Latest Analysis and Commentary

Dividing the Arabs: America and Europe's Double Game

by Bassam Tawil  •  August 29, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • Iran is on its way in a few years to having nuclear weapons capability. The breakout time, according to President Obama, would effectively be "zero." Iran could then make as many bombs as it would like, along with intercontinental ballistic missiles to delver them to major American cities, directly from Iran, from South America, or -- making identification and retaliation impossible -- from submarines submerged off the U.S. coast.

  • Obama with one hand allows Iran to glide to nuclear capability and encourage the Muslim Brotherhood and similar Islamist terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State in the Sinai Peninsula -- while with the other hand, he claims to support Israel.

  • Qatar's role is duplicitous. It plays host to U.S. military bases at the same time that it funds and supports ISIS.

  • Hamas, since last year's war, has chosen to use its scant resources to rebuild its kidnapping tunnels and war capability, instead of developing businesses and turning the Gaza Strip into a magnificent Arab Riviera, as Dubai has become. Hamas's failure does not come from a lack of resources; it comes from a deliberate choice of how to use them.

  • The Iranians, in opposing American policy, which is a tissue of amateur plans and plots, are flexible and exploit Islam's taqiyya [dissimulation] -- religious approval to lie in the cause of Allah and to further Islam. However, they are not even bothering with that, they are telling the truth: "Death to America; Death to Israel."

U.S. President Barack Obama (left). Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (right).

The United States is playing a double game in the Middle East: empowering Shiite Iran, while at the same time enabling Sunni ISIS to overthrow the moderate Arab regimes, as if to stop Iran.

The Americans are well aware that the Sunni Arab countries around Iran will now have to arm themselves to the teeth, thereby gutting the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

America, despite its power and the image it projects of working against ISIS in Iraq, does not touch ISIS in its real headquarters, Syria, where ISIS actually could actually be hurt. So nothing really changes, and both Iran and ISIS continue to strengthen.

Even as the members the UN Security Council, eager do business with Iran, voted to allow Iran to build nuclear weapons, the Iranians continue to fund Hezbollah, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip -- all Iranian proxies -- in order to split the Arab ranks.

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Swedish Imam to Muslims: "Do Not Befriend the Unbelievers"
One Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Sweden: July 2015

by Ingrid Carlqvist  •  August 28, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • He forced the 24-year-old woman to get in his car at gunpoint. He took her to his apartment, where he raped her and bragged about how he had killed ten people. He also explained that since he was a Swedish citizen, he was now free to rape because he could not be deported.

  • "He of course realizes he is risking a very long prison sentence in the end, and should do whatever he can to avoid it, like get in a car and travel through Europe. That's a pretty safe bet, considering the open borders." — District Attorney discussing an accused murderer, released pending trial.

  • When asked if there might be terrorists and war criminals that have already been granted asylum in Sweden, Immigration Service Director General Mikael Ribbenvik said: "Yes, that is unfortunately the case."

  • The obvious risk that they might commit terrorist acts, killing hundreds of Swedes, apparently makes no difference.

Asylum seekers in the Swedish city of Kalmar, where Christian refugees were forced to move out of public housing after being harassed and threatened by Muslims.

On July 1, the Swedish daily Gefle Dagblad revealed that an imam from the northern city of Gävle was the man behind the now-closed website, www.muslim.se, which stated, among other things, that homosexuality is punishable by death. The imam, Abo Raab, is a prominent figure in the Swedish Imam Association, which has received over 400,000 kronor (more than $47,000) from the government to "combat Islamophobia and racism in society." When its officials applied for the money, the association claimed to want to create a professional website containing "factual and pertinent information about Islam" and "to build bridges between Muslims and non-Muslims." But no bridges were built. The website, which was shut down in January for unknown reasons, listed the following as forbidden for Swedish Muslims:

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Europe's NGO Jihad Against Israel

by Susan Warner  •  August 27, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • Beneath a vexing tangle of funding operations -- most hiding under a pretense of "good works," "humanitarian aid," and "public interest" -- there is at work a sophisticated, multi-faceted, well-oiled propaganda machine against Israel.

