Latest Analysis and Commentary

The Other Face of Terrorism

by Raheel Raza  •  April 18, 2015 at 5:00 am

We live in a country where we embrace liberal democracy, gender equality, freedom of speech and individual freedoms, so we naïvely think that everyone who comes here has the same values. Wrong. Those are the very values that the terrorists abhor.

We must be aware that there are organizations and individuals right here in the United States and Canada who have exactly the same ideology as Boko Haram, the Taliban and ISIS. The only difference is these North American organizations are required to follow the law of the land.

In many instances, these subversive organizations have succeeded in suppressing free speech by aggressively intimidating academic institutions.

This threatening, silencing and censoring is the other face of terrorism.

Subversive North American Islamist organizations have succeeded in suppressing free speech, writes Raheel Raza, such as using intimidation in attempts to cancel screenings of the film Honor Diaries. The film exposes injustices and violence against women in Muslim-majority societies. Above, a screenshot from Honor Diaries, relating to child brides.

According to a UNICEF report published this week, an estimated 800,000 children in and around Nigeria were forced from their homes by Boko Haram extremists. This report was published almost a year after the mass kidnappings of nearly 300 schoolgirls from Chibok. There are reports that many of these kidnapped girls were terrorized, raped and later forced to marry their captors.

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Hamas's Plan: A Hamas State of Palestine in Gaza (For Now)

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  April 17, 2015 at 5:00 am

Hamas is consolidating its grip over the Gaza Strip and making plans to turn it into a separate state.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah consider the purported plan a "severe blow" to the two-state solution and unity among Palestinians.

The Americans and Europeans will also have to listen very carefully to what Hamas is saying: namely that a Palestinian state in the West Bank or Gaza Strip -- or any part of the Palestinian territories, would not end its struggle to destroy Israel and replace it with the State of Greater Palestine.

Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar is shown in an August 2014 television clip, addressing a Hamas rally to celebrate their attacks on Israel during last summer's Operation Protective Edge. (Image source: MEMRI video screenshot)

As the U.S. Administration and the international community continue to push for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, Hamas seems to be working toward establishing an independent state of its own in the Gaza Strip.

In recent weeks, reports have surfaced in a number of Arab and Western media outlets to the effect that Hamas leaders have decided to establish a "higher committee" for managing the affairs of the Gaza Strip.

Although Hamas spokesmen have denied the reports, sources close to the Islamist movement said that discussions were underway with representatives of other Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip to set up the "higher committee."

The sources said that the decision came after Hamas gave up on the idea of achieving "national reconciliation" with Mahmoud Abbas's rival Fatah faction.

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Iran "Deal": West's Surrender Triggering War

by Guy Millière  •  April 16, 2015 at 5:00 am

Russia and China have also agreed to build nuclear plants for Iran. And North Korea has also been supplying Iran with technology, a "minor detail" hidden from the UN by U.S. President Barack Obama. And the U.S. thinks that if Iran is caught cheating, sanctions can be re-imposed?

Other countries in the region have already started scheduling delivery for their nuclear weapons. They have made it clear they will not sit idly by while Iran goes nuclear.

Iran has already bragged that it will sell "enriched uranium" on the open market, and will be "hopefully making some money" from it, said Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif hugs French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius at the close of nuclear talks in Geneva, Nov. 23, 2014. (Image source: ISNA)

No agreement was signed between Iran and the P5+1 group[1] on April 2; no agreement will be signed on June 30.

The text defining the "framework" of some agreement to be signed in June was immediately challenged by Iran. Western leaders speak and act as if they have no idea what Iran is saying or doing.

Western leaders wanted something akin to an agreement. They got something akin to an agreement.

Iran's leaders seem to have spotted pretty soon that Western leaders would willingly concede everything -- and possibly more -- to get any "agreement"; so that is what Western leaders got.

Western leaders not only failed to reach an agreement; they capitulated. The reason for the talks was to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. When, according to Western reports, they saw that Iran would not agree to stop, they "flipped" and instead became complicit.

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Turkey: Genocide à la Carte

by Burak Bekdil  •  April 16, 2015 at 4:00 am

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused the Holy See of ignoring the pain suffered by Muslims and Turks. Cavusoglu did not say why Muslims and Turks tend to ignore the pain suffered by other faiths and other nations.

