Monday, September 29, 2014

From Ian:

From Arab Spring to Islamic Winter - to Total Chaos
Middle East experts Dr. Mordechai Kedar and Prof. Eyal Zisser recently sat down with Arutz Sheva ahead of the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah), and recapped the tumultuous and bloody events of the Arab world over the past year.
Kedar, a senior lecturer at Bar Ilan University, began by noting the current warfare is the continuation of a trend of disorder since the "Arab spring" revolutions began in 2011, leading to the "deterioration of states like Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen."
"On the ruins of these countries we see already enclaves of Islamic states," said Kedar, noting the Islamic State (aka ISIS) that has brutally seized power and declared statehood in parts of Iraq and Syria, as well as the Al Qaeda-linked Boko Haram terror group that similarly declared statehood in Nigeria.
Zisser, an expert on Syria and Lebanon and Dean of the Faculty of the Humanities at Tel Aviv University, concurred with Kedar's appraisal, saying "the Arab spring turned out to be an Islamic winter, and now it's not a spring, it's not a winter - it's simply chaos and anarchy."
The western world has exhibited "hypocrisy" towards the developing bloodshed in the Middle East according to Kedar, who remarked the world only wakes up when Westerners are beheaded.
Summing Up the Year in the Arab World - Dr. Mordechai Kedar and Prof. Eyal Zisser


Michael J. Totten: Dig In For a Long War
So we’re resisting one group of odious actors and boosting the other.
We’ve done this before, most famously during World War II when the US and Britain formed an alliance with Josef Stalin against Adolf Hitler in Germany. The long Cold War against Russia began almost immediately after the allies defeated the Nazi regime. One of the West’s last moves in that war was backing the Mujahideen in Afghanistan against the Soviet occupation, some of which later formed the Taliban as others joined the Northern Alliance.
If there were an easier way to clean up the world, believe me, we’d do it. But there’s not. So here we are.
When the Syrian civil war started I argued that the Assad should take be taken care of before the Sunni Islamists, but the latter were weaker then, and in any case we’ll have to deal with both in the long run either way. Because there can be no chance whatsoever of peace and quiet in the Middle East until both the Islamic State and the Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah axis are defeated. Effectively dealing with just one of those factions will take many years.
The Obama administration has been perfectly in line with American public opinion these last few years in wishing the Middle East would just sod off and leave us alone. Huge numbers of Middle Easterners have felt the same way about us. After working in and writing about the region for ten years, I’m sick of it too. But we’re stuck with each other, like it or not.
PA’s Erekat claims 96% of Gaza dead were civilians
In an Army Radio interview conducted in English, Erekat also claimed that Israel killed 12,000 people and injured another 12,000 in Gaza, though it was possible that he misspoke and intended to say 2,000 fatalities — the widely accepted figure.
Responding to Erekat’s interview, Israel’s Communication Minister Gilad Erdan said the Palestinian leadership was operating “an industry of lies” aimed at fundamentally delegitimizing Israel, and that there was “no one to talk to” about peace on the Palestinian side.
Erekat spoke three days after Abbas leveled the genocide allegation against Israel in his speech to the UN General Assembly in New York. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was set to address the General Assembly later Monday, having vowed to “refute the lies” disseminated by Abbas against Israel.
Erekat, in the radio interview, defined genocide as “a direct attempt to eliminate, horrify, relocate, destroy a way of life” and claimed “Israel committed the killing of 12,000 and wounding 12,000 Palestinians; 96 percent of them are civilians.”



Douglas Murray: Why are we paying more benefits to Islamist preachers than our own soldiers?
For some time I have suggested that it is inexplicable that laws like those which can be used against people for membership of a proscribed organisation were being almost totally ignored. So the arrest of Anjem Choudary and others for precisely this is doubly pleasing.
The banning of the various manifestations of the radical group Al-Muhajiroun was always vaguely farcical. The Home Office would ban one offshoot of the organisation and A-M would respond by starting something of exactly the same beliefs and precisely the same constituent people and parts under another name. A version of the game of whack-a-mole developed, but with Choudary and his cohorts setting up organisations faster than the Home Office got around to banning them. So it is good news that the relevant authorities seem finally to have caught up with the letter as well as the spirit of the law.
