Sunday, March 26, 2017

ISIS U-Turns West to Lebanon as Next Target - debkaFile




by debkaFile

American and Israeli intelligence services conveyed a warning to the new Lebanese President Michel Aoun -- with details of the ISIS conspiracy to overrun parts of his country, as it did Iraq and Syria three years ago



American helicopters Thursday and Friday, March 23-24, dropped Kurdish and Arab fighters over a region west of the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa. Those forces quickly captured at least five villages and so cut jihadist concentrations in the northwestern Syria off from their Raqqa stronghold. debkafile’s military sourcesreport this operation was the opening shot of the US-led campaign to isolate the Islamic State’s Syrian capital before storming it.

Raqqa’s liberation is not expected to encounter the same fierce ISIS resistance as the US-led Iraqi army is facing in Mosul. That is partly because the town has gradually emptied of fighting forces ever since ISIS chiefs saw that their time was running out. Instead, ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and his strategists, Iraqi ex-generals, effected a major U-turn: the  jihadists fleeing the Syrian and Iraqi fronts, instead of heading for the ISIS bastions in Deir ez-Zour in eastern Syria and Abu Kamal in western Iraqi Anbar province, were given new orders to head in the opposite direction for their next destination: Lebanon.

This is a radical change from their former orders to reassemble in the two towns, which straddle the Iraqi-Syrian border and have commanded the Al Qa’im crossing and ISIS supply routes ever since June 2014. Both towns are located in virtual desert regions through which any approaching enemies are visible from afar. Moreover, the dense vegetation of the Euphrates river banks and nearby forests are effective cover for surreptitious movements against aerial and satellite surveillance.

American and Iraqi intelligence agencies are sure that Al-Baghdad and his top lieutenants are hiding in one of the two towns or in a safe house between them. So why are they are ready to give up these strategic safe havens, after building them up for two years, and suddenly sending their fugitive fighters after new turf?,

  • ISIS leaders see fresh prey in Lebanon’s weak government and army.
  • Lebanon which is chronically beset with conflicts among the Sunni, Hizballah-Shiite and Christian communities offers a vulnerable playing field for ISIS inroads.
  • Lebanon’s second largest town of Tripoli, 85km north of Beirut, a strongly Sunni city with a Mediterranean port, is one promising ISIS target.
  • Another is Sidon, its third largest city, located 40km south of Beirut on the southern Mediterranean coast. An added advantage is its proximity to the Israeli border, no more than 60km north of Naharia, the closest the Islamic State has ever come to a Israeli town.
    Adjoining Sidon, which has a core population of 90,000, is the Palestinian refugee camp-town of Ain Hilwa, among whose quarter of a million inmates ISIS has already planted cells – both overt and sleepers.
  • ISIS leaders now conclude that their Iraqi-Syria border strongholds may prove too hard to secure when, according to their reckoning, they come under American or Russian guns. Foreign powers are less likely to intervene militarily to take on a terrorist organization in unstable Lebanon.
  • They would gain a new vantage point for hitting Syrian, Iranian and Hizballah forces fighting in Syria from the rear.
debkafile’s sources reveal that American and Israeli intelligence services conveyed a warning to the new Lebanese President Michel Aoun earlier this month with details of the ISIS conspiracy to overrun parts of his country, as it did Iraq and Syria three years ago. 


debkaFile

Source: http://debka.com/article/25982/ISIS-U-Turns-West-to-Lebanon-as-Next-Target

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Britain puts UNHRC 'on notice' over Israel - Elad Benari




by Elad Benari

Britain says it will vote against UNHRC resolutions until it ends its bias against Israel.

Britain on Friday placed the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) “on notice”, announcing that it would vote against all future UNHRC resolutions criticizing Israel until the body ends its “disproportion and bias” against the Jewish state.

“Israel is a population of eight million in a world of seven billion,” said a statement from the British government, quoted by The Jewish Chronicle.

“Yet since its foundation, the Human Rights Council has adopted 135 country-specific resolutions; 68 of which against Israel. Justice is blind and impartial. This selective focus on Israel is neither,” added the statement, which pointed out that that “Israel is the only country permanently on the Human Rights Council’s agenda."

“Indeed when the Council voted to include Israel as a permanent item in 2007 – the so-called agenda Item 7 – it was Ban Ki-moon who expressed his deep disappointment given the range and scope of allegations of human rights violations throughout the world.”

Britain, which voted against a resolution at the UNHRC “on the occupation of Syria’s Golan”, said that while it did not recognize Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, the UNHRC resolution on it was unjust.

“Nowhere is the disproportionate focus on Israel starker and more absurd than in the case of today’s resolution on the occupation of Syria’s Golan,” said the statement, adding, “Syria’s regime butchers and murders its people on a daily basis. But it is not Syria that is a permanent standing item on the Council’s agenda; it is Israel.”

“We cannot accept the perverse message sent out by a Syria Golan resolution that singles out Israel, as Assad continues to slaughter the Syrian people,” said the statement.

The British move came days after the United States also condemned the UNHRC’s bias against Israel.

On Monday, the United States boycotted a meeting on anti-Israel resolutions, while the State Department issued a statement against the meeting.

Secretary of State Rex Tilleson recently threatened that the U.S. would withdraw from the UNHRC unless it stops its anti-Israel bias.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Arkush, President of the UK Board of Deputies praised Friday’s statement as “a hugely significant step by the UK Government.

“We would like to thank the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary for showing this international leadership”, he said, according to The Jewish Chronicle.

“Human rights is not served by an body so clearly partisan that its judgements cannot be taken seriously, so the UK's decision represents a clear victory for both fairness and human rights," added Arkush.



Elad Benari

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/227240

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Higher Education: No Safe Spaces for Conservatives - Jack Kerwick




by Jack Kerwick


Conservative students threatened with violence.




