Saturday, May 20, 2017

Saudi Royals signal the real magnitude of the deal they made with Trump - Thomas Lifson

by Thomas Lifson

President Trump’s spectacular reception in Riyadh is a signal to the world that big changes are coming.

President Trump’s spectacular reception in Riyadh is a signal to the world (and to Saudi subjects, in particular) that big changes are coming. Elderly and frail King Salman ventured out onto the apron in 110 degree heat and actually shook Melania Trump’s hand as she deplaned Air Force One, thereby touching a female infidel.

Perhaps even more important in terms of Saudi daily life, the women in attendance at functions did not wear head coverings and abayas. The entire nation saw this on television and understands that the fracking-created global oil glut changes everything, that the infidels no longer cower in fear of a cutoff of the oil that Allah granted to the protectors of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. The old arguments of the fanatics hold less water. Change is coming. The King signaled that the restrictions declared by the Wahhabi clergy are no longer the ultimate arbiter of personal behavior, and that Saudis are going to have to start respecting the customs of the infidels. Something like his handshake gesture can seem trivial, quaint, or even humorous to Americans, but it is very serious business. The role modeling of the women at the highest and most formal level reaches deep into the culture.

It is now clear that the King and his two designated successors (Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nyef and Mohammad bin Salman) have made a deal to liberalize Saudi Arabia. The deal-maker president has told them that there is a price of continued American support.

This would be against the wishes of powerful factions of the Saudi Royal Family (about 5,000 strong), some of whom are closely aligned with (and fund) the radical Wahhabi clergy. For decades, the (principally) Saudi-funded Wahhabis have poisoned the Ummah (the global Muslim community) with their feudal views. Saudi Arabia only became mega-wealthy in the 1950s, and the world’s Muslims were not violently engaged in much jihad. The Wahhabi clergy and the Saudi-funded mosques they brought with them prepared the soil for Al Qaeda at home and abroad.

Make no mistake: there is every possibility that a violent reaction or a coup within the Royal Family if sufficiently provoked. The clergy are important because they preach to the Saudi masses, and could whip them up into an attempt at an overthrow of the corrupt Royals who siphon off so much of Allah’s bounty for their own decadent pleasures, many of them haram. That is why Saudi Arabia has such a large investment in its security forces. The plan is for them to remain loyal in the event of an uprising, but man plans and Allah laughs.

The Royals are in a very delicate position. The dominant faction, the King and his two designated successors, have to loosen things up gradually, step by step, so as to not put their opponents over the edge into a revolt that would brutally slaughter untold numbers, quite possibly including themselves. Like the mythological frog in a pot of water on the stove, they have to increase the heat very slowly.

They have already agreed to a deal to reward President Trump with a massive arms purchase worth $109.7 billion. That’s jobs and profits. But this aspect of the deal, from the New York Times, is important:
On the afternoon of May 1, President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, welcomed a high-level delegation of Saudis to a gilded reception room next door to the White House and delivered a brisk pep talk: “Let’s get this done today.”
Mr. Kushner was referring to a $100 billion-plus arms deal that the administration hoped to seal with Saudi Arabia in time to announce it during Mr. Trump’s visit to the kingdom this weekend. The two sides discussed a shopping list that included planes, ships and precision-guided bombs. Then an American official raised the idea of the Saudis’ buying a sophisticated radar system designed to shoot down ballistic missiles.
Sensing that the cost might be a problem, several administration officials said, Mr. Kushner picked up the phone and called Marillyn A. Hewson — the chief executive of Lockheed Martin, which makes the radar system — and asked her whether she could cut the price. As his guests watched slack-jawed, Ms. Hewson told him she would look into it, officials said.
Mr. Kushner’s personal intervention in the arms sale is further evidence of the Trump White House’s readiness to dispense with custom in favor of informal, hands-on deal making. It also offers a window into how the administration hopes to change America’s position in the Middle East, emphasizing hard power and haggling over traditional diplomacy.
This is a tangible and personal signal to the factions of the Saudi family represented in the high-level delegation. An Orthodox Jew, married to the favored child of the President (who became a Jew herself) saved them money using his personal connections. Call me suspicious but I think this was carefully planned theatre. You have to see this against the background of the sudden new confluence of interests between Israel and Saudi Arabia, united in opposition to Iran and Arab Radical Islamic terrorists. The two nations already covertly cooperate, a ruse that cannot last forever. Slowly and surely the Saudis have to turn away from the Palestinians and toward an embrace of Israel. And it turns out that there can be a considerable upside to making peace with Israel and the Jews.

So, where do the Saudis go from here? How do they demonstrate to Trump, the world, and their own subjects that things are changing, and that it is acceptable.

My guess is that a symbolic measure that does not affect anyone in Saudi Arabia would be the next step. An easy one would be to end the prohibition against Israeli civilian airliners flying over Saudi airspace when flying eastward toward India, Thailand, and beyond. Israel’s economic and tourism ties with Asia are large and growing, so this restriction, which adds hours and costs, is an irritant to Israelis, as well as a political statement to the world that Israel is illegitimate. 

The fact is that President Trump’s planned nonstop Air Force One flight from Riyadh to Ben Gurion Airport in Israel will be the first publicly-known flight between the two nations. (There is a decent chance that secret flights have taken place because the governments do talk to each other covertly.) So Trump is already liberalizing their aviation restrictions.

Allowing Israeli airliners to fly over Saudi territory would be a good first step toward eventual direct flights, a sign of complete acceptance of Israel as a legitimate nation, which is the only long term solution to peace between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East. It is a long path, but there is no alternative to a step at a time, given the delicate political situation of the Saudi Royals.

It is clear to me that President Trump has made a transformational deal, and that the West has stake in helping it come to fruition.

Thomas Lifson


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Trump and Israel: Enemies of the System - Caroline Glick

by Caroline Glick

Disturbing parallels between the intelligence community's war on Israel and its war on Trump.