  • A chief concern in the Knesset is how to curb the influx of millions of foreign dollars used to fund anti-Israel hate-groups operating as NGOs. These organizations are accused of using their "human rights" designation to mask a deceptive advocacy agenda to undermine, and even to destroy, Israel.

  • When Israel works to build "bridges for peace," such as SodaStream, where Arabs and Jews worked peacefully together, these organizations then knock them down.

  • Apparently, no one at World Vision asks the obvious question: Why are there even refugee camps in territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas, such as Gaza, Jenin and Ramallah? Not only have those areas been under exclusive PA or Hamas civilian administration since 1994, but Israel totally evacuated the Gaza Strip in 2005.

A 2008 conference on "Impunity and Prosecution of Israeli War Criminals," held in Egypt in 2008, was sponsored by the European Union. (Image source: NGO Monitor)

There is a European "jihad" against Israel. A significant number of activist groups -- presenting themselves as international humanitarian aid and charitable projects designed to benefit the Palestinian people -- are actually "directly or indirectly active in Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions(BDS) campaigns, lawfare, delegitimization and lobbying against Israel," according to a detailed report by NGO Monitor.

Every year, European governments send hundreds of millions of dollars for humanitarian aid projects in Palestinian territories. Ostensibly, the money is intended for projects such as improving medical care, alleviating poverty, improving schools, or enhancing infrastructure.

But beneath the surface lurk more venomous political advocacy agendas apparently designed to undermine Israel as a nation-state.

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The Alfred E. Neumann "What, Me Worry?" School of Nuclear Deterrence

by Peter Huessy  •  August 27, 2015 at 4:00 am

  • Jeffrey Lewis argues that, whatever China's motives are for deploying such weapons, "there is no arguing that China's nuclear force is small." Unless, of course, you happen to live in Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea, Japan, Nepal, Tibet, the Philippines, Indonesia, or Malaysia -- all of which collectively have zero nuclear weapons.

  • Lewis also assures us China has no interest in a "large" number of missiles. He argues that China's nuclear posture has been driven "by an enthusiasm for reaching technological milestones" -- as if China is simply engaging in a high school science project.

Chinese road-mobile ballistic missiles.

In the nuclear deterrent business, U.S. commanders both civilian and military are paid to take things seriously.

Getting the nuclear deterrent business wrong would, after all, be bad for America, bad for civilization and bad for the world.

Recently, China tested a missile with multiple warheads. Up to that time, all of China's nuclear-armed missiles were assumed to have only single warheads. Many of those were liquid-fueled and required considerable time to load and launch.

It is true that China's increased economic and military clout is seen by conventional thinking largely as a "peaceful rise" -- a term taken directly from the Chinese communist party description of its overarching goal of "pursuing a peaceful rise."

Ahh, a "peaceful rise!" So what's the worry?

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Egypt and the Hamas "Cockroaches"

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  August 26, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • "What were your four [Hamas] men doing in Sinai? Haven't you denied in the past the presence of any Hamas men in Sinai? So where did these men pop up from?" — Dina Ramez, Egyptian journalist.

  • The incident also proves that Hamas does not hesitate to take advantage of Cairo's humanitarian gestures to smuggle its men out of the Gaza Strip. Obviously, the four Hamas men were not on their way to receive medical treatment. That they are members of Hamas's armed wing, Ezaddin al-Qassam, speaks for itself.

  • The Egyptians are particularly fed up with reports about Hamas's increased involvement in their internal affairs and links to terror groups in Sinai.

  • This practice by Hamas is something that the Egyptian authorities have come to understand, which is why they are refusing to reopen the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. The question now is whether the international community will understand Hamas's true intentions and plans -- namely to prepare for another war against Israel.

A bus carrying Palestinians drives through the Rafah crossing, from the Gaza Strip to Egyptian Sinai, on August 23, 2015. (Image source: Aqsatv video screenshot)

Egypt's President Abdel Fatah Sisi has once again proven that he and his country will not tolerate any threats from Hamas or other Palestinians.

