Friday, November 24, 2017

Splitting the spoils of war - Prof. Eyal Zisser

by Prof. Eyal Zisser

Russia's success stemmed from a cynical alliance of interests with Iran and Turkey, three countries barely able to conceal their distrust and even hostility toward the others.

In the past week, Russian President Vladimir Putin has twice reiterated his declaration of victory in Syria. He did so while meeting Syrian President Bashar Assad on Monday, and on Wednesday during his meeting with the presidents of Iran and Turkey.

Putin, however, knows very well that winning the battle is one thing and that establishing peace and restoring stability to a war-torn country is something else entirely. Victory on this front requires more than bombers and cruise missiles, not to mention Iranian fighters. To succeed in the war's aftermath, Putin will need Turkey's goodwill and a certain degree of cooperation from rebel groups, those which somehow survived the Iranian-Russian onslaught.

The job is particularly complex, not just because of the plethora of players active in the Syrian arena – among them Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and, of course, Israel – but mainly due to the fact that Russia's success stemmed from a cynical alliance of interests with Iran and Turkey, three countries barely able to conceal their distrust and even hostility toward the others. It seems the only thing these three allies, or at the very least their leaders, have in common is their unbridled hatred for the United States, against which, even more than against Islamic State, they joined hands in Syria.

Putin, therefore, wants to strike while the iron is still hot – while the sides can still be swayed by his military achievements on the battlefield – and concoct a deal to end the war. To be sure, as long as the coals continue to burn in Syria, Russia's ultimate victory in that country is unassured.

Within the parameters of Putin's deal, each side is supposed to give their fair share. The rebels will have to accept that Assad will remain in power; because Putin does not have the intention, the will or the ability for that matter, to replace him. Assad, for his part, will have to come to terms with the continued existence of rebel-controlled enclaves and recognize them as partners in managing the everyday affairs of the local populations there.

Israel, too, is being asked not to interfere and even accept Iran's continued presence in Syria. In return, the Russians have agreed to keep the Iranians away from Israel's border on the Golan Heights; and it is safe to assume they will still turn a blind eye to Israel's ongoing activity against national security threats on its northern front. It was to this end that Putin spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, as the Russian president considers Israel a partner whose agreement, even if provided under a modicum of protest, is essential to the Russian plan.

Only the Americans are on the outside looking in. Washington has a military presence in Syria and its agreement will be needed for any peace deal. The problem is the lack of clear policy behind this military presence. It is pointless, therefore, to talk to the Americans. Putin will hope to sell his postwar plan to U.S. President Donald Trump when they find the time to speak by phone – if the American president can pay attention long enough.

Prof. Eyal Zisser


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Iranian official: Disarming Hezbollah nonnegotiable - Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff

by Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff 

"Hezbollah must be armed to fight against Lebanon's enemy, which is Israel. Naturally, they should have the best weapons to protect Lebanon's security," Revolutionary Guards chief Mohammad Ali Jafari says

A Hezbollah fighter stands guard with a missile positioned nearby
Archives: Reuters

Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards will play an active role in establishing a lasting "cease-fire" in war-torn Syria, its commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari said, adding that disarming Lebanon's Hezbollah was nonnegotiable, state TV reported on Thursday.

"Hezbollah must be armed to fight against Lebanon's enemy, which is Israel. Naturally, they should have the best weapons to protect Lebanon's security. This issue is nonnegotiable," he said.

Regional tensions have risen in recent weeks between Sunni Muslim monarchy Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran, whose rivalry has wrought upheaval in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Bahrain.

Saudi Arabia has accused the heavily armed Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah of helping Houthi forces in Yemen and playing a role in a ballistic missile attack on the kingdom earlier this month. Iran and Hezbollah both denied the claims.

Jafari repeated Iran's stance on its disputed ballistic missile work, saying the Islamic republic's missile program is for defensive purposes and not up for negotiation.

The program was not part of the 2015 nuclear deal with Western powers under which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of some sanctions.

"Iran will not negotiate its defensive program. There will be no talks about it," he said.

"[French president Emmanuel] Macron's remarks over our missile work is because he is young and inexperienced."

Macron said earlier this month that Tehran should be less aggressive in the region and should clarify the strategy around its ballistic missile program.

Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff


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The Soros District Attorney-Buying Binge - Matthew Vadum

by Matthew Vadum

An investment from the subversive billionaire can cripple local law enforcement for years.

Left-wing currency manipulator George Soros’s push to radically reshape the judiciary and elect extremist district attorneys across the country to weaken law enforcement and protect lawless sanctuary cities is bearing fruit.

Soros has been pouring money into local elections because he supports local efforts to resist U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and wants to cripple police in order to advance the neo-Marxist abstraction known as social justice that simplistically breaks the world down into race, class, and sex or gender. Radicals claim that American laws and institutions are inherently corrupt and that these systems protect, for example, wealthy, white, native-born, non-disabled males at the expense of everyone else.

