Friday, September 6, 2019

Muhammad Dahlan and the Deal of the Century - Dr. James M. Dorsey

by Dr. James M. Dorsey

Muhammad Dahlan has lurked for several years in the shadows of Palestinian politics.

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,279, September 5, 2019

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: A controversial former security official and Abu Dhabi-based political operator, Muhammad Dahlan, has lurked for several years in the shadows of Palestinian politics. It is possible that he will emerge in an attempt to pave the way for US president Donald Trump’s much maligned “Deal of the Century” to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

President Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestine Authority, and Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, have condemned President Donald Trump’s proposed, yet-to-be-published “Deal of the Century.” They boycotted a conference in Bahrain in June organized by Jared Kushner, Trump’s negotiator and son-in-law, that focused on economic aspects of the proposal.

The Palestinian boycott followed Abbas’s earlier rejection of the US as a mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after the Trump administration recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, cut off funding, and closed down the Palestinian representation in Washington. Trump has since recognized the occupied Syrian Golan Heights as part of Israel.

At the Bahrain conference, which was attended by government officials and businessmen from the Gulf, the US, Europe, and Asia, Kushner unveiled a $50 billion investment plan, $28 billion of which would be earmarked for the creation of Palestinian jobs and reduction of poverty.

The Trump administration has said it would release political details of the peace plan only after the September 17 Israeli election so it does not become an issue in what appears to be a tight electoral race between PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party and former military chief Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party.

The Saudi and UAE crown princes, Muhammad bin Salman and Muhammad bin Zayed, have quietly sought to support the US peace effort that in Kushner’s words will deviate from the 2002 Arab peace plan by not calling for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Dahlan, who is believed to be close to the UAE’s Prince Muhammad as well as former Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman, has played an important role in that effort, particularly with regard to UAE efforts to clip Hamas’s wings.

Dahlan went into exile in the UAE in 2007 after Hamas defeated his US-backed efforts to thwart the group’s control in Gaza. US President George W. Bush described Dahlan at the time as “our boy.”

In his latest move, Dahlan is reported to be considering establishment of a long muted political party, a move that would enjoy UAE and Egyptian support but could divide his following in Gaza.

Some of Dahlan’s supporters in the Democratic Reform Current, which remains part of Abbas’s Fatah movement, have argued in the past that a party would further fragment the Palestinian political landscape.

The revived talk of a party appears to be fueled by Israel’s facilitation of hundreds of millions of US dollars in Qatari support for Gaza’s health and education services as well as reconstruction.

Qatar, with its close ties to Islamist movements, has long supported Hamas, while Prince Muhammad’s visceral opposition to any expression of political Islam has pitted the UAE against the movement.

The two states’ diametrically opposed views of political Islam lie at the core of the rift in the Gulf, with the UAE alongside Saudi Arabia leading a more than two-year-old diplomatic and economic boycott of Qatar.

The revived talk follows a failed 2017 effort to negotiate Dahlan’s return to Gaza in talks with Hamas and representatives of Egyptian intelligence.

The deal would have involved Hamas sharing power with Dahlan in exchange for a loosening of the Israeli-Egyptian economic stranglehold on the impoverished Gaza Strip at a time when Abbas was refusing to pay the salaries of Gazan civil servants and Israel was reducing electricity supplies in a bid to force Hamas’s hand.

The talk of Dahlan’s making a political move comes against the backdrop of a broader, sustained UAE-Saudi effort to facilitate the US peace plan, despite the two states’ official insistence that East Jerusalem should be the capital of an independent Palestinian state, as well as counter-maneuvers by Qatar and its ally Turkey.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE sought to weaken Turkish efforts to exploit opposition to Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem to bolster its claim to leadership of the Muslim world and weaken Jordan’s role as the custodian of the Haram esh-Sharif in the city that is home to the Al Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third-holiest site.

Speaking earlier this year to an Arab media outlet believed to be close to Qatar, Kamal Khatib, an Israeli Palestinian Islamist leader, asserted that Dahlan, working through local businessmen, had unsuccessfully tried to acquire real estate adjacent to the holy site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, where Judaism’s two ancient temples once stood.

With approximately half its population of Palestinian descent, Jordan has walked a tightrope balancing a reluctance to endorse the Trump administration’s approach to Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking with its complex ties to the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Unlike Jordan, the UAE and Saudi Arabia are not shackled by Palestinian demographics. They still need to tread carefully, however, in supporting an initiative that is widely believed to be designed to deprive Palestinians of independent statehood – domestic public sentiment might be volatile, and the plan could backfire and strengthen Hamas.

A formal re-entry into Palestinian politics by Dahlan could help resolve the UAE and Saudi dilemma that is accentuated by concern that too much pressure on Abbas to reverse his rejection of US mediation could boost Hamas, which is tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Said one Gulf official: “We are trying to strike a delicate balance. The key in doing so is to strengthen moderates, not extremists” – the official’s code word for Hamas and other Islamists.

Dr. James M. Dorsey, a non-resident Senior Associate at the BESA Center, is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University and co-director of the University of Würzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

'There is a big improvement from the Obama days' - Yoni Kemplinski

by Yoni Kemplinski

Former Defense Ministry adviser on settlement affairs says building projects receive approval more often now than under Obama Administration

Kobi Eliraz
Kobi Eliraz                           
Rafael Levi
Attorney Kobi Eliraz, the former Defense Ministry adviser on settlement affairs, responded to the promises to to apply sovereignty in Judea and Samaria and thinks the process should be slightly different.

