Friday, June 22, 2018

Why Democracies Should Support Tough U.S. Iran Policy - Jagdish N. Singh

by Jagdish N. Singh

It is time for everyone to join the U.S. and President Trump in their efforts to prevent the Islamic Republic of Iran from having the ways and means to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power.

  • "On one level, Iran acts as a legitimate Westphalian state conducting traditional diplomacy... At the same time, it organizes and guides nonstate actors seeking regional hegemony based on jihadist principles: Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria; Hamas in Gaza; the Houthis in Yemen." — Henry Kissinger, 2015.
  • Last week came to light "... details about a second building at the Parchin site involved in high explosive work related to nuclear weapons in an explosive chamber. This building has not been visited by the IAEA... [There was also] direct evidence that the secret Fordow enrichment site was being built to make weapon-grade uranium." — David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security.
  • It is time for everyone to join the U.S. and President Trump in their efforts to prevent the Islamic Republic of Iran from having the ways and means to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power.
President Donald Trump's May 8 announcement that the United States was withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and considering fresh sanctions on Iran is a step in the right direction toward defending the country against Iran's growing nuclear-weapons program and open aim to destroy both Israel and America.

In addition, last week came to light in testimony by the founder and president of the Institute for Science and International Security, David Albright, that Iran had:
"... blueprints for the production of all the components of nuclear weapons, the location of planned nuclear weapons test sites, [and] details about a second building at the Parchin site involved in high explosive work related to nuclear weapons in an explosive chamber. This building has not been visited by the IAEA... [There was also] direct evidence that the secret Fordow enrichment site was being built to make weapon-grade uranium."
Three years ago, the Obama administration was boasting that the JCPOA agreement, reached on July 15, 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 countries (the U.S., the U.K., France, Russia, China and Germany) -- but without Iran ever having signed anything -- would "prevent" Iran from acquiring a deliverable nuclear bomb -- despite such assurances being set to expire in just a few years.

In return for a lifting of international sanctions, the White House promised, Iran would cease various nuclear activities -- something that would be verified by regular outside inspections.

This claim was false. In fact, what the deal actually did was to allow Tehran to conduct its own inspections of Parchin, a military site that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) itself believed had been engaged in the development of nuclear weapons, certainly up until 2003.

By the time the Obama administration, without Congressional approval, signed the JCPOA, Tehran's nuclear-weapons program was fairly advanced. Tehran had already mastered its uranium-enrichment technology and was in a position to produce a nuclear bomb within three months. The JCPOA, however, overlooked Iran's nuclear-capable, missile-development program.

Pictured: A launch of an Iranian Emad missile -- a precision-guided, intermediate-range ballistic missile. (Image source: Tasnim/Wikimedia Commons)

The JCPOA also enabled Iranian oil exports to grow from 1 million barrels a day to 2.6 million; permitted access to western goods and technologies; and provided Tehran with a cash injection of $100-150 billion, which had been frozen in its overseas accounts.

We are presumably supposed to believe that the Obama administration did not take into account that Tehran might use these economic boosts to bolster -- not curb -- its nuclear and conventional arms development. During his election campaign, and since replacing Obama in office, President Trump has repeatedly vowed that he would put a stop to the Iranian threat one way or another.

Addressing the Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C. based think tank, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on May 21 repeated he administration's position: that Iran must cease uranium enrichment forever; provide the IAEA with a full account of the current and prior military dimensions of its nuclear program; allow international inspectors unfettered access to its nuclear installations; and disband its ballistic-missile proliferation. A week earlier, Trump's National Security Adviser, John Bolton, warned that countries that "continue to deal with Iran could face sanctions."

This should not be an empty threat, particularly in light of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's recent order to begin preparations to increase uranium enrichment. Rather than trying to fight Trump over his withdrawal from the JCPOA, all democracies should be supporting his move.

Since the 1979 Iranian Revolution -- which ousted the Shah and ushered in the reign of the mullah-led Islamic Republic -- Tehran has had a hegemonic agenda that is detrimental to peace and stability not only in the Middle East, but even throughout South America.

While pretending to engage in negotiations, the Iranian regime has sought to impose its radical version of Islamic governance across the Middle East to the Mediterranean and beyond. As former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger wrote in 2015,
"On one level, Iran acts as a legitimate Westphalian state conducting traditional diplomacy, even invoking the safeguards of the international system. At the same time, it organizes and guides nonstate actors seeking regional hegemony based on jihadist principles: Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria; Hamas in Gaza; the Houthis in Yemen."
This brings us to Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, which Iran repeatedly and openly threatens to annihilate. Partly to this end, Iran has built "a substantial military infrastructure" in Syria, and has "trained large Shiite militias with thousands of fighters and sent advisers from its powerful Revolutionary Guards Corps to Syrian military bases."

Why, then, is India -- a democratic country and an ally of Israel's -- not backing the Trump administration when it comes to sanctioning Iran? Why did India's External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, categorically reject Washington's withdrawal from the JCPOA? Ahead of a meeting on May 28 with her Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, in New Delhi, Swaraj said, "We recognize UN sanctions and not country-specific sanctions. We didn't follow U.S. sanctions on previous occasions either."

The answer seems to be economic. Iran is India's third-largest oil supplier, with Indo-Iranian trade volume standing at about $13 billion. While looking out for its economic interests, however, New Delhi should not be oblivious to the possible damage that the current Iranian regime could inflict on secular, democratic India, if it is not stopped in time. The government in New Delhi might remember that Tehran has ties with jihadist groups based in India and Pakistan. In Kashmir, for instance, local cells of radical Islamists were found to have employed the strategies and tactics of the Iran-backed, Lebanon-based terrorist organization Hezbollah. Tehran also reportedly has helped rebuild al-Qaeda and has supplied anti-aircraft weapons to the Taliban. Like other radical Islamist groups, both al-Qaeda and the Taliban have had an agenda of targeting India.

