Sunday, November 29, 2015

Iran Deal Shocker

State Department: Iran Deal Not ‘Legally Binding’ and Iran Didn’t Sign It

President Obama didn’t require Iranian leaders to sign the nuclear deal that his team negotiated with the regime, and the deal is not “legally binding,” his administration acknowledged in a letter obtained by National Review.

“The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and is not a signed document,” wrote Julia Frifield, the State Department assistant secretary for legislative affairs, in the November 19 letter.
[C]haracterizing the JCPOA as a set of “political commitments” rather than a more formal agreement, is sure to heighten congressional concerns that Iran might violate the deal’s terms.
[National Review]


Tehran Hides Its Past Weaponization Work; the UN Gives Up
- Editorial

The nuclear deal has already become a case of Iran pretending not to cheat while the West pretends not to notice. 

(Wall Street Journal)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

New Anti-Riot Weapon

Israeli Skunk Spray Effectively Dispersing Violent Arabs

Israel unveiled a new kind of crowd control, affectionately known as Skunk Spray.  The “aromatic” spray is shot from a water cannon, soaking the target in gut wrenching, putrid smell. But, believe it or not, as smelly as it is, the Skunk is environmentally friendly, non-toxic, and so harmless you can drink it without fear of harm.

There’s been a worldwide interest in the new weapon. Freedom through chemistry!

The opposition is fuming: B’Tselem put out its own video showing Israel’s armored tanker trucks fitted with water cannons which spray the foul fluid at Palestinian protesters.  You can’t please some folks: the IDF units switched from live to rubber bullets – and they complained. Now that there are no bullets at all being used – they’re still complaining.
[The Jewish Press]
Hat tip: Linda F


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Get The Facts: VideoBite

A new film to be released by The Clarion Project :
"By The Numbers: The Untold Story of Muslim Opinions & Demographics"

Monday, November 23, 2015

Understanding ISIS & Its Demise

Kurdish flag

The Kurds Can Defeat ISIS – Jonathan Spyer

Islamic State does not, like some other manifestations of political Islam in the region, combine vast strategic goals with a certain tactical patience and pragmatism. Rather, existing at the most extreme point of the Sunni Islamist continuum, it is a genuine apocalyptic cult. It has little interest in being left alone to create a model of Islamic governance according to its own lights, as its Western opponents had apparently hoped.

Its slogan is "baqiya wa tatamaddad" (remaining and expanding). The latter is as important an imperative as the former. Islamic State must constantly remain in motion and in kinetic action.

If this action results in Western half-measures and prevarication, then this will exemplify the weakness of the enemy to Islamic State supporters and spur further recruitment and further attacks. And if resolve and pushback are exhibited by the enemy, these, too, can be welcomed as part of the process intended to result in the final apocalyptic battles which are part of the Islamic State eschatology.
Because of this, allowing Islamic State to quietly fester in its Syrian and Iraqi domains is apparently not going to work.

The problem and consequent dilemma for Western policy-makers are that Islamic State is only a symptom, albeit a particularly virulent one, of a much larger malady. Were it not so, the matter of destroying a brutal, ramshackle entity in the badlands of Syria and Iraq would be fairly simple. A Western expeditionary force on the ground could achieve it in a matter of weeks and would presumably be welcomed by a grateful population.
This, however, is unlikely to be attempted, precisely because the real (but rarely stated) problem underlying Islamic State is the popularity and legitimacy of virulently anti-Western Sunni Islamist politics among the Sunni Arab populations of the area.

As the Iraq insurgency and the Syrian and Palestinian examples show, the tendency of popular and street-level Arab politics in the Levant and Iraq is to take the form of violent politicized religion. As a result, any Western force entering Islamic State territory as a liberator would rapidly come to be considered an occupying force and would be the subject of attacks.
Islamic state is part of a larger process whereby Iraq and Syria have collapsed and fragmented into their component parts, and vicious sectarian war among their ruins is taking place. If Western policy- makers conclude that even given the continued existence of this larger process, Islamic State is a particular manifestation that must be wiped out, and if they seriously wish to pursue this policy, how might it be achieved, given the determination to avoid a Western ground invasion for the reasons noted above? The answer is through the effective partnering with reliable local forces, which could be persuaded, bribed or induced to undertake the military task of destroying Islamic State, in cooperation with Western air power.

The obvious candidates to undertake such a task would be the powerful Kurdish military organizations in both Iraq and Syria, presumably with a leavening or decoration of Arab fighters (Sunni Arab tribal forces in Anbar, small Free Syrian Army-associated groups in Syria, and so on) for appearance's sake and for holding the area following the destruction of Islamic State.
The problem here, of course, is that the Kurds, reliable as they are, have little or no motivation for risking the lives of their fighters in the probably thankless task of providing the backbone for a ground assault on Islamic State.

