Latest Analysis and Commentary

Arabs Warn West: Do Not Let Iran Fool You

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  May 5, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • "Those who commit the same mistakes and expect different results are deceiving themselves." — Abdullah bin Bajad Al-Otibi, Saudi writer and researcher, Alarabiya.net, April 19, 2021.

  • After the deal expires in a few years.... Iran may build as many nuclear weapons as it wants. In that sense, the JCPOA deal was a runway to a full-blown nuclear weapons program.

  • "[T]he agreement did not address the Iranian regime's ambitions of hegemony and its blatant interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries through direct and semi-direct occupation in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.... Iran today is targeting Saudi oil and global energy supplies, as well as civilians, as the world is watching." — Abdullah bin Bajad Al-Otibi, Alarabiya.net, April 19, 2021.

  • "All the concessions that the Western powers intend to make to Tehran do not bind anyone in the Middle East, and cannot force Israel or the Arab countries to respect the outcome of the talks in Vienna, especially if these negotiations increase the danger of the Tehran regime to stability and security." — Syrian writer Bahaa Al-Alawam, Al-Ain, April 19, 2021

  • "The truth is that there is a political, military, security and economic Iranian occupation of four Arab countries – Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen." — Former Jordanian Minister of Information and Culture Saleh Al-Kallab, Asharq Al-Awsat, April 15, 2021.

  • This message, directed mainly at the Biden administration, accuses the West of ignoring Iran's ongoing occupation and terrorism in the Arab countries. Evidently, there is a profound fear among Arabs that a revival of the nuclear deal will add fuel to the mullahs' fire and support their slash-and-burn policies of destabilizing Arab countries and promoting terrorism through their proxies, including Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthi militias in Yemen.

Arabs are growing increasingly concerned about Iran's sinister intentions and deception as the Iranians and representatives of Germany, France, Britain, Russia, and China continue their negotiations in Vienna about reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Pictured: Representatives of the EU, Iran and others attend the Iran nuclear talks at the Grand Hotel in Vienna, Austria on April 15, 2021. (Photo by EU Delegation in Vienna via Getty Images)

Arabs are growing increasingly concerned about Iran's sinister intentions and deception as the Iranians and representatives of Germany, France, Britain, Russia, and China continue their negotiations in Vienna about reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which the Trump administration abandoned in 2018.

The deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is ostensibly aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Under the JCPOA, Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98%, and reduce by about two-thirds the number of uranium gas centrifuges for 13 years. After the deal expires in a few years, however, Iran may build as many nuclear weapons as it wants. In that sense, the JCPOA deal was a runway to a full-blown nuclear weapons program.

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France: Generals Warn of Civil War Due to Creeping Islamism

by Soeren Kern  •  May 4, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • The warning comes amid a wave of jihadist attacks — including the beheading of a schoolteacher — committed by young men, none of whom were previously known to French intelligence services. The letter also comes after widespread public indignation over a French justice system compromised by political correctness — as evidenced by the refusal to prosecute an African immigrant from Mali who, while shouting "Allahu Akbar" ("Allah is the Greatest"), killed an elderly Jewish woman by breaking into her home and pushing her off her balcony.

  • "Every Frenchman, whatever his belief or non-belief, should everywhere be at home in continental France [l'Hexagone]; there cannot and must not exist any city or district where the laws of the Republic do not apply." — From an open letter signed by 20 retired generals, a hundred senior officers more than a thousand other members of the French military, April 21, 2021.

  • "What is written in this letter is a reality. When you have a country plagued by urban guerrilla warfare, when you have a very regular and very high terrorist threat, when you have more and more glaring and flagrant inequalities, when you have a part of our patriots who are breaking up from society, we cannot say that the country is doing well." — Rachida Dati, mayor of the 7th arrondissement of Paris and former Justice Minister .

  • "These harmful drifts do not result from a moment of distraction but from a political direction driven by fundamentally corrupting ideological considerations." — Marine Le Pen, French presidential candidate.

  • The open letter and Le Pen's response come amid a spate of at least nine consecutive jihadist attacks in France, all of which were carried out by individuals who were unknown to French intelligence services, and who therefore were not suspected of being radicalized and consequently were not on a jihadist watchlist. The attacks suggest that French authorities have lost control of monitoring Islamic radicals in the country.

Pictured: French President Emmanuel Macron arrives with Chief of the Defense Staff General François Lecointre prior to the annual Bastille Day military ceremony on the Place de la Concorde in Paris, on July 14, 2020. (Photo by Thomas Samson/AFP via Getty Images)

A group of retired generals has warned in an open letter that France is sliding toward a civil war due to the government's failure to control mass migration and creeping Islamism in the country. The letter, which has broad public support, according to polls, also warns against cultural Marxism, runaway multiculturalism and the expansion of no-go zones in France.

