Monday, September 22, 2014

From Ian:

The West’s axis of evil friends
Over the past six decades the US and its Western allies have fallen entirely under the spell of a few sheikhs who, in other times, would have been laughed off as characters conjured up by Dante or Euripides. It is madness, like watching a world turned upside down, to see the leaders of the free world bowing to people whose main accomplishment in life is getting religious police to hold down women to be whipped in public; whose main contribution to culture, philosophy and art are the blood stains on the ground following executions and whose bravest achievement is finding a way to confiscate the passports of foreign indentured servants and working them 12-hour days.
Americans teach themselves back home about Abraham Lincoln and democracy and the Bill of Rights and then proudly eviscerate every American value the second they search out foreign allies such as these. In the old days politicians in the West were concerned about working with despots, they actively campaigned against close alliances with the Turkish Sultan, “butcher of the Armenians,” or the Russian czar. Newspapers spoke out against injustices. But the West has become entirely inured to this today. Is it too much to ask of the leader of a democracy not to shake hands with the foreign minister of a country that lashes women for appearing in a dance video? That might jeopardize our relations with them and offend them? So what. Let them be offended. We are talking about regimes run by modern-day versions of the KKK, the Inquisition and Ray Rice... all rolled into one.
Will we never be rid of the cowardly foreign policies of countries that have become helpless democratic giants with no moral compass? The least we can do is continue to be shocked by the pandering to the abusers. It is like the Dark Ages. Yes, the world has become savage and full of abuses of humanity, but some people have to preserve the memory of what it could be and the knowledge that one day the men with dark sunglasses in Riyadh will meet with the fate that they so richly deserve.
How Independent is a Think Tank Funded by Hamas-Backing Qatar?
Although Indyk resigned from his Brookings post to assume the special envoy role, he returned to the think tank following the peace talks’ collapse. Critics say Indyk’s relationship with Qatar should have prevented his appointment by the State Department in the first place. Some also say Indyk was the source of leaks on the peace talks that were anonymously cited in media reports as coming from “a senior U.S. official” who blamed Israel for scuttling the negotiations.
Mark Rom, who worked for two years as a research follow at Brookings about 25 years ago, told JNS.org that Indyk should have considered that concerns over a conflict of interest would be raised before he took the job of U.S. special envoy.
“If someone at Brookings receives a lot of money from Qatar and then the person leaves and becomes a negotiator [in the Middle East], it’s hard not to see how that wouldn’t be perceived as a conflict of interest,” said Rom, who is currently the associate dean for academic affairs, co-director of undergraduate studies, and director of the MA in American Government program at Georgetown University. “I’m not questioning the integrity of [Indyk], but people of great integrity still can be in conflict-of-interest situations.”
A May 2013 Bloomberg View column by Jeffrey Goldberg challenged Brookings on its overly gracious treatment of the Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani. Goldberg described his attendance of a private, off-the-record dinner hosted by Brookings to honor Al Thani, writing that it was a “cringe-worthy” event.
“I went to the dinner that night embarrassed on behalf of Brookings, which, like many institutions in Washington, shouldn’t be taking money from despotic Middle Eastern regimes, yet does,” wrote Goldberg.
FIFA exec: World Cup will not take place in Qatar
Qatar will not host the World Cup in 2022, according to Theo Zwanziger, the German member on the executive committee of world football’s governing body FIFA.
“I think that at the end of the day the 2022 World Cup will not take place in Qatar,” Zwanziger said in an interview with Sport Bild Plus.
The former head of the German Football Federation cited high summer temperatures as the reason Qatar would lose the right to host football’s global showpiece.
“As Mr Zwanziger himself says, it’s his personal opinion,” a FIFA spokesman responded to AFP subsidiary SID when asked about the German’s statement.
UNHRC on Qatar: “I see no objection”




MK: Hopeful World Cup Won't Be in Qatar
A demonstration in London Sunday outside the Qatari Embassy demanded that the sponsors of the World Cup change the venue for the 2022 games from Qatar to another location. In Israel, Yesh Atid MK Yifat Kariv has taken a special interest in the issue, and is leading Israeli activity to demand a venue change.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Kariv said that while Sunday's demonstration was organized by former Israelis and Jewish residents of London, more people in the UK and throughout Europe were becoming interested in the matter. "I came out a month ago calling for the cancellation of the World Cup in Qatar, and it spawned a worldwide interest," she said.
