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.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Jerusalem holy site closure 'declaration of war' - Abbas

BBC News online -- 30 October 2014
Israeli security forces stand behind a security perimeter outside the Menachem Begin Heritage Centre (29 October 2014) The shooting comes amid heightened tensions between Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem
A spokesman for Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has described the closure of a disputed Jerusalem holy site as a "declaration of war".

The move came amid tension after the shooting of a Jewish activist. Israel's PM called for calm, saying Mr Abbas was responsible for escalating tensions.

Yehuda Glick, a campaigner for greater Jewish prayer rights at the Temple Mount/al-Haram al-Sharif, was wounded.

Israeli police later killed a Palestinian suspected of shooting him.
The man, named as 32-year-old Moataz Hejazi, was shot after opening fire when police surrounded his home.

Rabbi Glick is a well-known US-born campaigner for the right of Jews to pray at the site, which they are currently prohibited from doing. The compound is known to Jews as the Temple Mount, and to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif.

It is the holiest site in Judaism, and also contains the al-Aqsa Mosque - the third holiest site in Islam.
In other developments
  • Sweden became the first major Western European country to officially recognise Palestine as a state. Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said she hoped more countries would follow Sweden's lead - Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was quoted as saying it was a "deplorable" decision
  • The UN Human Rights Committee has called on Israel to halt settlement-building in the West Bank and investigate alleged violations committed by its forces in military operations in Gaza in 2008-09, 2012 and 2014
Palestinians in clashes with police as they try to arrest shooting suspect - 30 October Palestinians clashed with police as they tried to arrest the shooting suspect
Yehuda Glick attends a conference at the Menachem Begin Heritage Centre in Jerusalem (29 October 2014) Rabbi Glick was photographed attending a conference shortly before the shooting

Palestinians hold the Israeli government responsible for a "dangerous act", Mr Abbas was quoted as saying by Nabil Abu Rudeina, in remarks carried by AFP news agency.

"This dangerous Israeli escalation is a declaration of war on the Palestinian people and its sacred places and on the Arab and Islamic nation," Mr Rudeina added.

"The state of Palestine will take all legal measures to hold Israel accountable and to stop these ongoing attacks."

Map of compound
Jerusalem's holiest site
  • Known as the Temple Mount to Jews and al-Haram al-Sharif to Muslims, it comprises the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, and is next to the Western Wall
  • The Western Wall, from the time of the Jewish Biblical temples, is the holiest site where Jews can pray; the Dome of the Rock, where according to Jewish tradition the Ark of the Covenant rested in the first temple, is the holiest site in Judaism
  • The al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam; the Dome of the Rock is revered by Muslims because of its connections to the Prophet Mohammed
  • Christians also venerate the site because of its Biblical links to Jesus
  • A Muslim committee has managed the compound since the time of the Crusades, while Israel, which has occupied East Jerusalem since 1967, controls access
  • Israel maintains a ban on prayer by non-Muslims at the compound as a security measure
  • Rabbi Yehuda Glick campaigns for allowing Jews to pray at the site
But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for calm and suggested Mr Abbas was responsible for the increasing tension.

"We're facing a wave of incitement by radical Islamic elements as well as by the Palestinian Authority chairman... who said that Jews must absolutely be prevented from going on to the Temple Mount," he said, quoted by Haaretz newspaper.

Mr Netanyahu added that reinforcements for the security forces would be brought into Jerusalem to keep order.

The shooting of Rabbi Glick is the latest in a series of incidents which have led to an escalation of tensions in Jerusalem.

Some districts of East Jerusalem have seen nightly clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces since the conflict in Gaza.

Last week a Jewish baby and Ecuadorian woman were killed when a Palestinian attacker drove his car into a group of pedestrians at a tram stop in Jerusalem.

Police said Rabbi Glick's suspected attacker, Moataz Hejazi, had served time in jail in Israel and was released in 2012, adding that he belonged to the Islamic Jihad militant group.

The police anti-terrorist unit along with the Israeli internal security service Shin Bet had received information that Mr Glick's attacker was located in the Abu Tor neighbourhood, Israeli officials said.
Police say they were fired at after surrounding the house and shot back, hitting the suspect.

Rabbi Glick has had surgery for gunshot wounds to his chest and abdomen.
He had just attended a conference where delegates discussed Jewish claims to the compound, one of the most contentious areas of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Israel argues that it protects freedom of worship at the site but Palestinians claim it is unilaterally taking steps to allow larger numbers of Jewish visitors.

The site is administered by an Islamic body called the Waqf, while Israeli police are in charge of security.

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Lend Me Your Ears, Do

"Hello, I'm John Cantile, and today we are in the city of Kobani on the Syrian-Turkish border. That is, in fact, Turkey right behind me."
"Now the battle for Kobani is coming to an end."
"Some of us who tried to escape were waterboarded by our captors, as Muslim prisoners are waterboarded by their American captors."
"[ISIS] are just mopping up now, street to street, and building to building. You can occasionally hear sporadic gunfire in the background as a result of those operations."
"But contrary to what the Western media would have you believe, it is not an all-out battle here now. It is nearly over. As you can hear, it is very quiet, just the occasional gunfire."
"Two hundred thousand inhabitants of the city have been displaced because of the fighting that came here. You can see the refugee camps over my right shoulder over there in Turkey, where the inhabitants now are."
"Urban warfare is as about as nasty and tough as it gets, and it's something of a specialty of the mujahedeen."
British journalist John Cantlie, ISIS hostage, Kobani, Syria

The latest propaganda video presented the hostage John Cantlie as a war reporter / The Associated Press

Well, he's right where the action is. Just where enterprising and dauntless journalists wedded to their profession always hope to be. But when conflicts are so brutal and so close that so often proves to be extremely difficult. On the other hand, while such journalists take chances in approaching as close to the combat zone as they can to ensure they're in receipt of accurate information to pass on as news, few imagine they might do so while serving as hostages, with their lives in very immediate danger.