"Sovereignty is an important matter - but complex. I ask my friends whether it is the whole territory or certain localities. If it is the whole area, I ask how to prevent a Jew from marrying a Palestinian and thus causing mass immigration so that 200,000 grow into a million. There are certainly good answers to that, but I think that we need governance before sovereignty," Eliraz said in an interview with Arutz Sheva.

Eliraz noted that the issue of governance and control over Area C is pressing.

"This is an open area of ​​almost two million hectares. The actual settlement, even if we expand it, occupies 9% of this area. The Palestinian Authority aims to take control of this area. It operates a systematic and funded system by international organizations. About 200,000 Palestinians in Area C occupy 25 to 30 percent of the area," he said.

"The State of Israel must define that this is a national mission and give it the resources. The overriding ideat should be that Area C is an Israeli territory. The Palestinians are making a significant and systematic move in this area and we are not giving the right to this.

He said recent building permits issued for Arab residents in Area C were part of the answer. "It is also important to approve construction for the Palestinians, because the rule in life is that when as everything is forbidden - everything is permissible. We need to steer the Palestinians in our best interests. If we do not approve [construction] for them, when we want to demolish we will face hardships in the High Court."

Eliraz cited the case of the illegal village of Khan al Ahmar. "This is a very significant, principled and strategic issue. It is a flag for the Palestinians and it should also be a flag for us. There is unilateral involvement of the Palestinian Authority here, because long ago we could get along with the Bedouin. As the PA took control of the struggle, they made the Bedouin a tool to achieve their purpose is in Area C. I sincerely hope that the prime minister will meet his commitment on this issue."

Eliraz stated that he is optimistic despite the challenges. "There has been great welfare since the Trump administration. I was also been in office for two years during Obama's rule and there is a huge difference. Today most programs are approved. There are also complex issues by virtue of that we have no sovereignty, there is international law and international pressure, and in doing so, we must try our best."

Yoni Kemplinski


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Fitzgerald Video: California's Seditious Curriculum - Sean Fitzgerald

by Sean Fitzgerald

When being an illegal aliens advocate becomes a graduation requirement.

Editor's note: Below is Sean Fitzgerald's new video, "California's Ultra Woke Curriculum," which reveals how being an illegal aliens advocate is now becoming a graduation requirement. The video was created in conjunction with the Freedom Center's Stop K-12 Indoctrination campaign. To read our pamphlet on this issue, "Leftist Indoctrination in Our K-12 Public Schools," click here or order your own copy here.

Sean Fitzgerald is a graduate of John Jay College with a Degree in Criminal Justice and Film. He is the owner and content creator for


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Islamist-inspired Terrorism Returns to Yemen - Con Coughlin

by Con Coughlin

While the political uncertainty continues, however, al-Qaeda and ISIL are taking advantage of the political vacuum to reestablish their own operations in the country

  • Recent tensions within the coalition between the Saudis and the Emiratis, over which faction they support in the Yemeni government, has added yet another political dimension to the country's bitter civil war -- one Islamist terrorists have been quick to exploit.
  • The Saudis and Emiratis are now trying to heal the rift by hosting a peace conference involving the rival factions, in Jeddah.
  • While the political uncertainty continues, however, al-Qaeda and ISIL are taking advantage of the political vacuum to reestablish their own operations in the country, a deeply worrying development that certainly does not bode well for UN-sponsored attempts to end the country's long-running civil war between the government and the Iranian-backed Houthis.
  • So long as groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIL are able to act with impunity in Yemen, the more remote are the prospects become of ending this dreadful conflict anytime soon.

In the latest wave of terror attacks last month, a suicide bombing in Aden, Yemen claimed the lives of three members of the government's security forces while, in a separate attack, a senior security official survived a roadside bomb attack against his convoy in the centre of the city. Pictured: Militia members aligned with the Yemeni government, on September 19, 2018 in Al Khawkhah, Yemen. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

As if war-torn Yemen did not have enough violence to contend with at present, the recent spate of terror attacks in its southern port points to the return of Islamist terror groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIL, which are still plying their deadly trade in the country.

In the latest wave of terror attacks last month, a suicide bombing in Aden has claimed the lives of three members of Yemen's security forces while, in a separate attack, a senior Yemeni security official survived a roadside bomb attack against his convoy in the centre of the city.

Initially Yemeni security officials said the attack had been carried out by al-Qaeda, which has claimed responsibility for a number of recent attacks in government-controlled territory in the south of the country. In early August, for example, an al-Qaeda attack on a military base claimed the lives of 19 Yemeni soldiers.

In what is, however, a graphic illustration of the ease with which rival Islamist terror groups are now able to operate in this lawless country, it was ISIL, not al-Qaeda, that eventually claimed responsibility for last weekend's attacks.

Al-Qaeda and ISIL have become fierce rivals in recent years, with ISIL the more recent manifestation of militant Islam that was responsible for establishing the so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria. ISIL claims it is a more extreme alternative to al-Qaeda, the original iteration of Islamist-inspired terrorism.

Both organisations have a history of taking advantage of the chaos created in failed Muslim states to establish bases from which they can plot attacks against the West and its allies. After the recent setbacks they have suffered -- al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, and ISIL in Iraq and Syria -- it is logical that they should turn to Yemen to establish a new foothold.

