Robert Spencer: Do Islamic Jihadis Really Lack A Basic Understanding of Islam?

Jihad Watch, by Robert Spencer, Aug. 9, 2017:

My latest over at the Geller Report:

Pope Francis and H. R. McMaster and John Kerry and so many other learned imams have assured us over the years that Islamic terrorism has nothing whatsoever to do with Islam, and now there is proof, or what purports to be proof, in the form of a study from no less august an authority than the United Nations.

The United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism has released a new study claiming that Islamic State jihadis “have low levels of education and ‘lack any basic understanding of the true meaning of jihad or even the Islamic faith.’”

The study found that most of these jihadis “saw their religion in terms of justice and injustice rather than in terms of piety and spirituality,” and that the typical jihad warrior “is most likely to be male, young and disadvantaged economically, educationally, and in terms of the labour market. He is also more likely than not to come from a marginalised background, both socially and politically. Most were unemployed, or underemployed, and/or said that their life lacked meaning.”

This study directly contradicts the results of another new study that was conducted in Germany, which found that “the widespread view that radical Muslims know little about Islam is wrong.”

Which study are we to believe? Well, this one reinforces the common view that a typical jihadi “is most likely to be male, young and disadvantaged economically, educationally, and in terms of the labour market.”

Yet study after study (of a more honest variety) has shown that poverty and lack of opportunity don’t really cause terrorism at all. The Economist reported in 2010: “Social scientists have collected a large amount of data on the socioeconomic background of terrorists. According to a 2008 survey of such studies by Alan Krueger of Princeton University, they have found little evidence that the typical terrorist is unusually poor or badly schooled.”

In the same vein, CNS News noted in September 2013: “According to a Rand Corporation report on counterterrorism, prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2009, ‘Terrorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated, or afflicted by mental disease. Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy (within their environment). Terrorist leaders actually tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.’ One of the authors of the RAND report, Darcy Noricks, also found that according to a number of academic studies, “Terrorists turn out to be more rather than less educated than the general population.”

The Times Online reported the following as far back as April 2005: “Three-quarters of the Al-Qaeda members were from upper middle-class homes and many were married with children; 60% were college educated, often in Europe or the United States.”

There are innumerable examples of affluent Muslims becoming jihad terrorists. One was Maher “Mike” Hawash of Portland, Oregon, a well-regarded Intel executive who made $360,000 a year at the crest of a highly successful career. Around the year 2000, Hawash began to become more religious, growing his beard long, rejecting the nickname “Mike,” and attending the supremacist Islamic Center of Portland. Ultimately he served a seven-year prison term for conspiring to aid the Taliban.

What’s more, there is plenty of evidence that Islamic State jihadis know the Qur’an well. One Malaysian Muslim said that the Qur’an led him to join the Islamic State. A Muslima in the U.S. promoted the Islamic State by quoting the Qur’an. An Islamic State propagandist’s parents said of him: “Our son is a devout Muslim. He had learnt the Quran by heart.” A Muslim politician from Jordan said that the Islamic State’s “doctrine stems from the Qur’an and Sunnah.” There are innumerable other examples of this.

So this UN study appears to be simply an advertisement for the failed policies that the West is already implementing regarding the jihad threat. They have to keep pumping out propaganda such as this, because their policies are such obvious failures, they can only be shored up by lies.

Trump throws wrench in U.N. plan to ‘replace’ U.S. population

Most Somali refugees start out here, at the United Nations Daadab refugee camp on the Kenya-Somalia border. Between 5.000 and 11,000 Somalis per year are sent to the United States and distributed to dozens of cities, along with thousands of other U.N.-selected ‘refugees’ from Syria, Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan.

WND, by, Liam Clancy, July 23, 2017:

WASHINGTON – In the last year of his presidency, Barack Obama and his administration worked tirelessly with the United Nations to expand the definition of “refugee” to include economic migrants and drastically increase the numbers being resettled in the United States.

And he found a willing partner in the Republican-controlled Congress, which funded not only more refugees but provisions for record numbers of unaccompanied minor children, so-called UACs, showing up at the border from Central America.

In the fall of 2016 Obama hosted the U.N. Leaders’ Summit on Refugees in New York, where he and other world leaders used rhetoric strikingly similar to the concept of “replacement migration,” a U.N. plot to replace the population of a given country with migrants and “refugees” from the developing world.

WND recently reported on the scheme, revealed in a U.N. document prepared in the year 2000 entitled “Replacement Migration: Is It a Solution to Declining and Aging Populations?

The report details the plunging birthrates across Western Europe, Russia, Japan and the United States and identifies a solution: mass migration from the Third World into these “aging and declining” nations.

The 17-year-old document makes the case for mass immigration as necessary to replace the aging populations of developed countries. Without the migration of populations from the developing world, it reasons, economies will suffer because of labor shortages and falling tax revenues.

“Therefore, among the demographic variables, only international migration could be instrumental in addressing population decline and population aging in the short to medium term,” the report concludes.

Obama’s stated goals before the Leaders’ Summit last fall were to increase financing for global humanitarian appeals, as well as double the number of resettlement slots and use “alternative legal pathways,” such as student and family-based visas, for refugees to enter the United States.

A report by the influential Brookings Institute included reasons to support Obama’s plan to increase resettlement, stating: “For receiving countries, migration has already become the most important source of demographic growth and renewal for wealthy societies.” This is the goal of “replacement migration.”