But there has always been a slightly odd attitude towards Choudary in this country. The fire-breathing cleric has almost replaced the doubting bishop in our nation’s comedy. And much of it was comic. I remember once debating with Choudary and discovering that his ‘School of Sharia’ was actually just him on his phone sitting in a van. No building let alone a school existed. But there were deeply unfunny thing about him too, most particularly his contacts with people convicted of Islamist related terror offences in the UK and the alignment of those people with A-M.
Geert Wilders: Stop Denying the Obvious: Islam is a Problem
To defeat IS we should do more than just bomb its strongholds in the Middle East; we should no longer turn a blind eye to the violent nature of Islam. We should demand that those who settle in our countries cast aside values incompatible with ours. There is a huge problem -- also in our countries - cause by the violent exhortations of Islam. Only when we face this truth will we be able to win this war we are in.
Although the majority of Muslims are moderate, thousands of innocent civilians all over the West have fallen victim to terrorists inspired by Islam. IS has announced that every citizen of the West is a target.
70% of Dutch Muslims consider the religious rules of Islam more important than the secular laws of the country where they are living.
At UN, PM will dish out, but offer little else
As usual, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who left Sunday for a week-long visit to the United States, will deliver a well-written speech at the United Nations. This year he will seek to refute the Palestinians’ accusations of “genocide” and warn the world — yet again — of the dangers of a nuclear Iran. But judging from interviews and statements he made in recent days, his visit will be thoroughly reactive rather than proactive.
Netanyahu is not expected to announce any new diplomatic initiatives, nor present novel ideas that could lead to a breakthrough in any of the issues on the table, neither at the UN General Assembly Monday in New York, nor during his meeting with President Barack Obama in Washington on Wednesday. Rather, his self-imposed mission for this trip appears to be merely to respond to what others have said before him.
“I will refute all of the lies being directed at us and I will tell the truth about our state and about the heroic soldiers of the IDF, the most moral army in the world,” he said Sunday morning before boarding the plane to New York. Earlier during the weekend, he indicated that the main purpose of his trip was to “tell the truth of Israel’s citizens to the entire world.”
Netanyahu lashes Abbas during dinner with Kerry
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu kicked off his offensive against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s UN address, bringing his criticisms to US Secretary of State John Kerry during a dinner meeting Sunday.
The two met in New York shortly after Netanyahu arrived ahead of his own UN address Monday evening, during which he is expected to counter Abbas’s claims that Israeli committed “genocide” against Gazans during this summer’s 50-day Israel-Hamas war.
Netanyahu expressed his outrage to Kerry, according to a senior Israeli official cited by Haaretz on Monday.
What is the alternative?
My argument is that Israel should move in the other direction — for example, take steps that increase, rather than decrease, its degree of sovereignty in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem (I know that legally it is fully sovereign in all of Jerusalem, but de facto it is another story in many areas).
It should respond disproportionately to terrorism, without overly restrictive rules of engagement.
It should move forward with the understanding that the world will not approve of its actions, but it should act in accordance with its security needs, not the desires of external powers. After all, most of these powers do not wish it well as it is.
It should also present the reasons for its actions transparently in public diplomacy. For example, there is no reason to pretend that a “two-state solution” is its objective.
There could be economic and diplomatic retaliation, but Israel’s economy is strong and its leverage will improve with the development of its natural gas resources. Anyway, if we do nothing the pressure will only increase.
From a security point of view, it is better to be respected, even feared, than liked (Machiavelli said something like this too). The Jew among nations cannot expect to be liked, but it could be respected.
Kuwaiti FM denies meeting Livni in New York
Kuwait has reportedly denied that its foreign minister met with Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, along with a host of other Arab ministers, at an informal banquet in New York City on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
The Israeli news site Walla reported Saturday that Livni, a former foreign minister, had attended a dinner in New York last week with foreign ministers and senior officials from a number of Arab nations, among them some that do not have diplomatic relations with Israel.