Al-Qaeda has been operating in Yemen for several years, after the group established its new franchise, Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP). The regrouping was just one result the US-led coalition's having destroyed the organisation's terrorist infrastructure in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Most famously, AQAP used its Yemeni base to plan its attempt to send two ink-cartridge bombs to synagogues in Chicago on flights from the Gulf state of Qatar in late 2010. The plot was foiled following a tip-off from Saudi intelligence officials.

AQAP remains a top priority for American counter-terrorism officials; US drones regularly attack AQAP positions in Yemen from their base in the African port of Djibouti.

The ability of groups such as al-Qaeda to carry out their operations in Yemen has been limited in recent years, since the military intervention of the Saudi-led coalition, which is fighting Iranian-backed Houthi rebels after they attempted to seize control of the country in 2015.

Recent tensions within the coalition between the Saudis and the Emiratis, over which faction they support in the Yemeni government, has added yet another political dimension to the country's bitter civil war -- one Islamist terrorists have been quick to exploit.

The root of the tensions between the Saudis and the Emiratis, who provide the bulk of the coalition forces fighting the Houthi rebels, is over their continued support for the UN-backed government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. In what has been dubbed a "civil war within a civil war", the Saudis are continuing to back Hadi, while the Emiratis have decided to back southern separatist militias known as the Southern Transitional Council (STC) who oppose Hadi's links with Islamist groups associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Saudis and Emiratis are now trying to heal the rift by hosting a peace conference involving the rival factions, in Jeddah.

While the political uncertainty continues, however, al-Qaeda and ISIL are taking advantage of the political vacuum to reestablish their own operations in the country, a deeply worrying development that certainly does not bode well for UN-sponsored attempts to end the country's long-running civil war between the government and the Iranian-backed Houthis.

So long as groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIL are able to act with impunity in Yemen, the more remote are the prospects become of ending this dreadful conflict anytime soon.

Con Coughlin is the Telegraph's Defence and Foreign Affairs Editor and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Hong Kong Leader Withdraws Extradition Bill - but Rebuffs Other Protester Demands - Joseph Klein

by Joseph Klein

Protesters unimpressed with “too little, too late” move.

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam finally announced on Wednesday her decision to withdraw the controversial extradition bill that had originally sparked the months-old mass protests engulfing the city. “Incidents over these past two months have shocked and saddened Hong Kong people,” she said in her televised statement. “We are all very anxious about Hong Kong, our home. We all hope to find a way out of the current impasse and unsettling times.” Lam’s concession followed one day after China’s President Xi Jinping signaled a willingness to tolerate a limited measure of compromise. “On matters of principle, not an inch will be yielded,” President Xi said, “but on matters of tactics there can be flexibility.”

China will not yield one bit on the principle of maintaining full Chinese sovereignty over the Hong Kong region and will do whatever it deems necessary to prevent any threat to its control, including preventing bottom-up democratic self-rule. However, after originally rejecting reported requests from Carrie Lam to allow her to formally withdraw the extradition bill, China’s rulers evidently came around to supporting the withdrawal of the bill as a tactical move. By displaying receptiveness to the protesters’ original demand, the withdrawal appears to be a bid to take the sails out of the large peaceful mass demonstrations conducted by the more moderate dissenters, images of which have been broadcast around the world and garnered international support. The tactical end game is to cast the remaining radical protesters who continue to engage in violence or major disruptions of day-to-day life in the city as disgruntled members of a small lawless minority undeserving of broad support.

Keeping a spotlight on the actions of the more radical protesters would make it easier to characterize them as “terrorists” and “criminals,” which the authorities believe would justify invoking existing “emergency” powers. A spokesperson for China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office Tuesday laid down a marker in advance of the withdrawal of the extradition bill in remarks delivered from Beijing. He warned of “no middle ground, no hesitance and no dithering, when it comes to stopping the violence and controlling riots in Hong Kong.” Chinese authorities may also be signaling that it is rapidly losing patience. Aside from conspicuously conducting anti-riot drills on the Chinese mainland near the border with Hong Kong, China in recent days has reportedly off-loaded troops and equipment at a naval base in Hong Kong. It is unclear whether this had to do with the normal rotation of troops around this time of year that China has garrisoned in Hong Kong, or whether there is something more sinister afoot. As Shephard Media observed in its Defense Notes, “Should President Xi Jinping decide enough is enough and that the communist party’s military must take over from Hong Kong’s beleaguered police, such a hidden force could be mobilised to strike hard and decisively.”

Business chambers in Hong Kong welcomed Lam’s announcement of the extradition bill withdrawal, which they hoped would quiet things down and allow the city to return to normal. Joe Chau Kwok-ming, president of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Small and Medium Business, said, for example, "The government has taken the first step in showing its goodwill in resolving the political crisis. On a longer term basis, Lam should float measures to address social issues.” Many protesters, however, do not trust the intentions of the Hong Kong or Chinese authorities. They do not have patience for long term dialogue with Lam or any other Hong Kong officials who answer to Beijing.

A formal withdrawal of the extradition bill might have worked several months ago when the protests first started. But it’s “too little and too late now,” as one pro-democracy protest leader, Joshua Wong, tweeted. “Carrie Lam's response comes after 7 lives sacrificed, more than 1,200 protestors arrested, in which many are mistreated in police station,” Mr. Wong added.

