Tag Archive for: Middle East

Google’s Gemini AI rules that Robert Spencer’s video about the survival of the West ‘hateful’ and ‘discriminatory’

“Google Gemini AI’s refusal to translate my latest podcast title with Robert Spencer, sparks controversy over alleged hate speech and Islamophobia, prompting debate on context and censorship in language processing technology.” — Kate Wand

“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” ― George Orwell

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.” ― George Orwell, 1984


The video that Gemini AI objects to is about the legacy of the Byzantine Empire and its relevance to Western Civilization in my book Empire of God: How the Byzantines Saved Civilization.

My book is a comprehensive exploration of the Roman Empire, its origins, governance, and impact on modern society, with insights on historical parallels, the Influence of Constantine, and the dichotomy between Christianity and Islam, highlighting the defensive nature of the Crusades and the rise of the Arab Empire, along with the overlooked Islamic threat to the Byzantine Empire and Israel, and the Byzantine Empire’s resistance against Islamic invasions, and its impact on Western Civilization, through the transmission of Ancient Greek philosophical texts and the role of the printing press in the Renaissance and Enlightenment, with insights on historical lessons, economic stability, and the fight for freedom in Modern Civilization.

The video that Google found so objectionable is here:

There is nothing wrong with this video or my work. I don’t promote hatred or violence. The left-fascists cannot stand dissenting voices.

Watch Google’s Gemini:

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All  rights reserved.

Here’s How Biden Could Embroil America In Yet Another Foreign War

  • The Biden administration could put U.S. troops on the ground in Guyana to defend the threatened democracy against a Venezuelan invasion, experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
  • Although an invasion is unlikely, recent U.S. actions send a signal to Venezuela that America is prepared to intervene if Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro acts on his pledge.
  • “The U.S. should work to create strong disincentives for Venezuela to carry out any aggression, including helping to establish stronger military deterrence. It remains to be seen how compelling these disincentives will be and how Maduro will respond to them,” Daniel Batlle, an adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute and a former State Department official, told the DCNF.

The Biden administration could be compelled to put U.S. military boots on the ground to defend Guyana, a democratic South American country with a history of cooperation with the U.S., from a potential Venezuelan invasion, experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has threatened to annex by force large swaths of oil-rich territory in neighboring Guyana following a manufactured referendum as troops mass on both sides of the border in a bid to consolidate support for the country’s 2024 elections. A full-scale invasion resembling Russia’s attempt to conquer Ukraine is unlikely, but possible, placing pressure on the U.S., and international partners, to respond in defense of a democratic country, the experts told the DCNF.

The Biden administration would want to intervene to show it will “credibly defend its friends against external aggression,” just as it has done with Israel and Ukraine, Evan Ellis, a research professor of Latin American studies at the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, told the DCNF. “Once we make that commitment, it sends a very strong signal that we can’t just walk away from.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has pledged “unwavering support” for Guyana’s sovereignty.

Other experts questioned the administration’s commitment to defending democratic partners in light of sweeping sanctions relief Biden offered Venezuela in the fall of 2023 in exchange for yet-unfulfilled promises to conduct legitimate elections and free political prisoners — which could further embolden Maduro.

“It is unclear what precisely is motivating the current administration in its policy toward Venezuela, but it is clearly not democracy, human rights, or electoral freedom. I do not see how anyone, including the Maduro regime, will take American threats seriously when they offer sanctions relief under such insane conditions,” former Deputy Special Representative for Venezuela Carrie Filipetti told the DCNF.

U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) has made conspicuous shows of force as Maduro carried out a national referendum on the annexation question. Such displays are “firm, clear signals” from the U.S. that if Venezuela takes action, “it will not be unopposed,” Ellis told the DCNF.

SOUTHCOM and the Guyana Defense Force (GDF) conducted flight operations in country on Dec. 7, according to the U.S. Embassy in Guyana.

“This exercise builds upon routine engagement and operations to enhance security partnership between the United States and Guyana, and to strengthen regional cooperation,” the embassy said in the statement.

In an unusual step, U.S. Air Force special operations later showed several videos of an AC-130J Ghostrider gunship, equipped with precision-guided missiles and cannons capable of “measured, but ruinous fire” that can rip people and armored vehicles to shreds, training against targets.

Guyanese President Irfaan Ali and Maduro met Thursday to hash out an agreement on where the border line should be drawn, and both sides agreed not to use force, the Associated Press reported. But they did resolve the issue.

“I have made it very clear that on the issue of the border controversy, Guyana’s position is non-negotiable,” Ali said in a national broadcast, indicating that any negotiations over the territory are likely to be fraught.

Maduro claimed sovereignty over the territory encompassing two-thirds of Guyana, which also includes the coastline near two massive offshore oil deposits, according to The New York Times. The claim depends on a referendum held to shore up his control over domestic politics and built on an internationally-unrecognized pretext of historical control over Essequibo.

On Dec. 5, Maduro ordered state-owned oil companies to begin granting licenses and doing exploration in Essequibo, the Financial Times reported.

He likely won’t order an invasion, experts told the DCNF. The Venezuelan military is afraid of revealing systemic deficiencies, but more importantly, Maduro could put his regime at risk by becoming embroiled in protracted fighting through inhospitable jungles against guerilla forces.

And, there’s the possibility of U.S. involvement, most likely alongside other countries.

“Maduro could essentially stumble into hostilities, whether it’s sending troops to the border or something that sparks military action, and that’s always a risk,” Ellis told the DCNF.

“The U.S. has to be careful of portraying the image that it is acting unilaterally in South America, especially in a militarized manner,” Aileen Teague, a professor at Texas A&M University who studies U.S. history and relations with Latin America, told the DCNF. “Working through diplomatic channels is the United States’ best option for success. ”

Any American-led intervention would not take place without extensive coordination with regional and global partners, including Brazil, which has massed troops on the border to ward off Venezuelan aggression, the experts said.

