Latest Analysis and Commentary

'The Shame of Pakistan': Blasphemy Accusers
Courageous Christian Woman Stands Up to Them

by Nasir Saeed  •  January 27, 2023 at 5:00 am

  • "Pakistan was to review its harsh blasphemy laws. It has made them even harsher...The National Assembly has unanimously passed an amendment to the laws that widens the net and makes punishment more stringent under these laws.... The blasphemy laws are often misused in Pakistan to settle personal scores. It is also used to persecute its small minorities." [Emphasis in the original] – Daily O, January 18, 2023.

  • Those who make false accusations do not care that innocent Christians may end up dead or in miserable prison conditions for years on end or be forced into hiding with their entire family, not knowing what will become of them, all the while in fear for their lives.

  • Worse, some are prepared to kill under the cover of religion and become -- a hero.

  • Again and again, we see the victims being treated as criminals by those in positions of authority while the perpetrators are let off scot-free and even hailed as heroes. All the while, politicians who actually have the power to change this state of affairs refuse even to discuss the matter in Parliament. When people such as M. P. Bhandara and Sherry Rehman dare to speak up, they receive the inevitable death threats. For Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, Christian Federal Minister Shahbaz Bhatti and human rights lawyer Rashid Rehman, these death threats were carried out.

  • [H]ere we still are with nothing done to change what truly is the shame of Pakistan. The law still is as it is: innocent people continue to be accused of blasphemy and killed.

  • Christians need to be grateful for the way in which [Samina Mushtaq] courageously brought the truth about blasphemy to the forefront and stirred up a national debate. We need much more of it. Lawmakers need to change the laws before more unjust killings.

Nothing has been done to change what truly is the shame of Pakistan: innocent people continue to be accused of blasphemy and killed. Pictured: A protest in Karachi, Pakistan on December 4, 2021 denouncing the lynching in the country of a Sri Lankan factory manager, who was beaten to death and set ablaze by a mob who accused him of blasphemy. (Photo by Rizwan Tabassum/AFP via Getty Images)

"Pakistan was to review its harsh blasphemy laws. It has made them even harsher," according to a report from this month. "The National Assembly has unanimously passed an amendment to the laws that widens the net and makes punishment more stringent under these laws... The blasphemy laws are often misused in Pakistan to settle personal scores. It is also used to persecute its small minorities." [Emphasis in the original]

Recently in Pakistan, however, an encouraging sign emerged: an interesting uproar on social media about a Christian female security officer who bravely stood up to a Muslim colleague threatening her with a false accusation of blasphemy .

Samina Mushtaq was working at her job with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in Karachi when her colleague insisted that a car be allowed to be parked within the perimeter.

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Turkey's Elections Are Not Just Turkey's

by Burak Bekdil  •  January 26, 2023 at 5:00 am

  • To maximize the opportunity for the Turkish public to come to the polls... President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan brought forward the election date from an originally scheduled June 18 to May 14.

  • Erdoğan's treatment -- through a judiciary totally under his control -- of one of his potential rivals, Istanbul's Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, who defeated Erdogan's party in 2019, is revealing. A court sentenced the popular İmamoğlu to a two-year prison sentence and a ban from politics for calling election officials who had annulled his first election "idiots." (Imamoğlu won twice.) If his conviction is not annulled or overturned, that verdict may take the Imamoğlu out of the presidential race.

  • Erdoğan has made it a habit to use the courts in the way he thinks would best suit his political agenda. As of 2020, the number of Kurdish mayors in prison was 21. The Erdoğan administration had appointed its own administrators to 45 of a total of 65 municipalities won by the pro-Kurdish party, Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), in 2019.

  • Turkey's Constitutional Court is currently being asked to order the closure of the party, which has 56 deputies in Turkey's parliament. An indictment against the party seeks to ban 451 politicians and party members from organized political activity or membership of political parties for a period of five years and forfeiture of the party's assets.... Even the mere freezing of assets [as has occurred] will deprive the HDP of the means to finance its election campaign.

  • Turkey's 2023 elections will not only be a race between those Turks who want freedom and despise Islamist rule and those who prefer to starve while dreaming of Ottoman times. It also promises to be maker of Turkey's global journey for at least the next five years.

Turkey's 2023 elections will not only be a race between those Turks who want freedom and despise Islamist rule and those who prefer to starve while dreaming of Ottoman times. It also promises to be maker of Turkey's global journey for at least the next five years. Pictured: President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addresses a meeting of provincial election officials in Ankara on January 29, 2019. (Photo by Adem Altan/AFP via Getty Images)

Everyone in Turkey, in its region and in countries with interests or concerns about Turkey's political future, probably agree that presidential and parliamentary elections this spring will be the most important for every nation involved. To maximize the opportunity for the Turkish public to come to the polls, after calculating external factors such as Muslim Hajj pilgrimage, a religious holiday and university entrance exams, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan brought forward the election date from an originally scheduled June 18 to May 14.