Such political controversies as the Pope's speech always offer golden opportunities to Turkish officials who would not miss exploiting them in order to look pretty to an Islamist government and hope for a brighter career.

Pope Francis speaks at a Mass commemorating the centenary of the Armenian genocide, on April 12, 2015. (Image source: Vatican video screenshot)

It seems as if Turkey's ruling politicians are in a race to look less and less convincing to an already suspicious international audience. How they defended their ancestors' sins a century ago earned them new points in the race, and made them look even more odd than before.

The tragic events of 1915-1920 that killed 1.5 million Ottoman Armenians have been recognized as genocide by a total of 22 countries in the world, 44 states in the United States, two states in Australia, three in Brazil, four regions and three cities in Spain, two in Syria, five provinces in Bulgaria, one in Colombia, one regional parliament in the Netherlands, one regional parliament in Italy and one in Iran.

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German Anti-Islamization Movement Seeks Comeback

by Soeren Kern  •  April 15, 2015 at 5:00 am

"Look at all the countries where Islam is dominant. Look at Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan. Non-Muslims, Christians, Jews, women, gays and apostates are treated there as inferior. They are being humiliated, persecuted, and even murdered. That is exactly what we are fighting against." — Geert Wilders.

"We have enough of the political correctness. We have enough of the Islamization of our societies. We stand for freedom, for the truth. Because we think that without freedom, life is not worth living. Freedom and human rights -- that is what we stand for." — Geert Wilders.

"Every day, we hear the same mantra that Islam is a religion of peace. After every atrocity committed in the name of Islam, Barack Obama, David Cameron, Angela Merkel and my own Prime Minister rush to the television cameras to declare that these acts have noting to do with Islam. How stupid do they think we are?" — Geert Wilders.

"Dear friends, German patriots, look at Israel, learn from Israel. Israel is an island in a sea of Islamic barbarism. Israel is a beacon of freedom and prosperity in a region of Islamic darkness. Israel refuses to be overrun by the jihadists. So should we." — Geert Wilders.

It seems clear that ordinary Germans, including those with legitimate concerns about the spread of Islam in their country, are reluctant to identify publicly with PEGIDA, even if they privately support the cause.

Geert Wilders addresses a rally of PEGIDA supporters in Dresden, Germany, on April 13. (Image source: RT video screenshot)

Dutch politician Geert Wilders addressed a rally of the German grassroots anti-Islamization movement known as PEGIDA in the eastern city of Dresden on April 13.

PEGIDA organizers were hoping that Wilders's appearance would inject new life into the group after a recent leadership split cast doubt on its future.

Despite excellent weather, however, only 10,000 people showed up for the event, far fewer than the 30,000 attendees that PEGIDA had been expecting.

Wilders told the crowd gathered in Dresden that there is "nothing wrong with being proud German patriots. There is nothing wrong with wanting Germany to remain free and democratic. There is nothing wrong with preserving our own Judeo-Christian civilization. That is our duty." He added:

"Most of the politicians, media, churches and academics are looking away from the threat of Islamization. They are afraid. But you are not.

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Russia-Iran Missile Deal Major Threat to Middle East

by Yaakov Lappin  •  April 15, 2015 at 4:30 am

The impact that Russian S-300 missiles will have in the region is far wider than just on Israel and its neighbors.

Iran can use the system to harden air defenses around its multiple nuclear sites, making any potential future air attack significantly more difficult, and presenting Iran's threshold nuclear status as an almost invulnerable established fact. This, in turn, would allow Iran confidently to continue exporting arms and terrorism across the Middle East.

Russia is keen to capitalize on lifted sanctions to resume business with Iran. China also just agreed to build nuclear plants for Iran. Their decision looks like a sign of things to come

Batteries of Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air missiles, pictured here in service with the Slovakian military. (Image source: EllsworthSK/Wikimedia Commons)

Middle East regional instability is set to worsen after Russia's lifting of its ban on the delivery of the advanced S-300 air defense missile system to Iran.

Russia's decision on April 13 to lift the ban is a highly dangerous development, which might well further destabilize the Middle East, and has serious potential to spark new conflicts.

