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American-Mideast Coalition for Trump calls on voters to support the ‘freedom candidate’

WASHINGTON, D.C. /PRNewswire/ — The Co-Chairs of American-Mideast Coalition for Trump (AMCT) Tom Harb and John Hajjar issued the following statement in support of Donald Trump for President:

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:

  1. His opposition to the destructive Iran Deal signed by the Obama administration with the Ayatollah regime in Tehran;
  2. His firm opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist influence in the United States;
  3. His determination to destroy ISIS and push back against all terror groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah and all other Jihadi terror groups;
  4. His willingness to take action in defense of the persecuted Christians and Yazidis in the Middle East;
  5. His determination to help in the creation of free zones inside Syria and Iraq to resettle the refugees;
  6. His support for the formation of an Arab coalition against terrorists;
  7. His vision to help the Middle East become stable and prosper.

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.

Hellfire missiles discovered on passenger flight from Lebanon

Nothing to be concerned about, you greasy Islamophobe. Don’t you always carry a couple of Hellfire missiles onto planes? Meanwhile, the Lebanese origin of the flight is interesting. Could these missiles have something to do with Iran’s client Hizballah and the Islamic Republic’s new sanctions largesse?

Air Serbia

“Portland-Bound Combat Missiles Found On Passenger Flight,” Associated Press, March 13, 2016:

Serbia’s authorities are investigating reports that a cargo package bound for the U.S. containing two missiles with explosive warheads was found on a passenger flight from Lebanon to Serbia.

N1 television said the package with two guided armor-piercing missiles was discovered Saturday by a sniffer dog after an Air Serbia flight from Beirut landed at Belgrade airport.

Serbian media say documents listed the final destination for the AGM-114 Hellfire missiles as Portland, Oregon. The American-made projectiles can be fired from air, sea or ground platforms.

N1 reported Sunday that Air Serbia is helping in the investigation. The Serbian flag carrier says “security and safety are the main priorities for Air Serbia.”

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What Christmas is all about, especially for Iraqi and Syrian Christian Refugees

Iraqi refugee children pray for their meals on Iraq during the Christmas for Refugees program

Iraqi refugee children pray for their meals.

Over 4,000 Iraqi Christian and Syrian refugee children (normally ages 6 – 12, receiving no church assistance, but who have registered through a church) and their entire families are being given a genuine Christmas, in spite of their shocking circumstances.  The Christmas for Refugees program is about encouraging and strengthening the faith of Christian families.  Many believe that Christians are the most persecuted group in the world today.

This Christmas, the Christmas for Refugees project, headed by William J. Murray, expanded inside Iraq, as well as in Lebanon and Jordan to touch the hearts of Middle East refugees with not only food, games, Bibles, and gifts, and some blankets, but with a specific Christmas presentation of the real meaning of Christmas.

Each participating family receives either a parcel of about $50 worth of food staples to last at least a week, or a voucher for $50 or $60 worth of food depending on availability of local food stores willing to participate.

William J. Murray, who is known for his outstanding work of helping persecuted Christians, is the son of one of the most famous atheists and Marxists in America, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, founder of American Atheists. When she enrolled William in the school in the early 1960s, she was enraged at prayers and mentions of God in the school setting. Her lawsuit led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling officially banning Bible reading in American public schools in 1963.

Bill Murray, founder of Christmas for Refugees, prays over children and their Christmas meal inside Iraq

Bill Murray, founder of Christmas for Refugees, prays over children and their Christmas meal inside Iraq.

One dozen Christmas events for refugee children were arranged in Lebanon, six were held in Jordan and for the first time, two large events of more than 300 children each was held in Iraq itself.  Bill and his wife Nancy Murray personally participated in two events in each country.

As a Board Member, I also did some fact-finding efforts into new Iraqi areas and towns for next year’s expansion.  My ministry, Love-Link Ministries, has once again partnered with Christmas for Refugees.  No advance public advertisements are made of the events in order to insure the security of each site; to better protect the children and their refugee parents.  In fact, for security sake, the sites and coordinators of the Lebanon and Iraqi events are not made public.

Murray states, “If the funds were available, the list of children would be in the tens of thousands. The program size doubled in 2015 and we hope to double it to 8,000 children in 2016!”

Multiplied thousands of evacuated Iraqi Christian refugees have literally escaped to the country of Jordan.  Most had only enough time to flee with just the clothes on their backs.  Many are from the Iraqi city of Mosul, where ISIL fighters raided their homes and sections of town and gave them a choice:  “Renounce your faith or we will shoot you!” reports several refugees in unison.

Bill Murray sadly relates:  “There are many touching moments during these events. At one event in Lebanon a very young girl, perhaps five years old, began to cry when she realized the event was over and she would have to go back to the refugee area her family lived in. Other touching times include the children involved in genuine play away from the problems that face their families.

“The most rewarding aspect of the Christmas for Refugees program is the moment the children forget the tragic situation their families are in, while participating in our Christmas program that includes puppet shows, singing, games and a hot Christmas meal.”

christian refugee children

Christian refugee children.

In Aman, Jordan, joining Bill was Isam Ghattas, President of Manara Ministries, to make a seemingly joyful Christmas season, regardless of the dilemma of these refugees.  Isam Ghattas tells:  “Joseph Stalin once said, ‘A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.’  For Christians, however, one single death some 2,000 years ago made all the difference as it provided salvation from eternal death to millions of people.  Jesus Christ lived and prescribed two ingredients that constitute a panacea for people’s foremost spiritual malady; SIN!  These are SALT and LIGHT.

“Christians has since used symbols to denote their allegiance to Christ and express their faith; first the fish then the cross symbol some 400 years after Christ’s death.  Recently, another sign has emerged but this time from the enemy ISIS stigmatized the houses of Assyrian Iraqis from Mosul with the letter to denote Nasara (Christians).

“Christians need to turn these calamities and persecutions into opportunities to serve the afflicted.  As the number of world refugees has reached 60 million this month, Syrians being the highest nationality among them, Christians are invited to embody Christ’s panacea by the “word that sustains the weary” (Isaiah 50:4).  Christians must first be this salt and light as they heed a life of sanctity, faith and love.

“Therefore behooves the church to sustain these refugees with their basic needs (food, water, shelter, medicine, clothes) but also with a touch of mercy and love that preserves their dignity.  Having lived this ‘salt and light’ sharing the Good News with them becomes an easy thing to do!  And Christmas for Refugees is doing just that!”

Murray, facing some obstacles, not to mention at one point being only 30 miles from ISIL-controlled territories, felt led of God to expand the program this year into two areas of Iraq, near Erbil, the capital city of Kurdistan.  Murray is aggressively planning for next year to further help develop relief to those who suffer, no matter what our news headlines say.

“It’s all about the children and how they can briefly escape their terrible, ongoing circumstances as displaced refugees,” Nancy Murry painfully relates.

Over two million Syrian refugees have crossed over into Lebanon making up for one-third of the country’s entire population.  Not quite as bad, but Jordan is experiencing a similar displacement of refugees squeeze on their economy.  Most refugees, even though they want to work, are not allowed to work in Jordan.  The economy of Iraq remains in shambles, causing more Iraqi people to seek relief, not just mere “handouts,” but life-saving food, clothing and shelter.