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Treason in America - Again

by Lawrence Kadish  •  January 25, 2023 at 12:15 pm

As Benedict Arnold cynically realized centuries ago, treason may be the most threatening weapon our enemies can aim at the heart of a democracy, especially the one that leads the free world to keep it safe from tyranny. (Image source: MPI/Getty Images)

Benedict Arnold, move over.

Loathed as one of America's most despised traitors, we are reminded that Arnold once was the hero of Saratoga during the Revolutionary War, only to become a turncoat prepared to hand over West Point to the British.

During the last century there was Aldrich Ames, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer turned KGB double agent. Now serving a life sentence without parole, he did enormous damage to our national security while sending many American intelligence assets to their deaths in the Soviet Union. You want an example of how one American can do incalculable damage to his country? Read the Ames file.

But wait. There is now a 21st Century indictment that, if proven in a court of law, is absolutely mind-numbing.

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Censorship, Mass Surveillance and Bugs: World Economic Forum vs. The Free World

by J.B. Shurk  •  January 25, 2023 at 5:00 am

  • People with fortunes have an economic incentive to hide them behind the appearance of benevolence, so as to avoid scrutiny while making those fortunes even bigger. Behind every "build back better" inch of the WEF's "great reset" of the global economy is some corporate titan, banking behemoth, power-hungry politician, bureaucratic chieftain, or plain old aristocrat making money or gaining influence from the multitude of secret transactions buttressing the whole philanthropic charade.

  • They depend upon African slave labor for the mining of "green" raw materials and Chinese slave labor for the manufacturing of "green" technologies while simultaneously smearing as bigots anyone who objects to their open border policies flooding Western nations with endless cheap labor at home. Predictably, those most responsible for undermining labor groups at home while subsidizing slavery abroad are the same ones who lecture the world on racism, fair wages, and human rights.

  • Stick, meet carrot. They may fly on private jets, but at the end of the day, the World Economic Forum cabal is just the greatest collection of thugs organized crime has ever managed to put together in the same room, orchestrating the most effective schemes ever devised to force formerly free peoples to do exactly what they say.

  • In a more just era, anybody attending the WEF's gatherings would be arrested for conspiracy to commit racketeering and fraud. Instead, because the "masters of our future" have invested heavily in the elections of the West's most prominent leaders, presidents, prime ministers, legislators, and even military staffs are only too happy to champion their cause.

  • United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres told his WEF audience that the world's economy is in tremendous peril, while failing to point out that it has been the WEF's own COVID-19 lockdown policies and attempts to use the pandemic as a "great reset" for transitioning the West from hydrocarbon to "green" energies that are responsible for much of the harm.

  • [T]he UN chief was more interested in making two other points: (1) there should be legal "accountability" for social media platforms that promote "false information," and (2) politicians should force unpopular policies upon their populations for their own good.

  • In essence, the head of the globalists' preferred international governing body demands that national leaders intentionally disregard the will of their people and implement a system for the criminalization of free speech, so that dissent magically disappears much like a protester in a "re-education" camp. These are the same WEF "elites" who then have the temerity to turn around and preach about "democracy" and "Western values."

  • Sitting right next to "green" champion Al Gore, [Colombian President] Petro Urrego proclaimed that humanity must "overcome capitalism" if it is to survive. Given that Gore, a member of the WEF Board of Trustees, did not appear to disagree, it seems fair to say that Club Davos finds more to like in an "elite"-controlled version of communism (is there any other kind?) than a free market system in which ordinary people may thrive.

  • To coincide with its gathering, the WEF has published a report citing "misinformation and disinformation" among the most significant global "risks." WEF members publicly predict that "hate speech" laws will soon come to the United States — in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment protections for freedom of speech. Calls are growing for tracking and enforcing individual "carbon limits" in the endless battle against Earth's ever-changing climate. These same authoritarians push digital vaccine passports, contact tracing, mandatory use of experimental "vaccines," and ubiquitous testing. And following the WEF's determination that Westerners should transition to a diet of bugs, the European Union has now authorized the general consumption of house crickets. Censorship, mass surveillance, and bugs — welcome to the future, should the WEF get its way.

  • None of the WEF's expansive programs for remaking the world according to its members' interests sounds like anything free Westerners could ever voluntarily embrace. Surely that is why so many of the WEF's speakers urge the forceful adoption of these policies regardless of public support. Perhaps that is also why the Chinese Communist Party recently applauded this year's "Davos spirit." Communists know communism when they see it, and in Klaus Schwab's globalist oligarchy of "elites," China likes what it sees.

