Saturday, September 14, 2013

An Unthinkable 9/11: War in Support of al Qaeda

Diana West 

Back in 2004, when a NYFD chief reminded the 9/11 Commission that it was never in "anyone's consciousness" that the Twin Towers would fall, he underscored a terrible truth.

 After 9/11, we entered the Age of the Unthinkable. Seared into our collective consciousness is that the Twin Towers could and did fall. So could the U.S. Capitol, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Superdome. Our children know that which we as children never before imagined -- passenger planes may become guided missiles, and skyscrapers may turn into smoking, twisted rubble. This age of Islamic jihad against the West has indeed expanded our consciousness.

Or has it? Did these previously unthinkable acts of violence and mass murder sharpen our thinking, make us vigilant and more protective of our constitutional liberties under attack?

There was a time when I actually thought this was so. Re-reading my first column written after 9/11 today, one dozen 9/11s later, I find that it forecasts a new era of black and white, good and evil -- a new relationship with countries that were "with us or against us." I guess I have always been a lousy prognosticator. Still, that was the message coming out of the Bush White House early on.

The IPT Update

The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT)

General security, policy
1.  Iran's Rouhani says wants nuclear issue resolved, but draws lines; N. Korea appears to restart plutonium reactor
2.  Chinese national sentenced in Boston for illegally exporting military electronics components
3.  Inside the Ring: FBI targets Syrian hackers; China ratchets up tensions
4.  Al-Qaeda chief Zawahiri urges 'lone-wolf' attacks on US
5.  ODNI report:  Number of released Gitmo detainees returning to terrorism increases
6.  Lawmakers, activists seek info from Administration on Benghazi anniversary
7.  In-laws of accused Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev appear before grand jury; Two friends of Boston bomber plead not guilty to cover-up charges
8.  Herald-Tribune joins suit asking FBI for Saudi documents
9.  Texas senators seek 'terrorist' label for Fort Hood shootings
10. Abu Hamza 'lieutenant' Haroon Aswat cannot be extradited to US, European judges say
11. US-born 'jihadist rapper' Omar Hammami reportedly killed in Somalia
12. Fairfax man, Atal Bashar, charged with building bomb
13. Christie signs law requiring notification before out-of-state counter-terrorism investigations in NJ

Friday, September 13, 2013

Syria: Jihadists massacre 22 in revenge for Assad's alleged chemical attack

Jihad Watch

Good thing we are intervening to help these al-Qaeda jihadists murder more old men and young children. "Syria Massacre? Nusra Front Fighters Reportedly Kill Women, Children, Elderly Men In Alawite Village," from Reuters, September 12:
BEIRUT, Sept 12 (Reuters) - The death toll from an alleged massacre in an Alawite village in central Syria has risen to 22, including women, children and elderly men, a rights monitoring group said on Thursday. The minority Alawite sect to which President Bashar al-Assad and most of Syria's elite belong is an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam whose members have increasingly been targeted by radical fighters among the Sunni Muslim-dominated opposition in the 2-1/2-year revolt against Assad.
Fighters from the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front shot dead 16 Alawites and six Arab Bedouins on Tuesday after storming the village of Maksar al-Hesan, east of the city of Homs, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is opposed to Assad.
The British-based Observatory said the victims included seven women, three men over the age of 65, and four children under the age of 16, citing residents and medics.

My poem : In a manna of speaking

(again, the italics for emphasis)
At times it can be – oh- such fun
Rewriting stories long past done
To illustrate I'll mention here a sample.
Let's travel back away in time
And I'll present it here in rhyme ~
The Exodus is one such good example!

What Elisheva Goldberg Thinks of Me

 My Right Word
I'm a

power-house activist

That's what Elisheva Goldberg wrote of me.

She attended the annual general meeting of the Friends of Israel's Media Watch.  I'm Vice-Chairman.

Goldberg published it as "The Dubious Successes of Israel's Media Watch" at Peter Beinart's Open Zion.

What bothers her is

- ostensible lack of vim and vigor
- their success comes from their willingness to consider the long haul.
- Their scrutiny of the Israel Broadcasting Association (IBA) has always been meticulous, and while their criticism is not terribly sharp, it is certainly sharply felt
- despite crude logic in order to advance a far-right agenda, IMW manages to be operational and successful.
- these guys have a bone to pick.
- they’ve been on the inside of a battle to get the blatantly racist, Caroline Glick-run satire show Latma (“slap in the face” in Arabic) on Israeli public television
- They have argued for better internal hasbara,
- Of the guests, almost all were in their 60s. One gentleman came in with a walker 
- Pollak himself clearly has an agenda

As for the rest of the post, besides the sniping, the petulant commentary, her cynical ignorance, the nastiness towards older people (isn't that post-modern racism?), all she does is disagree with IMW's views.

She does not prove we are factually wrong.