Casual, professional, fluid in addressing the situation in Kobani, as the only Western journalist present. He has a coup, a real news scoop, and he's delivering it in a rather unusual, unorthodox manner, under the conniving order to perform, by the very mujahadeen who are attacking a large Kurdish city, causing hundreds of thousands of desperately fearful people to flee their homes, murdering those whom they come across, taking women and girls as sex slaves, and enjoying the opportunity to mutilate and behead their Kurdish opponents.

Well, yes, of course he's also a captive of ISIS, held for whatever usefulness he can be to their cause. Since he's useless as a hostage for whom they can extract ransom from the government of which he is a citizen, the ever-resourceful Islamic State has decided his professional expertise can also be regarded as an asset at their disposal. So, Mr. Cantlie is accommodatingly doing all he can to aid their propaganda cause and just incidentally, in the process of helpfulness, extend his life-span.

Another in a series of videos has been revealed, featuring this inveterate journalist. Not yet decapitated as an object lesson delivered to the U.S. and Britain that their interference in the affairs of the Middle East and Islamist sectarianism is not appreciated. The skilled leaders of Islamic Jihad are using their comfort with and knowledge of social media and 'public relations' to effect. It's one thing to have footage of jihadists boasting of their conquest.

Quite another to feature the solidly reputable and respectable visage of a Western journalists describing the situation as it really is, according to ISIS, not as it is reported by those not on the scene. And so, Mr. Cantlie speaks of what he sees around him; nothing but large numbers of fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham. The photojournalist has been two years in captivity. It is, without a shadow of doubt, a sobering experience.

One that leads the captive to be amenable to opportunities to be useful. It would certainly beat shuddering in the bleak darkness of an underground cubbyhole subsisting on a half-teacup of beans or rice and foetid water. Taken out not necessarily for exercise from time to time, or evacuation, but for bruising reminders that he is at the mercy of torture-loving jihadists who have nothing but raging contempt for what he represents; the hated West.

In an earlier video he had stated: "Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking he's only doing this because he's a prisoner. He's got a gun at his head, and he's being forced to do this. Right? Well, it's true, I am a prisoner. That I cannot deny But, seeing as I've been abandoned by my government and my fate now lies in the hands of the Islamic State, I have nothing to lose." True, true.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. But he must surely know that those captured and held by jihadists who insist for the good of their health, they must surrender to Islam; that having gone the conversion route, it has not aided them one iota. One by one, praying to Allah, taking comfort in thumbing the pages of the Koran, they have been slaughtered, beheaded, degraded, spirited on to their maker.
Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images

Labels: , , ,

Toronto, Finally Rescued

"Tonight, voters have sent a message that is abundantly clear. Voters want their elected officials to get down to work on the priorities that matter most to them. Better transit, more jobs, an end to the gridlock that is choking our streets."
"And the electorate has spoken on one other issue: Torontonians want to see an end to the division that has paralyzed city hall in the last few years ... Toronto, I hear you."
"We live in a good city. A really, really good city. My goal in the next four years, together with council, is to unite this city as one Toronto and to build a great city."
Toronto Mayor-elect John Tory
Toronto Election Results 2014: John Tory wins

Well, then finally time for the clown contingent to bow out. One might wish it to be so. The notorious Ford clan, however, has other ideas; down but not completely out. Rob Ford is on the mend from cancer surgery, and was handily re-elected -- to city council, not the mayoralty. Big brother Doug thought he could vault on his little-big-brother's still-puzzling popularity from council to the mayor's seat, but failed. For the time being, however, and for the near foreseeable future, a man who is competent and dignified takes his place.

Amazingly, not by much, as it happened With the worthy John Tory winning the mayoralty with 40% of the vote in his favour, while brother Doug took a still-whopping 34% support, leaving Olivia Chow to wonder what happened as she trailed with 23% of the unpopular vote. It is nothing short of mind-boggling that a bumptious loud-mouth with a drug and alcohol-addiction problem who consorted with the criminal class, would have been able to sustain his popularity level.

Portraying himself as a populist concerned with saving the taxpayers grief and money, the man was an insult to the public office he held, degrading the position and Toronto's reputation not only across the country, but into the international sphere with people looking on agog at once-staid Toronto's fall from grace, embracing a lout with a mysterious appeal to a large segment of the population. Which, it would seem, speaks volumes for that large segment's values.

There surely were many who felt that Toronto had hit rock bottom electing and then re-electing the artlessly absurd Mel Lastman with his circus-barker intelligence quotient embarrassing the city across Canada; at least he kept his ineptitude and graceless performance solidly at home. Rob Ford celebrated his obtuse bumptiousness as a consummate art, secure in the belief that he was loved and admired even while onlookers regarded him as a rarity less than admirable.

But, that's the past, sad as it is. Oh, wait a minute; that's right; Rob Ford is sticking around on council. A Ford nephew was elected to the school board. And, groan, the young and resiliently rotund Ford promises to return in four years' time yet again to compete for the mayorality, a candidacy he is certain will be acclaimed next time around.

