Belgian Breeding Ground Fuels New Terror Wave

belgiumby Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News
November 23, 2015

Time was, thoughts of Belgium led to thoughts of rich, dark chocolate, of Old Master painters and delicate, handmade lace.

Now it brings a different image: of Islamic jihad and men armed with Kalashnikovs, and of secret meetings of Muslim youth plotting a new attack against the West. The country is in lockdown today, facing what authorities believe is an “imminent attack.” On Sunday, police raided 19 homes in and around Brussels, and made 16 arrests. Brussels continues to be the focus of their action.

There is good reason for this. The Nov. 13 massacres in Paris, we’ve since learned, were planned in the Brussels district of Molenbeek, sometimes called “little Morocco” for its large Moroccan immigrant population. The attack on Charlie Hebdo also was planned there, along with the foiled attack on a Thalys high-speed train between Brussels and Amsterdam. Mehdi Nemmouche, who killed four people at the Brussels Jewish Museum in May 2014, spent time there.

But it isn’t only Molenbeek, and it isn’t only recently. Belgium has been a hotbed of radical Islam for more than a decade, breeding organizations like Sharia4Belgium – one of the most influential “Sharia4” groups globally – and the now-defunct Arab European League (AEL). The goal of the AEL, founded by the Lebanese-Belgian Dyab Abou Jahjah in 2001, was to form a “sharocracy” in which sharia and democracy ruled together across the West. The organization was based in Antwerp, where Jahjah and his friends also celebrated the attacks of 9/11 with laughter. “We couldn’t hold our joy,” he recalled later in his autobiography.

Other signs of radicalism, also connected to Jahjah, soon followed; in 2002, Jahjah helped orchestrate riots in Borgenhout, outside of Antwerp. And in 2004, after establishing a Dutch arm of the AEL, he declared, “I consider every death of an American, British, and Dutch soldier a victory.”

Jahjah was hardly alone. By 2006, Belgian journalist Hind Fraihi, herself a Muslim, discovered that books teaching Muslims to fight infidels were being freely distributed by radical imams who preached jihad in local mosques. Other books she found in Belgium included Guide For Muslims, a Dutch publication that encourages Muslims to throw homosexuals from tall buildings and to beat their wives. A Washington Post profile of Fraihi cited other books she found, including some that “advised readers to learn to communicate in symbols and secret code, and offered tips on how to do that.”

But the largest influence on Belgian Muslims, and the source of much of their extremism, was the creation of Sharia4Belgium in 2010. Thanks to that group, Belgium boasts the largest number of Muslims per capita who have joined the Islamic State and its jihad. According to the Wall Street Journal and others, “dozens” of Sharia4Belgium members have made the pilgrimage to Syria, and dozens more have been detained before they could make the trip. Three of them, all women, were arrested in May 2014, around the time of the Jewish Museum shooting. They were part of a larger group of 40 Belgians planning to join the jihad, and most of them had Sharia4Belgium ties.

This should not have been surprising. By 2012, Belgium’s security service director Alain Winants determined that “radical Islam forms the greatest threat” to the country. Salafism, he told Belgian daily de Morgen, is gaining followers who have built up a parallel community with its own values, its own banks, justice system, and educational program.

Sharia4Belgium’s founder, Fouad Belkacem, was tried and convicted in September 2014 for supporting terrorism, along with dozens of other Sharia4Belgium members, some of whom are still on the Syrian battlefields. But by then it was too late. The group, with its active Dutch- and French-speaking recruiters in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and – most of all – the Internet, had already infiltrated the minds of untold numbers of other Belgian youth.

And still, no one seems to be watching.

This is due in part to limits of Belgium’s intelligence facilities. While German intelligence, for instance, is currently stretched to its limits trying to track potential terrorists, Der Spiegel reports that Belgium’s threat has long since exceeded the its own intelligence capabilities.

Indeed, according to Dutch NOS TV, “the central counterterrorism unit of the [Belgian] police department has only one employee tracking radical [Islamic] activity on the Internet. And she only works part time.” The result, notes Der Spiegel, is that “many Muslims who have become radicalized or received military training and may even have been traumatized are returning home from Syria without anyone checking on them whatsoever.”

Moreover, Belgium’s disorganized police system – with six authorities for 19 districts in Brussels alone – coupled with a chaotic government and the European capital’s convenient location at the midway point between Amsterdam and Paris –combine to help French and Dutch Islamists take refuge there. Two of the Paris attackers, the French-born Bilal Hafdi and Brahim Abdelslam, were among them.

As recently as last month, an exploratory committee determined that Belgian police had failed to notice, let alone monitor, a “jihad camp” set up by Kurdish PKK members and Sharia4Belgium in the Ardennes.

But the truth is, the country’s “capabilities” are only part of the problem: political timidity and correctness carry a good share of the blame. Suspicious behaviors are too often overlooked for fear of being called “racist,” Alain Winants told de Morgen in 2012. That viewpoint has since been echoed in Belgian editorials since the Paris attacks, with journalist Luckas Vander Taelen noting that Molenbeek’s mayor had once called a journalist “Islamophobic” for reporting on the radical Islamic books being distributed there. “There are no problems here,” the mayor insisted at the time.

Since the Nov. 13 attacks, however, Belgium has rounded up dozens of jihadists, with nine raids leading to nine arrests on Thursday preceding Sunday’s additional raids. The speed with which these terrorists were located suggests that authorities were aware of them prior to the events in Paris. So why weren’t they captured earlier? Was it a matter of incompetence? Or a kind of narcissistic concern over image, a fear, as Winants suggests, of being seen as “racist?”

Hopefully, Belgium has now learned its lesson. The fight against terrorism is not a popularity contest. It’s a contest we fight for our lives.

Abigail R. Esman, the author, most recently, of Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West (Praeger, 2010), is a freelance writer based in New York and the Netherlands.

The Right Way to Honor Veterans

veteransdayThe sacredness of Veterans Day — and our obligations to the heroes.

Frontpage, by Bruce Thornton, N0v. 11, 2015:

These days our men and women in uniform are usually treated with kindness and respect. Nobody begrudges someone in uniform getting to board a flight first, or getting comped a first-class seat. Even those on the left who think that people in military service are misguided dupes of evil militarists no longer indulge the open scorn and calumny prevalent in the Vietnam War era, when a uniform was a target for spittle and charges of “baby-killer,” when in 1971 John Kerry appeared before the Senate and accused U.S. troops of rape, torture, and mutilation. Yet under the surface of progressives’ seeming respect and sympathy there still lurks a subtle contempt for the virtues and values that make our warriors worthy of our gratitude and admiration.

American leftists have long indulged a stealth pacifism that naturally conditions their attitudes toward the military. After all, the U.S. is the source of global disorder caused by its corporate hegemons, who use the military to protect their access to the global resources and markets they plunder for profit. Better to appease an enemy than to unleash these capitalist legions. Remember the “no blood for oil” slogans during the protests against the Iraq War in 2003? Or the exaggerated coverage given to civilian casualties or the occasional brutality typical of every war ever fought? Or the national media attention given to anti-war protestors like Cindy Sheehan, while the numerous heroes who won Silver Stars and Navy Crosses were usually ignored?

But such martial heroism does not fit the leftist narrative. To the left, the U.S. is a neo-imperialist aggressor responsible for global disorder, and Republicans are trigger-happy cowboys drunk on John Wayne westerns. Our military forces are in reality part of the “military-industrial complex,” a corrupt alliance of arms manufacturers––the “merchants of death,” as progressive John Dewey called them nearly a century ago––and the politicians who funnel taxpayer money to them at the expense of social welfare programs and schools. The ever-shrewd Osama bin Laden exploited this leftist bromide in his 2003 letter to American soldiers, who were “spilling [their] blood to swell the bank accounts of the White House gang and their fellow arms dealers and the proprietors of great companies.”

During the 60s and 70s, these left-wing beliefs turned our veterans into the mercenary enforcers of this brutal oppression, excepting, of course, the minorities and hippies drafted against their will into this unjust war. But those attitudes didn’t sit well with the majority of the American people, who traditionally have admired and supported our military. After the election of Ronald Reagan repudiated that left-wing slander of U.S. soldiers as brutal mercenaries of rapacious capitalists, progressives had to become more careful with their rhetoric, and devise more subtle ways to display their contempt.

