Latest Analysis and Commentary

Newsflash: Jerusalem Not on Fire!

by Bassam Tawil  •  December 10, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • "More journalists than protesters..." — Björn Stritzel, German journalist.

  • Protests against Israel and the US are not uncommon on the streets of Ramallah, Hebron and Bethlehem. But for the "war correspondents," there is nothing more exciting than standing behind burning tires and stone throwers and reporting from the heart of the "clashes." Such scenes make the journalists look as if they are in the middle of a battlefield and are risking their lives to bring the story home to their viewers. They might even receive an award for their "courageous" reporting from danger zones!

  • Jerusalem is tense, and has long been so, because the Palestinians have not yet managed to come to terms with Israel's right to exist. That is the real story. The Palestinians rage and rage for only one reason: because Israel exists. Put that in a story and publish it.

A Palestinian man uses a slingshot to hurl stones at Israeli border police near Ramallah, on December 9, 2017. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The Palestinians declared a three-day-long "rage" spree over US President Donald Trump's announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Thus far, however, it seems that the real anger is showing up in the international media, not on the Palestinian street.

Question: How many foreign journalists does it take to cover the Palestinian reaction to Trump's announcement? Answer: As many as the Israel-Palestinian-conflict-obsessed-West can manage to send.

The massive presence of the international media in Jerusalem and the West Bank has taken even the Palestinians by surprise. Since Trump's announcement on December 6, dozens of additional journalists and camera crews have converged on Israel to cover "the big story."

The American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem, once a favorite haunt of international reporters, is once again packed with journalists from around the world.

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Why Did Islamic State Kill So Many Sufis in Sinai?

by Denis MacEoin  •  December 10, 2017 at 4:30 am

  • A 2007 report by the Rand Corporation advised Western governments to "harness" Sufism, saying its adherents were "natural allies of the West."

  • In the end, the Sufi parties are outnumbered by those of their Salafi opponents, meaning that the brotherhoods and the wider Sufi-oriented public must look to the state for protection. In that context, it is important to stress that the massacre in Sinai was not simply another Islamic State attack on people it considered heretics (effectively, in their interpretation of Shari'a law, non-believers), but an assault on everyday mainstream Islam in Egypt, a declaration of apostasy for the vast majority of Egyptian Muslims.

The head of Cairo's al-Azhar University, regarded as the most important Sunni institution of religious authority and Islamic law in the world, is always a Sufi shaykh. To most Egyptians, Sufism is a part of everyday life. Pictured: Shaykh Ahmad Al-Tayeb, the current Grand Imam of al-Azhar and former president of al-Azhar University. (Photo by Steffi Loos/Getty Images)

The massive November 24 terrorist attack by Islamic State on a Sufi mosque in a town of little importance, Bir al-Abd, in northern Sinai, resounded across the world. Despite the presence of members of the security services, the al-Rawda mosque also serves as the local headquarters of a prominent Sufi Brotherhood founded by the local al-Jarir clan, a branch of the powerful Al-Sawarkah tribe. The number of dead, somewhat over 300, were shockingly high, yet not higher than the tolls in two earlier Islamic State massacres. In 2014, IS fighters killed 700 men of the Shu'aytat tribe in Dayr al-Zur. "Over a three-day period, vengeful fighters shelled, beheaded, crucified and shot hundreds of members of the Shaitat tribe after they dared to rise up against the extremists." In 2016, a series of bombings in Karrada, a Shi'i district of Baghdad, took some 347 lives.

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The Mullahs Overplay the Military Card

by Amir Taheri  •  December 10, 2017 at 4:00 am

Iranian "Supreme Guide" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meets with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on June 22, 2016. (Image source: Khamenei.ir)

Faced with mounting domestic problems and diplomatic isolation to prolong its hold on power the leadership in Tehran is increasingly depending on the military establishment. Highlighting this growing dependence is the "Supreme Guide" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who has held conclaves with the military chiefs on three occasions in less than a month during which signs of the military's ascendancy within the regime's power structures have multiplied.

One sign was Khamenei's decision to ask the newly appointed Chief of Staff General Muhammad Hussein Baqeri to take over the key issues of cooperation with Russia and Turkey over Syria to the exclusion of President Hassan Rouhani and his administration. Baqeri has also launched an ambitious project for the creation of a de facto military alliance with Turkey, Iraq and Pakistan, with Russia as an outsider-supporter, in direct contradiction to Rouhani's repeatedly asserted hope of accommodation with Western powers.