“The so-called benefits of replacing a country’s population with Third World migrants is bogus and imaginary,” said Leo Hohmann, author of a 2017 investigative book, “Stealth Invasion: Muslim Conquest through Immigration and Resettlement Jihad.”

Hohmann said that while the costs of refugee resettlement are understated, often ignoring refugees’ heavy use of public assistance programs such as food stamps and Medicaid, refugee advocates also like to overstate the economic impact of refugees in the work place.

“For example, even after five years in America, 60 percent of refugees use food stamps, compared to 15 percent for native-born Americans,” Hohmann said, citing statistics provided by the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Yet, when Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services and the other resettlement agencies show up in a city to inform leaders of their intention to send refugees, they talk about how the new arrivals will open businesses and boost the local economy, Hohmann said.

“It’s a bunch of lies and half truths,” he said. “They’re never told the rest of the story.”

Minnesota, for instance, earlier this month approved an additional $600,000 to treat a measles and tuberculosis outbreaks mostly within its Somali and Hmong refugee communities, and that was on top of the $1.5 million the state had already allocated for these outbreaks this year.

Another hidden cost, which is almost never talked about, is that of educating the refugees’ children, most of whom require expensive tutors and translators, Hohmann said, pointing to migrant-heavy school districts like Wichita, Kansas, where students speak more than 50 languages.

None of these costs are subtracted from the supposed economic benefits of importing refugees to come up with a net economic impact, Hohmann said.

The official pledge given by the United States at the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees included the following statement:

“The United States admitted 85,000 refugees in Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 – 15,000 more than in FY 2015 – and pledged to increase its refugee admissions to 110,000 in FY 2017. The United States also increased alternative pathways of admission into the United States, providing special immigrant visas to more than 11,000 people at risk from Iraq and Afghanistan in FY 2016 – an increase of over 4,000 from FY 2015.”

A day before the Leaders’ Summit, the U.N. convened at the U.N. Summit for Refugees and Migrants 2016, and statements from top U.N. officials at the event revealed that “replacement migration” continues to be a top priority for their global agenda.

“Replacing populations in the West with those from the Third World is also seen by the globalists as a great way to redistribute the world’s wealth,” Hohmann said. “We ship many of our manufacturing jobs to the Third World and they ship us their poor masses who can take advantage of our generous welfare programs while working in the factories that have not yet been outsourced. That’s a double whammy used against the American middle class, impoverishing Americans while improving the financial lot of those in poor countries.”

Expanding the definition of ‘refugee’

H.E. Peter Thomson, president of the U.N. General Assembly, made remarks at the 2016 summit that the U.N.’s commitment toward migrants is not restricted to refugees, but toward economic migrants as well, declaring that those migrants “in search of opportunity and a better life for their children” deserve the same rights as those “fleeing armed conflict and the brutal effects of war.”

The U.N. included the economic rights of migrants in a major document for the first time with its Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson echoed that sentiment at the summit, saying that “Development programs are crucial and a key priority. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognized the contribution migration makes to economic progress. We must harness that positive energy.”

The summit also produced the New York Declaration, a document signed by all U.N. member states that makes alarming promises to protect not only legitimate refugees fleeing war zones, but migrants as a whole – even those who would not qualify as “refugees” under the Geneva Accords.

For example, the New York Declaration includes a promise to “Protect the human rights of all refugees and migrants, regardless of status,” as well as a statement to “Strengthen the global governance of migration by bringing the International Organization for Migration into the UN system.”

The International Organization for Migration is a radically pro-migrant U.N. group, and has declared emphatically that migration is both “necessary” and “inevitable.” The group was formally added into the U.N. system at the conclusion of the 2016 summit.

The New York Declaration reveals a plan for the future, including a commitment to “Start negotiations leading to an international conference and the adoption of a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration in 2018… migration, like other areas of international relations, will be guided by a set of common principles and approaches.”

With the election of President Donald Trump, the United States has lowered refugee admissions from Obama’s 2017 goal of 110,000 to just over 50,000, a move that drew intense criticism from pro-migrant groups – and possible push-back from the U.S. State Department.

This is not surprising, given that the State Department under Obama was extremely pro-migrant as evidenced by its actions at the two U.N. migration summits, and the department remains staffed predominantly with Obama holdovers.

“There is still many, many holdovers from the Obama administration the State Department,” Ira Mehlman, media director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, told WND.

Mehlman said Trump has left many top positions in the State Department unfilled, and this is stifling the president’s agenda. “If you want to have your agenda carried out, you need people in place to carry it out.”

However, with the recent Supreme Court ruling on Trump’s “travel ban,” it appears Trump has stopped the refugee flow to the United States, at least temporarily. His refugee cap to 50,000 was reached on July 12, and with the travel ban in effect, refugees cannot be admitted until the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, unless they can prove they have a “bona fide” family tie in America.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to make a final ruling on Trump’s travel ban in October.

“The latest travel ban ruling says he can limit the number of refugees entering the United States, but what will happen remains to be seen,” Mehlman explained.

Iran’s Lebanese Missile Factories in “New and Very Dangerous Phase”

by Yaakov Lappin
Special to IPT News
July 18, 2017

Recently-built Iranian missile factories in Lebanon can produce powerful weapons for Hizballah and are part of a wider trend that could set the region on fire, a senior former Israeli defense source has told the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT).

“There is no doubt that this is a new and very dangerous stage,” the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said about the fact that Iran has for the first time placed military production industries directly in Hizballah’s possession.

“It points to the fact that Lebanon is not a state, but a branch of Iran that is controlled by Hizballah, and that Iran, after the nuclear agreement, feels that it can do everything because no one dares harm it,” he added.