It would appear that higher education has become a Politically Correct caricature of itself.  Yet for an increasing number of students, this is no laughing matter, for academia’s ceaseless drift toward the abyss of far-left ideology has been accompanied by an increase in threats of violence.

College campuses in many places have become dangerous for certain kinds of students.

Specifically, they have become dangerous for conservative students.

The College Fix (TCF) is a student-run publication. It is also a national treasure. Its writers deserve praise for drawing the public’s attention to the outrages that pass for higher education today.  Parents should be particularly appreciative to learn that those of their children who they plan on sending to university could be harassed and threatened with violence for not endorsing the ideological groupthink that substitutes for education in the contemporary academic world.

At St. Olaf College, a Lutheran institution in Minnesota, Republican and conservative-leaning students are overwhelmingly outnumbered.  In November, 80% of its student body voted for Hillary Clinton.  Only 10% voted for President Donald Trump.

Yet there are no “safe spaces” for this minority.

TCF quotes the school’s student newspaper, the Manitou Messenger.  The latter interviewed 12 Trump supporting students, virtually “all” of whom admitted to feeling that the campus environment rendered it impossible for them to discuss—civilly, rationally discuss—politics with their peers. But it is even worse than this, given that “several” of these students had been “violently threatened because of their political beliefs [.]”

On the night of the election, the President of the College Republicans, Emily Schaller, was threatened by another student and called a “f**king moron.”  In the days following Trump’s victory, she overheard groups of students promising aloud “to hurt the next conservative or Republican they saw.”

The Vice President of the College Republicans, another young lady, Kathryn Hinderaker, encountered the same phenomenon.  She told her school paper that “one of the hardest things” occurred the day after the presidential election. It was at that time that, upon entering a campus building, she heard someone shout assurances to all Trump voters that they had “better be f**king scared!”  To this, all who were present “clapped and applauded.”

“Obviously,” she concludes, “it didn’t feel super safe.”

It doesn’t take an especially creative intellect to imagine what the reaction of the whole college community would have been had it not been Republican and Trump-supporting students, but, say, immigrant or black students that had been threatened in this manner. Nor does it require much prescience to know that had the female students that were victimized been leftist feminists, the reaction to their victimization would have been far different from what it has been.

One student—another female—remarked that such was the hostility of the environment in her classes toward “conservatives” that she left school for a time.  By the end of the fall semester, the on-line harassment that she endured drove her to transfer to another institution altogether.

In February, someone “posted an unsolicited photo of a group of students that supposedly included Trump supporters and encouraged fellow students to ‘remember their faces.’”

Ironically, St. Olaf College’s chapter of the College Republicans did not endorse Trump during the election season.  However, its members are still targeted. Conservative students will not express their views in class for fear of being ostracized or injured by their peers and penalized by their instructors.

For some students, the toxicity of the campus environment has gotten to be too much.  For about 20 minutes at the beginning of every class period, said one female pupil, her professor would mock Trump.  This student said that she planned on transferring to another institution next year.

While some of their students were being mocked, intimidated, and threatened for their viewpoints, the administrators and faculty of St. Olaf College extended their collective arms in welcoming the one-time Communist Party USA presidential candidate Angela Davis to speak on campus. 

Time doesn’t permit it, but, tragically, it wouldn’t require much effort to show that St. Olaf College is not anomalous in these respects.  Conservative students are threatened, bullied, intimidated, and, on occasion, assaulted at colleges and universities around the country.  Worse, it is not always just their fellow students who target them, but professors as well.

In the meantime, and for all of their hysteria concerning the need for “cry ins,” safe spaces, and the like, radical leftist students and faculty speak and act with impunity.

Other examples of this educational malpractice, intolerance, and outright oppression will be revisited in this column in the near future. Everyone who cares about protecting the victims of injustice while salvaging what can be salvaged of higher education in America needs to both inform themselves of this crisis and work diligently to resolve it.

Jack Kerwick

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/266198/higher-education-no-safe-spaces-conservatives-jack-kerwick

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Trump's Greatest Deal - Caroline Glick




by Caroline Glick


The Iran deal Trump needs to make with the Russians is clear.



Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

What can be done about Iran? In Israel, a dispute is reportedly raging between the IDF and the Mossad about the greatest threat facing Israel. IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot thinks that Hezbollah is the greatest threat facing Israel. Mossad Director Yossi Cohen thinks Iran’s nuclear program is the greatest danger facing the Jewish state.

While the media highlight the two men’s disagreement, the underlying truth about their concerns has been ignored.
Hezbollah and Iran’s nuclear program are two aspects of the same threat: the regime in Tehran.

Hezbollah is a wholly owned subsidiary of the regime. If the regime disappeared, Hezbollah would fall apart. As for the nuclear installations, in the hands of less fanatical leaders, they would represent a far less acute danger to global security.

So if you undermine the Iranian regime, you defeat Hezbollah and defuse the nuclear threat.

If you fail to deal with the regime in Tehran, both threats will continue to grow no matter what you do, until they become all but insurmountable.

So what can be done about Tehran? With each passing day we discover new ways Iran endangers Israel and the rest of the region.

This week we learned Iran has built underground weapons factories in Lebanon. The facilities are reportedly capable of building missiles, drones, small arms and ammunition. Their underground location protects them from aerial bombardment.

Then there is Hezbollah’s relationship to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF).

For more than a decade, the Americans have been selling themselves the implausible claim that the LAF is a responsible fighting force capable and willing to rein in Hezbollah. Never an easy claim – the LAF provided targeting information to Hezbollah missile crews attacking Israel in 2006 – after Hezbollah domesticated the Lebanese government in 2008, the claim became downright silly. And yet, over the past decade, the US has provided the LAF with weapons worth in excess of $1 billion. In 2016 alone the US gave the LAF jets, helicopters, armored personnel carriers and missiles worth more than $220 million.

