Latest Analysis and Commentary

Biden Administration Standing Idly By While Iran's Mullahs Advance to Nuclear Bomb

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  September 24, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • [M]ore than a year and half of negotiations seems to have benefited no one except the ruling and Islamist mullahs of Iran. The endless negotiations seem simply to have bought time for the mullahs, so that they could comfortably advance their nuclear program to their highest level ever. Not only has the Biden administration seen no urgency to change its disastrous path, it is actually redoubling efforts to for Iran talks, presumably after America's mid-term election on November 8.

  • The Biden administration has even been ignoring a joint statement issued by the UK, France and Germany admitting that Tehran "has no credible civilian need for uranium metal R&D and production, which are a key step in the development of a nuclear weapon."

  • The Biden administration needs to make it plain to Iran's ruling mullahs that if Tehran advances its nuclear program further, severe military, political, diplomatic and economic options against Iran are on the table.

  • Economic sanctions, which will cut the flow of funds to the Iranian regime and the terrorist Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, must be imposed as well. The Biden administration also needs to stand firm against countries such as China, which are violating US sanctions by buying oil or trading with the Iranian regime.

  • It must be made unmistakably clear to the Iranian regime that the United States will not allow Iran's current regime, a designated state sponsor of terrorism, to arm itself with nuclear weapons and emerge as yet another global nuclear threat, in the Middle East, in Europe and throughout South America.

It must be made unmistakably clear to the Iranian regime that the U.S. will not allow Iran's current regime, a designated state sponsor of terrorism, to arm itself with nuclear weapons and emerge as yet another global nuclear threat, in the Middle East, in Europe and throughout South America. (Image source: iStock)

The Biden administration implemented its agenda to revive the Obama nuclear deal after US President Joe Biden assumed office in January 2021. Now, more than a year and half of negotiations seems to have benefited no one except the ruling and Islamist mullahs of Iran. The endless negotiations seem simply to have bought time for the mullahs, so that they could comfortably advance their nuclear program to their highest level ever. Not only has the Biden administration seen no urgency to change its disastrous path, it is actually redoubling efforts to for Iran talks, presumably after America's mid-term election on November 8.

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'Europe Should Be Grateful to Erdoğan'

by Burak Bekdil  •  September 23, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • Erdoğan is bringing NATO member Turkey more and more into Russia's orbit.

  • Turkey is once again blackmailing the U.S. that "it would further deepen its defense cooperation with Russia if Congress blocks its request to buy 40 F-16 Block 70 fighter jets from the U.S."

Turkey's Islamist strongman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is bringing NATO member Turkey more and more into Russia's orbit. Pictured: Erdoğan meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on September 16, 2022. (Photo by Alexandr Demyanchuk/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)

"Europe Should Be Grateful to Erdoğan": The quote is the praise Russian dictator Vladimir Putin bestowed upon Turkey's Islamist strongman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Translated into realpolitik, what Putin is saying is: "Russia is grateful to Erdoğan's anti-Western ideology." He is right. Erdoğan is bringing NATO member Turkey more and more into Russia's orbit.

Erdoğan is overtly challenging the alliance of which his country is a member. Here is a brief account of how Erdoğan steered Turkey further away from Western interests, in favor of his Eurasian adventurism, in just a couple of months:

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How the US Squandered Its Strategic Minerals

by Judith Bergman  •  September 22, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • While China has been relentlessly pursuing self-reliance when it comes to raw materials -- especially strategic ones such as titanium, tungsten and cobalt, which are used in the defense industry -- the US for the past several decades has been selling off huge chunks of the strategic minerals stockpile to the extent that the National Defense Stockpile is reportedly reaching insolvency.

  • By comparison, China, as of 2020, was the world's third-largest exporter of titanium, while the US was the number one destination for the Chinese titanium exports.

  • It is China's growing influence in Africa, especially through its Belt and Road Initiative, the global infrastructure and economic development project that the Chinese Communist Party launched in 2013, that has helped China achieve such near monopolies when it comes to precious resources and raw materials.

  • The rare earths dependency on China stems in part from the fact that extracting rare earth minerals is an extremely polluting process that China has been willing to undertake, while most other countries have not, including the US, which ironically prides itself on having extremely strict environmental regulations in place.

  • The US, according to Reuters, has only one rare earths mine and no capability to process rare earth minerals. If China were to stop exporting them to the US, the country would fast run out of the basic building blocks required to produce the military hardware that the US needs, not to mention all the other items where rare earth minerals are needed.

  • At present, 40 out of Africa's 54 countries participate in China's Belt and Road Initiative.

  • "Beijing has increased its control of African commodities through strategic direct investment in oil fields, mines, and production facilities, as well as through resource-backed loans that call for in-kind payments of commodities. This control threatens the ability of U.S. companies to access key supplies." — U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, 2020 Report to Congress.

