Saturday, March 3, 2018

The Legal Case for Striking North Korea First - John R. Bolton

by John R. Bolton

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said in January that Pyongyang was within "a handful of months" of being able to deliver nuclear warheads to the U.S. How long must America wait before it acts to eliminate that threat?

The Winter Olympics' closing ceremonies also concluded North Korea's propaganda effort to divert attention from its nuclear-weapons and ballistic-missile programs. And although President Trump announced more economic sanctions against Pyongyang last week, he also bluntly presaged "Phase Two" of U.S. action against the Kim regime, which "may be a very rough thing."

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said in January that Pyongyang was within "a handful of months" of being able to deliver nuclear warheads to the U.S. How long must America wait before it acts to eliminate that threat?

Pre-emption opponents argue that action is not justified because Pyongyang does not constitute an "imminent threat." They are wrong. The threat is imminent, and the case against pre-emption rests on the misinterpretation of a standard that derives from prenuclear, pre-ballistic-missile times. Given the gaps in U.S. intelligence about North Korea, we should not wait until the very last minute. That would risk striking after the North has deliverable nuclear weapons, a much more dangerous situation.

People watch a television broadcast, reporting on North Korea's test-launch of its new ICBM and the range of the missile, on November 29, 2017 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

In assessing the timing of pre-emptive attacks, the classic formulation is Daniel Webster's test of "necessity." British forces in 1837 invaded U.S. territory to destroy the steamboat Caroline, which Canadian rebels had used to transport weapons into Ontario.

Webster asserted that Britain failed to show that "the necessity of self-defense was instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means, and no moment of deliberation." Pre-emption opponents would argue that Britain should have waited until the Caroline reached Canada before attacking.

Would an American strike today against North Korea's nuclear-weapons program violate Webster's necessity test? Clearly not. Necessity in the nuclear and ballistic-missile age is simply different than in the age of steam. What was once remote is now, as a practical matter, near; what was previously time-consuming to deliver can now arrive in minutes; and the level of destructiveness of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons is infinitely greater than that of the steamship Caroline's weapons cargo.

Timing and distance have long been recognized as surrogate measures defining the seriousness of military threats, thereby serving as criteria to justify pre-emptive political or military actions. In the days of sail, maritime states were recognized as controlling territorial waters (above and below the surface) for three nautical miles out to sea. In the early 18th century, that was the farthest distance cannonballs could reach, hence defining a state's outer defense perimeter. While some states asserted broader maritime claims, the three-mile limit was widely accepted in Europe.

Technological developments inevitably challenged maritime-state defenses. Over time, many nations extended their territorial claims, but the U.S. adhered to the three-mile limit until World War II. After proclaiming U.S. neutrality in 1939, in large measure to limit the activities of belligerent-power warships and submarines in our waters, President Franklin D. Roosevelt quickly realized the three-mile limit was an invitation for aggression. German submarines were sinking ships off the coast within sight of Boston and New York.

In May 1941, Roosevelt told the Pan-American Union that "if the Axis Powers fail to gain control of the seas, then they are certainly defeated." He explained that our defenses had "to relate . . . to the lightning speed of modern warfare." He scoffed at those waiting "until bombs actually drop in the streets" of U.S. cities: "Our Bunker Hill of tomorrow may be several thousand miles from Boston." Accordingly, over time, Roosevelt vastly extended America's "waters of self defense" to include Greenland, Iceland and even parts of West Africa.

Similarly in 1988, President Reagan unilaterally extended U.S. territorial waters from three to 12 miles. Reagan's executive order cited U.S. national security and other significant interests in this expansion, and administration officials underlined that a major rationale was making it harder for Soviet spy ships to gather information.

In short, both Roosevelt and Reagan acted unilaterally to adjust to new realities. They did not reify time and distance, or confuse the concrete for the existential. They adjusted the measures to reality, not the reverse.

Although the Caroline criteria are often cited in pre-emption debates, they are merely customary international law, which is interpreted and modified in light of changing state practice. In contemporary times, Israel has already twice struck nuclear-weapons programs in hostile states: destroying the Osirak reactor outside Baghdad in 1981 and a Syrian reactor being built by North Koreans in 2007.

This is how we should think today about the threat of nuclear warheads delivered by ballistic missiles. In 1837 Britain unleashed pre-emptive "fire and fury" against a wooden steamboat. It is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current "necessity" posed by North Korea's nuclear weapons by striking first.
This article first appeared in The Wall Street Journal

John R. Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is Chairman of Gatestone Institute, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and author of "Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad".


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The two-state solution's inconvenient truths - Dr. Yale Zussman

by Dr. Yale Zussman

Because of the basis of "Palestinian" national identity, the two-state solution basically makes peace impossible. The objective factors that preclude a two state soluton should have been obvious to anyone analyzing the situation.

As long as there was some hope that negotiation could produce a solution to the conflict with the Arabs, Israel and it supporters generally refrained from calling attention to several objective factors that have always made the so-called "two-state" solution impossible. In the wake of UNSCR 2334 and several more recent developments, the prospects of successful negotiations have dimmed further, even with all the talk of the Trump Plan, so the time has come to call attention to those factors.

There are five objective factors, "inconvenient truths" if you like, that preclude a successful "two-state" solution that should have been obvious to anyone thinking about the issue seriously:

1. Opposition to Jewish rights in the region comes, at least in part, from religious sources. Hajj Amin al-Husseini, who led the Arabs during the Mandate, was a religious authority and appealed to his people to oppose the Jews using religious terminology. For Muslims, the entire Land of Israel is a Muslim waqf or religious trust, territory that, having been conquered by the Muslim sword, can never revert to its previous and rightful owners. As long as that belief isn't countered, no Muslim can accept that Jews will rule anywhere in the Land. The conflict over security for the Temple Mount complex is a manifestation of this problem as is the dispute over recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Both are largely driven by theological, even eschatological, factors because they directly challenge this Muslim belief.

There can be no peace between Muslims and Jews that fails to address the Islamic dimension of the problem. It is possible that finding an answer here will provide insights enabling solution of the other apparently intractable problems of the Muslim world. Given what is going on in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, etc., such insights cannot come too soon. The Arab-Israeli conflict is a result of the same factors that generated those others, and not the cause of them. Conventional wisdom has had it exactly backwards. Establishing a Palestinian state would do nothing about this issue.

