If it sears the mind of a decent person merely to imagine the suffering of Raif Badawi as he is subjected to his punishment of 1000 lashes, administered 50 at a time once a week for 20 weeks, knowing what the punishment is being inflicted for could make his blood boil.
First, here’s a short description of the first day of Raif’s lashings from a site we’ve never visited before named 360NoBS:
A Saudi blogger declared guilty of insulting Islam was brought after Friday prayers to a public square in the port city of Jeddah and flogged 50 times before hundreds of spectators.
Reports further stated that he would receive 50 lashes once a week for 20 weeks. …
Despite international pleas for his release, Badawi, a father of three, was brought from prison by bus to the public square on Friday and flogged on the back in front of a crowd that had just finished midday prayers at a nearby mosque.
His face was visible and, throughout the flogging, he clenched his eyes and remained silent, said the witness.
The witness, who also has close knowledge of the case, said the lashing lasted about 15 minutes.
Badawi has been held since mid-2012 after he founded the Free Saudi Liberals blog. … He used it to criticise the kingdom’s influential clerics …
He was originally sentenced in 2013 to seven years in prison and 600 lashes in relation to the charges, but after an appeal the judge stiffened the punishment.
Following his arrest, his wife and children left the kingdom for Canada.
Rights groups argue that the case against Badawi is part of a wider crackdown on freedom of speech and dissent in Saudi Arabia since the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings. Criticism of clerics is seen as a red line because of their prestige in the kingdom, as well as their influential role in supporting government policies.
The man shackled to a whipping post in this picture from 360NoBS may or may not be Raif Badawi,
but in any case it serves to illustrate Islam’s infliction of agony, humiliation, misery, and despair .
Denis MacEoin writes at Gatestone:
[Raif Badaw’s] first 50 lashes were administered Friday. After the noon prayers, outside the mosque, Saudi writer and blogger Raif Badawi, 30, received a sentence perhaps worse than death. Accused of “insulting Islam,” he is to receive 1000 lashes: 50 per week for 20 weeks — nearly half a year. “The lashing order says Raif should ‘be lashed very severely,'” a twitter notice read. “If they lash him again next week we do not know if he is going to survive. He has no medical assistance,” another notice said.
After that, he is to spend ten years in prison and pay a fine of $266,000. If he ever leaves prison, his life will have been destroyed…
His wife and three children have been given asylum in Canada. Her family has filed for divorce on the grounds of his supposed apostasy. …
Badawi had written, “My commitment is… to reject any repression in the name of religion… a goal that we will reach in a peaceful, law-abiding way.”
He is alleged to have criticized the Wahhabi clergy who run his country hand in hand with the royal family. Muslims seem not to be able to handle questions, reasoned criticism or satire. …
Nadeem Malik, the UK Director of the Bahu Trust, a Sufi Muslim charity that “espouses the virtues of tolerance, peaceful co-existence and equality” said: “Our Prophet would have been absolutely crystal clear and unequivocal in condemning any such action. That’s not in the name of Islam at all, and Muslims are sick of having their faith hijacked in this manner.”
I do not doubt Mr. Malik’s sincerity, and I respect the Islamic tradition (Barelwi) from which he comes as one more in keeping with a non-violent interpretation.
We are sick of hearing that this or that group of violent Muslims have “hijacked” the religion of Islam. Islam enjoins violence.
It is a myth that Sufis are against violence. The Muslim murderers of some 385 people, including 186 small children, at a school in Beslan, Russia, in September 2004, were Sufis.
But his statement sharply points out why there is a problem. He was – quite innocently, I am sure – completely wrong.
The writer shouldn’t be sure. We unhesitatingly doubt his innocence. Either he knows he is lying, or he is unable to understand the words of the Koran, the Sunna, and the Hadith, and knows nothing of Islam’s own tales of Muhammad.
There is an inspiration for attacks like those on writers, cartoonists, and film-makers: France’s Charlie Hebdo journalists; Amsterdam’s Theo van Gogh; Denmark’s Kurt Westergaard, Carsten Juste, and Flemming Rose, and Sweden’s Lars Vilks – as well as the assassination attempt on the Nobel Prize winning Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz and the fatwa for the murder of the British writer Salman Rushdie. The inspiration for this behavior is not that the Prophet Muhammad was lampooned or criticized or mocked. The inspiration for this behavior is that Muhammad himself would have ordered or approved such attacks as revenge for assaults on his honour.