Joshua Wong is no stranger to Hong Kong protests. He played a pivotal role in the 2014 street protests known as the Umbrella Movement, for which he later served some jail time on a sentence handed down years later in May 2019. After being released, Mr. Wong did not remain quiet. He protested the extradition draft law before its formal withdrawal and called for Carrie Lam to resign as chief executive. He was arrested again on August 29th and charged, along with another pro-democracy activist, with unlawfully organizing a rally. They have since been released on bail. But after Lam announced her decision to withdraw the extradition bill while rejecting or sidestepping the protesters’ other four key demands, Mr. Wong expressed his displeasure in a tongue-lashing tweet that listed those additional demands: “Carrie Lam's repeated failure in understanding the situation has made this announcement completely out of touch - She needs to address to ALL Five Demands:  STOP PROSECUTION, STOP CALLING US RIOTERS, INDEPENDENT INQUIRY OF POLICE and FREE ELECTION!” Mr. Wong also warned the world “not to be deceived by HK and Beijing Govt. They have conceded nothing in fact, and a full-scale clampdown is on the way.”
It is too early to say whether mass street protests will continue with the same intensity as past protests or if any future protests will remain largely peaceful. Whether those who eschew violence will predominate in future protests will depend on the actions, not just the rhetoric, of pro-democracy leaders who have advocated peaceful protest in the past, such as Joshua Wong. 

So far, in the immediate aftermath of the extradition bill withdrawal announcement, more radical elements have already stepped forward to make their voices heard. As reported by South China Morning Post, for example, two masked protesters, claiming to represent the protest movement, organized a press conference Wednesday evening outside the Legislative Council. One of them compared Carrie Lam's withdrawal of the extradition bill to “applying a band-aid to rotting flesh." A speaker at the press conference said that those protesters who engaged in violence and other radical actions did so because they "love Hong Kong." He asked rhetorically, "Is it wrong for them to fight for a free Hong Kong?" This same speaker said that he expected a rally planned for this Saturday at the airport to proceed without characterizing the nature of the rally.

Crowds also gathered Wednesday night at a couple of MTR stations and outside the Mong Kok police station. As of the writing of this article, South China Morning Post was reporting rising tensions outside the police station. Some protesters blocked a road. Some were shining laser beams in a stand-off with police. A few hundred chanted "liberate Hong Kong; revolution of our times." Crowds also caused damage to facilities at one of the MTR stations.

If violence, destruction of property and mass disruptions become the regular pattern of future protests, expect that Lam, or her Chinese-installed replacement, will invoke the Emergency Regulations Ordinance. The ordinance allows the chief executive to “make any regulations whatsoever which [s]he may consider desirable in the public interest” in a situation she considers to be “an occasion of emergency or public danger.” Such measures could include censorship, arbitrary arrest and detention, entry and search of premises, and unlimited control over property. Moreover, under the Garrison Law of The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of The People's Republic of China, China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) garrison stationed in Hong Kong could become directly involved in maintaining law and order. The Hong Kong government could request such assistance. Alternatively, the Chinese central government itself can decide on its own to intervene if it determines there is a state of emergency or “turmoil within the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region which endangers national unity or security and is beyond the control of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.”

Hong Kong is at a critical crossroads, caught in crosscurrents blowing both locally and on the Chinese mainland. China wants nothing to mar its celebration on October 1st of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, especially widely broadcasted images of a Tiananmen Square-style crackdown. On the other hand, Chinese authorities cannot appear to back down in the face of chaotic protests demanding freedoms that could set unacceptable precedents in other parts of the country. Above all else, Chinese authorities insist on social order and stability under their ultimate rule. Hong Kong protesters are divided over methods and ultimate objectives, some of which is generational. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s economy is suffering, causing some Hongkongers to vote with their feet and threatening a dramatic flight of capital. Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” model is on life support.

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


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Brexit - The Saga Continues - Andrew Ash

by Andrew Ash

After experiencing firsthand the broken promises and negative effects of an EU membership in which the British public had no say, it was an easy vote, when the referendum came around in 2016, to 'Leave'.

  • The lack of concern for a 'hard Brexit' shown by both the voters and commentators during the referendum in 2016, was due to a few factors. Those who wanted out, the 'Leavers', were interested in only one thing -- a clean break, whilst the 'Remainers' were so certain they would win the vote, they felt it unnecessary even to contemplate the 'wrong' result.
  • In 1973, when Britain joined the 'European Economic Community', as it was then known – there was no similar referendum on joining Europe. The people were simply never consulted.
  • After experiencing firsthand the broken promises and negative effects of an EU membership in which the British public had no say, it was an easy vote, when the referendum came around in 2016, to 'Leave'. It was time to flee from an authoritarian system that had no direct elections, no transparency, no accountability, and no mechanism either for un-electing anyone or for leaving. It was, sort of, a Roach Motel: one can come in but not go out.
  • Alarm began at the introduction of the Euro currency in 2002, and the eradication of our partners' domestic currencies: these moves magnified the true aim of the European Commission -- to control, and make uniform, every aspect of our lives.
What we have learned in Great Britain from the 'Remainers', and the US as well, is: there are a multitude of ways to snub the result of a democratic vote.

Britain's Prime Minister, Boris Johnson was accused by his opponents of staging a 'constitutional coup' by suspending parliament to block MPs from preventing Britain from finally leaving the Europe Union on October 31.

The Labour party's leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, chimed in -- claiming that the new prime minister is behaving like a 'tin pot dictator' -- thereby inflating the hysterical reaction to Johnson's bid finally to push through the will of the people.

