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, August 31, 2016

Who Knows What Evil Lurks in the Heart of Men?

"Is it bad, is it egoistic when people who have been placed in certain positions try to do something that is beneficial for them, even when they know that by doing so they end up harming someone else?"
"[No one] could have been better than he [Joseph Goebbels] at transforming from a civilized, serious person into that ranting and raving hooligan."
"I just didn't listen [to Goebbels's 'total war' declaration of 1943]. Because it didn't interest me. That was a stupidity within me, I know this now."
"No, I wouldn't see myself as being guilty. Unless you end up blaming the entire German population for ultimately enabling that government to take control. That was all of us. Including me."
"The people who today say they would have done more for those poor, persecuted Jews, I really believe that they sincerely mean it. But they wouldn't have done it, either. By then, the whole country was under some kind of a dome. We ourselves were all inside a huge concentration camp."
Brunhilde Pomsel, shorthand writer, Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels

Having reached the ripe old age of 105, Ms. Pomsel has had a long time to muse upon her enabling role as a cipher in the machinery of Nazi Germany; more than that, she aided and abetted the process of diminishing Europe's Jews from human beings to disposable scum. In introspection she feels she did no more and no less than anyone else in her place might have done. Thinking of her need to be employed, to be comfortable and accepted, knowing that there was a cost in what she pursued and it was a cost borne by millions of persecuted, ultimately exterminated Jews.

She is considered to be the last witness of the processes by which the Nazi regime focused on its goal of genocidal intent, the mass extermination of a despised 'race' to whom all the ills of the world were attributed. This institutionalized, bitter racism took second place to nothing; given equal treatment to the equally vital work of leading the Axis powers to eventual victory over the Allies. Nazi Germany succeeded to a surprising degree in its annihilation of Europe's Jews, but the victory of conquest on the world stage eluded it.

Ms. Pomsel was born in 1911 Berlin, and for a while she was a stenographer working for a Jewish lawyer, then went on in her early 20s to work as a typist for a right-wing nationalist. Soon afterward connections helped her land a position in the broadcasting station of the Third Reich from which, nine years later, she transferred to the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda where she worked under Goebbels. Goebbels, she recalled, was the mastermind, "an outstanding actor", the mastermind of denigration and hatred.

She had never, she insists, had any inkling of the plan to exterminate Jews en masse for she was not privy to that information. Her eyes and ears were busy elsewhere. Knowing nothing about Nazi war crimes let alone mass killings she was simply a hard-working woman hoping to achieve some measure of success in her working life. She remains a still-living participant in a historical event of immense significance representing the capacity of ordinary people to live in an era of bloody murder on a vast industrialized scale, but seeing nothing, hearing nothing, knowing nothing.
Der Stuermer caricatureTitle: Insatiable
The lead article is on the Moscow show trials. The cartoon caption: “Far be it from the Jews to enslave a single people. Their goal is to devour the entire world.”
October 1936 (Issue #41)

Accepting whatever their government instituted, willing themselves to believe that Germany was fighting a just war against nations seeking to destroy it; living their lives with no curiosity whatever related to business that didn't touch them personally because they would not let it and to remain untouched one must know nothing. So that later, in self defence the 'nicht schuldig' response could exonerate one from any and all responsibility, even though their acceptance of what they felt they could not change meant that they were enablers of evil.

A film produced by four directors is the venue and vehicle in which Ms. Pomsel describes her experiences and her thoughts. "A German Life" premiered in June in Germany, full of archival material, quotes from the propaganda minister, and interviews with Ms. Pomsel. Its purpose, meant to remind the world of the barbarity that proceeded with utter impunity to rid the world of a pestilence masquerading as an ethnic, cultural, religious, historical group of people who refused to go gently into that dark night but succumbed nonetheless.
"The dangers are still alive. It could happen again."
"One of the main aims of the film is to have the audience question: How would I have reacted? What would I have done in her situation for a new step in my career?"
Olaf Muller, film director

May, 1934 Issue of Der Stürmer

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A Not Unexpected Revelation: The UN as Anti-Semitic Enabler

A demonstration at Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011. Photo: Human Rights Voices report on UN-accredited NGOs.
A demonstration at Trafalgar Square, London, 21st August 2011. Photo: Human Rights Voices report on UN-accredited NGOs.
A new report, set to be officially released tomorrow, was prepared by the NGO Human Rights Voices and the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, based in New York. The report outlines in some detail the public relations efforts embarked upon by Muslim groups and their supporters backing 'Palestinian rights', through the auspices of the United Nations which has given the groups special enabling status and which equate Zionism with an evil ideology forced upon an unwilling world.

This is beyond morbidly absurd given the fact that Zionism has one goal and one goal only; the restoration of the biblical-era lands of ancient Israel to its contemporary descendants. A return by the forced diaspora of ancient times of the Jews that once inhabited those lands almost exclusively is what Zionism denotes. Those who deny the purpose of Zionism with its single focus, are dedicated to the destruction of the State of Israel. Their focus is as singular as that of Zionism.

But Zionism is a result of a people that was forced to settle in countries around the world, from the Middle East to Asia, India to North America, Europe and beyond in a mass exodus of forced expulsion from their ancient homeland. Where history has given ample proof that as a cultural religious group Jews were never free of oppression and violent discrimination. Since their return, Jews have made an effort to share the land with its more recent occupants who had migrated to the ancient lands where there has always been a remaining sizeable Jewish population, known as the original Palestinians.

The migrating Arabs from Egypt and TransJordan and Syria executed pogroms against the Palestinian Jews, and ended up even co-opting the ancient Jewish designation "Palestinians" from the original name-holders, promulgating their version of history that Arab Palestinians were always part of the ancient land, and that there was never a Jewish presence in Jerusalem, even claiming that Jesus was a Palestinian Arab, not an Israelite Jewish sage.

The 78-page report is rife with examples of hostile, false and denigrating claims on the part of UN-accredited NGOs, which the authors, Anne Bayefsky, director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust and president of HRV, and Sarah Willig, research fellow at HRV researched assiduously and documented for public release. The examples in the 78-page report were publicly accessible online in 2016. And this is how examples read:
Zionism’s ‘final solution’ to Israel’s much-touted and racist ‘demographic threat’ allegedly posed by the very existence of the Palestinians has always been genocide, whether slow-motion or in bloodthirsty spurts of violence. Indeed, the very essence of Zionism requires ethnic cleansing and acts of genocide against the Palestinians…       “The Palestinian Genocide by Israel,” Islamic Human Rights Commission, accredited with Special Consultative Status by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) accessed on August 25, 2016.
…[O]ur world is now faced with the emergence of a new type of Nazism…Zionism, with its inhumane ethnic, racist principles, with its devilish schemes which generate chaos all over the world, with its dangerous plans to dominate,…with its beastly octopus which has almost a decisive role in directing the policies of the greatest countries in the world, cannot be viewed as a threat to this region alone, but to the whole world…From “Zionism & Racism,” International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD), accredited with Special Consultative Status by ECOSOC, accessed on August 25, 2016. 
The NGOs which have been busy slandering Israel and slamming Zionism as equating with fascism and reflective of detestable Nazi ideology have been accredited by the United Nations, giving them special status and a world platform from which to promulgate their message of Israel as an evil interloper in the Middle East and the ideology of Zionism as inimical to human dignity, freedom and rights entitlements. The report's authors point out that the UN's Department of Public Information is tasked with accreditation.