The crisis that erupted between Sisi's regime and Hamas after the removal from power of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi two years ago, reached it peak in the past few days with the kidnapping of four Hamas operatives in Sinai.

The four men were snatched from a bus shortly after crossing from the Gaza Strip into Egyptian territory on August 19. Reports said that unidentified gunmen stopped the bus and kidnapped the four Hamas men, who are wanted by Egypt for their involvement in terrorism.

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Mass Immigration and the Undoing of Europe

by Vijeta Uniyal  •  August 25, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • In Germany, where traffickers are now dropping off illegal immigrants on Autobahns, authorities have reacted -- not by trying to intercept or discourage traffickers, but by putting up new road signs alerting drivers of potential pedestrians on the highway.

  • Last month alone, more migrants landed on the shores of Greece than in the whole of 2014.

  • If the mainstream media keep reminding everyone how the rioting immigrant youths in France or Britain are driven by economic inequality now, imagine the scale of unrest once European welfare states cannot finance "half the planet" anymore and are forced to cut welfare benefits.

  • No one, however, especially the media, blames migrants for their own actions.

  • This is the real tragedy of the unfolding refugee crisis in Europe: apart from those fleeing combat zones, most migrants swarming European borders and coastlines do not appear to be in any real or dire need.

African migrants camp out on the beach in the northern Italian town of Ventimiglia, along the French border, as they wait for the opportunity to cross into France. (Image source: AFP video screenshot)

With the European Union surrendering its immigration policy to people smugglers, the immigration crisis in Europe keeps reaching staggering new heights. The word has gone out that Fortress Europe is scalable. From Morocco to Turkey, people smuggling has turned into an irresistibly big business.

From small-time thugs to the terror outfit Hamas -- for $2500-$3000 per person smuggled -- many evidently want to seize a slice of this lucrative business that was created by the EU's collective inaction.

In Germany, where traffickers are now dropping off illegal immigrants on Autobahns, authorities have reacted -- not by trying to intercept or discourage the traffickers, but by putting new road-signs alerting drivers of potential pedestrians on the highway.

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Iran Deal Will Trigger Major War in Middle East

by Nima Gholam Ali Pour  •  August 24, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • The Islamic Republic of Iran, since its founding in 1979, has had an ideology that seeks to "export the Islamic revolution" -- if necessary, by force.

  • Despite what President Obama likes to say, it is not true that the agreement "permanently prohibits Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon" or "cuts off all of Iran's pathways to a bomb." This agreement means the U.S. has accepted that after 15 years, or sooner, Iran may build as many bombs as it likes.

  • Iran is not a country busy trying to preserve its own sovereignty. Iran, instead, undermines other countries' sovereignty.

  • Iran's regime is extremely pragmatic: it sees that its survival is not, threatened no matter what it does. It sees -- as does everyone else – that transgressions are, in fact, rewarded.

  • Why does the U.S. wish to allow a regime that wants to destroy America's closest Middle East ally to acquire more advanced conventional -- and later, nuclear -- weapons? Why would anyone allow a country that gives missiles to terrorists to get hold of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs)?

  • If this agreement were about peace, why does Iran need more weapons? If Iran wants peace, why don't they scrap their missile program and stop supporting terrorist organizations? If Iran wants peace, why does it want missiles that can reach other continents?

  • Hitler duped Chamberlain and presented himself as a man of peace. No one has duped President Obama. The mullahs openly say "Death to America." Does Obama not know at whom the Iranians will point their nuclear-tipped ICBMs?

  • In the worst-case scenario, walking away from the deal still leaves the world in a position of deterrence that offers it better choices -- before Iran becomes nuclear, not after.

(Image source: CNN video screenshot)

If someone had asked you a year ago what would be the most efficient way to cause a major war in the Middle East, you might well have said: Giving the mullahs in Iran the opportunity to get advanced conventional weapons, ICBMs, nuclear weapons and tens of billion of dollars to fund terrorist organizations and destabilize other countries in the region. You might have argued that a regime that does not hesitate to attack targets in Washington or Berlin might not be the most prudent one to shower with gigantic quantities of money and the deadliest weapons.

