Archive for October 5, 2017

Britain Moves To Criminalize Reading Extremist Material On The Internet

October 5, 2017

Britain Moves To Criminalize Reading Extremist Material On The Internet, Jonathan Turley’s Blog, Jonathan Turley, October 5, 2017

(What do “extremist” and “far right” mean in this context? For example, is anything deemed “Islamophobic” or critical of government policies “extremist” or “far right”? — DM)

 

Rudd told a Conservative Party conference that she wants to crack down on people “who view despicable terrorist content online, including jihadi websites, far-right propaganda and bomb-making instructions.”   So sites deemed “far-right propaganda” (but not far-left propaganda) could lead to your arrest — leaving the government with a sweeping and ambiguous mandate.

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For years, civil libertarians have warned that Great Britain has been in a free fall from the criminalization of speech to the expansion of the surveillance state.  Now the government is pursuing a law that would make the repeated viewing of extremist Internet sites a crime punishable to up to 15 years in prison.  It appears that the government is not satiated by their ever-expanding criminalization of speech. They now want to criminalize even viewing sites on the Internet.  As always, officials are basically telling the public to “trust us, we’re the government.”  UK home secretary Amber Rudd is pushing the criminalization of reading as part of her anti-radicalization campaign . . . which turns out to be an anti-civil liberties campaign.

We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here).  Even the Home Secretary has been accused of hate speech for criticizing immigrant workers.

Prime Minister Theresa May has previously called for greater government control of the Internet.  Now, the government not only would make reading material on the Internet a crime, but would not necessarily tell you what sites will be deemed the ultimate click bait.  Rudd told a Conservative Party conference that she wants to crackdown on people “who view despicable terrorist content online, including jihadi websites, far-right propaganda and bomb-making instructions.”   So sites deemed “far-right propaganda” (but not far-left propaganda) could lead to your arrest — leaving the government with a sweeping and ambiguous mandate.

The law would move from criminalizing the downloading of information to simply reading it.  The move confirms the long criticism of civil libertarians that the earlier criminalization would just be the start of an ever-expanding government regulation of sites and speech.  Rudd admits that she wants to arrest those who just read material but do not actually download the material.

In the past, the government assumed near total discretion in determining who had a “reasonable excuse” for downloading information.

Britain has long relied on the presumed benevolence of the government in giving its sweeping authority in the surveillance and regulation of speech, including the media.  This move however is a quantum shift in government controls over speech and information.  Indeed, this comes the closest to criminalization not just speech but thought. It is a dangerous concept and should be viewed as disqualifying for anyone who want to hold (or retain) high office.

What is particularly striking is that this new law seeks to create a new normal in a society already desensitized to government controls and speech crimes.  There is no pretense left in this campaign —  just a smiling face rallying people to the cause of thought contro.

Sound familiar?

“We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”

George Orwell, 1984

Senate Intelligence Committee expands Russia investigation

October 5, 2017

Senate Intelligence Committee expands Russia investigation, Fox News via YouTube, October 4, 2017

The blurb beneath the video states,

Judicial Watch director of investigations Chris Farrell discusses the news that the Senate Intelligence Committee will be expanding its investigation into whether Russia colluded to influence the 2016 election.

Saudi women are driving good news

October 5, 2017

Saudi women are driving good news, Al ArabiyaDr. Khaled M. Batarfi, October 5, 2017

It was a homegrown movement, supported by both male and female, of different ages and backgrounds, from all parts of the country, including conservative areas. The Saudi people have spoken, and a majority gave their vote to the new law — religious scholars and tribal leaders included.

The next step, we are now calling and waiting for, is the “Protection of the National Unity” law against racial, gender and religious discrimination. Hashtags advocating the law became top trends in Twitter. It is a march we started years ago. It went through the Shoura Council, and is still there.

Like any monumental change, it was resisted. Society was not ready then, but now, we believe it is. In such favorable environment our hopes are sky high. Soon enough, I expect the law to be approved with a royal decree.

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It is not easy to get used to good news! Not in this era or world! But last week, many of our overdue dreams were realized — all at once. We expect more of the same. If so, we may finally find enough reason to change our attitude from gray to bright!