Bill summarizes: “Courtesy of ISIL, Christians around the world are finally beginning to truly understand the horrible conditions refugees face.  And for Christian refugees, it is much, much harder.  I pray that many more Christians will see the plight and send urgently-needed donations.”

Against the backdrop of staggering, appalling surroundings, out of the very depths of despair, one can hear the laughter of children as they play and experience a Christmas that they will remember for the rest of their lives.  After all, it is just like a Christmas they once knew.  The tears and smiles from the parents as they receive their much-needed food, is priceless.

That is exactly what Christmas is all about, not just about the birth of a Saviour, but about true compassion and love shown, just like our Lord showed.

Even the most desperate experienced the true gift of Christmas!

EDITORS NOTE: Rev. Bob Armstrong is a published author or co-author of numerous books, this month is the release of “Beware: Earthquakes Prophesied” (Creation House), as well as “Razor’s Edge: from Bin Laden’s Home to Divine Appointments,” “Stop the Y2K Madness,” among others.  These may be ordered on his ministry website:  www.lovelinkministries.com.  He is also an ordained minister for over three decades and has trained 50,000 pastors in 13 countries in leadership conferences.  He heads up an evangelical and humanitarian organization for three decades called Love-Link Ministries.  He has traveled in 47 countries.  He and his wife Kim, and daughter Brittany reside in Bradenton, FL.  He serves on the boards of several ministries. (bobkimandb@gmail.com)

Missouri: Muslims buy large quantities of Walmart cellphones at 4:00 A.M.

Muslims buy cellphones in large quantities in the middle of the night at a rural Walmart. The FBI was alerted, but people are worried that their concern was “racist.” Sheriff Merritt said: “You’re not being racist or anything like that you’re just protecting yourself.” Why shouldn’t people have been concerned? Cellphones have been used by jihad terrorists to detonate bombs. Noticing that and being vigilant against it happening again is “racist”? This is the number that Islamic advocacy groups such as the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has done on the American people. The steady battering of stories like Clock Boy Ahmed Mohamed has intimidated Americans into thinking that resisting jihad is somehow wrong and “racist.”

The Muslims buying these cellphones may not have been up to anything wrong. But investigating them isn’t wrong, either, and is no evidence of “Islamophobia.”

lebanon-missouri

Lebanon, Missouri.

“Large quantity of cellphones bought raises red flags,” by Paula Morehouse and Tom Schultheis, KY3.com, December 9, 2015 (thanks to Gateway Pundit):

LEBANON, Mo. – In the early morning hours on Saturday–around 3:50–two men buying a large number of cellphones at the Walmart in Lebanon set off some concern.

Local authorities were alerted.

“Somebody went in and bought 60 cellphones from Walmart that’s not normal for this area,” explained Laclede County sheriff Wayne Merritt.

After talking with the men, officers didn’t have a legal reason to detain them so the men were allowed to leave, according to a Lebanon Police Department incident report.

Local authorities, though, did notify the FBI.

Sheriff Merritt said calling law enforcers was the right move.

“I’m not going to say just because they’re different religion or because they’re Muslim, but these people were they were foreign speaking, then you need to take notice and you need to let us know about it because it doesn’t hurt to check on it. You’re not being racist or anything like that you’re just protecting yourself,” Merritt said.

After the San Bernardino shooting, several media outlets reported some neighbors noticed suspicious activity at the home of shooters Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik.

No reports were made, however, out of fear of being accused of racial profiling.

Purchasing cellphones in bulk is done for any number of uses including to give as gifts or to resell for profit.

Law enforcement agencies report cellphones are also potential tools in the hands of terrorists.

The devices can be used to communicate and they’re difficult to trace if they’re prepaid phones; they can also be used as detonators for bombs….

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Lebanese Christian Politician Attacks Israel

Noted Israeli-Canadian scholar Dr. Mordechai Nisan’s, latest book, War and Politics in Lebanon, reveals that very few Lebanese Christian politicians and commanders had a high level of ethics.  See “Engimatic Lebanon”, in the September 2015, New English Review. Those who didn’t lust after power were few. Some were powerless like Charles Malek and Fuad Bustany. Others are dying like Antoine Lahd. Or are in exile such as Etienne Sacr.  Nisan cites  the  example of Christian leaders, like Michel Aoun who have opted to form alliances with Iran and its proxy Hezbollah.  Another Nisan also drew attention to is Samir Geagea, leader of the Lebanese Forces political party. Nisan wrote, “Aoun and Geagea .. both tore Maronite unity into shreds and bloodshed.”

Geagea led the Lebanese Forces Christian militia from 1985 to 1990 in full alliance with Israel. That was before he was jailed by the Syrian-backed regime in 1994 for eleven years for “assassinations of Lebanese citizens”.

Now Samir Geagea has apparently made  a major ideological and strategic change of direction. In a surprising statement issued yesterday, Geagea attacked “the aggressive Israelis for their violence against Palestinians, and Israel’s suppression of Muslims and Christians in Jerusalem.”   Contrast this with his earlier condemnation of Hezbollah in the  January 2015 attacks by Hezbollah the killed two IDF soldiers near Mount Dov near the Lebanese border. The Algemeiner reported Geagea saying at the time: “Hezbollah has no right to implicate the Lebanese people in a battle with Israel. There is a government and a parliament which can decide on that.”?

This statement didn’t appear out of the blue.  Geagea and his wife MP Setrida Geagea had just returned from a visit to Qatar; a major supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. The visit took place after sources revealed that Geagea’s political party went in quest of funding.  He had received Saudi petrodollars in the past, according to wikileaks.

However, the pro-Muslim Brotherhood  and pro-Hamas attitude of Geagea isn’t of recent origin. He  dispatched a member of his party’s political bureau, MP Antoine Zahra, to Gaza in support of Hamas. Geagea supporters argue that he needs to play the Sunni card to create a balance with Hezbollah and Iran.  Lebanese Christian sources dismiss the Sunni Shia reason. They say, “Geagea could have kept his connections to moderate Sunnis like Sa’ad Hariri.  However, he openly allied himself with Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas which is a huge mistake. It is about Petrodollars of course.”

Waging an attack on Israel to buy credit among Islamist fundamentalists is not a Geagea invention. Before him, another Lebanese Christian leader General Michel Aoun who fought Assad in 1989 and went into exile for 15 years, reversed his position  upon his return to Lebanon in 2005.  He openly sealed an alliance with Hezbollah.  Aoun engaged in a decade long alliance with Assad, Hezbollah and Iran. Thus the two most powerful Christian politicians, who have fought the radical Islamists and Iran in the past, have become allies to the Jihadists, both Sunnis and Shia.  All to the surprise of  veterans of both the Lebanese Forces militia and the Lebanese Army.

In the 1980s, another former commander of the Christian militia, a close ally of Israel, Elie Hobeika, also  reversed course and shifted from being anti Assad to becoming an ally of the Syrian regime in 1985. He was attacked by both Geagea and Aoun in 1986 and removed from East Beirut. Ironically Geagea and Aoun, years later also abandoned their Lebanese Christian legacy to become allies with either Hamas or Hezbollah.

