Latest Analysis and Commentary

France: Smoke Grass, Kill a Jew, Skip the Trial, Go Free

by Guy Millière  •  January 22, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • "In France, perpetrators of anti-Semitic attacks claim insanity to elude justice. The mental illness defense has become more prevalent when it comes to hate crimes in France. And it seems to be working." — Shirli Sitbon, Haaretz.

  • Muslim anti-Semitism has long been ignored in France.

  • "The situation is not under control." — Celine Pina, Le Figaro.

A French court recently ruled that Kobili Traoré would not stand trial for torturing and murdering Sarah Halimi, a 66-year-old Jewish woman, saying that Traoré had a "temporary abolition of discernment" from smoking marijuana. Francis Kalifat (pictured), president of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions, remarked that "an anti-Semitic murder could become the only murder excused by the courts on the basis of the use of drugs, while in all other cases, drugs are an aggravating factor." (Photo by Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images)

Paris, April 4, 2017. Sarah Halimi, a 66-year-old Jewish woman, is thrown from her third-floor balcony or window. Her body lands in the building's courtyard. Her murderer first had tortured her. Neighbors had heard screams and called the police. Nine officers came, but when they heard through the door a man shouting "Allahu Akbar", they ran downstairs to wait for reinforcements. When Kobili Traoré finally surrendered, he said, "I killed the sheitan" (Arabic for "Satan"). While torturing his victim, he said, he had recited verses from the Qur'an, and the Qur'an had "ordered him to kill a Jew". He said he had spent the previous day in a nearby mosque. He was placed in a mental institution, where he told the psychiatrist who examined him that he smoked marijuana.

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U.S.-China Trade Deal Should Not Obscure Beijing's Hegemonic Objectives

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  January 22, 2020 at 4:30 am

  • It [the deal] does not prevent China from its pursuing its aggressive designs on the South and East China Seas, where it is positioning itself to challenge the U.S.'s role as protector of the world's sea lines of communication...

  • Cambodia's concession to China includes a 99-year lease for 20% of its coastline. This arrangement provides China with the ability to keep Vietnam's granting of access to the U.S. Navy in check.

  • Of equal, if not greater, significance is China's purchase of territory overlooking the potential maritime chokepoint, the Panama Canal Zone.

  • The other [Chinese acquisition] is a 99-year lease of Australia's Port Darwin, where U.S. Marines train for six months of each year. This means that China will be able to document American military exercises and collect ship signal emissions from U.S. combatants.

  • This pattern of China's investments in some 20 ports around the globe should be of great concern to the Free World.

An important part of China's projected hegemonic plan is the establishment of a naval facility at the Strait of Bab al-Mandeb in Djibouti, a potential maritime chokepoint across from the Arabian Peninsula at the mouth of the Red Sea. Pictured: China's President Xi Jinping (right) meets with Djibouti's President Ismail Omar Guelleh on April 28, 2019 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Madoka Ikegami-Pool/Getty Images)

The recent signing of the first stage of a trade pact between the United States and China should not mask what appear to be Beijing's ultimate hegemonic ambitions.

Phase 1 of the deal, which went into effect on January 19, includes a partial reduction of current -- and cancellation of planned -- tariffs; a Chinese pledge to increase American agricultural imports; and an agreement from Beijing to address Washington's concerns about U.S. technology being transferred to China by American companies doing business there, and about intellectual property theft.

While the trade deal appears to be beneficial to U.S. interests, there are two things to consider. The first is that it is likely to be temporary. The second is that it does not prevent China from its pursuing its aggressive designs on the South and East China Seas, where it is positioning itself to challenge the U.S.'s role as protector of the world's sea lines of communication (SLOCS).

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Tibet: The Pointless Pursuit of Dialogue with China

by Jagdish N. Singh  •  January 22, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • China has persisted in doing inestimable damage to Tibetan identity, language, culture and ecology. Communist China has destroyed more than 6,000 Tibetan monasteries on the Plateau, and Beijing's destructive activities in Tibet continue unabated. Since 2009, at least 156 Tibetans have immolated themselves in protest against Chinese rule.

  • It is not only the Dalai Lama, however, who needs to push for complete Tibetan independence. All liberal democracies that uphold the value of freedom need to do so, as well.