Today, the liberal media show their “respect” for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan by highlighting their suffering and that of their families much more often than their bravery and martial achievements. During the Iraq War, every day saw another heart-rending story about a dead or wounded soldier and the suffering of his family. Front-page photos of coffins returning to the U.S. and profiles of PTSD victims were common, less so the exploits of heroes like Navy Cross winner Sergeant Marco Martinez, who in 2004 took command after the squad leader was wounded, charged a building where enemy fire was originating, and killed four of the enemy.

For the liberal media, it was ideologically preferable to highlight casualties and weeping families. That coverage dovetailed nicely with the Democrats’ narrative that the “unjust” war was started because of a “lie” about Saddam Hussein’s WMDs, and that those soldiers were dying just to secure access to the world’s 5th largest oil reserves and give lucrative contracts to companies like Halliburton. Now the soldiers fighting and dying in Iraq were not the mercenary villains of the Vietnam era, but the pitiful dupes of an “illegal war,” whose quaint but delusional ideals of duty and honor had been exploited by capitalist fatcats. Soldiers were to be pitied, not scorned or insulted.

But as Christopher Lasch wrote, this sort of condescending pity is “the human face of contempt.” It turns our warriors into another class of victims that progressives can use to attack “heartless” conservatives for their exploitation of misguided idealists who aren’t as intellectually sophisticated as the progressive pundits and professors who know what corporate skullduggery is really going on under the patriotic rhetoric of military service and sacrifice.

Such pity is not a sign of respect for veterans. Of course, we should devote resources and give recognition to the price many of our soldiers have paid in our nation’s wars. But most combat veterans accept that cost as the eternal, non-negotiable reality of war. Of course they want the benefits they have earned with their blood, sweat, and tears, but most do not want to be pitied or looked down upon as hapless victims or the “collateral damage” of some political cabal’s greed.

Genuine respect for our veterans celebrates the virtues of warriors: duty, bravery, self-sacrifice, and loyalty to their comrades, or more accurately their brothers, for as Shakespeare memorably has Henry V say on the eve of Agincourt, “he that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.” We should acknowledge that while for us civilians war is only a horrible catastrophe, for the warrior it is more than just death and suffering: it is an arena for displaying the highest of human virtues, and “the stimulator of glorious individual achievements,” as combat veteran Winston Churchill said to the astonished pacifist and World War I hero Siegfried Sassoon.

Finally, we should honor our warriors today because war is an eternal constant of human history, but political freedom is not, and is always one generation away from disappearing. This means freedom must continually be defended with violence inflicted on its enemies. And most wars, even those fought today with high-tech weaponry, require flesh and blood men and women willing to put themselves into mortal danger and risk their lives to defend the freedom we take for granted every day. So this Veterans Day, let’s not pity our soldiers as victims, but celebrate and honor their commitment to the warrior’s code of honor, duty, and loyalty, one of the most noble set of ideals that humans have ever devised, one that can bring out the worst in people, but more importantly brings out the best that they can be.

ISIS Sinai Leader ID’d As Potential ‘Mastermind’ of Russian Airliner Terror Attack


Does anyone remember how Morsi allowed jihadists to gather in the Sinai?

Breitbart, by Jordan Schachtel, Nov. 9, 2015:

Abu Osama Al Masri (also referred to as Sheikh Osama al Masri), has been identified by intelligence sources as the likely mastermind behind the attack on a Russian airliner that crashed in the Sinai Peninsula in late October, killing all 224 passengers on board.

al-Masri is an Egyptian cleric who graduated from Egypt’s infamous Al Azhar University, a known hotbed for jihadi theology. It is the same place from where U.S. President Barack Obama gave his famous Cairo speech in 2009, shortly after being elected president.

In recent months, al-Masri – whose jihadi outfit used to be known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM), before switching allegiance to ISIS – has often called for fellow terror sympathizers to attack members of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s government.

On Sunday, British officials told the Sunday Times that the 42-year-old ISIS cleric is a “person of interest” in the suspected attack, adding that British forces may be utilized in a “kill or capture” mission targeting al-Masri.

In a statement following the suspected attack, al-Masri said the alleged bombing was a “blessing of our gathering under a single banner and leader,” in reference to the fact that the suspected attack also occurred on the one-year anniversary of the group pledging to follow ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

“We are the ones who downed it by the grace of Allah, and we are not compelled to announce the method that brought it down,” al-Masri said defiantly, following the Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg jet crashing in the desert.

al-Masri’s jihadi group, which in the past had strong ties to Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, has rebranded itself as an ISIS affiliate. Throughout this process, the Sinai Province (of the Islamic State) has continued its insurgent effort primarily focused on Egypt’s military and police.

Before joining the caliphatist ISIS, ABM had more immediate regional goals, such as plotting attacks against Egypt and Israel, strengthening its alliances with the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, and smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip. Sinai Province has completed its objectives with some success, killing dozens over the past year alone and injuring hundreds more.

“Poison their food… Surveil them at home and in the street… destroy their homes with explosives if you can,” al-Masri said in a past message discussing Egyptian judges, a calling that was similar to countless more messages demanding the massacre of innocents.

ABM has been listed as a terrorist group by the United States and many other western nations. In November, 2014, the U.S. State Department added the Sinai Province as another alias of al-Masri’s terror organization.

In its initial terror designation of the Sinai-based organization, the U.S. State Department described the Islamic militant group as one that “shares some aspects” of Al Qaeda ideology and “generally maintains a local focus.”

Also see:

The Fantasy Islam of Reza Aslan


Frontpage, by Dr. Stephen M. Kirby, Oct. 27, 2015:

Fantasy Islam: A game in which an audience of non-Muslims wish with all their hearts that Islam was a “Religion of Peace,” and a Muslim strives to fulfill that wish by presenting a personal version of Islam that has little foundation in Islamic Doctrine.

As I have mentioned before, “Fantasy Islam” is a popular game among many non-Muslims and so-called “moderate” or “reformist” Muslims.  Reza Aslan appears to be such a Muslim.

Reza Aslan was born in Iran.  In 1979, at the age of seven, he and his family fled the Iranian Revolution and came to the United States.  At the age of 15 he converted to evangelical Christianity, but later returned to Islam.  His website states that he is “an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions.”  He is currently a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside.

In 2005 Aslan wrote a book titled No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam. The updated edition came out in 2011.  This article addresses that updated edition.

It should be noted that in his book Aslan listed The Life of Muhammad and the multi-volume work The History of al-Tabari, as among the books he “consulted.”  These are classical works by Muslim scholars and major sources for information about Muhammad and Islam.  Aslan even specifically mentions them as among those that have “catalogued” the story of Islam (p. xxiv).  Unfortunately, although Aslan claims that he “consulted” them, we will see that he apparently overlooked conflicting information in these works in favor of playing Fantasy Islam.

Death Penalty for Apostasy is “Un-Quranic”

On p. 121 Aslan stated that the death penalty for apostasy was “un-Quranic,” and he stated that nowhere in the Koran “is any earthly punishment prescribed for apostasy.”

The only problem for Aslan is that in 4:89 of the Koran Allah commands Muslims to take hold of those apostates who have left Islam and “kill them wherever you find them.”  So the death penalty for apostasy from Islam is in the Koran.

In addition, Muhammad said that death was the penalty for a Muslim who left Islam (e.g. Sahih Al-Bukhari, Nos. 6878 and 6923; and Sahih Muslim, No. 1676).  And Muhammad even specified the nature of that death:

If someone changes his religion – then strike off his head!

Al-Muwatta of Imam Malik ibn Anas, 36.18.15, in a section titled “Judgement on Abandonment of Islam.”

No Foundation in the Koran for Stoning

On p. 71 Aslan wrote about the “misogynistic tendencies” of Umar, the second Caliph, and how Umar

instituted a series of severe penal ordinances aimed primarily at women.  Chief among these was the stoning to death of adulterers, a punishment which has absolutely no foundation whatsoever in the Quran but which Umar justified by claiming it had originally been part of the Revelation and had somehow been left out of the authorized text.  Of course, Umar never explained how it was possible for a verse such as this “accidentally” to have been left out of the Divine Revelation of God[.]

It is a common play in Fantasy Islam to claim that stoning is not a part of Islam because it is not in the Koran, so let’s take a look at this claim.

In the first place, it is correct to state that the Koran says nothing about stoning.  The original punishment for adultery in the Koran (4:15) focused on women and confining them to their houses until they died; but there was a key provision at the end of this verse: “or Allah ordains for them some (other) way.”

Muhammad later received a “revelation” from Allah explaining that “other way”:

‘Ubada b. As-Samit reported: Allah’s Messenger (SAW) saying: Receive (teaching) from me, receive (teaching) from me.  Allah has ordained a way for those (women).  When an unmarried male commits adultery with an unmarried female (they should receive) one hundred lashes and banishment for one year.  And in case of married male committing adultery with a married female, they shall receive one hundred lashes and be stoned to death.