While China has been relentlessly pursuing self-reliance when it comes to raw materials -- especially strategic ones that are used in the defense industry -- the US for decades has been selling off huge chunks of its strategic minerals stockpile. Pictured: A front-loader shifts soil containing rare earth minerals, to be loaded on ships at a port in Lianyungang, China, on September 5, 2010. (Photo credit should read STR/AFP via Getty Images)

"The PRC's [Communist China's] long-term goal," the Pentagon wrote in 2020, "is to create an entirely self-reliant defense-industrial sector—fused with a strong civilian industrial and technology sector—that can meet the PLA's needs for modern military capabilities."

While China has been relentlessly pursuing self-reliance when it comes to raw materials -- especially strategic ones such as titanium, tungsten and cobalt, which are used in the defense industry -- the US for the past several decades has been selling off huge chunks of the strategic minerals stockpile to the extent that the National Defense Stockpile is reportedly reaching insolvency.

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Iran Acquires 2.5 Million Acres of Venezuela

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  September 21, 2022 at 5:30 am

  • The land grant will ostensibly be used to grow staple crops... allowing water-starved Iran to better feed its population... Iran's current use of Venezuela, however... combined with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), raise the possibility that Iran and its surrogate terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah and Hamas, might be using the vast acreage for military and terrorist operations.

  • The Maduro regime has apparently been so welcoming to Iranian intelligence agents that some of Hezbollah's long-established Latin American network at the tri-border nexus of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay has been overtaken by Hezbollah activities on Venezuela's Margarita Island [a tourist area northeast of the country's mainland].

  • Iran, along with the Chinese Communist Party, is in the process of strengthening Venezuela's military against the US, for instance by deliveries of military drones, which are also considered a threat by Colombia.

  • Iran's alliance with Venezuela most importantly provides Tehran with opportunities to target US interests in Latin America and potentially the southern United States.

  • China, Russia and Iran were reported to be running military drills in Latin America last month. According to the Center for a Secure Free Society, this is a "strategic move that seeks to preposition forward deployed military assets in Latin America and the Caribbean."

  • Iran, along with Venezuela, seems to be using its influence with other Latin American governments to develop an anti-US coalition in America's backyard. In addition, Iran sent a destroyer, the Sahand, and a support vessel -- the intelligence-gathering Makran -- to Venezuela in the spring of 2021. The Makran set sail on the mission "with seven high-speed missile-attack craft strapped to its deck."

  • Iran's massive interference in Venezuela's affairs should raise concerns about the hemisphere's democracies and whether Caracas is still sovereign.

  • Iran and Venezuela also appear to have established an air bridge between Tehran and Caracas. The flights are manned by Iranian crews and enable both regimes to maintain secrecy in the possible global transport of weapons and terrorist operatives.

  • Tehran's cooperation with Venezuelan intelligence agencies, although less visible, is also intense. The Islamic Republic's support for Hezbollah terrorist operations is pervasive throughout Latin America.

  • Occasionally Iranians have been apprehended by US border guards illegally crossing America's long, porous border with Mexico. These illegal aliens could be fulfilling passive missions such as manning Iran's Hezbollah cells in the US, while others could be commissioned to execute intelligence or terrorist-support operations.

  • Latin America's Iranian Hezbollah network appears poised to strike democratic interests throughout the hemisphere.

Pictured: Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei meets with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Tehran on June 11, 2022. (Image source: khamenei.ir)

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro this June during a visit to Iran signed a multidimensional, 20-year cooperation treaty. The pact includes agreements on science and technology as well as deals on agriculture, communications, culture and tourism. The Maduro regime's startling provision of one million hectares (roughly 2.5 million acres; nearly 4,000 square miles) of farmland to Iran was kept under wraps until Iranian agrarian economist Ali Revanizadeh disclosed it to the Venezuelan media.

The land grant will ostensibly be used to grow staple crops, such as corn and soy beans, allowing water-starved Iran to better feed its population. Iran's current use of Venezuela, however (here, here and here ), combined with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), raise the possibility that Iran and its surrogate terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah and Hamas , might be using the vast acreage for military and terrorist operations.

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Turkey and Israel: Dating with Hate

by Burak Bekdil  •  September 21, 2022 at 4:30 am

  • Israel is normalizing diplomatic relations with a country whose unchallenged leader for the past two decades once described Zionism as a crime against humanity. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's political formation was based on a militant expanse of anti-Zionism as a raison d'être. Erdoğan is just as anti-Israeli today as he was 40, 30, 20 and 10 years ago.

  • There is too much evidence unmasking Erdoğan's fake peace with the Jewish state.

  • Erdoğan's peace with Israel is not peace. It is a tactical move to flash to Washington: I am being a good boy, give me the F-16s, do not sanction me as further sanctions may terminate my rule at the ballot box next year. Turkey's official annual inflation rate running at 80%.... Erdoğan's chances for re-election in June 2023 are getting slimmer every day.

  • Ankara and Jerusalem have not yet announced (as of August 30) who their new ambassadors will be. Whoever they will be, they should keep a bag packed for a fast departure.

