Latest Analysis and Commentary

Why Western Media is Biased Against Israel

by Bassam Tawil  •  June 3, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • Many foreign journalists seem to see the conflict along the lines of "good guys (Palestinians) versus bad guys (Israel)." They wake up every morning and search for any story that reflects badly on Israel. The foreign correspondents then hire Palestinians to assist them in spreading lies about Israel.

  • What is particularly disturbing about the dismissal of Hamad is that the Associated Press knew one of its Palestinian workers was engaged in anti-Israel activities, but failed to stop him. Hamad even ignored repeated warnings from his employers against pursuing political activities.

  • If Hamad had "repeatedly" violated AP policies by engaging in anti-Israel political activities, why was he allowed to continue covering Palestinian affairs even though his anti-Israel sentiments were known to his employers and everyone else?

  • The incident also shows that international news organizations evidently have no problem hiring anti-Israel activists as reporters and cameramen.

  • The AP evidently knew that Hamad was engaged in political activities. It nevertheless chose to turn a blind eye because Hamad was directing his hate only against Israel. As far as the AP is concerned, the moment Hamad spoke out against the brutality and repressive measures of the Palestinian Authority security forces, he crossed a red line. That is when he was informed of the decision to terminate his employment.

  • The problem is, there are many more Palestinian journalists like Hamad working for the international media in the Middle East. These journalists see themselves as soldiers serving the Palestinian cause, and their as duty bashing Israel on a daily basis.

What is particularly disturbing about the dismissal of Eyad Hamad is that the Associated Press knew one of its Palestinian workers was engaged in anti-Israel activities, but failed to stop him. Hamad even ignored repeated warnings from his employers against pursuing political activities. Pictured: Hamad (center) following exposure to tear gas during a demonstration in support of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails on May 4, 2017, in Bethlehem. (Photo by Musa al Shaer/AFP via Getty Images)

When Palestinian journalist Eyad Hamad criticized Israel, his employers at the Associated Press (AP) summoned him for a hearing, which ended only with a warning.

When Hamad criticized the Palestinian Authority, however, he received a letter from the AP informing him that "your employment has been terminated."

The dismissal of the 63-year-old Hamad from the AP -- an act that enraged Palestinian journalists as well as human rights and media groups in the West Bank and Gaza Strip -- did not surprise those familiar with the way the foreign media has been covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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Erdoğan's Libya Campaign: Another Neo-Ottoman Design

by Burak Bekdil  •  June 3, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • Erdoğan knows that every political adventure outside Turkish borders increases his popularity, especially at a time when economic hardships could prune his approval at home.

  • Further escalation may turn Libya into a second proxy for Turkey's war theater, after Syria. There, Turkish and Russian interests remain deeply conflicting. Turkey wants to overthrow President Assad and to replace his regime with Sunni jihadists; Russia wants Assad in power and is fighting Sunni jihadists.

  • Libya is fast becoming another challenge for a man who loves military challenges -- but tends to lose most of them.

  • A military confrontation between Turkey and Russia in Libya would be too risky a venture even for a ruler who does not want to miss a single opportunity to revive his country's once glorious imperial past -- especially at a time when Russian President Vladimir Putin apparently wishes to seal his country's imperial dream of having a permanent presence in the Mediterranean -- in Syria and Libya.

  • For Turkey, the Libya campaign is part of a sectarian (pro-Sunni) war. Erdoğan wants a loyal, Turkey-friendly regime in Libya, one that could be useful for restoring to power in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood, another Islamist Erdoğan ally, like Hamas

  • Russia's Putin also appears keen to have his second permanent military presence in the Mediterranean after Syria.

As hostilities between the two sides in the Libyan civil war escalated recently in favor of Erdoğan's man in Tripoli, Turkey's proxy involvement has become less covert. Pictured: Forces loyal to Libya's Government of National Accord parade a Russian-made Pantsir air defense system in Tripoli on May 20, 2020, after it was knocked out by armed Turkish drones and captured at al-Watiya airbase. (Photo by Mahmud Turkia/AFP via Getty Images)

Ironically, even during the Ottoman era (from early 16th century to 1912) Libya was divided into two parts: one linked to Tripoli in the west and the other linked to Benghazi in the east. Even then, the country largely resembled today's division between an internationally-recognized government in Tripoli and its adversaries in the east.