This problem is not insurmountable, but it would require a strategy able to provide sufficient political inducements for the Kurds. This would almost certainly have to include support for Kurdish statehood...
Jonathan Spyer is director of the Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.
[The Jerusalem Post via Middle East Forum]



How to Beat ISIS - Walter Russell Mead

Running wild through the streets, gunning down the crowds in a night club: This is fantasy violence, video games brought into the real world. ISIS is again the coolest of jihadi brands, the cutting edge of the war against the real. The intent is not so much to terrorize the West as to galvanize the faithful.
The writer is professor of foreign affairs and humanities at Bard College and professor of American foreign policy at Yale University.
(American Interest)

To Defeat ISIS, Create a Sunni State - John Bolton

Recent proposals lack a strategic vision for the Middle East once the Islamic State is actually defeated. Today's reality is that Iraq and Syria as we have known them are gone. The Islamic State has carved out a new entity, mobilizing Sunni opposition to the Assad regime and the Iran-dominated government of Iraq.

If defeating the Islamic State means restoring to power Assad in Syria and Iran's puppets in Iraq, that outcome is neither feasible nor desirable. Rather than striving to recreate the post-World War I map, Washington should recognize the new geopolitics.

The best alternative to the Islamic State in northeastern Syria and western Iraq is a new, independent Sunni state. This "Sunni-stan" could be a bulwark against both Assad and Iran-allied Baghdad. 

Many Sunnis today support the Islamic State as a bulwark against being ruled by Tehran via Baghdad. Telling these Sunni people that their reward for rising against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq will be to put them back in thrall to Assad and his ilk, or to Shiite-dominated Baghdad, will simply intensify their support for the jihadists.
The writer, a former U.S. ambassador to the UN, is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
(New York Times)

Defeating Islamic State - Amitai Etzioni

The U.S. actually won the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq easily and quickly. The 2001 overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan was carried out within a few weeks, with minimal American casualties. The 2003 removal of Saddam's regime also was carried out with few casualties and low costs. Both campaigns ended up badly only after the U.S. decided to make stable, democratic, U.S.-friendly regimes out of these nations.

Saddam had 400,000 soldiers; IS has about 40,000. Its seasoned fighters are being killed off and it now relies increasingly on newcomers. If the U.S., France and the UK were to put a force on the ground working with the Kurds, IS would not be much of an opponent. Once IS is defeated, though, the U.S. cannot engage in rebuilding Syria. The other parties in Syria must be left to work out their differences.
The writer is a professor of international relations at George Washington University. 
(Jerusalem Post)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Obama's Pretense

Obama's phony war - Charles Krauthammer, MD

Tell me: What's a suicide bomber doing with a passport? He's not going anywhere. And, though I'm not a religious scholar, I doubt that a passport is required in paradise for a martyr to access his 72 black-eyed virgins.

A Syrian passport was found near the body of one of the terrorists. Why was it there? Undoubtedly, to back up the ISIS boast that it is infiltrating operatives amid the refugees flooding Europe. The passport may have been fake, but the terrorist's fingerprints were not. They match those of a man who just a month earlier had come through Greece on his way to kill Frenchmen in Paris.
If the other goal of the Paris massacre was to frighten France out of the air campaign in Syria — the way Spain withdrew from the Iraq war after the terrorist attack on its trains in 2004 — they picked the wrong country. France is a serious post-colonial power, as demonstrated in Ivory Coast, the Central African Republic and Mali, which France saved from an Islamist takeover in 2013.
Indeed, socialist President Fran├žois Hollande has responded furiously to his country's 9/11 with an intensified air campaign, hundreds of raids on suspected domestic terrorists, a state of emergency and proposed changes in the constitution to make France less hospitable to jihad.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama, titular head of the free world, has responded to Paris with weariness and annoyance. His news conference in Turkey was marked by a stunning tone of passivity, detachment and lassitude, compounded by impatience and irritability at the very suggestion that his Syria strategy might be failing.
The only time he showed any passion was in denouncing Republicans for hardheartedness toward Muslim refugees. One hundred and twenty-nine innocents lie dead, but it takes the GOP to kindle Obama's ire.

The rest was mere petulance, dismissing criticisms of his Syria policy as popping off. Inconveniently for Obama, one of those popper-offers is Dianne Feinstein, the leading Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee. She directly contradicted Obama's blithe assertion, offered the day before the Paris attack, that the Islamic State (a.k.a. ISIL) was contained and not gaining strength. "I have never been more concerned," said Feinstein. "ISIL is not contained. ISIL is expanding."
Obama complained of being criticized for not being bellicose enough. But the complaint is not about an absence of bellicosity but about an absence of passion, of urgency and of commitment to the fight. The air campaign over Syria averages seven strikes a day. Seven. In Operation Desert Storm, we flew 1,100 sorties a day. Even in the Kosovo campaign, we averaged 138. Obama is doing just enough in Syria to give the appearance of motion, yet not nearly enough to have any chance of success.

