Jewish hold on land they consider Arab.

But given the manifest obstacles in achieving this by means of wholesale expulsion by kinetic measures, this non-kinetic formula appears to be the most plausible method for achieving the goals of the CIVC — and one that  should be vigorously explored by its authors.

Martin Sherman is the founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.

Dr. Martin Sherman served for seven years in operational capacities in the Israeli Defense establishment, was ministerial adviser to Yitzhak Shamir's government and lectured for 20 years at Tel Aviv University in Political Science, International Relations and Strategic Studies. He has a B.Sc. (Physics and Geology), MBA (Finance), and PhD in political science and international relations, was the first academic director of the Herzliya Conference and is the author of two books and numerous articles and policy papers on a wide range of political, diplomatic and security issues. He is founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies ( Born in South Africa,he has lived in Israel since 1971.


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Europe: More Migrants Coming - Soeren Kern

by Soeren Kern

Turkey appears determined to flood Europe with migrants either way: with Europe's permission by means of visa-free travel, or without Europe's permission, as retribution for failing to provide visa-free travel.

  • "In terms of public order and internal security, I simply need to know who is coming to our country." — Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka.
  • Turkey appears determined to flood Europe with migrants either way: with Europe's permission by means of visa-free travel, or without Europe's permission, as retribution for failing to provide visa-free travel.
  • The migrants arriving in Italy are overwhelmingly economic migrants seeking a better life in Europe. Only a very small number appear to be legitimate asylum seekers or refugees fleeing warzones.
  • The director of the UN office in Geneva, Michael Møller, has warned that Europe must prepare for the arrival of millions more migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
The European Union has called on its member states to lift border controls — introduced at the height of the migration crisis in September 2015 — within the next six months.

The return to open borders, which would allow for passport-free travel across the EU, comes at a time when the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean continues to rise, and when Turkish authorities increasingly have been threatening to renege on a border deal that has lessened the flow of migrants from Turkey to Europe.

Critics say that lifting the border controls now could trigger another, even greater, migration crisis by encouraging potentially millions of new migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East to begin making their way to Europe. It would also allow jihadists to cross European borders undetected to carry out attacks when and where they wish.

At a press conference in Brussels on May 2, the EU Commissioner in charge of migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, called on Austria, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden — among the wealthiest and most sought after destinations in Europe for migrants — to phase out the temporary controls currently in place at their internal Schengen borders over the next six months.

The so-called Schengen Agreement, which took effect in March 1995, abolished many of the EU's internal borders, enabling passport-free movement across most of the bloc. The Schengen Agreement, along with the single European currency, are fundamental pillars of the European Union and essential building-blocks for constructing a United States of Europe. With the long-term sustainability of the single currency and open borders in question, advocates of European federalism are keen to preserve both.

Avramopoulos, who argued that border controls are "not in the European spirit of solidarity and cooperation," said:
"The time has come to take the last concrete steps to gradually return to a normal functioning of the Schengen Area. This is our goal, and it remains unchanged. A fully functioning Schengen area, free from internal border controls. Schengen is one of the greatest achievements of the European project. We must do everything to protect it."
The temporary border controls were established in September 2015, after hundreds of thousands of migrants arrived in Europe, and when EU member states, led by Germany, gave special permission to some EU countries to impose emergency controls for up to two years. Since then, the European Union has approved six-month extensions of controls at the German-Austrian border, at Austria's frontiers with Hungary and Slovenia and at Danish, Swedish and Norwegian borders (Norway is a member of Schengen but not the EU). Several countries have argued that they need border controls to combat the threat of Islamic militancy.

On May 2, Sweden, which claims to conduct the most border checks among the EU countries, announced that it will lift controls at its border with Denmark. Sweden received 81,000 asylum seekers in 2014; 163,000 in 2015; 29,000 in 2016, and the same is expected for 2017.