The warning comes amid a wave of jihadist attacks — including the beheading of a schoolteacher — committed by young men, none of whom were previously known to French intelligence services. The letter also comes after widespread public indignation over a French justice system compromised by political correctness — as evidenced by the refusal to prosecute an African immigrant from Mali who, while shouting "Allahu Akbar" ("Allah is the Greatest"), killed an elderly Jewish woman by breaking into her home and pushing her off her balcony.

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Iran: Any Sanctions Relief Will be Used Against Americans

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  May 4, 2021 at 4:00 am

  • Iran's economy is state-led. Significant parts of the economy are controlled by just two major entities: the Office of the Supreme Leader, led by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).... The IRGC and its front companies have a stake in almost every sector of Iran's economy such as construction, transportation, telecommunication, banking and insurance....

  • The Supreme Leader and the IRGC will be the first beneficiaries of any extra revenues; they will most likely use additional cash first to strengthen their military apparatuses and guarantee the survival of the Islamic Republic and their positions in it. Increased revenues would also allow the IRGC and the Supreme Leader to crack down more easily on any domestic unrest against their government.

  • The other priority of the regime is to export its revolutionary ideals to other countries....promoting the regime's interests and ideology -- including anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism.

  • The billions of dollars that Iran will gain from the Biden Administration's potential sanctions relief will be directed towards sponsoring terrorism, funding and arming militia and terror groups across the Middle East, harming US national and security interests, undermining US allies, particularly in the Middle East, further advancing the regime's clandestine nuclear program to obtain nuclear weapons, and suppressing the Iranian people by squashing their hopes of establishing a democracy there.

  • Is this what the Biden Administration really wants as its legacy?

The extent to which the Biden administration is willing to go to appease the Iranian regime to revive the 2015 nuclear deal boggles the mind. During the current nuclear negotiations, the Biden administration has reportedly been offering increasing concessions and sanctions relief to the Iranian leaders. "Any return to the JCPOA would require sanctions relief..." said State Department spokesman Ned Price recently. Pictured: Price speaks to reporters during a news briefing in Washington, DC on February 24, 2021. (Photo by Carlos Barria/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

The extent to which the Biden administration is willing to go to appease the Iranian regime to revive the 2015 nuclear deal boggles the mind. During the current nuclear negotiations, the Biden administration has reportedly been offering increasing concessions and sanctions relief to the Iranian leaders.

Not only has the current US administration seemingly been planning a major rollback of nuclear and economic sanctions on Iran, it is also reportedly eyeing lifting non-nuclear sanctions, for instance those linked to terrorism, missile development and human rights. According to the Associated Press:

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China is Trying to Break up the Five Eyes Intelligence Network

by Con Coughlin  •  May 3, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • The survival of the alliance in its current form, though, is under threat after Ms Ardern's administration announced that it was making improved trade relations with Beijing its priority, rather than maintaining its support for Five Eyes.

  • "No matter if they have five eyes or ten eyes, as soon as they dare to harm China's sovereignty, security or development interests, they should be careful lest their eyes be poked blind." — Zhao Lijian, the spokesman for China's foreign minister, BBC, November 19, 2020.

  • New Zealand's naive approach to the threat posed by Beijing not only poses a threat to the future of the alliance itself. There is a distinct possibility that Wellington could find itself being expelled from the alliance over its pro-Beijing stance.

  • As a senior Western intelligence official recently commented about New Zealand's continued membership of the alliance, the country was now "on the edge of viability as a member" of the alliance because of its "supine" attitude to China and its "compromised political system".

  • New Zealand's socialist government may believe that it is a good idea to throw in their lot with China's communist rulers. But by doing so, they risk sacrificing their future to domination by China's despots.

New Zealand's socialist government may believe that it is a good idea to throw in their lot with China's communist rulers. But by doing so, they risk sacrificing their future to domination by China's despots. Pictured: China's President Xi Jinping (right) shakes hands with New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China on April 1, 2019. (Photo by Kenzaburo Fukuhara/AFP via Getty Images)

China is making a deliberate attempt to create divisions within the elite "Five Eyes" intelligence-sharing alliance by forging closer relations with the left-wing government of New Zealand premier Jacinda Ardern.

The Five Eyes alliance, comprising the US, Canada, Britain, Australia and New Zealand, dates back to the Second World War, when a number of key allies decided to share intelligence in their bid to defeat Nazi Germany and Japan.

Today, maintaining intelligence-sharing cooperation between the five Anglophone nations is deemed essential to combating the threat posed by autocratic states, such as Russia and Communist China.

The survival of the alliance in its current form, though, is under threat after Ms Ardern's administration announced that it was making improved trade relations with Beijing its priority, rather than maintaining its support for Five Eyes.