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

The United States is sailing in uncharted waters today as the intelligence-security community wages an all-but-declared rebellion against President Donald Trump.

Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein’s decision on Wednesday to appoint former FBI director Robert Mueller to serve as a special counsel charged with investigating allegations of “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump,” is the latest and so far most significant development in this grave saga.

Who are the people seeking to unseat Trump? This week we learned that the powers at play are deeply familiar. Trump’s nameless opponents are some of Israel’s greatest antagonists in the US security establishment.

This reality was exposed this week with intelligence leaks related to Trump’s meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. To understand what happened, let’s start with the facts that are undisputed about that meeting.

The main thing that is not in dispute is that during his meeting with Lavrov, Trump discussed Islamic State’s plan to blow up passenger flights with bombs hidden in laptop computers.

It’s hard to find fault with Trump’s actions. First of all, the ISIS plot has been public knowledge for several weeks.

Second, the Russians are enemies of ISIS. Moreover, Russia has a specific interest in diminishing ISIS’s capacity to harm civilian air traffic. In October 2015, ISIS terrorists in Egypt downed a Moscow-bound jetliner, killing all 254 people on board with a bomb smuggled on board in a soda can.

And now on to the issues that are in dispute.

Hours after the Trump-Lavrov meeting, The Washington Post reported that in sharing information about ISIS’s plans, Trump exposed intelligence sources and methods to Russia and in so doing, he imperiled ongoing intelligence operations carried out by a foreign government.

The next day, The New York Times reported that the sources and methods involved were Israeli. In sharing information about the ISIS plot with Lavrov, the media reported, Trump endangered Israel.

There are two problems with this narrative.

First, Trump’s National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster insisted that there was no way that Trump could have exposed sources and methods, because he didn’t know where the information on the ISIS plot that he discussed with Lavrov originated.

Second, if McMaster’s version is true – and it’s hard to imagine that McMaster would effectively say that his boss is an ignoramus if it weren’t true – then the people who harmed Israel’s security were the leakers, not Trump.

Now who are these leakers? According to the Washington Post, the leakers are members of the US intelligence community and former members of the US intelligence community, (the latter, presumably were political appointees in senior intelligence positions during the Obama administration who resigned when Trump came into office).

Israel is no stranger to this sort of operation. Throughout the Obama administration, US officials illegally leaked top secret information about Israeli operations to the media.

In 2010, a senior defense source exposed the Stuxnet computer worm to the New York Times. Stuxnet was reportedly a cyber weapon developed jointly by the US and Israel. It was infiltrated into the computer system at Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor. It reportedly sabotaged a large quantity of centrifuges at the installation.

The revelation of Stuxnet’s existence and purpose ended the operation. Moreover, much of Iran’s significant cyber capabilities were reportedly developed by reverse engineering the Stuxnet.

Obama made his support for the leak clear three days before he left office. On January 17, 2017, Obama pardoned Marine Gen. James Cartwright for his role in illegally divulging the Stuxnet program to the Times.

In 2012, US officials told the media that Israel had struck targets in Syria. The leak, which was repeated several times in subsequent years, made it more dangerous for Israel to operate against Iranian and Hezbollah forces in Syria.

Also in 2012, ahead of the presidential election, US officials informed journalists that Israel was operating in air bases in Azerbaijan with the purpose of attacking Iran’s nuclear sites in air strikes originating from those bases.

Israel’s alleged plan to attack Iran was abruptly canceled.

In all of these cases, the goal of the leak was to harm Israel.

In contrast, the goal of this week’s leaks was to harm Trump. Israel was collateral damage.

The key point is that the leaks are coming from the same places in both cases.

All of them are members of the US intelligence community with exceedingly high security clearances. And all of them willingly committed felony offenses when they shared top secret information with reporters.

That is, all of them believe that it is perfectly all right to make political use of intelligence to advance a political goal. In the case of the anti-Israel leaks under Obama, their purpose was to prevent Israel from degrading Iran’s nuclear capacity and military power at a time that Obama was working to empower Iran at Israel’s expense.

In the case of the Trump-Lavrov leak, the purpose was to undermine Israel’s security as a means of harming Trump politically.

What happened to the US intelligence community? How did its members come to believe that they have the right to abuse the knowledge they gained as intelligence officers in order to advance a partisan agenda? As former CIA station chief Scott Uehlinger explained in an article published in March in The Hill, the Obama administration oversaw a program of deliberate politicization of the US intelligence community.

The first major step toward this end was initiated by then-US attorney general Eric Holder in August 2009.

Holder announced then that he intended to appoint a special counsel to investigate claims that CIA officers tortured terrorists while interrogating them.

The purpose of Holder’s announcement wasn’t to secure indictments. The points was to transform the CIA politically and culturally.

And it worked.

Shortly after Holder’s announcement, an exodus began of the CIA’s best operations officers. Men and women with years of experience operating in enemy territory resigned.

Uehlinger’s article related that during the Obama years, intelligence officers were required to abide by strict rules of political correctness.

In his words, “In this PC world, all diversity is embraced – except diversity of thought. Federal workers have been partisan for years, but combined with the rigid Obama PC mindset, it has created a Frankenstein of politicization that has never been seen before.”

Over the years, US intelligence officers at all levels have come to view themselves as soldiers in an army with its own agenda – which largely overlapped Obama’s.

Trump’s agenda on the other hand is viewed as anathema by members of this powerful group. Likewise, the notion of a strong Israel capable of defending its interests without American help and permission is more dangerous than the notion of Iran armed with nuclear weapons.

Given these convictions, it is no surprise that unnamed intelligence sources are leaking a tsunami of selective and deceptive intelligence against Trump and his advisers.

The sense of entitlement that prevails in the intelligence community was on prominent display in an astounding interview that Evelyn Farkas, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense, gave to MSNBS in early March.

