Latest Analysis and Commentary

Kazakhstan: Echoes of the Autumn of Sorrows

by Amir Taheri  •  January 16, 2022 at 4:00 am

  • The United States gradual isolationism, starting with President Barack Obama and the closure of US bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, whetted the appetites of both China and Russia for greater influence in Central Asia as a whole.

  • Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia has launched a long-term geostrategic campaign to regain its zone of influence in Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia, where Kazakhstan is the biggest prize.

  • [T]he Russian campaign has caused unease among Kazakhs who suddenly realize that their ethnic-Russian fellow citizens hold a much higher percentage of plum positions in civil service and the military than their actual numbers would warrant.

The latest riots in Kazakhstan, which may be the opening salvos in a long fight over the country's future, could mean that the factors that nurtured three decades of stability are now all in question. Pictured: A burnt-out government building in Almaty, Kazakhstan on January 7, 2022, which was torched by rioters.. (Photo by Alexandr Bogdanov/AFP via Getty Images)

Until earlier this month, Kazakhstan, the largest of Central Asian republics to become independent after the dissolution of the Soviet Empire 30 years ago, appeared the most stable entity in the region.

Under President Nursultan Nazarbayev's iron-fist leadership, it had avoided the religious feuds, civil wars, coups and counter-coups that had shaken kindred former Soviet republics, such as neighboring Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

However, Nazarbayev's autocratic rule was not the sole reason for the new republic's stability. There were at least three other contributory factors.

The first was the boom created by the opening of Kazakhstan's vast energy resources, including more than 3 percent of global oil reserves, to foreign, mostly Western, capital. That, in turn, helped the newly independent republic to offer its citizens living standards they could not have imagined under Soviet rule.

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Responding to Chinese Diplomatic and Economic Aggression: Why on Earth Is the U.S. Attacking Its Best Allies?

by Pete Hoekstra  •  January 15, 2022 at 4:00 pm

  • The UAE is a staunch ally of the U.S. as well as home to a major joint U.S./UAE military installation. The UAE, demonstrating extraordinary leadership by His Highness Mohammed bin Zayed Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and his outstanding advisors, was also the first Muslim country to sign on to the Abraham Accords, and to initiate a truly warm peace between Muslim states and Israel after years of disputes had destabilized the region. The UAE, in addition, was the first Arab country to send troops to Afghanistan alongside the U.S. and to provide significant assistance when the U.S. withdrew from there in 2021.

  • National security cannot be compromised and diplomatic relations must be defended.... The "Monitoring China-UAE Cooperation Act," is, alas, a woefully misguided way to go about it. Congress may try to claim that it is trying to protect our national security against China's espionage and influence operations, but triggering friction against strong allies can end up delivering them into the hands of our adversaries – as our adversaries doubtless wish.

  • Sadly, this Act is profoundly counterproductive....Most importantly, any new requirements would respect our friends and allies. Legislation highlighting a single specific country can only be perceived by that country as an insult, an affront. Whether it is in the economic or national security arena, the business of diplomacy is improving relationships, not damaging them.

  • This is a global problem, not unique to one country. China is trying to install its companies' products all over the globe. Some might even call China's aggressive push on 5G a pandemic.

  • Rather than assaulting allies, and instead of clinging to a one-size-fits-all solution, the U.S. might craft legislation that would require the Director of National Intelligence to adjust requirements based on the relationship that the U.S. has with various countries....The DNI would design a global system that is flexible enough to reflect the complex network of relationships that the U.S. has around the world. No two are exactly the same.

  • China is the threat, not our allies.

The UAE was the first Arab country to send troops to Afghanistan alongside the U.S. and to provide significant assistance when the U.S. withdrew from there in 2021. China is the threat, not our allies. Photo: His Highness Mohammed bin Zayed Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. (Photo by Hannah McKay - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Legislation recently introduced in Congress purportedly seeks to confront China's growing global aggression on a broad range of fronts. While that goal is certainly urgent and important goal, regrettably, in reality,this document appears largely a pretext for attacking one of America's most impressive allies, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The legislation, titled the "Monitoring China-UAE Cooperation Act, " claims that the executive branch should "assess the relationship between China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in order to safeguard U.S. technology and national security." That might sound reasonable enough, butoddly it is levelled at a friend and in public.

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USA: Reliving the Nightmare of a Shocking Christmas Carnage Every Day

by Lawrence Kadish  •  January 14, 2022 at 3:30 pm

In America's most important city, and within Manhattan, there is now a District Attorney, Alvin Bragg, who has redefined evil: in his view, it is the criminal who needs protecting, not the victim. Bragg (pictured) has directed his office to stop seeking prison sentences for criminals who prey on those unfortunate enough to be walking the streets of Manhattan. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

One would have thought that after a repeat felon out on a $1,000 bail is alleged to have driven his car into a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, killing six people and injuring countless others, those who have sought to dismantle our criminal justice system would have recognized how their actions have created murderous carnage across the nation.

But that is far from the case and the lawless cannot believe their good fortune.

In America's most important city, New York, and within Manhattan, its most famous borough, there is now a District Attorney who, in changing what his office will prosecute, has essentially redefined evil.