  • The US Congress recently introduced the Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2019, which seeks to impose sanctions and a visa ban on any Chinese official who interferes in the selection of a successor to the current Dalai Lama, and which requires the establishment of an American consulate in Lhasa.

  • The next step for the US administration in its negotiations with Beijing should be to insist on total Tibetan independence.

China is seeking to gain more effective control over Tibetan society by taking over the institution of the Dalai Lama. Beijing insists that it had recognized the current Dalai and that, after the 84-year-old spiritual leader dies, it must approve his successor. Pictured: The Dalai Lama (center) on October 25, 2019. (Photo by Lobsang Wangyal/AFP via Getty Images)

Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, apparently hoping to ease the tension that has existed between Lhasa and Beijing since 1949, recently expressed interest in "explor[ing] the same channels of communication" with the Chinese government that he had established in the past. To this end, the 32nd session of the Tibetan Task Force met in Dharamshala on December 11, to "hold an in-depth discussion on the situation inside Tibet, the perceptible shifts in the global political landscape and the overall prospects for the resumption of dialogue between Dharamshala and Beijing to resolve the protracted issue of Tibet."

The Dalai Lama's approach, however, makes little sense.

After China occupied Tibet in 1949, the Dalai Lama downgraded the status of his independent country to that of autonomy within China. He did this through the 17-Point Agreement, signed on May 23, 1951 between Lhasa and Beijing. After escaping to India in 1959, he continued on the same path.

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The 'Crime' of Arabs Singing to Arabs in Israel

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  January 21, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • The Arab citizens [of Israel]... are seeking integration into Israel, and not separation.

  • The committee, like other anti-Israel groups around the world, particularly the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, are opposed to visits to Israel because they want to keep the world in the dark. The whole idea of boycotting Israel is designed to prevent the world from learning about the good things that Israel stands for and actually provides.

  • These groups are afraid that Maraka will go back to Jordan and report that he was welcomed in Israel by both Arabs and Jews, and that he was harassed by no one.

  • That is not a pretty picture for Israel-haters. These groups want the world to think that Arab citizens are being oppressed by Israel and have no rights. That, of course, is completely false. As a minority, Arabs in Israel enjoy more rights than in many of their own Arab and Muslim countries.

The Jordanian Arab singer Aziz Maraka, who performed before Arab citizens of Israel last month at the Christmas Market festival in Kafr Yasif, has been facing widespread criticism and a shaming campaign on social media for performing in Israel. Pictured: Kafr Yasif, Israel, pictured in 2006. (Image source: Tamar Hayardeni/Wikimedia Commons)

Here is a new one for the books: An Arab singer stands up to perform in front of an Arab audience, and the anti-Israel brigade goes berserk.

What has so inflamed the Israel haters this time?

The singer is Aziz Maraka, a Jordanian composer, performer, recording artist, and producer. The audience are Arab citizens of Israel from the town of Kafr Yasif in the Northern District of Israel.

Maraka, who was invited last month to entertain Arab citizens of Israel during the annual Christmas Market festival in Kafr Yasif, has been facing widespread criticism and a shaming campaign on social media for agreeing to perform in Israel.

Never mind that Maraka, an Arab, was invited by Arabs to a Christmas event in an Arab town. Never mind that Maraka was not invited by any Israeli private or public institution. Never mind that Maraka did not perform before a Jewish audience.

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Austrian Coalition Agreement: The "Road to Serfdom"

by Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff  •  January 21, 2020 at 4:30 am

  • Most of what the People's Party and the Greens grandly announce in their pact paves the road to an illiberal democracy, even a totalitarian country, by introducing a dictatorship of political correctness.

  • "[There is a] major restriction, if not ultimately, the abolition of the most important fundamental and human right, freedom of expression. Freedom of expression is the central basis and prerequisite for any democracy based on the rule of law. This is exactly why Turkey or Russia are not democracies -- there are elections there, but people are constantly being locked up for [their] opinions." — Andreas Unterberger, Austria's most widely read political blogger, January 3, 2020.

  • Now, a number of institutions, funded by taxpayer money, will be established to monitor those people whose opinions are no longer acceptable.... the measures introduced in the coalition agreement which target only "right-wing extremism or extremists" will lead to a new wave of turning people in that is reminiscent of a very dark era in Austrian history.

