Archive for July 17, 2017

Trump Admin to Hit Iran With New Sanctions as Tehran Threatens Attacks on U.S. Bases

July 17, 2017

Trump Admin to Hit Iran With New Sanctions as Tehran Threatens Attacks on U.S. Bases, Washington Free Beacon, July 17, 2017

(Please see also, Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program: On Course, Underground, Uninspected. — DM)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani / Getty Images

The Trump administration is expected to ratchet up pressure on Iran with a slew of new sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic’s illicit ballistic missile program and regional support for terrorism as the landmark Iranian nuclear deal hits its two-year anniversary, according to senior U.S. officials who deemed Iran in violation of the agreement’s “spirit.”

News of the new sanctions comes on the same day that Iranian military leaders threatened attacks on U.S. forces and bases in the Middle East should America move forward with new sanctions, particularly ones targeting the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, or IRGC.

The new sanctions are part of a larger White House effort to counter Iran’s massive military buildup and rogue militant activities across the Middle East, specifically in Syria, where Iranian-backed forces have launched a series of direct attacks on American forces in recent weeks.

U.S. official dubbed Iran “the most dangerous threat to U.S. interests” and promised a series of new efforts both militarily and policy oriented to combat the Islamic Republic’s illicit activities.

The new sanctions are being leveled outside the purview of the nuclear deal, meaning that they are all non-nuclear related and do not violate conditions of the deal barring the United States from engaging in such activity.

The Trump administration is continuing to perform a full-scale review of its Iran policy, including the nuclear deal. The review is set to be completed in about a month’s time, according to the administration.

The White House must make a decision by Tuesday on whether it will recertify that Iran is in compliance with the deal. The administration is likely to again certify Iran as in compliance of the agreement, despite mounting evidence this not the case. Deliberations in the White House had not concluded as of late Monday morning, but officials signaled they were leaning towards certifying Iran as not in technical violation.

U.S. officials were hesitant to deem Iran in direct violation of the deal, but said Tehran “is in default on the spirit of that agreements,” according to senior administration officials who spoke on background.

“Years of concessions … have resulted in the unintended effect of empowering Iran across the region,” one senior administration official said about the package of new sanctions on multiple Iranian individuals and entities tied to the country’s ballistic missile program and proliferation efforts.

“What we’re saying is Iran is in default of the spirit of the JCPOA,” or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the Iran deal’s official title. “We need to ensure more aggressively they are in compliance with the letter of the JCPOA.”

U.S. officials said that Iran has obfuscated key details of its nuclear program, and continues to engage in activities that could be in violation of the agreement.

“Iran has been less than forthcoming, walking up to the edge of violating the JCPOA,” one senior U.S. official said. “That behavior has to stop.”

Officials also criticized key flaws in the deal that allow Iran to engage in critical nuclear work within the next decade.

The United States plans to “ramp up our efforts to verify reports” of Iran’s alleged violations, officials said.

As part of the effort to combat Iran’s activities, the Trump administration is expected to announce an additional package of sanctions that includes 16 Iranian entities and individuals found to be supporting Tehran’s illicit and criminal activities in the region. This includes seven entities and five individuals found to be supporting the Iranian military and criminal organizations.

Sanctions also have been leveled on three networks designated as supporting Iran’s military procurement and another two organizations supporting Iran’s ballistic missile program.

As news of the expected new package of sanctions came, Iranian military leaders issued new threats warning of attacks on U.S. regional bases should the Trump administration move forward with plans to sanction the IRGC and designate it as a terror group.

“Putting the IRGC in one single class with the terrorist groups and imposing similar sanctions against the IRGC poses a major risk to the U.S., its bases and forces deployed in the region,” Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, warned on Monday during remarks before IRGC commanders.

Baqeri also lashed out at sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile program, stating, “the Islamic Republic of Iran’s missile power is defensive and is never negotiable at any level.”