The S-300 is one of the world's most advanced surface-to-air missile defense systems. Designed as a truck-mounted air defense battery, it can also be used as an offensive weapon, thanks to its long range and ability to track and strike many planes simultaneously.

If Russia follows through on its pledge to deliver the S-300 to Iran, the Iranians could then smuggle these sophisticated weapons into Syria, and from there, use a cross-border network to move the missiles on to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

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Top British Universities Flunk Free Speech

by Peter Martino  •  April 14, 2015 at 5:00 am

The universities were ranked using a traffic-light system: red for universities that ban and actively censor certain ideas on campus; amber for universities that chill free speech, and green for universities that have a hands-off approach to free speech.

The results of the Free Speech University Rankings were staggering. Forty-seven universities were marked red, including Oxford and the London School of Economics; 45 were marked amber, including Cambridge, and a mere 25 were marked green. Results indicate that 80% of British universities censor free speech.

Stifling free speech on campus is no longer restricted to Britain; it can be seen all over the world, including in the U.S.

"Campus censorship is something which can no longer be laughed off. Free thought itself is under attack." — Tom Slater, assistant editor at Spiked Online, Daily Telegraph.

"Supporting Israel is now labeled an act of 'racism' by some professors and certain campus organizations." — Daniel Mael, Senior, Brandeis University, U.S.

Freedom of speech is one of the fundamental values of our Judeo-Christian civilization. The day we give away free speech -- or Israel, which embodies it -- is the day we cease to exist.

Image source: Spiked Online

At Manchester University in April of 2010, Israel's deputy ambassador to the UK, Talya Lador-Fresher, was violently attacked. Demonstrators climbed the hood of her car and attempted to smash the windscreen before the police were able to escort her to safety.

Again, in February of 2013, this time at the University of Essex in Colchester, Britain, during a debate on the situation in the Middle East, authorities ordered the evacuation from campus of her successor, Israel's deputy ambassador to the UK, Alon Roth-Snir. A group of hostile students disrupted the debate; university authorities said they could not protect his safety.

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Turkey and Iran: Theater of Make Believe

by Burak Bekdil  •  April 14, 2015 at 4:00 am

The (neo-) Ottoman-Persian theater looks exceptional at deception, self-deception, counter-deception, attempted deception and failed deception.

Lovely! In half a decade, the two brotherly countries had progressed spectacularly from "We need to establish peace in the region" to "We have to put an end to this bloodshed."

Erdogan, who hand-in-hand with Rouhani smiled to the cameras in Tehran, only the week before had said that Turkey would not tolerate Iran dominating the Middle East (read: only the Sunnis can dominate the Middle East, preferably the Turks).

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Tehran, April 7, 2015. (Image source: RT video screenshot)

Time passes quickly; but most scripts at the political musicals of the Middle Eastern theaters remain stubbornly unchanged. The (neo-) Ottoman-Persian theater looks exceptional at deception, self-deception, counter-deception, attempted deception and failed deception: At least the Saudis and Iranians do not embrace and kiss each other while fighting several proxy wars in different theaters of the Middle East.

The complication on the Turkish-Iranian axis has several reasons, none of which is easily comprehensible to the Western mind: Turkey's Sunni Islamists believe that they can always fool their Shiite Iranian "brothers" by smiling to their faces, by standing by them against the Christendom, and by championing the Palestinian cause -- while playing games behind their backs. In return, the Iranians privately smile and think that the not-so-smart Turks are just trying to play backgammon while they, meanwhile, calculate gambit after gambit on a chessboard.

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Was the South Carolina Shooting a Reflection of Racism, Police Subculture or Both?

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  April 13, 2015 at 11:00 am

North Charleston Police Department Officer Michael Slager is shown on video shooting Walter Scott in the back, April 7, 2015.

As more evidence emerges -- in addition to the cell phone video showing a South Carolina policeman, who is white, shooting a black man in the back -- it certainly shows that serious abuse of power and a likely homicide occurred. But does it also show a racially motivated interaction?

The officer's words were not recorded, so motive must be circumstantially inferred from the actions that were captured on the short but dramatic cell phone video, and from what we know occurred before and after what we have all seen on television.

