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.

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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Violent Islamist Extremism in Canada - A Plot of the West

"I believed at that time [invasion of Parliament by armed jihadist attacker] I could have met my maker."
"You could feel, I would say, the hatred those individuals [jihadists] had for normal Canadians, for citizens of this country, in that they were willing to attack the real core of our nation, the real fabric, the tissue of who we are."
"We lost our innocence. Canadians were targeted by terrorists, and the threat is still real, more than ever."
"Words that lead to radicalization and violence have to be identified, so we can prevent terrorist attacks from happening. We have invested massively into research -- to understand how terrorists are operating, how radicalizers are luring vulnerable individuals."
Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, pictured in this image tweeted from an ISIS social media account, has been identified as the shooter of a soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Oct. 22, 2014. (Twitter/Handout/QMI Agency)
"Canada's officially become one of our enemies by fighting and bombing us and creating a lot of terror in our countries."
"So, [I'm] just aiming to hit some soldiers just to show that you're not even safe in your own land."
Canadian jihadi Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, October 2014

"The Islamic State has a lot going for it. It's got territory, it's got quasi-religious authority."
"There's a sense of purpose, there's a sense of addressing historical grievances That's why people are flocking to it -- that's why it's got 20,000 foreign fighters."
Phil Gurski, former Canadian Security Intelligence Service agent

"It's not like I was some social outcast. [It] wasn't like I was some anarchist or somebody who just wants to destroy the world and kill everybody."
"No, I was a regular person."
Andre Poulin, Canadian ISIL fighter, deceased
"Regular persons", who are "vulnerable" to the allure of Islamic State recruiting, transforming themselves from normalcy in society to a mindset of belief in Western interests engaging in full-blown Islamophobia, threatening the presence of Islam, its tenets, its values, its sanctity. Any time that a challenge, a question, a censure is raised against Islamist jihad with its violence and its intimidation and its implacable drive toward conquest is raised, this represents a symptom of Islamophobia.

Islamists have discovered how simple it is to put Westerners, particularly those of a Liberal-leaning mould on the defensive. Accusations of discrimination make them recoil in horror that anyone might consider them to be on the wrong side of political correctness. Challenges of Islamophobia are the swiftest and most certain way to make questioners withdraw and reconsider assumptions that extreme Islamism represents a threat to civilization.

The Government of Canada introduced sweeping anti-terrorism legislation in Bill C-51 through Parliament, reflecting huge popular support by the Canadian electorate at 82 percent. Civil liberties groups and the official government opposition parties, however, are certain that this is a step too far. Even though homegrown terrorism is real, not imagined, and as an issue it has become front and centre in public discussion. Resulting in increased funding and tools for Canada's intelligence agencies to conduct investigations to apprehend future attacks.

One tactic being employed is to enlist the aid of families, friends and religious groups in identifying the signs of radicalization in impressionable young Muslims. The fact is that even though Canadian Muslims are concerned that groups like Islamic State, the Nusra Front and al-Shabaab and others send recruiting messages to young Muslims, families of those at risk insist they have no idea how to identify the radicalization process.

The very fact of police being presented as intermediaries alarms many Muslim groups, believing that the tactics police use creates suspicion in those communities, resulting in alienation, not cooperation.
"We Canadians", says Hussein Hamdani who has embarked on his own interventions, "have been scared into believing that there are locust-like masses" of terrorists. "All this rhetoric, and there seems to be no corresponding investment in prevention", he claims.

Canadian Muslims recognized as being at risk of succumbing to radicalization are not given counselling or mentorship, he states. They are ignored, they are left to their own devices, feeding on videos that glorify the courageous exploits of Islamist jihadis defying the West. The so-called 'vulnerable youth' choose to believe and have trust in what appeals to them. The evidence is there and it is clear enough that the jihadists prey on their own co-religionists in sectarian violence having nothing to do with the West.

Just after the RCMP identified 80 Canadians that had returned to Canada after their engagement abroad with Islamic State, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was killed by a convert to Islam engaged in jihad, and a day later Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was shot to death while standing ceremonial guard before the National Cenotaph, his killer racing to Parliament Hill to invade the House of Commons with the intention of wreaking havoc there, placing the city central on lockdown for hours.

Montreal police later informed a Senate committee that their officers had one hundred terror-related investigations last year. In the Toronto suburbs of Brampton and Mississauga police there reported a tenfold rise in terror-related tips last autumn. According to CSIS, it takes ten to a dozen personnel to place a listening device, and up to 28 agents tasked to follow and monitor a single suspect. "We don't have a tenth of the resources we need", testified Edmonton police Chief Rod Knecht.

"The terrorist threat to Canada's national security interests has never been as direct or immediate", the Senate was informed by CSIS head Michel Coulombe, adding the number of Canadians fighting in Iraq and Syria rose 50 percent in the first four months of 2014. Under Bill C-51, any Canadians who post terrorist propaganda can face five years in prison.