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Biden's Withdrawal from Afghanistan Undermines His Own Global Strategy

by Richard Kemp  •  May 2, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • Far worse than failing to intervene is intervening to fail. The withdrawal from Afghanistan is just that.

  • US allies who have themselves invested huge military and economic resources in Afghanistan fear a Taliban return to power and the blood-bath that would likely accompany it. Their concerns are shared by General Kenneth McKenzie, commander of US CENTCOM, responsible for Afghanistan, who told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week that Afghanistan's forces might well collapse following US withdrawal.

  • Jihadists everywhere would be encouraged and empowered by a perceived US defeat at the hands of the Taliban, which was being trumpeted by Al Qaida within days of Biden's announcement.

  • Biden justified his withdrawal with the need to counter challenges from China and Russia and strengthen democratic allies and partners against autocracy. His actions are likely to have the reverse effect.

  • The abandonment of Afghanistan will long be remembered by countries around the world as they weigh their choices between the US and authoritarian regimes. Already Saudi Arabia has recognised that Biden will not protect them from Iran....

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping says Taiwan must and will be "unified" with China, by force if necessary.... Xi will be... count[ing] the potential cost of moving against the country that he considers his own.

  • As Russian forces massed along the border with Ukraine last month, Xi will also have noticed that Biden cancelled a planned transit of the Black Sea by two US warships after Russia told Washington to stay away....

  • Like a kettle of vultures, Pakistan, Iran, China and Russia will all be circling the Afghan carcass following US withdrawal. Iran, which has long provided weapons, funding and safe haven to the Taliban, has been building its influence with them in recent months. Russia has also helped fund and arm the Taliban — sometimes in collaboration with Iran — to kill Afghan, US and NATO forces in order to challenge the US and increase its own influence in the country.

  • China too has been cooperating with the Taliban.... It also sees influence in Afghanistan as a means to confront New Delhi. Beijing knows that India, as a US ally and democracy, is the only regional power that could play a genuinely constructive role in a future Afghanistan. Xi is not willing to see that happen.

  • Pakistan, in cahoots with China, is also determined to keep India out of Afghanistan. Its Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate created the Taliban and today remains by far the greatest external backer of its campaign against Afghan and international forces. Islamabad sees the country as vital strategic depth in a future conflict with India and intends to hold sway over a future Taliban regime in Kabul.

  • The truth is this is a forever war only in the rhetoric of those who support surrender to the Taliban. The last US combat death there was over a year ago.

  • The net strategic effect of Biden's unconditional withdrawal is shaping up to be the opposite of what his national security strategy seeks to achieve: diminished confidence among allies, increased boldness among adversaries, the vital strategic territory of Afghanistan ceded to anti-democratic autocracies, a destabilised region containing two nuclear powers with associated proliferation risks, a spiralling of the global jihadist threat and massive population displacement.

Jihadists everywhere would be encouraged and empowered by a perceived US defeat at the hands of the Taliban, which was being trumpeted by Al Qaida within days of Biden's withdrawal announcement. Pictured: Security personnel and local residents gather on May 1, 2021 at the site of a car bombing where, in the attack the previous day, at least 24 people were killed and 110 wounded, in Logar province, Afghanistan. (Photo by AFP via Getty Images)

US President Joe Biden's unconditional withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan by September this year has potentially grave and dangerous consequences far wider than that embattled country and is set to undermine the national security strategy he proudly unveiled only days before announcing his pull-out.

In 1982, Admiral Sir Henry Leach, head of the Royal Navy, told Margaret Thatcher that if Britain didn't retake the Falkland Islands when Argentina invaded, "in another few months we shall be living in another country whose word counts for little". He knew that failure to resist a dictator who seized sovereign territory by force would be a green light to such aggression everywhere. The same calculation underpinned President George H. W. Bush's decision to unleash one of the most powerful armies in history following Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

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A Palestinian State: What Would Ben Gurion Have Said?

by Amir Taheri  •  May 2, 2021 at 4:00 am

  • When the decision to hold the elections was first declared, some of us hoped that it would provide an opportunity for Palestinians to attempt three changes in their political trajectory: to organize a change of generations at the top levels of political decision-making, to forge a minimum of understanding among long rival political groups on the basic rules of the game, and, more importantly, to transform their various versions of "the cause" into a state-building project rooted in reality.

  • In its current form, Palestinian politics remains atrophied in a lost cause that, in zombie style, bars the route to positive energies.

  • He [the late Palestinian "negotiator" Saeb Erekat] ignored the fact that ceasefire lines exist in the context of a truce, not of peace and that, if achieving peace is the aim, there is no point in choosing them as a sine qua non in a negotiated deal.

  • The third "condition" concerned the status of Jerusalem as the capital of a putative Palestinian state. Here, too, the Palestinian position suited those for whom Palestine is a cause not a project for state building.

