Latest Analysis and Commentary

Arabs: "Palestinians Repeat the Same Mistakes"

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

  • At this pace, Palestinians might wake up one morning to discover that they no longer have any friends in the Arab countries at all.

  • "The Palestinians failed to establish their state. They failed because they did not want to establish a state. Here I mean the political leaders, some of whom still insist on repeating revolutionary phrases. The establishment of a Palestinian state will be a burden on the Palestinian leaders and will prevent them from practicing corruption.... The Palestinian Authority is no longer suitable to represent the Palestinian people." — Iraqi writer Farouk Youssef, Al-Arabiya, September 19, 2020.

  • "Israel did not destroy Syria; Israel did not burn Libya; Israel did not displace the people of Egypt; Israel did not destroy Libya, and Israel did not tear up Lebanon. Before you Arabs blame Israel, take a look at yourselves in the mirror. The problem is in you." — UAE Islamic cleric Wassem Yousef, Twitter, September 16, 2020.

  • "Palestinian leaders failed to invest in opportunities. They failed to take strategic decisions and chose [instead] to forge an alliance with Iran." — Saudi writer Yusef al-Qabalan, Al-Riyadh, September 18, 2020.

  • The biggest losers, of course, are again the Palestinians -- who are quickly losing the sympathy of a growing number of Arabs.

Several Palestinian factions have urged the Palestinian leadership to withdraw from the Arab League to protest the refusal of the Arab countries to condemn normalization with Israel. Earlier this month, the Arab League foreign ministers refused to endorse a Palestinian draft resolution condemning the UAE for its decision to make peace with Israel. Pictured: Arab Foreign Ministers at a meeting of the Arab League in Cairo, Egypt, on March 4, 2020. (Photo by Mohamed el-Shahed/AFP via Getty Images)

The Palestinians have recalled their ambassadors to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in protest of the signing of the peace deals between the two Gulf states and Israel. The Palestinians are now threatening to withdraw their envoys from any Arab country that follows suits and establishes relations with Israel.

In addition, several Palestinian factions have urged the Palestinian leadership to withdraw from the Arab League to protest the refusal of the Arab countries to condemn normalization with Israel. Earlier this month, the Arab League foreign ministers refused to endorse a Palestinian draft resolution condemning the UAE for its decision to make peace with Israel.

"The resolutions of the Arab League are mortgaged to the Zionist American administration," the factions said in a statement. "Normalization [with Israel] is a huge betrayal of the Palestinian issue and a stab to the sacrifices and pain of the Palestinians and Arabs."

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"The Scene was Horrific": Persecution of Christians, August 2020

by Raymond Ibrahim  •  September 20, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • "If we report these cases, the offenders get away with it by apologising and saying that they did it in an unconscious way. Should a Christian do something similar, he is immediately accused of blasphemy and the local Christian community is guilty by association. They rape our women, kill our people, destroy or burn our properties.... [All] we want is for our constitution and the law to treat us as equals, with justice, and for the guilty to be put on trial." — Rev. Irfan James of Peshawar, AsiaNews.it, August 25, 2020, Pakistan.

  • "You get so disappointed when you see immigrants do that. I'm an immigrant myself. And I don't get it. Sweden has given them everything they want." — Naem Sufan, sputniknews.com, August 2020, Sweden.

  • Maira Shahbaz, a 14-year-old Christian girl, escaped from the home of Mohamad Nakash—her kidnapper, whom the Lahore High Court had recently ruled is her legitimate husband despite her objections—and fled to a police station, where she gave testimony, including on how she was being "forced into prostitution" and "filmed while by being raped," with threats that the tape would be published unless she complies with the demands of her rapist/husband and friends... — churchinneed.org; August 26, 2020, Pakistan.