On April 26, Austria called for an indefinite extension of border controls. "In terms of public order and internal security, I simply need to know who is coming to our country," Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said. Austria, which accepted some 90,000 migrants in 2015, also called for a "postponement" of the EU refugee distribution program, which requires EU member states to accept a mandatory and proportional distribution of asylum-seekers who arrive in other member nations.

On March 9, Norway extended border controls for another three months.

On January 26, Denmark extended border controls for another four months. Integration Minister Inger Støjberg said that his government would extend its border controls "until European borders are under control."

On January 19, Germany and Austria announced that border controls between their countries would continue indefinitely, "as long as the EU external border is not adequately protected."

Meanwhile, the number of migrants making their way to Europe is once again trending higher. Of the 30,465 migrants who reached Europe during the first quarter of 2017, 24,292 (80%) arrived in Italy, 4,407 arrived in Greece, 1,510 arrived in Spain and 256 arrived in Bulgaria, according to the International Office for Migration (IOM).

By way of comparison, the number of arrivals to Europe during each of the first three months of 2017 exceeded those who arrived during the same time period in 2015, the year in which migration to Europe reached unprecedented levels.

The trend is expected to continue throughout 2017. Better weather is already bringing about a surge of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Europe. During just one week in April, for example, a total of 9,661 migrants reached the shores of Italy.

The migrants arriving there are overwhelmingly economic migrants seeking a better life in Europe. Only a very small number appear to be legitimate asylum seekers or refugees fleeing warzones. According to the IOM, the migrants who reached Italy during the first three months of 2017 are, in descending order, from: Guinea, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Senegal, Morocco, Mali, Somalia and Eritrea.

In February, Italy reached a deal with the UN-backed government in Tripoli to hold migrants in camps in Libya in exchange for money to fight human traffickers. The agreement was endorsed by both the European Union and Germany.

On May 2, however, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel reversed course by saying the deal ignored the "catastrophic conditions" in Libya and would not curb migration. He said that Germany now favored tackling migration by fighting instability in Africa:
"What we are trying instead is to help stabilize the countries on the continent. But that is difficult. We will have to show staying power, stamina and patience. This is in the interest of Africans but also in the interest of Europeans."
Gabriel's long-term solution — which in the best of circumstances could take decades to bear fruit — implies that mass migration from Africa to Europe will continue unabated for many years to come.

Italy has emerged as Europe's main point of entry for migrants largely because of an agreement the European Union signed with Turkey in March 2016 to stem migration from Turkey to Greece. In recent weeks, however, Turkish authorities have threatened to back out of the deal because, according to them, the EU has failed to honor its end of the bargain.
Under the agreement, the EU pledged to pay Turkey €3 billion ($3.4 billion), as well as grant visa-free travel to Europe for Turkey's 78 million citizens, and to restart accession talks for Turkey to join the bloc. In exchange, Turkey agreed to take back all migrants and refugees who reach Greece via Turkey.

After the deal was reached, the number of migrants reaching Greece dropped sharply, although not completely. According to data supplied by the European Union on April 12, a total of 30,565 migrants reached Greece since the migrant deal took effect. Only 944 of those migrants have been returned to Turkey. Still, this is in sharp contrast to the hundreds of thousands of migrants who entered Greece at the height of the migration crisis. Turkey's continued cooperation is essential to keep the migration floodgates closed.

On April 22, Turkey's Minister for EU Affairs, Ömer Çelik, issued an ultimatum, warning the European Union that if it does not grant Turkish citizens visa-free travel by the end of May, Turkey would suspend the migrant deal and flood Europe with migrants.

On March 17, Turkey's Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu warned that his country would "blow the mind" of Europe and renege on the deal by sending 15,000 Syrian refugees a month to Europe:
"We have a readmission deal. I'm telling you Europe, do you have that courage? If you want, we'll send the 15,000 refugees to you that we don't send each month and blow your mind. You have to keep in mind that you can't design a game in this region apart from Turkey."
In February 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had already threatened to send millions of migrants to Europe. "We can open the doors to Greece and Bulgaria anytime and we can put the refugees on buses," he told European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. In a speech, he signaled that he was running out of patience:
"We do not have the word 'idiot' written on our foreheads. We will be patient, but we will do what we have to. Don't think that the planes and the buses are there for nothing."