It has been three years since Britain held a referendum on whether or not to remain in the EU. There was never any talk of a 'deal'. The vote was simply: leave or remain. The nitty gritty, should we vote to leave, could supposedly be worked out in the run-up to the departure date.

The lack of concern for a 'hard Brexit' shown by both the voters and commentators during the referendum in 2016, was due to a few factors. Those who wanted out, the 'Leavers', were interested in only one thing -- a clean break, whilst the 'Remainers' were so certain they would win the vote, they felt it unnecessary even to contemplate the 'wrong' result.

Like a parody of former Secretary of State's Hillary Clinton's expected success in the US presidential election the same year, they believed they would win the day -- so what would be the point in thinking ahead? Also parroting the Clinton disaster, they have been crying about it ever since. The winning margin, they claim, was not overwhelming enough. The Leave campaign, they alleged, lied to the voters by diminishing the risks of leaving and falsifying the figures. Britain, they insist, simply must have another referendum.

In 1973, when Britain joined the 'European Economic Community', as it was then known -- there was no similar referendum on joining Europe. The people were simply never consulted. There was a lot of fanfare -- along with overly optimistic leaflets sent out to schools up and down the country during the drive to get us into the 'EEC'.

After experiencing firsthand the broken promises and negative effects of an EU membership in which the British public had no say, it was an easy vote, when the referendum came around in 2016, to 'Leave'. It was time to flee from an authoritarian system that had no direct elections, no transparency, no accountability, and no mechanism either for un-electing anyone or for leaving. It was, sort of, a Roach Motel: one can come in but not go out.

Added to that, if adding were needed, was not just the increased cost of living since Britain became a member state. The wish to leave was also not based on abandoning the familiar metric or decimal system that had been in place for so many years. The reason, furthermore, did not include the mentally defective instructions coming out of Brussels that dictated conformity in the shape of certain vegetables sold in the supermarkets: straight carrots and cucumbers, and perfectly round tomatoes, potatoes and apples. These petty directives served as aggravating factors, which contributed only in complicating the lives of the farmers and producers.

Alarm began at the introduction of the Euro currency in 2002, and the eradication of our partners' domestic currencies: these moves magnified the true aim of the European Commission – to control, and make uniform, every aspect of our lives. That the UK opted out of the Euro, and managed to hang on to the pound sterling, was perhaps a sign of things to come. Not only did it seem wrong on an intuitive level, to get rid of the Italian Lira, the French Franc, the German Deutsche Mark, etc, it did not -- as claimed it would -- aid economic growth or political integration.

Either the Remainers have not noticed the detrimental effects of handing over our sovereign powers to Brussels, or they are afraid of change. Whatever it is, those who won the referendum by voting to leave now deserve their own crack of the whip. After enduring -- and silently putting up with -- the draining, damaging effects of EU membership for so long in the interests of fair play, it is surely time to retake our freedom and independence. Instead of fairness, however, these sore losers, the Remainers, seem to be choosing to flout democracy. Rather than accepting the result and joining forces to ensure a smooth transition, they still are doing everything they can to disrupt the democratic process by -- somewhat patronisingly -- stating that those who voted 'Leave', were confused, misled, or simply a bunch of racist low-lifes who should be ignored. Perhaps those in the Remain camp might learn to take a hard look at the disasters they have brought down on us, and accept the democratic process?

By turning their turned their back on the will of the people for three years and holding the public to ransom, they have given Johnson no other choice but to suspend Parliament. If anyone is looking for a coup, it is they, not the Prime Minister.

Andrew Ash is based in Great Britain.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

How Sincere Is the Turkey-Iran Friendship? - Dr. Alon J. Doenyas

by Dr. Alon J. Doenyas

If the world press is anything to go by, the Turkey-Iran courtship is getting serious, and Russia is playing best man.

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,278, September 5, 2019

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: If the world press is anything to go by, the Turkey-Iran courtship is getting serious, and Russia is playing best man. The two countries’ strengthening ties are based on shared regional goals, the most prominent of which is Syria. But how sincere is the burgeoning relationship?

The horrific civil war in Syria is a matter of deep concern to both Turkey and Iran. What will Syria look like when the war ends? Who will rule? Will the country be split up? Will the Kurds of Syria try to establish an independent state? And what about the refugees who have fled to Turkey and become a burden there?

Common concerns over Syria have led to deepening ties between Ankara and Tehran, as reflected in the many high-level meetings that have occurred in recent years between officials of both countries, including presidents Erdoğan and Rouhani. Four summits on Syria have been held by Turkey, Iran, and Russia; the latest was in Sochi earlier this year and was hosted by President Putin. Photos from those summits and meetings went viral, strengthening the image of a love story in the making.
It is no secret that the beleaguered Islamic Republic has always wanted to get closer to neighboring Turkey. Whenever a more Islamic-oriented party is in power in Ankara, the Iranians approach. This occurred in the 1990s, when Erbakan was in power; the same is happening today with the AKP (Justice and Development Party) government.

Doing this makes sense from an Iranian perspective for several reasons. First, Turkey, with its population of over 80 million, is a great economic market in general, and a huge potential market for Iranian oil in particular. Second, Turkey is a regional superpower, so it is wise to be on its side. Third, and most important, the Turkic-Azeri population of Iran is estimated to be a full quarter of the Iranian population. With a Turkic minority of that size, it is sensible to keep the biggest and most important Turkic country in the world close by.

