Friday, March 18, 2022

President Biden, give Russia a clear red line on weapons of mass destruction in Ukraine - Rep. Michael Waltz


by Rep. Michael Waltz

We cannot afford to repeat the Obama-Biden administration's mistakes in Syria



Russia has taken on significant losses in the early weeks of their invasion and their economy is increasingly isolated by sweeping international sanctions. While we should be heartened by Ukraine’s valiant stand to defend their homeland, we should also be prepared for Vladimir Putin’s increased desperation and therefore be prepared to check his most dangerous impulses.  

President Biden needs to draw a clear red line, now, and make it known to Kremlin officials that the United States will not stand for the use of weapons of mass destruction and detail the "devastating consequences" he recently promised. 

We cannot afford to make the same mistakes of the Obama-Biden administration in allowing such inhumane attacks to take place.  


In 2012, President Obama declared an infamous "red line" with the Assad regime if they were to use chemical weapons in Syria. 

Despite this warning, the Assad regime moved forward in deploying chemical weapons. The State Department estimates the Assad regime deployed chemical weapons over 50 times since the start of the Syrian conflict, notably using nerve agents in Damascus that killed over 1,500 in an attack – many of them children.   

The Obama-Biden administration’s refusal to act on such barbaric attacks will forever stain our credibility.  

Many of the same officials who advised Obama now occupy the highest levels of the Biden administration, including Antony Blinken, Jake Sullivan and Susan Rice. If they want any redemption for their callous record in Syria, now is the time to make good. They can also learn some lessons from the Trump administration.  

In 2018, President Trump ordered U.S. airstrikes against Assad regime targets after they breached Trump’s own red line on the use of chemical weapons. He gave the order shortly before dining with Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping, who also got the message that the Trump administration wouldn’t stand for the use of chemical weapons on civilians. 

Additionally, the Biden administration should look at how Russia responded to the U.S. killing over 200 Russian mercenaries after they dared to attack a U.S military outpost in Syria.  

How did Putin respond? With crickets.  

Deterrence was restored and the Trump administration sent a clear message around the globe that they would not stand for attacks against our troops or the use of chemical weapons. Putin heard clearly how the U.S. will respond in such an event.  

President Biden should personally state clearly that all options are on the table, including U.S. intervention, if Russia uses WMDs in Ukraine. And he must make Putin believe he will make good on his word.   

This does not necessarily mean sending thousands of U.S boots on the ground as there is a menu of response options that include cyber, space or targeted strikes to degrade Russia's ability to employ WMDs.  

The administration must also stop making vague promises of "severe consequences" and make clear that the U.S. will intervene if WMDs are used and that every Russian general involved will be charged with war crimes.  

We must begin sowing doubt in Putin’s chain of command and deterring him up front rather than confronting Russian aggression after the fact.  One of the first rules of warfare is to make your adversaries respond to you. 

Lastly, the Biden administration should make clear that Putin will be treated as an enemy ofthe international community and his grip on power will no longer be recognized. This should include trying him as a war criminal in international courts, seeking to expel Russia from the United Nations, and implementing a fully enforced economic boycott of Russia. 

There are several other actions the U.S. can still take in the near term, such as cutting off Russian-led nuclear negotiations with Iran, allowing for the transfer of fighter jets and surface-to-air weapons to Ukraine, and placing additional pressure on India and China to sever economic ties to Russia.  

By letting fear of escalation be the primary driver of our policy in Ukraine, we are dangerously giving Putin space to climb rung after rung up the escalation ladder.  He will continue to push unless he believes he will meet American steel.   

Should we fail to deter Putin from taking that next step, not only will the people of Ukraine continue to suffer mass atrocities, I fear China, North Korea and Iran will be next to push the bounds of their ruthlessness against sovereign neighbors. 

Rep. Michael Waltz represents Florida's 6th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is a member of the Armed Services Committee, a Green Beret veteran of the war on terror in Afghanistan, a former White House counterterrorism policy adviser and author of the book "Warrior Diplomat: a Green Beret's Battles from Washington to Afghanistan."


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No Deal with Iran is Better Than A Bad Deal - Con Coughlin


by Con Coughlin

If true, the fact that Russia has assurances from Washington that sanctions will not affect its dealings with Iran is further evidence of the Biden administration's desperation to reach a new agreement with Tehran....

  • Having conspicuously failed in its efforts to prevent Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration looks set to add to its global reputation for weakness by agreeing yet another flawed nuclear deal with Iran.

  • Russia has been fully involved in the latest talks to revive the deal, as the negotiator for the US. Western negotiators have claimed that Moscow was effectively supporting Iran to withstand pressure from the US to make concessions.

  • If true, the fact that Russia has assurances from Washington that sanctions will not affect its dealings with Iran is further evidence of the Biden administration's desperation to reach a new agreement with Tehran....

  • [I]ntelligence experts believe Iran's space programme [Iran just launched its second satellite into space] is being used to develop missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

  • "Iran's nuclear programme has never before been this advanced, and is exposing the international community to unprecedented levels of risk." — Corinne Kitsell, UK Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, March 8, 2022.

  • The problem for Mr Biden is that, by failing to address the very real threat posed by Iran's nuclear ambitions, he will simply be presiding over a further erosion in America's standing as a global power.

Having conspicuously failed in its efforts to prevent Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration looks set to add to its global reputation for weakness by agreeing yet another flawed nuclear deal with Iran. Pictured: Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, speaks to the media at the Palais Coburg, venue of the nuclear negotiations, in Vienna on December 27, 2021. (Photo by Alex Halada/AFP via Getty Images)

Having conspicuously failed in its efforts to prevent Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration looks set to add to its global reputation for weakness by agreeing yet another flawed nuclear deal with Iran.

Negotiations in Vienna to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 deal to limit Iran's attempts to acquire nuclear weapons, are said to be reaching a conclusion, with the possibility that a new agreement could be announced in the coming weeks.

Indeed, with both Iranian and Western officials indicating that a deal is close to being agreed, the only remaining stumbling block appears to be last-minute demands by Russia for Moscow to be granted sanctions relief on its future trade dealings with Tehran.

As one of the signatories to the original JCPOA agreement negotiated by the Obama administration, Russia has been fully involved in the latest talks to revive the deal, as the negotiator for the US. Western negotiators have claimed that Moscow was effectively supporting Iran to withstand pressure from the US to make concessions.

Russia's decision to invade Ukraine, however, has complicated matters: the West has responded by imposing hard-hitting sanctions against Moscow -- sanctions, moreover, that would apply to any future trading arrangements Russia might have with Tehran in the event a new nuclear deal was agreed, and sanctions against Iran lifted.

Initially, Washington said it had no intention of offering Russia sanctions relief. But Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, speaking during a visit to Tehran this week, insisted that Moscow had received written guarantees from Washington that Western sanctions on Russia over Ukraine. The remark suggests Russia can continue trading with Iran in spite of US sanctions.

"We received written guarantees," said Mr Lavrov. "They are included in the text of the agreement itself on the resumption of the JCPOA on the Iranian nuclear programme."