In Greece, a 38-year-old migrant from Algeria attacked the Agios Minas Cathedral in Heraklion, Crete twice in less than a week. (Image source: Bernard Gagnon/Wikimedia Commons)

Rape and Forced Conversions of Christians in Pakistan

In late August, Maira Shahbaz, a 14-year-old Christian girl, escaped from the home of Mohamad Nakash—her kidnapper, whom the Lahore High Court had recently ruled is her legitimate husband despite her objections—and fled to a police station, where she gave testimony, including on how she was being "forced into prostitution" and "filmed while by being raped," with threats that the tape would be published unless she complies with the demands of her rapist/husband and friends. "They threatened to murder my whole family," the girl said. "My life was at stake in the hands of the accused and Nakash repeatedly raped me forcefully." In an interview, a friend of Maira's family described how the family is in hiding and constantly on the run, adding:

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Trump and Nobel Prize: Make Deals Not War

by Amir Taheri  •  September 20, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • At first glance, Donald Trump may actually have a claim to the Nobel Peace prize. He has brokered normalization between Israel and two of its erstwhile Arab enemies, with more expected to follow. He may have also cleared the last foyer of conflict in former Yugoslavia by mediating a settlement between Serbia and Kosovo.

  • Trump the peacemaker? The liberal elites on both sides of the Atlantic react to that phrase with a hearty "Ha! Ha! Ha!" or an angry cry of "scandal".

  • What matters, as far as the Nobel judges are concerned, is that he did it; he brought peace where there was conflict.

  • But if they do award Trump the Nobel Prize, he will be the fifth US president to gain the accolade. And if he does, he would be the most deserving of them all.

US President Donald Trump has brokered normalization between Israel and two of its erstwhile Arab enemies, with more expected to follow. He may have also cleared the last foyer of conflict in former Yugoslavia by mediating a settlement between Serbia and Kosovo. Pictured: Trump signs a document as Kosovar Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti (right) and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic (left) sign an agreement on opening economic relations, in the White House in Washington, DC, on September 4, 2020. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

Do Norwegian politicians have a sense of humor after all? Or are they being deliberately provocative by nominating President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize in the middle of the biggest campaign of character assassination faced by any Western politician in recent times?

At first glance, Trump may actually have a claim to the dynamite-maker's prize. He has brokered normalization between Israel and two of its erstwhile Arab enemies, with more expected to follow. He may have also cleared the last foyer of conflict in former Yugoslavia by mediating a settlement between Serbia and Kosovo.

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Iran's Missile Violations: Where is the International Community?

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  September 19, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • "The important point about these missiles is that they are fully equipped with homing. It means they are of the fire-and-forget type. We fire the missile and the data is on the missile itself, it has various navigation systems built in." — Iran's Navy chief, Adm. Hossein Khanzadi, Associated Press, June 8, 2020.

  • "We are open about the fact that Hezbollah's budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, come from the Islamic Republic of Iran." — Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, The New Yorker, December 13, 2016.

  • "Today, more than ever, there is fertile ground - with the grace of God - for the annihilation, the wiping out, and the collapse of the Zionist regime. In Lebanon alone, over 100,000 missiles are ready to be launched...." — Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Brigadier General Hossein Salami, to Iran's state-run IRIB TV, July 1, 2016.

  • Iran's foreign-based weapons factories give it an advantageous military capability for waging wars or striking other nations through third countries such as Syria, Lebanon, Yemen or Iraq.

  • Instead of appeasing the ruling mullahs of Iran, it is incumbent on the international community to act to stop this predatory regime -- now.

Not a word of condemnation has been issued by either the UN or the EU on the Iranian regime's acceleration of its threatening ballistic missile program. Pictured: Iranian soldiers launch a Ghader missile on September 11, 2020, during a military exercise near the Strait of Hormuz in southern Iran. (Photo by Iranian Army Office/AFP via Getty Images)

Not even a word of condemnation has been issued by either the United Nations or the European Union on the Iranian regime's latest violations and acceleration of its threatening ballistic missile program. Instead, the UN and the EU are still committed to lifting the arms embargo on Tehran and keeping global sanctions removed from the ruling mullahs.

The regime, meanwhile has been focusing on the proliferation of long-range precision-guided ballistic missiles. It recently unveiled several new missiles -- the Haj Qasem surface-to-surface ballistic missile and the Abu Mahdi long-range naval cruise missile -- as well as several reportedly high-quality jet engines.

