Latest Analysis and Commentary

The Canary in the French Mine

by Amir Taheri  •  December 16, 2018 at 4:00 am

  • My own unorthodox, and certainly unscientific, diagnosis is that the French, like most other people in rich countries, are simply bored, with a lot of time on their hands and little exciting to do.

  • Another way is to see the "yellow vests" as the canary in the coal mine. They are telling us that something is wrong in France. Let's find out what.

The current "yellow vests" uprising in France, now in its sixth week, is different from previous protests for a number of reasons. Pictured: Protesters gather at Place de l'Opera on December 15, 2018 in Paris. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Normally, this time of the year, the Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris has a festive air with Christmas decorations and happy shoppers looking for last minute presents. This season, however, what the French like to boast about as "the most beautiful avenue in the world" looks more like a war zone. The reason is the phenomenon labeled "les gilets jaunes" or "yellow vests", a movement that started as a protest against an increase in the price of diesel and quickly galumphed towards an all-out attack on the French political system.

At first glance one might say: we have been there, done that and bought the T-shirt!

Setting fire to parked cars and city dustbins, shattering shop windows and looting stores are old tactics of French protest movements, as witnessed on numerous occasions, most recently 2003 and 2005.

However, the current uprising, now in its sixth week, is different from previous protests for a number of reasons.

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An 8-Year-Old Bride

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  December 15, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • After the mullahs' party imposed Sharia law in Iran and made it the official unquestionable law of the land, the authorities immediately changed the age of legal marriage to 9 for girls and 13 for boys. After 40 years, the Sharia-based law has not changed.

  • The prevalence child marriage "still remains far too high. In a set of 25 countries for which detailed analysis was conducted, at least one in three women marry before the age of 18, and one in five women have their first child before the age of 18." — World Bank.

  • According to official Iranian statistics, 180,000 child marriages take place there each year. In addition, in 2013 in Iran, a law was passed that allows men to marry their adopted daughters.

  • Facebook acted as an auction block for a child bride in South Sudan as recently as last month.

  • Unless the international community steps in and, instead of appealing to the Islamist leaders of Iran, applies pressure to get these laws changed, more children will be at risk.

According to official Iranian statistics, 180,000 child marriages take place there each year. Besides the physical and sexual abuse endured by little girls forced into marriage, many also encounter emotional abuse. (Image source: iStock. Image is illustrative and does not represent any person in the article.)

"At eight years old my parents sat me down for a serious talk," said Noushin, during the interview. "I can still remember the tremble in my mother's voice. She told me that in two days I would be part of an Islamic religious blessing. My father insisted that I behave, and not cause a scene. I was confused, but I trusted them, that they were telling me the truth. I trusted them right up to the moment that the wedding ring went onto my finger and I became the bride of a 43 year old man." Noushin, now 19, is the mother of three.

You might assume that her parents, who so willingly gave their child to this man, were not educated or had never been exposed to modern ways of thinking. In fact, Noushin's father had been educated in Europe, and then came back to his country to work for the regime.

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Germany: Merkel to be Succeeded by "Mini-Merkel"

by Soeren Kern  •  December 14, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer promised to hold a "workshop discussion" (Werkstattgespräch) on immigration and security. On all major policy issues, however, Kramp-Karrenbauer's positions are virtually identical to those of Merkel.

  • "Ms. Kramp-Karrenbauer is the continuation of Merkel by other means. She has supported the refugee policy and will not correct it." — Alexander Gauland, Co-Chair, AfD party.

  • "The CDU has not given convincing answers to the consequences of globalization and digitization.... The CDU lacks a clear vision of how prosperity and jobs are not only secured but expanded..." — The business newspaper Handelsblatt, in a commentary entitled, "CDU: The Divided People's Party."

