Latest Analysis and Commentary

How The Biden Administration Is Getting Erdoğan's Moves All Wrong

by Burak Bekdil  •  May 26, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • After Russia's invasion of Ukraine, when every sane country is staying away from wiring even a few cents to Russia, NATO "ally" Turkey is still talking about buying a second S-400 system.

  • The result? The U.S. is further appeasing [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan.

  • Erdoğan has long been playing the old oriental carpet-selling game: pitting potential buyers against each other to get the best price -- Turkey is hoping to be sold to the highest bidder.

  • The West's appeasement will just further embolden Erdoğan to keep blackmailing it: If you do not sell me F-35s or F-16s, I will buy fighter jets from Russia. Erdoğan then turns to Putin: I am your man in NATO. If you do not want me to be a real NATO ally, you must give me something. Erdoğan's double-play has to be stopped. For that, is needed a determined Western bloc who will remind him that he will not get what he wants from his (theoretical) allies in the West by blackmailing them.

The West's appeasement will, unfortunately, only embolden Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and push him further into the Russian orbit, both politically as a covert ally and militarily as a client of critical weapons systems. Pictured: Erdoğan holds a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on October 22, 2019 in Sochi, Russia. (Image source: kremlin.ru)

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has revived an old, outdated, near-defunct concept: a Western habit of overrating Turkey's "geo-political importance." Totally blind to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's anti-Western policy calculus, the Biden administration is pushing Turkey's Islamist strongman into further stealth hostility toward the civilized parts of the world.

"For better or for worse, Turkey is a NATO ally and will remain so. After Russia's invasion of Ukraine, global politics are rapidly evolving in an unpredictable direction. The U.S. has, therefore, an interest in Turkey maintaining a robust air force," wrote Henri J. Barkey, a professor of international relations at Lehigh University. Ironically, Turkish court indictments mention Barkey, a former member of the U.S. state department's policy planning staff, as the key CIA operative behind the failed coup against Erdoğan's government in July 2016. Barkey, in Turkey, is a wanted man.

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Genocide for Profits

by Lawrence Kadish  •  May 25, 2022 at 3:30 pm

(Image source: iStock)

Putin's genocidal war on Ukraine may have less to do with empire and far more to do with profits.

Enormous profits.

There has been considerable commentary about Putin's war motives, from a belief that Ukraine is little more than an insurgent province of Mother Russia to a fear that Ukraine is becoming a satellite of Western democracies. But those motives miss the fact that Putin rules by allowing oligarchs to enrich themselves and -- by extension -- himself. And like any criminal, he is going where the money is and there is much money buried in the ground of Ukraine.

While it has historically been considered a rich agricultural region, it is now considered extremely valuable. Putin understands that Ukraine is also very rich in the precious metal lithium. One source reports that for fixed contracts, the annual average lithium price in the United States was $17,000 per ton in 2021, more than double that in 2020.

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National Security Crisis: Russia's and China's Nuclear Threats

by Judith Bergman  •  May 25, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • Russia has not only been modernizing its nuclear triad; it has also been developing new types of nuclear systems....

  • Russia, of course, is not the only nuclear threat to the United States. China has accelerated its nuclear buildup to the extent that Admiral Charles Richard, Commander of U.S. Strategic Command told the Senate Armed Services Committee last April, "For the first time in our history, the nation is on a trajectory to face two nuclear-capable, strategic peer adversaries at the same time, who must be deterred differently. We can no longer assume the risk of strategic deterrence failure in conflict will always remain low."

  • The Minuteman III ICBMs are badly in need of modernization -- they were built in the 1970s and were originally intended to last for just 10 years. The development of a next-generation ICBM, known as the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) has been decided, but the process has proven slow and the Air Force only expects the GBSD to begin replacing Minuteman III in 2029. According to General John Hyten, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the GBSD system will not achieve initial operational capability until 2030, or full operational capability until 2035.

  • "It's going to take us 10 to 15 years to modernize 400 [ICBM] silos that already exist. China is basically building almost that many overnight." — General John Hyten, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Defense Magazine, regarding the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program, September 13, 2021.

  • The Minuteman III has grave structural problems stemming from the fact that "the missile itself is 51 years old," but the launch capsules and other support facilities are "58 years old." — Col. Erik Quigley, director of the Minuteman III systems directorate, Air Force Magazine, June 14 2021.

