More scenes of Muslim savagery 2

Leaders of the Western world, including Obama talking from his behind, want us to believe that Islam is a beautiful and peaceful religion.

Here are scenes, pictured or described, showing how beautiful and peaceful Islam really is. -

Musicians punished for making music. Wonderfully made musical instruments smashed to pieces.

Boys killed for watching football.

Men killed for breeding pigeons.

Homosexuals hurled from the top of tall buildings.

The words and pictures come from the Daily Mail:

Islamic State religious police have been filmed beating musicians and destroying their instruments as punishment for playing an “un-Islamic” keyboard.

The men were pictured being hit across the back and legs with a wooden stick in a public square after ISIS’s fanatical Islamic enforcers ruled the electric keyboard was “offensive to Muslims”.

Another picture shows two keyboards and what appears to be a lute smashed to pieces after raids thought to have taken place in Bujaq, a few miles to the east of Aleppo in Syria.

Musicians in Syria were given 90 lashes each after they were caught by the Islamic State's religious police playing an electric keyboard, which they deemed 'offensive to Muslims', according to pictures posted online

Musicians in Syria were given 90 lashes each after they were caught by the Islamic State’s religious police playing an electric keyboard …

Pictures show the men being beaten on their backs and legs by tribal elders in a public square believed to be in Bujaq, a town to the north east of Aleppo

Pictures show the men being beaten on their backs and legs by tribal elders in a public square believed to be in Bujaq, a town to the north east of Aleppo. …

The men were apparently caught playing electronic keyboards, and what appears to be a lute, instruments that were deemed to be 'un-Islamic' by ISIS's fanatical religious police

The men were apparently caught playing electronic keyboards, and what appears to be a lute, instruments that were deemed to be “un-Islamic” by ISIS’s fanatical religious police …

After the men had been beaten the instruments were destroyed. ISIS has been enforcing a terrifying vision of Sharia law across its so-called Caliphate, including executing people for breeding pigeons

Earlier today, it was reported that at least 15 pigeon breeders in eastern Iraq were rounded up after ISIS ruled the sport distracted them from praising Allah.

Three of those held by the group in the eastern province of Diyala have reportedly been killed, according to a security official.

Abu Abdullah, a farmer, said a total of six gunmen barged into his home earlier this week and dragged away his 21-year-old son. Mr Abdullah’s son is just one of the 15 young men – all aged between 16 and 22 – who have reportedly been captured in the province for breeding birds.

Yesterday it was reported that 13 youngsters were killed by firing squad in Iraq’s second city of Mosul for watching an Asian Cup football match between Iraq and Jordan.

Activist group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, which operates out of Syria, reported that the teenagers were shot in public and their bodies left there as their parents are too afraid to go and get them.

The boys’ ‘crime’ – breaking religious laws by watching football – was read out on a loudspeaker before their executions.

It came just days after ISIS released a video showing two men being thrown off the top of a tower block in Raqqa, Syria, for being gay.

A masked Islamic State fighter announced the charges against the accused using a small handheld radio, before declaring them guilty of engaging in homosexual activities.

He said they should be punished by death, in accordance with Islamic State’s radical interpretation of Sharia law.

The men were then bound and blindfolded before being pushed off the 100ft tower block to their death.

Just a few days ago footage emerged showing men being thrown off the top of a 100ft tower in Raqqa, Syria, after being accused of being gay by ISIS police

ISIS and the stones of history 1

ISIS is blowing up Shi’a mosques and shrines, and other ancient monuments, the heritage of mankind.

From the Assyrian International News Agency:

ISIS is planning to destroy the walls of Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire and one of the most important archaeological sites in Iraq. Nineveh was sacked in 612 B.C. when the Assyrian Empire was overthrown.

Residents of the Bab Nergal area of Mosul said ISIS has informed them that it will blow up the walls of Nineveh with the start of operations to liberate Mosul by the Iraqi army.

In the last month ISIS has seized the content of the cultural museum in Mosul as well as destroyed Assyrian monuments in the city, which ISIS claims “distort Islam”.

Assyrians are the the only indigenous people of Iraq, going back to 4750 B.C. In 2003, just before the U.S. invasion, there were 1.5 million Assyrians living in Iraq. Today there are about 500,000 remaining. A sustained, low grade genocide perpetrated by Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds drove hundreds of thousands of Assyrians into exile in Syria, Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon.

On August 7 of 2014, ISIS moved into the Nineveh Plain, the last stronghold of Assyrians in Iraq, forcing nearly 200,000 Assyrians to flee their homes and villages, where they now live as refugees in the Dohuk and Arbel areas.

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The remains of the walls of Nineveh in north Iraq

Less to be regretted is that ISIS also plans to blow up the Kaaba, if it manages to capture Saudi Arabia, and if this report – of which we’re somewhat skeptical since ISIS is a Sunni organization and the Kaaba is a Sunni shrine – is true:

Representatives of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) stated that they will ruin the Kaaba after capturing Saudi Arabia. …

ISIS member Abu Turab Al Mugaddasi said that they would destroy the Kaaba in Mecca: “If Allah wills, we will kill those who worship stones in Mecca and destroy the Kaaba. People go to Mecca to touch the stones, not for Allah.”