If one knows anything about the regime in Iran, it is difficult to understand how U.S. President Barack Obama's agreement with Iran could create anything other than chaos and war in the Middle East.

The content of the Iran nuclear agreement creates the perfect conditions for a major war in the Middle East -- one that could spread and start a major regional conflict.

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The IKEA Murders: Sweden in Crisis

by Ingrid Carlqvist  •  August 23, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • The mosque fire received huge attention, while the rape epidemic is basically ignored. When a Swedish woman and her son are brutally knifed to death in the most Swedish of all places – an IKEA store – the Prime Minister has nothing to say.

  • The normal democratic order, where citizens can contact politicians or the media to make their voices heard, has all but evaporated in Sweden. Newspaper websites have removed the reader comment fields, and the politicians hide behind a wall of officials who brand callers expressing concern "racist," and hang up. Sweden is governed by a power that has shut down the democratic process.

  • Questions flooded the social media: Who are these people that are let into Sweden? How many of them are not innocent victims of war, but in fact war criminals and other criminals, hiding among the refugees?

  • The most relevant question is: Why has one government after another chosen to spend Swedish taxpayers' money to support and shelter citizens of other countries, while some of them try to kill us?

  • None of the mainstream media has confronted the government about the violent crimes committed by asylum seekers against Swedes. On the contrary – the media have done the utmost to convince Swedes that everything is safe and sound in Sweden. Better than ever, in fact.

  • "Where do I apply for asylum... when the day comes that I can no longer live here?" – "Ewa," on Facebook.

  • Violent crime is up 300% and rape is up 1,472% since 1975, the year the Swedish Parliament decided to turn homogenous Sweden into a multicultural country.

Carola Herlin, Director of the Moro Backe Health Center, was murdered on August 10, along with her son, in the IKEA store in Västerås, Sweden.

A surge of rage has washed over otherwise docile Sweden. After a double homicide at an IKEA store in Västerås, where an illegal alien stabbed two random Swedes to death, more and more people are questioning why the government is exposing Swedish citizens to murderers from across the globe.

On August 10, news of the IKEA murders shocked Sweden. Two asylum seekers from Eritrea (the second largest source of asylum applicants in Sweden), were suspected of having grabbed knives from the kitchenware department and attacked two random Swedes. The victims were 55-year-old Carola Herlin and her 28-year-old son, Emil.

The elder of the two asylum seekers, a 36-year-old man, had twice been denied residency status in Sweden -- because he had already been granted residency it in Italy -- but he had not yet been deported. (Eritreans without residence permits in other EU-countries automatically get to stay in Sweden.)

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The Iran Deal: How Christians Choose Sides

by Susan Warner  •  August 23, 2015 at 4:00 am

  • It is astounding to think that the term "peace and justice" could embrace Iranian nuclear ambitions, but these post-modern Christian groups seem to be able to make the mental adjustments in order to advance their anti-Israel agenda.

  • Christian organizations such as Sabeel, Christ at The Checkpoint Conference and hundreds of other Christian groups that deny Israel's legitimate claims to the land seem totally oblivious to the existential threat Iran poses not only to Israel but to all of Western civilization.

  • On the opposite end of the spectrum, Pastor John Hagee's Christians United for Israel (CUFI) is leading an all-out campaign against the Iran deal, in solidarity with Israel. And Hispanic Evangelicals are also raising their collective voices against the Iran deal.

  • "This deal is not only bad; it is very dangerous. It falls woefully short of what both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have said is acceptable. ... This is not a partisan issue; it is a moral imperative. — Hispanic Christian leaders, in a statement published on July 24.

Pastor John Hagee has spoken out strongly against President Obama's Iran deal, portraying it as a danger to the U.S. and Israel. (Image source: Hagee Hotline video screenshot)

Nowhere are the deep divisions within Christianity more apparent than in the current responses to the Obama-Kerry Iran nuclear deal (officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA).

Even before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's appearance on all five Sunday news talk shows on July 19, in which he elaborated on the administration's position, Christian groups had already lined up for a war of sorts that would focus Christian attention on the political debate to come.