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Why I am Suing CNN

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  September 18, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • Freedom of speech is designed to promote the marketplace of ideas. It is not a license for giant media companies to deliberately and maliciously defame citizens, even public figures.

  • So when CNN made a decision to doctor a recording so as to deceive its viewers into believing that I said exactly the opposite of what I actually said, that action was not protected by the First Amendment.

  • So I am suing them for a lot of money, not in order to enrich myself, but to deter CNN and other media from maliciously misinforming their viewers at the expense of innocent people. I intend to donate funds I receive from CNN to worthy charities, including those that defend the First Amendment.

  • Every American will benefit from a judicial decision that holds giant media accountable for turning truth on its head and for placing partisanship above the public interest.

Alan Dershowitz is suing CNN for doctoring a recording so as to deceive its viewers into believing that he said exactly the opposite of what he actually said during this year's Senate impeachment proceedings. Pictured: Dershowitz speaks in the US Senate during impeachment proceedings, on January 27, 2020. (Photo by Senate Television via Getty Images)

I love the First Amendment, I support the First Amendment, I have litigated cases defending the First Amendment. I have written and taught about the First Amendment. And I was a law clerk for the Supreme Court when it rendered its landmark 1964 decision in New York Times v. Sullivan, which "protects media even when they print false statements about public figures, as long as the media did not act with 'actual malice.'"

But I also understand the limitations of the First Amendment. Freedom of speech is designed to promote the marketplace of ideas. It is not a license for giant media companies to deliberately and maliciously defame citizens, even public figures. So when CNN made a decision to doctor a recording so as to deceive its viewers into believing that I said exactly the opposite of what I actually said, that action was not protected by the First Amendment. Here is what CNN did.

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The EU: Hizballah's Intersectional Partner

by Richard Kemp  •  September 18, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • The reality is, should the EU get its way, contrary to its claims to try and uphold the Good Friday Agreement, its demands would harm future prospects for peace and stability in Northern Ireland by undermining and destabilising the union.

  • Where does Hizballah get the weapons and explosives it is reportedly providing to the New IRA? Iran. The EU has been at the forefront of supplying funds to Iran, including cash used for its terrorist proxies across the Middle East and beyond.

  • The EU's bungling foreign policy does not proscribe Hizballah in its entirety, mulishly maintaining a fictitious separation between "political" and "military" wings, despite the terrorist group's own insistence that there is no distinction. Meanwhile Hizballah has attempted large-scale terrorist attacks in Britain, France and Germany....

  • [T]he EU falsely claims to uphold peace in Ireland while itself facilitating the greatest threat to that peace.

This week it emerged in the media that links now exist between New IRA and Hizballah. New IRA's plethora of attacks and attempted attacks go under-reported in the British media, although the group seized public attention after murdering journalist Lyra McKee in Londonderry last year. Pictured: The scene of Lyra McKee's murder on April 19, 2019 in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Intersectionality has become a cynical craze among woke activists determined to promote division and undermine the fabric of Western society. But long before these Johnny-come-lately militants launched their campaigns of disruption, cancelling all who disagree, doing their best to get dissenters fired and tearing down historic statues, other militants were putting their brand of intersectionality into action to kill, maim and destroy the targets of their own hatred.

Sinn Fein's campaign of violence against the British state and the people of Northern Ireland, fronted by the Provisional IRA, lasted 30 years until their comprehensive infiltration by British intelligence, especially the Royal Ulster Constabulary Special Branch, forced them to lay down their arms under the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

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Arabs: Israel Is Not Our Enemy

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  September 17, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • "Times change, everything has changed, except for the Palestinian mood that rejects anything and everything." — Saudi writer Amal Abdel Aziz al-Hazany, Asharq al-Awsat, September 15, 2020.

  • "Palestinian leaders are the main cause for the suffering of their people. They have achieved nothing for the Palestinians. They only care about power and achieving personal and partisan gains at the expense of the Palestinian issue." — Emirati political analyst Issa bin Arabi Albuflasah, Al Bayan, September 12, 2020.