Tehran’s alliance with Moscow gives the Islamic Republic “extraordinary power, and hence, Iran allows itself to do what it has not dared do without the alliance with Russia,” the source said.

Russia depends on Iran to safeguard the Assad regime in Syria, the source noted. Iran is testing Israeli red lines by arming the radical Shi’ite Iranian proxy, Hizballah, with potentially dire consequences.

“When Israel is forced to act after Iran and Hizballah cross all of the red lines, Lebanon will be destroyed, because Iran and Hizballah have turned it into one big weapons storage facility, and the world is silent,” the source said.

“Anyone who dreams about Israel accepting, in a future arrangement [with the Palestinians], any kind of international force that will have any kind of role, should examine the utter uselessness of UNIFIL [the United Nations force stationed in southern Lebanon], which has yet to report on a single rocket or missile out of the 120,000 that exist in Lebanon. For Israel, UNIFIL is more of a nuisance than a benefit,” the source said.

Earlier this month, France’s Intelligence Online magazine reported that one factory was under construction in northern Lebanon, with the second being built on Lebanon’s southern coast.

The production center in northern Lebanon was designed to make Fateh 110 medium-range missiles, which puts most of Israel in range and carries a warhead of 500 kilograms, according to the report.

The IPT interviewed defense experts about the factories in March, and noted the sites represent a disturbing boost in the Shi’ite terrorist army’s ability to self-produce weapons.

Israeli officials have gone on record in recent weeks to confirm the factories’ existence, including Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff, Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, and the chief of Israel’s Military Intelligence, Maj.-Gen. Herzl Halevi. Hizballah is “establishing a military industry in Lebanon with Iranian support,” Halevi said.

Eizenkot told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee earlier this month that the Israeli military had placed the Iranian “precision project” – the drive to produce new guided projectiles, and to improve the accuracy of existing projectiles – at “the top of our priority list.”

The program is “mainly ongoing in factories in Iran and Syria, and they are trying to promote it in Lebanon,” Eizenkot said.

He also seemed to suggest there was a difference between the current threat posed by Iran’s guided missile program and the future potential threat, if left unchecked.

The IDF was not resting on its laurels in the face of Iran’s efforts to manufacture and spread these weapons, Eizenkot said. Currently, “these abilities are very limited, and therefore, we must remain proportionate and not be alarmed. The IDF is working in regards to the [Iranian precision] project all of the time, through a wide range of tools that are best not talked about. We are working with the intention of avoiding a deterioration [of the security situation].”

Emily Landau, head of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, told the IPT that the factories “signal a new escalation in Iran’s weapons proliferation in the region.”

Not only do they serve Iran’s objective of continuously arming Hizballah, they are also designed to “overcome the vulnerability of transport vehicles transferring weapons from Iran via Syria, to Lebanon,” Landau said, in reference to international media reports about repeated Israeli strikes on Iranian-Hizballah weapons convoys in Syria.

Iran seems to hope that setting up missile factories in Lebanon would eliminate opportunities to attack future international weapons trafficking runs.

“All of these activities are in blatant violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 [which called on making southern Lebanon a weapons free zone, with the exception of Lebanon’s official army],” Landau said. “The world seems to ignore this violation. The international community should be called out on turning a blind eye to what Iran is doing. This should not be Israel’s problem alone.”

The factories feed “into Iran’s very problematic regional profile,” Landau said, “which is connected to the nuclear deal as well, and should all be on the table in the Trump administration’s Iran policy review.”

For now, Israel appears to trying to deter Iran from starting up the factories, and has reportedly issued explicit warnings to Tehran to that effect.

Meanwhile, Israeli media reports say that Iran wants to create an airbase in neighboring Syria. Iran’s plans include the leasing of a ground military base for thousands of Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias and a naval base.

“These steps represent a move by Iran to establish a long-term presence in Syria and pose a threat to Israel,” Israel’s daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a dramatic statement, rejecting the ceasefire in southern Syria brokered by the United States and Russia, saying it fails to suppress Iranian attempts to consolidate its military power in the war-torn country.

“Israel is aware of Iran’s expansionist goals in Syria, Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

Yaakov Lappin is a military and strategic affairs correspondent. He also conducts research and analysis for defense think tanks, and is the Israel correspondent for IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly. His book, The Virtual Caliphate, explores the online jihadist presence.

Also see:

UN Report Places Some Blame on Palestinian Leaders for Gaza Humanitarian Crisis

Front Page Magazine, by Joseph Klein, July 12, 2017:

The United Nations has just issued a report entitled “GAZA TEN YEARS LATER – United Nations Country Team in the occupied Palestinian.” It was written from the false perspective that Gaza is still part of the so-called Palestinian territory “occupied” by Israel, which represents the official position of the United Nations as a whole. However, the report also contains some insights into the destructive pattern of conduct by the Palestinian leadership, contributing significantly to the misery of the people of Gaza.

If Israel were truly the “occupier” of Gaza, 12 years after its unilateral withdrawal and 10 years after Hamas’s violent takeover of Gaza from Palestinian Authority control, Hamas would not be ruling Gaza, let alone remaining free to use the territory as a launching pad for terrorist attacks against Israel. Indeed, the UN report itself demonstrated some cognitive dissonance on the question regarding who actually runs Gaza. In one breath the report asserted that Israel is the occupying power in Gaza because of “the control that Israel retained on Gaza’s air space, sea space and external borders continuously.” However, the report also noted the “exercise of government-like functions and territorial control” by the “de facto authorities in Gaza” – i.e., Hamas. The report described how “Hamas has increasingly tightened its grip on power” since seizing control and “was able to sustain its de facto authority and build up its military strength.”