It is thus unfortunate that Britain, France, Germany and the EU are among the other JCPOA signatories that still "remain committed" to the JCPOA. At a summit in Sofia, Bulgaria, in mid-May, EU leaders said they would continue to support the nuclear agreement, "as long as Iran respects the deal." What these leaders fail to understand is that any deal that protects the safety and democratic values of the West will never be accepted by Iran.

It is time for everyone to join the U.S. and President Trump in their efforts to prevent the Islamic Republic from having the ways and means to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power.

Jagdish N. Singh is a senior journalist based in New Delhi.


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Examining the Singapore Summit Logically - Apolo Villalobos

by Apolo Villalobos

In Singapore, Donald Trump proved to the world that he is, indeed, a master of making deals.

President Trump realized long ago that our so-called “alliances” are nothing of the sort, in so far as they have been one-way “alliances” for over half a century. They have always been one-sided. Japan and South Korea have contributed nothing whenever America needed help elsewhere. As for the NATO countries, long ago they pledged that, upon a Russian invasion, they would defend Europe to the last American. As for their contribution in Afghanistan, it can be likened to their contributing a truck with the transmission shot. Worse, America has carried most of the financial burden of defending these “allies.”

In Singapore, Donald Trump has proven to the world -- if not to the obsessively hostile American media -- that he is, indeed, a master of making deals. Although the details have not come out, if we use a bit of logic we can easily unravel the puzzle.

Prior to actually meeting with Kim, Trump offered things through Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Kim desperately craved. For one thing, a formal end to the Korean War. For another, full diplomatic recognition by America, South Korea, and Japan, thereby legitimizing the country’s identity and existence. Third, a cessation of (costly!) South Korean-American war games. Four, the gradual withdrawal of American troops from South Korea, thereby eliminating costly bases in the country. Five, a guarantee that the U.S. will refrain from attempting regime change. Six, an end to sanctions. Seven, economic aid (which would be vastly cheaper than a continued military presence and war games). This was irresistible to Kim.

In order to get all this, North Korea must denuclearize. This requires a shift in the North’s psychology, but considering that the raison d’ĂȘtre for nukes is the survival of the regime, North Korea will get that through Trump’s plan without any more costly nuke buildup.

On top of this, Kim was feted in Singapore and praised for agreeing to the summit, treated as an international VIP, instead of being seen as a leper. He could get used to this.

In the past, meetings with North Korean officials have always been accompanied by obnoxious insults and rudeness, which American officials put up with because they were desperate for results. When DPRK lower officials started the same nonsense by standing up American officials, Trump abruptly called off the summit. Fences were quickly mended and the summit was back on, but the message was clear: Trump wouldn’t put up with their usual routine (this was evident even prior to this, when Trump promised to completely obliterate North Korea if Guam was attacked). In this, he borrowed a page from Ronald Reagan: the latter had made it clear that, unlike his feckless predecessors, he would walk away from a summit rather than sign a damaging treaty (too many harmful treaties have been approved by foolish American politicians and bureaucrats who have embraced willful blindness so that they would not disappoint expectations of signing a treaty). And somewhat relevant to all this is the fact that, prior to meeting the American president, Kim fired three generals who may have objected to the summit (leaders to Communist countries, as a rule, are not afflicted by the blind fanaticism of their subjects). A coup d’etat is still possible.

To add frosting on the cake, Trump just imposed tariffs on China, which indicates that China had very little, if anything, to do with the summit. It may be remembered that Trump campaigned on the fact that China steals intellectual property and that the trading dynamics have been in China’s favor (just go to any Walmart or Target and see how many items are made in China). During the first year of his presidency, Trump halted the anti-China rhetoric. Why? Because, as with previous presidents, China had pretended to be the key to influencing North Korea, stringing them along for years, essentially playing one off against the other. Trump caught on and bypassed China and now he can do what he wanted to do all along in respect to China.

Genius. Sheer genius.

The Koreans look forward to reunification one day. They are as sentimental at the prospect as the Germans were during the Cold War. What Kim and the ruling elite in North Korea do not realize is that the regime is living on borrowed time. It will be destroyed, not through nukes or tanks or missiles, but with smuggled DVDs. That is what paradoxically will bring down the regime.

Apolo Villalobos


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Overheated ‘cyber-Pearl Harbor’ rhetoric on Russia’s 2016 election activities now haunts Obama administration - Thomas Lifson

by Thomas Lifson

Sworn Senate testimony by former President Obama’s cybersecurity coordinator has Trump-haters out on a shaky limb with their hysteria over Russia.

Sworn Senate testimony by former President Obama’s cybersecurity coordinator has Trump-haters out on a shaky limb with their hysteria over Russia. Christian Datoc reports in the Washington Examiner:
Michael Daniel confirmed Wednesday that former national security adviser Susan Rice ordered him and his staff to "stand down" in 2016 in regard to Russian attempts to meddle in the 2016 election.
Daniel, special assistant to former President Barack Obama and White House cybersecurity coordinator, told members of the Senate Intelligence Committee that quotes attributed to him in the book, Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump, were an "accurate rendering of the conversation" he had with Rice and his staff.
Daniel's staff reportedly responded to the order in "disbelief."
Don’t forget that in his second term, Obama was able to be “flexible” on Russia, as he assured Demitri Medvedev he would be in March 2012. So Russia was not seen as a big threat. It was only after Trump’s election shocked Dems and required an excuse that “Russian meddling” became a matter of concern. The subsequent efforts to de-legitimize the 2016 election of Donald Trump led such luminaries as the Washington Post editorial board to label Russia’s efforts a ‘cyber Peral Harbor’ and indignantly accuse President Trump of “refus[ing] to face reality.” Trump-hating politicians such as John McCain and Jeanne Shaheen were only slightly less hysterical, terming them an “act of war,” something only a cowardly president would ignore.