The GDF comprises of just 3,000 troops compared to Venezuela’s estimated 130,000 active duty and 1.6 million paramilitary troops.

But the U.S. can “wreak havoc on those Venezuelan forces within that jungle environment by  taking advantage of the ability to control the air and do select targeting,” Ellis explained, to “essentially make the few roads that are there impassable” for the Venezuelan military and supply lines.

“You basically turn an occupying force very quickly into a lot of Venezuelans trapped in a jungle,” he said.

AUTHOR

MICAELA BURROW

Investigative reporter, defense.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.


All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Jihad Isn’t All About Israel

If you listen to some political pundits these days, on both sides of the aisle, you might get the mistaken impression that terrorism against the West only began with the creation of Israel, and only exists because of the West’s support for Israel. This claim routinely appears on college campuses by students parroting Middle East Studies professors. It’s an attractive viewpoint because it implies that if only the U.S. and European countries adopt an anti-Israel position that the terrorism would end.

The problem with this line of thinking is that it’s false. It ignores some 1400 years of Islamic doctrine of Jihad, warfare against non-believers in order to establish an Islamic state, ruled by Islamic law, known as Sharia. This is a common goal, shared by Al Qaeda, HAMAS, Hezbollah, Lashkar e Taiba, Abu Sayyaf, Jemaah Islamiyah, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab, ISIS, and others, which transcends any localized disagreements over borders and pure politics.

The doctrine behind global jihad is over a thousand years old. Tragically, it is one of the most successful “exports” in the world.

The obligation to wage Jihad to establish Sharia motivated the Umayyad Caliphate to conquer Spain and attack the Franks at the Battle of Tours in 732. And Even today Al Qaeda claims they will restore Islamic rule to “Al-Andalus.” It motivated the Ottomans to attack Vienna in 1529 and 1683. It motivated the Barbary states to seize American merchant shipping and enslave their crew, provoking the Barbary wars in 1801 and 1815. The obligation to wage Jihad was used to justify the Armenian genocide in 1915.

Likewise, it motivated Boko Haram to kidnap 300 young Christian schoolgirls in Nigeria 2014. Abu Sayyaf to kill 21 innocent Filipino civilians in 2015, Chechen terrorists to massacre 334 people, mostly children, in Beslan, Russia Federation in 2004.

None of these attacks had anything to do with Israel. All of them were about waging Jihad.

This is not to say that the Jewish people haven’t faced particular vitriol from jihadists across the ages. Islamic doctrines of antisemitism are as ancient and established as that of jihad, and also predate the modern state of Israel. Even if Israel evaporated tomorrow the overriding goal of establishing rule by sharia would not change, as long as there are those who take the obligation to impose sharia by force of arms seriously.

Jihadists target America not because it backs Israel but because it represents the biggest obstacle to achieving their global goal. That is why Iran refers to the US as the Great Satan and Israel as the Little Satan.

It is the height of arrogance to assume our enemies are motivated only by what we do. It’s a bizarre reverse bigotry that assumes that our opponents lack any agency or will of their own.

It is satisfying to believe that jihad is the fault of our own policy, because it gives us the mistaken belief that we are fully in control of our own fate and can end attacks against us just by making some policy changes.

The truth is Jihadists are not motivated only by our actions, but rather by their own doctrine. That means jihadists can only be temporarily deterred and must be defeated every time they rear their head.  The quicker our politicians—both Democrat and Republican—gain a full understanding of this, the better.

AUTHOR

Christopher Holton

Senior Analyst and Director of State Outreach. X: @CHoltonCSP

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EDITORS NOTE: This Center for Security Policy is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

VIDEO: A Call To The Civilized World


Ladies and gentlemen, believers in democracy and modernity.

My name is Dr. Mordechai Kedar, a researcher of the Middle East and Islam.

Israel is at war.

A war between the Jewish state and Isis-like terrorists who believe that Jews should not have a state at all, should be subjugated to Islam, should be humiliated as it says in the Koran and should pay the jizia (head tax). According to their belief, if Jews dare to establish a state, even on their fore-fathers’ land, they should be exterminated.

On October 7th, in the early morning, Hamas attacked thousands of Israelis, for no reason. They murdered, raped, tortured and mutilated children in front of their parents and parents in front of their children and then shot them. It wasn’t enough to kill them however, and they desecrated the bodies, cutting of heads and burning them so that in some cases it is almost impossible to identify them.

Many of the terrorists filmed their barbaric acts and uploaded them to their social media.

Many Gazans followed the armed terrorists into Israeli territory in order to gloat, kill and loot. Others in Gaza went out to the streets and distributed sweets in celebration of this grand victory over the Jews.

Some 15 hundred Israelis and foreign nationals were murdered that day in cold blood. Entire families were wiped out and people who came to enjoy themselves at a music festival fell victim to hatred towards anything western. Statistically, 1500 Israelis can be compared in number to 45,000 Americans. 15 times the amount that were murdered on September 11th 2001.

Over 200 people were kidnapped and are held as hostages in Ghaza.

Hamas is the Palestinian tentacle of the Iranian octopus which has reached also into Lebanon, Hezbollah, militias in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, who are all preparing to wipe out Israel as per the orders of the Ayatollahs regime in Iran.

Israel’s struggle for survival is not only for Israel. If the jihadists succeed to destroy Israel, Europe will be the next and the Atlantic Ocean is not wide enough to keep America safe from this evil.

This is a war between good against evil, civilization against savagery, normalcy against barbarism. It is the struggle between western culture and the jihadists lead by Iran, who want to destroy it. Just imagine how the world will look like if Iran succeeds to acquire the doomsday weapon.

Your support of Israel will save you from this jihadist campaign against western values and culture.