Moreover, the UN report effectively undercut the premise that the Palestinians have achieved the prerequisites for recognition as a legitimate state, regardless of its authors’ intentions. There are severe unresolved divisions between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, leading to separate and competing governing authorities and sets of laws within the territories that the Palestinians claim as the basis for their state. Consider the following verbatim quote from the UN report:

“The Hamas takeover of Gaza has had a significant impact on the legislative, judicial and executive branches. The fact that no presidential or legislative elections have been held in Palestine since 2006 has also created a democratic deficit that undermines the legitimacy of state institutions and their actions on both sides of the divide… The division has resulted in the establishment of two different lawmaking processes and the enactment of diverging laws in Gaza and the West Bank, further eroding the unity and coherence of the future state of Palestine.”

There is no harmonization of the legal frameworks applied by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority respectively within areas under their control, due to the division of basic government authority between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. The result is “the establishment of a parallel justice system in the Gaza Strip,” according to the UN report. “In addition,” the report concluded, “the lack of a harmonized legal framework and judiciary has at times created situations whereby courts in the West Bank have refused to implement verdicts issued by Gaza courts and vice versa, to the great detriment of the individuals and families involved.”

Moreover, the UN report found that the division of authority has “caused a split of the Palestinian civil service, impacting the delivery of basic services such as education and health care.”

Whenever Palestinian UN delegates participate in UN meetings, representing the “non-member observer state” of Palestine, a title bestowed by the UN General Assembly several years ago, they proudly display their name plate saying “State of Palestine.” However, while the moniker that appears on the nameplate used to describe the Palestinians’ status at the UN may make the Palestinians feel good about themselves, it is meaningless in practical terms.

The United Nations Gaza report called into question the “legitimacy” of the Palestinians’ self-proclaimed “state institutions.” It found no coherent set of laws governing the Palestinian people as a whole. It found an utter lack of government capacity to provide basic public services. All this was not Israel’s fault.  It was due instead to the fundamental, unresolved division of authority between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. The result is felt directly by the people of Gaza.

As the UN report stated:

“The Hamas coup in Gaza in June 2007 and the administrative division that followed between the PA and Hamas has had a significant impact on administration and public services in Gaza…Ten years later, the Palestinian divide shows no sign of narrowing. The divisiveness and mistrust between Fatah and Hamas poses significant challenges to the development of the Strip.”

To be sure, the UN Gaza report sharply criticized Israel for contributing to the dire conditions in Gaza. It said that Israel’s “restrictions on the access and movement of people and goods, ultimately amounting to a blockade by sea, air and land” violated international law. The report accused Israel of carrying out a blockade that “constitutes a form of collective punishment on the civilian population in Gaza contrary to Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, applicable to the occupied Territory.”

Aside from the fact that Israel no longer “occupies” Gaza, as discussed earlier, Israel’s self-defense measures in the face of Hamas’s rocket and terror tunnel attacks from Gaza are in accord with international law. Indeed, the UN report itself referred to what it described as “the military build-up in Gaza by Hamas and other militant groups, which continued and intensified over the past decade, including the development, stockpiling and firing of rockets capable of reaching deep into Israel and the construction of sophisticated tunnels used for kidnappings and terrorist attacks in Israel.” The UN report documented how Israel’s restrictions on movements of people and goods into and out of Gaza increased only after “significant military escalation and rocket attacks by Hamas and other armed groups on Israel.”

Moreover, Israel has not imposed anything near what could be considered a complete blockade. Far from it, Israel has taken substantial national security risks in allowing into Gaza all manner of humanitarian aid and commercial products. Exports out of Gaza have also been liberalized.

As usual, the UN report on Gaza was unfairly critical of Israel. That’s known as “a dog biting a man” story. However, the fact that this UN report finally sheds some light specifically on the responsibility the Palestinian leaders themselves bear for the present plight of the people living in Gaza is “a man bites dog” story as far as the UN is concerned.

Also see:

U.N. Survey: 3 Out of 4 Men and over Half of Women in Egypt Support FGM

Photo/Amr Nabil

Breitbart, by John Hayward, May 3, 2017:

A new United Nations surveyof male attitudes toward “gender equality” finds precious little appetite for it across the Middle East.

“Male attitudes towards the role of women in the workplace and at home, and of their participation in public life, were stereotypically sexist in the study of views in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and Palestine,” writes the UK Guardian in summarizing the report.

Egypt scored the lowest on the report’s “Gender Equitable Men” scale and is the source of the most striking headlines. For example, CNS News reports that “70 percent of Egyptian men approve of female genital mutilation.” For that matter, 56 percent of Egyptian women also voiced approval for the hideous procedure, which is illegal but not unheard-of, in much of the world.

Egyptian men also supplied 90 percent agreement with the statement that “a man should have the final word about decisions in the home,” and 58.5 percent of Egyptian women agreed. Only 31 percent of Egyptian men thought married women have the same rights to work outside their homes as men. 93 percent of men thought a husband should “know where his wife is at all times.” 96 percent thought a wife should agree to sex whenever her husband desires it.

53.4 percent said “there are times when a woman deserves to be beaten.” 90 percent agreed that “a woman should tolerate violence to keep the family together.” Roughly 45 percent of Egyptian men said they had been violent to their wives.

Only 25.7 percent of male Egyptian respondents said that women should “have the same freedom to access sites on the Internet as men.”