We know from the police reports that Walter Scott was stopped for a broken tail light on a Mercedes, and we also know that in many parts of our country, a black man driving a Mercedes with a minor infraction is more likely to be stopped than a white driver.

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Gaza: Egypt Responsible For Weapons Shortage

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  April 13, 2015 at 5:00 am

This week, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi signed a new law, according to which anyone who digs a tunnel along Egypt's borders would face life imprisonment.

Sisi has shown real guts and determination in his war to drain the swamps of terrorists.

The tough measures he has taken along Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip have proven to be even more effective than Israel's military operations against the smuggling tunnels.

Egyptian soldiers prepare to blow up a large smuggling tunnel they discovered along Sinai's border with Gaza, September 2014. (Image source: Almyan video screenshot)

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's uncompromising war on terrorism, especially along the border with the Gaza Strip, seems to be bearing fruit. It is a war that is being waged away from the spotlight and with almost no reaction from the international community.

This situation is a perfect example of how the international community and the United Nations do not care about the "plight" of the Palestinians as long as Israel is not involved. Sisi's war on terrorism has thus far failed to spark the same uproar, if any, that is often triggered by Israeli military operations against Hamas and its smuggling tunnels.

As a result of this war -- which began in 2013, shortly after Sisi came to power, with the destruction of hundreds of smuggling tunnels along the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip -- Hamas and other armed groups are now more isolated than ever.

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Nuclear Iran's "Spillover Effects"

by Vijeta Uniyal  •  April 13, 2015 at 4:00 am

As President Obama tries to sell the world his mysterious nuclear "framework agreement," India's defense establishment is just not buying it. The U.S. and Western commentators might be expecting "peace dividends" from Iran, but India cannot afford to harbor such illusions.

The Iranians have already announced that they plan to sell "enriched uranium" in the international marketplace, and will be "hopefully making some money" from it. To whom will they sell?

A nuclear Iran would be able to hold the world hostage by blocking one-third of the world's oil supply at the Strait of Hormuz. Iranian proxies have also been trying to seize control of the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, the maritime choke point of the Suez Canal.

The only question is whether the West would rather have an adversary such as Iran before it has nuclear weapons or after.

At left, Indian defense contractors work on an Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile. At right, an Indian AAD missile is test-launched.

When the West and Iran agreed -- or not, depending on whether one believes the U.S. version or Iran's -- on the parameters of a supposed nuclear "framework," India's foreign office hailed the agreement as a "significant step."

India's foreign office might have joined the international chorus welcoming the deal, but as U.S. President Barack Obama aggressively tries to sell the world his mysterious nuclear "framework," India's defense establishment is just not buying it.

India's defense establishment seems to be having acute qualms about this "framework."

One day after the P5+1's mysterious "agreement" with Iran, India began gearing up for a more effective nuclear defense, and unveiled plans to equip the country's capital, New Delhi, with a comprehensive missile defense shield to avert a nuclear attack.

Once in place, the shield could intercept missiles fired from a range of 5,000 km, roughly double the aerial distance between New Delhi and Tehran.

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A British Conference on Israel's Right to Exist: Really?

by George Phillips  •  April 12, 2015 at 5:00 am

Iran has violated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty time after time, often undetected; it also continues to violate Article 2, clause 4, of the United Nations Charter: "All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state..."

During the British Mandate, the entire area was known as Palestine. The official listing for "Place of Birth" on all passports at the time -- for everyone, including Jews -- was Palestine.

One can only hope that what clearly seems such a fatally dangerous deal -- that threatens the existence of not only Israel, the Middle East and Europe, but, with Iran's intercontinental ballistic missile program, also the United States -- will not be allowed to happen.

In 1799, as Napoleon Bonaparte's army was besieging the city of Acre, Napoleon issued a letter, offering the Palestine as a homeland to the Jews, referring to them as "Rightful heirs of Palestine." Above, a painting depicting the siege of Acre.

The notion of Israel's "right to exist" has been in the news twice in recent days.

First, the University of Southampton, in Britain, announced that due to "safety fears," it was cancelling a conference, scheduled for later this month, to question Israel's right to exist.