More than a century after the last Ottoman soldiers left Libya following an Italian invasion in 1911, Turkey's neo-Ottoman leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has apparently long harbored dreams of reviving the Ottoman Empire, at least revived the Libyan war theater with Turkish soldiers fighting a proxy war in the desert.

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EU: Trade with China Trumps Freedom for Hong Kong

by Soeren Kern  •  June 2, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • The British government announced that it was considering granting citizenship to the nearly three million residents of Hong Kong. The move infuriated China, which fears a massive brain drain from Hong Kong that would jeopardize the city's role as a global financial and trading hub.

  • Germany, which takes over the six-month rotating EU presidency on July 1, has announced that it will prioritize relations with China. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is particularly determined to proceed with a major EU-China summit to be held in the German city of Leipzig in September. She is reportedly under intense pressure from German automobile manufacturers, who are concerned about maintaining their access to the Chinese market.

  • "Europe can and should respond more forcefully than it has so far.... [If Germany cancelled] its looming summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Leipzig in September 2020 unless Beijing withdraws its national security legislation.... That would send a strong signal that it will not be business as usual..." — Noah Barkin, a senior fellow in Berlin at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

  • "German Chancellor Merkel does not seem to fully appreciate how continued Communist Party rule endangers peace, security and public health, not just in China, but around the world." — Andreas Fulda, a senior fellow at the University of Nottingham's Asia Research Institute.

  • "The European Union... has the choice. Should we make a pact with an authoritarian regime or should we work to strengthen a community of free, constitutionally governed market economies with liberal societies? It is remarkable that German politics, with its love of moralizing, seems to throw its values out the window when dealing with China.... If current... policy on China continues, this will lead to a gradual decoupling from America and a step-by-step infiltration and subjugation by China. Economic dependence will only be the first step. Political influence will follow. In the end, it is quite simple. What kind of future do we want for Europe? An alliance with an imperfect democracy or with a perfect dictatorship? It should be an easy decision for us to make. It is about more than just money. It is about our freedom..." — Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer, Europe's largest publishing company.

The EU has issued a predictably weak and equivocal declaration on China's growing interference in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, the British government announced that it was considering granting citizenship to the nearly three million residents of Hong Kong. The move infuriated China, which fears a massive brain drain from Hong Kong that would jeopardize the city's role as a global financial and trading hub. Pictured: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. (Photo by No 10 Downing Street via Getty Images)

The European Union has issued a predictably weak and equivocal declaration on China's growing interference in Hong Kong. European leaders, apparently fearful of retaliation by Beijing, have signaled that economic interests will take priority over the EU's much-trumpeted founding values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

Europe's continued appeasement of China indicates that the EU will be a weak link in efforts by Western democracies to confront the leadership in Beijing.

On May 29, the foreign ministers of EU member states met by video conference to discuss a common European response to China's plans to impose a sweeping law that would ban all activities in Hong Kong that are deemed to endanger China's national security.

Pro-democracy activists and lawmakers say the law, aimed at crushing political dissent, would effectively end the autonomy the city enjoys from Beijing under the "One Country, Two Systems" arrangement.

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Turkey: Where Criticizing Islam Can Land You in Prison

by Uzay Bulut  •  June 2, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • According to the Koran and the recorded sayings (hadith) and biographies (sira) of Islam's founder, "To leave Islam, to insult Muhammad or Allah, to deny the existence of Allah, to be sarcastic about Allah's name, to deny any verse of the Koran" or to commit other acts of blasphemy are all punishable by death.

  • More alarming is that these pressures and bans come not only from governments. Many of the people in the countries mentioned above also appear enthusiastically to support strict or even deadly blasphemy and apostasy laws.

  • According to a 2013 Pew survey, overwhelming percentages of Muslims in many regions -- Southeast Asia (84%), South Asia (78%), the Middle East and North Africa (78%), and Central Asia (62%) -- favor making sharia, or Islamic law, the official law of the land. According to sharia, blasphemy and apostasy are punishable by death.

Critics of Turkey's government and Islam continue being targeted by the country's authorities. (Images source: iStock)

Critics of Turkey's government and Islam continue being targeted by the country's authorities.

