Saturday, February 21, 2015

From Ian:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Obama Must Confront the Threat of Radical Islam
ISIS is recruiting young Muslims from around the globe to Jihad, and the White House apparently doesn't understand why
Recent days have witnessed a number of attempts to grapple valiantly with the threat posed by ISIS and radical Islam. Graeme Wood in The Atlantic and Damon Linker in The Week are among those who are now confronting the theological arguments that inspire radical Islamic fighters and groups such as ISIS.
Even as writers and public intellectuals explore the theological factors pertaining to Islamist violence, however, the U.S. Administration has conspicuously avoided any discussion of Islamic theology, even avoiding use of the term “radical Islam” altogether. The White House this week held a “Summit on Countering Violent Extremism” (a rather nebulous concept) while intentionally avoiding use of the term “radical Islam.”
How can the Obama Administration miss the obvious? Part of the answer lies in the groups “partnering” with, or advising, the White House on these issues. Groups such as the Muslim Public Affairs Council or the Islamic Society of North America insist that there should be no more focus at the Summit on radical Islam than on any other violent movements, even as radical Islamic movements continue to expand their influence in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Nigeria, and elsewhere.
Amplifying a poor choice of Muslim outreach partners, however, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have argued in recent days that economic grievances, a lack of opportunities, and countries with “bad governance” are to blame for the success of groups such as ISIS in recruiting Muslims to their cause. Yet, if this were true, why do so many young Muslims who live in societies with excellent governance—Denmark, the Netherlands, the UK, the United States—either join ISIS or engage in Jihadist violence in their own countries? Why do young Muslims with promising professional futures embark on the path of Jihad?
Marie Harf Wrote Thesis on How Conservative Support for Israel Complicates US Foreign Policy
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf wrote her college honors thesis on “how conservative evangelical support for Israel complicates U.S. foreign policy,” according to Indiana University records.
Harf’s thesis further illustrates the collegiate thinking in an Obama administration that has alienated a key American ally in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Harf, 33, previously worked on Obama’s 2012 campaign.
Harf’s Indiana University honors political science professor said that Harf did not plan to pursue political science like her professor father Jim, but that she ended up becoming “pretty good” at it.
Harf generated controversy this week for saying that the way to combat terrorists like ISIS is to help get them jobs.
“But we cannot win this war by killing them, we cannot kill our way out of this war,” Harf said on Chris Matthews’ MSNBC program. “We need, in the longer term, medium and longer term, to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs.”
Harf later doubled down on her remarks, saying that her view is simply too nuanced for media commentators to ingest.
Palestinian Rock Throwing and the Humanity of a Jewish Child
Like the justifications heard for the rockets launched indiscriminately at Israeli cities, towns and villages, apologists for the Palestinians say they should be allowed to throw rocks because they don’t have tanks or an air force. For Palestinians, the sight of a Jew in a car living in a place where Arabs would prefer no Jews to live is enough to justify a rock thrown at a moving vehicle. But whatever one thinks about West Bank settlements, the rocks are lethal weapons. When used in this manner they are a practice that any American who was subjected to similar treatment on a U.S. highway would consider attempted murder.
The rocks thrown by Palestinians are neither acts of peaceful disobedience or a plea for Israel to withdraw to the June 1967 lines. To the contrary, like the rockets launched by Hamas, they are a visceral expression of the Palestinian belief that any Jew living anywhere in the country, whether in the West Bank or pre-1967 Israel are fair game for murder. Those who throw them may be depicted as kids just engaging in youthful pranks or conducting a protest against Israeli policies. But the truth is that they are part of a process by which Palestinian youths are desensitized to the humanity of their Jewish neighbors.
The death of this child wasn’t mourned, let alone mentioned in the Western press. Israel’s critics don’t care about her because she was a “settler” and therefore worthy of being singled out for murder. But, like the Palestinian children who are used as human shields by Hamas terrorists, she was a human being whose right to life deserved to be respected. May her memory be for a blessing and may those responsible for her death and the many other Israelis who have been injured and terrorized in this fashion be punished for their crimes.

See no evil, resist no evil
Brendan O’Neill, typically brilliant - about an undeserved self-loathing that’s leaving us defenceless:
MARTIN Amis, who loves nothing better than riling respectable society, once asked an audience of arty types at the Institute of ­Contemporary Arts in London to put their hands up if they thought they were morally superior to the Taliban…
“About 30 per cent,” Amis said in his trademark laconic, scathing drone, in the process passing judgment not only on those gathered to hear him speak but on the ­relativistic, self-loathing liberal elite more broadly.
