Numerous observers of the failed coup in Turkey – including some of our own readers – suspect that Erdogan staged the event in order to crack down on opponents of his Islamization agenda.
Rick Moran at American Thinker concludes in an article titled Did Erdogan Stage The Coup To Crack Down On His Opponents?, which explores the accusation:
The small number of troops involved, the incompetent prosecution of the coup, and the apparent lack of planning by the plotters suggest an extremely amateur attempt to overthrow Erdogan. But might Erdogan’s agents have goaded the plotters into taking action? It’s a seductive theory that has no evidence to back it up.
Even if there was an Erdogan plot, there must have been many participants in the uprising who knew nothing of it and strove sincerely for success.
What is certain is that Erdogan gained a significant victory, not just for himself but also for our enemy, Islam.
Ralph Peters writes at Fox News Opinion:
Friday night’s failed coup was Turkey’s last hope to stop the Islamization of its government and the degradation of its society. Reflexively, Western leaders rushed to condemn a coup attempt they refused to understand. Their reward will be a toxic Islamist regime at the gates of Europe.
Our leaders no longer do their basic homework.The media relies on experts-by-Wikipedia. Except for PC platitudes, our schools ignore the world beyond our shores. Deluged with unreliable information, citizens succumb to the new superstitions of the digital age.
So a great country is destroyed by Islamist hardliners before our eyes—and our president praises its “democracy”.
That tragically failed coup was a forlorn hope, not an attempt to take over a country. Turkey is not a banana republic in which the military grasps the reins for its own profit. For almost a century, the Turkish armed forces have been the guardians of the country’s secular constitution. Most recently, coups in 1960, 1971 and 1980 (with “non-coup” pressure in 1997) saw the military intervene to prevent the country’s collapse.
Erdogan will use the coup as an excuse to accelerate the Islamization of his country and to lead Turkey deeper into the darkness engulfing the Muslim world. His vision is one of a neo-Ottoman megalomaniac.
Each time, the military returned the government to civilian rule as soon as that proved practical. …
Friday night, mid-grade officers led a desperate effort to rescue their country again. They failed. The West cheered. Soon enough, we’ll mourn.
The coup leaders made disastrous mistakes, the worst of which was to imagine that the absence of President Erdogan from Ankara, the capital, presented the perfect opportunity. Wrong. In a coup, the key is to seize the leaders you mean to overthrow (as well as control of the media). Instead of fleeing into exile, Erdogan was able to return in triumph.
So who is the man our own president rushed to support because he was “democratically elected”? Recep Tayyip Erdogan is openly Islamist and affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which President Obama appears to believe represents the best hope for the Middle East. But the difference between ISIS, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood isn’t one of purpose, but merely of manners: Muslim Brothers wash the blood off their hands before they sit down to dinner with their dupes.
With barely a murmured “Tut-tut!” from Western leaders, Erdogan has dismantled Turkey’s secular constitution (which the military is duty-bound to protect). His “democracy” resembles Putin’s, not ours. Key opposition figures have been driven into exile or banned. Opposition parties have been suppressed. Recent elections have not been held so much as staged. And Erdogan has torn the fresh scab from the Kurdish wound, fostering civil war in Turkey’s southeast for his own political advantage.
Erdogan has packed Turkey’s courts with Islamists. He appointed pliant, pro-Islamist generals and admirals, while staging show trials of those of whom he wished to rid the country. He has de facto, if not yet de jure, curtailed women’s freedoms. He dissolved the wall between mosque and state (Friday night, he used mosques’ loudspeakers to call his supporters into the streets). Not least, he had long allowed foreign fighters to transit Turkey to join ISIS and has aggressively backed other extremists whom he believed he could manage.
And his diplomatic extortion racket has degraded our own military efforts against ISIS.
That’s the man President Obama supports.
And the leaders of the ill-fated coup? What did they stand for? Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s legacy and a secular constitution. One of the great men of the last century, Ataturk (an innovative general by background) pulled Turkey from the wreckage of World War One, abolished the caliphate, suppressed fanatical religious orders, gave women legal rights and social protections, banned the veil, promoted secular education for all citizens of Turkey, strongly advocated Westernization and modernization … and promoted a democratic future.
The officers who led the collapsed coup stood for all those things. President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry opposed them.
By Saturday morning, it was clear that the mullahs and mobs behind Erdogan had won. Erdogan will use the coup as an excuse to accelerate the Islamization of his country and to lead Turkey deeper into the darkness engulfing the Muslim world. His vision is one of a neo-Ottoman megalomaniac.
NATO, which operates by consensus, will find itself embracing a poisonous snake. New crises will reawaken old fears in southeastern Europe, which western European states will dismiss condescendingly, further crippling the badly limping European Union. Syria will continue to bleed. And educated, secular Turks will find themselves in a situation like unto that of German liberals in the 1930s. We may see new and unexpected wars.
A desperate, ill-planned coup has failed in Turkey. Here comes the darkness.
Yes – unless the West starts fighting back under new American leadership.
A nationwide curfew was imposed as a section of the armed forces claimed to have taken the country over. The coup leaders seized national television and the phone network. Gunfire was heard in Ankara and military jets flew low over Ankara and Istanbul where the bridges over the Bosphorus were blocked. In Istanbul, Turkish Gendarmerie and soldiers blocked entrances to bridges over the Bosphorus while tanks blocked Ataturk airport. A TV announcer read out a statement saying that a “peace committee” had taken over the country against autocratic rule and will write a new constitution restoring democracy, whose institutions have been eroded by autocratic rule, and restore secular law.
It was a great aim, a brave attempt – but it failed.
Now Turkey is less likely to be secular and democratic.
DebkaFile, which we quoted above, assesses the event and analyses why the attempted coup failed:
The Turkish armed forces’ attempt to overthrow the authoritarian rule of President Tayyip Erdogan was largely extinguished Saturday morning July 16 after less than 24 hours – due to three major miscalculations:
1. They first seized the country’s power centers and state television when their first priority should have been to immobilize Erdogan who was out of the capital on vacation.