Don’t stand idly by.

Thank you so much.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

THE WAR ON X: WW III • The Global War Against Islamic Terrorism — Day 16

Today October 23rd, 2023 we are now seeing the violence that Hamas began 16 days ago is now spreading like wild fire across the Middle East, Europe and in America.

Demonstrations, some violent, are being led by supporters of Hamas. This is the global Islamic jihad we have been predicating for years.

Here are some of the top headlines for today:

These tweet on X say it all.

This interview with Brother Rachid was taped on Friday, October 21st for RAIR Foundation and the story can be read here. Brother Rachid has a wildly popular TV show in the Arabic World where be brings people out of Islam and into Christianity.

WATCH: EXCLUSIVE With Hunted Islamic Expert Brother Rachid: ‘Muslims Will Be the Majority, They Will Govern the West’

WW III • The Global War Against Islamic Terrorism

©2023. Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.

OK, So Did the CIA Engineer Watergate to Get Rid of Nixon?

Tucker Carlson made some explosive assertions Friday, suggesting that the CIA and the FBI brought down Richard Nixon because he was on to their efforts to undermine the American system as the Founding Fathers had intended it to run and knew that the CIA was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Carlson’s segment quickly became wildly controversial, but is it true? We may never know for sure — and that in itself demonstrates yet again the need to demand and enforce complete transparency and accountability from these agencies that all too easily can go rogue.

Carlson said: “Richard Nixon was re-elected in 1972 by the largest margin of the popular vote ever recorded before or since. Nixon got 17 million more votes than his opponent. Less than two years later, he was gone. He was forced to resign and in his place, an obedient servant of the federal agencies called Gerald Ford took over the White House.” Carlson went on to explain that Nixon believed that “elements in the federal bureaucracy were working to undermine the American system of government and had been doing that for a long time. He often said that.” He suggested that CIA and FBI operatives orchestrated both the Watergate break-in and the two-year-long firestorm that brought Nixon down.

According to Carlson, “on June 23, 1972, Nixon met with the then–CIA director, Richard Helms, at the White House. During the conversation, which thankfully was tape-recorded, Nixon suggested he knew ‘who shot John,’ meaning President John F. Kennedy. Nixon further implied that the CIA was directly involved in Kennedy’s assassination, which we now know it was. Helms’s telling response? Total silence, but for Nixon, it didn’t matter because it was already over. Four days before, on June 19, the Washington Post had published the first of many stories about a break-in at the Watergate office building.” This doesn’t add up to the CIA deciding to take out Nixon, since the break-in and the Post story both happened before the president’s conversation with Helms, unless Nixon had enunciated this before the break-in.

And he had. Tucker Carlson actually got the date wrong. The Nixon/Helms conversation didn’t take place on June 23, 1972, but on Oct. 8, 1971 (it’s further mislabeled on this audio file as taking place on Oct. 10, 1971, but the Nixon tape logs set the meeting on the 8th). Nixon said to Helms: “Uh, Who shot John [JFK]? Uh, is Eisenhower to blame? Is Johnson to blame? Is Kennedy to blame? Is Nixon to blame? Etcetera etcetera etcetera. [This] may become, may become, not by me, but may become a very, very, uh, vigorous issue. If it does, uh, I need to know what is necessary to protect our inquiries, the intelligence gathering and the Dirty Tricks Department. And I will protect it. Hey listen, I’ve done more than my share of lying to protect it. I will do it and I believe it’s totally right to do it.”

This is not all that clear or straightforward a statement, but it does give the impression, since Nixon was talking to the head of the CIA, that the “Dirty Tricks Department” was involved in the killing of Kennedy and might need protection if the full truth about the assassination came out. President Kennedy’s nephew, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., affirmed in December, in response to an earlier Tucker Carlson broadcast, that “the CIA’s murder of my uncle was a successful coup d’état from which our democracy has never recovered.” Yet in the fifty years since Nixon’s conversation with Helms, the Kennedy assassination, while spawning a cottage industry of alternative explanations to the Warren Commission report, has never really become a “very, very vigorous issue,” at least to the extent that the CIA’s role, if any, has been revealed.

Could it ever be? If the CIA really was involved in killing Kennedy and forcing Nixon to resign (which would apparently require Helms to have brushed aside Nixon’s declarations that he would protect the “Dirty Tricks Department” and to have focused solely on Nixon’s revelation that he knew about that department at all) will the American people ever know that for sure?

On Dec. 22, 1963, exactly one month after the Kennedy assassination, former President Harry Truman wrote in the Washington Post that “for some time I have been disturbed by the way [the] CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.” He added, “We have grown up as a nation, respected for our free institutions and for our ability to maintain a free and open society. There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position and I feel that we need to correct it.”

Yet it has never been corrected. The CIA and FBI are almost completely unaccountable to anyone and, it is increasingly obvious, deeply corrupt and politicized. Does anyone have the courage, or the ability, to face down these rogue agencies?

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

The New House Homeland Security Committee Chair Already Has the Left Enraged

Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) has been tapped as the new chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, and even though the new Congress has barely gotten started, he already has the censorious Left up in arms. Newsweek reported last Monday that Trump nominated Green to be Secretary of the Army, but “he ended up withdrawing his nomination from consideration for the role in 2017 after coming under fire for past comments about members of the LGBTQ community, particularly transgender people.” It seems that Green said: “If you poll the psychiatrists, they’re going to tell you transgender is a disease.” Horror of horrors! Everyone can see that men who think they’re women and vice versa are as sane and well-adjusted as the day is long. And now it has come to light that Green has violated Leftist pieties in another way as well: he has a history of making “anti-Muslim comments.”