A Lebanese Christian scholar living in Beirut, who knew both Aoun and Geagea, said “this is a sickness of power. We haven’t seen anything like that when Bashir Gemayel was alive.  Geagea and Aoun are  power hungry. They abandoned their people and are aligning with radicals just  hoping one day they will snatch the supreme office of President of the Lebanese Republic. This is disgusting. We blame Geagea more, because he once led a force that was the heart of the Lebanese Christian resistance. He knew better, his betrayal is bigger.”

Geagea, we note,  fell short of  the  65 Parliamentary votes needed in the April 2014 election to succeed Michel Sleiman’s term as the Maronite President in the confessional political system. He only got 48 votes.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of Samir Geagea  Christian Lebanese Forces political leader.

Lebanon: Unraveling the Enigma

Politics and War in Lebanon book coverTo paraphrase Winston Churchill, “Lebanon is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” Unraveling the Lebanese enigma is the objective of a new book by Dr. Mordechai Nisan, Politics and War in Lebanon. Nisan is an accomplished Israeli political scientist and retired Hebrew University lecturer. His  body of work covers Zionism, Islam, Arab history, minority peoples, Lebanon, U.S. Middle East policy and the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is rare that a book achieves its objective of unraveling the complex nuances of the Lebanon puzzle in both an astute and yet literate manner. Dr. Nisan has views on many issues including why the 80 year old confessional political system persists and has resilience. It has a lot to do with the adoption of the Maronite Christian independence ethos arising from the historic resistance against centuries of Muslim and later Ottoman rule under Islamic Sharia law.

The confessional political system maintains, a Maronite as President, Sunni as Premier and Shiite as Speaker of the Lebanese National Assembly. The Lebanese Parliament has 128 members split equally between Christians and Muslims elected to four year terms in multi-member constituencies, which often produces unexpected alliances. Nisan writes: “the idea of a numerical democracy for Lebanon, as for all typical democratic states, had been, as we know, rejected in favor of political confessionalism by assigning office according to a sectarian key.” Of course the Lebonese paradox was assisted by the fact that it only had one census back in 1932 that reflected a Maronite Christian majority which has since dwindled due to war, emigration and the demographic rise of both Sunni and Shia. Even during the period of the internal wars triggered by Palestinians against the Maronite hegemony that began in 1975, there were episodes where Druze, Shia and Sunni militias protected the precinct of the Maronite patriarch. The confessional political system remains durable despite the inroads made by external enemies like Syria, the Palestinians and internal ones, like Iran’s proxy Hezbollah dominating the country’s southern border and Eastern Bekaa Valley adjoining Syria.

There is also the long standing history of Maronite Christian – Zionist mutual respect that has never been recognized in formal agreements. Yet that figures prominently in understanding  the role of Israel in episodic military operations in Lebanon – dislodging PLO-Fatah terrorist armies, only to have them replaced with Shia Hezbollah forces occupying the Southern security belt that the IDF abandoned in 2000. Now, that Southern border is crenellated with underground fortifications and tunnels, equipped with over 150,000 Iranian-supplied rockets and missiles. That could figure significantly in a new Middle East War arising from a possible nuclear deal with Hezbollah’s creator, Iran. Nisan considers that episode one of Israel’s most abject geo-political failures.

Among the issues addressed in Nisan’s timely and cogent book is the political disintegration triggered by the Palestinian war on the Maronites in 1975. He addresses the Israeli incursion in 1978 and First Israeli Lebanese War in 1982 that ousted Yassir Arafat and Fatah-PLO leaders sending them packing under UN auspices to Tunisia and nine other countries. Nevertheless, he is critical of Israel’s pell mell abandonment of the southern security belt, held by the IDF and the South Lebanese Army (SLA) in alliance with Israel. The evacuation was ordered by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak in May 2000. That catastrophe gave rise to the Hezbollah takeover and ethnic cleansing of South Lebanon. There is also the nearly 20 year predatory Syrian occupation of large sections of Lebanon that began in 1976.

Nisan has nothing but contempt for the behavior of the Assad Syrian regime of both father and son in what could only be characterized as the virtual looting of Lebanon’s economic and natural resources. There were Syrian companies grabbing Lebanese tenders, Syrian officials  pocketing tax revenues and running a protection extortion racket with local businesses. The results were a once vibrant economy faltering, with unemployment and poverty soaring. He notes that Syria never recognized an independent Lebanon in 1946. He considers the Syrian occupation the equivalent of the Nazi Anschluss of Austria comparing Lebanese Sunni and Orthodox Christians as the equivalent of pan-Germanic Austrians, because the latter identified strongly with both Syria and being Arab.

Nisan contends that the Israeli justification for the Southern withdrawal in 2000 was faulty. It was based on the following logic:

  1. Israel had to dismantle the SLA to comply with UN Resolution 425 of March 1978 that called for Israel to withdraw its forces from all Lebanese territory.
  2. Hezbollah would overwhelm and murder its Christian and Shiite elements prompted by the memories of the 1982 Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camp massacres.
  3. That if the SLA put up resistance against Hezbollah that it might complicate withdrawal leading to a possible return by Israel to assist its former allies.
  4. Israel sacrificed the SLA as a necessity to assure that Hezbollah not interfere with Israel’s withdrawal from the South.

Nisan believes that the debacle that occurred in the wake of the Israeli withdrawal might have been prevented if:

  1. Israel had bolstered the SLA as an independent force.
  2. Israel might have disarmed both the SLA and Hezbollah.
  3. Israel had called upon Syrian Forces to withdraw simultaneously with the IDF.

He concludes, “In Lebanon, Israel was drained of its political and public energy, had done little strategic planning, and in the end lacked a moral compass.”

Nisan notes the three signal events that occurred in 2000:

  1. In May the Israeli Army withdrew from Southern Lebanon and likewise forced the collapse of its SLA ally there.
  2. In June President Assad of Syria died and was succeeded by his son Bashar.
  3. Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir, Walid Jumblatt, the Druze leader, and a variety of political personalities, both Christian and Muslim, called for Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon.

In mid-July 2015, a worldwide gathering of Lebanese activists occurred in Washington, DC in the First Convention on the Cedars Revolution. It was the commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the Cedars Revolution. Several sessions were held with Members of Congress, the State Department and the Pentagon. The issues they addressed concerned the preservation of democracy in Lebanon’s confessional political system, military and security matters with the incursion of Syrian forces, reminiscent of original issue that ignited the Cedars Revolution in March 2005. It is indicative of the abiding concerns of the Lebanese and largely Christian diaspora, estimated at upwards of 14 million.

