“Give me your Muslims …” 1

… my golden door is barred to Christians,” says the Mother of Exiles, who earlier misspoke, and whose views on who is welcome to America have now evolved.

*

We do not like Christianity, but we are appalled by the persecution of Christians  by Muslims in the Middle East.

Donald Trump has noticed that the Christians in the Muslim countries of the Middle East, and those who fall under the rule of IS/ISIS/ISIL, are being persecuted almost to extinction – and that the Obama administration is unmoved by their plight.

From the Refugee Resettlement Watch:

Trump speaks out on Syrian refugees: “We are saving the Syrian Muslims and not the Christians!”

Trump is almost right. It isn’t zero Christians, but it’s pretty close to zero Although we have admitted a small handful of Syrian Christian refugees, the vast majority are Muslims and mostly Sunni Muslims.  96% [of those] admitted so far in 2015 are Muslims.

But, don’t forget!

Led by the Senate Jihad Caucus, the push is on to admit 65,000 Syrians before Obama leaves office and the vast majority of those will be plucked from UN camps populated by mostly Syrian Sunni Muslims.

One man in America is trying to bring Middle Eastern Christians to safety in the US, for which he is now threatened by the  administration with imprisonment.

From Creeping Sharia:

Living as a Christian in many parts of Iraq or Syria has become impossible – a one-way ticket to martyrdom at the hands of ISIS – yet it remains a near-impossible feat for these persecuted religious minorities to find refuge in America.

But if you can get to America and get your case in the hands of Robert DeKelaita, your chances are greatly improved.

As it turns out, this high-powered Chicago attorney may have been a little too successful. He’s gained asylum for thousands of persecuted Christian from Iraq, Syria and Egypt, and that caught the attention of the Obama Justice Department, which is known to be no friend of Middle Eastern Christians.

DeKelaita, 52, grew up in Kirkuk in the heart of Assyria, a portion of northern Iraq that is home to one of the world’s most ancient Christian communities. …

After Saddam Hussein took power, DeKelaita’s family emigrated to the U.S. in 1973 and settled in the Chicago area. …

He’s helped reunite hundreds of families in the U.S., most of them since 2003 when the U.S. invasion and overthrow of Saddam unleashed a wave of Islamic terror against Christians that far exceeded anything that was seen under the secular Baathist regime.

The Obama administration moved against DeKelaita in September 2014, raiding his office and scooping up whatever “evidence” they could find against him. He was indicted on charges of falsifying the asylum applications of 12 clients over a 10-year period, allegedly concocting “phony claims” of religious persecution. The government has delayed his trial twice while it seeks to firm up witnesses who will testify against him. Each count of immigration fraud carries a maximum of 10 years prison and a $250,000 fine.

Some find it ironic that the Obama administration is going after a lawyer who helps persecuted Iraqi Christians gain asylum while it welcomed and granted asylum for more than 68,000 unaccompanied alien children from Central America last summer.

At the same time Central Americans are being greeted with a “catch and release” policy at the border, a group of 27 Assyrian Christians who made it to the border earlier this year are being detained indefinitely.

“The way that some of our federal judges view the plight of Christians in Iraq and the way some of the adjudicators view them, you would honestly think ‘what is wrong with these people?’” DeKelaita [said]. …

One judge told him: “To argue that Christians in Iraq are being targeted for their religious beliefs is to appeal to either ignorance or emotion.”  

DeKelaita, after his indictment, learned that the FBI had been investigating him since 2008, soon after Obama took office.

He points to the Obama administration’s attempt earlier this year to block an Iraqi nun from entering the country to testify before Congress on the issue of Christian persecution in the Middle East. After …  a public outcry, Obama relented and issued the visa to Sister Diana Momeka. …

The Obama-led Department of Homeland Security has detained 27 Iraqi Christian asylum seekers in California for six months, despite the fact that most of them have family who are U.S. citizens living in San Diego. …

One of DeKelaita’s biggest successes was in getting a judge to strike down an outdated and inaccurate report out of Europe that insisted there was no persecution of Christians in Iraq. …

Meanwhile, the slaughter continues in Iraq and Syria. Another 220 Assyrian families were kidnapped just last week in Syria and fears are growing that the men will face beheading, the women a life of servitude as sex slaves. Bishops in Syria and Iraq have put out desperate pleas for help, saying they feel abandoned by the West.

While it detains Iraq Christian asylum seekers, the Obama administration has been welcoming thousands of Muslim refugees from jihadist hotbeds in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, despite warnings from House Homeland Security Chair Michael McCaul, R-Texas, that some of these refugee programs may become a “jihadist pipeline” into the U.S.

Obama is not perturbed by jihadism. He is dropping the bar against admitting Muslim refugees who have links to terrorist organizations:

From a January 2014 report  by the Wall Street Journal:

The U.S. plans to resettle thousands of Syrians displaced by their country’s civil war could hinge on those refugees receiving exemptions from laws aimed at preventing terrorists from entering the country.

A U.S. official stated publicly for the first time this week that some of the 30,000 especially vulnerable Syrians the United Nations hopes to resettle by the end of 2014 will be referred to the U.S. for resettlement.

More than two million Syrians have fled their country since the war erupted in 2011, creating the worst refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide, advocates say. About 20 countries, mostly in Europe, have agreed to take 18,000 Syrians, according to United Nations High Commission for Refugees, or UNHCR, the agency charged with referrals.

The U.S. has not set a specific target for how many refugees it will resettle. But at a Senate hearing Tuesday, State Department Assistant Secretary Anne Richard said, “We expect to accept referrals for several thousand Syrian refugees in 2014.”

Post-9/11 immigration laws designed to keep out terrorists have had the unintended consequence of ensnaring some innocent people. …

And rather admit a thousand terrorists than keep out one “innocent” Muslim. 

Anwen Hughes, a lawyer at Human Rights First …

One of those bleeding-heart organizations that do so much harm in the world …

who has studied the laws’ impact, said that the government has been “reactive, slow,” about giving exemptions up to now, and urged a swifter process, given the magnitude of the Syrian crisis.

The advocacy group has called on the U.S. to work to resettle 15,000 Syrians a year. The International Rescue Committee, another advocacy organization, is pressing the U.S. to set a goal of 12,000 Syrian refugees this year.

The U.S. leads the world in refugee resettlement. In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the U.S. received 70,000 refugees from 65 countries, including more than 19,000 from Iraq. In that year, more than 1,340 Syrians already in the U.S. applied for asylum.

And you can safely bet that Anwen Highes wil not be investigated by Obama’s sniffing-dogs.

But aren’t we going too far when we blame Obama personally for this injustice?