For decades, some questions have been haunting me everywhere I went — in summer British schools, US colleges, international conferences and seminars, as well as, the Western media. Questions about women rights were among the most persistent — and hardest to answer.

First, you need to explain how the religion of Islam has nothing to do with the shortcomings of some Muslims. Then, you go some distance to explain why wouldn’t a system in a Muslim country adhere to Islamic Shariah. And once you clarify the influence of social customs and traditions, you may have already lost your audience!

During a recent conference, my American colleague was patient enough to go with me through all the above phases, before she asked: how could we help? I told her any help from your direction would complicate things. Saudi women are already doing their best to change society from within. They managed to reach many levels, including ministerial, and positions that were reserved for men in the past, such as security.

Today, they vote and run for offices in municipality and chamber of commerce elections. Some become chairwomen of banks and mega companies. A third of our Shoura Council members are women — more than in the US Congress and most European parliaments.

Ability to work

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has just lifted restrictions on their ability to study and work without the approval of their guardians. Girls are more than half the student population with better grades.

They had the same opportunity as males in scholarship abroad, again with higher scores. Once they graduate, they enroll as doctors, nurses, engineers, bankers, scientists and university professors, side by side with their male colleagues.

Those are more important accomplishments, in my opinion, than driving a car. Still, women right activists around the world seem to be concerned most with just this one issue, and surprisingly unaware of the giant steps taken in other areas.

Just wait a bit longer, I advised, keep to the sideline, and let our women continue their march. Soon enough more achievements will be realized, including car driving, I promised my American colleague.

We had this conversation just last month. Last week not only the ban on women driving was lifted, but we are about to have a “sexual harassment” law.

The better half

Importantly, the new driving law would treat male and female equally, including the starting age of 18 and the no-need for parental approval. Those are giant steps for our better half! They deserve them and more.

Now, I feel the urge to call my American colleague and all others whom I promised the change to tell them: Didn’t I tell so? Yes, we did it! But on our own! No one could dare to tell us we changed under foreign pressure.

It was a homegrown movement, supported by both male and female, of different ages and backgrounds, from all parts of the county, including conservative areas. The Saudi people have spoken, and a majority gave their vote to the new law — religious scholars and tribal leaders included.

The next step, we are now calling and waiting for, is the “Protection of the National Unity” law against racial, gender and religious discrimination. Hashtags advocating the law became top trends in Twitter. It is a march we started years ago. It went through the Shoura Council, and is still there.

Like any monumental change, it was resisted. Society was not ready then, but now, we believe it is. In such favorable environment our hopes are sky high. Soon enough, I expect the law to be approved with a royal degree.

Good news does come sometimes unexpectedly. I hope they continue and we get used to them. Ameen!

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on October 5, 2017.

No future for Africans in Europe

October 5, 2017

An exclusive interview with Anna Bono for Gefira Guest author: Daniel Moscardi

Source: No future for Africans in Europe | GEFIRA

GEFIRA asked in an exclusive interview the opinion of an expert on Africa about the current situation in Italy, about the “asylum seekers” coming mostly from sub-Saharan countries. Professor Anna Bono recently made headlines in Italy with a book that completely debunks the ongoing narrative of “poor Africans” running away from starvation and knocking on wealthy Europe’s doors through Sicily or other ports of southern Italy.

Prof. Anna Bono has been a researcher in African history and institutions at the University of Turin until 2015 after living many years in Africa. She has collaborated as an expert on Africa with a number of Universities and Institutions, including the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and written over 1600 articles, essays and books on topics such as international relations and cooperation with Africa, as well as demographics and migrations.

GEFIRA: Can we identify one of the more specific events as the beginning of the ongoing biblical numbers arriving in Italy?
ANNA BONO: It all started with the removal of Qaddafi. Qaddafi, bound by the 2008 treaty of cooperation with Italy, implemented an effective control of Libyan coasts, thus preventing the departure of migrants from other African countries. The numbers of arrivals of Africans to Italy prior to Qaddafi’s overthrow were manageable; moreover, they were not organized as they are today. It is important to remind Europeans that Libya prior to 2011 was a relatively wealthy and stable country, hosting approximately 1 million foreign workers mostly from sub-Saharan Africa. When the civil war broke out, some of these foreign workers went home, but the majority started to look for ways of crossing over to Italy.