In February 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (left) threatened to send millions of migrants to Europe. "We can open the doors to Greece and Bulgaria anytime and we can put the refugees on buses," he told Jean-Claude Juncker (right), President of the European Commission. (Image source: Turkish President's Office)

European officials say that to qualify for the visa waiver, Turkey must meet 72 conditions, including the most important one: relaxing its stringent anti-terrorism laws, which are being used to silence critics of Erdoğan, especially since the failed coup in July 2016. Turkey has vowed not to comply with the EU's demands.

Critics of visa liberalization fear that millions of Turkish nationals may end up migrating to Europe. The Austrian newsmagazine, Wochenblick, recently reported that 11 million Turks are living in poverty and "many of them are dreaming of moving to central Europe."

Other analysts believe Erdoğan views the visa waiver as an opportunity to "export" Turkey's "Kurdish Problem" to Germany. According to Bavarian Finance Minister Markus Söder, millions of Kurds are poised to take advantage of the visa waiver to flee to Germany to escape persecution at the hands of Erdoğan: "We are importing an internal Turkish conflict," he warned. "In the end, fewer migrants may arrive by boat, but more will arrive by airplane."

The European Union now finds itself in a Catch-22 situation. Turkey appears determined to flood Europe with migrants either way: with Europe's permission by means of visa-free travel, or without Europe's permission, as retribution for failing to provide visa-free travel.
Greek officials recently revealed that they have drawn up emergency plans to cope with a new migrant crisis. Turkey is hosting some three million migrants from Syria and Iraq, many of whom are presumably waiting for an opportunity to flee to Europe.

Italy is also bracing for the worst. Up to a million people, mainly from Bangladesh, Egypt, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan and Syria are now in Libya waiting to cross the Mediterranean Sea, according to the IOM.

The director of the United Nations office in Geneva, Michael Møller, has warned that Europe must prepare for the arrival of millions more migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. In an interview with The Times, Møller, a Dane, said:
"What we have been seeing is one of the biggest human migrations in history. And it's just going to accelerate. Young people all have cellphones and they can see what's happening in other parts of the world, and that acts as a magnet."
German Development Minister Gerd Müller has echoed that warning:
"The biggest migration movements are still ahead: Africa's population will double in the next decades. A country like Egypt will grow to 100 million people, Nigeria to 400 million. In our digital age with the internet and mobile phones, everyone knows about our prosperity and lifestyle."
Müller added that only 10% of those currently on the move have reached Europe: "Eight to ten million migrants are still on the way."
Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.

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Dartmouth Appoints Anti-Semitic Terrorist Enabler As Its New Dean - Alan Gustman

by Alan Gustman

A letter to the faculty at Dartmouth College.

FrontPageMag Editor's note: The following letter was written by the author to all of the faculty at Dartmouth College asking them to fight the promotion of a new pro-BDS dean. 

Dear Colleagues:

As you know, Dartmouth has appointed N. Bruce Duthu as its new Dean of the Faculty. What you may not know is that Professor Duthu is an active advocate of the BDS movement, a movement that proposes boycotting, divesting and sanctioning Israeli academic institutions. As the Treasurer of the Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA), Professor Duthu coauthored a statement in support of the boycott of Israeli academic institutions as follows: "The NAISA Council encourages NAISA members to boycott Israeli academic institutions because they are imbricated with the Israeli state and we wish to place pressure on that state to change its policies." The document our presumptive Dean coauthored can be found at (scroll down to "NAISA Council Declaration of Support for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions").

In advocating the boycott of Israeli academic institutions, BDS is anti-Semitic. The chant of the BDS movement, from the river to the sea, is anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, and profoundly anti- Jewish. It refers to sweeping the Jews out of Israel. Where else do we find movements advocating action against the academic institutions in any country but Israel, including many truly bad actors in the world? BDS is singling out Israel - the one country in the world that has a majority Jewish population.  Indeed, this movement has become a cover for many anti-Semites who like nothing better than to once again be free to exercise their prejudices. It also is important to understand, especially when evaluating the significance of appointing a BDS advocate as the Dean of the Faculty, that BDS is not just a statement of beliefs or a philosophical movement: it is a statement of action.