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China: Buying Up Europe

by Judith Bergman  •  January 14, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • A staggering 40% out of 650 Chinese investments in Europe in the years 2010-2020, according to Datenna [a Dutch company that monitors Chinese investments in Europe], had "high or moderate involvement by state-owned or state-controlled companies."

  • When the Chairman of the UK parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Tugendhat, wrote that Chinese ownership of the British microchip plant, Newport Wafer Fab, "represents a significant economic and national security concern", UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng responded that the deal had been "considered thoroughly". Only after considerable pressure did British Prime Minister Boris Johnson agree to a national security review of the sale.

  • The European Court of Auditors, an EU institution that oversees EU finances, has found that gaining an overview of Chinese investments in the EU is difficult because of the lack of comprehensive data; it seems no one is recording it.

  • Efficient systems for blocking foreign investments based on national security concerns also appear either to be lacking or simply not used sufficiently.

  • The "strictest screening frameworks" clearly are not stopping China.

  • What appears to be urgently needed in Europe now is a deeper understanding of the threat that China poses, as well as the political will to act on it. Action is urgently needed to block investments that serve up Europe's strategic assets on a silver platter to China's state-owned companies, which the Chinese Communist Party then use to advance its expansionist ends.

For more than a decade, China has been stealthily buying up European companies in strategic sectors, particularly in technology and energy. Efficient systems for blocking foreign investments based on national security concerns appear either to be lacking or simply not used sufficiently. (Image source: iStock)

For more than a decade, China has been stealthily buying up European companies in strategic sectors, particularly in technology and energy. China appears to be using these European assets to help fulfil the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) ambitions of becoming a global force, technologically independent of the West and ultimately supplanting the US as the world's economic, political and military superpower.

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Arab Racism and the 'Jewish State'

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  January 13, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • First, Mansour Abbas did not "call" on the Palestinian people to recognize Israel. He simply stated the fact that Israel was "born as a Jewish state" and that "it will remain a Jewish state."

  • Second, there is no connection between accepting Israel's Jewish identity and the Islamic holy sites, including the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Since 1967, in fact, Israel has allowed the Islamic religious authorities to have exclusive control over the mosque and other Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem.

  • Remarkably, since the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967, the city has become a haven for coexistence and revitalized religious and cultural expression for all faiths. Freedom of worship at all holy sites is guaranteed for the faithful of all three monotheistic religions.

  • Ironically, the Palestinian leadership's false claim that Israel is seeking to "harm" the al-Aqsa Mosque came as Palestinians made two attempts to set fire to Joseph's Tomb in Nablus, only because it is frequented by Jewish worshippers. The attempts, according to reports in the Palestinian media, were foiled at the last minute by the Palestinian security forces.

  • Third, the Palestinian leadership's claim that recognition of Israel as a Jewish state "contradicts religion and history" should be seen in the context of the Palestinians' denial of any traces of Judaism in Jerusalem.

  • Notably, while the PA says that it is strongly opposed to the idea of Israel being a Jewish state, it has no problem defining itself as "Arab" and "Islamic."

  • There are 56 countries in which Islam plays a significant role. Many of them are countries with Islam as the state religion.

  • The constitutions of several Arab countries, including Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Algeria, Oman and Yemen, define them as Arab states where Islam is the religion of the state.

  • It is worth considering the extreme hypocrisy of this situation: the Arabs (and the Palestinians) continue their long-held policy of defining their countries as "Arab" and "Islamic," while they deny Israel the right to refer to itself what it always has been -- the Jewish state.

  • This does not bode well for any peace process that the Biden administration is hoping to revive between the Palestinians and Israel.

  • Those who refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state are actually admitting that they do not believe in Israel's right to exist.

Palestinians and other Arabs are furious because Mansour Abbas -- an Arab member of Israel's parliament, the Knesset, and head of the United List Party -- announced that he recognizes Israel as a Jewish state. Abbas is being denounced as a "traitor" and "Zionist" by many Palestinians and Arabs who define their countries and political systems as "Arab" or "Islamic." Pictured: Abbas in the Knesset on September 2, 2021. (Photo by Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images)

Palestinians and other Arabs are furious because Mansour Abbas -- an Arab member of Israel's parliament, the Knesset, and head of the United List Party -- announced that he recognizes Israel as a Jewish state.

Abbas is being denounced as a "traitor" and "Zionist" by many Palestinians and Arabs who define their countries and political systems as "Arab" or "Islamic." They claim that the idea of a Jewish state is "racist" but seem not to feel the same way about openly Islamic states: The Islamic Republic of Iran, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania

If the Palestinians, as well as Arab and Islamic countries, are labelling Israel as racist because it wants to define itself as a Jewish state, then they too are racists because they insist on defining themselves as "Arabs" and "Muslims."

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Biden's Budget Priorities and the China Threat

by Chris Farrell  •  January 12, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • There is nothing [in the US budget] specifically targeting and countering the Chinese biowarfare threat and resultant global pandemic that has seized the world for nearly two years. Nothing. Instead, there is specific reference to military crisis communications – the sort Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley clearly exercised on October 20, 2020 when he told the Chinese military chief: "General Li, you and I have known each other for now five years. If we're going to attack, I'm going to call you ahead of time. It's not going to be a surprise." General Milley has yet to be indicted.