  • When the British mandate ended in 1948, there was no Palestinian nation, in the universally accepted sense of the term at least in the Westphalian treaties, to claim a state of its own. In fact, all mandate and subsequent United Nations documents refer to "inhabitants" of mandate Palestine presented as Arabs, Jews, Druzes, Armenians, Bahais, Turks and numerous Christian denominations, including Assyrians and Chaldeans.

Pictured: Supporters of exiled former Fatah security chief Mohammed Dahlan demonstrate outside the Palestinian Central Elections Commission headquarters in Gaza City on April 29, 2021, protesting against any delay to the Palestinian elections. (Photo by Mohammed Abed/AFP via Getty Images)

Another missed opportunity?

This is the question that, observing the long overdue forthcoming Palestinian elections, comes to mind. When the decision to hold the elections was first declared, some of us hoped that it would provide an opportunity for Palestinians to attempt three changes in their political trajectory: to organize a change of generations at the top levels of political decision-making, to forge a minimum of understanding among long rival political groups on the basic rules of the game, and, more importantly, to transform their various versions of "the cause" into a state-building project rooted in reality.

Judging by the course that the lackluster election campaign has taken and the continued domination of today's scene by men of yesterday, none of those three hopes seems anywhere near realisation. In its current form, Palestinian politics remains atrophied in a lost cause that, in zombie, style bars the route to positive energies.

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Biden Administration Needs to Halt Talks with Iran's Mullahs

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  May 1, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • The Biden administration seems more determined than ever, however, to "reward" Iran's dangerous and predatory regime by returning to a deal that has sunset clauses, as well as an expiration date after which the mullahs can enrich uranium, spin centrifuges at any level they desire, and make as many nuclear weapons as they like.

  • A return to the 2025 deal would help to lift all major sanctions against Iran -- sanctions it took years to put in place. The deal would enable Iran's military sites to be exempt from inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The deal would allow Iran to rejoin the global financial system with full legitimacy, so that billions of dollars could begin flowing into the treasury of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its expanding militias across the Middle East.

  • Finally, amid the talks to revive the "nuclear deal," Iran's leaders signed a 25-year strategic deal with China. In addition, the Iranian authorities are also engaged in high-level talks with Russia, "in order to help establish stability and combat American interventions."

  • The Biden administration's silence in the wake of Iran's increasing threats and nuclear defiance will only embolden and empower this predatory regime. The Iranian regime clearly believes it can get away with its violations. Instead of "rewarding" this dangerous Islamist regime, the Biden administration needs to take a firm stance and hold the ruling mullahs accountable.

The Iranian regime recently announced that it will be activating more centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear site. Abbas Araqchi, Iran's chief negotiator, said that Iran would activate 1,000 advanced centrifuge machines. Pictured: The Natanz nuclear enrichment facility in Iran. (Photo by Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)

Amid talks -- between the Iranian regime and France, the United Kingdom, China, Russia, plus Germany as well as indirect talks between the US and Iran -- the ruling mullahs of Iran continue to ratchet up their threats and nuclear defiance.

Last week, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, announced that Iran would be enriching uranium to 60 percent -- a level of enrichment that has no civilian purpose. Now the Iranian regime has begun enriching uranium to its highest level ever, 60 percent, close to weapons-grade level.

Iranian leaders also began boasting about this development. Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, the speaker of the Iranian parliament wrote:

"The young and God-believing Iranian scientists managed to achieve a 60% enriched uranium product... I congratulate the brave nation of Islamic Iran on this success. The Iranian nation's willpower is miraculous and can defuse any conspiracy."

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Why Abbas Does Not Want Elections

by Bassam Tawil  •  April 30, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • The violence erupted for one single reason: hatred for Israel and Jews. It erupted because many Muslims do not want to see Jews in Jerusalem or any part of Israel.

  • Attacks on Israeli security forces and Jews in Jerusalem have been taking place for decades -- with or without a "reason".

  • The call to murder Jews ("Oh Jews, remember Khaybar; the army of [prophet] Mohammed is returning") is a reminder that today, for many, this war from the seventh century is not over.

  • Israel never said it would prevent PA elections from taking place in Jerusalem.... Israel said nothing.

  • The overwhelming majority of Jerusalem Arabs have not shown the slightest interest in, or enthusiasm for, the upcoming Palestinian elections.... It seems, in fact, that the United Nations and European Union officials were more interested in Abbas's planned elections than most of the Arab residents of Jerusalem.... Abbas evidently announced the elections only to appease his Western donors.

  • In the past he used to accuse his Hamas rivals; now he is casting around, trying to blame Israel for "obstructing" the elections.

  • Abbas's attempt to hold the Israeli government responsible for not holding Palestinian elections is simply the result of his and the PA leadership's ongoing, vicious incitement to violence against Israel and the demonization of Jews.

