Wednesday, January 28, 2015

ISIS & The Iran Cauldron



U.S. Policy in Syria: A Recipe to Contain, Not Defeat, ISIS 
- Andrew J. Tabler

The Assad regime's tacit agreement to avoid firing on coalition strike aircraft - juxtaposed with long delays in the Obama administration's train-and-equip program for the Syrian opposition and the president's October 2014 letter to Iran's Supreme Leader on cooperation against ISIS - is creating widespread perceptions that the U.S. is heading into a de facto alliance with Assad and Tehran regarding the jihadists.


If Washington continues this policy, it will merely contain ISIS, not "defeat" or "destroy" the group. Beyond the terrible optics of assisting a president who has used chemical weapons and Scud missiles against his own people, the Assad regime is financially and militarily crippled and therefore unable to retake and hold areas currently controlled by ISIS.

Instead of allowing the regime's strength to grow, Washington should weaken both Assad and ISIS by encouraging the fight between them, weakening Iran's foreign legions and the jihadists at the same time
The writer is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute. 
(Washington Institute for Near East Policy)


Iranian Weapons of War America Should Fear - Zachary Keck

With the possible exception of North Korea, no country in the post-Cold War era has sought to challenge the U.S. as much as Iran. Tehran has never missed an opportunity to antagonize the U.S. and limit its influence.
   

In any conventional military conflict, Iran wouldn't stand a chance against the U.S. armed forces. To compensate, Iran pursues a deterrent-based military doctrine premised on three types of capabilities: an expansive ballistic missile arsenal, asymmetric naval warfare (particularly the threat of closing down the Strait of Hormuz), and ties to non-state militant groups.
   

Perhaps Iran's greatest deterrent threat is its ability to threaten oil shipments in the Strait of Hormuz, which roughly 20% of global oil supplies must transverse on their way to markets. Iran has at least twenty 150-ton Ghadir-class midget submarines that would be especially deadly in any conflict. As Chris Harmer, an expert on Iran's military at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), explains, "The quietest submarine in the world is one that rests on a sandy seabed. That is how the Iranians would use the Ghadir - get it out of port, sink to the bottom of the shallow Persian Gulf, rest on the sandy bottom, and wait for a target to come to it."
   

With the benefit of hindsight, Iran's decision to infiltrate Lebanon seems like pure strategic genius, as Hizbullah has been the gift that just keeps giving. Time and again Hizbullah has proven to be the most versatile and usable "weapon of war" in Iran's arsenal. Iran used Hizbullah to carry out terrorist attacks like the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and successfully attacked Israeli tourists in Bulgaria in 2012.
(American Interest)
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Friday, January 23, 2015

Iran Ascending



The Long Arm: Iran Is Expanding Its Influence Abroad

Officials in Tehran are not shy about their aim of spreading influence abroad, nor of their apparent success. Tehran can claim, with only a pinch of hubris, to run three Arab capitals: Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut. This week it may have added a fourth: Sana'a, Yemen's capital.
     

Moreover, an Israeli strike on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights that killed Mohammad Ali Allahdadi, an Iranian general, exposed Iranian meddling in another part of the Middle East. To its critics, Iran alarmingly holds sway from the Mediterranean Sea to the Fertile Crescent and the Gulf of Aden. "The Iranians are experts at taking advantage of chaos," says Shimon Shapira, a retired military man now at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. 
(Economist-UK)


Iran's Emerging Empire - Charles Krauthammer

Iran's march toward conventional domination of the Arab world has been largely overlooked in Washington. For the Saudis and the other Gulf Arabs, this is a nightmare. They're engaged in a titanic regional struggle with Iran. And they are losing - losing Yemen, losing Lebanon, losing Syria and watching post-U.S.-withdrawal Iraq come under increasing Iranian domination.


The nightmare would be hugely compounded by Iran going nuclear. 
(Washington Post)


Fact Checker: Has Iran's Nuclear Program Been "Halted" and Its Nuclear Stockpile "Reduced"?
- Glenn Kessler

In his State of the Union address on Jan. 20, 2015, President Obama said: "Our diplomacy is at work with respect to Iran, where, for the first time in a decade, we've halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material."
     

Olli Heinonen, who headed the IAEA's safeguards section, said, "It is true that 20%-enriched uranium stocks have decreased, but Iran is still producing uranium enriched up to 5% uranium. The latter stocks have actually increased when you talk about stocks of UF6 [uranium hexafluoride] and other chemical compounds." Moreover, "it appears that the production of centrifuge components continues. Same with the Arak reactor. No new nuclear components have been installed, but it does not mean that the production of those came to halt."
     

David Albright, who heads the Institute for Science and International Security, said it was not correct that the 3.5%-enriched stock had been reduced; instead it has been converted from one form ("hexafluoride") to another ("oxide"), a step that he said was taken largely for cosmetic (political) purposes. As a practical matter, the conversion of 3.5% to oxide form would only add about two weeks to the break-out period, since Iran could reconvert it back into hexafluoride. 