On May 17, Turkish photographer Fırat Erez, a former supporter of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development (AKP) Party, was arrested in the city of Antalya after saying "Islam is immoral" on his Twitter account.

"This is not hate. It is a decision," he wrote. "Islam is immoral. His Prophet, Allah, his disciples could not protect it. Islam has not overcome the moral barrier. It cannot. You cannot find the truth by bending over five times a day. Plain, clear and painful."

Erez was detained by Antalya police for "insulting religious values" and "provoking hatred or hostility in one section of the public against another section".

Twitter has since suspended Erez's account, and those who visit his Twitter feed today only see the following notification: "Twitter suspends accounts which violate the Twitter Rules".

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China: What We Must Do, What We Must Not Do

by Gordon G. Chang  •  June 1, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • The truth is that the United States is defending more than just its position in the international system. We are defending the international system itself, the system of treaties, conventions, rules, and norms.

  • Unfortunately, Xi Jinping, the Chinese ruler, does not believe in that system. He is trying to impose China's imperial‑era notions of the world.

  • In short, Chinese rulers believed that they had the mandate of heaven over tianxia, meaning "all under heaven." Recently, his pronouncements have become unmistakable.

  • In the last few months, Xi Jinping has seen an historic opportunity because the United States has been stricken by the disease that China itself has pushed out... What must we do? First, let us talk about what we must not do. We must not save Chinese communism again. In the past, American presidents, when China has been stressed, had ridden to the rescue of the Chinese state.

  • On May 13 of last year, Beijing declared a "people's war" on the United States. This means the contest with China is existential. There is going to be one survivor. It is either going to be the Peoples' Republic of China or the United States of America, but not both.

  • What should we do? In my call for action, there are eight items. First, we need to cut off trade with China. Now, I know a lot of people think we should not do this, or this would be unfortunate. Yes, this is unfortunate, but the point is that China's communism cannot be reformed, so the only way we can protect American society and Americans is to reduce our exposure to China and our great exposure, of course, is trade... we should not be enriching a hostile state with the proceeds of commerce with the United States.

  • China's Communist Party does not have sovereign immunity.... We have the Global Magnitsky Act.

  • We need to "rip and replace" all the equipment in our telecom backbone that has been supplied by Huawei Technologies... China has been using that company's equipment to spy on others. We should have no Huawei equipment in our backbone

  • Also, we should be turfing out even more Chinese journalists. Those "journalists"... work for China's intelligence services.

  • Unfortunately, China does not believe in comparative advantage, it does not believe in being a responsible member of the international community. Unfortunately, the only thing we can do is what many people think is unthinkable, and that is to cut our ties with China.... We cut our ties until... the Communist Party no longer rules [and] the Chinese people govern themselves.... I believe the Chinese people eventually will get this right.

The truth is that the United States is defending more than just its position in the international system. We are defending the international system itself, the system of treaties, conventions, rules, and norms. Unfortunately, Xi Jinping, the Chinese ruler, does not believe in that system. He is trying to impose China's imperial‑era notions of the world. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

China has attacked America with coronavirus. At this moment, more than 100,000 Americans have been killed. We brace ourselves for the deaths to come.

Today, I'll do two things. First, I'll talk about the nature of that attack. The second thing, what we must do to protect ourselves.

First of all, China is not, as many people will tell you, just a competitor. It is an enemy. China is trying to overthrow the international system, and in that process, it is trying to make you subject to modern-day Chinese emperors.

I know this sounds as if it cannot be true, but we must listen to what Chinese leaders say. When we do that, we realize that to defend the American republic and defend our way of life, we are going to have to decouple from China.

On May 6, President Donald J. Trump said that China's attack was worse than Pearl Harbor, worse than the World Trade Center. "There's never been an attack like this," he said, and he is right.

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White House Iran Policy Is Hitting Tehran's Terror Allies Hard. Now Let Us Try for Harder.

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  June 1, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • Since President Trump was elected, and the US administration took a tougher stance towards the mullahs, Iran's oil exports dropped to approximately 200,000 barrels per day -- a number that represents a decline of more than 90%.

  • Now it is incumbent on other governments -- specifically the European Union -- to join the US in pursuing its (almost) "maximum pressure" policy against the ruling mullahs.