"The narrative that the West is at war with Islam continues to exert a very powerful influence in radicalizing individuals and spreads quickly through social media", an internal CSIS memo dated October of 2014 warned.

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Democracy in Syria

"I’d say (to Israel) that they will not see (the end) of these 25 years. God willing, there will be no such thing as a Zionist regime in 25 years. Until then, struggling, heroic and jihadi morale will leave no moment of serenity for Zionists."
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

"The gravest and most important threat to the world today is for terrorist organizations to become terrorist states."
"[I extend an invitation] to the whole world and especially the countries in my region to form a joint comprehensive plan of action to create a united front against extremism and violence."
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the UN
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the UN    Photo Credit: Screenshot
"[The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps – Quds Force (IRGC-QF), led by Qassem Suleimani is responsible for] sensitive covert operations abroad, including terrorist attacks, assassinations and kidnappings, and is believed to sponsor attacks against Coalition Forces in Iraq."
US Treasury Department 

"[Iranians should pursue a wider, inclusive peace, and] work cooperatively with countries beyond their borders, [rather than continue to] deploy violent proxies to advance its interests. These efforts may appear to give Iran leverage in disputes with neighbors, but they fuel sectarian conflict that endangers the entire region, and isolates Iran from the promise of trade and commerce."
"[In Syria a] managed transition [of leadership is required to enable the country to rebuild. Assad reacted to peaceful protests by escalating repression and killing." 
"We must recognize that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the prewar status quo."
U.S. President Barack Obama

"We believe it's a huge mistake to refuse to co-operate with the Syrian authorities, with the government forces, those who are bravely fighting terror face-to-face."
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Pious Russia. Vladimir Putin, the defender of the righteous and the valiant. Who might otherwise experience difficulty recognizing the Syrian regime as a brave front battling terrorists? The regime, on the one hand, is attempting to stem an insurrection, and in the process it is most unfortunate that its civilian population is being decimated by their own government forces. On the other hand, the regime could give practical lessons in butchery to the 'terrorist' forces it is matched against.

Ah, yes, the Islamic Republic of Iran preaching passionately against extremism and violence; so acutely precious. Iran, however, is that leopard unwilling and unable to change its hide. The Iranian Revolution has slowly turned the tide in the Middle East toward inexorable Islamist fundamentalism where violence is but another tool employed by jihad to terrorize Muslims into complete obedience and non-Muslim toward fear of defying submission to Islam, and it is not about to alter its tactics.

The U.S. Justice Department has designated the IRGC-QF and its commander a terrorist force in light of activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and support for terrorism, including providing material support to the Taliban and other terrorist groups.  No matter, doubters, Iranian forces, along with Hezbollah, the remnants of the Syrian army and now Russian forces are resolved to help Syrian President Bashar al-Assad bring democracy to Syria.

The United Nations General Assembly was a lively place of grand gestures, noble declarations of human rights and their violations by the morally unscrupulous, none of whom were named, though they delivered impassioned speeches in support of the rights they themselves glibly violate. A handshake, and a wineglass shared in a toast to all of that, with one principal grim the other hosting his rictus grin.

Both agreed that it is time to end the conflict of four years' duration with its toll of a quarter-million dead and eleven million fleeing in fear for their lives. Of course, the leader of the country where this has taken place is blameless; his military obviously had no orders from him to bomb civilians with chemical weapons let alone continue to bomb them with shrapnel-laden barrel bombs. This is the man whose regime Russia insists must be preserved to aid in the battle against Islamic State.

A terrorist jihadi group with impressive atrocity skills representing an irresistible celebrity draw to countless jihadi wannabees from all over the globe, which nonetheless, even given its penchant for rape, slavery, group slaughter and gruesome public relations videos has not massacred near the number of innocent civilians as has the regime of Bashar al-Assad, president of broken Syria.

U.S. President Barack Obama, it appears, is also broken. His UN address while deploring the vast amounts of blood spilled in Syria and the flood of refugees streaming out of the country, stated nonetheless that he is not averse to working with Russia and Iran in a plan to conclude Syria's civil war. A "managed transition" resulting in the removal of Assad is what he envisions, delusional in the face of Vladimir Putin's resolve otherwise.

Russia has allied itself, understandably enough, with viciously hypocritical regimes whose sinister malice matches its own. When a country like Iran whose human rights abusing record is well known, and which has renown for its support of Islamist terror, speaks of bringing peace and stability to the region while threatening the destruction of the only non-Muslim country in the region, even while mouthing its determination to defeat Sunni terrorism, leaving only Shiite terrorism intact, the galling level of hypocrisy is gagging.

