This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

"Is it supposed to be like this?"

"Are we supposed to go outside without arming ourselves? Rape after rape occurs and no one is doing anything about it. I was born and raised in Vårby Gård, but seven years ago, we had to move because we couldn't take the dogs out in the evenings due to the non-Europeans driving on the sidewalks. If you didn't move out of the way, they would jump out of the car and hit you. If you called the police, they do nothing -- in a suburb of Stockholm. When my brother told some of these men off, a rocket (the kind you use at New Year's) appeared in his mailbox. You can imagine how loud the blast was. Women and girls are raped by these non-European men, who come here claiming they are unaccompanied children, even though they are grown men...."
"It is easy to get weapons today, I wonder if that is what we Swedes need to do, arm ourselves to dare to go shopping. Well, now I am getting to what happened at a major department store: Two people were killed and not just killed, there is talk online of beheading."
"The Prime Minister will not say a word, but resources are allocated to asylum housings, a slap in the face for the relatives who just had two of their kin slain. Swedish newspapers will not say a word, but fortunately, there are foreign newspapers that tell the truth. We Swedes can't change apartments, we live five people in three bedrooms. Two of us are unemployed, looking, looking and looking for work. The only option is employment agencies. I'm 50 years old, on part-time sick leave because of two chronic illnesses, I cannot run around from one place to another. But more and more asylum seekers keep coming in. There are no apartments, no jobs, we don't dare go shopping anymore, but we're supposed to think everything's great."
"Unfortunately, I believe the Prime Minister needs to start reading foreign newspaper to find out that Sweden is going under. I found out that the mass immigration costs billions every year, and the only thing the immigrants do is smoke waterpipes in places like Vårby Gård. This is happening in other places too, of course. Now it's starting to spread; you will see that in the opinion polls, next time they are published. Soon, all Swedes will vote for the Sweden Democrats. They are getting more and more supporters every day."
"You Cabinet Ministers do not live in the exposed areas, you live in your fancy residential neighborhoods, with only Swedish neighbors. It should be obligatory for all politicians to live for at least three months in an area consisting mostly of immigrants, the car should be taken from you so you'd have to use public transport. ... After three months, you would see my point."
"I am scared stiff of what is happening in this country. What will the government do about this?" Swedish citizen complaint to government; one among many
"Now, Swedes see the welfare system failing them. More and more senior citizens fall into the "indigent" category; close to 800,000 of Sweden's 2.1 million retirees, despite having worked their whole lives, are forced to live on between 4,500 and 5,500 kronor ($545 - $665) a month. Meanwhile, seniors who immigrate to Sweden receive the so-called "elderly support subsidy" -- usually a higher amount -- even though they have never paid any taxes in Sweden."
Ingrid Carlqvist, -- Sweden -- Gatestone Institute

"The head of German intelligence, Hans-Georg Maaßen, was warned that radical Muslims in Germany are canvassing the refugee shelters looking for new recruits. He said: "Many of the asylum seekers have a Sunni religious background. In Germany there is a Salafist scene that sees this as a breeding ground. We are observing that Salafists are appearing at the shelters disguised as volunteers and helpers, deliberately seeking contact with refugees to invite them to their mosques to recruit them to their cause."
"The editor of the newspaper Neue Westfälische, Ansgar Mönter, reports that Salafists in Bielefeld, a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, have already infiltrated refugee centers in the area by bringing toys, fruits and vegetables for the migrants."
"Mönter says "naïve" politicians are contributing to the radicalization of refugees by are asking Muslim umbrella groups in the country to reach out to the migrants."
"Mönter points out that the main Muslim groups in Germany all adhere to fundamentalist interpretations of Islam and are anti-Western in outlook. Some groups have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood while others want to implement Sharia law in Germany. According to Mönter, politicians should not be encouraging these groups to establish contact with the new migrants."
"We have to dispense with the illusion that all of those who are coming here are human rights activists. ... We are getting reports of threats of aggression, including threats of beheading, by Sunnis against Shiites, but Yazidis and Christians are the most impacted. Those Christian converts who do not hide their faith stand a 100% probability of being attacked and mobbed." — Max Klingberg, director of the Frankfurt-based International Society for Human Rights."
Soeren Kern, -- Germany -- Gatestone Institute

A great debate is taking place in Canada, introduced as a moral imperative during the election campaign leading to the polls on 19 October. The government has pledged to take in 10,000 Syrian refugees, and the opposition parties in hot contention to lead the country after the election, both insist that Canada has a human rights obligation to absorb many more refugees and haven seekers than the Conservative-led government is willing to commit to.

The opposition wants to expedite things, to immediately bring in the hordes of suffering humanity. And much of the Canadian public is with them in this regard, eager to come to the aid of those whose flight from oppression and conflict has moved their hearts. They cite the sacrifices made by Germany and Sweden in those two countries' determination to absorb immense numbers of refugees and migrants flooding Europe as their obligation as decent societies.

So that, in essence, there should be no necessity to investigate whether or not refugees waiting to be absorbed are legitimate refugees, economic migrants, capable of adjusting to the values and priorities of a western European-based democratic society for which equality and pluralism should match, or whether, as is known to happen, there are among those posing as refugees, jihadists eager to infiltrate the West and wreak instability to further their Islamist cause.

At one time, before social welfare became an instrument of responsible governments in Europe and North America, immigrants were mostly of European background and when they arrived in their new countries they had to integrate, to learn the language, to find employment, to settle themselves and their families and support them. Hard work and dedication to family needs along with loyalty to the new country and its values were also reflected in the less-favoured Asians who were brought to Canada as labourers.

Now, immigrants and refugees come from the Caribbean, from Africa, from the Middle East, bringing with them their heritage cultures, given equal respect to the indigenous traditions and values, even if they conflict. The government social welfare system is renowned for its generosity and it includes language training, assisted housing, employment assistance and other types of social welfare, including universal medicare. While many immigrants take pride in fending for themselves, others remain in perpetuity on welfare, comfortable with tax-paid assistance.

The official policy of multiculturalism and the respect given cultures at variance with the prevailing one has the effect of failing to integrate newcomers creating in the process ethnic and religious separate enclaves by choice where groups are unwilling to become integrated with the whole, holding themselves aloof and apart; in essence bringing to the new country some of the very cultural institutions which had negated their human rights entitlements in their places of origin.

And while most Muslims are peaceful and tolerant, it is by now well enough recognized that among the general Muslim population are those who are anything but, resentful of living among non-Muslims, and holding the generalized social contract prevailing in free and democratic countries to be inferior and degraded, they present a serious threat to Canadian security. They have no loyalty or interest in any system other than Islam, its ideology, its politics, its goal of social/religious conquest.

Taking advantage of universal social benefits while conspiring to destroy the equality values and the laws that reflect the culture and values inherent in the country bespeaks a threat to the integrity and social contract that makes the country uniquely able to absorb immigrants and transform them into Canadians with shared values. And then there is the cost of absorbing immigrants who may not be prepared to make an effort to be fully independent of welfare.