  • "This is the first time since 1945 that the fight against thoughts has become official government policy in Austria." — Andreas Unterberger.

Most of what the Austrian People's Party and the Greens Party grandly announced in their recent coalition agreement paves the road to an illiberal democracy, even a totalitarian country, by introducing a dictatorship of political correctness. Pictured: Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (right) and Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler of the Greens Party during a session of the parliament on January 10, 2020 in Vienna. (Photo by Herbert Neubauer/APA/AFP via Getty Images)

While most of the world's attention was focused on the death of a terrorist leader, Iran's Qasem Soleimani, and the ensuing missile retaliation in the Middle East, a small country in the heart of Europe was once again ruled by an elected coalition government. Following snap elections in late September 2019, the Austrian population exhibited great patience until the start of a new decade, when, on January 2, the Austrian People's Party and the Greens proclaimed, to paraphrase the Vatican: "Habemus gubernationem!" (We have a government!)

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The Hidden Cost of Cannabis...

January 21, 2020 at 4:00 am

As legalized marijuana becomes epidemic across the country, Gatestone Institute will be posing serious questions throughout the coming year regarding its potential impact on road and occupational safety; its effect on children and our country's overall health, the role of states to protect society from its potential abuse and what lessons can be applied from the tragedy of driving "under the influence".

What's Next for the Iran Nuclear Deal?

by Soeren Kern  •  January 20, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • "It's unlikely that the parties will be able to reach a serious resolution, and the EU knows it...." — Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner, January 17, 2020.

  • "Trump has distinguished himself from his predecessor. The world's most famous dealmaker appears not to be angling for a deal, and for good reason — there's no deal to be had because there's nothing left to negotiate. [Former U.S. President Barack] Obama set it up that way." — Lee Smith, Tablet Magazine, January 13, 2020.

  • "The JCPOA guaranteed that the Iranians would all but have a bomb within 10 years — or by the end of the second term of Obama's successor.... The point of the deal was not to stop Iran from ever building a bomb but to prevent the Iranians from doing so until Obama left office." — Lee Smith, Tablet Magazine, January 13, 2020.

  • "The nuclear deal with Iran is over — it failed. You cannot and must not continue to negotiate with the Islamic regime, you cannot trust it. Such talks are useless. Governments should stop defending the regime through such talks, keeping it alive." — Mina Ahadi, Chairwoman of the Central Council of Ex-Muslims in Germany, Bild, January 14, 2020.

In what would appear to signal a rupture of European unity regarding efforts to preserve the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA), British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he is open to replacing the existing deal with a new agreement negotiated by U.S. President Donald J. Trump. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)

Britain, France and Germany, the three European signatories of the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), have activated the agreement's dispute mechanism in an effort to force Tehran into compliance with its commitment to curb its nuclear program.

The three European countries — also known as the E3 — triggered the so-called Dispute Resolution Mechanism (DRM) on January 14, a week after Iranian authorities announced that they would no longer be bound by any of the agreement's restrictions in terms of the numbers or type of centrifuges that they can operate or the level of uranium enrichment that they can pursue.

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Christian Couple Kidnapped in Turkey

by Uzay Bulut  •  January 20, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • Since January 11, an elderly Assyrian Christian couple, Hurmuz Diril (71) and his wife Şimoni (65), have been missing from the Assyrian village of Mehr, Kovankaya in the province of Şırnak, in Turkey's southeast.

  • If the kidnapping of the Diril couple were to terrorize the remaining Assyrian community in Turkey into fleeing the country, it would mark the complete annihilation of yet another native community in the region. Such a tragedy should not be allowed to happen.

  • Western governments should help to find this elderly couple and see to it that those responsible are held to account.

Since January 11, an elderly Assyrian Christian couple, Hurmuz Diril (71) and his wife Şimoni (65), have been missing from the Assyrian village of Mehr, Kovankaya in the province of Sirnak, in Turkey's southeast. A neighbor told their family that "they had been kidnapped by armed men." (Image source: iStock)

Since January 11, an elderly Assyrian Christian couple, Hurmuz Diril (71) and his wife Şimoni (65), have been missing from the Assyrian village of Mehr, Kovankaya in the province of Sirnak, in Turkey's southeast. In wintry, sub-zero conditions, their children, followed by military special units, have been searching for them.