  • The policy may not be really "maximum" -- everyone has carefully been tip-toeing around the words "regime change" -- which, bluntly, would be a boon to (almost) everyone -- but at least until then, sanctions are helping more than nothing, and definitely more than US pallets of cash.

The Trump administration's (almost) "maximum pressure" policy against the Iranian regime is apparently forcing Tehran to rein in some of its forces in the region as well as cut funding to its allies. Pictured: President Donald Trump addresses the media from the White House on January 8, 2020, following Iranian missile attacks that targeted American soldiers in Iraq the night before. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Thanks to the re-imposition of sanctions against Tehran by the Trump administration, the Iranian regime seems to have suffered a significant loss of revenue.

The Trump administration's (almost) "maximum pressure" policy against the Iranian regime is apparently forcing Tehran to rein in some of its forces in the region as well as cut funding to its allies.

According to the latest report, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has withdrawn some of its forces from Syria, and reduced its financial assistance to Syria's regime.

The US special envoy for Syria policy and the fight against the Islamic State, James Jeffrey, recently pointed out:

"We have seen the Iranians pulling in some of their outlying activities and such in Syria because of, frankly, financial problems... the Trump administration's sanctions policies against Iran [are] having a real effect in Syria."

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"Such Things Should Not Happen": Persecution of Christians, April 2020

by Raymond Ibrahim  •  May 31, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • "What is the crime of these innocent people against Fulani herdsmen?... For how long shall we continue to beg the government and the security agencies to come to the aid of our people?" — Local resident of one of the villages that was ravaged, Morningstar News, April 9, 2020, Nigeria.

  • "The insurgents have so far mainly targeted isolated villages, killing more than 900 people... The unrest has forced hundreds of thousands of locals to flee...." — The Guardian, April 22, 2020, Mozambique.

  • On April 21, Christian convert and human rights activist Mary Mohammadi was sentenced to three months in prison and flogging [10 lashes] — above and beyond what she had already experienced — due to her criticism of the regime's violations against human rights.... During her hearing, the judge harassed her about her conversion to Christianity even though charges against her had nothing to do with religion. — The Christian Post, April 22, 2020, Iran.

  • As occurred during the height of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, "jihadist rebels" continue to confiscate Christian properties in the name of "sharia." — Al Masdar News, April 25, 2020, Syria.

On April 14, Osama El Hannouny, a man with a history of anti-Christian hate crimes, tried to burn down Sacred Heart Church in Palos Hills, Illinois. Surveillance tapes indicate that he knew the church was occupied. Firefighters quickly managed to extinguish the flames. (Image source: Mike F./Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The following are among the abuses Muslims inflicted on Christians throughout the month of April 2020:

The Slaughter of Christians

Nigeria: The first two days of April opened with machete-wielding Muslim Fulani herdsmen murdered at least 13 Christians. "[W]e woke up to bury seven people burnt to death ... from an overnight attack," one source said. Those killed "are mostly elderly Christians who were unable to escape as members of the community ran into surrounding bushes during the attack."

Then, on April 7, Muslim Fulani herdsmen slaughtered a pastor and three members of his congregation, including a 10-year-old boy. The pastor, Matthew Tagwai, who was murdered in his home, is survived by a pregnant wife and two small children.

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China is Sending Mixed Signals

by Amir Taheri  •  May 31, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • [I]t is clear that Beijing is frightened of the contagion of democracy not only from Hong Kong but also from Taiwan, which has shown that a highly prosperous and reasonably democratic "China" need not remain a pipedream.

  • Trouble is that the US does not have a coherent, strategically meaningful, policy towards China.... Imposing largely symbolic sanctions is like parking your car because you don't know where you want to go.

At last week's annual session of China's National People's Congress (pictured), President Xi Jinping reasserted his leadership with Premier Li Kepiang as his sidekick. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Is China frightening or is it frightened?

An examination of decisions made in last week's annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC), reveals that she may be both. Or to put it another way, as on occasions in the past decades of Communist rule, China could become frightening because it is frightened.

Billed as a parliament in the Western media, the NPC is a strange beast.

It is certainly meant to approve draft laws submitted by the leadership and, in theory at least, could weigh on policy debates and act as watchdog over the general state of things in the People's Republic.