  • It is this type of deliberate and constant race-baiting that is driving young Arabs in Jerusalem to take to the streets to attack policemen and Jewish civilians, and to whip up Jew-hate among the Palestinians.

The recent violence in Jerusalem erupted for one single reason: hatred for Israel and Jews. The call to murder Jews ("Oh Jews, remember Khaybar; the army of [prophet] Mohammed is returning") is a reminder that today, for many, this war from the seventh century is not over. Pictured: A crowd of Arab men shout slogans at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on April 25, 2021. (Photo by Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images)

Those who claim that the recent violence in Jerusalem erupted because the Israel Police did not allow Arab Muslims to hold nightly celebrations during the fasting month of Ramadan have no idea what they are talking about.

Those who say that the violence erupted because Israel did not allow the Arab residents of Jerusalem (who hold Israeli-issued ID cards in their capacity as residents, and are not citizens of Israel) to participate in the Palestinian Authority elections also have no idea what they are talking about. What they all seem to have no idea about is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The violence erupted for one single reason: hatred for Israel and Jews. It erupted because many Muslims do not want to see Jews in Jerusalem or any part of Israel. Attacks on Israeli security forces and Jews in Jerusalem have been taking place for decades -- with or without a "reason".

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Biden's Border

by Chris Farrell  •  April 29, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • The surge of unaccompanied children and families to the southern border -- as well as the surge of non-marijuana drug trafficking across the border -- is a humanitarian crisis, a health crisis and a national security crisis.

  • The Biden administration has ordered the termination of all work. Construction sites and crews are, essentially, idle -- at the reported cost of more than $1 million dollars per day in Cochise County, Arizona alone. It is costing $1 million taxpayer dollars per day -- meaning more than $100 million so far for just one site -- to figure out how, exactly, to unwind the half-completed construction project .....

  • While you are considering the human and dollar costs of Biden's "children in cages," consider the construction sites and equipment staged in remote areas, or the drug loads packed into Chevy Suburbans, stripped of everything in the interior but the driver's seat, and painted matte black for their 2AM runs north through the dry arroyo beds into the United States.

  • Some of that equipment was looking for people other than illegal aliens -- other people (terrorists) bearing ill-will towards the United States. The radiological detection devices? Gone. The license plate readers and recorders? Gone.

  • Mexico is an utterly corrupt, failed narco-state. The "best" thing Mexico has going for it is the "efficiency" of the drug cartels.... Perhaps Biden's border legacy will be another type of 9/11 attack, launched across his now virtually non-existent border with Mexico?

Just west of Naco, Arizona, former President Trump's 30-foot border wall runs through the desert and begins to ascend through the Coronado National Memorial and into the Huachuca Mountains – until it doesn't. Work was not completed. The Biden administration has ordered the termination of all work. Construction sites and crews are, essentially, idle – at the reported cost of over $1 million dollars per day in Cochise County, Arizona alone. Pictured: Idle equipment at a wall construction base in Cochise County. (Image source: Chris Farrell)

The surge of unaccompanied children and families to the southern border -- as well as the surge of non-marijuana drug trafficking across the border -- is a humanitarian crisis, a health crisis and a national security crisis. It all belongs -- 100% -- to President Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr.

The illegal alien surge has been promoted and advertised for since June 28, 2019, when every single one of the Democratic presidential primary candidates raised their hands and said they would support free health care to all illegal immigrants in the United States. That was the first step in a cynical political ploy to permanently replace a segment of the American electorate with "more obedient voters from the Third World" -- while masquerading as compassion and care.

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Turkey: How Erdogan's Pledge for Reform Collapsed in Five Months

by Burak Bekdil  •  April 29, 2021 at 4:00 am

  • "We don't see ourselves elsewhere but in Europe," Erdoğan said on November 21. "We envisage building our future together with Europe."

  • According to Turkish news site Gazete Duvar, a total of 128,872 people have been indicted in the past six years for insulting Erdoğan. Of those, 27,824 had to stand trial and 9,556 were convicted.

  • Apparently, Erdoğan wants a democratic system without opposition.

  • But who cares about the Constitution in a country where the governing bloc is proposing to close down even the Constitutional Court, in addition to banning opposition parties? All these autocratic measures occurred in the less than half-year since Erdoğan pledged democratic reforms.

  • A few years ago, then Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu had vehemently refuted claims that Turkey was a second-class democracy. He was right. Turkey has since remained a third-class democracy.

71-year-old journalist and author Ahmet Altan was released from prison in Turkey this month. He had been unlawfully imprisoned for nearly five years, since he was detained in 2016 over allegations that, during a TV program, he disseminated "subliminal messages" related to a coup attempt, as well as for articles he had written criticizing the government. Pictured: Altan arrives at his home in Istanbul following his release from prison on April 14, 2021. (Photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP via Getty Images)

His critics often joke that when President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pledges democratic reforms, one should run away immediately. His latest charm offensive in November, aimed at repairing Turkey's badly-strained ties with the West and Western institutions, has proven that the joke still holds value.