Those who apply for accreditation are held to be committed to act in a manner as to conform to the United Nations Charter and in particular recognition given to equality and security for states and for individuals, on condition that the "aims and purposes of the organization" applying for accreditation reflect "the spirit, purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations", all of which reflects an obvious sham in corruptly interpreting the function and purpose of these NGOs whose focus is, in fact, the complete reverse of the spirit and purpose of the UN's charter.

In securing that accreditation, however, the NGOs achieve stellar recognition that what they purport is free of bias and slander. And the platform that the status achieved grants them is invaluable to their purpose, allowing them the privileges that accrue to those with accreditation to the United Nations:
  • The ability to secure meeting space within UN buildings to sponsor speakers, mount exhibits and screen films, (within immediate proximity to the world’s press, which have offices in the UN buildings in New York City and Geneva);
  • The permission to speak at important UN meetings and have their words translated and broadcast globally via UN webcasts (archived for the public, researchers and students from elementary schools to college campuses;
  • The permission to submit written statements to UN bodies that are assigned official UN symbol numbers, posted on UN websites and archived in searchable formats;
  • Invitations to attend negotiating sessions and decision-making forums (thereby gaining access to the world’s diplomatic corps, with the attendant opportunities for influence);
  • Increased traffic to their websites, with UN sites linking directly to a number of them, thereby promulgating their messages.
Yet another of innumerable United Nations' pathetic failures.

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Turkish Indignation

"No one has the right to tell Turkey to 'fight this terror organization but don't fight that terror organization."
"Turkey is a sovereign state, it is a legitimate state. To suggest it is on a par with a terrorist organization and suggest there are talks between them, that a deal has been reached between them, this is unacceptable."
Turkey's EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik

"Turkish operations will continue] until terror organizations such as Daesh, the PKK and its Syrian arm, the YPG, cease to be threats for our citizens."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

"Operations will continue until all terrorist elements have been neutralized, until all threats to our borders, our lands and our citizens are completely over."
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim
Map showing control of northern Syria - 31 August 2016

When Islamic State was occupying and fighting the Syrian Kurds just over the border from Turkey in Kobane, and Turkish troops and mechanized war vehicles were stationed close enough to be able to view the action in living colour, Turkey refrained from aiding the Kurdish fighters, in effect aiding Islamic State by its non-involvement. Not surprising, given the fact that Turkey still hosts ISIL cells operating out of Turkey to conduct their business in Syria and Iraq, while Turkey gets on with the fiction that it has joined the fight against ISIL.

Turkish tanks in Syria -- Al Jazeera

It does so only reluctantly, with its major focus on Syrian Kurds as the enemy for its links with the PKK. But the YPG is allied with NATO and the United States, trained, armed and supported as the single most effective fighting force against Islamic State. Erdogan has vowed to complete Turkey's military operation within Syrian borders, disinterested in whatever Washington has to say about pulling back, let alone urging its NATO ally about refraining from targeting the YPG.

The Syria Democratic Forces, backed by the United States, is their attack focus, as much as the Sunni Syrian rebels are the focus of attacks, as purported 'terrorists' by the Syrian regime and by Russian air strikes with their own pretense at battling Islamic State. To Washington's concerns, Turkish officials insist Kurdish forces withdraw east of the Euphrates as the only way in which Turkey can be persuaded to refrain from targeting the Kurdish U.S. proxies.

Their advance, named "Euphrates Shield" has succeeded in dispersing both the Kurds and the Islamic State, clearing villages of loosely-named "terrorist entities", for the major purpose as far as the Turks are concerned, of clearing the border between Syria and Turkey of the presence of Kurds who have meant that corridor to represent an extension of their planned future state. Kurdish and Arab Syrian fighters used US coalition air strikes to help them drive ISIL fighters from Manbiji.

Now that the Turkish forces have marched into Syria, that is being undone. "After seizing control of the border town of Jarablus, the FSA fighters moved under Turkish air cover to control villages such as Amarna, Yousef Beq and Ain al-Baida within hours, But their main target is to take over Manbij. YPG fighters maintain a significant presence along that area with their local allies", reported Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra,  from Gaziantep on the Turkish side of the Syria-Turkey border.

Ankara, celebrating its clearing of border towns, referring to the Kurds as 'terrorists', exults in the numbers it claims to have killed. A situation alarming the United States which continues to call on Ankara to desist "We want to make clear that we find these clashes - in areas where ISIL is not located - unacceptable and a source of deep concern", said Brett McGurk, US special envoy for the fight against ISIL.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Incomparable United Nations

"The United Nations has been accused of altering a key humanitarian aid plan after consulting with the Assad regime."
"A leaked copy of the original draft of the Syria Humanitarian Response Plan shows UN officials deleted references to “besieged” areas such as Madaya where the Assad regime blocked food and aid from getting through."
"It also removed any mentions of a programme to remove landmines, unexploded bombs and missiles, and references to the Assad regime’s alleged human rights law violations."
"UN insiders and NGOs have accused the organisation of pandering to the regime and allowing itself to be censored."
"A group of Syrian NGOs wrote a letter to Stephen O’Brien, the UN undersecretary for humanitarian affairs, saying they were “alarmed” by the revelations and said that it set “an unacceptable precedent”."
Caroline Mortimer, The Independent, UK, January 2016
A toddler is held up to the camera in this still image taken from video said to have been shot in Madaya, Syria -- Reuters
Six years of civil war, with the Syrian regime unleashing horrendous weapons of utter destruction on its Sunni Syrian population, resulting in close to a half-million dead and over seven million homeless Syrians, and where are the UN sanctions? Saudi Arabia, using some of the $110-billion in arms accessed from the United States munitions industry is targeting hospitals and schools and civilians in Yemen in its battle against the Houthis aligned with Shiite Iran, and where are the censures?

Censures aside, these are countries which are, despite their dreadful human rights violations, are regularly elected by their supporting peers to sit on various UN committees including of course, its human rights committee where they sit in judgement on democratic nations whose dedication to upholding human rights is total, and which doesn't stop them from coming under scrutiny, while those who do commit such abuses are never mentioned.