That was 2007. Fast forward eight years and now there’s a group that makes the Taliban look like the Girl Guides in comparison: Islamic State, crucifer of apostates, executor of queers, immolator of prisoners, and all-round medieval nutjobs who look and sound like they wandered out of the swirling recesses of Dante’s brain.
Yet if Amis repeated his experiment with reference to this mob, ... I reckon the result would be same. “About 30 per cent” would say yes. The rest? Shuffle, dodge the question, move on…
The cult of relativism, the nonsense notion that all cultures are equally valid, now has the West in such a vice-like grip that it seems some of us can’t even bring ourselves to say: “Yes, those people who throw gays off buildings and who whip women who don’t wear black sackcloths are uncompli­catedly bad."…
President Barack Obama himself ... delighted the mob of moral relativists when he said at a ­National Prayer Breakfast that we Westerners should think twice ­before treating Islamist acts of ­violence as especially nutty.
Cordially Re-invited
Now here’s an unusual invitation. The William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at Yale has announced its “First Annual Disinvitation Dinner,” scheduled for April 15 in New York City. The plan is to regularly honor distinguished guests who were invited to speak at American universities and then subsequently disinvited because their views did not comport with progressive campus orthodoxy.
Columnist George Will, who will keynote this year’s dinner in Manhattan, was disinvited last year from California’s Scripps College. He earned the ire of the academic left by questioning Obama Administration statistics on campus sexual offenses and suggesting that overly broad definitions of assault trivialize actual crimes.
The Disinvitation Dinner fills a need given an academic culture that is increasingly hostile to free inquiry. Each year the Buckley group aims to issue invitations (which will surely not be rescinded) to speakers who have been welcomed and then shunned by the academy. The organization recently welcomed to the Yale campus Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who was offered an honorary degree and then turned down by Brandeis University because she dares to criticize Islamist ideology.
The Buckley program is a nonprofit created in 2011 by Yale students and includes our assistant editor James Freeman among its board members. The dinner event is in keeping with Buckley’s mischievous sense of humor along with his determination to challenge conventional liberal thinking. As WFB once famously said, liberals claim to be open to other points of view but then are shocked to find that someone disagrees with them.
According to the Buckley program, “We celebrate free speech. We reject the close-minded attempts to silence the exchange of ideas on college campuses across the country. Instead, we seek to restore honest debate to the intellectual life of the university.” Hear, hear.
At least 500 people turn up at Muslim cemetery for burial of Copenhagen gunman – despite objections from Islamic group that owns it
The gunman who killed two people in Copenhagen was today buried in a Muslim cemetery in the city, despite objections from the Islamic group that owns it.
Omar El-Hussein, 22, murdered two people last weekend following a bloody rampage through the Danish capital that ended when he was killed in a shootout with police.
The ceremony at the Islamic Society of Denmark was attended by approximately 500 mourners and sympathisers, before he was buried in a Muslim cemetery on the outskirts of the city.
But Ahmet Deniz, head of the Islamic Burial Fund's support group told newspaper Jyllands-Posten, that he had concerns before the ceremony about the burial.
He said that the group said it had considered denying a request by El-Hussein's parents to have him buried in their cemetery, but that its rules did not allow for it.
He added: 'My concern is over extremist attitudes and actions on both sides. Both from his friends and from young Danish people who perhaps could also riot later.'
The funeral was open to the public, but reports from the scene said it was mostly attended by young men, who were described as 'wearing large black coats with many of them having covered their faces'.
Muslim Dutch Mayor to Muslims: Accept Western Values or Leave
The Muslim mayor of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, said this week that Europe has no place for extremists who are not willing to live within the bounds of its norms.
Speaking to CNN's Michael Holmes on Wednesday, the mayor, Moroccan-born Ahmed Aboutaleb suggested that those Muslims who don’t embrace values should leave Europe.
"You are not forced to be with us, it's a choice," he said. "Work with us together to construct a 'we society.'"
"But if you want to stand out of the 'we community,' you threaten us, you go to Yemen to learn how to use a Kalashnikov and to come back to threaten the society, well you are not part of my 'we society,' you better leave," added Aboutaleb.
Aboutaleb drew headlines around the world in the wake of last month's attack on the editorial staff of the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, when he said, "if you don't like it here because you don't like that humorists who make a newspaper -- yeah, if I can say it like this, get lost!"
Dutch Muslim Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb to Other Muslims: Accept Western Values or Go Back Home

I don’t care that Muslims are standing in front of a synagogue
In the wake of a terrorist murder at a synagogue in Copenhagen many Norwegian Muslims have determined to show solidarity with the Jewish community there. They shall be taking position outside a synagogue to “guard” it through making a “human peace ring” around it.