Realpolitik, however, has persuaded President Obama that his country has nothing to gain if its president actually exerts himself to uphold the principles of morality. So, even while speaking to the Assembly of his distaste for the violence that has shredded the dignity of Muslims who have become living targets of a sinister regime, his practical sense informs him that one must not break all the eggs of possibilities in cooking an omelette of ingenuous accord.

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Gatestone Institute

  • "Nostre Aetate," released in 1965, called for friendship and dialogue between Catholics and Jews, instead of the centuries-long repudiation of Jews by Catholics; St Joseph's University became the first to respond by establishing the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations. Is Pope Francis picking up where Pope Paul VI left off?
  • Can Pope Francis' hopes and dreams for reconciliation of Catholics and Jews override some unfortunate but pressing realities, such the Church's desire to placate the Palestinians?
  • If Pope Francis is serious about a "journey of friendship" with the Jewish people, perhaps he would not be so quick to approve President Obama's Iran nuclear deal in the name of a hoped-for peace that will most certainly ignite an unhoped-for war between Iran and Israel.
  • By assisting the UN in establishing the "sustainable development platform," the Pope is offering his permission to the UN -- one of the most anti-Semitic, anti-Israel bodies on the face of the earth -- to usurp power on behalf of a shared utopian agenda. Sustainable development notwithstanding, the UN should be encouraged to clean up its own house before it tries to clean up the world.
A lot of water as passed under the bridge between Catholics and Jews in the past 1800 years or so. Most of it has been polluted by the evils of anti-Semitism perpetrated by the Catholic Church against the Jews of Europe, starting with the earliest published Christian writings by the early ante-Nicene Church Fathers, such as Tertullian. His document "Judeos Adversos" has stood for centuries as one of the key church position papers against the Jews.

During those seemingly endless centuries, the Catholic Church continuously demonized the Jews, stripped them of their livelihoods, and frequently their lives.

In the Catholic mindset, the Covenant that God made with the Jews had been replaced by the Church as God's new "chosen people."[1] God no longer had any use for the Jews, and the Church vowed never to let them forget it.

Then in 1965, under the leadership of Pope Paul VI, the document "Nostre Aetate" was presented to the world as part of an overhaul of the Catholic Church known as the Second Vatican Council, or more popularly, Vatican II. "Nostre Aetate" was one of the most significant documents to emerge from the period. Designed to heal the relationship between the Catholics and the Jews, it was to be a total reset of the Catholic-Jewish relationship -- at least on paper.
"Nostra Aetate, the 1965 Declaration on the Church's Relationship to Non-Christian Religions was one of the most influential and celebrated documents issued by the Second Vatican Council, a gathering of the world's Catholic bishops. In particular it made possible a new and positive relationship between Jews and Catholics."[2]
Since the thirteenth century, one prominent symbol pointing to the Catholic animus against the Jews was a sculpture entitled "Ecclesia et Synagoga." The original version of this allegorical stone sculpture was carved for the Gothic Cathedral in Strasbourg, France. It consists of two elegant female figures, one representing a victorious Church, "Ecclesia," and the other representing the defeated Jew, "Synagoga."

Replicated hundreds of times in the famed Gothic cathedrals of Europe, the sculpture presented the figure of Synagoga sometimes blindfolded, representing the Jews as "spiritually blind." Some sculptures and murals depicted Synagoga with a fallen crown and a broken scepter, with a severed goat's head or with a demon -- all allegorically representing the vanquished Jews.

In all of its sordid variations, the image was revered as an honored visual symbol of the understanding of the relationship between triumphant Christianity and defeated Judaism. The two figures symbolized the Catholic Church's theological position, often called "supersessionism" or "replacement theology." According to this theology, the Church has replaced the Jews in God's view and is now to be celebrated as "the New Israel." The same theology exists in the Catholic Church today.[3]

After 1965, "Nostre Aetate" provided Catholics with a new opportunity to rethink the worthiness of an ancient theology that bolstered animosity between the two groups. At last, the Catholic Church acknowledged the biblical role of Jewish thought in human history:
"The Church, therefore, cannot forget that she received the revelation of the Old Testament through the people with whom God in His inexpressible mercy concluded the Ancient Covenant. Nor can she forget that she draws sustenance from the root of that well-cultivated olive tree onto which have been grafted the wild shoots, the Gentiles. Indeed, the Church believes that by His cross Christ, Our Peace, reconciled Jews and Gentiles. making both one in Himself. [4]
Pope Francis this week dedicated a new version of this ancient sculpture, which now installed at St. Joseph's University, in the plaza near the University Chapel.

"Ecclesia et Synagoga": The original 13th century sculptures from the Strasbourg Cathedral (left), and a recent example from St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia (right) that Pope Francis blessed this week.