The only way to prevent the competition from taking place in Qatar is to marshal world opinion to move the games. She herself appealed to the President of FIFA, the games' sponsor, to move them to another country. Surprisingly, she said, she got a response very quickly, which said that the FIFA executive committee would discuss the matter next month.
The Palestine Mandate in a Nutshell
Historical note
In 1948 the Jewish population within the Armistice Line in Palestine became the majority. The trust res partially vested. In 1967 it became completely vested. Coincidentally, 1948 was also the year the UN Partition Resolution 181 was enacted and when Israel proclaimed its independence. That is why many people believe that Resolution 181 is the root of Israel’s sovereignty. But the Arabs rejected this Resolution. By law it was only a recommendation that must be approved by all involved before becoming international law. It died at birth when rejected by the Arabs.
In 1964 the PLO charter was drafted in Moscow. It posited that there was a “Palestinian Arab People”. In the ‘60s also the Soviet Diplomats at the UN promoted two International Conventions dignifying the right of any “people” to have the right of political self-determination not just under natural law, but also under international law. These became effective in 1976. But the drafters at the UN made sure that these rights under international law were subordinate to the right of a preexisting state to territorial integrity because since the new world order was established after the Peace of Westphalia, national boundaries of sovereign states have been inviolable.
So ends the Palestine Mandate in a Nutshell.
Netanyahu and Barkat's 'Jerusalem Disengagement' - by 2030?
Jerusalem Councilman Arieh King spoke to Arutz Sheva on Sunday, revealing the governmental policies from the highest echelons down to the grittiest building and population figures that lead him to reach one shocking conclusion: by 2030, Jerusalem will be an Arab capital.
King began by discussing the Sunday morning rock attack on a bus filled with 65 children making their way to school from Ma'aleh Hazeitim, a Jewish neighborhood on the Mount of Olives where King lives. He revealed that the attack by Arab terrorists is in fact a routine for Jews in the neighborhood, happening three times last week and dozens of times last month at the same exact spot.
"The question is: where are the Israeli police?" asked King rhetorically. The councilman answered his own question, noting there is "no doubt that the problem is from the top, from the government."
"For six years (Prime Minister Binyamin) Netanyahu has been trying de facto - by putting facts on the ground in eastern Jerusalem - to divide the city," charged King, noting how the terror is only the tip of the iceberg.
Abbas Says 'Peace' With Hamas Will Stop Terror
Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, after meeting French President Francois Hollande last Friday, claimed a peace agreement between Israel and the terrorist group Hamas would help the "struggle against terror."
Following the meeting, in which Abbas convinced Hollande to turn to the UN to pressure Israel, the PA chairman neglected to explain how exactly a long-term truce agreement with a terrorist organization would work "against" terrorism.
Perhaps explaining the conundrum is the fact that PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat has said in the name of Abbas in numerous interviews that his organization does not view Hamas as a terrorist organization.
However, another senior Fatah official, Tawfiq Tirawi, recently compared Hamas with the terrorist organization Islamic State (ISIS) following Hamas executions in Gaza of Fatah members.
IDF Blog: An IDF Soldier’s Experiences in Gaza
Sgt. Avi, the commander of the Sniper Squad of the IDF Paratroopers Brigade, entered Gaza with the purpose of dismantling Hamas’ terrorist infrastructure, including the vast underground tunnel network built to infiltrate and attack Israel. “My soldiers and I were prepared, both mentally and physically. We knew why we were going in,” said Sgt. Avi. “The company commander got on the radio and said, “pick up your bags’ and we started walking.”
“It didn’t feel real until we passed the security fence. Even though nothing really changed, you could feel something different in the air. As the sun began to rise, we reached our first operational area. We knew that there were two tunnel shafts in the area, and we ended up finding two more – altogether four shafts.” In order to provide cover for the tanks operating nearby and the soldiers tasked with detonating the tunnel shafts in the area, Sgt. Avi’s soldiers set up sniping positions.
“On our second day inside Gaza we moved to a different house; it’s safer not to stay in the same place,” said Sgt. Avi. “We were taking turns keeping watch, and I decided to join the round so that my soldiers would have more time to rest. I had just finished my shift when I realized that the soldiers were tense. One of them had heard a person speaking arabic outside the house and spotted suspicious movement.”
Realizing that there were people in the area, Sgt. Avi and his soldiers heightened their awareness. “I joined my soldiers on the roof. After a few minutes, a man about 40 years old walked out of a house nearby, and then I saw that he was holding a woman, and he was using her as a shield.”