In recent months, showing that Iran no longer feels the need to hide its control over Lebanon, the LAF has openly stated that it is working hand in glove with Hezbollah.

Last November, Hezbollah showcased US M113 armored personnel carriers with roof-mounted Russian anti-aircraft guns, at a military parade in Syria. The next month the Americans gave the LAF a Hellfire missile-equipped Cessna aircraft with day and night targeting systems.

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun is a Hezbollah ally. So is Defense Minister Yaacoub Sarraf and LAF commander Gen. Joseph Aoun.

Last month President Aoun told Sen. Bob Corker, the chairman of the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, that Hezbollah serves “a complementary role to the Lebanese army.”

And yet the Americans insist that it continues to make sense – and to be lawful – to arm the LAF.

You can hardly blame them. Denial is an attractive option, given the alternatives.

For the past eight years, the Obama administration did everything in its power to empower Iran. To make Iran happy, Obama did nothing as hundreds of thousands of Syrians were killed and millions more were forced to flee their homes by Iran and its puppet Bashar Assad.

Obama allowed Iran to take over the Iraqi government and the Iraqi military. He sat back as Iran’s Houthi proxy overthrew the pro-US regime in Yemen.

And of course, the crowning achievement of Obama’s foreign policy was his nuclear deal with the mullahs. Obama’s deal gives Iran an open path to a nuclear arsenal in a bit more than a decade and enriches the regime beyond Ayatollah Khamenei’s wildest dreams.

Obama empowered Iran at the expense of the US’s Sunni allies and Israel, and indeed, at the expense of the US’s own superpower status in the region, to enable the former president to withdraw the US from the Middle East.

Power of course, doesn’t suffer a vacuum, and the one that Obama created was quickly filled.

For decades, Russia has been Iran’s major arms supplier. It has assisted Iran with its nuclear program and with its ballistic missile program. Russia serves as Iran’s loyal protector at the UN Security Council.

But for all the help it provided Tehran through the years, Moscow never presented itself as Iran’s military defender.

That all changed in September 2015. Two months after Obama cut his nuclear deal with the ayatollahs, Russia deployed its forces to Syria on behalf of Iran and its Syrian and Lebanese proxies.

In so doing, Russia became the leading member and the protector of the Iranian axis.

Russia’s deployment of forces had an immediate impact not only on the war in Syria, but on the regional power balance as a whole. With Russia serving as the air force for Iran and its Syrian and Hezbollah proxies, the Assad regime’s chances of survival increased dramatically. So did Iran’s prospects for regional hegemony.

For Obama, this situation was not without its advantages.

In his final year in office, Obama’s greatest concern was ensuring that his nuclear deal with Iran would outlive his presidency. Russia’s deployment in Syria as the protector of Iran and its proxies was a means of achieving this end.

Russia’s alliance with Iran made attacking Iran’s nuclear program or its Hezbollah proxy a much more dangerous prospect than it had been before.

After all, in 2006, Russia supported Iran and Hezbollah in their war against Israel. But Russia’s support for Iran and its Lebanese legion didn’t diminish Israel’s operational freedom. Israel was able to wage war without any fear that its operations would place it in a direct confrontation with the Russian military.

This changed in September 2015.

The first person to grasp the strategic implications of the Russian move was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu recognized that with Russian forces on the ground in Syria, the only way for Israel to take even remedial measures to protect itself from Iran and its proxies was to drive a wedge between President Vladimir Putin and the ayatollahs wide enough to enable Israel to continue its raids against weapons convoys to Hezbollah and other targets without risking a confrontation with Russia. This is the reason that Netanyahu boarded a flight to Moscow to speak to Putin almost immediately after the Russian leader deployed his forces to Syria.

Israel’s ability to continue to strike targets in Syria, whether along the border on the Golan Heights or deep within Syrian territory, is a function of Netanyahu’s success in convincing Putin to limit his commitment to his Iranian allies.

Since President Donald Trump entered the White House, Iran has been his most urgent foreign policy challenge. Unlike Obama, Trump recognizes that Iran’s nuclear program and its threats to US economic and strategic interests in the Persian Gulf and the Levant cannot be wished away.

And so he has decided to deal with Iran.

The question is, what is he supposed to do? Trump has three basic options.

He can cut a deal with Russia. He can act against Iran without cutting a deal with Russia. And he can do nothing, or anemically maintain Obama’s pro-Iran policies.

The first option has the greatest potential strategic payoff. If Trump can convince Russia to ditch Iran, then he has a chance of dismantling the regime in Tehran and so defusing the Iranian nuclear program and destroying Hezbollah without having to fight a major war.

The payoff to Russia for agreeing to such a deal would be significant. But if Trump were to adopt this policy, the US has a lot of bargaining chips that it can use to convince Putin to walk away from the ayatollahs long enough for the US to defuse the threat they pose to its interests.

The problem with the Russia strategy is that since Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the presidential race, the Democrats, their allied media outlets and powerful forces in the US intelligence community have been beset by a Russia hysteria unseen since the Red scares in the 1920s and 1950s.

The fact that Obama bent over backward to cater to Putin’s interests for eight years has been pushed down the memory hole.

Also ignored is the fact that during her tenure as secretary of state, Clinton approved deals with the Russians that were arguably antithetical to US interests while the Clinton Foundation received millions of dollars in contributions from Russian businessmen and companies closely allied with Putin.

Since November 8, the Democrats and their clapping seals in the media and allies in the US intelligence community have banged the war drums against Russia, accusing Trump and his advisers of serving as Russian patsies at best, and Russian agents at worst.

In this climate, it would be politically costly for Trump to implement a Russian-based strategy for dismantling the Iranian threat.

