Latest Analysis and Commentary

UK: Record Number of Migrants Crossing English Channel

by Soeren Kern  •  September 16, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • More than 14,500 migrants have crossed the Channel in around 600 small boats so far in 2021, surpassing the 8,713 arrivals (in 650 boats) during all of 2020, according to Migration Watch, which notes that the actual number of arrivals is probably far higher than what has been recorded in official statistics. Since the beginning of 2021, not a single migrant has been deported to the safe European countries they traveled through.

  • "The incentives are skewed so that they encourage, rather than discourage, illegal (and dangerous) trips that often lead to asylum abuse." — Migration Watch UK.

  • "They want to go to England because they can expect better conditions on arrival there than anywhere else in Europe or even internationally. There are no ID cards. They can easily find work outside the formal economy, which is not really controlled." — Mayor of Calais Natacha Bouchart.

  • "Both traffickers and migrants know that 'no civilized country can allow people to drown at sea'; this is why people get on overcrowded vessels. 'And this is why Britain is about to be plunged into a similar crisis to the one Italy faced three years ago, albeit on a reduced scale.'" — British news magazine, The Week, quoting James Forsyth in The Times.

  • "Instead of the United Kingdom being able to choose the children and families most in need, illegal immigration instead allows those who pay people smugglers, or who are strong, to push their way to the front of the queue.... Our legal system needs reform. It is open to abuse." — Immigration Control Minister Chris Philip.

  • "First it was a few, then hundreds, and now 1,000 in a day, the French just waving them through with a cheery 'Bon Voyage.' If the French won't stop the small boats then we need to by turning them back, making returns and taking firm control of our borders." — Natalie Elphicke, Conservative MP for Dover.

The British government is struggling to stop illegal migrants attempting to cross the English Channel on small boats — partly because of its need for cooperation from France. British authorities have repeatedly accused their French counterparts of not doing enough to stop small boats from leaving French territorial waters. Pictured: Illegal migrants walk ashore on the beach at Dungeness, England on September 7, 2021. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Nearly a thousand migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East have attempted to cross the English Channel on small boats in just one day to illegally get into the United Kingdom. The record-breaking surge in illegal crossings is being facilitated by warm weather and calm seas.

The British government is struggling to stop the crossings — partly because of its need for cooperation from France. British authorities have repeatedly accused their French counterparts of not doing enough to stop small boats from leaving French territorial waters.

Although the UK has pledged to pay France tens of millions of pounds to stop migrants crossing the Channel, French naval vessels are accused of escorting small boats into British waters.

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China's Belt and Road Initiative: Bad News for Human Rights

by Judith Bergman  •  September 16, 2021 at 4:00 am

  • Findings about BRI's negative impact on human rights in Cambodia and Guinea raise the much wider issue of how China's Belt and Road Initiative affects human rights worldwide. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, around 139 countries -- more than half the countries in the world -- have now joined BRI.

  • China has also invested in multiple large-scale BRI projects in Iran, which has reportedly been leasing out its territorial waters in the Persian Gulf to Chinese industrial ships for more than a decade. This arrangement has led to a situation... where Chinese fishing vessels are "illegally cleaning out fish resources in the Persian Gulf" while "Iranian fishermen are forced to pay ten thousand dollars in bribes to Somalian pirates to let them fish on the African shores".

  • Such a compromise of locals' food-and-income security is a measure of China's influence in the country -- and a practice coupled with the Iranian government's disregard for the living conditions of its own citizens. Scant regard for human rights is presumably also one of the reasons why China prefers to deal with autocratic regimes.