Labels: ,

The Featured Writer

"As Canada once again grapples with concerns about terrorism, my experience stands as a cautionary reminder. Security laws and practices that are excessive, misguided or tainted by prejudice can have a devastating human toll."
"I was apprehended by U.S. forces during a firefight in Afghanistan in July 2002 I was only 15 years old at the time, propelled into the middle of armed conflict I did not understand or want. I was detained first at the notorious U.S. airbase at Bagram, Afghanistan; and then at Guantanamo Bay for close to 10 years. I have now been held in Canadian jails for the past two years."
"From the very beginning, to this day, I have never been accorded the protection I deserve as a child soldier. And I have been through so many other human rights violations. I was held for years without being charged. I have been tortured and ill-treated. I have suffered through harsh prison conditions. And I went through an unfair trial process that sometimes felt like it would never end."
"Rather than remedy the violation, the government delayed my return from Guantanamo to Canada for a year and aggressively opposed my request not to be held in a maximum-security prison."
...the government remains determined to deny me my rights. I will not give up. I have a fundamental right to redress for what I have experienced."
"I have also seen how much of a gap there is in Canada when it comes to meaningful oversight of national security activities, to prevent violations. And I certainly appreciate the importance of there being justice and accountability when violations occur."
Omar Khadr -- Ottawa Citizen newspaper, Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Omar Khadr is shown in an Edmonton courtroom in an artist's sketch on Sept. 23, 2013, almost exactly a year after he returned to Canada from Guantanamo Bay.
Omar Khadr is shown in an Edmonton courtroom in an artist's sketch on Sept. 23, 2013, almost exactly a year after he returned to Canada from Guantanamo Bay. (Amanda McRoberts/The Canadian Press)

Thus writes a now-27-year-old, hard done by through no fault of his own, who feels entitled to believe he should be viewed with sympathy by the Canadian public and given kids-glove handling by the Government of Canada because of the support he has enjoyed from the liberal-left in Canada who are prepared to overlook any kind of threats to stability within the country in the belief that one must consider the source; people with, they feel, legitimate grievances of imperial oppression.

So much for the impression that decades of violence imposed on the West, let alone upon the helpless co-religionists living within majority Muslim nations, by fundamentalist Islamofascists who believe it is their right ordained by God above, to challenge Western democracies for primacy, imagining themselves creating an all-encompassing global caliphate of the Islamist righteous so that the world can accustom itself to living under a totalitarian theocracy.

How very timely. Just when Canada is grappling with yet another reminder that danger lurks where it might be least expected, under the very nose of the Canadian military, the Parliament buildings, a Quebec town, to wreak havoc and fear in the heart of the Canadian capital, resulting in blame and praise in equal measure, and the resolve by government to alter security and intelligence laws, up pops the aggrieved voice of a Canadian citizen whose family might well be considered Islamism Central.

The Khadr family departed Canada with sons and daughters in tow for Pakistan, leaving extended family behind in Canada to continue basking in the plenitude and liberties to enjoy freedom of speech and social entitlements to medical care and other social welfare emoluments, so that Ahmed Said Khadr, the patriarch who operated a charity out of Canada to fund fanatical Islam as practised by al-Qaeda could have his sons trained as mujahadeen.

The young men Abdurahman and Abdullah, brothers of Omar Khadr were trained as jihadists, as was Omar Khadr as well, along with training in the use of explosives. He was wounded in a violent gun battle with American soldiers in Afghanistan, during which he was accused of having thrown an explosive that killed an American medic. Other American medics saved Omar Khadr's life. He was taken to Guantanamo Bay prison where he lived for years until standing trial to be found guilty of

When Omar Khadr's mother Maha Elsamnah and his sister returned to Canada to resume their residence as Canadian citizens, they spoke with contemptful scorn of Canadian values which they derided, and upheld the fundamentalist Islamist values that had them dressed in all-concealing black burqas. Omrar Khader's two older brothers faced terrorism charges and extradition threats.

And he speaks feelingly of security and threats and the need to address them, but above all, not to over-address them as was done in his case, a poor young boy placed willy-nilly in the line of action that perplexed and concerned him. As though fifteen-year-old Islamists are a figment of the feverish imagination of Westerners, and they pose no threat whatever to the established order and values of democratic societies in their choice to become absorbed into Islamism's universal jihad.

Subterfuge, and double-speaking in establishing credentials as an adoptee of the social and cultural values of democracy to cloak an underlying seething rage propelled by a religious ideology of fanaticism in whose favour stealth is employed as a means to throw those targeted off guard, enabling the infiltrator to produce a result favourable to the greater concern of Sharia and conquest. And in the end, with public sympathy, demand recompense for his travails.

It would be most unfortunate if readers of Mr. Khadr's sanctimonious little piece of bafflegab tended to believe that he has become a talented PR agent for jihad. Canada's lenient, left-leaning courts have given him leave to expand his $20-million lawsuit against the federal government for treating him so badly, poor waif.

Labels: , , , , ,

UN Watch BriefingLatest from the United Nations  Vol. 511  |  October 29, 2014         

Nazareth Priest Tells U.N. in Arabic: "Israel is only country in Mideast where Christians live in safety"
Must-See Video: Click here
Father Gabriel Naddaf testified on behalf of UN Watch
Speaking in Arabic and on behalf of UN Watch, Father Gabriel Naddaf of Nazareth intervened during the recent 27th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Mr. President, I am speaking to you on behalf of UN Watch.
Standing before you is Father Gabriel Naddaf, a Christian citizen from Nazareth, the city in which Christ was raised and where he proselytized.

Dear Sirs, while I stand before you today, the earth of the Middle East is soaked with the blood of Christians being killed daily.

Do you know that at the start of the 20th century, Christians comprised 20% of the population of the Middle East?
Today they comprise only 4%.

Do you know that over the past years some 100,000 Christians have been killed annually? And why? Not for a crime they’ve committed, but only for believing in Christ.
In Iraq alone, more than 77% of the Christians have fled during the year 2000, in addition to thousands killed and expelled.

Some 2 million Christians lived in Syria, but today, they are less than 250,000.

Christians in these countries are treated as second-class citizens; facing racial, religious, economic and social discrimination.

Why is this happening? Only due to their religion, a religion that advocates love and peace between mankind.

Christians in the Middle East are marginalized, their rights denied, their property stolen, their honor violated, their men killed, and their children displaced.

Where will they go? Who will defend them? And who will guard their property?

If we look at the Middle East, Mr. President, we realize there’s only one safe place where Christians are not persecuted.

One place where they are protected, enjoying freedom of worship and expression, living in peace and not subjected to killing and genocide.