Soros wants prosecutors to empty prisons and coddle the prisoners who remain, scale back drug prosecutions, lower bail, and eliminate alleged racial disparities in sentencing, among other things.

Getting people who share Soros’s worldview into public office at every level is key to promoting his ugly vision of how America, which he calls “the main obstacle to a stable and just world order,” should look.

Soros’s backing helped elect radical leftist Lawrence (Larry) Krasner (D) as Philadelphia DA this month. Krasner, who quipped that his track record as a civil rights lawyer made him "completely unelectable," somehow managed to best seven other candidates in the primary election.

“Krasner, who has represented Occupy Philadelphia and Black Lives Matter, and has sued the police department more than 75 times, had a major fundraising advantage that was provided almost exclusively by Soros,” the indispensable Joe Schoffstall reported at the Washington Free Beacon.

On the campaign trail, Krasner promised never to seek the death penalty in any criminal case and to keep Philadelphia a lawless sanctuary city. A segment of his platform titled “Resist the Trump Administration” spelled out his plan to “protect immigrants,” “reject the drug war,” and “stand up to police misconduct.”

“As District Attorney, he will work to maintain Philadelphia as a ‘sanctuary city’ and protect the Fourth Amendment rights of all residents, cooperating with federal authorities only to the degree required by law,” according to his campaign website.

“Because legal proceedings can affect the status of immigrants and therefore relations between communities and law enforcement, Larry will take those effects into account when making prosecutorial decisions and setting prosecutorial policy. He will oppose renewal of ICE’s access to the PARS database, a city police database used by ICE to identify ‘deportable’ immigrants.”

In April, Soros gave $1.45 million to the Philadelphia Justice and Public Safety PAC, which was created to support Krasner and listed its address as the Democrat law firm Perkins Coie in the nation’s capital. Soros threw another $214,000 the super PAC’s way in May, bringing his pro-Krasner donations to $1.7 million, “an unusual[ly] high [amount] for the average district attorney race.” It was also the first time a PAC had ever backed a candidate for Philly DA.

The Republican candidate that the William Kunstler wannabe ultimately crushed by a 3-to-1 margin, prosecutor Beth Grossman, spoke in August of her concern that a Krasner win would make the City of Brotherly Love a murder-plagued war zone.

"I have concerns, if he gets elected, my opponent, I don't want us to turn into a Baltimore," Grossman said. "I don't want us to turn into a Chicago.”

Grossman lamented that Soros "knows nothing" about public safety issues in Philadelphia yet he was hurling bushels of cash at her "far-left" opponent.
What really disturbs me is I feel like he's an outside individual who knows nothing about Philadelphia and its specific public safety issues or whatever public safety crisis it's facing comes in with his agenda and backs a far-left candidate who has never prosecuted a criminal case in his 30 year career as a criminal defense attorney.
"Everyone is entitled to the best defense that they can get,” she said, “but this individual, my opponent, has also sued the Philadelphia police department in the city over 75 times and he dislikes law enforcement."

A district attorney's office should “enforce the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania justly and fairly, and to protect the constitutional rights of everybody: victims, witnesses, as well as those accused of crime," not conduct a "grand social experiment," as Soros wants to do in Philadelphia, she said.

The Soros modus operandi is the same in almost every locality, Schoffstall observes. “The financier will establish political action committees, pour money into local races, then turn around and shut them down once the election is over.”

Last year Soros bankrolled the Texas Safety and Justice PAC and threw his support behind Morris Overstreet in the Democrat primary for district attorney in Harris County, Texas, which includes Houston.

When Overstreet, a former judge who was the first black elected to statewide office in Texas since Reconstruction, lost to Kim Ogg, a white woman, Soros put his money on Ogg. Soros associates developed her television ads, and with $878,000 from Soros’s custom-made PAC, she took out the GOP office-holder, Devon Anderson, in the general election.

As a Daily Signal article almost a year ago stated:
On Jan. 1, Ogg will begin to try fulfilling the vision she ran on, promising a “significant culture change” defined by taking a more lenient approach to marijuana possession cases, focusing tax dollars on punishing violent criminals, and making it easier for defendants to get out of jail on bond in a county where 70 percent of inmates cannot afford to free themselves before trial.
According to a Daily Signal analysis, in the 2016 election cycle Soros shelled out almost $11 million in 12 DA races. Democrat candidates backed by Soros ended up winning in 10 of those dozen contests. Soros has also funded district attorney candidates in Florida, Illinois, Mississippi, Louisiana, and New Mexico.

Soros’s plans for sweeping local district attorney races in 2018 was discussed last Friday at the four-day meeting of the super-rich leftists of the Democracy Alliance at upscale La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, Calif.

The Democracy Alliance, which Soros co-founded, is a donors’ collaborative whose members secretly fund left-wing political infrastructure projects, such as think tanks, leadership institutes, and activist groups.