Farkas, who resigned her position in late 2015 to work on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, admitted to her interviewer that the intelligence community was spying on Trump and his associates and that ahead of Obama’s departure from office, they were transferring massive amounts of intelligence information about Trump and his associates to Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill in order to ensure that those Democratic politicians would use the information gathered to harm Trump.

In her words, “The Trump folks, if they found out how we knew what we knew about the Trump staff’s dealings with Russians... would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we would no longer have access to that information.”

Farkas then explained that the constant leaks of Trump’s actions to the media were part of the initiative that she had urged her counterparts to undertake.

And Farkas was proud of what her colleagues had done and were doing.

Two days after Farkas’s interview, Trump published his tweet accusing former president Barack Obama of spying on him.

Although the media and the intelligence community angrily and contemptuously denied Trump’s assertion, the fact is that both Farkas’s statement and information that became public both before and since Trump’s inauguration lends credence to his claim.

In the days ahead of the inauguration we learned that in the summer of 2016, Obama’s Justice Department conducted a criminal probe into suspicions that Trump’s senior aides had committed crimes in their dealings with Russian banks. Those suspicions, upon investigation, were dismissed. In other words, the criminal probe led nowhere.

Rather than drop the matter, Obama’s Justice Department decided to continue the probe but transform it into a national security investigation.

After a failed attempt in July 2016, in October 2016, a FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court approved a Justice Department request to monitor the communications of Trump’s senior advisers. Since the subjects of the probe were working from Trump’s office and communicating with him by phone and email, the warrant requested – which the FISA court granted – also subjected Trump’s direct communications to incidental collection.

So from at least October 2016 through Trump’s inauguration, the US intelligence community was spying on Trump and his advisers, despite the fact that they were not suspected of committing any crimes.

This brings us back to this week’s Russia story which together with the media hysteria following Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey, precipitated Rosenstein’s decision to appoint Mueller to serve as a special counsel charged with investigating the allegations that Trump and or his advisers acted unlawfully or in a manner that endangered the US in their dealings with Russia.

It is too early to judge how Mueller will conduct his investigation. But if the past is any guide, he is liable to keep the investigation going indefinitely, paralyzing Trump’s ability to conduct foreign policy in relation to Russia and a host of other issues.

This then brings us to Trump and Israel – the twin targets of the US intelligence community’s felonious and injurious leaks.

The fact that Trump will be coming to Israel next week may be a bit of fortuitous timing. Given the stakes involved for Trump, for Israel and for US national security, perhaps Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can develop a method of fighting this cabal of faceless, lawless foes together.

How such a fight would look and what it would involve is not immediately apparent and anyways should never be openly discussed. But the fact is that working together, Israel and Trump may accomplish more than either can accomplish on their own. And with so much hanging in the balance, it makes sense to at least try.

Caroline Glick is the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Israel Security Project and the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post. For more information on Ms. Glick's work, visit


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The Left’s Reckless Rush to Judgment on Obstruction of Justice - Joseph Klein

by Joseph Klein

Why the latest line of attack doesn't hold water.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller III, a former FBI director, to serve as special counsel overseeing the investigation of alleged ties between Russian officials and President Trump’s campaign. Mr. Rosenstein acted Wednesday evening in Attorney General Jeff Sessions' stead, since Mr. Sessions had recused himself from any involvement in Russian investigation matters. Mr. Sessions did so because of his own contacts with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. while he was advising the Trump campaign. Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein briefed senators in a closed meeting on Thursday. Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said his take-away from the meeting was that what had started out as a counter intelligence investigation is “now being considered a criminal investigation.” As for the Trump-hating left and their lackeys in the mainstream media, they have already rendered a guilty verdict against President Trump for obstruction of justice without any credible facts to support it to date.

Mr. Mueller, a well-respected former federal prosecutor whose appointment was widely praised in Congress on both sides of the aisle, will have a broad investigatory mandate. He is authorized to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump,” as well as other matters that “may arise directly from the investigation.” With such authority, Mr. Mueller could explore such related issues as the circumstances behind the firing of James Comey as FBI director, conversations between Mr. Comey and President Trump, including any perceived efforts on President Trump’s part to influence the direction of any FBI investigation, and the unmasking and leaking of classified information pertaining to former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn.

Mr. Mueller will have free reign to call for a grand jury, issue subpoenas and decide whether to press criminal charges. His requests for all the resources he needs, on top of what the FBI already has in conducting its ongoing investigations, will almost certainly be honored. Moreover, Mr. Mueller, whose tenure as FBI director made him a popular figure with FBI career agents, will trust the FBI enough to piggyback on its findings rather than have to start from scratch.

President Trump’s initial reaction to the special counsel appointment was reportedly restrained. However, he complained in an early morning tweet on Thursday that he was being unfairly singled out for special counsel scrutiny. “With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special counsel (sic) appointed!” he tweeted.  “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!” Maybe so, but Mr. Mueller’s appointment, which provides the Democrats and anti-Trump media the independent special counsel they have demanded, will give the Trump administration at least some breathing room to return to its policy agenda.  That’s not to say that Democrats, their leftist base and Trump haters in the mainstream media won’t continue to raise the Watergate and impeachment banners, and try to put political pressure on Mr. Mueller to come out with findings that support their pre-determined verdict of guilty. Mr. Mueller’s reputation for integrity, and dispassionate pursuit of all relevant facts upon which to render an unbiased judgment, will be sorely tested.

President Trump’s many enemies calling for his head, in the media and political world, have zeroed in on the charge of obstruction of justice. They obtained ammunition in that regard from the alleged memo that former FBI Director Comey is said to have written following a one-on-one conversation he had with the president, in which Comey claimed President Trump had asked him to let go of the FBI’s investigation of Flynn. No doubt, Mr. Mueller will explore all avenues in gathering and analyzing facts that could possibly make out a credible case of obstruction of justice against the president and/or any of his aides. However, based on what is known publicly to date, nothing President Trump has done comes anywhere close to constituting obstruction of justice.