  • "We were told that Israel's slogan was [to expand] 'From the Euphrates to the Nile.' Iran, however, does not hide its expansionist ideological trend, which it is already practicing through its militias in Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen. Turkey, on the other hand, is seeking to seize new sources of energy in Libya and has sights on Africa along the Red Sea. These developments prompted the moderate Arabs to start reconsidering previous their political positions." — Saudi writer Fahd al Degaither, Okaz, September 14, 2020.

  • "The Palestinian issue concerns the Arab peoples who want a solution, but the leaders benefit from the status quo. These leaders benefit from the problems and suffering of their people. There is no solution under corrupt leaderships." — Saudi writer Osama Yamani, Okaz, September 11, 2020.

  • Al-Shkiran also advised the Palestinians to hold their leaders accountable on two levels: "The first is political accountability: The reasons and causes of the continued rejection of all realistic deals that were offered to them since the beginning of the problem until today. Second: Opening the files of corruption. The Palestinian has the right to ask about the billions of dollars paid by the Gulf states for the Palestinian cause. All that money has disappeared." — Saudi writer and researcher Fahd al-Shkiran, Asharq Al-Awsat, September 16, 2020.

A growing number of Arabs, particularly those living in the Gulf, say they finally understand that Israel is not the enemy of the Muslims and Arabs. This change of heart manifested even before the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed peace agreements with Israel during a ceremony at the White House on September 15. Pictured from left to right: UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump at the White House on September 15, 2020. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A growing number of Arabs, particularly those living in the Gulf, say they finally understand that Israel is not the enemy of the Muslims and Arabs. This change of heart manifested even before the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed peace agreements with Israel during a ceremony at the White House on September 15. It is the direct result of the expansionist ambitions of Iran and Turkey in the Arab world and the feeling among Arabs that those two states pose the real threat to their national security.

Until recently, it was unimaginable to see Arabs openly admitting that they had been mistaken in their belief that Israel was the enemy of the Muslims and Arabs. Now, Arabs seem to have no problem saying that they were wrong all these years about their attitude toward Israel. These Arabs now are saying out loud that Iran and its proxies in the Arab world, and not Israel, are the real enemies of Arabs and Muslims.

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The Possible Limits of China-Russia Cooperation

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  September 17, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • China even recently claimed that Vladivostok, the most prominent city in Russia's Far East, is historically Chinese territory.

  • China seems to see Russia less as an economic partner than as a source for extraction of energy and raw materials.

  • While disapproving Russia's assaults on sovereign states, China seems to have no problem asserting its own will in and around other states, for instance, in the South and East China Seas, India, and the Galapagos Islands.

  • China is already successfully challenging Russia for influence among the post-Soviet states in Central Asia, particularly in Tajikistan.

  • Mainly, this bilateral condominium might be doomed to collapse because there is no trust in the relationship.

China and Russia's coordinated policies in foreign affairs and economic endeavors belie deep-seated fissures that might well prevent their current period of cooperation from evolving into a sustained alliance. Pictured: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping on April 26, 2019 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Kenzaburo Fukuhara - Pool/Getty Images)

China and Russia's coordinated policies in foreign affairs and economic endeavors belie deep-seated fissures that might well prevent their current period of cooperation from evolving into a sustained alliance.

Despite China's planned participation in Russia's annual Caucus 2020 exercises on September 21-26, Sino-Russian history is so replete with war, unequal treaties and racism, there seems little probability that their present military cooperation will succeed in developing into a military alliance.

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Self-censorship in the US

by Judith Bergman  •  September 16, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • The US nominally enshrines the most far-reaching freedom of speech, thanks to the First Amendment of the Constitution. Yet the average number of Americans who self-censor is slowly beginning to approximate that of Germany, where... "Nearly two-thirds of citizens are convinced that 'today one has to be very careful on which topics one expresses oneself', because there are many unwritten laws about what opinions are acceptable and admissible".

  • It is, however, not surprising. American campuses have steered a "leftist" course for decades. The tilt has had familiar consequences: the proliferation on campus of "safe spaces", trigger warnings, de-platforming of conservative voices and a "cancel culture" aimed at professors and students who do not conform to an on-campus political orthodoxy that has become increasingly totalitarian. Most recently, the dean of University of Massachusetts Lowell's School of Nursing, Leslie Neal-Boylan, was fired by the school after writing "Black lives matter, but also everyone's life matters" in an email to students and faculty.