A new report has found that one of China's Belt and Road Initiative projects in Cambodia -- a hydroelectric dam known as the Lower Sesan 2, completed in 2018 -- resulted in severe human rights violations. The project displaced nearly 5,000 mainly indigenous people and ethnic minorities. Pictured: The Lower Sesan 2 dam. (Photo by Ly Lay/AFP via Getty Images)

A new report, "Underwater: Human Rights Impacts of a China Belt and Road Project in Cambodia," has found that one of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects in Cambodia -- a hydroelectric dam known as the Lower Sesan 2, completed in 2018 -- resulted in severe human rights violations. The project displaced nearly 5,000 mainly indigenous people and ethnic minorities, who had lived in villages along the Sesan and Srepok Rivers for generations, earning a living from fishing and agriculture. The project, the report estimates, negatively affected the lives of tens of thousands of other locals, who depend on fishing in the rivers for food and income. The project compromised locals' food security, and their losses were either inadequately compensated or not compensated at all. The Lower Sesan 2 is just one out of seven BRI hydroelectric projects in Cambodia.

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Why Arabs Do Not Trust the Biden Administration

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  September 15, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • The main concern for the Arabs is that the "humiliating" manner in which the US ended its presence in Afghanistan has sent a message to Iran and its proxies -- Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis -- that the Americans are not only weak, but that they cannot be trusted to support or defend their allies.

  • The Iran-backed Houthis appear to be be telling themselves: If the US is so weak and has no problem betraying its allies and friends, perhaps this is the right time to step up the attacks on Saudi Arabia.

  • The past few days have witnessed a significant escalation in the attacks of the Houthi militia in Yemen against civilian areas in Saudi Arabia.

  • [T]he Biden administration had already sent another message to Iran and its proxies when it removed the Houthi militia from the list of terrorist organizations.

  • "[T]here is no indication that the Houthis will stop their aggressive policy aimed at imposing a fait accompli [Iranian control] on the Arab Peninsula," which includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen, as well as the southern portions of Iraq and Jordan." — Kheirallah Kheirallah, veteran Lebanese journalist and political analyst, Al-Araby.co.uk, September 3, 2021.

  • "Iran... is working to perpetuate a reality in Yemen that resembles the reality of Hamas's control of the Gaza Strip since 2007." — Kheirallah Kheirallah, Al-Araby.co.uk, September 3, 2021.

  • Yemeni journalist Zakaria Al-Kamali expressed fear of what he called "the Afghanization of Yemen." — Al-Araby.co.uk, September 7, 2021.

  • What the Arabs find most disturbing is that the Biden administration has failed to take a tough stance against the increased Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia. So far, the Biden administration has responded to the attacks by issuing laconic statements describing the drone and missile attacks on civilian targets in Saudi Arabia as "unacceptable."

  • Iran... is leveraging the weakness and confusion in the Biden administration to extend its control more widely.

The main concern for the Arabs is that the "humiliating" manner in which the US ended its presence in Afghanistan has sent a message to Iran and its proxies -- Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis -- that the Americans are not only weak, but that they cannot be trusted to support or defend their allies. Pictured: Shrapnel-riddled glass at Saudi Arabia's Abha Airport, damaged in a drone attack launched by the Houthis from Yemen, which wounded eight people on August 31, 2021. (Photo by Fayez Nureldine/AFP via Getty Images)

Is there a connection between the hasty and disorganized US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the increased attacks on Saudi Arabia by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Yemen?

Many Arabs political analysts and writers are convinced that the Biden administration's flawed handling of the crisis in Afghanistan, which resulted in the Taliban takeover of the whole country, has emboldened various extremist Islamic groups, including the Houthis, who are now threatening Washington's Arab friends and allies.

The Houthis have been fighting the Saudi-led coalition-backed government in Yemen since 2015.

The main concern for the Arabs is that the "humiliating" manner in which the US ended its presence in Afghanistan has sent a message to Iran and its proxies -- Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis -- that the Americans are not only weak, but that they cannot be trusted to support or defend their allies.

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Surrendering Afghanistan to the Taliban: Who Is Managing Biden?

by Chris Farrell and Shea Bradley-Farrell  •  September 15, 2021 at 4:00 am

  • As we bear the humiliation of Biden's surrender, remember: the United States has the power to affect whatever it wishes.... It is only a question of political will. Deadlines, such as the artificial August 31st withdrawal from Afghanistan, mean absolutely nothing if we do not wish it.