Israel is normalizing diplomatic relations with a country whose unchallenged leader for the past two decades once described Zionism as a crime against humanity. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's peace with Israel is not peace. It is a tactical move to flash to Washington: I am being a good boy, give me the F-16s, do not sanction me further... Pictured: The flags of Turkey and Israel fly at the Armored Corps Museum in Latrun, Israel, on August 18, 2022. (Photo by Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP via Getty Images)

Blessed are the peacemakers: it sounds so nice that Turkey and Israel have decided to be friends again. After a four-year hostile chill in relations has thawed gradually in recent months, the former allies have agreed to restore full diplomatic relations, exchanging ambassadors. Nice? Very nice! Champagne to celebrate the peace? Sloooow down.

It has been more than a decade since Turkey and Israel, once strategic partners, broke up badly, with an angry Ankara vowing to isolate Israel internationally. It has also been more than five years since the two countries decided to "give peace a chance" once more and appointed ambassadors. The envoys had to pack up and leave after 17 months of trying to put things back together again.

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Palestinians Cuddle up with Arabs Who Kill Palestinians

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  September 20, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • A report published on September 18 revealed that 638 Palestinians have been tortured to death by Syrian intelligence officers in the past few years. The victims include 37 women.

  • "What is happening inside the Syrian detention centers against the Palestinians is a war crime by all standards." — Action Group for Palestinians of Syria (AGPS), September 18, 2022.

  • AGPS also revealed that 4,121 Palestinians have been killed in Syria since the beginning of the civil war there.

  • The fate of 1,797 Palestinian detainees, including 110 women, remains unknown despite repeated appeals to the Syrian authorities.

  • By rushing to embrace the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Hamas, whose leaders control the Gaza Strip from their luxurious villas, hotel suites and spas in Qatar and Turkey, has again shown its contempt for the Palestinians and other Arabs who have fallen victim to the atrocities committed by the Syrian authorities, especially over the past decade.

  • Iran's mullahs want to make sure that their terrorist proxies and the Assad regime remain on good terms. The mullahs are hoping that the renewal of ties between Hamas and Syria will strengthen the Iranian-led "axis of resistance" in the Middle East. The "axis of resistance" refers to an anti-Western/anti-Israeli/anti-Saudi political and military alliance between Iran, the Palestinian terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the Syrian regime and Hezbollah.

  • Hamas... apparently has no problem embracing an Arab regime that has so much Palestinian blood on its hands.

  • The Hamas embrace of the Assad regime is yet another example of how Palestinian leaders care nothing about their own people, let alone the lives of other Arabs.

  • The leaders of Hamas, who are living the good life in Qatar and Turkey, are much more interested in stuffing their coffers with money from the mullahs in Iran than in seeing the suffering of their people in the Gaza Strip or in any Arab country, including Syria.

  • The leaders of the Palestinian Authority are not much different. They too are preoccupied with looking after their personal interests and making sure that they remain in power forever.

  • Shortly, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will head to the United Nations General Assembly to spew yet more venom against Israel. The plight of his people in Syria and other Arab countries will be at the very bottom of his list of priorities, if at all. Like Hamas, Abbas too does not seem to care if his people are being slaughtered by an Arab dictatorship.

A report published on September 18 revealed that 638 Palestinians have been tortured to death by Syrian intelligence officers in the past few years. The victims include 37 women. The Action Group for Palestinians of Syria also revealed that 4,121 Palestinians have been killed in Syria since the beginning of the civil war there. The fate of 1,797 Palestinian detainees, including 110 women, remains unknown. Pictured: The Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp, near Damascus, on May 22, 2018, days after Assad regime forces regained control over the camp. (Photo by Louai Beshara/AFP via Getty Images)

A report published on September 18 revealed that 638 Palestinians have been tortured to death by Syrian intelligence officers in the past few years. The victims include 37 women, according to the report by the Action Group for Palestinians of Syria (AGPS), a human rights watchdog that monitors the situation of Palestinian refugees in war-torn Syria.

The group called on the Syrian authorities to disclose the status of hundreds of Palestinians who are being held in Syrian prisons and whose fate remains unknown. "What is happening inside the Syrian detention centers against the Palestinians is a war crime by all standards," it said.

AGPS also revealed that 4,121 Palestinians have been killed in Syria since the beginning of the civil war there.

"AGPS data indicates that 79% of the Palestinians of Syria killed since the outbreak of the conflict are civilians.

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The Secret Schumer-Manchin Backroom Deal

by Lawrence Kadish  •  September 19, 2022 at 4:30 pm

Pictured: Senator Joe Manchin (L) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer at the signing of the so-called "Inflation Reduction Act" in Washington, DC on August 16, 2022. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Washington is a city that thrives on secrets. That is a good thing over at the CIA but it is a very bad thing when Congressional politics are practiced in the dark, far from public scrutiny and for purposes that could unravel our nation's democracy.

No surprise then that published reports reveal seething lawmaker anger over the closed door deal cut between Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and Senator Joseph Manchin that will allow the White House to acquire and dispense some $700 billion dollars as it sees fit through the so-called "Inflation Reduction Act of 2022."

"We don't know what [the substance of their deal]... is. They haven't released the text, they don't give us the detailed explanation," Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) was quoted in the Washington insider publication, The Hill.

The Senator continued, "So, I don't know how you could ask people to vote for something they don't know what it is."