  • In the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, the Trump administration decided that a new Nuclear-Armed Sea-Launched Cruise Missile (known as the SLCM-N).... needed to be added to the US nuclear arsenal to provide the US with "a needed non-strategic regional presence" that would address "the increasing need for flexible and low-yield options." The Biden administration, however, removed it from the FY2023 budget, while several generals have disagreed with that decision, arguing that it is needed against Russia and China.

  • "The Trump Administration proposed the SLCM-N in 2018. Message to Mr. Putin: If you drop a nuke on NATO soil, the alliance has the will and ability to respond in kind. This reduces the risk Mr. Putin will use a nuke," the WSJ wrote in April. "The Trump Administration said the U.S. might reconsider the SLCM-N if 'Russia returns to compliance with its arms control obligations, reduces its non-strategic nuclear arsenal, and corrects its other destabilizing behaviors.' How's that working out? Now Mr. Biden is surrendering this leverage—probably to placate progressives who are opposed to nuclear weapons as an article of faith." — Wall Street Journal editorial, April 20, 2022.

Russia has not only been modernizing its nuclear triad; it has also been developing new types of nuclear systems. Pictured: Mobile intercontinental ballistic missile launchers at a military parade in Moscow, Russia, on June 24, 2020. (Photo by Sergey Pyatakov - Host Photo Agency via Getty Images )

Russia's war on Ukraine has brought renewed attention to Russia's nuclear arsenal and the risk of nuclear war, especially after Russian President Vladimir Putin placed his country's nuclear forces on high alert shortly after invading Ukraine on February 24. Close to half of Americans are very concerned that Russia would directly target the U.S. with nuclear weapons, and an additional 3 in 10 are somewhat concerned about that, according to a recent poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Russia has the world's largest arsenal of nuclear weapons -- 6,255 warheads, compared to the United States' 5550 warheads -- according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) 2021 yearbook. Russia has also been modernizing its huge nuclear arsenal for at least two decades, a process likely to conclude this decade.

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Biden Takes Blind Sheikh's Terror Group Off Terror List

by Daniel Greenfield  •  May 25, 2022 at 4:00 am

  • The State Department is not removing Gamaat Islamiya from the terror list because it is defunct. Just the opposite. It's being removed from the terror list because the Biden administration expects it to be active again. And wants to be able to provide support for it.

  • "Bin Laden will become a symbol of resistance to occupation," Tarek Al-Zumar ranted after the Al Qaeda leader's death. "The U.S. killing of bin Laden will undoubtedly galvanize reaction and retaliation attempts."

  • This is what Biden's decision to remove Gamaat Islamiya from the terror list is whitewashing.

  • Gamaat Islamiya is not defunct. It has longstanding ties to Al Qaeda and now ISIS, even while its political arm seeks power by copying the Muslim Brotherhood's political strategy.

  • The Biden administration wants another Arab Spring in Egypt and it hopes that Al-Zumar and other Gamaat Islamiya Jihadists will help restore its Islamist allies to power. It's embracing Tarek Al-Zumar, the author of such key Jihadist tracts as, "Our Struggle" and "Bonds of Jihad" to pave the way for supporting his new Jihad.

  • And above all else, Biden has once again betrayed America.

In the early 1990's, the Egyptian Jihadist group Gamaat Islamiya bombed New York's World Trade Center and plotted to bomb the Statue of Liberty and a range of targets all across the city. The Biden administration has now announced that it's taking Gamaat Islamiya off the terror list. The State Department is not removing the group because it is defunct. Just the opposite. It's being removed from the terror list because the Biden administration expects it to be active again. Pictured: Police comb through the site of the Gamaat Islamiya car bomb that exploded in a parking garage underneath the World Trade Center the previous day, February 26 1993, killing six people. (Photo by Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images)

In 1993, the United States finally arrested Omar Abdel-Rahman, popularly known as the Blind Sheikh, the religious leader of the Egyptian Jihadist group Gamaat Islamiya, after three years during which his followers bombed the World Trade Center and plotted to bomb the Statue of Liberty and a range of targets all across New York City.

The Biden administration has now announced that it's taking Gamaat Islamiya off the terror list.