  • There are other examples of outrageous programs and wild spending --– on everything from "desert fish" to Critical Race Theory indoctrination programs across all departments and levels of government.

  • Meanwhile, China surges ahead with military and technical advances -- at a pace that has caught the US government by surprise. China's hypersonic missile test in October 2021 seems to have caught the Pentagon flat-footed. Hypersonic missiles travel at around 3,800 mph and higher, and are ideal for evading traditional missile detection and defense systems. China is also ready to launch its first "blue water" aircraft carrier -- giving it the ability to project air and sea power around the globe.

  • Just recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that China is seeking its first military base on the Atlantic Ocean.

  • The Biden administration is spending American taxpayers' dollars recklessly on "tree equity" programs.

  • Reading Douglas MacArthur: American Warrior, one is reminded of how FDR grossly ignored the looming threat from Japan and how Biden ignores China's aggression today.

The Biden administration has its own priorities and vision, domestically and with respect to our defense posture. A 2022 budget that may reach nearly $5 trillion dollars has many social programs but an unexceptional defense budget -- and it lacks a coherent strategy or focus for dealing with the persistent and growing challenges from China. Pictured: President Joe Biden talks to Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (2nd L) after signing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on November 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Which is more urgent?: Does the US need a nearly $5 trillion budget for an immediate deterrence to China's biowarfare and military buildup, or for climate change and green programs? And are those climate change and green programs largely paybacks to campaign donors and to China?

The Communist Chinese are redrawing the maps of the world, from the South China Sea to the Panama Canal to Equatorial Guinea. They are advancing technologically and practically through a coordinated military, scientific and economic strategy that seeks to outstrip the United States completely within a decade.

The Biden administration has its own priorities and vision, domestically and with respect to our defense posture. A 2022 budget that may reach nearly $5 trillion dollars has many social programs but an unexceptional defense budget -- and it lacks a coherent strategy or focus for dealing with the persistent and growing challenges from China.

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Arabs 'Frustrated' With Biden's Iran Policy

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  January 11, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • The Biden administration's position "raises a question mark about the seriousness of American efforts to save the world from Iranian threats.... The Iranian regime insists on adopting, supporting and arming terrorist entities in order to continue committing crimes and violations that destabilize the security and stability...in the region." — Al-Yaum, Saudi Arabia, December 23, 2022.

  • "Iran's interventions in neighboring countries... Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Bahrain and Kuwait, have become clear and tangible...." — Adnan Salman, Iraqi military expert, Azzaman, January 8, 2022.

  • Iran boasted that it occupies four Arab capitals: Baghdad, Beirut, Sana'a and Damascus. "The Iranians have turned these Arab capitals into bases for its armed militias, providing them with money, weapons and everything they need to assert Iran's hegemony over the region." —Abdel Aziz Khamis, Saudi writer and political analyst, Sky News Arabia, January 6, 2022.

  • "The Ansar Allah group in Yemen [the Houthis], Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Hezbollah Brigades and Sayed al-Shuhada Brigades and other gangs in Iraq, as well as other brutal gangs in the Syrian and Palestinian territories, have served as tools that allowed Tehran to interfere in the affairs of these countries and threaten others." — Abdel Aziz Khamis, Sky News Arabia, January 6, 2022.

  • "What Iran is doing is tantamount to an open war against the Arabs." — Saleh Al-Qallab, former Jordanian minister of information, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, January 6, 2020.

  • "Iran is interfering in the region with the aim of dominating it.... The current Lebanese model of Iran's hegemony through Hezbollah is the model that Iran aspires to and plans for in all the Arab countries." — Former Kuwaiti Minister of Information and Culture Saad Bin Tefla Al-Ajami, Independentarabia.com, December 31, 2021.

  • The Biden administration refuses to disclose information about the negotiations that could "pose grave dangers" to the US. "The Biden administration argues that making this information available may harm American national security and reveal intelligence sources. This excuse is flimsy and weak. Here is the clear truth: the weak Biden administration is striving to reach an agreement [with Iran] at any cost to beautify its image in front of the Americans." — Emil Amin, Egyptian writer, Al-Arabiya, January 7, 2022.

  • These Arabs, in short, are saying that they view Iran and the United States, and not Israel, as the major threats to their security and stability.

  • It now remains to be seen whether the Biden administration and the other parties negotiating with the mullahs will heed the voices coming from the Arab world -- or continue to allow the mullahs to hoodwink them by having the US sanctions lifted while Tehran continues to advance its plans to obtain nuclear weapons and extend its control to more Arab countries.

It remains to be seen whether the Biden administration and the other parties negotiating with Iran's mullahs will heed the voices coming from the Arab world -- or continue to allow the mullahs to hoodwink them by having the US sanctions lifted while Tehran continues to advance its plans to obtain nuclear weapons and extend its control to more Arab countries. (Image source: iStock)

Syrian-born TV host Faisal Al-Kasim recently asked his 5.9 million followers on Twitter the following: "Which is better, Israel's reputation or Iran's reputation in the [Middle East] region?" The result of the poll showed that 74.8% viewed Israel as having a better reputation as opposed to 25.2% in favor of Iran.