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (left) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel react after Kramp-Karrenbauer was chosen to succeed Merkel as the next leader of the Christian Democratic Union party (CDU) on December 7, 2018 in Hamburg. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a 56-year-old career politician committed to the status quo, has been chosen to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel as leader of Germany's Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Kramp-Karrenbauer — often referred to as "Mini-Merkel" or "Merkel 2.0" because many view her as Merkel's clone — won by just 35 votes (517 to 482) in a second-round run-off against her main opponent, a conservative named Friedrich Merz, at a CDU conference in Hamburg on December 7. Kramp-Karrenbauer's extremely narrow victory (51.7% to 48.2%) revealed a party split down the middle.

Merz had pledged to pull the CDU back to its conservative roots, after two decades of leftward drift under Merkel's leadership resulted in a mass defection of angry CDU voters to the anti-mass migration party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), now the third-largest in the German parliament.

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The Hamas Plan to Take the West Bank

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  December 13, 2018 at 6:00 am

  • Hamas and its allies are openly working and encouraging the eruption of a new anti-Israel uprising in the West Bank, and they have been emboldened by the recent failure of the UN General Assembly to adopt a US-sponsored resolution condemning Hamas and other Palestinian groups for firing rockets at Israel and inciting violence.

  • The Hamas-engineered attacks are not only a threat to Israeli civilians and soldiers; they also undermine the Western-funded Palestinian Authority (PA) of Mahmoud Abbas. Each "successful" attack carried out by Hamas earns it more popularity in the West Bank, at the cost of Abbas and his regime.

  • Now that Hamas is getting what it wants in the Gaza Strip -- millions of dollars and no war with Israel -- it is seeking to shift the attention to the West Bank, all with the help of its friends in Tehran. This has a twofold goal: to undermine or overthrow the Palestinian Authority, inflict heavy casualties on Israel, and thwart any peace plan brought forward by the US administration.

Hamas and its allies are openly working to export their "armed struggle" against Israel beyond the Gaza Strip and ultimately to take control of the West Bank. Pictured: Masked Hamas terrorists. (Photo by Abid Katib/Getty Images)

It is clear by now that Hamas is behind some of the recent terror attacks against Israelis in the West Bank. These attacks serve the interests of Hamas and its friends and sponsors, especially the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization -- and Iran.

Hamas and its allies have a plan, and they are not even keeping it a secret -- to export their "armed struggle" against Israel beyond the Gaza Strip and ultimately to take control of the West Bank.

The latest terrorist attack took place on December 9 outside the West Bank settlement of Ofra, east of Ramallah. An Israeli-Canadian citizen, Amichai Ish-Ran, and this pregnant wife, Shira, were among seven people wounded in a drive-by shooting attack. The baby born prematurely as a result of the terrorist attack died on December 12, after doctors fought to save his life for close to 72 hours.

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Brexit: Now What?

by David Brown  •  December 13, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • Ardent Brexiteers are increasingly despondent. Many had hoped for a vote of no confidence in Theresa May with a strong Leave-supporting leader installed in her place, prepared to take the United Kingdom out of the untransparent, unaccountable and unable-to-be-voted-out EU.

  • Instead, Theresa May's "deal" not to leave the EU makes the UK a vassal state, locked into the EU but without a voice. Leave voters did not vote for a "deal". They voted to take back the Britain's sovereignty.

  • MPs will be torn. The establishment does not want a no-deal Brexit. But their constituents -- the people who voted them to be their voice in Parliament -- do.

  • Politicians voting to remain in the EU would be doing it in flamboyant disregard of the will of the people -- the very people they need to be re-elected.

British Prime Minister Theresa May gives a speech in London after surviving a vote of no confidence in her Conservative Party on December 12, 2018. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Theresa May has survived a no confidence vote in her Conservative Party. She says she now has a renewed mission; "delivering the Brexit people voted for, bringing the country back together and building a country that works for everyone".

Whether she has any troops willing to follow her charge is unclear.

Just 200 Conservative MPs voted for her to stay on as leader of the party; 117 voted against. Many of those who voted for her said they will vote down her Brexit deal nonetheless.