"We don't see ourselves elsewhere but in Europe," Erdoğan said on November 21. "We envisage building our future together with Europe." Two days later, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar described NATO as the "cornerstone of our defense and security policy" and said that Turkey was looking forward to cooperating with the incoming administration under Joe Biden in the United States. Erdoğan also promised a bold package of democratic reforms.

Less than five months later, Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi had to call Erdoğan a "dictator." That was not because an experienced European politician wanted to insult a Muslim head of state.

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Hunter Biden's Laptop

by Peter Schweizer  •  April 28, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • The book's [Secret Empires] conclusions were based on reconstructions of timelines, records obtained through hard work done on location in foreign countries. Yet, some in the media still accused us of engaging in a "witch hunt" designed simply to embarrass the family of now-President Joe Biden.

  • Law enforcement sources have since confirmed a Justice Department investigation into Hunter Biden's taxes, but that actually means they are looking not just at his taxes, but at the money he made that he may or may not have declared on his taxes. That investigation continues.

  • What emerges from all of this clearly shows what I call the "Biden business model," in which the Biden family seems to trade off the Biden name, Biden connections, and the Biden access.

  • Recently, Hunter Biden has sat for several interviews to discuss his new memoir about his struggles with drug addiction. The investigative reporter in me cannot resist pointing out these interviews were done by CBS News, owned by ViacomCBS, which also owns Simon & Schuster, the publisher of his new book. He mostly dodged questions about the laptop.

  • [T]he deeper question that should concern us more... is whether he is covering for his father. Emails reviewed by Sen. Ron Johnson's committee during its investigation referenced a consultant writing to Hunter Biden about a proposed partnership with Chinese businessmen. The email says Hunter will receive a 20% equity in the partnership, plus a 10% stake "held by H for the big guy?"

  • The identity of "the big guy" has not been established. But... [t]he modern model of corruption in politics is rarely done in a straight line, but along the branches of a family tree. As foreign governments and other interested parties have learned, the way to a politician's heart is through his family. There is circumstantial evidence in the collection of materials now possessed by the FBI and journalists that Hunter Biden was acting as a cover for business dealings that would benefit his father or at a minimum the Biden family estate, which includes his father.

Pictured: "The Mac Shop" in Wilmington, Delaware. In April 2019, Hunter Biden reportedly left a liquid-damaged laptop at the shop for repair, and nobody returned to retrieve it. According to the New York Post, the shop owner handed the laptop over to the FBI and also made a copy of the hard drive and gave it to former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani. (Photo by Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

Investigative journalism mostly reconstructs events and exchanges from hidden scraps, obscure records, and third-party documents. Often the best we can do is to show that something bad must have happened based on the coincidences we find in these records. Because reporters are not prosecutors, they cannot issue subpoenas or compel testimony. It is exceedingly rare for a reporter to obtain that "smoking gun."

That is why the case of Hunter Biden's missing laptop, combined with original text messages and emails obtained through direct access to a recipient's Gmail account, is so notable. It is primary, original source. At long last, even Hunter Biden himself has finally acknowledged it.

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Communist China's Quest for Dominance in Antarctica

by Judith Bergman  •  April 28, 2021 at 4:00 am

  • Rare earth materials are necessary components in the building of such various equipment as combat aircraft, weapons systems, wind turbines and electric vehicles, among other things. They are available in different geographic locations, but are difficult to process. Last year, China produced 90% of the world's rare earth materials.

  • "In 1984, during China's first Antarctic expedition, armed PLA Navy (PLAN) personnel helped set up China's first Antarctic station—a fact that was not properly acknowledged in China's report to the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research at the time... In recent years, PLA personnel have repeatedly participated in China's Antarctic program without their presence being noted in China's annual report under the Antarctic Treaty...." — Anne Marie Brady, report for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 2017.

  • China is reportedly deceiving international audiences about its intentions in Antarctica. "China adopts one message on Antarctic issues for foreign audiences and another for domestic audiences". — Anne Marie Brady, report for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 2017.

  • "In 30 years, the Antarctic Treaty becomes modifiable, and the fate of a continent could hang in the balance." — Professor Klaus Dodds, Royal Holloway University of London, July 12, 2018.

  • Both Russia and China are fighting to have prohibitions on resource extraction in the Antarctic relaxed. "A significant number of Chinese experts believe, contrary to international law, that the Madrid Protocol expires in 2048, along with the accompanying ban on mining in the Antarctic". — Alexander B. Gray, National Interest, March 20, 2021.