Democracy Alliance president Gara LaMarche, a former Soros lieutenant, wrote in a letter to conference attendees that President Trump's victory a year ago was "the most cataclysmic election of modern history."

There was a 55-minute "Talk with George Soros" listed on the official schedule obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, as well as an hour-long discussion titled, "Prosecutor Races -- Winning Big in 2018?"

The entry for the hour-long panel reads:
Progressive prosecutors are winning – from Florida to Pennsylvania, Texas to Illinois. Bold reform candidates have been propelled by movement players and driven record voter turnout of African-Americans, Latinos, and Millennials - and shifting the political narrative. This caucus will share an early peek at more than 30 hot races, many overlaying other key 2018 battlegrounds! Special guests will explore deeper learnings, hard questions, and how to take the movement to the next level: People's Action Director of Strategic Initiatives Daniel Espinosa, 215 People's Alliance Co-Founder Bryan Mercer, Color Of Change Executive Director Rashad Robinson and Texas Organizing Project Deputy Director Brianna Brown.
DA Partner Chloe Cockburn will moderate.
Texas Organizing Project, by the way, is the successor group to the Texas branch of the criminally corrupt Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), which filed for bankruptcy in 2010.

What exactly was said at the “Winning Big” gabfest has not been reported.

Democracy Alliance members received sad news Nov. 15, the opening day of the organization’s semi-annual investment conference. They learned that Democracy Alliance member and Soros ally Steve Mostyn, 46, a big-spending Texas trial lawyer, had died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

Mostyn and his wife Amber gave millions of dollars to pro-Obama and pro-Hillary Clinton super PACs. Mostyn was a major contributor to groups promoting gun control, abortion, turning Texas Democrat blue, and opposing tort reform.

With Soros, no victories are ever enough to satisfy him.

The Left already dominates large swaths of the courts and the legal profession, but that’s not good enough for Soros. He funds efforts to encourage states to fill their respective supreme courts with judges recommended by invariably left-wing lawyer-driven commissions, as John Gizzi wrote for Capital Research Center (my employer) in 2010.

State courts are powerful and influential. According to the American Justice Partnership, “Approximately 95 percent of civil disputes in America wind up in state courts, giving the judges who hear these cases enormous power over our lives, property, and business affairs.”

State courts led the way in institutionalizing same-sex marriage, ordering jurisdictions to allow it long before the U.S. Supreme Court had the final word with its 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges that compelled all 50 states to recognize a fundamental, constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

In recent weeks 87-year-old Soros saturation-bombed his Open Society Foundations philanthropy with an $18 billion donation, likely guaranteeing OSF will remain one of the most important players in left-wing activism for decades to come. According to the New York Times, this is “one of the largest transfers of wealth ever made by a private donor to a single foundation.”

Even after forking over that huge donation, Soros is still worth $8 billion, according to Forbes, and he is bound to make billions more before he shuffles off this mortal coil.

And then George Soros’s five adult children, Robert (54), Andrea (52), Jonathan (47), Alexander (32), and Gregory (30), whose political views don’t appear to be much different from his own, will be free to continue funding radical causes with their father’s money.

Matthew Vadum, senior vice president at the investigative think tank Capital Research Center, is an award-winning investigative reporter and author of the book, "Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers."


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How Ten Dem (Dumb) Members of Congress Encourage the Use of Child Terrorists - Alan M. Dershowitz

by Alan M. Dershowitz

The bill fails to acknowledge that some of the most barbaric terrorist attacks against Jewish Israelis have been committed by Palestinian teens who have been recruited by terrorist leaders.

  • Now ten members of the "progressive caucus" of the Democratic Party are trying to give these terrorist leaders another reason for using even younger terrorists to kill even more innocent civilians.
  • The bill fails to acknowledge that some of the most barbaric terrorist attacks against Jewish Israelis have been committed by Palestinian teens who have been recruited by terrorist leaders.
  • Israel has a right — according to international law — to protect its citizens from constant terror attacks, even those committed by young Palestinians. Indeed, it has an obligation to do so.
Palestinian terrorist leaders often use teenagers to commit acts of terror because they know that the Israeli legal system treats child terrorists more leniently than adult terrorists. Now ten members of the "progressive caucus" of the Democratic Party are trying to give these terrorist leaders another reason for using even younger terrorists to kill even more innocent civilians.