The ink was barely dry on the 150-page final agreement when the Vatican, which represents roughly 70 million American Catholics, released a statement in favor of the Iran deal, pronouncing it an "important step" and calling for a "commitment to make it bear fruit," basically affirming the Pope's wish for peace in our time.

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Is Spain Fueling the BDS War Against Israel?

by Soeren Kern  •  August 22, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • Spain's center-right government under Mariano Rajoy continues to pursue policies that are antagonistic towards Israel — policies that are virtually unchanged from the government of former Socialist Prime Minister of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero — policies that largely coincide with the objectives of the BDS movement.

  • Although Spain's Foreign Minister has repeatedly said that the government does not support a boycott against Israel, under his watch the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the Foreign Ministry's primary aid-giving agency, has continued to subsidize organizations that work to delegitimize Israel.

  • Between 2009 and 2011, the Zapatero government funneled more than €15 million of Spanish taxpayer funds to Palestinian and Spanish non-governmental organizations that are among the leaders in campaigns aimed at delegitimizing Israel via BDS, lawfare and other forms of demonization, according to a comprehensive analysis published by the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor.

  • The Rajoy government continues to fund NGOs that are involved in anti-Israel activities.

  • According to the Official Gazette of the Spanish State, for example, NOVA-Centre per la Innovació Social, a Barcelona-based NGO with a history of anti-Israel activism, is slated to receive more than €200,000 in 2015... AECID awarded €200,000 in 2014 to the Catalan Association for Peace, a group that has co-organized a three-year project to "raise awareness" for the BDS movement against Israel.

  • "The EU calls our ambassadors in because of the construction of a few houses? When did the EU call in the Palestinian ambassadors about incitement that calls for Israel's destruction?... They don't tell the Palestinians that they have to make their peace with a nation-state for the Jewish people. They just give the Palestinians a nation-state." — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

  • Meanwhile, Spanish BDS activists continue their efforts to prevent Israeli artists from performing at Spanish music festivals, and vice versa.

Anti-Israel activists in Gijón, Spain are pictured above calling for a boycott and sanctions against the Jewish state, in 2012.

The Jewish American singer Matisyahu has been re-invited to perform at an international music festival in Spain, days after he was disinvited for refusing to make a public statement about his position on Israel's "apartheid policies" against the Palestinians.

The organizers of the Rototom Sunsplash festival, an annual reggae festival held in Benicasim, a resort town on the Mediterranean coast, said in a statement that they were sorry for cancelling Matisyahu's concert and that he was now welcome to perform at the festival on August 22, as originally scheduled.

The organizers said that the decision to disinvite Matisyahu — an American citizen who does not hold an Israeli passport — was due to a "campaign of pressure, coercion and threats employed" by BDS País Valencià, a local branch of the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

In a post on his Facebook page, Matisyahu wrote:

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Palestinians Flock to Islamic State

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  August 21, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • The terror group Islamic State has become extremely popular among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Four recent public opinion polls show that at least one million Palestinians support the Islamic State.

  • The Palestinians' two governments, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA), have good reason to be worried about the Islamic State. In recent weeks, Islamic State spokesmen have issued threats against both the PA and Hamas, accusing them of "collaboration" with the "Zionist entity."

  • Christian activist Sam Butrous noted that the widespread support for Islamic State among Palestinians is a sign of increased extremism and a denial of Christians' rights in the Holy Land.

  • The PA and Hamas can only blame themselves for the surge of Palestinians joining the Islamic State. The two governments allow anti-Western incitement in their mosques and media outlets. Their leaders regularly glorify and endorse Palestinians who carry out terror attacks against Israelis, encouraging others to follow suit. If these Palestinians are unable to attack Israel from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, they travel to Syria and Iraq to join the jihad against Israel's allies, namely the U.S. and other Western countries.

  • Palestinian leaders cannot evade responsibility for inspiring dozens of Palestinians to join the Islamic State. The fiery rhetoric of these leaders and ongoing incitement against Israel and the West are further radicalizing Palestinians and driving them into the Islamic State's open arms.