The HuffPo sounded the alarm on this Thursday, doing its level best to portray Green as a racist, redneck yahoo. HuffPo claimed that Green, whom it identified as “a physician, Iraq War veteran and former GOP state senator,” that is, just the sort of person Leftists abhor, once said “that Iraqis smelled like ‘curry mixed with sweat.’” Sabina Mohyuddin of the American Muslim Advisory Council fumed: “If you hold stereotypes about communities, how can you effectively move on issues that are really nuanced and require a greater understanding of the issues?”

However, Rachel Del Guidice, Green’s communications director, shot back that “some media outlets cut and spliced” what Green said, and added: “Rep. Green has not, and will not ever, force his religion on anyone. He believes that every American has a right to defend their country. Having served three tours of duty overseas during the War on Terror, Rep. Green acted as a steadfast protector of everyone in this nation. Vilifying people of faith because they don’t agree with progressive policies is against America’s founding principles — the very principles he fought to protect.”

The HuffPo, however, wasn’t done. It claimed also that Green “once said he didn’t want students in Tennessee to learn about Islam.” This came up at a Tea Party meeting in 2016, “when an audience member read a passage from a textbook that correctly stated that Muslims believe in all the prophets in the Old and New Testament,” and Green replied, “When you start teaching the pillars of Islam … we will not tolerate that in this state.” According to the HuffPo, Green went on to say that “if students did have to learn about Islam…they should only learn ‘the history of the Ottoman Empire’ and ‘the assault of Islam out into the Levant and North Africa and into Constantinople.’”

You see? He’s ignorant as well as racist! And so Sumayyah Waheed of Muslim Advocates, which the HuffPo says is a “national civil rights group based in Washington, D.C.,” declared: “Rep. Green’s well-documented history of hate speech against Muslims, LGBTQ people, and immigrants made him unfit to be Secretary of the Army, and that history makes him unfit to chair the House Homeland Security Committee. As chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, Mark Green is a threat to Muslims ― especially to those that live at the intersections of the communities he has gleefully attacked for political gain.”

But the HuffPo, true to form, doesn’t bother to tell you that what Green was actually talking about was his opposition to Islamic proselytizing and indoctrination in public schools, which has been abundantly documented. Green was pushing back against the whitewashed version of Islam that is taught in all too many public school textbooks around the country, but of course the HuffPo doesn’t give you even a hint that there was ever a controversy over the way Islam was taught in public school textbooks.

The only thing that could legitimately be seen as offensive is his alleged statement that Iraqis smelled like “curry mixed with sweat,” although to jump from there to the claim that he is a “threat to Muslims” is beyond ridiculous. It’s certainly impolite, at the very least, to say it, but I’m sure Americans smell like all sorts of strange things to non-Americans, too, and HuffPo is making a big deal out of a pungent quip in order to try to defame and destroy Green.

This is, of course, how the “Islamophobia” industry always operates: quotes without context given the worse possible spin, no explanation or rebuttal allowed, and demonstrably true statements presented as not only false, but offensive. These gutter tactics have worked wonderfully well for the Left in the past, but people are beginning to wake up. Green may not lose his chairmanship over these remarks; if he doesn’t, that may be an indication that the new House leadership really does have some spine.

Here at PJ Media, we’re always on top of the stories that the establishment media doesn’t want to report, or spins beyond all recognition. Want to know what’s really happening with the new Republican House? We’ve got it! And you can get access to even more first-rate content when you become a PJ Media VIP memberVIPs get deeper dives into important issues as well as podcasts and an ad-free experience. VIPs also have more fun, whiter teeth, fresher breath, and a certain sly charm that people find absolutely winning. With VIP Gold, it gets even better. VIP Gold membership gives you access to all of the Townhall family of sites, including Hot Air, Twitchy, Bearing Arms, and RedState, along with live chats. A PJ Media VIP membership is a tremendous value on its own, but we currently have a 40% off deal with the promo code SAVEAMERICA. Sign up today!

This column originally appeared in PJ Media.

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

Can the Hamas-Linked AP Any Longer Be Considered a News Source?

My latest in PJ Media:

The Associated Press (AP) is one of the largest, most respected, most venerable news sources on the planet. It is also increasingly clear that the AP, in these overheated days, has reduced itself to acting as a press agency for Hamas. This tendency has become so pronounced recently that among all the massively biased far-Left propaganda outfits that make up the establishment media, the AP has essentially disqualified itself from being regarded any longer as even close to being a reliable source for news.

The first indication that the AP had run off the rails came during the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, when Israeli forces bombed a building in Gaza that housed a Hamas operations base and an AP office. The AP protested, claiming that it had no idea, none whatsoever, that it was sharing a building with Hamas, and this organization of intrepid journalists was put into the embarrassing position of having to be informed by Israel’s Ambassador to the United States and the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, about the operations of Hamas right under their noses.

But it’s almost certain that they knew already, and said nothing about Hamas’ presence in their building because of sympathy with the jihad terror organization and a shared antipathy to Israel. This became clear again on July 13, when the AP ran a tear-jerker entitled “Israel bars jailed Palestinian from daughter’s funeral,” claiming: “Israel refused to let a prominent jailed Palestinian lawmaker attend her daughter’s funeral on Tuesday, despite a campaign by activists and human rights groups for her to be released on humanitarian grounds.”

Those terrible Israelis! And it gets even worse. According to the AP article, the “jailed lawmaker” was “Khalida Jarrar, 58, a leading member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine,” who “has been in and out of Israeli prison in recent years. A military court sentenced her to two years in March for being a member of an outlawed group. With time served, she is set to be released in October.” Her late daughter Suha “worked on issues related to gender and climate change for the Al-Haq human rights group.”