In effect, the amount of nuclear material available to Iran has gone up "about a bomb's worth during the JPOA [interim agreement]," Albright said.
(Washington Post)


How Congress Can Use Its Leverage on Iran - David B. Rivkin Jr. & Lee A. Casey

Tehran's insistence that existing U.S. sanctions be lifted as part of a nuclear-weapons agreement gives U.S. lawmakers substantial leverage. Congress should insist that any Iranian agreement take the form of a treaty. The Constitution requires that treaties be made only with the advice and consent of the Senate.
     

Congress should pass legislation now clearly stating the parameters of an acceptable nuclear deal with Iran, emphasizing the need to eliminate any Iranian breakout capability. It should also put the Iranians and our allies on notice that, absent congressional approval, the president cannot deliver comprehensive and permanent relief from the existing sanctions statutes.
Messrs. Rivkin and Casey served in the Justice Department under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Mr. Rivkin is also a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
(Wall Street Journal)


UPDATES: 

Prime Minister Has "Sacred Duty" to Oppose Iran Deal that "Endangers Israel's Existence"
- Jacob Kornbluh

Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer sought to reassure Americans that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had no intention to disrespect President Barack Obama or intervene in American politics by accepting House Speaker John Boehner's invitation to address a joint session of Congress in March.
     

"There may be some people who believe that the Prime Minister of Israel should have declined an invitation to speak before the most powerful parliament in the world on an issue that concerns the future and survival of Israel. But we have learned from our history that the world becomes a more dangerous place for the Jewish people when the Jewish people are silent."
     

"The agreement that is being discussed today is not an agreement that would dismantle Iran's nuclear weapons capability, but rather one that could leave Iran as a nuclear threshold state. That is an agreement that could endanger the very existence of the State of Israel....The Jewish people are a people who have survived all the evil that history has thrown at us. And we will survive the evil that we face today. But we will not do it by bowing our heads and by hoping that the storm will pass." 
(JP Updates)


New Saudi Ruler Sees Iran Threat - Mohamad Bazzi

No one should doubt that King Salman is as focused on the perceived threat from Iran as King Abdullah was. In a conversation a week ago with six visiting U.S. senators, the new ruler emphasized the threat from a nuclear-armed Iran, said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.). 
(Politico)


Netanyahu: "I Am Obligated to Make Every Effort to Prevent Iran from Achieving Nuclear Weapons Aimed at Israel"

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Cabinet: "In the coming weeks, the major powers are liable to reach a framework agreement with Iran, an agreement that is liable to leave Iran as a nuclear threshold state, which would endanger - first and foremost - the existence of the State of Israel. This is the same Iran that has taken over Lebanon and Syria and is now taking over Yemen and Iraq. This is the same Iran that is preparing an active front against us both on the Golan Heights and in southern Lebanon. This same Iran cannot advance toward nuclear weapons."
    

"As Prime Minister of Israel, I am obligated to make every effort in order to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons that would be aimed at the State of Israel. This effort is worldwide and I will go anywhere I am invited in order to enunciate the State of Israel's position and in order to defend its future and its existence." 
(Prime Minister's Office)


Secret Israeli-Saudi Ties Likely to Continue - Ariel Zilber

The tacit security and intelligence cooperation that has come to characterize Israel's clandestine relationship with Saudi Arabia is likely to remain intact following [the] passing of King Abdullah.
     

"The changes that the Middle East has experienced in recent years have created a set of joint interests between the two countries," said Dr. Michal Yaari, an expert on Saudi foreign policy and a lecturer at the Open University. "The biggest enemy for both countries is Iran, and there are also the radical terror groups like ISIS that threaten the regional order in the Middle East. It is this overall framework that has created the conditions for cooperation between Jerusalem and Riyadh."
(Jerusalem Post)


Time to Take It to Iran - Dennis Ross, Eric Edelman and Ray Takeyh

American diplomats should not be afraid to walk away from the table and even suspend the talks should they continue to meet an unyielding Iran. They need to clearly signal that we don't need an agreement as much as they do and that we are prepared to create conditions for international support for increased pressure.
(Politico)
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Additional UPDATE:

About that Invitation to Address Congress - Elliott Abrams

  • When Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu last addressed a joint session of Congress in 2011, Walter Russell Mead wrote a remarkable comment on the speech Netanyahu made and the reception he received. "Israel matters in American politics like almost no other country on earth....Being pro-Israel matters in American mass politics because the public mind believes at a deep level that to be pro-Israel is to be pro-American."
  • Obama administration officials who are trying to argue that Netanyahu's invitation from Speaker Boehner is outrageous and political (just a few days after the president got British prime minister Cameron to lobby Congress directly) will lose the argument.
  • Iran's nuclear program is one of the most significant national security issues we face and an even larger issue for Israel.
  • I think it's fine that Obama will not see Netanyahu so close to the Israeli election; that's a good practice in general and avoids the inference of U.S. intervention in a foreign electoral contest.
  • But the White House's whining about Boehner's invitation is amateurish, and for the reasons Mead explained it will persuade few Americans beyond the Beltway.
  • Given the situation in the Middle East and the state of nuclear negotiations with Iran (where the U.S. has abandoned almost every red line it ever set), it's no wonder that Netanyahu wants to speak about Iran and that the Speaker wants to hear him.