Were the "security concerns" related to the fact that the conference would promote the rising infestation of Jew-hatred in Britain? A recent U.K. parliamentary report shows that hate crimes against British Jews have doubled in the past decade, and has called upon the British government to take urgent action.

The second time was when Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, addressing the Obama Administration's nuclear "framework" with Iran, said that in any deal, Iran should recognize Israel's right to exist.

Despite being a member of the United Nations along with Israel, Iran nevertheless does not recognize Israel's right to exist.

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ISIS's Turkish Brothers

by Burak Bekdil  •  April 11, 2015 at 5:00 am

The Turkish ISIS is an ideological inspiration by an Islamist poet, who happens to be President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's favorite.

"From now on, life in Turkey will be difficult for the occupying seculars." — Editorial, Taraf, August 1993

Is it still too hard to understand why Erdogan's "fight" against radical Islamists in Syria and Iran cannot be serious?

If a "mere" 11.3% of Turks think so generously of ISIS, it means there are nine million Turks sympathetic to jihadists. And if only 10% of those decide to support ISIS's jihad, that comes to nearly 900,000 potential Turkish jihadists (even 5% would mean an army of nearly 450,000).

Damage to the Istanbul offices of the magazine Adimlar, which was bombed on March 26. (Image source: CNNTurk video screenshot)

Most Turks had not heard of the magazine Adimlar ["Steps"] until March 26, when a bomb blast ripped through its Istanbul offices. A bomb left at its entrance exploded when the door opened, killing a writer and wounding three, including its editor-in-chief, Ali Osman Zor. The dead victim was his brother.

Last October, CNN interviewed Zor, who described himself as an "Islamic revolutionary" and a member of the Great Eastern Islamic Raiders' Front, or IBDA-C in its Turkish acronym. He spent time in prison on charges of terrorist activity. In the interview, Zor said he supported the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), including its extreme violent practices, and argued that the radical group's violence was a natural response to what he claimed were decades of Western imperialism in the Middle East.

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Dangers to Democracy in the Prosecution of Senator Menendez

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  April 10, 2015 at 10:45 am

Whenever a prominent political figure is indicted on charges of alleged corruption, serious questions arise. Is the prosecution part of a growing and dangerous trend toward criminalizing policy differences? Does it endanger the free speech rights of contributors? Will it constrain the legislative branch from serving as a check and balance on the executive?

These questions are now being raised in the context of the prosecution of New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, as they previously were in several other ill-advised prosecutions, including those of former agriculture secretary Mike Espy, former presidential candidate John Edwards, the late Senator Ted Stevens, former Congressman Tom Delay and former Texas governor Rick Perry.

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Why Palestinians in Yarmouk Are Unlucky

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  April 10, 2015 at 5:00 am

For Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders, the desire to punish Israel is stronger than the will to save the lives of thousands of Palestinians being killed in Syria by the Islamic State and starved by the Syrian army, which has been besieging Yarmouk for 700 days.

Instead of devoting their energies and efforts to stop the massacres in Yarmouk, PA officials were busy preparing a new draft resolution to be submitted to the UN Security Council, establishing a timeline for ending Israeli "occupation."

The Arab foreign ministers who met in Cairo earlier this week to discuss ways of backing the new Palestinian bid, deliberately ignored that, as they were chatting and sipping coffee, Palestinians were being slaughtered and forced to flee their homes in Yarmouk.

For the PA, Jews participating in a marathon seems to be more serious and life-threatening than Islamic State terrorists beheading Palestinians and destroying Palestinian homes in Yarmouk.

"All that is left for us to do is howl, slap and cry." — Ashraf al-Ajrami, former Palestinian Authority minister.

Part of Yarmouk, near Damascus, after being damaged by fighting. (Image source: RT video screenshot)

As Palestinians were being killed and beheaded by Islamic State terrorists in the Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus over the past week, Palestinian leaders once again proved that delegitimizing and isolating Israel is more important than caring about their people.

After seven days of fighting, Islamic State is now in control of nearly 90% of the camp, which once used to be home to more than 150,000 Palestinians. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) estimates that since the beginning of the civil war in Syria four years ago, the population of Yarmouk has dropped to 18,000.

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