Even during several Arab Israeli conflicts, Lebanon stayed out of the conflicts. After the failure of the 1970 Black September campaign between PLO-Fatah forces and the Kingdom of Jordan, Yassir Arafat and Palestinian resistance leadership were given sanctuary in Lebanon. Less than five years later, Arafat fomented open warfare on Christians in a ferocious and bloody conflict. It was during that period that Lebanese Maronite leaders like Etienne Sakr (Abu Arz) and Pierre Gemayel reached out to Israel whose military covertly provided training and equipment to Christian militia forces. There were hopes of an eventual enduring peace between Lebanon and Israel. That possibility ended with the assassination on September 15, 1982 of Maronite President-Elect and leader of Lebanese Forces Bashir Gemayel of the Phalange Party. He was allegedly on his way to conclude a treaty with Israel in Jerusalem.

Nisan addresses the transformation of Lebanese Shia under Sayyid Fadlaallah from willing confessional participants to Sharia infused support of an Islamic state, reducing the dominant Maronite and other Christians to dhimmi status. Along with that, Fadlaallah denied Israel’s legitimacy and boosted the Palestinian cause against the “Zionist enterprise.” Instead of involving himself in the Lebanon political structure, Fadlaallah sought out the means of supporting jihad, through zakat, Muslim charity. The person who completed the transformation of Lebanon’s Shia was Imam Musa al-Sadr who, in the political chaos of the mid-1970’s, created the Movement for the Disinherited (al Harakat al-Muhrimum) to promote Shiite social equality and political activism and its companion military wing, Amal (“Hope”). Sadr disappeared in 1978 on a flight to Rome under mysterious circumstances. Leadership of Amal fell to successors Hussein al-Husseini, who later became Speaker, and ultimately, lawyer Nabih Berri. Berri sought resistance against the PLO in the 1970’s and 1980’s including laying siege to Palestinian refugee camps. However, the ultimate destination of Lebanon’s Shia community was to Iranian theocratic influence emanating from Shia seminaries in Iraq. The pro-Khomeinist returnees from Najaf provided fertile grounds to build Hezbollah – the party of God, a Qur’anic designation. Nisan notes that the ultimate leadership of Hezbollah was drawn from Southerners like Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah and Abdul Karim Obeid, graduates of the apocalyptic Twelver seminary in Qom, Iran. By 1982, 1,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards were stationed in the Bekaa Valley training young Lebanese Shia fighters in Khomeinist doctrine and providing them with weapons and millions in funding. Syria under the Assad family became a strategic ally during the Iran–Iraq War of the 1980’s allowing Damascus to become a transfer point for Iran to supply its proxy, Hezbollah. Hezbollah became Iran’s global terrorism arm. That is reflected in Iran’s support for Lebanese Shia émigrés in the Latin American tri-border area that provided a base for the 1992 Buenos Aires Israeli Embassy and 1994 Jewish AMIA blasts. The later is still roiling Argentine politics with the recent mysterious death of Argentine Jewish prosecutor Alberto Nisman and accusations of involvement at the highest political levels in both Iran and Argentina.

The Israel invasion of 1982 launched a series of terrorist spectacles by the late Imad Mughniyahin. In Beirut in 1983  he killed over 400 French paratroopers, US Marines and US embassy staff. That was followed by the 1986 TWA flight hijacking and killing of a US Navy diver hostage. Mughniyah, went big time with the Khobar Towers blast in Saudi Arabia in 1995. He had links to the East African US Embassy blasts in 1998 and a major role in training and facilitating the travel via Iran and Germany of the 19 Sunni perpetrators of 9/11. Mughniyah’s leading terrorist role ended in Damascus in February 2008, when his vehicle exploded in what many believe was a Mossad revenge attack.

The big breakthrough for Hezbollah was its campaign of attacks in the South of Lebanon and Israeli border incursions in the late 1980’s to 2000. Nisan notes that Hezbollah undertook 1,030 military operations over the period from 1990 to 1995, escalating to more than 4,928 operations from 1996 to 2000.

Nisan links Hezbollah’s political rise with the adoption of the triumvirate Lebanese Presidency system with the Taif agreement. That enabled Hezbollah to secure seats in the Chamber of Deputies in competition with the Shia Amal party. Its further rise to power was the product of one of its three expressed objectives of a 1985 Open Letter:

  1. Accepting Ayatollah Khomeini as leader of the world’s Muslims.
  2. Wiping out Israel and opposing America.
  3. Forming relations with Christians in Lebanon while calling them to embrace Islam.

Nisan noted the impact of the third objective expanding the 128 member Assembly split 64 Christian/64 Muslim. He wrote, “many Muslim voters were electing Christian deputies in the South, while Christians elected a Shiite in Jbayl and Sunnis were elected by Maronites and Druze in the Shouf.”

By 1999, when the US State Department designated Hezbollah a foreign terrorist group, Hezbollah was a mini-state within a state. In May of 2000, the ring of fate was sealed in Southern Lebanon with the Israel evacuation and collapse of the SLA resistance. Under a secret agreement between Hezbollah and the IDF, the former agreed not to attack Israeli forces as they completed their retreat. That action, as Nisan notes, led Yassir Arafat to instigate the so-called Temple Mount Second Intifada triggered by the visit of Israel PM Sharon on September 28, 2000. Sharon was the Defense Minister who undertook the invasion of Lebanon in 1982.

At the conclusion of Nisan’s book, he posits three scenarios:

  1. The Iranian Shiite axis could collapse with a short time.
  2. The Arab world could continue its slide into fissured decay while distracted from its historic and national vision.
  3. The Arab-Israeli conflict will likely remain intractably irresolvable according to the tried and tested formulae for peace.

In the midst of Nisan’s speculations he draws attention to the aftermath of the Maronite Patriarch a-Ra’I 2012 visit to Jerusalem. That enraged Hezbollah, but brought commendation from Druze leader Walid Jumblatt. Maronite President Sleiman whose term ended in 2014 paid a visit to Jumblatt’s home town of Mukhtara before he stepped down. The message was one of reconciliation within the confessional system that might bring the sectarian groups together and avoid a civil war. With a vacant presidential post and parliamentary elections postponed until 2017, trouble looms for the country caught up in the vicissitudes of the Syrian civil war spilling over its borders, bringing in a flood of refugees. Currently, Lebanon is embroiled in a highly politicized trash crisis involving a protest Group “You Stink” that some believe may cover a possible power grab by the Hezbollah party and Michael Aoun’s Free Patriot Movement. The concern is the crisis might bring down the National Unity Government of Sunni Prime Minister Tammam Salam.Reuters reported both Saudi Arabia and Iran gave their blessing to the present government with a Cabinet composed of Sunni Muslim former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri’s Future movement, Shi’ite Hezbollah and Christians. Nisan wrote about a hopeful sign, “The March 14 camp asked Patriarch Beshara a – Ra’I to suggest names for the presidential post. Maybe somehow two Maronites – patriarch and president would help save the country from oblivion.” The expression in Hebrew is, alevai. Its English meaning, “that should only be.”

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. Also see Jerry Gordon’s collection of interviews, The West Speaks.

Iranian official: “Israel should be annihilated”

“We reject the existence of any Israeli on this earth.” More genocide dreams from our new pals in the Islamic Republic of Iran. “‘Israel should be annihilated,’ senior Iran aide says,” Times of Israel, August 25, 2015:

A senior Iranian official on Tuesday said Israel “should be annihilated,” and that the thawing relations with the West would not translate into a shift in Tehran’s position concerning the Jewish state.