Obama's priorities lie elsewhere. For example, climate change, which he considers the greatest "threat to our future." And, of course, closing Guantanamo. Obama actually released five detainees on the day after the Paris massacre. He is passionate about Guantanamo. It's a great terrorist recruiting tool, he repeatedly explains. Obama still seems to believe that — even as ISIS has produced an astonishing wave of terrorist recruitment with a campaign of brutality, butchery and enslavement filmed in living color. Who can still believe that young Muslims are leaving Europe to join the Islamic State because of Guantanamo?

Obama's other passion is protecting Islam from any possible association with "violent extremism." The Islamic State is nothing but "killers with fantasies of glory." Obama can never bring himself to acknowledge why these people kill and willingly die: to advance a radical Islamist millenarianism that is purposeful, indeed eschatological — and appealing enough to have created the largest, most dangerous terrorist movement on Earth.
[Washington Post via JWR]


Obama’s new counter-terrorism guru - Caroline Glick

Radical Islam may be a small component of Islam or a large one. But it certainly is a component of Islam. Its adherents believe they are good Muslims and they base their actions on their Islamic beliefs.

American politicians, warfighters and policymakers need to identify that form of Islam, study it and base their strategies for fighting the radical Islamic forces on its teachings.
[Jerusalem Post]

Egyptian Cleric: ISIS Grows out of Islamic Mainstream
- Raymond Ibrahim

Al Azhar, which the New York Times calls "Sunni Islam's leading religious institution," refuses to denounce ISIS as un-Islamic.
[Middle East Forum]

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Calls for an Offensive Strategy with ISIS

How to Fight a Real War on ISIS - Max Boot

As long as the Islamic State continues to administer a "caliphate" - a functioning state - it will continue to serve as inspiration and training ground for jihadists. The fact that Paris has been hit twice this year with terrible terrorist attacks - the Charlie Hebdo attack was in January - shows what everyone already knows: that it is impossible to stop terrorism with a purely defensive strategy. 

The only way to diminish the threat is to go on the offensive
The writer is a Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Taking the Fight to the Enemy - Naftali Bennett

When fighting Islamic terror, there is one path to victory and that is taking the fight to the enemy. To win, the world needs to go on the offensive.

There is no other way. When you take the fight to enemy territory, the enemy will have difficulty taking the fight to you. Only when that happens will the ability of ISIS to direct attacks in Europe or America be hindered. 
The writer, Israel's minister of education, is a major in the IDF reserves. 
(Wall Street Journal)

Will We Learn Lessons that Paris Attacks Teach? - Clifford D. May 

  • Time and again, the jihadis have demonstrated that they have other values that they are willing - indeed eager - to both kill and die for. Ignoring that, Western leaders speak about "countering violent extremism" through jobs programs and foreign aid. They have maintained that "there is no military solution" and that we can rely on diplomats to effectuate "conflict resolution" employing "soft power."
  • The jihadis are confident that France doesn't have the stomach for a long war. They view not just France but also the EU and NATO as spent forces - weak and war-weary.
  • Is there anyone who has the courage and the leadership skills necessary to resume leadership of the Free World and develop a comprehensive strategy to defeat jihadism in all its forms - Sunni and Shia alike?
  • (Washington Times)

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

    Shame on Kerry for Rationalizing Terror


    "Rationale" for Charlie Hebdo attack more understandable
    - Stephanie Condon

    Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday suggested that the "rationale" for the terrorist attack against the satirical French publication Charlie Hebdo, which left 12 people dead in January, is more understandable than any rationale for last week's attacks in Paris.

    "There's something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that," he said in remarks at the U.S. Embassy in Paris. "There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of - not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, 'Okay, they're really angry because of this and that.' This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate."

    Charlie Hebdo has continued to print its satirical, at times offensive, cartoons. Following Friday's attacks, it published a cartoon of a bullet-riddled Frenchman drinking, with the caption "They have guns. Screw them. We have champagne."
    [CBS News]

    Kerry sees 'rationale' in Charlie Hebdo murders - Eliza Collins

    Secretary of State John Kerry suggested that there was a “rationale” for the assault on satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo, unlike the more recent attacks in Paris.

    There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo," Kerry said in Paris, according to a transcript of his remarks. "There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of — not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, OK, they’re really angry because of this and that.”
    The attack on Charlie Hebdo, which took place in January, killed 12 people and was perpetrated by radical Islamic militants with ties to al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen.


    Are Some Terror Victims More Innocent than Others? - Elliott Abrams

    Secretary of State John Kerry said that the November killings in Paris are more terrible than those of January. "There's something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that. There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of - not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, okay, they're really angry because of this and that." Sure. They were angry about cartoons that lampooned Muhammad, and about Jews. Completely understandable.

    When people kill journalists and Jews, that is not an attack on "everything that we do stand for," whereas attacking a restaurant and stadium and a concert hall is. A bit odd: Do we stand for good food and sports and music more than we stand for freedom of the press and freedom of religion? Religious minorities and journalists perhaps are to blame in some sense for their own troubles.