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US Must Treat Iran Like Russia

by Con Coughlin  •  September 19, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • [I]t is vital that the US and its allies confront the reality of Iran's expanding military operations around the world.

  • While Tehran had denied the reports [that Iran had provided Russia with military-grade drones], Ukraine's defence ministry posted images of what appeared to be parts of a destroyed drone with "Geran-2" written on the side in Russian. The wingtip appeared to match that of a Shahed-136.

  • This is, by any standard, amounts to a truly momentous escalation in Iran's military activities: it is the first time Iranian military equipment has been deployed on European soil.

  • The fact that evidence has emerged demonstrating that Iran is actively supporting Russia's unprovoked aggression against Ukraine makes a mockery of this argument.

  • If Iran is prepared to deploy sophisticated military equipment such as drones on European soil, then it is clear the ayatollahs would have no hesitation about firing their long-range ballistic missiles, potentially armed with nuclear weapons, at European targets.

  • Iran's willingness to become directly involved in the deadliest conflict Europe has witnessed since the end of the Second World War represents a significant escalation in the threat Tehran poses to the outside world, one that Western powers ignore at their peril.

  • Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz, addressing The Jerusalem Post Conference in New York last week, revealed a map showing more than ten facilities that Iran has constructed in Syria in recent years to produce mid- and long-range precision missiles that can be used to target Israel.

  • This is not the action of a country that, as the Iranians repeatedly insist, is interested in peace, and should serve as a wake-up call to Western leaders to confront Iranian aggression in the same way they have confronted Russia over its decision to invade Ukraine.

  • The West must now provide the same level of support to all those countries -- which now include Ukraine -- that find themselves the targets of unprovoked acts of aggression by Tehran.

  • One of the most important lessons learned from the 1930s was that what starts in one place, such as Austria or Sudetenland, can almost be guaranteed not to stay in that place.

One of the most important lessons learned from the 1930s was that what starts in one place, such as Austria or Sudetenland, can almost be guaranteed not to stay in that place. In what amounts to a momentous escalation in Iran's military activities, Ukrainian forces claim to have shot down an Iranian-made Shahed-136 drone used by Russia's armed forces. It is the first time Iranian military equipment has been deployed on European soil. Pictured: The Iranian drone that was shot down near Kupiansk, Ukraine. (Image source: Ukrainian Armed Forces)

Now that even the Biden administration has been forced to admit defeat in its ill-considered attempts to revive the Iran nuclear deal, it is vital that the West does not let its guard slip on Iran's malign activities across the globe.

Throughout the year-long negotiating process in Vienna over Iran's nuclear ambitions, which the Biden administration now concedes have ended in stalemate, Tehran has sought to give the impression that it is interested in negotiating a deal, while at the same time ramping up its aggressive military activities in the Middle East and beyond.

Despite recent claims by European leaders that a new nuclear deal was still possible, Iranian intransigence has effectively ended the negotiations, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken conceding that the latest demands made by Iran have taken the process "backwards".

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Why the World Economic Forum's Plutocracy Should Be Dissolved

by J.B. Shurk  •  September 18, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • No matter how noble its stated intentions, the "Great Reset" is at its heart a program for driving political power away from individual citizens and toward the controlling interests of a small international class of financial elites.... For citizens to reclaim power, they must not only embrace the basics of free markets once again but also rekindle a fondness for questioning the motivations of political authorities.

  • It is not just kings, generals, and popes who possess great power. Wherever a person, group, or institution is capable — through enticement, coercion, or brute force — of bending an individual's free will, the structures and instruments of power exist. A local school board, after all, may well have more immediate and intimate influences over a person's family than the United Nations Human Rights Council and its revolving door of despots who tend to promulgate international resolutions shielding their own crimes.

  • Limited regulation keeps the costs of market transactions low. Respect for private property and fair and impartial application of commercial laws encourage capital investment. Refraining from taxing the fruits of an individual's labor fosters an exponentially more productive labor force. Providing populations with the tools to pursue and obtain knowledge and skills at minimal expense promotes not only an educated workforce but also politically competent citizens.

  • The small number of multinational corporations that control most television and print news sources around the globe also control the sociological levers capable of manufacturing or shifting public opinion. Power in any form — political, economic, cultural, spiritual... must always be guarded against as a potential foe.

  • "The welfare of the people has always been the alibi of tyrants...." — Albert Camus, Resistance, Rebellion and Death.

  • The great mass murderers of the twentieth century attest to this truth. Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, and Mao killed tens of millions, but they did so, they assured the world, not for their own glory but for the benefit of "the people."

  • It is no secret that money influences politics, no matter how profusely politicians may assert their civic independence from the lobbyists and benefactors filling their campaign war chests.

  • Tens of thousands of laws, rules, and regulations make it nearly impossible for any entrepreneur to navigate markets without inadvertently committing infractions or becoming a future target of an ever-growing army of regulatory code enforcers. Citizens are taxed on their wages, incomes, purchases, property, investments, improvements, sales, etc., and should they still possess anything of worth upon their ultimate demise, some agent of the State is likely to take one final cut of their bequeathed estates. The same unit of labor is thus taxed repeatedly along the government's conveyor belt of confiscation.