The Acid Attacks of London’s Muslim No-Go Zones

July 17, 2017

The Acid Attacks of London’s Muslim No-Go Zones, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, July 17, 2017

London is experiencing a splash of the acid test of diversity. That burning feeling on your face is the thrilling sensation of corrosive multiculturalism eating away at British communities.

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Things are going smashingly well in Londonistan.

The City of London has the highest murder rate in the land. While the authorities launch investigations into pork being left at a mosque or a hijab supposedly being torn off, crime continues to rise.

Gun control has worked so wonderfully well that gun crime in London rose 42%. When gun control advocates insist that we should be more like the UK, London’s 2,544 gun crime offenses probably aren’t what they have in mind.

But gun control does work in London after a fashion. Those gang members who can’t lay their hand on a firearm must make do with a sharp blade. Knife crimes in London rose 24% to 12,074 recorded offences. 60 people were stabbed to death last year.

Why? Here’s a hint from the Metropolitan Police’s assistant commissioner. “There are complex social reasons why more young people are carrying knives and this cannot be solved by the police alone.”

Those complex social reasons would seem to involve stabbing other people. But like Islamic terrorism, stabbings in London are one of those things that can’t be solved by the police. Unlike people saying mean things about Muslims on Facebook and Twitter which the Met cops are well equipped to solve.

Still the authorities have been doing their best to tackle stabbings with a knife ban. Carry a knife without a “good reason” and you can get four years in prison. Good reasons for carrying knives include using it as a prop in a production of Romeo and Juliet, taking it to a museum or “religious reasons”. The ban, which covers “sword-sticks”, samurai swords and “zombie knives” that are sold to fight zombies, isn’t working.

But it’s working well enough that many of the gangs responsible for the violence are turning to acid.

Acid attacks in London rose from 162 in 2012 to 454 last year. There have already been 199 acid attacks this year. Five acid attacks just happened in London in the space of little more than an hour.

And so the obvious new solution is drain cleaner control.

The push is on to “license” corrosive substances while banning anyone from carrying drain cleaner unless they have a good reason. When the public is banned from buying drain cleaners, then finally everyone in London will be safe. It’s worked for guns and knives. Bound to work for acid. And being stuck with a clogged toilet, like Allah Akbar car rammings, is the price we must all pay for diversity.

It’s easy to blame and ban inanimate objects. And it avoids any discussion of the perpetrators.

Newham is the London borough with the highest number of acid attacks. It also has the second highest percentage of Muslims in the UK. 398 acid attacks occurred in 5 years in the area named as “the most ethnically diverse district in England and Wales”. 33% of Newham consists of non-UK passport holders.

But surely that’s some sort of random coincidence.

Except that the place with the third highest number of acid attacks is Tower Hamlets. Tower Hamlets is a Muslim no-go zone. It has one of the smallest native British populations in the country. 35% of the population is Muslim. Most of those are Bangladeshis with a healthy sprinkling of Somalis.

There were 84 acid attacks in what has been dubbed “The Islamic Republic of Tower Hamlets”.

Also, entirely by coincidence, Bangladesh has the highest rate of acid attacks in the world. But if anyone suggests that these two statistics are related, the Met police will investigate them for hate crimes.

The second highest acid attack location in London was Barking and Dagenham, a growing Muslim enclave which elected its first Muslim mayor whose plans include holding an Islamic festival “for the whole community—regardless of religion”.

Barking is a wonderful place where you have the choice to be Muslim or Muslim. Regardless of religion.

The native British population made up 80% of Barking in 2001. Now it’s fallen to less than half. According to the 2011 census figures, “All religious groups have increased except for Christian and Jewish religions”. This was where Islamists brandished signs reading, “British soldiers go to hell”.

Now why in the world might Barking be a haven for acid attacks?

Fifth on the acid list is Redbridge where the native British population fell by 40,844 in a decade. The last census showed British and Irish natives fleeing Redbridge while Pakistanis and Bangladeshis stormed in. The Christian and Jewish population fell while the Muslim population rose 11%. So did the acid attacks.