As a result of this challenge, MPs cannot call another vote of no confidence for 12 months, meaning that Theresa May will be the woman to succeed or fail in taking Britain out of the European Union.

Many questions are still unanswered by this vote. If Parliament looks set to vote down her deal -- especially with so many in her own party apparently planning voting against her -- where on earth will Brexit go from here??

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France: A Revolt against Europe's Elites?

by Bruce Bawer  •  December 12, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • Maybe this is it -- the start of the Western European public's pushback against the elites' disastrous multicultural and globalist project.

A protester throws a tear gas canister back at the police during a "yellow vests' demonstration near the Arc de Triomphe on December 8, 2018 in Paris France. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

For years, those of us who write and worry about the rise of Islam in Western Europe have known that eventually, if the governments of these countries did not change course dramatically, something had to give. So far, the natives had, for the most part, been remarkably tame. They had swallowed a lot. Their leaders had filled their countries with huge numbers of immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa, a disproportionate number of whom were making it clear that they had no intention of fully joining or contributing to their host societies but, rather, were content to take, to harm, to damage, and to destroy, and were determined, in the long run, to conquer and rule.

No one had ever asked the citizens of Western Europe whether they wanted their countries radically transformed in this manner. This transformation, moreover, was intensifying by the year. At some point, surely, the native peoples of Western Europe would react.

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European Court of Human Rights Blasphemy Laws: Where a Word out of Place Can Cost Your Life

by Denis MacEoin  •  December 11, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • The European Court of Human Rights ruled that criticism of Muhammad constitutes incitement to hatred -- meaning that in Europe, criticizing Muhammad is no longer protected free speech.

  • What the court has actually done, however, is rule out the possibility of any debate in which a range of various experts and members of the public could take part. Now, it seems, the only views that will be respected in the public forum are those of devout Muslims.

  • Underage marriages are considered by some countries child abuse or statutory rape, but are acceptable under shari'a law; they also take place in Muslim communities in Western countries such as the UK. This alone is a major reason why platforms must be found to debate the issue instead of sweeping it, as something offensive, under the carpet. Ignoring it is offensive.

  • Moreover, as some Muslims are often offended by even small matters regarding their faith, such as a toy teddy bear named Mohammad or a prisoner on death row declared innocent -- so that mobs take to the streets to condemn, or even kill, those individuals -- what now will not be censored in the West?

Under Islamic shari'a law, statements that even a few people may consider blasphemous -- such as young schoolchildren naming a toy teddy bear Mohammad, a common enough name in the Sudan -- might be treated as criminal offences. (Image source: Maxpixel)

There are, of course, social settings where it pays to watch your words. Saying you fancy the looks of a mafioso's new girlfriend could well prove fatal. Spending time with a bunch of Hamas terrorists while expressing your love for Israel might not lead to your premature demise. In London today, young men who make remarks or play music to other youths on the street can wind up stabbed to death. A recent comment on The Independent website claims, "In this country [the UK], some views, regardless of how valid and logical, can result in anything from public rebuke to loss of a job to violence."

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UN Approves Terror, Torpedoes Peace

by Bassam Tawil  •  December 10, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • Hamas and the other Palestinian terrorist groups have interpreted the failure of the US-sponsored resolution as an internationally sanctioned license to continue killing Jews.

  • What Hamas is telling the UN and the rest of the world is: "Now that you have refused to brand us terrorists, we have the right to launch all forms of terrorist attacks and kill as many Jews as possible." Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders are, in fact, threatening not only to continue, but also to step up, their terrorist attacks on Israel.

  • When Hamas and its supporters celebrate, the few Palestinians who are described as moderates and pragmatists and who are opposed to violence and terrorism, will have to hide.

  • Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah have boasted that what happened at the UN was a "slap in the face of the US and Israel." In fact, what happened at the UN is a severe blow to the "moderates" among the Palestinians and to any chances of reaching a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Now that the UN has legitimized Palestinian terrorism, no Palestinian leader will be able to return to the negotiating table with Israel. Thus, with this move, the UN has expertly torpedoed even the remotest possibility of peace talks.