  • It is probably not too far-fetched to assume that what lies behind the CCP's concern for "environmental protection in Antarctica" will turn out to be desire for environmental exploitation.

China's commercial and military goals in Antarctica have received only minimal international attention. It is probably not too far-fetched to assume that what lies behind the Chinese Communist Party's concern for "environmental protection in Antarctica" will turn out to be a desire for environmental exploitation. Pictured: China's Great Wall Station on King George island in Antarctica, on March 13, 2014. (Photo by Vanderlei Almeida/AFP via Getty Images)

Hardly a spot remains on the planet -- and off -- that China does not consider up for grabs, and that includes the North and South poles.

China's ambitions in the Arctic include: In 2018, China issued its first Arctic policy paper, "China's Arctic policy" and with a straight face declared itself, a "near-Arctic state", wanting a "Polar Silk Road." In fact, China is some 3,000 kilometers from the Arctic Circle[1]. Its "Polar Silk Road" would create new shipping routes linking Asia and Europe via the Arctic, as part of the Belt and Road Initiative, a gigantic development, infrastructure and investment initiative that seeks dramatically to enhance China's global influence by making countries worldwide increasingly dependent on China.

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China Is Extending Its Totalitarian Controls to the Rest of the World

by Gordon G. Chang  •  April 27, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • In the Haidilao Hot Pot restaurant in... Vancouver, more than 60 surveillance cameras watch 30 tables and send feeds to China. The cameras, manager Ryan Pan explains, are there to "people track" and are "part of the social credit system in China."

  • In 2014, China's State Council issued guidelines for the establishment of a national "social credit system" by 2020, with the feeds from about 626 million surveillance cameras and smartphone scanners and with data from a multitude of sources ... For example, criticizing Chinese ruler Xi Jinping would result in the lowering of an individual's score. There are consequences for low-scored individuals.

  • Why did Beijing select Ryan Pan's restaurant for such intensive collection of information? For starters, it is near to the home rented by Huawei Technologies for staff attending to Meng Wanzhou, the firm's chief financial officer. Meng is in the middle of a multi-year struggle to avoid extradition to the U.S. for alleged bank fraud relating to sanctions evasion, and she is allowed to stay in one of her homes. Beijing, therefore, wants to know what people around her are saying and doing.

  • In addition to posing a crucial national security risk, the secretive transmission of video to China is a violation of British Columbia law, specifically, the province's Personal Information Protection Act.

  • Beijing will, at some point, be able to assign a social credit score to just about everyone on the planet.... it is just a matter of time before they succeed.

  • China's Communist Party wants to know everything that happens everywhere on the planet. So far, the Western democracies do not seem to be putting up much of a fight.

In the Haidilao Hot Pot restaurant in the Kitsilano district of Vancouver, Canada (pictured), more than 60 surveillance cameras watch 30 tables and send feeds to China. The cameras, manager Ryan Pan explained to Scott McGregor and Ina Mitchell, are there to "people track" and are "part of the social credit system in China." (Image source: Ina Mitchell)

China is surreptitiously collecting, for use in its domestic social credit system, video from a popular eatery in Canada.

In the Haidilao Hot Pot restaurant in the Kitsilano district of Vancouver, more than 60 surveillance cameras watch 30 tables and send feeds to China. The cameras, manager Ryan Pan explained to Scott McGregor and Ina Mitchell, are there to "people track" and are "part of the social credit system in China."

This restaurant is corporate-owned, one of two Haidilao locations in that port city in British Columbia. There are more than 935 of the chain's restaurants worldwide with over 36 million VIP members. The business started in China's Sichuan province.

Why do we care? Beijing is evidently extending its totalitarian controls to the rest of the world.

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Biden Acknowledges the Armenian Genocide; What about the Other Current Genocides?

by Raymond Ibrahim  •  April 27, 2021 at 4:00 am

  • US President Joe Biden, to his credit, has become the first sitting president formally to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide since it occurred more than century ago.

  • More recently, there appears underway an attempted genocide by the Communist Chinese of the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. More than a million are being held in 1,300 concentration camps. Although the Chinese State insists on calling them "re-education camps," reports are that they come complete with forced labor, torture, surveillance, forced sterilization and rape.

  • Companies supporting the supply chains of these crimes against humanity apparently include "at least 82 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including Apple, BMW, Gap, Huawei, Nike, Samsung, Sony and Volkswagen."

  • Adding to that, Communist China's deliberate deception about the human-to-human transmissibility of the Wuhan virus has so far killed more than 3,000,000 people on the planet, it would seem imperative to move the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to a country that really does espouse the ideals that the Olympic committee professes: " ...the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles." Yes, it is short notice, but doubtless there are many deserving countries that would be happy to scramble. At the very least, the world should not "reward" Communist China by enriching it to commit further aggression.