Hussein Sheikholeslam, a foreign affairs adviser to parliament speaker Ali Larijani, told Iranian media that contrary to remarks by British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, “Our positions against the usurper Zionist regime have not changed at all; Israel should be annihilated and this is our ultimate slogan.”

Hammond was in Iran on Monday for the reopening of the UK embassy in Tehran, and said that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had indicated a “more nuanced approach” to Israel’s existence. Hammond said Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s “revolutionary sloganizing” should be distinguished from “what Iran actually does in the conduct of its foreign policy.”

“We’ve got to, as we do with quite a number of countries, distinguish the internal political consumption rhetoric from the reality of the way they conduct their foreign policy,” the Guardian quoted Hammond saying.

Sheikholeslam told a Hamas news outlet earlier this month that Iran has resisted pressure exerted by the P5+1 world powers during the nuclear negotiations to halt its political involvement in Gaza, Syria and Yemen.

“These powers admitted that the reason for their pressure on us is our position on Israel,” he said. “We told them that we reject the existence of any Israeli on this earth.”

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Will The Trash Crisis In Lebanon Bring Hezbollah to Power?

Trash has been piling up in the streets of Beirut for nearly two months.  This weekend violence erupted in the Grand Serail in central Beirut with the Army rushing in with water cannons to quell the crowds; dozens were reported injured.  An alleged non –sectarian activist group “You Stink” is directing its ire at the government, which lacks a President, usually a Maronite Christian in the confessional political system of Lebanon.  The Sunni premier, Tammam Salam is under fire, as Cabinet Ministers rejected new tenders to end the trash dispute.

Noteworthy is the alliance between Hezbollah’s and the Christian Maronite group Lebanon Forces are suggesting that a new government be elected, despite the postponement of a national election till 2017.  Such is the topsy turvy politics in Lebanon’s enigmatic political system, given the overarching problems of contending with Hezbollah involvement in the Iranian regime backed alliance with Syria’s Assad. The Lebanese trash crisis gives new meaning to the well tuned phrase by 19th Century American journalist, Charles Dudley Warner: “politics make strange bedfellows.” Despite the alleged resilience and durability of the Lebanese confessional political system, could failure to obtain new tenders for the removal of stinking piles of trash on the streets of Lebanon’s cities result in Hezbollah emerging as the eminence grise behind a new government in Beirut?

Reuters has the latest developments in the roiling trash dispute turned violent, Lebanese ministers walk out of meeting over garbage crisis:”

The powerful Shi’ite party Hezbollah and its Christian allies walked out of an emergency Lebanese cabinet meeting on Tuesday in protest at a proposed solution to a garbage disposal crisis that has ignited violent protests in Beirut.

The national unity government led by Prime Minister Tammam Salam also canceled a tender to select new refuse collection firms, underscoring the difficulties it faces overcoming the crisis that has brought popular calls for it to step down.

Public anger that has come to a head over the trash crisis turned violent at the weekend, with scores of protesters and security forces injured. Salam has threatened to resign, expressing frustration at the failings of his cabinet, which groups Lebanon’s rival parties.

Failure to agree a solution to the crisis has laid bare wider political stagnation in Lebanon, where sectarian and power rivalries have been exacerbated by Syria’s four-year-old conflict.

Ministers including members of Hezbollah and Christian politician Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement walked out of Tuesday’s emergency meeting, the information minister said.

Hezbollah in a statement slammed the “mounting and worsening corruption” it said the garbage crisis reflected.

A government statement released after the walkout said tenders announced on Monday to award contracts for waste disposal to private companies had “included high costs”, and had therefore been rejected.

Media reports and activists had accused the cabinet of awarding the contracts to a number of companies based on regional and political affiliation, reflecting alleged corruption and politicization of the issue.

The government said that as a temporary measure rubbish, which has festered on the streets of Beirut, would be tipped in Akkar province in north Lebanon, in return for a $100 million “sum” that would go toward development projects in that region.

The information minister said it was the proposed sum that triggered the walkout. Akkar, one of the poorest regions in Lebanon, is mostly Sunni but also has many Christian areas.

You stink cartoon Daily Star

“You Stink” Cartoon. Source: The Daily Star, Beirut

Worsening problems emerge in the trash crisis.

Beirut-based activists from the “You Stink” campaign held two large rallies over the weekend and a smaller march on Monday, with calls for a solution to the rubbish crisis quickly turning into calls for the cabinet to resign.

Protest organizers have called on Lebanese at home and abroad to join them in a large rally on Saturday.

Lebanon’s army commander General Jean Kahwaji said late on Monday the armed forces would protect any peaceful demonstrations but would not tolerate “security violators or infiltrators” who sought to sow “sedition and chaos.”

Organizers of protests, which began peacefully, have blamed the violence on troublemakers whom they say are connected to rival sectarian parties. The U.N. special coordinator for Lebanon on Monday urged “maximum restraint” by all sides.

Calm has prevailed since the weekend clashes, however, and later Tuesday, workers were removing concrete blast walls erected the day before outside the cabinet headquarters which protesters had covered with colorful anti-government graffiti.

The protest campaign, which has mobilized independently of the big sectarian parties that dominate Lebanese politics, blames political feuding and corruption for the failure to resolve the crisis that has left piles of uncollected garbage stinking in the scorching sun in recent weeks.

The cabinet and parliament are deadlocked, and politicians have been unable to agree on a new president for more than a year while Syria’s war next door has aggravated sectarian tensions and driven more than one million refugees into the country.

The Salam cabinet, formed last year with the blessing of regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, has avoided a complete vacuum in the executive arm. It brings together Sunni Muslim former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri’s Future movement, Shi’ite Hezbollah and Christians.

Mordechai Nisan

Dr. Mordechai Nisan

But it has struggled to take even basic decisions and tension in cabinet has escalated over appointments in the security agencies and army.

This latest crisis comes as we are about to publish in the September edition of the NER   a book review and interview with Dr. Mordechai Nisan, a well published author  lecturer and  respected Israeli expert on Lebanon and minorities in the Middle East. In our interview with Nisan we asked a question about the survivability of the 80 year confessional political system in Lebanon. Here is the exchange:

Gordon:  Did the assassination of Lebanese PM Hariri and the Cedars Revolution of 2005 spell the demise of the confessional system in Lebanon?

Nisan:      The durability of Lebanon’s confessional political system remains in place. It is both traditional and consensual that the President be a Maronite, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim, and the Speaker of the Legislature a Shiite Muslim. These arrangements have persevered for some 80 years as an organic model for the special case of Lebanon.

In our review of his latest book, Politics and War in Lebanon: Unraveling the Enigma, we noted Nisan’s concluding commentary set against the background to the present political crisis:

With a vacant presidential post and parliamentary elections postponed until 2017, trouble looms for the country caught up in the vicissitudes of the Syrian civil war spilling over its borders bringing a flood of refugees and a roiling trash crisis.Nisan wrote about a hopeful sign, “The March 14 camp asked Patriarch Beshara a – Ra’I to suggest names for the presidential post. Maybe somehow two Maronites –patriarch and president would help save the country from oblivion.” The expression in Hebrew is, Alevai. Its English meaning, “That should only be.”