Shortly after his move from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE, for instance, when he became the effective ruler of the town, opponents emerged in the Jewish and wider communities. Poets wrote lampoons and disrespectful verses. Muhammad had them killed. Not just poets, but almost anyone who disagreed with him and his “revelations.”
In 624, for example, a Jewish poet named Ka’b ibn al-Ashraf wrote verses condemning the killing of notables from Mecca. He later became a one-man Charlie Hebdo, writing obscene and erotic verses about the Muslim women. Muhammad took offense and instructed one of his companions, Muhammad ibn Maslama, to assassinate Ka’b. When Ibn Maslama expressed doubts about having to lie to Ka’b in order to trick him into going with him, Muhammad told him lying was permissible for such purposes. Ibn Maslama and some other Muslims went out with Ka’b under false pretenses and murdered him.
Ka’b ibn al-Ahraf was not Muhammad’s only victim. … There is a list in WikiIslam of 43 people – as well as all the men from the Jewish tribe of the Banu Qurayza – who were killed on Muhammad’s orders or whose murders were sanctioned by him.
Today the lashes of Raif Badawi stand with the slaughter at Charlie Hebdo as further symbols of the determination of many extremists to reject the norms of reason, tolerance, pluralism, equality, the Universal Declaration human rights and the value that begins every chapter but one of the Qur’an: mercy.
This cannot be said often or emphatically enough: It is not a case of Islamic “extremists” rejecting reason, but of Islam itself being an ideology totally in opposition to reason.
All “faiths” reject reason by definition. Islam punishes it.
Horrible news from Gatestone by Valentina Colombo:
Raif Badawi, a Saudi blogger, has been sentenced to 1000 lashes, ten years in jail and a fine of $270,000 for a blog regarded by Saudi Arabia’s regime as insulting Islam.
The lashing was due to be carried out today, so we are assuming that it was, at least in part. So many lashes have been ordered, the torturer will probably need several sessions to complete his assignment. After which, of course, Reason itself will have learnt its lesson and never dare utter a word in Saudi Arabia again.
Badawi was condemned, according to Amnesty International, for having co-founded a website, “Saudi Arabian Liberals,” and for having written and published on it … as well as on Facebook and Twitter …
He criticized and made fun of Saudi institutions such as the Commission for the Promotion of Goodness and the Prohibition of Vice (also known as “the religious police”), the Saudi Grand Mufti, other Saudi ulema [religious scholars].
The long sentence of the Criminal Court of the district of Jeddah stated that he had undermined the “public order”.
In an interview published in August 2007 by the liberal website Afaaq, Badawi stated that “liberals in Saudi Arabia live between the anvil of State and the hammer of the religious police”.
He also said this:
My commitment is to the advancement of civil society in my country, to reject any repression in the name of religion, to promote liberal* enlightened Saudis whose primary objective is being active in civil society, a goal that we will reach in a peaceful and law-abiding way.
Saudi blogger Raif Badawi (left) and his lawyer Walid Abu al-Khayr
We can only hope that this intelligent and brave young man, a secularist and probably an atheist, survives his appalling ordeal, and his ten years in a notoriously hellish Arab prison.
It would be going too far to hope that his fate will persuade the political leaders of the Western world that Islam is a primitive savage cruel ideology rather than the “beautiful religion” they insistently tell us it is.
* We think and hope he means “liberal” in the true sense of the word: favoring freedom. Not in the contemporary American sense: not favoring freedom.
Slavery is not a thing of the past. Some 36 million people are counted this year as slaves. And there are certainly countless more.
Many domestic servants in Arab countries – Saudi Arabia for instance – are not counted as slaves because in theory they are paid wages, but their conditions of work are conditions of enslavement and many go unpaid in practice.
Almost the entire population of North Korea could be described as enslaved in their own country. And according to the Guardian: “Thousands of migrant labourers from North Korea are toiling for years on construction sites in Qatar for virtually no pay – including on the vast new metropolis that is the centrepiece of the World Cup – in what may amount to “state-sponsored slavery”.
And the number of slaves is growing continually, as men of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) – among other devout Muslims – sell women and girls in open slave markets.