However, a Kuwaiti foreign ministry official said that “this report is baseless,” according to Turkish news site Haberler, denying Sheikh Khaled al-Sabah had attended any such dinner.
Another Kuwaiti official, Ahmed al-Sadoun, a former speaker of the Kuwaiti National Assembly, wrote on Twitter in response to the report that his government “must clarify whether the foreign minister had attended such a meeting” because “the Zionist entity [Israel] is an enemy state with which Kuwait has no relations,” according to a translation provided by Haberler.
David Frum: Israel's Man at the United Nations
Since 2011, this job has fallen to the genial but adamantly tough Ron Prosor, a career diplomat whose grandparents got out of Germany just in the nick of time. His toughness was on display in August, when 45 UN peacekeepers from Fiji were taken prisoner near the Golan Heights by anti-regime fighters in Syria. Israel’s UN representative was called to a UN Peacekeeping office, where he was asked if the Israelis could help find the Fijians. Prosor pointed out that the UN has repeatedly demanded that Israel cease its aerial surveillance of Syria and Lebanon, publicly condemning overflights in Lebanon as recently as May 2013. Where would the UN be now, he demanded, if Israel had heeded the organization’s demands? Israel nevertheless aided the rescue mission, and the peacekeepers were released on September 11.
Prosor’s primary task over the UN’s fall session will be to work with friendly governments—notably the U.S., U.K., and rotating member Australia—to avert a one-sided or punitive Security Council resolution on the Gaza war. But Prosor is not a diplomat who remains on defense. On the day I spent with him at the UN, he was instead on the offensive—campaigning on an issue that might at first seem obscure: the UN holiday calendar. The institution observes 10 holidays. Six reflect the fact that the UN is based in New York and most of its employees accordingly send their children to schools closed on major American holidays: New Year’s Day, Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving. The four other holidays are major religious festivals of significance to UN member nations: the Christian holy days of Good Friday and Christmas, and the Muslim holy days of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
Abbas Threatens Israel with 'Political War'
Fatah leader Nabil Shaath told the PA-based Ma'an news agency on Sunday that this “political war” will begin if there is a negative response to Abbas’s steps at the United Nations.
"This is the last chance for the world to accept the resolution that is currently being prepared for at the Security Council," Shaath told Ma'an.
If the U.S. vetoes the resolution as expected, Abbas will give the green light for "the war of international boycott of Israel" and hold it accountable at the International Criminal Court, Shaath declared.
Abbas has announced his intention to lobby the United Nations to set a deadline for Israel to withdraw from Judea and Samaria, a unilateral move which is in direct violation of the Oslo Accords. The move has received the backing of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
PA Rejects U.S. Criticism of Abbas's Speech
In his speech, Abbas accused Israel of “genocide” and “war crimes” and State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki responded by saying that the speech “included offensive characterizations that were deeply disappointing and which we reject.”
"Such provocative statements are counterproductive and undermine efforts to create a positive atmosphere and restore trust between the parties," she added.
Responding to Psaki’s comments, Erekat said they were “irresponsible, indecent and rejected,” according to the PA-based WAFA news agency.
He said that all items underscored by Abbas during his speech were welcomed by the international community, with the exception of the Israeli Government and the U.S. State Department spokeswoman.
Egyptian FM says demilitarizing Gaza not for discussion now
Egypt is focused on promoting efforts to ensure this summer’s Gaza conflict does not repeat itself, but isn’t looking to immediately demilitarize the Strip, Egypt’s foreign minister said in an interview published Monday.
“We have succeeded in stabilizing the ceasefire during negotiations, and we hope to continue our efforts to reach an agreement that will guarantee” that there won’t be a repeat of the violence, Sameh Shukri told the Arabic daily Al-Hayat.