It is Israel, the country I live in. The Jewish state is the only place where the Christians of the Holy Land live in safety.
Christians and Jews live in Israel not only because Christ was originally Jewish, born in Jewish Bethlehem, but because they share a common destiny, and a true hope to coexist in peace.

Does the world acknowledge Israel for protecting its Christians? Many in the international community have chosen to criticize Israel.

This, in my mind, is a double crime: because by doing so, the international community helps those striving to annihilate the Jews, the Christians, the Druze and the Yazidis for political ends.

By doing so, the international community unfortunately contributes to exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in the Middle East. It causes Christians to leave the land of Christ searching for a safe haven across the world.

It is time for the world to awaken and realize the truth of those striving to destroy the Jewish state.

They are hastening the death sentence of Christians in the Middle East and the Holy Land, the land which witnessed the birth and life of our Lord Jesus Christ. If they leave, who will remain in it?

I, Father Gabrial Naddaf of Nazareth, stand before you and plead: O world leaders and supporters of peace, stop those who want to destroy the only free Jewish state in the region.

It is the only refuge welcoming and protecting all of its citizens. It is the only place that does not attempt to push out Christians, forcing them to leave their land in search of security.

I implore you from the bottom of my heart to hear the cry of the Christians of the Middle East before it is too late, and you may read about them only in the history books.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Labels: , , , , ,

Members loyal to the Islamic State (IS) wave IS flags as they drive around Raqqa, June 29, 2014.  (photo by REUTERS)
 Author Ali Mamouri Posted October 28, 2014
Ali Mamouri
Ali Mamouri is a columnist for Al-Monitor's Iraq Pulse.  He is a researcher and writer who specializes in religion. He is a former teacher in Iranian universities and seminaries in Iran and Iraq. He has published several articles related to religious affairs in the two countries and societal transformations and sectarianism in the Middle East.

IS uses intelligence to purge opponents

NAJAF, Iraq — The Islamic State (IS) differs from its predecessors and similar groups by running a powerful intelligence apparatus that is strong and has plenty of security experience acquired by intelligence officers from the previous regime. The IS intelligence apparatus carries out various types of operations, similar to other intelligence apparatuses around the world. One of its most important operations is to monitor and identify its opponents, to eliminate them immediately and to avoid the possibility of the Iraqi government, and other local and regional opposing parties, to infiltrate its intelligence apparatus, or a military opposition to emerge on its territory.

Based on IS operations, the list of people to eliminate includes tribal sheikhs who have previously cooperated with the government, members of the Awakening movement who have participated in fighting jihadist groups in the past, clerics who oppose IS' extremism and anyone suspected of delivering security information to governmental parties or other cooperating parties.

The policy of eliminating opponents as soon as they take over large areas is considered an established IS method that was adopted when it evolved in Iraq after the 2003 invasion. In addition to the security reasons, this technique is also based on IS' extremist Salafist principles, which aim to purge the land of any opposition party, to create a unified Salafist community without religious or political differences.

Ground campaigns against IS have increased since the formation of the international alliance that launched airstrikes on IS sites, leading to the group's elimination from regions it previously occupied. In addition to this, assassinations started being carried out against the IS leadership in Mosul and other Iraqi regions, which pushed the group to further tighten its security and eliminate a large number of suspects.

Several IS leaders were targeted, including Abu Anas al-Kurdi, an official in one of the military wings of Mosul, who was killed during an airstrike on Sept. 29. A source in Mosul told Al-Monitor that IS tightened its security after the attack by limiting prominent leaders’ appearances in public as well as arresting people suspected of delivering information to newspapers or any other external parties.

Al-Monitor interviewed a field activist in the city of Hit, two days after it fell into IS hands on Oct. 13, after a significant advance in Anbar province that included most of its cities. The source said that some residents were IS members without the knowledge of their neighbors. After IS took over, the militants eliminated anyone who was inciting people against IS, or working with the army and opposing tribes. People are eliminated based on the information provided by residents who are IS members.

The source said that the number of victims is high and the punishments are extremely cruel. A number of activists who criticized IS’ arbitrary and extremist measures were slaughtered in the city. Everyone who opposes the group’s extremist religious measures, such as imposing the niqab on women, is subject to punishment. IS raises its flag on top of the victims’ homes to make examples of them, so others know that someone has been punished. Group executions occur every now and then, where prisoners whom the group had kidnapped during battle are eliminated.

The terror prevailing over Mosul has led an enormous number of residents to flee and take refuge in Shiite-dominated western regions. Al-Monitor witnessed long lines of refugees at the entrance to the city of Karbala, waiting for security clearance to enter the city. These procedures can take days due to the large number of refugees and the lack of facilities to receive them.

IS reacts strongly against its opponents, out of fear of an opposition force emerging from within the Sunni entity, like in 2008 after establishing the Awakening movement, where the Islamic State of Iraq lost its lands due to damaging strikes by the movement. IS is well aware that a significant threat would be the emergence of a Sunni military opposition, fighting it inside the lands it occupies.

IS has carried out extensive religious separation in the regions it occupies, by disposing of all non-Sunni elements such as Shiites and other religious minorities, to end all social relations between the tribes and the Iraqi elements. The purpose of this is to eliminate the possibility of having a Sunni force willing to cooperate with Shiites to fight IS. On the other hand, the group’s policy of terror led its opponents to flee the IS-controlled regions or to at least stay silent and not criticize its actions.

It is unlikely that an effective Sunni force will rise against IS, due to the loss of communication between political Sunni leaders and their popular bases. There are no decisive measures against the group, and the Iraqi government is incapable of changing the military equation in the Sunni regions. Thus, IS is expected to remain for a long time in the Sunni regions.

Labels: , , , ,

Arutz Sheva

Officials Reveal US is Cozying Up to Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas

US and Arab officials reveal Obama administration's about-face, including backdoor communication and intelligence cooperation.