2. Although out of control in Ankara and Istanbul, he used his mobile phone to reassert his authority through a private television station and called on the people to take to the streets in protest against the plotters. Civilians responded by surrounding the tanks and tying them down until loyal troops moved in.
3. They relied too heavily on the air force to cow the regime, the jets zooming low over the two main cities while the two main airports were closed.
It was soon evident that control of Turkey’s skies was no guarantee of control of the ground. Indeed, the coup leaders did not prevent him from landing at Ataturk airport and declaring immediately that he was in charge, demonstrating that he was on top of events.
In the clashes that followed, Gen. Umit Dundar, the newly appointed acting chief of the general staff, said more than 190 people died in clashes: 41 police officers, two soldiers, 47 civilians and 104 people described as ‘‘coup plotters”. Dundar said officers from the Air Force, the military police and the armored units were mainly involved in the attempt.
At the same, the attempt by part of the Turkish armed forces to topple Erdogan in the name of democracy and the return of “secular law” was impressive and evidence of social and political malaise under his rule. It was led by at least half a dozen generals, as may be judged the arrest of Gen. Memduh Hakbilen, the chief of staff of Turkey’s command for the important Aegean region, among the more than 1,500 alleged plotters and the suspension of another five generals.
That elements of the air force joined the attempted uprising is unprecedented in Turkey, whose army is NATO’s second largest.
Erdogan will no doubt want to know why his MIT intelligence failed to scent the conspiracy afoot.
He will certainly lose no time in executing a massive purge of Turkey’s armed forces, and especially the air force and intelligence arms, after accusing the coup leaders of treason.
Erdogan has been steadily taking steps to re-create an Islamic state. He wants to reverse the modernizing reforms that Kemal Ataturk effected after Turkey, as an ally of Germany, was defeated in the First World War. He dreams of reviving the Ottoman Empire, perhaps seeing himself as Sultan (who was also titled Caliph). He has built himself a new palace in Ankara, and announced that it will be the center of government.
Predictably, President Obama is on the side of the would-be dictator against the side that reached for democracy.
Erdogan’s new presidential palace in Ankara
President Erdogan in his new palace
President Erdogan among guards dressed in the uniforms of Ottoman soldiers
Today is the last day of Ramadan 2016.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad according to Islamic belief. This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month lasts 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon.
While fasting from dawn until sunset, Muslims refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids, smoking, and engaging in sexual relations. Muslims are also instructed to refrain from sinful behavior that may negate the reward of fasting, such as false speech (insulting, backbiting, cursing, lying, etc.) and fighting.
The excellent website ironically named The Religion of Peace keeps a daily record of Islamic terrorist attacks. Their toll of lethal attacks world-wide since 9/11 is reflected in our margin.
Here’s its count of terrorist attacks and murders carried out during this year’s month of Ramadan:
In the last few days, Muslim terrorists have been busier than ever, as if to crowd as much terror and atrocity into the month as they could before it ended.
The following list shows that the victims of the attackers were mostly Muslims, although the Koran and the Hadith, while commanding the killing of non-Muslims,* forbid the killing of fellow Muslims: “But whoever kills a believer intentionally – his recompense is Hell, wherein he will abide eternally, and Allah has become angry with him and has cursed him and has prepared for him a great punishment.” – Koran 4:93.
From a CNN report:
Multiple major terror strikes have occurred in recent days as the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan approaches. Ramadan ends Tuesday evening.
ISIS either claimed responsibility or is suspected in each of them.
At least six members of Jordan’s security forces were killed June 21 in a suicide car bombing launched from the Syrian side of the border. …
ISIS claimed responsibility through Amaq, its de facto media agency, saying the act was carried out by an ISIS fighter.
Six people died and 19 others were wounded following a series of suicide attacks in a mainly Christian area of northern Lebanon, close to the border with Syria.
According to Lebanon’s National News Agency the first incident happened at around 4.20 a.m. last Monday when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a house in the village of Qaa, in the country’s Bekaa Valley.
Three other attackers — with at least one wearing an explosive vest — then detonated themselves as rescue teams and locals gathered at the scene. …
Security analysts think ISIS could be responsible.
On Thursday, the army said it foiled “two major terrorist operation” planned by ISIS – one targeting a “large tourist facility” and the other targeting a densely populated area.
Five people have been arrested, including the mastermind of the operation, the statement said.
At least 42 people, mostly soldiers and one child, were killed when attackers launched four suicide car bombings at security targets in a major Yemeni city …
The attacks occurred last Monday in Mukalla, a southeastern port city in Hadramaut province.
At least 30 people were injured — all security officers except for five civilians …
One of the attacks targeted a military compound near a government intelligence building. The others targeted military checkpoints. A child walking near one of the checkpoints was killed.
The attackers were from ISIS, [the] group’s media voice said.
Terrorists stormed Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport last Tuesday, killing 44 people and injuring hundreds.
There has been no claim of responsibility, but hallmarks of the strike points to ISIS and the attack resembled the suicide bombings in March at the main airport in Brussels.
Reports have emerged about the identities of the suicide bombers as well as the organizer, … a top soldier in the ISIS war ministry.
Two of the three assailants in the terror attack at Ataturk Airport were identified as Rakim Bulgarov and Vadim Osmanov, according to Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu, citing an anonymous prosecution source.
That report did not identify the third attacker and did not reveal their nationalities. But officials have said they believe the three attackers are from Russia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, and entered Turkey a month ago from Syria’s ISIS stronghold of Raqqa.
Gunmen in Bangladesh killed 20 hostages and two police officers late Friday and early Saturday before authorities raided the restaurant and ended the standoff.
The massacre occurred at the end of the day when Muslims would have been breaking their daily fast for Ramadan.
Authorities released the nationalities of the 20 hostages found dead … after Bangladeshi troops stormed the cafe early Saturday morning, ending a nearly 11-hour siege. …
The attack took place in the city’s diplomatic enclave, and those killed were from around the globe: Italians, Japanese, Indian, Bangladeshi and an American …
ISIS claimed responsibility, but … all the attackers in the deadly assault on a cafe in Dhaka were Bangladeshi citizens.