Sahih Muslim, No. 1690

So now, instead of confinement, the punishment for adultery would be lashing and stoning.  The punishment of lashing was codified in 24:2 of the Koran.  Muhammad considered stoning as the appropriate penalty for adultery up to his death.  He ordered many an adulterer to be stoned, as did his successors.

Umar did make the claim that the Verse of Stoning had been left out when the Koran was compiled (e.g.Sahih Al-Bukhari, No. 6830).  But when the Koran was being compiled Umar had tried to get it included.  However, the standard for including a “revelation” as a verse was that it had to be certified by two witnesses, and there appeared to be only one witness: Umar.

But in reality there was a second witness, Muhammad’s favorite wife Aisha:

It was narrated that ‘Aishah said: “The Verse of stoning and of breastfeeding an adult ten times was revealed, and the paper was with me under my pillow.  When the Messenger of Allah died, we were preoccupied with his death, and a tame sheep came in and ate it.”

Sunan Ibn Majah, No. 1944

Even though on p. 70 Aslan had written that “nearly one sixth of all ‘reliable’ hadith can be traced back to Muhammad’s wife Aisha,” the idea of using her as a witness apparently came up against 2:282 of the Koran.  This verse requires the testimony of two women in order to equal that of one man in property matters.  So even though both Umar and Aisha claimed there had been a stoning verse “revealed,” we would still only have at best one and one-half witnesses, therefore falling short of the two witnesses required to include a verse in the Koran.  It would appear that this is why there is no Verse of Stoning in the Koran.  Nevertheless, it is still a part of Islam:

Now the punishment of adultery has been fixed, which is stoning to death.  That punishment also remained in force during the times of the Rightly-Guided caliphs (successors of the Messenger of Allah) and that remained the unanimous opinion of all the jurists and scholars afterwards…The law that prescribes stoning the adultery [sic] to death is supported by authentic hadeeths, and their narrators are numerous, and hence, scholars grade those hadeeths as mutawatir [frequently reported].  A Muslim has, therefore, no choice except to acknowledge and accept it.

Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan, Vol. 3, p. 665

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The Foundation of America Cannot Be Compromised

Understanding the Threat, by John Guandolo, Oct. 21, 2015:

America has so strayed from its bedrock foundation, that simple discussions and policies seem complicated by the emotions of the day, people’s perspective, and a host of ideas swirling about our social and political world today.

Yet when we look at the world through the lens of our founding principles, we come to the quick realization that “compromise” cannot be reached with those who seek to implement rules, systems, and laws which undermine these founding principles.  These people are called enemies and must be defeated.


Because our schools have done such a poor job of teaching what was common knowledge among young children a hundred years ago, many of our citizens have little grasp of the basic unyielding principles that ensure our liberty and, therefore, our prosperity.

In today’s America:  Presidential candidate Mrs. Clinton has to answer questions about the killing of the U.S. Ambassador in Benghazi, Libya; jihadi armies are moving across the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere; the President of the United States and his State Department are negotiating with the number one state sponsor of terrorism on the planet – Iran; U.S. leadership has surrendered Syria and the greater Middle East to Russia, and therefore Iran and China; U.S. Islamic organizations are intimately involved in National Security matters despite the fact they are Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood front groups; America stands over $20 trillion in debt; an avowed Socialist is running for President (unconstitutional); this Administration continues to abuse the power of the Executive branch while Congress still talks of “compromise” and “coming together”; and on it goes.

There are over 1.2 million abortions in America every year which are granted “legal” status by a Supreme Court ruling, and not by the Legislative branch of the federal government.  Businesses and individuals who stand firm against homosexual marriages in their private and public lives are finding the weight of the federal government coming down on them.

All of these issues seem divergent and unrelated, yet they represent the predictable outcome of a nation which strays far from its founding.  Our Ideals are found in the Declaration of Independence which states:

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them…”

The foundation out of which our nation was born has a standard – The Law of Nature and the Law of God.

The right to defend oneself, the argument against homosexuality, the right to liberty, and many other self-evident truths all exist in the Law of Nature.  There is no slavery in nature.  The places we find homosexuality in nature are aberrations not the rule.  Defending yourself is the rule in nature – try to approach new born puppies, bears, or some other animal and see how the mother defends her own.

The Law of God naturally confirms what we see in nature, but where the Law of Nature in not clear, we look to the Law of God – the Bible.  Not only do we see where incest, rape, and other foul acts are unlawful, we see how governments are to be established ensuring sovereignty and authority are not shared.  God’s sovereignty is God’s.  Man’s is man’s.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

When America’s founders designed a nation like no other in human history, they did so by declaring self-evident truths – all human beings are created equally by God born with unalienable rights.  Unalienable rights come from God and, therefore, cannot be taken away by the government, a majority vote, or any other maneuver of the people.  The Declaration does not list all of the unalienable rights God gives us, but those can be found elsewhere including in the Bill of Rights.

FIRST, God gives us the right to life.  Because this right comes from God, no government, nor any man can remove this right because it is a right that belongs to the sovereignty of God alone.  When we allow millions of the most innocent in our society who have objectively done no wrong to be killed, we are surrendering a God-given right to the government it neither has the authority nor capacity to hold.

Secondly, the founders declared we are all born free as children of God (Liberty).  The founders understood liberty is our birthright, and they also knew the weight of the Ideal of the Declaration would make it impossible for slavery to continue.  In the end, slavery was abolished in America, yet it continues in many nations across the globe today.

Finally, the third unalienable right mentioned in the Declaration is the right to property (“happiness”).  Of this right William Blackstone, whose legal writings were considered the final authority in American courts for over 150 years after the ratification of the Constitution, stated: “So great moreover is the regard of the law for private property that it will not authorize the least violation of it – no, not even for the general good of the whole community.” (Commentaries on the Laws of England (Philadelphia: Robert Bell, 1771), Vol. I, p. 139).

Yet, today we see the government taking people’s private property to create bike paths, townhouse complexes, or some other “need of the community.”

We as Americans enter into a social compact to surrender our right to self-government to form a government whose sole duty is to protect our unalienable rights – the rights God gave us.

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Out of this framework came an American government rooted in Natural Law and the Bible.  From this place, our laws come.  Any laws contrary to Natural Law or the Bible are not valid laws.

From a society based in the rule of law and understanding it owes its life and liberty to God, comes prosperity.  It is no accident America is the most prosperous nation in the history of the world.


To pull the great foundational block of the Law of Nature and Nature’s God out from under America, is to destroy America and all that it is.  The natural outcome will be the kind of tyranny and despotism about which our Founding Fathers cautioned us.

For the younger generation, the result is Panem.  No cell phones, no video games, more rules, no freedom, and no joy.

The federal government in America at the political and bureaucratic level has failed to rule within its authority and has usurped God’s sovereignty as defined in our founding document.

There is no compromising with socialists, jihadists, communists, or marxists.  These are systems which enslave mankind and nullify the very principles upon which America was founded.

Our strategy must be one which is consistent with ensuring victory of future generations:  We win, they lose.

It is now up to the States and the people to stop the abuse of power of the federal level.

Also see:

Turkey Is on the Path to Rogue Dictatorship

by Daniel Pipes
National Review Online
October 26, 2015

Should President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s AK Party not win a majority of seats in the Nov. 1 vote, the mainstream media hold that his power will diminish. The headline of a much-circulated Reutersanalysis sums up this view: “Erdoğan seen with little choice but to share power after Turkish vote.”Agence France-Presse predicts that winning less than half the seats “would again force [the AKP] to share power or call yet another election.” Almost identically, Middle East Online sees this situation forcing the AKP “to share power or organise yet another election.” And so on, almost invariably including the words “share power.”

The Supreme Election Board (Yüksek Seçim Kurulu) oversees voting in Turkey; will it be forced to rig the election on Nov. 1?

The Supreme Election Board (Yüksek Seçim Kurulu) oversees voting in Turkey; will it be forced to rig the election on Nov. 1?

But what if Erdoğan chooses not to share power? He then has two options. If the results are close, election fraud is a distinct possibility; reports suggest sophisticated software (think Volkswagen) to skew the results.