I wish they wouldn’t.
Superficial expressions of solidarity are all well and good but what we need is something a lot more real. No sensible person ever doubted that there were plenty of Muslims out there happy to live side by side with Jews. What I would prefer is to see the Muslim community take active measures to curb the extremism in their own mosques, schools and institutions. This isn’t just what the Jews need, it’s what everyone needs.
Are any of the politicians of Europe, in whose hands lie the power to tackle Islamic extremism head on, going to do anything at all to ensure that the real problem is dealt with?
Perhaps they could work on countering Islamic extremism instead of attacking the Prime Minister of Israel for telling Jews to make aliyah. Of course I wouldn’t expect European politicians to be anything other than outraged by calls from the Israeli Prime Minister for Jews to turn their backs on Europe and move to Israel. Such calls serve as a reminder of the European failure when it comes to accepting Jewry as an integrated part of Europe.
Dreyfus Affair revisited? French premier’s Jewish wife prompts accusations of dual loyalty
Dumas’ statement drew condemnations from across the political spectrum in France, many of them accusing him of anti-Semitism.
“Considering Dumas’ openly pro-Palestinian views and hostility to Israel, it is easy to understand how anti-Semitism developed so considerably in our country under the guise of anti-Zionism,” the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism wrote in a statement.
Dumas, a close confidant of the late President Francois Mitterrand, in 2013 suggested that Israel was behind the British government’s readiness to strike in Syria and has accused Israelis of controlling French intelligence services.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center on Friday demanded that Hollande strip Dumas of his Légion d'Honneur, a French order and the most prestigious award bestowed by the Fifth Republic.
“[This scandal] evokes the shadows of another charge of Jewish double loyalty in France,” the Wiesenthal Center said, referring to the Dreyfus Affair.
Alfred Dreyfus was a Jewish officer in the French artillery corps who was wrongly accused and convicted of treason in 1894. The conviction was eventually overturned after evidence came to light indicating that French military officials sought to make an example of Dreyfus.
The Wiesenthal Center is now urging Hollande to use his authority to revoke the honor given to Dumas, just as he did in 2011 with John Galliano, the designer who was caught making anti-Semitic remarks.
“At a time when the French Jewish community is in mourning, Roland Dumas' 'Jewish influence' incitement and hate-speech assault on the integrity of your prime pinister, is 'contrary to the honor of France' and tarnishes the Code of the Légion d'Honneur," the Wiesenthal Center wrote in a letter to Hollande.
Small French city tries to lure Paris Jews
The leader of a small Jewish community in central France is advertising his city as an alternative for Parisian coreligionists contemplating emigrating to Israel due to anti-Semitism.
Charley Daian, head of the Jewish community of Limoges, which has only 80 Jewish families, made the plea earlier this week in an ad in an interview with the news site
“We’re not Zionists; we are French,” said Daian. “One should not move to Israel because of fear but out of a calling.”
In the ad, Daian showcases his city as an alternative to life in and around Paris, where anti-Semitic attacks doubled in 2014 compared to the previous year.
“A small, warm and very lovely community would be happy to welcome in its large and beautiful synagogue Jewish families wishing to flee the Paris region and its suburbs with their rampant anti-Semitic violence,” the ad reads. The Jewish community of Limoges is “by contrast calm, of pleasant population in the center of France, only three hours from Paris.”
The ad tells prospective arrivals that the Limoges Jewish community “will work to facilitate your installation and integration.”
Vanderbilt Law Professor Under Fire For Anti-Israel Rant
A Vanderbilt law professor is facing backlash from the pro-Israel community after launching a campaign to shut down a rally supporting the Jewish state and opposing global terrorism, according to emails obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
The rally, scheduled to take place this weekend in Nashville, is being organized by Proclaiming Justice to the Nations (PJTN), a pro-Israel organization that fights anti-Semitism.
After the group sent out an announcement about the event, Vanderbilt law professor Edward Rubin responded with a scathing email to rally organizers letting them know that he is an “an opponent of Israel” and “not a member of an international Jewish conspiracy,” according to a copy of the message sent by Rubin from his official Vanderbilt address.
In the message, Rubin lashes out at Israel and vows to shut down the pro-Israel rally by contacting the local mayor’s office.
“I want to let you know that I have become an opponent of Israel,” Rubin writes. “The reason is that Israel’s Prime Minister has chosen to inject himself into American politics as a supporter of the Republican Party and a lackey of [billionaire] Sheldon Adelson.”
“He is thus acting in opposition to everything I believe in: social justice, environmental protection, and basic human rights,” says Rubin, who describes himself in the message as “a strongly Jewish-identified American, and the son-in-law of an Auschwitz survivor.”