Pakistan has one of the highest rate of acid attacks in the world. It lags behind Bangladesh. But fortunately Redbridge boasts a diversity of both Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. And acid attacks.

But surely this is yet another unfathomable coincidence. Like 2 + 2 equaling 4.

Hackney, sixth on the list, was where a Sharia patrol pal of the Muslim beheaders of British soldier Lee Rigby, posted videos boasting “British people will never be safe on the streets of London.”

They certainly aren’t safe in Hackney.

At 14%, Islam is the second largest religious group in Hackney. The indigenous British population has fallen to 36%. That’s down from 44% in 2001. And, according to officials, it’s “reflective of Hackney’s increasing diversity which currently marks it out as the 6th most ethnically diverse borough in London after Newham, Redbridge, etc…”

Sixth in diversity and sixth in acid attacks.

Of the remaining four on the list, three, Croydon, Ealing and Hilingdon, were white minority or bare majority areas. Meanwhile Kensington and Chelsea, which have a decisive majority, have the lowest rate of acid attacks. So naturally the media has tried to blame the attacks on British natives.

But the numbers don’t lie.

London is experiencing a splash of the acid test of diversity. That burning feeling on your face is the thrilling sensation of corrosive multiculturalism eating away at British communities.

Banning guns, knives, drain cleaner, plungers and ostrich feathers won’t address the problem. The fallacy of gun control, knife control and acid control is that inanimate objects don’t kill people.

Guns don’t shoot themselves. Knives don’t unsheathe in broad daylight and stab pedestrians. Bottles of acid don’t knock on cars and then splash the occupants when they roll down the window.

Immigration imported acid attacks to the UK the way that it imported gangs of Muslim men stabbing waitresses in eateries while shouting, “This is for Allah”.

Allah and acid are both imports from the Muslim world.

Murders in London, like murders in most major American cities, are driven by gang violence. Behind the shootings, stabbings and acid attacks are gangs. Many of those gangs are made up of first and second generation migrants and settlers from the Muslim world. The UK’s prisons bulge with Muslim convicts. And these criminal gangs naturally feed recruits into Islamic terrorism as they do in Iraq and Syria.

Banning drain cleaner won’t stop acid attacks. Drain cleaner control is no solution. Migration control is.

Immigration from violent societies prone to terrorism is the acid that is eating away at Europe. Migration advocates have splashed acid on Britain, on America, on Australia and on Canada. The bombings and stabbings, the child rapes and acid attacks, are the burning sensation of the attack.

But the corrosive acid does its work in less sensational ways. When Britons no longer feel at home in their own communities, when mosques replace churches and synagogues, when Sharia patrols march through the streets, when English is drowned out by Urdu and Arabic in the streets, that is also the acid of immigration eating away at the flesh and bone of a nation.

Acid attacks don’t immediately kill. They maim and disfigure. Newham, Barking, Tower Hamlets and so much of London have been left maimed and disfigured so that longtime residents no longer know them.

Britannia has had acid splashed in her lovely face. Her clear features have been scarred and mutilated. Now, from London to Manchester, from Birmingham to Bradford, she suffers and burns.

U.S. Group Connected to Terrorists in Kashmir

July 17, 2017

U.S. Group Connected to Terrorists in Kashmir, Clarion ProjectRyan Mauro, July 17, 2017

(Please see also, Exclusive: Jihadi Cult Associate Arrested in NY With Firearms Stockpile. — DM)

The State Department recently blacklisted Mohammad Yusuf Shah (known as Syed Salahuddin), (2nd from right), leader of the Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist group (Photo: SAJJAD QAYYUM/AFP/Getty Images)

Neither Hizbul Mujahideen nor Jamaat ul-Fuqra (the original informal name of MOA) are on the State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

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The U.S. sanctioned the leader of an Islamist terrorist group in Kashmir named Hizbul Mujahideen late last month. The move targets an ideological ally of the U.S.-based Muslims of America organization (MOA), a cultish group known for its “Islamic villages” like Islamberg that is expressing support for the Kashmir terrorist group.