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

That Imaginary War Room by Hugh Fitzgerald

We have all had fantasies — have we not? — of being President or Chief of Staff, and being present, somewhere in the Pentagon, in a War Room that, we like to think, directs that campaign of self-defense against the hydra-headed Jihad.

And we like to imagine, too, what might go on in that room, what kinds of things we hope are being discussed and planned.

Consider, among the many imagined scenarios, these three:

1) A War Room devoted to the counter-Jihad in the Muslim World itself. In this War Room, the computers bristle with information about the active fighting going on in the Middle East and North Africa (Libya) and Central Asia (Afghanistan), and with news of what war materiel has been requested, and is being sent, and what troops have been sent, too, to Egypt, to Iraq, to Jordan, to Yemen, to a dozen other possible places. And there are solemn debates about how to keep the countries of the Middle East from being “failed states” and succeeding, thanks to our help, with the assumption being that this is the only conceivably correct goal.

2) A War Room devoted to the domestic front — for by now there would be recognition that there is a war inside our countries, too. That would take the form of non-military aid being given to “moderate” Muslims in the United States and Western Europe, who, if only they are given enough access to, and support from, Western leaders and the media, and funds, too (as the French government supplies so generously to what it thinks are “tame because government-subsidised mosques” in France), these “moderates” will be able to sway the local Muslims, now within the West by the millions, to embrace, unswervingly, democratic ideals, and what those ideals imply, such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion. And little is said about what is in the Qur’an and Hadith; for the planners, such a discussion would only complicate matters, would make what they are doing seem even less plausible, would show up the egg on too many faces. So what is in the Qur’an, as glossed by the Sunnah (Hadith and Sira), doesn’t come up. It’s “real people” who are being kept in mind in this particular War Room.

3) Finally, in the third of our imagined War Rooms, everyone is already well-versed in Islam, and disinclined to deny what is contained in the texts; disinclined, too, to find reasons to explain or interpret away those texts. The strategies of denial that were in fashion for so very long, despite all the evidence, have finally been put to rest. And it is the members of this hard-headed group, chastened by more than a decade of experience dealing with Islam and Muslim peoples, in this War Room, on whose computer screens would be displayed the strategies for demoralizing and dividing the Camp of Islam. Not much about soldiers and weapons here, for military intervention in Muslim lands is not regarded as much use. It has only allowed Muslims to blame the interfering Infidels, and not one another, nor themselves. But in this War Room, measures are discussed to limit, in the West, the survival — or still worse, spread — of intellectual bromides about Islam that do not correspond to what the best-prepared students of the subject, which includes the “defectors” from Islam such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Wafa Sultan, and Ibn Warraq, tell us that Islam inculcates. The internecine conflicts within the Muslim world would not be deplored, but regarded with grim satisfaction, knowing that such conflicts have no natural end.

Indeed, who thinks the conflict in Syria will come to an end, or that Syria itself can possibly be reconstituted? How exactly would the bitterest of enemies now make peace and live together? It isn’t possible. Instead, in this War Room the discussion would be about how refusing to intervene leads to a better outcome for the West, if not for Muslims.

And in this War Room, a great deal of the planning would be about how best to support and protect  non-Muslim figures, especially those members of the media who, having prepared themselves at length by appropriate reading of Qur’an and Hadith, and a lot else besides, are of great national worth, for everyone who writes in a no-nonsense fashion about Islam has overcome an atmosphere of such nonsense and lies as to deserve a Pulitzer just for that mental persistence. Instead of mockery, they deserve  thanks, support, and dissemination of their message.

The theme of the third imagined War Room is Division and Demoralization — of Muslims. This involves exploiting, often by not moving to mend, the fissures within the Muslim Camp, the main one being that between Sunni and Shi’a, but there are also the ethnic hostilities between Arab and non-Arab Muslims, most obviously between Arab and Kurd in Iraq, but hardly limited to that case. The non-Arabs can be encouraged to note, and resent, the conviction of the Arabs that they are superior in the Muslim hierarchy, that it is right that non-Arabs must forget their own histories and civilization, for as Muslims they must  read the Qur’an in Arabic, turn Arabia-wards five times a day in prayer, emulate the mores of 7th century Arabs, and ideally take Arab names. That resentment surely can be encouraged; the rich pre-Islamic pasts of many Muslim peoples could be written and spoken about, and the consciousness raised about how Islam has razed history the way the Islamic State has razed historical monuments.

Of the three, which do you favor? Do you think constant military intervention, and especially the wars in Iraq, and in Afghanistan, and the overthrow of Qaddafi in Libya, have been a wise use of Western resources? Is Islam weaker as a result? Has the West been made more secure? And is the Muslim presence in the West smaller or larger, and growing? Has the experience of the past 15 years made a sufficient number of people in the West more aware of what they face, or simply anxious and confused, and feeling things are out of their hands, “there is nothing we can do,” for example, when our governments increase the number of Muslim immigrants?

Have the “moderate Muslims” in Europe, other than an occasional showy denunciation of this or that Islamic State outrage as “un-Islamic,” done a single thing to further the right education of non-Muslims, and to come to grips with the need to discuss, in order if possible to modify (as Ayaan Hirsi Ali holds out, just, as a possibility), through interpretation, what is contained in the Qur’an and, especially, the Hadith? They have not, and they cannot. So it is up to the people in that imaginary third War Room to help create demoralization, as well as to do nothing to prevent division within the Camp of Islam.

How many Muslims are capable of interpreting the Qur’an in such a way, and ignoring so much of the Hadith, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali suggests will be necessary if there is to be co-existence, or any sort of harmony? Many? Few? And how might one encourage their numbers to grow, or even to encourage people to do that seemingly impossible thing, leave Islam altogether? One way, as those in that third War Room know, is to make public as much news about the relative performance of Muslim peoples and states as possible. Long ago, the scholar Armand Abel wrote an article that deserves widespread study:  “Underdevelopment, stagnation, and decadence. The study of a psychotype: the case of Islam.” Why is it that Muslim states have not created modern economies? The handful of Croesus-rich oil sheikdoms are not exceptions; they are rentier-economies, dependent on the result of an accident of geology. What Muslim state has succeeded, or put differently, is it not true that those Muslim states that have either had a significant non-Muslim population (as Lebanon and Malaysia) or a long secular history (Kemalist Turkey), have created those economies not dependent on the three mainstays of most Muslim states: oil, Western tourism, Western foreign aid?

This third War Room would conduct a campaign to unsettle and demoralize the enemy, a war of propaganda. It involves holding up, for constant inspection and discussion, all the ways that Islam itself can be considered a retrograde (Churchill’s word) force. Does Islam encourage democracy, or in Islam is the despot to be obeyed as long as he is Muslim? Does Islam encourage economic innovation, or does Islam denounce bida (innovation, new ways of doing things)? Does Islam encourage equality of the sexes and equal treatment of minorities under law? What is the evidence that we see before us, presented in the news every day? Does Islam encourage people to think for themselves, or does it discourage free and skeptical inquiry? Have you heard of anyone being lashed recently, or attacked by a mob, or killed, because that someone dared to question something about Islam? Raif Badawi in Saudi Arabia, the freethinkers hacked to death in Bangladesh, the endless attacks on those who dare to think for themselves in Pakistan, the endless prison sentences meted out in Iran — what should we make of this, if not that Islam does indeed punish free inquiry? Can’t you feel sympathy for the people living in these places, who think for themselves but can never express it?