In that bloodbath, the terrorists spared hostages who could recite the Koran.
A suicide truck bomb ripped through a busy shopping district in Baghdad Saturday night, killing more than 200 people.
The strike in the Karrada neighborhood also left at least 175 people wounded.
Families had been gathering hours after they broke the fast for Ramadan and prepared for Eid al-Fitr – the day that marks the end of the holiday this week.
As people congregated, shopped and watched soccer matches, the bomb-laden truck plowed into a building housing a coffee shop, stores and a gym. Firefighters rescued wounded and trapped people in adjacent buildings.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the action …
For a video and many pictures of this atrocity see the Daily Mail here.
Kuwait security agencies foiled a number of ISIS plots in three preemptive operations on Sunday, according to Kuwait news agency Kuna.
Kuna reports the arrested ISIS members were planning to strike a Jaafari mosque in Hawali and a Ministry of Interior facility during the first days of Eid Al-Fitr, at the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Saudi Arabia endured a wave of suicide bombings over a 24-hour period ending Monday, a coordinated string of attacks analysts are linking to ISIS.
The strikes occurred near the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, and a Shiite mosque in Qatif. The holy city of Medina was also a target. The strikes failed in Jeddah and Qatif. Four people were killed in Medina.
There has been no claim of responsibility. But Peter Bergen, CNN national security analyst, said ISIS called for attacks during Ramadan and “now we have them”.
*eg. “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves.” – Koran 48:29. “Fight everyone in the way of Allah and kill those who disbelieve in Allah” – Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 992.
Yesterday, April 24, 2015 was the 100th anniversary of the day the (Muslim) Turks started to massacre the (Christian) Armenians.
This is from History.com:
Most sources agree that there were about 2 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire at the time of the [start of the] massacre. …
On April 24, 1915, the Armenian genocide began. That day, the Turkish government arrested and executed several hundred Armenian intellectuals. After that, ordinary Armenians were turned out of their homes and sent on death marches through the Mesopotamian desert without food or water. Frequently, the marchers were stripped naked and forced to walk under the scorching sun until they dropped dead. People who stopped to rest were shot.
At the same time, the Young Turks created a “Special Organization”, which in turn organized “killing squads” or “butcher battalions” to carry out, as one officer put it, “the liquidation of the Christian elements”. These killing squads were often made up of murderers and other ex-convicts. They drowned people in rivers, threw them off cliffs, crucified them and burned them alive. In short order, the Turkish countryside was littered with Armenian corpses.
Records show that during this “Turkification” campaign government squads also kidnapped children, converted them to Islam and gave them to Turkish families. In some places, they raped women and forced them to join Turkish “harems” or serve as slaves. Muslim families moved into the homes of deported Armenians and seized their property.
In 1922, when the genocide was over, there were just 388,000 Armenians remaining in the Ottoman Empire.
That is to say the territory that had been the Ottoman Empire – defeated by the allies in the FirstWorld War, and subsequently broken up and terminated.
“Each girl had been nailed alive upon her cross, spikes through her feet and hands, only their hair blown by the wind, covered their bodies.”
We quote the words of Aurora Mardiganian. The documentary film Auction of Souls (1919), from which this still is taken, was partly based on her memoir, Ravished Armenia. She described being raped and thrown into a harem (which agrees with Islam’s rules of war). She managed to escape. In the city of Malatia, she saw 16 Christian girls crucified.
Starving Armenian children being teased with a piece of bread by a Turkish official during the Armenian genocide, 1915
To generalize for a delightful moment of offensive political incorrectness: Germans notoriously lack a sense of humor.
Of course there have been, and are, some German humorists. But that there should be a national scandal, a huge legal controversy, even headlines across the world about a piece of humorous writing by a German in Germany, can only be astonishing.
It has happened.
Stefan Frank writes at Gatestone:
Who would have thought that there is still a law in Germany that makes “lèse majesté” (offending the dignity of a monarch) a punishable crime? And that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now benefiting from just that – and that it could plunge Germany into a (further) “national crisis.”
The terms “national crisis” and “governmental crisis” have been coming up again and again. In light of all the massive problems Germany has, this one is about a poem in which a cabaret performer and comedian, Jan Böhmermann, recently insulted the Turkish President.
Erdogan has called for Böhmermann’s head and, as of last week, has Chancellor Merkel on his side.
The story began in March, when a German regional television station aired a music video during a satirical show, in which repression and human rights violations under Erdogan were pilloried in a humorous way. The Turkish government summoned the German ambassador and demanded that the video be removed from the internet and never be shown again. Germans thereby learned that the German ambassador is regularly summoned to Ankara – three times so far this year. According to reports, the Turkish government once complained about teaching material in Saxony’s schools that dealt with the Armenian genocide.
The revelation that Erdogan is so easy to insult inspired some people to see if they could go the extra mile. Cabaret artist Jan Böhmermann published an “Offensive Poem” (its actual title) on ZDF Neo, a tiny state-run entertainment TV channel with a market share of 1%. It contained speculations about the Turkish president’s digestive and sexual preferences. AFP reports that,
In his ‘libelous poem’, which, as comedian Jan Böhmermann smilingly announced on television, openly exceeds the limits of free speech in Germany, Böhmermann accused Erdogan of having sex with goats and sheep, among other things.
Böhmermann apparently mixed these unsubstantiated claims with (as an example) truthful statements on the oppression of minorities in Turkey (Erdogan wanted to “get Kurds, cut Christians,” he said).
In a preemptive surrender, which many Germans view as the real scandal, ZDF immediately deleted the broadcast from its Internet archives – before Erdogan could even complain. “The parody that satirically addresses the Turkish President does not meet the quality requirements the ZDF has in place for satire shows,” the station explained of this step. “For this reason, the passage was removed from the program.” This, as ZDF program director Norbert Himmler said, occurred “in consultation with Jan Böhmermann.” The limits of irony and satire were exceeded in this case
ZDF editors now criticize this course of action, and are asking for the piece to be accessible in the archives once again.