During the original Jihad in New York, an undercover informant described meetings to case potential targets in which a member of the terror cell told him, "Stand here, brother, let me take your picture with the Statue of Liberty because it will not exist anymore" and "Brother, let me take your picture with the World Trade Center because it will not be here anymore".

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Palestinians: A Vote to Destroy Israel

by Bassam Tawil  •  May 24, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • These Palestinians are evidently fed up with the rampant corruption and bad governance of the Palestinian Authority leadership. Moreover, these Palestinians who no longer support Abbas are stating that they have no interest in any peace process with Israel.

  • As the last poll showed, 70% of the Palestinians are opposed to an unconditional return to peace negotiations with Israel. Another 58% expressed opposition to the two-state solution.

  • The truth is that Abbas called off the elections [in 2021] because he was afraid that Hamas would defeat his Fatah faction in the parliamentary election, as took place in 2006.

  • The results of the Birzeit University elections prove that Abbas's fears were not unfounded. Had he insisted on proceeding with the presidential and parliamentary elections, it is most likely.... that Hamas would have taken control of the Palestinian presidency and parliament.

  • Hamas, for its part, said that it sees the results of the university election as a vote of confidence in its policy of pursuing deadly terrorist attacks against Israel.

  • The students who voted in support of Hamas fully identify with the terrorist group's covenant, which states that "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it."

  • Palestinians have been radicalized by their leaders and media to a point where they do not want to hear anything about a peace process with Israel. In fact, they want to see Israel vanish from the map, as the results of the student council elections and the polls clearly illustrate.

  • The results of the Birzeit University elections and the polls stand in sharp contrast to the views expressed by the Biden administration concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Over the past year, Biden administration officials have repeatedly stated their commitment to the "two-state solution" while totally ignoring the widespread support among the Palestinians for the elimination of Israel.

  • The Hamas victory at the university's student council should sound alarm bells in the Biden administration, especially the State Department, regarding the true intentions of the Palestinians – that their sole commitment is to have a state that would replace Israel, not one that would exist peacefully alongside Israel. That is why it is nonsensical to pressure Israel to make any territorial (or non-territorial) concessions to the Palestinians, who are openly proclaiming that they want to establish a Palestinian state on the ruins of Israel and the bodies of dead Jews.

Hamas sees the results of its landslide victory in Birzeit University student council elections as a vote of confidence in its policy of pursuing deadly terrorist attacks against Israel. Pictured: Hamas supporters celebrate victory at Birzeit University, near Ramallah, on May 19, 2022. (Photo by Abbas Momani/AFP via Getty Images)

The Palestinians have once again shown that they have not given up the dream of destroying Israel and replacing it with an Islamist state funded by Iran and its terrorist proxies, including Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hezbollah.

On May 18, Hamas, on the US list of Foreign Terrorist organizations, and which does not believe in Israel's right to exist, scored a landslide victory in the elections for Student Council at Birzeit University, one of the most important Palestinian academic institutions in the West Bank.

The Hamas-affiliated Islamic Bloc won 28 of the 51 seats of the council; by contrast, the list belonging to Fatah, the ruling Fatah faction headed by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, got only 18 seats.

A third list belongs to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), another Palestinian Foreign Terrorist Organization that does not believe in Israel's right to exist, won five seats.

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Another Way the US Government Is Threatening National Security

by Pete Hoekstra  •  May 23, 2022 at 12:00 pm

  • Once again, the power brokers in DC are signaling that in American politics, there is no room for debate on big issues, there is only one right answer.

  • Too often our legislative leaders forget that they are spending taxpayer money, and that with government spending even for benefits, there is no such thing as "free" anything. When there is no accountability, it is easy to spend someone else's money.

  • Even though for their own well-being [NATO countries] should spend more for European security, these are legitimate, internal debates for their governments to have. It should be the same in America.

  • [I]n the U.S., it is frowned upon by some even to discuss why we are investing in European security and stability.

  • We all would do well to remember the costly lesson from the 1930s: how quickly Hitler's invasion of the Sudetenland spread to most of Europe.

  • During my days in Congress, as many of us wanted to invest in defense spending, we were faced with an ultimatum from the Democrats. For every $1 increase in defense spending, there had to be a matching $1 increase in social spending. No discussion about the need for that spending, just this as an expected process.