In effect, they are now accusing Obama of ignoring an attack equal to that which led America to declare war on japan and Germany and massively mobilize to achieve complete victory. And, according to the Washington Post yesterday, that was not a betrayal, but a “mistake.”
Former Obama administration officials warned President Trump on Wednesday to learn from their mistakes and respond forcefully to Russian interference, urging him to make sure Moscow knows exactly what the U.S. will do if the Kremlin attempts to interfere in another election.
“The Russians, and particularly this Kremlin, watch what we do more than what we say — so active deterrence measures would have perhaps been more effective,” former assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland told the Senate Intelligence Committee. “We know that they may very well do this again, so now we need to be planning what the retaliation will be — and we need to be signaling it.”
Nuland spoke to the intelligence panel alongside former cybersecurity coordinator J. Michael Daniel, and both said the Obama administration’s approach to countering Russia had been too fractured and too timid to compel the Kremlin to rethink its actions.
“Timid” is a good word for Obama’s willingness to stand up to those who do threaten America’s interests and security. Except, of course, when he supported those efforts -- as when he sent billions of dollars to Iran’s mullahs. The current need to emphasize Russia as an omnipotent malefactor in order to impugn President Trump’s legitimacy is now causing former Obama administration officials to cast doubt on the courage and wisdom of their boss. And if he responds to this criticism, he opens a door that he would rather keep closed.

The Russiagate conspiracy scenario is collapsing of its own weight as the Mueller investigation has yet to allege any such crimes. If it incidentally ends up turning Obama officials against their former boss, then at least it will not have been totally useless.

Leigh Blackall's visual commentary (via Flickr) eems apt.:

Thomas Lifson


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Review of Israel land sales reveals discrimination against Jews - Shimon Yaish

by Shimon Yaish

Whereas land tenders are limited to local residents in Arab communities, in Jewish communities such as  Katzir, Poria Illit, Immanuel and Metula are open to any citizen.

An Israel Hayom review of the some 200 state land tenders featured on the Israel Land Authority website has found that the authority systematically limits tenders for land in Arab communities to "local residents."

According to ILA policy, in tenders for small communities or communities located in national priority areas, some of the land can be earmarked for existing community members before being offered to the general population. In minority communities, however, up to 100% of land is often earmarked for locals.

Of the 200 current and former tenders Israel Hayom examined, it emerged that in minority communities, tenders for land are limited exclusively to the construction of single-family homes for "locals." This is true of smaller Arab communities like Deir Hanna, Tuba-Zangariyye, Yanuh-Jat, Kisra-Sumei, but also in the major Arab city of Sakhnin, where the population numbers 30,000.

In contrast, tenders in Jewish communities like Katzir, Poria Illit, Immanuel, Metula and even Savyon are open to any citizen interested in submitting an application to purchase land.

Sources involved in the tender process explained to Israel Hayom that one of the reasons behind the ILA policy on land allocation was to "maintain the status and preserve the character of the Arab communities."

Jewish buyers have expressed frustration at being restricted from purchasing land in Arab communities, as the tenders are offered solely to minority buyers.

One Jewish buyer argued that "these lands should be offered to everyone, because they are everyone's. It belongs as much to us as it belongs to those Arab residents. This is infuriating discrimination. Even if there aren't a lot of Jews who want to live in Arab communities, the state must make this an option. And if it is not an option, they should restrict similar tenders in Jewish communities for locals only."

"This is quite simply a distorted reality where they can buy everything here and we cannot," the businessman said. "We don't understand how it makes sense that they [Arabs] can buy land in [the Jewish communities of] Afula or Nes Ziona and we can't submit an offer for a tender in Jat. Later, there are even accusations that the Arab population in Israel are discriminated against."

In a statement, the ILA said it issued land tenders for single-family homes in Sakhnin and in similar communities in the north for locals "with the aim of ensuring the lands would reach local residents without housing, including members of the security forces, and not developers who seek to turn a profit. It should be noted that the allocation of lands by the ILA is done in an egalitarian manner and in accordance with the policies determined by the ILA's governing council. This policy is consistent with the policies of the government of Israel, its laws and the procedures established in the courts."

According to the ILA, "The allocation of lands to locals is done in accordance with the provisions of the law for all citizens regardless of nationality, religion, race or gender. But it is natural and self-evident that in Jewish communities, a majority of locals are Jews, and in Arab communities the locals are Arabs. The rate and extent of land allocation to local residents, whether by public tender or in the framework of registration or lotteries, is based on the size of the community, its geographical location, the national priority area to which it belongs, and other characteristics."

"In small communities with unique characteristics, a large part [of the land] is marketed to locals. The bigger the community, the smaller the percentage of [land] that is marketed to locals. As part of general government policy, the rate of locals in minority communities is higher than the rate of locals in communities that are not minority communities," the authority explained.

Shimon Yaish


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Palestinians: How to Achieve a Better Life - Bassam Tawil

by Bassam Tawil

At the end of the day, Palestinians know that the power struggle between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas is not between good guys and bad guys, but between bad guys and bad guys. These bad guys are no different from other Arab dictatorships that enslave and kill their people.