Chancellor Merkel – who is not otherwise known to react quickly to crises – tried to appease Erdogan shortly after the broadcast of the program. In a telephone conversation with Turkish Prime Minister Davutoglu, she called the poem “deliberately hurtful” and “unacceptable”. She probably hoped to settle things without having explicitly to apologize, which many Germans from across the political spectrum would resent. But Erdogan has no intention of settling down. He called for the criminal prosecution of Böhmermann. …
Laws, some of which date back to the German Empire, complicate the issue. Hardly any German has ever heard of them, but they have suddenly become relevant. In Germany, the term “abusive criticism” has primarily been familiar to lawyers; the fact that gross affronts are prohibited in Germany is probably obvious to many citizens. However, little known – and much less accepted – is a law from 1871, which makes the “slander of institutions and officials of foreign states” an offense carrying a penalty of up to five years in prison.
On April 14, Angela Merkel announced that she is granting the Turkish President’s demand for prosecution against Böhmermann – against the objections of her coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SPD).
In Germany, justice should decide such a case, not the government, says Merkel. But many commentators believe this justification to be hypocritical; after all, Erdogan supposedly already filed lawsuits as a private individual at the Court in Mainz. What Merkel will now enable is another court case for “lèse majesté.” The Berlin Tagesspiegel writes:
“The majority of Germans are against the fact that she [Merkel] is complying with Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s majesty demands in this way. ‘Majesty’ is, therefore, the appropriate term, because penal code section 103 from the year 1871 is for lèse majesté. So it comes from a time when we were still driving carriages and had an emperor. And the Turks had a sultan.”
Many also consider Merkel’s decision to be particularly absurd because on the same day, the Chancellor announced that she wants to abolish the law on lèse majesté “by 2018.”
Through her decision, Merkel signaled that the Turkish President’s “honor” is more important than that of normal German citizens, who can only take ordinary legal action when they are slandered, and who do not enjoy the privilege of an extended “protection of honor” for “princes.”
Erdogan has managed to extend what he already practices in Turkey to Germany. A few months ago, when nobody in Turkey had even heard of Jan Böhmermann, Die Welt reported:
Paragraph 299 of the Turkish Penal Code, which provides for imprisonment of up to four years for insulting the head of state, has become the most common political offense. As a CHP party inquiry revealed, 98 people were arrested for this reason in the first ten months of last year. 66 were indicted, and 15 were kept in custody. The number of preliminary proceedings is unknown; human rights activists estimate several hundred. ‘With these reactions, Erdogan shows how justified this criticism is,’ said CHP human rights politician Sezgin Tanrikulu of Die Welt. ‘A regime that responds to all criticism with criminal proceedings is moving toward a dictatorship’.
The Turkish penal code – now in Germany?
The Turkish government called the slander of Erdogan a “serious crime against humanity”. The choice of words is reminiscent of how Erdogan once acquitted Sudanese President Omar al Bashir of genocide allegations in Darfur: “Muslims cannot carry out genocide.” Erdogan at the time was expressing an attitude often widespread in the West: crimes are not crimes when Muslims commit them. This also seems to be the view of many German politicians and journalists; rarely is a Muslim despot or demagogue criticized in Germany, while at the same time, no one in Germany has any inhibitions about vilifying Christianity or the Church.
It is this double standard, among other things, that Mathias Döpfner, CEO of the major German publishing house, Axel Springer, denounced in an open letter to Böhmermann … In it, Döpfner calls for “solidarity with Jan Böhmermann.” He also writes:
First, I want to say: I think your poem succeeded. I laughed out loud. So it’s important to me to say that, because in the past few days, there hasn’t been a single article about your text – whether accusatory or taking your side – that didn’t first (and at the same time captatio benevolentiae) emphasize how tasteless and primitive and insulting your satire about Erdogan was.
According to Döpfner, it’s “as if you were to accuse a Formula 1 car manufacturer of having fast cars.” Being offensive is certainly the goal, and has a useful consequence: “It is very revealing what reactions your satire triggered. A focal point and a turning point.” Döpfner evokes various works by German artists, comedians, and cartoonists that are solely about mocking Christians and their faith. “When it comes to the provocation of religious or, more precisely, Christian feelings, anything goes in Germany,” says Döpfner. However, if someone offends Erdogan, that leads to “a kind of national crisis.”
Döpfner remembers how in Turkey, Erdogan proceeded against freedom of speech, minorities, and equality for women by force, and mentions the “excessive and reckless violence of the Turkish army” against the Kurds. Why, of all things, does insulting Erdogan cause such turbulence in Germany? Döpfner writes:
For the small compensation of three billion euros, Erdogan regulates the streams of refugees so that conditions do not get out of control in Germany. You have to understand, Mr. Böhmermann, that the German government apologized to the Turkish government for your insensitive remarks. In the current situation, they are simply ‘not helpful’ – artistic freedom or not. You could easily call it kowtowing. Or as Michel Houellebecq phrased it in the title of his masterpiece on the self-abandonment of the democratic Western world: submission.
Erdogan, who also campaigned in Germany during Turkish elections, appears to consider Germany an appendage of his Great Ottoman Empire. He calls out to Turks in Germany: “Assimilation is a crime against humanity.” He has great power in Germany. This is not only based on German organizations like the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), which is controlled by the Turkish government, but above all on his ability to provoke upheaval in Germany if he wants. That Chancellor Merkel has delegated even more power to Erdogan in this situation, by imploring him to prevent hundreds of thousands of migrants in Turkey from heading for Europe, has made the situation even worse — particularly because she has explained over and over that this is the only solution to the migrant crisis.
Merkel considers it indecent when Europeans secure their own country’s borders based on current laws, but she gives Erdogan full reign to proceed with migrants at his discretion. …
Böhmermann’s television appearances were canceled; he fears for his life and is under police protection.
A world war is being fought, by one side only: Islam.
The other side, the civilized West and its outposts and allies, is letting the invaders into its territory and suffering the enemy’s attacks from within, over and over again.