  • [Y]ou would think they could find some programs to cut to fund Ukrainian aid. Not in Washington. They only increase spending, not make tough decisions about shifting priorities as the world changes. This is unfortunate -- and ultimately devastating to the national security funding we must have if we are successfully to deter the potential threats to the US and the Free World by China.

  • Yet it seems as if the power brokers in Washington would prefer to start name-calling their opponents and avoid having to defend their positions. This does not make our country stronger.... We still have time -- but not much -- to engage in a serious debate on this issue. If we do not, we shall miss a real opportunity to prioritize what is crucial for the survival of our republic and what is not.

Once again, the power brokers in Washington, DC are signaling that in American politics, there is no room for debate on big issues, there is only one right answer. (Image source: Capitol via Wikimedia Commons; man via iStock)

Within hours of 11 Republican Senators voting to delay proceeding with the roughly $40 billion Ukraine aid package, and days after 57 Republicans voted against the package in the House, the name calling has begun. "Isolationists!" Others characterized those who opposed the measure as "politicizing" the issue. Once again, the power brokers in DC are signaling that in American politics there is no room for debate on big issues, there is only one right answer.

You would think that after crushing debate on theories about the origin of the COVID virus; the national security hazards of our open border that permits suspected terrorists, human trafficking and lethal drugs that last year alone killed more than 107,000 in America to pour in, or shutting down discussion of the Hunter Biden laptop, leaders would realize that open debate, and even dissent, is actually a strength of our system, not a weakness.

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China's Latest Power Grab Threatens Entire Pacific

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  May 23, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • All the Pacific Island nations invited to the foreign ministerial conference had already embraced Beijing's "One China Policy." Some of these states once had diplomatic links with Taiwan but were wooed away by Beijing's offer of financial loans, investment and corrupt practices, such as direct interference in the domestic political affairs that threaten the sovereignty of governmental institutions in these island countries.

  • The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is accelerating its campaign to isolate Taiwan from the existing international order by offering bribes to leadership figures in some of these poor islands, in exchange for breaking with Taipei.

  • A Council on Foreign Relations report from May 4, 2022, "What the China-Solomon Islands Pact Means for the US," states: "Beijing promised about $730 million in financial aid."

  • [D]omination of the Pacific seems to mean to the CCP potential military control over, or vassalage of, not only to Taiwan, but also Japan, Australia, Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, India and the US -- in Guam, American Samoa, Micronesia, Northern Mariana, Palau, the Marshall Islands, and Hawai'i.

  • Chinese Communist Party strategists would doubtless welcome agreements with any Pacific island to permit a Chinese military base or offers of a dual-use port facility for China's growing navy. If Chinese warships could gain greater access to island state port facilities, China's naval assets would be able to interrupt free passage in international waters of US naval vessels and others, both in major commercial sea lanes as well as military supply routes throughout the region.

  • The Marshall Islands provides the US with an opportunity to shut down an ongoing example of China's accelerating effort to project power and influence and into the South Pacific.

  • The Communist Chinese government has offered to create artificial islands for Tuvalu.... Despite the appeal of this offer, Tuvalu rejected the proposal. Tuvalu's Prime Minister Kausea Natano instead proposed a cooperative compact with all those Pacific island states that still maintain ties to Taiwan.

China's diplomatic offensive in the South Pacific reveals yet another effort to replace the US as the primary superpower in the region. Pictured: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R) leads Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare on a visit to the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on October 9, 2019. (Photo by Wang Zhao/AFP via Getty Images)

Last October, China convened, via video link, the first foreign ministerial conference with nine Pacific Island states: Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu.

The Chinese quickly followed up this initiative on December 3, 2021, by establishing "The China-Pacific Island Countries Reserve of Emergency Supplies" -- an arrangement that the Chinese Provincial Government of Guangdong has with the Pacific Island countries that in the event of a public health emergency or natural disaster, China will provide needed medical supplies.

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"They Consider Us Inferior and Want to Rule Us": The Persecution of Christians, April 2022

by Raymond Ibrahim  •  May 22, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • On Good Friday, Fulani [Muslim tribe] kidnapped eight Christians. Four were released after paying a hefty ransom. One of the women released said that she was "raped several times by two leaders of the Fulani Militants." A "militant told us, after receiving the ransom money, that they got money to kill more Christians." — International Christian Concern, April 18, 2022, Nigeria

  • "It is not the first time that we ourselves have been attacked in Italy because we are Christians... It makes me angry to think that this discrimination also exists here." — Daughter of a Coptic Christian man who was attacked for smoking during Ramadan, medforth.biz, April 23, 2022, Turin, Italy.