By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 10/29/2014, 8:30 AM

Barack Obama
Barack Obama
The same Tuesday night that a senior official in US President Barack Obama's administration was quoted calling Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu "chickens**t," yet more officials indicated the US is warming up to cooperation with Iran - the Islamic regime seeking nuclear weapons that has repeatedly declared its desire to destroy Israel.

Senior US and Arab officials were cited by the Wall Street Journal saying that in recent months, America and Iran have grown closer through cooperation against their "common enemy", the Islamic State (ISIS), as well as over a shared interest in "stability" in Iraq and Afghanistan.

American officials revealed to the paper that Obama's administration has been sending secretive messages to Iran through Iraq's new Shi'ite prime minister Haider al-Abadi, as well as through Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the highest ranking Shi'ite cleric in Iraq.

The statement confirms the assessment of a senior Israeli diplomatic source, who two weeks ago warned Obama may be holding secret talks with Iran - just as he was revealed last November to have been holding secret talks for over half a year prior to the recent controversial temporary nuclear agreement, and likewise reportedly had been easing sanctions on Iran for five months ahead of the deal.

It also raises greater concerns over US Secretary of State John Kerry's backtracking after rejecting military cooperation with Iran. According to reports though Iran initially rejected the notion of such cooperation against ISIS, Tehran later said it would consider it - in return for a good deal in the nuclear talks.

Obama's administration reportedly has been very cautious not to upset the Iranians, according to a senior US defense official working on Iraq who was quoted by the Wall Street Journal.

"They (the US) want to focus on ISIL (ISIS) and they are worried about antagonizing the Iranians...they are articulating in high-level interagency meetings that they don't want to do anything that's interpreted by the Iranians as threatening to the regime" of Iranian-ally Bashar Assad, the president of Syria, said the official.

As part of that pussyfooting around the Islamic regime, officials said the US military will play down the annual minesweeping exercise of the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, as opposed to previous years when the drill was used to show opposition to growing Iranian naval aggression in the Persian Gulf.
Apparently Iran has been acting reciprocally, with officials saying Iranian Revolutionary Guards have ordered the terrorist groups under its proxy not to attack American sites in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Cozying up to Hamas and Hezbollah too?
The American mollycoddling of Iran has extended to its proxy terror organizations Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon as well, according to officials, who said that despite there being no official cooperation with any of the parties American positions have definitely shifted.

When it comes to Hezbollah, US and Arab officials said US intelligence agencies have given tips on threats by Al Qaeda-linked terrorists in the country to Lebanese security agencies close to or controlled by Hezbollah, including the General Security Directorate.

The revelation confirms statements last month by Lebanese experts, who said America is indirectly giving Hezbollah military aid, with new weapons being sent to the Lebanese army that coordinates with Hezbollah, and US intel reaching Hezbollah.

Hamas has also come in for a precedent setting shift in stance according to senior US officials, who noted that Kerry and other senior American diplomats indirectly negotiated with Hamas leaders such as Khaled Mashaal through Turkish and Qatari intermediaries during ceasefire talks in July.

American communication with the Islamist terrorist organization as it waged war against Israel raises serious question marks, particularly when contrasted to Obama's harsh stance on Israel during the operation, when he cancelled a routine transfer of Hellfire missiles, and ordered greater scrutiny on future shipments.

Summing up the shift, Vali Nasr, dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and former Obama administration official told the paper: "our interests and policies are converging with Iran’s. This is a geostrategic reality at this moment, more than a conscious US policy."

Labels: , , , ,

Gatestone Institute

The exploitation of children in the fight against Israel has attracted little attention from the international community and the media. Human rights groups and the UN have chosen to turn a blind eye to this human rights abuse. Instead of condemning it, these groups are busy denouncing Israel for targeting minors.
This strategy works out well for Hamas and Fatah, who can always blame Israel for "deliberately targeting" Palestinian children — an allegation the media in the West often endorses without asking questions.
Even more worrying is that the Palestinian groups often reward the families, who then become less motivated to stop their children from risking their lives.
Adult activists who encourage and send children to take part in violence should be held accountable, not only by Israel but by their own people. If these adults want an intifada, they should be the first to go out and confront Israeli policemen and soldiers.
Hamas, Fatah and other Palestinian groups are using children from east Jerusalem and the West Bank in what appears to be a new intifada against Israel.

Nearly half of the Palestinians arrested by Jerusalem Police over the past few months are minors. Some of them are as young as nine.

These children are being sent to throw stones and firebombs, and launch fireworks at policemen and IDF soldiers, as well as at Israeli civilians and vehicles, including buses and the light rail in Jerusalem.

Masked Palestinian youths hurl rocks at a Jewish kindergarten near the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, Sept. 2014.

The exploitation of children in the fight against Israel has attracted little attention from the international community and media. Human rights groups and United Nations institutions have chosen to turn a blind eye to these human rights abuses.

Instead of condemning those who exploit the children and dispatch them to confront policemen and soldiers, these groups and institutions are busy denouncing Israel for targeting minors.

Most of the children's attacks occur after school, so they are not deprived of education. But sadly, some of the Palestinian minors get killed or wounded in clashes with Israeli security forces.

Orwa Hammad, a 14-year-old Palestinian-American boy from the village of Silwad near Ramallah, was shot dead by IDF soldiers last week. The IDF says he was spotted preparing to hurl a firebomb at Israeli vehicles.

Earlier, 13-year-old Bahaa Bader was shot dead by IDF soldiers in the village of Beit Likya, also in the Ramallah area. An IDF spokesman said soldiers responded with live fire when residents threw firebombs at them as they were exiting the village.

Last month, 16-year-old Mohammed Sinokort from the Wadi al-Joz neighborhood of Jerusalem was killed during a stone-throwing incident.