Yahoo! News reports:
The Walk Free Foundation, an Australian-based human rights group, estimated in its inaugural slavery index last year that 29.8 million people were born into servitude, trafficked for sex work, trapped in debt bondage or exploited for forced labour.
Releasing its second annual index, Walk Free increased its estimate of the number of slaves to 35.8 million, saying this was due to better data collection and slavery being uncovered in areas where it had not been found previously.
For the second year, the index of 167 countries found India had by far the greatest number of slaves. Up to 14.3 million people in its population of 1.25 billion were victims of slavery, ranging from prostitution to bonded labour.
Mauritania was again the country where slavery was most prevalent by head of population while Qatar, host of the 2022 World Cup, rose up the rank from 96th place to be listed as the fourth worst country by percentage of the population.
“From children denied an education by being forced to work or marry early, to men unable to leave their work because of crushing debts they owe to recruitment agents, to women and girls exploited as unpaid, abused domestic workers, modern slavery has many faces,” the report said.
“It still exists today, in every country – modern slavery affects us all.”
The index defines slavery as the control or possession of people in such a way as to deprive them of their freedom with the intention of exploiting them for profit or sex, usually through violence, coercion or deception.
The definition includes indentured servitude, forced marriage and the abduction of children to serve in wars.
Hereditary slavery is deeply entrenched in the West African country of Mauritania, where four percent of the population of 3.9 million is estimated to be enslaved, the report said.
After Mauritania, slavery was most prevalent in Uzbekistan, where citizens are forced to pick cotton every year to meet state-imposed cotton quotas, and Haiti, where the practice of sending poor children to stay with richer acquaintances or relatives routinely leads to abuse and forced labour, it said. …
The next highest prevalence rates were found in India, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Syria and Central African Republic.
The index showed that 10 countries alone account for 71 percent of the world’s slaves.
After India, China has the most with 3.2 million, then Pakistan (2.1 million), Uzbekistan (1.2 million), Russia (1.05 million), Nigeria (834,200), Democratic Republic of Congo (762,900), Indonesia (714,100), Bangladesh (680,900) and Thailand (475,300).
And last year’s report by the Walk Free Foundation recorded this shocking information:
The United States, per capita, has a very low rate of slavery: just 0.02 percent, or one in every 5,000 people. But that adds up to a lot: an estimated 60,000 slaves, right here in America.
And this year?
Here’s the 2014 Walk Free Foundation’s map:
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.
… and put an end to ISIS and all ISLAM with one blow?
In our recent post Freedom from religion (October 6, 2014), we mentioned that a rock could be an object of worship.
There was an ancient tradition in Arabia of anointing and circumambulating stones as a form of worship. Many of the worshipped stones were meteorites. As they came “from the heavens” they were thought to be sent by a god and to contain divine powers. One such stone, long since fragmented, is the one enshrined at Mecca, that Muslims hold sacred and circumambulate.
The Black Stone (Arabic: الحجر الأسود al-Ḥajar al-Aswad) is the eastern cornerstone of the Kaaba, the ancient stone building toward which Muslims pray, in the center of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is revered by Muslims as an Islamic relic which, according to Muslim tradition, dates back to the time of Adam and Eve.
The stone was venerated at the Kaaba in pre-Islamic pagan times. According to Islamic tradition, it was set intact into the Kaaba’s wall by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the year 605 A.D., five years before his first revelation. Since then it has been broken into a number of fragments and is now cemented into a silver frame in the side of the Kaaba. Its physical appearance is that of a fragmented dark rock, polished smooth by the hands of millions of pilgrims. Islamic tradition holds that it fell from Heaven to show Adam and Eve where to build an altar. Although it has often been described as a meteorite, this hypothesis is now uncertain.
Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba as part of the tawaf ritual of the hajj. Many of them try, if possible, to stop and kiss the Black Stone, emulating the kiss that Islamic tradition records that it received from Muhammad. If they cannot reach it, they point to it on each of their seven circuits around the Kaaba.
The broken stone has no value in itself; not as a gem, not as a meteorite sample, and not as a relic of the past. It is not an artifact that could reveal information about ancient civilizations. It is not unique. It is endowed with value only by tradition and superstition.
It could, however, be of enormous importance to the world. The destruction of it – by pulverizing it so completely that no trace of it remains – could be hugely beneficial.