Suha “worked on issues related to gender and climate change”! Why, she was a saint on earth, and the evil Israelis wouldn’t even let her bereaved mother pay her respects! However, the AP left out a few telling details. According to Gidon Ben-zvi in Algemeiner, Suha Jarrar worked for the same terrorist organization of which her mother was a member: “Suha Jarrar worked for al-Haq, a highly controversial organization with ties to the U.S.-designated terrorist group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine [PFLP], of which her mother was a member. Al-Haq has asserted that terrorists have a ‘right’ to receive salaries from the Palestinian Authority.”

There is more. Read the rest here.

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

The Trump Administration’s Geopolitical Hat Trick

Sudan has become the third Arab country to agree to normalize relations with Israel. The Palestinians are most unhappy: “Palestinians condemn ‘shameful’ Israel-Sudan accord,” by Khaled Abu Toameh and Celia Jean, Jerusalem Post, October 24, 2020:

The Palestinian Authority said on Friday that it “condemns and rejects” the normalization of relations between Arab countries and Israel.

A statement by the PA presidency in Ramallah said that normalization with Israel is in violation of the Arab summit resolutions and the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative….

Friday’s statement by the PA, however, did not accuse Sudan of betraying the Palestinians or stabbing the Palestinian people in the back, as was the case with the UAE and Bahrain.

Mahmoud Abbas has apparently figured out that the curses and insults that he and his cronies flung at the UAE and Bahrain when they normalized relations with Israel, did the Palestinians no good, but merely inflamed passions against them. With the Sudan, they’re trying a different, more-in-sorrow approach: How can you do this to us? Don’t you feel our pain?

“No one has the right to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian issue,” the statement added. “The path to a just and comprehensive peace should be based on international law and legitimacy so as to end the Israeli occupation of the land of the State of Palestine and achieve independence for the Palestinian people in their state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on the 1967 borders. The Palestinian leadership will take the necessary decisions to protect the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.”

But Sudan did not arrogate to itself the “right to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian issue.” It said nothing at all about the “Palestinians” in its agreement to normalize relations with Israel. It was only addressing, and promoting in two ways, its own national interest. First, to obtain this agreement, the U.S. has removed the Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. That will give it access to foreign investors, and to loans from the World Bank, the IMF, and other institutions. Second, Israel will be eager to prove to the Sudan that it made the right choice, by helping it where it most could use Israeli help: in agriculture. Israel is a world leader in drip irrigation, in wastewater management, and in solar energy, all of which could be of great help to Sudanese farmers.

While not in the official PA statement, Wasel Abu Youssef from the Palestinian Liberation Front, a small faction in the Palestinian Liberation Organization, said that Sudan joining “others who normalized ties with the state of the Israeli occupation represents a new stab in the back of the Palestinian people and a betrayal of the just Palestinian cause.”

“A new stab in the back”? Oh dear. It sounds as if Wasel Abu Youssef of the PLF did not get the memo from Mahmoud Abbas calling for a kinder, gentler approach to Sudan. This kind of charge only infuriated the UAE and Bahrain when it was made about them by the PA; the Sudanese are just as unlikely to be pleased to be described as back-stabbers. The Palestinians really ought to do a better job of coordinating their responses; this mixed-messaging will never do.

Abbas Zaki, a senior official of the ruling Fatah faction, said that Sudan would not gain anything from the normalization accord with Israel….

“Sudan would not gain anything from the normalization accord”? But Sudan has already gained something. It has been removed from the American list of state sponsors of terrorism; that removal will greatly improve Sudan’s ability to attract foreign investment, and will now enable Sudan to receive loans from the IMF, the World Bank, and other financial institutions that were previously impossible to obtain. And then there is the extensive Israeli aid that will be given to Sudanese farmers, just as soon as the agreement goes into effect. Abbas Zaki is whistling in the dark.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that the agreement was “not compatible with Sudan’s record of supporting the Palestinians.”

But that “record of supporting the Palestinians” took place under the long and terrible rule of Omar al-Bashir, the dictator of Sudan from 1989 to 2019. Bashir was an ardent supporter of Hamas, allowing it to operate freely in the country. Bashir also gave refuge to Osama bin Laden, who lived securely in the Sudan for four years. The new regime in Sudan wants to end any hint of the country’s previous connection to terrorists; it wants to reconnect with the West, attract investors, and build its economy, especially agriculture. It has gotten nothing from its “record of supporting the Palestinians” except being placed on the list of state sponsors of terror. Now, by normalizing relations with Israel, it has already been taken off that list, allowing it to attract investors, be again eligible for foreign aid, and be able to obtain loans from major financial institutions such as the IMF. Israel is ready to share with Sudanese farmers the benefits of its expertise and advances in at least three key areas – solar energy, drip irrigation, and wastewater management – where it is a world leader.

PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] spokesman Daoud Shehab accused Sudan of presenting Israel with a “free gift” in order to appease the US.

“This is a black day in the history of Sudan,” Shehab added. “The agreement jeopardizes Sudan’s future and identity and is a betrayal of the Arabs and Muslims.”

The PIJ official expressed confidence that the Sudanese people would not accept this “betrayal.”…

It is Israel that will be giving gifts to the Sudan, in the form of aid to its agricultural sector. As for Shehab’s claim that the normalization agreement “jeopardizes Sudan’s future and identity,” since when did the Palestinians become the judges as to the “Arab” identity of others? Because the Sudanese are black, is there possibly an attempt here to hint at doubt as to their “Arab” identity unless they fall back into line with what the Palestinians demand? And what exactly was the “betrayal” by the Sudan? Did it owe the Palestinians anything? Have the Palestinians ever done anything for the Sudan, other than land the country on the list of state sponsors of terrorism?

There is certainly domestic opposition in the Sudan to this new agreement. But the opponents of normalization surely know that the Sudanese quid for that significant American quo was Sudan’s agreeing to normalize relations with Israel. And if they are willing to “give peace a chance,” they will find the new connection with Israel will pay ample dividends, for the Israelis want to make sure that the “early adopters” of normalization realize economic benefits quickly. In the case of Sudan, as bears repeating, that means Israeli help to Sudanese farmers, mainly by sharing Israeli advances in drip irrigation, in waste water management, and in solar energy.