Given my concerns about this matter I wrote letters to President Hanlon, to Professor Duthu, and individually to members of Dartmouth's Board of Trustees. President Hanlon responded that he would never accept anti-Semitism at Dartmouth and reminded me of a letter he circulated to the Dartmouth campus against any boycott advocated by the BDS movement. Professor Duthu also states that he is not anti-Semitic and would not permit anti-Semitic acts at Dartmouth. Some of his friends, including those from the Jewish Studies Program, also argue that he is not anti-Semitic. In personal correspondence he cites a portion of the resolution as a defense of his position: "The NAISA statement, which you can find on the organization's website
, explicitly champions and defends intellectual and academic freedom with a recognition that "collaboration with individuals and organizations in Israel/Palestine can make an important contribution to the cause of justice." Note that this statement does not support academic freedom in general. It supports Professor Duthu's notion of justice. No member of the Board of Trustees responded to my email.

I have no reason to believe that Professor Duthu is anti-Semitic. His friends and colleagues do not consider him to be anti-Semitic, and are sincere in their opinions. What is relevant here is that he is supporting a movement that is substantially anti-Semitic, and that he has taken a position with regard to the BDS movement that is in opposition to the position and responsibilities he will have as Dean of the Faculty. Most importantly, he has not publicly renounced his public NAISI statement on the BDS movement.

It is not appropriate to appoint an advocate of BDS to the position of Dean of Faculty, thereby providing the BDS movement with a foothold at the highest levels of our administration. Professor Duthu's public advocacy of BDS and his responsibilities as Dean of the Faculty are in direct conflict. As Dean Professor Duthu will be exercising decisions about faculty hiring, tenure, and the academic priorities of Dartmouth, including interactions between Dartmouth faculty, Israeli academics and Israeli academic institutions.

These issues are particularly important in light of the unpleasant anti-Semitic history at Dartmouth. That history was discussed in the Chronicle of Higher Education by James O. Freedman, Dartmouth's President from 1987 to 1998 ("Ghosts of the Past: Anti-Semitism at Elite Colleges", Chronicle of Higher Education, December 1, 2000). Freedman's article also refers to a 1992 Dartmouth honors thesis by Alexandra Shepard detailing more virulent anti-Semitism at Dartmouth in earlier years. Of particular note there is Earnest Hopkins, who was President of Dartmouth for nearly three decades, and was a strong advocate of caps on Jewish enrollments. David T. McLaughlin, Dartmouth President from 1981 to 1987, noted in an oral history that anti-Semitism hampered the presidency of his predecessor John Kemeny, a Jewish born president of Dartmouth who served from 1970 to 1981. McLaughlin also indicated that anti-Semitism interfered with the appointment of a Jewish member of the Board of Trustees as Chairman of the Board.

A central issue is the failure of the President, the Board and even some in the Jewish Studies program at Dartmouth to appreciate the broader symbolism of appointing an active BDS advocate to the leadership of the Faculty of an Ivy League Institution. The responses are along the lines of: he is a nice guy, and I wouldn't permit (the President) or he would not really act to implement the BDS program. It's nice to have faith that you know a person so well he would never implement what he advocates. That mistake has been made throughout history. If there is anyone who cannot afford to once again take a person's word that he doesn't mean what he says, it is any Jewish person with a memory.

In view of Dartmouth's anti-Semitic history and Professor Duthu's endorsement of the anti-Semitic BDS document, Dartmouth must not simply appoint Duthu to the position of Dean of the Faculty and ignore the implications of that appointment. Professor Duthu should either publicly disavow the full ramifications of the BDS positions he has publicly endorsed, or resign his position as Dean and return to his faculty position where expression of these views is sanctioned as academic freedom, but is not representative of Dartmouth College or its faculty. He cannot, without contradiction, 1) assure council signers of the NAISA document and holders of their position of his support for action to boycott Israeli academic institutions, and at the same time 2) administer his job as Dean of the Faculty, while assuring Dartmouth that he will not take such action. Given its history, Dartmouth cannot turn a blind eye to this contradiction. These issues must be directly and publicly addressed by the Dean, the President and by the Board. Papering over hypocrisy and prejudice is no way to run an Ivy League College administration.