  • The US could financially squeeze Pakistan -- the country that has harbored and funded the Taliban for two decades -- and change the entire operating environment in Afghanistan. Overnight, the circumstances could have be reversed 180 degrees at 100 mph -- yet, for this administration, it seemed not "desirable."

  • Nothing was "missed." .... Similar deceit and double-talk have surrounded Biden's crisis and national security disaster at our southern border.

  • Are we to expect to be lied to, placated, deceived, or misdirected by our administration?

  • WWII was predicated on an unconditional "war guarantee" by France and Britain to defend Poland, should any country attack Poland.... At the end of WWII, who got Poland as a war prize? Stalin. Thanks, FDR. Twenty years of combat following the Taliban/al Qaeda attacks of 9/11, and to whom does Biden surrender Afghanistan? The Taliban. Thanks, Joe.

We have witnessed the collapse of U.S, political and moral will to continue in Afghanistan and pretty much anywhere else in the world. As we bear the humiliation of President Joe Biden's surrender, remember: the United States has the power to affect whatever it wishes.... It is only a question of political will. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

"America is back!" President Joe Biden declared, in February 2021.

If so, what happened?

The last eight months have been a rolling U.S. disaster domestically and internationally. We have witnessed the collapse of U.S, political and moral will to continue in Afghanistan and pretty much anywhere else in the world. Given the daily headlines of the last two weeks, what is the Biden administration's message for Israel, Taiwan, Ukraine, and South Korea? Not to mention, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico?

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Giving the Taliban International Legitimacy Would Be a Disastrous Mistake

by Con Coughlin  •  September 14, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • European plans to forge closer ties with Kabul are, though, being severely undermined by the conduct of the new Taliban regime which, rather than living up to its promise to mend its ways, instead appears to be reverting to its old, uncompromising approach.

  • Recent reports claim that at least four elite Afghan counterterrorism agents have been hunted down and killed by the Taliban during the past three weeks, in one case pulling out all the victim's fingernails before shooting him.

  • "We have to stop pretending that the Taliban have changed," warned Mr McMaster . "Our self-delusion has led many to embrace an Orwellian reversal of morality in which they view jihadist terrorists as a partner.... The Taliban are determined to impose a brutal form of sharia on the Afghan people and are intertwined with terrorists determined to continue their jihad..." — HR McMaster, former US National Security Advisor, The Sunday Times, September 12, 2021.

Naïve attempts by a number of leading Western powers to foster relations with the newly-installed Taliban regime in Kabul are being undermined by the uncompromising attitude the new Islamist regime. Pictured: Taliban gunmen organize a pro-Taliban demonstration by burqa-clad women, aimed at improving the regime's image in the foreign media, in Kabul on September 11, 2021. (Photo by Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images)

Naïve attempts by a number of leading Western powers to foster relations with the newly-installed Taliban regime in Kabul are being undermined by the uncompromising attitude the new Islamist regime.

Following the Taliban's dramatic seizure of control of Afghanistan last month, a number of prominent Western leaders have indicated their willingness to work with the new Afghan regime, following claims by some Taliban leaders that they want to establish a more moderate form of government than the former Taliban regime that terrorised the country in the late 1990s.

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What Should the World Expect of Gifting Afghanistan to Fundamentalists?

by Hamid Bahrami  •  September 13, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • The Taliban, by trying to introduce themselves as "moderate," also appear to be playing "good cop, bad cop" regarding Islamic State Khorasan Province (IS-K), presumably to get international support and recognition. The West should be skeptical. As long as the Taliban and other terror groups, whether Shi'ite or Sunni, have not changed ideologically, they will remain a significant threat to the US and the Free World.

  • Although the Taliban pledged to protect future US economic interests on Afghan soil by vowing that it would not allow other groups to form and organize terrorist attacks against the US and its allies, this promise will probably last only as long as the US keeps complying with the Taliban's blackmail demands regarding the US hostages and co-workers Biden abandoned.

  • The newly formed government consists of acting interior minister, Sirajuddin Haqqani, who has a $10 million bounty on his head , is on the FBI's Most Wanted List, and whose family are longtime supporters of al-Qaeda; and four of the senior commanders are terrorists whom former President Barack Obama released from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for US Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl.