He added, however, that demilitarization of the Hamas-ruled enclave, one of Israel’s key goals in negotiations, is a matter that should be taken up during negotiations on a final peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
After Bridging NY-Boston Rivalry, Jeter To Mediate Mideast Conflict (satire)
Derek Jeter took the final at-bats of his career at Boston’s Fenway Park yesterday afternoon, following a moving pre-game ceremony in which heroes of Boston sports legend came to pay tribute to him. The 40-year-old was playing his final game after announcing last spring that this year would be his final one as a player, marking the end of a twenty-year career during which the Michigan native assured a himself place in the Baseball Hall of Fame while maintaining a spotless reputation and class that have eluded many other high-profile players. His poise and dedication to the game eventually won over even Red Sox Nation, as the legions of Yankee-hating loyalists are known. Jeter singled home a run in his second plate appearance of the game, then left the field for a pinch-runner amid a standing ovation that lasted nearly two full minutes.
That achievement immediately caught the attention of President Barack Obama, who has been desperate to reassert an effective US role in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, and whose team has been both relatively ineffective and suspected of improper loyalties; former envoy Martin Indyk worked extensively at the Brookings Institution, a foreign-policy think tank that recent disclosures indicate was funded by Hamas patron Qatar. “Derek Jeter has accomplished what many thought an even more impossible feat than peace between Israel and her neighbors,” said the president. “This should be a piece of cake for him.”
Israeli teacher arrested over links to Islamic State
A teacher from a predominantly Israeli-Arab town in the Galilee was arrested on suspicion of “being associated with the Islamic State,” police said Monday.
The man, 24, is a teacher of Islam at a high school in Kafr Kanna, where he lives. A search of his house revealed books, documents and files relating to banned terror organizations, including an Islamic State flag, police said.
The teacher “was recently in Jordan, and is being questioned by police in connection with being associated with the Islamic State,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told The Times of Israel.
“We confiscated materials from his house, including computers and flags and other [items] connected with the Islamic State…he brought back the materials from Jordan, and the investigation is continuing,” he said.
Twice in Two Days: Gazan Man Arrested Infiltrating into Israel
Just a day after an Arab terrorist carrying a knife and spike was arrested after infiltrating into the area near Nahal Oz, another Gaza terrorist was arrested on Monday after infiltrating the security border.
The Gaza infiltrator was apprehended by the IDF in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council area, after apparently breaking through the barrier during riots near the security fence earlier in the day.
Dozens of rioters disrupted the order by the fence adjacent to the Netiv Ha'asara community to the north of Gaza. Concerns that one rioter had broken through the border led to extensive searches that eventually succeeded in locating the man.
He was then brought in for investigation; Walla! reports that he apparently was not armed.
IDF Intelligence Unit: Prisoner Interrogation Saved Many Israeli Lives
For two weeks, they slept on makeshift beds in Gaza’s tunnels, living on water and dates, waiting for the order to ascend to the surface and attack advancing Israeli forces from the rear. They had been trained to wait like that for as long as a month and a half, if necessary.
This testimony from a Hamas fighter captured by Israeli troops during last month’s fighting in Gaza was described in a rare interview on YNet with soldiers from an Israeli field intelligence unit who served in the Gaza war.
One interrogator, identified only as R., said that the paratroop unit he was attached to killed three Hamas operatives emerging from a ruined building. The troops discovered a shaft just inside the building’s entrance leading down to a tunnel. A small detachment remained behind while the rest of the unit continued on. After two hours, two figures emerged from shaft and threw their weapons down, raising their hands in surrender.
Prisoner interrogation saved many Israeli lives, R. said. “We retrieved information from them about a complex of buildings the brigade was about to enter. They told us about booby trapped entrances and bombs lining the paths around the complex. Other forces that entered such complexes elsewhere suffered heavy losses.”
Another field intelligence officer accompanied a unit that spotted a Hamas crew preparing to launch a rocket into Israel. The officer pleaded with the commander not to open fire but to execute a flanking movement and capture the crew. This was done. “We got information from them about 15 launch sites, information that was immediately passed on to the air force. Within minutes, they bombed the sites. We also learned from them their method of operation—how far they position themselves from concealed launch sites, who gives the launch order and by what means—telephone or radio.”