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Welcome to the Hell Hole that is Brussels

by Drieu Godefridi  •  December 9, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • Last month alone in Brussels, there were three separate outbreaks of rioting and looting on a major scale.

  • If you penetrate the thick cloud of professional indignation to scrutinize the reality of the "capital of Europe", what you see in many respects is actually a hell hole, one where socialism, Islamism, riots and looting are the new normal.

Riot police, backed by a water cannon, attempt to push back rioters in the center of Brussels, Belgium, on November 12. Hundreds of "youths" of foreign origin "celebrated" the World Cup qualification of Morocco's soccer team by rioting and injuring 22 police officers. (Image source: Ruptly video screenshot)

When then-candidate Donald Trump noted in January 2016 that, thanks to mass immigration, Brussels was turning into a hell hole, Belgian and European politicians presented a united front at the (media) barricades: How dare he say such a thing? Brussels, capital of the European Union, the very quintessence of the post-modern world, the avant-garde of the coming new "global civilization," a hell hole? Of course assimilating newcomers is not always easy, and there may be friction from time to time. But never mind, they said: Trump is a buffoon, and anyway, he has zero chance of getting elected. Such were the thoughts of those avid readers of The New York Times International Edition and regular watchers of CNN International.

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Violence Should Not Determine Policy

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  December 8, 2017 at 7:00 pm

  • Violence should be responded to by police and military action, not by giving in to the unreasonable demands of those who use violence as a tactic.

  • The reason violence — whether rock-throwing or more lethal forms of terrorism — is used is because it works... as a way to extort concessions from the world. And it works because policy makers often make or refrain from making controversial decisions based on the fear of violent reactions.

  • Now just imagine what will happen if peace negotiations are commenced and both sides have to compromise. Israel's comprises will be met with law suits, political pushback and possibly resistance from some settlers who will have to be uprooted....

  • Palestinian compromises will be met with street violence, terrorism and assassinations. That has long been the modus operandi of Palestinian leaders and dissidents.

  • A clear message must be sent now to these leaders and dissenters: violence will not be rewarded or tolerated. It will be responded to not with policy changes but with police and military action.

Violent Palestinian protests near Ramallah. Policy-makers should not submit to this tactic of extortion. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Many who are opposed to President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital point to the call for violence by Hamas and the scattered violence on the West Bank as evidence that Trump was wrong. But violence should never influence US policy. The leaders of Hamas and other Palestinian groups use violence as a deliberate tactic to get their way. If policy-makers allow this tactic to deter them from doing the right thing, it will only incentivize the opponents of a peaceful resolution of the conflict to threaten and employ violence every time they do not get what they want. Violence should be responded to by police and military action, not by giving in to the unreasonable demands of those who use violence as a tactic.

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Islamist Regimes Take Over UNESCO

by Giulio Meotti  •  December 8, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • The UN agency is currently dominated by the most oppressive regimes on education and culture. There is China, which recently let writer, poet and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo die an agonizing death in prison, where he was serving an 11-year jail sentence for his support of human rights and democracy. Then there is Iran, where a dean of journalism, Siamak Pourzand, committed suicide to avoid more persecution by the regime.

  • "UNESCO has been hijacked and abused as a tool for the persecution of Israel and the Jewish people, while concocting fake facts and fake history, meant to... rewrite global history." — Carmel Shama Hacohen, Israel's ambassador to UNESCO.

  • If UNESCO is really serious about reforming itself, it should immediately issue a statement against the Islamization of Turkey's Hagia Sophia Cathedral, a UN World Heritage Site.

Irina Bokova, then Director-General of UNESCO, is pictured speaking at China's official Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, on May 14, 2017. Two months later, the Chinese government let writer, poet and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo die an agonizing death in prison, where he was serving an 11-year jail sentence for his support of human rights and democracy. (Photo by Mark Schiefelbein - Pool/Getty Images)

Hit by the departure of the United States and Israel, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recently welcomed its new Director-General, former French Minister of Culture Audrey Azoulay. Those who care about cultural diversity and Western civilization hailed her election, because the representative of Qatar's Islamist regime had come close to winning UNESCO's leadership race. But the real problem is that UNESCO has been abandoned to Islamist dictatorships. A battle to save the organization has begun.

Among the critics of UNESCO there is a tendency to dismiss this agency as "irrelevant". Yet, so long as UNESCO exists, the West cannot allow repressive regimes to dominate the world's highest body supposedly in charge of culture, science and education. Richard Hoggart, the British scholar who served as UNESCO's assistant director general from 1970 to 1977, once asked: "Should Unesco Survive?".