It is nevertheless questionable that Ankara and Tehran will ever get particularly close. Major obstacles stand in the way. Turkey and Iran are the two major Muslim non-Arabic players in the Middle East. Both have a good deal of territory and big populations of over 80 million. Officially, Turkey is a secular republic populated by mostly Sunni Muslims; Iran is an undemocratic Islamic Republic populated mostly by Shiites. The sects are totally different in their beliefs and method of practicing Islam. The two countries designate themselves as playing a leading role in the Muslim world, but their completely different perspectives on Islam might clash.

Moreover, Turkey has reason to worry about Tehran’s global Islamic ambitions because Iran affects all of Turkey’s Muslim-bordering countries. It is true that in Syria, neither country wants to see an independent Kurdish state emerge and they will do what they can to prevent that from happening. But Iran has thrown its lot behind Bashar Assad’s regime, which Turkey opposes. Though the majority of the Syrian population is Sunni, the regime is Alawite (which is associated with Shiite Islam). Ankara may have wished the “Arab Spring” to culminate in a new Sunni leadership for the Sunni state, but in the absence of such a result, it does not want to watch Assad massacre his Sunni subjects. For its part, Tehran is backing the regime that is not only conducting these massacres but pushing millions to flee Syria – often for Turkey, where they are a great burden.

The case of Iraq is instructive. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was a Sunni-governed state, but after the fall of his regime, Iraq, where Shiites constitute over two-thirds of the population, came under Shiite domination – with Tehran playing an ever-growing role in its neighbor’s domestic affairs. In the process, Turkey was geographically cut off from the rest of the Sunni world. Its neighboring countries are either Christian or Shiite. This being the case, Turkey does not want to see a stronger Iran with greater regional influence on its own border.

Turkey and Iran are also competing for influence in Central Asia’s Muslim republics. Many that were part of the Soviet Union are Turkic, and they view Turkey as a role model. Pan-Turkic ideology is common in some of these countries, and their leaders want to maintain good relations with Ankara. But Iran, which is geographically closer, very much wants to gain influence over them. The spread of revolutionary Islam is, after all, one of the Islamic Republic’s core principles.

Neither the Shiite Iranian ambition to influence the Muslim world, nor Tehran’s dogged drive for nuclear weapons, is in the Turkish interest.

It is also important to remember that Turkey is part of NATO and maintains relations with both the US and Israel (despite recurrent tensions), which the ayatollahs refer to, respectively, as the “Great Satan” and the “Little Satan.” Furthermore, according to a Turkish official, Ankara stopped purchasing Iranian oil in May as a result of the US sanctions.

It is undeniable that Turkey and Iran are getting closer thanks to their common interests, particularly in Syria. But many obstacles stand in the way of a genuine alliance.

Dr. Alon J. Doenyas holds a PhD in Middle East Studies from Bar-Ilan University. He specializes in Turkish domestic and foreign affairs.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Two-Tier Justice in Cleveland - Peter Skurkiss

by Peter Skurkiss

Cleveland demonstrates that it too can protect criminal Democrats and their family members.

Not to be outdone by flagrant two-tier justice on the national level, Cleveland demonstrates that it too can protect Democrats and their family members. Case in point involves the grandson of four-time Democratic mayor Frank Jackson.

From the September 3 Cleveland Plain Dealer:
A veteran city prosecutor declined to bring criminal charges against Mayor Frank Jackson's grandson after a woman accused him of chocking her and hitting her several times with a metal truck hitch.
Assistant City Prosecutor Aric Kinast who has worked in the city prosecutor's office for 18 years declined to proceed with criminal charges despite two eye witnesses and the victim all naming the Mayor's grandson, Frank Q. Jackson, as the attacker.
Lest you think this is a simple assault case, the Plain Dealer goes on to provide a more thorough description:
The beating happened about 6:45 p.m. June 10, according to Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority police reports. Frank Q. Jackson was in a truck with four other people, including an 18-year-old woman, parked at a gas station on East 40th and Quincy Avenue.
The woman asked her friend to buy her something at the gas station. She left and Frank Q. Jackson turned around and punched her in the face several times, according to police reports.
He choked the woman “profusely” with both hands around her neck, according to police....
The woman’s 16-year-old friend told police that she returned to the truck and found her friend gasping for breath while Frank Q. Jackson attacked her, according to police reports…
Frank Q. Jackson stopped and said he’d drop both the woman and girl off at an apartment building on East 49th Street. While driving to the apartment, he attacked the 18-year-old woman a second time, the report says.
At the apartment, Frank Q. Jackson dragged the 18-year-old woman out of the truck by her hair, across the grass and onto the sidewalk...
He choked her again and punched her in the face and body, police reports say. He went back to the truck, grabbed a metal hitch and struck the woman several times...
Jackson ran away before the police arrived... sort of.
Though he initially fled, after officers appeared, Jackson returned to the scene in a truck driven by a third party. When officers approached the truck, it backed up and headed the wrong way down a one-way street.

The victim declined medical attention though suffering from several injuries. When police officers noted that Frank Q. Jackson's family members driving around the area, the woman said that she feared retaliation if officers left. She later signed a nonprosecuting form saying that she did not want to pursue criminal charges against Jackson.

As of this writing, Mayor Frank Jackson's office has not issued any comment.