Posted under Commentary, Iraq, Islam, jihad, middle east, Muslims, Syria, Terrorism, War by Jillian Becker on Friday, January 2, 2015

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The mercy of Muslims 1

Today the number of lethal terrorist attacks by Muslims since 9/11, as tallied by (deliberately ironically named) “The Religion of Peace”, reached 24,700.

The daily number is reflected in our margin. And from time to time we reproduce the 6 latest attacks recorded by the same website.

Here is today’s snapshot of Islamic atrocities:

Islam’s Latest Contributions to Peace

“Mohammed is God’s apostle.  Those who follow him are harsh
to the unbelievers but merciful to one another”
  Quran 48:29

2014.12.29 (Taji, Iraq) – A Shahid suicide bomber dismantles eleven Shiite mourners at a funeral tent.
2014.12.28 (Aleppo, Syria) – Two children are among six souls sent to Allah by a caliphate car bomb.
2014.12.27 (Mozogo, Cameroon) – Boko Haram burn down a village and slaughter at least thirty residents.
2014.12.27 (Bhiri Sha Rehman, Pakistan) – An Ahmadi is shot in the head shortly after a TV preacher rails against the religious minority.
2014.12.26 (Nad-e-Ali, Afghanistan) – A woman and child are among three killed by a Religion of Peace IED.
2014.12.25 (Ndalya, DRC) – ADF terrorists hack ten villagers to death in the middle of the night.

IED = improvised explosive device.

ADF stands for the laughably named Allied Democratic Forces, a coalition of Islamic terrorist groups in the also laughably named Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Posted under Afghanistan, Iraq, Islam, jihad, Muslims, Pakistan, Syria, Terrorism by Jillian Becker on Monday, December 29, 2014

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The price of a woman 2

The politically correct establishments and media of the Western world protect Islam from criticism no matter what is done in its name. But they have made an exception of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL). Or rather, they claim – ludicrously – that IS/ISIS/ISIL has “nothing to do with Islam”.

That exception explains why a documentary about Muslim men of IS/ISIS/ISIL selling Yezidi women and girls as slaves, was actually produced by the BBC.

Here’s the clip:

Posted under Arab States, Commentary, Iraq, Islam, jihad, middle east, Muslims, Slavery, United Kingdom, Videos by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, December 23, 2014

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The wasted lives of Muslim women 4

The Independent reports: “ISIS executes 150 women for refusing to marry militants and buries them in mass graves.”

We’re not sure if this picture of a barren field, used by the Independent to illustrate its story, is the actual graveyard. But the picture seems to us to convey a feeling of the sad, bleak, lonely, hopeless life of a middle eastern Muslim woman, living her life – long or short – in a black bag.

At any moment, at the whim of their savage men, such women are likely to be killed – for his “honor”, for her disobedience, or just for their fun.

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Posted under Iraq, Islam, middle east, Muslims, Syria by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, December 17, 2014

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ISIS in Gaza 7

After World War I, the Gaza Strip, which for centuries had been part of the Ottoman Empire, came under a British mandate. From 1949 to 1959, it was governed by Egypt, ostensibly under the authority of the Arab League. In 1959, the Strip was incorporated by Egypt, though the population was not granted Egyptian citizenship.

In 1967, the territory was occupied by Israel in the course of its defensive Six-Day War. Thousands of Israelis settled in the Strip and established industries there. But in 1993, by the tragically misconceived Oslo Accords, Gaza came under the administration of a “Palestine National Authority” (PNA). In its perpetual pursuit of peace with the Arabs, Israel agreed to remove the settlers. They resisted, and the Israeli government had them removed by force. They left acres of excellently functioning and highly lucrative greenhouses to the Arabs – who promptly destroyed them.

So it was that a Judenrein Gaza Strip became an autonomous “Palestinian” region, officially administered by the PNA.

In 2007, the terrorist organization Hamas, after an internecine struggle with the PNA, seized control of the Strip and proceeded to launch attacks on Israel with suicide bombers and rocket fire. Israel dealt with the suicide bombers by putting up a protective fence, and from time to time responds to the rocket fire with bombing raids. The world thinks Israel is not being fair to the Palestinians by taking these measures.

The world, chiefly the Western powers, has chosen to keep the population of Gaza as a perpetual beggar nation, dependent on aid. The children of Gaza are taught in schools run by UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) – created specially for the purpose of keeping generations of Palestinians as “refugees’ – and under its tutelage are raised to be Israel-haters and terrorists. The result is the perpetuation of intense hostility, which makes a mockery of the pretense of those same Western powers to be honest brokers of peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Now the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) has infiltrated the Strip and is threatening to take over control of it from its fellow Sunni-Muslim terrorists, Hamas.