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The Real Palestinian Response to Trump's Jerusalem Speech

by Bassam Tawil  •  December 7, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • By misrepresenting the poster burning "ceremony" as a reflection of widespread Palestinian rage concerning Trump's policy on Jerusalem, the international media is once again complicit in promoting the propaganda of Palestinian spin doctors. The journalists, including photographers and camera crews, have been handed detailed schedules of events that will take place in different parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

  • When we sit in our living rooms and watch the news coming out of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, let us ask ourselves: How many of these "events" are, in fact, media burlesques? Why are journalists allowing themselves to be duped by the Palestinian propaganda machine, which spews hatred and violence from morning until night?

  • It is high time for some self-reflection on the part of the media: Do they really wish to continue serving as a mouthpiece for those Arabs and Muslims who intimidate and terrorize the West?

  • The "rivers of blood" we are being promised are flowing as we speak. Yet, it is the knife that Arabs and Muslims take to one another's throats that is the source of this crimson current, not some statement made by a US president. Perhaps that could finally be an event worth covering by the roving reporters of the region?

The handful of Palestinians in Bethlehem who were filmed burning pictures of U.S. President Donald Trump on December 6 were made by the media to look as if they were part of a mass protest sweeping Palestinian communities. (Image source: CBS News video screenshot)

A short three hours after US President Donald Trump phoned Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas to inform him of his intention to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a number of Palestinian photojournalists received a phone call from Bethlehem.

The callers were Palestinian "activists," who invited the photographers to come to the city to document an "important event." When the photographers arrived, they discovered that the "important event" was a handful of Palestinian "activists" who wanted to burn posters of Trump in front of the cameras.

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Homeless Swedes Out in the Cold

by Bruce Bawer  •  December 7, 2017 at 4:30 am

  • One reason there are so many immigrants in Sweden, both legal and illegal, is that the country's welfare system is a bonanza for foreigners. Far from not being covered by the system, immigrants often enjoy preferential treatment

  • These Swedes should not be sleeping on the streets. The Scandinavian welfare states were founded on a compact between the citizens and their government: the people would pay outrageously high taxes, and in return their government would guarantee them a magnificent safety net should they get sick or get fired. But ever since these countries chose to open their doors to mass Muslim immigration, that compact has been broken.

  • A state-employed paper-pusher who gives citizens something for which they have already paid can hardly feel particularly virtuous, whereas handing out free stuff to aliens who have done absolutely nothing to deserve it can make that same government paper-pusher feel like a world-class Good Samaritan.

  • Even more shattering is that millions of those Scandinavian citizens accept it. Marinated from birth in multiculturalism, millions of them dare not demand what they have coming to them -- what they have paid for, what they deserve -- lest they be viewed by others, and even by themselves, as bigots.

A man begs on the street in Lund, Sweden, July 23, 2013. (Image source: Sigfrid Lundberg/Flickr)

The other day, I reported about the Church of Sweden's strenuous efforts to appease Islam. Now comes the news that from December 15 to March 15, churches in the diocese of Gothenburg will be used at night as shelters for the homeless. Lovely idea. But there is a catch. The only homeless people who will be allowed in are foreigners -- either immigrants from elsewhere in the EU, who are by definition legal, or illegal immigrants from outside the EU. In other words, native Swedes need not apply, even though the initiative is being paid for by taxpayer money.

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Why Trump Is Right in Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's Capital

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  December 7, 2017 at 4:00 am

President Donald Trump displays the signed "Presidential Proclamation Recognizing Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Israel and Relocating the United States Embassy to Israel to Jerusalem," on December 6, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Image source: White House video screenshot)

President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital is a perfect response to President Obama's benighted decision to change American policy by engineering the United Nations Security Council Resolution declaring Judaism's holiest places in Jerusalem to be occupied territory and a "flagrant violation under international law." It was President Obama who changed the status quo and made peace more difficult, by handing the Palestinians enormous leverage in future negotiations and disincentivizing them from making a compromised peace.

It had long been American foreign policy to veto any one-sided Security Council resolutions that declared Judaism's holiest places to be illegally occupied. Obama's decision to change that policy was not based on American interests or in the interests of peace. It was done out of personal revenge against Prime Minister Netanyahu and an act of pique by the outgoing president.

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A Two State Solution for Europe?

by Judith Bergman  •  December 6, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • A poll conducted this summer found that 29% of French Muslims found Sharia to be more important to them than French laws. It also found that 67% of Muslims want their children to study Arabic, and 56% think it should be taught in public schools.