The economic activities of immigrants in low skilled employment finds their average incomes and tax payments (according to Statistics Canada) beneath those of long-term Canadians while immigrants use the same government services as any other Canadian. When the total number of immigrants including refugees exceed a certain number the toll on the total Canadian economy can be substantial.

Taking all the pros and cons into consideration, the country while absorbing an average of a quarter-million new immigrants annually, maintains a useful balance. Exceeding that creates a fiscal burden. At the same time the establishment of ethnic enclaves, where certain immigrants fail to become part of the generalized society often results in a chafing of society. Add to that the threat of jihadists among the population and the result is problems that have to be faced.

There is the experience of the two European countries most given to opening their doors in welcome of people who have suffered the extremes of human rights abuses, sadly common in countries where Islam predominates. Where restive ethnic, tribal and sectarian challenges diminish the quality of life in those countries, and where, in immigration and haven-seeking, accepting countries risk ending up with results not contemplated in advance of their generous offers of haven.

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Russian Loyalty To Its Allies : Filling the Vacuum

"There was a real threat of Damascus falling."
"The capture of Damascus would be a huge symbol that would provoke a new burst of extremist activity across the world."
Igor Korotchenko, advisory board member, Russian Defense Ministry

"No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation. ...Believing in my core that we, the nations of the world, cannot return to the old ways of conflict and coercion."
U.S. President Barack Obama, United Nations
Wreckage of buildings are seen at the site of the alleged Russian airstrikes targeting the Jabal al-Zawiya town of Idlib, Syria on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. Photographer: Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Wreckage of buildings are seen at the site of the alleged Russian airstrikes targeting the Jabal al-Zawiya town of Idlib, Syria on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. Photographer: Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Damascus and a very small portion of Syria including the area where the Alawites predominate is actually all that is left of Syria. In essence, 80% of the country has been lost to those fighting groups, Sunni Syrian rebels, foreign Sunni fighters, al-Qaeda affiliate al Nusra, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, holding their shares of the now-fragmented country.

Many of the Sunnis who match the Shiite regime's penchant for ferocious blood-letting, terrorize Syrian Druze, Christians, Shiites and Kurds. This is the Middle East in its very finest illustration of tribal, clan and sectarian hatreds leading to vehement threats carried out with the pleasure of inflicting gain through pain.

The 20% of the former Syria remaining in the hands of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was on the verge of falling; Assad had a finite resource of young male Shiite fighters willing to counter the numerical superiority of the Sunnis, both home-grown and foreign in derivation. Even with the considerable fighting aid of Hezbollah, and even with the al-Quds commander dispatched by Iran to guide and strategize for the Syrian army, they were falling back, and in danger of losing Damascus.

Moscow had no wish to lose its only naval base in the Mediterranean. And Iran remains intent on supporting its Shiite crescent, from (Yemen) Iran to Iraq, Lebanon to Syria. And quite possibly, Vladimir Putin takes particular glee in the fact that he is able to manipulate and out-fox the most powerful man on Earth, American President Barack Obama. That adage that three times fooled marks one as the fool the other unprincipled was never so true.

From deflecting Mr. Obama's threat on the use of chemical weapons, to declaring that no Russian troops or weapons were involved in Ukraine losing Crimea, to the most recent event where President Obama met President Putin's declared war on ISIS with approval, the Nobel Laureate once again casts doubt on resolution and fitness to serve in the capacity he has assumed. Can the world wait another 16 months before the miraculous advent of a replacement to solve such ills?

Isolating Russia and creating a diplomatic persona non-grata status for Mr. Putin over Ukraine worked well enough with the convergence of low oil prices and the struggling ruble, until the conniving Mr. Putin hatched his latest plan to restore his former authority, to the relief of western Europe so dependent on energy trade with Russia. While the U.S. cut back its military presence in the Middle East and with it, authority, Russia, despite its penury, invested in its military.

The air campaign that President Putin in his utter contempt for his American counterpart has launched, targeted not the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as he claimed was his intention, to protect the 'legitimate' government of Syria from falling, but the very rebel coalition backed by the U.S., by Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, the Jaysh al-Fatah (Army of Conquest), which had proven most effective in countering the Assad regime with their battlefield successes.

Russian ship Moscow in 2009.
Russian ship Moscow

Threatening the areas of Latakia province, they also threatened Russia's nearby naval depot at Tartus, and that signed their death knell. Leading to the current bombing missions, bypassing the opportunity by Russia's combat aircraft to bomb the Islamic State jihadists whom Mr. Putin claimed was the true focus of Russia's involvement in Syria, to safeguard Russia from the jihadists inspired by Islamic State and its Chechen supporters.

Moscow seems prepared to see this conflict through to a conclusion it will deem satisfactory in sustaining the Assad regime over the objections of the West that an unreconstructed mass murderer who sends attack helicopter to barrel bomb his own civilians, destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and the mass infrastructure of the greater parts of the country's towns, villages and cities not held by the regime, as an object lesson in how best to settle an insurrection is beyond the pale.

And so, the marines of Russia's Independent Naval Infantry Brigade are established in the port of Latakia, and 500 of the troops are stationed at the Tartus naval depot from Sevastopol. And housing for an estimated 2000 Russian troops is being put in place, while Moscow dispatches 28 combat aircraft along with attack helicopters, state-of-the-art tanks, surface-to-air missile systems and advanced artillery to keep Bashar al-Assad in power.

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Gatestone Institute

Translations of this item:
  • Those who rushed to declare the death of the Oslo Accords fell into Abbas's trap.
  • Abbas's threats are mainly designed to scare the international community into pressuring Israel to offer Abbas more concessions. He is hoping that inaccurate headlines concerning the purported abrogation of the Oslo Accords will cause panic in Washington and European capitals, prompting world leaders to demand that Israel give Abbas everything he asks for.
  • Abbas knows that cancelling the agreements with Israel would mean dissolving his Palestinian Authority, and the end of his political career.
  • The tens of thousands of Arab refugees now seeking asylum in Europe could not care less about the "occupation" and settlements.
  • Ironically, Abbas declared that, "We are working on spreading the culture of peace and coexistence between our people and in our region." But his harsh words against Israel, in addition to continued anti-Israel incitement in the Palestinian media, prove that he is moving in the opposite direction. This form of incitement destroys any chance of peace.
After weeks of threatening to drop a bombshell during his speech before the UN General Assembly, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas on September 30 proved once again that he is an expert in the art of bluffing.

In the end, the bombshell he and his aides promised to detonate at the UN turned out to be a collection of old threats to abrogate signed agreements and a smear campaign against Israel.
There was nothing dramatic or new in Abbas's speech. During the past few years, he and some of his aides have been openly talking about the possibility of cancelling the Oslo Accords if Israel does not fulfill its obligations towards the peace process.

In his speech, Abbas repeated the same threat, although some Western political analysts and journalists misinterpreted it as an announcement that he was abrogating signed agreements with Israel.