This is from an article by Khaled Abu Toameh at Gatestone:

It is always dreamlike to see one Islamist terror group accuse the other of being too “lenient” when it comes to enforcing sharia laws. But it is not dreamlike when a terrorist group starts threatening writers and women.

That is what is happening these days in the Gaza Strip, where supporters of the Islamic State are accusing Hamas of failing to impose strict Islamic laws on the Palestinian population — as if Hamas has thus far endorsed a liberal and open-minded approach toward those who violate sharia laws.

Now, however, almost everyone is talking about the Islamic State threats against poets, writers and women.Until this week, the only topic Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were talking about was how to rebuild homes and buildings that were destroyed during the last war between Hamas and Israel.

It is no secret that the Islamic State has a presence in the Gaza Strip. According to sources there, many disgruntled members of Hamas and other radical salafi-jihadi groups have already joined the Islamic State, with some fighting together with ISIS groups in Syria and Iraq.

Earlier this year, it was revealed here that Islamic State has already begun operating inside the Gaza Strip – much to the dismay of Hamas.

Hamas, nevertheless, continues to deny any presence of Islamic State inside the Gaza Strip. “There are no members of Islamic State in the Gaza Strip,” said Eyad al-Bazam, spokesman for the Hamas-run Interior Ministry.

Many Palestinians, however, do not seem to take Hamas’s denials seriously, and remain unconvinced.

Over the past few days, two separate leaflets signed by Islamic State threatened to target Palestinian poets and writers for their “wantonness” and “atheism.” The leaflets mention the poets and writers by name – a move that created panic among many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The leaflets also included an ultimatum to Palestinian women to abide by Islamic attire or face the Islamic State style of punishment — presumably being stoned to death. The threat leaves one with the false impression that, under Hamas, women can wear swimming suits at the beach and walk around the streets of Gaza City in mini-skirts.

But this is what happens when one fundamentalist group believes that the other is not radical enough.

“We warn the writers and poets of their wanton sayings and atheist deeds,” one of the leaflets reads. “We give the apostates three days to retract their apostasy and wantonness and enter the religion of Islam anew.”

The threats issued by Islamic State have drawn strong condemnations from many Palestinians. This is the first time that such threats have been made against poets and writers or women.

Although Hamas has denied any connection to the threats, Fatah officials [aka the PNA]  in the West Bank were quick to accuse the Islamist movement — which has been in control of the Gaza Strip since 2007 — of being behind the leaflets. …

Palestinians point out that the two leaflets were not the only sign of the presence of Islamic State inside the Gaza Strip. They say that Islamic State flags can be seen in many parts of the Gaza Strip, especially at football stadiums and public buildings. In addition, Islamic State stickers can be seen on the windshields of many vehicles.

More recently … families have begun attaching the Islamic State emblem to wedding invitations sent out to friends and relatives. Photos of Palestinians who were killed while fighting with Islamic State in Iraq and Syria appear in many places, especially mosques and educational centers.

Of course, all of this is taking place while Hamas continues to insist that the Islamic State is not operating in Gaza.

Those who are taking the threats seriously are the women and writers whose names appeared in the leaflets.

Amal Hamad, a member of the Palestinian Women’s Union, expressed deep concern about the threats made by Islamic State. “We are headed toward the worst in the Gaza Strip,” she complained. “We hold the Hamas security forces responsible for the leaflets of intimidation and terror.” She and a large group of women in the Gaza Strip held an emergency meeting to discuss the repercussions of the threats.

Judging from reactions, it is clear that many Palestinians – including Hamas – are extremely worried about Islamic State’s presence in the Gaza Strip. Even if the terror group still does not have many fighters in the Gaza Strip, it already has countless followers and admirers.

It is also clear that if and when the Hamas regime collapses, the Gaza Strip will not fall into the hands of less-radical Palestinians.

The Gaza Strip has already been turned into an “Islamist Emirate” that is run by Hamas and other radical groups such as Islamic Jihad.

While Islamic State may have succeeded in infiltrating the Gaza Strip, its chances of entering the West Bank are zero. This is thanks to the presence of the Israel Defense Forces [IDF] in the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority and its President Mahmoud Abbas are well aware that without the Israeli security presence in the West Bank, the area would easily fall into the hands of Hamas or Islamic State.

It is important to keep in mind that the countries in Europe now voting for a Palestinian state may effectively be paving the way for a takeover by Islamic State.

We wonder how many people living in Gaza secretly wish the alleged Israeli “occupation” were real, and are nostalgic for the days when it was. Their lives were better, and more secure, under Israel than under the PNA or Hamas.

Now they – especially writers, poets, and women it seems – must dread the prospect of life under the rule of the Islamic State.

But if the Islamic State does absorb Gaza, its population will be stateless no longer. As citizens of the Caliphate they may be miserable, but they will no longer be “refugees”.

No more UNWRA. No more exploitation of the Palestinians by the Arab States as “victims” of Israel.

Of course, the attacks on Israel will not stop. They will very likely intensify. Will the world object as much to Israel defending itself against the Islamic State as it does to Israel defending itself against Hamas?