“I have always regarded Israel as important, but I am not a member of an international Jewish conspiracy: I am an American. Israel is trying to destroy my country, I no longer care about its welfare. I am a law professor, and I will contact the Mayor’s Office on Monday to see if there is any way that your demonstration can be prevented.”
Ben-Dror Yemini: The intellectual terrorism of Roger Waters and BDS
If people like the anti-Israel musician and the boycott supporters had their way, Jews would once again be targeted, and left without shelter.
Never has the divide between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism been so slender. Two more attacks, in Copenhagen and then London, have eradicated what was left of the distance between these two racist phenomena. On the one hand, there was another inciteful attack from the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) brigade, led by Roger Waters, who managed to sign up hundreds of artists in the UK to a boycott of Israel. And on the other hand, there was another double attack by anti-Western and anti-Semitic terrorism, executed by Omar Abdel-Hamid el-Hussein in Denmark.
BDS is about the silencing of Israelis through boycott. El-Hussein targeted a conference on freedom of speech to silence people through gunfire.
The BDS movement, of which Waters has become one of the world's leading spokesmen, is not seeking a fair settlement of a two-state solution; it is not seeking peace, nor does it seek to end the occupation. It seeks the destruction of Israel, its elimination. Just like that.
Seven Problems with John Kerry's Iranian Nuclear Clock
Although Kerry has stopped publicly promising a one-year breakout time since negotiators failed to reach an agreement before their self appointed deadline in November, by all accounts it remains a key focus of the U.S.-led negotiating team.
Why this fixation with a number that doesn't mean anything? Because a one-year nominal breakout time "is what they need to have in order to sell the deal to Congress and U.S. allies," according to Gary Samore, White House Coordinator for Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction during Obama's first term. At this stage in the game, the Obama administration's red lines in the negotiations have more to do with politics at home than with preventing the Islamic Republic from going nuclear.
Although the administration's efforts to frame the Iran nuclear debate as foremost a question of how far from the "finish line" Iran is and will be under a prospective nuclear agreement have been fairly successful thus far (critics of its Iran posture who complain that a year is not enough unwittingly play along), the White House is giving short shrift to a host of other factors critical to thwarting Iran's nuclear ambitions, such as the status of an underground enrichment bunker purpose-built for a contested breakout, the ability of inspectors to fully account for Iranian inventories, and curbs on research and development. At the end of the day, neither Congress nor American allies are likely to be very impressed when the particulars of the impending nuclear accord become known.
Israel to US: Emerging nuclear deal allows Iran to dominate Middle East
Israel’s disagreements with the Obama administration over the parameters of an emerging agreement between the West and Iran have been known for years, but are only beginning to manifest in a public way as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress is just weeks away, Strategic Affairs and Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz told The Washington Post over the weekend.
Steinitz articulated his government’s position that the agreement being discussed does not adequately safeguard against an Iranian “breakout” to the bomb should the Tehran regime decide to sprint toward building an atomic weapon.
“From the very beginning, we made it clear we had reservations about the goal of the negotiations,” Steinitz told the newspaper’s chief foreign affairs analyst, David Ignatius. “We thought the goal should be to get rid of the Iranian nuclear threat, not verify or inspect it.”
The deal being discussed would leave Iran with the capability to develop an atomic device within a year while also enabling it to continue enriching uranium at high quantities, a prospect that Israel opposes.
Steinitz said that while he understood Washington’s desire to reach an agreement that would keep Iran’s nuclear program on stand-by for at least a decade – enough time for a new leadership to emerge – this approach presented serious challenges.
Arab governments express concern over Iran deal, potential for Mideast nuclear arms race
Arab governments, not only Israel, are expressing concern over the development of a deal with Iran over its nuclear program, Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
Talks with Iran over its nuclear program have instilled fear within some major Sunni states, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates that a nuclear arms race will break out in the region, and brought about speculation regarding the possible extension of a US nuclear umbrella to its non-nuclear-armed Middle East allies.
According to the Wall Street Journal, concerned Arab states said that a nuclear deal allowing Iran to keep its nuclear-producing technologies would likely drive nations in the region to develop nuclear capabilities in order to match those of Iran's.
An Arab official, according to the WSJ, said that the collapse of negotiations with Iran is preferable to a bad nuclear deal - a comment similar to those previously iterated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
US and Arab diplomats say that, although Arab nations have avoided matching statements made by Israel, they share many of the same fears regarding a nuclear deal with Iran, the Wall Street Journal reported.