As one of Abbas's advisors, Mahmoud Habbash, later clarified, "President Abbas did not cancel any agreements. He only made a threat, which is not going to be carried out tomorrow."

Now, it is obvious that the talk about a bombshell was mainly intended to create tension and suspense ahead of Abbas's speech. This is a practice that Abbas and his aides have become accustomed to using during the past few years in order to draw as much attention as possible.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the UN General Assembly, on September 26, 2014. (Image source: UN)

The threat to cancel the Oslo Accords with Israel is not different from other threats that Abbas and his aides have made over the past few years. How many times has Abbas threatened in the past to resign from his post or suspend security coordination with Israel? In the end, he did not carry out any of these threats.

Abbas is unlikely, also this time, to carry out his latest threat to cancel the agreements with Israel. He knows that such a move would mean dissolving his Palestinian Authority and the end of his political career. But Abbas would like the world to believe that he has already cancelled the Oslo Accords. Judging from the inaccurate headlines in the international media, he seems to have achieved his goal.

Now, many in the international community are falsely convinced that Abbas has annulled all signed agreements with Israel. Those who rushed to declare the death of the Oslo Accords fell into Abbas's trap.

Abbas's threats are mainly designed to scare the international community into pressuring Israel to offer Abbas more concessions. He is hoping that the inaccurate headlines concerning the purported abrogation of the Oslo Accords will cause panic in Washington and European capitals, prompting world leaders to demand that Israel give Abbas everything he is asking for.

Abbas is also hoping that his recurring threats will put the Israeli-Palestinian conflict back at the world's center stage. Abbas and the Palestinians feel that the world has lost interest in the conflict, largely due to the ongoing turmoil in the Arab world, the refugee crisis in Europe and the growing threat of the Islamic State terror group.

This concern was voiced by the PLO's Saeb Erekat immediately after President Barack Obama's speech at the UN General Assembly, which did not include any reference to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Expressing "disappointment" over Obama's speech, Erekat asked, "Does President Obama believe he can defeat ISIS and terrorism, or achieve security and stability in the Middle East, by ignoring the continued Israeli occupation, settlement expansion and the continued attacks on al-Aqsa Mosque?"

Of course, there is no direct link between Israeli "occupation" and settlements and the growing threat of radical Islam or the turmoil in the Arab world. The Islamic State is not beheading Muslims and non-Muslims because of the settlements or "occupation." The Islamic State is not committing all these atrocities because it wants to "liberate Palestine." Its main objective is to conquer the world after killing all the "infidels" in order to establish a sharia-ruled caliphate. The Islamic State would kill Erekat and Abbas -- and many other Muslims -- on its way to achieve its goal. In the eyes of the Islamic State, folks like Erekat and Abbas are a fifth column and traitors.

But instead of supporting the world's war against the Islamic State and radical Islam, Abbas and Erekat want the international community to look the other way and devote all its energies and attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The tens of thousands of Arab refugees who are now seeking asylum in several European countries could not care less about the "occupation" and settlements. These people have lost everything they used to possess and their only dream is to either return to their homes and lands safely or start a new life in Europe and the US.

Abbas wanted worldwide attention in wake of the international community's preoccupation with the refugee crisis and the radical Islam threat. For now, he appears to have achieved his goal, largely thanks to the international community's misreading of his speech at the United Nations.

But while everyone is busy talking about Abbas's bombshell, only a few have noticed that his speech consisted mostly of anti-Israel rhetoric that is likely to aggravate tensions between the Palestinians and Israel. Abbas used the UN General Assembly podium to make grave charges against Israel concerning "apartheid," settlements and tensions on the Temple Mount. His fiery rhetoric, which has been partially welcomed by Hamas and other radical Palestinian groups, is likely to exacerbate tensions between Israelis and Palestinians and encourage more Palestinians to engage in violence.

It is this form of incitement that destroys any chance of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This is the kind of rhetoric that prompts Palestinian youths to take to the streets and throw rocks and firebombs at Israeli civilians and policemen. Still, the international media, by and large, chose to ignore this destructive part of Abbas's speech.

Ironically, Abbas declared in his speech that, "We are working on spreading the culture of peace and coexistence between our people and in our region." But his harsh words against Israel, in addition to continued anti-Israel incitement in the Palestinian media, prove that he is moving in the opposite direction. As Abbas was addressing the UN General Assembly, some of his loyalists in Ramallah threatened and expelled Israeli Jewish journalists who came to interview Palestinians. This is certainly not a way to spread a "culture of peace and coexistence."
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Gatestone Institute

  • We contaminate our mosques with our own hands and feet, and then blame Jews for desecrating Islamic holy sites. If anyone is desecrating Islamic holy sites, it is those who bring explosives, stones and firebombs into Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Jews who visit the Temple Mount do not bring with them stones, bombs or clubs. It is young Muslim men who are desecrating our holy sites with their "filthy feet."
  • These leaders, including Abbas himself, are not willing to send their own children and grandchildren to participate in the "popular struggle." They are fully responsible for sending the children of others to throw stones and firebombs at Jews. Sitting in their luxurious offices and villas in Ramallah, they demand that Israel be held responsible for cracking down on "innocent" Palestinians. Their main goal is to embarrass Israel and depict it as a state that takes tough measures against Palestinian teenagers.
  • These youths are not taking to the streets to fight "occupation." Their main goal is to kill or cause grievous bodily harm to Jews. When someone tosses a firebomb at a house or a car, his intention is to burn civilians alive.
  • It is as if our leaders are saying that throwing stones and firebombs at Jews in their cars and homes is a basic right of Palestinians. Our leaders believe Israel has no right to defend itself against those who seek to burn Jews driving in their vehicles or sleeping inside their homes.
While Hamas and Islamic Jihad are continuing to exploit our teenagers in the Gaza Strip by training them to join the jihad against Jews and "infidels," our leaders in the West Bank are committing a similar crime against Palestinian youths.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, who falsely describes himself as President of the State of Palestine, has been encouraging our teenagers to engage in the so-called "popular resistance" against Israel. But these leaders, including Abbas himself, are not willing to send their own children and grandchildren to participate in the "popular struggle." As usual, our leaders want the children of others to take to the streets and throw stones and firebombs at Jews.

The "popular struggle" that the PA leadership is spearheading these days is anything but peaceful. In some instances, it has even proved to be lethal. Recently, Alexander Levlovich was killed after losing control of his vehicle in Jerusalem. Investigations showed that at least four Arab youths had pelted his car with stones, causing Levlovich to hit a tree.

During the past few months, hundreds of Palestinian teenagers from Jerusalem have been arrested for throwing stones and firebombs at Israeli vehicles. These teenagers have offered various explanations as to why they decided to take part in the "popular resistance" against Israel. Most of them said they wanted to protest against visits by Jews to the Temple Mount -- an act described by our leaders as a "contamination" of Islamic holy sites. Mahmoud Abbas, who is by no means a devout Muslim, recently accused Jews of desecrating Al-Aqsa Mosque with their "filthy feet."