IDF disputes death toll after Rafah kidnap attempt
An IDF investigation has asserted that the military’s bombing of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, in early August resulted in the deaths of 41 people — including 12 Hamas operatives — as opposed to figures recorded by health officials in the Strip, who pegged the number of Palestinians killed at 130.
The investigators said they had reached their conclusions based on Palestinian medical records and intelligence sources in the Gaza Strip, the news site NRG reported Monday.
The IDF’s shelling in Rafah, which lasted for two days, was carried out after the body of IDF officer Lt. Hadar Goldin was snatched by Hamas operatives on August 1.
Believing Goldin had been captured alive, the army responded with massive force in an effort to thwart his abductors, in accordance with the controversial Hannibal Directive, an IDF order under which soldiers are instructed to use massive force as a means to stymie an abduction attempt, even at the price of killing or wounding the soldier.
Cabinet approves NIS 1.3 billion aid package for south
The government on Sunday approved a multi-year strategic recovery plan devised for southern Israel in the wake of Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip.
The plan includes the immediate appropriation of 1.3 billion shekels ($360 million) to the communities adjacent to the Israel-Gaza Strip border, as well as an additional, overall budget appropriation of NIS 2 billion ($550 million) for southern Israel as a whole.
"This is the biggest investment Israel has ever made in the south," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday.
S&P: Gaza War Had Only 'Minor' Effect on Israeli Economy
It's official: The economic effect of Operation Protective Edge on Israel's economy was “minor,” according to international ratings agency Standard & Poors. In a report Monday, the agency reiterated its high regard for Israel's economy, affirming its 'A+/A-1' rating for the country's sovereign debt, meaning that investors in Israeli bond issues and government debt are almost sure to get their money back.
The huge outlays for the summer war are not expected to affect Israel's ability to pay its debts, Standard and Poors said. The agency's forecast for Israel reflects its view “that the government will maintain stable public finances and that the impact of security risks on the Israeli economy will be contained,” the report said.
Israel worries as al-Qaeda affiliates gain control of Syrian side of Golan frontier
Israel has some new neighbors. Al-Qaeda-linked rebels have, for the first time, established a permanent presence on the Syrian frontier.
For 40 years, Israel and Syria have kept the peace along the 1974 armistice line here, a cease-fire overseen by U.N. troops from countries such as Fiji and the Philippines, who patrolled a demilitarized buffer zone populated by apple farmers.
Today, the U.N. peacekeepers are mostly gone. And so is the Syrian government.
In a series of sharp, decisive skirmishes over the past few weeks, Syrian army forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad were swept aside by al-Qaeda-linked rebels from Jabhat al-Nusra and other anti-Assad militants along nearly the full length of the Golan buffer zone.
IDF: No evidence of Islamic State presence on Syria border
The Israeli army "does not recognize any Islamic State presence [on the Syrian border]" and the Golan Heights are safe to visit during the High Holidays, Col. Nir Ben-David said on Sunday.
Ben-David is deputy commander of the Israel Defense Forces' 210th Division, which is stationed on the Golan Heights and the Syrian border. "There are other [groups] operating there," he said. "Islamic State is still far off, many kilometers away. In the past year, the [al-Qaida-aligned] Nusra Front has made headway on the Syrian [border]."
"Today, there is no Islamic State on the Israel-Syria border," another senior IDF officer said. "I am not saying it won't happen; Islamic State is a movement that could galvanize many. [Fighters] can switch from one group to another."
'The Syrian war is not our conflict, but we are preparing for day this changes'
The Syrian war that has been raging since 2011 is “not ours, but we are preparing ourselves for the day the situation will change,” a senior IDF officer, based on the Golan Heights, said on Sunday.
Israel can deploy major firepower to the area, including air force and artillery, if needed “within minutes,” the source – from the 210th territorial Habashan Division – said.
“The Golani Reconnaissance Battalion is here. Every sector would be glad to have [the members of this battalion] as their guarantors. There are infantry divisions and armored divisions for when we feel there’s a need to have a bigger presence,” he said.
At this time, however, he said, the Syrian Army is not looking to begin a fight with Israel.
Report: IDF Foils Rosh Hashana Terror Attack Set for Gush Etzion
Released for publication: Israel’s security establishment has foiled a terror attack that was set to take place on Rosh Hashana.
Seven Hamas terrorists were arrested late Sunday night (Sept. 21) by IDF soldiers from the Duchifat battalion. The fugitives are suspected of plotting to carry out a terror attack in Gush Etzion during the Jewish new year holiday.