  • "It's become safer to demonstrate against Israel than against Abbas or the Palestinian Authority. Israel is at least a country of law and order and they have human rights organizations and a powerful media and judicial system. We can only continue to dream of having something like what the Jews have." — Palestinian activist.
  • At the end of the day, Palestinians know that the power struggle between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas is not between good guys and bad guys, but between bad guys and bad guys. These bad guys are no different from other Arab dictatorships that enslave and kill their people. Anyone who thinks that Mahmoud Abbas is eager to go back to the Gaza Strip is living in a dream world.
  • If the Palestinians ever wish to seek a better life, the first thing they need to do is rid themselves of the "leaders" who have destroyed their lives.
In the past two weeks, Palestinians received yet another reminder that they are living under undemocratic regimes that have less than no respect for public freedoms.

The regimes of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip never miss an opportunity to remind their people of the dire consequences that await anyone who speaks out against the leaders. The two Palestinian regimes have been forcing it down the throats of their people for many years.

Still, some Palestinians seem surprised each time the PA or Hamas send their police officers to break up (or, more precisely, to break bones in) a demonstration in Ramallah or the Gaza Strip.

The streets of Ramallah and Gaza City showcase, yet again, that the Palestinians' true tragedy over the past five decades has been failed and corrupt leadership -- one that keeps dragging them from one disaster to another; one that never offers them any hope; one that has been radicalizing and brainwashing its people; one that steals large portions of the financial aid provided by the international community, and one that has brought them nothing but dictatorship and repression.

The Palestinian Authority is nearly 25 years old, but it continues to act as a corrupt dictatorship. Like most Arab regimes, the PA and its leaders have zero tolerance for any form of criticism.

Ask Palestinian journalists, bloggers and pundits in the West Bank and they will tell you (in private and anonymously; they would like to save their skins) how the Palestinian Authority cracks down on them and imposes severe restrictions on their work. In the past year alone, at least 11 Palestinian journalists and political activists have either been arrested or summoned for interrogation by Palestinian security forces in the West Bank. The charge: voicing various forms of criticism against the Palestinian Authority or one of its senior officials, including, of course, President Mahmoud Abbas.

Earlier this month, the Palestinian Authority went one step further in demonstrating to its constituents what dictatorship looks like. Hundreds of Palestinians were staging a peaceful demonstration in the center of Ramallah to call on Abbas to lift the sanctions he had imposed on the Gaza Strip a year earlier. The sanctions, which severely aggravated the economic crisis in the Gaza Strip, included firing thousands of PA civil servants and cutting off social assistance to many families. Abbas has also refused to pay for the electricity and medical care that Israel supplies to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Abbas placed the sanctions on the Gaza Strip in the hope that affected Palestinians would revolt against his enemies in Hamas. So far, however, his measures seem to have backfired. Hamas is still in power and there is almost no real challenge to its rule over the Gaza Strip. Also, Abbas does not want to bear any responsibility for his people in the Gaza Strip; he wants the Gaza Strip to be the problem of Israel, Egypt and the rest of the world. Anyone who thinks that Abbas is eager to go back to the Gaza Strip is living in a dream world. (Hamas expelled the Palestinian Authority and Abbas from the Gaza Strip in 2007).

Abbas does not like to be reminded of his responsibility for what many describe as a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, and he does not want any Palestinians to protest the punitive measures he imposed on the Gaza Strip.

First, Abbas issued a directive banning Palestinians from protesting in the major cities in the West Bank.

His directive, however, did not stop hundreds of Palestinian activists from taking to the streets of Ramallah on June 13 to condemn Abbas's sanctions. What was supposed to be a peaceful protest turned out to be one of the most violent clashes between Abbas's security forces and demonstrators, whose only crime was that they were calling on their leader to lift the sanctions he imposed on the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinians in the West Bank are also trying to show solidarity with their brothers in the Gaza Strip. They seem to be beginning to realize that Abbas, instead of helping the people in the Gaza Strip, is actually punishing them by cutting off their salaries and denying them medical and humanitarian aid. The Ramallah protest also came amid growing criticism (mainly from the Gaza Strip) that the Palestinians of the West Bank are indifferent to the suffering of their brothers in the Gaza Strip.

On instructions from Abbas, dozens of Palestinian policemen, both in uniform and civilian clothes, attacked the protesters with brute force, using clubs and tear gas. More than 44 protestors were arrested and 20 injured. The brutality, however, did not end there. Palestinian policemen later raided hospitals and medical clinics in Ramallah to arrest injured Palestinians suspected of taking part in the peaceful protest. At least five Palestinian and foreign journalists were wounded during the police assault, while many others had their cameras and other equipment confiscated.

Hundreds of Palestinian protesters took to the streets of Ramallah on June 13 to condemn the sanctions placed on the Gaza Strip by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. On instructions from Abbas, dozens of Palestinian policemen attacked the protesters with brute force, using clubs and tear gas. (Image source: Wattan video screenshot)

"The Palestinian Authority has crossed all red lines," said a Palestinian protester who was beaten up by Palestinian policemen during the demonstration. "They treated us as if we were the biggest enemy of the Palestinians. We have no idea why they used such force against us. This is a real crime and a violation of Palestinian human rights."

The Palestinian Authority has defended its brutal assault on the peaceful protesters by arguing that the demonstrators had failed to obtain a permit for their protest. But since when do Palestinians need a permit from their leaders to demonstrate? Well, in this instance they do need a permit because the protest was directed against the Palestinian Authority and Abbas.