To be sure, the progress of anti-Semitism on campus is not just a Dartmouth problem - although appointing an active BDS advocate to Dean of the Faculty represents a unique failure to deal with anti-Semitism on campus. BDS is making inroads into many college campuses. It is time for faculty, students, administrators and Boards to clearly and vocally oppose this anti-Semitic movement, rather than sitting quietly and allowing this cancer to spread.

Alan Gustman is a Loren Berry Professor of Economics at Dartmouth College.


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War with North Korea: the Toll - J. Robert Smith

by J. Robert Smith

Is conventional war now, even with its high price, better than war tomorrow, with nukes in the mix?

Rising tensions and possible war with North Korea have been in the news for weeks. Less reported on would be a war’s toll. War on the Korean peninsula would feature technology-juiced conventional and asymmetric fighting. Destruction and casualties would tally quickly. That’s military and civilian -- U.S., Korean, and possibly Japanese. Modern warfare’s lethality needs to be understood. If a nation goes to war, it needs to go with its eyes wide open. 

Let’s establish this first. President Trump has every right to worry about Kim Jong-un’s efforts to develop ballistic missiles capability. Outgoing president Barack Obama warned Trump about the threat. Trump has clearly learned a lot more since.

Reported BBC News:
North Korea's latest efforts appear focused on building reliable long-range missiles, which may have the potential to reach the mainland United States.
Two types of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) known as the KN-08 and KN-14, have been observed at various military parades since 2012.
Carried and launched from the back of a modified truck, the three-stage KN-08 is believed to have a range of about 11,500km.
The KN-14 appears to be a two-stage missile, with a possible range of around 10,000km.
War scenarios have the U.S. launching a preventive strike against the North. The principal aim would be to “decapitate” the Hermit Kingdom’s leadership. Simultaneously, the U.S. would go after Kim’s nuclear sites. Attacks would target the North’s military chain of command and seek to disrupt -- if not shut down -- communications and stymie the Korean People’s Army’s (KPA) movement. U.S. and South Korean (ROK) forces would act to neutralize KPA’s forces massed along the DMZ.

A first strike against the North would be a coordinated mix of conventional warfare (primarily cruise missiles and fighter aircraft), special forces and covert operations, and cyberattacks. It’s “shock and awe,” with more hoped-for finality. If it worked as planned, the war would practically end before it started.

It’s high stakes. A first strike is unambiguous. Short of killing Kim and the North Korean elites outright, they’d get that it was death match. War with the U.S. and the South would mean inevitable defeat for the North’s elite. That’s the makings of desperation. 

What we know about wars is that they rarely go as planned. The KPA isn’t Saddam’s army. It isn’t the Taliban. They’re generally well equipped, rigorously trained, and appear motivated – via fear and special status -- to fight. (North Korea’s military is ranked 23 out of 126 by The North has concentrated forces and thousands of artillery pieces in the hills just north of the DMZ to strike Seoul. Seoul’s a mere 30 miles from the DMZ.

Metro Seoul’s population is 25 million. In the opening phase of a war, the North would unleash thousands of rounds of artillery fire. Or intend to. It’s speculated that much of that artillery is outdated, and munitions may be poor, too. But that’s based on documents “leaked” from the North. They may be disinformation. But it’s a numbers game, anyway. 