This incident was hardly Jackson's first brush with the law. In May, he was arrested and pled guilty to driving a truck in which the passengers shot paint balls at other cars. The arresting officers also found two guns and prescription painkillers in the truck. For this, the mayor's grandson pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors and was given two years on probation.

In July, Frank Q. Jackson was charged with aggravated menacing, aggravated disorderly conduct, and attempted drug use stemming from a traffic stop in May. He was convicted on all counts. The charges were misdemeanors. 

A few weeks later, a truck registered to Jackson was spotted speeding away from a crime scene where a 30-year-old man was shot dead. A vehicle matching the description of Q's was found torched two days later next to an abandoned building. 

It seems Q is not the only bad apple in the mayor's family tree. In June, his 16-year-old great-grandson was arrested and accused of driving a car carrying a passenger who fired several shots at Cleveland police officers. That case is still pending.

Mayor Frank Jackson seems to have a soft spot when it comes to lawbreakers. Consider the case of Lance Mason, a former Cuyahoga Common Pleas Court and his wife Aisha Fraser. This is a telling story if you haven't heard it before. 

Mason left the bench in 2015 after receiving a two-year sentence for brutalizing his wife in a car in front of her children. Mason punched Fraser more than a dozen times and slammed her head into the dashboard and window of their SUV. He then chased her out of the car, struck her again, and bit her. The attack left her in need of facial reconstruction surgery. 

Mason, a one-time powerful Democrat, was release from prison after serving only ten months and was promptly hired by Mayor Jackson in a $45,000 a year job with full benefits as Cleveland's minority business development administrator. When criticized about this hire, Mayor Jackson brushed it off by saying he 'believes in giving people a second chance.'

A second chance all right, for in November 2018, Mason was charged with stabbing Aisha Fraser, who was by then his ex-wife, to death. Fraser, sixth-grade teacher, was found dead in her driveway. Amazingly, Mayor Jackson told Fox8 afterwards that he still stands by his decision to hire Mason, reiterating his belief that people deserve a second chance. 

Last month, Mason pleaded guilty to his ex-wife's murder. He faces a mandatory life prison sentence. It will be up to the judge to decide whether or not to give Mason a chance of parole after 20 years. If not, it's life without parole.

Jackson's fourth term as mayor ends in 2021. Many in Cleveland -- like Norman Edwards, founder of the Black Contractors Group -- want Jackson to run for a fifth term. And the white establishment of Cleveland, including the Plain Dealer, has always been solidly behind this do-nothing mayor. From the vantage point of the suburbs, it looks as if Jackson could continue on as long as he wants.

So what's the scarier thought -- that Cleveland would actually re-elect this man, or perhaps that Jackson is the best that's available in Cleveland?

As for Jackson's long reign, what does Cleveland have to show for it? The city continues to lose population each year. The state report card gives the Cleveland school district an F in all categories except one, and this despite the fact that the state pours tremendous amounts of money into the district. Cleveland has a crime rate of 65 per one thousand residents, one of the highest crime rates in America. 

It is politically incorrect to say it, but democracy can work only with a moral people and where only a relative few of the voters are dependent on government, either directly by the dole or in some government job. If those two requirements aren't met, decay and corruption are sure to follow.

Peter Skurkiss


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

The Immorality of Free and Public Education - Jason D. Hill

by Jason D. Hill

Why the demand for free education is un-American and unethical.

As I travel across the United States to give talks and seminars on my books and political and moral philosophy, I am increasingly struck by the degree to which today’s college students believe that they are morally entitled to a free education. They think that this entitlement starts from the time they were born right up until the time that they graduate from college.

Since I never politicize my classroom and generally, as a rule, do not insert my political viewpoints into that space which I believe is a sacred domain where rigorous exploration and examination of great canonical figures from the Western philosophical tradition should take place, these campus visits give me ample opportunities to explore the philosophical and moral assumptions behind the idea that “free public education,” is the birthright and human right of all human beings. In a gentle but rigorous manner, I usually begin by asking students who press the issue privately with me on such visits, a few basis basic and fundamental questions. And they are:
Are the procreative choices that your parents made the moral and financial responsibility of other individuals? Or, do they not belong to your parents? When you become a legal adult at the age of eighteen are you not responsible for your own life and existence? Do we have a constitutional right to have children we cannot afford to maintain? Is it a form of child neglect to bring more children into the world than one can afford to support? When one has children, is it fair to expect one’s neighbors or compatriots to bear in the financial responsibility of raising them when they may have decided not to have any, or to have just one, or two, or just the exact number their budget can afford over the course of a lifetime?
Several students interpret the questions as hostile ones. This says more about the untrained and lugubriously sentimental nature of their sensibilities than it does about the probing nature of the questions themselves. Other students seem genuinely baffled that such questions could even be rationally presented to them. They are equally stunned that they are required to answer them. One student told a panel I was participating in that the right to a free public education from birth to college was an unassailable moral axiom, and that those who challenged such an axiom were heartless monsters.

So now we begin the question by posing it to the general public—the men and women of common sense.  

You who have sacrificed and planned your lives carefully and are already in debt and sending your own children to school, by what moral right would anyone dare tell you that you have a right to finance his or her college education? By what moral standard would anyone bring a child into the world and expect total strangers to assume the financial and moral obligation of educating that child?