Jonathan Turley, the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, wrote that if the Comey memo is “food for obstruction of justice, it is still an awfully thin soup.”  The operative statute is Section 1503 of Title 18, United States Code. It forbids, among other things, “corruptly or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication” influencing, obstructing, or impeding, or endeavoring to influence, obstruct, or impede, “the due administration of justice.”  

The question is whether President Trump’s alleged request to Comey to let go of the Flynn investigation, or any other negative action or statement by the president with regard to the Russia investigation, constitutes actionable obstruction of justice. That would require proof of the president’s specific wrongful intent to “secure an unlawful benefit for oneself or another,” according to Professor Turley.

It is certainly possible that during the course of Mr. Mueller’s investigation his investigators will turn up tapes, documents or witnesses clearly establishing President Trump’s criminal state of mind. However, his simply asking for leniency, without more, on behalf of someone he likes would not do it. While ill-advised, President Trump’s advocacy on behalf of Flynn, as well as his many public criticisms of the whole Russian collusion conspiracy theory, evidently had no effect on the continuation of the FBI’s Russia investigation. Neither, for that matter, did President Trump’s firing of Comey, which the president linked to his frustration with the amount of time devoted to that investigation, to the exclusion of an investigation into illegal leaks of classified information.  Acting FBI Director Andrew G. McCabe, a Democrat himself, testified to a congressional committee last week, after Comey was fired, that the FBI had sufficient resources to continue its investigation. He said that the FBI’s work would continue smoothly with most of the same investigatory team still in place.  He added, "there has been no effort to impede our investigation to date." If taken at his word, McCabe’s testimony is a complete refutation that there was any effort from the Trump White House or Justice Department to obstruct the ongoing FBI investigation into Russia’s role and alleged coordination with the Trump team in trying to influence the presidential election.

Ironically, Comey’s own actions and testimony would bolster President Trump’s defense against a charge of obstruction of justice. If Comey thought that the president was committing obstruction of justice by trying to pressure him into dropping the Flynn investigation for improper reasons, Comey had a legal duty to immediately report his suspicion to the Department of Justice. There is no evidence that Comey did so. 

Moreover, Comey testified under oath on May 3rd, before the Senate Judiciary Committee on FBI oversight, that he had not experienced political interference with the FBI’s ongoing investigation activities. He said in response to a question from Hawaii Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono, regarding possible interference with the FBI’s work by the Trump Justice Department, that “where we were told to stop something for a political reason, that would be a very big deal. It's not happened in my experience.”

Now, with the Deputy Attorney General’s appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel, who has been granted a broad investigatory mandate, reasonable people interested in the truth should allow the special counsel’s investigation to proceed wherever the facts take him. He will coordinate with the FBI as he sees fit, while the congressional committees undertaking their own oversight investigations of alleged Russian interference in last year’s presidential campaign can proceed as well. Don’t expect the left and their friends in the mainstream media to act reasonably, however. Their agenda continues to be to take down President Trump at all cost, no matter what the truth ends up to be.

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


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How to Solve the Palestinian Problem - Daniel Greenfield

by Daniel Greenfield

…and bring peace to the Middle East.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.

In 1990, there were half as many Palestinians as Kuwaitis in Kuwait. Two years later there were almost none.

With the support of the international community, some 700,000 Kuwaitis expelled hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their country. If they had not done it, basic arithmetic shows that the Palestinians would have outnumbered Kuwaitis in Kuwait in a generation.

The Palestinians of Kuwait were kidnapped, tortured and killed.  "Kill a Palestinian and Go to Heaven,” became the slogan. When Kuwait was “liberated”, tanks and armored vehicles were sent into the Hawally suburb of Kuwait City known as Little Palestine. Half the buildings were knocked down by bulldozers. Some detained Palestinians were buried in mass graves. The vast majority, including those who had been born in Kuwait, were deported or forced to flee a land they had lived in for a generation.

The violent ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians went mostly unremarked. While the Kuwaitis were ethnically cleansing their Palestinians, they continued to fund Palestinian terror against Israel and condemn Israel for violating the human rights of those they were deporting.

And the world shrugged.

President George H.W. Bush defended Kuwait’s actions. “I think we're expecting a little much if we're asking the people in Kuwait to take kindly to those that had spied on their countrymen that were left there,” he said. This was in the same press conference in which he condemned Israeli “settlements.”

A year later, Israel expelled 400 Hamas members.  Every human rights organization was outraged. The State Department “strongly” condemned Israel. And Israel was forced to take them back.

The Kuwaiti Nakba isn’t much remembered. There are no rallies full of old women clutching house keys to lost homes in Hawally. They had made a bad bet by backing Saddam Hussein. And paid the price for it.

Kuwait refused to allow Palestinian Authority leader Abbas to visit until he apologized for supporting Saddam. And apologize he did. "Yes, we apologize for what we have done," the terror boss whined.

The PLO has yet to apologize to Israel for the Muslim settler role in the attempted 1948 genocide of the indigenous Jewish population and the thousands who were maimed and murdered by its terrorists.

Israel, like Kuwait, should have demanded an admission of guilt from Abbas for the PLO’s crimes.

The Kuwaiti Nakba has much in common with what took place in Israel. Palestinians had arrived in both Kuwait and Israel as a cheap labor force to take advantage of the economic boom of a feudal economy becoming industrialized. The “Palestinians” of Israel were not some ancient people but a mass of migrants, mostly from Israel’s neighbors, but occasionally from as far away as Sudan and Senegal in Africa, who were seeking economic opportunity. The existence of the Afro-Palestinians makes it quite clear that they are not a distinct ethnic or national group, but migrants who came from outside Israel.