On November 14, Representative Betty McCollum introduced legislation co-sponsored by nine other "progressive" members of Congress — calling on the State Department to "prevent United States tax dollars from supporting the Israeli military's ongoing detention and mistreatment of Palestinian children." In a statement about the proposed legislation McCollum said:
"This legislation highlights Israel's system of military detention of Palestinian children and ensures that no American assistance to Israel supports human rights violations...Peace can only be achieved by respecting human rights, especially the rights of children. Congress must not turn a blind eye the unjust and ongoing mistreatment of Palestinian children living under Israeli occupation."
It is well established that recruiting and using young Palestinians to wage terror on Israeli civilians is part of the modus operandi of Palestinian terrorist leaders. For decades, members of the radical Palestinian political and religious leadership have been stirring up young people to wage war against the Jews and their nation state. This was seen in the gruesome Intifada that began in 2000, in which Palestinian teenagers committed dozens of attacks against Jewish Israelis on buses, in cafes and at nightclubs. More recently—in what has become known as the 'lone-wolf' intifada — children as young as 13 have stabbed Israelis with scissors, screwdrivers and knives with the aim of inflicting maximum harm.

Legislation proposed by members of the "progressive caucus" — entitled "Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act" — does not explicitly state what constitutes a child within the context of its proposed cut in U.S. to Israel. While noting that children between the ages of 12-17 are held and prosecuted by Israeli military courts, the bill fails to acknowledge that some of the most barbaric terrorist attacks against Jewish Israelis have been committed by Palestinian teens who have been recruited by terrorist leaders. Consider the terrorists attack that took place over this past summer in Halamish (an hour outside Jerusalem) where a Palestinian in his late teens — from a nearby PA-controlled village — chose a Jewish house at random;, and fatally stabbed three members of a family as they ate Shabbat dinner. The Palestinian "child" murderer also wounded several other family members, while one mother hid her young children in an upstairs room until the terrorist left. This scene of carnage is reminiscent of a similar attack that occurred only six years earlier when two Palestinian teens armed with knives broke into the Fogel family home in Itamar as they slept on Friday night; the teens butchered the mother, father and three of their children — including a three-month-old baby as she slept in her crib.

As a result of such terrorist attacks by Palestinian teenagers, Israel has had to introduce legislation to deal with minors who commit grave attacks. In August 2016, the Israeli parliament (Knesset) passed a bill allowing imprisonment of terrorists as young as 12. The bill also allows for leniency. The courts can not only postpone the convicted minor's transfer date from a closed holding facility to prison, but can also shorten or cancel the prison sentence altogether, if warranted by the circumstances.

When introducing the law in the Knesset, MK Anat Berko said:
"This law was born of necessity. We have been experiencing a wave of terror for quite some time. A society is allowed to protect itself. To those who are murdered with a knife in the heart it does not matter if the child is 12 or 15. We've witnessed numerous cases where 11-year-old children were suicide bombers. Perhaps this law will also do something to protect these children from being used to slaughter people."
In a desperate effort to justify her proposed legislation Congresswoman McCollum argued that, "peace can only be achieved by respecting human rights, especially the rights of children." McCollum's hypocrisy in this context is palpable. She claims to be an advocate for "the rights of children." Yet the Congresswoman refuses to acknowledge or condemn the Palestinian leadership for perpetrating acts of child abuse by recruiting children to commit terror attacks on Jewish women and children. She expressed no outrage when members of the Palestinian leadership have been caught posting material on social media inciting and encouraging young Palestinians to go out onto the streets and stab Israelis. McCollum failed to protest when Hamas set up training camps — under the mantra "Vanguards of Liberation" — aimed at training children as young as 15 to use weapons against Israel, or when children in Gaza were crushed to death when the terror tunnels they were recruited to build by the Hamas leadership, collapsed on their bodies.

So I ask: what do these members of Congress think Israel should do? If children as young as 13 or 14 were roaming the streets of New York, Los Angeles or Boston stabbing elderly women as they shopped at the supermarket or waited at a bus stop, would they protest the apprehension and prosecution of the perpetrators? Of course not. No country in the world would tolerate terror in its cities, regardless of the age of the terrorists. Israel has a right — according to international law — to protect its citizens from constant terror attacks, even those committed by young Palestinians. Indeed, it has an obligation to do so.

If Israel were to be punished for trying to protect its citizens from teenage terrorists, it would further incentivize terrorist leaders to keep using children in pursuit of their key objective: wiping the Israel off the map. Meanwhile, rather than condemning the abhorrent and unlawful use of children as pawns in this deadly process, this group chose to single out only the nation-state of the Jewish people for punishment, as it tries to protect its own citizens from indiscriminate terror attacks. People of good faith on both sides of the aisle should call out this double standard for what it really is: an attack on Jewish victims of teenage terrorism and their state. For shame on this group of biased anti-Israel "progressive" Democrats, which include the following members of Congress: Mark Pocan (WI), Earl Blumenauer (OR), André Carson (IN), John Conyers, Jr. (MI), Danny K. Davis (IL), Peter A. DeFazio (OR), Raul Grijalva, Luis V. Gutiérrez (AZ), and Chellie Pingree (ME). They give a bad name to the Democratic Party, to the Progressive Caucus and to Congress.

(Image source: Fox News video screenshot)

Alan M. Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School and author of, "Trumped Up! How Criminalization of Political Differences Endangers Democracy," which is now available.