According to a report posted on the Hebrew-language 0404 website, IDF soldiers made the arrests in the Palestinian Authority Arab town of Kfar Sair, northeast of Hebron. During a search of the houses the soldiers also uncovered a large cache of ammunition and knives.
All seven suspects were turned over to the Shin Bet for interrogation.
Fears of Violence in Mixed Areas as Jewish, Muslim Holidays May Collide in Once in 30 Years Occurrence
In the wake of a summer wracked by Arab-Jewish violence within Israel, in Gaza, and in the West Bank, security and local authorities in mixed Jewish Arab areas are bracing for a potential “perfect storm”: the solemn Jewish Yom Kippur fast and the festive Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday – falling on the same day, Israel’s Walla News reported Sunday.
While leaders in mixed–populace cities like Jerusalem, Jaffa, Acco, Ramle, Haifa, Nazareth and elsewhere are trying to convey a message of reconciliation, the fact the two observances have such different characteristics makes that difficult: Yom Kippur involves 24-hours of fasting, prayer and introspection, while Eid al-Adha is a family celebration in which lambs are routinely publicly slaughtered for a feast.
The confluence occurs once every 30 years, and may occur again this year, on Saturday, Oct. 4. While both religions base timekeeping on a lunar calendar, Jewish law stipulates the day and length of the fast to the minute, while Muslim religious leaders can decide on the exact date of the holidays based on the appearance of the moon, giving them some leeway.
Mike Harari, daring, innovative Mossad officer, dead at 87
The man who led the Mossad’s operational unit before and after the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre, a lover of art and opera, a Francophile who kept a framed Beretta handgun on his piano — a memento from the heady days in Europe — died on Sunday. Mike Harari is survived by his wife, Pnina, two children and five grandchildren. He was 87.
The majority of Harari’s actions in the defense of the state of Israel will never be known, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Monday. “But anyone who had the privilege of knowing him, knew that he was a rare and ground-breaking man of operations, brave and creatively daring, whose influence on the Mossad and on generations of combatants is evident during these days and will continue to be so for many more years.”
Under Harari the Mossad’s Caesarea unit delivered key information enabling the hostage rescue in Entebbe and the “Spring of Youth” commando operation in Beirut, and led the clandestine anti-terror war in the capitals of Europe, killing those Israel held responsible for the 1972 Munich Olympics terror attack. In one tragic instance, a team of men and women under his command gunned down an innocent Moroccan waiter in Lillehammer, Norway – after which he offered Prime Minister Golda Meir his resignation.
The Mossad wants you!
Looking for a job? Have you considered working for the Mossad?
Israel’s legendary intelligence agency, long shrouded in mystery, is trying to give the future spymasters of tomorrow a hand in the recruitment process: On Monday, it announced the launch of a sleek new website in order to draw new candidates to its ranks.
The multilingual site, with tabs offering versions in Hebrew, English, Russian, Arabic, Persian and French, directs potential agents to an application page and offers a series of inspirational Zionist quotes such as “History is not written, history is created” (David Ben-Gurion).


Israel’s first network-centric war
A little less than a month after the end of the Gaza war, Col. Nati Cohen, head of the Planning Department at the C4i Teleprocessing Branch, sat in his office at IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, and described Israel’s first full-scale network- based war.
After two months of combat, the C4i Branch is still in recovery mode and is carrying out various checks of its performance during the war. However, one thing has become very clear, Cohen said. The network created by the C4i Branch, linking up the air force, ground forces and navy to each other, and to Military Intelligence, allowing them to share visual intelligence and integrate their command and control systems, passed its test with flying colors.
Prior to the war, the C4i Branch had been busy setting up a project it calls “Network IDF,” linking the three military branches to one another to produce the most advanced combat communications network of its kind in the world.
Netanyahu Says ‘Absurd’ to Ease Iran Sanctions in Exchange for Help on ISIS
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in response to a Reuters report that Iran is willing to work with the U.S. and its allies to combat the Islamic State terror group in exchange for more flexibility on uranium enrichment, warned against any collaboration with Iran.
“They are saying that the major powers need to go easy on Iran’s nuclear program so that Iran will fight ISIS,” Netanyahu said in a speech at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem on Sunday. “[Iran] is fighting ISIS for its own interests. They are fighting over who will be the ruler of the Islamist world that they want to set over the entire world. It is as if [Bashar] Assad would say, ‘Go easy on my chemical weapons. Give me back my chemical weapons so that I can fight ISIS.’ Both are absurd.”