The next day, Al-Kasim, who hosts a popular debate show on the Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera network called The Opposite Direction, conducted another survey on Twitter. This time, he asked his followers: "Do you support the Israeli bombing of Iran and its militias in Syria?"

According to the results of the poll, 77.8% said they supported the Israeli military strikes, while only 22.2% voiced opposition.

Al-Kasim's findings did not come as a surprise to many Arabs, especially those living in the Gulf states, who continue to express deep concern over Iran's ongoing meddling in their internal affairs.

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Predicting 2022 – China's Year of the Tiger

by Pete Hoekstra  •  January 10, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • For too long, American government and business leaders have sat quietly and allowed China and the Chinese Communist Party to run roughshod over our nation and our values.

  • As Americans see the large number of container ships waiting off the West Coast to unload cargo, they realize that much of the material on those ships comes from China. The reasonable question they are increasingly asking is, why is America doing business with a country that our own government says practices genocide and steals U.S. intellectual property and jobs?

  • More and more of Americans' anger is being targeted towards the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which has attempted to deflect blame and make baseless accusations against America and the West.

  • US President Joe Biden right before Christmas signed into law the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, approved by a voice vote in the Senate and by a 428 -1 margin in the House. This law will prevent the importation of goods and products produced in Xinjiang unless it can be proved they were not made with forced labor.

  • American politicians will not be the only target of the American public. The public also will target American companies that worship at the altar of sales and profits from China. They will demand that companies respond to the CCP's genocide in Xinjiang, political repression in Hong Kong, and threats against Taiwan.

  • American politicians typically lag behind where the American people are. America's politicians will therefore need to go big against China or in November of 2022, their constituents will send them home.

As Americans see the large number of container ships waiting off the West Coast to unload cargo, they realize that much of the material on those ships comes from China. The reasonable question they are increasingly asking is, why is America doing business with a country that our own government says practices genocide and steals U.S. intellectual property and jobs? Pictured: Container ships wait offshore for entry to the Port of Los Angeles on October 6, 2021. (Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

According to the Chinese calendar, 2022 is the Year of the Tiger. 2022 is the year where America finally goes big against China. China will also go big against the U.S. and Taiwan. Here are the developments that will push America to confront China's malign and dangerous behavior and, in an upcoming article, those that will push China to go big.

Most likely, 2022 will finally be the wake-up call Americans need. For too long, American government and business leaders have sat quietly and allowed China and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to run roughshod over our nation and our values. In 2001, politicians such as President George W. Bush welcomed China into the World Trade Organization and promised that not only would it benefit global trade, but strengthen China's adherence to the rule of law and that China would "introduce certain civil reforms." At this point, it is clear that things have not turned out quite that way.

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Torture in Turkish Prisons: Systematic and Widespread

by Uzay Bulut  •  January 10, 2022 at 4:00 am

  • On December 9, several national and international anti-torture organizations – the Centre for Social Support, Rehabilitation and Re-adaptation for Victims of Torture, War and Violence; Civil Society in the Penal System; Foundation for Society and Legal Studies; Human Rights Association; Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, and the Europe Branch of the World Organization Against Torture -- issued a joint press release stating that "torture remains widespread" in Turkey:

  • "Five years have passed since the Special Rapporteur on torture conducted his visit to Turkey to assess the prevailing situation.... Although the officials in Turkey had stated at the time their commitment to investigate, prosecute and punish those responsible for the use of torture and other forms of ill-treatment, the grim reality on the ground tells a different story. In fact, several regressive measures have been implemented that are considered as a significant backslide....

  • "A rise in incidents of torture, ill-treatment, and cruel and inhuman or degrading treatment in police and military custody and in prison over the past years has overshadowed Turkey's earlier progress in this area. This has been due, among others, to the violation of procedural guarantees, long-term custody periods, and willful negligence that have become a common practice at various levels of the State.

  • "There is also a steady increase in the use of the anti-terrorism law against individuals by public prosecutors. The concept of 'terrorism offences', which is highly problematic regarding its broad and vague definition, has been instrumentalized and misused as a pretext to silence, oppress and criminalize political dissidents.

  • "According to the data provided by the Council of Europe, Turkey has the largest population of inmates convicted for terrorism-related offences. The country's prison population rate has increased by 115.3 percent in the last 10 years; this has led to Turkey having the highest incarceration rate of the 47 Council of Europe member countries in 2020."

  • "Torture has remained the most dominant human rights problem in 2021 in Turkey... in spite of the fact that it is a crime against humanity and is absolutely prohibited by the Constitution and universal law, which Turkey is a part of."

  • Political prisoners in Turkey are systematically mistreated and even tortured for having the "wrong" political thoughts or for being labelled by the government as "enemies" or "terrorists". The situation of sick political prisoners is rarely covered in the mainstream Turkish media. Sadly, the pro-government media seems to view dissident prisoners as traitors or terrorists who deserve death.

  • Many prisoners are incarcerated solely based on false statements by "protected," often anonymous witnesses (called in Turkish a "secret witness"). Thousands of innocent people are rotting in Turkish prisons for being or supporting "terrorists" when there is no actual evidence against them.... Attempts at defense are also undercut.