Or that we misinterpret the laws regarding media bias.

Or the principles of media critiquing.

Muslim Persecution of Christians: June, 2013

Raymond Ibrahim
Gatestone Institute

The degradation of Christian women living in the Islamic world continued in the month of June. In Syria, after the al-Qaeda linked rebel group conquered Qusair, a city of the governate of Homs, 15-year-old Mariam was kidnapped, repeatedly gang raped according to a fatwa legitimizing the rape of non-Sunni women by any Muslim waging jihad against Syria's government, and then executed.
According to Agenzia Fides, "The commander of the battalion 'Jabhat al-Nusra' in Qusair took Mariam, married and raped her. Then he repudiated her. The next day the young woman was forced to marry another Islamic militant. He also raped her and then repudiated her. The same trend was repeated for 15 days, and Mariam was raped by 15 different men. This psychologically destabilized her and made her insane. Mariam became mentally unstable and was eventually killed."
In Pakistan, Muslim men stormed the home of three Christian women, beat them, stripped them naked and tortured them, and then paraded them in the nude in a village in the Kasur district. Days earlier, it seems the goats of the Christian family had accidentally trespassed onto Muslim land; Muslims sought to make an example of the Christian family, who, as third-class citizens, must know their place at all times.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

My response to NY Sun re suggestion that Kerry resign

I receive the NY Sun daily on the internet; following is the link and the beginning of the article to which I responded.  If you go into the piece you can continue reading the rest.   My response is below.



Time for Kerry To Resign

Editorial of The New York Sun | September 12, 2013
At this point the best thing that could happen in the Syria crisis would be for Secretary of State Kerry to resign. He’s one of the logical persons to take the fall for this fiasco, given that we don’t live under a parliamentary system and the constitutional concept in respect of the president, any president, is for the decision to be made by voters once in four years. It was Mr. Kerry who made the blunder that has put the administration on track for a classic appeasement.  (The link above will access the complete article.)
Response to NY Sun re suggestion that Kerry  resign – Sept. 12, 2013
The recent confusing statements by the President and Sec'y of State Kerry expose the bumbling chaos that has been characteristic of the Obama administration.   Today the subject is Syria and its WMDs that have exterminated more than 100,000 of her citizens by sarin gas.   One must wonder why the deaths themselves did not demand international intervention rather than the 'means'.   In contrast to the Obama-Kerry team effort to reassure that an attack on Syria would be  'brief and benign' , (boo!) Assad's response to such an action was an alarming threat of strong  retaliation.  

The Mandate For Palestine Still Relevant Nearly A Century Later

Eli E. Hertz
Israelis and friends of the Jewish State alike are accustomed to the never-ending scorn that the United Nations heaps on Israel, the Middle East’s only free democracy; never mind its desire for peace with all of its Arab neighbors. It may seem unfathomable then, that the very same institution was ultimately responsible for its creation.

The roots of the “Mandate for Palestine”– a legally binding document published by the League of Nations, the forerunner of the United Nations – can be traced back to both the founding of modern Zionism in 1897 by Theodor Herzl, and the Balfour Declaration of November 1917.

After witnessing the spread of anti-Semitism around the world, Theodor Herzl felt compelled to create a political movement with the goal of establishing a Jewish National Home in historic Palestine, and assembled the first Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland in August 1897. During World War I, Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour simply expressed Great Britain’s view with favor and sympathy for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

A New Muslim Brotherhood Symbol: R4BIA

Dawn Perlmutter

There is a new Islamist symbol appearing in protests, on social networking sites and at demonstrations throughout the Middle East. The symbol allegedly originated as a four-fingered hand sign by pro-Morsi protesters during demonstrations in Egypt's Rabia al-Adawiya Square. The hand gesture quickly evolved into an image of the hand commonly depicted in black on a bright yellow background. It is called the "R4BIA sign." In English it is officially spelled in capital letters and the letter "A" is replaced with the number 4. It has become the symbol of the massacre of pro-Morsi supporters in Rabia al-Adawiya Square on August 14, 2013. This new sign already has its own history, legend and mysticism and it contains all the attributes that Islamists favor in their symbology, particularly martyrdom.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Degradation of Christian Women under Islam

Raymond Ibrahim
September 11, 2013 

Meanwhile, in Egypt, U.S. ambassador Anne Patterson was urging Christian Copts not to protest Muslim Brotherhood rule, even though they would suffer under it most. Al Azhar, the world's oldest Islamic university, called on the new Catholic Pope, Francis I, to declare that Islam is a religion of peace.
The degradation of Christian women living in the Islamic world continued in the month of June. In Syria, after the al-Qaeda linked rebel group conquered Qusair, a city of the governate of Homs, 15-year-old Mariam was kidnapped, repeatedly gang raped according to a fatwa legitimizing the rape of non-Sunni women by any Muslim waging jihad against Syria's government, and then executed.