Palestinians waving Islamic State flags attempt to storm the French Cultural Center in Gaza City, in January 2015. (Image source: ehna tv YouTube screenshot)

Hardly a week passes without another report of a Palestinian killed while fighting for the Islamic State terror group.

The reports have raised deep concern among many Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A recent report estimated that some 100 Palestinians have already joined Islamic State. Other reports claim that the number is much higher.

According to the report, most of the Palestinians who joined the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are from the Gaza Strip. Another 1000 Palestinian men are believed to be preparing to join Islamic State, but have been unable to fulfill their dream for various reasons, the report revealed.

It is no surprise that most of the Palestinians who have joined the Islamic State are from the Gaza Strip, which has been under the control of Hamas since 2007.

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Nuke Deal or Not, Iran Has Already Declared War on Us

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  August 20, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • U.S. policymakers who hope that the nuclear deal will help nudge the Islamic revolutionary state into becoming a normal member of the international community seem to forget the past. Policymakers, journalists, and intelligence analysts had all predicted that the era of former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami was a sure sign of the evolution of the revolution. Khatami was replaced by the even more hardline president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

  • It seems clear that despite the American political establishment's failure to recognize that a state of war already exists between Iran and the United States, the Islamic Republic has no doubt with whom it is at war.

Left: Senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani, speaking on July 17 in Tehran, behind a banner reading "We Will Trample Upon America" and "We defeat the United States." Right: Iran's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, proclaims "Death to America" on March 2.

Iran has been at war with the "Great Satan" (USA) since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979. Its opening move was the regime's seizure of the American Embassy and its taking U.S. diplomats hostage for 444 days in 1979-1980. Technically, the move was an internationally recognized casus belli, legitimate cause for war.

In addition, the Iranian regime's proxy terrorist group, Hezbollah, engineered the murder of 241 U.S. soldiers, sailors, and marines in Lebanon on October 23, 1983. Iran also sponsored the truck bombing that murdered 19 US Air Force personnel at the Khobar Towers housing complex in Saudi Arabia on June 25, 1996,[1] in an attack allegedly executed by a Bahrain-based cell of Hezbollah, with the cooperation of a Saudi-trained Hezbollah cell.[2]

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Election Time in Turkey: Tossing the Dice Again

by Burak Bekdil  •  August 20, 2015 at 4:00 am

  • If the AKP can win 276 seats and form a government, it may then seek alliances in parliament to amend the constitution in line with the would-be Sultan's wishes.

  • President Erdogan is on a dangerous path. He knows no limits in breaching the constitution -- which it is his duty is to safeguard. He is wrong to claim that "whether one likes it or not, Turkey's administrative system has changed." It has not changed, although he is trying to change it.

  • "When he [Erdogan] does go down, he will bring down many with him. We must make sure it is not the whole country." — Fuad Kavur, Turkish-British film and opera director and producer.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in violation of the constitution, campaigns for the AKP party three days before the June 7 parliamentary elections. (Image source: Canli video screenshot)

By this autumn, the Turks will have gone to the ballot box four times in about a year and a half. Three of the elections had been scheduled in advance: municipal in March 2014, presidential in August 2014, and parliamentary in June 2015. But apparently the Turks will have to elect another parliament a few months after the one they voted for on June 7. Not because there was large-scale vote-rigging in the last election, but rather because President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not like the election results.

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What Are Palestinians Doing With U.S. Money?

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  August 19, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah did not tell the visiting U.S. Congressmen that the $4.5 billion the Americans invested in promoting Palestinian democracy went down the drain or ended up in secret Swiss bank accounts. Nor did he tell the Congressman that the Palestinians do not have a functioning parliament or a free media under the PA in the West Bank or under Hamas in the Gaza Strip. And, of course, Hamdallah never told the Congressman that for Palestinians, presidential and parliamentary elections remain a remote dream.

  • The refusal of the international community back then to hold Arafat accountable was the main reason a majority of Palestinians were driven into the open arms of Hamas. Palestinians saw no improvement in their living conditions, mainly as a result of the PA's corruption. That is why they turned to Hamas, which promised them change, reform and an end to financial corruption.