  • When citizens stop voicing their concerns in public about current events, policies and ideas out of fear that they will lose their livelihoods and social standing, it is -- or should be -- a huge problem in a democracy.

  • A democratic society of fearful citizens who dare not speak about what is on their minds -- often important issues of their time -- is doomed to succumb to the will of those who bully the hardest and shout the loudest.

A democratic society of fearful citizens who dare not speak about what is on their minds -- often important issues of their time -- is doomed to succumb to the will of those who bully the hardest and shout the loudest. (Image source: iStock)

A recent survey of 2,000 Americans by Cato Institute/YouGov found that 62% of Americans say "the political climate these days prevents them from saying things they believe because others might find them offensive". This is up from 2017, when 58% agreed with this statement. "Majorities of Democrats (52%), independents (59%) and Republicans (77%) all agree they have political opinions they are afraid to share".

People who defined themselves as staunch liberals self-censored considerably less:

"Strong liberals stand out, however, as the only political group who feel they can express themselves. Nearly 6 in 10 (58%) of staunch liberals feel they can say what they believe".

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The New Middle East

by Sara Al Nuaimi  •  September 16, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • In 2015, the UAE passed a law against religious discrimination by creating ministries of tolerance, happiness and youth to develop an enlightened community -- everyone included.

  • A year later, schools in the UAE started teaching students peace and tolerance.

  • When the UAE prioritized national belonging over extremist obsessions, the decision immediately led to making peace with Israel.

  • My one hope as an Emirati is that we become a light for the world. It could make the entire region -- the lives of everyone, including the Palestinians -- so unimaginably great.

When the United Arab Emirates prioritized national belonging over extremist obsessions, the decision immediately led to making peace with Israel. Pictured from left to right: UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani and US President Donald Trump at the White House for the signing of the Abraham Accords on September 15, 2020. (Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have taken a serious step in moving out of the draconian shackles of mindless and mumbling caliphate fantasies that some extremists mention as wiping out the Jewish people in a final conquest for the globe.

The UAE's groundwork to weed out this hogwash began five years ago. In 2015, the UAE passed a law against religious discrimination by creating ministries of tolerance, happiness and youth to develop an enlightened community -- everyone included. A year later, schools in the UAE started teaching students peace and tolerance.

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Black Appraisals of Black Lives Matter – Part I

by Soeren Kern  •  September 15, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • "While it might not be popular to say in the wake of the recent social disorder, the true plight of black people has little or nothing to do with the police or what has been called 'systemic racism.' Instead, we need to look at the responsibilities of those running our big cities." — Walter E. Williams, professor of economics at George Mason University.

  • "Democratic-controlled cities have the poorest-quality public education despite their large, and growing, school budgets. Consider Baltimore.... It's the same story of academic disaster in other cities run by Democrats. — Walter E. Williams.

  • "Our families have fallen to pieces: 75% of all black children are born out of wedlock, without a father. I don't care how many social programs you have. You're not going to overcome that. That's where we, as black Americans, have to begin to take our fate back into our own hands and move it — stop crying racism." — Shelby Steele, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution.

  • "But there also comes a time when he must stop thinking of himself as a victim by acknowledging that... his fate is always in his own hands. One of the more pernicious corruptions of post-1960s liberalism is that it undermined the spirit of self-help and individual responsibility in precisely the people it sought to uplift." — Shelby Steele.

  • "Please don't allow yourself to be manipulated to believe that you're a victim and that somebody else is causing all of your problems. The person who has the most to do with what happens to you is you. It doesn't mean there aren't any problems in life, but your success or failure in life depends on how you react to those problems." — Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon, currently the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

  • "The policies you [the Democratic Party] have implemented have been the figurative knees on the necks of my people for centuries. And it is because of you and your failed leadership that many of us still can't breathe today." — Damani Bryant Felder, political commentator.