  • "They want to apply Sharia law because they consider us inferior and want to rule us." — Coptic Christian man who was attacked for smoking during Ramadan, medforth.biz, April 23, 2022, Turin, Italy.

  • "They destroyed almost everything in the house, shot holes in the new truck and tried to burn it. The house itself is OK, but its contents are "They seized Sister Suellen from her bed in her nightclothes, with "no glasses, shoes, phone, medicine, etc." She has not been heard from since. — Marianite Sister Ann Lacour, congregational leader, Clarion Herald, April 5, 2022, Burkina Faso.

  • "Inside the police station, I was surprised by attempts and pressure to conciliate. The perpetrator's lawyer steered the writing of the report [in a manner] that contradicted reality, and they forced me to sign the report which contained statements from the pharmacist's lawyer without taking my statements. .... We were especially shocked to see the report said that 'the pharmacist is a friend of the family, who was just bantering and joking around with Mrs. Nevin, because he is close to the family.'" — Christian woman who was violently slapped by a pharmacist for entering his store without a head covering during Ramadan; Coptic Solidarity, April 27, 2022, Egypt.

On April 8, a Muslim man from North Africa entered the Saint-Étienne Cathedral in Toulouse, France during the 8am mass, and left a homemade explosive device near the altar. Pictured: Saint-Étienne Cathedral in Toulouse. (Image source: Felipeh/Wikimedia Commons)

The following are among the abuses Muslims inflicted on Christians throughout the month of April, 2022:

The Muslim Slaughter of Christians

Egypt: On April 7, a Muslim man wielding a long knife lunged at and repeatedly stabbed a Coptic Christian priest, killing him. The attack occurred in a crowded street in Alexandria. Fr. Arsenius Wadid, 56, who was leading his church's youth group on a field trip, was stabbed in the throat three times. Passersby captured the assassin and handed him over to police.

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Lebanon Gives Tehran a Double Whammy

by Amir Taheri  •  May 22, 2022 at 4:00 am

  • [A]s official results came in, [Iran's Supreme Guide Ali] Khamenei and [Major General Esmail Qaani, chief of the Quds Force who is supposed to rule the "Resistance Front" countries as a satrap]... realized that the Lebanese electorate, or at least the 49% who went to the polls, had denied Tehran the "crushing victory" it had hoped for.

  • That meant a double whammy in two of the four Arab capitals that Ayatollah Ali Yunesi boasts are now under Tehran's control; the others being Sanaa and Damascus.

  • What is certain is that a majority of politically active Lebanese seek a new departure for the country.

  • Numerous direct and indirect messages from Shiites inside Lebanon indicate a growing weariness with a scheme that sees the country, in the words of Tehran's Kayhan daily, as nothing but a "shield for Islamic Republic" of Iran. Large chunks of the Shiite community have seen the prosperity they had secured since the 1980s melt away as a result of the economic crisis that has plunged 70% of the Lebanese into poverty.

  • Granting Lebanon urgent relief from its current pains would send a positive message that even a slight distancing of Hezbollah from full control could bear fruits for the average Lebanese. That, in turn, would strengthen the message that Lebanon could do better without a politico-military Trojan Horse in its midst.

  • There is no doubt that Hezbollah is an illness and the key cause of Lebanon's sorry state today.... The latest election could signal the start of that process which is bound to be accelerated by positive developments in Iraq and, eventually, in Iran itself.

As official results came in, Iran's Supreme Guide Ali Khamenei and Major General Esmail Qaani, chief of the Quds Force who is supposed to rule the "Resistance Front" countries as a satrap... realized that the Lebanese electorate, or at least the 49% who went to the polls, had denied Tehran the "crushing victory" it had hoped for. Pictured: Khamenei meets with Hassan Nasrallah, head of Lebanon's Hezbollah terrorist organization. (Image source: khamenei.ir

It was only a couple of weeks ago that the general election in Lebanon made the headlines in Tehran's official media. "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenei had labeled the election as "a referendum on the Resistance Front", a coalition of Iran-controlled groups that have struck roots in Iraq, Syria, north Yemen, Gaza and Lebanon. He had also publicly donated an extra $25 million to the Lebanese branch of Hezbollah to ensure its victory.