    The writer is a Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
(Council on Foreign Relations)
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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Dem Spits Fire At Obama on Iran



Senator Menendez attacks President Obama

During a hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Ranking Member Senator Robert Menendez (D -NJ) said “the more I hear from the administration, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran.” Menendez’s comments come a day after President Obama delivered his annual State of the Union address, in which the President vowed that he would veto any conditional sanctions legislation.

In his State of the Union speech, President Obama said that we’ve halted the progress of its nuclear program.However, many experts say the Iranian nuclear program has not been halted.
[The Israel Project]
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Fatal Attraction: U.S. Engagement Strategy - Aaron David Miller

As long as Iran's mullahcracy and security establishment continue to see Iran as a revolutionary Islamic power at home and abroad, the chances of an engagement strategy transforming the U.S.-Iran relationship look pretty bleak. Indeed, perhaps the greatest danger is that a deal really won't diminish Tehran's determination to remain a screwdriver's turn away from a nuclear weapon.
     

And if the administration is too eager for an agreement, it will find itself with the worst of all possible worlds - with an emboldened Iran freed from sanctions and international pressure, untransformed, unrepentant, and in a stronger, not weaker, position to challenge U.S. interests in a turbulent Middle East
The writer is vice president for new initiatives at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
(Foreign Policy)
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

France's 'No-Go' Zones: Fact or Fiction?

These stickers were illegally placed in neighborhoods in the United Kingdom

European 'No-Go' Zones: Fact or Fiction? - Soeren Kern

The jihadist attack on the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French magazine known for lampooning Islam, has cast a spotlight on so-called no-go zones in France and other European countries.

No-go zones are Muslim-dominated neighborhoods that are largely off limits to non-Muslims due to a variety of factors, including the lawlessness and insecurity that pervades a great number of these areas. Host-country authorities have effectively lost control over many no-go zones and are often unable or unwilling to provide even basic public aid, such as police, fire fighting and ambulance services, out of fear of being attacked by Muslim youth.

Muslim enclaves in European cities are also breeding grounds for Islamic radicalism and pose a significant threat to Western security.

Europe's no-go zones are the by-product of decades of multicultural policies that have encouraged Muslim immigrants to create parallel societies and remain segregated from — rather than become integrated into — their European host nations.

The problem of no-go zones is well documented, but multiculturalists and their politically correct supporters vehemently deny that they exist. Some are now engaged in a concerted campaign to discredit and even silence those who draw attention to the issue.

Consider Carol Matlack, an American writer for Bloomberg Businessweek, who recently penned a story — entitled "Debunking the Myth of Muslim-Only Zones in Major European Cities" — in which she claims that no-go zones are nothing more than an "urban legend" that is "demonstrably untrue." She then goes on to ridicule those who disagree with her.

The American cable television channel Fox News has also issued at least four apologies for referring to Muslim no-go zones in Europe, after one commentator erroneously claimed that the entire city of Birmingham, England, was Muslim. Had he simply said that "parts" of Birmingham are Muslim, he would have been correct.

Despite such politically correct denials, Muslim no-go zones are a well-known fact of life in many parts of Europe.

Fabrice Balanche, a well-known French Islam scholar who teaches at the University of Lyon, recently told Radio Télévision Suisse: "You have territories in France such as Roubaix, such as northern Marseille, where police will not step foot, where the authority of state is completely absent, where mini Islamic states have been formed."

French politician Franck Guiot wrote that parts of Évry, a township in the southern suburbs of Paris, are no-go zones where police forces cannot go for fear of being attacked. He said that politicians seeking to maintain "social peace" were prohibiting the police from using their weapons to defend themselves.

The Socialist mayor of Amiens, Gilles Demailly, has referred to the Fafet-Brossolette district of the city as a "no-go zone" where "you can no longer order a pizza or get a doctor to come to the house." Europe 1, one of the leading broadcasters in France, has referred to Marseille as a "no-go zone" after the government was forced to deploy riot police, known as CRS, to confront warring Muslim gangs in the city. The French Interior Ministry said it was trying to "reconquer" 184 square kilometers (71 square miles) of Marseille that have come under the control of Muslim gangs.

The French newspaper Le Figaro has referred to downtown Perpignan as a "veritable no-go zone" where "aggression, antisocial behavior, drug trafficking, Muslim communalism, racial tensions and tribal violence" are forcing non-Muslims to move out. Le Figaro also reported that the Les Izards district of Toulouse was a no-go zone, where Arab drug trafficking gangs rule the streets in a climate of fear.

Separately, Le Figaro reported that large quantities of assault rifles are circulating in French no-go zones. "For a few hundred dollars you can buy Kalashnikovs," political scientist Sebastian Roché said. "The price of an iPhone!"

The newspaper France Soir published poll results showing that nearly 60% of French citizens are in favor of sending the army into troubled suburbs to restore order.

In August 2014, the French magazine Valeurs Actuelles (Contemporary Values) reported that "France has more than 750 areas of lawlessness" where the law of the French Republic no longer applies. Under the headline "Hell in France," the magazine said that many parts of France are experiencing a "dictatorship of riffraff" where police are "greeted by mortar fire" and are "forced to retreat by projectiles."