  • Reports have also begun questioning if Biden's surrender of Afghanistan with not a trace of resistance – including the great Bagram airbase and nearly as much military aid as the US has provided to Israel since 1948 -- might have been deliberate in view of China's "investment" of $1.5 billion in Biden's son, Hunter, when Biden was vice-president, as well as for possible future returns.

  • A few key questions remain unanswered: Has America, in seeking coordination with a terror group against which it fought for years, ended its own supremacy? Is America about to cap the horror by officially recognizing a state run by known terrorists, armed to the teeth with America's finest military equipment, and who seem to have every intention of establishing a terrorist state?

  • Another question is the geostrategic factor, if any, of the West's position in the future of Afghanistan, Central Asia and the Free World?

  • So far, the main losers in Afghanistan disaster, apart from the US and the Free World, are the people of Afghanistan, especially those who helped the US and found themselves betrayed, and the women who for 20 years, thanks to the US and its allies, had for the first time known freedom.

The Taliban, by trying to introduce themselves as "moderate," also appear to be playing "good cop, bad cop" regarding Islamic State Khorasan Province (IS-K), presumably to get international support and recognition. The West should be skeptical. As long as the Taliban and other terror groups, whether Shi'ite or Sunni, have not changed ideologically, they will remain a significant threat to the US and the Free World. Pictured: Taliban gunmen patrol a road Kabul, Afghanistan on September 9, 2021. (Photo by Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images)

The team that assisted former President Barack Obama to destabilize the Middle East in Syria, Libya and Yemen, the instability of Egypt, the surrender of Iraq to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the annexation of Crimea to Russia, apparently wishes to go the same route in Central Asia by gifting this strategic region to Shi'ite and Sunni Islamic fundamentalists.

The election of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris may be giving onlookers around the world a sinking feeling that we could see the same collapse happen again in Afghanistan and, as the Kabul airport suicide attack signalled, that Afghanistan has again become a center for narcotics, violence, terror and hostage-taking.

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The Other Special Relationship: Britain and the UAE

by Richard Kemp  •  September 12, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • No world leader is better equipped to help us understand and contain this rising threat to Britain and our international interests than Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the greatest foe of radical Islamism in the Arab world.

  • He helped stem the escalating regional challenge of the Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt; his forces combatted Al Shabab in Somalia, supported the Libyan National Army against its Islamist opponents and fought against Islamic State in Syria and Iran-sponsored Houthi insurgents, Al Qaida and the Islamic State in Yemen.

  • Lord Trimble, former First Minister of Northern Ireland and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, nominated Mohamed bin Zayed for the same award in recognition of his "historic achievements in advancing peace in the Middle East".

  • [W]e should be looking to the UAE's leadership to further strengthen and broaden them. Britain should stand with them. As with the UAE, we are a close and historic ally of Israel, with significant influence across the Middle East. Freed by Brexit from our stifling dependency on the EU, we should now be ready to play a leading role alongside Abu Dhabi in this strategically important process, both in our own interests and in the interests of peace in the region.

No world leader is better equipped to help us understand and contain this rising threat to Britain and our international interests than Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi (pictured). Intelligence provided by the UAE has helped save British lives and the country is a world-leader in combatting terrorist finance and extremist propaganda, including on the internet. (Photo by Karim Sahib/AFP via Getty Images)

Here in Britain there has been great concern about ruptures to the UK-US special relationship following the catastrophic unilateral US withdrawal from Afghanistan and US President Joe Biden's intransigence over the emergency evacuation from Kabul.

Another long-term special relationship enjoyed by Britain — with the United Arab Emirates — was also affected by events in Afghanistan, but in a positive direction. A few days ago, Britain's ambassador in Abu Dhabi said the evacuation of UK citizens from Kabul was made possible by the assistance of the UAE who provided a staging airport as well as support from across government ministries.

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In Tehran Much Talk of Talks

by Amir Taheri  •  September 12, 2021 at 4:00 am

  • The current anxiety in Tehran may provide an opportunity for the Vienna talks to be expanded beyond the chimeric issue of Iran's nuclear ambitions.