The West has far greater military and technological strength than Islam. Yet it is choosing not to fight back. Or, where it now and then does, it chooses not to win.
There is surely no precedent for such an irrational, suicidal choice in all recorded history.
Sohrab Ahmari reports in the Wall Street Journal:
Islamic State jihadists staged a triple-bombing in the Belgian capital — two at the Brussels airport and a third at a metro station downtown — that killed [more than] 30 people … It was the latest reminder that Islamic terrorism is now a permanent and ubiquitous hazard to life in every city, on every continent.
In coming days European authorities will level reproaches about the missed warning signs, security lapses and the larger failure to integrate Belgian Muslims. Commissions will be formed. Sympathetic memes will proliferate on social media. Je suis Belge.
This routine has become numbingly familiar. And these habitual responses, while understandable, defer a reckoning with a larger truth: Not a single day now goes by without an Islamist suicide bombing, rocket attack, shooting spree, kidnapping or stabbing somewhere in the world.
Consider the past 10 days [up to March 22, 2016, when the bombings in Belgium were carried out].
On Sunday, March 13, jihadists sprayed gunfire on sunbathers in Grand Bassam, a resort town in the Ivory Coast popular with Westerners and wealthy Ivorians. The attack, which was claimed by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, killed 16 people, including Burkinabe, Cameroonian, French, German, Ivorian and Malian citizens.
On Monday, March 14, two Palestinians fired on Israelis waiting at a bus stop in Kiryat Arba, in the West Bank, wounding one soldier before Israeli forces killed both. A third Palestinian terrorist rammed his car into an Israeli army vehicle in the area and was shot dead. Israel has suffered a wave of Arab knife-and-car attacks for six months, known as the stabbing intifada.
On Tuesday, March 15, al Qaeda’s Somali franchise, al-Shabaab, kidnapped three Red Crescent aid workers in the country’s southwest, according to local media. The abductions followed al-Shabaab’s seizure of a village in central Somalia, amid a broader Islamist resurgence in the Horn of Africa. The aid workers were freed a day later after local villagers pleaded for their release.
On Wednesday, March 16, a pair of female suicide bombers blew themselves up at a mosque in Nigeria, killing 24. No group has claimed credit, but the bombing took place in Nigeria’s Borno state, the birthplace of Boko Haram, an Islamic State affiliate that is Africa’s most savage terror outfit.
On Thursday, March 17, the stabbing intifada claimed a fresh victim when a pair of Palestinian terrorists jumped and wounded an Israeli soldier with a knife in Ariel, in the West Bank. Israeli security forces killed both assailants.
On Friday, March 18, suspected al Qaeda fighters fired rockets at the Salah gas facility in Algeria. No one was injured, but BP and Norwegian oil giant Statoil, which operate the facility, withdrew some staff and suspended operations.
On Saturday, March 19, a bomb went off in a tony shopping district of Istanbul, killing three Israelis (two of whom were U.S. citizens) and one Iranian, and wounding 39 others. This was the fifth mass-casualty terrorist bombing in Turkey in as many months, most of them claimed by or attributed to Islamic State. The same day, a mortar assault on a checkpoint in El-Arish, Egypt, killed 15 policemen. A Sinai-based Islamic State affiliate claimed responsibility.
On Sunday, March 20, al-Shabaab overran a Somali military base just 28 miles from the capital, Mogadishu, killing at least one person and seizing several vehicles. Also on Sunday, the Istanbul governorate canceled a hotly anticipated soccer match after receiving “serious intelligence” regarding a planned terror attack.
On Monday, March 21, Islamist fighters likely affiliated with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb targeted a hotel in the capital of Mali, Bamako, that houses a European Union military-assistance mission. EU personnel were unharmed, and one attacker was killed by hotel security.
Brussels was the first major terrorist incident in the West since November’s jihadist killing spree in Paris and December’s in San Bernardino, Calif.
You could create a calendar like this one that stretches back for weeks and months, and the above doesn’t even include the civil wars and humanitarian calamities in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan.
The Syrian vortex is especially perilous. It has been drawing the barely stable nations that surround Syria into its spin and spewing out battle-hardened jihadists along with millions of legitimate refugees. The biggest refugee crisis since World War II was bound to pose serious security threats to Europe.
Meanwhile, the longer Islamic State and al Qaeda thrive in Syria and Iraq, the stronger their adherents and affiliates elsewhere will become.
(In fact, there have been even more such attacks in that period. See The Religion of Peace for a more comprehensive list. And see their tally of lethal Muslim attacks world-wide since 9/11 in our margin.)
Here’s a picture of the train bombed by Muslim holy warriors in Brussels yesterday (the dead bodies cut off by the publishers, not by us).
And here’s the scene after one of the Muslim holy warriors’ bombs exploded at Belgium’s international airport.
Iran is free to go. Free, that is, to become a nuclear power.
Caroline Glick writes at Front Page:
Given the Democrats’ allegiance to Obama’s disastrous policies, the only hope for a restoration of American leadership is that a Republican wins the next election. But if Republicans nominate a candidate who fails to reconcile with the realities of the world as it is, then the chance for a reassertion of American leadership will diminish significantly.
To understand just how high the stakes are, you need to look no further than two events that occurred just before the Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate.
On Tuesday, the International Atomic Energy Agency voted to close its investigation of Iran’s nuclear program. As far as the UN’s nuclear watchdog is concerned, Iran is good to go.
The move is a scandal. Its consequences will be disastrous.
The IAEA acknowledges that Iran continued to advance its illicit military nuclear program at least until 2009. Tehran refuses to divulge its nuclear activities to IAEA investigators as it is required to do under binding UN Security Council resolutions.
Iran refuses to allow IAEA inspectors access to its illicit nuclear sites. As a consequence, the IAEA lacks a clear understanding of what Iran’s nuclear status is today and therefore has no capacity to prevent it from maintaining or expanding its nuclear capabilities.
This means that the inspection regime Iran supposedly accepted under Obama’s nuclear deal is worthless.