Over half of the so-called “Palestinian” population lives outside Israel. Many continue to be economic migrants. That is what brought them to Kuwait. And the Kuwaitis were not the only ones to kick them out. Nor are the “Palestinians” the only migrating group that got caught without a country when the game of national musical chairs ended with a lot of new countries with old names dotting the map.

“Palestinians” embraced an imaginary and ahistorical identity because they had been locked out of every other political setup by new governments and tribal arrangements. And that’s not unique.

Kuwait’s other stateless group are the Bedoon. Like the Palestinians, the Bidoon were migrants. The Kuwaitis chose not to recognize them as citizens. There is one Bidoon for every ten Kuwaitis. But that is typical in a region where large nomadic groups around the region exist outside governmental structures.

In this century, hundreds of thousands of people were displaced in Iraq, Libya and Syria. Many of the countries in the region are on the verge of similar civil wars between quarreling ethnic and religious groups. The mass flow of migrants into Europe is an extension of the migratory nature of the region.

All of these problems have a single cause. That cause is the failure of the Arab Muslim nation state.

This century exposed how fragile and artificial most of the countries whose existence we take for granted, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and Libya, really are. A little instability and they collapse into quarreling tribes. These tribal conflicts have the same root cause as the “Palestinian” problem.

The Palestinian problem can’t be solved without resolving the problem of the Arab Muslim nation state.

The civil wars in Syria and Iraq, the flow of migrants into Europe and the latest itineration of the failed Palestinian peace process all stem from the conflict between the natural tribe and the artificial nation state. The Arab Muslim nation state is incapable of resolving these tribal conflicts.

That is the source of the tyranny, instability and violence in the Middle East.

No amount of concessions or negotiations by Israel will do anything except create more instability. Decades of Israeli concessions have only led to terrorism, violence, death and misery. If Israel ceased to exist tomorrow, the place where it was would be as much of a disaster area as Yemen or Syria.

It’s often pointed out that the Palestinians are a fictional national identity. But the Iraqis, Syrians and many others are equally artificial; historical names attached to fake countries. We weren’t the first Westerners to think that we could fix the Middle East by making them just like us. Before we tried exporting democracy, the British and the French exported nationhood with all the trimmings of flags, constitutions and anthems. Just like Arab Muslim democracy, the Arab Muslim nation state is a farce that spreads misery, instability and violence.

We can best fix the Middle East by ending all the failed efforts to turn it into Europe and America. And reversing them. Stop recognizing Arab Muslim countries that have incompatible populations. They’re dictatorships on the verge of a civil war. And that civil war will eventually drag us in as Iraq and Syria did.

Whenever possible, deal with tribal and other organic regional leaders, not fake national governments. In Iraq, that means an end to the failed policy of only dealing with the Shiite puppet regime in Baghdad while ignoring the Sunni tribal leaders and the Kurdish authorities. That policy helped create ISIS.

We should recognize discrete regions based on the settlement of natural ethnic, religious and tribal identities. There will inevitably be conflict between these tribal territories, but they will claim far fewer lives than Saddam’s efforts to suppress the Shiites and the Marsh Arabs did. Tribes will kill fewer people than a tribal nation state striving to stamp out rivals and competitors with a powerful domestic military.

Borders should not be viewed as permanent. The Middle East is migratory. It is not Europe. An Arab Muslim who moves from Iraq to Syria or flees Kuwait for Jordan is not a refugee. When you start defining every migrant in a region with an extensive nomadic history as a refugee, the end result is the absurdity of the Palestinian refugee cities of Jordan or the million migrants showing up in Europe.

If you go back far enough, everyone in the Middle East is a refugee.

Instead of trying to resettle fake refugees, we should encourage the settlement of discrete territories with natural borders that create physical and defensible divisions between different groups. That rules out any of the lunatic peace schemes for a Palestinian state with a capital in Jerusalem and a territory that cuts through Israel. These plans have failed and will go on failing for the same reason that Iraqis are still killing each other despite our best efforts to talk, bribe and bomb them out of it.

The indigenous Jewish population and the Muslim migrants who settled in Israel are inherently incompatible. The Palestinian problem might be solved somewhere in Jordan or Syria. History and experience tells us it will never be solved in Israel.

The Israeli government should begin distinguishing between the Muslim settler population based not on artificial borders dating back to a particular war but on clan and ethnicity.

The Circassians who migrated to Israel in the 19th century from the Caucasus have not been a problem. These Ottoman military colonists are Muslims, but they serve in the Israeli military and have no interest in joining in the tribal wars of other Muslims against the Jews. The Husayni clan, which gave us Arafat and the Mufti of Jerusalem, has been a source of strife and violence in the region for far too long.

Israel doesn’t have a national problem with the “Palestinians”, it faces threats from marauding clans which dominate the leadership of Islamic terror groups such as the PLO and Hamas. No one has managed to make peace with the Husaynis yet. And they never will.

The first step to solving the Palestinian problem is to recognize that it doesn’t exist. The second is to determine which clans would be more compatible where. That is a process that must take place across the region in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Israel and beyond. And it is far more likely to bring peace than any amount of negotiations and peacekeeping missions.

The great error of Western foreign policy in the region was the belief that stability was best achieved through modernization.  The Arab Muslim world is not going to turn into Europe.

We should let it be what it is. Its tribalism won’t bring peace. But it can limit the scope of its wars.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.


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Should America Underwrite Palestinian Terror? - Abe Katsman

by Abe Katsman

Why is the United States actually subsidizing terror activity by the Palestinians?

It is bad enough that the blood of American and Israeli victims of Palestinian terror is so cheap; it is outrageous that it is subsidized. 

But it is unconscionable that the shedding of American and Israeli blood through Palestinian terror is subsidized with U.S. tax dollars. Yet, unbelievably, the Congressional attempt to rectify this situation through the Taylor Force Act has run into opposition. 