  • What several international organizations, however, have referred to as a genocide of Christians at the hands of Muslims is currently taking place in Nigeria -- as well as in Mozambique, South Sudan, and other sub-Saharan nations -- and in dire need of being acknowledged so that efforts at rectifying the situation can begin.

  • As commendable as it is for Biden to have recognized the Armenian Genocide, turning his attention to those who are currently experiencing hate and genocide would be far more practical -- it would save lives -- than acknowledging history.

To his credit, U.S. President Joe Biden has become the first sitting president formally to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide since it occurred more than century ago. An even more laudable next step would be to acknowledge the current genocides and hate speech fueling them -- and to take steps against them. There appears underway an attempted genocide by the Communist Chinese of the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. More than a million are being held in 1,300 concentration camps. Pictured: The outer wall of an internment camp on the outskirts of Hotan, in China's Xinjiang region. (Photo by Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images)

To his credit, U.S. President Joe Biden has become the first sitting president formally to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide since it occurred more than century ago. On Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, April 24, 2021, the American president issued a statement opening with the following words:

"Each year on this day, we remember the lives of all those who died in the Ottoman-era Armenian genocide and recommit ourselves to preventing such an atrocity from ever again occurring. Beginning on April 24, 1915, with the arrest of Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople by Ottoman authorities, one and a half million Armenians were deported, massacred, or marched to their deaths in a campaign of extermination."

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Biden's Betrayal of Afghanistan

by Con Coughlin  •  April 26, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • [U]nder the terms of the Doha deal former US President Donald Trump negotiated with the Taliban in the Gulf state of Qatar last February, the withdrawal of US forces was contingent on the Taliban renouncing violence, as well as ending its long-standing support for Islamist terror groups like al-Qaeda.

  • [A]s a recent US Treasury report has concluded, the Taliban has maintained its links with al-Qaeda, as well as other Islamist terrorist organisations. The report stated that al-Qaeda is "gaining strength in Afghanistan while continuing to operate with the Taliban under the Taliban's protection." It adds that the group "capitalizes on its relationship with the Taliban through its network of mentors and advisers who are embedded with the Taliban, providing advice, guidance, and financial support."

  • Now the Taliban has responded to Mr Biden's overly generous offer to withdraw all US forces by September -- in spite of the Taliban's abject failure to honour their side of the bargain -- by threatening to launch a fresh offensive against the US and its Nato allies.

  • Speaking shortly after the President made his announcement, a senior Taliban commander warned, "We are prepared and already present in the battlefield; our fighters are ready to target Nato troops as the trust deficit widens after Biden delayed US troops' withdrawal."

  • Despite these devastating setbacks, the Taliban has been quietly confident that it would ultimately prevail, ever since former US President Barack Obama made his disastrous U-turn in Washington's Afghan policy in 2009, and made his unilateral announcement that he was withdrawing all remaining American combat troops by the end of 2014.

  • Taliban leaders have always argued that, in keeping with previous generations of foreign invaders, Washington would eventually lose interest in the conflict and withdraw.

  • [A]s the Taliban's attitude has revealed, the terror group has no serious interest in concluding a peace deal with Kabul, preferring to resort to its previous tactic of seizing control of the country through violence and intimidation.

  • Certainly, as a recent Pentagon report has highlighted, without the support of US and other Nato allies, the Afghan government has little chance of prevailing against the Taliban once the withdrawal has completed.

  • John Sopko, the Pentagon's special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, last month warned that, without US support, the Afghan government "probably would face collapse."

  • The only realistic outcome is that, once the Taliban have retaken control of the country and implemented its brand of medieval religious authoritarianism, al-Qaeda will re-establish its terror bases in the country and use them as a base to launch a fresh wave of attacks against the West.

As the Taliban's attitude has revealed, the terror group has no serious interest in concluding a peace deal with Kabul, preferring to resort to its previous tactic of seizing control of the country through violence and intimidation. Pictured: Afghan National Army soldiers register Taliban prisoners for release from Bagram Prison, near Kabul on May 26, 2020, as part of a ceasefire agreement. (Photo by Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images)

The only logical conclusion to be drawn from US President Joe Biden's ill-judged decision to withdraw the last remaining US troops from Afghanistan is that it will lead to the Taliban and their al-Qaeda allies once more seizing control of the country.

That is certainly how the Taliban leadership is viewing the Biden administration's decision, as within hours of Mr Biden making his televised appearance to announce the withdrawal, the Taliban was claiming victory in the country's long-running civil war.

More than that, the Taliban even had the nerve to claim that, by completing the withdrawal of US forces by September 11, Washington was reneging on the peace deal negotiated with the previous Trump administration last year, which stipulated that all American troops, together with other Nato forces, would be withdrawn by the end of next month.

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