On June 26, the State Department blacklisted Mohammad Yusuf Shah (commonly known as Syed Salahuddin), the leader of the Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist group that fights in Kashmir against India and operates in Pakistan with backing from the Pakistani government.

Pakistan condemned the U.S. action.

Hizbul Mujahideen is the largest militant force in Kashmir. It condemns nationalism and democracy. It fights to create a theocratic Islamic state and caliphate. It is also closely linked to other Pakistani terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda affiliates.

MOA’s extremist leader, Sheikh Gilani, is based in Lahore, Pakistan and has long been involved in this circle of Pakistani terrorist groups. A 2003 FBI report says MOA acts as a conduit to groups in Pakistan affiliated with Al-Qaeda. This is substantiated by a former MOA member who went to Pakistan.

That is why it is so concerning that Muslims of America, a group that has boasted of having 22 “Islamic villages” in the U.S., is expressing solidarity with Hizbul Mujahideen.

MOA’s relationship with the group goes as far back as 1990.

Click here for FuqraFiles.com, the authoritative database on Muslims of America (also known as Jamaat ul-Fuqra)

On May 2, MOA announced a “multi-dimensional campaign” to “liberate” Kashmir from India. Its written statement was essentially a declaration to Muslims that Allah requires them to rally behind Hizbul Mujahideen.

It exalts the “charismatic leadership” of Burhan Wani, a top Hizbul Mujahideen commander killed last year. It credits him with inspiring “a new generation of fearless youth” and “freedom fighters.” MOA depicts the terrorist group as the face of the Kashmiri resistance to India.

In August 2016, MOA’s newspaper condemned India for killing a “top pro-independence militant leader.” Based on the wording, you’d think MOA was talking about a Kashmiri George Washington. Actually, it was Hizbul Mujahideen’s operations commander. MOA’s coverage presented the group as enjoying massive popular support.

In March 2017, MOA’s newspaper covered a battle between Indian forces and Hizbul Mujahideen and sided with the jihadists. It referred to them as “Kashmiri freedom fighters” contesting the “oppressive and violent treatment of the Kashmiri people by Indian forces.”

There’s good reason to suspect that MOA is providing Hizbul Mujahideen with more than sympathy.

MOA has a long relationship with the terrorist group. In 1990, MOA even wrote a public letter calling on all Muslims to contribute to jihad in Kashmir and to support the “Kashmir Freedom Front,” which was essentially another name for Hizbul Mujahideen.

Jihadis in Kashmir (Photo: SAJJAD QAYYUM/AFP/Getty Images)

 

On July 6, 2016, MOA published a public letter to the U.N. that said Muslims in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir are required to defend the Kashmiris against India “by every possible means.” Gilani and MOA have had a long presence in Kashmir, including a village named “Gillaniville.” Therefore, the letter is declaring that MOA is obligated to become involved “by every possible means.”

The letter also called on Muslim countries to unite into a single organization with a single force for intervention in places where Muslims are oppressed. In other words, to form a caliphate. MOA’s ideologyhas always been in favor of a caliphate, theocratic sharia law and violent jihad in places like Kashmir.

MOA’s May 2 press conference emphasized activism and humanitarian aid, but it did not reject violence or supporting violent elements.

In fact, MOA endorsed jihad by calling on Pakistan to intervene against the Indian military, an obviously violent action. Additionally, MOA’s claim that India is engaged in “genocide” would make jihad defensible, if not mandatory, to any Muslim audience.

The online statement announces its support for Kashmiris’ “struggle for self-determination.” Struggle is the synonym for jihad. That same statement heaps praise upon Hizbul Mujahideen for its jihad against India. MOA obviously chose to avoid using the eye-catching word in favor of the vaguer synonym, knowing that a Muslim audience would understand that it is referring to jihad.