No. He makes the decisions:

From a Fact Sheet of the American Immigration Council:

A refugee, as defined by Section 101(a)42 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), is a person who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her home country because of a “well-founded fear of persecution” due to race, membership in a particular social group, political opinion, religion, or national originThis definition is based on the United Nations 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocols relating to the Status of Refugees, which the United States became a party to in 1968.

Each year the President, in consultation with Congress, determines the numerical ceiling for refugee admissions. For Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, the ceiling is 70,000.

Under Obama, the US has “pivoted eastward”:

Almost half of all refugee arrivals (46.4 percent, or 32,450) in FY 2014 came from the Near East/South Asia—a region that includes Iraq, Iran, Bhutan, and Afghanistan.

There are three principle categories for classifying refugees under the U.S. refugee program.

Priority One. Individuals with compelling persecution needs or those for whom no other durable solution exists. These individuals are referred to the United States by UNHCR, or they are identified by a U.S. embassy or a non-governmental organization (NGO).

Priority Two. Groups of “special concern” to the United States, which are selected by the Department of State with input from USCIS, UNHCR, and designated NGOs. Currently, the groups include certain persons from the former Soviet Union, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Iran, Burma, and Bhutan.

Priority Three. The relatives of refugees (parents, spouses, and unmarried children under 21) who are already settled in the United States may be admitted as refugees. The U.S.-based relative must file an Affidavit of Relationship (AOR) and must be processed by DHS.

The INA requires that the majority of prospective refugees make their individual well-founded fear cases.

The Christians of the Middle East have well-founded fears. But they are Christians. That, apparently, is enough to bar them from the US, which Obama has clearly stated is “one of the largest Muslim countries in the world”. (Watch and listen to him saying so here.) And in his opinion, the more Muslim the better.

Flight from freedom 2

Are the Europeans unable to endure freedom?

Do they want to be enslaved by Islam?

As ever more Muslims pour into Europe as “refugees”, their charm, their success – or what is it about them? – attracts locals to emulate and join them.

From Gatestone, by Soeren Kern:

In Norway, the Police Security Service (PST) revealed that nearly a dozen refugees sent to Norway under the UN’s quota system turned out to have close links to the terror groups Islamic State and the al-Nusra Front. Police also discovered that some refugees had backgrounds in Syria’s secret police, and others were suspected of carrying out war crimes during the country’s ongoing civil war.

The newspaper Dagbladet also reported that Islamic extremists are scouting refugee reception centers in Norway in search of new recruits for terrorism. According to the paper, several people who received asylum in Norway later became central figures in the country’s radicalized Islamic community.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of Norwegians are converting to Islam, apparently because of a perceived need for stronger rules in Norway’s liberal society. “Converting to Islam is perhaps the most extreme form of youthful rebellion today,” Muslim convert and religion professor Anne Sofie Roald told the newspaper Aftenposten. She said she thinks conservative Islam represents clear limits and a new form of security in Norway’s “anything goes” society.

And this report  is from the Norwegian site NewsinEnglish, by Nina Berglund:

“In general, many converts become ‘more Catholic than the pope’,” Roald told Aftenposten. She converted to Islam in 1982 and initially used a hijab but later stopped wearing it: “The reality can be that the ideas about limits set by religion can be more appealing than the limits themselves.” Like Elgvin, though, she thinks conservative Islam represents clear limits and a new form of security in a very free and liberal society like Norway’s, which can attract those rebelling a society where “almost anything goes”. The historic student protests of the 1960s led to social freedoms that now, perhaps, a new generation is rebelling against. That’s a paradox in a country that prides itself on its own hard-won freedom and independence [? – ed], and its egalitarian society.

One 26-year-old Norwegian woman … “Elsa” … who didn’t want to be identified, told Aftenposten she’d fallen in with a “bad” group and abused both drugs and alcohol. She began to pray and then took Arabic language lessons, which gave her “a good gut feeling” about Islam. She began to read more, and said that what appealed to her most were the rules within Islam that were much stronger than in Norwegian society in general.

I think people need that, guidelines and rules and consequences in the form of punishment or praise,” Elsa told Aftenposten. “Something to believe in.”

Morten Ibrahim Abrahamsen, now a 23-year-old man … converted after surviving the massacre of July 22, 2011 on the island of Utøya … Abrahamsen told Aftenposten he had a religious experience while he desperately tried to hide from the lone gunman Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 69 people at the Labour Party’s youth summer camp that Abrahamsen was attending.

“I met a lot of resistance, also publicly, from people who thought I was vulnerable and had all but been forced to convert,” Abrahamsen said, after he’d declared his faith to representatives of the Islamic organization Islam Net in Oslo. It’s been a target of controversy for organizing conferences featuring radical Muslim clerics, for segregating men and women who attend and for spreading the word about Islam from information stands on the street, among other things.

“But now it’s been nearly four years (since the massacre and his conversion) and I’m thriving with my religion,” Abrahamsen told Aftenposten. “I have found the sense of calm I was looking for.”  …

Representatives of Islam are keen to win new converts. Among them is … 22-year-old [health-worker] “Maria”, who declined further identification but said her conversion and subsequent decision to wear not only a hijab but also gloves and an occasional niqab that covers her face shocked colleagues. Their reaction was so negative that she found a new jobs where she now feels accepted. Her Norwegian family accepted her conversion and she says her Muslim girlfriends have become like “sisters” for her. …

Yes, freedom can be hard to bear.

Self-reliance can seem too great a burden.

And besides, it’s so nice to have someone else to blame for one’s failures, disappointments and miseries.

All you have to do, if you’re a woman, is live your life wrapped in a black tent, do nothing that your lord and master doesn’t tell you to do, endure his beatings, and bear his children that he can take away from you at any moment on a whim. “Clear limits.”

And if you’re a man, give up thinking for yourself. Get a scar on your forehead from bowing to the earth to the god of a warlord. And hate all human beings who do not do the same.

Oh – and beat your wife. Have her stoned to death if she’s raped. Deny your daughters education. Marry them in their childhood to old men. Bury them alive if they disobey you.

And raise your sons to be just like you.

Posted under Europe, Islam, jihad, middle east, Muslims, Norway, Syria by Jillian Becker on Monday, August 10, 2015

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Step-by-step the US retreats and Iran advances 2

Yet another “deadline” for the concluding of a deal with Iran passes today, so a new “deadline” will be set, and that one too will pass, and so another …

Or if a deal is made -

The impending deal is an embarrassment: the world’s greatest power prostrate before the world’s most patently expansionist, terror-sponsoring, anti-American theocracy.