The UN is never loathe to censure Israel for human rights violations, and does so repeatedly. News organizations like Associated Press and the BBC emphasize the loss of Arab Palestinian life when the Israel Defence Forces shoot dead an attacker who has slashed or shot to death Israelis, portraying the attacker as the victim not as the attacker who has victimized people walking down a street, all feeding into a selective process of demonization.

As the only global institute of authority and influence, the United Nations as a world body whose purpose is to fairly and equitably mediate between nations in the promotion of peace and security, it has been an abysmal failure. It failed to halt the stunning massacre in progress in Rwanda when its peace-keeping force helplessly witnessed the bloodshed and begged for weapons and additional manpower to put a stop to the killing.

And when Sudan saw fit to have its Arab troops aerial-bomb and march against black Darfurian farming communities, massacring, raping, looting and chasing helpless civilians into the forest and homelessness, the United Nations did nothing to stop the bloodshed. Its peacekeeping contingents have proven to be utterly useless in preventing the outbreak of conflict, and in settling violent disagreements between opposing rival factions leading to civil war.

The World Health Organization, part of the United Nations, is short of millions of doses of anti- yellow fever vaccine, to handle a massive outbreak in Luanda, Angola and Congo. The agenda to vaccinate over 14 million people ahead of the rainy season is failing due to insufficient supplies and an inability to keep track of the vaccine, with the situation leading to concerns over the disease, for which there is no cure, spreading to other countries.

When UN peacekeepers from Nepal were sent into Haiti in 2010 after the devastating earthquake that destroyed its towns and cities, killing over 160,000 Haitians and displacing one and a half million, the onerous task of clean-up and providing the necessities of life; shelter, food, potable water, medicine and health care received a massive response from the global community. But it was the UN peacekeepers who added to Haiti's agony by polluting a waterway that people were hugely dependent upon, with a strain of cholera that has since taken ten thousand lives.

Throughout all the revelations and accusations the United Nations did what it does best; deny, deny, deny. It took its own interior human rights rapporteur to produce a report, addressing it to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, condemning the UN response as "morally unconscionable, legally indefensible and politically self-defeating", a charge that is more than slightly difficult to skirt around, given the source.

UN peacekeepers in Central African Republic were discovered to have been guilty of sexual predation on women and children. Peacekeepers from Burundi, Gabon and France have been implicated by testimony from women and children who were horrendously abused. According to UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, he found the allegations "shocking to the core" promising "exemplary disciplinary action" should they be proven true.

UN peacekeeping forces stand accused of 108 sex abuse cases in CAR, mostly against children [Andrew Medichini/AP]
UN peacekeeping forces stand accused of 108 sex abuse cases in CAR, mostly against children [Andrew Medichini/AP]

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Delectably, Gorgeously Female

"They would see boys going in, and we would put on our eye shadow, our wigs and skirts and dresses, and walk out and say, 'Hiiii'."
"I said OMG, really? Seriously? There are people who are like me? And then the idea came in my head, and I held on to it like a rope that would save me."
"I think winning the crown [as Miss Trans Star International] in Barcelona will give some hope, like planting a seed of hope [for other transgender people]."
"Imagine because of who you are, you have to leave your family, home and country -- I am speaking of Arab countries."
"I'm Arab, I'm Christian, I'm Israeli. All that is tied together. And I'm going to win."
"My father should be proud of me. My father is the father of Miss Trans Israel."
Talleen Abu Hanna, Miss Trans Israel, Tel Aviv
Talin Abu Hanah walks on stage during the first-ever Miss Trans Israel beauty pageant in Tel Aviv, Israel May 27, 2016. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
Growing up in Nazareth, a majority Arab city in Israel, a young boy decided against karate and wanted to take ballet lessons instead. Into his teen years he experimented with his mother's cosmetics and tried on his sister's dresses. He had other friends who were as curious as he was about the opposite gender and wanting to express themselves and their personalities in that gender, forbidden and alluring.

When Ms. Abu Hanna was fifteen she went to a party and came across a woman who informed her that she was born male, still she couldn't believe what she heard and saw. But her friends knew far more than she did and explained all about gender reassignment surgery, an astonishing revelation to the young boy who yearned to be a girl. She had simply considered herself as an effeminate boy, and was resigned to life surreptitiously dressing and dreaming of being a woman but bearing the outward characteristics of  a man.

It was, after all, what her family expected of her, saw in her, felt she should be, and if they knew how deeply engrained her female-ness was under the facade of male-ness they would be unforgiving, and she knew this too. She eventually transitioned to female, shedding the veneer of a male and embracing the female within her, struggling to escape the confines of a male persona, a male life and its expectations of her.

A year later she was crowned as Israel's first transgender beauty queen when she won the Miss Trans Israel pageant and wore the Swarovski crown, becoming a celebrated figure, able to present herself as she truly is, unafraid and forward-looking, a role model for other young boys in the Arab world puzzled and concerned over who and what they truly are. And she is preparing to present herself in Spain on September 17 as a contestant for the global transgender pageant

Israeli Christian wins first “Miss Trans Israel” pageant -- CBS News
She will, she says, represent Israel, out of "respect, because it is a democracy that has given me peace". Her 24-year-old Muslim university student boyfriend's name, Mohammed, has been tattooed on her wrist, though she is herself a member of the Catholic community, a Palestinian minority subset of the State of Israel whose Arab demographic represents a fifth of its eight million citizens.

It is painful for her that her family no longer wishes to have any familial relations with one of their own who became openly gay and then completed the transformation as a transgender person. She had been outed by a boy scout in her troop, years ago. After that, in fear of violence directed at her from a furious relative in the interests of 'family honour' being tarnished at her unforgivable sin, she left her home. Her mother had given her $100 to enable her to travel and she ended up in Tel Aviv.

She had gone to Thailand in 2015 to begin the transition to female. She now lives with the attitude of acceptance, using women's bathrooms with most people surrounding her in Tel Aviv recognizing her as a woman. The Israeli government provides her with a stipend in support of people transitioning. She hopes eventually to be recognized as someone who can give advice, to be given respect when she counsels Arab parents to love and accept their children for themselves, however they happen to be.

