Archive for March 7, 2017

New York Cedes Ground in the Fight Against Terrorism

March 7, 2017

New York Cedes Ground in the Fight Against Terrorism, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Patrick Dunleavy, March 7, 2017

Capitulation in a time of conflict is demoralizing to the rank and file charged with protecting the community they serve. This appears to be the case in the latest legal go round between the New York Police Department (NYPD) and Muslim activist groups.

U.S. District Judge Charles S. Haight Jr, is about to accept an agreement that will hand over control of the NYPD’s Intelligence Division investigations to a civilian monitor appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio. This is the same mayor who loudly cheered President Obama’s last-minute commutation of FALN terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera, who will be freed in May. De Blasio extolled the works of a man whose organization was responsible for more than 100 bombings, many in New York City, including one that killed four innocent people.

To understand the impact that this proposed settlement, between the NYPD, and the activist organization known as the Muslim Advocates will have on existing counter terrorism measures, we have to understand how vitally important is the issue of protecting cities against attacks by radical Islamist terrorists. The activist groups claim that the police department unfairly singled out Muslim communities in the greater New York/New Jersey area for investigation and surveillance. They also claim that gathering specific information about the neighborhoods amounted to unprecedented “profiling.” They point to a little known NYPD unit that collected the data and accuse it of spying.

Their argument belies the fact that collecting demographic statistics has been used for years by the U.S. Census Bureau to map out trends and changes in neighborhoods. Law enforcement agencies nationwide have used this practice for decades to investigate criminal organizations such as the Mafia, or Columbian drug cartels. The normal investigative process would include forensic examination of the communities most likely to be victimized by criminal organizations. The FBI did not set up surveillance in Chinatown when taking down the Cosa Nostra. They went to Little Italy.

Radical Islamist organizations have in the past infiltrated Muslim neighborhoods in the United States and exerted harmful influence on those communities.

For example, in 1990 a little known Islamic cleric named Omar Abdel Rahman came to live in the greater New York area. He visited mosques in Brooklyn, Queens, Jersey City and elsewhere, and before long forced out any clergy who were not in line with his radical ideology.

In Brooklyn’s Al Farooq mosque on Atlantic Avenue, where Mustafa Shalabi served as a treasurer, an argument occurred over how the money should be spent. Shalabi was found murdered in his Coney Island apartment not long after that fight. Another of the mosque’s clerics, a Sudanese imam named Zakaria Gasmalla, was forced out and moved his entire family to the Buffalo area to escape the pressure from Abdel Rahman and his followers. The Blind Sheik and his followers continued to use Muslim communities to raise money for their plots, to hide weapons, and to build the truck bomb that was placed in the garage of the World Trade Center on Feb. 26, 1993. Six people died and more than 1,000 were injured in the resulting explosion.

The first soldiers in the jihad against America lived within the Muslim neighborhoods in the New York/New Jersey community.

In 2000, two of the 9/11 hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, settled into an apartment in a San Diego neighborhood near the Masjid Ar-Ribat al-Islami mosque. There Anwar al Awlaki, a young Islamic clergyman, welcomed them. Today we know the American-born Awlaki as one of al-Qaida’s most influential preachers and most effective radicalizers and recruiters.

Terrorists will seek out the neighborhoods where they feel most at home, a place where they can use the community to their advantage. Members of the Ribat mosque provided both transportation and language education skills to the two terrorists not knowing their true objective.

Minneapolis’ Cedar Riverside neighborhood has been dubbed “Little Mogadishu” because of it large Somali population. It is a community that has seen more than 50 of its members go overseas to join the Islamist terrorist organization Al Shabaab. Al Shabaab preyed on second generation immigrants who felt a disconnect between American society and their ancestral home. To stem the tide of continued recruitment by radical Islamist terrorists like Al Shabaab, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force successfully focused its investigation on the Muslim community in the greater Minneapolis area.

On the other hand, groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) seek to portray law enforcement as sinister characters sneaking through neighborhoods in trench coats looking to do harm to the community. One chapter urged community members to “Build a Wall of Resistance” and not cooperate with investigators in ongoing terrorist investigations. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Thankfully, many members of Minneapolis’ Somali community rejected this approach.