If the results are not close, Erdoğan can sideline the parliament, the prime minister, the other ministers, and the whole damn government. This sidelining option, which the press ignores as a possibility, follows directly from Erdoğan’s past actions. Since he left the prime ministry in August 2014 to become Turkey’s president, he has diminished his old office, depriving it of nearly all authority. He turned it over to a professorial foreign-policy theorist with no political base, Ahmet Davutoğlu, and controls him so tightly that Davutoğlu cannot even decide on his own aides(who also double as Erdoğan’s informants).

At the same time, Erdoğan built himself a 1,005-room presidential palace housing a staff of 2,700 which constitutes a bureaucracy that potentially can take over the other ministries of state, leaving a seemingly unchanged government in place that behinds the scenes follows orders from the palace.

Erdogan and Davutoglu

Erdoğan will surely sideline parliament as well; not by turning it into a grotesque North Korea-style rubber-stamp assembly but into an Egypt- or Iran-style body consumed with secondary matters (school examinations, new highways) while paying close heed to wishes of the Big Boss.

Then, to complete his takeover, he will deploy his many tools of influence to control the judiciary, the media, corporations, the academy, and the arts. He will also shut down private dissent, especially on social media, as suggested by the many lawsuits he and his cronies have initiated against ordinary citizens who dare criticize him.

At this point, the Hugo Chávez/Vladimir Putin of Turkey, the one who compared democracy to a trolley (“You ride it until you arrive at your destination, then you step off”) will truly have arrived at his destination. As a reward, he may even declare himself the caliph of all Muslims.

Chavez abd Putin

Returning to the present: The number of AKP seats in parliament hardly matters because Erdoğan will do what it takes, legally or illegally, to become the new sultan. He will not have to “share power,” but will seize more power by hook (sidelining parliament) or crook (electoral fraud). Foreign capitals need to prepare for the unpleasant likelihood of a rogue dictatorship in Turkey.

Oct. 26, 2015 update: Kadri Gürsel explores various possibilities should the AKP not win a majority of the votes, including Erdoğan forcing a third round of voting. But he does not raise the sidelining of parliament as one of the president’s choices.

Also see:

Hacker who allegedly passed U.S. military data to ISIS arrested in Malaysia

(CNN) Authorities have arrested a Malaysia-based hacker who they accuse of stealing personal information of U.S. military members and giving it to ISIS.

Ardit Ferizi, a Kosovo citizen, was detained in Malaysia on a provisional U.S. arrest warrant alleging he provided material support to ISIS and committed computer hacking and identity theft, the U.S. Justice Department said.

According to a criminal complaint, Ferizi hacked into the computer system of a company in the United States and stole personally identifiable information of more than 1,000 U.S. service members and federal employees. Then, he allegedly gave that information to several ISIS figures, including a prominent propagandist for the group, the complaint says.

Ardit Ferizi

Ardit Ferizi

U.S. Assistant Attorney General John Carlin called the case against Ferizi — which combines cybercrime and terror charges as U.S. authorities aim to step up their crackdown on ISIS — “a first of its kind.”

“This arrest demonstrates our resolve to confront and disrupt ISIL’s efforts to target Americans, in whatever form and wherever they occur,” Carlin said in a statement.

Ties to prominent ISIS propagandist

The criminal complaint alleges there’s probable cause to believe Ferizi hacked into a server and stole names and personally identifiable information of more than 1,300 U.S. military and other government personnel — a list that was later posted online in August by a group calling itself the “Islamic State Hacking Division.”

“We are extracting confidential data,” a message from the group said, according to the complaint, “and passing on your personal information to the soldiers of the khilafah, who soon with the permission of Allah will strike at your necks in your own lands!”

The military members’ data, including home addresses and photos, was allegedly stolen by Feriziand passed on to Junaid Hussein, a British hacker who was active on social media recruiting Westerners to join ISIS, authorities said.

The U.S. military announced in August that it had killed Hussein in an airstrike in Syria. He was a leading member of ISIS’ so-called CyberCaliphate, which has carried out mostly nuisance hacks on military and other government websites in the United States, France and other countries.

After the list’s publication in August, Pentagon officials said they were investigating.

“I take it seriously, because it is clear what they are trying to do,” Gen. Raymond Odierno, the U.S. Army chief of ctaff, said at the time.

Many of the phone numbers and email addresses on the list were not in service when tested by CNN in August. But one person on the list, reached by phone, confirmed he had previously served in the U.S. military. He asked not to be named, but said he had recently been notified by the Pentagon that his name and personal information were on the list. Another, reached by email, confirmed she was a government employee who had been warned by the military about being on the list.

Complaint: Suspect led Kosovo hacking group

According to the complaint, Ferizi is believed to be the leader of a hacking group known as Kosova Hacker’s Security.

Malaysian Police said the 20-year-old alleged hacker had entered the country in August 2014 to pursue computer science and computer forensics studies at a college in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysian authorities had been monitoring him for a few months after receiving information from the FBI, said Sr. Assistant Commissioner Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, head of the counterterrorism division, Special Branch of the Royal Malaysian Police.

Ferizi was arrested September 15 in Kuala Lumpur, the assistant commissioner said. He is under remand under a provisional arrest warrant while U.S. authorities apply for his extradition.

The US Vacuum in the Middle East


The Gorka Briefing, by Sebastian Gorka, Oct 12, 2015:

The Obama administration created a vacuum in the Middle East and then ISIS moved in and now Russia is establishing a beachhead. I discuss this and more on the Sam Sorbo radio show. (17 min)

audio snip 2

Also see:

Expeditionary Warfare  Is the Russian venture in Syria a “Force Protection” or  Expeditionary War at quite a significant scale? NATO countries seem to be missing a common threat assessment over what Moscow is undertaking. I discuss these issues and more on the John Batchelor radio show. (9 min)

‘Muslims are fleeing in droves’: ISIS suddenly has a caliphate problem


A militant Islamist fighter filming his fellow fighters taking part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province in 2014.

A militant Islamist fighter filming his fellow fighters taking part in a military parade along the streets of Syria’s northern Raqqa province in 2014.

Business Insider, by Pamela Engel, Sep. 22, 2015:

The Islamic State militant group has recently released a barrage of propaganda videos targeting refugees and telling them to come join the “caliphate” instead of fleeing to “xenophobic” Europe.

The videos seek to reinforce the image of the caliphate — the territory ISIS controls in Iraq and Syria — as an Islamic utopia and capitalize on the dangers refugees face as they flee to European countries.

And these videos aren’t the first propaganda messages ISIS has released about the refugee crisis — earlier this month, in its English-language magazine Dabiq, the extremist group published an article warning against leaving the caliphate for Western countries.

The articles said leaving for Western nations was “a dangerous major sin” that was “a gate towards one’s children and grandchildren abandoning Islam for Christianity, atheism, or liberalism.”

This propaganda effort could be a sign of panic in the ranks of ISIS leadership as Iraqis and Syrians flee their home countries in large numbers.

“They claim to create this Islamic utopia, and Muslims are fleeing in droves,” Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a counterterrorism analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Business Insider.

“A legitimate caliphate … is supposed to be able to provide services to its citizens.”

ISIS relies on residents in the territory it controls for revenue — it makes most of its money from taxation — and for services that give ISIS-held territories the appearance of being ruled by a functioning government.

“Taxation certainly would [be] an issue with people fleeing,” Gartenstein-Ross said. “Another significant problem is brain drain … The people who have highly desirable skill sets like doctors are fleeing.”

A map from August showing oil wells under ISIS control.

A map from August showing oil wells under ISIS control.

Oil is another major source of funding for ISIS, which brought in an estimated $100 million in 2014 from selling crude on the black market.

“The oil industry … is another area where they haven’t preserved the level of talent that they need,” Gartenstein-Ross added.

Aside from a possible brain drain and loss of revenue if there are fewer people to tax as ISIS continues its attempt to seize territory across Iraq and Syria, the refugee exodus from the Middle East could call ISIS’ legitimacy into question, Gartenstein-Ross said.

And ISIS has a strategy to keep people from leaving the caliphate. The International Institute for Strategic Studies reported recently: “It is in ISIS’s interest to prevent a mass exodus by residents living in territory it controls, because this would undermine its image of a cohesive state-building project. The group has accordingly placed IEDs around entrances to cities it controls, such as Fallujah and Ramadi, to prevent escape, which simultaneously serve the larger purpose of preventing the [Iraqi Security Forces] from advancing.”

The strategic security firm The Soufan Group noted last week that “more people are visibly fleeing [ISIS] and the areas it controls than are flocking to join it.”