Abbas and other senior figures in the Palestinian Authority leadership have also been issuing daily threats against Israel in response to perfectly peaceful visits by Jews to the Temple Mount. One of them, Mahmoud Habbash, even went as far as announcing that the visits by Jews to the Temple Mount would ignite a third world war.

It is this type of incitement that prompts our youths to hurl stones and firebombs at Jews.

These youths are not taking to the streets to fight "occupation." Their main goal is to kill or cause grievous bodily harm to Jews. Otherwise, how does one explain the fact that Palestinian teenagers have thrown dozens of firebombs at Jewish homes in the Old City? When someone tosses a firebomb at a house or a car, his intention is to burn civilians alive.
Our leaders, who are fully responsible for sending these teenagers to throw stones and firebombs at Jews, are sitting in their luxurious offices and villas in Ramallah and rubbing their hands with deep satisfaction. Abbas and several Palestinian leaders in the West Bank would like to see our youths rioting on the streets of Jerusalem and in the Temple Mount's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, so that they can hold Israel responsible for cracking down on "innocent" Palestinians. Their main goal is to embarrass Israel and depict it as a state that takes tough measures against Palestinian teenagers, whose only fault is participation in "popular resistance."

After having incited our youths to engage in violence against Jews, our hypocritical leaders are now rushing to condemn new Israeli measures against stone-throwers. It is as if our leaders are saying that throwing stones and firebombs at Jews in cars and homes is a basic right of Palestinians.

One of the loudest hypocrites is Saeb Erekat, the veteran Palestinian negotiator who was recently elected Secretary-General of the PLO. Erekat, who never dispatched his sons and daughters to throw stones and firebombs at Jews, was quoted this week condemning Israel's newly approved measures against Palestinian stone-throwers. He described these measures as "inhumane" and part of Israeli "incitement" against Palestinians.

Neither Erekat nor his boss, Mahmoud Abbas, has denounced the violence by Palestinians against Jews. The only time they issue condemnations is when Israel arrests teenagers for throwing stones and firebombs. Our leaders believe Israel has no right to defend itself against those who seek to burn Jews driving in their vehicles or sleeping inside their homes.

If anyone is desecrating Islamic holy sites, it is those who bring explosives, stones and firebombs into Al-Aqsa Mosque in the first place. For the past few months, dozens of Palestinian youths have used the mosque as a launching pad for attacking Jewish visitors and policemen on the Temple Mount. The Jews who visit the site do not bring with them stones, firebombs and clubs. It is young Muslim men who are desecrating our holy sites with their "filthy feet."

Such reports show that Muslims have no respect for their religious sites. The images of masked youths inside Al-Aqsa Mosque, collecting stones for attacking Jews, also reveal the true intentions of the rioters and those behind them: to harm Jewish visitors and policemen, who anyway have no plans to enter the mosque.

Palestinian Arab young men with masks, inside Al-Aqsa Mosque (some wearing shoes), stockpile rocks to use for throwing at Jews who visit the Temple Mount, September 27, 2015.

We contaminate our mosques with our own hands and feet and then blame Jews for desecrating Islamic holy sites. Not only are we lying, but we are also displaying the highest level of hypocrisy and impudence. We plan and initiate the violence on the Temple Mount and elsewhere and then we run to complain to the world that Israel is arresting our youths "for no reason."

It is obvious that our leaders are once again leading us toward a catastrophe. They want our children to get hurt or killed so that they can go to the United Nations and complain that Israel is using "excessive force" against the Palestinians. Our leaders, of course, do not tell the world that they are the ones inciting these young men to take to the streets and attack the first Jew they run into. Nor do they tell the world that it is Muslims, and not Jews, who are contaminating Islamic holy sites through their violent acts.
Bassam Tawil is a scholar based in the Middle East.

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Friday, October 02, 2015

Taliban On The Rebound

"People are in a state of fear here. The people in Takhar are also preparing to leave. They fear this city will fall more easily than Kunduz."
Ahmad Khalid, Kunduz City resident, now in Taloqan

"The military leadership here is really frustrated with the Afghan leadership. They have not been able to maintain momentum."
Senior U.S. official
Afghan residents leave their home after a battle with the Taliban in Kunduz Province, Afghanistan September 28, 2015.     Reuters/Stringer

For all the treasury and manpower that the United States expended in training and equipping Afghan police and military there is little to show for it. Even while thousands of Afghan soldiers were massed around the city of Kunduz no one in Afghanistan's military intelligence had any idea that there were Taliban plans in the offing for surprise offensives that would enable a mere several hundred or so Taliban fighters to take the initiative and occupy the city of Kunduz.

After stealth infiltration during the holiday of Eid when Afghans are traditionally on holiday move to visit relatives, Taliban fighters succeeded in taking the city. They had blocked all highway access, and set improvised explosive devices, detaining government forces from immediate response. When government forces did enter the city it was to engage in street-to-street combat with heavy fighting around the city centre.

Afghan security forces take their positions during a gun battle in Kunduz city, northern Afghanistan September 29, 2015.    Reuters/Stringer

Residents cowered in fear in their homes while munitions flew about, hoping that they would survive their ordeal. Now it appears that the Taliban capture of Kunduz, however brief it may turn out to be, is part of a larger picture of the Taliban asserting its capability to demonstrate its fighting capacity and instill uncertainty and fear in the minds of residents that the central government is incapable of protecting them.

In provincial capitals in provinces south of Kunduz residents were preparing to leave their homes, fearful of being trapped in a Taliban assault. Reports that a northern district of Takhar province had fallen to the Taliban further struck people's fears. Afghan authorities from the far northeast province of Badakhshan stated that one of their districts had collapsed into Taliban hands.

Fears of a domino effect in the northeast of the country where villages, districts and other provincial capitals falling into Taliban control represented a nightmare scenario to the Western military strategists who are witnessing their investment in time, energy and funding going to naught. They are well aware that the more momentum gained through staving off a counteroffensive by the government on the part of the Taliban, the more demoralized the country will be.

Afghan soldiers at the Kunduz airport prepared on Wednesday for a counteroffensive to try to retake the city from the Taliban. Credit Nasir Waqif/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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Deranged and Dangerous

"With Allah’s help and in keeping with our people's right for resistance and our duty to sacred jihad, our forces on Thursday night carried out a necessary action in which they fired on a car of occupying settlers that left the settlement of Itamar, built on Palestinian lands in the south of the city of Hebron." "They fired on the car and killed the settler and his partner."
Statement, Abdel Qader al-Husseini Brigades
A member of the Abdel Qader al-Husseini Brigades prepares for combat. (Photo: Al-Akhbar)
"What President Abbas should be speaking out against are the actions of militant Islamists who are smuggling explosives into the al-Aqsa mosque and who are trying to prevent Jews and Christians from visiting the holy sites."
"That’s the real threat to these sacred sites."
"A thousand years before the birth of Christianity, more than 1,500 years before the birth of Islam, King David made Jerusalem our capital, and King Solomon built the Temple on that mount.
Yet Israel, Israel will always respect the sacred shrines of all."
"In a region plagued by violence and by unimaginable intolerance, in which Islamic fanatics are destroying the ancient treasures of civilization, Israel stands out as a towering beacon of enlightenment and tolerance."
"Far from endangering the holy sites, it is Israel that ensures their safety."
"Because unlike the powers who have ruled Jerusalem in the past, Israel respects the holy sites and freedom of worship of all – Jews, Muslims, Christians, everyone."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, United Nations address
The difference between Jews and Arabs is that Jews do not rest their reverence for Jehovah on expressing their piousness by deliberately seeking to slaughter other human beings. The Arab Palestinians, on the other hand, claim that their continual deadly assaults on Jews are performed by them on instruction of and in praise of Allah who aids them in their violent exploits of vengeance; they do the will of Allah.