2. The demographics of the region require that either Israel or the putative Palestinian state be non-contiguous. While it is topologically possible to make both states contiguous, by exchanging the Jordan River valley for territory linking Gaza and Judea, the absurd borders this will produce, and the need to move tens, or hundreds, of thousands of citizens to get there, guarantee that this will not be done. The contiguity problem led to the Partition Commission's clever, possibly elegant, but conceptually flawed, borders in 1947. Because the wider region is mainly Muslim, it is more important that Israel remain contiguous, which it currently is, and that means that any Palestinian state established must consist of non-contiguous pieces.

Non-contiguity enables separate development in economics and culture at the very least, and these lead to divergent political paths. We see this phenomenon in "Palestine" with the Islamist Hamas controlling Gaza and the avowedly secular PA in power on the 'West Bank'. As long as "Palestine" is conceived as a single entity, the groups ruling its two lobes must compete for control of both by upping the ante against Israel, because hostility to the Jews is the only issue that unites their various peoples.

The track record of non-contiguous states is rather bad. The most obvious examples are Pakistan, from which Bangladesh seceded in a bloody war in 1971, and Germany and East Prussia, which contributed to the outbreak of World War II. Non-contiguity, by itself, may guarantee that the putative Palestine will be a failed state almost from birth. In turn, that makes the notion of a "Palestinian state" part of the problem, rather than part of the solution.

3. A solution to the conflict that includes Israeli withdrawal to the Green Line, division of Jerusalem, and withdrawal of all the settlers to enable the establishment of a fully militarized Palestinian state along the 1967 lines, what "two-state" solution advocates claim they want, and what is envisioned in the 2002 Arab initiative and UNSCR 2334, would demonstrate that the cause of all Palestinian suffering, for the last 49 years, if not since 1949, is the unwillingness of their leaders to make peace with Israel: This is the solution they could have had in 1967, or even 1949, but chose not to pursue.

Such a solution would mean that all Arab "suffering" since 1967, or even 1949, is the result of decisions made by their leaders and will have been "for nothing." No-one who has been part of the decision-making process during this period can escape responsibility for the costs they have imposed on their people, and many would undoubtedly pay with their lives. The longer the conflict continues, the more "suffering" there is and the higher the price the leaders will have to pay.

Palestinian Arabs would benefit by being told the truth, but their leaders have never done so and can't start now; they have backed themselves into a corner. For this reason, all concerned must recognize that a solution before Mahmud Abbas' death is basically inconceivable.

I have brought this reality to the attention of a few diplomats involved with the issue, and none of them has acknowledged being previously aware of it. Once it is pointed out, it's sort of obvious, and they recognized immediately why it would prove to be a problem.

The only solution that can vindicate that suffering is the destruction of Israel, but there is no obvious reason why Israel should agree to that... This means that only the prospect of future losses can provide the incentive for Palestinian Arab leaders to settle sooner rather than hoping for better later. Since, apart from its propaganda value, these leaders don't appear to be bothered by the suffering of their people, Israel's only real leverage on the Palestinian Arabs is the possible loss of land.

Contrary to the widely-held assumption in the West, this means the prospect of additional 'settlements' is a net positive for getting the Palestinians to make peace, and the campaign against them has undermined the pursuit of a solution. It is no coincidence that as the campaign against the 'settlements' has gathered momentum the prospects for a negotiated solution have dimmed. Palestinian leaders understand this, which is why they are so adamant about building freezes, and why, when they get one, respond by doing nothing. Freezes do nothing more than remove Israel's leverage; they don't advance the cause of peace.

4. "Palestinian" history demonstrates that there is no "Palestinian People." The 1910/11 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica lists more than a dozen identifiable nationality groups within the Muslim population of the land claimed by the Palestinians. During the Mandate, they were joined by additional Muslim groups, including some from Syria.

Some Palestinian Arab leaders are willing to acknowledge that there is no Palestinian people. Thus, Zahir Muhsein, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, told the Dutch publication Trouw in 1977:

"The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct `Palestinian people' to oppose Zionism."

In an official PA TV special broadcast for the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, (Nov. 1, 2017) Palestinian historian Abd Al-Ghani Salameh responded to a question about the Declaration's impact on the Palestinian people with:

"Before the Balfour Promise (i.e., Declaration) when the Ottoman rule ended (1517--1917), Palestine's political borders as we know them today did not exist, and there was nothing called a Palestinian people with a political identity as we know today (emphasis added), since Palestine's lines of administrative division stretched from east to west and included Jordan and southern Lebanon, and like all peoples of the region [the Palestinians] were liberated from the Turkish rule and immediately moved to colonial rule, without forming a Palestinian people's political identity."

Pinhas Inbari (Who Are the Palestinians? August 7, 2017 pointed out recently that the histories and genealogies of the various clans confirm that essentially all of them are new-comers, from Arabia, Egypt, or even Central Asia. Thus, contrary to Mahmud Abbas's claims, none of the clans or tribes claims to be descended from the Canaanites, much less the Natufians, the name anthropologists give to the people who may have discovered agriculture 10000 years ago.

Even Hamas minister Fathi Hammad acknowledges that "half the Palestinians are Egyptians and the other half are Saudis."

During the mandate, the Arabs of Palestine had no name for themselves; "Palestinian" referred to the Jews. When they took a name, in the 1950s, it was the name the imperialists -- Roman Empire or British, take your pick -- gave to the territory where they had lived. Where would they be if the Jews had decided to retain the name "Palestine" for their country?

Two or three generations of separate development followed 1949, so there has been no opportunity for Palestinian Arabs to coalesce into a single people. If they had, the "Refugees of 1948" would be willing to forego their claimed "right of return" to their homes in 1947 for the opportunity to have a Palestinian state. Insistence on this right means the "Palestinians" aren't a people even today. They remain, as they were a century ago, a grab-bag of clans and tribes, some newly arrived in the Middle East, never mind "Palestine," and often at war with one another.

Even if their leaders wanted to, this collection would be incapable of making the decisions necessary to establish peace. Indeed, as long as hostility toward Israel is the glue holding the "Palestinian People" together, they cannot make peace without putting themselves out of business. They are incapable of either unifying, which is a prerequisite for the "two-state" solution, or abandoning maximalist  claims because that means abandoning the "Refugees of 1948."