  • Notably, today's plutocrats have little interest in truly free markets.... The World Economic Forum, for instance, demands governments take urgent action to combat or address climate change, cybersecurity, online misinformation, artificial intelligence, overpopulation, the use of hydrocarbon energy, farm ownership, food supplies, the elimination of private vehicle ownership, and the imposition of citizen control protocols to defend against future pandemics. Regulation of people and markets is now of paramount importance to those with wealth and power.

  • When the uber-elite successfully influence politicians to enact laws that benefit their personal financial interests -- a corrupt practice known as "regulatory capture" -- they distort the normal dynamics of any free market. When governments mandate more expensive forms of "clean" energy across the market, for instance, wealthy corporations capable of enduring these added costs reap the ancillary benefits of gobbling up the market share abandoned by smaller competitors unable to survive. This is by design.

  • This fusion between monied interests and government power has created a type of reverse fascism. Instead of some charismatic political leader in the mold of a Benito Mussolini demanding that titans of industry follow his commands for the benefit of the State and in the interests of the people, a new class of plutocrats now steer the direction of national policies and pay the politicians to make sure the people will comply.

  • When market competition is permitted to grow wealth in perpetuity, however, not only does a growing share of the population increase its wealth, but also political power becomes spread out more diffusely. When the "rising tide" of free markets is allowed to "lift all boats," neither the plutocrat nor communist politburo holds as much sway. For this reason, both communists and plutocrats share a similar goal — minimizing the prosperity of the majority of citizens, while maximizing the political power of a small minority of government officials. Under communism, this type of power arrangement takes the form of an oligarchy, or rule by a small few. Under the World Economic Forum's brand of oligarchy where the West's wealthiest manipulate centrally-controlled governments, the result is demonstrably plutocratic.

  • When corporate behemoths adeptly forestall their own impending financial deaths through political influence and regulatory capture, however, they cheat the markets at the larger public's expense.

  • For individual liberty to flourish, competing forces must always counterbalance concentrated power in any form. When economic monopoly is used to create plutocratic control over government policy, then it becomes imperative for society to unleash the full potential of market forces to destroy protracted power and wealth and encourage more widespread prosperity.

  • Cheap and abundant energy sources reduce the entry costs of building a business. Minimal taxation that seeks neither to confiscate wealth nor to punish successful innovation produces an endless supply of creative talents and energies. Limited regulation keeps the costs of market transactions low. Respect for private property and fair and impartial application of commercial laws encourage capital investment. Refraining from taxing the fruits of an individual's labor fosters an exponentially more productive labor force. Providing populations with the tools to pursue and obtain knowledge and skills at minimal expense promotes not only an educated workforce but also politically competent citizens.

  • Math, science, history, and philosophy have been watered-down to make room for ideological fluff often meant to divide students against each other. The combined and natural effect of all this government-sponsored malfeasance has been that intergenerational social mobility in the United States, once impressively robust, has absolutely plummeted.

  • Who benefits when the most basic foundations for creating prosperity are denied to the majority of citizens? Well, those in power benefit because, by rigging the system in their favor and institutionalizing destructive habits, very few people who might challenge their dominion ever rise high enough to do so. The plutocracy wins. The insular and selfish cabal of wealthy elites who populate the World Economic Forum ultimately win. The vast majority of Western citizens, however, lose substantially... over and over again.

It is no secret that money influences politics, no matter how profusely politicians may assert their civic independence from the lobbyists and benefactors filling their campaign war chests. (Image source: iStock)

A previous essay highlighted the serious threats posed by the World Economic Forum's "Great Reset" to individual liberty, human innovation, and general prosperity. It is important to expand discussion of these threats by examining the inherent dangers to free nations when so much wealth is concentrated in the hands of so few.

No matter how noble its stated intentions, the "Great Reset" is at its heart a program for driving political power away from individual citizens and toward the controlling interests of a small international class of financial elites. This shift in society's balance of power has fundamentally changed the relationship between Western citizens and their national governments. For citizens to reclaim power, they must not only embrace the basics of free markets once again but also rekindle a fondness for questioning the motivations of political authorities.

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Christians 'Face Routine Torture' in Afghanistan

by Raymond Ibrahim  •  September 18, 2022 at 4:30 am

  • According to the World Watch List 2022, which ranks the 50 nations where Christians are most persecuted for their faith, Afghanistan is now the worst nation in the world in which to be Christian.

  • "Beatings, torture and kidnappings are routine for Christians in Afghanistan.... Christians are martyred every year in Afghanistan, but their deaths generally occur without public knowledge. A few are also in prison... Christian converts from Islam are often killed by family members or other radicalized Muslims before any legal proceedings can begin." — The Voice of the Martyrs, 2022.

  • Because Muslims tend to conflate Christians with the West in general, and America in particular — based on the popular but erroneous belief among Muslims that the West and America are still Christian — Afghan Christians were especially targeted after the U.S. invasion as a form of "collective punishment."

  • Western leadership, for its part, is extremely careful not to show any concern for Christian minorities—a sentiment that goes hand in hand with Western acquiescence to Islamic sensibilities. If anything, Western leaders are more prone to turn a blind eye to, if not actively discriminate against, already persecuted Christians—as was the case with the UN and the UK, and the US during the Obama administration.