If true, the fact that Russia has assurances from Washington that sanctions will not affect its dealings with Iran is further evidence of the Biden administration's desperation to reach a new agreement with Tehran, even if it means making unpalatable concessions on Iran's nuclear activities.

The latest assessments regarding the progress Iran has made on its uranium enrichment programme -- a vital process in the development of nuclear weapons -- certainly makes for grim reading. After Iran abandoned its JCPOA commitments to limit uranium enrichment in late 2020, the regime is now estimated to have sufficient quantities of enriched uranium for four nuclear warheads.

In addition, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps demonstrated the increasing sophistication of its ballistic missile capabilities by launching its second satellite into space earlier this month. The US insists the satellite launches are in breach of a UN Security Council resolution, while intelligence experts believe Iran's space programme is being used to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Iran's mounting stockpile of enriched uranium, together with the enhanced sophistication of its missile development, are certainly becoming causes of deep concern for Western officials taking part in the Vienna talks; they just seem not to know what to do about them.

As Corinne Kitsell, the UK's Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, remarked earlier this month:

"Iran has continued to advance its nuclear programme by developing its stockpile of enriched uranium and conducting activities that provide permanent and irreversible knowledge gains. Iran's nuclear programme has never before been this advanced, and is exposing the international community to unprecedented levels of risk."

Even so, all the indications suggest that the Biden administration is unlikely to hold Tehran to account for its flagrant disregard for the JCPOA, and will instead press ahead with securing a new deal regardless.

This is because, with global energy prices rocketing as a result of the Ukraine crisis, Washington's main priority now is to lift sanctions against Iran so that the regime can start producing oil, to increase global production and bring down the price of gasoline and heating oil in the US before upcoming mid-term elections on November 8.

The problem for Mr Biden is that, by failing to address the very real threat posed by Iran's nuclear ambitions, he will simply be presiding over a further erosion in America's standing as a global power.

Mr Biden's unwillingness to face the reality of Iran's nuclear ambitions has already created tensions with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two oil-producing Gulf states that previously enjoyed close ties with Washington. Their unhappiness at the Biden administration's conduct was reflected in the recent refusal of the leaders of both countries to take calls from Mr Biden to discuss the global energy crunch.

The White House should understand that the refusal of these two former American allies even to talk to Mr Biden on such a vital issue as global energy supplies is a direct consequence of its flawed approach to the Iran deal, one that, if it goes ahead in its current form, will be just another nail in the coffin of Mr Biden's presidency.


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


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Palestinians and Ukrainians - Hugh Fitzgerald


by Hugh Fitzgerald

Are their situations similar?


Palestinian propagandists and their willing collaborators in the Western media have been bewailing the fact that the Palestinians haven’t been given the sympathy that is being lavished on Ukrainians, even though their situations – they claim — are identical, for both Ukrainians and Palestinians are brave peoples being denied their national rights by their oppressors, Russia and Israel, respectively. Sean Durns reports scathingly on this latest Palestinian effort to win international sympathy here: “Media Outlets Use Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine to Attack Israel,” Algemeiner, March 10, 2022:

…Russia’s invasion of Ukraine isn’t anything like Israel’s security situation. Indeed, there is no legitimate comparison whatsoever.

The Washington Post, however, pretends otherwise. On March 7, the newspaper’s global opinion section published an op-ed titled, “The world of inconsistencies between Ukraine, the Middle East, and beyond,” by Khaled Beydoun. The author is an associate professor at Wayne State University where he specializes in “Islamophobia, national security and anti-terrorism law.” But judging by his Post opinion piece, his real expertise lies in historically illiterate comparisons.

In 810-words [sic], Beydoun glamorizes terrorists, misleads about Israel’s security concerns, and omits important history and facts.

The op-ed hails the Ukrainians who are fighting Russian invaders. They have “powered a global narrative of good against evil, imperialism against sovereignty, of David vs. Goliath.” The author adds: “There’s no doubt the governments and commentators rooting for Ukrainians and campaigning for the isolation of Vladimir Putin have been on the right side of history — this time.”

But then he errs, absurdly comparing Ukrainians fighting Russian invaders to “Palestine [sic].” Palestinians, the author asserts, “have long embodied the very struggle put forward by the Ukrainian people.”…

The Ukrainians are fighting for their own independence. The Palestinians are fighting to destroy the only Jewish state. The Ukrainians are being invaded by the Russian army, that does not hesitate to kill civilians. The Palestinians are quite prepared to target Israeli civilians. Israelis have always had to fight to preserve not just their independence, but their very existence. They have had to fight three wars for their very survival, in 1948, 1967, and 1973, along with many campaigns – the “wars-between-the-wars” –against Palestinian terrorists who have targeted Israeli civilians.

Jews have been living continuously in the Land of Israel since at least 1000 B.C., that is, more than 1600 years before Islam was created, and before a single Muslim Arab appeared in the area that in the Post article is called “the West Bank.” It was the Arabs who arrived from elsewhere; it was they who came swarming out of Arabia to Israel. They were the “invaders” who came to the land the Jews had been living on for a millennium and a half, uninterruptedly.

Ukrainians have been a separate nation since the time of Kievan Rus. Israel has been inhabited by Jews for more than a thousand years. [3000 years.]

The Post’s op-ed is replete with other instances of ahistoricism and egregious comparisons.

Beydoun writes that “regular Palestinians resisting state seizure of their homes in Sheikh Jarrah and other occupied territories are conflated with armed militants, rendering them ‘terrorists.’”

But this, too, is false. As the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA) has documented, Jewish claimants proved their ownership to the land in court, highlighting that they had legally purchased the land. Nor did they try to “seize homes” or evict Palestinian families. Rather, they simply informed them that they would have to pay rent.

Those Palestinians In Sheikh Jarrah who are supposedly being unjustly evicted so the Israeli government can “judaize” east Jerusalem are not brave souls resisting an oppressive government. They are parties to standard property disputes between landlord and tenant. The Arab tenants who have been sued have not been paying rent, and in most cases have never done so to the Jewish owners of the property on which they are now squatting. Those non-paying Arab tenants have claimed to be the owners of the properties in question, but have not produced a single bit of supporting material. One Arab family claimed it had bought the land on which it was living decades ago from a man named “Ismail,” but did not know his last name, and did not have any documents to prove ownership.

Another Arab family produced a single Ottoman Turkish document to support its claim of ownership; that document turned out to be a clumsy forgery. Jewish owners in every case litigated so far have produced proper title. The Israeli judges have not been unceremoniously “evicting” Arab tenants, but have only asked, after meticulous examination of the evidence, that they pay rent – a most modest rent — from now on; the owners of the properties are not even insisting on being paid the back rent they are still owed. Yet those Arab tenants have rejected those generous terms; they instead are letting themselves be used by the Palestinian propagandists as examples of inoffensive innocent Arab property owners being wrongly “evicted” from their property by the Zionist state that is hellbent on “judaizing” east Jerusalem. It’s nonsense. And as for that “judaizing” charge, it is worth noting that when Israel came into possession of east Jerusalem in the Six-Day War, there were 66,000 Arabs in east Jerusalem. Now there are 340,000. If Israel has been trying to “judaize” east Jerusalem, it hasn’t been trying very hard.