  • The Americans and Europeans are therefore responsible for Hamas's rise to power.

  • One does not have to be an expert on Palestinian affairs to see that the billions of dollars have neither created democracy for the Palestinians nor boosted the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The "investment" in Palestinian democracy and peace with Israel has been a complete failure because of the refusal of the U.S. Administration to hold the Palestinian Authority fully accountable.

  • Unless Western donors demand that the PA use their money to bring democracy to its people and prepare them for peace, the prospects of reviving any peace process will remain zero.

President Barack Obama, accompanied by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, reviews the PA honor guard in Ramallah, March 21, 2013. (Image source: AFP video screenshot)

During the past 20 years, the U.S. has invested $4.5 billion in promoting democracy among the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and boosting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

This is what Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah revealed during a meeting in Ramallah this week with Congressman Kevin McCarthy, Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Hamdallah said that the money was also invested in projects in various Palestinian sectors.

The $4.5 billion that Hamdallah talked about does not include the billions of dollars poured on the Palestinian Authority (PA) since its creation in 1994. Palestinian economic analysts estimate that the PA has received a total of $25 billion in financial aid from the U.S. and other countries during the past two decades.

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Belfast Pastor on Trial for Offending Islam

by Soeren Kern  •  August 18, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • Pastor McConnell's prosecution is one of a growing number of examples in which British authorities -- who routinely ignore incendiary speech by Muslim extremists -- are using hate speech laws to silence Christians.

  • "I think this is an important issue of freedom of speech. I believe a prosecution like this introduces a chill factor into society where people feel that if they speak out on something that they believe passionately they could end up being dragged through the courts." — Democratic Unionist Party MP Sammy Wilson.

  • "The police tried to shut me up and tell me what to preach... They have the right to say what they believe in and I have a right to say what I believe... I have no regrets about what I said. I do not hate Muslims, but I denounce Islam as a doctrine and I make no apologies for that... My church funds medical care for 1,200 Muslim children in Kenya and Ethiopia...I've no hatred in my heart for Muslims, but I won't be stopped from preaching against Islam." — Pastor James McConnell.

  • "James McConnell didn't incite hatred or encourage violence against any Muslim...H e simply expressed his views about another religion. Freedom of speech should mean that he has every right to lambast Islam, as Islamic clerics have to lambast him and Christianity if they so choose. Those who disagree with Pastor McConnell should challenge him and attempt to win the debate, rather than close it down... Freedom of speech isn't only for polite persons of mild disposition airing their views within government-policed parameters. It's about letting awkward, insulting and even offensive voices be heard too. And yet the silence from civil liberties and human rights organisations here has been deafening. In any democracy worth its salt, freedom of speech isn't a luxury for your friends, it's a necessity for your enemies. Defending Pastor McConnell's right to say what he said doesn't mean approving or embracing his sentiments." — Suzanne Breen, an atheist journalist, Belfast Telegraph.

  • "Islam is allowed to come to this country, Islam is allowed to worship in this country, Islam is allowed to preach in this country and they preach hate.... We are persecuted in Islam if we stand for Jesus Christ." — Pastor James McConnell.

Pastor James McConnell, surrounded by supporters, speaks to the media outside Laganside Magistrates Court in Belfast on August 6.

An evangelical Christian pastor in Northern Ireland has made his first court appearance after he was charged with making "grossly offensive" remarks about Islam.

James McConnell, 78, appeared at Laganside Magistrates Court in Belfast on August 6, after local Muslims complained that he delivered a sermon in which he described Islam as "heathen" and "satanic."

According to Northern Ireland's Public Prosecution Service (PPS), McConnell — whose sermon was streamed live on the Internet — violated the 2003 Communications Act by "sending, or causing to be sent, by means of a public electronic communications network, a message or other matter that was grossly offensive."

Pastor McConnell's prosecution is one of a growing number of examples in which British authorities — who routinely ignore incendiary speech by Muslim extremists — are using hate speech laws to silence Christians.

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