So Stephen Hayes writes at the Weekly Standard.

He’s right, of course. It is an embarrassment. But what matters a lot more is that it will be a catastrophe. A huge unprecedented historic catastrophe.

It will ensure that Iran has nuclear weapons and that none of the major powers will do a thing about it.

The article goes on:

One week before the June 30 deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made a series of demands about the final terms. Among them: He called for an immediate end to all United Nations Security Council and U.S. economic sanctions on Iran; he said Iranian military sites would not be subject to international inspections; he declared that Iran would not abide a long-term freeze on nuclear research; and he ruled out interviews with individuals associated with Iran’s nuclear program as part of any enforcement plan.

The New York Times headline read “Iran’s Supreme Leader, Khamenei, Seems to Pull Back on Nuclear Talks.” That’s one explanation. The more likely one: Khamenei understands that Barack Obama is desperate for this deal and will agree to just about anything to make it a reality. In private remarks caught on tape, top White House foreign policy adviser Ben Rhodes likened the Iran deal to Obamacare in its importance to the administration. And on April 2, the president held a press conference to celebrate the preliminary “historic understanding with Iran” that, he said, was “a good deal, a deal that meets our core objectives.”

But the impending deal is not a good one. It legitimizes a rogue state, shifts regional power to the world’s most aggressive state sponsor of terror, strengthens the mullahs’ hold on power, and guides Iran to nuclear threshold status. Those are not our “core objectives.” They are Iran’s.

A steady stream of news reports in the weeks before the deadline has brought into sharp focus the extent of the administration’s capitulation. Among the most disturbing new developments: the administration’s decision to offer relief on sanctions not directly related to Iran’s nuclear program and its abandonment of hard requirements that Iran disclose previous nuclear activity, without which the international community cannot establish a baseline for future inspections.

From the beginning of the talks, the Obama administration has chosen to “decouple” negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program from the many other troubling aspects of Tehran’s behavior. It was a bit of self-deception that allowed the United States and its negotiating partners to pretend that concerns about the Iranian regime’s possessing nuclear weapons had everything to do with nuclear weapons and nothing at all to do with the nature of the Iranian regime; it was an approach that treated Iran as if it were, say, Luxembourg. The Obama administration simply set aside Iran’s targeting of Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan, its brutal repression of internal dissent, its provision of safe haven and operational freedom for al Qaeda leadership, and its support for terrorists sowing discord throughout the region and beyond.

Now we learn that the administration is effectively ending this decision to “decouple” nuclear talks from broader regime behavior, not in order to hold Iran to account for its many offenses but as something of a reward for its supporting a nuclear deal. It is a swift and stunning reversal. …

Likewise, the U.S. capitulation on Iranian disclosure of previous nuclear activity is both hasty and alarming. As recently as April, Secretary of State John Kerry suggested that Iranian disclosure of past activity was a red line for U.S. negotiators. “They have to do it. It will be done. If there’s going to be a deal, it will be done. It will be part of a final agreement. It has to be.” But on June 16, Kerry cast aside those demands. “We’re not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another. We know what they did. We have no doubt. We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in. What we’re concerned about is going forward.”

We can’t yet know all the concessions the United States has made in order to secure a deal, but the list of those that are known is long and embarrassing.

Iran has conceded and will concede nothing. The US administration concedes everything. 

On decoupling nuclear negotiations and sanctions relief on nonnuclear items

Then: “We have made very clear that the nuclear negotiations are focused exclusively on the nuclear issue and do not include discussions of regional issues.”

March 10, 2015, Bernadette Meehan, National Security Council spokesman,
email to
 The Weekly Standard

“Other American sanctions on Iran for its support of terrorism, its human rights abuses, its ballistic missile program, will continue to be fully enforced.”

April 2, 2015, Barack Obama, statement in the Rose Garden

“Iran knows that our array of sanctions focused on its efforts to support terrorism and destabilize the region will continue after any nuclear agreement.”

June 7, 2015, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, remarks to Jerusalem Post conference, New York City

Now: “Administration officials say they’re examining a range of options that include suspending both nuclear and some non-nuclear sanctions.”

June 9, 2015, Associated Press

On the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program and disclosure of past activities

Then: “They have to do it. It will be done. If there’s going to be a deal, it will be done. .  .  . It will be part of a final agreement. It has to be.”

April 8, 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry interview with The NewsHour

“The set of understandings also includes an acknowledgment by Iran that it must address all United Nations Security Council resolutions—which Iran has long claimed are illegal—as well as past and present issues with Iran’s nuclear program that have been identified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This would include resolution of questions concerning the possible military dimension of Iran’s nuclear program, including Iran’s activities at Parchin.”

November 23, 2013, White House fact sheet, First Step: Understandings Regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Nuclear Program

Now: “World powers are prepared to accept a nuclear agreement with Iran that doesn’t immediately answer questions about past atomic weapons work. .  .  . Instead of resolving such questions this month, officials said the U.S. and its negotiating partners are working on a list of future commitments Iran must fulfill.”

June 11, 2015, Associated Press

“We’re not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another. We know what they did. We have no doubt. We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in. What we’re concerned about is going forward.”

June 24, 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry, remarks at a press availability

On shuttering the secret nuclear facility at Fordo

Then: The Obama administration and its partners are “demanding the immediate closing and ultimate dismantling” of the nuclear facilities at Fordo.

April 7, 2012, New York Times

“We know they don’t need to have an underground, fortified facility like Fordo in order to have a peaceful program.”

December 6, 2013, Barack Obama, remarks at the Saban Forum

Now: “Under the preliminary accord, Fordo would become a research center, but not for any element that could potentially be used in nuclear weapons.”

April 22, 2015, New York Times

“The 1044 centrifuges [at Fordo] designated only for non-nuclear enrichment will remain installed, so they could potentially be reconverted to enriching uranium in a short time regardless of technical or monitoring arrangements.”

June 17, 2015, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Olli Heinonen, former IAEA deputy director-general for safeguards, and Simon Henderson, director
of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at WINEP 

A draft copy of the final agreement allows Fordo to remain open, “saying it will be used for isotope production instead of uranium enrichment.”

June 24, 2015, Associated Press

On suspension of enrichment

Then: “Our position is clear: Iran must live up to its international obligations, including full suspension of uranium enrichment as required by multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions.”

April 7, 2012, National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor, New York Times

Now: “Agreement on Iran’s uranium enrichment program could signal a breakthrough for a larger deal aimed at containing the Islamic Republic’s nuclear activities.” The tentative deal imposes “limits on the number of centrifuges Iran can operate to enrich uranium” but allows Iran to continue enrichment.