Commending the agreement from the Arab world was Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who tweeted that he welcomed the joint efforts of all three states involved in the agreement.

He added that he also values “all efforts aimed at achieving regional stability and peace.”…

El-Sisi has for a long time been cooperating with Israel on security matters, especially against Jihadis in the Sinai and, naturally, against the Muslim Brotherhood that is the sworn enemy of his regime. He previously praised both the UAE and Bahrain for their normalization agreements with Israel. It is not surprising, but is still heartening, that the most populous Arab state, and Sudan’s immediate northern neighbor, has come out foursquare for the agreement.

The Palestinian Arabs continue to believe that they should have a veto power over the policy toward Israel of all the other Arabs. They seek to deny the Arab states the possibility of making their own arrangements with Israel, arrangements that further their own national interests. The UAE and Bahrain dismissed the Palestinian objections, and went ahead in normalizing relations with the Jewish state. They have had only curses and insults heaped on them by the Palestinians, which only makes them more determined to promote both economic and people-to-people ties with the Israelis – “a warm peace.” Meanwhile, the entire nation of Israel seems ready to make sure their new Arab interlocutors benefit from such normalization; Israeli businessmen, entrepreneurs, scientists, academics, and tourists have gone to the UAE and Bahrain, while Emiratis and Bahrainis are doing the same in the Jewish state. And now, to complete the Trump Administration’s geopolitical hat trick, Sudan has just become the third Arab state to announce its intention to normalize relations with Israel. Abbas rages in Ramallah, for he can do no other, and the caravan moves on.

COLUMN BY

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Helping Protect Itself Against Iran, Israel Helps Protect Many Others by Hugh Fitzgerald

Not long before tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran reached an unprecedented high point, with the possibility looming of a war that could engulf many other countries besides those two, Israel located a secret Iranian site in Beirut, right near the airport, in the midst of a heavily-populated area (surrounded by thousands of civilians, as a way to discourage Israeli air attacks). The site, according to Prime Minister Netanyahu, holds radioactive material and missiles. The Israelis, after all, have been running circles around the Iranians for years. They assassinated, one after the other, four key Iranian nuclear scientists right in the middle of Tehran. They concocted the fiendishly brilliant Stuxnet worm, the first computer program that caused real-world damage, for it sent messages to the computers it infected, the computers that were regulating Iran’s centrifuges, causing those computers to send messages that made the centrifuges speed up and destroy themselves and even damage other centrifuges. At the same time, other messages were sent back that the computer program was working perfectly.

The Israelis have destroyed, in Syria, hundreds of Iranian missiles, and have kept up the bombing of Iranian bases in Syria, and of Iranian soldiers on Syrian bases, preventing any kind of permanent Iranian outpost to be established. Some time ago Israeli agents carried out a night-time raid in a nondescript commercial district in Tehran, lasting six hours and 29 minutes, bringing away 50,000 pages of documents, and countless discs, which constituted the most important part of Iran’s secret nuclear archive, proving to the world that Iran had never abandoned its nuclear project, and had gotten much farther with it than the world previously believed.

In locating the site in Beirut, Israel again did not just itself but the entire Western world a great service. For the missiles whose guidance systems Iran is improving for Hezbollah, and the nuclear material that Iran is storing in Beirut, to be someday used either by its forces or possibly by Hezbollah, are not a threat only to Israel. Iran has designs on Yemen, as its proxy war against Saudi Arabia, that has already lasted several years, demonstrates. Iran would love to project and solidify Shi’a power in Yemen, right on the Arabian Sea, and to be able to threaten Saudi Arabia from the south, made easier by the porous border between Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Iran has a desire, too, to deal a direct blow to Saudi Arabia itself, as the richest and most powerful Sunni state, whose clerics talk of the Shi’a as if they were Infidels. That could mean supporting the discontented Shi’a in Saudi Arabia, some 15% of the population, almost all of whom are located in the Eastern Province, where the major oilfields are to be found. Iran also wants to take revenge on the United Arab Emirates, for helping to fight the Shi’a Houthis  in Yemen and, Iran now suspects, helping Arab separatists in Khuzestan, in southern Iran. Of course, Iran always proclaims as its chief enemy, more so even than Israel, the Great Satan, America. All of these countries have reason to be grateful to Israel for slowing down, for several years, Iran’s nuclear project. Stuxnet alone, a computer worm which destroyed 1,000 centrifuges at the Natanz Enrichment Plant, set back Iran’s nuclear project, according to the German scientist Ralph Langer, by as much as two years.

These acts of derring-do did not end there. Israeli agents managed to locate in a dusty part of Tehran the top secret Iranian nuclear archive, to break in, to blowtorch open the many steel doors, to go through the archives and select the huge amounts of material that they then spirited out of Iran to Israel. This archive offered proof to the world that the Iranians had continued to work on their nuclear project after they had supposedly stopped, and that they had gotten much farther along than anyone suspected.

During the last few years, the Iranians have tried to establish their own bases in Syria, and from there hoped both to threaten Israel from closer up than from Iran itself, and to supply Hezbollah with more advanced weapons. But no matter where they put those bases in Syria, and even when the Iranians tried to conceal themselves inside  Syrian bases, Israeli planes have always managed to find and to bomb them. And the Israelis have been staggeringly successful at interdicting Iranian weapons shipments meant for Hezbollah.