We quote from: Hitler, Stalin, Muhammad: Who ranks as the most evil human ever? by Dov Ivry (a reader of this website) –
Whether what remains on display at Mecca today is the original meteorite is open to question because there are only fragments in a reconstructed edifice. [However,] the remembrance of a stone falling from the sky rings true. … They keep changing the label on the meteorite god. Today it is called Allah. …
Islam, as the worship of the pet rock is known, is always vulnerable to a sudden disappearance from the planet if [the Black Stone] were ever pulverized into powder and the powder scattered over the Pacific Ocean. An atomic bomb might produce that powder at some point. If so, Islam would vanish within a few generations.
If that outcome really is a strong probability, then the sooner the Kaaba is bombed the better (obviously at a time when there are no pilgrims there). Conventional bombs would do. It could be the quickest way of ending the jihad, the Islamic State, and the conflict between Islamic sects, and above all its disappearance might free the world of at least one ancient and persistent religion – the worst of them all: Islam.
The Black Stone
Along with “The UN must be destroyed!”, “Bomb the Kaaba!” takes its place as a slogan of ours.
Much dust is being thrown in our eyes to keep us from seeing what’s really happening with the air (and airy) war against the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL).
Have you noticed that while every reporter, commentator and talk-show host repeats the Obama-Kerry boast that “five Arab states” are joining in the US bombing war on the Islamic State, nobody ever names them?
Mention has been made of the United Arab Republic sending planes, and as if to prove its involvement we are shown a picture of a smiling young woman pilot. But nothing is said about UAR targets and whether they were hit and whether they were destroyed.
Word is also dropped that Saudi Arabian planes were in the skies over IS territory. What did they do? Nobody says.
According to a Coptic source, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, revealed that only when five Arab governments gave assurances they would join the bombing operation over Syria against the Islamic State, did President Obama “give the order to commence the operation”.
The Coptic report names the five Arab states as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Jordan. The story is put about that they “participated in the airstrikes Monday in eastern Syria”.
Why are we skeptical?
Qatar has actively aided IS/ISIS/ISIL. (So, according to the same report, has Saudi Arabia – along with Turkey and Kuwait.)
Bahrain is in chaos.
Jordan has declared itself willing to supply intelligence. And while there was a rumor of Jordanian planes participating in the flights over Syria there was not even a whisper about them actually dropping any bombs on their fellow Sunnis.
Nothing is clear:
A U.S. official said that all five Arab countries were believed to have joined U.S. warplanes, although it is still unclear how many countries dropped bombs during the operation. The official asked not to be identified to discuss sensitive operational details.
Plainly he’s been told to be vague and say as little as possible.
Dempsey said that the first Arab government told U.S. officials that it would participate in attacks on Syria “within the last 72 hours” and that once that occurred, the other four soon promised to participate. He would not identify which country was the first to back the U.S. airstrikes.
“Once we had one of them on board the others followed quickly thereafter,” he said. …
Verbally on board, that is.
Dempsey said he was still awaiting information about how much damage the strikes had inflicted on the militants.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs still awaiting such information? That was not a convincing reply. He quickly brushed the question aside.
The importance [he said] was the signal the attacks sent to Islamic State that its fighters, camps, equipment and leadership are vulnerable in Syria …
The signal is important. And a signal is as much apparently as could be squeezed out of the five Arab governments.
There are still major questions about how committed governments in the region are helping the U.S. and Iraq, whose government is dominated by Shia Arabs, against the well-armed militants, who have claimed large areas of eastern Syria and western and northern Iraq over the last year.
But being able to claim their alliance is all important to Obama. Why? Because –
Having Arab governments as part of the coalition helps “strip away the cloak of religious legitimacy that [Islamic State] has wrapped itself in and point out to these Muslim populations that ISIL is nothing but a perversion of Islam.”
Got that? Obama needs to tell the Islamic world that the Islamic State is “nothing but a perversion of Islam”.
He could not bear Muslims to think that he is making war on Islam. So Islamic states must be believed to be helping him bomb IS in Syria.
But the only bombing we know about with any degree of certainty is being done by the US Air Force.
Can’t you just hear the voice of the Kerry begging, threatening, cajoling the five Arab governments just to say that they are in alliance with America?