They may fly on private jets, but at the end of the day, the World Economic Forum cabal is just the greatest collection of thugs organized crime has ever managed to put together in the same room, orchestrating the most effective schemes ever devised to force formerly free peoples to do exactly what they say. Pictured: WEF founder Klaus Schwab speaks in Davos, Switzerland on May 23, 2022. (Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images)

The World Economic Forum's nation-crushing empire looks like a chop shop that has stolen parts from the world's worst dictatorships in order to create Frankenstein's "woke" monster. It has swiped the Aztecs' penchant for human sacrifice to ward off bad weather, the Chinese communists' love of total control and the eradication of traditional culture, the Italian fascists' society-squeezing partnership with corporate monopolists, and the German Nazis' belief in a "master race" — chiefly the celebrities, bankers, crony capitalists, and potentates who assemble in Davos and elsewhere to applaud their own achievements and further implement their "master plan," which the WEF affectionately calls "The Great Reset."

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The Important Line between Civil and Criminal Is Being Breached

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  January 24, 2023 at 5:00 am

  • There are two major reasons why criminal liability has been extended to cover negligent behavior. The first is evidentiary: it is often difficult or impossible to prove a specific intent to commit a crime, so the law takes a shortcut, substituting negligence, which is far easier to prove.

  • The second reason is to put the burden of preventing harms on the persons most able to do so.

  • Another consequence [of this expanding criminalization of what used to be civil violations], which we are currently experiencing in the political world, is the weaponization of the criminal justice system for partisan purposes.

(Image source: iStock)

There are two fundamental mechanisms of justice for wrongs committed. The first is civil, in which the wrong is compensated economically — by the payment of money. The second is criminal, in which the wrongdoer is punished — by imprisonment, probation or fine.

Our constitution recognizes this historic distinction by guaranteeing different rights in civil and criminal cases. The Bill of Rights provides that "in all criminal prosecutions," a plethora of important procedural protections must be accorded the defendant. These include a "speedy and public trial by an impartial jury", "the assistance of counsel", the ability to confront adverse witnesses and call favorable ones, prohibitions against compelled self-incrimination and double jeopardy, reasonable bail and no "cruel and unusual punishment."

In civil cases, on the other hand, there is little more than trial by jury and basic due process.

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Iran's Newest Commitments

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  January 23, 2023 at 5:30 am

  • The Arabs are not only disturbed about Iran's efforts to obtain nuclear weapons, but also its ongoing meddling in the internal affairs of Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq.

  • In a sign reflecting the Arab concern over the Biden administration's perceived lenient policy towards the mullahs and their nuclear ambitions, Egypt and Saudi Arabia announced in mid-January that they have "agreed on the need for Iran to fully respect its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in a way that prevents it from acquiring nuclear weapons."

  • "[W]e need negotiations on specific issues that allow us to eliminate security risks, support stability and bring an end to Iran's interference in Arab affairs." — Tariq Al-Homayed, Saudi journalist, former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, January 15, 2023.

  • "The Islamic Republic of Iran will continue supporting the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon and Palestine." — Iranian Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahain, iranintel.com, January 13, 2023.

  • The mullahs are telling the Arabs that they can continue barking to their hearts' content, but Iran will do whatever it wants in their countries.

  • When the Iranian foreign minister says his country will continue supporting the "resistance" in Lebanon, he means that Tehran will continue to provide weapons and money to Hezbollah, the terrorist organization that effectively controls Lebanon and has turned the country into a state of anarchy and lawlessness.

  • Like Hezbollah, the Palestinian groups are largely responsible for the misery of the people living under their rule.

  • "As for foreign policy, 'Khomeinism' produced a country that lives in an economic blockade for decades and that no longer knows a language other than weapons for dialogue with its neighbors and countries of the world." — Baha' Al-Awwam, Syrian journalist, Al-Ain, December 3, 2022.

  • "During the era of former US President Barack Obama, the US wanted to unleash the hand of political Islam in the region, so it supported the 'sons of Khomeini' and 'the grandchildren of [Muslim Brotherhood founder] Hassan al-Banna.'" — Baha' Al-Awwam, Al-Ain, December 3, 2022.

  • It seems as though the Obama and Biden administrations are ultimately willing to agree to almost anything the mullahs want and throw in a trillion dollars if the mullahs just please do not use their nuclear weapons -- as Obama candidly put it in 2015 -- "on my watch."

