Earlier today I was on Herman Cain’s radio show, discussing the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh), and the Obama administration’s willful ignorance regarding the jihad threat.
Earlier today I was on Herman Cain’s radio show, discussing the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh), and the Obama administration’s willful ignorance regarding the jihad threat.
We, representatives of Middle East-American groups in the United States, from various ancestries, ethnicities and religions, announce the launching of the “American-Mideast Coalition for Trump” in support of the U.S. Presidential candidacy of Donald J. Trump.
As representatives of United States citizens from Syrian, Lebanese, Egyptian, Iraqi, Arab, Assyrian, Syriac, Yazidi, Sudanese, Berber, Iranian, and other communities from the Greater Middle East, we see Mr. Trump as our favorite candidate in the primaries because of the following reasons:
Based on these seven principles, we extend our support to Donald J. Trump to become the Republican nominee and later be elected as the President of the United States.
We call on all our friends who are members of the Republican Party and all citizens who can vote in the Republican primaries to select Donald J. Trump as their choice. It is important to give Mr. Trump a clear, early and decisive victory in the primaries so that he becomes a strong nominee able to begin engaging in the national election and then be elected as President on November 4, 2016.
We are calling on millions of Americans from Mideast background to join us in supporting Mr. Trump.
Independent experts confirmed that attacks on Kurdish fighters in Iraq last August used mustard gas, in addition to previous attacks in Syria.
The Islamic State used mustard gas in attacks on Kurdish fighters in Iraq last year, Reuters reported it has now been confirmed.
An independent analysis of samples from the battlefield confirmed mustard gas was used in an attack last August in which 35 Kurdish soldiers were poisoned and showed symptoms of the chemical agent. Mustard gas is a chemical weapon first used in World War I, which burns the lungs and eyes.
The analysis was carried out by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The tests confirmed the gas was used by the Islamic State, an unnamed diplomat told the press on condition of anonymity.
The OPCW also found evidence that sarin gas has been used in Syria, although it is unclear in what circumstances.
Confirmation of the attack in Iraq follows proff that the Islamic State used mustard gas in Syria last October.
One diplomat speculated ISIS had captured its chemical weapons from the Syrian regime. “If Syria has indeed given up its chemical weapons to the international community, it is only the part that has been declared to the OPCW and the declaration was obviously incomplete,” the diplomat told Reuters.
Another theory is that ISIS is manufacturing its own mustard gas. “I’m pretty convinced that the mustard IS are using in Iraq is made by them in Mosul,” chemical weapons specialist Hamish de Bretton-Gordon told Reuters. “They have all the precursors at hand from the oil industry and all the experts at hand to do it.”
Watch the original report from August about the attacks:
By Willem Koomen and Joop Van Der Pligt
A unique and systematic approach to a vital topic, integrating knowledge from diverse literatures, and using social psychology as a basis for comprehending human behaviour. Essential reading for students and researchers from all disciplines seeking a greater understanding of terrorism and violent political conflict in all its forms.
If you want to know enough about Refugee Resettlement’s negative impact on your town in order to grab your legislators’ attention, watch this shocking and informative video!
In the waning months of the Obama Administration, its lack of effective leadership in the war against the Islamic State and the civil war in Syria created a potentially dangerous power vacuum. The White House was pre-occupied with concluding a UN-endorsed pact, hoping to rein in Iran’s quest for a nuclear capability – a capability that a number of analysts have concluded it may already have. Purported cooperative development may have been behind North Korea’s fourth nuclear test since 2006 on January 6, 2016. While official propaganda from Pyongyang suggested that the test involved elements of a possible fusion or hydrogen bomb, a few astute observers suggested it might have been a so-called boosted fission weapon. It was likely a nuclear warhead for a missile. Iran has derived test data and been a customer for North Korea’s missile technology. Iran violated UN sanctions and JCPOA bans against missile tests with the launch of two precision guided missiles in the Persian Gulf in October and November 2015. In late December, Iranian Revolutionary Guards naval forces staged a live fire missile exercise provocatively firing less than 1,500 yards from the USS carrier Harry S. Truman, accompanying destroyer, the USS Bulkley and a French frigate.
Mahdist Iran had endeavored to assert its hegemony in the Middle East encircling Saudia Arabia and the Sunni Gulf States by supplying Revolutionary Guards and proxy Hezbollah forces in support of the beleaguered Assad regime in Syria. Further, Iran had lent Quds force leadership to provide technical assistance to Iraqi Shia militias in the conflict with the Islamic State in Iraq. Both countries had squared off in Yemen with Iran supporting the Shia Houthi rebels while Saudi forces supported the overthrown government. These roiling geo-political conflicts between Iran and Saudi Arabia, two major oil producers in the Gulf Region, came to a flash point in early January 2016. The Saudi Wahabbist regime in Riyadh summarily executed a long held dissident Shia Imam. That provoked a torching of its Embassy in Tehran by Basij paramilitaries loyal to Ayatollah Khamenei.
These actions resulted in a break off of diplomatic relations between these two Islamic countries. Both propound extremist Qur’anic doctrine and interpretations of sharia (Islamic law) that have origins in the contending meta-narratives of the Muslim prophet Mohammed’s succession. The Shia in Tehran contend that the rightful inheritor of Islam’s jihad should have been the prophet’s son-in-law Ali, killed at the battle of Karbala in what is now Iraq. The Sunni Wahabbists in Riyadh contend the rightful successor to be one of the early Caliphs and companions of Mohammed, Abu Bakr.
It is not without precedent that former Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi chose that name when he declared the Islamic State during of the Civil War in Syria. Al-Baghdadi’s Islamic State put out the call to the global sunni ummah, gathering more than 30 to 40,000 foreign fighters and settlers to experience seventh century pure Islam in a renewed jihad to restore the Caliphate. That jihad created a virtual state the size of Britain that burst the borders between Syria and Iraq armed with US and Russian weapons captured from fleeing Syrian and Iraqi forces. The Islamic State has its own Sharia law courts, and a treasury filled with plundered gold and cash. These are funds from sales of smuggled oil, jizya taxes collected from conquered subjects and human trafficking of enslaved religious minorities like the Yazidis and Christians in Iraq and Syria.
The barbarous beheadings and crucifixions of infidels were grisly props for the Islamic State prompting millions of refugees and internally displaced persons to flee to sanctuaries in Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. One million of those refugees from the hot spots across the Muslim Ummah made treacherous crossings of the Mediterranean. They burst the borders of the open Schengen system in a new Dar al Hijrah immigration wave deepening the Islamization of Eurabia. Among that stream of asylees were ISIS foreign fighters who became shahids, martyrs, in the November 13, 2015 Paris massacres that claimed the lives of 130 and hundreds of injured innocent civilians at open air cafes, a music hall and outside a soccer stadium. Less than a week later the Belgian-born ISIS commander and other jihadis who participated in the attack were killed in a shootout with French police swat teams in a Paris suburb. Now we have the release of an ISIS video showing the nine attackers beheading hostages and training for the Paris attacks orchestrated by the Islamic State.