Demonstrating against Israel or the US and burning their flags and posters of Israeli and American leaders do not require a permit from the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah. In fact, the Palestinian leaders in Ramallah have played a major role in initiating anti-Israel and anti-US demonstrations, especially in recent months. It is one thing to shout chants against the US and Israel, but it is a completely different story when a Palestinian shouts chants against his leaders. Such a Palestinian would be lucky indeed if he winds up in hospital with only with a broken limb.

So Abbas, who is already punishing his people in the Gaza Strip under the pretext of fighting Hamas, is now telling his people in the West Bank to keep their opinions to themselves or pay for the impudence with broken heads and broken bones.

Abbas's warning was echoed by one of his senior officials, Akram Rajoub, who serves as "governor" of the West Bank city of Nablus. In a video posted on social media after the violent Ramallah incident, Rajoub is seen and heard threatening any Palestinian who demonstrates against President Abbas:
"We will curse the father of anyone who protests... From now on, we're not afraid and we don't care. We will strike back at anyone who curses us and harms our dignity. Cursed be the fathers of those who say bad things about us!"
Rajoub's threats, which sound more like the language of a street thug than a senior official, came in response to widespread criticism of the Palestinian Authority's brutal violence against the Ramallah protesters. His threat is seen as an attempt to deter other Palestinians from speaking out against Abbas's sanctions on the Gaza Strip.

Rajoub's threats represent a massive mockery of truth on the part of the Palestinian Authority. On the one hand, Abbas and his officials continue to hold Israel responsible for the misery of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and are calling on the international community to condemn Israel for its policies in defending itself against attacks (from the Gaza Strip), while it is, in fact, Abbas himself who is largely responsible for the current crisis. It is because of Abbas, and not Israel, that the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip get only four or five hours of electricity every day. It is because of Abbas, and not Israel, that tens of thousands of Palestinian employees have not been receiving salaries for the past few months. It is because of Abbas, and not Israel, that hospitals in the Gaza Strip lack medicine and medical equipment.

These are only some of the inconvenient truths that Abbas and his cronies in Ramallah do not want the world to know or the Palestinians to talk about. That is why Abbas sent his police officers to Ramallah to beat up the protesters, whose only crime was that they had dared to call on their leader to remove the sanctions on the Gaza Strip.

For now, Abbas appears to have achieved his goal of silencing and intimidating his critics. The violent scenes on the streets of Ramallah on June 13 served as a sufficient deterrent. As one Palestinian activist commented:
"It's become safer to demonstrate against Israel than against Abbas or the Palestinian Authority. Israel is at least a country of law and order and they have human rights organizations and a powerful media and judicial system. We can only continue to dream of having something like what the Jews have."
The fact that Abbas is running a one-man show in the West Bank and is cracking down on public freedoms does not mean that his rivals in Hamas are any better. Sometimes, in fact, it is hard to distinguish between Abbas's regime and that of Hamas. The two often use the same tactics to impose terror and intimidation on their people. Hamas is bad, but who said that the Palestinian Authority is good?

The scenes we witnessed on the streets of Ramallah in mid-June were replicated in Gaza City a few days later, when Hamas used the same tactic to break up a peaceful protest. On June 18, Hamas policemen and militiamen attacked a group of Palestinians who were holding a peaceful protest to call for Palestinian unity. Again, several Palestinians ended up in hospital, while scores of others were arrested by Hamas. Hamas also justified the use of force by arguing that the protesters had failed to obtain a proper permit.

In both Ramallah and Gaza, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas managed to send a message to their people that anyone who speaks out against his or her leader will have his bones or skull smashed. Hamas and the PA despise each other and have been ripping each other to pieces -- figuratively and literally -- for the past decade. At the end of the day, however, Palestinians know that the power struggle between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas is not between good guys and bad guys, but between bad guys and bad guys. These bad guys are no different from other Arab dictatorships that enslave and kill their people.

If the Palestinians ever wish to seek a better life, the first thing they need to do is rid themselves of the "leaders" who have destroyed their lives.

Bassam Tawil is a Muslim Arab based in the Middle East.


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Superhero Comic Books, From Fighting America’s Enemies to Submitting to Them - Bosch Fawstin

by Bosch Fawstin

Marvel and DC Comics ignore Jihad - and push Islamic propaganda through their Muslim superheroes.

Do you recall, during World War Two, when comic book publishers published German and Japanese superheroes, with no mention of the war going on in their stories? No? Well, that’s what Marvel and DC Comics are doing today with their Muslim superhero comic books, which completely ignore the Only reason we began speaking about Islam-Jihad.

There’s no demand for Muslim superheroes, not in the marketplace, not from comic book fans, not even from Muslims. But there is a demand for superheroes to take on Jihad. But I’ll get back to that later.


Marvel Comics recently cancelled low-selling gay, black and female superhero comic books, and yet their low-selling Muslim superhero comic book continues to be published. The reason Marvel first published its Muslim superhero is because Marvel’s leftist editors were too afraid to turn down the idea from their Muslim editor, Sana Amanat, who knew she could roll them easily. And the reason they won’t cancel it is out of fear that real world Muslims won’t be like the ones they’re invested in portraying in their fantasy world. They published it out of fear and they won’t cancel it out of fear. And now she might appear in Marvel’s movies, out of fear.