March 19, 2015, Associated Press

On ballistic missile development

Then: Iran’s ballistic missile program “is indeed-something that has to be addressed as part of a comprehensive agreement.”

February 4, 2014, Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

“They have to deal with matters related to their ballistic missile program that are included in the United Nations Security Council resolution that is part of, explicitly, according to the Joint Plan of Action, the comprehensive resolution negotiation.”

February 18, 2014, White House spokesman Jay Carney, White House press briefing

Now: “We must address long-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. So, it’s not about ballistic missiles per se. It’s about when a missile is combined with a nuclear warhead.”

July 29, 2014, Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman,  testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee

These specific concessions matter. So do the ones we’ll learn about in coming days. Together they make the path to an Iranian nuclear weapon easier and the prospect of preventing one ever more remote.

But we don’t have to wait until Iran’s first nuclear test to see the damage done by the negotiations. Last week, the New York Times reported that the administration resisted confronting China on its authorship of the hacking of sensitive U.S. personnel information partly out of concern about China’s role as a negotiating partner on the Iran deal.

No doubt the Iran negotiations contributed to Obama’s reluctance to confront Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine. And to Obama’s tacit acceptance of continued Iranian support for the Taliban and al Qaeda; his passivity as he watched the unfolding slaughter in Syria; his acquiescence in [Iran’s] expansive role in Syria, Iraq, and beyond; and his refusal to provide arms directly to the Kurds and to the Sunnis. 

Obama is begging Iran to sign a deal. He is paying Iran to sign a deal. He is holding Secretary of State John Kerry’s nose to the conference table until Iran signs a deal. Any deal. At any cost.

What will the representatives of the American people in Congress do about it?

Time to blame the Third World – and bring back empires? 1

Countries trying to be nice help bad countries to do worse.

The people in Third World despotisms are victims for sure – but not victims of the First World. They are the victims of their own tyrants.

By accepting those who flee from them, the successful, prosperous, civilized West is allowing the tyrants to carry on as usual.

This is from an important editorial in Investor’s Business Daily:

At 60 million and rising, the global refugee population has never been larger. But instead of blaming the states that take in the refugees, isn’t it time to demand accountability of the nations that create their misery?

The UN’s refugee agency’s “Global Trends Report: World at War” got virtually no press when it was released Thursday, but it should have. Its stark data signal a global crisis of refugees and a great wrong in the established world order. Fifty-nine-and-a-half million people were driven from their homes in 2014 as a result of war, conflict and persecution, the highest number in history, as well as the biggest leap in a single year. A decade ago, refugees totaled 37.5 million. An average 42,500 are displaced each day, 1 out of every 122 people on earth, or, if placed together, a nation that ranks 24th among world populations.

“We are witnessing a paradigm change, an unchecked slide into an era in which the scale of global forced displacement as well as the response required is now clearly dwarfing anything seen before,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres.

Guterres rightly sees the scope of the problem, and as a global bureaucrat can be forgiven for his concern about “the response required”. But that focus on the response is precisely why the crummy Third World dictatorships, terrorist groups and corrupted democracies that create the refugees keep getting away with it.

Where is the scorn for the nations whose anti-free market, oligarchical and hostility-to-minority policies are the root of the problem?

It seems that the only criticism and attention that ever comes to refugee issues centers on whether the countries are able to take them in.

Southern Europe, for example, is being browbeaten by the UN, the Vatican and the European Union for not rolling out the welcome mat for the thousands of smugglers’ boats full of refugees from Syria, Niger, Chad, Libya, Afghanistan and elsewhere fleeing to their shores.

The same can be said of the United States, which is watching a stop-and-go border surge of Central Americans who insist they’re escaping gang violence in their home countries. Australian and Southeast Asian states have been berated by the same actors for not wanting to take in thousands of refugees sailing from Bangladesh and Burma.

The Dominican Republic is taking global brickbats for trying to preserve the integrity of its borders.

Are there any war-crimes tribunals in the works for captured Islamic State members whose terror is the No. 1 reason for refugee flight? Where’s the criticism of the government of Afghanistan, which makes corruption the priority over a livable homeland?

How about the governments of Chad, Niger and Somalia, or the leftist regimes in Central America, that actually encourage refugee outflows so they can live off their remittances instead of developing their economies through free markets?

Are any of these places being kicked out of international organizations for the misery they are responsible for? Has anyone ever been singled out for their failure to make their states livable? Not one.

Colombia was a creator of refugees a decade ago, but no longer. Why? It put itself under the wing of the US through Plan Colombia in 1998 and learned how to take control of its country and initiate free-market reforms.

Which brings up one idea that isn’t being discussed amid so much wretchedness: empire. In a 2014 article in the Atlantic Monthly, geography expert Robert D. Kaplan pointed out that empires are the foremost creators of stability and protectors of minorities. The topic is taboo. But in light of the growing failures of the international community to halt the refugee problem, it belongs on the table just as much as the UN’s solution — throwing more money at it.

With global refugees on the rise, it’s time to talk about the cause of the crisis as well as the cure.

Senator Cruz warns the UN 7

The UN must be destroyed.

The US must stop funding the UN – headquarters of international political evil.

Senator Ted Cruz is serious about it. He has sent this letter to the Secretary-General of Evil HQ:

June 3, 2015

His Excellency Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General of the United Nations
United Nations

First Avenue at 46th Street
New York, NY 10017

Dear Mr. Secretary-General:

I write to you to convey my outrage that the State of Israel may be added to your list of “parties to conflict who commit grave violations against children.”[1] This designation would falsely and shamefully equate Israel with some of the most barbaric terrorist organizations around the world. The decision to add Israel is solely your decision to make and, therefore, is entirely in your power to prevent from taking place.

As you are well aware, this list is part of your annual report on Children and Armed Conflict.  It is my understanding that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) may be added for the alleged violations described below.  The 2014 report on Children and Armed Conflict listed more than 59 parties including terrorist organizations such as Boko Haram, Taliban, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and Al Qaeda who “recruit or use children, kill or maim children, commit rape and other forms of sexual violence against children, or engage in attacks on schools and/or hospitals in situations of armed conflict.”[2]

Such deplorable atrocities rightfully should be condemned by the United Nations. But there is absolutely no legitimate basis for adding Israel to such a list that includes parties which only represent the greatest of evil, honor death over life, and deliberately massacre women and children.  Unlike those parties on your list, Israel cherishes life and goes to extraordinary lengths to minimize civilian casualties during a conflict. In fact, Israel’s careful warfare tactics set an example for other nations to emulate, including the United States, which, according to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, recently sent a team of senior military officers over to Israel to learn more about these tactics.[3]

As the entire world observed last summer, Israel began its justified military operation in response to the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teenagers by Hamas, two of whom were 16 years old and another 19 years old. As Israel engaged in an operation to find the Hamas terrorists responsible and bring them to justice for this heinous act, the conflict further escalated when Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad began to launch rockets and use underground tunnels deliberately targeting Israeli civilians, in an indiscriminate attempt to murder as many Israelis as possible. These terrorist groups are motivated by the stated desire to destroy Israel within any borders, not by any legitimate interest in making peace with Israel.