The IAEA also accepts that since Iran concluded its nuclear accord with the world powers, it has conducted two tests of ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons, despite the fact that it is barred from doing so under binding Security Council resolutions.
But really, who cares? Certainly the Obama administration doesn’t. The sighs of relief emanating from the White House and the State Department after the IAEA decision were audible from Jerusalem to Tehran.
The IAEA’s decision has two direct consequences.
First, as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday, it paves the way for the cancellation of the UN’s economic sanctions against Iran within the month.
Second, with the IAEA’s decision, the last obstacle impeding Iran’s completion of its nuclear weapons program has been removed. Inspections are a thing of the past. Iran is in the clear.
As Iran struts across the nuclear finish line, the Sunni jihadists are closing their ranks.
Hours after the IAEA vote, Turkey and Qatar announced that Turkey is setting up a permanent military base in the Persian Gulf emirate for the first time since the fall of the Ottoman Empire a century ago. Their announcement indicates that the informal partnership between Turkey and Qatar on the one side, and Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State on the other hand … is now becoming a more formal alliance.
Just as the Obama administration has no problem with Iran going nuclear, so it has no problem with this new jihadist alliance. …
In other words, with the US’s blessing, the forces of both Shi’ite and Sunni jihad are on the march.
On the warpath, that is. But will the war be between Sunnis and Sunnis, and Sunnis and Shi’ites, or will it be a much wider conflagration?
Peter Apps, a Reuters defense correspondent and Executive Director of The Project for Study of the 21st Century, writes at Newsweek:
On Sunday, Nov. 28, Californians watched with bemusement and in some cases alarm as a bright light moved across the sky. It wasn’t a UFO. It was a U.S. Navy Trident ballistic missile.
It was, of course, just a test — the first of two in three days. They coincided with tough talk from U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, who earlier that month had criticized Russia for engaging in “challenging activities” at sea and air, in space and cyberspace. Days earlier, he had been in the South China Sea aboard an aircraft carrier, sending a similarly robust message to China about its actions in the disputed region. …
The Project for Study of the 21st. Century recently published its survey of major conflict risk. Over six months, we polled 50 national security experts on the risk of a variety of potential wars.
The results make interesting reading. The most striking thing, though, is not the numbers themselves — it is the fact that there now seem to be multiple potential routes to a variety of potentially devastating state-on-state wars.
Our poll showed the experts — who ranged from current and former military officials to international relations professors and insurance and risk specialists — putting a 6.8 percent chance on a major nuclear war in the next 20 years killing more people than World War Two. That conflict killed roughly 80,000,000 at upper estimates. …
A majority – 60% – of the respondents believe that “the risk of nuclear had risen over the last decade” and 52% “expected it to rise further in the decade to come”.
The increasing confrontations with China and Russia have, of course, become increasingly obvious. Of our respondents, 80 percent said they expected a further rise in the kind of “ambiguous” or “asymmetric” conflict between major states. …
The world could see bloodshed on a previously unimaginable level. …
Despite this year’s nuclear deal, our experts saw a 27 percent chance Iran would end up in a shooting war with its enemies, be that the United States, Israel, the Gulf States or all. On average, they saw a 6 percent chance of such a war including at least one nuclear detonation.
At least one? Wouldn’t there be a retaliation? Could there possibly be fewer than two? And then probably many more?
Overall, our panel estimated the risk of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization fighting Russia in at least a limited military confrontation at 22 percent. That compared to only a 17 percent chance of U.S. and Chinese forces fighting (as well as a slightly higher 19 percent chance of Japan and China doing the same). …
After a generation in which major European war was simply never thought possible, it’s worth remembering the continent is still home to more than half the world’s nuclear weapons.
And they are all likely to fall into the hands of a Muslim majority around the middle of this century.
The experts, hampered by the usual myopia of experts, do not apparently take that into account:
And yet, amid such apocalyptic talk, our survey shows that all of these conflicts remain on balance unlikely …
Unlikely? Why do they say that?
At one of our events earlier this year, Harvard geopolitics expert Professor Joseph Nye pointed out that nuclear weapons have so far acted to avert war by functioning as a brutally effective “crystal ball”. What their existence meant, he said, was that national leaders knew what the consequences of going over the edge would be — complete and utter destruction and a war which everyone would lose.
Had the leaders of Europe experienced such clarity before World War One, he suggested, they could well have stepped back from the brink. And sure enough, it’s true that we have avoided such conflicts in the era of “mutually assured destruction”.
The dark-minded mullahs who rule Iran don’t care a fig about “mutually assured destruction”. They say that the state of Israel can be destroyed with one nuke, and even if Iran lost millions in a counter-attack, Iran would still survive as a large and powerful nation.
And, they believe, the Iranian dead would all be martyrs who’d dwell in paradise forever. And there they long to go.
For all their warnings and nice academic calculations in percentage terms of the chances of our civilization being destroyed, The Project for Study of the 21st Century experts – though made nervous by something they gingerly sniff in the wind – are, in our view, far too optimistic.
And out of touch.
Caroline Glock is closer to making the prediction that needs to be spoken. But even she stops short of actually making it.
We will make it:
Unless “a Republican wins the next election” who does not fail “to reconcile with the realities of the world as it is”, Iran will use its nukes.
“Apocalyptic” destruction will follow.
And that will be Obama’s legacy.
Obama is the man who shakes hands with himself.
Amir Taheri writes at Gatestone:
Sometime this week, President Obama is scheduled to sign an executive order to meet the Oct. 15 “adoption day” he has set for the nuclear deal he says he has made with Iran. According to the president’s timetable the next step would be “the start day of implementation”, fixed for Dec. 15.
But as things now stand, Obama may end up being the only person in the world to sign his much-wanted deal, in effect making a treaty with himself.
The Iranians have signed nothing and have no plans for doing so.
The so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has not even been discussed at the Islamic Republic’s Council of Ministers. Nor has the Tehran government bothered to even provide an official Persian translation of the 159-page text.