Palestinian leaders must be aware of this at some level, which explains their ridiculous claims about the antiquity of their people and their denial of demonstrable Jewish history and claims to the land, a lie made "official" by UNESCO. Reality doesn't support their political goals, so, in the absence of a real one, they have simply invented a history for themselves.

Curiously, the only time all the parts of the "Palestinian" people could intermingle freely was when there actually was an 'occupation'. It was also during the 'occupation' that their living conditions improved markedly, now labeled "suffering." Maybe Arafat concluded that if he didn't destroy these gains his hope to destroy Israel would never come to pass, and thus the intifadeh.

Any solution now would demonstrate that the "Palestinian narrative" has been a lie all along, and without that narrative, Palestinian claims would be seen for what they are: a pretext for avoiding making peace.

That there is no "Palestinian People" does not mean there are no Palestinian people; there is a difference. The sad irony of this situation is that what is good for Palestinian people, like the economic and social progress that occurred during the 'occupation', is often bad for the notion that there is a "Palestinian People;" while what is good for that idea, like more "resistance," violence, and death, is usually very bad for individual Palestinians.

5. The solution suggested in item 3 does nothing for the "Refugees of 1948" because it doesn't include the "right of return" or enable them to destroy Israel, so they have no reason to support it or to pay any price to get it. That most of the leaders of the various Palestinian factions come from those "Refugees of 1948" means they won't consider settling on this basis, and as long as Palestinian society is not governed democratically, the "Refugees of 1948" faction will hold power and prevent a solution.

Consequently, resolution of the refugee issue is a prerequisite for achieving a peace settlement of any sort; it must come before the Palestinians will be willing to get serious about making peace. The solution will have to come from outside, perhaps a buy-out of their "refugee" status. Arab leaders have understood this since 1949, which is why they have refused to address the refugee issue and why there are Palestinian "refugees" living in camps under the jurisdiction of the PA and Hamas, the two candidates for their prospective "government." UNRWA must be closed down since its survival depends on perpetuating the refugee problem.

The above items are incontestable facts, and note that I have not included that the Palestinian Arabs have a different idea about what the "two-state" solution is intended to achieve: not peace but a new status quo from which they can pursue the destruction of Israel.

Now for the implications:

There are at least three alternatives to the establishment of a Palestinian state as envisioned in the "two-state" solution:

a) Continuation of the current situation. This is basically a non-starter because since Oslo it has been understood as temporary and that has contributed to escalating violence. "Temporary" does not mean it is going away any time soon, just that ultimately it must end.

b) Israeli annexation of the West Bank. Caroline Glick has proposed this, but her solution doesn't really explain why the Arabs would accept it and how Israel might address the consequences of having a large hostile minority inclined to engage in violence with free access to everywhere in the country.

c) Look back to the situation between 1949 and 1967. In this scenario, Gaza is either annexed by Egypt or recognized as the Palestinian state (appropriate because Gaza approximates the territory once inhabited by the Philistines) while Israel and Jordan draw a border between them to resolve territorial issues in Judea and Samaria. Because both Egypt and Jordan have already recognized the legitimacy of Israel, such a solution doesn't require the conceptual breakthrough necessary for an agreement between Israel and "Palestine." Jordan can agree to demilitarize its West Bank territories without losing sovereignty, something a Palestinian state in the same territory could not do.

The counter-argument here is that this strategy will convert Jordan into a possibly second Palestinian state, but if the "Refugees of 1948" have already been resettled, they might be open to adopting a Jordanian identity that enables them to avoid Islamist rule, which Hamas has brought to Gaza.

This approach ends the "occupation" without empowering forces committed to destroying Israel, and may well be sufficient for the larger Arab and Muslim worlds to declare the problem solved.

The notion of a "Palestinian State" may be one of the worst ideas ever to come from the political elite. Because of the basis of "Palestinian" national identity, it basically makes peace impossible.

The question before diplomats who wish to address this conflict now is simple: Are they more interested in vindicating the theory that requires Israeli concessions or do they wish to find a solution to the problem? It is said to be intractable, but maybe what must actually change is the mind-set of those who seek to deal with it and their understanding of what it will take to find a solution.

Dr. Yale Zussman holds a Doctorate in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology


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Trump, Putin, Netanyahu try to back away from a violent clash in Syria - debkaFile

by debkaFile

The US, Russian and Israeli leaders tried toning down their saber-rattling over the weekend – especially regarding Iran – even as fighting continued in Syria.

The US, Russian and Israeli leaders tried toning down their saber-rattling over the weekend – especially regarding Iran – even as fighting continued in Syria.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, for instance, has delivered countless speeches vowing that Israel would never let Iran sink its military claws into Syria. However, on Thursday night, March 1, unnamed “senior Israeli sources” pointedly reported that due to Russian pressure, Iran had backed off its plan to establish a naval base at the Syrian port of Tartous and, moreover, “Israel was satisfied with a process that had led a certain moderation in Iranian activity in Syria.” This unattributed comment, which is totally at odds with the prime minister’s published stance, came four days before he arrives in Washington for talks with President Donald Trump. Does it mean that he has taken off his White House agenda a prospective Israeli attack on the military footholds Iran is establishing in Syria, under cover of Russia’s high stealth fighters? Unlikely, or only as a temporary gambit.

President Vladimir Putin, too, engaged in some de-scalation after loudly touting Russia’s new generation of intercontinental underwater drones, nuclear-powered cruise missiles, and a prospective hypersonic missile, in his annual address to the Russian Federal Assembly. No doubt aiming to impress the Russian voter in the March 18 presidential election, Putin was not actually looking for a full-scale conflict with the US – even in Syria, where the two powers are at cross purposes,  especially over Iran’s creeping expansion. And so, a few hours later, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu was instructed to pour oil, for which he singled out two points of potential high friction:
  1. Russia has nothing to fear from the missile shield the US has spread out in Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic and soon in Ukraine, the minister said, because they were all “leaky.”
  2. Shoigu poked fun at the photos published in the US and Israel, showing the high-tech stealth SU-57 fighters parked on the runways of the Russian Khmeimim base in Syria. He said the photos were “fake” because the planes were housed in hangars out of camera range. Furthermore, they had carried out a range of tests a week ago, and, the defense minister asserted, “I can say that the tests were successful, and the planes returned home a week ago.”
After the Russian defense chief waved away two potential crises with the Trump administration, Washington too applied the brakes. On Thursday, Robert Wood, US ambassador to the Disarmament Convention in Geneva, declared loudly: “Russia is on the wrong side of history with regard to chemical weapons use in Syria.” But then came the waiver: First, the Pentagon issued a statement that the United States “has not seen any evidence yet” of the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government in Eastern Ghouta – a direct contradiction of the persistent reports circulated by US sources in the past two weeks. Second, the US has asked the UN Security Council to set up a “new inquiry of chemical weapons attacks in Syria following reports of suspected chlorine use in Eastern Ghouta.”