Filipino Peacekeepers Unlikely to Return to Golan
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said on Sunday that he has been told security threats on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights are not expected to ease soon, dimming hopes that UN peacekeepers can be deployed back to the region in the near future, according The Associated Press (AP).
A group of 244 Philippine peacekeepers flew back to Manila on Friday after being recalled, while 84 more were due home Sunday, ending a five-year presence in the increasingly volatile Golan.
There have been no signs suggesting the Philippines will resume its mission in the Golan, according to AP. Filipino forces continue to help a UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti.
Fatah producing new rockets to replenish supplies to attack "the Zionist enemy" in "coming battles"
Last week, Fatah invited an RT (Russian TV) journalist to a rocket production facility to witness and film the actual production of new rockets. Fatah's military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, depleted its reserves while taking an active part in the Gaza war alongside Hamas, firing rockets at Israeli towns and cities:
Palestinian journalist (for RT TV):
"The moment the war (in Gaza, 2014) ended, the Palestinian military wings renewed military production in order to replenish the stock, which was emptied during the war." [Facebook, "Fatah - The Main Page", Sept. 10, 2014 (from RT TV)]
Fatah producing new rockets to replenish supplies to attack "the Zionist enemy" in "coming battles"


Hamas Angry with Palestinian Authority
The sniping and infighting between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority hasn’t yet reached the levels of throwing each other off the rooftops again, or even knee-capping, but it is getting there.
The Palestinian Authority is publicly calling Hamas corrupt (talk about the pot calling the kettle black) and says Hamas is stealing foreign aid money, and even charging Gazans to migrate from Gaza (pointing out that they then die in sinking ships).
Hamas, for their part are hitting back and calling the Palestinian Authority non-patriotic and non-Islamic.
U.S. Confirms Apache Deliveries to Egypt
Washington said in April it planned to resume some of the annual $1.5 billion in mostly military aid to Cairo, including 10 Apache helicopter gunships for counterterrorism efforts in the Sinai Peninsula.
Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said at the time that the helicopters would support Egypt's counter-terrorism operations in the Sinai Peninsula.
Egypt militants claim blast near foreign ministry
An Egyptian militant group has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s bomb blast in a busy downtown Cairo street near the Foreign Ministry that killed two senior police officers and wounded several other policemen.
Ajnad Misr, or Soldiers of Egypt, which has claimed previous attacks on police, said in a statement posted late Sunday on its Twitter account and on a militant website that it had used an explosive device on “officers of the criminal apparatus” as part of its campaign against security forces.
It said the attacks will not stop until “the ruling tyrants fall and God’s Shariah is established.”
US Reportedly Providing Indirect Military Aid to Hezbollah
Mohammed Afif, the new head of public relations for the Lebanese-based Iranian-backed terror organization Hezbollah, gave a rare New York Times interview as Lebanese experts reveal his group is indirectly receiving American intelligence aid in its fight against Islamic State (ISIS).
Following ISIS's temporary conquest of Arsal last month on the Lebanese side of the Syrian border, the US sent new weapons to the Lebanese army, which coordinates with Hezbollah. Likewise, US intelligence has found its way to Hezbollah according to Lebanese experts.
That leaked intelligence may explain some recent impressive achievements against ISIS, including the first known Hezbollah drone strike.
Hezbollah Claims First-Ever Drone Strike on Islamic State Target in Syria (VIDEO)
In a video clip released Sunday night, the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group said it had fired a rocket from a drone, hitting an ISIS target in Syria, according to Israel’s Ma’ariv News.
If the unconfirmed video is valid, it would be the first time the Shiite terror group has used such an air-to-ground weapon, which would signify a major upgrade in its war-making abilities, according to experts in Israel.
The weapon, which may have been of Iranian manufacture, is seen hitting a lone structure located within an olive grove, and used by the al-Nusra Front, according to the unverified video.
Jordanian king says borders ‘secure’ from Islamic State
Jordan has the military capacity to withstand an advance on its borders by the Islamic State, the Jordanian king asserted, after 11 members of the extremist group were arrested for an alleged terror plot in the Hashemite Kingdom.
“We have retaliated to several contacts over the past several months to those who have come across our borders or tried to come across our borders,” King Abdullah II said in an interview with CBS’s Sixty Minutes on Sunday. “So we have been somewhat aggressive to make sure our borders are defended.”
He added that the kingdom’s borders were “extremely secure,” and noted that countries in the region were united in their determination to contain the jihadist threat in Syria and Iraq.