According to Phillip A. Cunningham, Director of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations at St. Joseph's University:
The new sculpture employs Synagoga and Ecclesia rendered with nobility and grace, to bring to life the words of Pope Francis: "Dialogue and friendship with the Jewish people are part of the life of Jesus' disciples. There exists between us a rich complementarity that allows us to read the texts of the Hebrew Scriptures together and to help one another mine the riches of God's word." The work will depict the figures enjoying studying each other's sacred texts together.
When "Nostre Aetate" was released in 1965, it called for friendship and dialogue between Catholics and Jews, instead of the centuries-long repudiation of Jews by Catholics; St Joseph's University became the first to respond by establishing the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations and now, five decades later, commissioning the memorial sculpture by Philadelphia artist Joshua Koffman, and hosting the Pope for this remarkable event.
Hundreds of Jews and Catholics from around the region assembled to hear the Pope speak. Rabbi Abraham Skorka, Pope Francis' close friend, came from Argentina to speak at the dedication ceremony. Event co-sponsors gathered from Philadelphia's Catholic and Jewish organizations: The archdiocese of Philadelphia; the World Meeting of Families; American Jewish Committee; The Greater Philadelphia Board of Rabbis; Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and the Anti-Defamation League.

The new sculpture "will vividly convey what Pope Francis has called the 'journey of friendship' that Jews and Catholics have experienced in the past five decades," says professor and Institute Assistant Director Adam Gregerman. "We are looking forward to area Jews and Catholics coming together to celebrate the remarkable rapprochement that is occurring."
Are we actually realizing the moment when the end of Catholic anti-Semitism shall finally be realized? Is this reality in line with Pope Paul VI's dream of "Nostre Aetate?" Is Pope Francis picking up where Pope Paul VI left off?

The question lingers: Can Pope Francis' hopes and dreams for reconciliation of Catholics and Jews override some unfortunate but pressing realities, such the Church's desire to placate the Palestinians?

At least four trouble spots need to be addressed before the Pope can complete his sought-after "journey of friendship" between Jews and Catholics:

1. The first squeamish issue is the universality of the current Catholic teaching of supersessionism or "replacement theology." If the Catholic Church is still claiming to be "The New Israel," there is no room on the planet for a Jewish Israel. Under this unfortunate and false teaching, the Jewish people, the Jewish religion and the Jewish nation are only valid if the Jews convert to Catholicism.[5]

2. If Pope Francis is serious about a "journey of friendship" with the Jewish people, perhaps he would not be so quick to approve President Obama's Iran nuclear deal in the name of a hoped-for peace that will most certainly ignite an unhoped-for war between Iranian proxies, Iran and Israel.

3. By prematurely, preemptively and unilaterally recognizing Palestine as a state, he selected some very unfortunate timing -- on the anniversary of Israel's declaration of independence, called Nakba Day ["Catastrophe Day"] by Palestinians -- for his attempt to destroy and supplant the Jewish state.

This was a theft of Israel's hopes for a legitimate negotiated peace settlement and an insult to Israel in the international arena. The Pope robbed Israel of a vital negotiating position. He robbed them of their international standing, and gave the Palestinians another legitimate pathway to act on their vow to destroy Israel. As one of the most prestigious leaders in the world, the Pope's unilateral action was a kick in the teeth for Israel and hardly the "journey of friendship" he claims to desire.

4. By collaborating with -- and even assisting -- the United Nations in establishing the "sustainable development platform," the Pope is freely offering his permission to the UN -- one of the most anti-Semitic, anti-Israel bodies on the face of the earth -- to usurp power on behalf of a shared utopian agenda. "Sustainable development" notwithstanding, the United Nations should be encouraged to clean up its own house before it tries to clean up the world.
Pope Francis has been in his office only since 2013. During this short time, he has managed to straddle both sides of a very dangerous divide -- between the Jews and Israel on one side and on the other, their Islamist neighbor nations that daily vow to annihilate all Jews along with their state.

For an average person, this might seem less like a "journey of friendship" and more like a pathway to war.
Susan Warner is a Distinguished Senior Fellow of Gatestone Institute and co-founder of a Christian group, Olive Tree Ministries in Wilmington, DE, USA. She has been writing and teaching about Israel and the Middle East for over 15 years. Contact her at israelolivetree@yahoo.com.