  • Concern about what Tehran might do if and when they make a bomb need not exclude concern about the mischief it is doing across the Middle East, notably in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and, of course Afghanistan and Pakistan.

  • It would be interesting to see how the Biden administration plays an unexpectedly strong hand it now holds against a regime that claims "the end of America" as its strategic goal but secretly hopes that the "Great Satan" will help it get out of the historic black hole dug by a weird ideology.

It would be interesting to see how the Biden administration plays an unexpectedly strong hand it now holds against the Iranian regime that claims "the end of America" as its strategic goal but secretly hopes that the "Great Satan" will help it get out of the historic black hole dug by a weird ideology. Pictured: Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi speaks before parliament in Tehran on August 25, 2021. (Photo by Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images)

"Return to the nuclear talks!" This is the advice that China, France and Russia have been publicly giving to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi's new team in Tehran since they assumed power last month. Other powers, notably Germany, have echoed that advice in private. There are signs that the new Raisi team may be listening to that advice or, at least, trying to prepare public opinion for a return to Vienna with its flag in its pocket.

Raisi, who had once dismissed any negotiations with big powers as "out of the question," now says he always regarded negotiations as "one instrument of policy."

Several developments have contributed to what seems a less belligerent stance by Tehran.

The first is that the Biden administration seems extra-keen to deal with what it regards as an "underbrush" issue at a time that the new US president wants to disengage from the Middle East and focus on the Asia-Pacific, the main theater of rivalry with China.

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Cyberwar, Part Two: "Flipping Switches"

by Peter Schweizer  •  September 11, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • President Thomas Jefferson's decision to fight the Barbary pirates was not without its detractors. Many Americans, including John Adams, believed it was better policy to pay the tribute. It was cheaper than the loss of trade.

  • Sanctions and other punitive measures should address Russia's refusal to sign onto the so-called Budapest Convention, a pact that obliges signatories to prevent cyber-crimes that are conducted within their borders. European Union nations and the United States are all signatories. Russia has resisted doing so, even as cyber-crime traced to the Russian mafia and other "advanced persistent threat" actors is repeatedly traced to its soil.

  • An article from the February 2015 issue of Brigham Young University Law Review argues persuasively that "Russia has an obligation to monitor and prevent trans-boundary cybercrime under the standard of due diligence." But Russia will not, because the cyber-hackers advance Vladimir Putin's goal of creating havoc and depressing the morale of the countries he targets.

  • The cat-and-mouse games played every day between cyber-crooks and cyber-cops cannot be ended by one daring raid. But as the stakes of the crimes rise with the world's reliance on connected systems to operate more and more physical infrastructure, the urgent need to shove the pirates off the deck before they can burn the ship grows more pressing.

A historical reference well describes the situation where state-sponsored or state-condoned thieves prey on innocent businesses through cyber-crime, cyber-espionage and the financial threats caused by cyber-extortion: the Barbary pirates. President Thomas Jefferson's decision to fight the Barbary pirates was not without its detractors. Many Americans, including John Adams, believed it was better policy to pay the tribute. It was cheaper than the loss of trade. (Image source: iStock)

Discussing Russian hacking capabilities in a video discussion for the Heritage Foundation recently, Prof. Scott Jasper of the Naval Postgraduate School recalled a hack in 2018 in which the attackers succeeded in penetrating electrical power companies in the U.S., as they did in Ukraine

"We had evidence from CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) that Russian actors had penetrated up to 20 to 24 utilities by compromising vendors that had trusted relationships," Jasper said. "They had taken control to the point where they could have thrown switches. They did this in Ukraine and flipped the switches of substations. So, this is a real threat."

Those are sobering words from an authority on Russian cyber-crime, cyber-espionage, and the financial threats caused by cyber-extortion. And the most recent large-scale ransomware hack shows the stakes of that problem.