Now The War is Over, US Sends Hellfire Missiles to Israel
Now that the war has ended with the Hamas terrorist rulers of Gaza, the Obama White House has apparently unclenched its fist and allowed the Pentagon to send Israel some of the Hellfire missiles that were on ‘back order.’
Ammunition used by Israeli tanks and other essential military supplies had also been held up due to a new requirement that any military supplies undergo special review by staff at the State Department and the White House.
The mandate came in mid-August during Operation Protective Edge, while Israel was struggling with half a dozen or more broken cease-fires and more than 300,000 internally displaced citizens fleeing Hamas rocket fire.
Cop who beat US-Palestinian teen says he felt his life was in danger
The Border Policeman indicted for beating US-Palestinian citizen Tariq Abu Khdeir, 15, in July spoke out about the incident, saying he felt he was in mortal danger during the riots, and that Abu Khdeir refused to release his grasp on a slingshot.
“While I am running [amid the riots], I notice that a Molotov cocktail was thrown at my friend,” the policeman was quoted by Channel 2 as saying on Sunday. “I continue running and identify a group of eight people with their faces covered, armed with slingshots. I also saw knives.”
The cop said that he and his colleagues had been given orders not to open fire on the protesters, despite the fact that bombs were being used against them. “Pipe bombs were thrown, some of them exploded; luckily no one was killed.”
The beating, caught on camera, took place three days after Tariq’s cousin, Muhammed Abu Khdeir, was killed in an alleged revenge attack by Jewish extremists in Jerusalem.
Rioters stone Jerusalem light rail; Jewish cemetery desecrated
The Jerusalem light rail came under attack in two separate incidents Sunday, with vandals hurling stones at its cars as it traveled through the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat. No injuries were reported in either incident, but several of its cars and windows were damaged.
Border policemen, who were called to the scene by the light rail's security staff, detained three suspects for questioning in connection with the incidents, Channel 2 reported.
In a separate incident over the weekend, vandals damaged 50 headstones in Jerusalem's Mount of Olives cemetery.
A police source said that some headstones were severely damaged, "as if someone had tried to shatter the entire grave." The source said the extent of the damage indicated that the perpetrators had "spent several hours" at the cemetery.
3 Wounded Syrian Children Brought to Israel for Medical Treatment
Three Syrian children wounded Saturday night when a mortar shell struck a courtyard where they were playing were brought to the Rebecca Sieff Hospital in Safed, Israel, for medical treatment.
A 7-year-old boy was in serious condition with chest wounds and a broken hand; a 10-year-old boy was also in serious condition with shrapnel wounds all over his body, including to his head; and an 8-year-old girl with a leg wound was listed in moderate condition. The mortar shell that wounded the three children left the rest of their playmates dead.
Sieff Hospital reported Saturday that the children were being treated in the emergency room and, following exams and x-rays, would be operated on. A total of 376 Syrians wounded as a result of their country’s civil war have received treatment at the Israeli hospital.
Fatah honors suicide bomber
Fatah's official Facebook page "Fatah - the Main Page" glorified suicide bomber Zainab Abu Salem, who murdered two Israelis. On the way to her attack, the Fatah terrorist from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades was stopped by two Israeli policemen. She then detonated her bomb, which killed the policemen and injured 30 others.
Palestinians have attached religious significance to the fact that although she was decapitated by her bombing her religious headscarf remained on her head:
"After the operation (i.e., terror attack) Martyr Zainab's head was severed from her body, while her hijab (religious headscarf) continued to cover her hair. With this she became the eleventh female Martyrdom-seeker (i.e., suicide bomber) in Palestine."
Hamas eyes 'Schalit 2' scenario
Senior Hamas officials on Sunday urged the abduction of Israeli soldiers, saying they hope this will facilitate another large-scale prisoner exchange similar to the 2011 Schalit deal. In that deal, 1,027 Palestinian prisoners were released in return for Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, after more than five years in Hamas captivity.
"We strive for an abduction operation that would make a second Schalit possible," Hamas lawmaker Mushir al-Masri said in an interview with Palestinian media.