Certain about securing a "crushing victory", partly thanks to the misguided boycott declared by Lebanon's former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the Tehran media had started speculations about whom Khamenei might choose as the next president if Lebanon were to replace the current octogenarian incumbent. The matter had been raised in the audience that Khamenei granted to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on a lightning visit to Tehran.

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Iran Takes More Foreign Hostages; Biden Administration, EU Stay Silent

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  May 21, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • "[T]here are extensive, vague and arbitrary grounds in Iran for imposing the death sentence, which quickly can turn this punishment into a political tool.... In addition, the structural flaws of the justice system are so deep and at odds with the notion of rule of law that one can barely speak of a justice system. The entrenched flaws in law and in the administration of the death penalty in Iran mean that most, if not all, executions are an arbitrary deprivation of life." — Javaid Rehman, UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, October 25, 2021.

  • The Iranian regime most likely believes that detaining Western nationals will put pressure on the EU and the US to accept its demands and seal the nuclear deal as soon as possible.

  • The Biden administration and the EU should not remain silent in the face of the Iranian regime taking more foreign hostages. The only language that all rogue and predatory regimes, including that of the mullahs, understand is the language of pressure. Why not try using it?

The Biden administration and the EU have remained silent in the face of the Iranian regime taking more hostages. Iran recently announced that a Swedish-Iranian national, Ahmadreza Djalali will be executed by May 21, 2022. He was arrested in 2016 on the trumped-up charge of spying for a country that the Iranian regime wants to annihilate: Israel. Pictured: Demonstrators protest against Djalali's imprisonment and death sentence, on May 14, 2022 in Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo by Anders Wiklund/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images)

The European Union appear excited that the nuclear talks have reopened again to revive the nuclear deal that will bring nuclear weapons to the "world largest state sponsor of terrorism," Iran, and additional billions of dollars to the treasury of the country's ruling mullahs and to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to practice more terrorism. In the meantime, the Biden administration and the EU have remained silent in the face of the Iranian regime taking more hostages.

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China Starting Next Global Crisis By Gobbling Up Sri Lanka

by Gordon G. Chang  •  May 20, 2022 at 9:00 am

  • Sri Lanka is only the world's opening act.

  • Events in Sri Lanka also highlight how China is going about dominating the world. Beijing is corrupting national leaders, drowning them in debt, and ultimately destabilizing their governments. Beijing, it appears, is particularly targeting democracies.

  • China is the world's predatory lender, something evident from its Belt and Road Initiative, also known as BRI. Beijing's grand infrastructure project specializes in roads, ports, and railroads that have, like the Sri Lankan projects, little or no commercial justification. So far, 146 countries have signed BRI memo agreements with Beijing.

  • The Chinese have established a pattern. "China extends debt on onerous terms, backs up authoritarian governments when there are financial collapses or civil disobedience, and then takes everything it can find," Cleo Paskal of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told Gatestone.

  • In December 2017, Beijing took control of the Hambantota port.... Now there are concerns that Hambantota will eventually become a Chinese naval base. China's admirals have long eyed Sri Lanka...

  • A base in Sri Lanka would allow Chinese aircraft and surface combatants as well as submarines to cut sea lanes in the Indian Ocean and force next-door India to divert military assets to a threatening presence.

  • Sri Lanka is now looking for a bailout from the International Monetary Fund, but that is not necessarily a good idea. The international community should not be helping a voracious China gobble up small, vulnerable societies.

  • If the IMF bails out Sri Lanka without ensuring that it is no longer aligned with Beijing, it will have subsidized Chinese investment and politically reinforced a country that becomes a Chinese proxy." – Cleo Paskal, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, to Gatestone, May, 2022.

Events in Sri Lanka highlight how China is going about dominating the world. China is the world's predatory lender. Beijing is corrupting national leaders, drowning them in debt, and ultimately destabilizing their governments. Beijing, it appears, is particularly targeting democracies. Pictured: Police use tear gas to disperse protesters who are demanding the resignation of Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in Colombo on May 19, 2022. (Photo by Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP via Getty Images)

On May 12, India confirmed that it would provide a desperate Sri Lankan government 65,000 metric tons of urea, pursuant to an existing $1 billion credit line. The sale, which overrides New Delhi's ban on the exports of the commodity, relieves severe pressure on the government of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Sri Lanka since the end of March has been wracked by violent protests. "Shoot-on-sight" orders have for the most part restored order, but the unrest has led to the replacement of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, once the country's dominate political figure. His brother, the president, is unlikely to survive the tumult. The ongoing economic and financial crisis is Sri Lanka's worst since independence from Britain in 1948.