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Is It Puppeteers or Puppets in Control in Washington?

by Lawrence Kadish  •  September 10, 2021 at 9:25 pm

  • Under Biden, America now has a national debt that rivals a Black Hole..... Our southern border remains more a suggestion than a checkpoint. And our allies see a nation that has casually condemned to death untold numbers of Afghans who fervently believed in America until they saw our last C-17 depart Kabul.

  • What all of this might suggest is that there are individuals in Washington who are wielding enormous power without worrying about what Joe Biden might think or do because whatever they decide, it is Biden who will take the fall. If true, it has the makings of a nightmare situation.

  • [W]e appear to be trapped by a Washington power elite intent on consigning our future to oblivion. In the end, it will be up to the American electorate to halt this slide as they consider who to send to Congress in the next election cycle.

Our allies see a nation that has casually condemned to death untold numbers of Afghans who fervently believed in America until they saw our last C-17 depart Kabul. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

It must be the best of times and the worst of times for our nation's enemies.

On one hand they have a President in the White House whose actions are reducing America into some befuddled and diminished world power. On the other hand our foes are trying to figure out, as are all Americans, who is actually in charge in Washington?

Is it a shadow government of consultants, lobbyists, and Obama retreads? Or is it really a president who counts success as getting to the presidential helicopter unassisted? One can envision the intelligence chiefs of our sworn enemies being sternly lectured by their supreme leaders to get to the bottom of it because they can't believe their good fortune that American leadership has fallen so far so fast. It must be a devious trap.

If only that were true.

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Accountability for Afghanistan

by Pete Hoekstra and John Shadegg  •  September 10, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • The disappointing fact is that there is a long and rich list of potential targets. It begins with President Joe "The Buck Stops Here" Biden as the obvious choice. The President bears ultimate responsibility for making the decisions that led to America's surrender and leaving our citizens behind. The President should be held accountable.

  • Also, near the top of the list of those who must be held accountable are those individuals who hold Senate-confirmed positions. They were the architects of this disaster: Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley. Together, these individuals either counseled the President that they would execute his direction effectively and safely, or they developed and implemented a strategy that they knew would not work. Either scenario would demand that they also be held accountable.

  • Some may legitimately ask, what about Jake Sullivan, Susan Rice and others? In other attempts to hold people accountable (think recent impeachment actions) the efforts were seen as overreach. The results, partisan bickering and nothing happening.

  • The alternative is the path we already seem to be heading down, no one being held accountable.

Near the top of the list of those who must be held accountable for America's debacle in Afghanistan are those individuals who hold Senate-confirmed positions. They were the architects of this disaster: Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left), Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (center), and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley (right). Together, these individuals either counseled the President that they would execute his direction effectively and safely, or they developed and implemented a strategy that they knew would not work. (Blinken photo by Jonathan Ernst/Pool/AFP via Getty Images); Austin & Milley photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

America has just experienced perhaps its greatest foreign policy debacle in modern history by surrendering to the Taliban in Afghanistan. The enemy that the U.S. held accountable for harboring the al-Qaeda terrorist group that attacked us on 9/11 once again governs Afghanistan. The Taliban now holds the keys to whether, how, and when Americans left behind will be returned home safely. The question today is who will be held accountable for this debacle, a debacle in both strategy and execution.

There is really no debate about whether the exit plan from Afghanistan failed miserably. Americans left behind, our military equipment left behind, and the Taliban are victorious and now in power while our wartime allies were left blindsided and furious. We lost 13 U.S. service members along with nearly 200 Afghans killed. Who will be held accountable?

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Iran's Nuclear Weapons Weeks Away

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  September 9, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • Apparently desperate to revive the nuclear pact, the Biden administration at once began appeasing the ruling clerics of Iran.

  • From the perspective of Iran's mullahs, Biden's desperate efforts to resurrect the nuclear deal manifested his weak leadership and therefore a delectable opportunity for Tehran to buy time, get more concessions, advance its nuclear program and become a nuclear state.

  • Notwithstanding all these policies of incentives and appeasements, Iran's mullahs continued to make excuses seemingly to drag out the nuclear talks. One of the latest overtures was that the world powers ought to wait until Iran's newly elected president, Ebrahim Raisi, took office before resuming the nuclear talks.