Time may tell.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State is taking possession of the minds of millions of Muslims all over the world. If it is not growing territorially at this moment, it is certainly growing as an ideal.

An ideal of savage cruelty and enslavement! Islam triumphant.

The Egyptian Goddess Isis

The Egyptian Goddess Isis

(just for decoration)

The taking down of America 11

President Obama believes that America is arrogant.* If his foreign policy can be explained by anything, it would be his intention to bring America down a peg or ten. Looked at like that, the disasters we see happening in many parts of the world are testimony not to  Obama’s failure, but to his success.

Not that President Obama can have any objection to arrogance as such. He is an arrogant man. He just doesn’t want America to be proud of its superiority. He hates the very idea that it is superior. But while he would not even acknowledge its political-moral superiority as a republic constituted for liberty, he cannot deny that it is economically and militarily stronger than any other country. So he’s been working to change that for the last six years.

The whole world is the worse for his efforts.

This is from Front Page, by Bruce Thornton:

The 6 years of Barack Obama’s foreign policy have seen American influence and power decline across the globe. Traditional rivals like China and Russia are emboldened and on the march in the South China Sea and Ukraine. Iran, branded as the world’s deadliest state sponsor of terrorism, is arrogantly negotiating its way to a nuclear bomb. Bloody autocrats and jihadist gangs in the Middle East scorn our president’s threats and behead our citizens. Countries in which Americans have shed their blood in service to our interests and ideals are in the process of being abandoned to our enemies. And allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia are bullied or ignored. All over the world, a vacuum of power has been created by a foreign policy sacrificed to domestic partisan advantage, and characterized by criminal incompetence.

Incompetence is what it looks like. But if failure is the aim, then either the incompetence is only an appearance, or it is a means to the end.

How we have arrived at this point, the dangers to our security and interests if we don’t change course, and what must be done to recover our international prestige and effectiveness are the themes of Bret Stephens’ America in Retreat. The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder. …

A clear sign of American retreat is the precipitous decline in military spending. “In the name of budgetary savings,” Stephens writes, “the Army is returning to its June 1940 size,” and “the Navy put fewer ships at sea at any time since 1916.” The Air Force is scheduled to retire 25,000 airmen and mothball 550 planes. Our nuclear forces are being cut to meet the terms of the 2010 New Start Treaty with Russia, even as its nuclear arsenal has been increasing. Meanwhile Obama … issues empty threats, blustering diktats, and sheer lies that convince world leaders he is a “self-infatuated weakling”.

Unfortunately, 52% of the American people agree that the U.S. “should mind its own business internationally”,  and 65% want to “reduce overseas military commitments”, including a majority of Republicans. This broad consensus that America should retreat from global affairs reflects our age’s bipartisan isolationism, the centerpiece of Stephens’ analysis. This national mood is not a sign of decline, according to Stephens, who documents the enormous advantages America still enjoys globally, from its superiority in research and entrepreneurial vigor, to its healthy demographics and spirit of innovation. But it does bespeak a dangerous withdrawal from the policies that created the postwar Pax Americana – even though this global order policed by the U.S. defeated the murderous, nuclear-armed ideology of Soviet communism, and made possible the astonishing economic expansion that has lifted millions from poverty all over the world. …

For Stephens, isolationism has not been the only danger to American foreign policy success. What he calls “the overdose of ideals”, specifically the “freedom agenda” of the sort George W. Bush tried in Iraq and Afghanistan, has misdirected our efforts and squandered our resources in the pursuit of impossible goals. The success of the Cold War and the subsequent spread of democracy and free-market economies suggested that the world could be not just protected from an evil ideology, but “redeemed” by actively fostering liberal democracy even in countries and regions lacking the necessary network of social mores and political virtues upon which genuine liberal democracy rests. But in attempting to redeem the world, Stephens notes, policy makers “neglected a more prosaic responsibility: to police it”.

The failures to create stability, let alone true democracy, in Iraq and Afghanistan have enabled what Stephens calls the “retreat doctrine”, one to be found in both political parties. Barack Obama is the master of this species of foreign policy, incoherently combining idealistic democracy-promoting rhetoric with actions that further withdraw the U.S. from its responsibility to ensure global order. Under the guise of “nation-building at home,” and in service to traditional leftist doubt about America’s goodness, Obama has retreated in the face of aggression, and encouraged cuts in military spending in order to fund an ever-expanding entitlement state.

But also, equally, in order to make America weaker.

Meanwhile, “Republicans are busy writing their own retreat doctrine in the name of small government, civil liberties, fiscal restraint, ‘realism’,  a creeping sense of Obama-induced national decline, and a deep pessimism about America’s ability to make itself, much less the rest of the world, better.”

The “retreat doctrine” is dangerous because global disorder is a constant contingency. The remainder of Stephens’ book approaches this topic first from the perspective of theory and history, and then from today’s practice. History teaches us that all the substitutes for a liberal dominant global power have failed to prevent the descent into conflict and mass violence. The ideas of a balance of power, collective security, or the presumed peaceful dividend and “harmony of interests” created by global trade did not prevent World War I or its even more devastating sequel. Nor are they any more useful in our own times.