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Monday, August 29, 2016

The Agony of Destroyed Heritage

"This is a very small village and I fear it will be left to die. We have nothing now. We have no future."
"This is not a touristy place, it's not Assissi [which was meticulously restored after the 1997 earthquake]."
"I'm afraid we could be living here [emergency tent village] a long time."
Monica Valle, 49, Accumoli, Italy

"After seven years, L'Aquila [still unreconstructed, where 309 people died in a 2009 earthquake] remains an open wound. What's going to happen to us?"
Stefano Petrucci, mayor, Accumoli

"Amatrice is too important not to be rebuild. People come from all over Italy to eat spaghetti all'amatriciana here -- it's known throughout the world."
Giorgio, elderly resident of Amatrice

"No night can last so long that the sun never rises again."
"I am convinced that Amatrice will rise again. We owe it to the people who died here."
Sergio Pirozzi, Amatrice mayor
Arquata del Tronto tented camp, 28 Aug 16
  The Arquata del Tronto tented camp - one of several in the earthquake zone -- AFP

Local people of the Green Heart of Italy, a huge triangle of mountains, forests and medieval stone villages despair that their historical towns will ever be rebuilt after the devastating earthquake that hit the region with a death toll of 290. The financial state that Italy is in lends credence to their fears. Augmented with their feeling that the determination that their hamlets be rebuilt will vanish after the initial shock to the nation of the heritage loss.

They envision their towns and villages left in ruin, the forests overtaking them.

Map showing towns affected by the earthquake and their proximity to Perugia and Rome

Fewer than one percent of Italian home owners possess earthquake insurance. In Japan, by comparison, another hugely earthquake-prone geography, about 20 percent of homeowners do have such insurance. Should families in the mountainous region that saw all they owned and lived for destroyed by the tremblor and its aftershocks, wish to rebuilt, it is doubtful they could do so without financial assistance from some source, and the sole source they might consider would be government treasury.

When the city of L'Aquila was destroyed after a powerful 2009 earthquake, the government in Rome pledged it would swiftly rebuild. Seven years later, the city resembles a construction site, buildings wrapped in scaffolding, propped with girders, with 8,000 of its residents living still in the temporary accommodation provided to them in the immediate wake of the devastating tremblor that destroyed all that was familiar to them.

Little wonder the villagers inhabiting towns destroyed by the quake of last week have little faith. Matteo Renzi, their prime minister stated without equivocation that "We want those communities to have the chance of a future and not just memories", as he pledged to rebuild. But in light of the financial challenges the country is facing and considering that dozens of villages and hamlets were devastated, the very thought of building materials being transported up those narrow twisting mountain roads which heavy machinery must traverse is daunting.

Perhaps, in the final analysis, practical reality will impose itself, and the Renaissance frescoes in medieval churches, towers and convents now so heavily damaged, will never be restored, let alone peoples' homes. Amatrice was the worst hit, where over 200 of the victims died, and it is little but rubble, where it was once considered one of Italy's most beautiful of villages.

Amatrice rescuers, 26 Aug 16
The heaviest casualties were in Amatrice, as many old buildings collapsed in the night -- AFP

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The Canadian Jihad Connection

Bangladesh raid Police officers are seen during a raid which saw Dhaka cafe attack 'mastermind' Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury and three other suspected militants killed at a militant hideout in Narayanganj, near Dhaka, Bangladesh on August 27, 2016. Police had named the Canadian-Bangladeshi, who led the 'New JMB', as the one who orchestrated the July-1 attack on the upscale Holey Artisan Bakery and O' Kitchen restaurant in Dhaka's diplomatic zone, killing 20 hostages, including 18 foreigners. (Suvra Kanti Das/Newzulu.com)

"People who knew him say he was a quiet guy. Not much else is known about him at the moment."
Professor Amarnath Amarasingam, post-doctoral fellow, Resilience Research Centre, Dalhousie University

"This is a significant progress for our counterterrorism drive because Tamim was responsible for collecting finances and later distributing them, recruiting and radicalizing members of elite families."
Monirul Islam, chief, Bangladesh counterterrorism unit
Tamim Ahmed
Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury / Shaykh Abu Ibrahim Al-Hanif

Over fifty terrorist attacks were carried out in Bangladesh by Islamist extremists over the past several years, as secular bloggers and publishers were being killed by assailants wielding machetes. Foreigners, gay rights activists and minority religious group members have met similar fates. A Hindu priest, Ananda Gopal Ganguly had been en route to his temple to conduct a prayer service, when three men on a motorcycle approached from behind and hacked him to death.

A young man whose parents arrived in Canada in 1970 as immigrants from Bangladesh and who himself became a naturalized Canadian citizen who graduated from the University of Windsor with a degree in chemistry in 2011, renamed himself from Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury (30 years of age), to the more suitable-for-his purposes Shaykh Abu Ibrahim Al-Hanif, leader of a new branch of terrorists in Bangladesh, Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh.

Islamic State featured him in their propaganda publication Dabiq as being the "emir" of its Bangladesh branch. This would be the branch that the government of Bangladesh denies has any presence in the country, as an ISIL affiliate. But it seems that Islamic State has well infiltrated the country. And Al-Hanif referred to Hinduism as a "filthy, cow-worshipping religion" whose followers he was prepared to "slaughter" as long as they refused to convert to Islam; specifically his very brand.

Now, according to Bangladesh authorities, Chowdhury was involved as a guide with the attackers of the upscale, popular cafe that took place last month targeting foreigners in a terrorist assault. The jihadis were identified as scions of Bangladeshi wealthy, connected families. And the realization took place among authorities that young, well-educated Bangladeshi men from socially-connected and wealthy families were being recruited into Islamist jihad.

Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury is now being recognized as the leader of the terrorist group who had been responsible for recruiting those men, and who had given them safe haven, and who had plotted with them to embark on deadly attacks in Bangladesh. He will no longer be busy undermining peace and security in the country, however, although there is little doubt there will be someone eager enough to pick up where he left off.

He left off when the Bangladeshi counterterrorism unit launched an attack near Dhaka to confront the terrorists. When an exchange of gunfire ensued, Chowdhury was shot dead, killed by the special operations team. The police uncovered grenades, pistols and AK-22 assault rifles at the apartment where Chowdhury and his associates had been found. And they anticipate in days to come that more useful data will be uncovered to aid them in their determination to rid the country of jihadists.

Bangladeshi authorities understand they are facing an influx of Bangladeshi diaspora men committed to jihad, radicalized abroad and prepared to return home to Bangladesh to 'liberate' their home country through jihad. Britain and Canada each have a particularly large Bangladeshi diaspora; an estimated one thousand Bangladeshi Canadians live in Windsor alone. And according to the local imam: "The Bangladeshi community here condemns this, we hate this, and we don't like this."

Now, Dhaka authorities have no need to dispense the $25,000 reward they had announced for the capture of Chowdhury and another man, Syed Mohammad Ziaui Haque, who led the local militant group hacking to death bloggers and intellectuals in the country who deplored viciously militant Islam, since they have themselves dispatched that particular threat; unfortunately given the trajectory in Islam with the growing popularity of violent jihad, there will likely be more to come.