This brings us to the second option, which is to confront Iran and Russia. Under this option, US action against Iran could easily cause hostilities to break out between the US and Russia. It goes without saying that the political fallout from making a deal with Russia would be nothing compared to the political consequences if Trump were to take the US down a path that led to war with Russia.

Obviously, the economic and human costs of such a confrontation would be prohibitive regardless of the political consequences.

This leaves us with the final option of doing nothing, or anemically continuing to implement Obama’s policies, as the Americans are doing today.

Although tempting, the hard truth is that this is the most dangerous policy of all.

You need only look to North Korea to understand why this is so.

Seemingly on a daily basis, Pyongyang threatens to nuke America. And the US has no good options for dealing with the threat.

As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acknowledged during his recent trip to Asia, decades of US diplomacy regarding North Korea’s nuclear program did nothing to diminish or delay the threat.

North Korea has been able to develop nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles while threatening the US with destruction because North Korea enjoys the protection of China. If not for the Chinese, the US would long ago have dealt a death blow to the regime.

Israel has moved Russia as far away from Iran as it can on its own. It is enough to stop convoys of North Korean weapons from crossing into Lebanon.

But it isn’t enough to cause serious harm to Tehran or its clients.

The only government that can do that is the American government.

Trump built his career by mastering the art of deal making. And he recognized that Obama’s deal with Iran is not the masterpiece Obama and his allies claim but a catastrophe.

The Iran deal Trump needs to make with the Russians is clear. The only question is whether he is willing to pay the political price it requires.

Caroline Glick is the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Israel Security Project and the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post. For more information on Ms. Glick's work, visit carolineglick.com.

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/266207/trumps-greatest-deal-caroline-glick

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Will the West Please Stop Siding with Criminals? - Khadija Khan




by Khadija Khan

Politicians and the policy-makers are apparently too scared of being accused of committing some fabricated "Islamophobia" or "infringing on the rights of Muslim citizens", so they choose to keep their eyes shut to the plight of these women.

  • What is agonizing is that people either enjoyed or criticized the joyful act of a teenager, but no one seems to be noticing that this public trial and her forced apologies only mean further isolation for the young Muslim women.
  • Most horrifying is that it seems that even the West has started to buy into the version of "modesty" that these extremists in the Middle East have been forcing on women.
  • Why has no one -- especially politicized, self-absorbed women's groups -- come to help? Instead, as in the recent Women's March, they have been advocating for more women's imprisonment.
  • It is important for as many people as possible, both in Britain and world-wide, to say how much they love her beautiful spirit and that they totally stand by her right to dance, sing, play or have fun.
The growth in systematic abuse of women, especially by Islamists in the West, requires democratic governments to introduce strong measures to stop this abuse, before abusive mullahs start harassing women of all faiths, to force them to submit to their wishes.

The recent threats and harassment of a British "Hijabi girl" by Islamists in Birmingham, England, merely for a video showing her dance, have re-exposed the ugly face of this autocratic mindset that owes its existence to extremist states such as Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Enslaving women in general and inflicting repressive agendas -- such as domestic violence, sexual abuse, segregation, allowing no say in choosing a partner, education or profession, with abysmal living standards often part of the abuse -- is just a small measure of the jihad that the Islamists have managed to unleash across the globe.

The video of "Hijabi girl" (her name is not known), happily dancing in public, was recorded and uploaded to the internet by bystanders.

The video led to aggressive shaming and harassment of the girl by the local Islamist "morality police": men who ranted against her "impious" act and reportedly made her apologize publicly online.

Sobbing, she admitted how supposedly evil and shameless she was to have brought such dishonor to her family and religion.

It is important for as many people as possible, both in Great Britain and world-wide, to say how much they love her beautiful spirit and that they totally standby her right to dance, sing, play or have fun. These are very normal human activities.

Have things come to such a pass that now, even in Britain, only the most courageous can spontaneously express feelings of fun?

What is agonizing is that people either enjoyed or criticized the joyful act of a teenager, but no one seems to be noticing that this public trial and her forced apologies only mean further isolation for the young Muslim women.

To accept this coercion would be just a call on young Muslim girls to be quiet and submit, rather than ever even to think about showing their normal, lighter side. Most horrifying is that it seems that even the West has started to buy into the version of "modesty" that for centuries these extremists in the Middle East have been forcing on women.

The human rights groups seem to have become so apologetic towards the extremist abusers that they now turn their backs on the victims of these abuses -- the people who need human rights groups the most. Perhaps they believe that supporting the poor girl would mean offending Muslims or the "symbol of Islam" (hijab) -- which means they endorse the extremist version of Islam and the abuses that come with it.

The poor girl was shown no solidarity by any supposed champions of liberal causes. Instead, she was thrown to the hounds and left to face her torment alone.

It is also sad that the girl's family has probably also given up, possibly due to the threats, and possibly out of fear of these extremists.

The massively destructive, wrong-headed political policies of Western governments -- such as keeping silent on the abuses of women by Muslim extremists involving, for example, underage and forced marriages, female genital mutilation (FGM), sharia courts in the UK and accepting the existence of no-go zones where the extremists enjoy impunity and thrive -- are also to be blamed for the increase in violations of women's rights. Politicians and the policy-makers are apparently too scared of being accused of committing some fabricated "Islamophobia" or "infringing on the rights of Muslim citizens", so they choose to keep their eyes shut to the plight of these women.


An image from the video "Right to choose: Spotting the signs of forced marriage - Nayana", produced by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. In 2013, 1,302 victims of forced marriage sought help from the British government's Forced Marriage Unit.

This is not an isolated incident in which a young Muslim girl was victimized by the extremists just for innocently being herself. In Canada, famous video blogger named Froggy, of Pakistani origin, suffered similar harassment. She was also vilified by puritanical extremists for wearing a hijab but living a Western lifestyle by hanging out with young men and uploading videos of teenage fun.