White House mulling ways to undercut Netanyahu speech
In what is becoming an increasingly nasty grudge match, the White House is weighing actions to undermine Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming trip to Washington and blunt his message that a potential nuclear deal with Iran is bad for Israel and the world.
There are limits. Administration officials have discarded the idea of President Barack Obama himself giving an Iran-related address to rebut the two speeches Netanyahu is to deliver during his early March visit. But other options remain on the table.
Among them: a presidential interview with a prominent journalist known for coverage of the rift between Obama and Netanyahu, multiple Sunday show television appearances by senior national security aides and a pointed snub of America’s leading pro-Israel lobby, which is holding its annual meeting while Netanyahu is in Washington, according to the officials.
The administration has already ruled out meetings between Netanyahu and Obama, saying it would be inappropriate for the two to meet so close to Israel’s March 17 elections. But the White House is now doubling down on a cold-shoulder strategy, including dispatching Cabinet members out of the country and sending a lower-ranking official than normal to represent the administration at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the officials said.
Ex-envoy to US: White House boycott of AIPAC tantamount to boycott of alliance with Israel
Former ambassador to the US Michael Oren addressed on Saturday media reports that the White House may boycott the upcoming AIPAC conference in an attempt to undermine Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Congress address, calling AIPAC a "strategic asset" to the State of Israel whose status "must not be harmed."
"Should the American government choose to boycott AIPAC," Oren said, "it will essentially choose to boycott its strategic alliance with Israel."
Since it is already a given that the premier will travel to the US and address Congress, Israel must accept the responsibility of rehabilitating its strategic alliance with the US, the former ambassador said.
The only way to do this, according to Oren, is to present the US with a clear long-term outline of Israel's plans.
Oren criticized the handling of Israel-US relations, saying that Israel must abide by long-term planning as opposed to act on short-term impulses.
"We must stop being fearful," he said, "and make the world adopt a new way of looking at us."
House Democrats’ Appeal for Delay in Netanyahu Speech Garners Only 23 of 188 Members
A letter circulated by “the most left-leaning” Democratic members of the House of Representatives urging a delay in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress next month garnered the signatures of only 23 of the 188 Democratic representatives.
The Associated Press reported:
Almost two dozen liberal Democrats on Thursday asked House Speaker John Boehner to postpone Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint meeting of Congress next month.
“It appears that you are using a foreign leader as a political tool against the President,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Boehner. …
Generally speaking, the lawmakers who signed the letter are among the most left-leaning Democrats, representing 12 percent of their party’s House membership. It was written by Democratic Reps. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, Steve Cohen of Tennessee and Maxine Waters of California and signed by 20 others.

The report about the Democratic letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R – Ohio) emerged at the same that Senator Chuck Schumer (D – N.Y.) urged his fellow Democrats not to boycott Netanyahu’s speech.
Obama to host emir of Qatar for talks on Mideast stability
Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani will be at the White House on Tuesday. The White House says they’ll discuss shared concerns over stability and prosperity in the Middle East and seek to further a longstanding partnership between Qatar and the US.
Obama has refused to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of the US’s main Middle East ally Israel, when he visits Washington in early March, citing the trip’s proximity to Israel’s March 17 elections. Netanyahu is to speak to Congress against what he says is an imminent deal, pushed by US-led negotiators, that could legitimize Iran as a nuclear threshold state.
Calls have circulated in the US Congress to isolate Qatar — a state that has polished its pro-Western image in recent years, welcoming in foreign universities, backing the global news channel Al-Jazeera and prepping to host the 2022 World Cup — for its championing of the Gaza-based terrorist organization Hamas.
Since Hamas assumed control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Qatar has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the territory and backed Hamas diplomatically.
'CIA sting against Iran's nuclear program could prompt IAEA reassessment'
The Central Intelligence Agency secretly gave Iran doctored blueprints for nuclear weapon components 15 years ago, a revelation that could prompt the International Atomic Energy Agency to reassess its findings regarding the Islamic Republic’s covert nuclear program, Bloomberg News reported on Friday.
The US spy agency sought to lead Iranian nuclear scientists astray by giving phony designs of atomic components to Tehran’s diplomatic representatives to the IAEA in Austria, according to Bloomberg.
The CIA plan was revealed in a court case involving Jeffrey Sterling, an operative who was convicted of leaking classified information about the agency’s operations against Iran.
Sterling was convicted of providing information to a journalist that served as the basis for a book about Operation Merlin, a covert plan initiated by the Clinton administration whose goal was to delay Iran’s nuclear program by feeding Iranian scientists flawed design components.
“The goal is to plant this substantial piece of deception information on the Iranian nuclear-weapons program, sending them down blind alleys, wasting their time and money,” according to a CIA cable dated May 1997 that was submitted to the court.