To blindly think that neighborhoods are somehow immune from the nefarious tactics used by either criminal or terrorist organization is to cede ground to those who would do us harm. Police departments exist to protect and serve communities and one of those tools most helpful is knowing the makeup of each neighborhood they patrol. Turning that responsibility over to a terrorist-friendly mayor will only handcuff police with the ambiguity of political correctness and lead to greater harm.

Trump’s wiretapping tweets, the media and reality

March 7, 2017

Trump’s wiretapping tweets, the media and reality, Rebel Media via YouTube, March 6, 2017

(A very good summary of the information now available. — DM)

 

Iran honestly abiding by nuclear deal or terrified of changing times?

March 7, 2017

Iran honestly abiding by nuclear deal or terrified of changing times? Al Arabiya, Heshmat Alavi, March 7, 2017

(Al Arabiya is “a Saudi-owned pan-Arab[4] television news channel.” — DM)

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano addresses a news conference after a board of governors meeting at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria March 6, 2017. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

During the Obama years Iran understood very well his administration would take no serious actions against their aggressive nature, as seen in the West’s relative silence in the face of more than a dozen missile test launches.

To this end, Iran’s recent compliance by JCPOA articles should only be perceived as a result of its deep fear in the new US administration’s possible policies.

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Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, recently issued his latest report to the agency’s Board of Governors. At a first glance the text leaves you thinking Iran is honoring the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA.

However, considering the rapid pace of international developments, and US President Donald Trump’s harsh remarks against the nuclear deal, we are seeing Iran going the limits to maintain the JCPOA intact. This is a staunchly different approach from the Obama era.

The latest IAEA report contains very important technical aspects, showing how weak Iran has become. Despite all the threats of abandoning the JCPOA ship altogether, Iran’s recent measures proves it needs the JCPOA more than any other party.

By the statistics

On November 8th, 2016 the IAEA verified Iran’s heavy water reserves reached 130.1 metric tons. Iran also informed the IAEA about sending 11 metric tons of heavy water outside of its borders on November 6th and 19th, also verified by the IAEA.

After this transfer Iran has not dared to exceed the 130 metric ton limit, and on February 14th the IAEA verified Iran’s reserves have decreased to 124.2 metric tons, meaning even 6 metric tons less than the JCPOA specified amount.

During the Obama administration Iran had twice exceeded the 130 metric ton limit, and yet rushed to send the excess amount to Oman prior to Donald Trump taking the helm at the White House.

Natanz

Under the JCPOA Iran is permitted to maintain more than 5,060 IR-1 centrifuges in 30 cascades in the Natanz enrichment site. Again, terrified of the incoming Trump administration, reports indicate Iran has significantly lowered the number of such centrifuges.

Iran is continuing to enrich UF6 uranium at Natanz, yet not daring to enrich any uranium above the 3.67 percent standard set for nuclear fuel production. Iran has also not exceeded the 300-kilogram amount of 3.67 percent uranium 235, equal to 202.8 kilograms of uranium.

By February 18th Iran had stored 101.7 kilograms of 3.67 percent uranium, showing the regime has not only abided, but even halved their stocks. This is another sign of Iran’s concerns of the change in guards in Washington.

Ferdow

The controversial Ferdow uranium enrichment, with a capacity of 3,000 centrifuges, currently has 1,044 IR-1 centrifuges, where 1,042 are placed in six cascades, and two such centrifuges are set aside for research purposes.

During the past three months (especially following the November 8th US elections) Iran has suspended all of Ferdow’s uranium enrichment and R & D activities.

Surveillance

All stocked centrifuges, along with their components, are under constant IAEA surveillance. The IAEA enjoys orderly access to related facilities in Natanz, including daily inspections based on IAEA inspectors’ requests.

Iran continues to allow the IAEA use electronic surveillance devices and online seals on its uranium enrichment facilities to provide continuous monitoring. Iran has also agreed to provide for the presence of a larger number IAEA monitors.

Iran has agreed to abide by the Additional Protocol, once considered a red line for the regime, allowing the IAEA monitor a large number of sites and other facilities affiliated to Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran’s enriched uranium in Oman

Another sign of Iran giving in to major setbacks is the regime’s agreement to stock their enriched uranium in Oman, and seek its sale to foreign buyers from there. This also includes stocks of excessive heavy water. And yet, Iran is also concerned about the fate of its money in Oman banks, as expressed by a number of parliament members.