    At Harvard last month Kerry had this reaction to the terror spree of Palestinians stabbing Jews in and near Jerusalem: "There's been a massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years. Now you have this violence because there's a frustration that is growing." This statement was plainly false. There has been no "massive increase in settlements," something the statistics show quite clearly.
    The writer is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
    (Weekly Standard)

    Tuesday, November 17, 2015

    VideoBite: ISIS Says They're Coming to The US

    In this short but sobering video, ISIS says they're planning a trip to Washington, DC soon.  Watch the subtitles.
    FBI Director James B. Comey has warned that Islamic State, an organization that was added to the agency's list of foreign terrorist groups only last year, is now in virtually every state. "This is sort of the new normal," Comey said in July after announcing the arrests of 10 people believed linked to Islamic State plots. Comey has said that as many as 900 investigations are underway into suspected terrorist-related plots, and officials say the majority involve Islamic State.
    The FBI cited at least 15 cases in August in which defendants were arrested, copped pleas or sentenced. In the two weeks before the Paris attacks, the FBI announced arrests or guilty pleas in five cases involving Islamic State or al-Qaeda. 
    (Los Angeles Times)

    Connecting the Dots Has Never Been Easier...but virtually no one is doing it


    Radical Islam – the invisible enemy - Caroline Glick

    The West’s whack a mole war against radical Islam at home and abroad has meant that even as one group – like core al Qaeda – is cut down, it is swiftly replaced by other groups, like Islamic State. And if IS is eventually cut down, it too will be replaced by another group, and then reconstitute itself as IS when the West’s attention is taken up by the next major group.

    Obama has enabled this state affairs by defining the enemy as narrowly as possible, reducing the whole sphere of radical Islam to a few secrete groups – like al Qaeda and IS – that he seeks to defeat or contain.

    It is not simply that the whack a mole strategy doesn’t work. It is self-defeating. Since the radical Islamic trigger pullers in the West are usually no more than a few people who get together to murder people, insisting that someone has to be a card carrying member of a recognized terror group before authorities will go after him makes it almost impossible to find operatives and prevent attacks.

    While Friday’s killers may have given their allegiance to IS, they were operationally and ideologically all but indistinguishable from their predecessors in the London subways in 2005 and the Madrid commuter rails in 2004 who hailed from al Qaeda. Likewise, while the US may have seriously degraded core al Qaeda in the Middle East over the past seven years, IS in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Libya is an organic extension of al Qaeda.
    To defeat these groups, the US and its allies need to adopt a strategy that is rooted in an acknowledgment of the nature of our true enemy: radical Islam.

    Armed with this recognition, the nations of the free world can determine operational guidelines for combatting not only specific, secrete groupings of adherents to this ideology, they can develop overall strategies for combatting it at home and in the Middle East.

    At home, such strategies require Western governments to penetrate, disrupt and destroy radical Islamic networks on the ground in a sustained, concentrated manner. In the Middle East, they require the free world to stop seeking to appease leaders, regimes and militias that support and ascribe to radical Islam. 
    [Jerusalem Post]


    60% of Americans Say U.S. at War with Radical Islam   

    A survey of 1,000 likely U.S. voters conducted on Nov. 17-18 finds that 60% believe the U.S. is at war with radical Islamic terrorism. Just 24% disagree.

    56% of Democrats believe America is at war with radical Islamic terrorism, a view shared by 70% of Republicans and 54% of unaffiliated voters.

    92% of all voters now regard radical Islamic terrorism as a serious threat to the U.S. This includes 73% who say it is a "very serious" one, up from 50% in Oct. 2014.     
    (Rasmussen Reports)

    Sunday, November 15, 2015

    Paris & The Third World War

    Welcome to World War Three  - Ron Ben-Yishai

    It is time that we came to the realization: we are in the midst of World War III. A war that will differ from the others but will take place all over the globe, on land, air and sea. This is a war between jihadist Islam and Western civilization; a war between radical Islam and all those who refuse to surrender to its values and political demands.

    The world war between murderous fundamentalist Islam and Western civilization – and basically anyone and anything not Muslim – will have to be waged without compromise and without half-steps on land, air and sea. Brussels may not like it – but we’re all in the same boat.

    Obama: Say the words 'Radical Islamic Terrorists' - Sherri Mandell

    Dear President Obama,

    Say it. Say the word, “Islam,” say the words, “radical Islam.” Say the words, “radical Islam extremists.” Say the words, “radical Islam terrorists.” Repeat after me. Say the words, “Muslims who murder, Muslims who murder innocents.” Say the word, “jihad,” say the words, Obama. Finally, say the words.

    After Paris, the free world’s narrative has changed. At least, there is the possibility that the narrative has changed.

    President Obama,, do not continue to deny the reality of radical Islam terror rooted in a religious narrative. Don’t tell us about senseless killings. Because the sense is this: radical Muslim extremists employ their religion to hate everything that the free world stands for. Their ideology is to destroy. Use the words murder, jihad, Obama, use the words. Don’t obfuscate, and don’t minimize our common enemy, because maybe just maybe, the truth of the enemy we are facing can no longer be minimized.
    Maybe the eyes of the world have been opened.