  • By now, Raisi has been president of Iran for more than a month but there has not been the slightest effort by the Islamic Republic to restart any talks; in fact, all the while, the regime appears to have accelerated its enrichment of uranium to weapons-grade.

  • At the moment, the Iranian regime is reportedly 8-10 weeks away from obtaining the weapons-grade materials necessary for a nuclear weapon.

From the perspective of Iran's mullahs, US President Joe Biden's desperate efforts to resurrect the nuclear deal manifested his weak leadership and therefore a delectable opportunity for Tehran to buy time, get more concessions, advance its nuclear program and become a nuclear state. (Image source: iStock)

Since the Biden administration assumed office, the nuclear talks with Iran have gone nowhere. Six rounds of negotiations have been concluded with no results. In contrast, two other issues have gone too far: the Biden administration's appeasement policies towards the Iranian regime, and the advancement of the mullahs' nuclear program.

When the Biden administration took office, it announced that it would curb Iran's nuclear program by returning to the 2015 nuclear deal -- known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which by the way Iran never signed -- and by subsequently lifting sanctions against the Iranian government.

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Palestinians: Why Biden's Aid Will Not Bring Peace

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  September 8, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • Most Palestinians, however, are clearly unimpressed with both the Biden administration's renewed financial aid and the Israeli government's gestures.... These Palestinians are saying that they prefer Hamas, the Islamist group that seeks the destruction of Israel, over Abbas.

  • "[T]he Biden administration is deluding itself by assuming that US funds could change the hearts and minds of the Palestinians." — Arab World for Research and Development, August 25, 2021.

  • Those who want the Oslo Accords rescinded are, bluntly, saying that they are opposed to a peace process with Israel. They are also saying that they do not recognize Israel's right to exist.

  • Another crucial finding the Biden administration needs to take into account is that the poll found... a majority of those surveyed believe that Israel has no right to exist and should be replaced with a Palestinian state, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

  • US taxpayer dollars will not drive Palestinians to accept Israel's right to exist. The same applies to the Israeli gestures, which are not likely to achieve the Biden administration's hope of bolstering the PA's standing or advancing the "two-state solution."

  • The results of the poll are clear: many Palestinians have been so successfully radicalized by their leaders that they want to see Israel removed from the face of the earth.

  • The only way to change this brutal reality is by halting the messages of hate and the delegitimization of Israel. Until that happens, Palestinians will continue to pocket money from the US and other Western donors, while at the same time moving closer to Hamas and further from any peace with Israel.

Most Palestinians are unimpressed with the Biden administration's renewed financial aid. US taxpayer dollars will not drive Palestinians to accept Israel's right to exist. Many Palestinians have been so radicalized by their leaders that they want to see Israel removed from the face of the earth. The only way to change this brutal reality is by halting the messages of hate and the delegitimization of Israel. Until that happens, Palestinians will continue to pocket money from the US and other Western donors. Pictured: Then US Vice President Joe Biden meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on March 9, 2016. (Photo by Debbie Hill/AFP via Getty Images)

As the Biden administration steps up its efforts to bolster the Palestinian Authority (PA), Palestinians seem to be increasingly losing faith in their leaders.

The Palestinian public also appears to be losing faith in any peace process with Israel. Many are even saying that they support the annulment of the Oslo Accords, signed in 1993 between Israel and the PLO and that the only peace process they would support is one that leads to the elimination of Israel.

The Biden administration, which earlier this year restored relations with the PA and pledged to resume unconditional financial aid to the Palestinians, apparently believes that such measures will pave the way for the revival of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians toward a "two-state solution."

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Afghan Fallout: Biden Ruins America's Most Important Relationship — India

by Gordon G. Chang  •  September 7, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • If Washington is going to deter a militant China, it needs the support of democratic India. Unfortunately, India looks like the country most immediately — and perhaps most adversely — affected by the Biden-created debacle. As a result, New Delhi could decide to side not with America but with a Chinese ally, Moscow.

  • India saw the Afghan government as a friend in blunting extremism in neighboring Pakistan, which has always defined itself as India's enemy.