Arab countries are not only disturbed about Iran's efforts to obtain nuclear weapons, but also its ongoing meddling in the internal affairs of Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq. Pictured: An Iranian Kheibar Shekan missile in a parade in Tehran, on September 22, 2022. (Photo by AFP via Getty Images)

The Arab countries are still extremely anxious about the possibility that the Biden administration will return to the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The JCPOA -- signed in 2015 between Tehran and several world powers, including the US -- promises Iran's regime, after a short time, the ability to possess as many nuclear weapons as it likes, the missiles to deliver them, and no constraints on its terrorism or "revolutionary" expansionism.

In 2018, then US President Donald J. Trump withdrew from the JCPOA after realizing that it failed to curtail Iran's nuclear weapons program, missile program or regional aggression and terrorism.

In the past year, reports about the possibility that the Biden administration was working to revive the Iran nuclear deal has sparked fear among many Arabs and Muslims, who have criticized the US for embarking on a policy of appeasement towards the regime of the mullahs in Tehran.

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Assaults on US Democracy, Election Integrity and the Constitution

by Lawrence Kadish  •  January 22, 2023 at 2:30 pm

As illegal migration, runaway inflation and the national debt all soar to unimaginable heights, no one seems to know who is actually running the country. Could a national digital currency be the government's newest Big Brother surveillance program? (Image source: iStock)

The U.S. for years has been witnessing countless displays of people deliberately committing criminal acts, including felonies, that prosecutors refuse to charge. These include mass violence in cities, widespread gun violence (for instance here and here), and rampant vandalism and theft.

This anarchy is not helped by "revolving door" laws that put perpetrators back out in the street, movements to defund the police, and decriminalizing theft under $950. Target blames a loss of $400 million on retail theft by organized crime, and does not even touch on an industry-wide loss of $800 million just from theft of shopping carts.

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Genocide in Nigeria, Armenia and Syria: The Persecution of Christians, December 2022

by Raymond Ibrahim  •  January 22, 2023 at 6:00 am

  • "These military attacks by Recep Tayyip Erdogan's regime are part of a wider Turkish policy of annihilation of the Kurdish and Assyrian [Christian] people in northern Syria and Iraq. Turkey has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, including bombing, shelling, abduction, torture, and extrajudicial killings. The attacks are part of Turkey's genocidal policies towards Kurds, Christians, and Ezidis." — Genocide Watch, December 7, 2022, Turkey.

  • "As scholars who study the process of genocide, we believe that the actions of the Azerbaijani government constitute a risk of genocide for the Armenians of the region. We urge international agencies and governments to ensure the free access of people and goods to Nagorno-Karabakh." — genocideprevention.am, December 13, 2022, Azerbaijan.

  • "Let it be put on record that in the hundreds of attacks [on Christians] that have...killed thousands since 2014, we have not seen anyone arrested and brought to book over these heinous crimes against humanity. Instead, it is southern Kaduna traditional leaders, clergy and human right activists that do get arrested and put in prison over trumped-up allegations of 'incitement.'" — Luka Biniyat, spokesman for the Southern Kaduna People's Union, Morning Star News, December 23, 2022, Nigeria.

  • On Dec. 17, a high-level Muslim official promulgated a new law saying that Christians could not celebrate Christmas without first obtaining a governmental permit. — Morning Star News, December 23, 2022, Indonesia.

  • Until 2017, when a new government came to power, churches had few problems. Since then, the authorities have capriciously shut down 20 churches, so that only 11 now remain open in the entire nation, with ongoing threats that they too might be shut down. — mnonline.org, December 1, 2022, Algeria.

  • "The persecution of Egypt's Christian Copts is the longest ongoing persecution in the history of mankind, from 642, to today, 2022. Through all this time, maybe 70 years under British occupation were peaceful and good—the 'golden era' for Copts in all this duration.... I know of no group that has been persecuted for nearly 1400 years—with still no light at the end of the tunnel." — Magdi Khalil, author who specializes in the situation of minorities in the Middle East, copticsolidarity.org, December 12, 2022, Egypt.

  • "After converting to Christianity... five days later, I started receiving threatening messages on my phone of risking being killed for leaving Islam. Please pray for us, for God to heal us quickly to enable us look for where to go." — Abdu Muyinga, Morning Star News, December 18, 2022, Uganda.