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Promoting the Hijab in Norway - Bruce Bawer

by Bruce Bawer

And with the public's money, no less.

Her name is Faten Mahdi Al-Hussaini. She's twenty-two years old, she lives in Oslo, she wears a hijab, she's praised the Ayatollah Khomeini and blamed Jews for all the world's travails – and she's the newest star on the state-owned, public-funded Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK).

In the run-up to the recent parliamentary elections, Faten was tapped to be the host for a four-episode TV series about the campaign. The show, aimed largely at young people, was called Faten Tar Valget. The title is a play on words: since valg can mean both “election” and choice,” the title can be translated both as “Faten Takes on the Election” and “Faten Makes the Decision.” The premise was that after talking to political experts and representatives of all the major political parties, she would figure out which of the parties she wanted to support. “Faten is a strong young voice in the Norwegian public square,” said NRK official Håkon Moslet. “She is unusually brave and has demonstrated the ability both to confront and to build bridges.”

Faten's election series wasn't her introduction to the limelight. She first made headlines three years ago, when, addressing a demonstration in Oslo, she served up a full-throated condemnation of ISIS. You might consider criticizing ISIS a no-brainer, but when it's done by a hijab-clad girl in Norway she becomes a superstar – instant proof that European Muslims are overwhelmingly on the side of the angels. Alas, Faten's debut on the media stage didn't go off without a hitch: after her ISIS speech, people began looking into her background, and a few dicey details turned up. For one thing, she belonged to a Shia mosque whose Iranian-trained imams preach hatred of the West and support Tehran-backed terrorism. At a debate following the massacre of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in Paris, she'd expressed sympathy for them – kind of – but had also argued that they'd “paid the price for expressing themselves too coarsely.” That wasn't all: on her Facebook page, she had called Khomeini “a legend” and had shared a friend's suggestion that ISIS carry out its jihad in “Palestine” (i.e., Israel). Also, she had a record of open Jew-hatred.

But none of that, apparently, bothered the NRK bigwigs overmuch. They professed to be shocked when their decision to let Faten host a TV show – and in hijab, no less – caused a massive public backlash. The government-appointed Broadcasting Council, whose job it is to pass judgment on controversial actions by NRK, received thousands of complaints. Many of the complainants were Christians who pointed out that NRK had previously refused to let another on-camera host wear a tiny cross around her neck. But the Christians weren't alone. Mahmoud Farahmand, a Conservative politician with a Muslim background, also complained. Farahmand, who as a child fled revolutionary Iran with his parents and who supports a hijab ban, charged (correctly) that the Norwegian media and government are always treating the most fanatically pious Muslims as representatives and spokespeople for their co-religionists. Another Iranian-Norwegian politician, the Progress Party's Mazyar Keshvari, noted that Faten had been the director of Stand 4 Hussain, a group that supports brutal punishment of those who violate sharia law.

Even before the Broadcasting Council had ruled on Faten's hijab, one of its members, writer Elin Ørjasæter, a prominent critic of Islam, quit in protest against NRK's public response to Faten's critics, whom the network represented as bigots. NRK's head honcho, Thor Gjermund Eriksen, called those critics “dark forces in society.” In any event, the council eventually gave a thumbs-up to NRK's decision to allow Faten's hijab. Her TV series went forward, and it garnered predictably glowing reviews from Norway's mainstream media. Dismissing the fuss over her hijab as a silly distraction, the country's largest newspaper, VG, called the show “useful” and “honest.” At the end of the series, Faten announced which political party she'd decided to back. Surprise! She went with Labor, for which NRK is basically a mouthpiece. (Many Norwegians whimsically refer to NRK as ARK, an acronym for “Labor Party Broadcasting Corporation.”)

Did NRK have any second thoughts about putting Faten on TV? Perish the thought. She's their new star. On November 11, the network aired a half-hour documentary all about her and hijab. The cutesy, rhyming title – Faten Tar Praten – could loosely be translated as “Faten Discusses It.” The show consisted largely of chummy chitchats on Oslo sidewalks with other young Muslim women who wear hijab. Most of them made light of the garment, suggesting that it doesn't hold any heavy meaning for them – it's just something that's become a habit, something that makes them feel comfortable. To be sure, there were (to NRK's credit) moments of honesty about “honor culture.” One young woman who sometimes removes her hijab in public – and who refused to be shown on camera – admitted that if her parents knew she was living this “double life” they would take her out of school, “dump” her in their homeland, and no longer consider her their daughter. Faten herself admitted that she wouldn't be welcome in some social circles if she took off her hijab. But she was clearly not interested in examining that fact too closely.