Into the cockpit of the Syrian civil war in September 2015 came Russian President Putin. He sent Russian forces to establish airbases and launch air assaults against Syrian opposition forces from the Alawite bastion of Latakia with its Mediterranean naval base. Putin, fresh from his adventures in both Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, entered the fray to prop up Russian interests in Syria and President Assad. The downing of a Russian Metro-jet flight on October 31, 2015, in an alleged terrorist bombing by an Islamic State affiliate in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, resulted in the deaths of 224 civilians and air crew aboard. The Islamic State propaganda machine claimed responsibility for the bombing. That resulted in extending Russian air assaults to target the Islamic State, especially its administrative capital of Raqaa in Syria.
However, it was the downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber by a Turkish F-16 jet fighter on November 24, 2015, ordered by Turkish President Erdogan that ratcheted up the geo-political conflicts in the Middle East. The Russian plane had purportedly penetrated Turkish airspace for less than 20 seconds. The Russian flight had targeted Syrian Turkmen opposition forces in the border region with Turkey. Putin called Erdogan’s action “a stab in the back” and would not accept his “apology.” Putin promptly cut off diplomatic contact imposing sanctions on significant trade between the two countries. That included Putin suspending construction of a $12 billion pipeline deal with Erdogan. Erdogan had clearly miscalculated. That sent Erdogan scrambling to replace it with Israeli offshore gas from its Mediterranean fields amid talks about renewing diplomatic relations cut off after the Mavi Marmara Free Gaza flotilla incident in 2010.
Putin put out word to Syrian Kurdish YPG-led forces that it would provide air support by establishing an air field at Qumishli in the Kurdish enclave of Rojava in northeastern Syria. The YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces captured a key Euphrates River Dam in late December 2015. It was given offers from the Russians of air support to assist it in closing the Turkish border to join up with the western enclave of Afrin. The Turks in turn began military preparations on their side of the border. Erdogan is engaged in an internal operation against the YPG affiliated Turkish Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), that Turkey, the EU and we have designated a terrorist organization.
That left the Israelis, concerned about Al Qaeda, Iran proxy Hezbollah and ISIS ranging on all of its borders. Of special concern is the threat on Israel’s Northern border with Lebanon and Syria, but also its Southern border with ISIS affiliates in the Egyptian Sinai. Israeli PM Netanyahu and several top military and security aides flew to Moscow on September 21, 2015 to establish a mutual understanding with Putin over national security issues in Syria. Israel would continue to attack shipments by Syria and Iran to the latter’s proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah. Putin has no agenda involving Israel. Netanyahu was immediately concerned with a low-intensity terror war waged daily since September 2015 by Palestinians and some Israeli Arabs allegedly incited by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The Palestinian and Israeli Arab violence has claimed 28 Israeli, US and foreign migrants dead and dozens injured from knifings, car rammings and shootings. 149 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security. In one troubling case, in January 2016, an Israeli Arab using a semi-automatic weapon at a Tel Aviv café killed three persons. He fled the scene and was eventually tracked by Israeli security forces to his home area in Northern Israel and killed.
On the weekend of January 17, 2016, the UN nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA, announced that Iran had complied with the JCPOA declaring the start of Implementation. President Obama released to Iran upwards of $100 billion in impounded Iranian oil revenues held in several foreign banks. As a result of a 14 month long secret negotiation, four Americans hostage and an American student were released in exchange for clemency for seven Iranians, six, dual US citizens and one Iranian national. They were convicted or charged with engaging in illicit procurement of sensitive technology. Subsequently it was revealed that $1.7 billion had been wired to Tehran in what Congressional critics called a “ransom payment.” In the week prior to these dramatic developments, 10 US sailors and their Riverine command boats wereseized by Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ naval forces and held for 24 hours on Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf waters controlled by Iran.
Against this background, we convened another in the series of 1330 AM WEBY international Middle East Round Tables with Daniel Diker, a Fellow and Project Director for Political Warfare at the Jerusalem Center for Public affairs, a columnist for The Jerusalem Post and Shoshana Bryen, senior director at the Washington, DC-based Jewish Policy Center.
Michael Bates: Good afternoon and welcome to Your Turn. This is Bates. We are doing our special periodic International Roundtable about what is going on in the Middle East and I have joining me in the studio, Gordon, Senior Editor of the New English Review and its blog, The Iconoclast. Welcome, Jerry.
Jerry Gordon: Glad to be back, Mike.
Bates: Joining us by telephone, Shoshana Bryen, Senior Director of the Jewish Policy Center in Washington. Shoshana, welcome back.
Shoshana Bryen: Thank you.
Bates: And, from Jerusalem, Israel, Dan Diker, head of the Political Warfare Program at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and a columnist forThe Jerusalem Post. Diker, welcome.
Dan Diker: Shalom to you and Florida from Jerusalem.
Bates: Shalom. Question, I’ll open with you, Dan. What is the security situation in Israel right now? I’m reading a lot about more of daily attacks, shootings and stabbings, I don’t want to say small time because if you’re the victim it is pretty significant. But, it doesn’t appear from this vantage point in any way that it is a full blown intifada with suicide explosives going on. What are you seeing in Israel right now?
Diker: Mike, it is a very good lead in to the question because the signs are not pointing to a third intifada which in Arabic means “uprising.” These are “Lone Wolf Attacks” that are suggestive of network terrorism. The kind of terrorism that we saw in Paris recently. However, most of the attacks here have been stabbings or car terrorism – running over victims with cars. We finally saw in the last week and a half a meaningful shift in the type of sophistication of attacks. One Israeli Arab terrorist was neutralized by Security Forces just a few days ago, after they took a little over a week to find him up in Northern/North Central Israel. His methodology was suggestive of ISIS and Al-Qaeda in that he wore a black outfit and his shooting attack was very reminiscent of what we saw in some of the Paris attacks. This type of attack had enormous cognitive echo effect frightening Israelis throughout the entire country. The fear factor was rather extraordinary because security forces could not find him for seven days which was quite unusual for Israel. I do think that last week’s shooting attack on Dizengoff Street, which is one of the main streets in Tel Aviv, was a concern of people here because it is rather easy for people to get their hands on an M-16 or another automatic weapon and just fire indiscriminately as he did into a Tel Aviv bar. So, that has really created concern, deep concerns here, and has had a profound psychological effect on the population. Overall, bottom line though, Mike, terrorism is at a reasonable level, even though it sounds strange to say that. It is not at a front burner level, the flames are not super high, Security forces, as well as citizens legally carrying firearms, especially in Jerusalem and in the Gush Etzion have done a good job in killing terrorists when they try to stab Israeli children, men and women. So, things are at a reasonable level. The psychological effect though has been stronger following the last shooting attack in Tel Aviv.
Bates: If these attacks are being done by Lone Wolf operatives, how can the Israel security forces predict or prevent them because it’s not like they are intercepting communications from the conspiracy. It’s all in the guy’s head. So, does that complicate things?
Diker: It certainly does. In fact, this type of Lone Wolf network terrorism is very difficult for Security Forces to use traditional lines of Intelligence in order to snuff this out and prevent it before it happens. There are strong signs that Hamas has been directly involved in the planning and in the directing of some of these attacks, not the majority, but Security Forces and Intelligence Services have been focusing on what it requires to address this type of terrorism. What it requires is very quick reaction on the part of Israelis in the street. If you come to Jerusalem, you will see the epicenter of the 240 attacks in the last 3 1/2 months. I would say well over 200 have been in Jerusalem and the surrounding area. I’m actually speaking to you directly from Gush Etzion, which is a bedroom community of Jerusalem. Here, there have been 20 to 25 attacks within five minutes from where I live in the very intersection where people go to fill up their cars with gas or take their children to schools. I take my daughters to school there every day and there you can see soldiers from very top units stationed about 15 feet, one from the other around a traffic circle. People here are legally able to carry firearms as you have thousands of people in Jerusalem. It really requires this quick type of response because traditional Intelligence-top down Intelligence – is not quite as effective against this type of terrorism.