    Don’t tell us that it’s because of despair. Don’t tell us it’s because of a lack of justice or economic opportunity.
    Say the words, “war against radical Islam terror” because that is what we are fighting. Don’t tell us that terrorists attack because they are hopeless. Don’t tell us that it has nothing to do with Islam, when before the murderers kill, they praise the name of their God. Their hope is to kill us, to destroy us. Their pleasure is death and their greater pleasure is weakness, the weakness of countries and leaders like you who for too many years have tried to ignore or minimize the unpleasant reality of radical Muslim terror.
    [The Times of Israel]

    The Paris Massacre Will Have Limited Impact - Daniel Pipes, PhD

    The murder of some 127 innocents in Paris by a jihadi gang on Friday has again shocked the French and led to another round of solidarity, soul searching, and anger. In the end, however, Islamist violence against Westerners boils down to two questions: How much will this latest atrocity turn public opinion? And how much will it further spur the Establishment to deny reality?

    As these questions suggest, the people and the professionals are moving in opposite directions, the former to the right, the latter to the left. In the end, this clash much reduces the impact of such events on policy.

    Public opinion moves against Islamists specifically and Islam more generally when the number of deaths are large enough. America's three thousand dead on 9/11 stands out as by far the largest mortality but many other countries have had their equivalent – the Bali bombings for Australia, the railroad bombing for Spain, the Beslan school massacre for Russia, the transportation bombings for Britain.

    Sheer numbers are not the only consideration. Other factors can multiply the impact of an assault, making it almost the political equivalent of mass carnage: (1) The renown of those attacked, such as Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands and the Charlie Hebdo office in France. (2) The professional status of the victim, such as soldiers or police. (3) High-profile circumstances, such as the Boston Marathon bombing.

    In addition to the over 27,000 attacks globally connected to Islam since 9/11, or more than 5 per day, a huge increase in illegal immigration from the Middle East recently exacerbated feelings of vulnerability and fear.

    These cases make more Westerners worried about Islam and related topics from the building of minarets to female infibulation. Overall, a relentless march rightwards is underway. Surveys of European attitudes show 60 to 70 percent of voters expressing these concerns.

    But when it comes to the Establishment – politicians, the police, the press, and the professors – the unrelenting violence has a contrary effect. Those charged with interpreting the attacks live in a bubble of public denial (what they say privately is another matter) in which they feel compelled to pretend that Islam has no role in the violence, out of concern that to recognize it would cause even more problems.

    These professionals bald-facedly feign belief in a mysterious "violent extremist" virus that seems to afflict only Muslims, prompting them to engage in random acts of barbaric violence. Of the many preposterous statements by politicians, my all-time favorite is what Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, said about the Charlie Hebdo jihadis: "They're about as Muslim as I am."

    This defiance of common sense has survived each atrocity and I predict that it will also outlast the Paris massacre. Only a truly massive loss of life, perhaps in the hundreds of thousands, will force the professionals to back off their deeply ingrained pattern of denying an Islamic component in the spate of attacks.

    That pattern has the very consequential effect of shutting out the fears of ordinary voters, whose views thereby have negligible impact on policy. Worries about Shari'a, rape gangs, exotic diseases, and bloodbaths are dismissed with charges of "racism" and "Islamophobia," as though name-calling addresses these real issues.

    More surprising yet, the professionals respond to the public's move to the right by themselves moving to the left, encouraging more immigration from the Middle East, instituting more "hate speech" codes to suppress criticism of Islam, and providing more patronage to Islamists.

    Eventually, to be sure, voters' views will make themselves heard, but decades later and more weakly than democratically should have been the case.
    Placing the murderous rampage in Paris into this context: it will likely move public sentiments substantially in one direction and Establishment policies in quite the opposite way, therefore ultimately having only a limited impact.
    [National Review Online]

    Has France's All-Out War on Terror Really Begun? - Freddy Eytan

    For the first time since the Second World War, except for a few days during the Algerian War, Paris is under curfew and looks like a city of devastation, a ghost town. Why is it happening?

    The French-born children of North African immigrants harbor a deep resentment toward the authorities and have been joining the ranks of the Islamic State and other Islamic movements with vengeance as their aim. The presence of eight to ten million Muslims in France strongly influences governmental decision-making as well as intelligence work.

    Numerous French intellectuals, opinion leaders, and radicals still see the terrorists as freedom fighters, as underground activists who wage a just fight against all occupation and repression.

    Terror has crossed the Mediterranean and is striking Europe. France must unhesitatingly change its strategy and its naive attitude toward radical migrants.

    Amb. Freddy Eytan, a former Foreign Ministry senior advisor who served in Israel's embassies in Paris and Brussels, has written 20 books about the Israeli-Arab conflict and the policy of France in the Middle East.
    (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)


    King Abdullah: We are facing a Third World War

    The world is facing another global conflict and a fast response is needed to deal with the threat, Jordan's King Abdullah said on Tuesday. 
    King Abdullah of Jordan

    "We are facing a Third World War against humanity and this is what brings us all altogether," he told a news conference in Kosovo's capital Pristina.

    "This is a war, as I said, repeatedly within Islam and unfortunately over 100,000 Muslims have been murdered by Daesh (Islamic State) alone over the past two years, and that doesn't also count for the atrocities like-minded groups have also done in Africa and Asia," he said after meeting Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga.

    King Abdullah said the world must "act fast to tackle the response to interconnected threats"...

    "The atrocious Paris attacks shows that scourge of terrorism can strike anywhere and any time," King Abdullah said.
    [Jerusalem Post]

    The Slaughter in Paris: Motives and Implications
    - Oded Eran and Adam Hoffman

    In executing and taking responsibility for the Nov. 13, 2015, terrorist attacks in Paris, the Islamic State has three objectives: revenge against France for its military involvement in the international coalition to eliminate the Islamic State; an undermined sense of security in France and evidence to the Western world that the struggle with the Islamic State is not restricted to Iraq and Syria; and aid to the Islamic State in its efforts to attract new recruits.

    While some may hope that the events in Paris will add to Europe's understanding of the constraints involved in coping with Palestinian terrorism, and help mitigate the criticism of Israel voiced by various EU institutions and member states, similar events in the past indicate that this will not occur, and that no significant change in the European attitude on this question can be expected
    Dr. Oded Eran served as Israel's ambassador to the EU and Jordan. Adam Hoffman is a research associate in the INSS Terrorism and Low Intensity Conflict Program who studies the use of social media by jihad organizations. 
    (Institute for National Security Studies)

    VideoBite: Iran & Business

    Don't Give Iran's President a Pass - Giulio Maria Terzi

    Iran's President Hassan Rouhani travels this weekend for his first state visit to Europe. Since his election in 2013, more than 2,000 people have been executed in Iran, more than during any equivalent period in the past 25 years. The regime has also stepped up its arrests and its judicial abuses, including its targeting of activists, dissidents, minorities and others. By welcoming Rouhani, Europe is giving the impression that it is willing to talk about oil deals and trade partnerships even if it means actively ignoring Iran's worsening human-rights situation, its sponsorship of terror and destabilizing activities in the Middle East.

    Italy, France and the EU should commit to using Rouhani's visit not just to explore new investment opportunities, but also as an opportunity to confront him about his country's human-rights situation. The only reasons Western countries should have for meeting with the Iranian president are to challenge his domestic and foreign policies and to make it known that Western investment and sanctions relief will be shut off if Tehran fails to release its political prisoners and safeguard the rights of its citizens.
    The writer is a former foreign minister of Italy.
    (Wall Street Journal)

    Monday, November 09, 2015

    The Future of World Jewry

    Elliot Abrams gazes into the crystal ball [below]

    The Jewish Future - Elliot Abrams [pictured]

    [T]o me the future seems bright. 

    I do not believe the Islamic Republic will exist in 2065.  Even the superpower Soviet Union fell after three-quarters of a century, and the ayatollahs are now in year 36 of their revolution.  They are loathed by the people of Iran, and I believe popular resistance and contradictions among the clerics will eventually spell doom.  Of course we can make that more likely to happen, and sooner, by our own conduct toward Iran - reversing recent policy.  But they will not last 50 more years anyway, and a normal Iran will not be an enemy to Israel and the Jewish people. 

    [B]oth the Arab world's chaos and its battles with Iran and jihadism point to improved relations with Israel.  We see this happening already, and over time it can expand.  The Palestinian issue is now page-10 news, not a headline and not something that much moves Arab governments. 

    And I believe that the status of the Palestinian West Bank population will have changed in 50 years, from subjects of Israel to those of Jordan.  Israelis want to separate from the Palestinians but need security, and the long-term solution is the Jordanian army and police.  Once the Palestinian issue has a different diplomatic face, other Arab governments will be freer to do what Jordan and Egypt have done: make peace with Israel. 

    Israel will probably have decent relations with Jordan, Lebanon, Kurdistan, and the independent Druze areas of what used to be Syria. 

    So, 2065 will bring all sweetness and light?  No.  The American Jewish community will have declined as a percentage of the U.S. population, reducing its clout.  And the American left, in whatever party represents it, will be as anti-Israel as the parties of the European left.  Support for Israel will remain a divisive issue between left and right.  Hatred of Jews in the Muslim world will remain a dangerous virus.  Europe will be an increasingly hostile place for Jews, for political and demographic reasons.  European Jewish populations will be small, especially after the French Jewish community begins to leave in large numbers.  Israel and the United States will form the two poles of the world's Jewish population, with everyone else playing a very minor role. 

    Even more in 2065 that in 2015, Jews will be thankful for the support of American Christians in sustaining the ranks of the pro-Israel community
    Elliot Abrams is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of Tested by Zion, among other books.
    [Commentary Magazine]

    VideoBite: The Faithkeepers

    Trailer for a documentary film, set to be released in Spring 2016, about Christians in the MidEast: The Faithkeepers

    Thursday, November 05, 2015

    Iran Responds to Weakness

    (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi). Iranian demonstrators pour gasoline on the U.S. British and Israeli flags to set on fire during an annual rally in front of the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran

    Backlash Against U.S. in Iran Gathers Force - Thomas Erdbrink

    Anyone who hoped that Iran's nuclear agreement with the U.S. portended a new era of openness with the West has been jolted with a series of increasingly rude awakenings over the past few weeks.

    In addition to arrests of American citizens in Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, said the "Death to America" slogan is eternal. New anti-American billboards in Tehran include a mockery of the Iwo Jima flag-raising photograph. And an Iranian knockoff of the American Kentucky Fried Chicken chain was summarily closed after two days.

    A backlash against the U.S. appears to be underway.

    State-sanctioned media have been producing a litany of American conspiracy theories including the possibility that the CIA was responsible for downing a Russian jetliner in Sinai, and that a "network of American and British spies" has been rounded up. The head of the Revolutionary Guards, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, warned that a new sedition was underway involving the U.S. and its "domestic allies." 
    (New York Times)


    Iran's Clenched Fist to America - Editorial

    So much for the Tehran thaw. In recent days Tehran has arrested two U.S. citizens, bringing to five the number of Americans known to be under Iranian lock and key.

    The arrests come as Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has publicly reaffirmed his regime's commitment to its "Death to America" slogan and set new conditions on the nuclear deal that amount to a unilateral renegotiation. When it comes to the Islamic Republic, international goodwill is invariably met with contempt and cruelty.

    In the wake of the nuclear deal, this is a lesson the West will have to learn all over again
    (Wall Street Journal)

    In Iran, a Deal and Then a Crackdown - Editorial

    The anti-American backlash in Iran since the nuclear deal was signed has gotten so bad that one Iranian-American businessman in Tehran now likens it to a witch hunt. Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is fueling the crackdown. He has denounced the U.S. as Iran's chief enemy and warned against what he says is America's intention to infiltrate Iran and attack the country's revolutionary roots.

    (New York Times)

    Iran Never Approved the Nuclear Deal - Yigal Carmon

    The "Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action" (JCPOA) that was concluded on July 14 in Vienna is neither a contract nor even a real agreement between Iran and the P5+1. It is a set of understandings and disputes compiled into a single document. The JCPOA is characterized by bold prohibitions on Iran that peter out in qualifying terms such as "unless," "except if," and the like. As Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei frequently reiterates, Iran agreed to negotiations mainly to get the sanctions lifted.

    In Iran, following discussion in both its Majlis and its Guardian Council, the JCPOA as concluded and announced on July 14 was not approved. The Majlis ratified something else - a set of recommendations to the government of Iran regarding how it should execute the JCPOA. This hardly constitutes approval of the original document.

    No one in the West has spoken up about the fraud of Iran's alleged "approval" of the JCPOA. Everyone swallowed the lie, in a spirit of goodwill, in order to allow the JCPOA to proceed, for "peace in our time."

    Under the JCPOA, Iran has little time and much to do by Dec. 15. It must dismantle thousands of centrifuges and transfer them to storage monitored by IAEA cameras. It must ship out 9,000 kg. of its enriched uranium to a third country, retaining only 300 kg. It must dismantle and pour cement into the core of the Arak plutonium reactor, and transform the facility into a heavy water reactor. It must notify the IAEA of its voluntary acceptance of the NPT Additional Protocol. And more.

    But now Khamenei, in a letter to President Rohani, has dictated nine new conditions for the JCPOA, and declared that if these were not met Iran would stop the agreement. Yet the entire American media - as well as all the U.S. intelligence agencies and think tanks - claimed that Khamenei had approved the agreement.

    Wednesday, November 04, 2015

    What "Occupation" Really Looks Like

    This unusual video [longer than a soundbite] highlights life in the West Bank, dispelling the widely held notion that Palestinian life under "occupation" is horrible.  The video, while choppy at points, is nonetheless a valuable view into Arab life in the West Bank.
    - Corey Gil-Shuster (Ask Project)    
    What Do Palestinians Want? - Daniel Polisar (Mosaic)
    • To better understand the perspective of everyday Palestinians, I embarked on a comprehensive analysis of all reliable and publicly available surveys in the West Bank and Gaza over the past two decades.
    • In matters that involved both Israel and the Palestinians, massive majorities blamed Israel and denied any responsibility on their side.
    • As anyone observing Israeli politics over the last decade is aware, the most widely held position within Israel favors the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. Yet three of every five Palestinians believe Israel aspires to reconquer Gaza and the West Bank, annex them, and expel the Arab residents plus the Arab citizens of Israel.
    • And this, despite the fact that in the past quarter-century, not a single Israeli Knesset member, respected public figure, or major media personality has advocated such a view in public or is reliably claimed to have expressed it in private.
    • A majority of Palestinians, 51%, assert that Israel will "destroy the al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques and build a synagogue in their place."
    • In 2011, American political consultant Stanley Greenberg commissioned a survey of Palestinians on behalf of The Israel Project in which 72% declared it morally right to deny that "Jews have a long history in Jerusalem going back thousands of years."
    • In a 2015 poll commissioned for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy by David Pollock, only 12% agreed that "Both Jews and Palestinians have rights to the land," while more than 80% asserted that "This is Palestinian land and Jews have no rights to it."