  • A 2016 UK poll showed that 43% of British Muslims "believed that parts of the Islamic legal system should replace British law while only 22 per cent opposed the idea". Another poll from 2016 found that 23% of all Muslims supported the introduction of sharia law in some areas of Britain, 39% agreed that "wives should always obey their husbands," and 52% of all British Muslims believe that homosexuality should be illegal.

  • French President Emmanuel Macron blamed France, not Islam, for the increased radicalization, which he said should lead France to "question itself." According to Macron, then, the parallel Islamic societies of France, have nothing to do with Islam. They are the fault of the French republic. Did the French republic impose sharia and the subjugation of women in the suburbs, described by one female survivor as "hell"? Was the French republic behind the recent distribution of leaflets stipulating "if you meet a Jew, kill him"?

Riot police muster in the northern Paris suburb of Villiers-le-Bel, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

A French intellectual, Christian Moliner, recently suggested that France should establish a Muslim state-within-a-state that adheres to sharia law, inside the borders of France, to avoid a civil war. Warning against refusing to deal with the problems of Islamism in Europe because of political correctness, he stated:

"Out of the fear of appearing Islamophobic, to satisfy this bustling fringe of Muslims, governments are ready to accept the spread of radical practices throughout the country.... [some] territories are outside the control of the Republic. The police can come only in force and for limited durations... We can never convert the 30% of Muslims who demand the introduction of sharia law to the merits of our democracy and secularism. We are now allowing segregation to take place that does not say its name."

Moliner's solution?

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Turkey: Laundering Billions for Iran

by Burak Bekdil  •  December 6, 2017 at 4:30 am

  • In one audio recording, Erdogan was heard ordering his son to get rid of all the cash he kept at home; and his son, after trying for several hours, tells him there are still millions left. Erdogan denied the authenticity of the evidence and claimed this was a coup d'état against his elected administration. He then purged all prosecutors and police officers investigating the charges.

  • Zarrab's testimony as a witness, as well as documents displayed at trial "would show that this conspiracy to launder money for Iran was not a rogue operation. It would show the Turkish government at its very highest level understood what was going on -- and approved of it." — Nate Schenkkan, Freedom House, USA.

  • "Former and current opposition figures already face prosecution and threats should they help publicize corruption allegations against Erdogan. The potential conviction of Turkish government officials plays to Erdogan's growing anti-Western rhetoric. It serves as further evidence, for Erdogan and his supporters, that the West will not tolerate promising, strong leaders who pursue independent foreign policies. This perception feeds popular narratives that Islamists in Turkey and elsewhere hold about Western or American policies in the region. It also resonates well with extremely high levels of popular anti-Americanism in Turkey." — A. Kadir Yildirim, research scholar, Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

A number of high-profile investigations developing on American soil are threatening Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's legitimacy while he resorts to the tactic he knows best: spin global conspiracy theories to influence voter behavior in a country where the average schooling is a mere 6.5 years. (Photo by Elif Sogut/Getty Images)

"He has a strong paranoid orientation. He is ready for retaliation and, not without reason, sees himself as surrounded by enemies. But he ignores his role in creating those enemies, and righteously threatens his targets. The conspiracy theories he spins are not merely for popular consumption in the Arab world, but genuinely reflect his paranoid mindset. He is convinced that the United States, Israel and Iran have been in league for the purpose of eliminating him, and finds a persuasive chain of evidence for this conclusion."

Explaining Saddam Hussein: A Psychological Profile, by Dr. Jerrold M. Post, presented to the House Armed Services Committee, December 1990.

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Is Saudi Arabia Key to America's Mideast Strategy?

by Peter Huessy  •  December 6, 2017 at 4:00 am

  • "Message: The appeasement of Iran is over." — Charles Krauthammer.

  • "If Saudi Arabia is genuine in its declared desire to become an active member of the global system, the first thing it has to do is to offer the rule of law in the sense understood by most people around the world." — Amir Taheri, journalist.

  • "Here's my strategy... we win, they lose." — U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Let us hope that Saudi Arabia will be part of that strategy, and not an obstacle to it.

U.S. President Donald Trump talks with Saudi Arabia's King Salman in Riyadh, May 20, 2017. (Image source: White House/Shealah Craighead)

In early November, Houthi rebels in Yemen, backed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, launched a missile strike targeting the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Although the missile, like more than 100 others launched at Saudi Arabia from Yemen over the past two years, was intercepted, and no casualties were incurred, the incident served as yet another reminder of Tehran's aggression and hegemonic ambitions in the Middle East, through proxy terrorist organizations. The Houthis are but one example; al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah are others.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, U.S. President Donald Trump telephoned Saudi King Salman to repeat the importance of fighting terrorism in the region and the world -- the stated purpose of the joint American-Saudi Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology, which the two leaders inaugurated in Riyadh in May, at a gathering of representatives from 50 Islamic nations.