Bates: Are the perpetrators of these attacks Arab Israeli citizens. Clearly they’re not coming from Samaria and Judea through the wall, right?
Diker: There is a breakdown of the 240 attacks. The majority have been Palestinian Arabs from areas in the West Bank, in Judea and Samaria
Bates: Oh, okay.
Diker: Where Jews and Arabs live together, they are on the Israeli side of the security barrier; however, others of them are Palestinians. There are some 100,000 Palestinians from the Palestinian controlled areas of the West Bank that cross into Israel every day to earn 2-3 times from the Israeli employers what they would be earning from their Palestinian Authority employers. That illustrates the kind of risk that Israel is still prepared to take upon itself in order to ease Palestinian area employment problems. They still allow 100,000 Palestinian workers to come into Israel every day and some of those have been found to be knife terrorists. Others of them have been Jerusalem Arabs who are not citizens of the State. However, they receive all of the social benefits of Israel Arabs although they live in Jerusalem in areas that have not yet been decided whether they will become Israeli citizens or whether they will stay under Palestinian Authority control. The minority of these attacks has come from Arab Israeli citizens and there is a real question as to why. Many believe that the vast majority of Israeli Arabs are loyal to the State of Israel. They want to work and get ahead and send their children to good schools and flourish in the democratic Jewish State of Israel. That is the way things are looking right now.
Gordon: Shoshana, Prime Minister Netanyahu made an announcement this week regarding the fact that he wants the rule of law for one state and not two peoples. What did he mean by that and what kind of initiatives did he announce?
Bryen: Actually I’m going to send most of that question back to Dan who deals it on a more day to day basis. Essentially what the Prime Minister said was for Israeli Arabs and for Israeli Jews, you have one national grouping and you need one set of laws. There is a concern in Israel that Israeli Arabs are often held to a lesser legal standard than Jews. You see it most definitely in the housing field. The Israeli Arabs build houses without legal Israeli Government permits and, these are people who are full citizens of the State. They ignore the laws that they don’t care to obey. This kind of general lawlessness, this ability to say that I don’t have to follow the laws of the State gives rise to people who will either attack Jews or in some other way undermine the State. The Prime Minister was saying, “One people, one national people, one set of laws.” As Jews are held to a standard, Arabs have to be held to the same standard inside the State of Israel.
Gordon: Dan, do you have a response to that?
Diker: I think that Shoshana makes the basic point in a very distinct, eloquent manner. I think that the context here is there has been an unspoken agreement from the Israeli Government to agree not to enforce certain laws for Arab Israeli citizens for fear that would cause unrest. For fear that it would exacerbate a sensitive situation where their identities in some cases are split. They are subject to incitement to murder and violence by the Palestinian authority. Some 20 to 30 Israeli Arabs have gone off to fight the global jihads in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. There is a sense here that the Israeli Government would not enforce (to the same severity) domestic law and criminal law that they would for Israeli citizens of Jewish and other backgrounds. Netanyahu was basically trying to do a reset, especially in the aftermath of this terrible shooting in Tel Aviv which was perpetrated by an Israeli Arab from a family that, on one hand had cooperated with the Israeli Authorities. His father and family had been good citizens of Israel. On the other hand, what the authorities have discovered in the aftermath of the shooting is that the terrorist received a great deal of assistance from his extended family, cousins, uncles and others as well as neighbors where he lived in the North. So there is this sense by Netanyahu and the government that they want to do a reset and stay with one law for one state and this is something that echoed with the Bedouins in the South which have been in many cases as lawless as some of the Arab Israeli citizenry, in the North. This is a real attempt to clear the table and say look, we are one state, different culture, but it’s one law. This is democracy and it’s a state of law, a country of laws and it will be enforced equally. It was also a message to the Arab Israeli leadership in the Knesset, which has been extraordinarily irresponsible in representing local constituencies. The Arab Israeli leadership traditionally, certainly in the last 25 years could be deemed an extension of the Palestinian National Movement in the West Bank. This was also a call to them to try to bring them onto the same page as the law enforcement agencies and the government.
Gordon: Shoshana, the Russians are having more and more involvement in the Middle East. What are they up to?
Bryen: The Russians have two goals in the region. One is to keep their warm water port and their naval base at Latakia and the other is to kill Sunni jihadists. In order to pursue both of those goals, they need to keep the central Syrian state alive as long as possible and that means allying with Bashar al-Assad. It also means that they ally secondarily with Hezbollah and Iran. However, Russian relations with Hezbollah and Iran are not those of allies. They are those of people that work together because they need the same sorts of things at the moment. Russia is hardly tied at all to Hezbollah and is only marginally tied to Iran. They have been very careful. For example, what they sell to Iran. They announce big stuff but they sell small stuff. What the Israelis have been able to do is talk to the Russians about Israeli red lines in Syria. I don’t mean water colored pink lines like the Obama Administration has. We are talking about serious Israeli red lines of which there are two. One is that there will be no Iranians or Hezbollah on the Syrian side of Golan Heights and the other is that there are certain weapons that will not be permitted to go to Hezbollah. Those are the red lines. The Russians seem to have respected them to date. The killing of Samir Kuntar (a terrorist convicted in Israel for the murder of a four-year-old girl and her father) was because he was working on terrorist activity that would emanate from the Golan and reach into Israel-and the Israelis said, “No, that’s not acceptable, he has to go.” There are reports right now that Hezbollah is receiving more sophisticated weapons from Russia than the Israelis would permit. However, if you trace those reports back to their sources, the sources are all Hezbollah. Hezbollah says, “We are getting laser guided missiles and we’re getting sophisticated weapons and we’re getting them directly from Russia.” For the moment at least, I cannot find an independent source that suggests that is true. What you really have is the Russians laid down their markers, having determined what is important to them, and they are carrying that out with a variety of countries including Israel.
Bates: Shoshana, the Russians clearly want to keep Bashar al-Assad in power and the policy of the American Government is regime change. Those obviously cannot coexist at the same time. Are we potentially going to have to confront the Russians over Syria?
Bryen: I’m not sure that the American position is any longer that al-Assad has to go. It used to be that we told him to be a “reformer.” Then we told him to step down: ”We want you to go right now.” Then we armed people to try to take him out. Now we have told the Russians, in the context of a political conversation al-Assad will have to make a promise to go at some point. The Russian position is not that firm either. The Russian position is that someday there will be an election in Syria and perhaps in the context of an election in Syria perhaps al-Assad will go. So, nobody is saying that al-Assad stays permanently. Both sides are edging their way toward a mechanism that could separate al-Assad from the seat of power in Damascus.
Bates: The Russians clearly have an interest with that warm water port in Syria on the Mediterranean. Whoever replaces al-Assad, the Russians are going to want him to be friendly to them.
Bryen: Yes, of course. By the way, that is not something to which the United States can very well object. We have ports all over the world. If the Russians’ goal is to keep the port, the Russians care less who sits in Damascus than whoever sits in Damascus will allow them to maintain the port they need. We shouldn’t object to that.