Separately, Valeurs Actuelles reported on the lawlessness in Trappes, a township located in the western suburbs of Paris, where radical Islam and endemic crime go hand in hand. "Criminals are pursued by Islamic fundamentalists to impose an alternative society, breaking links with the French Republic," according to local police commander Mohammed Duhan. It is not advisable to go there, he says, adding, "You will be spotted by so-called chauffeurs (lookouts for drug traffickers) and be stripped and smashed."

A graphic 20-minute documentary (in French) about the no-go zone in Clichy Montfermeil, a suburb of Paris, can be viewed here. At around the 3-minute mark, the video shows what happens when French police enter the area.

A 1.5 hour documentary (in French) produced by France's TF1 about Muslim gangs in Parisian no-go zones can be viewed here. A 50-minute documentary (in French) produced by France's TV3 about the no-go zones of Clos Saint-Lazare in northern Paris can be viewed here. A 45-minute documentary (in English) about the no-go zones of Marseilles can be viewed here.

A four-minute video of the most dangerous neighborhoods of France in 2014 can be viewed here. A three-and-a-half-minute video of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Greater Paris Metropolitan Area can be viewed here. A two-minute video of a no-go zone in Lille can be viewed here. A five-minute video about life in the suburbs of Lyon can be viewed here.

A 120-page research paper entitled "No-Go Zones in the French Republic: Myth or Reality?" documented dozens of French neighborhoods "where police and gendarmerie cannot enforce the Republican order or even enter without risking confrontation, projectiles, or even fatal shootings."

In October 2011, a landmark 2,200-page report, "Banlieue de la République" (Suburbs of the Republic) found that Seine-Saint-Denis and other Parisian suburbs are becoming "separate Islamic societies" cut off from the French state, and where Islamic Sharia law is rapidly displacing French civil law. The report said that Muslim immigrants are increasingly rejecting French values and instead are immersing themselves in radical Islam.

The report — which was commissioned by the influential French think tank, L'Institut Montaigne — was directed by Gilles Kepel, a highly respected political scientist and specialist in Islam, together with five other French researchers. The authors of the report showed that France — which now has 6.5 million Muslims (the largest Muslim population in European Union) — is on the brink of a major social explosion because of the failure of Muslims to integrate into French society.

The report also showed how the problem is being exacerbated by radical Muslim preachers, who are promoting the social marginalization of Muslim immigrants in order to create a parallel Muslim society in France that is ruled by Sharia law. The research was primarily carried out in the Seine-Saint-Denis townships of Clichy-sous-Bois and Montfermeil, two suburbs that were ground zero for Muslim riots in the fall of 2005, when Muslim mobs torched more than 9,000 cars.

A video showing a radical Islamic rally in Saint-Denis can be viewed here. A video showing radical Muslims commandeering a French bus amid screams of "Allahu Akbar!" (Allah is greater!) can be viewed here. A series of eight videos documenting Muslim street prayers in Paris can be viewed here. (Street prayers have now been outlawed.) A series of 25 videos documenting the Islamization of France can be viewed here.
[Gatestone Institute]
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UPDATE:

Does Europe Have No-go Zones? - Daniel Pipes, PhD

Comments by Steven Emerson on Fox News have prompted a heated debate over whether predominantly Muslim "no-go" zones exist in Europe.

[T]hose areas "are not full-fledged no-go zones" --- meaning places where the government had lost control of territory. No war lords dominate; Shari'a is not the law of the land. So, what are these places? A unique and as-yet un-named mix.

West European states can intervene anywhere and at any time in their sovereign territory. As the shoot-out in Verviers and the subsequent raids in Belgium suggest, their overwhelming advantage in force – including military, intelligence, and police – means they have not ceded control.

On the other hand, governments often choose not to impose their will on Muslim-majority areas, allowing them considerable autonomy, including in some cases the Shariah courts that Emerson mentioned. Alcohol and pork are effectively banned in these districts, polygamy and burqas commonplace, police enter only warily and in force, and Muslims get away with offences illegal for the rest of population.

The Rotherham, England, child sex scandal offers a powerful example. An official inquiry found that for sixteen years, 1997-2013, a ring of Muslim men sexually exploited – through abduction, rape, gang rape, trafficking, prostitution, torture – at least 1,400 non-Muslim girls as young as 11. The police received voluminous complaints from the girls' parents but did nothing; they could have acted, but chose not to. 

Another example, also British, was the so-called Operation Trojan Horse that flourished from 2007 until 2014, in which (again, according to an official inquiry), a group of school functionaries developed "a strategy to take over a number of schools in Birmingham and run them on strict Islamic principles."
What does one call Rotherham and Birmingham? They are not no-go zones, neither in terms of geography or sovereignty.

I know of no historical parallel, in which a majority population accepts the customs and even the criminality of a poorer and weaker immigrant community. The world has never seen anything comparable to the contemporary West's blend of achievement, timidity, and guilt, of hugely superior power matched by a deep reluctance to use it.