Acting in self-defense, Israel targeted only areas in Gaza that posed a threat and where members of Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad were located. The IDF took such steps as dropping leaflets, making announcements, placing telephone calls, and sending text messages directly to residents in Gaza to provide advance warning of an imminent attack to minimize civilian casualties. Members of Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad purposefully hid themselves and stockpiled weapons in densely populated areas including UN facilities, schools, hospitals and mosques.  They used civilians, including children, as human shields. Hamas’ main command center was located underneath the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza, which made the primary source of medical care to Gaza residents a legitimate military target if Israel’s objective was to destroy Hamas’ terrorist leadership. These terrorists even encouraged residents in Gaza to ignore the IDF warnings and remain in their homes in an attempt to use them as pawns in their ongoing propaganda war to demonize the Jewish State.  The very lives of Gaza residents are of no concern to Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad, for whom casualties are not an unintended consequence of war, but rather a deliberate objective. The United States Congress unanimously passed a resolution last year condemning their actions.[4]

Meanwhile to Israel’s northeast a civil war wages in Syria. In an action completely alien to the parties on your list, Israel has offered medical care, free of charge, to the casualties of this action.  Israeli physicians have treated and saved the lives of more than a thousand Syrians injured in that conflict, including children.  The contrast could not be more clear: Hamas and other terrorist groups exploit medical facilities as human shields to launch operations against Israel, while Israel uses theirs to provide cutting-edge medical care to people whose government’s avowed goal is to destroy the Jewish State.

Mr. Secretary-General, I submit that, should you determine to add more parties to your list, you should focus on those who actually exploit their own children as human shields, indoctrinate and raise their children to glorify violence and martyrdom, and target the children of others to achieve their destructive goals who should receive priority consideration, such as Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad.  There is absolutely no moral equivalence between radical Islamic terrorists, who are motivated by these factors, and Israel, which is justifiably motivated solely by the defense of her people.

Mr. Secretary-General, under no circumstances should Israel be added to your list. As the largest contributor to the United Nations, Congress will have no choice but to reassess the United States’ relationship with the United Nations and consider serious consequences if you choose to take this action.

Sincerely,

Ted Cruz
United States Senator

 

[1] “Listing Parties to Conflict Who Commit Grave Violations Against Children,” Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Accessed June 2, 2015, https://childrenandarmedconflict.un.org/our-work/sg-list/.

[2] “Report of the Secretary-General: Children and Armed Conflict,” United Nations, May 15, 2014, http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/68/878&Lang=E&Area=UNDOC.

[3] Lisa Ferdinando, “Chairman Says Israel Acted Responsibly in Gaza Operation,” Army News Service, U.S. Department of Defense, November 7, 2014,http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=123589.

[4] H. Con. Res. 107, Agreed to December 10, 2014, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113hconres107enr/pdf/BILLS-113hconres107enr.pdf.

 

The narrow horizon of Libertarians 45

We consider ourselves libertarians with a small “l”: atheist libertarian conservatives.

We are not, however, to be counted among Libertarians because we part company with them on a number of issues that have arisen in our experience.

Some libertarian organizations are historical revisionists – in particular, Holocaust revisionists. One group told us they do not believe the Holocaust ever happened, or if it did, “the numbers of those killed could not have been anywhere near as large as is alleged”. This is not just ignorant, it must be maliciously intended too.

Libertarians have maintained that it’s okay to use children for pornography “if you pay them”. This is so vile, we can only hope most Libertarians do not agree with it.

Libertarians keep themselves under-informed about foreign affairs, and are absurdly pacifist. In America many are isolationist. We believe the US needs to be very strongly defended, and that defense sometimes requires a pre-emptive strike. We also believe in the Pax Americana, which means at present that this single super-power has a duty to protect the non-Islamic world from the forces of savage Islam – with arms if necessary.

Now a well-known Libertarian, a candidate for the presidency, is making a case for isolationism by falsely accusing the Republican Party – of which he is a member – of creating the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL).

We quote from an AP report. (Find it all at the New York Post here.)

Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul is blaming his own party for the rise of the Islamic State group.

The freshman senator from Kentucky said Wednesday that the GOP’s foreign policy hawks “created these people”. …

“ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately,” Paul said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

He continued:

“They created these people. ISIS is all over Libya because these same hawks in my party loved – they loved Hillary Clinton’s war in Libya. They just wanted more of it.”

Paul favors less military intervention abroad, wants a dramatic reduction in U.S. money to foreign governments and stands in opposition to the Patriot Act and the US policy behind drone strikes. It all makes him something of an outlier on foreign policy and national security in the GOP field. …

We agree with him that there should be a reduction in money to foreign governments: a reduction to zero. But that is an issue on which he has changed his mind (or says he has):  

Sensitive to being branded an isolationist in the race, he has scaled back some of his positions, no longer calling for deep cuts in the Pentagon budget, for example, and no longer proposing the elimination of foreign aid, including to Israel. …

Bobby Jindal, Governor of Illinois and a possible rival of Rand Paul as a presidential candidate, “described Paul’s comments as ‘a perfect example of why Senator Paul is unsuited to be commander in chief'”:

“We have men and women in the military who are in the field trying to fight ISIS right now, and Senator Paul is taking the weakest, most liberal Democrat position,” Jindal said. “We should all be clear that evil and radical Islam are at fault for the rise of ISIS, and people like President Obama and Hillary Clinton exacerbate it.”

We don’t think of “evil” as a force separate from human will, but we do agree of course that Islam is the cause of the rise of ISIS, and that Obama and Hillary Clinton have helped it rise.

In his interview earlier, Paul described Iraq as “a failed state”

Which it is …

 … and criticized Republicans who condemn his foreign policy as weak.

Which it is.

Now will the Islamic State destroy Palmyra? 1

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The ancient theatre of Palmyra

This is from GOPUSA:

The historic city of Palmyra has fallen almost entirely under the control of Islamic State, after forces loyal to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, collapsed under a seven-day siege that has left the magnificent ruins there exposed to near-certain destruction by the terror group.