In Darmstadt, Germany, 19-year-old Lareeb Khan was killed in 2015 by her parents when she decided to take off her hijab and pursue a normal life. Her father, Asadullah Khan, claimed that he had killed his daughter to save the honour of his family. He alleged -- whether it is true or not we do not know -- that the girl was having sexual relations with a boy of whom her family disapproved.

Her mother admitted to being present at the time of Lareeb's murder, but claimed she could not rescue her due to both fear and illness. Lareeb's sister, Nida, however, stated that her mother was an accomplice to the crime, and used to thrash her.

In a pathetic attempt at exculpation, Lareeb's parents claimed that they were victims of the extremist Pakistani state and society. However, they chose, when they were given refuge and protection by a Western state, to impose similar abuses.

Extremists use shaming and harassment as punishment and deterrence for any woman in their communities who tries to break a barrier to regain her life.

This double edged-sword not only silences the victims of the abuse but also sends a message to the other women also not to try to escape their imprisonment.

Why has no one -- especially politicized, self-absorbed women's groups -- come to help? Instead, as in the recent Women's March, they have been advocating for more women's imprisonment.

The notion that a hijab or a conservative lifestyle is a matter of choice for Muslim women might sound sympathetic to Westerners. It is not. In reality, there is no choice. The supposed choice is, in fact, a one-way street from which trying to exit can cost a woman her life.

These extremist Muslims need to be taught by society itself that they must respect individual freedoms and equality -- by law.

Many liberal women, doubtlessly well-intended, seem love to wearing hijabs supposedly "in solidarity"; what they do not understand is that for millions and millions of Muslim women, who dare not say so, it is not a symbol of freedom and "protection" -- like a slave-owner "protecting" his property -- but of repression and imprisonment. It is forced upon women, now even in the West, and, worse, with the wholehearted complicity of the West.

It is also a time for governments purportedly in favour of human rights no longer to sweep these mafia tactics under the carpet.

It is time for politicians, governments, policy-makers, clerics, human rights groups and "liberals" to stop siding with criminals who commit assault, battery, and even murder, and to start protecting their citizens.


Khadija Khan is a Pakistan-based journalist and commentator.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/10098/siding-with-criminals

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Mingling with Foes - Eileen F. Toplansky




by Eileen F. Toplansky


Phyllis Chesler and the question of Zionists not welcome in the 'Feminist' camp,



Reprinted from AmericanThinker.com.

On November 19, 2003, Phyllis Chesler wrote a searing piece recounting the time when she addressed a women's "networking" conference of "mainly African-American and Hispanic-American womanists and feminists at Barnard College."  Her son accompanied her to this conference.

One of the organizers at the event inquired as to what Chesler's latest book was and was told "The New Anti-Semitism," because "Jew-hatred was a form of racism – only it was not being treated as such by anti-racist 'politically correct' people."

The silence that greeted Chesler concerning anti-Semitism should have been the first indication that things might go awry, as she was told that the conference was to be a forum about how "women sabotage each other and remain divided" in an effort to "come together."

At the time, Chesler rationalized that perhaps she was a bit too "obsessed with The Jewish Cause, with Israel," and she reminded herself that she was "also connected to more than one issue."

As she spoke about her other book titled Woman's Inhumanity to Woman, the vibes were good.  The audience applauded and nodded in agreement.  Things were going well.  And then:
A disembodied voice demanded to know where I stood on the question of the women of Palestine. Her tone was forceful, hostile, relentless, and prepared. I could have said: 'The organizers have specifically asked me not to address such questions.' I did not say that. I could also have said: 'I am concerned with the women of Palestine but I am also concerned with the women of Rwanda, Bosnia, Guatemala, who have all been gang-raped by soldiers who used rape as a weapon of war; I am concerned with the poverty and homelessness of women right here in America; I am concerned with the women of Israel who are being blown up in buses, at cafes, in their own bedrooms.' I did not say this.
Instead, I took a deep breath and said that I did not respect people who hijacked airplanes or hijacked conferences or who, at this very moment, were trying to hijack this lecture. I pointed out that the subject of my talk was not Israel or Palestine. I did not want us to lose our focus. She grew even more hostile and demanding. 'Tell this audience what you said on WBAI. I heard you on that program.' Clearly, she wanted to 'unmask' me before this audience as a Jew-lover and an Israel-defender.
I took the question head-on. 'If you're really asking about apartheid, let me talk about it. Contrary to myth and propaganda, Israel is not an apartheid state. The largest practitioner of apartheid in the world is Islam which practices both gender and religious apartheid. In terms of gender apartheid, Palestinian women – and all women who live under Islam – are oppressed by 'honor' killings, in which girls and women who are raped are then killed by family members for the sake of restoring the family 'honor;' forced veiling, segregation, stonings to death for alleged adultery, seclusion/sequestration, female genital mutilation, polygamy, outright slavery, sexual slavery. Women have few civil, legal, or human rights under Islam.
Things became more heated – thus, "the lightning rod of Palestine was enough to turn a very friendly audience quite hostile."  As Chesler left the podium, she was approached by a young black woman who claimed to be "hurt" because Chesler had offended a "brown woman," and since Chesler was a "white Jew," this was "proof of a crime."

Although the black women who had invited Chesler were supportive, none of them tried to stop what was happening.  They did not try to "disperse the hostility or to address the issue."

The lesson Chesler imparts is that "once the word Palestine is uttered," it is viewed as a "symbol for every downtrodden group of color which is resisting the racist-imperialist American and Zionist Empires."  Also, it suddenly becomes a white-versus-brown issue.

As she and her son were leaving the event, he reminded her that "[t]he Jew haters will never allow you into their wider, wonderful world. You can't go back."