Charles Krauthammer the Wise writes:
Late, hesitant and reluctant as he is, President Obama has begun effecting a workable strategy against the Islamic State. True, he’s been driven there by public opinion. Does anyone imagine that without the broadcast beheadings we’d be doing anything more than pinprick strikes within Iraq? …
The strategy will not destroy the Islamic State. It’s more containment-plus: Expel the Islamic State from Iraq, contain it in Syria. Because you can’t win from the air. In Iraq, we have potential ground allies. In Syria, we don’t. …
The Kurds will fight, but not far beyond their own territory. A vigorous air campaign could help them recover territory lost to the Islamic State and perhaps a bit beyond. But they won’t be anyone’s expeditionary force.
From the Shiites in Iraq we should expect little. U.S. advisers embedded with a few highly trained Iraqi special forces could make some progress. But we cannot count on the corrupt and demoralized regular Shiite-dominated military.
Our key potential allies are the Sunni tribes. We will have to induce them to change allegiances a second time, joining us again, as they did during the 2007-2008 surge, against the jihadists.
Having abandoned them in 2011, we won’t find this easy. But it is necessary. One good sign is the creation of a Sunni national guard, a descendant of the Sons of Iraq who, fighting with us, expelled al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) during the Anbar Awakening. Only they could push the Islamic State out of Iraq. And surely only they could hold the territory regained.
But they haven’t even started doing anything yet.
Syria is another matter. Under the current strategy, the cancer will remain. The air power there is unsupported by ground troops. Nor is anyone in Obama’s “broad coalition” going to contribute any.
[Non-Arab] Turkey … is not just refusing to join the air campaign. [It] has denied us use of [its] air bases.
As for what’s left of the Free Syrian Army, Obama has finally come around to training and arming it. But very late and very little. The administration admits it won’t be able to field any trained forces for a year. And even then only about 5,000. The Islamic State is already approximately 30,000 strong and growing.
But the Free Syrian Army is in alliance with groups affiliated with al-Qaeda and even possibly with IS itself (see here and here). Arming it may be an act of sheer folly. Those US arms may be used before long against Americans.
Not that air power is useless. It can degrade and disrupt. If applied systematically enough it can damage the entrenched, expanding, secure and self-financing Islamic State, turning it back to more of a fugitive guerrilla force constantly on the run. …
Can it? In any case, as Obama admitted –
This war he’s renewed will take years. This struggle is generational. …
Today jihadism is global, its religious and financial institutions ubiquitous and its roots deeply sunk in a world religion of more than a billion people. We are on a path — long, difficult, sober, undoubtedly painful — of long-term, low-intensity rollback/containment.
Krauthammer ends by saying that “Obama must now demonstrate the steel to carry it through”.
Obama demonstrate steel? Has he got some? Where has he been hiding it? He was “late, hesitant and reluctant” to start doing anything. If he carries the war on until the end of his tenure it will only be because he can think of no way to stop it.
Secretary of State Kerry says 40 countries will be in coalition with the US in its war with IS/ISIS/ISIL.
Which states would those be?
According to CNN:
On Sunday, Kerry said countries in the Middle East are willing to help with strikes against ISIS, but … “it’s not appropriate to start announcing which nations will participate and what each will do.”
Because you see, fact is, apart from the US, nobody’s doin’ nothin’ nohow – except make a few promises with their fingers crossed.
Australia says it will send up to eight combat aircraft, one airborne early warning and control aircraft, and one multirole tanker and transport aircraft. In case somebody over there knows how to use them. No troops.
Great Britain says it would seriously consider helping to arm Kurdish forces if Kurdish forces were to fight ISIS beyond their own borders.
Canada says it already sent sent some ammunition to somebody and will maybe send some advisers to somewhere in Iraq.
France declares that it has contributed 18,000 rounds of .50-caliber ammunition. And, what is more, it has performed one or two humanitarian aid drops to refugees somewhere in the region. And more still – it promises to do some bombing perhaps at some time. Somewhere.
The Netherlands says it will definitely try to stop would-be fighters leaving to go and help ISIS.
Turkey says, word of honor, it will cut the flow of money to ISIS and… and … has already begun to think about how to stop foreigners crossing its territory to join ISIS.
Jordan says it will provide intelligence.
Saudi Arabia says it will train fighters against ISIS if any present themselves for such training. Also, along with Qatar and Egypt, it will spread anti-ISIS messages and encourage imams to say really nasty things against the group.