"'Black lives matter' was a noble phrase when it signified a demand for justice for blacks. Tragically, it since has been perverted and what once had been a movement of peaceful protest has descended into wanton violence and lawlessness that have taken their greatest toll among the most vulnerable low-income communities." — Robert L. Woodson, veteran civil rights activist. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

A previous series revealed the anti-American agenda of Black Lives Matter, which, under the guise of fighting racism, seeks to transform the United States into a communist dystopia. BLM's leaders openly admit that they want to abolish the nuclear family, police, prisons and capitalism. BLM leaders have threatened to "burn down the system" if their demands are not met.

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How Hamas Plans to Destroy Lebanon

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  September 14, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • During Haniyeh's tour of Ain al-Hilweh, he said that the Iran-backed Hamas in the Gaza Strip "possesses missiles to strike Tel Aviv and beyond Tel Aviv."

  • Arab political analysts.... also believe that Iran is preparing to use its proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah, to target Arab countries that establish relations with Israel, such as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

  • "Who is this Ismail Haniyeh, who comes to Lebanon and flexes his muscles in the [refugee] camps while surrounded by armed men.... No one in our government has asked what is he doing here and who let him into our country." — Rita Mokbel, a Lebanese woman, Twitter, September 7, 2020.

  • "Lebanon is an independent state and not a theater for Iran and the Palestinians." — Lebanese General Asraf Rifi, Twitter, September 7, 2020.

  • "Syria paid a heavy price for defending Hamas and the resistance movements, and they returned the favor by plotting against Syria and participating in its destruction. This is what the school of the Muslim Brotherhood and [Turkish President] Erdogan teaches." — Wiam Wahhab, former Lebanese minister of environment, Twitter, September 7, 2020.

The visit of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh to Lebanon has sparked outrage in the country. Haniyeh held a series of meetings with Lebanese and Palestinian officials. He also met with Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorist group. Pictured: Haniyeh (wearing a blue shirt), surrounded by armed militiamen, is paraded through Lebanon's Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp on September 6, 2020. (Photo by Mahmoud Zayyat/AFP via Getty Images)

The visit of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh to Lebanon has sparked outrage in the country. Many Lebanese citizens and officials have expressed the fear that his presence in their country could trigger another war with Israel. Their fear does not seem unjustified. The Lebanese are aware of the disasters Hamas has brought on its people in the Gaza Strip by firing rockets into Israel. The Lebanese are telling Hamas: "If you want to launch terror attacks against Israel, please do not use our country. We are not prepared to pay the price."

The Lebanese have also objected to the return to Lebanon of armed Palestinian groups. The Lebanese appear afraid that Hamas is operating on instructions from Iran to turn Lebanon into a launching pad for firing missiles at Israel. The Lebanese remember the days in the 70s and 80s when the PLO and other Palestinian armed factions controlled Lebanon and used its territories to launch terror attacks against Israel, its neighbor to the south.

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Iran's Offer of Nuclear Cooperation is a Sham

by Con Coughlin  •  September 14, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • This effort [lifting the arms embargo on Iran] has prompted Iran to launch a diplomatic offensive to have the arms embargo lifted, a move that would allow Tehran to increase its ability to supply arms to terror groups such as Hizbollah and Hamas, as well as the Houthi rebels in Yemen fighting US-backed coalition forces

  • "Iran is desperate to get the arms embargo lifted at the UN, and so has decided to cooperate with the IAEA to improve relations with the UN," a senior Western diplomat who is familiar with the negotiations told me. "Tehran believes that if it cooperates with the UN, there is a greater possibility that the arms embargo will not be renewed."

  • As a senior Gulf official... told me earlier this week, lifting the ban would simply allow Iran to continue arming terror groups in the Middle East. "If the ban is lifted, then we are going to see a lot more bloodshed in the region," the official warned.

Pictured: A uranium conversion facility just outside the city of Isfahan, Iran, used as part of the regime's uranium enrichment process. (Photo by Getty Images)

Iran's belated offer to allow United Nations nuclear inspectors to visit two controversial nuclear sites should be seen as nothing more than a stunt to get the international ban on arms sales to Tehran lifted.