Gordon: Interesting question for you both. How does Russia support the Kurds who are allies of the United States in Syria and also support the Kurds in Turkey?
Bryen: Russians have to support the Kurds in Turkey at least nominally because the Russians and the Turks are not on good terms at the moment. Anything that irritates the Turks is good from the Russian point of view so they support the Kurds. There seems to be a difference with the Kurds in Syria because the Kurds in Syria are among the best fighters in Syria. At the moment, they don’t bother the Russians but there is no reason for the Russians to support them, either.
Bates: Shoshana, you said the Russians and the Turks are not on good terms right now. How would you describe the terms that the United States and the Turks are on?
Bryen: Terrible, actually. Erdogan came into office in Turkey with the policy called “No Problem with the Neighbors.” By this he meant no problem with Syria, no problem with Iran, no problem with Israel. No problem with anybody. He was going to be friends with everybody. When that was true, Turkey’s economy took off and he looked like the great hero of the Middle East. He has today, poor relations with all of his neighbors, very bad relations with the Russians and very bad relations with us.
Bates: Those relations with the Russians of course were made worse by the recent shooting down of the Russian jet ostensibly over Syria. The map I saw indicated that the Russian fighter was over Syria for probably less time that it takes time to introduce yourself, a few seconds at most, but it was in fact shot down and one of the pilots killed. Right?
Bates: So, what has the fallout been from that?
Bryen: The biggest piece of fallout has been the suspension of a pipeline called Turkey Stream that the Russians were building. It was a 12 billion dollar project that was going to bring Russian gas to Turkey and into other European countries. The Russians have put it on hold. The Turks did not expect that. That is one of the reasons they turned to Israel. They are concerned now that they will not have access to Russian gas in the future. Where does Erdogan go? He looks at Israel and says, “Can we have yours please?” The Israelis are handling this very cautiously.
Bates: Dan, what are you seeing?
Diker: I just wanted to add an additional point that the way we understand and hear the Obama Administration had pursued Erdogan and Turkey quite aggressively in its first Administration. That things have gotten sour has been a major source of frustration to the Obama Administration because the White House had really made overtures to Turkey to be the new emerging power. The political Islam, or Muslim Brotherhood based government that Erdogan leads today was looked at by the Obama Administration as the model for his new Middle East. The fact is that Turkey is having its difficulties with Washington as they are with Russia.
Bates: Dan you were addressing the Israeli/Turkish relationship. Please finish that thought.
Diker: Yes for the first time since 2010, the Turks and the Israelis have instead kissed and made up to a certain degree. Trade is at an all time high, military cooperation has continued and it seems that the Turks are looking to balance their interests. They don’t like what they see around them and in terms of Iran and because of Russian involvement in Syria on Turkey’s border. They look at the Israelis as sharing of some of their views vis-a-vis the Iranian threat.
Gordon: Dan, why did Erdogan virtually crawl back to Israel after five years of suspended relations over the Mavi Marmara Free Gaza Flotilla event in May of 2010?
Diker: At that particular time, Turkey was pressing a lot of buttons around Hamas trying to assert itself, you know, as an emerging hegemon in the region, opposite Iran. In a region in which Arab states were collapsing left and right every time you turned around. Today, Turkey’s fortunes have changed. They look at the Assad regime on their border, they look at Iran crawling through the Middle East and funding, directing, and arming a Shiite terror group. They look at the United States as conducting outreach to the Iranian regime. They see a nuclear weapon problem coming from Iran. They see a serious regional terror spread from Iran. I think that Erdogan as Shoshana mentioned, has difficulties with the United States. I think they have agreed to re-engage with the Israelis. I will say it may not be that Erdogan will make a state trip to Israel or that Netanyahu will make a state trip to Ankara. Clearly there is a lot more cooperation than there was six years ago.
Gordon: Shoshana, the world has been stunned by the sectarian divide, almost an abyss between the Wahabbist Saudis and the Mahdist Shia in Tehran. How is that going to impact on the Russians and the U.S.?
Bryen: It shouldn’t be surprising because Saudi Arabia is the chief funder of Sunni jihad. The biggest fear the Russians have is Sunni jihad because it happened in their country. The Saudis turned the Chechen War in Russia from a nationalist war – the first war – into a religious war – the second war – in the earlier part of this century. So, the Russians and the Saudis really despise one another. The Saudis for a long time now maintained a strategy of pumping lots of oil. They pumped oil to maintain their market share and drop the price. Dropping the price drives the Russians crazy because the Russians have nothing to sell but oil and gas. They’re not a sophisticated country; they’re not a first world economy. The Iranians, the Russians and the Venezuelans, by the way, have been driven crazy by Saudi policy. The Russians needed oil to be $119 a barrel to balance their budget. Last year Moscow admitted that it reconfigured the budget using $85 a barrel of oil. Oil is right now is at $30 a barrel.
Bates: I think it’s actually below $30.
Bryen: Let’s say that it doubles because the price is going to go up at some point and it goes back up to $70, it’s still not enough. So the Russians hate Saudis. That has largely been missed because what the Saudis do, they do quietly and they do it behind the scenes. They are a major driving factor in Sunni jihad. Now, at the moment, that is an uncomfortable place to be for the Saudis. They don’t really want to be funding jihad. They are afraid it will come home to hurt them. So, I don’t think it will change Russian policy at all. They hated them before, they hate them now. The Saudis are probably withdrawing some of their financial support. The Saudis also have budgetary issues although they are very well placed to ride out this wave of low oil prices. They have an enormous stash of cash.
Bates: Shoshana I read that the Saudis had a 98 billion dollar deficit.
Bryen: Yes, they do. However, they have $600 billion in hard currency reserves. If they want to cover that deficit they can. They are probably good for the next five years. Five years is a very long time in the Middle East.
Bates: I have this theory about these low oil prices. I’m curious to know if you subscribe to it or if I’m way off base. During the Regan Administration, there was an alignment with the Saudis and the Vatican to bring down the Russians through the Solidarity Movement in Poland. That was the Vatican’s connection with Pope John Paul II. With low oil prices through Saudi Arabia in order to bankrupt the evil empire, Soviet Russia. It appeared to have worked. Are we seeing something like that again, where the Saudis are part of a geopolitical strategy to bankrupt the Russians, Venezuelans and ISIS and all of these other oil producing bad guys?
Bryen: That would give too much credit to the United States for having a strategy. Saudi Arabia is very definitely opposed to Russia and is doing this on purpose with an eye toward as much damage as they can inflict on Russia and on Iran. I think the Venezuelan thing is a happy accident but if you want to ask the question is it being driven by the United States or somehow coordinated with the United States, absolutely not. Because it is not in the President’s interest to collapse the Iranians. It’s not in the Obama Administration’s playbook.
Bates: Yes, I would love to see the Iranian regime collapse but Barack Obama is not interested in that. Shoshana, you were talking about the interest of the Obama Administration in regime change with Iran. I’m quite interested in getting those Mad Mullahs out of Iran but is it not official U.S. policy to do so anymore?