With thousands of artillery pieces, what portion would have to be operational to wreak havoc on Seoul? From the Washington Post:
The Second Corps of the Korean People’s Army stationed at Kaesong on the northern side of the DMZ has about 500 artillery pieces, [analyst] Bermudez said. And this is just one army corps; similar corps are on either side of it.
All the artillery pieces in the Second Corps can reach the northern outskirts of Seoul, just 30 miles from the DMZ, but the largest projectiles could fly to the south of the capital.
How quickly could the U.S. and ROK make headway in destroying functioning artillery? Not overnight. How much time would KPA firepower have to attack Seoul? Add to the mix the North’s chemical and biological munitions stockpile.

The North has agents deployed throughout Seoul Metro. They would act as saboteurs, yes, but they’d target leaders to kill. Soft civilian targets would be in their crosshairs too.
The North has 180,000 commandos. Per the Washington Post:
“Strategic SOF [Special Operations Force] units dispersed across North Korea appear designed for rapid offensive operations, internal defense against foreign attacks, or limited attacks against vulnerable targets in the ROK [Republic of Korea] as part of a coercive diplomacy effort,” the report said. “They operate in specialized units, including reconnaissance, airborne and seaborne insertion, commandos, and other specialties. All emphasize speed of movement and surprise attack to accomplish their missions.”
The U.S. has 23,500 stationed in the South. Thousands of U.S. troops are deployed along the DMZ, serving as a tripwire. In the opening days, U.S. causalities would be significant. Rolling up the KPA would mean advancing up the Peninsula toward the Chinese and Russian borders. Fighting would be fierce. Much of the Korean peninsula features hills, mountains, and valleys. It’s suitable terrain for resistance warfare. 

As for the Chinese and Russians, military intervention is unlikely, for obvious and complicated reasons. The Russians don’t have a history of direct military confrontation with the U.S. Berlin and Cuba saw tensions resolved without conflict. The Russians were glad to equip and arm the North Vietnamese communists, but not to do the fighting.

For the PRC, the early 1950s are long gone. Mao certainly tipped the balance for the North Korean communists in the Korean War. U.S. and allied forces had all but won the fight when Chinese intervention led to a stalemate.

Modern China’s economic health is tied to manufacturing and global trade, much of it with the U.S. The PRC seeks broad hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region. Xi Jingping and Trump may have come to an accord over what to do about the North in hopes of avoiding war. Certainly, Pyongyang is unhappy with the Chinese, lashing out at Beijing for its “lame excuses for the base acts of dancing to the tune of the U.S.” 

War and the North’s defeat would push refugee hordes into China. Managing a refugee crisis isn’t something China wants. Nor does the PRC want U.S. and ROK troops perched on the Yalu and Tumen Rivers. For that matter, Putin wouldn’t care for the U.S. to be nearer Vladivostok. Avoiding conflict better serves China’s interests. 

There’s no question that Kim Jong-un is ruthless, but is he suicidal? Like a poker player, Kim could keep his nuke card in hand, threatening to play it to wring concessions. Kim’s father and grandfather were masters at bellicosity and exacerbating tensions to leverage aid and economic help.

A White House official is worried about nuclear blackmail, as Fox News reported:
North Korea’s nuclear weapons development could be used as “blackmail” to influence the U.S. to abandon its ally in South Korea in order to make it easier for Pyongyang to overtake its archrival, a White House official [Mark Pottinger] said Tuesday.
Would a future U.S. president abandon South Korea in the face of nuclear blackmail? Who knows if Kim’s successor would be ruthless and rational? Even rational men miscalculate. Is conventional war now, even with its high price, better than war tomorrow, with nukes in the mix?

Trump is weighing a lot. War, and its consequences, carries the greatest weight.

J. Robert Smith


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Trump’s Good cop/bad cop Approach to Saudi Arabia - Robert Caskey

by Robert Caskey

Trump’s approach to U.S.-Saudi relations might look incoherent, but the good cop/bad cop strategy is a smart one.

Staying true to his unpredictable approach to politics, Trump has been keeping us guessing on where he’ll go with his administration’s Saudi policy. During his campaign, he went where few politicians dare to tread when he said the Kingdom wasn’t pulling its weight in covering the cost of the U.S. security umbrella. He took a more balanced approach during Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s official visit to Washington in March, when they agreed on the major security threat posed by Iran. Then, just a week ago, Trump veered back towards his campaign rhetoric against the House of Saud, saying that the U.S. was losing a “tremendous amount of money” defending the desert kingdom.