Garibe Gezer, a female Kurdish political prisoner who was in solitary confinement in Turkey, recently died in prison after months of torture and rape. Political prisoners in Turkey are systematically mistreated and even tortured for having the "wrong" political thoughts or for being labelled by the government as "enemies" or "terrorists". (Image source: iStock. Picture is for illustration purposes and does not represent any person in this article.)

Garibe Gezer, a Kurdish political prisoner who was in solitary confinement in Turkey, recently died in prison after months of torture and rape.

On December 9, the administration of Kandıra Prison called the Gezer family and informed them that their daughter was found dead in her cell. Kandıra, located in the city of Kocaeli, is where many politicians, journalists and human rights activists are imprisoned.

The prison administration allege that Gezer "committed suicide". Through her letters and conversations with her lawyers and family members, however, Gezer had said that she was kept in a solitary cell where she was systematically tortured and raped by prison guards. The city's prosecutor's office has imposed a gag order on the investigation of her death. A disciplinary investigation was also launched against Gezer's fellow prisoners for protesting her death by applauding.

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"Crimes in the Name of Religion": The Persecution of Christians, November 2021

by Raymond Ibrahim  •  January 9, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • "The servants of Allah entered my house in order to remove the clothes which they were wearing, because they were soaked in blood, and said that they had killed an infidel, hence Allah will reward them...." — Morning Star News; November 14, 2021; Uganda.

  • "The United Nations has estimated that since 2011, Boko Haram has killed more than 15,200 Nigerians and forced 1.7 million others from their homes as it has sought to turn Nigeria into an Islamic nation ruled by Sharia law." — Catholicherald.co.uk, November 5, 2021; Nigeria.

  • On November 17, the U.S. removed Nigeria from its list of Countries of Particular Concern, meaning nations that engage in, or tolerate violations of, religious freedom. Nigeria was the country with the most Christians killed (3,530) for their faith in 2020..... "If the U.S. CPC list means anything at all – an open question at this point – Nigeria belongs on it." — Hammurabi Human Rights Organization, quoting Christian Solidarity, Nigeria.

  • "[I]n recent weeks there have been cases in which the terrorists have first been asking whether the owner [of cattle] is a Christian or a Muslim.... 'If the owners were Christians the attackers didn't consider it necessary to count their animals, because they said that they didn't just want to take their animals, but also to kill the owners....'" — churchinneed.org, November 5, 2021; Nigeria.

  • "They also tried to force my wife and our four children to convert to Islam, but when they refused to convert, they shot my wife in the head while our four children were cut into pieces with a Somali sword... the rebel militants intend to establish an Islamist state ruled by sharia [Islamic law]." — Morning Star News, December 1, 2021, for November 20-25, 2021; Democratic Republic of Congo.

  • According to a separate, November 19 report, in just the first half of 2021, in Pakistan's Punjab Province alone, 6,754 women were abducted. Out of those, 1,890 were raped, 3,721 were tortured and 752 children were raped. The same report notes that "over 1,000 girls belonging to Hindu and Christian communities are forcefully converted to Islam every year in Pakistan."

  • "Mareeb is only 12 years old, and she cannot marry. The perpetrators commit these crimes in the name of religion." — Pastor Zahid Augustine, asianews.it; Pakistan.

  • Ramy Kamel, a Christian activist arrested two years earlier for reporting on the persecution of the nation's indigenous Christian minority, the Copts, remained under arrest—mostly in solitary confinement, and sometimes under torture—beyond the maximum amount of time permitted by law. "Furthermore, Ramy Kamel's case is not unique. There are many other Egyptian activists, journalists, politicians, and regular citizens who are suffering under Egypt's sham of a judicial system." — copticsolidarity.org, November 29, 2021; Egypt.

  • Based on a new law that came into effect on November 1, converting out of Islam has become illegal in Malaysia's Kelantan State. Apostates now face prison, fines, and/or caning. Other sharia-compliant mandates that also came into effect in November include laws against disrespecting Ramadan, misrepresenting Islam, getting tattoos or plastic surgery, engaging in sexual intercourse with corpses and non-humans, and witchcraft. — thestar.com.my, November 2, 2021; Malaysia.

"The United Nations has estimated that since 2011, Boko Haram has killed more than 15,200 Nigerians and forced 1.7 million others from their homes as it has sought to turn Nigeria into an Islamic nation ruled by Sharia law," according to the Catholic Herald. Pictured: Residents of Maiduguri, Nigeria, inspect a bullet-ridden car that was hit in an attack by Boko Haram terrorists. The attackers murdered 16 people, including nine children who were playing in a field, in February 2021. (Photo by Stringer/AFP via Getty Images)

The following are among the abuses Muslims inflicted on Christians throughout the month of November 2021:

The Muslim Slaughter of Christians

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World Order: Back to the Future

by Amir Taheri  •  January 9, 2022 at 4:00 am

  • The whispering in Moscow is that Putin will try to tempt Biden with a number of promises.

  • These include persuading the Islamic Republic in Iran to re-endorse the Obama "nuclear deal", which President Donald Trump denounced as a sham. Tehran's acceptance of a new version presented by the US would give Biden his first diplomatic victory.