The Islamic Majlis, the ersatz parliament, is examining an unofficial text and is due to express its views at an unspecified date in a document “running into more than 1,000 pages”, according to Mohsen Zakani, who heads the “examining committee”.
“The changes we seek would require substantial rewriting of the text,” he adds enigmatically.
Nor have Britain, China, Germany, France and Russia, who were involved in the so-called P5+1 talks that produced the JCPOA, deemed it necessary to provide the Obama “deal” with any legal basis of their own. Obama’s partners have simply decided that the deal he is promoting is really about lifting sanctions against Iran and nothing else. So they have started doing just that without bothering about JCPOA’s other provisions.
Britain has lifted the ban on 22 Iranian banks and companies blacklisted because of alleged involvement in deals linked to the nuclear issue.
German trade with Iran has risen by 33 percent, making it the Islamic Republic’s third-largest partner after China.
China has signed preliminary accords to help Iran build five more nuclear reactors.
Russia has started delivering S300 anti-aircraft missile systems and is engaged in talks to sell Sukhoi planes to the Islamic Republic.
France has sent its foreign minister and a 100-man delegation to negotiate big business deals, including projects to double Iran’s crude oil exports.
Indian trade with Iran has risen by 17 percent, and New Delhi is negotiating massive investment in a rail-and-sea hub in the Iranian port of Chah-Bahar on the Gulf of Oman.
With help from Austrian, Turkish and United Arab Emirates banks, the many banking restrictions imposed on Iran because of its nuclear program have been pushed aside.
“The structures of sanctions built over decades is crumbling,” boasts Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Meanwhile, the nuclear project is and shall remain “fully intact,” says the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Akbar Salehi. “We have started working on a process of nuclear fusion that will be cutting-edge technology for the next 50 years,” he adds.
Even before Obama’s “implementation day”, the mullahs are receiving an average of $400 million a month, no big sum, but enough to ease the regime’s cash-flow problems and increase pay for its repressive forces by around 21 percent. …
The mullahs see the “deal” as a means with which Obama would oppose any suggestion of trying to curb Iran.
“Obama won’t do anything that might jeopardize the deal,” says Ziba Kalam, a Rouhani adviser. “This is his biggest, if not only, foreign policy success.”
Let’s pause and contemplate that for a moment! This farce of a deal, this green light to one of the most oppressive regimes on earth to go ahead and become a nuclear power, is – Obama’s “biggest, if not only, foreign policy SUCCESS”!
More follows on this success:
If there have been changes in Tehran’s behavior they have been for the worse. Iran has teamed up with Russia to keep Bashar al-Assad in power in Syria, mocking Obama’s “Assad must go” rhetoric. More importantly, Iran has built its direct military presence in Syria to 7,000 men.
Tehran has also pressured Iraqi Premier Haidar al-Abadi’s weak government to distance itself from Washington and join a dubious coalition with Iran, Russia and Syria.
Certain that Obama is paralyzed by his fear of undermining the non-existent “deal” the mullahs have intensified their backing for Houthi rebels in Yemen. Last week a delegation was in Tehran with a long shopping list for arms.
In Lebanon, the mullahs have toughened their stance on choosing the country’s next president.
And in Bahrain, Tehran is working on a plan to “ensure an early victory” of the Shiite revolution in the archipelago.
Confident that Obama is determined to abandon traditional allies of the United States, Tehran has also heightened propaganda war against Saudi Arabia, now openly calling for the overthrow of the monarchy there.
The mullahs are also heightening contacts with Palestinian groups in the hope of unleashing a new “Intifada.”
They have done so. (See yesterday’s post, immediately below.)
“Palestine is thirsty for a third Intifada,” Supreme Guide Khamenei’s mouthpiece Kayhan said in an editorial last Thursday. “It is the duty of every Muslim to help start it as soon as possible.”
Obama’s hopes of engaging Iran on other issues were dashed last week when Khamenei declared “any dialogue with the American Great Satan” to be “forbidden”.
“We have no need of America” his adviser Ali-Akbar Velayati added later. “Iran is the region’s big power in its own right.”
Obama had hoped that by sucking up to the mullahs he would at least persuade them to moderate their “hate-America campaign”.
“Death to America” slogans, adorning official buildings in Tehran have been painted afresh along with US flags, painted at the entrance of offices so that they could be trampled underfoot.
None of the US citizens still held hostages in Iran has been released, and one, Washington Post stringer Jason Rezai, is branded as “head of a spy ring “in Tehran. Paralyzed by his fear of undermining the non-existent deal, Obama doesn’t even call for their release.
Government-sponsored anti-American nationwide events are announced for November, anniversary of the seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran.
The annual “End of America” week-long conference is planned for February and is to focus on “African-American victims of US police” and the possibility of “self-determination for blacks.”
Iran is inciting rebellion and treason among Americans.
According to official sources “families of Black American victims” and a number of “black American revolutionaries” have been invited.
Inside Iran, Obama’s “moderate partners” have doubled the number of executions and political prisoners. Last week they crushed marches by teachers calling for release of their leaders. Hundreds of trade unionists have been arrested and a new “anti-insurrection” brigade paraded in Tehran to terrorize possible protestors.
The Obama deal may end up as the biggest diplomatic scam in recent history.
What is unique about American foreign policy today is not just that it is rudderless, but how quickly and completely the 70-year postwar order seems to have disintegrated — and how little interest the American people take in the collapse, thanks to the administration’s apparent redeeming message, which translates, “It’s their misfortune and none of our own.”
We quote from an article by Victor Davis Hanson in the National Review.
He sets before us a picture of what passes for US foreign policy under Obama, and the disasters that have ensued from it – and continue to get worse.
ISIS took Ramadi last week. …
On a smaller scale, ISIS is doing to the surge cities of Iraq what Hitler did to his neighbors between 1939 and 1941, and what Putin is perhaps doing now on the periphery of Russia. In Ramadi, ISIS will soon do its accustomed thing of beheading and burning alive its captives, seeking some new macabre twist to sustain its Internet video audience.