Egyptian women were significantly more supportive of women’s rights on most of these questions, although one point of agreement concerned women at work. While women were over twice as likely as men to say that women should have the right to work, they largely agreed that it was more important for men to work when jobs were scarce and that marriage was more important for women than a career.

Inability to find work was a major source of shame, anxiety, and depression for men.

The survey noted that younger men and women, especially younger women, were more likely to support gender equality. Of the regions surveyed, Egypt scored lowest on the Gender Equitable Men scale, while Lebanon scored the highest.

Morocco produced some alarming results about sexual harassment, with over half of men saying they have sexually harassed a woman, and over 60 percent of women reporting they have been harassed. A higher percentage of female Moroccans (78 percent) agreed that provocatively dressed women deserve harassment than men (72 percent).

The survey, which was conducted by UN Women and a non-profit organization called Promundo, involved 10,000 respondents in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, and the Palestinian territories.

Mohammad Naciri, regional director of Arab States UN Women, looked for optimistic signs in the report. “Amidst the stories of men’s violence against women, we found stories of men’s caregiving in the home. For every story of a man who compelled his daughter to marry against her will, there were stories of men who empowered their daughters,” he said.

“The patriarchy works for the very small minority who are on the top of that pyramid,” lead researcher Shereen El Feki told the BBC. “For the rest down below, lots of women, but also from the results of the survey, many, many men, life is very tough.”

Promundo CEO Gary Barker told Reuters that “everywhere else we have done these research… young men typically have more progressive views that their fathers and the older generation. That was not so here.”

***

Also see:

Why Islamic States Can’t & Don’t Defeat Terror: Excuses Instead of Willpower

Human Rights Voices, April 13, 2017:

In a UN report on countering terrorism, Muslim states present a series of excuses for terrorism, including “foreign occupation” (i.e. Israel), “xenophobia,” and “alienation.” The report, “Capability of the United Nations System to Assist Member States in Implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy,” was released on April 13, 2017 and contains the following statements:

Pakistan: “11. We believe that without addressing the underlying and root causes of terrorism, we will only be fighting its symptoms. We have always advocated that … foreign occupation, denial of the right to self-determination and political and economic injustice, as well as political marginalization and alienation contribute to the spread of terrorism. Therefore, it is important not to delink terrorism from its political context.”

Turkey: “6…preventive efforts in the framework of pillars I and IV should focus on combating intolerance, social exclusion and all forms of xenophobia.”

Saudi Arabia on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation: “3.. terrorism cannot be addressed in isolation from political contexts.”

Date
April 13, 2017
Title
Capability of the United Nations system to assist Member States in implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, Report of the Secretary-General, A/71/858

Attempts to define terrorism perpetrators as “victims”

The UN’s shift in focus to preventing violent extremism has become a tool to attack the counter-terrorism operations of developed countries. The latter are accused of offenses against the supposedly aggrieved extremists, offenses such as engaging in systemic religious discrimination and human rights violations. The special focus on prevention is abused to delegitimize self-defense or lawful “security” responses. False narratives of victimization reduce essential military options. At the same time, actual drivers of terrorism and violent extremism are selectively omitted (like antisemitism, rejection of free speech, misogyny, and homophobia).

Secretary-General

  • Capability of the United Nations System to Assist Member States in Implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, Report of the Secretary-General, A/71/858, April 13, 2017
    Written reply by Pakistan: “11. We believe that without addressing the underlying and root causes of terrorism, we will only be fighting its symptoms. We have always advocated that … foreign occupation, denial of the right to self-determination and political and economic injustice, as well as political marginalization and alienation contribute to the spread of terrorism. Therefore, it is important not to delink terrorism from its political context.”
  • Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, Report of the Secretary General, A/70/674, January 7, 2016
    “27…Violations of international human rights law committed in the name of state security can facilitate violent extremism by marginalizing individuals and alienating key constituencies, thus generating community support and sympathy for and complicity in the actions of violent extremists. Violent extremists also actively seek to exploit state repression and other grievances in their fight against the state. Thus, Governments that exhibit repressive and heavy-handed security responses in violation of human rights and the rule of law, such as profiling of certain populations, adoption of intrusive surveillance techniques and prolongation of declared states of emergency, tend to generate more violent extremists…”

General Assembly

  • The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy Review, A/70/L.55, July 1, 2016
    “Reaffirming Member States’ determination to continue to do all they can to resolve conflict, end foreign occupation…”
  • 2016 United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy Review, July 1 and 7, 2016
    • Algeria’s Statement, July 7, 2016
      “To be more explicit, the international community can not flee its responsibilities with regard to realization of the right to self determination of all peoples that are still under foreign occupation and alien domination. We welcome, in this regard, the reaffirmation through this year’s resolution of Member States’ determination to continue to do all they can to resolve conflict, end foreign occupation…”
    • Lebanon’s Statement, July 7, 2016
      “When dealing with counter terrorism, we must also keep in mind that it should not be associated with other principles recognized under international law, such as the right to self­ determination and to resist foreign occupation. In this regard, my delegation would like to denounce the attempts from one delegation to label the legitimate right to resist foreign occupation as terrorism…”
    • Saudi Arabia’s Statement on Behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, July 1, 2016
      “The OIC affirms that there is a need to make concerted determined efforts to effectively address the root causes, drivers and conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, including preventing unlawful use of force and aggression, ending foreign occupation…”
  • ‘Geneva Conference on Preventing Violent Extremism – The Way Forward,’ hosted by the United Nations and the Government of Switzerland in Geneva, Switzerland, April 7-8, 2016

    Organization of Islamic Cooperation: “We’re confronted with a faceless enemy, with no face or creed, which lurks in the shadows of fear and frustration, breeds on despair and disillusionment, and is fed by foreign occupation…It’s a manifestation of growing anger, hatred, and sense of helplessness against continuing wars, injustice, oppression, and the denial of fundamental freedom and rights, particular to those of Palestinians… Muslims are suffering from the scourge of terrorist groups and the Islamophobic policies and discourse.”