Those on the far left will say that to do so is a social good. I have heard this sort of conceptual inanity repeatedly, and I have often asked for clarification. When asked what is meant by social good, left-wingers often mean “the public interest.” When asked to define the public interest, they fumble and mumble and twist themselves like linguistic pretzels into all orders of moral conundrums. Society is nothing more than the sum of each individual person. Therefore, any reference to the public good would have to first logically refer to what is the good of each individual person. The answer to this presupposes the question: How do we know what that good is? One of the glorious achievements of this country, and one that has appealed to millions the world over, is that here we get to choose a conception of the good for ourselves. For some, it is having a family, for others it is pursuing a career or devoting one’s life to a specialized hobby, service to others, traveling—you name it. There are as many conceptions of the good as there are persons to imagine them for themselves. And, in the United States of America, the state has no business imposing its or any conception of the good on you or deciding a priori what your conception of the good is. It leaves you free to choose your own notion of the good, so long as in doing so, you do not violate the individual rights of others. Any foisted notion of the public good on individuals means that a group of people has decided that their interests and their conception of the good should be the sum of the good of all members of society. It is an act of tyranny because it overrides your conscience and takes away your indubitable capacity to decide what the good is for you personally.

The cardinal sin of asking for anything for free in this life is that you abnegate your responsibility not just for maintaining your existence but, more importantly, of achieving your humanity. For we achieve our humanity in several ways. One is by exchanging goods and services with others. We affirm the worth of the other, and we respect the other by rewarding him or her for such services, and, in so doing, our agency is implicated in affirming our self-worth and dignity in the beautiful act of reciprocity. In reciprocity, there is a recognition of equality among each of us as individuals. Each ratifies the survival of the other through this reciprocation.

The demand for a free education is symptomatic of another moral problem in the United States. Those on the alt-left see self-reliance, initiative, and a commitment to one’s own life as, at best, hopelessly naïve—not for themselves. Oh, no, they have gotten where they are by the exercise of their own virtues. But the state apparatus and its system are so corrupt and stacked against the “marginalized” they believe, that the application of those virtues will always be possible for a Condoleezza Rice, or a Colin Powell, or an Oprah Winfrey, but not for the majority of those on whose behalf the case for free education is usually made: blacks and Hispanics in America. The problem is that these left-wingers see grit, honor, hard work, and self-reliance as American virtues, and ones that they possess. But, more specifically, unlike, say, conservatives, who tend to be individualistic and encouraging of universal self-reliance, left-wingers see such traits as “white” characteristics. Those traits reinforce whiteness in their minds, and there is a gnawing resentment towards those blacks and others “on the margins” of society who wish to appropriate those virtues for themselves. They cease being authentic in the minds of the left. A sizable number of well-meaning, but, in the end, racist progressives, need so-called marginalized peoples to be marginalized.

The point I am making once more is that left-wingers heed the call of blacks or any espoused socio-economic need by any group with glee because it places them in a permanent position of power, and as part of a managerial class over a needy set of entitled subjects whose interests they represent. The absence of independence, and the neediness of those who regard need as a justification for the creation of a special set of rights, simply reinforce how independent, privileged, and powerful they stand in relation to their socioeconomic inferiors.

Finally, when you demand anything for free, a demand that is so un-American one can hardly take the claim seriously, you are claiming a status of such impoverishment that you are holding yourself up as an object of pity. But, unlike compassion and mercy, pity is not an American emotion at all. Pity denotes contemptuous sorrow for the misery or distress of another person. And the contempt one feels is linked to a moral vice the other harbors: an unwillingness to exercise one’s agency in the relief of that suffering; a perception on the part of the pitied that the world is hostile to one’s initiatives, and that no action is possible—at least, action that would liberate one from the condition of hopelessness one is trapped in. To present oneself as a life-long socio-economic supplicant is morally repugnant because it requires that one becomes an active participant in the infantilization of oneself, that one permits one’s creative agency to be  expropriated by others, and,  therefore, that one effaces one’s capabilities, and that one remains locked in a concrete-bound range-of -the moment mode of existence appropriate for animals, rather than see oneself as a being who must project a long-range future for oneself and plan one’s life accordingly.

Americans find it hard to endorse such standpoints because they assume a malevolence about the American universe that is untenable and empirically false. No doors are closed forever to anyone in this great country of ours. If your ethos and character disposition are set for achievement, if your will is wedded to a resilient and tenacious spirit, perseverance guides and drives your efforts, and, further, you rid yourself of the squalid self-defeating idea that you are entitled to the financial earnings of other people—that your parents’ procreative choices are the responsibility of other people—you will find a way to make it in this country.    

Jason D. Hill is professor of philosophy at DePaul University in Chicago, and a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. His areas of specialization include ethics, social and political philosophy, American foreign policy and American politics. He is the author of several books, includingWe Have Overcome: An Immigrant’s Letter to the American People(Bombardier Books/Post Hill Press). Follow him on Twitter @JasonDhill6.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Video: Was 9/11 Conceived in Riyadh & Tehran? -


Disturbing – and frightening – revelations come to the surface.

Subscribe to the Glazov Gang‘s YouTube Channel and follow us on Twitter: @JamieGlazov.
In this new Glazov Gang episode, Jamie speaks with Clare M. Lopez, the Vice President for Research & Analysis at the Center for Security Policy.

Clare unveils how 9/11 Came From Riyadh & Tehran, revealing the disturbing – and frightening – facts that you aren’t allowed to know. 

Don’t miss it!

Follow us on Twitter: @JamieGlazov.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter