Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Iran Wins at Syrian Monopoly

Iran Is Buying Syria
(Al-Souria Net-Syrian Observer)
Iranian traders have bought a large amount of Syrian real estate, primarily in the center of Damascus and Homs.
Several hotels in the heart of Damascus - such as Al Iwan, Asia, Damascus International, Phoenicia and the Petra - have become the property of the Iranian embassy, in addition to shares in the luxury Semiramis Hotel.
At Sky News, political researcher Ghassan Ibrahim said: "The [Syrian] regime has nothing to offer but real estate to Iran as guarantees in exchange for the huge amounts of money it spent to support the Assad regime."

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Fighting Jihad with Emojis

Post-Jihad Gesture Theater - Michelle Malkin

While homicidal, suicidal and genocidal jihadists are busy plotting the next soft-target terror attacks on the West, docile Westerners are busy shedding cartoon tears and doodling broken hearts on social media.

European artists rushed to fill Twitter and Instagram with images of Belgian comic book character Tintin weeping after vengeful Muslim terrorists left the Brussels airport and subway system buried in rubble and dead bodies.

Residents of the besieged city meekly protested the Quran-inspired violence by leaving pastel-colored chalk messages pleading for "peace no war." [T]ens of thousands of people spread the "JeSuisBruxelles" message with their thoughts, prayers and memes.

And, of course, there will be flags lowered and monuments lit up all over the world this week in the national colors of Belgium to show "solidarity" with victims of The Perpetrators Whose Religion Shall Not Be Named.

To borrow a useful phrase coined by British journalist James Bartholomew last year, we have reached the oversaturation point of post-terrorism "virtue signaling:" Hashtags, avatars and animated GIFs ad nauseam. These are the easy advertisements and maudlin displays of one's resolute opposition to an unidentified something that must be stopped somehow by unspoken means.

Virtue signals are "camouflage," Bartholomew explained. They are sincere-seeming shows of collective unity that disguise the millennial-age indulgence of publicly patting one's own back for supposed moral courage. "No one actually has to do anything," he opined. Virtue now "comes from mere words or even from silently held beliefs."

Pre-Twitter, outraged Americans all donned "Never forget" magnets and ribbons on our cars and lapels after 9/11. I was one of them. But after 15 years of hapless homeland security theater and bipartisan pandering to terror-coddling "Islamophobia" shriekers, I'm so, so sick of noble gesture paraphernalia.

I'm sick of Silicon Valley moguls who pretend to champion free speech while muzzling the speech of those who use the Internet to criticize the very open door immigration policies that fertilized European and American soil for jihadists. I'm sick of all the same old emasculated politicians who declare that "justice will be served," "this must end" and "we stand against terror," while refusing to take even the smallest baby steps to...drain the jihad swamps inside our own borders.

We've had enough piles of memorial flowers. We've heard enough hollow lip service paid to resolve. Where is the world's active resistance to the sharia-imposing soldiers of Allah?

We need Tintin to wipe his nose, man up and
The famous Belgian comic character Tintin,
depicted reacting to the terror attacks.
remember Belgium's once proud history.

When German invaders attempted what they thought would be an easy romp through the tiny neutral country in 1914 on their way to Paris, resistance fighters who were outnumbered 14 to 1 took a brave stand in defense of their sovereignty.

Bracing for an onslaught, King Albert addressed his people:
"One single vision fills all minds: that of our independence endangered. One single duty imposes itself upon our wills: the duty of stubborn resistance. In these solemn circumstances two virtues are indispensable: a calm but unshaken courage, and the close union of all Belgians. ... It is the moment for action. ... [A] country which is defending itself conquers the respect of all; such a country does not perish!"

How far the West has fallen. Farewell, steeled wills. You've been replaced by an army of sad-faced emojis.
[Jewish World Review]

The dark path to Brussels - David Ignatius

The value of catastrophic events is that they can help people face up to problems that are otherwise impossible to address. Maybe this will be the case with Tuesday's horrific attacks in Brussels.

Europe is facing a security threat that's unprecedented in its modern history, at a time when its common currency, border security and intelligence-sharing are all under severe stress. If Europe were a stock, a pragmatic investor would sell it, despite the sunk cost and sentimental attachment. Without radical restructuring, it's an enterprise that's headed for failure. 

The European Union needs to reinvent its security system.

The jihadist wave rolling back toward Europe is dizzying: U.S. intelligence agencies estimate that more than 38,000 foreign fighters have traveled to Iraq and Syria since 2012. At least 5,000 of them came from Europe, including 1,700 from France, 760 from Britain, 760 from Germany and 470 from Belgium, according to official data collected by the Soufan Group, a security consulting firm. Relative to its population, Belgium spawned the largest number of these fighters.

Belgian authorities couldn't find Salah Abdeslam, the logistical planner of the November Paris attacks, for more than 120 days -- until they finally nabbed him last Friday a few blocks from where he grew up in the Arab enclave of Molenbeek. He was hiding in plain sight. But Belgium's failure was cooked into the system: The jihadists move stealthily, and the Belgians didn't collect or share enough of the intelligence that was there. The authorities had allowed Molenbeek to become a safe haven -- more dangerous to Belgium than even the jihadists' sanctuaries in Syria, Iraq and Libya.

Americans, who are less exposed to the threat, may smugly imagine they can wall themselves off. But the Islamic State's rampage is more an American failure than a European one. The United States formed a global coalition to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the Islamic State back in September 2014. This strategy hasn't worked; the Islamic State's domain has shrunk in Iraq and Syria but expanded elsewhere.

The failure of the U.S.-led coalition to contain the jihadists has left a fragile Europe exposed to terrorism and social upheaval. President Obama hopes that history will affirm his prudent policy, but this view is surely harder to maintain after the Paris and Brussels attacks.
[Jewish World Review]

Young Muslims in the West: A Ticking Time Bomb? - Raheem Kassam

Pew Research from 2007 found that 26 percent of young Muslims in America believed suicide bombings are justified, with 35 percent in Britain, 42 percent in France, 22 percent in Germany, and 29 percent in Spain feeling the same way.
[Middle East Forum]


"Excuses" for Terrorists - Douglas Murray

The day after the Brussels terror attack, landmarks in the UK were lit up in the colors of the Belgian flag. But after 67 years of terror, the UK still has not found the blue and white lights it would need to project the flag of Israel onto any public place. 

When Israel is attacked, the steps of the Israeli embassies in London and other European capitals are not littered with flowers, teddy bears or candles, or scrawled notes of sympathy.
The writer is associate director of the Henry Jackson Society in London. 
(Gatestone Institute)

Enough Teddy Bears: Time to Take Civilization Back
-Raheem Kassam

And if like dead bodies Facebook profile pictures lost heat, it would be accurate to say that the Tricolores that adorned the social media profiles of many had hardly become cold before we were all changing the colours of the bands on the flags. From blue to black. From white to yellow. The blood red remains.

Because nowadays, teddy bears are the new resolve. They symbolise everything we have become in response to our way of life being threatened, and our people being slaughtered on our streets: inanimate, squishy, and full of crap.

Our security services and our police, hamstrung by political correctness, are just as interested in rounding up Twitter "hate speech" offenders than criminal, rapist, or terrorist migrants. Our borders are as porous as our brains. We refuse to realise that there are now literally millions of people amongst us who hate us. Who hate our way of life, and who will, one day, dominate our public life.

But of course, such statements are dismissed as fear-mongering, alarmist, or "out of touch with reality." As if the data doesn't exist, or the demographics aren't shifting quickly enough to notice.

As if vast parts of our towns and cities haven't become ghettos, or no-go zones, or hubs of child grooming activity, or terrorism.

As if mosques, schools, prisons, and universities aren't used as recruiting grounds for radicals.

As if the blood of our countrymen hasn't even been spilled at all.

Instead, we will now think deeply about how we can "reach out" to these populations. How we can "co-exist" and "be tolerant" of one another. As if toleration – which is actually the permittance of what is not actually approved or desired – is a healthy aspiration for a society.
[Middle East Forum]

Apple Trumped by Israeli Tech Firm

Israeli firm helping FBI to open San Bernardino shooter's iPhone

Israel's Cellebrite, a provider of mobile forensic software, is helping the US Federal Bureau of Investigation's attempt to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California shooters, the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported.
If Cellebrite succeeds, then the FBI will no longer need the help of Apple Inc, the Israeli daily said, citing unnamed industry sources. Cellebrite officials declined to comment on the matter.

Apple is engaged in a legal battle with the US Justice Department over a judge's order that it write new software to disable passcode protection on the iPhone used by the shooter.

The two sides were set to face off in court on Tuesday, but on Monday a federal judge agreed to the government's request to postpone the hearing after US prosecutors said a "third party" had presented a possible method for opening an encrypted iPhone.

The development could bring an abrupt end to the high-stakes legal showdown which has become a lightning rod for a broader debate on data privacy in the United States.

Cellebrite, a subsidiary of Japan's Sun Corp, has its revenue split between two businesses: a forensics system used by law enforcement, military and intelligence that retrieves data hidden inside mobile devices and technology for mobile retailers.
[Jerusalem Post]

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Syria's Future

Inevitable Syrian Collapse amid Russian Exit - Guy Taylor

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said that the collapse of Syria as a functioning country is inevitable, as Russian forces begin pulling out of Syria.

He said the U.S. and other powers are engaged in "wishful thinking" by pursuing a strategy in which Syria remains a nation as it was before the outbreak of war in 2011.

He said the only way forward is "to have a kind of federation" that includes an autonomous Kurdish "sector," even if such is opposed by Turkey. Other sectors might include an "Alawistan" led by Assad and a "Druzistan" for the nation's Druze population.
(Washington Times)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Iranian Missiles Shame Obama Administration

As with some political cartoons, no other words are needed

Palestinians Support Knifings

My Friend Taylor Force Is Dead - David Simpkins

The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found in a poll conducted last December that 2/3 of all Palestinians support the knife attacks against Israelis. Not everyone is willing to risk their lives and stab you themselves, but they actively support and cooperate with the ones who do. 

The writer is a West Point graduate and former U.S. Army officer who lives in Israel.
(Times of Israel)

Scholar Nails Islamic State's Progress & Troubles: VideoBite

A short scholarly review of the current status of ISIS

Monday, March 07, 2016

Raheel Raza interviewed by Bill Maher

Ms. Raza, a true moderate, interviewed by Bill Maher

Gay Muslim Poet Flees to Israel!

Payam Feili in Tel Aviv
Photo c
redit: Uriel Sinai for The New York Times        

Iranian Poet Flees to Israel - Isabel Kershner

In his native Iran, leaders openly wish for Israel to be wiped off the map. Yet Payam Feili, a poet and novelist, developed what he called a “special relationship” with the place, imagining it in his stories, which are replete with gay themes and Jewish symbols.

Now Mr. Feili, who is 30 and openly gay, is living in Tel Aviv as he seeks asylum in Israel. He has tattooed a Star of David on his neck.

“The more I gained a reputation outside Iran, the harder it became for me to live in Iran,” Mr. Feili said of the Islamic republic, where gay people have been executed. “Long before I left Iran,” he added, “I thought that the only other place in the world I could live was Israel.”

In recent years, he was unable to publish anything in Iran and even his friends hesitated to contact him. He said that when he began working with an Israeli who was translating his latest novella into Hebrew, government loyalists wrote articles accusing him of immorality and collaborating with the enemy.

He fled to Turkey in 2014 after being blacklisted and detained several times. Israel granted him entry on a temporary visa as a visiting artist about three months ago.
[New York Times]
Hat tip: Michael W


Friday, March 04, 2016

Christians Under the Thumb in Bethlehem

The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

Palestinian Christians Fleeing Bethlehem - Robert Nicholson

In 1990, Christians made up a majority of Bethlehem's residents; today they make up only 15%. Some say Israel is the reason for the decline, but then why is the Muslim population of Bethlehem growing when both sectors face the same exact set of circumstances? Jewish sovereignty does not, ipso facto,
lead to Christian emigration.

Inside Israel, the Christian population has been growing steadily for decades. The decrease of Christians inside the Palestinian territories is due more to rising Islamism and bad governance by the Palestinian Authority.  

It is no coincidence that Bethlehem was mostly Christian until the 1990s. Until then, Bethlehem was ruled directly by Israel. Palestinian Christians (and Muslims) could travel freely inside Israel, visit the beach, and shop in Jewish neighborhoods. That all changed in the mid-1990s when Israel agreed to let the PLO rule parts of the West Bank and Gaza under the Oslo Accords.

The Palestinian Authority is, by its own constitution, an Islamic state that embodies the principles of shari'a, and Christians are relegated to the status of second-class citizens. It is illegal to convert from Islam to Christianity. Moreover, living as a Christian, one is constantly reminded that he or she is not a member of the majority culture. 

In public, Bethlehem Christians laud their happy coexistence with their Muslim neighbors. They don't have a choice. They are hostages inside their own city.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Russia "Weaponizing" Syrian Refugees

Refugee Crisis Masking Infiltration of Terrorists to Europe and U.S.
- L. Todd Wood 

NATO's top commander, Gen. Philip Breedlove [pictured], told the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday that ISIS is using the Syrian refugee crisis to "mask the movement" of terrorists infiltrating Europe and the U.S. 

He said the Islamic State was "spreading like cancer" among the flow of migrants from the Middle East, "taking advantage of paths of least resistance, threatening European nations and our own."

Breedlove also said Russia's indiscriminate bombing of civilians is intended to "get them on the road" to Europe, where they can weaken the EU and NATO with violence and division. 

Russia is thus "weaponizing" the Syrian refugees. He added that at least 1,500 ISIS fighters have returned to Europe.
(Washington Times)