The third War Room would offer subventions to publishers, so that works by ex-Muslims, as valuable as that of defectors from the KGB, would appear, in millions of copies, small in format so that they could be easily smuggled in, and of course — most important — there would be websites, well-publicized websites, where such works could be read in full.

Islam itself is the source of the many failures, political, economic, social, moral, and intellectual, of Muslims themselves. How many times have I said this? It is the spelling out of that proposition that requires efforts, at length,  ad nauseam, till it all seems so obvious that no one in his right mind could disagree. That is the task of this ideal War Room. Political failure: the despot is permitted in Islam; the citizen, rather than the subject, protected by civil rights that we take for granted in the West, does not exist. That is not complicated to say, but apparently complicated enough so that many refuse to understand.  Economic failure: inshallah-fatalism, the belief that everything is in the hands of Allah, who can undo our efforts at whim, and to whom we also owe our riches (and the oil of the Gulf might be seen to confirm it), suggests to Muslims that neither hard work, nor entrepreneurial flair, are either sufficient or necessary. And the readiness of the West to supply aid to so many Muslim states has allowed them to think of this, too, as a kind of jizyah, a tribute exacted on the non-Muslims to which they willingly submit, manna that will not stop.

Those in the third War Room should not be swayed by talk of “failed states.” They should stop all American aid to Muslim states, in order to allow the economic failures of Islam to become more apparent to Muslims themselves. Social failures: the War Room will promote discussion of how women are mistreated in Islam, how minorities are treated, and why these reflect the teachings of Islam, clearly misogynistic and clearly uninterested in the position of non-Muslim minorities. Moral failures: vide the Islamic State. Or see how both sides treat the other side in Syria or Libya or Yemen or Iraq. This is what that War Room should be publicizing, talking about, forcing Muslims to talk about.

The Islamic basis for Muslim failure is now much more widely understood among non-Muslims; websites such as this one have had a considerable role in forcing this understanding. But the trick is to force Muslims to understand the sources of their own unhappinesses of so many different kinds. Look at Al-Sisi. Do you not sense in him someone who knows that Islam has to be modified, or re-interpreted, or if nothing else will work, ruthlessly constrained, as he is doing with the True Believers the Muslim Brotherhood? For Al-Sisi is afraid of the effect of too much Islam, taken straight up, on the minds of True Believers. And that is because he has spent decades thinking about Islam, and having studied in the United States, surely noted from afar the very failures that we’ve been discussing.

Would that in the Pentagon and the White House there were more who have come to the conclusion that Islam itself, with its amazing power over the minds of men, is the problem. Then imagine a thousand articles commissioned by that War Room from authorities in different fields: economists would write about the lack of major innovation in Islamic world, political scientists would write about  the persistence of despotism in the Islamic world, sociologists would study the comparative treatment of women, and the position of minorities; psychologists would write about the moral insensitivity of Muslims to the suffering of their enemies (see those Yazidi women). This would create an atmosphere — call it demoralization —  that could force Muslims to admit that something was wrong, and then to begin to analyze the problem correctly, and not find themselves suppressed. The ability to think would come, albeit slowly. All of this has been said before, and all must be said again and again.

But isn’t this the essential strategy worth trying, not only in that Ideal War Room of our imagination, but in the real one?

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Jihad on Churches: Muslim Persecution of Christians

On Sunday, March 15, as Christian churches around the world were celebrating morning mass, two churches in Pakistan—one Catholic, one Protestant—were attacked by Islamic suicide bombers. At least 17 people were killed and over 70 wounded.

The Taliban claimed responsibility. It is believed that the group had hoped for much greater death tolls, as there were almost 2,000 people in both churches at the time of the explosions.

According to eyewitnesses, two suicide bombers approached the gates of the two churches and tried to enter them. When they were stopped—including by a 15-year-old Christian youth who blocked them with his body—the Islamic jihadis self-detonated. Witnesses saw “body parts flying through the air.”

According to an official statement of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Episcopal Conference of Pakistan, despite all the threats received by the churches, authorities only provided “minimal” security.

As in other Muslim-majority nations, churches in Pakistan are under attack.  On September 22, 2013, in Peshawar, Islamic suicide bombers entered the All Saints Church right after Sunday mass and blew themselves up in the midst of approximately 550 congregants, killing nearly 90 worshippers. Many were Sunday school children, women, and choir members. At least 120 were injured.

One parishioner recalled how “human remains were strewn all over the church.” (For an idea of the aftermath of suicide attacks on churches, see these graphic pictures.)

In 2001, Islamic gunmen stormed St. Dominic’s Protestant Church, opening fire on the congregants and killing at least 16 worshippers, mostly women and children.

The rest of March’s roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes, but is not limited to, the following accounts, listed by theme and country in alphabetical order, not necessarily according to severity.

Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches and Monasteries

Central African Republic: At least eight churches were burned in the northern province of Nana Grebizi, after heavily armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked several villages. Two Christians, including a pastor, were killed in the attack; another Christian was severely tortured. After the carnage, the Islamic herdsmen started fires and looted the local population. The blaze destroyed swathes of farmland, at least eight churches, several other mission centers and an unknown number of Christian homes.

Egypt: During the early morning hours of March 9, the Coptic Catholic Church of Kafr el-Dawar was attacked by armed men who used an explosive device against the place of worship.  Two policemen were hospitalized after the attack.  Separately, Dr. Yusuf al-Burhami, a leading cleric in Egypt’s Salafi movement, appeared in a video that surfaced in March saying that “Destroying churches is permissible—as long as the destruction does not bring harm to Muslims, such as false claims that Muslims are persecuting Christians, leading to [foreign] occupations.”  He further added that “the reason we agree to their [churches] being built, via the article in the constitution dealing with worship, and the reason we do not collect the jizya [tribute] from the Christians, is because the condition of Muslims in the current era is well known to the nations of the world—they are weak and deteriorating among the people.” Burhami explained that when the Arab Muslims first conquered Egypt in the 7th century, the ancient nation was Christian, and because the Muslims were few in number, Coptic Christian churches were allowed to remain—“just as the prophet allowed the Jews to remain in Khaibar after he opened [conquered] it, but once Muslims grew in strength and number, [second caliph] Omar al-Khattab drove them out according to the prophet’s command, ‘Drive out the Jews and Christians from the Peninsula.’”

Germany: A potential jihadi attack on the cathedral and synagogue in Bremen was averted following action by police, a Belgian newspaper reported.  Numerous police guarded the cathedral and synagogue and searched a local Muslim cultural center.