The irony

In the meantime, one cannot say for certain that the mullahs have actually relented their nuclear weapons drive. It is in the mullahs’ nature to continue their pursuit for terrorism, nuclear weapons and domestic crackdown. These are the Iranian regime’s three main pillars.

It is common knowledge that the mullahs enjoy no social base, and this is seen in remarks made by Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency chief saying in most of his interviews how Tehran intends to relaunch the nuclear program once the JCPOA time limit ends.

Despite all this, the mullahs very well understand the language of force. Iran only succumbed to the nuclear talks once international sanctions began crippling their economy.

During the Obama years Iran understood very well his administration would take no serious actions against their aggressive nature, as seen in the West’s relative silence in the face of more than a dozen missile test launches.

To this end, Iran’s recent compliance by JCPOA articles should only be perceived as a result of its deep fear in the new US administration’s possible policies.

Investments

After Obama left office foreign investment in Iran has also witnessed a nosedive, adding to the mullahs’ growing concerns. Tehran curbed a portion of its nuclear program, yet receiving nothing in return and continuously being described as the main state supporter of terrorism, instability and insecurity.

Iran’s unfrozen money has been transferred to Oman, and yet the government says it cannot release the assets to Tehran. Iran has at least $18 billion blocked in China, with no means to gain access to.

British Petroleum also had double thoughts following Trump’s entrance into the White House. This major international oil company has currently taken a major step back from participating in Iran’s oil projects.

Total in France, seeking to develop the major gas fields south of Iran, has also taken similar measures, suspending its activities until the summer of this year to allow Trump to clarify his JCPOA policy.

Foreign banks and companies

Why are French companies unable to invest in Iran? This country’s largest banks are holding back on any cooperation with Tehran, blocking any major investment by large French companies in this country. In addition to Total, Renault, AirBus and others are unable to invest in Iran without the support of major French banks such as Societe Generale.

These banks, however, are very concerned of unilateral punishing measures by the US against foreign entities investing in Iran. For example, the BNP Paribas was slapped with an $8.9 billion fine by Washington for bypassing US sanctions against Iran.

Airline restrictions

Japan’s Mitsubishi ended its negotiations to sell planes to Iran, citing concerns of the new US administration’s possible future sanctions and policies.

Despite Tehran seeking to expand its airlines and reach abroad following the nuclear deal, New Delhi delivered yet another blow by suspending its flights to Iran.

“Air India Express, the low-cost unit of the South Asian nation’s flag carrier, has put on hold a plan to fly to Tehran amid renewed tensions between the US and Iran after President Donald Trump imposed fresh sanctions on the Persian Gulf country,” according to a Bloomberg report.

Money laundry warnings

The Financial Action Task Force, the international body assigned to fight back against money laundering, issued a stark warning to Tehran to live up to its obligations or else face serious actions.

The FATF recently issued a strong reminder saying “in June 2016, the FATF suspended counter-measures for twelve months in order to monitor Iran’s progress in implementing the Action Plan. If the FATF determines that Iran has not demonstrated sufficient progress in implementing the Action Plan at the end of that period, FATF’s call for counter-measures will be re-imposed.”

Conclusion

More than a year after the JCPOA implementation, and with Washington adopting a completely new mentality and overhauling any pro-appeasement policies vis-à-vis Iran, the mullahs in Tehran have realized the global balance of power has shifted completely against their interests.

To this end, their recent measures to curtail their nuclear stocks should not be considered a coming to mind by Tehran. Not at all. The mullahs understand the language of force, just as President Ronald Reagan came to office in 1981 the fledgling mullahs’ regime rushed to release all American hostages after a 444 ordeal.

Now, Tehran is once again comprehending a significant shift in international politics, and it is taking measures accordingly to limit all possible damages. And rest assured they will jump to the occasion if they sense any weakness or hesitation.

As a result, Iran must be held at the ropes and the next necessary step in this regard is the long overdue designation of its Revolutionary Guards as a foreign terrorist organization. This will begin to limit its ability to wreak havoc across the Middle East and limit its human rights atrocities.

This is in the interest of all nations.
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Heshmat Alavi is a political and rights activist. His writing focuses on Iran, ranging from human rights violations, social crackdown, the regime’s support for terrorism and meddling in foreign countries, and the controversial nuclear program. He tweets at @HeshmatAlavi & blogs at IranCommentary.