“In an attempt to change the minds of people who would rather risk drowning than live in the Islamic State, the group has ramped up its propaganda efforts,” The Soufan Group said. “The scatter-shot nature of the Islamic State’s recent messages — at times angry and denouncing refugees, at other times proclaiming the wisdom of staying in what the group sees as an Earthly paradise — shows the desperation of a group that resembles a pyramid scheme more than a government.”

Some experts, however, disagree with the characterization of ISIS’ media blitz as a sign of desperation or panic.

“I wouldn’t see it as a desperate call for the refugees … because they need people [in their caliphate] but more as a sophisticated move by the Islamic State to take advantage of the huge debate on the refugee movement in Europe,” Pieter Nanninga, an assistant professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, told Business Insider.

His research focuses on jihadist violence and media use, and he viewed the new videos ISIS posted about the refugee crisis.

Read more

Also see:

Mark Steyn: Last Laughs in Europe

Under a giant portrait of Mohammed, Mark speaks to a capacity crowd at the Landsting Hall at the Danish Parliament. We doubt either the US Congress or the UK Parliament would have hosted such an event.

Under a giant portrait of Mohammed, Mark speaks to a capacity crowd at the Landsting Hall at the Danish Parliament. We doubt either the US Congress or the UK Parliament would have hosted such an event.

by Mark Steyn
Steyn on Europe
September 28, 2015

Reader Artie Bleppo complains, in all-caps, about the priorities of my week in review:


So what? His speeches were fatuous and evasive pabulum, and already forgotten. I am not a Catholic but I understand that, unlike the position of Archbishop of Canterbury, where total contempt from the congregants more or less comes with the job, the Bishop of Rome is generally held in some respect by his church. So last week, out of deference to Catholic readers’ sensibilities, I confined myself to an aside:

Best to talk about the dangers of “climate change”, as the Pope is doing this week, even as in the heart of Christendom the post-Christian future is showing up at the express check-in.

As the years go by, I like to write about what matters. And in this last seven days, the Mohammed cartoons and the “refugee” tide now engulfing Europe both matter more than “POPE CAME TO THE USA”. His Holiness in fact has chosen not to matter, even as European politicians take decisions that will guarantee “Christendom” will be non-Christian. There is something shallow and decadent about a pontiff who prioritizes “climate change” even as every last Christian is driven from the Archeparchy of Mosul. What will they say of such a pope? That he fiddled with the thermostat while Rome burned?

And let’s not even mention his appalling response to the Charlie Hebdo slaughter. So I wrote nothing about his remarks to Congress – just as he wrote nothing about my remarks in the Danish Parliament. So we’re quits.

~Speaking of which, we were a merry band, all things considered, at Christiansborg Castle. I thank my friend Katrine Winkel Holm, of the Danish Free Press Society, and her delightful sister, Marie Krarup, defense spokeslady for the Danish People’s Party, for arranging to host us behind the fortress-like walls of Parliament – so nobody could bust in and shoot us, as they did at a similar free-speech event in February. I was heartened to meet fellow free-speechers who had traveled from Sweden, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Britain and even Canada. My fellow panelists included Henryk Broder, author of The Last Days of Europe; Vebjørn Selbekk, whom the quislings of Norway’s government treated disgracefully for publishing the cartoons; and Douglas Murray, who’s already written up the event in The Spectator:

My main message for the audience was to keep in mind that freedom has never been particularly popular. Most people prefer their security and comforts to freedom and although history shows that although everyone benefits from being free, it has always been a small minority who actually pursue and protect the cause. I suppose one has to wrestle whatever comfort one can from that. It was a terrible thing to see the security now needed in Denmark, as elsewhere, for people who are simply asserting their right to write and draw what they want, even – shock horror – things that might be mildly critical of the founder of one religion. That a journalist or historian should need bodyguards in 21st century in an indictment on our continent. But still, surveying the room on Saturday I think we’ve got enough people. A few Danes, a few Swedes and Norwegians. A few Americans and a couple of Brits might be all that is needed. Perhaps by the 15th anniversary things will be better.

Perhaps. On Europe’s present course, though, the security we’ll need in 2020 doesn’t bear thinking about. But I’ll be there.

~A transcript of Vebjørn Selbekk’s powerful speech can be found here:

We had interviewed leading Norwegian cartoonists. One of them was Finn Graaf. He is maybe the hardest hitting cartoonist in the history of the Norwegian press. One of his specialities is drawing Israeli prime ministers as Holocaust camp guards. He has done that with almost every Israeli prime minister since Menachem Begin in the late Seventies.

But Mister Graff told us that he would never draw the prophet Mohammad. Not because he had more respect towards the Muslim faith than other religions or ideologies. No, he bluntly put it this way in the interview:

‘I have to draw the line somewhere. I do not want to get my throat cut. Therefore I will refrain from drawing Muhammad.’

One-way “hard-hitting” isn’t really hard-hitting at all, is it? As I said ten years ago, it’s the easiest thing in the world to be tediously provocative with those who refuse to be provoked.

~My own remarks came last, and can be heard below. I’ll post the other speeches, as we get them. But click below to listen:

The Free Speech Society has a report here:

Steyn gjorde gældende, at problemet er de vestlige samfunds mangel på selvtillid. Vi tror ikke længere på os selv og vores grundlæggende værdier. Vi er villige til at give køb på dem. Terrorismens mål er at kapre debatten og terrorisere os til at undlade visse emner. Og den har succes med det, anførte Steyn.

Which comes out as:

Steyn claimed that the problem is the western world’s lack of self-confidence. We no longer believe in ourselves and our basic values. We are willing to trade them away. Terrorism’s goal is to hijack the debate and terrorize us to steer clear of certain subjects. And it’s had great success with it, argued Steyn.

This Swedish report concludes thus:

Därefter slutade konferensen. Några av deltagarna fick splittra upp sig eftersom den förhandsbokade restaurangen blivit rädda för att befatta sig med TFS och de inresta föreläsarna.

Which translates to something like:

After that the conference ended. Some of the participants had to split up because the pre-booked restaurant became afraid to deal with the Free Speech Society and the speakers they’d invited.

That’s true. They did. We were escorted by officers from the PET, the Danish Security Service. But the minute the restaurant discovered that, the management – some joint called Fiat – canceled. Compared to what happened to Charlie Hebdo, that’s a small price to pay, but it is still a price, and a telling one. Those who defend freedom for all wind up with less than anybody: airlines that won’t fly them, theatres that won’t book them, and even crappy Italian restaurants that won’t serve ’em a few pasta shells at the end of a hard day defending liberty.

One more quote from our Swedish correspondent:

Mark Steyn lovade dock från talarstolen att nästa gång så ska han tala på Det Konglige Teater som en fri människa inför fria människor och inte bakom låsta dörrar med säkerhetskontroller och vakter på det danska riksdagshuset.

Which translates as me getting a bit carried away:

Mark Steyn, however, promised from the podium that next time he’ll speak at the Royal Theatre as a free man before free people, and not behind locked doors with security checks and guards from the Danish Parliament.

We’ll see how that works out.

~Nobody needs the Pope to hitch up his robes and be the last world leader to jump on the climate bandwagon. But it might be helpful for him to take the lead in saving the heart of Christendom. Indeed, some might think it’s part of the job description, no?

Losing the War of Ideas


The West’s ideological delusions are now too dangerous to ignore.

Frontpage, by Caroline Glick, Sep. 3, 2015:

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

We have arrived at the point where the consequences of the West’s intellectual disarmament at the hands of political correctness begins to have disastrous consequences in the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

Speaking last month at the memorial service for the five US marines massacred at a recruiting office in Chattanooga, Tennessee, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said, “The meaning of their killing is yet unclear, and what combination of disturbed mind, violent extremism, and hateful ideology was at work, we don’t know.”

US Vice President Joe Biden claimed, the “perverse ideologues…may be able to inspire a single lone wolf, but they can never, never threaten who we are.”

Both men were wrong, and dangerously so.

The meaning of the killings was no mystery.

Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez shot his victims down in cold blood because he was a jihadist. He wrote of his devotion to the Islamic war for global domination on his blog. He downloaded messages from Anwar Awlaki, the American al-Qaida commander killed in a drone attack in Yemen in 2011.

Awlaki’s most prolific follower to date was US Army Major Nidal Malik Hassan who massacred 13 soldiers and wounded 32 in his November 2009 assault at Ft. Hood, Texas. Yet, just as the Obama administration denies to this day that Hassan operated out of devotion to the cause of Islamic global supremacy through genocidal war, so Carter pretended away Abdulazeez’s obvious motive. And Biden stood before those whose lives were shattered by jihad last month and told them that jihad was not a threat to their way of life.