  • [H]ere are the weak and vulnerable, altruistically risking their lives for what they at least believe is the good of their fellow man, while many of the world's rich and powerful, who habitually preach about "human rights" and "religious freedom" — at least when it suits their agendas, for example, by creating racial divisions in the U.S., demonizing Israel, or covering up for Islamist radicalization — have seemingly done everything possible to worsen their situation.

According to the World Watch List 2022, which ranks the 50 nations where Christians are most persecuted for their faith, Afghanistan is now the worst nation in the world in which to be Christian. (Image source: iStock)

The estimated 15,000-20,000 Christians who remain in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover "face routine torture and persecution from both the government and their own friends, families and communities," according to a new report.

This is not a new development. From the start on August 15, 2021, matters significantly worsened for Christians when the Biden administration abruptly surrendered Afghanistan to the Taliban. The poorly-planned defeat of U.S. troops caused the Central Asian nation to fall right back into the grips of the Taliban, one of the Islamic terrorist groups complicit in the 9/11 attacks on the U.S.

During the chaos of withdrawal, there were reports that the Biden administration was actively preventing the rescue of Christian minorities from what has since become the sharia-enforcing Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

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Why is Tehran Beating the War Drum?

by Amir Taheri  •  September 18, 2022 at 4:00 am

  • By publicly announcing that an attack on Tel Aviv and Haifa is being planned, Heydari gives Israel a reason to claim "the right of self-defense" or "preventive war" if and when it decides to take military action against the Islamic Republic.

  • He says that Arash-2 is capable of covering the estimated 1,100 kilometers distance between a launching pad close to the Iran-Iraq border and Tel Aviv in 90 minutes, long enough for Israel's anti-missile defense network "the Iron Dome" to destroy it over Syria or Lebanon.

  • Did part of the Khomeinist establishment write the Heydari puppet-show script to derail President Joe Biden's efforts to undo Donald Trump's policy on Iran? Is the same faction not aware of the fact that there is and will not be Iranian popular support for any war based on purely ideological grounds?

  • Or is the beating of war drums a ploy to divert attention from the regime's economic, diplomatic and social failures?

  • Do the two generals think they can provoke a major war in the Middle East without any reaction from other nations whose security would be affected by a regional war?

  • The far more important question is whether or not the Khomeinist leadership has thought through the scale and the consequences of a direct attack on Israel and assumes that there would be no retaliation.....?

By publicly announcing that an attack on Tel Aviv and Haifa is being planned, Iranian Land Forces Commander Brigadier-General Kioumars Heydari (pictured) gives Israel a reason to claim "the right of self-defense" or "preventive war" if and when it decides to take military action against the Islamic Republic. (Image source: Fars News)

In Iranian mythology, partly reflected in Ferdowsi's Shahnameh, the national epic, the advice given to young men who aspire to become great warriors is to never reveal their strategy and avoid boastful talk. Rustam, Gudarz, Geeve, Bahman and other heroes of Iranian epic are never seen spilling the beans about war plans or boasting about wiping the enemy off the face of the earth.

In ancient Iranian mythology, empty boast becomes a curse ("fogor") that dooms the bravest of fighters ("yalan") to defeat.

More than four decades after the Khomeinist revolution started to steer Iran away from its national heritage and, in the words of the former Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad-Javad Zarif, "choose to live in a different way", that lesson seems to have been forgotten.

The old advice was "Two hundred talks are no better than one half action!"

The aspirant heroes of the "Islamic Revolution", however, are champions of boastful garrulity.

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Thanks to the Biden Administration's and EU's Appeasement, Iran's Mullahs Go Big on Cyberattacks

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  September 17, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • The small country of Albania appeared to have more courage and stronger leadership than the Biden administration: it recently sent a strong message to the Iranian regime after Iran's cyberattacks against Albania in July. Albania severed diplomatic relations with Tehran and ordered Iranian diplomats and embassy staff to leave within 24 hours.

  • "This extreme response... is fully proportionate to the gravity and risk of the cyberattack that threatened to paralyze public services, erase digital systems and hack into state records, steal government intranet electronic communication and stir chaos and insecurity in the country". — Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, Reuters, September 7, 2022.

  • "The IRGC clearly makes the country one of the best and most advanced nations when it comes to cyberwarfare. In a case of escalation between Iran and the West, Iran will likely aim to launch a cyberattack against critical infrastructures in the US and its allies, (targeting) energy infrastructure, financial institutions and transportation systems." — Institute for National Security Studies.

  • Cyber warfare could have consequences at least as severe as military actions: cyberattacks can take control of or disrupt an entire nation's infrastructure -- public services, hospitals, transportation, internet, municipal or governmental institutions, the energy sector, steal people's private information, take control of another country's missiles, unmanned vehicles (drones), and even its military's intelligence, command, control and communications.