    Pakistan: “Why is violent extremism growing in areas which have faced persistent foreign intervention and occupation where people have long been struggling for their legitimate right of self-determination?… It is very clear that violent extremism is being pushed by … foreign occupation … a key factor in the recent rise of violent extremism has been … continued foreign occupation… Will not the rising trends of xenophobia and Islamophobia contribute to strengthen the extremists?… In recent years there’s been a disturbing rise of extreme right-wing parties driven by xenophobic Islamophobic impulses in the West.”

    Syria: “Violent extremism is a multidimensional phenomenon, thus fighting and preventing it should not rest on a selective approach to its goals and root causes. That includes foreign occupation, discrimination and xenophobia.”

    Iran: “In this connection, extremist ideology and hate speech in the media against Muslims should not be condoned in the name of freedom of expression, which helps create conditions conducive for the spread of violent extremism.”

    Jordan: “Among the drivers of violent extremism are unresolved and protected conflicts and foreign occupation. All efforts should, therefore, be focused on resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and ending occupation, which provides pretext for recruiting purposes and spreading violent extremist ideologies.”

    Qatar: “We reiterate the importance of the Plan of Action to prevent violent extremisms and to eradicate all the drivers, such as the continuing conflicts, occupation… Facing such a challenge, Mr. Chairman, requires an international joint response and a comprehensive strategy to end conflicts in the world, namely: ending the Israeli occupation of Arab and Palestinian territories and establishing an independent and sovereign State of Palestine… Also, some parties are using violent extremism acts in order to fuel Islamophobia and other acts of terrorism. Attacking religious symbols would also give more excuses to extremists and their recruiters.”

    Egypt: “There are other main drivers to violent extremism or terrorism that were not identified in the Plan of Action, such as … racism, and xenophobia, defamation of religion… the Action Plan did not include a reference to all the drivers within states leading to violent extremism and, therefore, to terrorism such as Islamophobia and actions that are insulting to Islam and to the Prophet under the pretext of freedom of expression as well as treating Muslims as second class citizens as well as other reasons.”

    Kuwait: “And we call upon the need … to look into the reasons behind this phenomenon, like … occupation…”

    Bahrain: “Israeli occupation of Arabic lands and Palestine for a long time are main factors, are reasons behind this phenomenon.”

    Oman: “[T]here is a need to address all aspects of Islamophobia… occupation are among the causes that provoke extremism.”

    Sudan: “I mean the main manifesto of those political parties is based on this anti-Muslims tendency and anti-Arabs, and I think this is very, very alarming. So the Islamophobia and many, I mean, challenges I think needs to be-needed to be addressed… We are facing, or rather this comes in the roots of many of the international problems that we are facing nowadays, including … Islamophobia, and the provocative media that is targeting Islam and the figures of Islam…. Foreign occupation is indeed the incubator, the main incubator that breeds terrorism and violent extremism… We are facing, or rather this comes in the roots of many of the international problems that we are facing nowadays, including the international occupation issue…”