According to Bloomberg, this latest development could be significant since the IAEA relies on older information provided by intelligence agencies, some of which work for governments that may seek to pursue an agenda against Iran.
Islamism and Obama’s Dangerous Flight from Reality
Let me explain why there’s more to all this than simply semantics, starting with this proposition: Engaging in acts of deception and self-deception is unwise. Yet that is precisely what Mr. Obama is doing. He persists in putting forth a false narrative that he insists is a true one. And then there is the supreme arrogance of the president, assuming that his pronouncements about Islam will be received by the Muslim world like pronouncements of the Pope will be received by the Catholic world. Of course, this is a man who declared that if elected president he would stop the rise of the oceans and heal the planet, so it shouldn’t shock us that he believes his shallow and incomplete theological interpretations of Islam will carry weight across the Islamic world.
Memo to Mr. Obama: They won’t. Having you lecture the Islamic world about the true nature of Islam actually strengthens the jihadists, who will be thrilled to get in a theological debate in which the Christian president of the United States offers one view and Islamic jihadists and imams offer another.
You might also think an American president would understand that in order to defeat an enemy you need to understand the nature of the enemy you face; that in order to win a war, you need to understand the nature of the war you are in. But you would be wrong. Mr. Obama understands neither, which explains why he’s so inept at prosecuting this war and why the Islamic State is extending its reach beyond Syria and Iraq into nations like Algeria, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Libya.
WH Didn’t Invite FBI Chief to Terror Summit to Not Seem ‘Overly Focused on Law Enforcement’
On Thursday, President Obama wrapped up a three-day summit on combatting violent terrorism. The president hosted leaders from 60 countries and U.S. law enforcement officials, but one person was noticeably absent: the FBI Chief of Terror.
When ABC’s John Karl questioned White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, Earnest said that the perception of the of the conference was not “overly focused on law enforcement.”
Karl grilled Earnest on the point of the conference–to combat violent extremism–and noted that the FBI director is the on the front line of that fight. Karl also said that the Russian representative was the successor of the KGB. Earnest brushed off the question and said Attorney General Eric Holder was there.
“To be clear, about the official from Russia who attended–they made the decision as to who would attend,” Earnest said. “This is the official that the Russian government chose to represent them at the summit.”
Feminist Muslims on ISIS and Islam: ‘Name It to Tame It’
Muslim author Asra Nomani and journalist Hala Arafa have published a piece at the Daily Beast in which they say that in order to defeat ISIS, the President needs to accurately identify it. As they put it, the President must, “name it to tame it.”
The authors spent 200 hours going over every frame of the last two ISIS videos–the murder of a Jordanian pilot and the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians. What they saw was not unfamiliar, nor was it incoherent. On the contrary, the authors write, “we, as Muslims, recognize every word in the Islamic State’s theology from teachings, ideas and interpretations we’ve heard through our approximately 50 years on this earth.”
The familiarity and careful assemblage of familiar Islamic ideas presented in the videos convinced the authors that, “Islamic State strategists, propagandists and recruiters are very much grounded in a logical interpretation of the Quran, the hadith, or sayings and traditions of the prophet Muhammad, and fatwa, or religious rulings.” In other words, this is not the work of madmen but of deeply religious, albeit radical, Islamists.
IDF denies it used controversial measure after Hezbollah attack
The IDF denied a Lebanese report that it used a controversial procedure in order to prevent the capture of soldiers following last month’s cross-border attack by Hezbollah on an IDF convoy.
The Thursday report by the Lebanese Daily Star alleged that the IDF enacted the Hannibal Protocol, a directive intended to prevent the capture of IDF personnel at virtually any cost, after the terrorist group launched a salvo of Kornet anti-tank missiles from Lebanese territory at an IDF patrol on Mount Dov in the Israeli Golan Heights on January 28, killing two soldiers and injuring seven others.
Israel immediately responded to the attack by pounding suspected Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon with artillery and mortar fire, accidentally killing a Spanish UNIFIL soldier stationed in the area.
The Hannibal Protocol calls for heavy-handed measures to neutralize retreating captors and prevent IDF personnel ending up in enemy hands, even if it requires endangering the lives of captive soldiers.
An IDF spokesperson speaking with Channel 10 Saturday denied the Lebanese report: “The Hannibal Protocol was not at all used during the time of the incident.”
After Terrorist Massacre of Egyptians, Cairo Cools on Hamas Even More
The brutal massacre of 21 Egyptian Copts in Libya committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) affected not only the Egyptian attitude towards its western neighbor, but also towards its small eastern neighbor, the Gaza Strip. Although the Egyptian military reaction targeted terrorist strongholds in Libya, Hamas officials understood the message very well: No one should be seen as endangering Egypt’s security and stability.