Instead of no-go zones, I propose semi-autonomous sectors, a term that emphasizes their indistinct and non-geographic nature – thus permitting a more accurate discussion of what is, arguably, West Europe's most acute problem.
[The Blaze]
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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Fate of Palestinian Moderates

Professor Dajani posted this photo of his vandalized car on Facebook

Arsonists Torch Car of Palestinian Professor Who Led Auschwitz Trip    

The car belonging to Mohammed Dajani, the former Al-Quds University professor who led the first organized group trip of Palestinian university students to Auschwitz, was torched in Jerusalem over the weekend.
   

In 2007 Dajani founded Wasatia, a social and political movement based on concepts of moderation, pluralism, democracy and justice that he found in the Quran.
   

Following the March 2014 trip, he was denounced as a traitor and collaborator, and expelled from the Al-Quds University workers' union.
(Ha'aretz)
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Friday, January 16, 2015

Dem Nuclear Eruption Over Iran



Obama and Menendez Spar on Iran - Michael D. Shear

President Obama and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) traded sharp words over whether Congress should impose new sanctions on Iran while the administration is negotiating with Tehran about its nuclear program, according to two people who witnessed the exchange at the Senate Democratic Issues Conference in Baltimore. Obama vowed to veto legislation being drafted by Menendez and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) that would impose the sanctions before the multiparty talks are set to end this summer.
    

Obama said he understood the pressures that senators face from donors and others, but he urged the lawmakers to take the long view rather than make a move for short-term political gain.

Menendez, who was seated at a table in front of the podium, stood up and said he took "personal offense." Menendez said he had worked for more than 20 years to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions and had always been focused on the long-term implications. He also warned that sanctions could not be imposed quickly if Congress waited to act and the talks failed.
(New York Times)
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Enough!



This week we are Jewish Hebdo - Rob Eshman

Muslim leaders issued a fatwa against Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten for 12 cartoons it published in 2005 depicting the prophet Muhammad. To say many Muslims found those cartoons offensive is an understatement: The Muslim world went nuts. The focus of most of its anger was one cartoon drawn by Kurt Westergaard that showed Muhammad with his turban drawn as a lit bomb. Riots broke out around the world against the cartoons, resulting in more than 200 deaths. The Danish papers’ editors were subject to ongoing death threats and Westergaard himself survived at least one assassination attempt. 

It was a big story about Islamic fundamentalism and the limits of free speech, but even though we ran a story about it, I chose not to print the cartoon of Muhammad with a bomb for a turban, even by way of illustration. I now see I was wrong. 

Last week, nine members of the brave current and former staff and affiliates of the French satiric magazine Charlie Hebdo (Charlie Weekly) paid with their lives for the right to offend, along with a maintenance worker and two police officers...

The outpouring of grief and outrage and solidarity resulted in the biggest rally in France since the end of World War II. Some 3.7 million people gathered in peaceful rallies of support on the streets of Paris and throughout France, Europe and even at Los Angeles City Hall. They made no demands and there was no violence, but they sent a single, loud message: Enough. 

Enough tiptoeing around terrorists’ sensibilities. Enough kowtowing to the craziest elements among us. Enough pretending that Israel or Israel’s policies in the West Bank or Gaza are somehow the cause of the dysfunction in the Muslim world. Enough thinking that attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions are only a Jewish problem. Enough thinking that it’s OK to mock Christianity or Jews, but not, God forbid, Islam. Enough. 

It’s OK to mock everybody and everything. No, it’s not just OK: It’s a matter of life and death. That’s why this week we reprinted the covers from Charlie Hebdo on jewishjournal.com and in these pages, along with essays on the essential importance of satire. And that’s why we changed our masthead this week, for the first time in the paper’s nearly three decades. This week, we are not Jewish Journal. We are Jewish Hebdo

The events of the past week are yet more proof that the world is in the midst of a long and unfinished struggle against Islamic extremism. All of us who want to live in a free, tolerant society — Muslims, Jews, Christians and all the rest — must find ways to fight back against suppression whenever and wherever we can. If the extremists declare some goofy cartoons of Muhammad as their battleground, then those cartoons must become our battleground. We must defend them, if not on their merits, then on the right of artists in a free society to draw what they want and of publishers to distribute those images. We now see what happens when we cede any freedoms out of fear of retribution or of offending religious sensibilities — the extremists claim our refusal as victory and find new victims to intimidate. By taking up the cause of publishing these so-called offensive works, we are defending not just law, but also morality. We are saying that nothing — no cartoon, no blasphemy, no joke, no satire — is more offensive than the taking of innocent human lives. All humans have a right to offend and to take offense, but never to take a life just because they feel offended. 

Fanaticism is the most dangerous -ism, and its iteration in the Muslim world no longer can be disguised as the righteous reaction against oppression in Palestine or discrimination in France or blasphemy in Denmark.  It is a disease that has taken root in a great religion, and it must be rooted out.
[Jewish Journal]
*

UPDATE:

Israel's French Immigrants -Naomi Zeveloff

As French Jews in Israel watched the overwhelming show of solidarity against terrorism by French citizens following the recent attacks in Paris, many spoke of feeling alienated rather than comforted by the outpouring.