Not so much a “terror group” – terrifyingly savage though it is – as an Islamic army on the warpath for conquest, subjugation, destruction and loot.

The ancient city, once a Silk Road hub and one of the cultural centres of the ancient world that occupies mythological status in Syria, is home to some of the most beautiful and well-preserved ruins of antiquity, including the Temple of Bel, built in the first century.

Isis considers the preservation of such historical ruins a form of idolatry and has destroyed temples and historic artefacts, as well as ancient Assyrian sites in Nineveh in Iraq, after conquering the province in a lightning offensive last year.

The group has profited from looting historic treasures, in addition to scoring propaganda victories by the wanton destruction of archaeological sites, and Palmyra is likely to face a similar fate now. …

Experts say the group benefits from its destruction of cultural heritage because it shows the militants can act with impunity and exposes the impotence of the international community in the face of the provocations.

Tetrapylon_Palmyra-IP

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Valley of the Tombs: The Royal Necropolis of Ancient Thebes was located south-west of Palmyra in an area called the Valley of the Tombs. This image shows an underground burial chamber for three wealthy brothers

Posted under Arab States, Civil war, Commentary, Islam, jihad, middle east, Muslims, News, Syria, Terrorism, Videos, War by Jillian Becker on Saturday, May 23, 2015

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The fall of Ramadi – Obama’s success 24

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Sunday May 18, the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) seized Ramadi, capital of Anwar province in Iraq. The Iraqi forces that had been weakly defending the city, fled along with many civilians – some 8,000 in all. About 500 people, many of them civilians, were killed immediately by the invaders. Newsmax reports: “Bodies, some burned, littered the city’s streets … Online video showed Humvees, trucks and other equipment speeding out of Ramadi, with soldiers desperate to reach safety gripping onto their sides.”

In 2008, Anbar Province – of which Ramadi is the capital – was taken from Saddam Hussein’s forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom. But victory came at a high price: 1,335 U.S. soldiers were killed, and another 8,205 soldiers were wounded and maimed.

All for nothing.

Obama pulled all US troops out of Iraq in 2011. And the Islamic State has come in.

But Obama’s press secretary says the policy towards the Islamic State and Iraq is a success.

From RedState:

This exchange is between ABC’s Jon Karl and a thoroughly dishonest Josh Earnest.

Q    Now, on the overall track record of military operations of the President’s strategy on this, you said we’ve seen periods of progress and success.  Would you say that overall, this strategy has been a success?

EARNEST:  Well, Jon, yes.  Overall, yes. It doesn’t mean that there haven’t been areas of setback, as we saw in Ramadi.

Q    I mean, is exporting terror to Libya, taking over the capital of Iraq’s largest province — this is overall success?

EARNEST:  What we’ve also seen is we’ve also seen a coalition of 60 nations both in the region and around the world join the United States in this fight.  We’ve seen a new Prime Minister take office in Iraq and unite that country and deploy a multi-sectarian security force against ISIL that has succeeded in liberating important areas of Diyala and Babil and Nineveh and the Kirkuk Provinces.  We’ve seen important Iraqi security force gains in Tikrit and Ramadi. [!] We’ve also seen strategic areas like Sinjar Mountain and Mosul Dam where Iraqi security forces have emerged victorious. So we have seen a lot of success.  But we’ve also seen significant periods of setback.  And that’s part of what a military conflict is going to be, particularly when it’s going to be a long-term proposition like this one.

For the US, the fall of Ramadi is a failure and a loss, and Josh Ernest is lying about it. The new Prime Minister of Iraq has not united the country. The pathetic charade of “democracy” in that benighted land deceives no one.

But for Obama himself, the loss, the chaos, the slaughter, the destruction is a success. 

His foreign policy – the advancement of Islam – is succeeding, perhaps even beyond his own wildest dreams, in Iraq, Afghanistan, and above all in Iran.

Sharing out the pieces of a shattered empire 5

Nearly a hundred years ago, the Ottoman Empire was brought to an end when the German-Turkish alliance was defeated in the First World War. Its former territories in the Middle East became independent states or temporary mandates of European powers.

Efraim Karsh, reviewing a new book* on the subject, corrects errors of fact on which its author relies – and which have been all too generally accepted.

The corrections are important, so we reproduce the entire article:

A century after the catastrophic blunder that led to the destruction of the then longest-surviving empire on earth, culpability is still ascribed to the European powers. Rather than view the Ottoman entry into the First World War on the losing side for what it was – a failed imperialist bid for territorial aggrandizement and reassertion of lost glory – the Muslim empire has been portrayed as the hapless victim of European machinations, driven into the world conflict by overbearing powers eager to expedite its demise and gobble up its lands.

Emblematic of the wider tendency to view Middle Easterners as mere objects, whose history is but a function of their unhappy interaction with the West, this conventional wisdom has proved remarkably resistant to the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, and Eugene Rogan’s The Fall of the Ottomans is no exception to this rule.

To begin with, in an attempt to underscore the Ottoman Empire’s untenable position on the eve of the war, Rogan reproduces the standard depiction of the protracted period preceding the empire’s collapse, or the Eastern Question as it is commonly known, as the steady European encroachment on Ottoman territory. “The looming prospect of a European general war”, he writes, “raised the imminent threat of a Russian annexation of Istanbul, the straits, and eastern Anatolia – and the ultimate dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire among the Entente Powers. France was known to covet Syria, Britain had interests in Mesopotamia, and Greece wished to expand its grip over the Aegean.”

Reality, however, was quite different. Far from setting their sights on Ottoman lands, the European powers had consistently shored up the ailing Muslim empire for well over a century, saving it time and again from assured destruction – from Muhammad Ali’s imperialist bid of the 1830s, to the Balkan crises of the 1870s, to the Balkan war of 1912–13. And it was none other than Russia that acted as the Ottoman Empire’s latest saviour, halting its former Bulgarian subject at the gates of Istanbul, not once but twice: in November 1912 and March 1913. Several months later St Petersburg joined London and Berlin in underscoring “the necessity of preserving the Turkish Realm in its present form”.

All this means that by the outbreak of the Great War, the Ottoman Empire was scarcely a spurned and isolated power in danger of imminent destruction. Rather, it was in the enviable position of being courted by the two warring camps: the German-Austro-Hungarian Central Alliance wished its participation in the war, while the Anglo-French-Russian Triple Entente desired its neutrality. So much so that on August 18, 1914, less than a month after the outbreak of hostilities, the Entente’s ambassadors to Istanbul assured the Grand Vizier of the empire’s continued survival were it to stay out of the war, while the British Foreign Secretary vowed the preservation of Ottoman territorial integrity “in any conditions of peace which affected the Near East, provided she preserved a real neutrality during the war”. Five days later, at Ottoman request, the three powers put down this pledge in writing.