In his speech to the United Nations this week Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas sanctimoniously accused Israel of undermining peace, of destroying the peace talks, of not adhering to Palestinian demands that would produce an agreement for the establishment of a Palestinian state. Among those agreements pressed for famously, is the demand that east Jerusalem, the ancient capital of Israel, be turned over to the PA as the capital of their new state.

Another is the insistence of right of return, that all the assumed 700,000 Palestinians who fled when the assembled armies of the Arab Middle East marched to destroy the fledgling State of Israel in 1948, and their descendants now numbering in the vicinity of five million be granted the right to return, flooding Israel with Palestinians and constituting a viral threat of engulfment and violence. Another way of dissolution of Israel being achieved.

The PA does not feel it is incumbent on it, however to make any concessions to peace. Their dedication to the peace process is a fiction, one geared to persuade the international community that they are victims of a cruel and oppressive occupier, whose 'occupation' has been occasioned by the necessity of the state to protect its people from ongoing murderous attacks. State something with the conviction of victimhood often enough and the 'victim' who victimizes others, and the onlookers who view the supposed underdog as the victim will believe the slander.

Just as Palestinians revel in their victimhood, dependents for the past 70 years of international welfare under the tutelage and oppressive corruption of a leadership that has kept them as 'victims', a status that the international community responds to, the United Nations is complicit in maintaining the fiction that Palestinians are refugees requiring international financial support, a welfare state unwilling to wean itself into the pride of maturity and independence.

Instead it has never stopped agitating and inciting to violence, from the inception of the PLO and Fatah in the early 1960s whose covenant speaks of the destruction of Israel, to the present where the maps it produces reflect no existence of the Jewish state, to the teaching of Palestinian children that Jews are their enemy that must be destroyed and the noblest aspiration is to be a suicide bomber, the PA has proven, time and again it is not a partner for peace.

Fatah, whose head is Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, represents the largest faction within the Palestine Liberation Organization, which has never surrendered its terrorist credentials, and which is the governing body in West Bank areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority. The statement of responsibility for the murder of two Israelis in the presence of their four children more than adequately demonstrated the Palestinian willingness to approach peace with Israel.

Not only has Fatah's lethal terrorist branch gloated over its killing of the young couple, but they also warn that Israel should make no attempts to take revenge for their killing, warning "the enemy against taking revenge on civilians", since "any war crimes would be severely retaliated against". The lunacy of believing that Fatah operatives can slaughter Israeli civilians with impunity, while warning Israel off harming Palestinian civilians constituting a "war crime", speaks volumes of the madness with which Israel must  cope.

Israel's most sacred  religious site is situated on the Temple Mount in east Jerusalem, alongside the later-constructed third most holy sites in Islam, which Arabs call the Noble Sanctuary. Under an agreement with Jordan which had previously administered the ancient Old City, Muslims have free access to their holy sites for prayer, but Jews, to prevent the volatility of hostility emanating from the Palestinians from erupting into violence, may not pray there.

Israel, which won jurisdiction of its ancient  capital in the 1967 war that restored the area to Jewish worship at the Wailing Wall, has acceded to Arab demands that their sacred sites be safeguarded, while accusing Israel of nefarious plans to alter the arrangement in favour of destroying the Muslim sites to re-erect the ancient Temple of Solomon. Jews approach the Temple Mount with reverence, but unable to pray, while Arabs stone them and create violent confrontations.

Fatah's rival Palestinian terror group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, applauded the attack that killed the two young Israeli parents. A spokesman, Husam Badran, congratulated Palestinians on the killings, referring to the fatal shooting if the two defenceless Israelis as a "heroic operation". All of which typifies Palestinian intransigence and their agenda to destroy the Jewish State and all that it represents; democracy, fairness, equality and human rights.

Members of the Fatah organization celebrated the terror attack. Photo: Twitter.
Members of the Palestinian Fatah faction celebrated the terror attack. Photo: Twitter.

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Voluntarily Relinquished Entitlements

"[It is] wholly disproportionate to any legitimate government objective."
"Labels placed on the individual through the revocation process, such as 'terrorist' or 'traitor', may enhance the risk of mistreatment or persecution."
Misbahuddin Ahmed, convicted of terrorism offences

The Crown is seeking a harsher sentence for convicted terrorist Misbahuddin Ahmed. Mike Carroccetto / Ottawa Citizen
The man who, with fellow jihadists, had plotted to carry out violent attacks in Canada in response to Canada's involvement with NATO in actions in the Middle East against Islamist  jihadists, from behind bars has launched a constitutional challenge in Federal Court, protesting the government's decision that his citizenship as a dual national would be revoked under a new law.

The 31-year-old protests that Citizenship and Immigration's decision to strip him of his citizenship represents cruel and unusual punishment. As such his Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees are being breached, he contends righteously. He felt himself free to conspire to carry out violent acts, yet calls upon his citizenship rights under the Constitution.

A year ago a jury found the former Ottawa Hospital diagnostic-imaging technician guilty of conspiracy to facilitate terrorism and facilitating terrorism; he was cleared of a third charge, that of possessing an explosive device. He was sentenced to twelve years in prison, rather than the 20 years that government lawyers had demanded.

Originally from Pakistan, he became a Canadian citizen in 2004, having lived in Canada as a permanent resident for six years. He is the father of three young children. He and two others had planned to build improvised bombs. They were subjects of an intensive investigation by the RCMP, labelled "Project Samosa".

Before C-24 became law, permitting deportation and revocation of citizenship from those who engaged in terrorist acts or actions geared to harm Canada, loss of citizenship was used to deprive accused war criminals or those who obtain citizenship through fraud, of their citizenship. Canadian citizenship is not a right, but a privilege, one lost if it is degraded deliberately.

C-24 extends provisions, to include treason or high treason, espionage, terrorism offences and anyone deciding to go abroad to fight alongside any declared enemy forces of the country. In other words, the man has earned the distinction awarded him of citizenship revocation. He was not accused of treason, but his actions certainly were treasonous, so to argue for clemency on the basis that he could become stateless is fairly baseless.

He chose his destiny. On serving his sentence out in Canada, deportation to his country of origin is the next earned step in this man's chequered future.