If that sounds implausible, consider some context. Under the 1993 Oslo Accords, Israel made stunning concessions to the Palestine Liberation Organization, then led by Yasser Arafat. Israel allowed the PLO to establish the Palestinian Authority, governing the vast majority of Palestinians. In exchange, Israel was to receive peace: the Palestinians committed to permanently abandon the goal of destroying Israel, and to fight terrorism. 

The world (including the U.S.) has since showered the PA with billions of aid dollars. But rather than pursue actual peace or build a functioning economy, the PA has invested heavily in systemic demonization of Israel and of Jews. For 24 years, the PA has bombarded its population with anti-Semitic, anti-coexistence, pro-“liberation”, and pro-terror propaganda and incitement. It is everywhere, infecting children’s books and TV programming, schoolrooms, textbooks, summer camps, mosques, broadcasts, and newspapers. Terrorists are heroes and role models. Streets, parks, schools and even soccer tournaments are named in honor of the most murderous of them. 

It also infects bank accounts. The most explicit form that the PA’s pro-terror policy takes is payment to terrorists and their families. The PA has codified laws granting regular payments to “anyone incarcerated in [Israel’s] prisons for his participation in the struggle against the occupation.” Under PA law, terrorists are “a fighting sector and an integral part of the fabric of Arab Palestinian society.” 

In this so-called “pay-to-slay” system, the PA provides convicted terrorists and their families with substantial salary and health benefits, free tuition, and, for those sentenced to five or more years, a guaranteed government job upon release from prison. Murderers “earn” over $40,000 per year. Longer terror sentences and greater crimes qualify for higher salaries and positions. The families of “martyrs” receive additional large payments and benefits. 

These payments amount to over $300 million per year -- nearly 10% of the entire PA budget. As it happens, U.S. payments to the Palestinians during the Obama era averaged $400 million per year ($363 million last year). Is there a more obscene use of American tax dollars? 

The PA may not know how to increase GDP, but it has been wildly successful at cultivating a rabidly anti-Israel/anti-Jewish population. (Not to mention anti-American: Palestinians danced in the streets on 9/11.) The “peace” that Israel actually received from the peace process has included a never-ending stream of thousands of attempted Palestinian terror attacks against Israeli targets. Since Oslo, Palestinian attacks have killed over 1,600 Israelis, and wounded some 9,000. (As a fraction of the population, that would be the equivalent of approximately 64,000 American dead -- equal to suffering a 9/11 attack every year -- and 360,000 wounded.) 

In fact, scores of the Palestinians’ victims have been U.S. citizens. Last June, Hallel Ariel, a bright and graceful 13-year old Jewish girl, was asleep in her room in the Israeli town of Kiryat Arba. Mohammad Tarayrah, a 19-year old Palestinian from a nearby village, broke into her home and stabbed her to death in her bed. He was subsequently killed by security forces. For his hands-on, heroic murder of a defenseless, sleeping American-Israeli girl, he was hailed by the Palestinian Authority as a “shahid” (martyr), Islam’s highest honor. 

His mother was interviewed in the aftermath; where one might expect some expression of humanity -- of sadness, shame, regret, or empathy, she only praised her son effusively: “My son is a hero. He made me proud. My son died as a Martyr defending Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, he [my son] has joined the Martyrs before him…Allah willing, all of them will follow this path, all the youth of Palestine. Allah be praised.” 

Congratulations, Mrs. Tarayrah; you’ve just been awarded thousands of dollars, courtesy of the American taxpayer. 

Some weeks prior, Taylor Force, a 28-year old American MBA student, was in Tel Aviv. A Texas native, Force was an Eagle Scout, a West Point graduate, and a U.S. Army officer who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Walking with friends near the beach promenade, he was attacked by 22-year old Bashar Masalha, a Palestinian in Israel illegally, who killed Force and stabbed 10 others before being shot dead by police. The PA declared Masalha to be a hero and martyr, entitling his survivors to substantial payments. 

Force’s parents and sister, already grieving, were appalled at this discovery. They joined with several senators to promote a bill to cut funding to the PA unless the president certifies that the PA is “taking credible steps to end acts of violence against Israeli citizens” and that it had “terminated payments for acts of terrorism against Israeli citizens.” In other words, says the Taylor Force Act, America will no longer play “pay-for-slay.” 

As morally straightforward as this bill may be, it has detractors both in the American and Israeli policy establishments. Opponents fear that cutting off funds could damage the peace process (to the extent one exists), or that it could cause an already weak PA to collapse. Thus, these opponents are effectively asking America to continue to pay diplomatic protection money to preserve the PA, even if it rewards the murderers of Americans. 

Even putting aside the offensiveness of such payments, that seems like a bad bargain. To begin with, a peace process predicated on allowing one side to promote murder of the other is not going anywhere good. 

In addition, the PA has, by design, thoroughly institutionalized sponsorship of terrorism through its incitement, legislation, and budgets. After 24 years of immersion in PA terror-worship, the Palestinian population today is even less prepared for peaceful coexistence with a Jewish state than it was pre-Oslo. Appeasing a PA that will shape yet another generation to glorify terror and martyrdom as the highest manifestations Palestinian identity -- whatever the price in foregone economic, cultural, or political advances -- only leads to a more intractable problem down the road. 

Opponents of the bill are repeating the same mistake made in the early years of the Oslo process, and compounded by the Obama administration: pursuing the process at all costs without requiring accountability from one side. The PA can make empty anti-terror promises all day, but why should it keep those promises when breaking them comes without a price? And where the same unkept promise can be made repeatedly as currency for new concessions? 

If America is serious about battling terrorism around the world, the second-to-last thing we should do is give a green light to the glorification, promotion, and appeasement of terror against a major ally and against dozens of American citizens; the last thing we should do is subsidize it. 