Egyptian journalist Tawfiq Akasha stated emphatically that the next step after the attack on Libya is a merciless attack on Gaza terrorist nests, to destroy those he calls “sons of the devil.” Egyptian broadcaster Ahmed Musa made similar remarks, according to the news site Al-Masdar. The messages were clearly understood by the Palestinian public and critically discussed on their social networks. Many Palestinians Facebook users reacted angrily to the remarks by Akasha and Musa and harshly criticized them.
Even if a Libyan-style attack against Hamas by the Egyptian air force is not currently on the agenda, the hint of this option has caused consternation for Hamas’ leadership. Leaders of the Islamic Resistance Movement were quick to condemn the terrible massacre in Libya and stated that they stand next to the “sister” Egypt. Senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk wrote on his Facebook page that what happened in Libya was a massacre and a crime that any religion can’t agree with.
Egyptian paper accuses Hamas of plotting Cairo coup
Egypt’s state-run newspaper al-Ahram on Saturday accused Gaza Strip rulers Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood of conspiring to overthrow the Egyptian regime within the next few years.
The newspaper quoted “informed sources” who accused Hamas’s military wing of coordinating plans with the Brotherhood to hit Egyptian military targets and vital installations and distribute footage of the attacks in order to lower national morale. They claimed that the two groups planned to spread rumors of an Islamic State presence in Egypt in order to sow panic among the population.
Hamas and the Brotherhood thus hoped to spread fear and disappointment with the Egyptian armed forces, the sources alleged, while also working behind the scenes, using agents in the government to disrupt internal services and erode trust in the regime.
The final part of the plan, the sources said, was to convince the international community through subterfuge and fabricated crises that the current government was an obstacle to stability in the region.
ISIS' army of 7-footers? Experts say video of Copt beheadings manipulated
Video of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians being marched along a Libyan beach before being beheaded by black-clad members of ISIS is hard for any civilized person to watch, but experts who made it through the sickening, five-minute clip told Friday they came to the same conclusion: The footage was faked.
No one holds out hope the victims, mostly poor fishermen who had gone to Libya to scratch out a living, are still alive. But several anomalies in the video, which was posted online Feb. 15, indicated to trained eyes that at least some of the production was done on "green screen" with background added later, perhaps to disguise the real location of the atrocity. A day after the clip went viral, Egyptian warplanes struck hard at an eastern port city near Tripoli, where the video appeared to have been shot.
“The Islamic State’s manipulation of their high-production videos has become commonplace,” said Veryan Khan, editorial director of the Florida-based Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium. The murders likely took place in a studio, and the background image shown was likely from another location, the Bay in Sirte, a part of the Mediterranean Sea on the northern coast of Libya, according to Khan. There are several technical mistakes in the video that show it was manipulated, she said.
The most obvious, Khan said, is the speaker, “Jihad Joseph” is much larger than the sea in both the close up and wide shots, and his head is bizarrely out of proportion, meaning he was filmed indoors and the sea added behind him, Khan said. In addition, the jihadists featured in the film look to be more than 7 feet tall, towering as much as two feet above their victims.
The New ISIS Training Video You Have To Watch
A new video released by ISIS shows their “Special Forces” rigorously training in a futile attempt to intimidate America and their Western allies.
The video shows off a whole range of their combat techniques from diving over rifles, breaking tiles with their heads, and the worst made ghillie suit while attempting to stalk.
Our Secret Weapon In the War with IS: Racism
IS's racism, I mean. They could ally with Boko Haram to expand the Caliphate deeper into Africa.
But they won't.
Because they hate blacks.
Such wonderful people, honestly. I can see why Obama's always lookin' to spare them from any consternation.
Long before ISIS militants beheaded Christians on a Libyan beach last week, Nigeria's Boko Haram was carrying out similar atrocities 1,500 miles to the south. Now that ISIS is operating in northern Africa, will the Syria-based organization join forces with the continent's largest Islamist terror group?
Maybe not, say U.S. intelligence officials, and they suggest one obstacle is racism.
"The Arab world is incredibly racist," explained a U.S. intelligence official. "They don't see black Africans as equivalent to them."
ISIS may show "affinity" with Boko Haram, said the official, "but they stop short of allegiance."