  • The Biden administration may in fact be willing to defend Taiwan, but that is not all that counts at this crucial time. What also counts are perceptions, and the perceptions that especially count are those in Beijing. Chinese propagandists promoted two narratives as Kabul fell: The United States will not defend Taiwan and an America unable to deal with the Taliban cannot hope to stand up to China.

  • Those two narratives appear to in fact reflect Chinese thinking, especially because the withdrawal from Afghanistan signaled to Beijing a complete failure of the U.S. intelligence community, the Pentagon, and the White House national security apparatus. Chinese exercises in areas adjacent to Taiwan in August and an August 13 simulated attack on Taiwan with a short-range missile are, in this context, ominous.

  • India's close ties with Vietnam are an indication that India perceives its security as dependent on an open South China Sea and even East China Sea. Taiwan, which sits at the intersection of those bodies of water, is essential in keeping sea lanes there open.

If Washington is going to deter a militant China, it needs the support of democratic India. Unfortunately, India looks like the country most immediately — and perhaps most adversely — affected by the Biden-created debacle in Afghanistan. As a result, New Delhi could decide to side not with America but with a Chinese ally, Moscow. Pictured: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (center) addresses a joint meeting of the US Congress on June 8, 2016, as then Vice President Joe Biden (left) and then Speaker of the House Paul Ryan look on. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Biden's chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan has ruined, perhaps for decades, America's most important bilateral relationship of this era.

If Washington is going to deter a militant China, it needs the support of democratic India. Unfortunately, India looks like the country most immediately — and perhaps most adversely — affected by the Biden-created debacle. As a result, New Delhi could decide to side not with America but with a Chinese ally, Moscow.

New Delhi was one of the staunchest supporters of the American-backed Afghan government and was working alongside Washington in the war against the Taliban and other insurgents. For instance, Indian intelligence was instrumental in breaking up an Afghan ring of Chinese spies working with the Haqqani Network. The Trump administration believed that the Chinese members of that ring, taken into custody last December, were, among other things, offering cash to kill American troops in-country.

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Erdogan's Plans for the Future of Afghanistan: China, Russia and Terrorists

by Burak Bekdil  •  September 6, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • The US and the EU should not buy Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's fake pro-Western posture (such as when he offered to run the Kabul airport, then fled) or his fake anti-radicalism (such as when he is courting the Afghan terrorists). Erdogan's strategy, as a member of NATO, is clearly to bolster Russia's and China's plans for the future of Afghanistan.

  • Iran, for its part, seems to be hoping to hit two birds with one stone: by systematically facilitating the journey of illegal Afghans to Turkey and toward Greece, it might destabilize both Turkey and Europe.

  • "The persistence of Erdoğan's relationship with Hekmatyar illustrates that it was wishful thinking to believe that Erdoğan was ever anything more than a jihadi in a business suit, no matter how many diplomats projected their hopes of change on him." — Michael Rubin, Middle East expert, Washington Examiner, August 11, 2021.

  • Now, due to Erdogan's long-term anti-Western ideology, he will probably be tempted to seek an alliance with whichever pro-sharia group(s) will, in the near future, be governing Afghanistan.

The US and the EU should not buy Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's fake pro-Western posture (such as when he offered to run the Kabul airport, then fled) or his fake anti-radicalism (such as when he is courting the Afghan terrorists). Pictured: The flag of Turkey hangs alongside the flag of Afghanistan at the Kabul airport on August 17, 2021, days before Turkish troops fled. (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

The US and the EU should not buy Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's fake pro-Western posture (such as when he offered to run the Kabul airport, then fled) or his fake anti-radicalism (such as when he is courting the Afghan terrorists). Erdogan's strategy, as a member of NATO, is clearly to bolster Russia's and China's plans for the future of Afghanistan.

When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in December 1979 in support of the communist Afghan government, then in conflict with radical Muslim fighters, Turkey was having its own civil war between ultra-left and ultra-right factions. In September 1980, the Turkish military staged a coup d'état and banned all political parties, including Islamist ones.

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