Had the Ottomans accepted this guarantee and kept out of the war, their empire would have readily weathered the storm. But then, by the time the Entente made its far-reaching proposal, Istanbul had already concluded a secret alliance with Germany that had effectively transformed it into a belligerent. This, nevertheless, didn’t prevent it from maintaining the false pretence of neutrality vis-à-vis the Entente, or even feigning interest in joining its ranks, while at the same time laying the groundwork for war and exploiting Berlin’s eagerness for the immediate initiation of hostilities to extract substantial military and economic benefits.

Preserving the myth of immaculate Turkish victimhood, Rogan claims that “the Ottoman leadership had no wish to enter a general European conflict” and was grudgingly driven to the German embrace by the Entente’s indifference, if not hostility, to its predicament. His proof is the supposed French rebuff of an alliance proposal, allegedly made during a visit to Paris in July 1914 by the military leader Djemal Pasha, as well as the British requisition of two warships commissioned by the Ottomans. “The British decision to requisition the ships was treated as a national humiliation in Turkey and ruled out the possibility of any accord between Britain and the Ottoman Empire”, Rogan writes. “The very next day, 2 August 1914, the Ottomans concluded a secret treaty of alliance with Germany.”

The problem with these well-worn stories is that there is no shred of evidence of Djemal’s alleged overture (its only mention is in his memoirs, written after the war and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire with the clear aim of exonerating himself from responsibility for this calamity), while the requisition announcement was made on August 3 – a day after the conclusion of the secret Ottoman-German alliance.

But even if the announcement had been made a few days earlier, it would have made no difference whatsoever for the simple reason that the terms of the Ottoman-German alliance had already been agreed on July 28. Moreover, it was the Ottomans rather than the Germans who had opted for an alliance within days of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914 – weeks before the outbreak of hostilities; who were the driving force in the ensuing secret negotiations; and who largely prevailed over their German counterparts in deciding the alliance’s broad contours. As Kaiser Wilhelm ordered his more sceptical negotiators: “A refusal or a snub would result in Turkey’s going over to Russo-Gallia, and our influence would be gone forever … Under no circumstances whatsoever can we afford to turn them away”.

The truth of the matter is that the Ottoman Empire was neither forced into the First World War in a last-ditch attempt to ensure its survival, nor manoeuvred into it by an overbearing German ally and a hostile Entente, but rather plunged head on into the whirlpool. War, for the Ottoman leaders, was not seen as a mortal danger to be averted, but a unique opportunity to be seized. They did not seek “an ally to protect the empire’s vulnerable territory from the consequences of such war” but a powerful underwriter of their imperialist ambitions; and apart from their admiration for Germany and their conviction that it would ultimately be victorious, the Entente had less to offer by way of satisfying these ambitions, first and foremost “the destruction of our Muscovite enemy to obtain a natural frontier to our empire, which should include and unite all branches of our race” (in the words of the Ottoman declaration of war).

Just as the fall of the Ottoman Empire was not the result of external machinations but a self-inflicted catastrophe, so the creation of the modern Middle East on its ruins was not an imperialist imposition but the aggregate outcome of intense pushing and shoving by a multitude of regional and international bidders for the Ottoman war spoils in which the local actors, despite their marked inferiority to the great powers, often had the upper hand.

While Rogan occasionally alludes to this reality, these allusions are far too sparse and timid to break from the standard misrepresentation of the post-war regional order as an artificial Western creation. He aptly notes that “the map drawn by Sykes and Picot bears no resemblance to the Middle East today”, yet reiterates the standard depiction of the agreement as a colonial imposition rather than a British effort “to reconcile the interests of France with the pledges given to the [Arabs]” (to use Albert Hourani’s words), or indeed – the first-ever great power recognition of Arab right to self determination (well before President Woodrow Wilson turned this principle into a driving force of international politics). He similarly observes that Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia (or the Hijaz, as it was then known) “achieved independence within frontiers of their own devising”, yet parrots the conventional wisdom that the imperial powers outlandishly “imposed the borders and systems of governments of most states in the region”.

In fact, most states in the region were established pretty much as a result of local exertions. The modern state of Iraq, to give a prominent example, was created in its present form (rather than divided into three states in accordance with the existing realities of local patriotism and religious affinities) on behalf of Emir Faisal of Mecca and at his instigation, while Jordan was established to satisfy the ambitions of Faisal’s older brother Abdullah. Likewise, the nascent Zionist movement exploited a unique convergence of factors to harness British support to its national cause, to have this support endorsed by the international community and incorporated into the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, and to cling tenaciously to these achievements until their fruition in the establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948.

Eugene Rogan acknowledges that “the borders of the post-war settlement have proven remarkably resilient”. Yet he fails to draw the selfevident conclusion that this state of affairs reflects their congruity with local realities, instead echoing the common refrain that ascribes the region’s endemic volatility to the supposed dissatisfaction with these boundaries.

Had this actually been the case, Arab leaders would have seized some of the numerous opportunities they had over the past century to undo the post-Ottoman order and unify the so-called Arab Nation; and they could have readily done this by peaceful means rather than incessant fighting. But then, violence has hardly been imported to the Middle East as a by-product of European imperialism; it was a part of the political culture long before. And if anything, it is the region’s tortuous relationship with modernity, most notably the stubborn adherence to its millenarian religiously based imperialist legacy, which has left physical force as the main instrument of political discourse to date.

But to acknowledge this would mean abandoning the self-righteous victimization paradigm that has informed Western scholarship for so long, and treating Middle Easterners as equal free agents accountable for their actions, rather than giving them a condescending free pass for political and moral modes of behaviour that are not remotely acceptable in Western societies. Sadly, The Fall of the Ottomans signals no such paradigm shift.

 

* The Fall of the Ottomans by Eugene Rogan. The review first appeared in the Times Literary Supplement and was reprinted in the Wall Street Journal.

The terrifying army of the black flag 4

A review of a book on ISIS at Commentary, by Michael J. Totten, is full of interest. It explains some of the Byzantine intricacies of Arab, middle eastern, and Islamic politics.

The book is titled ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror. It’s written by Michael Weiss & Hassan Hassan.

The review begins with two sentences with which we emphatically agree. We wish that all who report on ISIS would take note of them.

ISIS isn’t a terrorist organization. It’s a transnational army of terror.

And a very formidable army it is in its size and its armor.