France, they say, would never have staged the huge demonstration it did on January 11 had the attacks targeted Jews alone.
[The Forward]
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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Will The West Now Rally Against Jihad?






A Watershed Moment? - David Horovitz

Now that the marchers have all gone home, what are the French actually going to do about the mounting challenge of Islamist terrorism?


Does anybody seriously believe, for instance, that France is about to launch a crackdown on Islamist groupings at its higher-education institutions, or devote serious resources to investigating potential incitement at local mosques? Are France and the rest of Europe about to introduce passenger profiling at EU entry points, the way Israel does? Is the EU set to sanction Turkey for facilitating the flow of radicalized European Muslims to and from the Islamic State terror group in Syria and Iraq?
   

Do the last few days of Islamist murder in France constitute a watershed moment in the Western battle against Islamic extremism? I fear not.
(Times of Israel)


Paris: A Passing Episode? - Yoram Schweitzer & Oded Eran

The shock that has gripped France will probably wane as time passes, as will the urgency assigned to effective handling of the danger originating on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq that threatens Western democracies.


The need to take up the challenge will be postponed to a time when the leaders of Western countries have no choice but to deal with it directly, on a broad scale, and perhaps violently.

Presumably only a chain of exceptional events, i.e., showcase terrorist attacks that cause a large number of victims, will unequivocally highlight the risk incurred in not stepping up the military struggle against the challenge to the West posed by the Islamic State.
(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
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UPDATES:

Will EU condemn France, Belgium for excessive use of force

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman took a jab at the Europeans Union:
"I wonder if the EU will condemn the Belgium and French governments for excessive use of force," he wrote on his Facebook page. "I wonder if they will call on them to negotiate with terrorists," he quipped.

The comments join a long string of instances in which Lieberman slammed the EU for what he perceives as an anti-Israel bias among EU nations.
[YNet News]
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Say It Like It Is - Thomas L. Friedman

When I read that the Obama administration is organizing a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism for Feb. 18, in response to the Paris killings, I had a visceral reaction: Is there a box on my tax returns that I can check so my tax dollars won't go to pay for this?
   

When you don't call things by their real name, you always get in trouble. And this administration, so fearful of being accused of Islamophobia, is refusing to make any link to radical Islam from the recent explosions of violence against civilians (most of them Muslims) by Boko Haram in Nigeria, by the Taliban in Pakistan, by al-Qaeda in Paris, and by jihadists in Yemen and Iraq. We've entered the theater of the absurd.
   

I would never hold every Muslim accountable for the acts of a few. But it is not good for us or the Muslim world to pretend that this spreading jihadist violence isn't coming out of their faith community.
(New York Times)
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The Jaded History of the Palestinian Movement


 A poignant video review of the jaded history of the Palestinian Movement, from the Munich massacre to American college campus support groups
 
Joan Peters, a brave journalist who originally set out to focus on the plight of Arab refugees in the Arab-Israeli conflict.  Over the course of her research, she came to a very different conclusion than she thought she would.  To her credit, she never politicized her own work, instead letting pundits foam.  May her soul rest in peace.
 
 
Joan Peters, a journalist whose 1984 book, “From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine,” drew accolades and also outrage by arguing that claims of a historical Palestinian homeland in Israel were invented, died on Jan. 5 at her home in Chicago. She was 78.

In her first chapter, Ms. Peters wrote that she had originally intended “From Time Immemorial” to be “solely an investigation of the current plight of the ‘Arab refugees.’ ” But over seven years of research and writing, the books’ character changed completely.

Ms. Peters cited historical documents showing that Arab settlers had flocked to Palestine beginning in the late 1800s, often drawn there by economic opportunities in areas that were being developed by Jewish settlers; they had not, she wrote, inhabited the land “from time immemorial.”
 
The widely accepted narrative of displaced Palestinian refugees had been created to justify the destruction of Israel, she asserted, concluding that Palestinian refugees should be absorbed by Arab nations like Jordan.
The book gained widespread attention and was awarded a National Jewish Book Award from the Jewish Book Council in 1985. It received positive reviews from Commentary, The New Republic and The Atlantic; the book’s jacket included praise from Elie Wiesel, Saul Bellow and Theodore H. White.
[New York Times]
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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Israel & Paris



Israel Is Europe's Outpost - Moshe Arens

The entire Muslim world is not on the offensive against the West. But as you connect the dots of the increasingly frequent terrorist acts committed against Western targets, it is clear that radical Islam is on the warpath against the West.

The Arab terrorists in Paris shouted "Allahu Akbar" as they mowed down the cartoonists in the offices of Charlie Hebdo. The Islamic terrorists who murdered four worshippers in the Jerusalem Har Nof synagogue also cried out "Allahu Akbar" before opening fire and swinging their hatchets.     

Radical Islamists vent their anger against Israel because they see Israel as an outpost of Western civilization that has the temerity to be located in their midst. It is part of their war against the West. 
The writer served as Israel's Minister of Defense three times and once as Minister of Foreign Affairs. 
(Ha'aretz)


Fear Radical Islam - and Fight Back - Ezra Levant

Jihad means holy war against infidels. Infidels are all non-Muslims, or even Muslims who aren't radical enough. Those at Charlie Hebdo magazine were attacked because they would not submit to the edict that no one may draw an image of Mohammed, let alone insult him. They would not submit, so they were murdered.