Ideas are the most powerful human force. And the idea of jihad that the Obama administration will not discuss is perhaps the most powerful idea in the world’s marketplace of ideas today.

The notion of jihad is fairly simple. It asserts that Islam is the only true religion. All other faiths are wrong and evil. It is the destiny of the one true faith to reign supreme. The duty of all Muslims is to facilitate Islam’s global rise and dominion.

How this duty is borne varies. Some take up arms.

Some engage in indoctrination. Some engage in subversion. And some cheer from the sidelines, providing a fan base to encourage those more directly engaged. What is most important is the shared idea, the creed of jihad.

The jihadist creed is a creed of war. Consequently, its adherents cannot live peacefully with non-jihadists.

By definition, those who subscribe to a jihadist world view constitute a threat to those who do not share their belief system.

Rather than contend with the idea of jihad, the West, led by the US, insists on limiting its focus to the outward manifestations of jihadist beliefs.

Physical bases of jihadists in places like Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen are targeted to kill specific people – like Awlaki. But the ideas that inspire them to action are ignored or dismissed as irrelevant and interchangeable with other ideologies, like Zionism and fiscal conservatism.

Unlike the Americans, the jihadists understand the power of their idea. And they invest hundreds of millions of dollars to propagate it. MEMRI recently reported that Islamic State (IS) runs at least three production companies. They disseminate professional- quality videos daily. The videographers, composers and singers who produce these films are IS members, no different from its beheaders, sex traders and chemical weapons purveyors.

Like IS’s battle successes and its sex slave industry, these videos have already had a profound impact on the shape of the Islamic world and the threat jihadist Islam constitutes for its opponents worldwide.

From Nigeria to Egypt to the Palestinian Authority to Pakistan, in Europe, the US and South America, jihadist armies and individual Muslims are embracing the idea of the caliphate – the ultimate aim of jihad – and pledging or weighing the option of pledging loyalty to IS and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

As a result, the never reasonable notion that you can limit war against jihad to the physical bases of IS and other terrorist groups while ignoring the idea that motivates their actions has become downright deadly.

Consider Egypt. As Yoni Ben-Menachem reported last month for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, on August 20, Baghdadi officially asked the Muslim Brotherhood to join IS and pledge loyalty to his caliphate. His request was completely reasonable.

Both IS and the Brotherhood share the same ideology, including the goal of Islamic domination through the renewed caliphate. Like the Brotherhood, Boko Haram in Nigeria, Ansar el-Makdis in the Sinai and other jihadist groups in Asia and Africa have already accepted Baghdadi’s invitation, pledged allegiance to the caliphate and changed their names to incorporate into the Islamic State.

Ben-Menachem noted that in January 2015, Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi said that Baghdadi is a member of the Brotherhood. Organizational cooperation, including military cooperation between IS and the Brotherhood, which is the largest organization in Egypt has grown steadily over the past two years since then defense minister Abdel Fattah Sisi overthrew the Brotherhood regime in July 2013.

IS’s goal is apparently to convince the young Brotherhood members to join forces. If the bid is successful, Egypt will become a tinderbox whose destructive force will be cataclysmic.

Then there is nuclear-armed Pakistan.

Last week the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Stimson Center published a joint report warning that given Pakistan’s rate of nuclear activity, within five to 10 years Pakistan may have the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world, behind only the US and Russia. According to the report, Pakistan is producing nuclear bombs four times faster than India.

The epicenter of Pakistan’s nuclear work is its Baluchistan province. IS’s popularity is high and growing in the area, as it is throughout much of Pakistan.

Indian intelligence reports claim that Pakistan’s security forces are making the same cynical use of IS that they have made of al-Qaida and the Taliban.

ISI, Pakistan’s spy service, facilitates the operations of these groups in order to coerce the US to provide Pakistan with more aid, which it is expected to use to contain the threat it has itself cultivated.

This game has been going on for decades. But there is no reason to assume that as IS gains power and adherents, the same Pakistani security forces that believe they can control IS will not end up joining it. And as a consequence, the danger that bombs they now build will fall under Baghdadi’s control is real and growing.

Last week the Pentagon’s Inspector General announced it is investigating reports that the Obama administration has required US intelligence agencies to minimize their reporting on the threat IS poses. Intelligence officers have allegedly been ordered to exaggerate the success of the US’s anemic campaign against its bases in Iraq and Syria while understating the threat IS constitutes.

Over the past year, jihadists published the home addresses of American soldiers and officers. On numerous occasions, what an FBI alert referred to as “Middle Eastern men” accosted the wives of US soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan outside of their homes.

Speaking to concerned soldiers last week, Carter again pretended away the problem. While insisting that protecting soldiers is “job one for all of us,” Carter insisted that the threat was limited to “a few troubled losers who are on the Internet too much.”

Australian Foreign Minister Julia Bishop warned in June that IS may already have sufficient nuclear material to produce a dirty bomb. As we have seen with IS’s wide-scale use of chemical weapons in Iraq, we must assume that its fighters will use all weapons at their disposal.

Had the West – led by the US – been willing to abandon the intellectual straitjacket of political correctness with which it has willingly shackled itself, IS may very well have been a marginal movement able to attract no more than “a few troubled losers who are on the Internet too much.”

Biden’s pledge that while “perverse ideologues…may be able to inspire a single lone wolf they can never, never threaten who we are” might have been credible.

But because of our voluntary intellectual enslavement, we now face a real danger that IS and its demonic notions will take over Egypt. Because we seek to ignore the creed of jihad, Pakistan’s fast growing nuclear arsenal could very well become the property of the caliphate.

Ideas are the force that drives history. If we aren’t willing to fight for what we believe, then we will lose to those who are. And make no mistake, we are not winning this war.

Caroline Glick is the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s Israel Security Project and the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post. For more information on Ms. Glick’s work, visit

Beyond Hamas: planned Abbas visit elucidates Iran’s lesser-known ties to PA

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas speaks to leaders of the now-collapsed Palestinian unity government between his Fatah party and Hamas in Ramallah on June 2, 2014. While Iran has long supported Hamas, the PA's rival, Abbas plans to visit Iran in November. Credit: Issam RImawi/Flash90.

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas speaks to leaders of the now-collapsed Palestinian unity government between his Fatah party and Hamas in Ramallah on June 2, 2014. While Iran has long supported Hamas, the PA’s rival, Abbas plans to visit Iran in November. Credit: Issam RImawi/Flash90., By Sean Savage and Alina Dain Sharon, August 13, 2015:

While Iran’s funding of the Palestinian terror group Hamas is well-documented, the Islamic Republic’s relationship with the Palestinian Authority (PA) is less frequently discussed. But that pattern may start to shift upon the recent announcement of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s planned trip to Iran in November.

Abbas last visited Ira in 2012, when he attended a Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran. His upcoming visit, announced by Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee member Ahmed Majdalani, comes just weeks after the signing of a nuclear deal between world powers and Iran. Majdalani himself recently visited Tehran and met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Majdalani said Iran and the PA have agreed to work together on holding an international conference with the goal of bringing about the nuclear disarmament of Israel. (The Jewish state has never confirmed nor denied possessing nuclear weapons.)

“The visit now by a PA emissary, Ahmad Majdalani, is an advance visit and will likely not generate headlines. But Abbas’s visit could be historic. Depending on how it goes, it may be a sign that he has fully gravitated away from diplomacy with Israel if he invests in his ties to the Islamic Republic,” Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank, told J

The relationship between Iran and the PA’s precursor, the PLO—which was founded in 1964 and was recognized as the Palestinians’ representative organization following the signing of the Oslo Accords with Israel in 1993—“go back a long time, all the way to the Islamic Revolution,” said Kyle Shideler, director of the Threat Information Office at the Center for Security Policy.

“That said, the PLO-Iran relationship has always been bumpy,” he told

According to the United States Institute of Peace, during Iran’s Shah period, the PLO had close ties with the Iranian opposition and even provided training to dissidents. After the 1979 Iranian Revolution, “PLO forces trained the original Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps on terrorism techniques,” Shideler said. But the PLO would later support Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

As a result of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process that resulted in the 1993 Oslo Accords, “ties have been rather horrible between Iran and the PA,” Schanzer said.

“The PA was created as an interim government as part of the Oslo process, which Iran utterly rejected. This is, in part, what drove Iran to embrace Hamas,” he said.

Shideler pointed to a ship called Karine-A as an example of collaboration between the PA and Iran. The ship was captured by the Israel Defense Forces in 2002 in the Red Sea and found to be carrying 50 tons of weaponry supplied by Iran and Hezbollah, and intended to reach PA hands.