The CIA claims it has as many as 31,000 fighters in Syria and Iraq, and Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government, thinks the number may be as high as 200,000. When ISIS fighters conquered the Iraqi city of Mosul last year, they stole enough materiel to supply three fighting divisions, including up-armored American Humvees, T-55 tanks, mobile Chinese artillery pieces, Soviet anti-aircraft guns, and American-made Stinger missile systems. ISIS controls a swath of territory the size of Great Britain and is expanding into Libya and Yemen.

The book relates the history ISIS. The midwife of its birth was Bashar Assad, the president of Syria.

ISIS began its life as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) after the United States demolished Saddam Hussein’s government in 2003. The Bush administration saw Arab democracy as the solution to the Middle East’s woes, and Syria’s tyrant Bashar al-Assad didn’t want to be the next Saddam. Assad waged a proxy war to convince Washington that participatory politics in the region would be perilous. Weiss and Hassan quote former Syrian diplomat Bassam Barabandi, who says candidly that “[Assad] started to work with the mujahideen.” He dispatched Syria’s homegrown jihadists to fight American occupation forces [in Iraq], and most of those jihadists would sign up with AQI. Assad pulled off a win-win scheme, purging Syria of potential enemies while teaching both the American government and citizenry a lesson they still haven’t forgotten: Occupying and democratizing an Arab land is a far messier and bloodier business than most in the West are willing to stomach.

It worked so well in Iraq that Assad would eventually replicate it inside his own country. When the uprising against him began in 2011, he framed the conflict as one between his secular regime and Islamist terrorists, even when the only serious movement against him consisted of nonviolent protests for reform and democracy. Few in the West bought Assad’s line at the time, so he then facilitated an Islamist terrorist opposition. His loyalists like to present a choice: “Assad or we burn the country.” And they are not kidding.

As Weiss and Hassan detail, Assad opened the jails and let Islamist prisoners free as part of an ostensible “reform” process, but he kept democracy activists in their cages. He knew perfectly well that those he let loose would cut a burning and bleeding gash across the country, casting him as the only thing standing between the rest of us and the abyss. …

ISIS is a terrible force; as terrible as any in history or fiction.

The first thing ISIS does when conquering a new city or town is set up the grisly machinery for medieval punishments in town squares. “Letting black-clad terrorists run around a provincial capital,” Weiss and Hassan write, “crucifying and beheading people, made for great propaganda.” It was all Assad could do to ensure the Obama administration wouldn’t pursue a policy of regime-change as it had in Libya and as the previous administration had in Iraq. …

Had Assad been forced into exile or dragged from his palace before the Arab Spring soured, Syria might look strikingly different today. Weiss and Hassan cite an International Republican Institute survey of Syrian public opinion in 2012 that found 76 percent of the country favored one kind of democratic transition or another. But Assad guarantees that bullets rather than ballots will decide political outcomes, and millions would rather flee to squalid refugee camps abroad than get caught between the anvil of Syria’s totalitarian state and the hammer of ISIS. …

ISIS’s founder, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, loved beheading hapless victims on camera as much as the new leadership does, and his grisly behavior earned him the nickname “Sheikh of the Slaughterers”. He hated no one on earth — not even Americans — more than he hated Shia Muslims who, in his view, were beneath even Sunni Muslim apostates. …

Abu Bakr Naji, one of ISIS’s intellectual architects, published a book online outlining its strategy and vision: The Management of Savagery. It is used today as a manual not only in Syria and Iraq but also by al-Qaeda affiliates in Somalia, Yemen, and Libya. “Jihad,” he writes, “is naught but violence, crudeness, terrorism, frightening [people], and massacring.”

The authors make a compelling case that ISIS “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a would-be Saddam Hussein in religious garb…. Like Zarqawi before him, [he] is even more genocidal than Iraq’s former strongman. Al-Baghdadi has “so far demonstrated nothing short of annihilationist intention …” …

Annihilationist, that is, first and foremost of the Shi’a, who are “marked only for death”.

[But] Syrians and Iraqis aren’t the only ones threatened by all this, of course. ISIS aspires to wage its exterminationist war beyond the Middle East, not only in the United States but also in Europe. “We will raid you thereafter,” it boasts in its online magazine, Dabiq, “and you will never raid us. We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the Permission of Allah, the Exalted. This is His promise to us.”

And that, since ISIS became the enemy of Assad – the despot who brought it into the world – puts the US and Europe “tacitly on the side of Assad”. And as Assad is kept in power by Iran, they are also tacitly on the side of Iran and “their joint Lebanese proxy Hezbollah”.

It is a state of affairs that the Iranian rulers delight in.

Tehran can hardly contain itself. “One of the world’s leading state sponsors of terrorism,” Weiss and Hassan write, “now presents itself as the last line of defense against terrorism.”

[But] the idea that a state sponsor of terrorism could ever be a reliable partner against international terrorism is ludicrous. “Whatever Washington’s intentions,” Weiss and Hassan write, “its perceived alliance of convenience with the murderous regimes of Syria and Iran is keeping Sunnis who loathe or fear ISIS from participating in another grassroots effort to expel the terrorists from their midst.”

ISIS continues to grow at an alarming rate and has so far recruited thousands of members from Europe. “What draws people to ISIS,” the authors write, “could easily bring them to any number of cults or totalitarian movements, even those ideologically contradictory to Salafist jihadism.” Indeed, its ranks are swollen with tribal sectarians, thrill seekers, former “socialist infidels”, foreign losers looking for meaning and community, and psychopaths pining for butchery. Many find the execution videos of “Jihadi John” — a modern version of what 19th-century Italian revolutionary Carlo Pisacane called propaganda of the deed — darkly compelling. For the most dangerous ISIS recruits, what the rest of us see as bad press is seductive.

Many, however, are painfully naive. Savvy ISIS recruiters do an outstanding job convincing the gullible that its notoriety is unjustified. “Don’t hear about us,” they say. “Hear from us.” Weiss and Hassan dig up comments from some of ISIS’s obtuse fans in online Western forums who have bought the sales pitch: “Does the Islamic State sell hair gel and Nutella in Raqqa?” “Should I bring an iPad to let Mom and Dad know that I arrived safely in caliphate?”

The foolish recruits are more likely to become victims themselves than to victimize others — in March, ISIS forced a 12-year-old boy to execute an Israeli Arab man for trying to flee — but ISIS will continue to attract newcomers as long as it’s permitted to thrive. And thrive it will until it faces a more determined resistance force and as long as radical Sunni Muslims around the world feel galvanized by the perceived American-Iranian axis against them.

As the authors say in their book’s stark conclusion, “the army of terror will be with us indefinitely”. 

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