Marvel’s Muslim superhero is named Ms. Marvel, which she adopted from the original Ms. Marvel in the comics, in order to make this new character appear familiar. We’re told that she idolizes superheroes, and that they’re her inspiration, which is very Un-Islamic, but very American. So if there’s anything appealing about her, it’s the things that have nothing to do with Islam, but have to do with her being an American who’s inspired- not by Islam –but by American superheroes. Here’s an article I wrote five years ago at PJ Media, anticipating this further Islamization of American comics, called 10 Truths Mainstream Comic Books Evade to Promote ‘Muslim Superheroes’

Ms. Marvel’s name is Kamala Khan, a teenage “Pakistani American” living in New Jersey with her Muslim family. She’s likely based on her creator, Sana Amanat, who appears Western, but who also wears a kaffiya, a scarf made famous by terrorist Yassir Arafat, at comic book conventions. And it was recently revealed that Amanat deleted old, racist tweets where she wrote tweets such as “One day we will all be brown.” Flip that to “white”, and someone gets fired instantly. Ms. Marvel’s writer is G Willow Wilson, a post-9/11 American convert to Islam, who’s a fusion of leftist/Muslim, and who feels the need to not only wear a headscarf, but full Islamic robes wherever she goes. Why doesn’t Ms. Marvel wear a headscarf like her writer does? Because Marvel doesn’t want to alienate even more readers. I read an interview a few years ago with Sana Amanat, where she was discussing Ms. Marvel’s origins, and she mentioned that she initially considered giving her the power to blow herself up, and Amanat laughed and said how that wasn’t going to work. Yeah, because real life Muslims blow themselves up every day, something that the comic book completely ignores. Marvel ended up giving her powers that they clearly didn’t put much thought into, as the entire point of their Muslim editor was to force a Muslim superhero down the throats of comic book readers. Ms. Marvel wears a full body-covering “burkini”, and a mask around her eyes. Her suit is red and blue, with no Islamic green in sight. Her powers are that she can stretch, deform or expand any part of her body.

Despite Marvel’s best efforts of shoehorning Ms. Marvel into every popular comic book they can, whether its Spider-Man, Wolverine, X-men, etc., having her join one superhero group after another, The Avengers, the Champions, Secret Warriors, her sales keep dropping month after month. The sales for April 2018 were its lowest, below cancellation level, 13,000 shipped. Not sold, but shipped, as Marvel has a nasty habit of over shipping their low-selling comics onto retailers, in order to boost their dwindling numbers. But all that won’t stop Marvel from putting her in their movies. Someone at the BBC, who I assume was Muslim, asked the head of Marvel Studios if their Muslim superhero will appear in their films, and he answered yes. The head of Marvel Studios, who Never mentioned Marvel’s Muslim superhero before, was all of a sudden asked about her, and automatically said yes, she’ll be in movies. The superheroes in Marvel’s movies are from the 1960’s. They’ve stood the test of time. And now a character who’s only a few years old, who shares the ideology of the enemy at war with us, will be fighting alongside the Avengers? I dare Marvel to give the character her own movie, the way they’ve given her her own comic book, and advertise it loudly that she’s a Muslim. Because they want it every which way. They speak of her as their “first Muslim superhero”, and then they keep that fact clear from a lot of the advertizing. And then they have her craving bacon on the first page of her first issue, while on the cover she’s carrying a copy of the hadith, which is a collection of the doings and sayings of Mohammad, which only devout Muslims would be reading.

DC Comics began this full blown submission to Islam in 2010 by allowing its three major superheroes, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, to team up with “The 99”, a group of Muslim superheroes created by a Muslim. A Muslim who giddily mentioned how Obama personally praised him for his efforts at an event. Even with these major heavyweight characters, the series bombed, and ‘The 99” are nowhere to be found today. I wrote about it here, as well as how my criticism of Batman franchising a Muslim counterpart landed me on The Daily Show. (please ignore Google’s “content warning”)

So my accompanying cartoon, above, shows how corrupt our culture has become. American superheroes used to fight America’s real world enemies. Now, today’s real world Islamic enemies are erased from the comics, with a fantasy version of Islam and Muslims in its place. Seventeen years after 9/11, with the Islamic enemy still undefeated, and Marvel and DC Comics think they can get away with making the ideology motivating the war on us appear benign. This is an outrage, an absolute outrage. But we’ve become so corrupt that even saying it’s an outrage is considered an outrage.

I was raised Muslim in the Bronx, New York. I fell in love with superhero comic books as a kid. I dreamed of writing and drawing them one day. I was working on my first graphic novel when 9/11 hit. The atrocity shook me to my core. I studied Islam as if my life depended on it, to know the enemy, to write and draw a story that would tell the truth about what we were facing, and why we refuse to face it. If you want to see an American superhero take on today’s Islamic enemy, check out my comic book, The Infidel, featuring Pigman.

Bosch Fawstin is an Eisner Award-nominated cartoonist currently adapting a novel into a graphic novel, to be announced soon He’s the winner of the Mohammad Cartoon Contest, which ended with a jihadist attack where only the would-be murderers died. He’s the creator of the anti-jihad superhero, Pigman, featured in The Infidel series. Bosch’s first graphic novel is Table for One. He is also the author of ProPiganda: Drawing the Line Against Jihad, a print companion to The Infidel.


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Kuwait Seizes the Palestinian Cause - A.J. Caschetta

by A.J. Caschetta

A newly-politicized Kuwait is on a dual mission to bolster its international image in the Muslim world and appease its growing domestic Islamist movements.  Palestinian advocacy serves both ends.