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Thursday, October 01, 2015

The Trajectory of Violent Political Islam

"Nothing has been more corrosive to the stability and modernization of the Arab world, and the Muslim world at large, than the billions and billions of dollars the Saudis have invested since the 1970s into wiping out the pluralism of Islam -- the Sufi, moderate Sunni and Shiite versions -- and imposing in its place the puritanical, anti-modern, anti-women, anti-Western, anti-pluralistic Wahhabi Salafist brand of Islam promoted by the Saudi religious establishment."
Thomas Friedman, American journalist, The New York Times

"Wahhabism has been a devastating invasive species in Islam's enormous ecosystem -- it's the zebra mussel, the Asian Tiger mosquito, and the emerald ash borer wrapped into one. The consequences have been fateful: A solid line of causation from the slaughter in Islamic State-controlled Iraq and the tragedy of 9/11 traces back directly to Saudi evangelization and the many radical mosques and extremist NGOs it spawned."
Daniel Benjamin, Brookings Institution
A photograph of the Kaaba (center of photo) in the city of Mecca circa 1887

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's entree into the sphere of those whom the United States considers 'friends' was its oil wealth, which has protected the country from anyone wishing to look too closely at its affairs as an exporter not only of oil on the world stage, but violent Islamism as well. Saudi investment abroad in the building of mosques and Islamic social centres has permitted it to also export its brand of pure Islam into the consciousness of impressionable Muslims the world over.

Through the medium of madrassas, schools of Islamic teaching where the Koranic principles dating back to the Prophet Mohammad are taught in Arabic, and infused into the very psyche of those exposed to its teaching Islamism and its core, jihad, has expanded exponentially. The Kingdom's type of Islam, is hard-core and hostile to any other religions or other expressions of Islam itself. In Saudi Arabia, state punishment is as harsh and unforgiving as it was in the Medieval era.

"Insulting" Islam or the Prophet can result in a death sentence, and death delivery as a state enterprise in the Kingdom is not for the squeamish including crucifixion, beheading, hanging. The Old Testament virtues of an "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth", exemplifies Islamist justice. Where clan and tribe vendettas can consume generations and where freedom from dire vengeance meted out as per the Koran can sometimes be bought through blood money.

Saudi money still supports al-Qaeda and other Sunni-dominated terrorist groups; at one time the Muslim Brotherhood found a warm and inviting home in the Kingdom, since the type of Islam both espoused fairly well coincided. It is no accident that all of the 9/11 suicide-jihadists were Saudis, nor was it accidental that while America reeled under the shock of the attacks, the administration spirited back to the Kingdom through a secret flight members of the Obama clan who happened to be in the U.S. at the time.

And now, fourteen years later, the families of the nearly three thousand victims of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks were shocked to hear that a judge claiming lawyers working on their behalf failed to demonstrate evidence sufficient to persuade him to link the country to the attacks, causing him to dismiss the inclusion of Saudi Arabia in their lawsuits as a defendant. Saudi Arabia's sovereign immunity from being sued was upheld.

It is an exclusionary country, one which will not permit any vestiges of another religion to be seen within its borders. Nor, with all its riches, has it beneficently agreed to take in any Syrian refugees as a fellow Islamic country, practising the compassion that the Koran is said to impress upon its followers. That Germany has agreed to accept a staggering number of Syrian refugees has impressed the Kingdom to the degree that it offered to fund two hundred more mosques in Germany.

If the millions of Muslims in Germany are not sufficiently engrained with Islamism, Saudi Arabia is prepared to ensure that their Wahabbist brand will furnish the grounding they need to impress them with the fundamental requirements of jihad. That the United States continues to support Saudi Arabia and its oil interests is one thing. That Canada too, with its own emphasis on upholding human rights has refrained from criticizing Saudi Arabia is inexplicable.

But of course there are pecuniary interests at play here. Canada has recently signed an agreement with the Kingdom for the sale of advanced weaponry. The armoured tanks that Saudi Arabia will receive will perhaps help in their ongoing conflict in Yemen, a poverty-stricken country where Iran, Saudi Arabia's arch enemy is arming the Shiite Houthi rebels in a proxy war that is victimizing ordinary Yemenites.

Just as the proxy war involving Iran-Syria-Lebanon/Hezbollah-Iraq and now Russia, is playing out in Syria, with Saudi Arabia-Turkey-Qatar countering with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as their Sunni choice to unseat Syria's Alawite-minority president who has been busily butchering his civilian Sunni population.

The Obama administration is playing both ends against the middle; negotiating with Iran over its nuclear-weapons program to manoeuvre the international community into accepting that the unsigned 'deal' with Iran's nuclear aspirations will keep it from attaining the nuclear weapons it so much yearns for to augment its weapons delivery system to cap its advanced ballistic missiles.

The hell-hole of the Middle East is self-immolating and creating a nightmare of exodus and expectations of worse to come. And it began with Saudi Arabia's exports; the oil that furnished the lucre enabling the spread of Wahabbism, providing Iranian Shiite Ayatollahs with the impetus to themselves create their own brand of terrorism; the two colliding in an expression of Islam run amok.

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Delusions of Arrogance

"The public interest in enhancing the integrity of obtaining citizenship and promoting the broader Canadian values of having the oath recited publicly, openly and in community with others in this context outweighs the harm to [Ishaq] in being  unable to vote in this election."
Federal Citizenship and Immigration lawyers, Federal Court submission

"Given that my case has become such a topic of discussion in this election, I would be particularly hurt if I were not able to vote in it."
"I know that elections are usually held every four years in Canada and I would be extremely disappointed if I lost my right to vote in this federal election, especially since I believe that there are many issues of great importance being debated. I very much wish to exercise my democratic right to vote as it is very important to me."
"I want to further my commitment to my country by becoming a citizen. The right to vote in particular is very important to me. I feel this is a way in which I can directly have a say in how the country that I love so much should be run."
Zunera Ishaq, Pakistan-born permanent resident of Canada
Zunera Ishaq - pictured outside the Federal Court of Appeal in Ottawa - thinks the government’s ban is illegal and politically motivated : Rex Features

Passionate to be able to vote for a country she 'loves', but not enough to accede to its social contract of openness and equality. This woman's insistence on her right to defy the courtesy of open contact with Canadians in a social public context, let alone a solemn citizenship ceremony whereby she would be entitled to receive citizenship has priority for her over the honour of becoming a citizen.

Her egocentric position is that she should be entitled to behave in a manner she believes best suits her interests while spurning the Canadian values that entitle her to the freedom to pursue those interests, with rare exceptions, the topmost of which is revealing her identity during the process of declaring the oath of citizenship.

While insisting that she loves the country she emigrated to from Pakistan in 2008, she evidently does not love it enough to set aside her niqab for the few minutes it would take to participate in the citizenship ceremony; her face must be concealed from public view, she insists, as a pious Muslima. But Islam makes no such conditions to the faithful, covering the face is a cultural mainstay of a patriarchal society.