It is no secret that asking the UN Security Council for action on a crisis can effectively bury it for months. Therefore, the nearly half million Syrian civilians of East Ghouta will continue for some time to come be trapped as hostages between indiscriminate Syrian bombardment and rebel intransigence. In the meantime, the Trump administration has effectively tied its own hands against repeating the devastating cruise missile attack of last April, which ravaged the Syrian Shayrat air base to punish the Assad regime for using poison gas against civilians.

Also late Thursday, Turkish warplanes killed 18 pro-Assad Popular Forces fighters in Afrin and 19 more were missing, after they downed a Turkish helicopter gunship.

The mercurial Middle East and the barbaric Syrian conflict are unlikely to give any of the three leaders much pause, whatever interim measure they choose to buy a bit of temporary calm, so long as Turkey, Iran and Bashar Assad, along with other rogue players, remain out of control.



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Immigration Disaster Looms in Germany - Alex Alexiev

by Alex Alexiev

Germany and California are holding hands on the path to perdition, with no course correction in sight.

Milton Friedman once said open borders and the welfare state are incompatible. This is easy to prove in California, where, according to a recent essay by Victor Davis Hanson, half of all immigrant households are on welfare and the state accounts for a third of the nation's welfare recipients with only 12% of its population, even as 20% of California's population lives below the poverty line. Recent figures published in Europe's economic powerhouse, Germany, indicate that following Angela Merkel's disastrous open-borders experiment of two and a half years ago, that country is well on its way to joining California in proving the wisdom of Friedman's admonition, to the huge detriment of the German people.

Official figures of the German statistical office show that beginning in 2015, Germany accepted 1.4 million asylum applications. According to detailed figures from 2016, 71.4% were granted asylum or "subsidiary" protected status, while 28.6% were rejected. Being rejected, however, did not at all mean that you had to leave Germany or were in danger of being deported. Most of those rejected filed an appeal (64,251 in 2016), and 31.7% of those received a negative decision. Even then, few of those rejected left voluntarily, and even fewer were deported. According to the daily Die Welt, citing government figures, most of the migrants remain in Germany, regardless of the asylum decision.

Because very few of the refugees would qualify as persecuted for their political or religious beliefs, the traditional reasons for claiming refugee status, under Merkel, the German government has de facto created a right to better life for migrants from poor countries, which means that the economic incentives to migration remain extremely powerful. Indeed, nobody in Germany has any illusions about this. The difference between the nominally conservative CSU of Bavaria and the pro-immigration social democrats (SPD), for instance, is that the former want to limit immigration to 200,000 per annum, while the latter do not want any limits at all.

In reality, this is a phony debate, because German law allows chain migration, which means that the actual numbers will be dramatically higher in the future, regardless of politicians' grandstanding. The law says a recognized refugee has the right to bring in his spouse and children, while minor migrants, who made 36% of the total in 2016, can also bring their parents and their siblings. Since 2015, 230,000 migrants have had their reunification applications accepted, while another 390,000 refugees from Syria alone will be eligible by the end of 2018, according to the Focus Online weekly of August 29, 2017. On the basis of these figures alone, reunification will bring at least 2.5 million migrants in the next few years. Should the approved minimum of 200,000 migrants per year materialize, which is nearly certain, the yearly addition of mostly Muslim and mostly young migrants would swell to approximately 800,000. This could easily overwhelm a country that has a median age of 47.1 and a fertility rate of 1.47, nearly a third below replacement.

Dismal as these prospects are, of more immediate concern are the huge and clearly unsustainable social and economic costs of the large-scale migration that has already taken place. The mainstream media in Germany are as predictably leftist and pro-immigration as their American counterparts and are notoriously reluctant to report the reality, but the numerous existing think-tanks and institutes make sure that it cannot be hidden for long. Various institutes estimate migrants per capita cost at 2,500 euros per month and twice as much for unaccompanied minors. The total cost per year per million refugees ranges from a low of 30 billion euros by the federal minister of development, Gerd Mueller, to 77 billion euros and more. It's worth noting that even the lowest figure is higher than the 27 billion euros Germany spends on its defense budget and that the actual number of migrants at present is already much closer to 2 million.

Perhaps the most disturbing finding about the new wave of migrants is that contrary to the early sanguine predictions by the left of a new "Wirtschaftswunder" in Germany on account of the migrant labor, the future is anything but rosy. Research has shown that most new migrants have neither much of an education nor any skills. According to the World Bank, only 6% of Syrian refugees have finished high school, and 59% do not have any education. And the Syrians are considerably better off in this respect than migrants from Africa – or Afghanistan, for instance, where 52% of the male migrants are illiterate.

Nor are earlier assimilation efforts with the gastarbeiter of the 1960s and 1970s much of a success. According to a study of the German Institute for Economic Research, most Turks in Germany still live off welfare. They also continue to entertain strong Islamist sympathies after decades of living in Europe. Sixty-three percent of them voted for the Islamist Erdoğan in the recent referendum in Turkey, a percentage considerably higher than that in Turkey proper.

Finally, Chancellor Merkel again threatened Eastern Europe with economic consequences in a speech to the Bundestag on February 22. Follow my disastrous migration policies and take your "fair share" of migrants, she told them, or else. This is the kind of "solidarity" Eastern Europe should have no problem refusing.

AlexAlexiev is chairman of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies. He can be reached at


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Eliminate Israel, Eliminate Islamic Terrorism? - Raymond Ibrahim

by Raymond Ibrahim

A look at Muslim logic and Western naivety.