When Kuwait sent a draft resolution to the Security Council in early June calling for an “international protection” force at the Gaza border and demanding that Israel stop using “excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force,” it was all symbolism.  Knowing that the U.S. would veto the resolution, Kuwait still considered it important enough to risk offending its most important ally. 
Ever since Hamas’ “March of Return” operation, Kuwait has emerged as the Palestinians’ most important ally, convening emergency meetings at the UN to condemn Israel and provide diplomatic cover for Hamas.  This activity marks a major shift from decades of antagonism towards Palestinians – whom it has been accused of ethnically cleansing from the emirate.  A newly-politicized Kuwait is on a dual mission to bolster its international image in the Muslim world and appease its growing domestic Islamist movements.  Palestinian advocacy serves both ends. 
Before the first Gulf War, Kuwait was among the Palestinians’ most important ally.  The 400-450,000 Palestinians living among 2 million Kuwaitis were professionals, skilled and unskilled workers.  Fatah was in fact founded in Kuwait.  But when Saddam Hussein invaded, the Palestinian leaders faced a dilemma, benefitting from both Iraqi and Kuwaiti patronage.  Compelled to choose between the two, Yasser Arafat foolishly chose Saddam.
After the U.S.-led coalition forced the Iraqi pillagers out, half of the Palestinian population fled Kuwait.  The restored emir, Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, vented his anger by cutting ties with the PLO and expelling nearly all remaining Palestinians.  Rumors persist of summary executions, imprisonment and torture of Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Saddam.  Arafat later complained that “What Kuwait did to the Palestinian people is worse than what has been done by Israel to Palestinians.”
In 1991 Kuwait ended almost all diplomatic contacts with the Palestinians, but Saddam Hussein remained their loyal patron until he was toppled by another U.S.-led coalition.  With Saddam gone, the two sides almost reconciled in August 2003, but it was another 10 years before Kuwait reopened a PLO embassy.  But the reconciliation seemed lukewarm at best, and many Palestinians claim they still face widespread prejudice in the emirate.
In 2014, the Arab League’s Summit, held in Kuwait, issued the Kuwait Declaration which stated “We express our absolute and decisive rejection to recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.”  In 2015, the 25th anniversary of the Iraqi invasion, Al-Jazeera reported that “the ice has started to melt" between Kuwait and the Palestinian leadership.  And now three years later, Palestinians seem to have regained their former patron.  Or have they? 
After the Trump administration announced that the U.S. would to move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem, Kuwait announced that it was considering opening an embassy in “Palestine,” hinting that it would be located in East Jerusalem. Knowing full well that Israel would never allow such a move, Sheikh Sabah Al Khaled, Kuwait’s deputy prime minister and foreign minister, nevertheless signaled a willingness to lend at least the appearance of legitimacy to a “Palestine” should Abbas or his successor unilaterally declare statehood, adding that "Kuwait is one of the most committed countries to Arab and international resolutions, rejecting the Israeli occupation of the occupied Arab territories."
Kuwait’s lobbying on behalf of the Palestinians should not be mistaken for concern about them.  Even prior to the Gulf War, few were ever granted permanent resident status, let alone citizenship.  If the current emir, Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, really loves the Palestinians so much, he would welcome them as Kuwaitis.  Rather, he is interested in what he can get out of them.
The Palestinian cause may still be a diplomatic priority in parts of Europe, but its allure has faded in the Arab world.  Saudi Arabia now prefers an alliance with Israel, and Egypt has actually flooded Hamas tunnels at Israel’s request.  Kuwait is positioning itself as the preeminent supporter of the Palestinians among Arab nations.
Kuwait sees itself as an ascendant power among the shifting alliances in the Middle East and the Palestinians are stepping-stones to this goal.  When Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain boycotted last year’s Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit because Qatar attended, Kuwait made its debut as a regional peace broker between the sides.  Perhaps it was an audition for a larger role in Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations.  After all, Mahmoud Abbas says he will no longer accept the U.S. as mediator.  
Even more valuable than establishing diplomatic bona fides, Palestinian advocacy is a way to assuage Islamists.  Unlike most of the Arab world, in Kuwait the Muslim Brotherhood is legal and active.  It has spawned other Salafist groups as well, and they have been successful lately, for instance pushing through a law in 2016 that “bar[s] from running or voting in elections all those convicted for ‘insulting’ God, the prophets, or the emir.” 
Kuwait’s Islamist political forces were on full display last December when the government allowed them to hold protests outside the Palestinian embassy in Kuwait City.  Against a backdrop of “Terrorism is an American business” chants, Ossama al-Shahin, a Kuwaiti MP with the Islamic Constitutional Movement, demanded the government "take measures against US interests.” Shia MP Khalil Abdullah urged Kuwait to use its upcoming Security Council seat to oppose the U.S. embassy move.  December’s atmosphere explains May’s nose-thumbing at those who rescued Kuwait from remaining the 19th province of Saddam’s Iraq. 
Kuwait’s cynical politicking on behalf of the Palestinians is at once an attempt to earn the requisite credentials for the prominence it desires and a hedge against its Islamist opposition.  The emir of Kuwait is just another opportunistic dictator in what Efraim Karsh calls the long “history of Arab leaders manipulating the Palestinian cause for their own ends while ignoring the fate of the Palestinians.”

A.J. Caschetta is a Ginsburg-Ingerman fellow at the Middle East Forum and a principal lecturer at the Rochester Institute of Technology.


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The Real Child Abusers of Border Insecurity - Daniel Greenfield

by Daniel Greenfield

The zombie lawsuit causing family separation that never dies.

What the media has been falsely calling President Trump’s family separation policy began with Hollywood actor Ed Asner’s housekeeper and a lawsuit by the ACLU during the Reagan administration.

The issue was child trafficking.

Teenage girls were being smuggled into the United States. Some were being sent on to their illegal alien family members in the United States. Others were being sent to the United States as cheap labor or being trafficked for prostitution. People purporting to be family members might show up asking for them to be released into their custody. And immigration authorities were faced with a horrible situation.