Her most substantial encounter was with yet another Iranian-born Norwegian – Æsæl Manouchehri, the female, non-hijab-wearing secretary-general of an Oslo-based organization whose name translates as Equality Integration Diversity. Interviewed in her home, Æsæl pointed out that in Iran women can be “stoned, killed, butchered, and whipped because a few strands of their hair are showing.” When Faten asserted that most women wear hijab out of personal choice, Æsæl firmly disagreed: “In Iran, they're all forced [to wear hijab], and there are 80 million people there.” Faten was visibly uneasy about the whole exchange. When Æsæl pointed out that being criticized for wearing hijab in Norway hardly makes Faten a victim on the same scale as Iranian women who are executed for not wearing it, Faten agreed – but her agreement seemed halfhearted. She asked Æsæl: if Iran forced women not to wear hijab, would she fight that, too? Absolutely, Æsæl replied.

After the interview, Faten told the camera: “I have found out that hijab can definitely be used to oppress women.” (She'd just now found that out?) But she quickly added that not all women who wear hijab are being forced to do so. Indeed, the message NRK plainly wanted to convey at the end of this program was that hijab doesn't necessarily have anything to do with politics or family compulsion or female subjugation. Yes, being forced to wear a hijab is bad, but being forced not to wear one would be equally bad. What the hijab itself signifies depends upon the wearer. In short, NRK (a network funded entirely by hefty license fees squeezed out of any already heavily taxed population) was obviously determined to normalize – to Norwegianize – the hijab. And this documentary was just one brief, fleeting portion of a long-term campaign of dhimmi propaganda by the official European media, which seek to put a pretty, innocent-looking face on the very ugliest and most malignant aspects of Islam.

Bruce Bawer is the author of “While Europe Slept,” “Surrender,” and "The Victims' Revolution." His novel "The Alhambra" has just been published.


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Deobandis Meet in Virginia to Incite Violence Against Persecuted Islamic Minority - Sam Westrop

by Sam Westrop

The jihad against Ahmadiyya Muslims

On November 18, clerics and congregants from Islam's Deobandi movement met in Alexandria, VA, to denounce and threaten Ahmadiyya Muslims, a peaceful and much-persecuted Islamic group.

The conference, which was livestreamed, featured Pakistani, American and Canadian clerics from the Deobandi sect, an Islamic movement first established in South Asia. An American Deobandi imam from the Noor Mosque in Springfield, VA, told the conference that Ahmadis had conspired to stop Muslims from "fighting Jihad and committing bloodshed." For most audiences, this would be an endorsement. But not at this conference.

Undercover footage taken by Ehsan Rehan, editor of the Rawbah Times, reveals speakers claiming that Ahmadi Muslims are "infidels," condemning America as "land of infidels" and stating: "They are ignorant and there is no need for dialogue with them. God has given them two options: one is the holy book and one is the stick, and if one does not accept the holy book they have to be forced."

Literature at the conference urged supporters not to vote in elections for non-Muslim candidates, including those Muslims "declared as non-Muslim by scholars."

The conference was organized by two Virginia institutions, both of which enjoy tax-exempt status: Idara Dawat-O-Irshad and the Khatme Nubuwwat Center. Both organizations openly incite hatred against Ahmadi Muslims. And as the name of the latter illustrates, both mosques are affiliated with Khatme Nubuwwat (KN), an international organization headquartered in Pakistan, which exists solely to incite hatred against Ahmadi Muslims.

"Khatme Nubuwwat" means "Finality of the Prophecy" – referring to the tenet held by most Islamic sects that there can be no prophet after Muhammad. Ahmadi Muslims, however, believe there was in fact another prophet after Muhammad. This belief, the KN conference was told by Canadian imam Usman Ahsan, is "enough to wage war" against them.

Photo by Ehsan Rehan of the Rabwah Times
Pakistani cleric Qareeb ur Rehman added that "those who claimed prophethood after Prophet Muhammad were not only given death sentences but were actually killed." Another Pakistani cleric, Habib-ur-Rehman Ludhianvi, urged American Muslims to go before American courts to "explain that Qadianis [Ahmadis] are disrespecting Islam ... It should be made criminal for them to do so."
The conference in Virginia took place just a day after Pakistan's National Assembly voted to restore laws requiring Ahmadi Muslims to "sign a declaration stating [their belief], failing which their name shall be deleted from the joint electoral rolls and added to a supplementary list of voters in the same electoral area as non-Muslim." The law is known as the "Khatme Nabuwwat declaration."

KN is run by clerics and followers of two South Asian Islamic sects: the Deobandis and the Barelvis. The Deobandis are a hardline sect from which the Taliban spawned. According to research conducted by Ejaz Hussain at the University of Pennsylvania, although it is estimated only about 20% of Muslims in Pakistan are Deobandi, an astonishing 90% of terrorist operatives are from Deobandi backgrounds. The Barelvis, meanwhile, are generally (and perhaps mistakenly) considered to be more moderate. They are vehemently opposed to Deobandis, and a great deal of Pakistani politics revolves around the violent enmity between the two sects.

Despite these internecine hatreds, however, both the Deobandis and Barelvis put aside their differences for one cause: inciting violence against Ahmadis. KN is the product of this unholy alliance.