"We found out that my parents were missing when I and my relatives... went to our village on January 12. My father's uncle last saw them in the morning of January 11.... And my brother last spoke to them on January 7," the couple's son, Father Adday Remzi Diril told the newspaper Cumhuriyet.

Father Diril is an Assyrian-Chaldean priest in Istanbul and well known for his life of service to more than 7,000 Iraqi Christian refugees displaced throughout Turkey.

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Iranian Women Defy the Mullahs; Western Feminists Nowhere in Sight

by Giulio Meotti  •  January 19, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • Before 1979, Iranian women had freedom. They want it back.

  • If Iranian feminists who refuse to wear the hijab are brave, their Western counterparts, who wear pink hats, have wretchedly abandoned them.

  • Why is Iranian barbarism so easily condoned in the West?

  • Thirty years ago, the Berlin Wall was torn down by ordinary citizens who wanted to reclaim their freedom of movement. Today, the wall of the Iranian regime could be torn down by these ordinary women who want to reclaim the freedom to wear what they like. They are bravely refusing to walk on flags of Israel and the U.S. -- and enjoying the wind in their hair again.

Today, courageous Iranian women are leading the uprising against the Iranian regime. They remind one the era before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, when the veil was not mandatory. They know the price: many who have taken part in anti-regime protests have been raped and tortured in prison. Pictured: Veiled women appear in a propaganda show on Iranian state television, on July 12, 2014. (Photo by Behrouz Mehri/AFP via Getty Images)

In October 1979, in a rare interview with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the late Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci charged that the veil was symbolic of the segregation into which the Islamic revolution women had cast women. "Our customs," Khomeini answered, "are none of your business. If you do not like Islamic dress, you're not obliged to wear it because Islamic dress is for good and proper young women."

"That's very kind of you," Fallaci replied. "And since you said so, I'm going to take off this stupid, medieval rag right now." Fallaci removed her veil and left the room without saying another word. Iranian women, emulating Fallaci, are now leading protests against the regime.

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We "Have to Kill Christians": Persecution of Christians, October 2019

by Raymond Ibrahim  •  January 19, 2020 at 4:30 am

  • In another incident, Fulani herdsmen intentionally maimed Grace... , a Christian woman, by cutting her hand off. She was alone on her farmstead when the terrorists invaded the village. According to a source, "her attackers told her to place her hand on a log of wood before cutting it off." — Punch; October 16, 2019; Nigeria.

  • "Saudi citizens who convert to Christianity face risk of execution by the state for apostasy if their conversion becomes known." — Barnabas Fund, October 14, 2019; Saudi Arabia.

  • "If the West strikes against Muslims anywhere in the world, enraged fundamentalists in Pakistan often attack the churches.... Muslims believe that converting one person to Islam earns them eternal life. If an initial effort fails, people turn to kidnapping..." — Aid to the Church in Need; October 4, 2019; Pakistan.

On October 13, 2019, a fire "completely destroyed" St. George Church in Cairo, Egypt, which was considered "one of the greatest and oldest churches belonging to the Coptic Orthodox Church." (Image source: Diego Delso/Wikimedia Commons)

The Slaughter of Christians

Uganda: A Muslim mob set fire to the home of former Muslim, Ali Nakabale, 36, for converting to Christianity. Four of his family members—including his two children, a six-year-old son and a nine-year-old daughter—were burned to death in the blaze. His wife, apparently enraged to learn that Ali had become a Christian, reportedly prompted the arson attack. "I had just visited my aunt only to receive sad news of the burning of our house," Nakabale said. "Upon arriving home, I found the house destroyed by fire that burned my four family members, including my two children." His mother and stepfather were also killed in the blaze. "On reaching the mortuary, I found their bodies burned beyond recognition."

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Iran: Why the Old Recipe Does Not Work

by Amir Taheri  •  January 19, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • The latest protests, however, are clearly focused on a demand for regime change, even by some former "reform-seekers". All this means that the regime's classical recipe for survival isn't working as before.

  • For the first time, more and more Iranians are beginning to contemplate regime change not as merely a desirable slogan but as a practical strategy to lead the nation out of the impasse created by Khomeinism.