The UN General Assembly on December 6 voted down a US-sponsored resolution condemning the activities of Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups. (UN Photo/Loey Felipe)

The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas could not have wished for a better birthday gift than the one with which the United Nations General Assembly presented it last week.

In a few days, Hamas will hold a massive celebration in the Gaza Strip to mark its 31st anniversary. Hamas leaders are expected to pass on to their supporters the nice gift the terrorist group has just received from the UN -- a gift that enables them to continue launching rockets at Israel and planning how to kill as many Jews as possible on the way to eliminating Israel and replacing it with an Islamic state.

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The French People Feel Screwed

by David Brown  •  December 10, 2018 at 4:00 am

  • Macron makes no secret of his wish to be seen as a global leader for environmental reform. He forgets that back at home, among the people who elected him, fuel prices really matter.

  • There are images online of police removing their helmets and firefighters turning their backs on political authority to show their support for the protestors.

  • For the first time in his presidency, Macron is in trouble and Europe and America are looking on.

"Yellow Vests" protesters chant slogans on the Champs-Elysées near the Arc de Triomphe on December 8, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

On December 4, French Prime Minister Édouard Phillipe told deputies of the ruling party, "La République en Marche", that a proposed fuel tax rise, which had led to the largest protests France has seen in decades, would be suspended.

The protesters, called Gilets-Jaunes -- "Yellow Vests," because of the vests drivers are obliged by the government to carry in their vehicles in the event of a roadside breakdown -- say that the fuel tax was the last straw from a president who took office with a promise to help the economically left-behind but instead has favoured the rich.

Even by French standards, the protests of the "Yellow Vests" during the weekend of December 1 were startling. Burning cars and vast plumes of grey smoke seemed to engulf the Arc De Triomphe as if Paris were at war. Comparisons were drawn with the Bread Wars of the 17th Century and the spirit of the Revolution of the 18th Century.

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More UN Chicanery

by Bruce Bawer  •  December 9, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration -- which seeks to criminalize criticism of migration -- is nothing more or less than a dangerous effort to weaken national borders, to normalize mass migration, to blur the line between legal and illegal immigration, and to bolster the idea that people claiming to be refugees enjoy a panoply of rights in countries where they have never before set foot.

  • One thing about the agreement, in any event, is irrefutable: almost nobody in the Western world has been clamoring for this. It is, quite simply, a project of the globalist elites. It is a UN power-grab.

  • It is something else, too: it is an effort to enhance the clout of the UN's largest and most influential power bloc -- namely, the Arab and Muslim states. Briefly put, whatever this deal is or is not, it is definitely not good news for the West, for freedom, or for national identity and security.

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration -- which seeks to criminalize criticism of migration -- is nothing more or less than a dangerous effort to weaken national borders, normalize mass migration, blur the line between legal and illegal immigration, and bolster the idea that people claiming to be refugees enjoy a panoply of rights in countries where they have never before set foot. Pictured: Migrants walk towards a holding camp in Dobova, Slovenia on October 26, 2015. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

In Britain, the rage over Muslim rape gangs and Theresa May's Brexit foul-up is spreading. In Germany, anger about Merkel's recklessly transformative refugee policies is mounting. In France, the growing cost of immigrant freeloaders to taxpayers has sparked the most sensational public demonstrations since 1968. In Italy and Austria, opponents of the Islamization of Europe now hold the reins of power. Elsewhere in Western Europe, more and more citizens are standing up to their masters' open-borders dhimmitude.

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Democratic Countries Should Back out of the UN Global Compact

by Judith Bergman  •  December 9, 2018 at 4:00 am

  • The EU has been paying particularly North African governments for years to keep migrants away from the European continent. The effort seems to have yielded few results in terms of stopping migration to Europe.

  • The UN Global Compact stipulates that, "media outlets that systematically promote intolerance, xenophobia, racism and other forms of discrimination towards migrants" should not receive "public funding or material support."