Bryen: No, it’s not. It has been the Obama Administration Policy to find a way to work with Iran, to bring Iran into the family of civilized countries. It seems to me, that the Obama Administration’s view of the Middle East was to have Turkey take care of the Sunni side and Iran takes care of the Shiite side and the United States leave. The people who most adamantly objected to that were the Saudis. So part of this cheap-oil flood-the-market deal is the Saudis’ desire to create pain in Iran. Had we been smarter, more farsighted and we had a different Administration, it was the perfect time to collapse the Mullah regime. Sanctions were working, sanctions were making it terribly difficult for the Mullahs to maintain their grip on the population and the Saudis were about to administer the coup de grace. Instead the Obama Administration saved them. We told them we will lift the sanctions. We told them they don’t have to do anything about their internal problems. They didn’t have to do anything about the boot they have on the neck of the Iranian people. We saved them. Looking at the economics of Iran, it’s still in terrible shape.
Gordon: One of the more significant events this past week was the explosion of a fourth nuclear device in North Korea. The question is less whether it was a miniature hydrogen bomb, but really the connection between that test and he Iranian nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Bryen: It’s an intellectual connection. The Iranians would like to know how far they can push us without penalty. The North Koreans would like to know if they could claim that it was a hydrogen bomb and we would believe it. But it wasn’t. Even though the Iranians fired a missile within 1,500 yards of the U.S.S. Harry Truman, an aircraft carrier, as it was sailing in international waters in the Straits of Hormuz. We didn’t do anything about it; we didn’t acknowledge that it happened for about a month.
Bates: I saw the video of that incident. The missile wasn’t shot towards the American Carrier, but it was only 1,500 yards away. Is that a violation of International Law? The Iranians did announce it over the radio, so it wasn’t a surprise attack. Do you, Shoshana know if that is legal under the Laws of Navigation, Laws of the Sea?
Bryen: Firing ballistic missiles in international waterways is frowned upon by the international community. It doesn’t really matter if they announced it or didn’t announce it; to put a missile like that out there in international waters is a violation of common sense among other things. So, no, it is not an act of war, it’s not that they were firing at the Harry S. Truman in order to start a war with us. However, it also does not comport with the way countries normally do business. So, it should have concerned us. What it really is was another test by the Iranians, “What can we do and what will they say?”
Bates: They can do anything and we will do nothing. Do you see a connection, Shoshana, between the North Korean Nuclear Program and the Iranian Nuclear Program?
Bryen: There is a very definite connection. That connection has been uncovered for a long time. For example, when Israel bombed a reactor site in Syria, there were people who were killed who were North Korean scientists. The North Koreans built that facility, the Iranians paid for it. It was meant to be outside Iran in the hopes that nobody would touch it. Actually, it made it easier to get rid of it because it was in Syria. Notwithstanding, it was a North Korean/Iranian joint center.
Bates: Is there any danger that the Iranians under the JCPOA will simply develop their nuclear capability in North Korea and then just ship the missiles home when they need them?
Bryen: That has been a theory for a long time. That North Korea is actually the testing grounds for Iranian capabilities. It wouldn’t surprise me. No, I don’t think we have specific evidence of it.
Bates: No evidence but certainly a possibility.
Bryen: Certainly a possibility. The North Koreans need money more than anything else. Iran has it and they are willing to spend it on that program, I would be shocked if they weren’t doing it.
Bates: Jerry, what about the documentary on PBS Frontline on Benjamin Netanyahu. Do you see that and if so, what did you think of it?
Gordon: Yes, I saw it. I thought it was kind of contrived. However, in retrospect, I think the presentation probably overcame many of the extreme left wing speakers in Israel and even here in the United States. There were two episodes in the documentary that were disturbing. One had to do with an event that was held in Tel Aviv at which Bibi appeared to a throng of protestors in Tel Aviv and the second were comments which I think had been subsequently denied by Martin Indyk, the former US. Ambassador to Israel. He was a Special Aide to the Obama Administration in negotiations before he left in 2013 and those comments were alleged to have occurred between Indyk and Bibi at Rabin’s funeral, and I think those were the most disturbing. Shoshana and Dan, do you have any comments about that?
Bryen: Let me just comment on the Indyk incident that was alleged to have happened. Martin Indyk said that sitting next to him at Rabin’s funeral was Bibi and Bibi leaned over to him and said something like, “it’s too bad Rabin is dead because now he will be a martyr and when he’s a martyr he will make it harder for the right and it’s going to cost me votes.” Indyk said directly to the camera that Netanyahu had told him that. As it turns out, there is photographic evidence from Rabin’s funeral that they weren’t sitting together. That part of the story fell apart and Indyk’s response to that was, “Oh well maybe it happened somewhere else.” So, I think it is pretty clear that comment was put into Bibi’s mouth directly by Martin Indyk. I don’t want to say that he lied, but he lied. So that should give you an idea what was going on in that segment.
Gordon: Dan, you had comments about Bibi?
Diker: A couple of things. Martin Indyk was a two time US Ambassador to Israel and he made his disdain for center right wing politics in Israel very clear. That is a very questionable position for an ambassador to take, commenting and intervening in the internal polices of the country in which they are situated. There were a number of examples of Ambassador Indyk doing that in Israel. That was one example of what we have seen over the last 20 years from Ambassador Indyk. The other was what you mentioned, Jerry, in the Frontline documentary was Netanyahu’s alleged incitement. The context for that was in the days preceding the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. It was shown to be false, that Netanyahu incited the protesters. Netanyahu did not incite the public he was attempting to calm the crowds below and to hold a civil discourse. In fact, it has also been revealed which may be a surprise to our American friends, that Israel internal security services had actually put up some of the posters that violently portrayed former Prime Minister Rabin in Arab keffiyeh, trying to liken him to an image of Arafat. That was shown to be a setup by political activists. Talk about political warfare, political activitism by Israel’s left. This will go down in history as a very internally, civilly violent period by the left towards the center right and the right in Israel. It actually had nothing to do with Netanyahu’s alleged incitement. It was in fact a staged political event by the left wing political sector of Israeli society. It is a rather shameful episode and all too misunderstood in the West.
Bates: Dan, I’ve got to ask the question because I think it’s important. How do you see the Israeli-American relationship and for terrorism around impacting the U.S. election cycle.
Diker: Middle Eastern terrorism, the global jihad, ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hamas, and others in radical Islam, and Iran will be a major American election issue. Israel is leading the Western counter-attack against radical Islam in the Middle East. I think all of the candidates frankly recognize that and I do think we’re going to see a major shift away from the current White House strategy and treatment of Israel.
Bates: Foreign Policy and National Security, the Republicans win. Domestic Policy and Welfare the Democrats win.
Bryen: Dan was making a point that terrorism within the United States raises the threat level in the eyes of the American public. That is not a political statement and it’s very true. I think that the President has told us that we have nothing to worry about. However, for very good reasons the American people believe we do. And, that’s going to be an argument. The President says “no, no it’s fine, it’s no problem’ and the people here say “Hey wait a minute, what about this killings, what about the killing over there? What about the attacks on military recruiting centers?” 2015 was a banner year for arresting and trying domestic terrorists, all of whom happen to have been Muslims.
Bates: We will see where it leads and I’m certain we will have this conversation again many times before the November 8th election. Thanks so much for joining us, Gordon, Senior Editor of the New English Review and its blog The Iconoclast, Bryen, Senior Director of the Jewish Policy Center in Washington and Diker, Head of the Political Warfare Program of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.
Invasion of Europe news….
In this story (burly fighting age) Iraqis are getting ready to make their move to Germany. One of the best things the EU could do (to save itself) is to craft a PR campaign to be broadcast in the Middle East and N. Africa featuring unhappy “refugees” who say they are sorry they came and want to go home!