This brings me to why I introduced this piece in the first place.  A few months ago, I wrote a piece asking why women in the National Council of Jewish Women would even think of sharing the platform with left-wing activists and anti-Semitic Muslims who share the same sentiments as those whom Chesler wrote about 15 years ago.

Daniel Greenfield writes:
The National Council of Jewish Women is one of those organizations whose letterhead keeps showing up on left-wing causes having nothing to do with Jewish issues. Lately it claimed to be concerned about anti-Semitism. Just not [to] the extent of breaking ranks with anti-Semites and refusing to participate in anti-Israel events and events with anti-Israel content.
In response to Linda Sarsour's insistence that there was no room for Zionists in the 'Feminist' camp, the NCJW's response was disgusting and unsurprising.
Nancy Kaufman, chief executive office of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), said that 'while I truly hope women leading change doesn't turn into a cover for Israel bashing … everyone is entitled to freedom of speech.' In terms of future participation, NCJW will 'navigate as we go along.'
'We will continue to have our voices be heard – we're not going to tell anyone else that they can't have their voices be heard,' she said.
Kaufman pointed out that while Sarsour's participation in the Women's March raised some discomfort among Jewish participants, the event maintained a tenor of inclusivity. She also pointed out that the Women's Strike platform decries anti-Semitism in the same paragraph that it singles out Palestine.
Many of these groups were "underwritten by radical currency speculator George Soros who says Communist China's system of government is superior to our own and that the United States is the number one obstacle to world peace."  Moreover, Gloria Steinem, feminist writer, activist, and organizer, said, "And remember, the Constitution does not begin with 'I, the president,' It begins with 'We, the people.'"  Where the heck was she with Obama and his continual Is peppering every speech?

Martin J. Raffel, who writes for the New Jersey Jewish News, states:
Palestinian-American Linda Sarsour, one of the march's national co-chairs who has a well-known record of anti-Israel activism in New York City, did mention in her remarks that 'most of all, I am my Palestinian grandmother who lives in the occupied territories' wildest dreams. But apart from Sarsour's reference to the 'occupied territories,' the Palestinian issue was not raised in Washington, DC[.]
Although there were reports that Jewish Voice for Peace activists intended to carry signs reading 'Resist Together — From the United States to Palestine,' I haven't heard from anyone who saw one.
This is good news. For those of us defending Israel against a campaign of delegitimization and Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), the following sentence in the march's original mission statement had raised a yellow flag: 'We support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities (intersectionality).' In principle, intersectionality is not a pernicious concept. It simply refers to the concept that forms of oppression, such as racism, sexism, and xenophobia, are interconnected and need to be understood in relationship to one another.
Yet, further in his article, he writes, "Besides Sarsour, Zahra Billoo, San Francisco director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), also spoke at the march. A BDS activist, Billoo is known for sharing extremist material on social media, e.g., 'Blaming Hamas for firing rockets at [Apartheid] Israel is like blaming a woman for punching her rapist.' There were other speakers with a history of problematic statements on Israel, as well."

So which is it?  While Raffel acknowledges that "Israel has a problem with Democrats and other progressives" and "antipathy to Trump is pumping renewed energy into the progressive movement, and those hostile to Israel will look for opportunities to advance their agenda," he still maintains that since the Israel-Palestine issue was not actually raised during the Women's March, American Jews "can derive a valuable lesson from this experience.  By championing these just causes, [i.e., immigration and refugee policy, criminal justice reform, and the environment], American Jews will also protect Israel."

So if no one brings up the issue, that means that the haters no longer advocate what they repeatedly say in any number of other forums?

How naive and dangerous.


Eileen F. Toplansky can be contacted at middlemarch18@gmail.com.

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/266173/mingling-foes-eileen-f-toplansky

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Phase One of Obamacare Repeal and Replace is Over - Thomas Lifson




by Thomas Lifson

Now, both caucuses of the House and both parties need to face up to the slow motion collapse of Obamacare, as premiums continue to soar and insurers vanish from entire state markets.

Don’t worry: Congressional Republicans all understand the world of hurt they are in for, if they ask their supporters to re-elect them without having repealed Obamacare. There is going to be major healthcare reform, but working out the details turns out to be (surprise!) complicated, and turning over the new plan to Paul Ryan was a mistake, as was the strategy of narrowly tailoring the law to reconciliation with 51 Senate votes.

Meanwhile, tax reform can’t wait. That is how we get the economy moving and improve people’s lives before they vote in November 2018. 

Donald Trump knows that you always have to be prepared to walk away from the deal, or in the current case, the House vote. The need to make a deal, any deal, hands leverage to the other side. He said so in The Art of the Deal, and besides, every competent negotiator knows it. 

Now, both caucuses of the House and both parties need to face up to the slow motion collapse of Obamacare, as premiums continue to soar and insurers vanish from entire state markets. There will be sob stories aplenty.

Democrats just could not help themselves, rejoicing on camera over the humiliation of the Republicans. They are celebrating the disaster that will unfold, and those clips will live on in GOP video ads. They reiterated their continuing ownership of Obamacare with this celebration.

If the GOP plays it smart, a continuing campaign highlighting the disasters of Obamacare, complete with victums, would lead up to a real plan for reform resting on a systemic, not incremental change, and market forces replacing entire bureaucracies. Radical simplicity can replace the byzantine system of third party payers and regulations. Universal catastrophic care combined with medical savings accounts to pay for routine expenses, for instance. For poor people, let the government put in a thousand dollars per year; that’s cheaper than what we have now. 

If not this approach, find other ways of getting money to people who can make their own decisions on what to buy in the way of medical care, and let the vendors compete openly on price and other factors.

Force the Democrats to tell the American people that this plan is not for them. Especially if there is the prospect of a thousand bucks a year landing in their account that they get to spend, Americans just might like an approach that puts the power in their own hands.