  • Already, it is clear what this stipulation means in practice. The UN recently banned the Canadian outlet Rebel Media from attending the Conference for the Adoption of the UN Global Migration Compact. When Rebel Media asked for an explanation, they were told that the UN, "reserves the right to deny or withdraw accreditation of journalists from media organizations whose activities run counter to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, or who abuse the privileges so extended or put the accreditation to improper use or act in a way not consistent with the principles of the Organization. The decisions are final".

  • This form of totalitarian behavior on the part of the UN should encourage more states that still value democracy, immediately to back out of the Compact.

Götz Schmidt-Bremme, head of the UN's Global Forum on Migration and Development, has admitted that the UN's Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is a "controversial text," adding: "Maybe the benefits of legal migration were over-emphasised and we forgot about the challenges... we underestimated the need of communities that above all want to see migrants integrate." (Image source: United Nations)

The ongoing and bitter dispute between the EU and its Eastern European member states -- countries such as Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic -- that have refused to take in migrants as part of the EU's quota system, might be approaching some sort of compromise. In an internal document circulated to EU interior ministers in Brussels in early December, Reuters reported, EU member states that refuse to host migrants in their countries could be exempted from doing so, if instead they show "alternative measures of solidarity." According to diplomats, these "alternative measures" are apparently EU code for "paying into the EU budget or paying toward development projects in Africa".

"The document," Reuters noted, "said the European Union would need a proper mechanism to avoid a situation in which all EU governments opted to pay their way out of any hosting responsibilities and would set an eight-year period for any arrangements".

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Does The Netherlands Have a Problem?

by Judith Bergman  •  December 8, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • "The number of Dutch victims of grooming gangs has risen sharply in recent years". It is estimated that rape-groomers force around 1400 under-age girls into sex-slavery every year. — Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.

  • "Despite stagnating growth, the size of the Dutch jihadist movement is cause for concern." — Terrorist Threat Assessment for the Netherlands (DTN), published by the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism.

  • It is estimated that 140 mosques in the Netherlands are affiliated with the Religious Affairs Directorate of the Republic of Turkey (Diyanet). One sermon, given in the city of Hoorn, was about jihad and martyrdom: "The one who dies in the way of Allah, never call him dead, but call him alive".

According to the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism of the Netherlands, Islamic terrorism has been growing for several years. "Despite stagnating growth, the size of the Dutch jihadist movement is cause for concern," it wrote. (Image source: iStock)

"Right-wing extremists are growing more confident. They continue to focus on protesting against the perceived Islamisation of the Netherlands, the arrival of asylum seekers and the perceived loss of Dutch identity..." [emphasis added] wrote Dutch authorities in a September threat assessment.

Islamization in the Netherlands, however, is not merely a "perception" of "right-wing extremists" but an increasingly established trend. The threat assessment by the country's National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism, for example, shows that Islamic terrorism has been growing for several years. "Despite stagnating growth, the size of the Dutch jihadist movement is cause for concern," it wrote.

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Italy Adopts Hardline Immigration Law

by Soeren Kern  •  December 7, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • Under the new law, the Italian government will only grant asylum to legitimate refugees of war or victims of political persecution. Asylum seekers may now lose their protection if they are convicted of crimes including: threat or violence to a public official; physical assault; female genital mutilation; and a variety of theft charges.

  • "I wonder if those who contest the security decree have even read it. I do not really understand what the problem is: it deports criminals and increases the fight against the mafia, racketeering and drugs." — Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini.

  • Italy will not sign the United Nations Global Compact for Migration, nor will Italian officials attend a conference in Marrakech, Morocco, on December 10 and 11 to adopt the agreement. The Global Compact not only aims to establish migration as a human right, but also to outlaw criticism of migration through hate crimes legislation.