As for today, Stephens identifies several challenges to a global order fragilely held together by the commitment to liberal democracy, open economies, and the free circulation of ideas and trade. The “revisionists” attack this model from various perspectives. Iran sees it as a fomenter of godlessness and hedonism, Russia is moved to oppose it by “revanchism and resentment”,  and China believes that it “is a recipe for bankruptcy and laziness”,  lacking a “sense of purpose, organization, and direction”.  All three see evidence for their various critiques in the failure of the U.S. to exercise its massive power in the face of challenges, and in the willingness of American elites to revel in guilt and self-doubt. These perceptions of national decline invite rivals and enemies to behave as if the U.S. is in fact declining.

The other international players that could worsen disorder are “freelancers” and “free radicals”.  The former include those countries like Israel or Japan who, convinced that America will not act in its own or its allies’ interests, will understandably take action that necessarily entails unforeseen disastrous consequences. Much more dangerous are the “free radicals”, the jihadist gangs rampaging across 3 continents, and the nuclear proliferators like Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan’s A.Q. Khan, whose collaboration with each other and rogue regimes like Venezuela endangers the world through provoking even further proliferation on the part of rivals, or by handing off nuclear weapons to terrorist organizations. And then there are “free radicals” like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, who have undermined global order by publicizing the necessarily covert tools, practices, and institutions that undergird and protect it.

Finally, there are the structural weaknesses of the globalized economy and its continuing decline in growth, which may create “breaks” in national economic systems that “will be profoundly disruptive, potentially violent, and inherently unpredictable”. Add America’s retreat from world affairs and reductions in military spending, and in the “nearer term”, Stephens warns, “terrorists, insurgents, pirates, hackers, ‘whistleblowers’,  arms smugglers, and second-rate powers armed with weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles will be able to hold the United States inexpensively at risk”,  provoking further American retreat from world affairs and the inevitable increased aggression by our enemies and rivals.

 So what can be done? In his conclusion Stephens applies to foreign affairs the “broken windows” tactics of urban policing that caused rates of violent crimes to plummet over the last few decades. Thus “the immediate goal of U.S. foreign policy should be to arrest the continued slide into a broken-windows world of international disorder”.

This foreign policy would require increasing U.S. military spending to 5% of GDP, with a focus on increasing numbers of troops, planes, and ships rather than on overly sophisticated and expensive new weapons. It would mean stationing U.S. forces near global hotspots to serve as a deterrent and rapid-reaction force to snuff out incipient crises. It would require reciprocity from allies in military spending, who for too long have taken for granted the American defense umbrella. It would focus attention on regions and threats that really matter, particularly the borderlands of free states, in order to protect global good citizens from predators. It means acting quickly and decisively when conflict does arise, rather than wasting time in useless debates and diplomatic gabfests. Finally, it would require that Americans accept that their unprecedented global economic, cultural, and military power confers on us both vulnerability to those who envy and hate us, and responsibility for the global order on which our own security and interests depend.

No matter how understandable our traditional aversion to military and political entanglements abroad, history has made us the global policeman, one committed to human rights, accountability, and political freedom. If we abdicate that position, there is no country powerful, or worthy enough, to take our place.

We agree with that.

And Thornton tantalizes us with this:

Stephens ends with an imagined “scenario” of how a serious global disruption could occur, one grounded in current trends and thus frighteningly believable.

When we’ve found out what that scenario is, which is to say when we’ve read the book, we’ll return to this important subject.

 

*  “In his first nine months in office, President Obama has issued apologies and criticisms of America in speeches in France, England, Turkey, and Cairo; at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and the United Nations in New York City. He has apologized for what he deems to be American arrogance, dismissiveness, and derision; for dictating solutions, for acting unilaterally, and for acting without regard for others; for treating other countries as mere proxies, for unjustly interfering in the internal affairs of other nations, and for feeding anti-Muslim sentiments; for committing torture, for dragging our feet on global warming and for selectively promoting democracy.” – Mitt Romney, quoted by PolitiFact.com

Sauce for the Israeli goose … 4

… is not the same for the Coalition gander.

General Dempsey reported on Israel’s extraordinary efforts to avoid harming civilians.

The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, told an audience in New York that he believed the Israel Defense Force went to “extraordinary lengths” to limit civilian casualties in this past summer’s military conflict in Gaza.

The military leader was speaking to the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.

In addition to praising the IDF’s efforts to limit civilian casualties, Dempsey also said that the Pentagon sent a team to Israel to see what lessons could be learned from the IDF’s expertise during Operation Protective Edge. This included observing the measures taken by the IDF to prevent civilian casualties and the way in which the Israeli military dealt with the terror tunnels.

The reason this is such extraordinary news is that Israel was criticized harshly and repeatedly for failing to prevent the heavy loss of civilian life during the conflict, which saw more than a thousand Gazans die, including many civilians and children. Various human rights entities accused and continue to accuse Israel of committing war crimes. Even the White House and State Department repeatedly claimed Israel failed to do enough to prevent civilian casualties.