Thomas Lifson

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/03/phase_one_of_obamacare_repeal_and_replace_is_over.html

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Freedom Caucus sinks Trump-Ryan plan - James Arlandson




by James Arlandson

Trump and the GOP need a win. Do the Freedom Caucus see it?

Fred Barnes, over at the Weekly Standard, has described the situation perfectly in his post "Sand in the Gears."

First he says the turbo-conservatives (my term, not his) demands perfection in the world as they envision it.
There's a simple reason for this: They insist on what cannot be achieved. Anything short of that, such as the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, triggers fierce opposition by the group's thirty or so members. And if they stick together, they can prevent Republican legislation from passing, as they did at least initially in the case of killing Obamacare.
The extra-pure, left or right, can be every bit utopian, equally. They don't live in the real world.
Next Mr. Barnes says the Freedom Caucus were gunning for Ryan, the "Establishment" leader.
That's not all. The Freedom Caucus specializes in making things difficult for House speaker Paul Ryan. Its members treat this as a duty. They regard him as a member in good standing of the political establishment who's been Washingtonized and is no longer a legitimate conservative.
The extra-pure have been gunning for the elusive white whale (the "Establishment") for a long time. So far they have not been able to kill it. But they surely can injure it and then cheer.

The purpose of keeping the framework of Obamacare was to ensure that the GOP didn't need a brand new plan, which would require 60 votes in the Senate.
The AHCA is designed to circumvent a Democratic filibuster in the Senate. That means it can sweep away only the parts of Obamacare dealing with spending and taxes. The broad framework of Obamacare would remain. By invoking a procedure known as "reconciliation," the measure can pass by a simple majority – 51 votes – with no filibuster allowed.
The Dems would never go for a brand new plan. Ryan was trying to allow Trump and other GOP members to keep their promise of repeal and replace. Now the extra-pure have (temporarily?) torpedoed their realistic promise. 
But why do the Freedom Caucus need to worry? They're in safe districts.
In one sense, the Freedom Caucus has the upper hand over Trump and Ryan. Most of the members are in safely Republican districts and unlikely to be threatened by a primary opponent – that is, unless Trump drops in to campaign against them.
Obamacare has distorted the insurance markets, and the "Establishment" GOP tried to work within an imperfect world. 

Apparently, the utopian Freedom Caucus intended to teach the rest of America what conservatism (or their brand) looks like. They believe in a streamlined government. Fair enough, in the world of Jefferson of 1804. But we don't live back then. We live today. 

The Freedom Caucus (and most of talk radio) can't seem to come to grips with this part of human nature: self-interest + government benefits = love for government.

After eighty years of Big Government, beginning with FDR and reinforced by LBJ and some liberal Republicans (Reagan tried to stop it, but he could never go around the Dem House), people must have their government handouts. For the Freedom Caucus to demand that regular folks out in the real world give up government benefits overnight is misguided. It can even be harmful. One doesn't take candy from a baby. Bad image, even though sugar is bad for the baby. 

Now Obamacare is still the law of the land. (And now I will have to pay another $700.00 fine, or more, next tax season.)

In my view, Trump gave a perfect press conference and refused to blame anyone (Fred Barnes didn't hold back, and neither did I). Where things go from here and health insurance is unclear. But tax reform is a worthy goal, as the president said. He and the GOP need a win.


Do the Freedom Caucus see it?

James Arlandson's website Live as Free People, where he has posted The GOP 'Establishment' Will have to Save Trump and Country.

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/03/freedom_caucus_sinks_trumpryan_plan.html

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As a Muslim, I am Shocked by Liberals and Leftists - Majid Rafizadeh




by Majid Rafizadeh

Why are so many liberals, who call themselves the robust defenders of peace, social justice, and freedoms, apologetic for all types of fundamentalist Islamist laws?

  • It is the fear of this violence, torture and death, wielded by extremist Muslims, that keeps every person desperate to obey.
  • If liberals are in favor of freedom of speech, why do they turn a blind eye to Islamist governments such as Iran, which execute people for expressing their opinion? And why do they not let people in the West express their opinion without attacking them or even giving them the respect of hearing what they have to say? They seem, in fact, like the autocratic people from whom I was fleeing, who also did not want their simplistic, binary way of thinking to be threatened by logic or fact.
  • As, in Islam, one is not allowed to attack except to defend the prophet or Islam, extremist Muslims need to keep finding or creating supposed attacks to make themselves appear as victims.
  • Finally, a short message to liberals might go: Dear Liberal, If you truly stand for values such as peace, social justice, liberty and freedoms, your apologetic view of radical Islam is in total contradiction with all of those values. Your view even hinders the efforts of many Muslims to make a peaceful reformation in Islam precisely to advance the those values.
If you had grown up, as I did, between two authoritarian governments -- the Islamic Republic of Iran and Syria -- under the leadership of people such as Hafez al Assad, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, you would have seen your youth influenced by two major denominations of Islam in the Muslim world: the Shia and the Sunni. I studied both, and at one point was even a devout Muslim. My parents, who still live in Iran and Syria, come from two different ethnic Muslim groups: Arab and Persian.

You also would have seen how the religion of Islam intertwines with politics, and how radical Islam rules a society through its religious laws, sharia. You would have witnessed how radical Islam can dominate and scrutinize people's day-to-day choices: in eating, clothing, socializing, entertainment, everything.

You would have seen the tentacles of its control close over every aspect of your life. You would have seen the way, wielded by fundamentalists, radical Islam can be a powerful tool for unbridled violence. It is the fear of this violence, torture, and death, wielded by extremist Muslims, that keeps every person desperate to obey.

My father was brutally tortured -- justified by some of the fundamentalist Islamic laws of the ruling governments in both Iran and Syria. The punishment extended to my mother, my family, and other relatives, who were tormented on a regular basis.