To compare a case of squatters refusing to pay rent on land that isn’t legally theirs to Ukrainians facing a Russian military onslaught on their own soil, is both dumb and disgusting.

The author claims that Palestinians “put their very lives on the line against global (and regional) superpowers, some wielding rocks and other makeshift weapons to protect their land, loved ones and way of life.” This, of course, is nonsense.

Which “global powers” have made the Palestinians “put their very lives on the line”? Certainly not Russia or China, which have been steady supporters of the Palestinians at the U.N. and at all other international gatherings. Nor has the U.S., under the Bidenites, been pressuring the Palestinians. The Bidenites have returned to the pre-Trump period, where Washington is again providing hundreds of millions of dollars annually, both to the P.A., and to UNRWA, as it did for many years before Trump was president.

Palestinian leaders, be it Hamas in the Gaza Strip or Fatah in the Palestinian Authority (PA)-ruled areas, actively encourage terrorist attacks on Jews. Sometimes they use rocks — and other times they use vehicles, knives, guns, or suicide bombers. And their leaders offer incentives for them to kill civilians.

The Palestinians are not bravely resisting Israeli “invaders” with only “rocks and other makeshift weapons.” They, like the Russians in Ukraine, have been the invaders Into territory belonging to others. To wit, the Palestinians are trying to drive the Jews out of the land that Jews have inhabited since at least 1000 B.C. The League of Nations recognized that historic connection between the People of Israel and the Land of Israel when it assigned for inclusion in the Mandate for Palestine all the land “from the (Jordan) river to the (Mediterranean) sea.” That land was to again become the Jewish National Home which, in time, would become the State of Israel. It is the Arabs who tried to snuff out the young life of the nascent Jewish state In 1948, and tried to so again in 1967 and 1973. Palestinian Arabs have carried on terrorist attacks on Jewish men, women, and children, both those living within the 1948 armistice lines, and those Jews living In the historic heartland of the Jewish people — Judea and Samaria. Those terrorists do not use just “rocks,” as Khaled Beydoun wants us to believe, but have used far more deadly weapons — guns, knives, vehicles, and suicide bombers wearing explosive vests.

How are the Palestinians like the Ukrainians? Do the Ukrainians shoot or stab or send suicide bombers to blow up Russian civilians, the way the Palestinians do to Israelis? Aren’t the Palestinians more like the Russians? Don’t they insist that all of Israel, “from the river to the sea,” belongs to them, the Palestinian Arabs, just as the Russians claim that Ukraine belongs to them? Aren’t the Palestinians akin, in their terror bombing of Israeli cities, just like the Russians who have been pulverizing Ukrainian cities?

The PA’s “pay-to-slay” program offers tax-deductible salaries to those who murder and maim Jews, or American veterans like Taylor Force, who was murdered after being mistaken for a Jew while he was visiting Israel.

Do the Ukrainians have a Pay-For-Slay program, as the P.A. does, which provides generous monthly stipends to imprisoned terrorists or to the families of terrorists who died while committing their attacks? Of course not. No, the Ukrainians have nothing in common with the Palestinians, but a great deal in common with the Israelis. For both Israelis and Ukrainians are, threatened by enemies who would take away not just their independence, but their very existence.

Both the PA and Hamas name schools, roads, and sports tournaments after slain terrorists. The PA has also planted trees to honor terrorists like Muhannad Shafeq Halabi. On October 8, 2015, Halabi murdered two Israelis, Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi and Aharon Bennett, and stabbed Bennett’s wife and two-year old child in Jerusalem’s Old City before he was killed by Israeli police.…

The Palestinians not only reward past, and incentivize future terrorism with large sums, but also celebrate terrorists as figures to be emulated, honoring them by naming streets, squares, and schools after them. In such a way, young Palestinians are encouraged to become terrorists themselves. In what way are the Ukrainians like that? When have they engaged in acts of terrorism, or held up terrorists as national heroes?

The Palestinians routinely target Israeli civilians, not just in attacks by lone terrorists or groups of terrorists, but by much larger armed units, as during the May war between Hamas and Israel, when the terror group lobbed 4,000 missiles and rockets into civilian centers. Those attacks on Israeli cities are, on a much smaller scale what the Russians have been doing In Mariupol, Kherson, Odessa, and Kharkiv.

Further, Israel’s attempts to defend itself from terrorist attacks while limiting civilian casualties have been hailed by former-US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, who has noted that Israel has gone to “extraordinary lengths” to prevent civilian casualties. Indeed, as CAMERA has documented, no other nation faced with a terrorist group using human shields, such as the US-led campaign to fight ISIS, has been able to replicate the Jewish state’s efforts.

The IDF does more to limit civilian casualties than any other military, according to British Colonel Richard Kemp, who has fought in six wars and led the British forces in Afghanistan. It is a difficult task. Hamas routinely hides its weapons, rocket launchers, and fighters in schools, hospitals, apartment houses, and other civilian structures. When the IDF targets weapons or fighters that are in or near a civilian structure, it does everything it can to warn civilians to leave, by telephoning, emailing, and making use of the “knock on the roof” technique, thus giving not only civilians but also Hamas members time to escape. For the IDF, it is more important to make sure civilians are spared, to the greatest extent possible in such difficult conditions, where Hamas is using them as human shields.

The Palestinians are outraged that the Ukrainians are getting so much attention and sympathy, while the poor Palestinians have to wait “for a world of support that may ever come.” In fact, the Palestinians have for decades been the most coddled group of supposed “refugees” In the world. They have received both directly, and through UNRWA, tens of billions of dollars In aid. From cradle to grave, they are raised to expect to be supported by international aid donors, and are outraged when there is any suggestion that conditions be put on such aid, such as being required to stop their Pay-For-Slay program or to revise the antisemitism In their schoolbooks. Of the hundreds of millions of refugees since World War II, only the Palestinians are allowed to pass on their refugee status to their children, grandchildren, and so on, as if it were an inheritable trait. What’s more, the Palestinians have received more sympathetic attention at the U.N. than any other group of refugees anywhere, while their nemesis Israel has become the permanent subject of malicious inquiry as Agenda Item #7 at the U.N. Human Rights Council and, in addition, the U.N. has recently decided to establish an open-ended inquiry into possible war crimes by Israel. The Palestinians are the subject of endless sympathetic articles In the international media. They are supported as well by platoons of BDSers around the world and by all those who are consumed with hate for the Jewish state. Ignored? it is grotesque for Khaled Beydoun to complain about indifference to the most coddled group of people in the world — the Palestinians.

The Nazis supported the acknowledged leader of the Palestinians in the 1930s, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el Husseini, who spent the war years In Berlin, supported by the Nazis, and befriended by, among others, Adolf Eichmann, and even meeting Hitler, whose genocidal “solution” to the “Jewish question” he enthusiastically endorsed. He is believed to have visited Auschwitz with Himmler. The Mufti put his retinue of 60 Palestinian and Iraqi Arabs at the Nazis’ disposal; they did what they could from Berlin to promote pro-Nazi views back home.