Iraq: Islamic State militants blew up a 10th century Chaldean Catholic church north of Mosul and bulldozed a nearby graveyard.  According to Nineveh Yakou—an Assyrian Archaeologist and Director of Cultural Heritage and Indigenous Affairs at A Demand for Action—the Saint George monastery was “wiped out” by IS.  The building was founded by the Assyrian Church in the 10thcentury but rebuilt as a seminary by the Chaldean Catholic Church in 1846. “The current monastery was built on an archeological site containing ancient Assyrian ruins. It was an important show of continuity from the Assyrian to our culture,” Yakou said. “ISIS is wiping out the cultural heritage of Iraq. The monastery was classified as cultural heritage. It’s a cultural and ethnic cleansing.”

Kenya: On the afternoon of February 28, in Maramande, Hindi, Muslims from neighboring Somali set a Christian church on fire.  This same church was set on fire last July 5, 2014, but was built again in January 2015.  According to the pastor of the twice-torched church, “These people do not want Christianity in this area….  They want to finish me so that Christianity will not go on here. But I will continue raising up my eyes to God for help.”  According to Morning Star News, “Violence in Kenya’s coastal region has accelerated in the past few years. On Jan. 11 in the Mombasa area, a gunman shot a Christian dead at the gate leading to a church building, apparently after mistaking him for the church pastor. Police reportedly said the assailants could be members of an active Islamic extremist terror cell in Mombasa blamed for past gun and grenade attacks.”

Lebanon: Unidentified persons invaded Mar Elias, an ancient Maronite church in Bekaa.  Along with damaging one of the church’s windows, they destroyed a portion of the flooring, as they dug a large hole near the altar.  According to Maronite Bishop Joseph Mouwad, much of the church’s sacred items were left intact and not stolen.  Instead, “they broke the tiles and dug the ground, apparently looking for something, though we do not know what.”  Fingerprints and cigarette butts were found. 

Muslim Slaughter of Christian ‘Infidels’

Central African Republic:   An argument between a taxi driver and his Muslim passenger led to the slaughter of at least 16 Christians in Bangui, the nation’s capital.  A Muslim man known as Aladji hailed a motorcycle taxi and asked to be taken to a Muslim-dominated district of Bangui. He was carrying a bag of grenades. When the motorcycle broke down, the driver stopped to fix it, but his agitated passenger pulled out a knife and tried to stab him. The driver overpowered Aladji and killed him instead.  After his body was found, Muslims marched to the Christian sector of the city where they slaughtered at least 16 Christians—some decapitated.  Authorities arrested 10 members of Seleka—the almost entirely Muslim rebel group—following the killings…. Click for complete report

RELATED ARTICLE: The Islamic State has displaced 100,000 Christians from Mosul

NEW VIDEO: Visit an IDF Army Base and Kibbutz Misgav Am on the Lebanese Border

Join Tom Trento and The United West on a unique tour into the most northern reaches of Israel along the Lebanese and Israeli border.

In this video you will visit an Israeli Defense Forces Army base. Next we visit the Kibbutz Misgav Am literally a stones throw from the Lebanese border overlooking a Hezbollah controlled village.

Misgav Am (Hebrew: מִשְׂגַּב עָם, lit. Fortress of the People) is a kibbutz in the Upper Galilee in northern Israel. Located close to the border with Lebanon near the town of Kiryat Shmona, it falls under the jurisdiction of Upper Galilee Regional Council.

Misgav Am was founded in 1945. One of its founders was Dr. Reuven Moskovitz. He was born 1928 in Romania, survived the Holocaust and immigrated to Israel. He founded several organisations, including Neve Shalom, where he has lived since 1972.

On 7 April 1980, five terrorists from the Iraqi-backed Arab Liberation Front penetrated Misgav Am in the night and entered the nursery. They killed the kibbutz secretary and an infant boy. They held the rest of the children hostage, demanding the release of about 50 terrorists held in Israeli prisons. The first raid of an IDF infantry unit was unsuccessful, but a second attempt, a few hours later, succeeded, and all the terrorists were killed. Two kibbutz members and one soldier were killed, four children and 11 soldiers were wounded.

And a special thanks to Dr. Bob – OOZ – and CVC for your support of TUW.

God Bless America and God Bless Our Troops.

Israel – Sanity in an Insane Middle East

Is there any serious thinking person who still believes that Islam is a “religion of peace?”

If there is, they cannot be watching any news reports anywhere. Islam, in particular a pure doctrinal Islam as practiced by the Islamic State, is reaping global death and destruction in the perfect model of their leader, Mohammed. As a result, the Middle East is on fire and the fire is just starting. Today, I and The United West team begin a week-long presentation of their recent national security mission in Israel and how that tiny nation is a civilized oasis in the midst of Islamic incivility.

Moreover, against this chaos, Iran through a New York Times editorial is positioning themselves as the world leader in establishing Middle East peace against the warmongering America and Israel.

WOW, watch our show for a wild ride!

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Islamic State preparing to declare Islamic emirate in Lebanon

The Islamic State is going to keep advancing until it is stopped, while our learned, tenured analysts assure us that it is a purely “nationalist” movement. “ISIS preparing to declare Islamic emirate in Lebanon: sources,” by Antoine Ghattas Saab, The Daily Star, February 23, 2015 (thanks to Jerk Chicken):

ISIS is preparing military plans to declare an Islamic emirate in Lebanon very soon to serve as a geographical extension of the so-called “Islamic State” announced by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Iraq last year, security sources said.

ISIS fighters have demanded support from the militant group in northern Syria to achieve this goal, the sources said.

They added that the ISIS command has begun preparations to set up a military organizational committee tasked with running Lebanese affairs and considering Lebanon as part of its state.

However, ISIS is facing difficulties in choosing a Lebanese commander for this mission. The reported appointment of the fugitive preacher Ahmad al-Assir for this post was merely a trial balloon, the sources said.

They added that arrangements to form an ISIS command for the Lebanon emirate were taking place under the supervision of the group commander Khalaf al-Zeyabi Halous, codenamed “Abu Musaab Halous,” a Syrian who had played a key role in the ISIS offensive to capture the Raqqa province in 2013.

Abu Musaab Halous, accompanied by a number of ISIS military commanders, recently visited the Qalamoun region on the Lebanese-Syrian border, where he met with field commanders with whom he discussed the creation of security and military formations between Qalamoun and Lebanon, the sources said.

In addition to the fact that the adventure of setting up an Islamic emirate in Lebanon has not received the green light from the powers backing ISIS, the group’s attempt expand into Lebanon might be doomed to failure, the sources added.

In the meantime, an influential party in Lebanon has received important information indicating that ISIS is bent on recruiting more suicide bombers equipped with explosives belts to target Shiite gatherings in Beirut and the southern suburbs as well as French and Western interests, while the Iranian Embassy in Beirut, which was targeted with a deadly twin suicide attack in November 2013, is still vulnerable to another assault.

As Lebanon faces growing security threats, military assistance to the Lebanese Army is expected to be stepped up to help the country stand on its feet.

The United States will provide the Lebanese Army with six Super Cobra fighter aircraft as part of the U.S. military aid to the Army, reports said. The aircraft are manufactured by the Bell military helicopter company….

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