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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Burkini Storm on Sandy Beaches

"I own a burkini and I love it. I am a practising Muslim, and I believe there should be a choice. I honestly don't like exposing my body in public, and I like to work fashion into my preferences on how I wish to clothe myself."
"A big part of being in a modern society, part of living in freedom, is allowing people to live their life how they want to live it. By putting forward this ban [the mayor of Cannes] is infringing upon a human's basic right to live how they wish to."
"It's not the responsibility of a public servant to dictate how I choose to cover my body."
Sabrina Akram, Pakistani-born U.S. citizen
People sunbathing on the beach in Cannes

Getty Images     The mayor of Cannes issued the ordinance in late July forbidding beachwear that doesn't respect "good morals and secularism"
"I don't have a burkini, but I do swim wearing a headscarf, tracksuit bottoms and long T-shirt. I think [the ban is] slightly ridiculous. In Victorian times swimmers would wear long baggy trousers, full tops and swimming caps and no-one blinked an eye!"
"I fail to see how a woman wishing to cover her body with a particular style of costume whilst swimming can possibly be a symbol of Islamic extremism."
"I accept that there are some horrendously psychotic people out there proclaiming to be fighting on behalf of one group or another. However, what a woman chooses to wear on a public beach is not going to make the slightest bit of difference, and just hands ammunition to those who want to... recruit to their twisted ideology."
Kerry Amr, Muslim convert, Telford, England

"This decision [France's administrative court overturning burkini ban], far from pacifying, will serve only to heighten tensions, which will carry risks of  trouble which we wanted to avoid."
"Rampant Islamism has been gaining ground. With this ruling it has gained some more."
Lionnel Luca, mayor, Villeneuve-Loubet, France
Antwerpen Belgien Burkini Party Protest (Foto: picture-alliance/dpa/F.Sadones)
Muslim women in Belgium organized a different kind of protest. They gathered in Antwerp to celebrate at a beach party, dressed in burkinis, bikinis or bathing suits. Their motto was: "We are women and we are free."

Fashion is usually a matter of intense interest for young women and their admirers. Particularly fashion statements that come out of French cutourier houses, which lead the world in design and impracticality of wear. France is certainly once again the fixated object of attention globally with its most recent focus on garb considered appropriate for Muslim women, but this time the controversy has stirred both support and rejection.

Something about the totalitarianism of Islam's ideology that insists its faithful must subscribe to a total package of lifestyle, law, faith, politics unquestioningly, particularly with the resurgence of extreme Islam now dominating the religious culture which sees young Muslim women whose mothers and grandmothers wore western-style clothing sans hijab, let alone niqab and burka only decades earlier, now choosing to appear more fashionably discreet, spurning the opportunity to be relaxed about their clothing in favour of chaste cover-ups.

And so the burkini was born, an ostensible cover-up, permitting only hands, feet and face to glow in the sun. Leggings, hair covering, long-sleeved shirt and shift seem to these women more appropriate to their status as Muslim women in an ever-increasing move toward separating themselves from the loose ways and tight garments of their non-Muslim counterparts. Strange this is, since it appears to be non-Muslim men who are affronted at the spectacle of Muslim cover-ups.

Police on beach in Cannes and a woman in a burkini on a French beach

 Security on French beaches has been tight this summer and the burkini row should be seen in that light EPA/AP
There's a point here that seems to be eluding the notice of most spectators in this sport of aggrieved reaction to the dress of Muslim women. While the niqab and the burqa do assault sensibilities with their total, bleak, black cover-ups reducing women to formless shifting tents, the burkini is nothing of the same sort. Can't anyone in this hullabaloo think back to the popularity of buxom women taking part in sweatshirt-dunking contests?

Where women are completely water-drenched wearing full cover tops with the result being a totally revealing body shape. So what happens when a burkini is completely soaked? It melds to the form of the wearer in the most faithful way, showing off all her curves and bulges. How is this in any way modest? The only difference between that and the bikini is that skin shows in one, and the clinging outlines in the other and the rest is left to the fertile imagination of the onlooker.

It has been proven time and time again that it is more seductive and enticing when a woman covers herself suggestively, than when she uncovers herself and allows all to be revealed. This latest insistence of Muslim women that a burkini defines their sense of security and modesty as a vulnerable woman is simply a game of show-and-tease and everyone should just get over it.

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Terrorism Networking

"Since the day he was charged, Awso Peshdary has steadfastly maintained his innocence."
"We look forward to his trial, where we will have a full opportunity to challenge the allegations against him."
Solomon Friedman, defense lawyer
Pat McGrath / Postmedia News
Pat McGrath / Postmedia News    Awso Peshdary, the alleged Ottawa terrorist financier, being released on bail from the Ottawa Court House in 2010.

It cannot possibly be simple coincidence that this young man simply happened to have been an innocent bystander in three separate incidents of Islamist terrorist plans taking place in Canada with disparate principals with whom Awso Peshdary just happened to be familiar. In all three instances he was said to have acted as an enabler. In one investigation which the RCMP had characterized as Project Samosa, he was actually acquitted of all charges brought against him.

But of the two men with whom he was closely aligned in Ottawa in a plan to enlist and radicalize recruits to take part in a terrorist network which planned to conduct bombing raids in Canada as jihadi targets, Hiva Alizadeh, trained by the Taliban in Afghanistan who had sworn allegiance to Osama bin Laden was convicted as the ringleader and given a prison sentence of 24 years.

The second co-conspirator, an Ottawa Hospital technician, Misbahddin Ahmed, accused of being an accomplice in the plot to produce and set off bombs, was sentenced to twelve years' imprisonment. Awso Peshdary had been under surveillance for his suspected involvement in this terror network, but never convicted. The 26-year-old was circumstantially fortunate, but his luck just happened to run out when the Iraqi-Canadian was newly charged with recruitment, facilitating and financing a homegrown terror network.

These were surveillance cases in which wiretaps, surveillance and evidence received from the auspices of an undercover informant connected Peshdary and five men, each of whom have been convicted of terrorism offences, as well as another two men who left Canada to fight for the Islamic State abroad, in which he was also implicated. He now faces serious charges of terrorism in Canada.

The operation named by the RCMP Project Servant revealed the existence of a "terror cluster" in the capital city, with intersecting networks of conspirators sharing recruitment of jihadis and enabling their journeys abroad to join the Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq. Khadar Khalib and John Maguire, two radicalized friends of Peshdary already fighting among the extremists in Syria had terror charges laid against them, in absentia.

But it was Peshdary's association with Ashton Carleton Larmond, sentenced to 17 years, his brother Carlos Larmond, and their associate Suliman Mohamed, in project Slipstream, where each was sentenced to seven years in prison for their part in the conspiracy to commit terrorist acts in Canada, that produced sufficient evidence to place this man in prison, preparing to undergo trial and eventual justice.