What was even more painful was, upon coming to the West, seeing the attitude of many people who label themselves liberals and leftists, towards radical Islam.

These liberals seem to view themselves as open-minded, but they have a preconceived way of thinking about Islam: to them, it seems, there is no radical Islam, Islam is only a force for the good, Islam can do no evil.

How could they not see the way extremist Muslims exploit some aspects of the religion of Islam to legitimize its acts? How could they not even acknowledge that radical Islam, a force that threatens to destroy the planet, let alone my family, exists?

Instead, many liberals would criticize me or attempt to turn a blind eye, as if I were accidentally making some embarrassing mistake. They seemed instead to love being surrounded by Western Muslim "scholars", those who are apologetic towards radical Islam and -- notably -- have never actually lived in a Muslim country under the strangling grip of the official fundamentalist laws, sharia.

Why do many liberals, who criticize Christianity and religious conviction in general, appear to open their arms to radical Islam so affectionately? Why are so many liberals, who call themselves the robust defenders of peace, social justice, and freedoms, apologetic for all types of fundamentalist Islamist laws?

If, as liberals argue, they support women's and LGBT rights, why, by their silence, do they condone gays executed and women subjugated on a daily basis throughout most of the enormous Muslim world? If liberals are in favor of freedom of speech, why do they turn a blind eye to Islamist governments such as Iran that, based on the government's radical, theocratic laws, execute people for expressing their opinion? And why do they not let people in the West express their opinion without attacking them before even giving them the respect of hearing what they have to say?

Liberals argue that they are in favor of critical thinking, but they do not like anyone challenging their "comfort zone". They seem, in fact, to be just like the autocratic people from whom I was fleeing, who also did not want their simplistic, binary way of thinking to be threatened by logic or fact.

Even if a person is from a Muslim country, and has direct experience with extremist Islam, many liberals will strenuously avoid this information. They seem not to want their apologetic view of radical Islam to be questioned or contradicted. They apparently have no desire to open their closed minds on the subject. The thought of a question evidently wounds them, as if an answer would mean that they were turning their backs on the ongoing crimes against humanity. How come, then, that so many liberals appear resistant to seeing that the crimes of radical Islam are those crimes against humanity? And at present, the largest?

Second, these liberals -- indulging in faulty, sophisitic, logic -- seem to think that if they criticize Christianity and Islamists criticize Christianity, then Islamists will like them for hating the same thing. In the same vein, many liberals hate the U.S. Republican government and many radical Muslim groups hate the U.S. Republican government, so perhaps many liberals think that Muslims will like them for hating the same government? Sadly, as these liberals will soon find out, the enemy of my enemy is not always my friend.

Third, and more fundamentally, sympathizing with all kinds of Islamist practices and radical Islam seems to fit a wider narrative of bashing the West and white people for "imperialism, colonialism, and any sense of superiority". Unfortunately that view fails to take into account that there have been no greater imperialists the Muslim armies; they conquered Persia, the great Christian Byzantine Empire in Turkey, North Africa and the Middle East, virtually all of Eastern Europe, most of Spain, and Greece.

As, in Islam, one is not allowed to attack except to defend the prophet Muhammed or Islam, extremist Muslims need to keep either finding or creating supposed attacks to make themselves appear as victims.


Anjem Choudary, a radical British Muslim cleric, was sentenced late last year by a British judge to five and a half years in prison for encouraging people to join the Islamic State. (Image source: Dan H/Flickr)

Many liberals, not knowing the background, buy into this claim. By siding with the "other", they probably feel a moral superiority: they are helping a cause, championing the "other" and rescuing a "victim"! But this moral superiority is both superficial and misplaced. It is more like that of the proverbial boy who murders his parents and then asks the judge for mercy because he is an orphan.

Maybe that is why, when many liberals hear criticism of radical Islam and the nuances of some aspects it, they refuse to hear it. For them, as radical Islam is not being depicted as a victim anymore, this view does not offer them the comfort of being morally superior defending victims. Ironically, that is the same motive for many radical Islamists: feeling morally superior defending Islam. The liberals then become confused, and do not know how to answer because I am a Muslim, have grown up there -- not a Western Muslim who has never lived in a Muslim society. I am not even a Western conservative, with whom the liberals are also at odds. Many liberals, like all people happily married to a fantasy, and despite towering evidence, will stick to the fantasy and to their binary way of thinking. It is like trying to tell your friend that the stripper he wants to marry might not want to stay home, make babies and cook. He is so emotionally addicted to his dream that he will do anything to protect it.

Finally, it goes without saying that, as with all of us, liberals too attempt to preserve their financial and political interests. These material and social investments are also threatened by hearing from Muslims who have endured oppression and torture under radical Islam. Those liberals seem to suspect, correctly, that this new information might create some kind of conflict of interest, so possibly decide it might be safer not to hear it in the first place. Instead, again to protect their investment, many liberals and leftists ignore or criticize Muslims such as these.

Finally, a short message to liberals might go: Dear Liberal, If you truly stand for values such as peace, social justice, liberty and freedoms, your apologetic view of radical Islam is in total contradiction with all of those values. Your view even hinders the efforts of many Muslims to make a peaceful reformation in Islam precisely to advance the those values. In addition, sadly, your view towards radical Islam actually contributes to the violence and the repression of millions of people -- women, children, slaves, and all those people whom you claim you want to protect. These are the true victims. They are subjugated, dehumanized, terrorized, tortured, raped and beaten on a daily basis by the practitioners of radical Islam and the religious laws of sharia, which are at the core of that fundamentalism. It is time to open your eyes and your minds and see what is staring at you.
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Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, political scientist and Harvard University scholar is president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He can be reached at Dr.rafizadeh@post.harvard.edu.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/10091/muslims-liberals-leftists

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