Epic US, Russian, Turkish military summit on Syria

March 7, 2017

Epic US, Russian, Turkish military summit on Syria, DEBKAfile, March 7, 2017

(According to the article, the Syrian army “is now fully under Russian command.” Iran is not mentioned. — DM)

 

The three generals are most certainly working with open lines to their presidents – Gen. Dunford to President Trump; Gen. Gerasimov, to Vladimir Putin; and Gen. Akar, to Tayyip Erdogan. If they succeed in pulling off deals for working together, with their presidents’ endorsement, Trump will have achieved his oft-repeated target of teaming up with Moscow for eradicating ISIS.

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EXCLUSIVE:  For the first time ever, the top soldiers of the United States, Russia and Turkey are holding a secret meeting in the Turkish town of Antalya for an urgent two-day effort to avert a clash between their three armies, which stand ominously face to face in northern Syria.

(See DEBKAfile’s exclusive disclosure on March 6)

Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the US Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian armed forces, and Gen. Hulusi Akar, Chief of Staff of the Turkish army sat down together on Tuesday, March 7.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the formal agenda for this extraordinary get-together is the state of the Syrian war. But they are ranging over for more comprehensive and detailed issues and addressing at least six urgent challegnes:

1. How to prevent the three armies whose armored convoys are currently converging on the north Syrian town of Mabij, now freed of the Islamic State’s grip, from clashing over which takes over.

2. How to turn this approaching collision round and make it the jumping-off point for their collaboration in the Syrian conflict at large and a concerted drive against the Islamic State, in particular.

3. The three army chiefs will scrutinize plans for a combined trilateral offensive to drive ISIS out of its Syrian capital, Raqqa.

4.  How to translate their three-way collaboration for defeating ISIS in Syria into a combined effort against the same foe in Iraq.

5.  If they are able to hammer out accords in Antalya, the three generals will consider how to apply them to managing the Syrian army, which is now fully under Russian command.

6.  In the event of their failure to reach terms for US-Russian-Turkish cooperation in Syria, the three army chiefs will seek understandings on dividing Syria into sectors. They will determine which sectors are to be ruled by US forces and out of bounds to Russian forces, and which will be placed under exclusive Russian control and barred to American intervention.

DEBKAfile’s military sources describe this unique rendezvous as the most important US-Russian military meeting since Donald Trump took office on Jan. 20.

The three generals are most certainly working with open lines to their presidents – Gen. Dunford to President Trump; Gen. Gerasimov, to Vladimir Putin; and Gen. Akar, to Tayyip Erdogan. If they succeed in pulling off deals for working together, with their presidents’ endorsement, Trump will have achieved his oft-repeated target of teaming up with Moscow for eradicating ISIS.

Putin, too, will have chalked up an historic diplomatic and strategic feat. For the first time since the end of World War II, and after years of cold war, the Russian and American armies will come together to fight a common enemy, namely radical Islamic terror, and create an umbrella for the Russian military operation to branch out into Iraq.

Erdogan will also come out ahead of the game. Turkey and its army will become strategic partners in determining Syria’s future and fighting ISIS. And Barack Obama’s departure from the White House will have marked the start of Turkey’s ascent to regional power status ahead of Iran.

Sen. Grassley Investigates FBI Plan to Pay Former British Spy for Info on Trump

March 7, 2017

Sen. Grassley Investigates FBI Plan to Pay Former British Spy for Info on Trump, BreitbartJohn Hayward, March 6, 2017

(According to the linked February 28th WaPo article,

While Trump has derided the dossier as “fake news” compiled by his political opponents, the FBI’s arrangement with Steele shows that the bureau considered him credible and found his information, while unproved, to be worthy of further investigation.

Ultimately, the FBI did not pay Steele. Communications between the bureau and the former spy were interrupted as Steele’s now-famous dossier became the subject of news stories, congressional inquiries and presidential denials, according to the people familiar with the arrangement, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

“congressional inquiries and presidential denials” ??

. . . .

Comey spent almost two hours this month briefing the Senate Intelligence Committee. Democrats in the House have informally reached out to Steele in recent weeks to ask about his willingness to testify or cooperate, according to people familiar with the requests. Steele has so far not responded, they said.