Iran has said it will do absolutely nothing to help the US which, it says, is only fighting ISIS because it wants to dominate the region. (At present Iran is dominating much of the region.)
Iraqi Kurdistan is willing to send their Peshmerga forces to fight beyond their borders if and when there’s a comprehensive international strategy put in place – which there is not.
The remaining 30 – unnamed – participating countries are keeping information about their contributions each to itself. They’re not even telling Kerry. Why be so nosy? They deserve a little privacy, don’t they? It’s every state’s right.
President Sisi of Egypt has offered to cede half of Sinai to be joined with Gaza to create an independent state of Palestine. The importance of this development cannot be overestimated.
Caroline Glick reports and comments:
Something extraordinary has happened.
On August 31, PLO chief and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told an audience of Fatah members that Egypt had offered to give the PA some 1,600 kilometers of land in Sinai adjacent to Gaza, thus quintupling the size of the Gaza Strip. Egypt even offered to allow all the so-called “Palestinian refugees” to settle in the expanded Gaza Strip.
Then Abbas told his Fatah followers that he rejected the Egyptian offer.
On Monday Army Radio substantiated Abbas’s claim.
According to Army Radio, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi proposed that the Palestinians establish their state in the expanded Gaza Strip and accept limited autonomy over parts of Judea and Samaria.
In exchange for this state, the Palestinians would give up their demand that Israel shrink into the indefensible 1949 armistice lines, surrendering Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. Sisi argued that the land Egypt is offering in Sinai would more than compensate for the territory that Abbas would concede.
In his speech to Fatah members, Abbas said, “They [the Egyptians] are prepared to receive all the refugees, [and are saying] ‘Let’s end the refugee story’.” “But,” he insisted, “It’s illogical for the problem to be solved at Egypt’s expense. We won’t have it.”
In other words, Sisi offered Abbas a way to end the Palestinians’ suffering and grant them political independence. And Abbas said, “No, forget statehood. Let them suffer.”
Generations of Israeli leaders and strategists have insisted that Israel does not have the ability to satisfy the Palestinian demands by itself without signing its own death warrant. To satisfy the Palestinian demand for statehood, Israel’s neighbors in Egypt and Jordan would have to get involved.
Until Sisi made his proposal, no Arab leader ever seriously considered actually doing what must be done. …
“What must be done” being an Arab solution to the Palestinian refugee problem.
Very recently there have been huge shifts in the relations of Middle Eastern states with each other and with Israel. The amazing thing, that could not have been predicted or even imagined two years ago, is that some Arab states now see Israel as an essential ally.
So what is driving Sisi? How do we account for this dramatic shift? In offering the Palestinians a large swathe of the Sinai, Sisi is not acting out of altruism. He is acting out of necessity. From his perspective, and from the perspective of his non-jihadist Sunni allies in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the Palestinian campaign against Israel is dangerous.
Facing the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, and the rise of jihadist forces from al-Qaida to the Islamic State to the Muslim Brotherhood, the non-jihadist Sunnis no longer believe that the prolongation of the Palestinian jihad against Israel is in their interest.
Egypt and Jordan have already experienced the spillover of the Palestinian jihad. Hamas has carried out attacks in Egypt. The Palestinian jihad nearly destroyed Lebanon and Jordan. Egypt and Saudi Arabia now view Israel as a vital ally in their war against the Sunni jihadists and their struggle against Iran and its hegemonic ambitions. They recognize that Israeli action against Sunni and Shi’ite jihadists in Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran serves the interests of non-jihadi Sunnis. And, especially after the recent conflict in Gaza, they realize that the incessant Palestinian campaign against Israel ultimately strengthens the jihadist enemies of Egypt and Saudi Arabia like Hamas.
Apparently, Sisi’s offer to Abbas is an attempt to help the Palestinian people and take the Palestinian issue out of the hands of Palestinian jihadists.
Unfortunately for Sisi and his fellow non-jihadist Sunnis, Abbas is having none of this.
In rejecting Sisi’s offer Abbas stood true to his own record, to the legacies of every Palestinian leader since Nazi agent [the “Grand Mufti”] Haj Amin el-Husseini, and to the declared strategic goal of his own Fatah party and his coalition partners in Hamas.