[1] The actual quote from the conclusion of a teaching from "The Church = The New Israel": "So to sum up, the Catholic Church is the Kingdom of God on earth, the new Israel (Jesus said in Matthew 21:43 that he was taking the Kingdom away from Israel, and giving it to a nation that will produce the fruits of it - namely, the Catholic Church), and is modeled after David's Kingdom, with a huge temple (the Vatican), a prime minister (our Pope), a sacred tabernacle containing the Ark of the Covenant (our tabernacle containing the Eucharist), officers who take care of the kingdom (our Cardinals and bishops), high priests (our priests), a Passover Meal (our Eucharist), and a Queen Mother (The Blessed Virgin Mary)."
[2] This document was published expressly as an education device to the study of the 50th Anniversary of Nostre Aetate by the Council of Centers on Jewish Christian Relations.
[3] This quote is from a current teaching from "The Catholic Knight" but is available from many other sources. "Where does this put the Church in relation to the rest of the Jewish people? Simply put, we (the Church) are Zion! We are Israel! That is what it explicitly says in the New Testament and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. To become complete as a Jew is no different than what it takes to become complete as a Gentile. We all must be "grafted in" to Israel - which is The Catholic Church!"
[4] From the original Nostre Aetate document section 4.
[5] Nostre Aetate was intended to soften the harsh reality of supersessionism or replacement theology in the Catholic Church, which was the cornerstone of Catholic anti-Semitism. However, a simple internet search of today's Catholic teachings brings up numerous resources that perpetuate this false idea that was generated by the early Church fathers and became part of the founding documents under the Emperor Constantine in 325 CE. Sometimes the concept is quite blatant and sometimes it is subtle, but the idea of the Catholic Church as the "New Israel" is ubiquitous.

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Beware Islam's Doctrine of Deception

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Beware Islam's Doctrine of Deception

by Raymond Ibrahim
PJ Media
September 24, 2015
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Originally published under the title "Ben Carson Exposes Islamic 'Taqiyya,' But There's Even More You Should Know."

Of all the points presidential candidate Ben Carson made in defense of his position that he "would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation," most poignant is his reference to taqiyya, one of Islam's doctrines of deception.

According to Carson, whoever becomes president should be "sworn in on a stack of Bibles, not a Koran":
"I do not believe Sharia is consistent with the Constitution of this country," Carson said, referencing the Islamic law derived from the Koran and traditions of Islam. "Muslims feel that their religion is very much a part of your public life and what you do as a public official, and that's inconsistent with our principles and our Constitution."
Carson said that the only exception he'd make would be if the Muslim running for office "publicly rejected all the tenets of Sharia and lived a life consistent with that."
"Then I wouldn't have any problem," he said.
However, on several occasions Carson mentioned "Taqiyya," a practice in the Shia Islam denomination in which a Muslim can mislead nonbelievers about the nature of their faith to avoid religious persecution.
"Taqiyya is a component of Shia that allows, and even encourages you to lie to achieve your goals," Carson said.
There's much to be said here. First, considering that the current U.S. president has expunged all reference to Islam in security documents and would have Americans believe that Islamic doctrine is more or less like Christianity, it is certainly refreshing to see a presidential candidate referencing a little known but critically important Muslim doctrine.

As for the widely cited notion that taqiyya is a Shia doctrine, this needs to be corrected, as it lets the world's vast majority of Muslims, the Sunnis, off the hook. According to Sami Mukaram, one of the world's foremost authorities on taqiyya,
Taqiyya is of fundamental importance in Islam. Practically every Islamic sect agrees to it and practices it ... We can go so far as to say that the practice of taqiyya is mainstream in Islam, and that those few sects not practicing it diverge from the mainstream ... Taqiyya is very prevalent in Islamic politics, especially in the modern era.[1]
Taqiyya is often associated with the Shias because, as a persecuted minority group interspersed among their Sunni rivals, they have historically had more reason to dissemble. Today, however, Sunnis living in the West find themselves in the place of the Shia. Now they are the minority surrounded by their historic enemies—Western "infidels"—and so they too have plenty of occasion to employ taqiyya.
As long as they are allegiant to Islam in their hearts, Muslims are permitted to behave like non-Muslims.
Nor would making Muslims swear on Bibles be very effective. As long as their allegiance to Islam is secure in their hearts, Muslims can behave like non-Muslims—including by praying before Christian icons, wearing crosses, and making the sign of the cross[2]—anything short of actually killing a Muslim, which is when the taqiyya goes too far (hence why Muslims in the U.S. military often expose their true loyalties when they finally reach the point of having to fight fellow Muslims in foreign nations).

For those with a discerning eye, taqiyya is all around us. Whether Muslim refugees pretending to convert to Christianity (past and present), or whether an Islamic gunman gaining entrance inside a church by feigning interest in Christian prayers—examples abound on a daily basis.

Consider the following anecdote from Turkey. In order to get close enough to a Christian pastor to assassinate him, a group of Muslims, including three women, feigned interest in Christianity, attended his church, and even participated in baptism ceremonies. "These people had infiltrated our church and collected information about me, my family and the church and were preparing an attack against us," said the pastor in question, Emre Karaali. "Two of them attended our church for over a year and they were like family."