The ACLU was less interested in the teens than in Attorney General Edwin Meese. Reagan’s AG was the Sessions of the day. A man whose name so enraged the left-wing group that at one point it circulated petitions demanding that Reagan fire Meese and called him the most dangerous official since Nixon.

Flores v. Meese, the case that led to the family separation policy, was born with Ed Asner's housekeeper and the ACLU's obsession with Meese. But the case, with various AGs replacing Meese, dragged on. And the ACLU went on insisting that refusing to release teenage illegal aliens violated the Constitution.

In ’93, when Jenny Lisette Flores, the girl at the center of the original case, was 23, the Supreme Court finally ruled 7-2 against the ACLU and rejected its bizarre claim that illegal teens had a right to be released. The verdict was brutal and made a hash of the ACLU’s opportunistic misreading of the Constitution. 

And that should have been it. But by then it wasn’t Flores v. Meese, but Flores v. Reno.

The Clinton administration then threw the case with what is known as the Flores Settlement in 1997. By then the titular Flores was 27 years old. The settlement required releasing underage illegal aliens into the least restrictive setting. And that meant that they couldn’t be detained alongside illegal alien adults.

The Flores Settlement was the ACLU’s big victory. And the partisan lefty group went on using it to batter successive administrations into loosening conditions on underage detainees. And then, a few weeks ago, the narrative flipped. The “least restrictive conditions” that the left had been fighting for since the eighties suddenly became the worst atrocity since slavery, Japanese internment and the Holocaust.

Holding underage migrants in “least restrictive conditions” meant separating them from their parents.

The media’s defiantly fake news coverage is so bad that it described President Trump’s executive order trying to modify the Flores Settlement, an ACLU sweetheart deal with the Clinton administration, as a retreat. The executive order proposes to detain illegal alien families together, but that may end up violating the Flores Agreement which is why Trump is asking for a modification of the Clinton program.

Flores lawsuits in the past had fought against detaining families together except under least restrictive conditions.

None of this satisfies the left which used the claims of family separation only as a wedge issue to restore the open borders policies of the previous administration. Its goal is to end the detention of illegal aliens.

Despite the media’s claims, this isn’t a new problem.

The supposed 2,300 “children” separated from their families are consistent with past numbers of over 4,000. The real problem is that the floods of illegal aliens overload the resources of INS and now ICE. That’s particularly true when it comes to underage teens and children. And the left also knows that if it can get an illegal alien out of custody, it will be almost impossible to get him or her back into custody.

The Flores Settlement requires detaining illegal alien border crossers separately from any minors coming with them. But if these alleged families are detained together, then the left will accuse the administration of locking up entire families. And indeed, after President Trump’s executive order, the media’s fake news spin is already twisting to accuse a cruel administration of locking up families.

Despite the media’s hysterical innuendo and propaganda, no Republican wants to detain children. The trafficking of children across the border is an open borders problem. It would not exist if the border were secured. And the Democrats have fought against any serious effort to secure the border.

That’s why Flores isn’t going anywhere.

In 2016, Flores v. Lynch was filed. Jenny, the original teenage girl, was now 46 years old. The occasion was the flood of so-called unaccompanied minors in response to Obama’s open border policies.

Once again the flood of illegal aliens overloaded ICE resources. That incarnation of the lawsuit insisted that the Flores Settlement required the government to hold families in the same conditions as the minors. And to expeditiously release both minors and accompanying adults.

That was often the policy of the Clinton administration. But the security measures of 9/11 ended that. And that’s what the protests are really about.

When media activists began posting photos of detained minors under the Obama administration (while misrepresenting them as images taken during the Trump administration) they were really highlighting the consequences of open borders.

Open borders doesn’t mean that everyone gets in. What they really mean is that, much like Europe, a flood of migrants and a lack of meaningful enforcement overwhelms immigration authorities. Many migrants make it through. Some are detained. And the conditions of their detention are often unhappy because immigration authorities don’t have the resources to keep up with the sheer scale of the crisis.

Because border security can’t be entirely dismantled, even by Democrat administrations innately hostile to the idea, the wave of migrants actually ends up increasing the number of those being detained.

It’s not border security, but the lack of it that leads to adults and children being detained in substandard conditions. And Republican bills to improve conditions, detain families together and secure the border are being stifled by Democrats who don’t want border security, but do want to exploit a political crisis.

The right’s preferred solution is border security and the left’s solution of choice is open borders.

Only border security will solve the problem.

The latest incarnations of Flores, who is now pushing 50, would give a free pass to any illegal migrant bringing a child with him into this country. That would be a gift to human traffickers. And that is why the ban on releasing children into the custody of anyone except a legitimate guardian was implemented.

The decades of Flores wars undermined a policy that was there to protect detained minors.
The media has accused Republicans of child abuse. But the Flores campaign enabled child trafficking. And the intended endgame would end all protection for the children being trafficked across the border.

The Flores Settlement was a sweetheart deal with enough loopholes to drive a truck full of migrants through. And the left has spent decades driving trucks through those loopholes. Its latest campaign is only the culmination of decades of twisting border security into insecurity and child protection into abuse.

As the decades roll on, as the original Jenny grows old and retires, the Flores lawsuits will keep on coming. And children will continue to be detained and adults arrested until the border is secured.

President Trump’s signature issue was securing the border with a wall. That’s still the only answer.

Only a wall can end the tide of illegal migrants, the flow of drugs and of human cargo. Only a wall can shut down the detention centers, for adults and children. And only a wall can keep us safe and free.

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


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