While Trump plays bad cop, he’s letting James Mattis and Rex Tillerson play nice. The secretaries of State and Defense travelled to Saudi last month, where Tillerson acknowledged the Kingdom’s worries by calling Iran “the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism” and announcing a government-wide review of U.S. policy on Iran.

Trump’s approach to U.S.-Saudi relations might look incoherent, but the good cop/bad cop strategy is a smart one. By using it, Trump is getting the point across that free riding won’t be tolerated, while Mattis and Tillerson smooth any ruffled feathers and move ahead with priorities in bilateral relations: collaboration on Iran, defense, and investment. This dynamic keeps Riyadh on our side, but also keeps them on their toes.

Assisting Trump is that, at this point, the Saudis have much less to offer in return for our political and military support. Thanks to the shale revolution, Saudi oil exports to the U.S. have fallen by 24% over the past 10 years -- while American production has doubled during the same period. Where the Saudis used to be able to dangle their oil reserves over our heads, we now have the upper hand in the relationship. This has become even clearer since the fall in crude oil prices, blowing a hole in Saudi Arabia’s budget and setting off an economic crisis there.

In response, last April, the Saudi government announced a plan known as “Vision 2030” to reduce economic dependence on oil, attract outside capital, and open up the Kingdom’s highly conservative society. As part of the plan, the government plans to sell a 5% stake in state oil giant Aramco. That IPO, estimated to be worth at least $1 trillion, could be the largest in history and has already attracted interest from the New York Stock Exchange -- something that Trump’s businessman reflexes surely noticed. During his tour in the Kingdom, Tillerson touted American companies as “partners you can count on” and said Saudi Arabia would find numerous opportunities in the U.S. in a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

But the U.S. isn’t the only country with a stake in these new investment opportunities. Other countries, including the UK but also China, have been lining up to take advantage of opportunities offered by a more liberalized economy. In the past six months alone, Theresa May has made two state visits to the Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia is London’s biggest trading partner in the Middle East, and May wants to increase trade and business ties even further. Last December, she attended the annual Gulf Cooperation Council summit to discuss the creation of a GCC-UK free trade space, while her second visit last month included the chief executive of the London Stock Exchange (there to try and win the Aramco IPO for the LSE). The Chinese, meanwhile, inked $65 billion in investment and business deals back in March, when the Saudi king Salman visited Beijing on an Asia-wide tour. Going beyond economic ties, both the British and the Chinese have stepped up their military presence in the vicinity.

For all the skepticism about Saudi-American relations, Trump and his cabinet secretaries know that Riyadh is on track to becoming one of the world’s biggest economies by 2050, equal to France. The Chinese clearly recognize this and are acting accordingly, and so the administration wants to make sure we keep our place at the table by making up for the damage done during the Obama years. Fortunately, we now have more leverage than we’ve had in decades and can extract better terms for our businesses -- all while containing Iran. If all goes well, Trump may soon be able to point to the Saudis as an example of what “America First” actually looks like in foreign policy: America’s interests secured via partnerships with allies that finally pay their fair share.

Robert Caskey


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Iran’s Election, a Political Earthquake with Seismic Waves for the Region - Hassan Mahmoudi

by Hassan Mahmoudi

Election time can ignite a new mass uprising which, this time, won’t be easy for the government to control, and it could be a political earthquake.

Officials in the Iranian regime have, from time to time, defined their regime as, "if the whole Iranian populace have one position and the Supreme Leader has another, it is the word of the Supreme Leader that will be taken as the fact, and not that of the people.” This attitude describes a dictatorial system of rule, a relic of the Dark Ages that rule Iran today. In the ayatollahs’ dictionary, people are defined as without rights or voice.

So it is preposterous that, next month, this regime is about to hold presidential “elections.”
Holding elections in any country, normally, signifies the rulers’ determination to go by the people’s vote. In today's Iran, it does not go this way. The religious dictatorship uses a sham election rather escape the inevitable consequences of the people’s vote.