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The Disrespect of a Doltish Buffoon 

"While his conduct was disrespectful and in very bad taste, it did not involve vandalism, that is to say spray painting or damage done to the statue, it did not involve planning or deliberation, and it did not involve any repugnant conduct like urination or splitting."
Prosecutor Jon Fuller

"This monument, as we all know, is there to honour those who serve their country, for people who fought for our freedom and that of so many others everywhere in the world."
"Your actions on that particular night showed total dishonour and disrespect for those individuals and the country at large."
"It's clear there has to be a message that this type of offence can't be excused simply as being a youthful prank or a moment of immaturity."
"These types of actions are an insult to veterans, their families and Canadians as a whole. It's not a joke, it's not a YouTube moment here, or a laugh. It is a criminal offence, sir."
Ontario Court Justice Ann Alder
Maciej Andrej Szczypka
Maciej Andrej Szczypka hides his face as he leaves the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre on Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2015. PATRICK DOYLE / THE OTTAWA CITIZEN

To have imposed the full brunt of the law on Maciej Andrej Szczypka would have had consequences of monumental import. Charged with mischief to a war memorial the man could have been removed from Canada with a conviction under that charge. A more charitable view of his trespass on simple decency and respect notched his offence down to simple mischief, to which he was urged by his lawyer to plead guilty, and he did.

There are many who would have no difficulty whatever recommending that the original charge stand. If found guilty through a trial the 22-year-old man would have faced a penalty whose maximum import would be a prison stay of ten years. In which case immigration consequences would have meant that the permanent resident would have his status revoked and be returned to his native Poland from which he had emigrated to Canada with his parents.

He had clambered up on the National Cenotaph a year earlier August. Bystanders present at the time recorded his actions with video cameras. What he proceeded to do was emulate fornicating with the statue claiming later to have been acting out in a drunken stupor. He was arrested and placed in jail, charges brought against him. A $1,300 fine was imposed. And he was ordered to undergo community service with the Salvation Army, undergo alcohol counselling, and become in the process a better human being.

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Saturday, August 27, 2016

This Candidate (for resident status) Demonstrates An Inability To Adapt

"This was very nasty [physical attack]. You are now in Canada. We do not place restrictions on the way that women live here, unlike in some other countries."
"Just because you think that someone has displayed bad manners, getting into a fight is no remedy for that."
Judge Kirk MacDonald, provincial court, Edmonton
The Edmonton courthourse
Ed Kaiser/Edmonton Journal   The Edmonton courthouse

It surely isn't going too far to conclude from this stunning tale of a clash of cultures and religious ideology reflecting yet another instance when a man from a patriarchal culture has demonstrated his incapacity to adjust to a welcoming country's social and cultural values, that this judge suspended judgement beyond what the action that took place on November 6, 2015 warranted.

The man, Aadel Moradi, 39 years of age, had emigrated from Iran to Canada fifteen years earlier. In that period of time, demonstrating his unwillingness or/and inability to integrate into Canadian culture and accept the social values of his new country more than cried out for him to receive the full brunt of the law for his criminal offence. This is one individual; his Iranian heritage is only part of the problem; enlightened Iranian men would likely condemn his behaviour.

Instead, Justice MacDonald, who even commented that in his opinion it was "very sad" that the accused was incapable of identifying and honouring Canadian social mores, decided to place the man on an 18-month probationary period, after he had, through his lawyer, pleaded guilty to assault. Had the assaulter been anyone other than an Iranian immigrant, the full legal penalty of his actions would have fallen upon him.

In fact, it wasn't only the judge that relented, deciding to handle this display of contempt for Canadian values with kid gloves. He, it appears, conceded to a joint submission by the Crown and defence lawyers, who between them decided that the man's violently offensive actions should receive a lesser penalty than the jail sentence the judge had originally considered.

As Crown prosecutor Bethan Franklyn informed the court, Mr. Moradi and his wife had been accosted by a co-worker of the wife, who had noted their presence in the mall, and simply wanted to say a bright 'hi there!' to someone he regularly interacts with at their place of employment. This happened in late October. Mr. Moradi responded by indignantly asking how the man knew his wife.

He then ordered the man not to speak with his wife. And on November 6, Mr. Moradi accompanied his wife to the office in downtown Edmonton where she worked, requesting an audience with the human resources personnel to discuss the mall incident. He eventually spoke with Ross Undershute, chief executive of the health consulting organization, ordering him: "No men are allowed to speak to his wife, and she can't speak to any men".

When Mr. Undershute explained that this would be an impossible state of affairs in a working environment, the husband refused to leave the premises and asked to do so, and became abusive. He "clawed and scratched" Mr. Undershute's face, spat at him, and attempted to kick, knee, slap and bite Mr. Undershute, who suffered scratches to his nose and lips.

Lawyer Rob Shaigec informed the court that his client had been offended by his wife's co-worker's public approach, speaking to his wife without first introducing himself to his wife's husband, presumably to seek permission to do so, for based on his culture and upbringing this scenario represented a social misdemeanor. This, of a man who had lived one-third of his life in Canada.

Little wonder the couple, parents of a six-year-old boy, has since separated. Mr. Moradi's wife may yet be flexible enough to adapt successfully to Canadian social mores of equality and decency, and be able to raise their son in a milieu that will be conducive to his becoming a credit to the country. As for Mr. Moradi, one of the conditions of his probation is that he take an anger management course, and perform 50 hours of community service.

He is furthermore, forbidden from approaching his wife's office and nor may he make any contact with Mr. Undershute as well as three others of his wife's co-workers. It is this man's controlling pathology that led him to ventilate his rage that other men had dared to impinge on his perceived ownership of his wife; blaming the culture is only a part of the problem although the culture entitles men to believe that absolute control of women is a divine right.

But not in Canada.

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Friday, August 26, 2016

Facing Jihadi Threats in Canada

"[ISIL and al-Qaeda] continue to appeal to certain individuals in Canada." 
"[While some Islamists promote violence online and radicalize their peers, recruit and fundraise] others may consider travelling abroad to join a terrorist group or conduct terrorist attacks themselves."
"[By the conclusion of 2015, roughly 180] individuals with a nexus to Canada [were suspected of being involved in terrorist activities abroad, an increase from 140 the year before]."
"[Hezbollah, the Lebanese terrorist group under Iran's tutelage] remains one of the world's most capable terrorist groups."
"Hezbollah has networks around the world, including in Canada, and uses the networks for recruitment, fundraising and procurement. Hezbollah terrorist operations abroad represent a threat to Canadian interests."
2015 Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada

"Canadians can be assured that the RCMP is carefully monitoring these individuals who have returned to Canada as it is a top priority."
"[Government is making use of] a number of tools [inclusive of passport revocation]."
Scott Bardsley, press secretary, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale

"It's tremendously difficult to collect credible evidence that would satisfy a Canadian court for prosecution."
"Nobody likes to lose a case, but federal prosecutors seem to be loathe to do anything but an open and shut, iron case."
Larry Brooks, former Canadian Security Intelligence Service counter-terrorism official 

"Canada is fundamentally a safe and peaceful nation, but we are not naive about the security issues that dominate the world's attention."
"[Canada's threat level stands at medium; an attack] could occur."
Ralph Goodale, Public Safety Minister

At least two terrorist groups out of the Middle East, both of which, Hezbollah and Hamas, are registered on Canada's list of terrorists, have had a long, infiltrated presence in Canada. What's more they have a surprising level of support among Arab-Canadian Muslims. Flags symbolic of both terrorist groups show up unfailingly at various Muslim-Arab-initiated protests, despite the outlawed status of the two groups.