  • Egypt’s Statement at the ‘Geneva Conference on Preventing Violent Extremism – The Way Forward,’ April 7, 2016
    “The Report or Plan by the SG [UN Secretary General] lay down 5 main drivers namely; Lack of socioeconomic opportunities – Marginalization and discrimination- Poor governance, violations of human rights and the rule of law- Prolonged and unresolved conflicts- Radicalization in prisons. I would agree with both socioeconomic opportunities and prolonged and unresolved conflicts as well as long-time grievances as we have seen in Palestine, especially Gaza… Meanwhile, there are other main drivers to violent extremism or terrorism that were not identified in the SG Plan of Action such as (1) foreign domination and occupation that deny peoples the opportunity to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination, (2) racism and xenophobia, (3) defamation of religion… “
  • General Assembly Debate on Secretary General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, February 12 and February 16, 2016
    • Algeria’s Statement, February 16, 2016
      “The struggle against violent extremism and terrorism must also include the rejection against xenophobia and Islamophobia, which are emerging as the new faces of violent extremism.”
    • Iran’s Statement, February 16, 2016
      “Foreign occupation, which is per se a manifestation of violent extremism, has been used to incite violence out of desperation and hopelessness.”
    • Lebanon’s Statement, February 16, 2016
      “Addressing root causes, drivers, political grievances, or whatever we want to call them, of violent extremism, is crucial: foreign occupation … and impunity, tend to create fertile ground for violent extremism.”
    • Malaysia’s Statement, February 16, 2016
      “We are concerned at the increase of intolerance and discrimination against Muslims, resulting in the upsurge of Islamophobia, a phenomenon which is an affront to the human rights and dignity of Muslims.”
    • Egypt’s Statement, February 12, 2016
      “Additionally, the plan has not contained a reference to all the reasons inside the states leading to violent extremism, which in turn gives rise to terrorism such as Islamophobia and other reasons…Let us be candid. If there is a serious desire to take action, the international community must realize that Israel’s continued occupation of Palestine is one of the main reasons behind the proliferation of violent extremism leading to terrorism in addition to internal interference in the internal affairs of states, offending Islam and the Prophet (peace be upon him) on the pretext of freedom of expression, treating Muslim citizens as citizens of second class in some other states…”
    • Israel’s Statement, February 12, 2016
      “Unfortunately, in Israel the threat of terrorism is all too real. For decades, Israel has been at the forefront of confronting terror and radical ideology. Over the course of the past few months alone, 30 Israelis have been killed by terrorists, and over 300 have been injured in hundreds of attacks… We must not allow excuses for terror – ‘no ifs and or buts’ – terror is terror is terror… Some in this chamber seek to infuse politicization into this discussion – but this background noise must not be allowed to hijack this important topic…”
    • Jordan’s Statement, February 12, 2016
      “I would like to state that the continued Israeli-Palestinian conflicts and the failure to achieve just and permanent solution that fulfills the aspirations of the Palestinian people will lead to more violence and hatred.”
    • Maldives’s Statement, February 12, 2016
      “Islam is increasingly being associated with terror and extremism. Islamophobia, as a spectrum of negative expressions continues to expand rapidly…”
    • Pakistan’s Statement, February 12, 2016
      “Injustices done to peoples under foreign occupation, denial of the right to self-determination, long-festering and unresolved international disputes … create conditions that are exploited by violent extremists and terrorists to propagate their twisted ideologies…Negative stereotyping, stigmatization, discrimination and intolerance all need to be rectified to prevent violent extremism… Xenophobia, in particular Islamophobia, is on the rise in the West. This has so far gone unchecked and unfortunately unprincipled, xenophobic politicians have sought to build their political fortunes by spreading fear and deliberate mischaracterization of people of other faiths or culture…”
    • Qatar’s Statement, February 12, 2016
      “Attempts by some entities to use single violent incidents and link it with no evidence to specific religions such as Islamophobia [are] misleading and thwart the efforts to verify the reasons behind terrorism. Offending symbols of specific religions give pretext to the extremists to recruit their supporters.”
    • Saudi Arabia’s Statement on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), February 12, 2016
      “On a comprehensive approach to tackle terrorism, the OIC believes that due attention and concrete plan of actions must address the following aspects and dimensions of the phenomenon of terrorism…The deep impact and legacy of historical injustices done to colonized peoples or those under occupation where sufferings and the forced destruction of their national institutions, culture, and identity and the denial of their rights to self-determination. The potential of external actors penetrating terrorist and extremist groups for the purpose of serving their own political agenda, and the threat of non-Arab and non-Muslim fighters…The OIC expresses serious concern over the increase of intolerance and discrimination against Muslims, resulting in the upsurge of Islamophobia, a phenomenon which is an affront to the human rights and dignity of Muslims…In this regard, the OIC calls upon all states to prevent any advocacy of religious discrimination, hostility, or violence and defamation of Islam by incorporating legal and administrative measures which render defamation illegal and punishable by law and also urges member and observer states to adopt specific and relevant educational measures at all levels…”
    • Sudan’s Statement, February 12, 2016
      “We cannot talk about violent extremism without mentioning foreign occupation, which is the main incubator of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations as well as of violent extremism conducive to terrorism…”
    • Syria’s Statement, February 12, 2016
      “My delegation stresses that efforts of preventing violent extremism will not succeed unless the international community put an end to the Israeli occupation of the Syrian Golan and other occupied Arab territories, and stop the violent extremism and terrorism perpetrated by Israeli settlers against the Arab citizens living under occupation. The Israeli violent extremism is backed by the extreme Israeli governments that refused and rejected international legitimacy resolutions, and seeks to create, in the occupied territories, a one religion state that excludes the followers of other faiths.”
    • Venezuela’s Statement, February 12, 2016
      “…the long-term solution to the threats posed today by violent extremism must absolutely require political solution to conflicts in countries like … Palestine. These protracted crises further exacerbate conflicts and serve as a breeding ground for violent extremism, for bolstering organized transactional crime; they facilitate the flow of financing and training of foreign terrorist fighters and, therefore, expanding the capacity of action for terrorist organizations.”
    • United Arab Emirates’ Statement, February 12, 2016
      “The Plan of Action needs to address other factors that propel extremism, most notably foreign occupation and ‘State terrorism.'”
  • General Assembly High-Level Thematic Debate on Promoting Tolerance and Reconciliation: Fostering Peaceful, Inclusive Societies and Countering Violent Extremism, April 23, 2015
    • Syria’s Statement, April 23, 2015
      “Mr. President, those that think that groups such as Daesh, Jabhat al-Nusra, Boko Haram, Jemaah Islamiya occurred spontaneously or by accident are deluding themselves or they are just choosing to look away. There are real networks that explain how these groups developed. The most visible are Zionism, the fatwas that have been issued and the extremist educational programs, and the authorization by certain governments of terrorism and extremism as a tool for implementing political agendas that are very doubtful in Syria or elsewhere.”

World Shrugs as Hizballah Prepares Massive Civilian Deaths

by Noah Beck
Special to IPT News
March 21, 2017

Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah recently warned Israel that his Iran-backed terror group could attack targets producing mass Israeli casualties, including a huge ammonia storage tank in Haifa, and a nuclear reactor in Dimona.

Also last month, Tower Magazine reported that, since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, Iran provided Hizballah with a vast supply of “game-changing,” state-of-the art weapons, despite Israel’s occasional airstrikes against weapons convoys.