  • In exchange Putin wants the removal of sanctions, a promise not to extend NATO to Ukraine, and to gradually accept the annexation of Crimea and South Ossetia, the virtual occupation of Abkhazia, and Russia's military presence in Transcaucasia, as so many faits accomplis.

  • The problem is that Putin's hope of reverting to the status quo ante, a balance of power that no longer exists, sounds more like a fantasy than a serious strategy. This is no longer a bipolar system in which a US-USSR accord could have an immediate impact on a crisis.

  • With so many players trying to deal with the problems of the 21st century with solutions shaped in 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, we are unlikely to witness the emergence of a new world order anytime soon, certainly not through this week's diplomatic razzmatazz.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is talking of "raising issues of global concern" in a summit with US President Joe Biden who, on the other hand, hopes to cut Russia down to size as a middling power that could cause occasional nuisance but could never be regarded an equal partner in global leadership. (Photo by Angela Weiss and Alexey Druzhinin/AFP via Getty Images)

In the next few days we will witness a tsunami of diplomatic agitations spanning over Geneva and Brussels as American, Russian and European leaders try to create the impression that they know what is going on and what must be done about it.

The diplomatic marathon is set to start on January 9 with a US-Russia summit, something Russian President Vladimir Putin for weeks has been building up as a major event. It will be followed by a Russia-NATO encounter on January 12, reviving a process that began almost 30 years ago and was abandoned in the last decade. The final bouquet will come with a conference of all member states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) with memories of the love-fest known as the Helsinki Accords.

The question is what each of the participants expects to gain from an exercise that is manifestly improvised in a rush and lacking a clear agenda.

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Open Letter to President Biden: Nuclear Deal with Iran Will Be a Disaster

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  January 8, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • No amount of appeasement and no deal is going to change the core pillars of the Iranian mullahs' revolutionary principles, which include anti-Americanism, antisemitism, supporting terror groups, and brutally repressing their own population. The theocratic establishment uses international and regional agreements, such as its election last April to the UN Commission on the Status of Women, to advance its revolutionary ideals.

  • The Biden administration might begin to understand, nearly four decades after the establishment of the mullahs' regime, that, as Henry Kissinger remarked, "The exercise of diplomacy without the threat of force is without effect."

No amount of appeasement and no deal is going to change the core pillars of the Iranian mullahs' revolutionary principles, which include anti-Americanism, antisemitism, supporting terror groups, and brutally repressing their own population. Pictured: A ballistic missile on display during a military parade in Tehran, on April 18, 2019. (Photo by AFP via Getty Images)

The Biden administration's Iran policy appears to be quite simple: keep negotiating with the ruling mullahs and offering concessions to revive the 2015 nuclear deal and eliminate the Iranian regime's threat.

The nuclear deal reached in 2015, however, had already proved that it did not eliminate the Iranian regime's threats. After the agreement, access to the considerable funds freed up by the deal had the reverse effect: it allowed Tehran to pour ever greater sums into the coffers of groups such as Lebanon's Hezbollah and the Yemeni Houthis. Nations such as Israel, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain were largely ignored by the Western powers, despite their clear concerns over the direct threat that enriching these groups presented.

US President Joe Biden previously suggested that Iran, in the aftermath of the 2015 nuclear deal, had ceased being a "bad regional actor", writing:

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Exposing the Lie of Israel Apartheid

by Richard Kemp  •  January 7, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • The breakdown in Israel-Soviet relations was later compounded by Israel's defensive victories against the Arabs in 1967 and again in 1973. Over this period all hope of Israel becoming a Soviet client had steadily evaporated. Arab armies sponsored, trained and equipped by the USSR had been humiliated, and so had Moscow. Thus the Soviets progressively developed a policy of undermining Israel. Their primary objective was to use the country as a weapon in their Cold War struggle against the US and the West.

  • "We needed to instil a Nazi-style hatred for the Jews throughout the Islamic world, and to turn this weapon of the emotions into a terrorist bloodbath against Israel and its main supporter, the United States." — Yuri Andropov, Chairman of the Soviet KGB, later General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, as reported by General Ion Pacepa, former chief of Romania's intelligence services.

  • As well as mobilising the Arabs to the Soviet cause, Andropov and his KGB colleagues needed to appeal to the democratic world. To do so, the Kremlin decided to turn the conflict from one that sought simply to destroy Israel into a struggle for human rights and national liberation from an illegitimate American-sponsored imperialist occupier. They set about transforming the narrative of the conflict from religious jihad — in which Islamic doctrine demands that any land that has ever been under Muslim control must be regained for Islam — to secular nationalism and political self-determination, something far more palatable to Western democracies. This would provide cover for a vicious terrorist war, even garnering widespread support for it.

  • To achieve their goal, the Soviets had to create a Palestinian national identity that did not hitherto exist and a narrative that Jews had no rights to the land and were naked aggressors. According to Pacepa, the KGB created the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the early 1960s, as they had also orchestrated so-called national liberation armies in several other parts of the world. He says the 1964 Palestinian National Charter was drafted in Moscow. This document was fundamental to the invention and establishment of an artificial Palestinian nationhood.