If some Muslims are willing to go to such lengths to eliminate the already downtrodden Christian minorities in their midst—attending churches and baptisms and becoming "like family" to those "infidels" they intend to kill—does anyone doubt that a taqiyya-practicing Muslim presidential candidate might have no reservations about swearing on a stack of Bibles?
A taqiyya-practicing Muslim presidential candidate would have no reservations about swearing on a 'stack of Bibles.'
Precedents for such treachery litter the whole of Islamic history—and begin with the Muslim prophet himself: During the Battle of the Trench (627 AD), which pitted Muhammad and his followers against several non-Muslim tribes collectively known as "the Confederates," a Confederate called Naim bin Masud went to the Muslim camp and converted to Islam. When Muhammad discovered the Confederates were unaware of Masud's deflection to Islam, he counseled him to return and try somehow to get his tribesmen to abandon the siege. "For war is deceit," Muhammad assured him.

Masud returned to the Confederates without their knowledge that he had switched sides and began giving his former kin and allies bad advice. He also intentionally instigated quarrels among the various tribes until, thoroughly distrusting each other, they disbanded and lifted the siege, allowing an embryonic Islam to grow. (One Muslim website extols this incident for being illustrative of how Muslims can subvert non-Muslims.)

In short, if a Muslim were running for president of the U.S. in the hopes of ultimately subverting America to Islam, he could, in Carson's words, easily be "sworn in on a stack of Bibles, not a Koran" and "publicly reject all the tenets of Sharia." Indeed, he could claim to be a Christian and attend church every week.

It speaks very well about Carson that he is aware of—and not hesitant to mention—taqiyya. But that doctrine's full ramifications—how much deceiving it truly allows and for all Muslim denominations, not just the Shia—need to be more widely embraced.

The chances of that happening are dim. Already "mainstream media" like the Washington Post are taking Carson to task for "misunderstanding" taqiyya—that is, for daring to be critical of anything Islamic. These outlets could benefit from learning more about Islam and deception per the below links:
  • My expert testimony used in a court case to refute "taqiyya about taqiyya."
  • The even more elastic doctrine of tawriya, which allows Muslims to deceive fellow Muslims by lying "creatively."
  • My 2008 essay, "Islam's Doctrines of Deception," commissioned and published by Jane's Islamic Affairs Analyst.
  • Recent examples of how onetime good Muslim neighbors turn violent once they grow in strength and numbers.
Raymond Ibrahim is a Judith Friedman Rosen fellow at the Middle East Forum and a Shillman fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

[1] Sami Mukaram, At-Taqiyya fi 'l-Islam (London: Mu'assisat at-Turath ad-Druzi, 2004), p. 7, author's translation.
[2] Mukaram, At-Taqiyya fi 'l-Islam, pp. 30

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Monday, September 28, 2015

In Defence of Moral Challenges

"A country like Canada is perfectly suited for this, and this has to happen right now. Canada is playing a key role in the coalition [U.S.-led bombing coalition against Islamic State], but the coalition isn't dealing with the main source of the problem."
"Assad's barrel bombs have been killing seven times more Syrians than anyone else. Canada should step up."
Anna Nolan, organizer, The Syria Campaign, New York

"The time has come for this conflict to stop. Canada dreamed big in the last century. Lester B. Pearson won the Nobel Prize for ending the Suez Crisis. There is no reason why Canada can't step up to the plate right now and be the voice for the millions of Syrians who are literally trapped in hell."
"Canada is well placed to be the country that begins to think big and mobilizes others to join it in finding innovative solutions to protect Syrians, right now."
"The carnage and displacement we are seeing in Syria will not magically come to an end. Leadership is needed to bring countries together in an urgent manner to stop Assad's bombs. Thousands of peaceful civilians are being murdered, week after week."
Kyle Matthews, senior deputy director, Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, Concordia University, Montreal
    Stephen Harper had a showdown with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, telling the Russian leader to 'get out of Ukraine.'
    nadian Press Posted: Nov 15, 2014 6:29 AM ET Last Updated: Nov 15, 2014 10:07 PM ET
    • Stephen Harper had a showdown with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, telling the Russian leader to 'get out of Ukraine.'
    • Stephen Harper had a showdown with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, telling the Russian leader to 'get out of Ukraine.' (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
  • Stephen Harper had a showdown with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, telling the Russian leader to 'get out of Ukraine.' (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press) November 2014

Canada, the country that talks softly and carries a big stick, while punching above its weight. The perennial peace-maker, sending its troops off to the United Nations on peace-keeping missions. Like the mission in Rwanda where peace was an illusion, and elusive enough that the peacekeepers were witness to an unstoppable genocidal slaughter. In a veritable blink of an eye, murder and mayhem overcame the capacity of an ill-equipped, insufficiently-numbered peace contingent to halt blood from flowing.

Just incidentally, Canada presents as a military match for the United Nations' impotence in striking a blow for peace. Striking that blow would of necessity have to be of the diplomatic variety, and one can see how successful that has been in the resolution of past conflicts by that great arbiter, the compromised United Nations. Canada is the world's second-largest country by geography. And stands 58th in the world as far as military force size is concerned.