The plague of Islamic terrorism is based on “grievances” against Israel—so says Al Azhar, the world’s most prestigious madrasa (or Muslim “university”) that co-hosted Barrack Obama’s 2009 “A New Beginning” speech.  During a recently televised Egyptian interview, Ahmed Al Tayeb—Al Azhar’s grand imam, once named the “most influential Muslim in the world”—said:

I have noticed that they are always telling us that terrorism is Islamic. All those mouthpieces that croak—out of ignorance or because they were told to—that the Al-Azhar curricula are the cause of terrorism never talk about Israel, about Israel’s prisons, about the genocides perpetrated by the Zionist entity state….  If not for the abuse of the region by means of the Zionist entity, there would never have been any problem. The Middle East and the region would have progressed, and the Arab individual would have been like any other person in the world, enjoying a good life, or at least enjoying the right to live in peace.

There’s certainly much to comment on here.  First, Al Azhar has in fact been exposed time and time again teaching the same “anti-infidel” and supremacist doctrines that groups like the Islamic State rely on.  After being asked why Al Azhar, which is in the habit of denouncing secular thinkers as un-Islamic, refuses to denounce the Islamic State as un-Islamic, Sheikh Nasr, a scholar of Islamic law and graduate of Al Azhar, said:

It can’t [condemn the Islamic State as un-Islamic].  The Islamic State is a byproduct of Al Azhar’s programs.  So can Al Azhar denounce itself as un-Islamic?  Al Azhar says there must be a caliphate and that it is an obligation for the Muslim world [to establish it].  Al Azhar teaches the law of apostasy and killing the apostate.  Al Azhar is hostile towards religious minorities, and teaches things like not building churches, etc.  Al Azhar upholds the institution of jizya [extracting tribute from religious minorities].  Al Azhar teaches stoning people.  So can Al Azhar denounce itself as un-Islamic?

But what of Tayeb’s other point, that because Israel “abuses” Palestinians (meaning fellow Muslims), aggrieved Muslims around the world have had no choice but to turn to jihad/terrorism? This of course is another rehashing of the “Muslim grievance” myth popularized by al-Qaeda post 9/11.   Back in 2009, Bin Laden said:

You [Americans] should ask yourselves whether your security, your blood, your sons, your money, your jobs, your homes, your economy, and your reputation are more dear to you than the security and economy of the Israelis….  Let me say that we have declared many times, over more than two and a half decades, that the reason for our conflict with you is your support for your Israeli allies, who are occupying our land of Palestine [emphasis added].

Needless to say, this message was (and continues to be) swallowed hook line and sinker by many Western analysts—even as bin Laden was stressing to fellow Muslims (in Arabic) the “real reason for our conflict”:

Our talks with the infidel West and our conflict with them ultimately revolve around one issue — one that demands our total support, with power and determination, with one voice — and it is: Does Islam, or does it not, force people by the power of the sword to submit to its authority corporeally if not spiritually?  Yes. There are only three choices in Islam: [1] either willing submission [conversion]; [2] or payment of the jizya, through physical, though not spiritual, submission to the authority of Islam; [3] or the sword — for it is not right to let him [an infidel] live. The matter is summed up for every person alive: Either submit, or live under the suzerainty of Islam, or die. (The Al Qaeda Reader, p. 42)

More emboldened jihadis have of late dropped the façade.  In an article unambiguously titled, “Why We Hate You & Why We Fight You,” the Islamic State confessed that “We hate you, first and foremost, because you are disbelievers.”  As for any and all political “grievances,” these are “secondary” reasons for the jihad:

What’s important to understand here is that although some might argue that your foreign policies are the extent of what drives our hatred, this particular reason for hating you is secondary, hence the reason we addressed it at the end of the above list. […]  The fact is, even if you were to stop bombing us, imprisoning us, torturing us, vilifying us, and usurping our lands, we would continue to hate you because our primary reason for hating you will not cease to exist until you embrace Islam. Even if you were to pay jizyah and live under the authority of Islam in humiliation, we would continue to hate you [emphasis added].

This threefold choice, then—conversion, subjugation/jizya, or the sword—is the ultimate source of conflict between Islam and everyone else; it’s why prudent non-Muslims have always found the question of achieving permanent peace with the Islamic world an unsolvable problem. As professor of law James Lorimer (1818-90) wrote over a century ago:

So long as Islam endures, the reconciliation of its adherents, even with Jews and Christians [“People of the Book”], and still more with the rest of mankind, must continue to be an insoluble problem. … For an indefinite future, however reluctantly, we must confine our political recognition to the professors of those religions which … preach the doctrine of “live and let live” (The Institutes of the Law of Nations, p. 124).

In other words, political recognition—with all the attendant negotiations, diplomacy, and concessions that come with it—should be granted to all religions/civilizations except Islam, which does not reciprocate nor recognize the notion of “live and let live” (as evinced for example by the Koran’s commands for Muslims to “enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong” (e.g., 3:110)—that is, enforce Sharia upon earth).

Nor is Islamic supremacism confined to doctrines and scriptures that are “open to interpretation”; history makes an equally ironclad case.  As I document in my forthcoming book, Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, over the centuries and through countless jihads, Muslims invaded and eventually conquered some ¾ of all Christian lands; the scale of destruction and atrocities accompanying these jihads make Islamic State atrocities seem like child’s play. 

If Israel had nothing to do with all this—it did not even exist—are we really to believe that grievances against it are responsible for Al Azhar still teaching, and Muslims still upholding, the same doctrines that caused them to terrorize all non-Muslims for centuries? 

No, this is yet another case of Muslim apologists trying to kill two birds with one stone: portraying—and thus exonerating—their terroristic behavior as an inevitable product of “grievances” against a demonized Israel that deserves all the blame.   In reality, the ultimate “grievance” Muslims have against all non-Muslims is just that—that they are non-Muslim, inferior infidels that must be subjugated one way or the other.  

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a CBN News contributor. He is the author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007).


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Putin's Nuclear Warning - Lloyd Billingsley

by Lloyd Billingsley

Russia's strongman touts Russia’s deadly new weapons - and backs up “allies” Syria and Iran.

“I want to tell all those who have fueled the arms race over the last 15 years, sought to win unilateral advantages over Russia, introduced unlawful sanctions aimed to contain our country's development: all what you wanted to impede with your policies have already happened. You have failed to contain Russia.”

Thus spake Vladimir Putin in his annual state of the union address Thursday. The Russian strongman and KGB veteran brought along a video of the weapons his regime military-industrial complex had developed.