Just as U.S. federal refugee resettlement contractors are gearing up their massive PR campaign that America should embrace a hundred thousand Syrians and bring them to your towns, thousands of those (supposedly seeking asylum) who flooded into Germany in the last year want to go home!
Why? To put it simply: Not enough welfare goodies and culture shock (“open attitudes” about sex). So much for fear of war.
Be sure to see a post we wrote last August where a Syrian American says that many of those fleeing Syria see Europe as El Dorado (a mythical city of gold) and don’t want to be left out of the gold rush.
The Wall Street Journal has a really good story yesterday:
BERLIN—In October, Amer sold all his belongings in Syria and took his family to a safer life in Germany. Four months later, he wants to return to a country still at war.
Once in Germany, Amer discovered an unexpected reality: Instead of the small house he was hoping for and money to help him open a business, he was given a bare room in an old administrative building turned into an emergency shelter. Now he is packing his bags again.
“I came to Germany because everyone was saying it was heaven. Now I regret that decision,” said the 30-year-old from Damascus.
But many who arrive find the country doesn’t match their often inflated expectations. They balk at modest benefits, poor job prospects, and harsh treatment at immigration offices, and voice other complaints ranging from bland food to Germans’ open attitudes about sex.
The Merkel myth about jobs, just that, a myth (or, how the greedy globalists are destroying western civilization).
Ms. Merkel has said the best path to integration is through work, but most migrants face a long road from the cots of emergency shelters to finding housing and employment.
Economists have warned that migrants with low skills, like Amer, stand little chance of ever finding jobs. While some political leaders say the new migrants will help offset a dearth of German workers in the future,critics say they could become a long-term burden on German taxpayers.
Maybe the fighting back home isn’t so bad after all!
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton served as the 67th United States Secretary of State under President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2013. The below map is a graphic representation of what occurred during her time as Secretary of State. Not shown on the map are the failed states of Syria and Iraq and the failing state of Afghanistan.
Some may argue that former Secretary Clinton was doing the bidding of President Obama. Others may argue that she had no control over events in the Middle East. However, we must recall what former Secretary Clinton said about the “Arab Spring”. Andrew Quinn, Reuters correspondent in Washington, D.C., in an October 2012 column titled “Clinton Says U.S. must embrace Arab Spring despite dangers” reported:
The United States must look past the violence and extremism that has erupted after the “Arab Spring” revolutions and boost support for the region’s young democracies to forge long-term security, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday.
Clinton, seeking to reinforce the Obama administration’s Middle East policy following a wave of anti-American violence and last month’s deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, said Washington cannot be deterred by “the violent acts of a small number of extremists.”
“We recognize that these transitions are not America’s to manage, and certainly not ours to win or lose,” Clinton said in a speech to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.
[ … ]
Clinton acknowledged that political turmoil in Libya and Yemen, the rise of Islamist parties to power in Egypt and Tunisia and the expanding crisis in Syria were all tests for U.S. leadership – but said more engagement, not less, was the only way forward.
The violence and extremism continues today in-spite of engagement by the United States. A growing number of Muslim armies under the banner of the Islamic State, the newest caliphate, among others are creating havoc in Europe. During former Secretary Clinton’s watch was the Iranian “Green Revolution”. Debra Heine from PJ Media wrote:
If you’ll recall, millions of people had poured out into the streets to protest the sham election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. One of the leaders of the Green Revolution, the widely revered Hussein-Ali Montazeri, had issued a fatwa against nuclear weapons, but without a regime change, there was no real hope that Iran would abandon its nuclear weapons program. The country was at a tipping point, and with a little encouragement and logistical support, the murderous Iranian regime could have been overthrown. Hillary Clinton was the secretary of State at the time.
I recall a 2008 campaign ad that the Hillary for President campaign ran. It talked about who was best prepared to take a White House call at 3:00 a.m. Here is the ad:
Well the call came to the White House and the U.S. State Department on September 11th, 2012. Only the call wasn’t at 3:00 a.m. Rather the call came at 4:00 p.m. The call came from Ambassador Christ Stevens from Benghazi, Libya.
No one took the call.
Remember when complaining about the price of gas was all the rage? The public discourse was awash in pseudo-psychology, hand-wringing about “peak oil,” and an array of conspiracy theories to explain why oil cost so much.
There was much ado about corporate “greed” (the cause of all life’s problems), hissing about “speculators,” nationalist chest-thumping about OPEC, self-proclaimed experts warning that Earth was out of oil, and many inarticulate suspicions about George Bush and Barack Obama.
Economists were pretty sure that the price of oil was related to supply and demand, but what did they know? One cantankerous socialist knew the truth:
Pump prices spiked 5% in the past month… Crude oil prices stood at $108 on Friday, up from only double digits at the beginning of the month. …
What’s the cause? Forget what you may have read about the laws of supply and demand. Oil and gas prices have almost nothing to do with economic fundamentals.
Fortunately, when he wrote that in 2012, Sen. Bernie Sanders was ahead of the game, having never read anything about supply and demand at all. Unencumbered by basic economics, he was able to see that Big Oil “gouging” and Wall Street “speculators” were to blame.
Remarkably, right around the time of the fracking revolution, the price of oil and gas started tumbling. I guess Wall Street’s heart grew three sizes that day.
But Sanders didn’t have the only theory. One super smart billionaire figured out that Saudi Arabia was the real problem:
Look at what’s going on with your gasoline prices. They’re going to go to $5, $6, $7 and we don’t have anybody in Washington that calls OPEC and says, “Fellas, it’s time. It’s over. You’re not going to do it anymore.”
When Donald Trump diagnosed this problem in 2011, his solution wasn’t just to “call Saudi Arabia” and tell them “you’re not going to raise that f***ing price!” No, he had a practical measure: seize Iraq’s oil fields. “To the victor belong the spoils. You go in. You win the war and you take it.”
It’s worth remembering this mass hysteria, although the situation today is somewhat different. The price of oil is below $30 a barrel. The International Energy Agency has warned that the world is now “drowning” in oil.
This week, the price for a particularly low-quality type of oil briefly dipped to negative fifty cents a barrel. That is, producers actually had to pay the refinery to take their oil. Has greed been abolished from the land? Maybe. But there’s also a sensible explanation: the high-sulfur oil is expensive to transport and refine, but the producers still had to get rid of it somehow.
But just a few years ago, it would have been almost unthinkable for refineries to actively discourage oil production. At $140 a barrel, almost any kind of oil is worth refining. And here’s the upshot: it was precisely those high prices that prompted the massive investment in production, exploration, and innovation that led to fracking, the shale revolution, and today’s tumbling prices. It was greedy, profit-seeking oil companies who drove the price of oil down over 80% from its peak in 2008.
It’s important to grasp these lessons now, because at some point, the price of oil — or some other commodity — will rise again, and we will be greeted by the same parade of doomsayers, conspiracy theorists, and would-be regulators that we endured for the last decade.
They’re not gone, they’re not even hiding — they’re leading the race for president.
Bonus economics of gas story: On Monday, local news in Michigan reported that a bidding war between a couple of gas stations briefly resulted in prices below 50 cents a gallon. To understand just how weird this is, the wholesale price of gasoline is about $1.