So it would certainly have to depend on being viewed respectfully as an influential voice on international security issues. At the present time, Canada is incapable of proffering a military contribution of any significance in hopes of securing an international security environment that leads to a more generalized peace and security. Canada's public defence policy traditionally has been to lean on its influential and well-armed neighbour for defence of North America.

North America and Europe have just latterly fully become cognizant of how much the world has shrunk with the globalization of threateningly errant regimes elsewhere whose reach has suddenly become a matter of alarm in the advent of ballistic missiles technology so beloved by tyrannical regimes and seen as an unfortunate necessity by civilized, democratic nations. The fact that an Islamist nation like Pakistan has a nuclear arsenal is chilling enough.

That a lunatic regime like that of North Korea also has nuclear weapons gives slight pause to the alarm bells that slam our consciousness with the knowledge that the world's most eminent terrorist-mongering country dedicated to the demented religion of imperial jihad is on the verge of nuclear weaponry ownership should give a monumental stomach upset to the West, and it does, even while it deals with its angst by civilly agreeing Iran's sovereign 'rights' are paramount.

What to do with a rogue nation like the Russian Federation whose president's delusions of Soviet-power-and-hegemony resurging threatens eastern Europe? Well, Canada under its current government has demonstrated the courage of its convictions by confronting Russian aggression in Ukraine, by damning Iranian barbarity at the United Nations, and by hiking up its trousers to join its allies in NATO.

Prod the world's conscience, and mount the courage of Canada's convictions to assert NATO's resourcefulness in challenging the Syrian regime's butchery of its Sunni population to put a stop to the flood of refugees submerging Europe in the weight of their desperation? If Europe, struggling to accommodate the haven-seekers is not capable of finding the obvious solution, facing down Vladimir Putin, will Canada's blandishments help?

The armchair military strategists in Montreal feel confidence in their theory that Canada's stern admonition to the democratic West to put a halt to Assad's barrel bombs and thus stem the flow of death and refugees is a simple accomplishment readily attained. Beginning with a no-fly zone in Syria in protection of the targeted civilians to ground the barrel bombers. Convincing Vladimir Putin that Syria can be saved by exiling Assad to Moscow.

Mr. Putin is not readily intimidated, and certainly not by the now-nominally most powerful nation on Earth, and the most influential man on the globe, the Nobel Laureate Obama. But the pugnacious stance that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has taken with Mr. Putin, tersely informing him he needs to 'get out of Ukraine', is certain to humble the president of Russia. We must give it a try.

Australia G20
Vladimir Putin did not respond positively to Harper, the prime minister's spokesman said. (Steve Holland/AP)

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Gatestone Institute

  • The failed foreign policies of the EU and the US under President Obama, have brought the Arabs to the brink of chaos, and destroyed regimes which, even though they were not democratic utopias, at least provided governance and public order. These failed policies have abandoned the Arabs to the atrocities of the Sunni Islamists and to the murderous proxies of the Iranian Islamic Revolution -- and are ultimately the cause of the tsunami of refugees beating at the gates of Europe.
  • Now the EU and Obama want to bring the catastrophe of Gaza to the West Bank.
  • The American FDA is more careful with experiments on animals than the White House is with experiments on the people of the Middle East.
  • Every time the Palestinians have taken steps against the Israelis, we have hurt no one but ourselves, and are left with -- nothing.
  • The Arabs living in Israel and the Palestinian Authority territories know, although it is a bitter pill to swallow, that we have been favored by fortune, because under the State of Israel we live in security.
  • In the face of ongoing mass murder in the Middle East, what arcane consideration, apart from Federica Mogherini being a racist, could possibly bring the EU to deal with something as marginal to global issues as boycotting Israeli face-cream and cookies?
With the recent anniversary of Al-Qaeda's September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, internal Palestinian discourse revolves around radical Islam and America's actions. It relates to the slaughter, rape and millions of refugees who have fallen victim to Al-Qaeda, the humanitarian calamity and the Islamist terrorist organizations to which it gave birth, such as ISIS. Today a disaster of apocalyptic proportions is unfolding in territories that used to be Arab states but are now the battle grounds for feuding Arab tribes, whose only objective is to destroy one another.

In their heart of hearts, the Arabs living in Israel and the Palestinian Authority territories know, although it is a bitter pill to swallow, that we have been favored by fortune because under the State of Israel we live in security. This reality is brought home to us by the feeble international response and the strange behavior of U.S. President Barack Obama and the leaders of the Western world who have abandoned the Arabs to the atrocities of the Sunni Islamists (and their supporters in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar), and to the murderous proxies of the Iranian Islamic Revolution (mainly in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon).

In view of what is happening in neighboring countries, it is clear to us what will happen if Israel is in danger of destruction: no Western state will come to its aid and no Arab state will come to our aid. Our fate will be the same as that of our brothers beyond Israel's borders. It is hard not to identify and sympathize with Israel's efforts to fight terrorism and with its objections to the nuclear agreement with Iran.