You have to work very hard to pretend radical Islam is not at war with the West and our secular, liberal democracies.
     

Israel is besieged, it's surrounded. But it has one advantage over the West: it is not in denial. No one in Israel pretends that there is no jihad; no one in Israel talks about terrorists being just "lone wolves"; no one in Israel denies that terrorism was really terrorism. They don't blame the victim. Jihad cannot be appeased.
    

Everyone is scared of radical Islam. But you can meet fear with resolve and the decision to fight back. That's what Israel has; that's what the West used to have, back when the Nazis stormed across Europe. 
(Toronto Sun-Canada)


The Paris Terror Attacks and Israel

  • After a solidarity rally on Sunday brought an estimated 1.5 million people into the streets to declare their support for free speech and their opposition to Islamist terrorism, French President Francois Hollande entered the Grand Synagogue of Paris, followed 40 seconds or so later by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who unlike Hollande was greeted by loud and spontaneous cheering.
  • The fact that the crowd cheers when Netanyahu enters the synagogue has nothing to do with whether the people gathered inside are socialist or conservative. As in every Jewish crowd, there are no doubt people in all camps. The reason they are cheering is far more basic, and it has to do with the harsh lesson that history has engraved into the souls of every conscious and self-aware Jew in the world today.
  • We know, whether overtly or in a dark half-acknowledged corner of our minds, that there is one state in the world - however imperfect it is in some of its particulars - where we and our children will be welcome, and whose government will do its best to protect us, with all the force at its disposal.
  • One of the great lessons of the Holocaust for the Jewish people, and for all other peoples who have since been threatened with genocide by fanatics, is that the world will always talk a good game but will do precious little to save you. The fact that the State of Israel exists means that the Jewish people will never be radically alone. That's why the people in the Grand Synagogue of Paris are cheering.
 (Tablet)
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UPDATE:

Israeli embassy in Ireland posted a picture of Mona Lisa in Islamic headdress holding a rocket.
The post seems to reflect a common sentiment among Israelis who are angry over criticism of its response to Palestinian terrorism.
(photo credit:TWITTER)

Monday, January 12, 2015

New Mohammed Cartoon by Charlie Hebdo



Charlie Hebdo reveals New Mohammed Cartoon

The frontpage of the upcoming "survivors" edition of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo shows a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed holding up a "Je suis Charlie" sign under the words: "All is forgiven".

The frontpage was released to media ahead of the magazine's publication on Wednesday, its first issue since an attack on the weekly's Paris offices last week left 12 people dead, including several cartoonists. It also shows Mohammed with a tear in his eye.

The special edition will have a print run of three million copies instead of the usual 60,000. This week's three million copies of Charlie Hebdo, to come out on Wednesday, will also be offered "in 16 languages" for readers around the world, one of its columnists, Patrick Pelloux, said.

Charlie Hebdo's lawyer, Richard Malka, told French radio the upcoming publication will "obviously" lampoon Mohammed -- among other figures -- to show staff will "cede nothing" to extremists seeking to silence them.

Charlie Hebdo had been sliding towards bankruptcy before the attack against it. But since gaining worldwide notoriety in the past few days, it has won pledges of support from the French government and media groups.
[i24 News]
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Paris Rally: Turning Point in Terror War?

1.6 million marched in Paris; elsewhere in France another 1.4 million rallied



Huge Show of Solidarity in Paris -Liz Alderman & Dan Bilefsky

More than a million people joined over 40 presidents and prime ministers on the streets of Paris on Sunday in the most striking show of solidarity in the West against the threat of Islamic extremism since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Responding to terrorist strikes that killed 17 people in France and riveted worldwide attention, Jews, Muslims, Christians, atheists and people of all races, ages and political stripes swarmed central Paris beneath a bright blue sky, calling for peace and an end to violent extremism.

The Interior Ministry described the demonstration as the largest in modern French history, with as many as 1.6 million people.

[W]orld leaders joined the march in a solemn line. They moved slowly, clasping arms to show solidarity with the victims. The crowd roared in approval. [T]he United States was represented by its ambassador to France, Jane D. Hartley.

Many in Paris expressed a sense that it was an unprecedented moment — one that could represent a turning point amid rising concerns about a clash of civilizations.
[New York Times]


Kerry Says He’ll Fly to France - Michael R. Gordon

Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Monday that he would fly to Paris at the end of the week in a gesture of support for the French government’s struggle against terrorism.
 
Mr. Kerry added the visit in part to answer criticism that the United States had sent only an ambassador, not a higher-ranking official, to a mass rally in Paris on Sunday that drew leaders from 40 countries.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. was in Paris on Sunday to attend an international meeting of law enforcement officials, but did not go to the rally. Jane D. Hartley, the United States ambassador in Paris, participated in the march.
[New York Times]


Israel Welcomes European Jews - William Booth & Ruth Eglash

Israeli leaders said that they would welcome with open arms French Jews who fear for their safety in the wake of attacks by Islamist extremists in Paris last week.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of his cabinet linked arms with French politicians on Sunday during a march in Paris to commemorate the 17 people killed in three days.
    