MOA chief executive Hussein Adams, son of convicted terrorist Barry Adams, boasted at the May 2 press conference that MOA has been involved in supporting the Kashmiri “struggle” since the 1980s. Of course, he didn’t mention their involvement in jihad and soliciting of support for Hizbul Mujahideen.

Their own documents acknowledge this violent role in the Kashmir jihad. It is also seen in a secret video by Sheikh Gilani filmed and distributed among some MOA members in 1991-1993. Gilani explicitly says that MOA communes in North America can facilitate such training for jihad in places where Muslims are in battle, with Kashmir being the top priority. Training was open to Muslims outside of MOA.

Sheikh Gilani’s tape, which I was the first to publicly release long excerpts of, showed that MOA’s public face is different than what it says and does in private. This is undeniable proof that MOA was engaged in terrorism and that Gilani used his American camps to train and recruit terrorists for Kashmir and other places,” Martin Mawyer, president of the Christian Action Network told Clarion Project.

The Clarion Project later obtained and released a video of women at Islamberg receiving guerilla training that was filmed in 2001-2002.

MOA spoke of its providing of money, food, supplies and medical to Kashmiris using two fronts: The Kashmir American Friendship Society and the American Muslim Medical Relief Team. We know from government reports and prosecutions that MOA sends money, personnel and material to Gilani in Pakistan for more extremist purposes.

MOA complained that its applications for its “journalists” with its newspapers to go to Pakistan and Kashmir are not being approved. Obviously, the Pakistani government and/or the U.S. government don’t see their trips to Pakistan so innocuously.

This issue exposes a gap in America’s national security policy: Neither Hizbul Mujahideen nor Jamaat ul-Fuqra (the original informal name of MOA) are on the State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

A dozen Muslim organizations in North America have asked the State Department to review Fuqra/MOA for designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, as it fits the listed criteria. The case for designating Hizbul Mujahideen is much stronger, as the State Department has just acknowledged that it fits the criteria for its leader to be blacklisted as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.

The State Department acknowledges that Hizbul Mujahideen fits the definition of a Foreign Terrorist Organization and it should now designate it as such. Doing so could sever whatever material relationship exists between Hizbul Mujahideen and Islamists in America like MOA and enable investigations and prosecutions of jihadists in America involved with the Pakistan-backed terrorist group.

Abbas: Shut Up or I will Arrest You!

July 17, 2017

Abbas: Shut Up or I will Arrest You!, Front Page Magazine, Khaled Abu Toameh, July 17, 2017

Critics say the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Cyber Crime Law, which permits the imprisonment of Palestinians for “liking” or sharing published material on the internet, paves the way for the emergence of a “police state” in PA-controlled territories in the West Bank. They also argue that the law aims to silence criticism of Abbas and the PA leadership.

“What is laughable is that this law carries penalties that are tougher than those imposed on thieves and sex offenders… the law, in its present form, is designed to limit the freedom of the media and punish people for simple matters.” — Journalist in Ramallah.

This latest dictatorial move in the PA-controlled territories might also serve to remind the international community about the current readiness of the Palestinian leadership for statehood, and what such statehood would look like. In its current incarnation, that state would fit in just fine with its brutal Arab neighbors.

A new Palestinian law combating information technology (IT) crimes has sparked a wave of protests from Palestinian journalists and human rights organizations.

The controversial Cyber Crime Law, signed by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas on July 11, permits the imprisonment of Palestinians for “liking” or sharing published material on the internet.

Critics say the law paves the way for the emergence of a “police state” in PA-controlled territories in the West Bank. They also argue that the law aims to silence criticism of Abbas and the PA leadership.

The new law comes on the heels of the PA’s recent decision to block more than 20 Palestinian websites accused of publishing comments and articles critical of the PA leadership.

The law was approved by Abbas himself, without review by the Palestinian parliament, known as the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The PLC has been paralyzed for the past decade, as a result of the power struggle between Abbas’s PA and Hamas — the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip.

In the absence of parliamentary life, Abbas and his senior officials and advisors have felt free to pass their own laws to serve their interests and promote their personal and political agendas.