But when asked to address the alleged “callous indifference” by Israel to the extensive damage and civilian deaths, Dempsey told the audience that he thought the IDF “did what they could” to avoid civilian casualties.

“I actually do think that Israel went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties,” Dempsey told the group. “In this kind of conflict, where you are held to a standard that your enemy is not held to, you’re going to be criticized for civilian casualties,” he added.

Dempsey said Hamas had turned Gaza into “very nearly a subterranean society” with tunneling throughout the coastal enclave.

“That caused the IDF some significant challenges. But they did some extraordinary things to try and limit civilian casualties,” Dempsey said, which included “making it known that they were going to destroy a particular structure,” Dempsey said.

In addition to dropping warning leaflets, Dempsey said, the IDF developed a technique called “roof-knocking.” This involves dropping a low-yield explosive or non-explosive device on a rooftop. This “knocking” is a warning to residents to leave the building before it is shelled. Of course, even this effort to limit civilian casualties was criticized for not being gentle enough.

Dempsey said civilian casualties during the summer’s conflict were “tragic, but I think the IDF did what they could” to avoid them.

“The IDF is not interested in creating civilian casualties. They’re interested in stopping the shooting of rockets and missiles out of the Gaza Strip and into Israel,” Dempsey said.

(It  should also  be remembered that Hamas, the elected government of Gaza, used civilians – children in particular – as human shields, often forcing them to remain in the very buildings they had been warned were to be bombed.)

Whatever lessons the team from the Pentagon learnt from the IDF’s expertise at taking measures to prevent civilian casualties, were apparently not applied by the US when the Air Force bombed IS/ISIS/ISIL in Iraq.

AP reports:

US bombing kills children in Iraq.

Iraq’s prime minister on Wednesday ordered his first major shakeup of his military since taking office three months ago, relieving 26 army officers of their commands and retiring 10 others as a monitoring group said airstrikes by a U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State group and other extremists in neighboring Syria have killed more than 860 people, including civilians, since they began in September. …

On Wednesday, three bombings in and around the Iraqi capital killed at least 17 people and wounded nearly 40, police and hospital officials said.  …

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, meanwhile, said on Wednesday that at least 50 civilians, including eight children and five women, also have been killed in the airstrikes, the group said.

The mainstream media do not feature these deaths. The TV news screens of the West are not filled with images of these dead children. They are of less concern than the dead children of Gaza. Because the hearts of the hardboiled media bleed only when the Israelis are doing the bombing.

What did the Obama administration have to say about all this?

When Israel launched Operation Protective Edge to stop the flood of rockets being launched at its cities, and particularly when it mounted a short ground operation to locate and destroy infiltration tunnels under the border, there was the predictable response from the UN, the NGOs and Israel’s usual critics that it was causing ‘disproportionate’ civilian casualties in Gaza. Surprisingly (or not), the Obama Administration and State Department joined the chorus.

You probably recall John Kerry’s sarcastic remark that Israel had carried out a “hell of a pinpoint operation”.  And you may remember that back in July, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that “there’s more that could be done [by Israel]” to reduce civilian casualties. There are also reports of a particularly “combative” phone call from President Obama to PM Netanyahu during the war.

So [on November 8], the intrepid Matt Lee of the AP asked Psaki whether the Chairman of the JCS knew what he was talking about:

QUESTION: Yesterday, the ICC made its decision that there was no case to prosecute for war crimes in Gaza. But also yesterday – and you spoke about that very briefly here. But also yesterday, General Dempsey, who is no slouch when it comes to military things, told an audience in New York that the Israelis went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage during the Gaza war.

And I’m puzzled, because I thought it was the position of the Administration – or maybe it was just the position of the State Department and the White House – that Israel was not doing enough to live up to its – what you called its own high standards. Back on August 3rd, there was the statement you put out after the UNRWA school incident, saying that the U.S. “is appalled by today’s disgraceful shelling’. And that was some pretty fierce criticism.

How do you reconcile these two apparent divergent points of view? When this statement came out, the United States was appalled? Did that just mean the State Department was appalled?

  1. PSAKI: No, that is the position of the Administration; it remains the position of the Administration. As we made clear throughout the summer’s conflict, we supported Israel’s right to self-defense and strongly condemned Hamas’s rocket attacks that deliberately targeted civilians, and the use of tunnels, of course, of attacks into Israel. However, we also expressed deep concern and heartbreak for the civilian death toll in Gaza and made clear, as you noted in the statement you pointed to, that we believed that Israel could have done more to prevent civilian casualties, and it was important that they held their selves to a high standard. So that remains our view and position about this summer’s events.

QUESTION: Okay. But I’m still confused as to how you can reconcile the fact that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – who knows a bit about how military operations work, I would venture to guess; I don’t know him, but I assume that he wouldn’t be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff if he was – if he didn’t —

  1. PSAKI: Correct.

QUESTION: — says that the Israelis essentially did the best that they could and lived up to – by extension lived up to their high standards by taking – by going to, quote, “extraordinary lengths” to limit the collateral damage.