"Over 1,000 of our Palestinian brothers who were incarcerated in the Zionist occupation's prisons were released as part of that deal, and only through operations similar to the Schalit deal can we hope to facilitate the release of more prisoners."
Hamas straw man recounts Gaza war
In a bizarre display of political theater, a Hamas fighter dressed in a straw mask spoke to supporters at a Gaza victory rally and provided a rare first-person account of his experience in Operation Protective Edge.
During the recent rally at the Nuseirat refugee camp, the Hamas special forces fighter took the stage wearing a Ghillie suit made of straw and told those assembled about the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades’ war against Israel.
“During the last war, we, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, succeeding in restraining the Zionist enemy through ambushes we prepared for them before they began to move,” the unnamed straw man said. “During the war I lost several friends and close relatives. My force was based in one of the houses and waited for the Israeli army, but the army struck the house.
Allies and Adversaries in the Middle East
And so, I return to my original question: who are we at war with in the Middle East? Islamic State is a breathtakingly brutal case of where Islamism can lead, but it is far from being the only Islamist force in the Middle East that is willing to kill Americans and other westerners. Assuming we are able to defeat Islamic State, we will still have to deal with a spectrum of adversaries that includes al-Qaeda offshoots, the Muslim Brotherhood, and most of all the Iranian regime. We need to be thinking now about how to approach these entities and states in the wake of an Islamic State defeat, much as British and American planners thought about post-war relations with the Soviet Union in the closing stages of World War II.
Doing so efficiently means not closing our eyes and ears to unpalatable truths. Most urgently, let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that Iran won’t take advantage of current situation, or that its nuclear program is not a comparable threat to that posed by Islamic State. There is a real prospect that Iran will weaponize its nuclear program, thereby inaugurating an era of danger for the Middle East that will make the current one look like a picnic. Should that happen, the war against Islamic State will seem like a footnote in a broader story of western defeat in the Middle East, rather than the opening gambit of a strategy to confront and, yes, defeat the enemies of freedom across the region.
ISIS Executes Human Rights Activist in Mosul Over Facebook Post
Islamic State (ISIS) executed a prominent human rights activist in Mosul, Iraq last week, the United Nations (UN) said late Saturday - over one critical Facebook post.
Samira Salih al-Nuaimi criticized IS's destruction of monotheist and Muslim religious sites in Iraq earlier this month in Facebook comments, after reports surfaced that the terrorist group had destroyed several holy sites, including the tombs of the Biblical Daniel and Jonah.
On September 17, terrorists retaliated by abducting al-Nuaimi at her Mosul home, according to the Independent, and tortured her for five days before executing her Monday.
Barbarism of Iranian militias based in Iraq, Syria being seriously overlooked
The US’s deadly strike on the al-Qaida-linked Khorasan group leader Mohsin al-Fadhli shone a spotlight on Iran’s nefarious activities in Syria and Iraq.
According to the SITE monitoring service on Sunday, a jihadi’s Twitter feed confirmed Fadhli’s death. This is the same Fadhli who oversaw Iran’s al-Qaida- based network and received protection from Iran’s regime as part of a clandestine agreement between Tehran and the Sunni terrorist entity.
While Obama’s coalition with European and Arab countries to battle the Sunni terrorist organization Islamic State has largely dominated the headlines and policy debates, Iran’s Shi’ite proxies have replicated the same form of barbarism as the Islamic State.
In a Skype interview with The Jerusalem Post, Phillip Smyth, a leading researcher on Iranian proxies affiliated with the University of Maryland, said there are more than 50 Shi’ite groups operating in Iraq. By his estimate, Iran and its militias are responsible for the murders of at least 100 US service personnel and as many as 1,000 American soldiers since 2003, Smyth noted in his September Foreign Policy article “All the Ayatollah’s Men” that Iranian- affiliated or inspired Shi’ite organizations mirror the ghastly tactics of Islamic State. He wrote of “armed men posing with severed heads, massacres of mosque-goers during Friday prayers, massive reliance on transnational jihadists.”