This is not the first time that Palestinian groups use children in the struggle against Israel. During the first intifada, which erupted in 1987, children and women were often at the forefront in clashes with Israeli security personnel.

This strategy works out well for Palestinian groups such as Hamas and Fatah. At the end of the day, they can always blame Israel for "deliberately" targeting Palestinian children and women -- an allegation that the mainstream media in the West often endorses without asking questions.

Moreover, the Palestinian groups know that the children who are being sent to confront Israeli soldiers and policemen will not be held accountable.

Most of the minors detained by the Jerusalem Police for their involvement in the violence are released to house arrest. In cases where the children are aged nine to 13, they are referred to social welfare authorities without being detained.

The majority of these children are going out to throw stones and firebombs at Israelis because they are come from poor families or are lacking in good education and other economic and social privileges. But many of them come from middle-class families and do not live in refugee camps.

These children are victims of a campaign of indoctrination and incitement that is being waged by various Palestinian groups such as Hamas and Fatah. It is a campaign that is being waged through the media, mosques, educational institutions and the fiery rhetoric of leaders and activists.

What is even more worrying is that the Palestinian groups often reward the families of the children by hiring lawyers and paying fines imposed on them by Israeli courts. As a result, the families are less motivated to stop their children from risking their lives.

There are also reports that Fatah and Hamas activists in Jerusalem have been paying children small sums of money to throw stones and firebombs at Israelis and block roads in several Arab neighborhoods.

Hamas and Fatah had long discovered that children are one of the most effective tools in the fight against Israel -- especially because of the damage Israel sustains in the court of international public opinion.

Thus far, it appears that the Palestinian groups have been successful in their effort to depict Israel as a country that deliberately targets Palestinian minors whose only crime is that they "resisted occupation."

Dressing children in military uniforms and allowing them to carry rifles and pistols during rallies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is one way of encouraging them to put their lives at risk. But of course Hamas, Fatah and other Palestinian factions do not see anything wrong with this practice.

The adult activists who send and encourage children to take part in violence should be held accountable, not only by Israeli authorities, but also by their own people and international human rights organizations. If these adults want an intifada, they should be the first to go out and confront Israeli policemen and soldiers.

The time has come for the international community and media to pay attention to their disturbing conduct and demand that Palestinian groups stop hiding behind children.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Egypt's Legitimate Concerns

"The natural resources in Libya represents a very large pool of wealth and funding that will fund terrorist activity not only there but in other parts of the world. You see [ISIS] in Iraq utilizing gasoline and the black market, and in Libya this is a danger that will have a big impact for us."
"We have a struggle against similar organizations that are an offshoot of other terrorist ideologies like the [Muslim] Brotherhood and all these organizations support each other. We have seen terrorists from ISIL move from Iraq and Syria to Sinai, even Nigeria."
"The interconnected nature of all these organizations has to be recognized."
"All of us attempting the eradication of a terrorist organization in one area will need to have greater co-operation in another if we are to comprehensively deal with this threat."
Sameh Shukri, Egyptian foreign minister
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri (photo credit: YouTube screen capture)
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri (photo credit: YouTube screen capture)

On a visit to London Mr. Shukri revealed the fearful suspense of Egyptian authorities in their ongoing and sometimes seemingly futile attempts to push back the tide of violent Islamofascism infesting the Middle East and North Africa. The threat  to Egypt is close enough that even Cairo has seen its stability threatened. Egyptian police and members of its military are constantly targeted in the Sinai. The proliferation of Salafist Bedouin in conflict with the government is an affliction.

That they have been joined by members of Hamas, by Islamic Jihad, by al-Qaeda groups, all of them incited to further attacks by the Muslim Brotherhood, features large in Egypt's overall strategy to protect itself and its citizens. President Abdelfattah el-Sisi took power on the removal of the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi, president before him, in a popular protest against the power taken by the Islamists and their inept administration of the country.

Since then hundreds of Brotherhood officials have been imprisoned, some committed to capital punishment for inciting their followers to riotous violence in cities across Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood has been declared a terrorist group in Egypt, membership outlawed. Now Egypt is pointing out the shared ideological roots of the Muslim Brotherhood infecting violent Islamist movements across the Middle East and North Africa.

What Egypt is not lingering on is that while the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham is financing itself through the sale of oil, just as the Libyan Islamists plan to do themselves, the template was long ago set by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the two leading oil-rich states that have long used their wealth to fund fundamentalist Wahhabist madrassas all over the world. Al-Qaeda grew out of their wealth coffers funding their Islamist activities.

Both Saudi Arabia and Qatar are paying out multiple-billions in establishing Muslim Centres and huge Mosque complexes and maddrasses all over Europe and North America and Australia. What violence cannot accomplish as speedily as it wishes, quiet and determined infiltration will accomplish over time and the fecundity of believers. Which is not necessarily to turn a blind eye to Egypt's pleading for attention.

It has welcomed the British government's decision to commission a report into the scope of the Muslim Brotherhood's activities in Britain and world-wide. And it acknowledges Canada and Britain committing themselves to deploy fighter jets to fly in action with the U.S. carrying out strikes on ISIS in Iraq as Persian Gulf States conduct air strikes with the U.S. in Iraq and Syria, both.

Egypt has itself conducted air strikes in Libya against the Islamists in hopes that the Libyan military will be enabled to defend the country against the gathering threats. But it has its own focus to deal with, on meeting the challenge of the Sinai peninsula where just last week another 33 members of its security forces were killed in attacks by Islamist jihadists determined to turn Egypt into an Islamist state. Charging Hamas with complicity, Egypt has focused once again on the Gaza tunnels.

Egypt looks both inward and outward, trying to secure its centre as well as its flanks. It worries that the Libyan Islamists who have succeeded in capturing and controlling many of the country's cities are eager now to capture the oil fields capable of massive production that will enrich them and further fund their intent to control all of Libya. And in so doing, threaten the stability of Egypt, a neighbour in North Africa.