The PLO even benefited from Soviet largesse, including aid and training from Vladimir Putin’s former employer, the KGB. As Reuters reported in 2016: “Soviet-era documents show that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas worked in the 1980s for the KGB, the now-defunct intelligence agency where Russian leader Vladimir Putin once served.”

The KGB not only employed Mahmoud Abbas as an agent, but ran training camps for Palestinian terrorists. It also came up with the idea for a newly-invented “Palestinian people” who would change perceptions. No longer would the war on Israel be seen as a gang-up by Arabs on the tiny Jewish state; instead, that war became a struggle by “the Palestinian people to regain their stolen homeland.”

The Palestinians have always had powerful backers – the Nazis, the Communists, the world’s Muslims, the United Nations. For Khaled Beydoun to complain that they are not getting as much support as the Ukrainians is ludicrous.

Far from being ignored, the Palestinians have received more attention at the U.N., and more attention from  the international media, than any other group of real or soi-disant refugees. If you search for  “Palestinian,” you get 390,000,000 results. The Palestinians have also been the  recipients of tens of billions of dollars in aid, while always asking for more from donors. They receive this money even as they refuse to revise their antisemitic schoolbooks, or to end their “Pay-For-Slay” program that rewards past, and incentivizes future, terrorist acts. The Palestinians  have been allowed to pass on their refugee status to their children, grandchildren, and so on, treating it as an inheritable trait, something not  permitted to any other group of refugees. There are fewer than 30,000 genuine Palestinian refugees still alive – those who left Mandatory Palestine, or Israel between 1947 and 1949 – but with all the subsequent generations also counted, the official account is more than 5 million such refugees. And all of them qualify to receive the copious benefits –  housing, education, medical care — of real refugees.

The Palestinians are akin not to the Ukrainians, but to the Russians under Putin. Like the Russians, who want to incorporate the Ukraine into their own territory, the Palestinians want to destroy the Jewish state, in order that their “Palestine” will include the entire area “from the (Jordan) river to the (Mediterranean) sea.”

The Palestinians, like the Russians in Ukraine, have been focused on civilian targets. Like the Russians, they attack civilians in cities, as when they lobbed 4,000 rockets and missiles into southern Israel this past May.

The Palestinians, like the Russians in Ukraine, will not be satisfied with territorial compromise. The Russians, at least under Putin, want to dominate all of Ukraine, and the Palestinians want all of Israel. They have already turned down generous peace offers made by Israel in 2000 and 2008.

And the Palestinians, like the Russians, because of their relentless malevolence and aggression, will turn much of the world, just as they have managed to turn several Arab states – those that joined the Abraham Accords and normalized ties with Israel, to their great good fortune — against them. Or at least, that is what one hopes.


Hugh Fitzgerald


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Syria to supply Russia with 40,000 mercenaries - Ukrainian Defense Min. - Jerusalem Post Staff


by Jerusalem Post Staff

According to Ukrainian intelligence, weapons and other equipment will be transferred to Russia and Belarus from Syria in the near future.


RUSSIAN PRESIDENT Vladimir Putin meets with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Moscow in September. (photo credit: Sputnik/Kremlin/Reuters)
RUSSIAN PRESIDENT Vladimir Putin meets with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Moscow in September.
(photo credit: Sputnik/Kremlin/Reuters)

Syrian President Bashar Assad has promised to provide some 40,000 militants to the Russian Federation for the war in Ukraine, The Ukrainian Defense Ministry (GUR) reported on Thursday afternoon.

According to Ukrainian intelligence, weapons and other equipment will be transferred to Russia and Belarus from Syria in the near future, the statement reported, in addition to as many as 40,000 militants.

A report on March 13 from Ukrainian intelligence indicated that Russia had already opened 14 recruitment centers across Syria, in Damascus, Aleppo, Hamma, Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, in order to strengthen its forces. 

Russia is reportedly paying foreign mercenaries a monthly salary of between $300-$600 to fight.

Two days prior, on March 11, it was reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin would allow 16,000 volunteers from the Middle East to join the Russian-backed forces in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian soldiers fire artillery during the conflict in Donbas (credit: REUTERS)Ukrainian soldiers fire artillery during the conflict in Donbas (credit: REUTERS)

The mercenaries have reportedly been informed that they will perform "exclusively police functions to restore order in the occupied territories." However, the GUR statement added,  "information about direct participation in hostilities against the Ukrainian army has begun to spread among mercenaries. This significantly reduced the 'fighting spirit' of the Syrians."

The morale of the Syrian mercenaries has apparently also been reduced, according to Ukrainian media, due to the arrival of over 30 injured Russian Forces militants to an army base, resulting in some deciding to refuse to participate in hostilities. 

Responding to the news of Syria's intention to send mercenaries, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry's official Twitter account shared a statement, saying: "The Kremlin wants to engage Syrian troops of the Assad regime in the war against Ukraine. If they freeze, our artillery will warm them up."

Additionally,  Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov has said he will be sending another 1,000 Chechens to assist Russian forces in Ukraine, Russian state media reported on Thursday evening. 


Jerusalem Post Staff


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Biden Tries to Cut a Deal to Spare 9/11 Mastermind the Death Penalty - Daniel Greenfield


by Daniel Greenfield

19 years later, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has yet to face justice.


Biden recently released Mohammed al-Qahtani, the 20th 9/11 hijacker, and Zuhail al-Sharabi, another hijacker for an expanded version of the 9/11 attacks from Guantanamo Bay, so it's only fitting that he's trying to cut a plea deal with the mastermind of the attacks.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the architect of the September 11 attacks, not to mention multiple other plots and acts of terror including the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and the brutal murder of Daniel Pearl, was captured in March 2003.

19 years later the trial has yet to go anywhere.

In 2008, the process of charging Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others began.

Unfortunately a year later, the pro-terrorist administration of Barack Hussein Obama took office.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced that he wanted to bring Mohammed to a civilian court in New York. The backlash, especially from the families of 9/11 victims, was tremendous and the Obama administration overruled Holder. However Holder injected a poison pill into the system by going after the use of material gained through the terrorist leader's interrogations and even from a “Clean Team” that independently obtained a confession from Mohammed.

“It’s a statement about what this Administration is about,” Holder boasted.

As if anyone needed further reminding of what the Obama administration was really about.

After that everyone settled in for a decade of lawfare by Mohammed’s lawyers who carefully sabotaged any effort to move the case forward by demanding classified information involving the system set up to stop, capture and interrogate Islamic terrorists. And their client and his legal allies followed the Al Qaeda lawfare playbook by making all sorts of frivolous complaints, such as objecting to the presence of female personnel, to drag out the case.

Their game plan was to get the government to settle. And they almost made it once before.

A previous effort to cut a plea deal with Mohammed was thrown out when Attorney General Jeff Sessions demanded that military prosecutors cut out any such nonsense. But now it’s back.