Iranian President Rouhani Uses Racist Phrase at UN
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's attempt to blame western states for the rise of radical Islam in his speech to the UN General Assembly nearly backfired awkwardly when he used a racist Farsi expression - but was saved by a quick-thinking translator.
During the speech on Friday, Rouhani claimed that "certain Intelligence agencies have put the blade in the hand of the drunken Zangi" - a phrase referring to irresponsible and dangerous jihadi groups, which was translated simply as "madmen" by the translator (see 3:59 in video below).
But according to Iranian opposition blog azarmehr, the word "Zangi" is actually a derogatory term for black slaves from Zanzibar in Farsi.
His use of the term was apparently based on a line from a poem by ancient Persian Sufi poet Jalal al-Din Muhammad Balkhi: "It is better to put a sword in the hand of an intoxicated negro than 'that knowledge' should fall to a worthless fool."
Twitter CEO Calls Rouhani Out on Social Media Ban
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo called out Iranian President Hassan Rouhani for hypocrisy last Wednesday, noting that the leader of the Islamic Republic has banned Iranians from using Twitter while still using the social media platform for PR.
Rouhani has declined to respond to the jab.
Iran is notorious for its internet censorship. Since the June 2009 post-election uprisings, protesters facing violent retaliation by government forces turned to the internet and social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as blogging sites, as effective and safer ways to voice political dissent.
NYT Editorial: Blame for Lack of Nuclear Deal “Lies Mainly with Iran”
An unsigned editorial in The New York Times Saturday, placed the blame of the lack of a nuclear deal squarely on Iran. The criticism is especially notable as the Times has been a very strong supporter of a nuclear deal with Iran.
The editors of Times pull no punches in the opening paragraph:
With top leaders attending the United Nations General Assembly, this is the moment to break the logjam on a comprehensive deal limiting Iran’s nuclear program. But so far there has been no real sign of movement, much less a breakthrough, despite negotiations among Secretary of State John Kerry; Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif; and Catherine Ashton, the European negotiator. The fault lies mainly with Iran.
The specific reason for the paper’s skepticism is Iran’s refusal to agree to reduce the number of its installed centrifuges.
Turkey Surpasses Iran in Anti-Semitism, Opposition Lawmaker Charges
A senior opposition lawmaker in Turkey has charged that his country’s record of hostility to its Jewish citizens is worse than that of Iran, according to a report appearing in the local Hurriyet daily.
“Our Jewish citizens are unfortunately entering the New Year in an environment where anti-Semitism, discrimination, hate crimes and hate speeches are on the rise,” Aykan Erdemir, a Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy for Bursa said at a press conference on Thursday, in honor of the Rosh Hashanah holiday.
Erdemir noted that “A study carried out by the Anti-Defamation League [ADL] in 102 countries and with the participation of 53,100 persons revealed that Turkey ranks 17th in an index of countries harboring anti-Semitic attitudes.”
He pointed to the statistics that showed that “69 percent of Turkish people harbored anti-Semitic attitudes, much higher than the global average of 26 percent. The fact that Turkey’s average is higher than Iran, 56 percent of whose population has anti-Semitic attitudes, is a warning.”
Eight Ways To Blame Islamists When You’re Late For Work (satire)
6. You Saw Something, And Said Something
Hey, you were just doing your civic duty. You saw the guy in the next lane look swarthy, and we all know how dangerous that can be. And the police weren’t very understanding when you explained the situation, either, which only took more time.
7. Boko Haram
So far they’ve only kidnapped schoolgilrs, and foreigners, and a whole bunch of other people over in West Africa, but you can’t be too careful. You’ve planned your morning commute so as to avoid obvious ambush and kidnapping locations, just as any responsible employee should do. You should actually get a citation. Maybe even a raise. (This also works for Somali pirates.)
8. Toyota Pickup Trucks
IS has oodles of them. You had to take an alternative route very time you encountered one.
If your boss doesn’t believe you, you can always fall back on blaming the Jews. Rumor has it they even control Israel.


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