The latest protests in Iran are clearly focused on a demand for regime change, even by some former "reform-seekers". All this means that the regime's classical recipe for survival isn't working as before. Pictured: Riot police stand face off against anti-regime protesters in front of Amir Kabir University in Tehran, Iran on January 11, 2020. (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

No matter what gloss the ruling clerics might try to put on current events in Iran, one point is clear: their Islamic Republic is in trouble. Deep trouble.

This is, of course, not the first time that the system hastily put together by a bunch of mullahs and their leftist allies hits a bump on its road to nowhere. Even in its first year the Islamic Republic faced huge protest movements in Tehran and other major cities and had to use force to crush rebellions by Iranian-Kurdish and Turcoman communities.

According to best estimates, to remain in place the Islamic Republic has executed more than 15,000 people and driven more than 8 million Iranians into exile. And all that not to mention the eight-year war that the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini provoked with Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Despite all that the regime managed to survive, thanks to a number of factors.

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Why Laws Against Hate Speech Are Dangerous

by Fjordman  •  January 18, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • There is a tendency, to censor certain viewpoints because they might "offend" others. The problem is, it is not the inoffensive things that need protecting; it is only the offensive things that do.... Freedom of speech exists precisely to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority.

  • "[T]he freedom of Speech may be taken away, and, dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the Slaughter." — US President George Washington, 1783.

  • How come it is all right to publish the original source, prescribing murder, but that it is "hate speech" to point out that quote?

  • "Sometimes, when one points out these rules, people will respond: 'Well, the Bible says such-and-such.' The point is not that these things are written in Islamic scripture, but that people still live by them." — Bruce Bawer, February 8, 2018.

  • Restrictions against "hate speech" often do not really ban hate speech; instead they may actually be protecting certain forms of hate speech against legitimate inquiry.

"For if Men are to be precluded from offering their Sentiments on a matter, which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences... reason is of no use to us; the freedom of Speech may be taken away, and, dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the Slaughter." — US President George Washington, 1783. (Original Artwork: Engraving by Nathaniel Currier, circa 1780. Photo by MPI/Getty Images)

In November 2019, Germans celebrated the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany 30 years earlier. That same month, Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a speech to the German federal parliament (Bundestag), advocated more restrictions on free speech for all Germans. She warned that free speech has limits:

"Those limits begin where hatred is spread. They begin where the dignity of other people is violated. This house will and must oppose extreme speech. Otherwise, our society will no longer be the free society that it was."

Merkel received great applause.

Critics, however, would claim that curtailing freedom in order to protect freedom sounds a bit Orwellian. One of the first acts of any tyrant or repressive regime is usually to abolish freedom of speech. Merkel should know this: she lived under a repressive regime -- in the communist dictatorship of East Germany, where she studied at Karl Marx University.

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Trump Had Right to Withhold Ukraine Funds: GAO is Wrong

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  January 17, 2020 at 7:00 pm

  • The Constitution allocates to the president sole authority over foreign policy (short of declaring war or signing a treaty). It does not permit Congress to substitute its foreign policy preferences for those of the president.

  • To the extent that the statute at issue constrains the power of the president to conduct foreign policy, it is unconstitutional.

  • Even if the GAO were correct in its legal conclusion — which it is not — the alleged violation would be neither a crime nor an impeachable offense. It would be a civil violation subject to a civil remedy, as were the numerous violations alleged by the GAO with regard to other presidents.

  • If Congress and its GAO truly believe that President Trump violated the law, let them go to court and seek the civil remedy provided by the law.

The Constitution allocates to the president sole authority over foreign policy... It does not permit Congress to substitute its foreign policy preferences for those of the president. (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Wikipedia Commons)

U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has gotten the constitutional law exactly backwards. It said that the "faithful execution of the law" — the Impoundment Control Act—"does not permit the president to substitute his own policy priorities for those congress has enacted into law ." Yes, it does — when it comes to foreign policy. The Constitution allocates to the president sole authority over foreign policy (short of declaring war or signing a treaty). It does not permit Congress to substitute its foreign policy preferences for those of the president.

To the extent that the statute at issue constrains the power of the president to conduct foreign policy, it is unconstitutional.