A new report just released by Canada's public safety minister outlines Canada's "principal terrorist threat", and directly identifies both Islamic State and al-Qaeda, but also identifies Hamas and Hezbollah. Obviously, these groups have reason to feel they can operate within Canada, to recruit and to fundraise without fear of detection, much less repercussion. Canada's intelligence agencies know of their existence and where they pose potential threats but it seems in the interests of not offending the groups among whom they have support, little is done about their presence.

Of those Canadian Muslims who have exited Canada to travel to Islamic 'places of peace', which is Islamspeak for Muslim countries, and those countries engaged in violent jihad, a good many have returned to Canada after their fighting sojourns abroad. Those in the 'extremist travellers' category number 20 percent women who serve as 'brides' for the jihadis, and become trained in fighting as well. Some go abroad with their children in tow.

And some of those children are indoctrinated into conflict themselves, as Islamist-celebrated 'lion cubs' of Islamic State, of Hamas, of Hezbollah who provide the children with miniature-sized uniforms and teach them how to shoot guns, accustoming them to bloodshed initially through the videos of conflict and beheadings, occasionally allowing the children to star in their own roles as executioners.

The report mentioned the manner in which authorities handle jihadi returnees to Canada once their overseas terrorism experiences are behind them. An estimated 60 jihadis have left Syria to reenter Canada, with newfound skills in the craft of terror-conflict, and they set out to indoctrinate, to recruit, to increase the membership of Canadian Muslim men and women eager to become part of the new reality in Islamist jihad.

Where investigative, intelligence and policing authorities come up against a brick wall is providing satisfactory proof of a legal nature acceptable to a Canadian judge that someone with Canadian citizenship had engaged themselves in terrorism in a foreign country where terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIL have their base of action.

Thus far in this tense atmosphere of Islamist terrorism, twenty Canadians have been convicted of offences relating to terrorism in the past dozen years with another 21 having been charged and either awaiting trial or being situated on outstanding warrants. The latest such threat, unrecognized until the 11th hour that he was a threat to Canada, was neutralized by police, on the cusp of his plans to use an explosives vest in a busy shopping mall.

Aaron Driver switches off his video camera in a screen capture of a recording seen during a press conference for what the RCMP are calling a terrorism incident, in Strathroy, Ontario on Thursday, Aug. 11.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang    Aaron Driver switches off his video camera in a screen capture of a recording seen during a press conference for what the RCMP are calling a terrorism incident, in Strathroy, Ontario on Thursday, Aug. 11.

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"It Was Apocalyptic"

"We came out to the piazza, and it looked like Dante's Inferno."
"People crying for help, help. Rescue workers arrived after one hour ... one and a half hours.
Agostino Severo, Illica, epicentre of quake

"It was very, very violent and absolutely terrifying. I don't even know how to describe the sound."
"I managed to get out of my house but my pharmacy is destroyed."
Mauro Massimiliano, 49, Amatrice, Italy
An 8-year-old girl is rescued from the debris of a collapsed building in Pescara del Tronto.
The scene was captured on video by CNN affiliate Sky TG24.

The 6,2 Richter-scale magnitude tremblor that hit heritage medieval towns gracing the hilltops of Italy in the middle of the Apennine Mountains struck so early on Wednesday morning that sleeping residents of the towns hardly knew what hit them. They would have suspected an earthquake, since only seven years earlier one such tremblor destroyed a nearby town, as the latest one did their own. It is now known that 250 people did not survive the wreckage that became their beautiful towns' destruction.

Imagine the myriad of such scenes; a woman seated before a destroyed home, blanket covering her shoulders, in the shock of the aftermath, not knowing where her family members were, but suspecting they were all dead from the catastrophic earth movement. "It was one of the most beautiful towns of Italy and now there's nothing left. I don't know what we'll do", she said, distraught at the magnitude of the changes that had suddenly transformed her life.

A woman rests in the courtyard of a convent in Amatrice on Friday, August 26, two days after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck central Italy. Hundreds of people have been killed, and the death toll is expected to rise as rescue teams reach remote areas.
CNN -- A woman sits in front of a destroyed convent.
About 300 people had been killed after a huge earthquake struck L'Aquila; now seven years later nearby Amatrice has suffered the same fate, along with surrounding villages in the central regions of Umbria, Lazio and Marche. Rescue workers were using sniffer dogs in attempts to detect signs of life, people still alive under the rubble, whom they could focus on rescuing.

The government has mobilized an all-out rescue with convoys of army trucks, of bulldozers, of ambulances and flatbed trucks driving the narrow, hazardous mountain roads. An appeal for people to donate blood went out nation-wide. Everything in the villages hit is covered with a fine white dust, vehicles sit crushed under masonry, many houses were sliced into portions, while other parts were left standing, interiors exposed to view.

Rescue workers from Italy's alpine rescue service accustomed to working in caves and on mountainsides, dug frantically through the huge rubble piles with their hands any time a suspected victim was detected, in hopes of saving yet another survivor. Injured people being carried away on stretchers were wrapped in blankets and bedspreads, the coverings that they were evacuated with from the beds they were in when the quake struck.

A man leans on a wall in Pescara del Tronto.
CNN -- A man leans on a well, in Pescara del Tronto

"There are many people still under the rubble. It's very dangerous work digging into the wreckage -- especially if there are more aftershocks", cautioned a police officer. "I was sleeping but suddenly heard this strange noise. I woke up and saw that everything was destroyed", Marianna, a nun helping to care for elderly people staying at the convent of the Most Holy Crucifix, said. Two other nuns were rescued by a pair of forest rangers: "They performed a very heroic act, they risked their lives. I'm sure God will reward them", said sister Marianna.

"Listen, I know it's not nice to say but if you need to pee you just do it", a ranger said comfortingly to an 80-year-old woman awaiting rescue from under the debris of her home, knowing it would take a little more time to effect her rescue. She was eventually rescued, but her 47-year-old daughter hadn't survived the quake. "It's totally collapsed, there's nothing left", said a man whose wife was weeping on his shoulder, viewing the ruins of their home.