Italy, a main European gateway for migrants arriving by sea, has approved a tough new immigration and security law that will make it easier to deport migrants who commit crimes. Pictured: Migrants in a wooden boat wait to be picked up by the Migrant Offshore Aid Station Phoenix vessel on June 10, 2017 off Lampedusa, Italy. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The Italian Parliament has approved a tough new immigration and security law that will make it easier to deport migrants who commit crimes and strip those convicted of terrorism of their Italian citizenship.

Italy's lower house of parliament, the Camera dei Deputati, voted 396 to 99 on November 28 to approve the new law, which was sponsored by Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. The law had previously been approved by the Italian Senate on November 7. The measure was promulgated by President Sergio Mattarella on December 3.

Also known as the "Security Decree" or the "Salvini Decree," the new law includes several key provisions:

Eliminates Humanitarian Protection. A primary objective of the new law is to limit the number of migrants granted asylum in Italy. To achieve this aim, Article 1 of the decree abolishes residence permits for so-called humanitarian protection, a form of security available to those not eligible for refugee status.

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Palestinians: No Difference Between Hamas and Fatah

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  December 6, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • It is supposedly fine for Mahmoud Abbas and his officials to condemn Hamas on a daily basis. It is supposedly not fine, however, for the US administration to condemn Hamas for its terrorist attacks against Israel.

  • "The proposed [unseen] US resolution is harmful to the Palestinians' right of resistance." — Emad Omar, Palestinian political analyst.

  • This is obviously a short-lived honeymoon that will end the day after the UN General Assembly vote on the anti-Hamas resolution. The morning after the vote, Abbas will wake up to the realization that Hamas was a strange bedfellow indeed.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's hatred of Hamas is far from secret. But Abbas is now defending Hamas because he despises the Trump administration, which has sponsored a UN draft resolution that condemns Hamas. Pictured: Abbas (right) meets with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on May 30, 2007 in the Gaza Strip. (Photo by Abu Askar/PPO via Getty Images)

Has Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas changed his position toward his rivals in Hamas? This is the question that some Palestinians have been asking in the wake of Abbas's opposition to a US-sponsored draft resolution that asks the United Nations General Assembly to condemn Hamas for repeatedly firing rockets at Israel and instigating violence.

Abbas's hatred of Hamas is far from secret. For years – and until today – Abbas has used every available platform to launch scathing attacks on Hamas.

He accused Hamas of foiling Arab efforts to end the dispute with his ruling Fatah faction.

He accused Hamas of masterminding a series of explosions targeting the homes of some of his senior Fatah officials in the Gaza Strip.

He accused Hamas of staging a coup in 2007 against his Palestinian Authority (PA) in the Gaza Strip and seeking to establish a separate Palestinian there.

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Why the Press Pays Less Attention to the Murder of Journalists Not Named Khashoggi

by Peter Baum  •  December 6, 2018 at 4:00 am

  • Ironically, the same members of the media who have been obsessed with Khashoggi and the Saudi-US alliance have devoted little space to the reality that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government has been imprisoning, torturing and killing journalists for years.

  • The ongoing story of Khashoggi's murder at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, more than being a function of concern for the Saudi journalist, was less important to Western journalists than attacking the Trump administration.

Raed Fares, who was among the most prominent critics of Syrian President Bashar Assad's brutal regime, was assassinated on November 23, 2018. (Image source: Oslo Freedom Forum/Reka Nyari/Wikimedia Commons)

While the October 2 murder of the Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, continues to be discussed across the world, the November 23 assassination of a Syrian journalist, Raed Fares, and his devoted friend and cameraman, Hammoud al-Jneid, gunned down in Fares's home village of Kafrandel, Syria, does not.

This neglect is noteworthy: Fares was among the most prominent critics of Syrian President Bashar Assad's brutal regime. According to CBS News:

In 2013, Fares posted a satirical YouTube video depicting cave men repeatedly killed by the men representing the Syrian government as men wearing American and European Union flags idly sit by. "This is how the international community reacted to the genocide committed by Assad against the Syrian people," Fares wrote.

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