ISIS Seen as Threat to Cruise Ships on the Mediterranean
Self-relegated to Iraq and Syria, just months ago ISIS seemed a distant threat to Italians and other Europeans. Having set up Libyan strongholds along the Mediterranean coast, however, ISIS is now on Europe’s doorstep. The latest threat is to Mediterranean cruise ships– those, for instance, that go from Sicily up the Italian coast to the south of France, or bop from one Greek island to another.
The Italian Ministry of Defense has outlined various grim scenarios whereby ISIS would engage in Somali-style piracy on the Mediterranean, menacing shipping companies and cruise ships.
The report states: “Having gained control of some ports and of vessels of various descriptions and with the possibility of taking advantage of the experience accumulated by the people traffickers working the migratory routes for years, ISIS could repeat the scenario that has dominated the maritime region between Somalia and Aden for the last ten years.”
The report details what how this might play out: “Speed boats could attack fishing boats, cruise ships, small merchant ships, as well as coast guard in this case more to capture prisoners to exhibit in orange jumpsuits and a knife to the neck (and to ask for lucrative ransoms for them).”
Libyan chemical weapons ‘seized by extremists’
Extremist militias in Libya have taken over stashes of chemical weapons which belonged to the late ruler Muammar Gaddafi, sources in the country told London-based Arabic newspaper Asharq Alawsat on Saturday.
The sources expressed concern that the non-conventional weaponry, which included mustard gas and sarin gas, could find its way into the hands of Islamic State fighters.
The report added that militias had apparently already conducted an experiment with the captured weapons.
On Friday Islamic State terrorists unleashed suicide bombings in eastern Libya, killing at least 40 people in what the group said was retaliation for Egyptian airstrikes against the extremists’ aggressive new branch in North Africa.
Violence erupts in Turkey’s parliament
Turkish legislators have scuffled for a second day in parliament over a new security bill which critics say aims to crush dissent.
Ruling and opposition parties’ lawmakers traded punches and pushed each other during a late-night session on Thursday. One opposition legislator fell down a set of stairs during the melee but was not hurt.
On Tuesday, five legislators were injured in a similar fight that saw chairs fly and deputies hit with a gavel.
The opposition parties meanwhile succeeded for a second time to hold up the start of the debate through tactics that included submitting motions on unrelated issues.
The government says the measures to give police heightened powers to break up demonstrations are aimed at preventing violence.
Saudi blogger sentenced to flogging spared for 6th consecutive week following protests
Members of Amnesty International protested Friday for the release of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi from jail outside the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Mexico City.
The activists held up signs with names and placed photos of prisoners in Saudi Arabia on the grass as part of their demonstration.
Their effort to bring about his release is part of a greater, continuous effort on behalf of Amnesty International to free Badawi; Similar demonstrations have been held outside of Saudi Arabian embassy's across the globe - a move encouraged by the human rights organization on their website.
Badawi was sentenced last year to 10 years in jail, a fine of 1 million riyals ($267,000) and 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam, cyber crime and disobeying his father, which is a crime in Saudi Arabia.
He was subjected to the first round of 50 lashes in early January and was due to be flogged again a week later, yet was spared due to Western pressure to call off the punishment.
Israeli Startup Develops Search Engine to Match Businesses with Translators
No matter where you live or what language you speak, at some point you will likely need a legal, medical, technical, business or personal document translated into one of the world’s thousands of written languages. Or maybe you’ll want to develop a website, app or book for people in several different countries.
That’s why Israeli translator Gil Tamir decided to parlay 30 years of experience (and his own money) into Smartlation, an innovative search engine using a patent-pending algorithm that analyzes data from thousands of registered translators in order to match users with those who best meet their exact requirements and budget.
“Our goal is to create a comprehensive solution for both the business community and individuals who have very specific needs in a translator,” says Tamir, who launched the site in October with cofounder Dan Gat following a year of development.
In today’s global village, the need to translate myriad materials has pushed the worldwide market for outsourced language services and technology to an estimated $37.19 billion in 2014, according to the market-research firm Common Sense Advisory. The language-services market is expected to reach $47 billion by 2018.
For ‘Aya,’ a long journey from Israel to Sunday’s Oscars
The idea for “Aya” began with a daydream: What if you were waiting for someone at the airport and instead you picked up a total stranger? What then?
That wisp of a fantasy, dreamed up by Mihal Brezis many years ago while waiting with a friend at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport, has carried her and her partner, Oded Binnun, to an Oscar nomination for best short film.
“This film keeps surprising us with its journey,” Brezis, 37, told JTA in advance of the 87th Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday.
She was sitting in a cafe in Griffith Park here while Binnun, 39, her co-director and co-writer, was taking their son, Nuri, on a pony ride nearby.
“The most touching fact is that we get to travel this far with a film that is small and intimate,” Brezis said.


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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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