The trial of Mohammed and other terrorists involved in the 9/11 attacks finally began in 2021 and after a series of hearings was shut down again due to the pandemic before being restarted.

The Biden administration has been aggressively pressuring the Department of Defense to shut down Guantanamo Bay and free all the terrorists. Mohammed and his legal allies understand that, like Obama, Biden wants to empty Gitmo. The 9/11 mastermind has effectively used that in the past by demanding that he serve out his sentence in Gitmo instead of in Colorado.

Mohammed and his legal defenders claimed that Gitmo was a better place for Muslims.

Even though Mohammed had confessed several times already, a plea deal would have the terror boss trade a guilty plea in exchange for prosecutors dropping the death penalty.

Attorney General Eric Holder had promised that Mohammed would receive the death penalty. Numerous politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, assured 9/11 families he would. But Mohammed understood that, like his Taliban allies, all he had to do was wait out America.

Americans would care less about the September 11 attacks with every year that passed. The families of those who were killed in the Islamic terrorist attacks would grow old or die. The political and military systems would grow tired of jumping through legal hoops and surrender.

And that is exactly what’s happening.

The Obama administration warped the morale and patriotic fiber of portions of the military. Court officials who were once disgusted to even be dealing with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Al Qaeda terrorists have been replaced by those who now ferociously advocate for them.

At the Gitmo trial of an Al Qaeda terrorist last year, military officials serving as a jury sent a shameful letter whining that the terrorist's interrogation was a "stain on the moral fiber of America" and "a source of shame.” The only stain here was in their treasonous cowardly letter and the only source of shame is that those who wrote it are still employed by the military.

The Biden administration is betting that it can cut a plea deal and clear the Mohammed case.

But in 2009, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his fellow terrorists had already entered their "Islamic" response to the charges against them which declared that "killing you and fighting you, destroying you and terrorizing you" are "considered to be great legitimate duty in our religion."

Terrorism, the Islamic response explained, was an "offering" to Allah. It described the "blessed 11 September operation" as "our military attack".

That’s an official confession without any duress whatsoever.

The Islamic response also admitted that even without any of the named pretexts, "it would have been the greatest religious duty to fight you over your infidelity."

This infidelity was defined as “your statement that Allah had a son and your trinity beliefs.”

Al Qaeda would have been at war with America simply because it’s a Christian country.

“Our prophet was victorious because of fear," the response boasted. "Our religion is a religion of fear and terror to the enemies of Allah: the Jews, Christians, and pagans. With Allah's wiling, we are terrorists to the bone."

It concluded by declaring, "Your end is very near and your fall will be just as the fall of the towers on the blessed 9/11 day."

A country that still had any dignity left would have responded by stringing Mohammed and all the rest of them up. Instead another decade of legal wrangling and lawfare followed as military prosecutors and judges continue to insist that they have no idea how to try and convict him.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had confessed his crimes multiple times.

In 1942, with the war underway, Nazi saboteurs brought here by submarine were arrested by the FBI. They were caught in June, tried in July, and sent to the electric chair in August.

And that was for enemy operatives who had not even managed to kill a single American.

Meanwhile after 19 years of having the mastermind of the murder of thousands of Americans in custody, he has yet to be convicted and is unlikely now to pay the price for his crimes.

The military court system, which was meant to expedite the trials and convictions of terrorists as enemy insurgents during wartime, not criminal defendants protected by the Constitution, has been corrupted and broken. It needs to be replaced. But that is not likely to happen until the next phase of the war against Islamic terrorism is underway.

Meanwhile the political and cultural allies of the Islamists are running our government.

Obama sabotaged the process of bringing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to justice and now, just as with the Taliban and Iran, Biden is finishing the criminal betrayal that his boss began.


Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.


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Penn swimmer says Lia Thomas' participation 'ruins the integrity of the sport' ahead of NCAA championship - Paulina Dedaj


by Paulina Dedaj

"Women’s rights are being violated."

University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas is set to participate in the 2022 NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, but one teammate told Fox News Digital in an exclusive interview that she fears the impact of her participation has "completely ruined the integrity of the sport." 

The student, who spoke to Fox News on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution, spoke highly of her team’s accomplishments at the Ivy League Championships in Cambridge, Massachusetts, last month but expressed her disappointment in the decisions that allowed Thomas, a 22-year-old transgender "woman" who competed on the men’s team for three seasons, to compete against women with record-breaking performances. 

"It’s not necessarily an achievement in my mind," she said. "Women's records are separate from men’s records. It’s its own distinct category because no woman is going to be as fast as a man, and here is just completely – we’re just throwing away the definition of a record to fit into someone else's agenda of what it should mean to them when in reality it makes no scientific sense to do so." 


Lia Thomas of the Pennsylvania Quakers after winning the 500-meter freestyle event during a tri-meet against the Yale Bulldogs and the Dartmouth Big Green at Sheerr Pool on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania on Jan. 8, 2022, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Lia Thomas of the Pennsylvania Quakers after winning the 500-meter freestyle event during a tri-meet against the Yale Bulldogs and the Dartmouth Big Green at Sheerr Pool on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania on Jan. 8, 2022, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

Thomas is one of 322 athletes who qualified for the men’s and women’s championships this week after securing several records at the Ivy League Championships last month with wins in the 100, 200 and 500 freestyle events. She's set to compete in those same events, and in two of them, she ranks first in the nation. 

"It’s still just disappointing to know that the NCAA lacks the courage to do the right thing," the swimmer said. "I think if Lia were to break an Olympian’s record, it would cause a lot of damage to the sport and to women, and I think it would cause more people to come out [against the guidelines], people that were afraid to speak before." 

The NCAA updated its transgender participation policy in January to defer to the guidance of each sport’s governing body. The NCAA announced that its policy would become effective in March, starting with the Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships.

USA Swimming updated its policy shortly after requiring transgender athletes who are competing at an elite level to have small levels of testosterone – half of what Thomas was allowed to compete with – for at least 36 months before being eligible, but the NCAA said weeks later that the Administrative Subcommittee of the Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports (CMAS) decided that it wouldn’t alter its testosterone guidance, stating that "implementing additional changes at this time could have unfair and potentially detrimental impacts on schools and student-athletes intending to compete in 2022 NCAA women's swimming championships."

University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas reacts after her team wins the 400-yard freestyle relay during the 2022 Ivy League Women's Swimming and Diving Championships at Blodgett Pool on Feb. 19, 2022, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas reacts after her team wins the 400-yard freestyle relay during the 2022 Ivy League Women's Swimming and Diving Championships at Blodgett Pool on Feb. 19, 2022, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

"I think there’s a way where you can still be your authentic self and be who you are and swim as who you are while not competing against women," the student told Fox News. "If you had compassion for your teammates or women at all, you would admit you have an unfair advantage and not do this to women." 

The student said the team has been supportive of Thomas expressing herself despite what many believe, but she explained how she could not stand by a decision to compete against other women with an advantage. 