However, equally certainly, it cannot be regarded as a parliament in the generally accepted sense of the term. Yet, it is not as some Sinpohobes assert, a mere rubber-stamp either. It may be a small aquarium compared to the huge ocean that is China, but it does provide an opportunity to see the fish allowed to swim in it, and to assert the size of each.

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"Victimhood Culture" UK - Except for Victims of Terrorism

by Judith Bergman  •  May 30, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • "There is currently no specially allocated government funding for victims of terror. While they can claim money.... survivors of the Manchester terror attack say that they are forced to wait years for funds to come through..." — Gabriella Swerling, The Telegraph, March 18, 2020.

  • It is paradoxical, to say the least, that in the era of "victimhood culture" -- in which a multitude of identity groups compete for the prize of most victimized -- where even subjectively perceived slights are registered by UK police as "non-criminal incidents" -- victims of terror, who have suffered severe physical and psychological life-disrupting injury as the result of actual manifested hatred, have to fight for their rights.

  • The paradox becomes especially striking when compared to the care taken by British authorities not to offend Muslim communities from where the various suicide bombers have emerged.

  • There appears to be little in the way of a similar level of concern for the trauma, alienation and isolation that terror victims experience after losing their hearing, their sight or the use of their limbs in terrorist attacks motivated by extreme hatred of which they were unfortunate enough to become victims.

The recent conviction of Hashem Abedi, for his role in the May 2017 bombing attack at the Manchester Arena, brought back into focus the plight of the survivors of terrorism and their relatives, as the victims of the Manchester bombing spoke to the press about feeling "abandoned" by British authorities. Pictured: Emergency response vehicles parked at the scene of the terrorist attack at Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017. (Photo by Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images)

In March, Hashem Abedi, the brother of Salman Abedi, who carried out the suicide bombing attack at the Manchester Arena in May 2017 was convicted for his role in the terrorist attack. Twenty-two men, women and children, aged eight to 51, were killed in the attack; 264 "were physically injured", and 670 have "reported psychological trauma as a result of these events", according to bbc.com.

The conviction brought back into focus the plight of the survivors of terrorism and their relatives, as the victims of the Manchester bombing spoke to the press about feeling "abandoned" by British authorities.

"After the bomb, the government said we would get all the help and support we need, but we've not had anything...When you're a victim of terror, you can't just be signposted to normal services. We need specialised trauma help... like soldiers and police officers," said Martin Hibbert, who was paralyzed in the Manchester Arena bombing.

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Russia's Arctic Empire

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  May 29, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • These Russian claims have not yet been adjudicated by international law courts, the United Nations, or by any bilateral or multilateral treaty.

  • Russia's blanket claims of territorial sovereignty pose a direct challenge to "Law of the Sea" conventions such as the "Freedom of Navigation" (FON) principle, championed by the U.S. and other Free World navies.

  • The aspirations of the five polar nations -- Russia, Denmark, Norway, Canada and the U.S. -- may also have to contend with the ambitions of the People's Republic of China.

  • Perhaps a prudent path for the U.S. and Free World countries to adopt in the Arctic, given Moscow's comprehensive advance and the China-Russia tandem, would be to maintain its nuclear submarine superiority while closely monitoring Russia's own Northern Fleet based in the Arctic base of Murmansk. NATO successfully carried out this mission during the Cold War.

Moscow sent a spectacular message last month to the world's other Arctic powers: Russia is determined to dominate the region. Pictured: Russia's nuclear-powered icebreaker Arktika in Saint Petersburg on December 14, 2019. (Photo by Olga Maltseva/AFP via Getty Images)

Moscow sent a spectacular message last month to the world's other Arctic powers: Russia is determined to dominate the region. Russian transport aircraft, breaking the record for the highest altitude jump ever, parachuted a group of their Spetsnaz (Special Forces) over the Arctic from a height of almost 33,000 feet (Mt. Everest is 29,000 feet). Russian paratroops then executed a military exercise operation before reassembling at the Nagurskoye base, the northernmost military facility in Russia.

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Germany: U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell's Legacy of Success

by Soeren Kern  •  May 28, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • Richard Grenell arguably has done more than any other American official, with the possible exception of U.S. President Donald J. Trump, to call out the duplicity, hypocrisy and recklessness of Germany's foreign policy establishment.

  • Closely related to the defense spending issue is Germany's increasing energy dependency on Russia.... while the United States is spending billions of dollars annually to defend Europe against growing threats from Russia, German energy policies are increasing Russia's grip over Europe.

  • Grenell's greatest achievement during his roughly two years as ambassador was his tireless pursuit of the American interest and his unwillingness to appease Germany's anti-American establishment.

  • On April 30, 2020, after years of equivocating, the German government announced a compromise measure between German lawmakers who want to take a harder line against Iran and those who do not. The ban falls far short of a complete prohibition on Hezbollah and appears aimed at providing the German government with political cover that allows Berlin to claim that it has banned the group even if it has not.

  • "With @RichardGrenell, Germany is losing one of the best US Ambassadors to our country ever. Whether it was pressure to stop NordStream2, rethink German-Iranian regime (love) affairs or increase our defense expenditure - he was always on point and acting in the best interest of the United States and Germany. THANKS SO MUCH!" — Julian Röpke, political editor of Bild, Germany's largest newspaper

Richard Grenell is stepping down from his role as U.S. ambassador to Germany. The move ends one of the most effective American ambassadorships to Berlin in recent memory. Pictured: Grenell with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on July 6, 2018 near Gransee, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Richard Grenell is stepping down from his role as U.S. ambassador to Germany. The move ends one of the most effective American ambassadorships to Berlin in recent memory.

Grenell arguably has done more than any other American official, with the possible exception of U.S. President Donald J. Trump, to call out the duplicity, hypocrisy and recklessness of Germany's foreign policy establishment.

On a wide range of geopolitical issues — from relations with China, Iran and Russia to anti-Semitism, climate change, defense spending (NATO), energy dependence (Nord Stream), globalism, Hezbollah, Huawei and mass migration — Grenell embarrassed German leaders by showing that their words and actions do not match.

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China Devours Hong Kong

by Con Coughlin  •  May 28, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • Beijing just imposed a raft of new security measures that will completely undermine the independence of Hong Kong's own legislature. The new measures will apparently be announced in a few weeks -- but one can assume that they include extradition to the mainland and imprisonment.

  • "In China they never really define what exactly is 'national security'. So the law could change according to political expediency or political necessity," Johannes Chan, a legal scholar in Hong Kong, told public broadcaster RTHK, according to The Guardian.

  • The measures will allow Beijing control over issues such as secession, foreign influence and terrorism which, in the view of pro-democracy activists, is little more than a blatant attempt by Beijing to suppress the anti-government protest movement that brought the territory to a standstill last year.

China's attempts to impose a new security law on Hong Kong is yet another attempt by the country's communist rulers to make a blatant power grab by exploiting the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured: Riot police fill a street in Hong Kong as they suppress pro-democracy protests in the Admiralty district on May 27, 2020. (Photo by Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images)

China's imposition of a new security law on Hong Kong today is yet another attempt by the country's communist rulers to make a blatant power grab by exploiting the coronavirus pandemic.

Ever since the deadly Covid-19 virus was first discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of last year, China's ruling communist party (CCP) has been busily exploiting the pandemic to further Beijing's strategic goals.

The Chinese have, for example, been particularly busy in the South China Sea where, apart from harassing less powerful neighbours such as Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines, Beijing last month unilaterally passed measures to strengthen its control over a number of disputed territories, including the Spratly and Paracel Islands, where China's People's Liberation Army has constructed a network of illegal military bases.

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Palestinians: The Home Demolitions No One Talks About

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  May 27, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • While international human rights groups and the European Union have also been condemning Israel, they are ignoring home demolitions carried out by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

  • In February, Hamas notified 50 families... that their homes would be destroyed on the pretext that they were built without a license. The families were instructed to evacuate their homes within two weeks.... Last year, Hamas demolished another house in Khan Yunis belonging to Bassam Duhan, also on the pretext that it was built without a license. Duhan, a father of eight, set up a tent in front of the demolished house. He complained that relatives of senior Hamas officials had also built homes in the same area, but no one destroyed their homes.

  • Last year, a youth group in the Gaza Strip called on the Arab League and other Arab and Islamic parties to launch an investigation into Hamas's crimes against Palestinians. Needless to say, the group has never received a reply from the Arab League or any other organization in the Arab and Islamic countries. The appeal came after Hamas militiamen used excessive force to prevent Palestinians from protesting economic hardship and Hamas corruption.