We in the West trample the First Amendment and jail a video maker for posting a supposedly insensitive film about Islam; in contrast, jihadists post snuff movies of burnings and beheadings to global audiences.
We argue not about doing anything or saving anybody, but about whether it is inappropriate to call the macabre killers “jihadists”. When these seventh-century psychopaths tire of warring on people, they turn to attacking stones, seeking to ensure that there is not a vestige left of the Middle East’s once-glorious antiquities. I assume the ancient Sassanid and Roman imperial site at Palmyra will soon be looted and smashed. …
As long as we are not involved at the center of foreign affairs and there is no perceptible short-term danger to our security, few seem to care much that western North Africa is a no-man’s-land. Hillary Clinton’s “lead from behind” created a replay of Somalia in Libya.
The problem with Turkey’s Recep Erdogan is not that he is no longer Obama’s “special friend,” but that he was ever considered a friend at all, as he pressed forward with his plan to destroy Turkish democracy in the long march to theocracy.
There was never much American good will for the often duplicitous Gulf monarchies, so the general public does not seem to be worried that they are now spurned allies. That estrangement became possible because of growing U.S. self-sufficiency in oil and gas (thanks to fracking, which Obama largely opposed). Still, let us hope the Gulf States remain neutral rather than becoming enemies — given their financial clout and the availability of Pakistani bombs for Sunni petrodollars.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration has it in for Israel. Why, no one quite knows, given that the Jewish state is the only democratic and liberal society in the Middle East. Perhaps it resembles the United States too closely, and thus earns the reflected hypercriticism that so many leftists cultivate for their own civilization.
Theocratic Iran has won more sympathy from the Obama administration. No neutral observer believes that the current policy of lifting sanctions and conducting negotiations will not lead to an Iranian bomb; it is hoped only that this will be unveiled on the watch of another president, who will be castigated as a warmonger if he is forced to preempt its rollout.
The current American foreign policy toward Iran is baffling. Does Obama see the theocracy as a valuable counterweight to the Sunni monarchies? Is it more authentic in the revolutionary sense than the geriatric hereditary kingdoms in the Gulf? Or is the inexplicable policy simply a matter of John Kerry’s gambit for a Nobel Peace Prize or some sort of Obama legacy in the eleventh hour, a retake of pulling all U.S. peacekeepers home from a once-quiet Iraq so that Obama could claim he had “ended the war in Iraq”?
Hillary Clinton has been talking up her successful tenure as secretary of state. But mysteriously she has never specified exactly where, when, or how her talents shone. What is she proud of? Reset with Russia? The Asian pivot to discourage Chinese bellicosity? The critical preliminary preparations for talks with Iran? The Libyan misadventure? Or perhaps we missed a new initiative to discourage North Korean aggression? Some new under-appreciated affinity with Israel and the Gulf monarchies? The routing of ISIS, thanks to Hillary’s plans? Shoring up free-market democracies in Latin America? Proving a model of transparency as secretary? Creating a brilliant new private-public synergy by combining the work of the State Department, the Clinton Foundation, and Bill’s lecturing –as evidenced by the Haitian renaissance and nation-building in Kazakhstan?
He also considers the administration’s domestic failures:
Meanwhile, no one seems to much care that between 2009 and 2017, we will have borrowed 8 trillion more dollars. Yet for all that stimulus, the U.S. economy still has staggering labor non-participation rates, flat GDP growth, and stagnant household income. As long as zero interest rates continue, the rich make lots of money in the stock market, and the debt can grow by $500 billion a year and still be serviced. Financial sobriety is now defined as higher taxes bringing in record revenues to service half-trillion-dollar annual additions to an $18 trillion debt.
The liberal approach to the underclass continues as it has been for the last 50 years: The elites support huge, unquestioned redistributionist entitlements for the inner city as penance for avoiding it. Minorities are left to run their own political affairs without much worry that their supposed benefactors live apartheid lives, protected by the proof of their caring. The public is left with the lie “Hands up, don’t shoot” as a construct that we will call true, because the made-up last-seconds gasps of Michael Brown perhaps should have happened that way. As an elite bookend, we have a Columbia coed toting around a mattress as proof of society’s insensitivity to sexual violence, which in her case both her university and the New York City police agree never occurred. In theory, perhaps it could have and thus all but did.
As far as scandals go, no one much cares any more about the implosion of the Veterans Administration. In the public’s defense, though, how does one keep straight the multitudinous scandals — Lois Lerner and the rogue IRS, the spying on and tapping of Associated Press journalists, the National Security Agency disclosures, Fast and Furious, the serial lying about needless deaths in Benghazi, the shenanigans at the General Services Administration, the collapse of sobriety at the Secret Service, the rebooting of air-traffic controllers’ eligibility to be adjudicated along racial and ethnic lines, and the deletions from Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server, which doubled as her government server.
Always there is the administration’s populist anthem of “You didn’t build that”; instead, you must have won the lottery from President Obama. If his economic programs are not working, there is always the finger pointing at those who are too well off. Michelle Obama lectured a couple of weeks ago on museum elitism and prior neglect of the inner city, in between recounting some slights and micro-aggressions that she has endured, presumably on jumbo-jet jaunts to Costa del Sol and Aspen. I think her point is that it is still worse to be rich, powerful, and black than, say, poor, ignored, and non-black. …
He concludes on a note of despondency not far off from despair:
The center of this culture is not holding. …
More Americans privately confess that American foreign policy is dangerously adrift. They would agree that the U.S. no longer has a southern border, and will have to spend decades and billions of dollars coping with millions of new illegal aliens.
Some Americans are starting to fear that the reckless borrowing under Obama will wreck the country if not stopped.
Racial tensions, all concede, are reaching dangerous levels, and Americans do not know what is scarier: inner-city relations between blacks and the police, the increasing anger of the black underclass at establishment America — or the even greater backlash at out-of-control violent black crime and the constant scapegoating and dog whistles of racism.
Whatever liberalism is, it is not working.
It’s certainly not “liberal” in the real meaning of the word. It is the opposite – dictatorial.
We call it Leftism. It has the Western world in its crushing grip.