"I don’t understand how we could have been more supportive as a team," she said. "But I will not back down, and my teammates and women across the country should not be told to back down from speaking their mind about an issue that so heavily affects them. They’re being discriminated against. Women’s rights are being violated."

She continued: "This whole season has been about her. Everything this whole season has been about Lia, and we’ve all sacrificed everything, our entire livelihoods we've sacrificed. How much more should we be willing to sacrifice for Lia. I’m not willing to sacrifice anything else. We’ve already sacrificed team morale and the way that people look at our team success and have the media, to that aspect, thrown in." 

Pennsylvania's Lia Thomas cheers for teammates competing in the 1,650-yard freestyle final at the Ivy League swimming and diving championships at Harvard, Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Pennsylvania's Lia Thomas cheers for teammates competing in the 1,650-yard freestyle final at the Ivy League swimming and diving championships at Harvard, Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

The student said while she’s hopeful for the year ahead, she feared Thomas’ participation has left behind a legacy damaging the sport.

"This will still haunt us in the fact that pool and team records have been broken unfairly and in an illegitimate way. We’re supposed to look up at the record board and see Lia’s name and somewhere accept that." 

She added, "It completely ruins the integrity of the school."


Paulina Dedaj is a Digital Reporter for Fox News and Fox Business. Follow Paulina Dedaj on Twitter at @PaulinaDedaj. If you've got a tip, you can email Paulina at


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Israel is silent as Iran is on its way to a nuclear bomb - opinion - Yaakov Katz


by Yaakov Katz

Should our leaders not be warning the people of what is coming? Why the silence? Why the seeming indifference?


AN IRANIAN cleric walks past an anti-US mural on a wall of the former American Embassy in Tehran this week. (photo credit: Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images)
AN IRANIAN cleric walks past an anti-US mural on a wall of the former American Embassy in Tehran this week.
(photo credit: Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images)

Two weeks ago, the Russian envoy to the nuclear talks in Vienna dropped a bombshell. “I am absolutely sincere in this regard when I say that Iran got much more than it could expect – much more,” Ambassador Mikhail Ulyanov told Iranian news outlet IRNA. “Realistically speaking, Iran got more than, frankly, I expected or others expected. This is a matter of fact.”

And in Israel, there was silence.

A week earlier, an IAEA report was leaked, which showed that the stockpile of enriched uranium amassed by Iran has dramatically grown to the point that its most highly-enriched material is just a jump away from a nuclear weapon.

And in Israel there was silence.

And then this week, on Wednesday, reports emerged that – in the framework of a new deal – the United States is considering removing the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) from the Foreign Terrorist Organization list. The news was earth shattering and would be an amazing prize to Iran, just days after Tehran took responsibility for firing ballistic missiles at a US consulate in Erbil.

VIEW OF a damaged building in the aftermath of missile attacks in Erbil on Sunday, for which Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps claimed responsibility. (credit: AZAD LASHKARI/REUTERS) VIEW OF a damaged building in the aftermath of missile attacks in Erbil on Sunday, for which Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps claimed responsibility. (credit: AZAD LASHKARI/REUTERS)

And again, in Israel there was silence.

At this point, there is no longer hiding what should be obvious to every Israeli: Iran is on its way to getting the best deal it could have imagined, which will pave the way for it to one day obtain a nuclear weapon. At the same time, Israel is on its way to potentially facing a threat of an existential nature – and instead of fighting it tooth and nail, the leadership in this country is, for the most part, silent.

There are a number of reasons why Israel is largely silent. While it is true that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz occasionally issue a statement against the coming deal and speak frequently with their foreign counterparts about it, this type of activity is a far cry from the way Israel has fought against nuclear proliferation in the past.

According to senior government sources, one of the reasons Israel is quiet is because its silence was a condition made by the Americans if Jerusalem wanted to receive regular updates from what was happening in Vienna. To get the information, Israel needed to tamp down its criticism – and the decision made was that knowing what was happening was crucial for Israel to potentially influence the outcome.

The problem is that Israel does not seem to have influenced the deal at all. Instead, what we are about to see signed is a deal that will be remembered as the worst possible for Israel and the best possible for Iran. It is shorter and weaker than the original JCPOA signed in 2015 and will ultimately lead to Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon if and when it decides to.

AND THIS leads to the second reason for Israel’s quiet, which is the more significant one – a general resignation that a bad deal is coming and Israel cannot do anything to stop it. It is almost an acceptance of the fact that Iran is going to get a bomb.

While this might be true, should Israel not at least try? Should our leaders not be warning the people of what is coming? Why the silence? Why the seeming indifference?

This is not to advocate for what former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu did in 2015 when he went to Washington, spoke before Congress and poked a finger in the eye of President Barack Obama. The speech did not stop the deal but it did cause damage to the bipartisan support for the Jewish state that is still felt seven years later.

On the other extreme is Israel’s current policy of staying quiet. 

In between these two options, though, there is a wide-open field of steps that can be taken. Bennett could fly next week to Europe and ask for meetings with leaders in Paris and London. He could get the leader of China on the phone or fly to Washington and demand a meeting with Biden.

He and Lapid could also hit the airwaves and speak every day on another international news channel. With the war in Ukraine still dominating the news cycle, it won’t be easy to get the world’s attention, but shouldn’t Israel try?

An example of Israeli paralysis was evident this week when it was thrown a softball – 49 Republican senators pledged to do everything in their power to reverse an agreement that does not “completely block” Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon. But instead of hitting it out of the park, Bennett and Lapid didn’t say a word. They didn’t issue their own statement. Silence once again.

Bennett wasn’t always like this. Back in 2015, he traveled to Washington at the same time as Netanyahu and ran from studio to studio and back again to speak out against the JCPOA. When he became defense minister in 2019, he claimed to have come up with a new strategy for how to stop Iran, one that would take the battle to the Iranians and make it clear that they have too much to lose.

What happened to all of that? Where did it go? And why does it seem like Israel has given up? The resignation coming out of Jerusalem does not demonstrate strength; it shows weakness – and it should have Israelis concerned. While it is nice to see our prime minister serve as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine, let’s not forget that what is happening there has almost nothing to do with the State of Israel. On the other hand, what is happening in Vienna has everything to do with Iran. Shouldn’t we hear his voice on that, too?

THE SILENCE on Iran and the flurry of activity on Ukraine has some officials wondering if Bennett’s involvement in the war talks is not meant to distract attention away from what Israelis should really be caring about – the terrible deal that is coming in Vienna.

And this is what is important to keep in mind – when that deal is signed, there will be little way to explain it except as a failure by the Israeli government. When this government took office in June, its top members explained that they were resetting the ties with the United States and would be working to repair the damage Netanyahu had caused, especially to Israeli relations with the Democratic Party.

To some extent, they have repaired those ties, which is not something that can just be dismissed. On the other hand, the payoff is not seen when it comes to Iran.

And while it is important to not burn all its bridges so it will not be able to work with the Biden administration and its European allies the day after, it is also important for Israel to take a stand, especially on an issue like this that will have wide-ranging ramifications for the State of Israel, the Jewish people and the entire world for years to come.