Washington is fighting attempts by the UN Security Council to lift the arms embargo on Iran, a document that dates back to 2007, and comes up for renewal next month.

This effort has prompted Iran to launch a diplomatic offensive to have the arms embargo lifted, a move that would allow Tehran to increase its ability to supply arms to terror groups such as Hizbollah and Hamas, as well as the Houthi rebels in Yemen fighting US-backed coalition forces.

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Emergencies Make Awful Law: Why are Casinos Treated More Favorably than Churches During a Pandemic?

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  September 13, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • [T]he government may not discriminate against religion in general or any particular religion in particular. It need not exempt religious institutions or practitioners from rules that are generally applicable to similarly situated institutions or citizens, but it may not impose especially onerous rules on religion that limit its free exercise.

  • Under the first amendment, churches hold a higher protected status than comparably sized and ventilated businesses. So, as an initial matter, it would appear unconstitutional for a state to prohibit church assemblies of more than 50 congregants, regardless of the size of the building, while allowing a casino to host up to half their usual number of gamblers, which in some cases can exceed 1,000. But Chief Justice Roberts introduced a judicial consideration that went beyond that initial consideration, namely the right of governors not to be second-guessed by judges during a pandemic emergency."

  • "Where those broad limits are not exceeded, they should not be subject to second-guessing by an 'unelected federal judiciary,' which lacks the background, competence, and expertise to assess public health and is not accountable to the people. See Garcia v. San Antonino Metropolitan Transit Authority, 409 U.S. 528, 545 (1985)." — US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

  • "But Covid-19 is not a blank check for a state to discriminate against religious people, religions organization religious services. There are certain constitutional red lines that a state may not cross even in a crisis. Those restrictions include racial discrimination, religious discrimination, and content-based suppression of speech." — US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

No state should be allowed to impose more onerous crowd restrictions on churches than on casinos. Under the first amendment, churches hold a higher protected status than comparably sized and ventilated businesses. Pictured: Rev. Brian X. Needles prepares for Easter Sunday Mass at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, empty of worshipers, on April 11, 2020 in South Orange, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

If hard cases make bad law, emergencies make even worse law. Our case books are littered with awful judicial decisions authorizing presidents and governors to violate core constitutional rights in the name of coping with crises. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's decision to intern more than 100,000 Americans of Japanese descent following the attack on Pearl Harbor was upheld by liberal justices. President Abraham Lincoln's decision to detain citizens and deny them access to the writ of habeas corpus was upheld during the Civil War. Now that that we are experiencing a pandemic crisis, if history is any guide, we can expect some bad decisions.

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The Threat of Orphan States to World Order

by Amir Taheri  •  September 13, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • The Third Reich and the USSR could not behave as normal nation-states.... Their prime interest was "exporting" their ideological brand, by war if necessary.

  • Regardless of the obvious differences of belief systems and discourse, all ideology-driven movements from Lenin and Hitler to Khomeini and Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi aim at replacing the biological human with an ideological one, ostensibly to complete the work of nature or providence.

  • Lenin seized power in a Russian state that had become an orphan with the fall of the Tsarist state. Hitler inherited the orphan state left by the failed Weimar Republic. Khomeini came to power when the Shah simply left Iran as an orphan state.

  • At first glance, the same fate may look as if it is threatening Lebanon. A state manned by discredited elites seems on the verge of disintegration, with an armed group backed by Iran poised to seize control, just as the Taliban did in Afghanistan with Pakistani backing.

In Lebanon, a state manned by discredited elites seems on the verge of disintegration, with an armed group backed by Iran poised to seize control, just as the Taliban did in Afghanistan with Pakistani backing. Pictured: Hezbollah members in Baalbek, Lebanon on November 12, 2019. (Photo by AFP via Getty Images)

Remember 9/11, the catchphrase that was seen as a wake-up call for a world lulled into sweet slumber by "The End of History"? Nearly two decades ago today, the twin terror attacks on New York and Washington propelled a new threat to world order at the top of international concerns: the threat of non-state groups seizing territory for use as a base for advancing ideological aims through terror and war.

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