Since Husseini invented the Palestinians in the late 1920s, their leaders’ primary goals have never been the establishment of a Palestinian state or improving the lives of Palestinians. Their singular goal has always been the destruction of the Jewish state, (or state-in-themaking before 1948).
Sisi offered to end Palestinian suffering and provide the Palestinians with the land they require to establish a demilitarized state. Abbas rejected it because he is only interested hurting Israel. If Israel is not weakened by their good fortune, then the Palestinians should continue to suffer.
For Israel, Sisi’s proposal is a windfall.
First of all, it indicates that the Egyptian-Saudi- UAE decision to back Israel against Hamas in Operation Protective Edge was not a fluke. It was part of an epic shift in their strategic assessments.
And if their regimes survive, their assessments are unlikely to change so long as Iran and the Sunni jihadists continue to threaten them.
This means that for the first time since Israel allied with Britain and France against Egypt in 1956, Israel can make strategic plans as part of a coalition.
Second, Sisi’s plan is good for Israel on its merits.
The only way to stabilize the situation in Gaza and comprehensively defeat Hamas and the rest of the terrorist armies there is by expanding Gaza. …
Sisi’s plan is a boon for Israel as well because it calls Abbas’s bluff.
Abbas is genuflected to by the US and the EU who insist that he is a moderate. The Israeli Left insists that he is the only thing that stands between Israel and destruction.
Yet here we see him openly acknowledging that from a strategic perspective, he is no different from the last of the jihadists. He prefers to see his people … without a state to call their own, than to see Israel benefit in any way.
Abbas’s rejection of Sisi’s offer demonstrates yet again that he and his Fatah comrades are the problem, not the solution.Continued faith in the PLO as a partner in peace and moderation is foolish and dangerous. He would rather see Hamas and Iran flourish than share a peaceful future with Israel.
The only reason that Abbas is able to continuously reject all offers of statehood and an end to Palestinian suffering, while expanding his diplomatic war against Israel and supporting his coalition partner’s terror war, is because the US and Europe continue to blindly support him.
The final way that Sisi’s offer helps Israel is by showing the futility of the West’s strategy of supporting Abbas.
According to Army Radio’s report, both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the Obama administration have been briefed on the Egyptian plan. The Americans reportedly support it. …
Obama supports Sisi’s plan? What has he said about it? We wait to see how the media reports Sisi’s offer, Abbas’s rejection of it, and Obama’s reaction to it.
Sisi’s offer is a challenge to the US and Europe.
Sisi’s offer shows Washington and Brussels that to solve the Palestinian conflict with Israel, they need to stand with Israel, even if this means abandoning Abbas.
If they do so, they can take credit for achieving their beloved two-state solution. If they fail to do so, they will signal that their primary goal is not peace, but something far less constructive.
Under Obama, America has switched sides.
Caroline Glick, one of the most astute reporters and commentators on Middle East affairs, draws that conclusion, and explains why:
When US President Barack Obama phoned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday night … he ended any remaining doubt regarding his policy toward Israel and Hamas.
Obama told Netanyahu that Israel must lose. He wants an unconditional “humanitarian” cease-fire that will lead to a permanent one.
And he wants it now.
And … the eventual terms of that cease-fire must include opening Hamas-controlled Gaza’s borders with Egypt and Israel and ending Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza coast.
That is, the cease-fire must allow Hamas to rebuild its arsenal of death and destruction quickly, with US political and financial support. …
Obama is siding with Hamas, and its Muslim Brotherhood patrons in Qatar and Turkey, against Israel, and its Sunni Arab supporters – Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.
It is Obama who demands that Hamas have open borders so it can resupply, and receive billions of dollars – starting with an immediate cash injection of $47 million from US taxpayers – so it can pay North Korea for more missiles and import building materials to reconstruct its tunnels. …
[Obama’s] White House will never acknowledge that Israel is in the right, or that it is fighting a moral war against a barbaric foe. And since the administration will never be satisfied, Israel can expect to be condemned by various UN bodies, including the Security Council, because no matter what it does to try to earn the support of the administration, it will never receive such support. …
The [Israeli] Left understands that the administration’s behavior has destroyed it. Leftists can no longer say that Israeli territorial withdrawals will win it international support. They can no longer say that Israel will receive US support if it places the security of Palestinian civilians above the security of its own civilians and military forces. They can no longer say that the PLO is the answer.