  1. PSAKI: Well, I would point you to the chairman’s team for his – more specifics on his comments. But it remains the broad view of the entire Administration that they could have done more and they should have taken more – all feasible precautions to prevent civilian casualties.

But the Coalition is not required to do the same? Apparently not.

So is there an element of special treatment for Israelis? Do anti-Semitic Europe and anti-Israel pro-Islam Obama set the moral bar higher for Israelis than for any others – or for themselves?

To borrow a saying: We report, you decide.

The shape of things to come 0

A “slave market” in London

[A great idea, well executed. Only, contrary to a statement that appears at the opening of the video, ISIS does represent Islam more than any other entity in the world at present.]

This story, by Damien Sharkov, comes from Newsweek:

Kurdish protesters took to the streets of London to draw attention to the slave-trade tactics of Islamic State, a group more commonly known as ISIS, in a mock auction of captured women from territories in Iraq and Syria yesterday evening.

The protest led a group of chained veiled women and encouraged passers by to bid for them in front of the Houses of Parliament, Leicester Square and Downing Street.

“This is what Shariah means,” the speaker for the mock ISIS group belted from a megaphone at the first of three protests.

“This happens every day in Iraq and Syria. We are bringing it to you,” he yelled while leading a group of four chained and veiled women in front of Westminster Square, followed by 20 protesters chanting “ISIS, ISIS, terrorists!”

Once the group reached the entrance to Westminster Hall the leader proceeded in encouraging passersby to bid on the captured women “to serve them, for their pleasure.”

The speaker for the “ISIS” auctioneers boasted he had “Christian women, Muslim women, women from Kobane, from Raqqah, from Mosul,” before beginning the bidding with 14-year-old Yasmin whom bidders were assured was “pure” and “a virgin.”

Each of the women was “sold” for several hundred dollars before the protesters cleared and went home.

isis-market

One of the protest’s organizers … [said that] the stunt was intended to provoke an “aggravated reaction,” highlighting the “crimes ISIS are committing in Iraq and Syria.”

“What we wanted to show is that this could take place in London,” he said.

“This is not a myth. This [ISIS-type terrorism] is already happening on our streets,” he added, alluding to the murder of Lee Rigby on a London street last year at the hands of Islamist militants. …

“The unfortunate truth is ISIS are already implementing their terror among us. We were trying to wake up the British public to the danger ISIS pose on humanity.”

isis-protest

How did “Londonistan” react?

The protesters encountered some hostility on the way with one of the three mock auctions being interrupted by a complaint that the protest “had put people off their drinks.”

Police had to stop some passersby from confronting protesters. …

Having suspicious minds, and being quite well-informed, we suspect the passersby who would have liked to object were mainly Muslim.

No arrests were made, and there was no violence on the streets.

But elsewhere in Europe and in Turkey, Kurds and ISIS-supporting Muslims battled fiercely. The Middle East war is spreading.

This is from the Independent:

Dozens were injured in Germany after clashes erupted between Kurdish protesters and hard-line Islamists [namely, Salafist Muslims] overnight. Police say 14 were injured and 22 arrested in violent scuffles in the northern city of Hamburg after hundreds of Kurds staged a demonstration against ISIS,  also known as the Islamic State. Similar protests were held across Europe yesterday by Kurds attempting to draw attention to ISIS’s siege of the Kurdish town of Kobani in northern Syria.

These pictures of the violent clashes in Turkey are from the MailOnline:

1412714867119_wps_32_A_public_bus_burned_by_Ku

 

And this picture is from Hamburg:

1412764550861_wps_37_A_policewoman_carries_awa

For many more dramatic pictures of Kurdish-Muslim violence in Turkey and Hamburg go here.

There were also demonstrations by Kurds in Belgium, France, Switzerland and Denmark. In France – in Marseilles – the Kurdish protestors were violent, hurling Molotov cocktails at the Turkish consulate.

Oil: the market triumphs 2

Despite all President Obama’s efforts to prevent it, the US is winning the oil game. Because no human force is stronger than the market.

The knuckleheads of the Left love to hurl the accusation in the faces of conservatives that the presidents Bush “only went to war against Iraq because of oil”. (As if they themselves would never think of driving a gas-fueled car – or would be perfectly content not to.)

The accusation is not true. But perhaps the US should have gone to war against one or more Middle Eastern powers “because of oil”.

Oil is a very good reason to go to war. Would have been, when the Saudis had OPEC hyping the oil price in 1973. The results for the US and Western Europe were dire.

This is from Wikipedia:

In October 1973, OPEC declared an oil embargo in response to the United States’ and Western Europe’s support of Israel in the Yom Kippur War of 1973. The result was a rise in oil prices from $3 per barrel to $12 and the commencement of gas rationing. Other factors in the rise in gasoline prices included a market and consumer panic reaction, the peak of oil production in the United States around 1970 and the devaluation of the U.S. dollar. U.S. gas stations put a limit on the amount of gasoline that could be dispensed, closed on Sundays, and limited the days gasoline could be purchased based on license plates.