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Is the Sahel Region Becoming a New "Islamic State"?
The US should not pull out of the Sahel

by Alain Destexhe  •  January 17, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • Even if violent attacks are now mostly concentrated around the border of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, the unstable area subject to terrorism covers a huge area -- equivalent to half of Europe or the United States -- and is spread over five countries.... Because it involves such a huge territory, and because Europeans simply do not have the air support and intelligence capabilities of the United States, American support in the fight against terrorism in the Sahel is critical.

  • US President Donald J. Trump would understandably like the Europeans to do more to fight the Islamic State in the Middle East and Africa. He is right. Europe is more directly concerned by the destabilization of these regions than the United States. The continent is still dependent on the Persian Gulf for its energy supply, and a destabilization of the Sahel countries would lead to vast new migratory pressures on Europe. Most European Union countries, however, starting with Germany, refuse to draw conclusions about the consequences of the situation and increase their military spending and involvement in operations abroad.

  • In the short term, an American withdrawal would have disastrous consequences. US air support is absolutely crucial in the fight against terrorism.... The ideal would be for these five African countries to be able to fend for themselves in the fight against terrorism with Western material and logistical support, but without deploying troops from outside the African continent. I am a fervent advocate of letting Africa solve its problems as much as possible within an African framework, but it must be acknowledged that in several conflicts, this is still not realistic and possible.

On January 13, French President Emmanuel Macron convened a summit of the G5 Sahel, a group of five Sahelian countries (Chad, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali and Mauritania) that are affected by Islamist terrorism. Pictured: Macron and Sahelian leaders at the G5 Sahel summit. (Photo by Guillaume Horcajuelo/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

On January 13, French President Emmanuel Macron convened a summit of the G5 Sahel, a group of five Sahelian countries (Chad, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali and Mauritania) that are affected by Islamist terrorism. The location of the summit, the small city of Pau in the south of France, was not chosen at random: it hosts the base of France's 5th Combat Helicopter Regiment. Seven of the thirteen French soldiers who died in a November 25, 2019 helicopter accident in Mali belonged to this unit. Since 2013, France has lost 44 soldiers in the Sahel.

According to the Africa Center for Strategic Studies:

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The Palestinians and Europe's Secret Agenda

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  January 16, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • The foreign media and human rights organizations seem quite uninterested in Palestinians who are arrested or tortured to death by PA security forces. After all, they have not been arrested by Israel for security-related offences.

  • The European Union is said to be pressuring the Palestinians to hold long overdue presidential and parliamentary elections. It is not clear, however, how the Palestinians would hold new elections at a time when the PA and Hamas are busy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip locking up their political opponents.

  • The "political arrests" are yet another indication of human rights violations perpetrated by Palestinian leaders against their own people. Inexplicably, though, the EU appears unfazed by them. Instead of pressuring the PA and Hamas to hold elections -- that in any case neither side seeks, as it would almost certainly hand a further victory to the terrorist group Hamas -- it would be better for the EU to encourage Palestinian leaders, as a first step towards holding free elections, at least to cease and desist making political arrests.

  • Failing to hold Palestinian leaders accountable for their human rights violations casts serious doubt on the EU's desire to hold new elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and their deeper, seemingly malign desires for the region as a whole.

The European Union is said to be pressuring the Palestinians to hold long overdue presidential and parliamentary elections. It is not clear, however, how the Palestinians would hold new elections at a time when the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas are busy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip locking up their political opponents. Pictured: PA President Mahmoud Abbas votes in the last PA legislative election, on January 25, 2006. (Photo by Pedro Ugarte/AFP via Getty Images)

For many years, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and other Palestinian parties have been reporting on a daily basis about Palestinians who are arrested by the Israeli authorities in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. These Palestinians are arrested on suspicion of involvement in anti-Israel security offences. There is nothing unusual about these arrests, which have been taking place for decades and are even publicly announced by the Israeli authorities.

While Israel apprehends Palestinians suspected of involvement in various anti-Israel activities, including terrorism, many other Palestinians are being arrested on almost a daily basis by the PA security forces in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. These arrests, however, are infrequently publicized by the PA and Hamas. Palestinians learn about the arrests by the PA and Hamas from social media postings or non-Palestinian news websites.

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