DOES THIS mean all is lost? While our leaders like to say that Israel retains all options and will continue to do whatever is needed to protect itself, the chance of a military strike against Iran in the aftermath of a deal is between unlikely and impossible.

On the one hand, the diplomatic failure means that the only chance Israel has to make a difference is through military force. On the other hand, the ability to attack with a new deal in place will be limited – because if Jerusalem wasn’t willing to attack the negotiations before the deal was reached, why would it attack the facilities now that there is a deal? This is barring a scenario where there is a blatant violation and clear evidence that Iran is actively building a bomb.

In addition, what is important to keep in mind is that Iran’s nuclear facilities were built by Iran for Iran. This is unlike Iraq’s nuclear reactor, which was built by France and destroyed by Israel in 1981, and Syria’s nuclear reactor which was built by North Korea and destroyed by Israel in 2007. In both cases, when the reactors were destroyed, Iraq and Syria could not rebuild them on their own. They were still dependent on external assistance.

Iran is different. It has mastered the technology and know-how, so even if its facilities would be damaged, the ability to rebuild them would remain. This casts a cloud over the effectiveness of any future strike.

With that said, it is impossible to know what will happen after an attack. When Israel attacked Iraq’s reactor, the initial assessment was that it would delay Saddam Hussein’s plans by a year or two. It stopped them forever.

Is the same possible now with Iran? That is difficult to know. But now that it’s clear that diplomacy failed to stop Tehran, the specter of military force has risen higher than ever. 


Yaakov Katz


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Carbon-Free Nuclear Power - Laurence F. Sanford


by Laurence F. Sanford

Nuclear energy is the safest, cleanest, and most reliable of all energy sources.

Carbon-free nuclear energy is an essential component of America’s energy security and clean energy program of reducing carbon emissions in order to reduce global warming.

Fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) power 60% of the electricity produced in America, emitting 5,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide. Nuclear energy produces 20% of the electricity and emits 0 tons of carbon dioxide.

Ninety-three nuclear reactors in fifty-six plants are located in twenty-eight states. The average age of the reactors is thirty-nine years. Currently, there are only two nuclear reactors under construction in America in Vogtle, Georgia. Twenty-three reactors are shut down or are in various stages of decommissioning: Illinois (9), Pennsylvania (8) and South Carolina (7) lead the nation in number of nuclear reactors.

Carbon Free Nuclear Energy Advantages

The Biden Administration is cautiously embracing nuclear energy to meet its green goals. The administration’s climate advisor, Gina McCarthy, states nuclear power reactors are “absolutely essential” in meeting Biden’s climate projections of a net-zero carbon economy. Congress passed an infrastructure bill which devotes $8.5 billion to fund advanced nuclear reactor development, funding of small modular reactors (SMRs), and financially compromised existing nuclear plants.

The most reliable of all energy sources is nuclear energy. It is available 24/7/365 and does not depend upon sunshine, wind, water levels, or fossil fuels. The wind does not always blow and the sun does not shine at night. Maintenance and downtimes are minimal with nuclear energy. A small quantity of uranium powers nuclear energy. Uranium is a plentiful mineral throughout the world and the U.S. It is easily and securely transported.

A solar panel farm kills thousands of birds, requires 450 times the land area of a nuclear power plant and is effective only when the sun shines. Wind farms also require large tracts of land, kill thousands of birds and provide intermittent power. Battery storage technology for renewable energy is not capable of providing sufficient and sustainable electricity to meet society’s needs. The primary source for solar panels and windmill blades is China.

Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) are safer and less costly than large conventional nuclear fission reactors. They are designed and manufactured in modules at a plant and transported to a site. This reduces cost and speeds up construction time.

Nuclear fission reactors power all nuclear plants today. Fission occurs when one atom is split into two resulting in the release of energy. Future nuclear reactors will be powered by fusion which combines and fuses two atoms into one atom releasing energy and leaving little radioactive waste. At present there are no working fusion reactors because of the inability to control the process. Advanced computer models and other technologies will soon make a laboratory model into an industrial-size reactor.

Nuclear energy offers over 150,000 steady, high-paying jobs and is a significant source of local tax revenue. Technological spinoffs enrich America’s industrial base and improve daily living. By reducing air pollution, nuclear energy saves millions of lives. Nuclear radiation fights cancer and sterilizes medical instruments and food packaging. 

Nuclear reactors are the safest of all energy sources, there have been no known deaths from nuclear accidents in the United States. The Navy has utilized nuclear power since the launch of the submarine USS Nautilus in 1954. Currently the entire U.S. submarine and aircraft carrier fleet are powered by nuclear energy. Sixty-five year later, there have been no safety or health issues raised by the Navy’s nuclear energy use.

Nuclear Power Disadvantages

All the nuclear waste ever produced in the U.S. can fit on a single football field in 50-foot-high solid stack containers. Coal plants generate the same amount of waste every hour and its disposal/storage is a serious environmental issue. Natural gas methane flaring and mining of rare earth metals for solar panels and windmills are also serious environmental issues.

Fear is a powerful emotion. A phobia is an unreasonable fear of something or a situation. Nuclear energy and the resulting waste should be feared but not unreasonably. Fear of nuclear energy in a military weapon is a reasonable and justified fear. But fear of nuclear energy in producing electricity is unreasonable -- effectively “nuclearphobia.”

Environmental, green and progressive organizations, with annual budgets of over one billion dollars, promote green energy and oppose nuclear energy. Excessive lawsuits and regulations discourage nuclear energy development. The risks of nuclear energy are greatly exaggerated and the risks of renewable energy are minimized or not even mentioned. A significant portion of that billion dollars, in conjunction with an active membership, has a significant impact on public perception and political action.

Nuclear energy is the safest, cleanest, and most reliable of all energy sources. For a carbon-free future and a growing industrial civilization, nuclear energy is an absolute necessity. Currently eighty-five percent of the world’s energy is provided by fossil fuels. It is impossible for wind and solar power in the near future to totally replace nuclear and/or fossil fuels. An intelligent combination of energy conservation, renewable energies for local low-intensity applications, and nuclear energy for large-scale electricity production, are the only viable methods to meet future civilization energy needs.

Image: Pixabay


Laurence F. Sanford is a Senior Analyst for the American Security Council Foundation


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A Double Standard for Free Speech at Vanderbilt - Richard L. Cravatts


by Richard L. Cravatts

Crybully victims can’t take criticism but are perfectly willing to dish it out.



On February 23rd, Vanderbilt’s Chabad hosted a speaking event by Rudy Rochman, who describes himself as a “Jewish & Israel Rights Activist,” “with the intention,” as Chabad put it, “of creating a productive conversation around the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the history of Judaism, and antisemitism.”

Rochman, who was a founder of Columbia University’s chapter of Students Supporting Israel (SSI) when he was a student there, is known to be a pro-Israel activist so his audience would naturally be anticipating that sentiment from him. Additionally, Rochman had recently traveled to Nigeria where he had been imprisoned for three weeks, and, as Chabad explained in an Instagram post after the event, Rochman used “his personal traumatic experience in order to call attention to the systemic antisemitism against the Igbo tribe in Nigeria.”