Muslims on social media slammed a popular Liverpool soccer player, Mohamed "Mo" Salah, after he posted a picture of his family by a Christmas tree captioned with "#MerryChristmas." One Muslim wrote: "I shall be unfollowing you and stop supporting Liverpool because you are celebrating Christmas with the Christians." (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

The following are among the murders and abuses inflicted on Christians by Muslims throughout the month of December 2022:

Genocidal Jihad against Christians

Turkey: Between November 20-25, 2022, Turkey launched 2,500 attacks—air, mortar, drone, artillery, etc.—several miles deep across Syria's northern border. Governed by the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), this is also where most of Syria's religious minorities—Christians, Yazidis and Kurds -- live, who were earlier persecuted by the Islamic State ("ISIS"). At least 48 people were killed and dozens wounded. The assault also destroyed or damaged 2,300 civilian homes and buildings, including a children's hospital, a health center, an electrical power station, essential oil and gas processing facilities, critical grain towers, and a major bakery. Lethal Turkish attacks have continued, prompting Genocide Watch to issue a Genocide Emergency Alert on December 7, 2022:

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Ukraine: Waiting for the Stinger Moment

by Amir Taheri  •  January 22, 2023 at 4:00 am

  • [W]hen Putin's invasion of Ukraine came, most analysts still saw war as a short hymn to victory not a long symphony of death in four movements.

  • Heading for its second year, the Ukraine war seems set to become a long symphony of death rather than short hymn to victory.

  • No war is won or lost until one side admits defeat or one side totally destroys the other side. Hitler could not admit defeat, a possibility that was urged on him even until 1944, because that would have meant the end of his Reich.

  • I think that the Biden administration as its principal European allies, Germany and France, lack the vision, or the courage, to provide Ukraine with the hardware needed to threaten Russia's sense of immunity. Writing fat checks, offering a limited range of recycled weapons, and diplomatic gesticulations such as setting up a tribunal against Putin and his associates, won't shorten this symphony of death.

  • The war in Afghanistan was shortened when President Ronald Reagan's administration supplied the anti-Soviet insurgency with Stinger missiles that ended the Red Army's control of the skies with helicopter gunships and troop carriers.

  • The Stinger moment that could shorten this war has not yet arrived.

Heading for its second year, the Ukraine war seems set to become a long symphony of death rather than short hymn to victory. The war in Afghanistan was shortened when President Ronald Reagan's administration supplied the anti-Soviet insurgency with Stinger missiles that ended the Red Army's control of the skies. Pictured: Afghan militiamen stand beside the debris of a Soviet helicopter they shot down with a Stinger missile in Sanglakh Valley, Afghanistan in June 1987. (Photo by AFP via Getty Images)

When Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine almost a year ago, many analysts expected a quick catharsis in line with the prevailing view of war as a short hymn to military power.

That view had taken shape over many decades as memories of wars in ancient times through the 18th century faded. The 200-year long Roman-Persian War was far away as were the Hundred Years' War and the Thirty Years' War in Europe. Wars became shorter and shorter. The Napoleonic Wars, starting with the French Revolution, lasted 23 years.

The American Civil War lasted four years, as did the First World War. The Second World War lasted five years. The Philippine-American War lasted three years as did the Korean War. The Spanish-American War lasted eight months, while the Mexican-American War took two years.

As always there was one exception to the new rule: the Vietnam War that lasted almost 10 years.

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EU's Double-Standards on Iran's Human Rights: Business First

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  January 21, 2023 at 5:00 am

  • The European Union's charter stresses that "Human rights are at the heart of EU relations with other countries and regions. The European Union is based on a strong commitment to promoting and protecting human rights, democracy and the rule of law worldwide". This is clearly not the case when it comes to the EU's appeasing relationship with the ruling mullahs of Iran.

  • Meanwhile, Germany, which preaches about human rights and its "feminist foreign policy", has actually increased its business with the Iranian regime.

  • If the EU truly desires to stand with the women of Iran and human rights, it can halt its business dealings and trade with Iran. Other reasons for the EU to cease enriching this toxic regime include its delivery of weapons to Russia and support for militia and terror groups. These include the Houthis fighting a war in Yemen; Hizballah, close to wrecking Lebanon; and Hamas, torturing the people of Gaza and crushing dissent for more than a decade.

  • By prioritizing its business and trade with Iran over promoting human rights and countering terrorism, the EU is emboldening and empowering the expansionist regime of Iran to suppress and kill more of its citizens, stamp out the women-led revolution for freedom, supply Russia with more weapons, and sponsor more terrorist groups worldwide.

By prioritizing its business and trade with Iran over promoting human rights and countering terrorism, the European Union is emboldening and empowering the expansionist regime of Iran to suppress and kill more of its citizens, stamp out the women-led revolution for freedom, supply Russia with more weapons, and sponsor more terrorist groups worldwide. Pictured: Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (R) meets with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in Tehran on June 25, 2022. (Photo by Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images)

The European Union's charter stresses that "Human rights are at the heart of EU relations with other countries and regions. The European Union is based on a strong commitment to promoting and protecting human rights, democracy and the rule of law worldwide". This is clearly not the case when it comes to the EU's appeasing relationship with the ruling mullahs of Iran.