And now Israel has uncovered, and shown to the world, a secret Iranian facility near the airport in Beirut, which contains fissile material and machines to manufacture precision-guided missiles. At this point, the Iranians may wonder: do we empty the facility of its contents, or will Israel, with its uncanny spying ability, including eye-in-the-sky drones, be able to see everything that comes out of that building and where it is taken? And if, and when, these machines and that material are taken out of the facility, and are in the open, will it not be easier for Israel to bomb both? Perhaps, by making public its knowledge of this facility, the Israelis are hoping to lure the Iranians into doing just that. It is hard for the Iranians, who have so often been outsmarted by the Israelis, to know what to do. What can Israeli spy drones and spy planes and spy satellites and human spies, find out? Do the Iranians try to smuggle the material and machines out, or do they keep everything as it is, but move even more civilians into close proximity to the building, in the hope that this civilian presence will dissuade Israel from attacking it?

As the Iranians have discovered, to their great displeasure, wherever or whomever or whatever they try to hide from Israel, the Israelis always find them out. The Israelis identified, and then assassinated, four of Iran’s top nuclear scientists; they found, and sabotaged, the computers that controlled the centrifuges at Natanz, they found the secret nuclear archives in Tehran and spirited them away, they found and bombed Iranian bases in Syria, and they found, and showed to the world, the once-secret Iranian facility in Beirut. Iran’s rulers are surely in a quandary.

All of this limits Iran’s aggressive plans. Israel has accomplished these feats in order, of course, to protect itself. But the rest of the West, and some Arab states, too, should recognize that they also benefit from these fantastic acts of human and technological derring-do. Some, at least, from agents in Langley to princes in Riyadh, know enough to be grateful. And so should we.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

He did it! President Donald Trump signs Executive Order on Refugees

I happened to catch him signing as I came in just before 5 p.m. today.  But, will have to wait for the exact details of the order’s text.

***Update January 28th*** Michael Patrick Leahy at Breitbart reported late last night about the details of the Executive Order, click here.

We believe it includes a 120-day moratorium, a cap on refugee resettlement for this fiscal year at 50,000 and some kind of inter-agency directive to improve the vetting process (the so-called extreme vetting).  Earlier today we pointed out that 50,000 was not that great a reduction, here.

Now the ball must be placed in Congress’ court!

congress

Every effort must be made in those 120 days to pressure Congress to begin to reform the entire Refugee Admissions Program.

I suspect many members of Congress gave a sigh of relief that Donald Trump was going to take the heat (and oh, there will be heat, more on that later), so they can pretend something is being done and THEY DON’T HAVE TO DO IT.

Trump has taken the monkey off their backs, you must put it right back on!

I’m telling you that if the law is not changed we will be back to square one come the end of May!  The President’s pen and phone can only do so much. The next President can undo it all, if the law is not rewritten.

So Trump should threaten to extend that moratorium unless Congress begins the hard work of reevaluating and ultimately rewriting the Refugee Act of 1980.

And, if there are any brave Senators or Members of Congress willing to take the lead, that legislator should hold field hearings around the country to hear directly from citizens about the impact more immigrant labor is having on local workers, to hear about the economic challenges local and state governments are facing, and to assess the cultural upheaval communities are experiencing.

Do not stop doing whatever you are doing in your pockets of resistance, but make sure everything you do gets to the ears of your member of Congress and US Senators.

See our complete Trump Watch! archive here.

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of President Trump signing the Executive Order on Extreme Vetting at the Pentagon is courtesy of NBC News.

VIDEO: How Could the Islamic State Represent 1.5 Billion Muslims?

In this seventh segment of my Basics of Islam series, I continue discussing the relationship between Islam and the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL).

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Iran: ‘We have no other enemy in the region except for America’

The Iranian Islamic regime has been empowered, emboldened, legitimized in its nuclear aspirations, and financed by Barack Hussein Obama. Yet it still considers the United States its chief enemy. One would think that Obama and the Washington establishment would learn from this. One would be wrong.

“Iran Threatens to Block U.S. Passage in Persian Gulf,” by Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon, May 9, 2016 1:12 pm

…Hossein Salami, deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, warned in a recent Persian-language interview that the Islamic Republic would not hesitate to block U.S. entry to the Strait of Hormuz, which is the only passage from the Persian Gulf to the open seas….

“The [Americans] believe that our navy is dangerous. Indeed, that is true,” Salami was quoted as saying in a Farsi-language interview with Iranian state-controlled television that was subsequently translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, which monitors regional reports.

“In my view, this is the first time that the Americans have assessed the might of our navy correctly,” Salami continued. “If the Americans want to level threats against us, we can be very dangerous to them, as we have declared. They are aware of our tremendous might. We have increased and expanded our naval might, in order to overcome the military might of superpowers like America.”…

“We warn America, its partners, and its allies in the region that if they decide to use the language of threats against us, we will enforce the article on innocent passage in the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, and we will prevent the passage of any ship or naval vessel that threatens us,” he said. “If they threaten us, this is what will happen, and we will take whatever steps are necessary.”

“After all,” Salami added, “we have no other enemy in the region except for America. The other countries and governments are not our enemies, and we are not theirs. Of course, they do not even have the potential to be our enemy.”

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Trump Campaign Dismisses America First Controversy

George Santayana’s careworn expression may be invoked yet again over the meme adopted in Trump’s first Foreign Policy speech delivered at the Center for National Interest (CNI) in Washington, DC on Wednesday April 27, 2016. America First.  Santayana said: “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Trump in his CNI speech issued his emphatic clarion call to the remaining primary voters across America:

It’s time to shake the rust off America’s foreign policy. It’s time to invite new voices and new visions into the fold, something we have to do. The direction I will outline today will also return us to a timeless principle. My foreign policy will always put the interests of the American people and American security above all else. It has to be first. Has to be.That will be the foundation of every single decision that I will make. America First will be the major and overriding theme of my administration.