Normally, if someone is discussing bigotry against minority groups and human rights violations in third-world countries, he would enjoy commiseration by the virtue-signaling identity groups on campus, but not in Rochman’s case due to his Zionist identity and his vigorous defense of Israel.

To challenge his unforgivable support of what is alleged to be an apartheid, racist regime, some activist students, members of The African Student Union (ASU) and the Indigenous Scholars Organization (ISO) attended the event, seemingly with the express purpose to challenge and debate Rochman. “A group of roughly 30 students mostly all of color,” the ASU and ISO wrote in a statement after the event, “planned to attend the event and ask Rudy questions during the Q&A section as a form of protest.” [Emphasis added.] So, clearly, the students were expecting, and hoping, to be offended by Rochman’s speech, and so they were.

What had inspired their outrage? For one thing, Rochman, they complained, “criticized Palestinian students for weaponizing intersectionality against the Black community by convincing them their struggles for freedom were intertwined,” a valid observation about how minority groups on campus regularly share an affinity in their perceived oppression, with both Israel and white America being the principal oppressors. Rochman further annoyed these students by pointing out that hatred of Jews by either white or black supremacists was equally as bad, and they claimed Rochman “equated white power and Black power groups by asserting that they both shared a number one enemy: Jewish people.”  

Rochman’s alleged racism was further confirmed in these scolds’ minds when he recounted his experiences in Nigeria and told the audience that, in his opinion and based at least on his personal recent experience, Nigeria was one of the world’s most dangerous countries, which the insulted audience members interpreted as continued “criticism of Black people.”  

Even though Rochman’s assessment of the dangers evident in Nigeria is, of course, factually correct and supported by data, the student activists were shocked, shocked by his views, and “many of the protesting students could hardly believe the wildly prejudiced and racist rhetoric Rochman was putting out. His stereotypical and harmful description of his visit to Nigeria carried on for about half an hour.”

Facts can be troublesome things. So, even though the members of the African Student Union found Rochman’s comments to be “stereotypical,” “harmful,” and “racist,” reports indicate, for example, that “five thousand and sixty-seven — 5,067 — Nigerians were reported to have been killed in 2021 owing to insecurity” and “14 Nigerians died daily in various violent attacks reported in the news media from January to December, 2021,” including the murderous “Boko Haram insurgents, bandits, robbers, kidnappers, cultists, and gunmen [who] were the non-state actors who killed Nigerians the most in 2021.” Rochman’s analysis may have been gruesome and overstated, but it was certainly close to the truth, especially in light of his own recent experience.

Nevertheless, the ASU and ISO demanded a public apology from Chabad for sponsoring the event, started a petition to denounce Rochman’s racism and insensitivity, and even hung a banner reading, “African students matter. Indigenous students matter. Hold white students accountable for their racism.” Even the Muslim Students Association (MSA) issued a statement as part of the chorus of denunciation and offense, writing that, “While we were disappointed in Rochman's lies, we were even more hurt by the fact that our own members, and fellow students in the African Student Union and Indiginous [sic] Student Organization were deeply affected by the racist rhetoric perpetuated by Rochman and certain members of the audience during the talk.”

Even the Vanderbilt administration became involved as a result of student complaints, prompting AndrĂ© Churchwell, Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and Chief Diversity Officer, and G.L. Black, Vice Provost and Dean of Students, to distribute a comforting email to soothe the tender feelings of any offended students.

Clearly, the student activists who attended the speech with the specific purpose of finding offense ended up being offended. The crybullies—the aggressor activists who transform into victims when their ideological opponents answer back—showed themselves again.

In this case, students went to an event voluntarily fully anticipating they would find offense with the ideology of the speaker. They did not have to attend and could have left if they found the ideas to be unpalatable. But they chose to stay and hear the personal opinions of a single speaker.

But perhaps the vicious reaction to the Rochman speech and its sponsorship by Chabad was a type of moral payback for another controversy involving the Israeli/Palestinian debate that took place on the Vanderbilt campus last May. As some 4300 Hamas-fired rockets from Gaza rained down on southern Israeli civilians, Vanderbilt’s student government collectively issued a controversial statement, “In Solidarity With Students,” in which—in the same manner that hundreds of other university student groups, departments, and individuals did at that time—they proclaimed support for the Palestinians and denounced Israel as the criminal aggressor in the latest conflict between those parties. Ignoring Hamas’s continued campaign of terror and the war crimes committed with each rocket fired at Jewish civilians, the statement nevertheless criticized only the behavior of Israel in defending its citizenry from attack, claiming that Israel’s actions “ . . . are inhumane and cruel acts of war, supremacy, and genocide that have and continue to systemically oppress Palestinians.”

No mention was made of Hamas, designated as a terrorist organization, of course. No mention of the lethal 4300 rockets and mortars that had rained down on Israeli towns. No mention of the Palestinians’ own intransigence in never accepting offers of statehood, choosing instead to follow the fantasy of “liberating” Palestine and making it free of Jews.

Instead, the IDF was described as a rogue, ruthless, malign force who “have also been specifically targeting Muslim Palestinians during the holy month of Ramadan,” the statement read, “but, Palestinians of all religions and ethnicities are subject to forced displacement under Israeli state forces . . . The Israel government must be held accountable for the violent and inhumane treatment towards victims of these militarized attacks.”

The tendentious students even challenged Israel’s moral and legal right to protect itself from aggression and attempts to murder its citizenry. Empowered by the language of victimism and oppression, these enlightened undergraduates had determined, and spoke for the entire Vanderbilt student body in announcing, that, “What is occurring in Palestine right now is not a ‘clash’ nor a ‘conflict,’ but a persisting example of war crimes and human rights violations rooted in anti-indigenous sentiment and ethnic cleansing”—even though none of those pernicious slanders are factual. [Emphasis added.]

And in case it was not clear where their affection lay, the statement concluded by stating that the student government “will also continue to wholeheartedly advocate for and support the Palestinian community against oppression and capitalism and stand in solidarity with those directly and indirectly affected.”

Some Jewish students, of course, were outraged at the one-sided statement, seemingly issued on behalf of all Vanderbilt students. Chabad chimed in with a rebuke to the student government for issuing it. And the administration itself issued a mild statement of condemnation in which they noted that, “We are engaging in conversations in this regard with our students to remind them of the importance of civil discourse and of engaging even on difficult issues with an expectation of civility.”

But in the end, the Vanderbilt student government issued a libelous, factually incorrect statement in which the Jewish state was slandered, and its supporters made to appear as murderous racists, and even though the administration noted fecklessly that the student government does not speak for the whole Vanderbilt community, of course, by its very function, it does.

A Rudy Rochman, speaking alone and expressing his personal opinions about the Middle East and Nigeria at a Chabad event, on the other hand, speaks only for himself.


Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D., a Freedom Center Journalism Fellow in Academic Free Speech and President Emeritus of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, is the author of Dispatches From the Campus War Against Israel and Jews.


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