The Israeli Left has been Obama’s ace in the hole since he first ran for office, fresh from the pews in Jeremiah Wright’s anti-Semitic church. … They were the ones who could be counted on to tell the US media and the American Jews that Netanyahu is to blame for Obama’s hostility. …
Through his actions, Obama demonstrated that his “love affairs with the Muslim Brotherhood in the region,” are so central to his foreign policy calculations that he is willing to destroy the Israeli Left in order to strengthen the Brotherhood.
And this leads us to the larger point about Obama’s foreign policy, which his Sunday night telephone call to Netanyahu revealed. As rattled as Israelis are over Obama’s decision to support Hamas against Israel, Netanyahu made clear in his remarks Monday night that Israel has no choice but to keep fighting until we defeat this barbaric enemy.
Netanyahu didn’t mention Obama, but it was obvious that he was respectfully refusing to hand Israel’s head on a platter to Hamas’s friend in the White House.
And while it is hard for Israel to ignore Obama, it is impossible for Americans to ignore him. He runs their foreign policy.
Americans are the ones who need to be most alarmed by what Obama’s actions on behalf of Hamas reveal about the general direction of American Middle East policy under his leadership.
Obama’s choice of a vicious Islamic terrorist organization over a democratic US ally should not come as a surprise to anyone. He has signaled his bias so clearly that it could not be missed by anyone paying attention. There was his pro-Islam speech in Cairo early in his presidency; there were his bows and apologies for his country to the Saudis (though now he has turned to more radical Muslim powers than they); there are his repeated claims (purely fictitious) that Muslims made an important contribution to building the United States; there is his continuing aid to Iran, with friendly talks that give the mullahs time to develop their nuclear arms program; and plainest of all there is his open support of the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization of Hamas. Not only has he tried to keep that self-announced enemy of America (and of the whole non-Muslim world) in power in Egypt, he has placed Muslim Brothers in departments of his own government as advisers. They would hardly be advising him to let Israel win against their own sub-organization Hamas, would they now?
Caroline Glick knows this, of course:
The problem is that in every war, in every conflict and in every contest of wills that has occurred in the Middle East since Obama took office, he has sided with Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, against America’s allies.
It is good if a part of the Left (the Israeli part at least) has woken up to Obama’s real agenda – the destruction of Israel and the triumph of Islam – and is shocked by it. But most of the Left everywhere else is unlikely to care very much, or they’ll positively like it.
While we are nauseated by the thought of the upstart commie-kid Obama telling the Prime Minister of Israel to lose his country’s war of survival and start making arrangements for its total extinction, we enjoy thinking of Netanyahu (of whom we have been highly critical in the past) saying – however politely – NO.
From The Religion of Peace, as this year’s Ramadan month comes to an end:
Once again, it was a Ramadan to remember, with the Religion
of Peace crushing the competition and doing what it does best.
This year’s season for fasting and blasting produced a
record-breaking 2,429 dead bodies across 27 different countries.Ramadan Bombathon
Because, if you think all religions are the same,
then you haven’t been paying attention.
2014 In the name of
In the name of
By Way of
Terror Attacks 272 0 2* Suicide Bombings 37 0 0 Dead Bodies 2429 0 2* Wounded 2028 0 0
(Not all attacks are immediately posted on TROP)
* 2014.07.03 – A Myanmar Muslim was killed by Buddhists on rumor of a rape. (A Buddhist was also killed by Muslims during the same riot).*2014.07.02 – An Arab teen was murdered by Israeli Jews following the kidnap and murder of three Jewish teens. 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
2014.07.28 (Katarko, Nigeria) – Pro-Sharia militants throw explosives into homes and shoot those trying to flee. 2014.07.28 (Sheikh Zuwaid, Egypt) – A 9-year-old girl dies from shrapnel produced by an Islamist rocket. 2014.07.28 (Gaza, Pal. Auth.) – Nine children are among ten killed when a Hamas rocket falls short. 2014.07.28 (Kano, Nigeria) – A female suicide bomber detonates at a gas station killing three other women lining up to buy kerosene. 2014.07.28 (Gujranwala, Pakistan) – A woman and two young girls belonging to the Ahmadi religious minority are burned alive after an angry mob sets fire to their home over alleged ‘blasphemy’. 2014.07.27 (Hong, Nigeria) – Thirty villagers are slaughtered randomly by Boko Haram gunmen.