Lavrov Helped Obama Dodge the Syrian Bullet

Noah Beck

Any diplomatic initiative on Syria coming from Russia, whose UN votes have perpetuated Assad's killing machine for over two years, should be viewed with extreme suspicion. Nevertheless, the latest Russian proposal merits serious consideration.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's proposal, which exploited an offhand remark by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, calls for the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons arsenal in exchange for a cancellation of the U.S. military action against Syria being debated by Congress. Syria has "accepted" the proposal with alacrity. Russian national interests underlie this proposal: helping Russia's last Mideast client state to survive, reinforcing the image of Russia as a Mideast power broker, and diminishing the perception that Russia supports chemical weapons use. But these interests intersect with US interests insofar as a diplomatic solution decreases the odds of an Islamist takeover of Syria (should U.S. strikes actually alter the balance of power between the Syrian regime and the opposition) while possibly removing the need for potentially risky and costly U.S. military action -- without further undermining U.S. credibility.

Syria and Obama

I cannot see why even a single American, a single Israeli or a single Syrian civilian should be killed as a result of a token U.S. military action, undertaken simply to spare Barack Obama the embarrassment of doing nothing, after his ill-advised public ultimatum to the Syrian government to not use chemical weapons was ignored.

Some people say that some military response is necessary, not to spare Obama a personal humiliation, but to spare the American presidency from losing all credibility -- and therefore losing the ability to deter future threats to the United States without bloodshed.

There is no question that the credibility of the presidency -- regardless of who holds that office -- is a major asset of this country. Another way of saying the same thing is that Barack Obama has recklessly risked the credibility of future presidents, and the future safety of this country, by his glib words and weak actions.

Some people who disagree with Obama's issuance of a public ultimatum to the Assad regime in the first place, and who also disagree with his recent threat of military action against Syria, nevertheless say that we must back up that threat now, simply to forestall future dangers from a loss of American credibility in the eyes of other countries, including both our enemies and our allies.

Time Favors Israel

The Resilient Jewish State

by Efraim Inbar
Middle East Quarterly
Fall 2013, pp. 3-13

The Jewish state has always attracted the attention of pundits and prognosticators. In recent years, a burgeoning literature of gloom that highlights Israel's imaginary or real flaws, and even questions its future, has emerged both within and outside the country.[1] Most concerned is the radical Israeli Left, which argues that there is great urgency in solving the Arab-Israeli conflict and that, in the absence of a peaceful solution, the Jewish state is doomed to disappear. Moreover, Israel's democratic character, its international legitimacy, and its ability to withstand protracted conflict are questioned.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

‘Plan B’ for Syria?

The Syrian crisis has taken another curious turn. Yesterday, before President Obama made his case to the public for some sort of military strike against the regime of Bashar Assad, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced that his nation would push the Syrian government to put its chemical weapons cache under international control. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem claimed his nation agrees with the idea. “Syria welcomes the Russian proposal out of concern for the lives of the Syrian people, the security of our country and because it believes in the wisdom of the Russian leadership that seeks to avert American aggression against our people,” he said.

Syria's Chemical Weapons - The Terrorism Threat

International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) Report September 8, 2013
Since the uprising began in Syria in March 2011, more than 100,000 people have been killed, 2 million people have fled the country becoming refugees, and 4.25 million people are internally displaced.
The will of Assad’s forces to fight is still there, but they are struggling to combat the Syrian rebel’s gains until recently. It is believed that the al-Assad regime is desperate enough to use anything in its power to stay the ruling government, including use of any of its poisonous gases, as was the case this past March through May.
Besides the use of chemical warfare by the Syrian government there is a real and immediate threat that chemical weapons, agents or precursors could fall in the hands of terrorist organizations, be it Hezbollah (in which case the regime itself could be willing to provide them to its staunch ally), pro-Syrian Palestinian organizations, the Free Syrian Army and its local units or the various Islamist and jihadists factions like Jabha al-Nusra.
This report is the first part of an ICT project intended to evaluate the threat of proliferation of Syrian chemical weapons to local and regional terrorist organizations and beyond. The report includes information on the status of chemical weapons in Syria and their use updated to mid-June 2013 and an addendum presenting the main points of the United States and French intelligence communities' evaluation concerning the August 21, 2013 chemical attacks in the suburbs of Damascus.1
The Syrian chemical arsenal
After its defeats in its wars against Israel, Syria began to develop a chemical weapons program as a way to deter the Israeli military might.
Syria was heavily dependent on outside help in procuring important precursor chemicals and equipment from Russia, Egypt, West Germany, France, Iran, North Korea, and possibly other countries over a period of 20 years. However Syria, which refused to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention and after 1973 began to produce its own chemical weapons, further intensified its program after the signing of the Israeli-Egyptian Peace Treaty in 1979. It is believed Syria started producing locally mustard gas as well as sarin in the 1980s.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Overrated: Hassan Rouhani

Iran's new president is seen by many as a moderate. In fact he is an unrepentant hardliner

Emanuele Ottolenghi



Since his surprise victory in Iran's presidential elections in June, Hassan Rouhani has enjoyed undeserved popularity among Western policymakers and opinion-formers alike. Though hardly a reformist, Rouhani has immediately won the label of moderate from all corners of the transatlantic political spectrum.

The Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt — the most likely candidate to replace Catherine Ashton as the European Union's High Representative for foreign affairs next year and thus to be the lead negotiator with Iran — tweeted on June 15:
"We should be open and see what changes election of Hassan Rouhani as new President of Iran might bring. We need to engage with Iran."

A Friendlier Australian Government

Isi Leibler

Australia’s election results are good news for the Israel-Australia relationship. Labor party incumbent Kevin Rudd, who held office for less than three months following a coup against former PM Julia Gillard, lost in a landslide, bringing an end to six years of Labor Government. Rudd is a political chameleon who abandoned Australia’s long-standing pro-Israel position when he previously served as Prime Minister from 2007 to 2010.

The victorious Tony Abbott of the center-right Liberal party is an outspoken friend of the Jewish State. He has pledged to improve relations with Israel, toughen the government’s approach toward terrorist organizations and end financial support for organizations connected to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign against Israel.

J Street Won’t Back Obama On Syria Resolution

A pro-Israel group seen as close to the White House says it has decided not to decide where it stands on Obama’s plan to strike Syria.

WASHINGTON — Liberal pro-Israel advocacy group J Street has decided not to take a position on the White House’s Syria resolution currently being debated in Congress, the group’s director confirmed to BuzzFeed on Sunday.
“We are not taking a position on the Congressional resolution,” J Street’s executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami said in an email. “Our statement on Syria from August 29th stands.”
The group’s August 29th statement condemns the Syrian regime for its use of chemical weapons against civilians and calls for the United States and the international community to “hold President Assad and all responsible for this heinous crime fully accountable.”

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Report: Hezbollah, Iran Would Lead Syrian Counter-Attack

Maayana Miskin

An intelligence report prepared by a European country has found that Syrian President Bashar Assad has handed control of missile installations over to foreign fighters, Lebanon’s A-Nahar reports.

Assad has reportedly put control into the hands of Hezbollah and Iranian units.

Those two groups would be in charge of leading a counter-attack if the United States or other Western nations attack in Syria in response to recent chemical weapons use within the country.

The revelations come a week after reports from Lebanon which indicated that Hezbollah has mobilized many of its veteran fighters, presumably in anticipation of an upcoming US-led strike on Syria.

Has Syria Got a Prayer?

Kathryn Jean Lopez
National Review Online 

On his website, Raymond Ibrahim, author of Crucified Again, posts a video of what appear to be Islamic extremists attacking Christian churches in Syria — St. Elias Church and St. Grace Church in the Christian village of Maaloula near Damascus – where villagers still speak Aramaic, the language Christ spoke.
KJL: Do a lot of people still speak Aramaic? How many of their lives are in danger right now?
IBRAHIM: Not a lot, but they are out there, mostly in Syria and eastern regions of Turkey. And in both regions both communities are under attack: in Syria, via U.S.-supported al-Qaeda (whatever else Assad is, he is certainly not a persecutor of his nation's indigenous Christians), and by the Islamist government of Turkey. For example, the existence of the oldest functioning Christian monastery in the world, the fifth-century Mor Gabriel Monastery, inhabited by a few dozen Christians dedicated to learning the monastery's teachings, including the ancient Aramaic language spoken by Jesus, is at risk. The highest appeals court in Ankara ruled that the land that had been part of the monastery for 1,600 years is not its property, absurdly claiming that the monastery was built over the ruins of a mosque — even though Muhammad was born 170 years after the monastery was built.

Egypt Now Opposes Obama’s Syrian War

Egypt protesters carry anti-Obama posters
It’s almost like they have some mysterious reason for not wanting the Muslim Brotherhood to take over Syria. And it’s almost like alienating a country has geopolitical consequences.

Or as the New York Times puts it, “Fearful of the Islamist-dominated Syrian rebels, the new Egyptian government installed by Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi has gone further to oppose the strikes than any other ostensible American ally in the region. It has broken with the pattern of reliable cooperation with Washington shown by former President Hosni Mubarak and also, for the most part, by Mr. Morsi.”
Somehow I doubt Mubarak would have backed a Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Syria either. Morsi did, but then again he was Brotherhood.

How severe are the consequences of Obama’s failed Muslim Brotherhood regime change operation in Egypt? Severe enough that Egyptian officials are routinely tweaking His Majesty Barack I.