He did have this welcomed comment on Israel:

Israel, our great friend and the one true democracy in the Middle East has been snubbed and criticized by an administration that lacks moral clarity. Just a few days ago, Vice President Biden again criticized Israel, a force for justice and peace, for acting as an impatient peace area in the region.

That gave rise to criticism by the ADL’s Greenblatt cited in a Ha’aretz article:

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) urged Trump to reconsider the phrase Thursday citing its “anti-Semitic use in the months before Pearl Harbor by a group of prominent Americans seeking to keep the nation out of World War II.”

According to a statement released by the Jewish watchdog, the most prominent leader of the “America First Committee” was Charles Lindbergh, who “sympathized with the Nazis and whose rhetoric was characterized by anti-Semitism and offensive stereotypes, including assertions that Jews posed a threat to the U.S. because of their influence in motion pictures, radio, the press, and the government.”

Nonetheless, ADL chief Jonathan A. Greenblatt said “the undercurrents of anti-Semitism and bigotry that characterized the America First movement … are fortunately not a major concern today.”

“However, for many Americans, the term ‘America First’ will always be associated with and tainted by this history,” he said, adding that “in a political season that already has prompted a national conversation about civility and tolerance, choosing a call to action historically associated with incivility and intolerance seems ill-advised.”

For those of us old enough to have some knowledge of the isolationist anti-Semitic American First movement championed by Hitler admirer, Charles Lindbergh, who was given a personal award by Der Fuhrer for his aviation exploits, Trump’s use of it was jarring.

When I read the transcript of his speech, I asked a source in the Trump campaign about Dr. Walid Phares, one of Trump’s foreign policy advisers, who I knew personally from a decade of interaction including co-hosting radio shows on common subjects dealing with the Middle East, Israel and Jihad. I asked whether he had written Trump’s  America First speech. The answer was,” no.”  instead  I was directed to Phares’ Fox News opinion article that purports to lay out Trump’s foreign policy vision. There was no America First meme presented in his discussion. Lots of suggestions on changes in the traditional Americans alliances, prevention of Iran getting the nuclear weapon, that it may already possess, getting our allies in the NATO alliance to ante up the required annual defense budget allotments, dealing with ISIS and its global affiliates and the Muslim Brotherhood both here and abroad. Phares’ ringing conclusion:

A new popular majority is sweeping the country during these primary elections and another greater national current will legitimize these new principles with the election of Donald Trump as president in November. These new foreign policy directions will have a deeply informed public backing them, so that President Trump can muster the energies of the American people to create a sustainable defense, encompassing clear objectives coupled with a strong international presence.

Now more than ever, confident American leadership is vital for a world in disarray.

The meme of new policy directions figured prominently in a PBS News Hour  discussion on the merits of Trump’s Foreign Policy speech with Phares and former State Department official, now Hoover Institute scholar, Nicholas Burns. Burns found what he deemed lots of contradictions in Trump’s CNI speech. Phares demurred saying it was really about replacing old worn out failed policies with new ones.

Watch the PBS News Hour interview with Phares and Burns.

Phares was interviewed by Steve Inskeep of NPR’s Morning Edition. I have to issue a disclaimer on my part. I had found NPR’s news biased against Israel back in 2003. I participated in coordinating a national one day protest against NPR local affiliates in more than 40 locations, including the one I led in Connecticut. That led to a series of abrupt exchanges with the VP for News at the DC headquarters for several weeks following that protest. Notwithstanding, my attention was drawn to the transcript of NPR interview with Phares. Inskeep of NPR pressed  Phares on what Trump’s speech was all about with alleged contradictions upending the old policies in favor of new directions.  Phares pushed back on that until the inevitable occurred. Inskeep asked him about the American First meme as it brought memories of the pre-WWII American Firster isolationists led by Lindbergh. Here is the transcript exchange:

INSKEEP: Dr. Phares, one other thing. And we’ve just got about 30 seconds here. He uses this phrase, America First. It’s got a particular historical resonance. He’s borrowing a phrase that was used by people who opposed U.S. Involvement against Germany in World War II – 1939, 1940, 1941. Very, very briefly, is there a message here?

PHARES: If you are criticizing Mr. Trump, you will find all the bad connections.  He is very optimistic, and he is very positive none of these sentences that he pronounces go back to dark ages or go back to negative aspects at all.

I returned to the Campaign source and asked about that history. The response:

“America First” is a simple phrase that Mr. Trump uses to describe his approach to all aspects of American relations with the world, including trade, immigration and national defense. Under President Trump, the interests of the American people will be paramount. Putting it in the old category of the isolationists of the past who fought against American involvement in WWII is a mistake.

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

PODCAST: The Panama Papers and the Crisis in the Middle East

This week, world elites were rocked by the release of the Panama Papers, demonstrating that world leaders, their friends and family, and the super wealthy routinely use offshore companies for tax avoidance.

panamapapersMeanwhile, reports out of the Middle East indicate a growing concern of Iran’s activity. From Yemen to Iraq to Gaza, Iran continues to fund and arm terrorist insurgencies that are reshaping the region. Not only Israel, but the Gulf states and their Sunni allies are preparing for potential confrontation. Barack Hussein Obama’s “nuclear deal” has only emboldened Iranian ambitions, and caused tradition U.S. allies to lose faith in the United States dedication to peace and stability in the M.E.

Topics of Discussion:

  • The Panama Papers
  • Report: U.S. considering withdrawal from Sinai
  • Paul Ryan’s Delegation to Middle East – In prep for Republican nomination?
  • Saudi-led Coalition Prepares for Head-on Collision with Iran

& more…

EDITORS NOTE: Readers may listen to USA Transnational Report live on JJ McCartney’s Nightside Radio Studios and on Red State Talk Radio. You may subscribe to USA Transnational Report podcast on iTunes here, subscribe to their podcast with Podbean, here. All previously recorded shows are available here, at the links above, or through Spreaker.