Despite the chaos and worse than chaos in the Middle East, the EU's foreign policy representative, Federica Mogherini, recently announced that the EU had decided to mark products made in the Israeli settlements. That is mind-boggling, so say the least. In the face of the ongoing mass murders in the Middle East, what arcane consideration, apart from Mogherini being a racist, could possibly bring the EU, now, to deal with something as blatantly marginal to global issues as the provenance of face cream and cookies?

Despite the chaos and mass murders in the Middle East and the wave of migrants into Europe, the EU's foreign policy representative, Federica Mogherini (left), recently announced that the EU will mark products made in Israeli settlements. Pictured at right, Palestinian anti-Israel activists dump out Israeli-made dairy products that they confiscated from local merchants in Ramallah, March 2, 2015.

In the final analysis, if the Europeans harm Israel's ability to market goods manufactured in the West Bank, the first victims will be the Palestinian workers in the Israeli settlement factories. Every time the Palestinians have taken steps against the Israelis, we have hurt no one but ourselves. The last time we boycotted Israeli products we wound up buying them on the black market at double and triple the price. When we refused to work on construction sites, the Israelis switched to modular, prefabricated units, and the Palestinian construction workers who went on strike are unemployed to this day. When we refused to work in Israeli agriculture, they brought in workers from Thailand, who took our jobs and left us with -- nothing.

The Western pressure on Israel and the Palestinians to establish a Palestinian state as soon as possible, when viewed through the prism of the mass murders and uncertainty in the Middle East, is incomprehensible. The initiative, and the obsession, to promote such a dangerous project at a time when everyone understands that the conditions on both sides are not yet ripe is dangerous; and the motives involved, whatever they really are, are suspicious. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not new, it has been waged in an atmosphere of terrorism and violence, hostility and complete lack of trust for a hundred years. So why exert pressure now?

Everyone, at least everyone living in the Middle East, knows full well that the conflict will not end with a "peace for our time" agreement forced on the two sides and accompanied by a handful of empty, meaningless documents; the dynamics are too dangerous. For both us and the Israelis it is a matter of life and death, not semantics; and it will probably take another hundred years before enough trust can be built on both sides to find a just solution.

The irony is staggering. At a time when the Arab states that were artificially created after the First World War crumble to dust, the EU is pressing for the creation of another artificial Arab state, this one called "Palestine," to be carved out of territories once belonging to Jordan and Egypt. If "Palestine" is granted the status of statehood, it will force not only Israel but the rest of the world to grant it complete control over its borders, airports and a seaport. That will expose the new weak "state" to a rapid and certain takeover by Hamas, ISIS and various other terrorist organizations. Given the current situation in the West Bank, the elected government of "Palestine" will be controlled by Hamas. It will overthrow the Palestinian Authority, the way it did in the Gaza Strip, take over the West Bank, use its airports and seaport to import missiles, various other weapons and Islamist terrorists, and help Islamist terrorism in general, and ISIS in particular, to operate from its territory. The Islamists will proceed to attack Israel and Jordan the way ISIS is currently attacking Egypt in the Sinai Peninsula. Worse, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad will enter the new "Palestine" and strengthen its relations with Iran, just as it has in the Gaza Strip and Syria, and with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Evidently the Israeli withdrawal in 2005, which led directly to Hamas's bloodbath and takeover of the Gaza Strip, the expulsion of the Palestinian Authority and the entrenchment of Islamist terrorism, was not enough for Europe. Now the EU and U.S. President Barack Obama want to bring the catastrophe of the Gaza Strip to the West Bank. The American Food and Drug Administration is more careful with experiments on animals than the White House is with experiments on the people living in the Middle East.

In view of the events in the Arab countries, it is clear to the Palestinians that American and European actions in the Middle East are the direct result of stupidity and complete ignorance of the Middle Eastern mindset, if not outright racism and malevolence. What is inescapable is that under Obama, both America and Europe brought the Arabs to the brink of chaos and beyond, destroyed regimes which, even though they were not democratic utopias like the United States, at least provided governance and public order. That is ultimately the cause of the tsunami of refugees beating at the gates of Europe, all of it caused by the United States and its failed foreign policy.

All the signs indicate that the Middle East disaster is hardly far from over. It is actually just beginning. it will get worse because of the tens of billions of dollars that will now pour into the Ayatollahs' coffers from the insane agreement with Iran. Much of this money will go directly not only to the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards' Qods Force, Iran's arm of international terrorism, but to the various proxy terrorist organizations Iran supports, thus hastening the total destruction of the Middle East and eventually large swaths of Africa.
The wave of refugees will increase, and the price will be paid by the Europeans, already faced with legions of refugees and no plan for dealing with them. Eventually Gaddafi's prophecy will come true: Islam will conquer Europe without firing a shot.
Bassam Tawil is a scholar based in the Middle East.

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