Netanhayu drove home the point that Israel serves as a "front line" against Islamist militant groups. "They might have different names - ISIS, Boko Haram, Hamas, al-Shabab, al-Qaeda, Hizbullah - but all of them are driven by the same hatred and bloodthirsty fanaticism."  
(Washington Post)


Abbas far right; Netanyahu far left

Abbas at Paris Kumbaya March - Jonathan Tobin

Abbas, who was given an unusually prominent place in the front rank of the march symmetrically balancing the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on the other side of French President Francois Hollande, carried a great deal of baggage in terms of his own association with terrorism and fomenting of hate against Jews.

The instinct of the news media is to embrace Abbas's presence there along with that of Netanyahu as proof that the march was a transcendent kumbaya moment that will mark a turning point in the struggle against terror and anti-Semitism. But the question more sober observers will struggle with is whether Abbas's poor record on these issues does more to undermine progress than the symbolism did to advance it.

[R]ather than standing in unity with the world against terrorism, Abbas signed a unity pact with Hamas terrorists last year, an act that blew up the peace talks Secretary of State Kerry worked to keep alive. But even more than that, Abbas has in recent months personally incited his people to commit acts of violence as part of an effort to falsely convince them that the mosques on the Temple Mount are in danger.
 
Indeed, had the Charlie Hebdo and kosher market murderers committed their acts in Israel, there is little doubt that Abbas would have honored them by naming a square or some edifice after them.
 
[A]ny good that might come from the symbolism of Abbas being there also reminds us that it will take more than one rally, however impressive it might have been, to defeat Islamist terror. What France and the world need to do to defeat terror is to acknowledge that the problem lies not so much in the few who commit these acts but in the vast number of people in the Muslim and Arab worlds that either rationalize or support such acts. Progress will come not when Mahmoud Abbas marches in Paris but when he stops supporting it at home.  Until then, inviting him to such events only undermines the purpose of the rally.
[Jewish World Review]


Sharansky: Time Running Out for Europe - Raphael Ahren

After Islamist terrorists massacred 12 people in the heart of Paris, Jewish Agency head and former Soviet Prisoner of Zion Natan Sharansky said, "We're not building our aliyah strategy on tragic events. We're building it on the fact that there is this place in the world called Europe, where Jews are feeling increasingly uncomfortable." Sharansky predicted more than 10,000 French Jews will move to Israel in 2015 - breaking 2014's record of 7,000.
     

"If France and the other Western nations will not fight quickly and strongly for reestablishing the civilization of liberal nations, Europe is in danger," he said. "The exodus of Jews, as many times in the past, is the first harbinger, a warning of where it goes."

"It was an ideological decision of this post-modern Europe that all cultures have the same values and therefore we cannot demand from them to change, to betray their culture for the sake of ours." Large parts of France's huge Muslim immigrant community don't feel loyal to the liberal values of society, he asserted. "Multiculturalism...created inside the society of a proud liberal nation a society of people who believe they can really challenge freedom of speech by terror."
     

France's error was to give citizenship to millions without demanding that they share French values, and it made this mistake because it believes that values are something relative. 
(Times of Israel)


Europe Has Acquired an Internal Muslim Colony - David Frum

As the political scientist Robert Leiken has written, "[W]estern Europe now plays host to often disconsolate Muslim offspring, who are its citizens in name but not culturally or socially. In a fit of absentmindedness, during which its academics discoursed on the obsolescence of the nation-state, western Europe acquired not a colonial empire but something of an internal colony, whose numbers are roughly equivalent to the population of Syria."


It is from these populations that ISIS has recruited hundreds of jihadists for its war in Syria and Iraq; it is from these populations that radical imams recruit domestic terrorists.
     

Sociologists estimate that at least 50% of French prisoners come from the roughly 7% Muslim minority. A plurality of French Muslims (46%) and a crushing majority of British Muslims (81%) considered themselves Muslims first, identifying with their respective European nations only to a secondary extent. Half of British Muslims wished to see Iran gain a nuclear bomb. 
(Atlantic)
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UPDATE:

Nigeria Needs ‘Same International Support’ as France
- Phyllis Chesler, PhD


Nigerian Catholic Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama has called for “the same international support to tackle Boko Haram as France has received since it was hit by Islamist attacks last week.”

I wonder whether or not the massive march and show of support in France against Islamic terrorism is the beginning of the democratic West’s resistance to Islamic terrorismor merely a symbolic and momentary “illusion.”

Will the massive show of solidarity in Paris lead to legislation that closes national borders, deports those on no-fly lists, deports radical imams at radical mosques, together with their radicalized followers in mosques and in prison, and deports those who have traveled to Iraq, Syria, and Yemen for jihadi training? Will it lead to legislation that also abolishes the no-go” zones–the kind of hostile, separatist Muslim-only neighborhoods in which French Jew Ilan Halimi was tortured by groups of Muslims for three weeks before he died? Will France pass such legislation, as well as enforce it?
[Breitbart]
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