In the view of Palestinian journalists and human rights advocates, the new Cyber Crime Law will further restrict freedom of expression, especially on social media, which will now be closely monitored by the PA security forces. They say that the law makes a mockery of the PA leadership’s motto that the “sky is the limit when it comes to freedom of expression.”

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The absence of a free and independent media in the PA-controlled territories has prompted many Palestinian journalists, bloggers and political activists to resort to Facebook and Twitter. There, they express their opinions, air their grievances, and discuss taboo issues — such as financial and administrative corruption among the top brass of the Palestinian Authority leadership.

The new law legalizes what has long been happening in the PA-controlled territories, however. PA security forces have long targeted Palestinians who post critical and controversial comments on social media.

Hardly a week passes without two or three Palestinians arrested or summoned for interrogation by the PA security forces regarding a Facebook or Twitter posting or comment. Many Palestinians have been taken into custody for “liking” or sharing a post, article or photo that was deemed offensive to Abbas or a senior PA official.

Yet, the Cyber Crime Law is indeed a watershed in repression: prior to it, no law existed that prohibited Palestinians from expressing their views on social media platforms.

Now, anyone who commits the offense of establishing a website with the intent of disseminating news that could “undermine the safety of the state or its internal or external security” is liable to a prison sentence and fine. The law also aims to punish anyone who promotes such news by “liking” or sharing it.

Palestinian journalists identify themselves as the real targets of the Cyber Crime Law. One journalist in Ramallah remarked:

“What is laughable is that this law carries penalties that are tougher than those imposed on thieves and sex offenders. This is a law with a purely political goal, although it has some positive aspects such as preventing extortion, fraud and impersonation on social media. But the law, in its present form, is designed to limit the freedom of the media and punish people for simple matters.”

Jihad Barakat, a Palestinian journalist who was recently arrested by the Palestinian Authority security forces for filming the motorcade of PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah while it was passing through an Israeli military checkpoint, expressed outrage over the new law. He too said that the law was aimed at curbing freedom of expression and intimidating critics of the PA.

“This is a dangerous law,” Barakat complained. “The law should conform with public freedoms and not be used to curb them.” Barakat later was charged with “begging and loitering in a public place in suspicious circumstances.” He was arrested because his filming of the PA prime minister at the checkpoint was considered embarrassing and offensive.

Palestinian journalists and human rights activists point out that the law contains ambiguous references, such as the “undermining or endangering of the safety of the state.”

Journalist Shatha Hammad said that she and her colleagues were not sure what this phrase actually means.

“As journalists, we are confused,” she said. “We don’t know what type of news or postings which are considered — according to this law — a threat to the security of the state.” She also pointed out that the new law comes amid a continued crackdown by the PA on Palestinian journalists and activists over their Facebook postings.

Alarmed by the new law, several Palestinian journalists and writers said it paves the way for the emergence of a repressive regime whose goal is to suppress public freedoms and violate the privacy of people.

“This law is aimed at providing the Palestinian Authority with a legal cover to suppress the voices of its opponents,” explained Palestinian writer Ahmed Al-Najjar.

“In this way, the PA can arrest any journalist or ordinary citizen for publishing an article or posting something on social media that is deemed harmful to the security of the state. This is a bleak scenario that makes it clear that we are facing a repressive police system. This dangerous law drives the final nail in the coffin of public freedoms.”

The Ramallah-based Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq joined the chorus of critics of the new law restricting freedom of expression. “The law was issued by President Abbas without being presented to the public,” the organization said. “It was issued in a very secretive manner.”

Al-Haq also noted that the PA leadership turned down requests and appeals by Palestinian groups and individuals to receive copies of the new law before it was passed. The organization went on to denounce the law as a “Sword of Damocles” over the head of Palestinian journalists.

The Cyber Crime Law showcases the fact that the Palestinian Authority regime is being run as a one-man show.