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Concerning 'China's Master Plan to Destroy America'

by Lawrence Kadish  •  May 19, 2022 at 9:30 am

(Image source: iStock)

China has been unabashed about making its intentions known. Already in 1999, two colonels in China's People's Liberation Army, Qiao Liang and Wang Xiansui, wrote, "Unrestricted Warfare: China's Master Plan to Destroy America." In it, the authors "suggest the significance of alternatives to direct military confrontation, including international policy, economic warfare, attacks on digital infrastructure and networks, and terrorism. Even a relatively insignificant state can incapacitate a far more powerful enemy by applying pressure to their economic and political systems." Ideally, "one might not even know that one is the target."

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Iran Trying to Force the US to Meet All Its Demands

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  May 19, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • Iraqi writer Farouk Yousef pointed out that after the US gave Iran $90 billion following the signing of the nuclear agreement with the Obama administration in 2015... the bulk of the money... was spent on terrorist groups run by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, and Syria, as well as terrorist groups run covertly in other Arab countries.

  • [Iran is] trying to delay the signing of the nuclear agreement so that the mullahs succeed in forcing the Biden administration to accept all their demands, especially the removal of the IRGC from the list of foreign terrorist organizations.

  • "Biden was not ignorant of the wrong way he started [dealing with Iran]. All the countries in the region were telling him that the resumption of talks with Iran must include Iran's missile program and its destabilizing activities in the region, including the activities of its militias that threaten stability in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. Biden chose not to listen...." — Ali Al-Sarraf, Iraqi writer, Al-Ain, May 10, 2022.

  • "Biden could have told the mullahs that a return to the nuclear agreement would take place on the basis of three conditions: abandoning violations of the commitments in that agreement, curbing the missile program... and stopping the actions of militias that threaten the security and stability of the countries of the region.... The Revolutionary Guard is directly involved in the civil war and violence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.... Iran's own actions will prove to him that he took the wrong path." — Ali Al-Sarraf, Al-Ain, May 10, 2022.

  • Like many Arabs, Al-Sarraf asked why the Biden administration was not defending the interests of America's allies.

  • "[T]here is no sane person in the region willing to take seriously any reassuring words issued by [US Special Envoy for Iran] Robert Malley and other officials in the US administration concerned with the Iranian file. Every child now knows that these American officials have nothing but flattery for Iran, especially in light of the cold American reaction to the attacks it carried out against the Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates....If anything has changed, it is for the worse." — Kheirallah Kheirallah, Lebanese journalist, Elaph, March 30, 2022.

  • "How can a US administration gain the trust of its allies despite its refusal to take note that northern Yemen has become a base for Iranian missiles and drones? These missiles and drones are directed at the Arab Gulf states and are now threatening navigation in the Red Sea as well." — Kheirallah Kheirallah, Elaph, March 30, 2022.

  • [T]he removal of the IRGC from the list of terrorist organizations would cause massive damage to the interests of the US. It will lose all its Arab friends, who will stop working with the Americans in a number of fields, including the war on terrorism.

  • It now remains to be seen whether the Biden administration will continue with its benighted policy of appeasing the mullahs or heed the insistent wake-up calls of America's real allies.

Iran is trying to delay the signing of the nuclear agreement so that the mullahs succeed in forcing the Biden administration to accept all their demands, especially the removal of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the list of foreign terrorist organizations. Pictured: Members of the IRGC march during the annual military parade marking the anniversary of the 1980-1988 war with Iraq, in Tehran, on September 22, 2018. (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

As the European Union is trying to revive the stalled talks on restoring Iran's nuclear deal with world powers, many Arabs are again warning the Biden administration against rushing to strike a deal with the mullahs, saying this could jeopardize Washington's relations with its Arab allies in the Middle East.

The Arabs are saying that they cannot understand why Biden is prepared to allow Iran's mullahs to "humiliate" the US by setting their own conditions for restoring the nuclear agreement, including the demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the list of terrorist organizations.