Across the world, Ahmadis have been attacked, forced out of their homes and subjected to oppressive laws targeting them for their beliefs. KN is behind much of this. In Pakistan, simply to be an Ahmadi is to be guilty of blasphemy – a crime that, partly because of the continued lobbying by KN, remains a capital offence. Since the 1950s, in fact, KN has continuously organized anti-Ahmadi riots and attacks and lodged blasphemy charges against Ahmadi activists. Today, KN distributes leaflets in both Pakistan and Britain advocating that Ahmadis should be killed.

Extremists listen to this invective. In 2010, Deobandi terrorists murdered over 90 Ahmadis in simultaneous attacks against two Ahmadi mosques in Pakistan. In 2016, an Ahmadi shopkeeper named Asad Shah was stabbed to death in the Scottish city of Glasgow. Just hours before he was murdered, Shah wrote "Happy Easter" on his Facebook account to his "beloved Christian nation." The murderer, Tanveer Ahmed, belonged to Dawat-e-Islami, an extreme Barelvi group that has endorsed KN. In response to Shah's killing, the British branch of KN applauded the crime and stated: "Congratulations to all Muslims."

This violent international network has found a home in the United States. Other KN mosques include Darul Ifta Khatm-e-Nubuwwat in Queens, NY; Masjid Khatm e Nubuwwat in Brooklyn; and Aalami Majlise Tahafuze Khatme Nubuwwat in San Gabriel, CA. These are just the ones we know about. There may be many more. How long will it be before, just as in Scotland, an American Ahmadi Muslim is murdered for his beliefs?

Journalists, politicians and faith leaders in America are endlessly searching for Muslim partners. Often, they turn to Islamists who deceptively present themselves as the leaders of American Muslims, from whom they have no actual mandate.

The truth is that Islam is incredibly diverse. It comprises many dozens of competing political groups and religious sects. American Muslims can be represented by no single group or movement. And just as American Islam includes extreme movements such as the Deobandis and KN, there are also moderate and tolerant groups, such as the Ahmadiyya.

In the fight against Islamist terror and the lawful extremism that underpins it, America needs Muslim allies. What better way for our policymakers to promote a moderate Islamic sect and disempower the extremists than by embracing Ahmadi Muslims? They may be a minority within American Islam, but they are no less unrepresentative than the Islamists.

Sam Westrop is the Director of Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.


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How Israel busted the ISIS plot to turn laptops into airborne bombs, as per Vanity Fair - debkaFile

by debkaFile

Another great save thanks to Israeli intelligence operations

Last February, two Israeli Sikorsky CH-55 helicopters carried Sayeret Matkal commandos and a Mossad technical team into Syria via Jordan. The magazine Vanity Fair carries hitherto unpublished operational details of their covert mission, describing it as leading to the discovery that ISIS terrorists were working on transforming laptop computers into bombs that could pass undetected through airport security.

“Their target: an ISIS cell that was racing to get a deadly new weapon thought to have been devised by Ibrahim al-Asiri, the Saudi national who was al-Qaeda’s master bombmaker in Yemen,” the magazine reports. “The helicopters carrying the blue-and-white units came down several miles from their target. Two jeeps bearing Syrian Army markings were unloaded, the men hopped in, and, hearts racing, they drove as if it had been the most natural of patrols into the pre-dawn stillness of an enemy city.” Vanity Fair, admitting that “the operational details are sparse, and even contradictory,” quoted one source as saying “the actual room where the ISIS cell would meet was spiked, a tiny marvel of a microphone placed where it would never be noticed. Another maintained that an adjacent telephone junction box had been ingeniously manipulated so that every word spoken in a specific location would be overheard.

“US Homeland Security officials—quickly followed by British authorities—banned passengers traveling from an accusatory list of Muslim-majority countries from carrying laptops and other portable electronic devices larger than a cell phone on arriving planes. It would not be until four tense months later, as foreign airports began to comply with new, stringent American security directives, that the ban would be lifted on an airport-by-airport basis.

Newly elected US President Donald Trump was slammed at the time for “blurting” the content of a classified, and highly sensitive, Israeli intelligence operation to two high-ranking Russian envoys, Sergey Kislyak and Sergey Lavrov.

DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources add these comments:

  1. Vanity Fair sets the record straight on Trump’s words to the two Russian diplomats at the White House on May 10. “I get great intel,” the president boasted. “I have people brief me on great intel every day.” The president did not name the US partner who had spearheaded the operation, only the broad outlines of the plot, the magazine reports. But he did, problematically, identify the specific city in ISIS-held territory where the threat had been detected, which will have given Russian intelligence a lead to Israel’s intelligence source. This may have been passed on to Moscow’s ally in Syria, Iran. The magazine describes Israeli officials as being “up in arms” over Trump’s “betrayal” and the danger of exposing their secret source. One military official is quoted as saying “And if we can’t trust him, then we’re going to have to do what is necessary on our own if our back is up against the wall with Iran.” The incident was seized on and blown out of proportion in order to show Donald Trump in the worst possible light. Our intelligence sources comment that Trump is not the first or last politician to “blurt” confidential data in the wrong ears. He was then only four months in office, and after being thoroughly reproved, he will have learned to be more careful.
  1. That particular Israeli mission is one of many that are part of the routine work of Israeli intelligence – and not just in Syria, but sometimes much farther afield
  2. ISIS’ bomb expert Al Asiri was known to be working on turning laptops into airborne ticking bombs as far back as 2008.
  3. Vanity Fair argues that by blowing Israel’s covert operation to Tehran, Moscow could have tipped Iran and Israeli into a military clash, because the Iranians would not put up with Israeli clandestine activity in Syria. This claim does not hold water. Iranian intelligence must be fully aware of Israel’s covert operations in Syria without any tip-off from Moscow.



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Domestic unrest: Iran's worst nightmare - Keyvan Salami

by Keyvan Salami

Iranians see new reasons for hope in Donald Trump

The threats posed by Iran in the Middle East through its support for terrorism, extremism and Islamic fundamentalism are undeniable. Its continued backing of various militias has established for Tehran a so-called Shiite crescent across the region. Growing domestic unrest, especially after the recent quake that shook western Iran, is plaguing the regime and showing the international community Iran’s main chink in the armor.

This was also witnessed on October 29th as the regime launched a massive crackdown effort to prevent any gathering marking International Cyrus Day, in memory of an ancient Persian ruler known to be the author of the world’s first human rights charter.

Reports indicate that Iran deployed thousands of Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), Basij, and Intelligence Ministry members alongside hordes of plainclothes agents to prevent any possible gathering mirroring the 2016 scenario on this same day.

Iran also resorted to a media campaign inside the country and abroad, claiming to have quelled a plot by “foreign-based dissidents and currents opposing the establishment,” as explained in a leaflet distributed by state police warning against any rallies.

Further domestic unrest is witnessed in the growing number of protests by ordinary investors seeing their life savings in state-run institutes plundered. Protests are mushrooming in cities across the country, responded to by the regime with arrests and harsh measures against crowds whose numbers are growing with each rally.

The Iranian regime has usurped billions from ordinary people’s investments to fuel its wars across the region. After 38 years, this has left the Iranian populace suffering tremendously with no light at the end of the tunnel.
“The middle-class in Iran has been all but extinguished,” a report indicates, adding that a large majority of Iran’s 80-million populace currently lives in poverty. City walls across the country are being filled with offers of people willing to sell various body parts, such as kidneys for $2,000, to literally make ends meet.

Iran is also widely known for its practice of repressing ethnic and religious minorities, involving harsh persecution, cruel discrimination, and ongoing cultural and economic marginalization. Tehran’s regime also resorts to a higher level of human rights violations in issuing long prison terms, imposing torture, public hangings, and even mass executions.

Iran’s “moderate” Hassan Rouhani is known to have carried out over 3,100 executions during his tenure as the regime’s president.

Iran is forced to such measures, knowing clearly it lacks any social base. One such case was witnessed when Rouhani’s top diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted about all Iranians being IRGC following the force’s blacklisting by Washington.

The response by Iranians mostly inside the country was a display of sheer defiance against the regime, and how people view the IRGC as an entity terrorizing not only nations throughout the Middle East, but also Iranians at home.

Developments across the globe in the past year or so have made Iranians realize times are changing. For eight years Iran’s regime fed off the engagement policy adopted by the Obama administration. This gave a green light to Tehran for domestic crackdowns and foreign meddling. While Obama turned his back on the Iranian people, especially during the 2009 uprisings, the U.S. administration under President Donald Trump has time and again voiced their support and solidarity with Iranian people.

On three different occasions, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has voiced the Iranian people’s desire for freedom.

“There are strong feelings and values inside of Iran that we want to promote in terms of one day the Iranian people being able to retake control of their government,” he said during his late October trip to India.

President Donald Trump has in the United Nations General Assembly and his October 13th Iran policy speech communicated solidarity with the Iranian population, describing them as the first victims of the regime’s atrocities.
“…we stand in total solidarity with the Iranian regime’s longest-suffering victims: its own people. The citizens of Iran have paid a heavy price for the violence and extremism of their leaders. The Iranian people long to -- and they just are longing, to reclaim their country’s proud history, its culture, its civilization, its cooperation with its neighbors.”
As seen on a daily basis, the Iranian people are voicing their discontent and defiance of this regime, and especially Rouhani’s hollow promises. A repeat of the 2009 uprising is a nightmare from the ruling regime’s point of view.

It is time for the international community to take advantage of this great opportunity and support the Iranian people’s demands to establish a true government based on freedom, human rights, and democracy.

Keyvan Salami


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