  • The details of Moscow-sponsored terrorist operations in the Middle East and elsewhere are set out in 25,000 pages of KGB documents copied and then smuggled out of Russia in the early 1990s by senior KGB archivist Vasili Mitrokhin and now lodged in the UK, at Churchill College, Cambridge.

  • The initial charter did not claim the West Bank or the Gaza Strip for "Palestine". In fact, it explicitly repudiated any rights to these lands, falsely recognising them respectively as Jordanian and Egyptian sovereign territories. Instead, the PLO claim was to the rest of Israel. This was amended after the 1967 war when Israel ejected the illegal Jordanian and Egyptian occupiers, and the West Bank and Gaza for the first time were re-branded as Palestinian territory.

  • Moscow first took its campaign to brand Israeli Jews as the oppressors of their invented "Palestinian people" to the UN in 1965. Their attempts to categorise Zionism as racism failed at that attempt but succeeded nearly a decade later in the infamous UN General Assembly Resolution 3379.

  • Zuheir Mohsen, a senior PLO leader, admitted in 1977: "The Palestinian people do not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity... Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct 'Palestinian people' to oppose Zionism. Yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity exists only for tactical reasons."

  • The Mitrokhin documents show that both Yasser Arafat, and his successor as PLO chief, Mahmoud Abbas, now President of the Palestinian Authority, were KGB agents. Both were instrumental in the KGB's disinformation operations as well as its terrorist campaigns.

  • For his dealings with Washington, Ceaușescu told Arafat in 1978: "You simply have to keep on pretending that you'll break with terrorism and that you'll recognize Israel — over, and over, and over."

  • Ceaușescu's advice was reinforced by North Vietnamese communist General Vo Nguyen Giap, whom Arafat met several times: "Stop talking about annihilating Israel and instead turn your terror war into a struggle for human rights. Then you will have the American people eating out of your hand".

  • Like his predecessor Arafat, Abbas's consistent rejection of every offer of peace with Israel, while concurrently talking the talk about peace and while sponsoring terrorism, shows the continuing influence of his Soviet masters.

  • Meanwhile the Palestinian movement created by Moscow, in the words of American historian David Meir-Levi, is "the only national movement for political self-determination in the entire world, and across all of world history, to have the destruction of a sovereign state and the genocide of a people as its only raison d'être."

  • Moscow's campaign was significantly undermined by the 2020 rapprochement between Israel and Arab states. The lesson here is the importance of American political will against authoritarian propaganda, which led to the game-changing Abraham Accords.

The Soviet Union progressively developed a policy of undermining Israel. Their primary objective was to use the country as a weapon in their Cold War struggle against the US and the West. To achieve their goal, the Soviets had to create a Palestinian national identity that did not hitherto exist and a narrative that Jews had no rights to the land and were naked aggressors. According to General Ion Pacepa, former chief of Romania's intelligence services, the KGB created the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the early 1960s. Pictured: PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat (right) lays a wreath at the Lenin Mausoleum during his 12th visit in Moscow, on August 30, 1977. (Photo by STF/AFP via Getty Images)

Last month the UN General Assembly re-affirmed its implacable hostility to one of its own member states. It voted overwhelmingly — 125-8, with 34 abstentions — to fund an unprecedented permanent Human Rights Council (UNHRC) commission of inquiry (COI) into allegations of war crimes and human rights abuse by Israel. Taxpayers' funds will pay an eyewatering $5.5 million budget in the first year alone, well over twice that of the UNHRC commission investigating the Syrian civil war.

Since its creation in 2006, the council has established 32 inquiries, nine of which — one-third — have focused entirely on Israel. But this latest COI is the first open-ended inquiry it has set up. It has no time-limit and no restriction on its scope. The US voted against the move, saying it "perpetuates a practice of unfairly singling out Israel in the UN". Among the abstainers was Australia, whose representative said, with characteristic plain-speaking: "We oppose anti-Israel bias".

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Russia's Putin to NATO: Commit Suicide or Face All-Out War

by Soeren Kern  •  January 6, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • The Russian demands, which effectively require NATO to commit suicide, are so obviously outrageous and unmeetable that Western analysts are split over interpreting Russian President Vladimir Putin's motives. Some say he is using the impossible list of demands as a pretext to invade Ukraine. Others think he is playing a weak hand to try to divide the West and reorder Europe's security architecture in Russia's favor.

  • Germany appears to be the West's weak link the face of Russian pressure. On January 3, the German newspaper Bild reported that Scholz is seeking "a new beginning" in relations with Moscow. This has alarmed smaller European countries which fear that Germany will reach an accommodation with Putin behind their backs.

  • "The Russian leader... believes he has a window of opportunity to act. He is worried that the risk of Kiev joining NATO will increase if a stronger U.S. leader... comes to power.... Regretfully, the Biden administration's 'experts,' like Obama's before them who fecklessly sought a 'reset' with Russia, are likely to fall into Putin's trap." — Rebekah Koffler, a Russian-born U.S. intelligence expert.