This latest dictatorial move in the PA-controlled territories might also serve to remind the international community about the current readiness of the Palestinian leadership for statehood, and what such statehood would look like. In its current incarnation, that state would fit in just fine with its brutal Arab neighbors.

Humor | After Declaring Victory Over ISIS, Iraq Returns To Being An Idyllic Paradise

July 17, 2017

After Declaring Victory Over ISIS, Iraq Returns To Being An Idyllic Paradise, Duffel Blog, July 17, 2017

BAGHDAD — After retaking Mosul and declaring victory over the Islamic State, Iraq returned to it’s previous state of utopia, sources confirmed today.

“Iraq is now liberated from the scourge of ISIS,” Iraqi Prime Minster Haider al-Abadi said. “Now we can focus on the positive aspects of Iraq, like the low taxes on highway repair, waste disposal, and women’s education.”

“We also have the world’s best police force,” al-Abadi said. “Look at how many criminals they’ve packed into our prisons. They are honest as well. Over the last decade there have been zero convictions of police corruption. In fact, you can’t find a single witness!”

Recently added to the list of “Developing Nations” by the International Association of Realtors, Iraq has the world’s lowest homeless population and is the easiest place to adopt stray dogs.

Although parts of the Iraqi economy are stagnant, there are some great jobs for Iraqis. Politician remains the most lucrative option, followed by bodyguard and bomb-maker.

“Tourists will love to see all the beautiful places in Iraq,” al-Abadi said. “Come visit Babylon and the Ziggurat of Ur. Tourists will get a chance to see a blend of many cultures.”

“If they visit certain areas it will be just like going to Yemen!” al-Abadi added after running off the podium, chased by a camel spider.

At press time, Iraqi politicians were declaring a trash bag floating in the wind the country’s national bird.

 

Turkey: Erdogan’s Obsession to Take Jerusalem

July 17, 2017

by Burak Bekdil
July 17, 2017 at 4:00 am

Source: Turkey: Erdogan’s Obsession to Take Jerusalem

  • Simply put, Jerusalem’s Judaic history dates back to thousands of years before the birth of Islam, only in the seventh century CE.
  • As an American friend delicately asked: “Isn’t Turkey supposed to be investing millions to help rebuild Gaza?”
  • Not, it seems, when Islamist ideology is involved.

Less than a year ago, Turkey and Israel agreed to end their six-year-long diplomatic stand-off and officially “normalized” their relations. They appointed ambassadors Kemal Okem to Israel and Eitan Na’eh to Turkey, two prominent career diplomats, who, since then, have been struggling actually to normalize formally normalized ties. As some observers, including your humble correspondent, cautioned in 2016:

“Erdogan had pragmatically agreed to shake hands with Israel, but his ideological hostility to the Jewish state and his ideological love affair with Hamas have not disappeared; so the Turkish-Israeli ‘peace’ would not be easy to sustain”.

Only half a year into the “normalized charter” Erdogan in May pledged that his government would work with the Palestinian people to guard against the “Judiazation of Jerusalem.” This may be vintage Erdogan. The Turkish president’s promise was not too different from a call for a struggle to guard against the “Catholicization of the Vatican.”

It is elementary history that Jerusalem’s pre-Islamic period of 3300-1000 BCE appeared in the book of Genesis — the time of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob — when Erdogan’s ancestors were probably hunters in the steppes of Central Asia. The years 1000-732 BCE marked the period of the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Simply put, Jerusalem’s Judaic history dates back to thousands of years before the birth of Islam.

Nevertheless, according to Erdogan, there is a necessity “to protect-against the Judaization of Jerusalem.” Erdogan, in his May speech, also repeated an earlier call for Muslims from around the world to “visit al-Aqsa” mosque, located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. “As a Muslim community, we need to visit al-Aqsa Mosque often,” he said. “Each day that Jerusalem is under occupation is an insult to us.”