The regime of ayatollahs is the most detested government in Iran’s history. Anti-government protests happen every day, on each corner of Iran, and are a sharp indication that it is not the hearts and minds of the people that the ayatollahs’ so-called “Islamic Republic” rests. President Hassan Rouhani and the Supreme Leader have preserved their grip on power to an unbelievable extent through repression, arrests, prisons and public executions.

On May 19, Iran's regime will hold its mock presidential elections. This is probably a unique election by global standards, in that contains no opposition. The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and President Hassan Rouhani, represent the two factions of the same religious tyranny. The upcoming election is nothing but a power struggle between ferocious gangs within the system. Ayatollahs have already issued their Medieval commands on how to treat their own people, in particular Iranian women. Moreover, the vast extent of meddling and terrorism by this regime is so appalling that people in the region call the government in Tehran "ISIS’s godfather."

Nevertheless, the ghastly memories of the winter of 2009 remain a nightmare for the ayatollahs. That was when a frustrated Iranian people rose up, in every city and town of Iran, to unseat the mullahs. The mass uprising was viciously crushed by the government taking advantage of U.S. and other Western states’ foreign policies which ignored the sufferings of the Iranian people. Election time can ignite a new mass uprising which, this time, won’t be easy for the government to control, and it could be a political earthquake. 

With seismic waves that travel through the region, the shrapnel and the flash floods of the quake now appear inside Iran. Six candidates for presidential election each have a share in putting their nose into others business and standing behind savage terrorist groups which try to destabilize the regional states. Who are the most likely to win?
  • Rouhani, the incumbent president whose performance has been appalling, an impostor-like, a wolf in sheep's clothing act, is out to dupe average people into accepting enslavement with a record of more than 3,000 executions during his tenure. ‎
  • Ebrahim Raisi Another main candidate, the mass killer of 1988 massacre, and the informal candidate of Khamenei, uses the art of euphemisms, lies, emotionalism, and deceit. He said in his campaign on April 26, 2017: “I am able to create create 6 million jobs and triple the subsidies.” One Tehran local said: “He has yet to create any job or doesn’t understand the numbers.”
However the art of euphemisms does not work anymore in the powder-keg nature of Iran’s society. On April 26, 2017, Raisi cancelled his meeting campaign due to a lack of attendance, but claimed it was due to bad weather. In Esfahani (the second largest city In Iran) the locals said the election in Iran is a method used to determine which politician was "most able to deceive, torture and kill you.” At the end, those who count the fraudulent vote decide everything.

Categorizing the regime in Tehran as similar to democratic countries of the civilized world, if not a deliberate treacherous act but will definitely lead us to a misleading conclusion. What is, ironically, called “Iran’s presidential elections” is nothing but a power struggle between the savage fragments of this government. These fractions do not represent any part of Iranian society. They rather fear the revenge of the people. Statements published by Iran’s resistance, the Mujahidin, PMOI, show that, Inside Iran, mullahs are faced with daily protests by workers who demand their months of unpaid salary, by the staff of bankrupted companies, by women who demand their rights and by students whose colleagues are in jail, looking for a savior. Factions inside the Iranian government each have an interest in putting their noses into others' business and standing behind savage terrorist groups which try to destabilize the regional states.

The Iranian regime is continuing the daily murder and torture of its own people. Just this past April, Amnesty International reported that Iran is about to put to death two men who were children at the time of their arrests. One of the men has been on death row for 15 years. The organization has identified the names of at least 90 juvenile offenders currently on death row across Iran. Meanwhile, the International Monitory Fund reported this week that in terms of unemployment Iran has descended 13 steps in the past three years from the rank of 29th in 2015 to 16th this year.

Elections in Iran means that the despot mullahs are trying to preserve their seats. Iranian people, however, do not consent to anything but a regime change.

Hassan Mahmoudi is a human rights advocate and social media journalist seeking democracy for Iran and peace for the region.


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