In a future conflict, Hizballah has the capacity to fire 1,500 rockets into Israel each day, overwhelming Israel’s missile defense systems. Should such a scenario materialize, Israel will be forced to respond with unprecedented firepower to defend its own civilians.

Hizballah’s advanced weapons and the systems needed to launch them reportedly are embedded across a staggering 10,000 locations in the heart of more than 200 civilian towns and villages. The Israeli military has openly warned about this Hizballah war crime and the grave threats it poses to both sides, but that alarm generated almost no attention from the global media, the United Nations, or other international institutions.

Like the terror group Hamas, Hizballah knows that civilian deaths at the hands of Israel are a strategic asset, because they produce diplomatic pressure to limit Israel’s military response. Hizballah reportedly went so far as offering reduced-price housing to Shiite families who allowed the terrorist group to store rocket launchers in their homes.

But if the global media, the UN, human rights organizations, and other international institutions predictably pounce on Israel after it causes civilian casualties, why are they doing nothing to prevent them? Hizballah’s very presence in southern Lebanon is a flagrant violation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1701, which called for the area to be a zone “free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons” other than the Lebanese military and the U.N. Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

The resolution also required Hizballah to be disarmed, but the terror group today has an arsenal that rivals that of most armies. Hizballah possesses an estimated 140,000 missiles and rockets, and reportedly now can manufacture advanced weapons in underground factories that are impervious to aerial attack.

“Israel must stress again and again, before it happens, that these villages [storing Hizballah weapons] have become military posts, and are therefore legitimate targets,” said Yoram Schweitzer, senior research fellow at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS).

Meir Litvak, director of Tel Aviv University’s Alliance Center for Iranian Studies, agrees, adding that global attention would “expose Hizballah’s hypocrisy in its cynical use of civilians as… human shields.”

Even a concerted campaign to showcase Hizballah’s war preparation is unlikely to change things, said Eyal Zisser, a senior research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies. Hizballah exploits the fact that “the international community is too busy and…weak to do something about it,” Zisser said. All of “these talks and reports have no meaning. See what is happening in Syria.”

Israel has targeted Hizballah-bound weapons caches in Syria twice during the past week. Syria responded last Friday by firing a missile carrying 200 kilograms of explosives, which Israel successfully intercepted.

If Hizballah provokes a war, Israel can legitimately attack civilian areas storing Hizballah arms if the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) first attempts to warn the targeted civilians to leave those areas, Litvak said. But “it will certainly be very difficult and will look bad on TV.”

While Sunni Arab states are generally united against the Shiite Iranian-Hizballah axis, Litvak, Zisser, and Schweitzer all agreed that Israel could hope for no more than silent support from them when the missiles fly.

Indeed, the “Sunni Arab street” is likely to be inflamed by the images of civilian death and destruction caused by Israel that international media will inevitably broadcast, further limiting support for Israel from Iran’s Sunni state foes.

Rather perversely, the Lebanese government has embraced the very terrorist organization that could cause hundreds of thousands of Lebanese civilian deaths by converting residential areas into war zones. “As long as Israel occupies land and covets the natural resources of Lebanon, and as long as the Lebanese military lacks the power to stand up to Israel, [Hizballah’s] arms are essential, in that they complement the actions of the army and do not contradict them,” President Michel Aoun told Egyptian television last month. Hizballah, he said, “has a complementary role to the Lebanese army.”

Aoun’s declaration means that Lebanon “takes full responsibility for all of Hizballah’s actions, including against Israel, and for their consequences to Lebanon and its entire population, even though the Lebanese government has little ability to actually control the organization’s decisions or policy,” said INSS Senior Research Fellow Assaf Orion.

MK Naftali Bennett, a veteran of Israel’s 2006 war with Hizballah, believes that Lebanon’s official acceptance of Hizballah and its policy of embedding military assets inside residential areas removes any constraints on Israeli targeting of civilian areas. “The Lebanese institutions, its infrastructure, airport, power stations, traffic junctions, Lebanese Army bases – they should all be legitimate targets if a war breaks out,” he said. “That’s what we should already be saying to them and the world now.”

In a future war, Hizballah is certain to try bombarding Israeli civilian communities with missile barrages. Israel, in response, will have to target missile launchers and weapons caches surrounded by Lebanese civilians.

But it need not be so. Global attention by journalists and diplomats on Hizballah’s abuses could lead to international pressure that ultimately reduces or even prevents civilian deaths.

Those truly concerned about civilians do not have a difficult case to make. Hizballah has shown a callous disregard for innocent life in Syria.

It helped the Syrian regime violently suppress largely peaceful protests that preceded the Syrian civil war in 2011. Last April, Hizballah and Syrian army troops reportedly killed civilians attempting to flee the Sunni-populated town of Madaya, near the Lebanese border. In 2008, its fighters seized control of several West Beirut neighborhoods and killed innocent civilians after the Lebanese government moved to shut down Hizballah’s telecommunication network.

Hizballah terrorism has claimed civilian lives for decades, including a 1994 suicide bombing at Argentina’s main Jewish center that killed 85 people. As the IDF notes, “Since 1982, hundreds of innocent civilians have lost their lives and thousands more have been injured thanks to Hizballah.”

If world powers and the international media genuinely care about avoiding civilian casualties, they should be loudly condemning Hizballah’s ongoing efforts – in flagrant violation of a UN resolution – to cause massive civilian death and destruction in Lebanon’s next war with Israel.

Noah Beck is the author of The Last Israelis, an apocalyptic novel about Iranian nukes and other geopolitical issues in the Middle East.

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