  • "A second Russian attack on Ukraine, should it happen, ought to serve as a long-overdue wake-up call for the West about Russia's intentions to establish an exclusive sphere of influence in Eastern Europe and assert Moscow's claims to exercising influence in Central Europe, within NATO's perimeter.... Europe's security would deteriorate dramatically. The zone of competition would shift from Eastern Europe to Central Europe and the Baltic states." — Andrew Michta, geopolitical analyst

  • "The West should immediately impose tough sanctions on Russia, provide serious defense assistance to Ukraine, demonstrate unambivalent support for Ukrainian sovereignty, and project moral and strategic resolve. Unfortunately, current trends and past behavior provide little cause for optimism that the 'free world' will rise to the challenge." — Anne Pierce, foreign policy expert

  • "Westerners do not seem to understand what is at stake. They think that only the fate of Ukraine is being decided, which is of less concern to them than that of Armenia.... They resemble those who in 1939 believed that Hitler's demands would be limited to Danzig. However, one only has to look at the texts proposed by Moscow to understand that the stakes are quite different." — Françoise Thom, French historian of Russia.

  • "In 1946-7 we knew that freedom was worth dying for, something that is obviously forgotten today. After Munich in 1938, the West was ashamed to have abandoned Czechoslovakia into Hitler's clutches. Today we are cowardly letting down Ukraine, but we do not even realize our dishonor, nor the danger of giving in to an aggressor. We are like the Byzantines who were discussing the sex of angels while the Ottoman forces were destroying the city walls." — Françoise Thom.

Russia has threatened war if the United States and its NATO allies fail to comply — unconditionally — with sweeping demands for a new security arrangement in Europe. Western analysts are split over interpreting Russian President Vladimir Putin's motives. Some say he is using the impossible list of demands as a pretext to invade Ukraine. Others think he is playing a weak hand to try to divide the West and reorder Europe's security architecture in Russia's favor. (Photo by Mikhail Metzel/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)

Russia has threatened war if the United States and its NATO allies fail to comply — unconditionally — with sweeping demands for a new security arrangement in Europe.

The demands, issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry, require the United States to remove its nuclear umbrella from Europe and allow Russia to reestablish its Soviet-era sphere of influence over Eastern Europe.

The Russian demands, which effectively require NATO to commit suicide, are so obviously outrageous and unmeetable that Western analysts are split over interpreting Russian President Vladimir Putin's motives. Some say he is using the impossible list of demands as a pretext to invade Ukraine. Others think he is playing a weak hand to try to divide the West and reorder Europe's security architecture in Russia's favor.

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Iran's "Nuclear Blackmail": Iran Has No Interest in Negotiating a New Nuclear Deal

by Con Coughlin  •  January 5, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • "If the Iranians think the world does not seriously intend to stop them, they will race towards the bomb. We must make it clear that the world will not allow this to happen. There needs to be a credible military threat on the table." — Yair Lapid, Israeli Foreign Minister, interview with the author, December, 2021.

  • Mr Lapid's calls have been echoed by US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan who, following talks with Mr Bennett in Jerusalem, called for world powers to adopt a "common strategy" for dealing with Iran.

  • Mr Lapid's concerns about Iran's approach to the Vienna talks are supported by Western security officials closely monitoring the negotiations, who state that, far from taking a constructive approach to the negotiations, the Iranians are simply playing for time.

  • In the meantime Iran has sought to string out the negotiations in Vienna by concentrating on relatively minor issues, such as whether UN inspectors can have surveillance cameras operating at key sites. Iran's obstructive conduct, moreover, is being backed by Russia and China, which were also signatories to the 2015 deal but now want to embarrass the Biden administration by ensuring the current round of talks end in failure.

  • The hardline approach being adopted by Tehran certainly makes the prospect of military action to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities more likely in 2022, with US military officials confidently asserting that, if military option is required, it would be possible to target Iran's entire nuclear programme.

  • The big question that remains, though, is whether, if the talks do fail, Mr Biden will have the resolve to initiate military action, or will instead seek to hit Iran with more -- ineffective -- sanctions.

  • In the meantime, Tehran continues to work on its controversial uranium enrichment activities so that, unless urgent action is taken soon, the world could soon find itself having to confront a nuclear-armed Iran.

Western intelligence agencies are warning that Iran could be just weeks away from producing the weapons grade uranium required to build nuclear warheads. Tehran continues to work on its uranium enrichment activities so that, unless urgent action is taken soon, the world could soon find itself having to confront a nuclear-armed Iran. Pictured: The Isfahan uranium enrichment facility in Isfahan, Iran. (Photo by Getty Images)

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid's observation that Iran is engaging in "nuclear blackmail" with Western negotiators provides a damning indictment of the current state of play regarding the negotiations being held in Vienna on Tehran's nuclear activities.

With Western intelligence agencies warning that Iran could be just weeks away from producing the weapons grade uranium required to build nuclear warheads, there is mounting concern over progress being made at the Vienna talks, which are trying to revive the flawed 2015 deal agreed by the Obama administration.

Instead of taking the negotiations seriously, however, Western negotiators -- including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken -- have expressed frustration that Iran is using the talks as a delaying tactic while it continues work on its uranium enrichment activities, which have now moved well beyond the level originally agreed upon in the 2015 deal.

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