The Iranian regime is ramping up its killing spree, torture and arrests.

Amnesty International's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, Diana Eltahawy, said on January 11, regarding the regime's suppression:

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Turkey: Putin's Open Door for Harming Western Interests

by Burak Bekdil  •  January 20, 2023 at 5:00 am

  • For Putin, Erdoğan's friendship is growing ever more important -- and vice versa.

  • Turkey has refused to join Western sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, thereby throwing a lifeline to Putin. Turkish skies remain open to Russian airlines and its doors open to hundreds of thousands of Russians and their money. Turkish exports to Russia are surging. In July alone, exports to Russia shot up by a dizzying 75% year-on-year.

  • Russian cash helped plug the growing hole in Turkey's foreign currency reserves -- at a time when Erdoğan needs foreign money for the country's ailing economy before the presidential and parliamentary elections this June.

  • In March, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that Russian oligarchs were welcome in Turkey. In October, the Financial Times reported that between January and August 2021, a record $28 billion from unclear origins had flowed into Turkey.

  • "Putin's goal remains anchoring Erdoğan more and more to Russia through a vast mesh of mutually beneficial operations in the fields of defense, energy, trade, and finance... By doing this, Putin is comforting an embattled incumbent president and is openly bolstering Erdoğan's position in the upcoming elections.... [T]he world is witnessing the Russian president using Turkey for his own benefits." — Marc Pierini, senior fellow at Carnegie Europe and a former EU Ambassador to Ankara, August 30, 2022.

  • The Erdoğan-Putin bond has two main pillars. One is pragmatism: They both strategically, politically and economically benefit. The other is ideological: They both hate the West.

Turkey has refused to join Western sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, thereby throwing a lifeline to Putin. Turkish skies remain open to Russian airlines and its doors open to hundreds of thousands of Russians and their money. Pictured: Erdoğan meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on September 16, 2022. (Photo by Alexandr Demyanchuk/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)

Turkish Islamists, especially neo-Ottomans, have historically hated Russia -- both Czarist and Soviet. Similarly, Russians and Soviets have never been great fans of the Turks -- both Ottoman and republican. Today, however, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, with a big foot in NATO, is exhibiting a pro-Russian tilt never seen before, and at a time when Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen as an existential threat to Western interests. What is the secret behind this sudden marriage?

For Putin, Erdoğan's friendship is growing ever more important -- and vice versa.

Turkey has refused to join Western sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, thereby throwing a lifeline to Putin. Turkish skies remain open to Russian airlines and its doors open to hundreds of thousands of Russians and their money. Turkish exports to Russia are surging. In July alone, exports to Russia shot up by a dizzying 75% year-on-year.

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U.S. Enabling North Korea, So South Korea Wants Nuclear Weapons

by Gordon G. Chang  •  January 19, 2023 at 5:00 am

  • We do not have to wonder if Beijing in fact supports North Korea's weapons programs. China for decades has allowed the North to use Chinese banks to handle proceeds from criminal activities and activities in violation of U.N. sanctions.

  • Such designations [enforcing U.S. money-laundering laws] would put these state banks out of business everywhere outside China.

  • If these banks were to fail, so would China's state-dominated banking system. The failure of the banking system would undoubtedly mean the end of the Chinese economy and financial system. The end of the Communist Party's political system could not be far behind.

  • Whatever the effects of designations, the United States needs to enforce its laws. America did not allow Pablo Escobar to run criminal cash through New York, so why does America allow China to do that for North Korea?

  • "The money Kim Jong Un obtains by fraud, computer hacking, and ransomware and which he uses to build bombs to threaten us is being laundered through our banks. We're giving Xi Jinping and Kim de facto immunity to keep right on doing it." — Joshua Stanton, expert on North Korean sanctions, to Gatestone.

  • No wonder South Korea's Yoon is not particularly impressed with America.

  • South Korea is a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. If Seoul were to develop nuclear weapons, it would have to withdraw.

  • Perhaps South Korea should withdraw. China, also a signatory, has been freely proliferating nuclear weapons technology to dangerous states, such as Pakistan and Iran, in addition to North Korea, and the United States has done little, sometimes nothing. At the same time, Washington repeatedly stopped South Korea and Taiwan from building nukes.

  • Yoon did the world a favor by exposing the folly of America's nonproliferation policy. Washington needs to stop being afraid of Beijing and start defending allies such as South Korea -- and itself.

South Korea's president has just told the world that he no longer has confidence in the United States. "It's possible that the problem gets worse and our country will introduce tactical nuclear weapons or build them on our own," said President Yoon Suk Yeol (pictured) on January 11. (Photo by Jeon Heon-Kyun - Pool/Getty Images)

South Korea's president has just told the world that he no longer has confidence in the United States.