The Arabs are also reminding the Biden administration and the other world powers that Iran's mullahs have not changed their dangerous policies that threaten the security and stability of a number of Arab countries.

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Why Erdoğan's NATO Blackmail Is Subversion

by Burak Bekdil  •  May 18, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is trying to turn what appears to be the most strategic move in NATO's history into carpet-trading at Istanbul's Grand Bazaar.

  • "The Russian-Kurdish nexus has been a recurring feature of Middle Eastern geopolitics for more than two hundred years, since Catherine the Great commissioned the publication of a Kurdish grammar in 1787." — Michael A. Reynolds, The National Interest, March 1, 2016.

  • None of the many examples of Russian appeasement of Turkey's "Kurdish terrorists" is secret. Russia has been doing all it could for its Kurdish friends overtly, with Erdoğan completely silent. Now the same Erdoğan is by trying to blackmail NATO by vetoing membership for two Western European countries on the grounds that these countries, threatened by Russia, are supporting Kurdish terrorists.

  • The Western military alliance should be strong enough to tell Erdoğan what he needs to hear.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is trying to turn what appears to be the most strategic move in NATO's history into carpet-trading at Istanbul's Grand Bazaar. Pictured: Erdoğan arrives for the NATO summit in Watford, England, on December 4, 2019.

Once again, Turkey is the odd one out in the NATO alliance. The country's Islamist strongman, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is trying to turn what appears to be the most strategic move in NATO's history into carpet-trading at Istanbul's Grand Bazaar.

Erdoğan said on May 13 that his country is "not favorable" toward Finland and Sweden joining NATO, indicating Turkey could use its membership in the Western military alliance to veto moves to admit the two countries.

Erdoğan explained his opposition by citing Sweden and other Scandinavian countries' alleged support for Kurdish militants and others whom Turkey considers to be terrorists. That denunciation cannot be taken seriously. Erdoğan has the habit of calling anyone who is politically and religiously different from his own worldview a terrorist.

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Biden's Unwise Attempts to Save the Iran Deal

by Con Coughlin  •  May 17, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • Mr Biden's hopes of pressing ahead with the nuclear talks suffered a significant setback the other week when a bipartisan super-majority of US Senators voted to endorse a Republican-led measure insisting that any future agreement with Tehran must address Iran's support for terrorism in the region, and that Washington should not lift sanctions against the IRGC. Tehran is unlikely to concede to either measure.

  • Iran's refusal to clarify the true extent of its undeclared nuclear activities is entirely consistent with the uncooperative stance it has adopted in its dealing with the IAEA over many years.

  • In an indication of how desperate the Europeans are to revive the deal, Mr Borrell said the EU was giving serious consideration to the ludicrous proposition whereby the terrorist designation against the IRGC was lifted, but kept in place on other parts of the organisation, which has several arms across the security apparatus and a sprawling business empire.

  • The EU initiative is not dissimilar to other hare-brained options being considered by the Biden White House, with analysts recommending that one compromise option for the US is to lift the terrorist designation against the IRGC while keeping it on the Quds Force, the unit responsible for the IRGC's foreign operations and which arms and backs militant groups throughout the Middle East.

  • The lengths to which some naive politicians on both sides of the Atlantic are prepared to go to revive the nuclear deal is nothing less than shameful, especially at a time when the world is struggling to deal with another tyrannical regime following Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

  • Hopefully, the more Iran refuses to cooperate with international bodies such as the IAEA, the more it will become clear that any hopes of securing a new deal with Tehran would not only upend the region but the president's legacy as well.

The lengths to which some naive politicians on both sides of the Atlantic are prepared to go to revive the Iran nuclear deal is nothing less than shameful... Hopefully, the more Iran refuses to cooperate with international bodies such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the more it will become clear that any hopes of securing a new deal with Tehran would not only upend the region but President Biden's legacy as well. Pictured: IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi (L) meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Tehran on March 5, 2022. (Photo by Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images)

The utter futility of the Biden administration's obsession with reviving the Iran nuclear deal has been laid bare by the latest damning assessment by the head of the UN's nuclear watchdog.

US President Joe Biden has indicated to Tehran that he is willing to rejoin the deal so long as Iran agrees to fall back into compliance with the terms of the original Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) negotiated by the former Obama administration in 2015.

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