Labels: , , , ,

Mental Illness and Jihad

"It's always a dangerous thing to diagnose anyone from a distance, especially when they're dead."
"Total mental balance is an ideal and elusive goal for any of us. And the natural, first thing that comes to mind is [when something horrific occurs], well, he must be crazy."
"But most criminals, most substance abusers and most political or religious extremists are 'mentally unbalanced' at least some of the time. Our man (Michael Zehaf-Bibeau) was all of these."
"This doesn't mean that we have a psychiatric diagnosis that fits him, or a psychiatric treatment that would have cured him, or an explanation for his behaviour that satisfies, or that we could ever predict who, or when."
"Not every person who feels lost or has a messed up life is mentally ill. [There is some increase in violence among the severely mentally ill] But it's not enormous, and they're responsible for only a tiny amount of the violence in the world."
"[The killer -- Michael Zehaf-Bibeau -- might have absorbed radical teachings bringing meaning] to what was previously his meaningless life]. And if he was willing to kill and die for this, that is regrettable.
"It is something that all of us have to begin to worry about -- how we're going to prevent others from finding meaning in this bizarre way, this destructive way."
Dr. Allen Frances, professor emeritus, Duke University
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau
The Ottawa gunman, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, had had his passport seized recently. Photograph: Zuma/Rex
Dr. Frances, if anyone knows, paints a picture of what generally is thought of those who join forces with the Islamic State in their nihilistic world view and focus on bringing violent, totalitarian Islamism front and centre, to the world at large, through a global conquest of the world order. As chair of the task force producing the fourth version of psychiatry's official manual of mental illness he does have experience and professional knowledge to back up his perceptions.

Violence appeals to many people. Society is rife with sociopaths, psychopaths, people who live their lives in livid disgruntlement with authority and the very concept of democratic liberties; the two confusing them since their idea of authority is rigidly repressive, dictatorial, fanatical and regimented. The very antithesis of liberal democracy which upholds equality rights and pluralistic equality of opportunities with constitutional protection for freedoms relevant to free societies.

Their conflict is one of unmerciful fanatical domination of those unable to protect themselves, against the values of civilized societies. These are society's bullies who have never accepted the very absurdity that everyone is imbued in a decent, just society with equal rights and equal opportunities. For them, however, rights and opportunities are inherited by force of action, going to those who never hesitate to impose punishment on others who might hope to challenge their radical ideology.

The meek and mild Muslims in free societies who find themselves confused by the violence attributed to Islamism, repeat in their fear and trepidation that Islam is a religion of peace and fellowship and respect for all. Their Islam may be. Invariably, when they write pleading letters to the editor for understanding of Islam they take pains to mention they're members of the Ahmadi Muslim sect, repeating in their disingenuous innocence their love for the West rather than majority Muslim countries where their sect is oppressed and abused.

The confused parents of converts to Islam who turn to fanaticism would much prefer to believe and to hope that the public will believe with them, that their loved ones aren't really Islamist fanatics eager to kill and be killed as martyrs, but mentally ill. The irony there is that in the not-so-distant past it was a matter of great family shame to admit that a family member had a mental illness. Now, liberal civil societies are eager to prove how understanding they are, and forgiving of mental illness; it is, after all, an unfortunate affliction.

An acceptable one, earning patience, understanding and aid to the sufferer. Whose acts of anti-social violence are seen through the prism of forgiveness. Not so, the deliberate absorption into violent jihad with its siren call of bloodletting without end, so attractive to those whose minds are fairly intact, but completely imbued with a misanthropic vision of a universal caliphate. Accepting that one's son or brother has chosen that path is painful anathema.

Labels: , , , , ,

Shock, I Tell You, Shock

"There began a campaign of harassment, vengeance and demonization against me that would lead to months of anxiety. [His former girlfriends' claims of sexual abuse] reframing what had been an ongoing consensual relationship as something nefarious."
"She found some sympathetic ears by painting herself as a victim and turned this into a campaign. The writer boldly started contacting my friends, acquaintances and even work colleagues -- all of whom came to me to tell me this was happening and all of whom recognized it as a trumped up way to attack me and undermine my reputation."
"The writer tried to peddle the story and, at one point, a major Canadian media publication did due diligence but never printed a story."
"I am being fired in my prime from the show I love and built and threw myself into for years because of what I do in my private life. Let me be the first o say that my tastes in the bedroom may not be palatable to some folks. They may be strange, enticing, weird, normal, or outright offensive to others We all have our secret life. But that is my private life. That is my personal life. And no one, and certainly no employer, should have dominion over what people do consensually in their private life ... I am still in shock."
CBC "Q" radio host Jian Ghomeshi
Former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi
Former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi
"It's always difficult when an employer has to sever ties with an employee. Information came to our attention recently that in CBC's judgement precludes us from continuing our relationship with Jian Ghomeshi."
"Whenever a decision is made to end employment with an employee, for privacy, terms of separation are never disclosed."
Chuck Thompson, CBC head of public affairs
All that remains of a large promotional poster of Jian Ghomeshi is a freshly painted white wall in the atrium of the CBC headquarters on Front St. W.
Keith Beaty / Toronto Star     All that remains of a large promotional poster of Jian Ghomeshi is a freshly painted white wall in the atrium of the CBC headquarters on Front St. W. 

So sad. A Canadian celebrity brought low by ... his celebrity. Someone who is constantly in the public eye, someone who has groomed himself to catch public attention, someone who preens himself as a celebrity, someone whom some people find personally obnoxious, detesting his public persona, reflective no doubt of an inner need; someone whom most people admire, emulate, and were happy to support his career, are now rather thrown off balance.