The late Benazir Bhutto, herself a proud Muslim, and former Prime Minister of Pakistan, never covered her face. The very forces of Islamist extremism that killed her are the same religious fundamentalists in Pakistan who insist that women must be chaste, modest and restrained, covering themselves with a burka, concealing their identities as individuals and women.

Canadian values of equality between the sexes reject the misogyny of Pakistan's extremists.

The arrogance of this woman who claims to love Canada and who states her intention to 'exercise her democratic right to vote', appears deliberately oblivious of the fact that in democracies women do not hide their faces and their identities, they do not shun the attention of others around them, they exercise ordinary social courtesy in communicating their openness to others.

This woman takes a special delight in her veiled contempt for Canadian mores, insisting that her imported values must be accepted at one of the most critical times of a new immigrant's transformation toward Canadianism. The niqab is a vile symbol of female repression, one that most Canadians deem insulting to women and which they refuse to countenance. This woman does not deserve Canadian citizenship.

Her powerfully egocentric sense of entitlement is hugely less than commendable in someone expressing eagerness to join the Canadian community. Her arrogant intransigence in the matter represents a clear signal that she is incapable or unwilling or both, to adapt to Canadian society and accept its cardinal values.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

On The Record

"Russia will factually be the only country to carry out this operation on the legitimate basis of the request of the legitimate government of Syria."
Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman

"The atmosphere was entirely one of solidarity. There were no questions that might have influenced this atmosphere [wherein Putin requested official authorization to use force in Syria] on the basis of universally recognized principles and norms of international law."
Oleg Morozov, member, Federation Council

"We are not discussing achieving foreign policy goals or fulfilling the ambitions that our Western partners regularly accuse us of."
"We are exclusively discussing the national interests of the Russian Federation [no ground troops, merely Russian aviation in Syria]."
Sergei Ivanov, the Kremlin chief of staff
Russian Su-24 fighter-bomber (file photo)
  Su-24 fighter-bomber aircraft are said to have been involved in the strikes : Russian Defence Ministry

And so, after so generously inviting the U.S.-led coalition to join Russia's noble effort in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime against the maleficently destructive forces of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and by extension the militias associated with the Syrian Free Army which has pointlessly as Syrian Sunni ingrates, caused a civil war, Russia carried out its first bombing raid in Syria.

American Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter is of the opinion that the Russian airstrikes were most likely carried out where Islamic State forces "probably" weren't even present, "and that is precisely one of the problems with this whole approach." According to him, the U.S.-led coalition plans to "continue our air operations unimpeded" by Russia's intervention on the scene, critical of the lack of success of the United States.

The only admitted item of real concern between the U.S. and the Russian Federation is to ensure that no "inadvertent incidents" occur, and for that alone there would be meetings between defense officials representing the United States and Russia. Combat sorties flown over Syria by either country must be cleared of the potential for unintended consequences relating to operations at cross purposes. Russia's late entry has complicated the issue.

If it weren't for the issue of saving face, at a juncture where there is little 'face' to be saved, the U.S. and its coalition could politely withdraw from action and leave the field to the Russians. For all its actions to date, admittedly not particularly heroic, the coalition bombings have produced little leverage in harming ISIL's prospects; the group has expanded, if anything. Leaving Russia to do the task might very well result in a scenario reminiscent of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Why prevent that?

Mr. Carter pointed out as well the puzzle of the presence of a "logical contradiction" confounding intelligence, whereby Russia’s stated intention of combating terrorism in Syria makes little sense of its support of the Assad regime. Moreover, the appearance of the Russians "seemingly taking on everyone who is fighting Assad", as opposed to the U.S. approach of specifically targeting the Islamic State and like-minded extremists, leads to a conclusion that the stated agenda stretches verity.

A predictably contradictory statement was issued from Russia’s Defense Ministry which stated that airstrikes were carried out "against positions held by the Islamic State in Syrian territory", inclusive of military vehicles, communications centers, weapons caches, ammunition and fuel depots. The ministry failed to identify the locations where the strikes were carried out. The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency identified the western city of Homs as having been targeted to strike the "dens" of ISIL.

On the other hand, information emanating from opposition leader, Hisham Marwah, was rather that the Russian airstrikes "targeted civilians, not ISIS", with the result that at the very least 37 people in the town of Talbiseh in Homs province were killed. "The people of this area are opposed to ISIS", Marwah, vice president of the Syrian National Coalition, stated, speaking by telephone from the United States.

As though to validate that Russia was bypassing opportunities to strike at ISIL targets, Tajamu Alezzah, another rebel source representing a U.S.-supported rebel group in Syria, stated through a Twitter post that it too had come under attack by Russian warplanes in Hama province, north of Homs. Obviously putting the lie to Vladimir Putin's sanctimonious claims of planning to destroy Islamic State for the purpose of restoring peace and the order of good government back to Syria.

Screengrab from video posted online by opposition activist purportedly showing aftermath of Russian air strikes in Talbiseh, Homs province, Syria (30 September 2015)
Syria rebels gathering

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Killing A Country

"After the destruction and killings that took place, it is difficult for the Syrian people to coexist [in] a central state."
Mustafa Osso, Kurdish leader, vice-president, Syrian National Coalition

"Syria as we've known it since it was formed one hundred years ago -- it's finished, I think. What the international community will have to recognize is de facto partition, and work with different parties to try and stabilize those areas [representing sectarian, ethnic, tribal conflict]."
Andrew Tabler, Syria expert, Washington Institute for Near East policy

"Even though a lot of newly independent states after the Second World War in Africa, the Middle East and Asia have borders that were drawn by colonizers, the strong tendency within international law has been to respect those boundaries."
Kenneth Schultz, professor, political science, Stanford University
A Syrian man carries his two girls as he walks across the rubble after a barrel-bomb attack on the rebel-held neighborhood of al-Kalasa in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on Sept. (KARAM AL-MASRI/AFP/Getty Images)
A Syrian man carries his two girls as he walks across the rubble after a barrel-bomb attack on the rebel-held neighborhood of al-Kalasa in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on Sept. 17. (KARAM AL-MASRI/AFP/Getty Images)

A hundred years ago, disparate ethnic and religious communities were patched together into a single state and that state was named Syria. Originally when France had colonizing rule over the area, French authorities thought of localizing boundaries that would produce smaller countries, one for the Alawite minority, another for Druze, another for Aleppo, and another small state for Christians, and one for the Kurds. Actually six statelets were contemplated.

The end result, however, was to crowd the various disparate populations into a single state. Any restiveness from among the various populations was kept tamped down by the dictatorial autocracies that resulted, through intimidation and violence. The situation certainly not unique to Syria; it prevailed throughout the Middle, Africa, Asia where colonial powers played their boundary-and-naming games to their hearts' content.