"It's possible that the problem gets worse and our country will introduce tactical nuclear weapons or build them on our own," said President Yoon Suk Yeol on January 11, at a joint briefing by his country's defense and foreign ministries. "If that's the case, we can have our own nuclear weapons pretty quickly, given our scientific and technological capabilities."

America has a treaty obligation to defend the Republic of Korea, as South Korea is formally known, and Washington has extended its "nuclear umbrella" to protect it. In other words, the U.S. has pledged it will, if necessary, launch its most destructive weapons at those attacking South Korea. For Yoon to announce that his government might have to arm itself with nukes, therefore, is to in effect announce that he does not trust Washington to honor its word.

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Biden's Arms Package for Ukraine Is Long Overdue

by Con Coughlin  •  January 18, 2023 at 5:00 am

  • In one of the more damning examples of his indecisive leadership, Biden has seemed to be more concerned about upsetting Russian President Vladimir Putin than confronting the Kremlin's unprovoked act of aggression against its Ukrainian neighbour.

  • It could even be argued that Russia's invasion of Ukraine would not have happened in the first place had it not been for Biden's catastrophic handling of the withdrawal of military forces from Afghanistan in the summer of 2021. Biden's decision to abandon the Afghan people to their fate... sent a clear message to autocrats like Putin, as well as China's President Xi Jinping, that the Western powers... no longer had any interest in standing up to tyrannical regimes.

  • The West's perceived weakness may also explain why Putin made a series of veiled threats about using nuclear weapons if the Western powers became too involved in the Ukraine conflict, which initially had the desired effect of persuading the Biden administration to keep its distance.

  • At a moment when Putin is giving serious consideration to a new spring offensive to make up for the disastrous losses he suffered last year, the US arms package could prove to be decisive in making sure the Ukrainians do not lose ground.

  • It is vital, therefore, that the US and its allies set aside their reservations about defeating Putin's Russia, not least because all the indications are that Putin is currently losing his war, and Western support can make sure he suffers a catastrophic defeat.

  • It is vital therefore that, rather than constantly questioning the need to support the Ukrainian cause, American politicians, policymakers and the media comprehend that making sure that Russia suffers a devastating defeat is very much in America's interest.

  • It would remove the threat Russia poses to global security for a generation, allowing the Western powers to concentrate their focus on the far greater threat posed to world peace by Communist China.

  • Neutralising Putin means the Western alliance can ensure it is fully-prepared to deal with any future aggression from Beijing, such as threatening the independence of Taiwan.

In one of the more damning examples of his indecisive leadership, US President Joe Biden has seemed to be more concerned about upsetting Russian President Vladimir Putin than confronting the Kremlin's unprovoked act of aggression against its Ukrainian neighbour. Pictured: Biden and Putin meet on June 16, 2021 in Geneva, Switzerland. (Photo by Peter Klaunzer - Pool/Keystone via Getty Images)

The most charitable thing that can be said about US President Joe Biden's belated decision to supply Ukraine with armoured vehicles is that his administration is finally coming to understand what is required to ensure the Ukrainian forces achieve victory in the brutal war with Russia.

The Biden administration may have taken an age to reach its decision to provide Ukraine with 50 Bradley Armoured Vehicles, but the provision of such weaponry is exactly what the Ukrainians need if they are to achieve their goal of defeating their Russian aggressors.

The American decision, moreover, has prompted other Western nations, such as Britain, France and Poland and Germany, to provide their own armour to the Ukrainians, a move that could immeasurably improve the ability of Ukrainian forces to liberate their country from Russia's illegal occupation.

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The Islamist Plan to Conquer East Africa: U.S. Missing in Action

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  January 18, 2023 at 4:00 am

  • The most potent threat to East African stability remains Al-Shabaab, rooted in Somalia. Al-Qaeda helps to finance Al-Shabaab through its contacts across the Gulf of Aden in Yemen.

  • Al-Shabaab's threat to the American homeland should not be discounted: the group has explored possible scenarios of launching a 9/11 style assault on the US. Shabaab is assessed by US intelligence as Al-Qaeda's wealthiest and largest affiliate.

  • If Islamists succeed in establishing an Emirate in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique's government could be rendered powerless to combat the spread of radical Islam throughout the country. Using Mozambique as a base of operations, jihadists potentially could export terrorist cells to Indian Ocean island countries such as the Comoros Islands, Madagascar, Mauritius and the Seychelles, and ultimately to southern African nations as well.