The entire article is worth reading.– DM)

On Monday, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to FBI Director James Comey asking for details about a reported FBI plan to pay Christopher Steele for information on the Trump campaign.

Steele is the author of the infamous “Trump Dossier,” a collection of poorly-vetted and unsubstantiated rumors about President Trump that wound up being promoted by BuzzFeed.

Since the media is currently in very high dudgeon about unsubstantiated allegations, it will doubtless applaud Grassley for his inquiry.

As Grassley explains to Comey in his letter, the Washington Post reported last week that the FBI “reached an agreement a few weeks before the presidential election” to pay Steele for continuing investigations of President Trump:

The article claimed that the FBI was aware Mr. Steele was creating these memos as part of work for an opposition research firm connected to Hillary Clinton.  The idea that the FBI and associates of the Clinton campaign would pay Mr. Steele to investigate the Republican nominee for President in the run-up to the election raises further questions about the FBI’s independence from politics, as well as the Obama administration’s use of law enforcement and intelligence agencies for political ends.

It is additionally troubling that the FBI reportedly agreed to such an arrangement given that, in January of 2017, then-Director Clapper issued a statement stating that “the IC has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable, and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions.”

According to the Washington Post, the FBI’s arrangement with Mr. Steele fell through when the media published his dossier and revealed his identity.

On second thought, maybe the media won’t applaud Grassley for digging into this after all. They’re currently very eager to promote the idea that the Obama administration was utterly incorruptible and completely above partisan politics. It won’t look good at all if the FBI was preparing to hire the creator of the slipshod, frequently ridiculous Trump Dossier until certain media outlets decided to attack Trump by leaking his work.

Grassley asked Comey to provide all of the FBI’s records concerning this arrangement with Steele, plus any meetings FBI officials may have held with him. He wants these records squared with FBI policy on funding “an investigator associated with a political opposition research firm connected to a political candidate, or with any outside entity.”

“Were any other government officials outside of the FBI involved in discussing or authorizing the agreement with Mr. Steele, including anyone from the Department of Justice or the Obama White House?” Grassley asked.

He also wants to know how the FBI obtained a copy of Steele’s documents, whether it has additional documents that were not published by Buzzfeed, and whether any FBI activity was influenced by the Steele memo.

Halfway down Grassley’s list of questions comes what could be the most devastating of his inquiries, considering President Trump’s accusation that the Obama administration wiretapped his 2016 presidential campaign:

Has the FBI relied on or otherwise referenced the memos or any information in the memos in seeking a FISA warrant, other search warrant, or any other judicial process? Did the FBI rely on or otherwise reference the memos in relation to any National Security Letters? If so, please include copies of all relevant applications and other documents.

National Security Letters” are one of the FBI’s most secretive instruments for obtaining information. They are frequently accompanied by powerful gag orders which forbid the recipient of the letter from discussing it.

Report: Trump putting potential diplomatic deal with Russia on the back burner

March 7, 2017

Report: Trump putting potential diplomatic deal with Russia on the back burner, Hot Air, Allahpundit, March 7, 2017

Needless to say, here’s another motive for why anti-Trumpers inside the federal bureaucracy may be leaking at politically inconvenient times for Trump. Reminding the public that some of his aides are under suspicion because of their contacts with Russia is a clever way to force Trump to postpone any planned diplomatic outreach to Russia at moments when he feels his political capital cresting. Trump might eventually be in a position to swing a deal with Moscow, but so long as Russia hawks within the administration are dribbling out material from the investigation that puts a cloud over the White House, it’ll look suspicious for him to make nice with Putin.

And so, inevitably, Trump is reportedly backing away from any “grand bargain” for now.

President Donald Trump is telling advisers and allies that he may shelve, at least temporarily, his plan to pursue a deal with Moscow on the Islamic State group and other national security matters, according to administration officials and Western diplomats…

Trump’s new skepticism about brokering a deal with Moscow also suggests the rising influence of a new set of advisers who have taken a tougher stance on Russia, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and new national security adviser H.R. McMaster. During his first meeting with National Security Council staff, McMaster described Russia — as well as China — as a country that wants to upend the current world order, according to an administration official who attended the meeting…

European allies also have been pushing the Trump administration not to make any early concessions to Russia. To bolster their case, European officials have tailored their rhetoric to appeal to Trump’s business background, including emphasizing the risks of negotiating a bad deal, rather than more nuanced arguments, according to one Western diplomat. Given Trump’s “America First” mantra, foreign officials emphasize how U.S. standing in the world could be diminished by making concessions to Russia instead of focusing on the importance of the U.S. and Europe sticking together to counter Moscow.