      The writer is provost and executive vice-president of Shalem College in Jerusalem.

    Monday, November 02, 2015

    Bill Clinton's Annual Fantasy

    Once a year, around the anniversary of Rabin's assassination, former US President Bill Clinton claims that, had Yitzchak Rabin lived, there would have been a peace agreement between Palestinians and Israel. 

    Sorry Bill, It's Not Up to Israel - Jonathan S. Tobin

    • Bill Clinton spent the years after he left the White House loudly and bitterly lamenting the fact that Yasir Arafat cost him a Nobel Peace Prize. Clinton hosted a peace summit at Camp David in the summer of 2000 at which Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians an independent state including almost all of the West Bank, a share of Jerusalem and Gaza in exchange for peace. Arafat said no and months later launched a terrorist war of attrition.
    • But in spite of this, Clinton told a huge crowd in Tel Aviv on Oct. 31 that "it is up to you" in order to make peace in the Middle East. Clinton was an honored guest at a peace rally/commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin's murder. It is all well and good to praise the search for peace. But the last 22 years have taught us that it clearly is not up to the Israeli people.
    • Barak repeated the offer the next year, and Ehud Olmert sweetened it in 2008. Both times the Palestinians against refused. Before that, Ariel Sharon withdrew every soldier, settler and settlement from Gaza, hoping to create an opening for peace. Each time Israel took the kind of risks for peace that its friends and critics had been urging it to do, yet got neither peace nor credit for the sacrifice.
    • What more can Israel do to convince the Palestinians to make peace than they have already done? According to the Obama administration and critics of the Netanyahu government, they need to stop building homes in existing settlements in the West Bank and 40-year-old Jerusalem neighborhoods or release more convicted terrorists.
    • But does anyone really think that will convince the Palestinians to make peace when offers like the ones Barak and Olmert made were not enough? Did Sharon's experiment in trading land for peace - which turned out to be an exchange of territory for terror - not go far enough?
    • The problem isn't Israel not recognizing Palestinians' rights and aspirations. The problem is that even PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian lauded by President Obama as a moderate and a champion of peace, won't recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn.
    • It's not the Israelis who need the lectures from Clinton and Obama. It's the Palestinians. Israel has taken plenty of risks for peace. It's time for Americans to stop ignoring that fact and start putting pressure on Israel's foes to take some risks of their own.

    Palestinian Terror: It's Jihad Stupid

    Palestinian Violence Part of Worldwide Islamic Terror - Moshe Arens

    Understanding the roots of the latest wave of Palestinian violence can provide the key to dealing with it effectively. Those who go out to stab Jews or run them over in the street are not doing so because they have lost hope in the peace efforts chaperoned by John Kerry.

    What we have seen on the streets of Jerusalem in recent weeks is just another chapter of the wave of radical Islamic terror that has attacked targets around the world during the last few years. The perpetrators are inspired by the gruesome decapitations carried out by ISIS.

    The knife wielders in Hebron are probably longing for the "good old days" when their ancestors butchered the Jewish community there with knives and hatchets in 1929. These terrorists cannot be appeased. Their aim is death to the infidels - to the Jews and the "Crusaders." The resumption of negotiations with Mahmoud Abbas is not going to placate those brandishing knives in the streets of Jerusalem and Hebron.
    The writer served as Israel's Minister of Defense three times and once as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

    Islamic State Inspires Knife Attacks in Israel - Jonathan Spyer 

    Cooperation between Israeli security forces and those of the Palestinian Authority has not broken down as a result of the violence in Israel and the West Bank. The PA leadership does not control the young people carrying out the stabbings. In spite of Abbas' rhetorical condemnations of Israel, he evidently prefers not to throw away the relative stability of the last years. The Tanzim and other Fatah armed groups have been instructed not to engage in violence.

    Moreover, the general chaos in the surrounding area - in Syria, Sinai, Iraq - has not escaped the attention of Palestinians and serves as a disincentive to participation in violence among wide sections of society. The Second Intifada was not that long ago. The suffering it entailed is still remembered by all those over the age of 30.

    The attacks are emerging from Palestinians too young to remember the last Intifada. But other than expressing anger, a leaderless, directionless trend of this type ultimately is capable of only a limited impact. The stabbings will not produce any gains for the Palestinians.

    The inspiration for the wave of knife attacks is fairly obvious. It is the Islamic State which has "pioneered" murder with cold steel in the Middle East.
    The writer is director of the Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs and a fellow at the Middle East Forum. 
    (The Australian)