Jerusalem, with the Temple Mount in foreground. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images))

In 2016, a total of 26,000 Turks visited al-Aqsa Mosque (out of a population of 80 million). Erdogan also said he wants “hundreds of thousands of Muslims” at the Muslim holy site in his campaign to “flood Jerusalem [with Muslims] and drive out the occupiers”.

During the reconciliation with Israel, Ankara pledged to end its support for Hamas; Turkey even expelled Saleh al-Arouri, the most senior Hamas official then residing in the country. But ultimately, there were reports that Erdogan was not really willing to live up to his end of the bargain. The journalist Yoav Zitun wrote in Ynet News:

Hamas’ presence in Turkey continues despite the departure of Saleh al-Arouri, who headed Hamas in Turkey before leaving the country following Israeli demands during the reconciliation negotiations.

His successors are recruiting Palestinian students to study in Muslim countries in general and Turkey in particular. The students are then sent for military training in Lebanon or Syria, and from there, return to the West Bank to carry out attacks against Israel.

Zitun details some intriguing cases:

For example, two months ago, the IDF and Shin Bet detained, a Palestinian who had been living in Turkish Cyprus for several years. In August 2015, Qazmar was recruited in Jordan by Hamas, given military training and explosives expertise. During a meeting with Hamas operatives in Istanbul last January, he was instructed to recruit terrorists in the West Bank using encrypted memory cards.

Another highly publicized case concerns Muhammad Murtaja, who has head of a humanitarian aid organization of the Turkish government in Gaza. According to the Shin Bet following his arrest, Murtaja was accused of transferring millions of dollars to Hamas operatives that was donated by Ankara.

Turkish money flowing into the hands of men who are committed to the annihilation of Israel is part of ideology, not humanitarian aid.

Trying to brand itself as the international savior of the Islamist cause, Turkey has, since 2004, invested millions of dollars into 63 different projects designed to “defend and strengthen the Muslim heritage and character of Jerusalem.” The money is often channeled through a government agency, the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA).

In these efforts to “defend and strengthen Jerusalem’s Muslim heritage and character” Turkey also partnered with Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, and with Sheikh Akram Sabri, a former mufti of Jerusalem. Both men oppose to Israel’s right to exist.

As an American friend delicately asked: “Isn’t Turkey supposed to be investing millions to help rebuild Gaza?”

Not, it seems, when Islamist ideology is involved.

Burak Bekdil, one of Turkey’s leading journalists, was just fired from Turkey’s leading newspaper after 29 years, for writing what was taking place in Turkey for Gatestone. He is a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

 

Russian FM: Israel’s interests in Syria will be ensured

July 17, 2017

After Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he opposes the Washington-Moscow deal regarding Syria, Russia’s foreign minister said that Israel’s considerations will be taken into account during the discussions. He said that Russia is “doing everything possible regarding the matter.”

Jul 17, 2017, 3:10PM Becca Noy

Source: Russian FM: Israel’s interests in Syria will be ensured | JerusalemOnline

Syria (archive) Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated on Monday that Moscow and Washington “will ensure that Israel’s interests are included” in the talks about establishing safe zones in Syria. During a press conference in Moscow, Lavrov said that his country is “doing everything possible regarding the matter.” Lavrov’s statements come just a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the current agreement reached by Russia and the U.S. regarding Syria.

The Russian RIA news agency reported that Lavrov harshly condemned the investigations being conducted in the U.S. regarding the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. He said that anti-Russian views in America are preventing the country from reaching important agreements regarding global issues.

A significant part of the meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and Netanyahu yesterday in Paris was dedicated to the Iranian intervention in Syria. Netanyahu clarified that he is against the recent Washington-Moscow deal, which is supposed to distance Iran 20 kilometers from the Israeli border, because it preserves the Iranian presence in Syria. “Israel is aware of Iran’s intentions to expand in Syria,” Israeli government officials stated.

Netanyahu also talked with Macron about Hezbollah’s growing weapons arsenal and Hamas’ attempts to establish a stronghold in southern Lebanon. The French president said that he shares Israel’s concerns about the terrorist organizations.