Even after the embargo concluded, prices continued to rise. The Oil Embargo of 1973 had a lasting effect on the United States. The Federal government got involved first with President Richard Nixon recommending citizens reduce their speed for the sake of conservation, and later Congress issuing a 55 mph limit at the end of 1973. Daylight savings time was extended year round to reduce electrical use in the American home. Smaller, more fuel efficient cars were manufactured. Nixon also formed the Energy Department as a cabinet office. People were asked to decrease their thermostats to 65 degrees and factories changed their main energy supply to coal.

One of the most lasting effects of the 1973 oil embargo was a global economic recession. Unemployment rose to the highest percentage on record while inflation also spiked. Consumer interest in large gas guzzling vehicles fell and production dropped. Although the embargo only lasted a year, during that time oil prices had quadrupled and OPEC nations discovered that their oil could be used as both a political and economic weapon against other nations.

War then would have been a far better answer to the Saudis than meek acceptance buttered with sycophancy.

War and drilling. Drilling wherever there was oil in America and off-shore. Including Alaska. Ignoring the Environmentalists with their philosophy of impoverishment.

Now all is changing. The US is becoming the biggest oil producer in the world. The Saudis and the other Middle Eastern tyrannies have no resource other than the oil discovered under their ground and developed into riches for them, by the infidel. And now they are losing it.

They, and all the evil powers that have wielded oil as a weapon, are taking desperate measures. Which will fail.

This is from Investor’s Business Daily:

With Saudi Arabia ramping up oil production, prices are tumbling, and the world’s petrotyrants — Iran, Russia and Venezuela — are taking a hit. Seems the old high-price, low-production tactic isn’t foolproof.

The Saudis don’t seem to be interested in budging. As prices fell to $83 a barrel for November-delivery crude, they’ve ramped up production even as others call on them to stop.

The first call came from fiscal shambles Venezuela, for an emergency meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries [OPEC] for a production hike. They were coldly rebuffed.

And on Tuesday, Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal — a Saudi entrepreneur with a lot of non-oil money who sometimes plays gadfly to the regime — warned that the kingdom would fail to balance its own budget if oil prices went below $80. But he, too, was rebuffed.

It all may be because Saudi Arabia has a strategic need to check Iran over its nuclear program and financing of Islamic State terror and to discipline Russia for its support for the Assad regime in Syria.

It’s also almost certainly a response to the great shale revolution in the U.S., which has slashed U.S. dependency on oil exports to 20% from 60% a decade ago.

A Chilean-based entrepreneur told IBD last year that the greatest fear of Saudi Arabia’s king was America’s shale revolution, which was cutting into Saudi’s role as the world’s swing producer of oil.

However it spills out, the Saudi move to raise production may be the most dramatic move to shake events since President Reagan forced the bankruptcy of the Soviet empire by … asking the Saudis to raise production, which they did.

With this most recent move, the petrotyranny model of using oil as a weapon against smaller neighbors and the U.S. is effectively dead. Over the past decade, all of the states that have staked their futures on the power of oil have effectively burned their bridges to other models for building their economies.

When Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez took over in 1998, he scrapped that nation’s high-production, low-price, high-market-share strategy. In its place came a “model” based on high prices for consumers, low output and the expropriation of state oil company profits to pay for bigger government and an expansive welfare state, leaving the company without investment.

Foreign oil properties were also expropriated, including Exxon Mobil’s in 2007. It provided a short-term boost but left the country one of the most unattractive in the world for foreign investment and capital.

Russia, meanwhile, adopted a somewhat similar strategy after its 1998 crash. It focused on becoming a petropower, much to the detriment of the rest of the economy.

Today, more than three-quarters of Russia’s economy is oil-based, leaving it dependent on high oil prices with no balance from other sectors and wasting its most valuable asset: a well-educated workforce.

Instead of diversifying, Russia used energy as a weapon, repeatedly cutting off Ukraine’s natural gas supplies since 2009 in a bid to force its neighbor to toe the Moscow line, as well as to “Finlandize” its eastern and central European neighbors into fearing more energy cutoffs.

Then there’s Iran, whose illegal nuclear program has enjoyed soggy indifference in Europe based on the region’s dependence on Iranian oil.

These three troublemakers share one thing in common: a strategy of high oil prices and low production, plus a willingness to interfere with markets to make them into power games.

But as it turns out, that strategy was another kind of dependency. And the Saudis, egged on by the shale revolution, have just ended it.

Market manipulation is peculiar. In 1998, the Saudis tried to cut output to keep crude prices from falling further. It didn’t work. From that, they learned a valuable right lesson: Nothing is bigger than market forces.

Now, the world’s remaining petrotyrants are about to be schooled as well.

Time for a little quiet celebration. And it doesn’t have to be only a little or very quiet.

Let us crow.

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