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France: Islamism in the Heart of the State

by Yves Mamou  •  December 5, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • On all questions dedicated to immigration and Islam, France's Council of State has become an Islamo-leftist body, dedicated to encouraging Muslim immigration and protecting the expansion of Islam and Islamism in France.

  • The government wanted to expel foreign workers immediately after the cancellation of their work permit. Due to the Council of State, deportation was delayed by 24 hours, enough time to allow them to escape and become permanent illegal immigrants.

  • Maybe the elites are looking for "redemption" after France colonized parts of Africa. They are forgetting, however, that it was Muslims who colonized the Middle East, the Christian Byzantine Empire, North Africa, Greece, much of Eastern Europe and Asia, Northern Cyprus and Spain.

On all questions dedicated to immigration and Islam, France's Council of State (Conseil d'État) has become an Islamo-leftist body, dedicated to encouraging Muslim immigration and protecting the expansion of Islam and Islamism in France. (Image source: Lino Bento/Flickr)

On October 25, 2017, the highest French administrative court, the Council of State (Conseil d'État), ordered the removal of a Roman Catholic cross from the top of a monument dedicated to Pope John Paul II in a public square in Ploërmel, Britanny. According to the France's highest administrative court, this cross was said to violate the secular nature of the State. Not the statue of the ex-pope John Paul II by itself; just the cross above it.

Social media, in France and abroad -- especially in Poland where John Paul II was born -- flew into an immediate uproar: How could the government of a country considered the "eldest daughter of the Catholic church" ask for the removal of a Catholic cross in a tiny village that nobody even knew about before this incident?

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UK: Perversions of Justice
Emboldening Muslim Pedophiles, Discrediting Law Enforcers

by Khadija Khan  •  December 5, 2017 at 4:30 am

  • That the British government turned on the chief executive of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, Nazir Afzal -- a pioneer of the campaign to rescue under-aged girls from the drugging, torture and rape of violent criminals -- is beyond shocking.

  • While the British authorities made a concerted effort to sweep the identity of the pedophiles under the carpet, the perpetrators themselves proudly shouted "Allahu Akbar" ("Allah is the greatest") in the courtroom after they were convicted and sentenced.

  • Boys educated by their fathers and radical clerics to view women as chattel would be likely to grow up as misogynists. Accounts from the female family members of some of the convicts in the grooming cases revealed a monstrous hatred for women in general, and non-Muslim women in particular.

  • It is bad enough that women and girls in the Middle East are inferior in the eyes of their families and the law. Yet, for Britain to look the other way, if not sanction, practices that are anathema to a democracy that prides itself on human rights, is a perversion of justice to Britons of all backgrounds, including law-abiding Muslims.

Nazir Afzal was shunned by certain groups of fellow Muslims for his part, as Chief Crown Prosecutor, in bringing the Rochdale "grooming gang" to justice, while openly attributing their misogyny to radical Islam. (Image source: United States Mission Geneva)

The former Manchester police detective who exposed a pedophile ring in Rochdale -- and resigned in 2012 over the failure of the system to bring the perpetrators to justice -- recently broke her silence. She told the British press about the abuse to which she was subjected in her department for attempting to reveal that the perpetrators were Muslim men of Pakistani origin.

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Religious Hate Crimes, USA.: Jews, Not Muslims, Still Key Victims

by A. Z. Mohamed  •  December 5, 2017 at 4:00 am

  • Hate crimes -- defined as those directed at someone "based on his race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity" -- are not only illegal; they are immoral and should not be tolerated.

  • However, we must not allow the dictates of political correctness, according to which "Islamophobia" is the most rampant form of bias in America, to cloud the reality that anti-Semitism is still more widespread.

Prof. Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. (Image source: CNN video screenshot via CSUSB)

In a prepared statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 2, 2017, Prof. Brian Levin -- director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino -- stated, "Hate crime, especially those based on religion, have [sic] increased in recent periods."

Levin, who has dealt extensively with the topic for decades -- analyzing statistics, compiling data and advising American and European policy-makers -- argued that one of the problems involved in tracking hate crimes in the U.S. is that some states do not cooperate in collecting or reporting on the information. Another, he said, is that there is no uniform way in which different bodies (such as the FBI and the Anti-Defamation League) receive and investigate complaints.

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