An aerial view shows the damage in the village of Saletta on August 26. Strong aftershocks in the region have rattled residents and emergency crews.
An aerial view shows the damage in the village of Saletta on August 26. CNN

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Obama, Leading The Way To Peace

Looking for help.  Photographer: Getty Images/Getty Images

"The Agency [CIA] has contingency plans for supporting democratic uprisings anywhere in the world. This includes providing dissidents with communications, money, and in extreme cases even arms. But in this case [Syria], the White House ordered it to stand down."
"[At the beginning of the (nuclear) talks in 2013, the U.S. position was for Iran to dismantle much of its nuclear infrastructure but by the end of the talks in 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry and his team] agreed that Iran would then be allowed to build an industrial-scale nuclear program, with hundreds of thousands of machines, after a ten year period of restraint."
"The Revolutionary Guard continues to develop increasingly sophisticated weapons systems, including ballistic missiles inscribed with threats against Israel on their nose cones. Khamenei and other revolutionary leaders, meanwhile, fine-tune their rhetorical attacks against the United States, seeming to need the American threat to justify their existence."
Jay Solomon, The Iran Wars
Barack Obama began his presidency with the clearly stated intention of altering the state of American relations with the Middle East, the Arab and Muslim world, to present the United States as a friend, not an opportunistic oppressor, and to gain or regain trust that was ostensibly lost when his predecessor invaded Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein, gaining the hostility of countries other than Israel by the process. His intention was made known publicly; the world was invited to witness diplomacy at the highest level in action.

Of course, when the senior Bush's administration entered Iraq to restore sovereignty to Kuwait, the coalition that challenged Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait included Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. There was no resentment then at American intervention in Arab/Muslim affairs. American support for the Shah of Iran earned the United States the undying enmity of the Ayatollahs who deposed the Shah and transformed Iran into the Islamist state -- with malevolent intentions toward its neighbours and the West -- that it has since become.

One of the first international overtures expressed by the newly-elected Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States was to state his intention to extend an open hand in greeting as a friend, to the Islamic Republic of Iran. This, before the new president even travelled to Egypt to extend his friendship to the Muslim world. Ayatollah Khomeini was pleased to respond to that gesture with a clenched fist which has never since, by his successor opened to resemble an open hand, following through on Khomeini's grand plan to dominate the Middle East and remain at crossed scimitars with the West.

When Iran's Greens comprised of the regime's opponents, Western-oriented liberal-minded Iranians staged a massive protest against the confining strictures of the Ayatollahs they fully expected that the United States would render encouragement and even practical assistance of some kind, but none of that ever materialized. The Obama administration preferred to look the other way. And it has continued that manner of disengagement in the Middle East; it betrayed its long-time regional ally, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and supported his successor the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammad Morsi.

And when Syrian Sunnis held their protests against the Baathist Shiite regime of President Bashar al-Assad, the preference of the Obama administration was to continue to look the other way. No encouragement was forthcoming from the United States which had, under the second (G.W.) Bush administration continually expressed its wish to help the Arab/Muslim Middle East on its road to democracy. The all-out war that Assad launched on the protesters guaranteed a civil war would result, and as the country disintegrated into factions, foreign Islamist fighters infiltrated.

Bashar al-Assad has enjoyed five years of punishing push-back against Sunni Syrians, depriving almost a half-million of them, men, women, children and the elderly, of their lives. The country's infrastructure lies in ruins. Of the 22-million Syrians that comprised the population, half have become displaced, four and a half million of them refugees, over one-quarter of whom have invaded Europe looking for an exit from hell.

In Gouta three years ago, Assad launched a sarin gas attack killing 1,300 Sunni Syrians by asphyxiation. This event caught President Obama's attention since he had warned Assad to avoid the criminal excesses of chemical warfare. But the threat he had issued was never acted upon and even though in concert with Moscow, Washington went through the theatrical charade of having Assad declare all his chemical weapons assets to be destroyed, not all were revealed.

So that napalm is now being packed into the barrel bombs previously just packed with shrapnel, to make a more effective killing machine; the shrapnel, if it doesn't kill often results in massive wounds' with the napalm added, Assad's 'terrorist enemies' can be shredded and their flesh burned, all in one fell swoop and that's efficiency in killing for you. Those deadly barrel bombs have been falling on the civilians living in Syrian neighbourhoods in Aleppo and elsewhere at the rate of 220 weekly.

If verification was needed beyond the claims of the victims and the medical personnel examining them, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons' investigators have detected the precursors of nerve agents at Syrian regime facilities that Assad's gatekeepers had somehow overlooked, failing to declare them when his chemical weapons stockpile was ostensibly being surrendered for removal and eventual destruction.

The Syrian-American Medical Society has found that three out of every four of the previously verified 161 chemical attacks in Syria took place after Mr. Obama's warning of dire consequences to ensue should President Assad use chemical weapons on his population. A study was released by the SAMS, titled A New Normal: Ongoing Chemical Weapons Attacks in Syria, revealing the strategy of the Assad regime, which chose to substitute chlorine gas for the previously utilized sarin gas in bombarding Syrians.

Mr. Obama was more interested in, and fixated on U.S. relations with the Syrian regime's most reliable backer, however; detente with Iran's ayatollahs was top of the list of priorities for the American president, and if there were sacrifices to be made to accomplish that, then so be it. According to Wall Street Journal foreign correspondent Jay Solomon, in his new book, The Iran Wars, Iranian negotiators in the G-5 nuclear deal threatened to retreat from any bargaining with the White House if the U.S. intervened to remove Assad from power.

The tide has completely turned in Assad's favour, where a year ago the dimension of the rebel advance seemed to spell the end of the Baathist regime. This, despite the Shabiha death squads, the Iran-backed Shiite militias from Iraq, the Lebanese-based Hezbollah prepared to do the bidding of Iran, and Iran's own al Quds brigade of the Republican Guard, all working to destroy the Syrian rebels' advances in aid of supporting Bashar al-Assad's rule.
Image result for russian naval bombardments, syria

Thanks to the nuclear deal, Iran once again has discretionary spending potential, and while some Quds Force commanders have died in the Syrian conflict, others are prepared to continue directing strategic battles and Iran-sponsored mercenaries from abroad, including Central Asia are gaining ground on the rebels with their Islamist supporters against Assad, thanks to the entry of Russian warplanes and members of its military on the ground in Syria as well as naval ships pounding off long-range missiles into Syria from the Caspian Sea.

And now the Russian air force has also added cluster munitions, to the napalm, shrapnel and chlorine raining down from Assad's barrel bomb rampage in Aleppo and Homs, Idlib and Daraya. And the Obama administration is content to co-ordinate its military and intelligence agencies in the Middle East for coordinated air attacks, joint command and control headquarters, accelerating a bombing campaign to target the foreign terrorist groups in Syria, when the absolute foremost terrorist group -- Assad's murderous regime -- gets its free pass.

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