  • In the absence of an international response, Hamas continues to demolish homes in the Gaza Strip -- and other crimes against its own people -- with impunity, leaving hundreds of families without shelter.

On May 15, Hamas bulldozers demolished a partially constructed house belonging to the Sha'ath family in the city of Khan Yunis. Hamas claimed it was being built without a proper permit. According to eyewitnesses, dozens of Hamas militiamen armed with batons and electric stun-batons beat women and children and hurled abuse at other members of the Sha'ath family during the demolition. Pictured: Khan Yunis. (Image source: Dans/Wikimedia Commons)

Hamas, the Iranian-backed terrorist movement controlling the Gaza Strip, is often one of the first Palestinian groups to condemn Israel for demolishing homes of terrorists or Palestinian-owned houses built illegally in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

While international human rights groups and the European Union have also been condemning Israel, they are ignoring home demolitions carried out by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

In the past 10 years, Hamas has demolished not only houses, but also a mosque -- a move that has received almost no attention from the international media and human rights organizations or the EU.

On May 11, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem denounced as a "war crime" the demolition by the Israeli military of the house belonging to Qassam Barghouti in the village of Kubar, north of the West Bank city of Ramallah.

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Iran: US Chance for a Knockout Punch

by Peter Huessy  •  May 27, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • There are five actions the Trump administration must take: (1) extending the UN arms embargo on Iran; (2) snapping back economic sanctions on Iran (they were originally loosened as part of the JCPOA); (3) shutting down the smuggling and trafficking networks of Hezbollah in the Americas; (4) stopping the Chinese-Iranian oil and gas pipeline developments through Pakistan; and (5) interdicting if possible Iranian tankers filled with gasoline and headed for Venezuela.

  • The embargo on Iran selling or importing high-technology military equipment, especially ballistic missile technology, must also be one of the administration's highest priorities. Particularly worrisome is that Russia and China want to sell equipment to Iran that, when combined with Iran's indigenous missile capability, would greatly accelerate Tehran's ICBM development program.

  • The US administration has let it be known that it could still sanction any entity selling Iran advanced weapons, especially ballistic missile technology.

  • Iranian tankers laden with gasoline are now traveling to Venezuela. The US Navy could easily capture those tankers still at sea. There is ample precedent. Both the US and Great Britain have legally seized Iranian ships bringing missiles to terrorists in Yemen. With a similar action, the US could both deny funds for Iran's terrorist and nuclear activities and energy desperately needed by the oppressive Maduro regime in Venezuela.

Iranian tankers laden with gasoline are now traveling to Venezuela. The US Navy could easily capture those tankers still at sea. There is ample precedent. Both the US and Great Britain have legally seized Iranian ships bringing missiles to terrorists in Yemen. Pictured: The oil tanker Fortune, the first of five Iranian-flagged tankers bringing Iranian gasoline to Venezuela, docked at the El Palito refinery in Carabobo, on May 25, 2020. (Photo by AFP via Getty Images)

In 2015, the United States, France, Great Britain, Germany, Russia and China signed an agreement that was named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or the JCPOA. The agreement (which Iran serially violates) ostensibly curtailed Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons -- for a short time -- in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions against Iran.

Nothing in the deal called for Iran to: (1) stop development and deployment of ballistic missiles; (2) end the presence of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) terrorist militias in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, and Afghanistan; (3) stop its smuggling and trafficking activities in the western hemisphere, or (4) curtail a growing oil-and-gas-related economic and cooperative military partnership with China.

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Support for China Falls Dramatically in European, Indian Polls

by Lawrence Kadish  •  May 26, 2020 at 1:00 pm

Lawrence Kadish.

A soon to be released international survey finds that when the COVID-19 virus finally burns itself out its biggest victim may be the very country that launched the pandemic —China.

Bluster, bullying, and propaganda launched by China's leadership to subdue international criticism of their handling of COVID-19 is only stoking the anger among nations as diverse as the U.K., Germany and India, according to data revealed during a comprehensive poll conducted by the firm McLaughlin & Associates.

They may not embrace the White House on any given issue but when it comes to China, a large and significant number of those polled in this global COVID-19 survey would now support economic sanctions, confronting China's strategy to achieve global dominance by controlling worldwide access to technology, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, and more.

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