But in 2010, then-Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stirred a controversy at a rally in Tehran by saying that year’s re-launched U.S.-brokered peace process between Israel and the Palestinians was going to fail, while criticizing Abbas as an Israeli puppet.

Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh responded by referencing Ahmadinejad’s controversial win in Iran’s 2009 presidential election, saying that “he who does not represent the Iranian people, who forged elections and who suppresses the Iranian people and stole the authority, is not entitled to talk about Palestine, or the president of Palestine.”

Further, Iran’s ties with Hamas have particularly alienated the Islamic Republic from the PA over the years, given the tense Hamas-PA relationship. According to Shideler, the PA even sought to recruit Saudi Arabia, Iran’s chief regional rival nation, to “help in crushing Hamas back in April [2015], effectively offering to bring the Saudi-Iran proxy fight to the [Palestinian] territories. The PA’s bid “seems to have failed, with the Saudi king meeting with Hamas leadership in July,” Shideler told

At the same time, however, the relationship between Hamas and Iran has also been bumpy in recent years. Iran’s ties with Hamas frayed at the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011 because Hamas backed—and potentially also trained—Syrian rebels militarily. More recently, Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal visited Saudi Arabia for a series of high-level meetings. Reports indicate that Iran was outraged by the visit and cancelled a planned visit to Tehran by Mashaal. Additionally, senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk has said that Hamas’s relationship with Iran is now virtually nonexistent.

Yet Iranian ties with Hamas “are not dead,” Schanzer told

“The Qassam Brigades (Hamas’s armed wing) still maintains close ties [to Iran],” he said. “The disagreement is with the Hamas political types. Iran is likely to exploit how fractured Hamas is, and ultimately find a way back to being a major patron.”

Then there is Islamic Jihad, the other prominent Palestinian terrorist organization in Hamas-ruled Gaza. Iran has “had recent trouble” with Islamic Jihad, which is reportedly almost bankrupt due to Iran pulling its funding for the terror group after the latter announced support for forces opposing the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, Shideler noted.

But ultimately, Iran has a vested interest in improving its relations with all of the various Palestinian factions in order to “be recognized as the chief leader and architect to resistance to Israel,” Shideler added.

“That may mean they want to work at ending schisms among the Palestinian leadership and reorienting all factions back towards focusing on Israel. This [upcoming visit by Abbas to Iran] may be intended to convince the PA that Iran wants to be the patron of Palestinian resistance at large, and not just of one or two groups,” he said.

While the Israeli Foreign Ministry has not yet released an official reaction to Abbas’s planned Iran visit, ministry spokesman Alon Melchior told that the trip is “a bit peculiar.”

“The logic behind this visit is not really clear. Iran is financing their rivals (Hamas and Islamic Jihad) and terrorizing the region,” Melchior said.

But if one thing is certain, it is that the Abbas visit “won’t make the peace process any easier,” added Melchior.

The Iran nuclear deal also factors into Iranian-Palestinian relations because the Islamic Republic wants to use the agreement to solidify its place as a major Middle East power. It might be no coincidence that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei released anew book titled “Palestine” around the time that the nuclear deal was reached.

Abbas “knows he is driving a wedge between Hamas and Iran” by engaging with the Islamic Republic, but the PA leader’s calculus is “bigger than that,” according to Schanzer.

“He also sees Iran as an emerging regional power after the nuclear deal. He is making sure that he is on the right side of Iran when that happens. Also, Iran is about to come into $100 billion in sanctions relief. The PA is broke. Do the math,” Schanzer said.

The PA might also believe that “better relations with Iran are the only way to keep Hamas at bay, since the gambit with the Saudis seemed to have failed,” added Shideler.

In recent years, beyond its military support for Hamas, Iran has had an increased interest in arming the PA-controlled disputed territories. In a 2014 speech, Khamenei said he believes that “the West Bank should be armed just like Gaza,” according to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

Shideler believes that while the interests of Iran and the PA might not always align, they do have some common ground.

“Iran is invested in Hamas, and needs Hamas as a proxy to initiate conflicts with Israel… But Iran and the PA can cooperate on diplomatic efforts to publicly embarrass and hamper Israel, such as over the nuclear issue—for example by using the nuclear deal to portray Iran as once again within international consensus on nuclear proliferation and casting Israel as the nuclear rogue,” he said.

Also see:


The Profs Who Love Obama’s Iran Deal

Middle East Forum, by Cinnamon Stillwell
FrontPage Magazine
August 10, 2015

University of California–Riverside professor Reza Aslan believes the JCPOA will create "an Iran that is a responsible actor on the global stage."

University of California–Riverside professor Reza Aslan believes the JCPOA will create “an Iran that is a responsible actor on the global stage.”

Who supports the Obama administration’s increasingly unpopular Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) aimed ostensibly at curbing Iran’s nuclear program? Many of its strongest proponents come from the field of Middle East studies, which boasts widespread animus towards the U.S. and Israel along with a cadre of apologists for the Iranian regime determined to promote ineffectual diplomacy at all costs.

University of California–Riverside creative writing professor Reza Aslan concedes that his generation of Iranian-Americans “feel[s] far removed from the political and religious turmoil of the Iranian revolution” before falling in line with the Iranian regime’s propaganda: the deal will “empower moderates in Iran, strengthen Iranian civil society and spur economic development,” and create “an Iran that is a responsible actor on the global stage, that respects the rights of its citizens and that has warm relations with the rest of the world.” “Warm relations” are the least likely outcome of the increase in funding for Iran’s terrorist proxies Hamas and Hezbollah that even President Obama admits will follow the easing of sanctions.

Middle East studies academics appear determined to promote ineffectual diplomacy at all costs.

Flynt Leverett, an international relations professor at Pennsylvania State University, whitewashes these terrorist groups as “constituencies” and “communities” which the Iranian regime “help[s] organize in various ways to press their grievances more effectively,” effective terrorism being, for Leverett, a laudable goal. Characterizing the regime as “a rising regional power” and “legitimate political order for most Iranians,” he urges the U.S., through the JCPOA, to “come to terms with this reality.”

Diablo Valley College Middle East studies instructor Amer Araim‘s seemingly wishful thinking is equally supportive of Tehran’s line: “it is sincerely hoped that these funds will be used to help the Iranian people develop their economy and to ensure prosperity in that country.”

University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole insists that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei “is sincere about not wanting a nuclear weapon.”

Meanwhile, Hooshang Amirahmadi, an Iranian-American international relations professor at Rutgers University, attempts to legitimize the regime by delegitimizing the sanctions: “The money that will flow to Iran under this deal is not a gift: this is Iran’s money that has been frozen and otherwise blocked.”

Others deny the Iranian regime intends to build a nuclear bomb. University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole has long argued that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei “is sincere about not wanting a nuclear weapon” because of his “oral fatwas or legal rulings” indicating that “using such weapons is contrary to Islamic law.” His unwarranted confidencein the regime leads him to conclude:

[T]hey have developed all the infrastructure and technical knowledge and equipment that would be necessary to make a nuclear weapon, but stop there, much the way Japan has.

Evidently, Cole has no problem with a tyrannical, terrorist-supporting regime that seeks regional hegemony on the threshold of becoming a nuclear power.

Likewise, William Beeman, an anthropology professor at the University of Minnesota, maintains that, “It was . . . easy for Iran to give up a nuclear weapons program that never existed, and that it never intended to implement.” Like Cole, he uncritically accepts and recites the regime’s disinformation: “Iran’s leaders have regularly denounced nuclear weapons as un-Islamic.”

Beeman—who, in previous negotiations with the Iranian regime, urged the U.S. to be “unfailingly polite and humble” and not to set “pre-conditions” regarding its nuclear program—coldly disregards criticism of the JCPOA for excluding conditions such as the “release of [American] political prisoners” and “recognition of Israel,” calling them “utterly irrelevant.” No doubt the relatives of those prisoners and the Israeli citizens who live in the crosshairs of the regime’s continued threats of annihilation would disagree.

A number of academics have resorted to classic anti-Semitic conspiracy mongering to attack the deal’s Israeli and American opponents, calling them the “Israel Lobby.” Muqtedar Khan, director of the Islamic Studies Program at the University of Delaware, accuses “the Israeli government and all those in the U.S. who are under the influence of its American lobbies” of obstructing the deal, claiming that, “The GOP congress is now being described as the [Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin] Netanyahu congress.”

Hatem Bazian rails against “neo-conservative warmongers.”