The most interesting detail in the AP story: In talks with his staff, Trump supposedly singled out Russia’s violation of the 1987 INF Treaty as making a deal “tougher and tougher to achieve,” a message that’s been relayed to U.S. allies in Europe too. I wrote about that here. It’s genuinely confounding. If Russia wants a compliant Washington, why would it choose to violate the treaty by deploying intermediate-range missiles aimed at Europe when it surely knows that Trump hates being seen as “weak” and won’t look the other way? Putin seemed to understand how to deal with him late last year when he refused to retaliate against the sanctions imposed on Russia by Obama for trying to interfere in the presidential campaign. That was Moscow signaling to the world that it expected those sanctions to be lifted by the new administration unilaterally. (Which was a damning sign of how conciliatory they expected Trump to be, but whatever.) Putin could have responded in kind but instead chose to preserve the status quo on its end as a goodwill gesture to Trump. And Trump appreciated it.

They didn’t preserve the status quo in deploying their missiles, though, a much more provocative way of challenging Trump than reciprocal sanctions would have been. You can cook up a scenario in which Putin violated the treaty in the expectation that he’d use the missiles as a bargaining chip during negotiations to come with the White House. E.g., maybe he thought Trump might bite on a deal that would trade decommissioning the missiles for the lifting of all U.S. sanctions against Russia, including the 2014 measures imposed to punish them over Ukraine. The problem with that theory, though, is that once the missiles are in the field, as they are now, then Trump has already lost face, and regaining it requires a show of strength. The White House may well end up demanding that the missiles be withdrawn as a precondition of negotiations rather than as something to be haggled over during the process. The smart play, it seems, would have been for Putin to roll out the missiles last fall, to defy Obama, and then withdraw them voluntarily after Trump took office as a goodwill gesture, to invite further negotiations. The better behaved Putin seems during Trump’s early presidency, the more Americans might be willing to let Trump negotiate with him to see what else he can get from Russia. Instead, Russia has engaged in various petty provocations, culminating in the more serious escalation of violating the INF Treaty. Why? If it’s true that they were hoping Trump would win the election, how does it make sense to box him in politically so that he can’t make concessions to Moscow without looking horribly weak and corrupt even if he wanted to?

If you want to go full cloak-and-dagger, you could theorize that the missiles were deployed because Russia wants to give Trump a chance to stand up to them. Putin may have concluded that the Kremlin’s interference in the election worked too well insofar as many Americans now suspect that Russia has influence over the president. That makes negotiations hard, even if preceded by unilateral concessions by Moscow. The only way to really create political space for diplomacy under this theory is to manufacture a minor diplomatic confrontation like the INF violation, have Trump demand that the missiles be withdrawn, and then comply in the hope that it’ll convince Americans Trump is being “tough” on Moscow and driving a hard bargain. Once Trump has earned the trust of his own doubters here at home, he’ll be free to make a sweetheart deal with Putin. That theory’s hard to buy, though: Putin needs to look tough to Russians even more so than Trump needs to look tough to Americans, and toughness typically doesn’t involve backing down in a (manufactured) confrontation. Plus, given the shift in Russian media lately, it seems as though the Kremlin is sincerely warier of Trump lately than it used to be. If they’ve already decided that Trump will be more of an enemy than a friend, it’ll be the quickest reassessment by a foreign power in modern history.

If you want a glimpse of what Europe’s future might look like if Trump doesn’t get Putin to withdraw those missiles, go read this. Exit question: If you subscribe to the theory that Russia was/is all-in for Trump as president, how do you explain the fact that Trump now feels unable, however temporarily, to approach Moscow for a deal? Did the Russian interference succeed so well that it’s made cooperation impossible? On what planet does that constitute “success”?

Glazov Gang Standoff: Saba Ahmed vs. Shireen Qudosi on “Does Islam Need Reform?”

March 7, 2017

Glazov Gang Standoff: Saba Ahmed vs. Shireen Qudosi on “Does Islam Need Reform?” via YouTube, March 4, 2017