“It can attack any target, through the North or South Pole,” Putin said. “It is a powerful weapon and no missile defense system will be able to withstand.” According to Putin, an admirer of the late Josef Stalin, Russia can deploy nuclear-armed cruise missiles that can “avoid all interceptors.” 

Bombs falling from the sky again, Russia is on the rise again, as the militant leader might say, and new boats are sailing once more. Putin also touted Russia’s nuclear-armed underwater drone with an “intercontinental” range and capable of targeting aircraft carriers and coastal military bases. 

This was all ready to go and “nobody else” has anything similar. According to the Russian strongman, the new Doomsday Machine is a response to U.S. withdrawal from a treaty banning missile defense and U.S. efforts to develop a missile defense system.

U.S. experts told reporters that Putin’s cruise missile has “crashed a few times,” the underwater drone is still in the research stage, and neither system was currently deployed. On the other hand, the menacing new hardware was hardly the most troubling part of the speech.

“We would consider any use of nuclear weapons against Russia or its allies to be a nuclear attack on our country,” the former KGB man said. “The response would be immediate.” Russia’s major allies used to be Bulgaria, East Germany and such. They are now Syria and Iran, so that is the key takeaway. 

Russian ally Bashar al-Assad, son of Hafez al-Assad, who ruled from 1971-2000, is currently deploying chemical weapons against rebels and civilians alike. Assad ally Russia is doing nothing to halt Syria’s use of such weapons. The Syrian regime also harbors Islamic State fighters and Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian affiliate of al Qaeda, which like ISIS seeks a global caliphate. 

The Islamic Republic of Iran, another key Russian ally, in 1979 invaded the U.S. embassy and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. Iran’s Islamic regime is also the major sponsor of terrorism in the world. At the nadir of their foreign aggression and domestic repressions, Soviet Russia and National Socialist Germany never ever infiltrated terrorists to murder American civilians. 

POTUS 44, who believed the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam, gave Iran everything the ruling mullahs wanted. The Islamic regime is well on its way to development of a nuclear weapon, if it does not already have one courtesy of Pakistan, North Korea, or Russia. 

POTUS 44 also gave Russia everything Putin wanted, in 2009 scrapping a missile defense deal for U.S. allies Poland and the Czech Republic. In similar style, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s famous re-set gave the Russians the most highly intrusive inspection program the United States had ever accepted. 

“We want to ensure that every question that the Russian military or Russian government asks is answered,” Secretary Clinton said after meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov. Clinton also touted “deep cooperation between our countries.” Yet, as the ongoing Clinton-DNC-FBI-DOJ intel operation has it, “Putin loves Trump, Putin hates Hillary.” 

As it happens, the new weapons Putin hailed in his saber-rattling speech have already showed up in the latest Nuclear Posture Report from the U.S. Department of Defense. In response, President Trump noted that as the United States reduced the role and numbers of nuclear weapons, “other nuclear nations grew their stockpiles, increased the prominence of nuclear weapons in their security strategies, and – in some cases – pursued the development of new nuclear capabilities to threaten other nations.” 

Accordingly, the president seeks to counter the Russian build-up. Like everything the president says or does, that will draw fire from Democrats, never disturbed by Russian military overtures. The nuclear freeze movement of the 1980s, backed by Democrats John Kerry, Tom Harkin and Paul Simon, would have locked Russian advantages in place. High-profile Democrats reserved special wrath for Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative to counter Russian missiles. 

When KGB boss Yuri Andropov headed Soviet Russia, Senator Edward Kennedy sought his help to defeat Ronald Reagan in the 1984 election. Kennedy also derided the purely defensive SDI as “Star Wars.” As Paul Kengor noted, “the senator from Massachusetts had inadvertently handed to the Kremlin a gem of a propaganda tool, which Moscow played for all it was worth.” 

As the late Jeane Kirkpatrick observed, the Democrats always blame America first. Look for something similar from leftist Democrats and their establishment media allies as President Trump attempts to counter Vladimir Putin and his Islamic terrorist allies in Syria and Iran. 

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of the new crime book, Lethal Injections: Elizabeth Tracy Mae Wettlaufer, Canada’s Serial Killer Nurse, and the recently updated Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation.


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How the Left Became its Own Worst Enemy - Part II - Denis MacEoin

by Denis MacEoin

What possesses so many Westerners to regard Islam, Islamic religion, Islamic law, and Islamic intolerance through rose-tinted spectacles that obscure the obvious and blind observers from seeing what is in front of them?

  • This willingness to indulge even the most anti-liberal beliefs and behaviour finds many of its roots in the general disdain many left-wingers and liberals seem to feel for Western democracy, human rights and individualism. But that does not explain why so many people, often decent people, are drawn to defend Islam, Islamic patriarchy, Islamic discrimination against women, violence and more, even when such defence is obviously anti-liberal in the extreme.
  • I have never known a liberal to say a bad word about a more prevalent and arguably more damaging imperialism: Islamic imperialism. There have been many more imperialist Muslim empires than European ones.
  • One might have thought that historical facts such as these would provoke human-rights activists to put the Muslim empires into the same category as the later European ones. Not a word of it. Nor do liberals mention another issue that should be close to their hearts: the Islamic slave trade.
Feminists are far from the only so-called left-wing or liberal group to betray their own basic principles out of a bizarre admiration for Islam, whether its history, its values, or its self-proclaimed victimization. Real liberals believe in human rights, women's rights, racial equality, free speech, and more, rejecting extremism on both the right and left. However, the left in the UK and elsewhere seems to have abandoned those principles and betrayed the very people they had previously supported.[1]

This willingness to indulge even the most anti-liberal beliefs and behaviour finds many of its roots in the general disdain that many so-called left-wingers and liberals seem to feel for Western democracy, human rights and individual freedom. This disdain, however, does not explain why so many people -- often decent people -- are drawn to defend Islam, Islamic patriarchy, Islamic discrimination against women, or violence in the name of Islam, especially when such defence is obviously anti-liberal in the extreme. Examples are not hard to find, for instance feminists who urge Muslim women to submit to the veil and abandon their rights as free women in favour of Muslim men and their power over them.

What possesses so many Westerners to regard Islam, Islamic religion, Islamic law, and Islamic intolerance through rose-tinted spectacles that obscure the obvious and blind observers from seeing what is in front of them?