  • That is just what the West needs: the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism and cyberattacker extraordinaire, soon to have an unlimited quantity of nuclear weapons, precision ballistic missiles to deliver them, and up to a trillion dollars – and in a deal negotiated by -- of all countries -- Russia! And the US government seriously thinks that this mix will prevent war? Let us instead follow the example of spunky Albania, punish bad behavior rather than reward it, and make sure that Biden's atrocious new "Iran deal," reportedly "off the table at least for the time being," is off the table forever.

The small country of Albania appeared to have more courage and stronger leadership than the Biden administration: it recently sent a strong message to the Iranian regime after Iran's cyberattacks against Albania in July. Albania severed diplomatic relations with Tehran and ordered Iranian diplomats and embassy staff to leave within 24 hours. Pictured: A police officer stands guard outside the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Tirana on September 7, 2022. (Photo by Gent Shkullaku/AFP via Getty Images)

Not only is the Biden administration is turning a blind eye to the Iranian regime's terror activities and plots abroad, it has also been completely silent about the mullahs' escalating cyberattacks.

The small country of Albania appeared to have more courage and stronger leadership than the Biden administration: it recently sent a strong message to the Iranian regime after Iran's cyberattacks against Albania in July. Albania severed diplomatic relations with Tehran and ordered Iranian diplomats and embassy staff to leave within 24 hours. Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama stated in a video:

"The in-depth investigation provided us with indisputable evidence that the cyberattack against our country was orchestrated and sponsored by the Islamic Republic of Iran through the engagement of four groups that enacted the aggression...

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Europe's Energy Crisis

by Pete Hoekstra  •  September 16, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • In response to Russia severely restricting or cutting off gas supplies, EU governments will take dramatic actions over the coming months. Germany recently announced it would keep two of the nuclear plants it was shuttering as backups, just in case. EU leaders will then go back to the voters and describe the amazing job they did while failing to mention they were the ones who made the decisions that put their countries in this crisis in the first place.

  • The entire current crisis was avoidable if the EU had developed a rational plan instead of one based on a daydream, no matter how enticing.

  • The U.S. needs urgently to examine what is happening in Europe and develop a rational energy transition plan. Any long-term solution must include strategies for reliable power production, affordable sustainable energy and a massively strengthened electrical grid.

  • Europe's plan was built on the hope that consumers would accept higher prices, that Russia and Putin would be reliable, and that battery storage technology would be robust enough to cover the times when "the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine."

  • This strategy, sadly always doomed to failure, provides a cautionary tale for "solutions" based solely on hope.

  • The U.S. should not repeat the same mistakes as the EU by continuing down a path that cuts domestic fossil fuel production, bans gasoline-powered vehicles, and ignores that the power generation capacity and energy infrastructure are not in place to achieve an unrealistic and unfortunately unsustainable green agenda.

In response to Russia severely restricting or cutting off gas supplies, EU governments will take dramatic actions over the coming months. Germany recently announced it would keep two of the nuclear plants it was shuttering as backups, just in case. Pictured: The Neckarwestheim nuclear power plant, one of two that the German government plans to allow to continue running as a backup. (Photo by Thomas Niedermueller/Getty Images)

Europe is facing a growing energy crisis. Individuals and industries are being battered by rising energy costs. On August 31, Russia shut down the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline to Germany for initially what was supposed to be 72 hours, but followed by an announcement of "technical difficulties" that would prevent a resumption. Russian energy giant Gazprom also announced that natural gas supplies to French energy company Engie SA would be immediately reduced. These actions have created significant uncertainty and the threat of much higher energy prices in Europe as the cold winter season approaches.

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Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Terrorists
Peace Means Killing More Jews

by Bassam Tawil  •  September 15, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • One thing is for sure. Abbas will not tell his audience at the UN that members of his ruling Fatah faction are running wild in the West Bank, where they are carrying out terrorist attacks against Palestinian activists and Palestinian journalists as well as Israelis on an almost daily basis.

  • Abu Jildeh and al-Nabulsi are among several Fatah terrorists killed or apprehended in recent weeks. These terrorists belong to the Palestinian faction that is often described by Westerners as a "moderate" group. The commander of these terrorists is none other than Mahmoud Abbas, who, in addition to his role as Palestinian Authority president, is also chairman of Fatah.

  • Abbas's terrorists, carrying various types of guns and explosive devices, are roaming the streets of the two cities and openly declaring their support for terrorism.

  • The terrorists are mostly associated with Fatah's armed group, Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Another Fatah-affiliated group that recently emerged on the streets of Nablus calls itself the Lion's Den.

  • The Fatah terrorists have carried out several attacks against both Palestinians and Israelis over the past few months. Many of the terrorists are also known to cooperate with the Iranian-backed Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) Islamist terror groups.

  • The Aqsa Martyrs Brigades even boasted of the terrorist attacks in a statement. The group also vowed to continue the terror attacks.

  • Abbas and the Fatah leadership continue to glorify the terrorists. Abbas, in addition, has refused to rein in or disarm the terrorists.

  • So far as Abbas and other Palestinian leaders are concerned, Palestinian lawyers, journalists and activists who seek freedom, as well as Jews. should just lie back and accept the daily terrorist attacks against them. Abbas cries "terrorism" only if Israel kills or captures a terrorist.