If Islamists succeed in establishing an Emirate in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique's government could be rendered powerless to combat the spread of radical Islam throughout the country. Pictured: Burned and damaged huts in the village of Aldeia da Paz outside Macomia, Mozambique on August 24, 2019. On August 1, 2019, the village was attacked by an Islamist group. (Photo by Marco Longari/AFP via Getty Images)

Jihadist terrorism poses an existential challenge to Africa's nation-states. While North Africa has been Islamic for a millennium, the Sahel, that part of the continent south of the Sahara, remains under siege by affiliates of the global Islamist networks, Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

France, after a ten-year effort, has abandoned its responsibility to safeguard the sovereignty of its former colonies. Consequently, the Sahel's counterterrorist mission now rests upon the shoulders of a group of regional states called the "G5" : Burkina Faso, Chad. Mali. Mauritania, and Niger.

The most potent threat to East African stability remains Al-Shabaab, rooted in Somalia. Although Al-Shabaab pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda in 2009, it maintains autonomy for its terrorist operations. Al-Qaeda helps to finance Al-Shabaab through its contacts across the Gulf of Aden in Yemen.

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Turkey Closing Second-Largest Opposition Party?

by Uzay Bulut  •  January 17, 2023 at 12:00 pm

  • Turkey's Constitutional Court is currently in the process of deciding whether to close the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), which has 56 Members of Parliament, many of whom are already incarcerated. If closed, the HDP will be the eighth pro-Kurdish party in Turkey to be removed from the legislative process.

  • Former U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton strongly recommends that if President Recep Tayyip Erdogan or his AKP Party corrupt the electoral process in the upcoming elections -- on the heels of other malign actions -- Turkey should be removed from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

  • Since 2015, HDP members and activists have been constantly subjected to detention and arrest.... Democratically elected Kurdish mayors, deputy mayors, municipal council- and staff-members of the HDP and its sister party, DBP (Democratic Regions Party), have also been suspended, dismissed or arrested for alleged terrorism-related offenses. They were then replaced by government-appointed trustees.

  • "Key to the government's strategy is Anti-Terrorism Law No. 3713, which is used to fully restrict rights and freedoms and silence the voices of human rights defenders. The excessively vague and broad definition of terrorism in the law allows to label peaceful human rights defenders as 'terrorist offenders'." — The World Organisation Against Torture, 2022.

  • According to a report authored by the Council of Europe and the University of Lausanne, Turkey has the largest population of inmates convicted for terrorism-related offenses. The report, updated in April 2021, shows that at the time there were a total of 30,524 inmates in COE member states who were sentenced for terrorism; of those, 29,827 were in Turkish prisons.

  • "Vague formulation of the criminal provisions on the security of the state and terrorism and their overly broad interpretation by Turkish judges and prosecutors make all critics, particularly lawyers, human rights defenders, journalists, and rival politicians, a potential victim of judicial harassment. This indistinct area under the Turkish Penal code is actively used by the Turkish government to investigate, prosecute and convict opponents." — Arrested Lawyers Initiative report, 2021.

  • In Turkey, "the rule of law has been virtually destroyed." — Turkish Human Rights Association, December 12, 2022.

  • "Banning the HDP will further disenfranchise the millions of Kurds in Turkey who demand equal civil, political and cultural rights for their community.... Erdogan has already deprived millions of HDP voters of the democratically elected representation to which they are entitled under domestic and international law... [S]hutting Kurds out of politics at this crucial time may fuel conflict, as they will be deprived of peaceful avenues through which to demand their rights." — Meghan Bodette, Director of Research of the Kurdish Peace Institute, January 2023.

  • Through the closure of the HDP, Erdogan's state authorities show that they are once again willing and able to overturn election results.

  • An election that bans the HDP from participation will be an illegitimate one and will be a death declaration of whatever crumbs are left of the so-called Turkish "democracy."

Turkey's Constitutional Court is currently in the process of deciding whether to close the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), which has 56 Members of Parliament, many of whom are already incarcerated. Pictured: Mithat Sancar, HDP co-leader, speaks at a party meeting at the Grand National Assembly in Ankara on January 10, 2023. (Photo by Adem Altan/AFP via Getty Images)

Turkey's Constitutional Court is currently in the process of deciding whether to close the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), which has 56 Members of Parliament, many of whom are already incarcerated.

If closed, the HDP will be the eighth pro-Kurdish party in Turkey to be removed from the legislative process.

Former U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton strongly recommends that if President Recep Tayyip Erdogan or his AKP Party corrupt the electoral process in the upcoming elections -- on the heels of other malign actions -- Turkey should be removed from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), based on "the international law principle of rebus sic stantibus – 'as things now stand'... Mr. Erdogan hasn't been behaving like an ally."

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