Once a dominating figure is removed, however, just as occurred with Yugoslavia, the constituent parts renew ancient enmities and agitate for separation in recognition of their ethnic, tribal, clan, religious differences, irreconcilable once the unifying force of threat and violence has been removed. First in Iraq, then in Libya, and now in Syria; total destabilization and chaotic anarchy, branches of Islam reawakened from their temporary truce to embark on bloodshed.

Division of the affected geography takes its organic turn, and demands follow that the separation be recognized and respected and given legal authority. The Kurds in Iraq and Syria have effectively asserted their regional sovereignty much to Turkey's rage, though they have not yet been given official recognition. The Kurdish regions, in fact, come closer to the Western ideal of tolerance and democracy than any other region in the Middle East save for Israel.

Iraq did nominally recognize the three areas that emerged as a natural consequence of the removal of Saddam Hussein; one for the Kurds, another for the dominant Shiites and a third for the minority Sunnis. But the Shiite majority long held in thrall to Saddam and his Sunni supporters was unable to abide a call for equality among all three, inviting a lash-back that resulted in the Islamic State, which then spread its venomous violent entitlements into Syria and beyond.

In Syria, the minority Alawite Shiite regime of the Assad dynasty has devastated the country in its furiously inflamed response to the majority Sunni demand for equality. There was no military response too savage to be used by Syria's President Bashar al-Assad against his defiant civilian population who supported the Sunni rebel army responding to Assad's brutality by countering his forces with their own.

A Syrian man carries a body after it was removed from rubble following a reported barrel bomb attack by government forces in Aleppo on May 20, 2015.
Zein Al-RifaI/AFP/Getty Images    A Syrian man carries a body after it was removed from rubble following a reported barrel bomb attack by government forces in Aleppo on May 20, 2015.

As grotesquely violent as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has been, Syria's military has been even more so, simply without the public relations display that Islamic State is so fond of. The difference of course, is that the butchery is being carried out by a state against its own people, not merely a band of jihadist terrorists rampaging through the landscape to declare their conquests representative of their new and growing terror-state.

Prior to the outbreak of Syria's civil war, while Bashar al-Assad was still a smiling autocrat, not yet emerging into history as a blood-saturated paranoid-lunatic-tyrant, he presided over a population of 23-million people. Of that number fully half has been displaced; 7-million internally and a further four million as refugees, a huge number of whom now flood Europe for haven and a future.

So while the regime in which the Alawite sect of President Assad  controls Damascus and the Alawite region along the Mediterranean coast along with  other cities and connecting corridors as one portion, the central government no longer has de facto authority over other regions. The Kurdish Syrians have authority over the northeast while the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant holds the major portion of the Sunni east.

"What we have today is a partition that no one wants to acknowledge formally", Ahmad Shami, an opposition leader from suburban Damascus stated. The simple fact is that a quarter-million Syrians have been slaughtered in the past four years of civil conflict, and most have found death at the command of their president. How likely is it that the majority Sunnis will complacently agree to a unified country should peace ever arrive?

The Sunni rebels who control areas in the north and south will have every reason to demand that their numbers, heritage and sacrifices merit them their very own parcel of Syria. And the Druze as well are eyeing the possibility of southern Syrian autonomy of their own. The conflict has created a poisonous aura of sectarian and ethnic hatred. The puzzle of mixed-populations in Aleppo and Damascus would have to be faced.

With partition will inevitably come the crisis of ongoing demographic changes, as the various divisions further divide themselves, cleansing each region of the presence of those who do not reflect the majority monoculture/ethnicity/sect. During the process there will be account-settling, venomous accusations, campaigns of slander and disentitlements, reflective of the descent into deadly madness that afflicted India with the partition resulting in Pakistan; Pakistan with the partition resulting in Bangladesh.


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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Reserve Dysfunctional Violence

"And then he [the father] said: 'You got three seconds to leave or I'm gonna kill you. You and your mom', ... Then he looked at me."
"And then I pulled the trigger."
"I couldn't stop him from hurting my mom. My mom was telling my dad to stop. But he wouldn't stop."
13-year-old parricidal boy, John D'or Prairie, Alberta

"His worry was that if he didn't overcome his father, they'd both be beaten to death."
Lawyer for 14-year-old boy, rural Manitoba, First Nations reserve

"It's been for the best My mom might eventually have been killed by my father ... and everyone can just be who they want to be."
Matthew Crichton 27, Grovedale, Alberta
Matthew Crichton pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of his 73-year-old father. He had, he said, only intended to fire a warning shot at his abusive father. Because of the circumstances of the death of his father, Matthew Crichton was given a few months' jail sentence.

In the case of the Manitoba 14-year-old, his father had been drinking all day. He struck his wife with a cellphone, then squeezed lemon juice into her eyes. The boy sought to intervene. A scuffle ensued, and with a knife, the boy fatally severed his father's pulmonary artery. He hadn't meant to kill his father.

The weapon used by the thirteen-year-old in Alberta was a Winchester 30-30. The RCMP and North Peace Tribal Police found the boy standing outside his home, awaiting their arrival at his First Nations settlement of a thousand people, in northern Alberta. The boy informed police that he had killed his father in self-defence And last week an Alberta judge agreed with him. He had spent two years in custody, and was forthwith released from custody.

After his client was found not guilty of second-degree murder, his lawyer stated "He is not a murderer", that the boy was "devastated in fact", with his father's death, because it was at his hand. Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act youth cannot be named. The trial, however, revealed that the boy, his siblings and their mother had suffered years of abuse at the hands of their father.

He hit the children daily, threatened to kill them, put one son in hospital forcing him to take unprescribed medications and once had attempted to run them all over with his truck As for the mother, when she appeared in court her appearance spoke volumes. She had no upper teeth and scars and lumps were spread over her head.

The father began attacking the mother in the early hours of August 5, 2013. Bursting into his parents' bedroom with a rifle, the boy confronted his father. And shot him. There comes a time when the weak and the vulnerable decide they will no longer be victims. And they take steps to free themselves from the bonds that denied them liberty.

At a dreadful personal cost. Sometimes there are no other choices.

'Joey' has been acquitted and freed from custody, but experts wonder what will happen to him now.
'Joey' has been acquitted and freed from custody, but experts wonder what will happen to him now. (CBC) 
"A 13-year-old is young to be involved in a homicide. Typically, the age range is 15 to 17." 
"They may love the parent. And typically they say that they do. But the stress has been such that when the parent is now deceased, the parent is no longer perceived as a continuing threat to them. So there's a sense of relief. Just relief it's over."
Kathleen Heide, criminology professor University of South Florida, author of Understanding Parricide: When Sons and Daughters Kill Parents 

"It certainly strikes me as being a plausible outcome that a judge would find that he acted in self-defence. The Criminal Code is quite clear in terms of what the standard for self-defence is, and what factors get considered. You've got a very serious abuser, you've got an ongoing assault. You've got an effort to protect not only himself, but his mother who's being abused. You've got that history of abuse and you've got this very young boy who presumably believed this was the only alternative left to him — or at least there was some reasonable doubt about that. And that's what convinced the judge to acquit."
University of Alberta law professor Steven Penney

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