Islamic State urges attacks on US, calls Obama 'mule of the Jews'
In his statement, Adnani mocked Western leaders over their deepening military engagement in the region and said Obama was repeating the mistakes of his predecessor, George W. Bush.
"If you fight it (Islamic State), it becomes stronger and tougher. If you leave it alone, it grows and expands. If Obama has promised you with defeating the Islamic State, then Bush has also lied before him," Adnani said, according to the transcript.
Addressing Obama directly, Adnani added: "O mule of the Jews, you claimed today that America would not be drawn into a war on the ground. No, it will be drawn and dragged ... to its death, grave and destruction."
Watch: ISIS Captures Millions of Dollars, Gold Ingots
A video uploaded onto the internet and translated by MEMRI shows Islamic State (IS) fighters parading a haul of millions of dollars and several gold ingots seized from the home of a prominent Iraqi official in Nineveh Province.
The treasure trove was found in the home of Osama al-Nujayfi, the former speaker of Iraq's parliament; in the video an IS fighter estimated its value in "the billions".
Whatever the precise amount, it's certainly a coup for the jihadi group which has swept through Iraq and northern Syria and is believed to be largely self-sufficient financially.
Much of its wealth is accumulated through organized crime rings or the sale of oil on the black market - but a lot is also brought in a booty from the battlefield.
Which group poses a bigger threat to US and Europe than ISIS?
While the attention of the world is focused on the threat of the Islamic State, some American intelligence and law enforcement officials fear a Syrian group led by a former member of Osama bin Laden's inner circle poses a more direct threat to both the US and its allies in Europe.
The New York Times on Sunday cited US officials as saying a group called Khorasan may in fact be the most likely to target America and its overseas interests with a terrorist attack.
The group's leader, Muhsin al-Fadhli, was believed to be a senior member of al-Qaida and close associate of Osama bin Laden that actually knew about the group's September 11 terror attacks before they happened.
The Times quoted intelligence officials as saying that the shadowy Khorasan group is made up of al-Qaida operatives from across the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa.
Atop their agenda is using concealed explosives to carry out terror attacks, according to the report.
Saudi Arabia’s Phony Anti-Terrorism Fatwa
The House of Saud is in trouble. They’ve spent billions to propagate worldwide the view of Islam held by the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. They perhaps never envisioned the prospect of a caliphate practically on their doorstep, and challenging their own legitimacy: the monster they created is returning to haunt them, and they know that if they join any military action against the Islamic State, they could face an uprising at home from young Muslims who have imbibed the understanding of Islam that they have so energetically taught. Hence this fatwa: they hope to delegitimize now what they have spent billions to legitimize, and convince their own people that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam and must be rejected.
AP, as biased as it is, seems aware that this is the point of this fatwa: to preserve the Saudi monarchy. “The clerics,” it reported, “are appointed by the government and are seen as guardians of the kingdom’s ultraconservative Wahhabi school of Islam. The statement by the group of 21 scholars underpins the kingdom’s broader efforts to deter citizens from joining extremist groups that want to bring down the Western-allied monarchy.”
Rise of Islamic education system unnerves secular Turks
Parents, educators and civil society groups have decried the move as another attack on Turkey’s secular principles by the Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) co-founded by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accusing the government of imposing religion on students.
“My child will be forced to wear a long skirt. She will be forced to put a headscarf on her head too. It is not mandatory for now, but who knows it won’t be one day?” said Beyhan, 49.
“I am a practicing Muslim, I fast, I say my prayers and read the Koran, but I still want my daughter to be educated in a normal school,” he said.
As part of a new nationwide exam introduced this year, some 40,000 students have been assigned to religious high schools either because they did not select any school, scored low marks or due to a technicality.
Most of them have been placed in schools nearest their home, but since so many religious schools have opened in recent years, it was difficult for some to avoid Imam Hatips — schools specializing in religious education combined with a modern curriculum.
Turkey: What Ally?
The Turkish government "frankly worked" with the al-Nusrah Front, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, along with other terrorist groups.
The Financial Task Force, an international body setting the standards for combating terrorist financing, ruled that Turkey should remain in its "gray list."
While NATO wishes to reinforce its outreach to democracies such as Australia and Japan, Turkey is trying to forge wider partnerships with the Arab world, Russia, China, Central Asia, China, Africa and -- and with a bunch of terrorist organizations, including Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, Ahrar al-Sham and the al-Nusrah Front.
Being NATO's only Muslim member was fine. Being NATO's only Islamist member ideologically attached to the Muslim Brotherhood is quite another thing.


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