Abe Katsman is an American attorney and political commentator living in Israel. He serves as Counsel to Republicans Overseas Israel.


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The sun shone, the trees blossomed, and the butchers slaughtered - Dr. Mordechai Kedar

by Dr. Mordechai Kedar

The title of this article is taken from the translation of the poem "In the City of Slaughter" written after the 1903 Kishinev pogrom by Israel's national poet, Chaim Nachman Bialik.

Bashar al-Assad is accused of burning bodies in a crematorium. The only new thing in this report is the disclosure that there is a crematorium operating in the Arab world. Up to now, we always thought that crematoria were peculiar to Europe, to be found in Auschwitz, Treblinka, Chelmno, Sobibor and the other death factories built by the efficient, refined and oh-so professional Nazis. Here in the Middle East, we thought, they murder in ordinary ways,shooting, slaughtering, beheading, hanging, strangling, drowning or throwing off roofs. But a crematorium? That's a new one. 

In actual fact, a crematorium is not an instrument of murder. The unfortunates burned in a crematorium have already been murdered, probably by hanging,at least according to the reports leaked from Saydnaya Prison, known in today's Syria as "The Slaughterhouse." Burning the bodies is not meant to murder the victims, but to destroy the evidence of their murder. Turning bodies into ashes is an attempt to cover up the crime, wipe off the fingerprints, erase the marks of torture, and close the investigative file - because there are no bodies.

A crematorium is meant to eliminate the possibility of a grave for the dead person, to ensure that his name will not be engraved on a tombstone, to strangle the required questions about who killed him, where, how and most importantly - why he was killed. A crematorium is meant to allow its operator to be accepted internationally as a legitimate leader, a politician who survived and an equal among those who are "more equal than others," because there are no proofs extant of the Satanic evils for which he is responsible. They have gone up in smoke.

A crematorium can only be operated in a system that silences opinions, where only a select group makes the decisions and a small group of engineers executes them, while the day-to-day running of the system is in the hands of the victims themselves up until the day it is their turn to be eliminated and enter the evidence-destroying assembly line. This ensures that they will not leak information on what they have done and on what has been done to them by others who will themselves be eliminated the same way.

The silence is not only present in the operating system, it also surrounds the decision makers. Does Hezbollah, which makes up the main infantry units fighting for Assad in Syria now, not know what is happening in Saydnaya? Is it possible that the Iranians have no clue as to what Assad is doing there? And let's face it - does anyone believe that the Russians, Assad's lifeline, do not know what is going on in that horrific place?

How many intelligence agencies knew about this crematorium? The Americans? British? French? Germans? Israelis? And if we accept the fact that some of them knew, why did they keep it a secret until now? Who are they afraid of? Putin? Or is it the knowledge that history has placed in their hands that made them - as if bitten by a viper - turn to stone? Did they not believe it? That question brings back memories.

It must be recalled that this is nothing new in Syria. Mass murders occur there every so often, as they do when a closed ethnic group whose rule is illegitimate and rejected as heretic is brought to power by colonialists who just happened to be French in this case. In order for their regime to survive, they slaughter their citizens every once in a while. This is what took place from 1976 to 1982, when Hafez el-Assad's forces and the Muslim Brotherhood rebels slaughtered each other. In mid-June of 1979, the Brotherhood butchered the Alawite regime's soldiers - after carrying out a "selection" in which they took the Muslims out of the firing line - at the Artillery College in Aleppo and the regime slaughtered them en masse during the six years of the rebellion, most notably in the 1982 Hama massacre.

For two years, during 1980 and 1981, buses filled with people would arrive at Tadmor Prison, located out in the desert , but the prison was somehow never full. The passengers were murdered and buried in mass graves located near the prison and close to 20,000 people simply disappeared without a trace during that period. They left behind women who do not know if they are widows or not, parents who do not know if they are bereaved, children who do not know whether they are orphans. That did not prevent Assad the father from preening around the world like a veritable peacock, while leaders begged him to be kind enough to make peace with Israel. He never paid a personal or political price for the six years during which he murdered 50,000 of his own citizens.

But his son, a chip off the old block, has surpassed the father tenfold. His little finger is thicker than his father's waist, as they say in the Middle East - he has already reached the half million mark and has no intention of stopping there. HIs father buried the bodies of the opposition in the desert, but he burns them in a crematorium after torturing them to death and hanging them in his prisons. He has murdered their friends with nerve gas, smothered them with chlorine, brought their houses down upon them with explosives, bombed their residential neighborhoods with artillery, destroyed entire cities filled with people, and sent ten million of them, half the population, into exile and refugeehood, both within Syria and outside it.

And, of course, the world condemns, accuses, and babbles on, with no one doing anything serious to stop him. Obama threatened him with a red line that turned pink, then white, and finally transparent, while Trump attacked an airport one night. That's it.  The world doesn't know, doesn't want to know and perhaps cannot do more than it already has to the mass murderer who hides behind the Russian bear's broad back, a back that vetoes any attempt to condemn, let alone act, against that mass murderer.

What political or personal price has Putin paid for supporting Assad? What has happened to Hezbollah as a result of the mass murders it carries out in Syria? What price has Iran paid for sending fighters to Syria, despite the fact that the United Nations has forbidden Iran from all forms of military export? And when these Assad-supporters regard Syrian citizens as easy prey and pay no price whatsoever for doing so, who is the real guilty party here? Are they the only ones? Or perhaps the guilty include all those who could have done something in addition to empty talk, but did nothing, like Obama, the USA, Europe, Israel and the rest of the world.

Every decision-maker in this world is responsible in some measure for what is happening in Syria, and for the crematorium as well. The ugly faces of the world's cynical and self-aggrandizing leaders are broadcast to us on the media all the time, but from now on we will regard them as those who knew - even if only after the fact - and did nothing to send the bloody Assad regime to hell, where it belongs.