Is this another sign of irrational generosity sweeping the petroleum industry? No. Gasoline is retailed at razor thin margins; gas is typically about 70% of a station’s revenue, but only 30% of its profit. Gas stations actually make most of their money selling food, cigarettes, and bottled water inside.
Occasionally, gasoline is used as a loss leader: stations will sell gas for cheap (even at a loss) to bring people to the pump, where they can then make more money selling high-margin items like bottled drinks and tobacco.
Daniel Bier is the editor of Anything Peaceful. He writes on issues relating to science, civil liberties, and economic freedom.
Documents leaked to CNN from inside the Islamic State show that the terrorist insurgency/quasi-state is undergoing massive budget cuts, cutting salaries for its fighters and staff by 50 percent across the board.
ISIS soldiers earn between $400 and $1,200 a month, plus a $50 stipend for their wives and $25 for each child, according to the Congressional Research Service.
But running a state at war is expensive. And recent victories for the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS mean that the Islamic State can’t afford to pay its soldiers quite as much as it used to.
“On account of the exceptional circumstances the Islamic State is facing, it has been decided to reduce the salaries that are paid to all mujahideen by half, and it is not allowed for anyone to be exempted from this decision, whatever his position,” the ISIS’ government wrote in a memorandum.
Much of the financial pressure on ISIS may come from US and Russian airstrikes targeting cash stockpiles, oil resources, and other assets. ISIS also has to pay for a semi-functioning state, maintaining infrastructure, running schools, subsidizing bread, fighting a war, and, of course, murdering vast numbers of people for imaginary crimes.
But the Islamic State might have a revenue problem as much as a spending problem. ISIS gets most of its money by taxing people in conquered territory, but, as Dan Mitchell has pointed out, the terrorists have recently been discovering the Laffer Curve.
Quoting Adam Chodorow at Slate,
ISIS’s taxes are now so onerous that large numbers of people, who were apparently willing to tolerate ISIS’s religious authoritarianism, are fleeing Syria and Iraq to escape them. …
ISIS is … constrained by a lack of administrative resources and the simple reality once sketched on the back of a cocktail napkin by the economist Arthur Laffer: that tax rates can only get so high before they actually drive down government revenues.
Given current conditions, ISIS may be near or at the limits of its ability to tax, even if it can recruit jihadi tax accountants to its cause. Thus … it’s not clear how much room the group has to grow internal revenues. More important, its efforts to do so may do more to damage its prospects than outside forces can accomplish.
No matter how much violence they use, there is no escaping the basic economic reality of incentives: In addition to creating refugees of war and violence, ISIS is now also creating tax exiles.
As people flee Syria and Iraq, businesses close, and the economy dies — and ISIS’s ability to tax and sustain its war effort is slowly being bled out. This is probably one reason that the Islamic State views refugees as traitors, as they have not only abandoned the one true caliphate, but they’ve taken their incomes with them.
Even if they really believe in the cause, if ISIS fighters are at all motivated by money, cutting their pay in half will have a huge impact on recruitment and desertion. Incentives matter, even in a theocracy.
Kidnapping infidels and releasing them for ransom or enslaving them, as well as killing them if that option is deemed most advantageous for the Muslims, is fully sanctioned in Islamic law:
“As for the captives, the amir [ruler] has the choice of taking the most beneficial action of four possibilities: the first to put them to death by cutting their necks; the second, to enslave them and apply the laws of slavery regarding their sale and manumission; the third, to ransom them in exchange for goods or prisoners; and fourth, to show favor to them and pardon them. Allah, may he be exalted, says, ‘When you encounter those [infidels] who deny [the Truth=Islam] then strike [their] necks’ (Qur’an sura 47, verse 4)” — Abu’l-Hasan al-Mawardi, al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah (The Laws of Islamic Governance), trans. by Dr. Asadullah Yate, (London), Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd., 1996, p. 192.
“BREAKING NEWS: Three Americans ‘kidnapped’ by militia in Baghdad,” by Wills Robinson, Dailymail.com, January 17, 2016 (thanks to Robert):
Three American contractors have reportedly been kidnapped by militants in Baghdad.
According to Arab news channel Al-Arabiya, sources in the Iraqi capital city said the trio were abducted in the southern neighborhood of Dora on Sunday.
They were believed to have been with an interpreter, who has also been captured, reports suggest.
The US State Department has confirmed it’s aware of the reports.
Officials are working with Iraqi authorities to locate and recover the missing Americans.
Their identities and the reason they are in Iraq is not known.
John Kirby, State Department told Daily Mail Online: ‘We are aware of reports that American citizens are missing in Iraq.
‘The safety and security of American citizens overseas is our highest priority. We are working with the full cooperation of the Iraqi authorities to locate and recover the individuals.’…
Can’t argue with that, Bibi.
“John Kerry Says the Middle East Is ‘Safer’ Thanks to Iran Deal Implementation — But That’s Not What Netanyahu Says,” by Sharona Schwartz, The Blaze, January 17, 2016:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions against Iran would free up more money for the Islamic Republic to pursue terrorism.
“What is clear is that Iran will now have more resources to divert to terrorism and its aggression in the region and around the world, and Israel is prepared to deal with any threat,” Netanyahu said at his weekly cabinet meeting, according to a transcript released by his office.
Netanyahu’s assessment stood in stark contrast with that of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who a day earlier said that both the world and the Middle East were now safer thanks to the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal.
“Today … the United States, our friends and allies in the Middle East, and the entire world are safer because the threat of a nuclear weapon has been reduced,” Kerry said Saturday in Vienna.
The Israeli leader vowed that his government would monitor “all of Iran’s international violations, including regarding the nuclear agreement, the ballistic missile agreement and terrorism.”
He also urged other countries to “enact severe and aggressive sanctions against each violation.”
“Were it not for our efforts to lead sanctions and thwart Iran’s nuclear program, Iran would have had nuclear weapons some time ago. Israel’s policy is exactly as it has been – not to allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapon,” Netanyahu added….
RELATED ARTICLE: Islamic jihadists kidnap three Americans in Baghdad
LISTEN to this podcast of the January 10, 2016 Lisa Benson Show on KKNT 960 The Patriot. Lisa Benson and New English Review Senior Editor Jerry Gordon co-hosted this show with the assistance of Board of Advisors member, Richard Cutting.
Col. Richard Kemp, (ret.) CBE, former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan and noted commentator on counterinsurgency and counterterrorism, discussed why Israel is the outpost of civilization in the Middle east. He urged Queen Elizabeth to visit Israel in 2017, the 100th Anniversary of the liberation of Jerusalem from the Turks to honor ANZAC fallen. He drew attention to British Prime Minister Cameron who has spoken before Israel’s Knesset and his designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group. He suggested that perhaps the Administration might follow suit.
He considers the Muslim Brotherhood as an evil organization seeking to spread Islamist hatred of Israel Europe and the West. Hamas he pointed out had links to the Muslim Brotherhood with objectives similar to that of ISIS. An ISIS he said was spreading its barbaric Islamic doctrine across the Muslim Ummah from Syria and Iraq to North and sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia.