Actually, big deal. Most people couldn't care less. He's right, it's his own personal, intimate affair how he conducts himself in the bedroom, with whomever he wishes, in whatever style appeals to him. On the other hand, the CBC is known to attract a certain kind of client and a certain sobriety is expected of CBC hosts, even with those hosts like Jian Ghomeshi whose joie de vivre is considered refreshing and appealing.

Sordid, violent sex? Not so much. Even though, as Mr. Ghomeshi himself stated in his mea culpa confessional, his sexual adventures are not entirely unknown and unappreciated to and by many others within society. Who, with good enough reason, don't make it a matter of public disclosure. Not that Mr. Ghomeshi would have, had he not been backed against the wall. And the reason for that is also personal; a break-up with a former girlfriend, he contends.

Nothing so vicious as a woman spurned. Or, a number of women seething that they were the unwilling victims of a sex-sport they don't enjoy, hadn't anticipated, and didn't want. With the bruises, psychical and physical to prove it; the former lingering, the latter long gone. Or so the imagination would lead one to conclude. In any event, this is a made-in-the-Ghomeshi-bedroom scenario.

He has taken the bullcrap by the horns and come out front and swiftly in expectations of sympathy and understanding from devoted fans. Livid that his livelihood has been so rudely interrupted by allegations of violence perpetrated by him against the gentler sex. If indeed there was no consensus and gratuitous violence resulted, he's been a very wretchedly nasty boy, but then, boys are always boys, that's the thing of it.

As for the ghastly revelations and the resulting firing leading to a $55-million suit against the CBC? Hey, the CBC equates with taxpayer funding like it or not, doesn't it? The taxpayer paid for his no-doubt munificent salary, enabling him to lead the fabulous lifestyle he adored. No need for the taxpayer to pony up for his rude awakening.

In any event, according to employment and labour lawyer Howard Levitt, "In an age of social media -- tools that Ghomeshi uses skilfully -- there is no such thing as private time versus work time. He had to know that." And: "If the CBC has convincing evidence that Ghomeshi was involved in non-consensual activities that constituted violence against women, he becomes a poisoned chalice and executives had no choice but to release him."

And, finally: "This suit ($55-M) has everything to do with strategy and PR -- but nothing to do with legal entitlement. This suit, which alleges breach of confidence, bad faith and defamation by the public broadcaster, will almost certainly be quickly struck down by the courts without Ghomeshi recovering a penny."

See what I mean? Too bad, so sad....

Labels: , , , ,

Crime and Justice

"He targeted them not because of any animosity to them specifically, not for lust or greed or any of the normal things you might see in a murder sentencing. He targeted them specifically because of who they were, what they did, the badge they carried, the flash on their shoulders, the uniform they wore."
"The question you will have to answer at the end of this is, 'What is the value of a human life?"
Crown lawyer Cameron Gunn, Moncton, New Brunswick

"It was too strict [his Catholic upbringing and home-schooling] with all the Christianity. Other than that I had a pretty OK relationship with everyone in my family."
"You really don't get freedom of speech in this country. There's a big class war, big time."
"I know this is going to sound pretty messed up, but I felt pretty accomplished [after the murders]."
Justin Bourque, RCMP killer
Justin Bourque
Justin Bourque, 24, of Moncton, could be facing three consecutive life sentences, with no chance of parole for 75 years. (Facebook)

Even for a young man of 24, a prison sentence of 75 years constitutes an unusual punishment, particularly in Canada, where a life-sentence is 25 years without hope of parole until the full time is served. First-degree murder is not all that common in Canada in any event, since evidence must prove conclusively that the murder was planned and executed to plan. Except for the killing of security service personnel, police whom society tasks with protecting the public.

Justin Bourque intended, in his words, to 'start a rebellion', his target an oppressive, corrupt government taking away the freedom of Canadian citizens, in service to the wealthy. In service of his initiation of that rebellion, he decided to use a 308-calibre semi-automatic rifle, and attack members of the RCMP. Which was just what he did, approaching a group of Mounties.

He shot dead constables Dave Ross, 32, Fabrice Gevaudan, 45, and Douglas Larche, 40. With them were Constables Eric Dubois and Darlene Goguen, wounded by the fire. A single conviction of first-degree murder holds a mandatory life sentence and a ban on applying for parole for 25 years. But Mr. Bourque murdered three people in uniform with malice aforethought.

And Crown lawyer Cameron Gunn has argued before the Court of Queen's Bench in Moncton, that Justin Bourque's crime merits three consecutive life sentences. That well and truly is a life sentence.

His attack was entirely premeditated, and lethal. In an interview at the RCMP detachment in Sackville, New Brunswick he admitted after his June 6, 2014 arrest that his plan was to kill as many police officers as he could manage. He seemed fairly proud of his shooting prowess. During the interview, shown in court on video, he is relaxed and indifferent.

He spoke about exterior threats from the Russians and the Chinese, about social engineering, bullying, tyrants, social decline, climate change and the "black curtain". The black curtain might have been his psyche shielding his mind from the temptation to be logical. His dissatisfaction with employment, unwillingness to return to school to complete his education also mentioned.

His lawyer, David Lutz, stated to the court that his client meant to plead guilty to the charges of first-degree murder. Where initially there was pride in accomplishment, a weight of anger lifted off the shoulders of the young man with the supportive, loving family, what now remains is the realization that his actions represented among the worst of its kind to occur in Canada. And for that a penalty must be paid.

For deliberately choosing to take the lives of three uniformed men he didn't know, and planning to kill even greater numbers, his own life is now forfeit. And if he felt no regret post-murders, he most certainly feels profound regret now that his immediate euphoria has long since dissipated into the reality of the situation.

Justin Bourque, his lawyer gravely said, now realizes his original thought process on June 4 was "extremely defective". Venturing the opinion that his client's home schooling was responsible in some way for his social deficits. He was influenced by rantings he'd read online about hatred for authorities. And the rest is history, of a sort.

Labels: , ,

() Follow @rheytah Tweet