  • This is the same Abbas who will appear at the UN General Assembly soon to again play the role of victim and accuse Israel of "genocide" and "ethnic cleansing." Since he came to power in 2005, Abbas has made it a habit to lie to the UN and other international parties.

  • Meanwhile, Abbas knows full well that his incitement against Israel has been so effective, that if he ever did make peace with Israel, his own people would execute him for being a traitor.

  • Abbas, of course, will not mention the Fatah terrorists during his upcoming speech at the UN. He will also not talk about the rampant corruption in his government and the failure of the Palestinian security forces to carry out their duty to enforce law and order and prevent terrorism.

  • The UN member states should prepare themselves for another Abbas list of lies and libels, assigning blame to everyone but himself for the ongoing bloodshed. It would be helpful if one of the member states' representatives interrupted Abbas's litany to inquire about the role of his loyalists in terrorism and how it is that he continues to praise terrorists while claiming that the Palestinians supposedly seek peace.

When Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the UN General Assembly in New York later this month, he will not tell his audience that members of his ruling Fatah faction are running wild in the West Bank, where they are carrying out terrorist attacks against Palestinian activists and journalists, as well as Israelis, on an almost daily basis. Pictured: Abbas delivers a speech at the UN on September 27, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

As Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas prepares to address the United Nations General Assembly in New York later this month, there are increased signs that his loyalists are engaged in terrorist attacks against Israel.

As he has done in the past, Abbas will undoubtedly again use the UN podium to affirm his keenness for making peace with Israel and his opposition to terrorism and violence. Needless to say, he is also expected to exploit the international platform to spew more incitement, lies and blood libels against Israel and Jews.

One thing is for sure. Abbas will not tell his audience at the UN that members of his ruling Fatah faction are running wild in the West Bank, where they are carrying out terrorist attacks against Palestinian activists and Palestinian journalists as well as Israelis on an almost daily basis. These terrorists, who are loyal to Abbas, are operating in the northern West Bank, specifically the Palestinian cities of Jenin and Nablus.

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China's Commentary on Mistakes of Gorbachev to Make Sure the Chinese Communist Party Endures

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  September 15, 2022 at 4:00 am

  • Social commentary by Chinese Communist Party organs continue to urge members to be vigilant against the West's strategy of "peaceful evolution," meaning the eventual adoption by the Party of reforms that might sap it of its revolutionary aggressive stance against liberal democracies.

  • Under Xi's tutelage, the CCP strengthened its role in the life of the ordinary Chinese citizen. President Xi galvanized CCP bureaucrats to accelerate a mass migration of China's rural peasantry to urbanized environments. Consequently, tens of millions of Chinese were forced to learn new skills in manufacturing jobs. This transformation helped lift many out of abject poverty, thereby expanding China's middle class as well as the domestic market for Chinese goods. The urbanization process also helped the CCP to better control China's huge population by concentrating people in cities.

  • The USSR had failed to improve the quality of life of the Soviet citizenry. CCP leaders possibly reasoned that, because of this failure, Soviet citizens began to challenge Communist rule.... As openness became the norm, people in the USSR quickly saw that citizens in Western countries had freer and more comfortable lives.

  • Instead of imitating Gorbachev's "Glasnost" (political openness) China constructed the "Great Firewall" which filters all traffic on the Chinese Internet. Chinese authorities also ban the citizenry access to Facebook and Wikipedia.

  • China conducts its diplomatic relations even with foreign countries strictly on a transactional business basis. The CCP did not seek to export its revolution violently, as did Iran. Beijing also refused to allow its few allies, such as Pakistan, to drain its national resources. That was another self-inflicted burden that Moscow shouldered: its burden of bankrupt colonies in Eastern Europe.

  • China, instead, is offering its own model of governance -- a one-party system, tight control, a controlled economy, social stability rather than individual freedoms, internet control, and "to protect the dominant role of the CPC" -- to the world as a viable alternative to the American system.... China remains resolute in its campaigns against any movement that might possess the energy to compete with the CCP, whether the Falun Gong movement or Christianity.

  • China's leaders apparently still worry, otherwise they would not be investing such enormous resources in domestic espionage and repressing their own people.

China remains resolute in its campaigns against any movement that might possess the energy to compete with the Chinese Communist Party. China's leaders invest enormous resources in domestic espionage and repressing their own people. Pictured: China's President Xi Jinping (standing in vehicle) inspects People's Liberation Army soldiers at a military base in Hong Kong on June 30, 2017. (Photo by Dale de la Rey/AFP via Getty Images)

Chinese Communist Party (CCP) commentators reacting to the death of Mikhail Gorbachev blamed the former Soviet leader for the demise of the Soviet Union. Hu Xijin, former editor of the CCP's Global Times, wrote that Gorbachev garnered praise in the West "by selling out the interests of his homeland." Xiang Ligang, a hardline journalist on international relations, claimed that Gorbachev was responsible for the war in Ukraine and unspecified disasters to follow. State controlled academia echoed similar themes. Beijing-based Renmin University Political Science Professor Shi Yinhong said: "The Chinese Communist Party is very critical of [Gorbachev], believing that he betrayed the Soviet Union."

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