Written for Arutz Sheva, translated by Rochel Sylvetsky, Senior English site consultant, Op-Ed and Judaism editor..

Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. He served in IDF Military Intelligence for 25 years, specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. Thoroughly familiar with Arab media in real time, he is frequently interviewed on the various news programs in Israel.


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The Gender Obsessed West Sets Itself Up for the Rise of Islam - Giulio Meotti

by Giulio Meotti

What does it mean that this gender mania is permeating every corner of Western societies and culture?

  • French authorities imposed on students ridiculous books such as Daddy Wears a Dress. It would have been comical if the following years would not have been so tragic. What, in fact, wrecked these French illusions was Islamic terrorism.
  • The only enemy these French élites knew were patriarchal privileges, since for them "domination" comes only from the white male Europeans.
  • Obsession with gender is a convenient distraction to avoid facing matters that are more difficult and less pleasant. If the West will not commit itself to preserving Western societies and values, it will fall. And its extraordinary progress will be blanketed over by darkness, along with all those gender rights.
Welcome to the progressive "next frontier of 'liberation'", where the most urgent question in Western democracies is "genderism".

North Carolina was subjected to a year of being boycotted, until it withdrew its transgender bathroom law. Last month, the National Union of Teachers in Great Britain asked the government to teach children as young as two new transgender theories. New York recently presented the first "trans-doll". American universities are wracked with hysteria over the correct use of neutral pronouns. Even National Geographic, instead of writing about lions and elephants, started covering the "Gender Revolution". One of the first announcements of Emmanuel Macron, as the French President-elect, was that he would appoint officials from a "gender equal" list.

(Image source: Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)

What does it mean that this gender mania is permeating every corner of Western societies and culture? According to Camille Paglia, the contrarian feminist, it is a sign of the decline of Western civilization. In her new book, Free Women, Free Men, she writes:
"Civilizations have gone through recurrent cycles. Extravaganzas of gender experimentation sometimes precede cultural collapse, as they certainly did in Weimar Germany. Now as then, there are forces aligning outside the borders, scattered fanatical hordes where the cult of heroic masculinity still has tremendous force".
She then asks:
"How has it happened that so many of today's most daring and radical young people now define themselves by sexual identity alone? There has been a collapse of perspective here that will surely have mixed consequences for our art and culture and that may perhaps undermine the ability of Western societies to understand or react to the vehemently contrary beliefs of others who do not wish us well. Transgender phenomena multiply and spread in 'late' phases of culture, as religious, political, and family traditions weaken and civilizations begin to decline".
It is not a coincidence that this obsession with gender grew out of Western culture during the 1990s, the decade of peace and prosperity before 9/11. The decade was free of any existential angst, consumed by the Monica Lewinski scandal and dominated by Francis Fukuyama's "End of History". According to Rusty Reno, editor of First Things, gender ideology is a symbol of our epoch of "weakening", pointing to a globalized future "governed by the hearth gods of health, wealth, and pleasure". The high priests of this ideology, however, did not take into account the rise of radical Islam.

Before the French cities of Paris, Nice and Rouen came under the assault of jihadist groups, the French Socialist government had just one cultural priority: the "ABC of gender equality". The name came from a controversial program that France's women's rights minister, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, had launched in 500 schools.

After approving same-sex marriage, the French government apparently thought it also had to promote a cultural revolution. According to Education Minister Benoît Hamon, who failed miserably in the recent presidential elections, schools are "a battlefield". Half the pupils boycotted "gender theory" lessons. Then French authorities imposed on students ridiculous books such as Daddy Wears a Dress. It would have been comical if the following years would not have been so tragic. What, in fact, wrecked these French illusions was Islamic terrorism.

The effect on Western culture of this gender ideology is the rejection of the critical spirit combined with a kitsch appeal to sentiment against reason. The same gender-obsessed culture refuses to see the burkini as an Islamist tool, and instead turns it into a symbol of human rights. The consequence is that the jihadist threat is perceived merely as an unacceptable disruption of Western lifestyles. Europe risks to losing all its historic gifts: human dignity, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of expression and its colossal culture.

The erotocratic French élites were not prepared for what turned out to be the most severe terror assault since 9/11. France, obsessed with the "ABC of equality", was caught off-guard and ready to be disarmed when terrorists attacked it during the day that celebrates equality. In France, there was simply no public resistance to sharia law and jihadist ideology. Intoxicated with the obsolescence of identity, the only enemy these French élites knew were patriarchal privileges, since for them "domination" comes only from the white male Europeans.

The presidency of Emmanuel Macron has already been hailed by gender activists. "Macron is like a breath of fresh air in this country," said Natacha Henry, a writer on gender issues, at the New York Times. "I think he won because he didn't do any kind of macho performance, and that's what we need."

Anesthetization by an obsession with gender rights further seems to have become a fixture of countries after terror attacks. Soon after jihadists targeted Spain in 2004 and forced it to withdraw troops from Iraq, the Socialist government of Jorge Louis Zapatero embraced the titillation of gender ideology, including gay-friendly "diversity" training at elementary schools. The "Zapatero Project" was based on the "scorn of nature, reinvention of what is human, exaltation of desire". Former U.S. President Barack Obama's years were also marked by an "obsession" with transgender rights. Obsession with gender is a convenient distraction to avoid facing matters that are more difficult and less pleasant.

There is a saying that civilizations can be destroyed from within, rather than by armies from without. If the West will not commit itself to preserving Western societies and values, it will fall. And its extraordinary progress will be blanketed over by darkness, along with all those gender rights.

According to Camille Paglia, "a purely secular culture risks hollowness and, paradoxically, sets itself up for the rise of fundamentalist movements that ominously promise to purify and discipline". Such as -- name it -- radical Islam.
Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.

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