With regard to the resurgence of the Taliban in a 14 year war in Afghanistan with NATO forces, he said that some of it was attributable to the role of Pakistan intelligence service. The Pakistanis and Afghans he noted are enemies. He called attention to the internecine war between the Taliban and ISIS endeavoring to gain power as enemies of the democratic government in Afghanistan. A government plagued with corruption hobbling the country’s security forces. He called attention to a generational long struggle against Islamist Jihadism in which the West cannot relax. It must stand up and fight. He noted in passing that the US Administration has taken its eye off the ball with outreach to an enemy, Iran. He attributed some of the present difficulties in the Middle east and South Asia to both the pullout of US forces in Iraq and pull down of ISAF troops in Afghanistan.
Dr. Sebastian Gorka addressed the number one issue in polls taken of Americans, national security and domestic Islamic terrorism. He suggested that the Administration had to jettison the canard of lone wolf terror acts. The Boston Marathon Bombers, the shooting in Chattanooga, the massacre in San Bernardino and the recent attempted murder of a police officer by a convicted felon and convert to Islam in Philadelphia he said was reflective of the connective tissue of Global Jihad doctrine. That doctrine viewed America and the West as antithetical to Jihadist aims.
He viewed the ability of the US and the EU to vett the millions of migrants and refugees flooding the west as well nigh impossible. While referencing the intense scrutiny of his parents, refugees from the 1956 Hungarian rebellion against Soviet Communism, he suggested that could only be done under intense and repeated questioning by counterterrorism security echelons using a data base to check documents and bona fides. He suggested that the US is hobbled by the lack of manpower and a data base to vett, for example, the stream of Syrian Refugees.
Having visited a Syrian refugee camp during the recent Christmas New Year’s holiday, he was struck with two takeaways. He commended the Kingdom of Jordan, without the resources of oil revenues of an incredible job of s country of 6 million handling an influx of 1.5 million Syrian refugees. He tasked the oil rich Gulf States and Saudi Arabia to offer financial and resettlement assistance. He said there was no sense to send Syrians to the EU or the US. Rather it was incumbent on the contending powers, especially the US, to resolve the conflict, hereby enabling the Syrians in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon to return home.
Regarding the recent settlement between New York City and Muslim and civil liberties advocacy groups ending the NYPD Muslim community profiling program, Gorka said in a recent House Armed Services Committee testimony that after 9/11, the NYPD had been let down by Federal law enforcement and counterterrorism agencies. The NYPD he noted undertook to build perhaps the best counterterrorism intelligence and surveillance program to monitor and protect the Muslim community in New York against Islamist inroads. Effectively he commented to the House Committee that politics continued to get in the way of national security.
When asked about the current rising Sunni Shiite divide between Saudi Arabia and Iran, he referred to a comment from Israeli PM Netanyahu, who said it was a Game of Thrones pitting the Saudi Wahabbist Sunni Caliphate against the Mullahs of the Shia Mahdist Caliphate in Nuclear Iran.
Here is the hot news this morning. The LA Times has a more detailed account of the story that broke overnight, than some other news outlets (maybe CA is getting a little more sensitive to the terrorists living in their midst).
The two Iraqis are actually Palestinians who had been living in Iraq. By the way, we only bring a small number of Palestinians to the U.S. as refugees. And, it is not clear to me if one or either of these actually became refugees by arriving here through some other means and then granted asylum. I guess only their federal resettlement contractor knows for sure!
However, in all likelihood at least one of the two came from our special resettlement project for Palestinians when back in 2009 the US State Department agreed to bring in 1,350 Iraqi Palestinians to your neighborhoods.
It was quite big news at the time. And, the issue was that these were Palestinians Saddam Hussein had invited to live in Iraq and once the regime fell, no one wanted them.
Because of his arrival date, at least one of the two alleged Islamic terrorists could have been in that group. Here is what we said in 2009.
Now, the LA Times:
A man who came to the U.S. as an Iraqi refugee was arrested in Sacramento on Thursday on suspicion of lying about fighting alongside terrorist organizations in Syria, federal authorities said.
On the same day, federal authorities in Houston announced that an Iraqi refugee in Texas, who had been communicating online with the man in California, was charged with attempting to provide support to the militant group Islamic State.
The allegations against two men residing in the U.S. with links to foreign terrorist groups comes as the nation reels from the Dec. 2 shooting in San Bernardino, which left 14 dead. That is considered the deadliest terrorist act on U.S. soil since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
And the arrests of two refugees from Iraq, part of a wave of about 103,000*** Iraqi refugees admitted from 2006 to 2014, is likely to add fuel to the debate over whether the U.S. should welcome refugees from Syria, and if so, whether the screening process is adequate.
The man living in Sacramento, Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab, 23, had reported in private messages on social media that he fought alongside various groups in Syria, including Ansar al-Islam, a Sunni terrorist group and an affiliate of Al Qaeda, according to a federal complaint filed Wednesday and unsealed Thursday.
There is much more here…..
Because of the ages at which these two must have arrived in the US (as teenagers), it shows how ludicrous the discussion about vetting refugees can be when they are obviously becoming more devout after they get here (I refuse to use the word radicalized!).
And, these two are not the first, remember there is another pair of Iraqi refugee terrorists in federal prison. See our complete archive on the Kentucky terrorists by clicking here.
The only way to make sure we are completely safe is to stop the migration from terror-producing Islamic countries! I’ve been meaning to check out the numbers for Iraq for some time.
Using the State Department’s data base I went back to 2007 and grabbed a map from then until December 31, 2015. The Bush Administration was slow to admit Iraqi refugees, but opened the door in its last year in office. The Obama Administration has made Iraqis the largest group of refugees we admit each year since then.
Here is where 127,906 Iraqis have been resettled since 2007 (remember though that this does not mean they stayed where the contractors originally seeded them).
Top five states:
And, because it isn’t far behind (for my VA friends), Virginia (4,158)
For ambitious readers, our Iraqi refugee category has 675 previous posts archived there!
2016 will be a perilous year for the U.S. and the World primarily because no leadership will be forthcoming from the U.S. during the remainder to the term of President Obama.
Iran is currently building and testing new ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads in violation of U.N. resolutions. The Obama administration promised to deliver to Congress a list of sanctions against Iran. Even though the sanctions were rather mild Iran objected and Obama postponed the sanctions indefinitely. These sanctions may be characterized as a new ‘Obama Red Line’ which he has breached. It is notice to Iran–Iran is no longer constrained by the nuclear agreement which in effect is only binding on Obama and has no legal force against Iran. Further it is notice to Iran that it can continue as the leading state sponsor of terrorism without fear of any action by the U.S.
It is no coincidence that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain (home to the U.S. fleet), Sudan The United Arab Eremites and Kuwait have broken relations with Iran following Obama’s feckless withdrawal of sanctions against Iran. Undoubtedly this was the last straw for Saudi Arabia and other Sunnis. They realize Obama has become the defender and supporter of Iran against U.S.’s former allies.
In effect Obama is trying to create Iran (a Shiite Persian country) as the strong horse in the region against the Arab Sunnis. Obama has picked the wrong horse as there are about one and a half billion Muslims 87% of which are Sunni and 13% Shiites. Added to this mix they see Obama favors Iran over Israel America’s only reliable ally in the region.
It is no wonder that Obama’s favored treatment of Iran over Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni nations has prevented Obama from creating an Arab Sunni coalition to fight ISIS. An effective coalition of Arabs to defeat ISIS must be postponed until Obama is no longer in office and a president that does not follow in Obama’s footsteps is elected.
Oregon Live has produced this very cool map. Please read the story to learn more.