Hatem Bazian, director of the Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project at the University of California, Berkeley, takes aim at “pro-Israel neo-conservatives,” “neo-conservative warmongers,” “AIPAC,” and (in a mangled version of “Israel-firster”) “Israel’s first D.C. crowd” for “attempting to scuttle the agreement.” Asserting a moral equivalence between the dictatorial Iranian regime and the democratically-elected Israeli government, Bazian demands to know when Israel’s “pile of un-inspected or regulated nuclear weapons stockpile” will be examined before answering, “It is not going to happen anytime soon!” That Israel has never threatened any country with destruction, even after being attacked repeatedly since its rebirth, is a fact ignored by its critics.

The unhinged Facebook posts of Columbia University Iranian studies professor and Iranian native Hamid Dabashi reveal inlurid language his hatred of Israel:

It is now time the exact and identical widely intrusive scrutiny and control compromising the sovereignty of the nation-state of Iran and its nuclear program be applied to the European settler colony of Jewish apartheid state of Israel and its infinitely more dangerous nuclear program! There must be a global uproar against the thuggish vulgarity of Netanyahu and his Zionist gangsters in Israel and the U.S. Congress to force them to dismantle their nuclear program–systematically used to terrorize and murder Palestinian people and steal the rest of Palestine!

Elsewhere, Dabashi attacks adversaries of the JCPOA, including “Israel, Saudi Arabia, the U.S. Neocons, and their treacherous expat Iranian stooges masquerading as ‘Opposition,'” calling them a “terrorizing alliance,” a “gang of murderous war criminals,” and “shameless warmongers.”

Willful blindness to Iran’s brutal, terrorist-supporting regime, moral equivocation, and an irrational hatred for Israel and the West characterize the fawning support enjoyed by the mullahs from these and other professors of Middle East studies. In place of objective, rigorously researched plans for countering Iran’s aggression and advancing the safety of America and its allies, they regurgitate the crudest propaganda from Teheran. Until their field of study is thoroughly reformed, their advice—such as it is—should and must be utterly ignored.

Cinnamon Stillwell is the West Coast Representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.

Obama Makes U.S. Oath of Allegiance Comply with Islamic Law

By Raymond Ibrahim, August 6, 2015:

The Obama administration recently made changes to the Oath of Allegiance to the United States in a manner very conducive to Sharia, or Islamic law.

bbOn July 21, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced some “modifications” to the Oath of Allegiance which immigrants must take before becoming naturalized.

The original oath required incoming citizens to declare that they will “bear arms on behalf of the United States” and “perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States” when required by the law.

Now the USCIS says that “A candidate [to U.S. citizenship] may be eligible to exclude these two clauses based on religious training and belief or a conscientious objection.”

The new changes further add that new candidates “May be eligible for [additional?] modifications based on religious training and belief, or conscientious objection arising from a deeply held moral or ethical code.”

These changes serve incoming Islamic supremacists especially well.  For, while Islamic law allows Muslims to feign loyalty to non-Muslim “infidel” authorities, it bans Muslims from living up to the pretense by actually fighting or killing fellow Muslims on behalf of a non-Muslim entity, such as the United States.

The perfectly fitting story of Nidal Hassan—the U.S. army major and “observant Muslim who prayed daily” but then turned murderer—comes to mind and is illustrative.

A pious Muslim, Hasan seemed a “regular American,” even if he was leading a double life—American Army major and psychiatrist by day, financial supporter of jihadi groups and associate of terrorists by night.

However, when time came for this American soldier to “bear arms on behalf of the United States”—to quote the original Oath of Allegiance—against fellow Muslims, things got ugly: he went on a shooting spree in Fort Hood, killing thirteen Americans, including one pregnant woman in 2009.

Much of Hasan’s behavior is grounded in the Islamic doctrine of Loyalty and Enmity.  According to this essential teaching, Muslims must always be loyal to Islam and fellow Muslims while having enmity for all non-Islamic things and persons.

However, whenever Muslims find themselves under the authority of non-Islamic institutions and persons, they are permitted to feign loyalty—even to the point of cursing Islam and pretending to have abandoned it—with one caveat: Muslims must never take up arms on behalf of “infidels” against fellow Muslims.  In other words, their loyalty to non-Muslims must be skin deep.

Many are the verses in the Koran that support this divisive doctrine (3:28, 4:89, 4:144, 9:23, and 58:22; the last simply states that true Muslims do not befriend non-Muslims—“even if they be their fathers, sons, brothers, or kin”).

Most germane is Koran 3:28: “Let believers not take for friends and allies infidels rather than believers: and whoever does this shall have no relationship left with Allah—unless you but guard yourselves against them, taking precautions.”

The words translated here as “guard” and “precaution” are derived from the Arabic word taqu, from the trilateral root w-q-y—the same root that gives us the word taqiyya, the Islamic doctrine that permits Muslims to deceive non-Muslims whenever under their authority.

Ibn Kathir (d. 1373), author of one of the most authoritative commentaries on the Koran, explains taqiyya in the context of verse 3:28 as follows: “Whoever at any time or place fears … evil [from non-Muslims] may protect himself through outward show.”  As proof of this, he quotes Muhammad’s close companion Abu Darda, who said, “Let us grin in the face of some people while our hearts curse them.”[1]

Muhammad ibn Jarir at-Tabari (d. 923), author of another standard commentary on the Koran, interprets verse 3:28 as follows:

If you [Muslims] are under their [non-Muslims’] authority, fearing for yourselves, behave loyally to them with your tongue while harboring inner animosity for them … [know that] Allah has forbidden believers from being friendly or on intimate terms with the infidels rather than other believers—except when infidels are above them [in authority]. Should that be the case, let them act friendly towards them while preserving their religion.[2]

And therein lies the limit of taqiyya: when the deceit, the charade begins to endanger the lives of fellow Muslims—who, as we have seen, deserve first loyalty—it is forbidden. As al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri puts it in his treatise on Loyalty and Enmity, Muslims may pretend to be friendly and loyal to non-Muslims, so long as they do “not undertake any initiative to support them [non-Muslims], commit sin, or enable [them] through any deed or killing or fighting against Muslims” (The Al Qaeda Reader, p. 75).

Thus the idea that Nidal Hasan might be deployed to a Muslim country (Iraq or Afghanistan) was his “worst nightmare.”   When he realized that he was about to be deployed, he became “very upset and angry.”  The thought that he might injure or kill Muslims “weighed heavily on him.” He also counseled a fellow Muslim not to join the U.S. Army, since “Muslims shouldn’t kill Muslims.”

Hassan is not the only Muslim to expose his disloyalty when pushed into fighting fellow Muslims on behalf of the United States.

rIn 2010, Naser Abdo, another Muslim soldier who joined the U.S. Army, demanded to be discharged on the claim that he was a “conscientious objector whose devotion to Islam has suffered since he took an oath to defend the United States against all enemies.”  The army agreed, but while processing him, officials found child pornography on his government-issued computer and recommended that he be court-martialed.  Abdo went AWOL and later tried to carry out a terrorist attack on a restaurant with the use of weapons of mass destruction.

And in April 2005, Hasan Akbar, another Muslim serving in the U.S. Army, was convicted of murder for killing two American soldiers and wounding fourteen in a grenade attack: “He launched the attack because he was concerned U.S. troops would kill fellow Muslims in Iraq.”

In short, the first loyalty of any “American Muslim” who follows the Koran is to fellow Muslims, regardless of their nationality.  It is not to American “infidels,” even if they be their longtime neighbors whom they daily smile to (see here for examples).  Hence why American Muslim Tarik Shah, who was arrested for terrorist-related charges, once boasted: “I could be joking and smiling [with non-Muslims] and then cutting their throats in the next second”—reminiscent of the aforementioned quote by Muhammad’s companion.

Now, in direct compliance with Islamic law, the Obama administration has made it so that no Muslim living in America need ever worry about having to defend her—including against fellow Muslims or jihadis.

Raymond Ibrahim, a Judith Friedman Rosen writing fellow at the Middle East Forum,is a Shillman fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War in Christians.

[1] ‘Imad ad-Din Isma’il Ibn Kathir, Tafsir al-Qur’an al-Karim (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiya, 2001), vol. 1, p. 350, author’s translation.

[2] Abu Ja’far Muhammad at-Tabari, Jami’ al-Bayan ‘an ta’wil ayi’l-Qur’an al-Ma’ruf: Tafsir at-Tabari (Beirut: Dar Ihya’ at-Turath al-Arabi, 2001), vol. 3, p. 267, author’s translation.