Another of the most notable examples is the virtually universal attitude toward imperialism. We might all agree that imperialism is a thing of the past and that, for the most part, it has brought considerable suffering on indigenous peoples who found themselves under British, French, Belgian, Spanish or Portuguese rule. No country in the modern West would seek to bring back an imperial system that, mercifully, was dealt a death blow by the First and Second World Wars. This change, however, does not prevent Marxists and others of a similar ilk from claiming that imperialism continues to this day, through the power exerted by strong nations in the West such as Israel or the U.S. Even the United Nations has been condemned as "a tool of imperialism".

Mystifyingly, however, I have never known a liberal to say a bad word about a more prevalent and arguably more damaging imperialism: Islamic imperialism.[2] From the year 632 until 1918, there have been many more Muslim empires than European ones.

The first extensive Islamic empire was the Umayyad Caliphate (661-750), which extended from the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal) to what is now Northern India and Pakistan's province of Sindh. At its height, it was the largest empire in the world and remains the fifth largest in history.

The Umayyads were replaced by the 'Abbasids (750-1258), who ruled a similar extent of territory, including Sardinia, Sicily, and southern Italy. A succession of such empires controlled territories from North Africa to India. The most extensive of all was the long-lasting Ottoman empire (1299-1918), the possessions of which rivalled those of the largest of all empires, that of Great Britain. Here is a rough list of the Ottoman dominions:
Algeria, Tunis, Tripoli (Libya), Egypt, Western Arabia, Syria (a vast area), Mesopotamia (Iraq), Anatolia (Turkey), Croatia, Bosnia, Albania, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Rumelia, Wallachia, Hungary, Poland, Transylvania, Moldova, Bessarabia, Crete, Cyprus, Crimea, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Daghestan, al-Hasa (in eastern Arabia).
Broadly speaking, the Ottoman empire lasted longer and covered more territory than even the long-lived (1415-1999) Portuguese empire in South America, Africa, India and farther east. European empires may have been – and often were -- despotic, carrying out ethnic cleansing; genocides, such as Spain's and Portugal's in South America, as well as general brutality to the natives. Those are all causes for censure.

In addition, frighteningly high numbers of Hindus were massacred in India by Muslim rulers. A Sikh writer declares that the assault amounted to "the biggest holocaust in World history":
With the invasion of India by Mahmud Ghazni about 1000 A.D., began the Muslim invasions into the Indian subcontinent and they lasted for several centuries. Nadir Shah made a mountain of the skulls of the Hindus he killed in Delhi alone. Babur raised towers of Hindu skulls at Khanua when he defeated Rana Sanga in 1527 and later he repeated the same horrors after capturing the fort of Chanderi. Akbar ordered a general massacre of 30,000 Rajputs after he captured Chithorgarh in 1568. The Bahamani Sultans had an annual agenda of killing a minimum of 100,000 Hindus every year.
The Belgian Indologist Dr. Koenrad Elst wrote that:
There is no official estimate of the total death toll of Hindus at the hands of Islam. A first glance at important testimonies by Muslim chroniclers suggests that, over 13 centuries and a territory as vast as the Subcontinent, Muslim Holy Warriors easily killed more Hindus than the 6 million of the Holocaust. Ferishtha lists several occasions when the Bahmani sultans in central India (1347-1528) killed a hundred thousand Hindus, which they set as a minimum goal whenever they felt like "punishing" the Hindus; and they were only a third-rank provincial dynasty. The biggest slaughters took place during the raids of Mahmud Ghaznavi (ca. 1000 CE); during the actual conquest of North India by Mohammed Ghori and his lieutenants (1192 ff.); and under the Delhi Sultanate (1206-1526).... The Moghuls (1526-1857), even Babar and Aurangzeb, were fairly restrained tyrants by comparison. Prof. K.S. Lal once estimated that the Indian population declined by 50 million under the Sultanate, but that would be hard to substantiate; research into the magnitude of the damage Islam did to India is yet to start in right earnest.
He continues:
Apart from actual killing, millions of Hindus disappeared by way of enslavement. After every conquest by a Muslim invader, slave markets in Bagdad and Samarkand were flooded with Hindus. Slaves were likely to die of hardship, e.g. the mountain range Hindu Koh, "Indian mountain", was renamed Hindu Kush, "Hindu-killer", when one cold night in the reign of Timur Lenk (1398-99), a hundred thousand Hindu slaves died there while on transport to Central Asia. Though Timur conquered Delhi from another Muslim ruler, he recorded in his journal that he made sure his pillaging soldiers spared the Muslim quarter, while in the Hindu areas, they took "twenty slaves each".
One might have thought that historical facts such as these would provoke human-rights activists to put the Muslim empires into the same category as the later European ones. Not a word of it. Nor do liberals mention another issue that should be close to their hearts: the Islamic slave trade.

Slavery has been an integral part of Islamic practice from the start. It is scripturally endorsed, embedded in shari'a law, and has been practiced from the seventh century until today. The slave trade was notably carried on by Arab merchants across the Sahara and brought Africans to North Africa. Liberals rightly condemn the European slave trade and its impact on North America; they – again rightly – act to eliminate modern slavery through trafficking – which is estimated to involve some 40.3 million people worldwide by 2016. It is almost unheard of, nevertheless, for people on the left also to speak of the Islamic (mainly Arab) slave trade.

The educational website History World, for instance, has a substantial account entitled "History of Slavery", in which it describes the use of slaves in Babylon, Greece, Rome, the European Middle Ages, and the Portuguese and triangular (chiefly the Transatlantic) slave trades. Yet it only mentions Islamic slavery in passing, despite its having lasted far longer than the European and American versions. Here are the three short paragraphs the site devotes to the subject, all of which appear to argue that supposedly Muslim slavery was not altogether a bad thing:
Slavery is an accepted part of life in Arabia during the time of Muhammad, in the 7th century, and the Qur'an offers no arguments against the practice. It merely states, particularly in relation to female slaves, that they must be well treated. In general that has been the case[3] compared with the barbaric treatment of slaves in some Christian communities.
Meanwhile the Muslim habit of using slaves in the army has led to one unusual result - in itself an indication of the trust accorded to slaves in Middle Eastern communities.
In 1250 the slave leaders of the Egyptian army, known as Mamelukes, depose the sultan and seize power. A succession of rulers from their own ranks control much of the Middle East, as the Mameluke dynasty, for nearly three centuries.
This article also does not mention the three centuries of the Barbary Slavers,: North African Muslims who went out as pirates into the Mediterranean to capture ships from European countries and take crews and passengers as slaves to be sold in the markets of Tunis, Algiers and other towns. Barbary pirates ventured as far as England and Ireland, where they would raid coastal villages, and carry residents off. Professor Robert Davis writes:
"The fishermen and coastal dwellers of 17th-century Britain lived in terror of being kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery in North Africa. Hundreds of thousands across Europe met wretched deaths on the Barbary Coast in this way".
As late as the early 19th century, the new US Navy fought two wars against the Barbary States, bringing the piracy to an end.[4]

Edward Moran's 1897 painting, depicting the burning USS Philadelphia at the Battle of Tripoli Harbor, during the First Barbary War in 1804. (Image source: U.S. Naval Academy Museum Collection/Wikimedia Commons)

Fantasies about the benign effects of slavery under Islam or, more widely, the tolerance enjoyed by non-Muslims living in the Muslim empires are still widespread. Muslims themselves insist that Islam is the most tolerant religion, and many progressives take this on board without much knowledge of the facts. Classroom, a website devoted to education, illustrates the naivety of excessively open-minded Westerners. In an article, "How Muslim Empires Treated Religion", Laura Leddy Turner writes:
From Muhammad's founding of Islam and his unification of the Arab tribes in the seventh century, Muslims were instructed to practice respect towards other religions. This tolerance was essential to ensure peace and stability in Medina and throughout Asia Minor, as these lands were populated by Jews, Christians and other faiths. Most of the Islamic empires established in this region upheld the tradition of religious tolerance, although conflict between Sunni and Shiite Muslims was frequent.
Ms Turner holds a B.A. in literature and English from Ramapo College of New Jersey, with postgraduate coursework in business law. She has obviously never read a word of the Qur'an or the Hadith, or studied the history of Islam in any depth or she would not write such nonsense. Many religions can display intolerance towards non-believers, often in defiance of scriptural values (as in Christianity), but Islam in particular seems to stand out for a hatred for non-Muslims, and for other Muslim sects not like theirs, that is still practiced. Under Islamic law, Jews and Christians are forced live by a separate set of laws designed to remind them they are merely lower-class, "tolerated" residents, called dhimmis, and that they have to pay a "protection" tax merely to preserve their lives and keep their homes, synagogues or churches.

If they refuse to do so, they may be killed and their property confiscated. All other "disbelievers" are considered pagans, who may be killed with impunity if they do not convert to Islam on the spot. Tolerance?

A favourite focus for praise of life under Islamic rule is, of course, the Jewish and Christian experience under Umayyad rule in the Iberian peninsula, covering most of Spain and what, in 1128, became Portugal – a territory best known as Andalusia (from the Arabic al-Andalus). A host of articles and lectures have described Islamic Spain as a haven of tolerance and civilization, representing a gold age in European history. Akbar Ahmed, for example, holds the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University's School of International Service in Washington, DC and served as the former Pakistani High Commissioner to the UK and Ireland. Writing in the Huffington Post, he states that:
At its height, Andalusia produced a magnificent Muslim civilization — religious tolerance, poetry, music, learned scientists and scholars like Averroës, great libraries (the main library at Cordoba alone had 400,000 books), public baths, and splendid architecture (like the palace complex at the Alhambra and the Grand Mosque of Cordoba). These great achievements were the result of collaboration between Muslims, Christians and Jews — indeed the work of the great Jewish Rabbi Maimonides was written in the Arabic language. It was a time when a Muslim ruler had a Jewish chief minister and a Catholic archbishop as his foreign minister. The Spanish had a phrase for that period of history — La Convivencia, or co-existence.
While there may be some truth in this, it is in most respects a gross exaggeration that whitewashes the realities of life there for all non-Muslims. This exaggeration was in some measure contradicted by Edward Rothstein, writing (somewhat surprisingly) in the New York Times in 2003, in an article entitled, "Was the Islam Of Old Spain Truly Tolerant?":
As many scholars have argued, this [idealized] image is distorted. Even the Umayyad dynasty, begun by Abd al-Rahman in 756, was far from enlightened. Issues of succession were often settled by force. One ruler murdered two sons and two brothers. Uprisings in 805 and 818 in Córdoba were answered with mass executions and the destruction of one of the city's suburbs. Wars were accompanied by plunder, kidnappings and ransom. Córdoba itself was finally sacked by Muslim Berbers in 1013, its epochal library destroyed.
Andalusian governance was also based on a religious tribal model. Christians and Jews, who shared Islam's Abrahamic past, had the status of dhimmis -- alien minorities. They rose high but remained second-class citizens; one 11th-century legal text called them members of "the devil's party." They were subject to special taxes and, often, dress codes. Violence also erupted, including a massacre of thousands of Jews in Grenada in 1066 and the forced exile of many Christians in 1126.
More recently, and in much greater detail, Darío Fernádnez-Morera, an associate professor in Spanish and Portuguese at Northwestern University has published a ground-breaking study, The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise: Muslims, Christians, and Jews under Islamic Rule in Medieval Spain (2016). We have to hope that it, and future studies from a similar perspective, will help dispel the fog of ignorance that surrounds what life was really like under Islamic imperialism.
Dr. Denis MacEoin (PhD Cambridge) formerly lectured in Arabic and Islamic Studies and has written numerous books, articles, and encyclopedia entries on Islam, including aspects of Iranian Shi'ism.

[1] For more on this, see What's Left? How the Left Lost its Way: How Liberals Lost Their Way, by Nick Cohen, one of Britain's leading journalists.
[2] For the most up-to-date study, see Efraim Karsh, Islamic Imperialism: A History, Yale University Press, 2006
[3] It is hard to know on what this "general" claim is based.
[4] There is decent literature on the Barbary Slave Trade because it relates directly to Europe. An excellent modern study is Robert Davis's Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800 (New York, 2003). There are fewer studies of the general Islamic trade, but a useful introduction is Bernard Lewis's Race and Slavery in the Middle East: An Historical Enquiry, new ed., Oxford University Press, 1992. In this, Lewis "examines the romantic myth of the Middle East as a racial utopia".

Dr. Denis MacEoin (PhD Cambridge) formerly lectured in Arabic and Islamic Studies and has written numerous books, articles, and encyclopedia entries on Islam, including aspects of Iranian Shi'ism.


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