G: Could we define the current demographic growth of Africa as “unsustainable”?
AB: Not necessarily. Africa, remains, after all, the least populated of all continents. The bottom line is all about Africa’s resources. The way these huge natural resources continue to be mismanaged – to say the least – is at the core of every possible discussion about the continent. The economic policies of most African governments fall short of any real accomplishment, with the result that only a fraction of the population receives any benefit, with corruption, deeply ingrained in most African countries, remaining as the chief obstacle to a serious and harmonized growth. Thanks to institutionalized corruption, Africans are literally squandering away their resources. One example: Africa exports oil in huge quantities, but then lacks refineries, and therefore imports refined fuel.

G: Most corrupted countries?
AB: Nigeria certainly stands out. Nigeria is a classic example of corruption as a way of life. Being Africa’s number one country for oil exports and the second African economy (after South Africa), it has huge amounts of wealth that is up for grabs.

G: Can you describe the average African “migrant” arriving in Libya from sub-Saharan countries? We all know all-too well the ongoing narrative: if they go through so much effort and dangers to get to Italy, they must be desperate, running away from war and starvation. But sheer data show us quite a different story.
AB: There is no war in these countries. There is no war in almost any of these countries, such as Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leon, Mali, etc. Yet, these are the countries with the highest numbers of arrivals. The real refugees, the ones running away from wars, are not coming to Italy and the numbers are out there to prove it. The other complete fake narrative is that these young males, aged 18 to 35, are, by African standards, anything but poor.

G: How can you say that?
AB: How can you define an African “poor” when he has paid between 5.000 to 8.000 USD or EUR to make it to Italy? What these young males are doing in reality is an investment, usually with money from their families, to start a better life in Western Europe. The whole story is just as simple as that.

The problem is that they chose the wrong country, although the easiest to get to. Italy has a serious youth unemployment problem that is not going away anytime soon. Official numbers estimate that well over 100.000 Italians in the 18-35 age group leave Italy every year because they simply can’t find a decent job, and then you have well over that number of young African males coming to Italy every year to find what kind of employment?

G: Which leads to another, all-too obvious question. What will all these Africans do, from now on?
AB: Considering that the whole process of being granted – or denied – the status of “refugee” in Italy takes years, they will be an onerous burden on Italy, costing Italian taxpayers billions of euros.

G: Why does this process take years? Is Italian bureaucracy this slow?
AB: When you are granting to any self claiming “asylum seeker” 3 (three) different levels of justice like to any ordinary Italian citizen, (1st degree court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court), is it that difficult to realize that he will spend in Italy, pending these different appeals, a number of years at taxpayers’ expenses?

In the meantime these people have to be fed, clothed, sheltered, and given free medical and legal assistance for years to come. This translates into billions of euros that the Italian welfare system has to spend, taking these resources away from the welfare of Italian citizens and legal residents.

G: What is the percentage of those who eventually get refugee status?
AB: The magnitude is one percentage digit. The numbers just tell us that the overwhelming majority do not qualify for any refugee status. In 2015 out of 153.000 arrivals only 3.555 were granted the status. In 2016 out of 181.000 arrivals fewer than 5.000 were recognized as refugees. Numbers are out to tell us there is a complete fake narrative being served on us.

G: And the others? Those who don’t qualify for the refugee status?
AB: They will be served a foglio di via, an official warning that orders the alien, who is at that point illegal, to leave Italy within a certain number of days. To go where? That is quite ineffective, and it does not make any sense, to say the least. It’s like saying to these people: we have come to the conclusion – after years of keeping you here at our own expense – that you should have not been here in the first place, so could you please now go home? Where will these people go? Is it so hard to imagine that they will remain in Italy regardless of this ridiculous warning and they will find ways – legal, or most likely, illegal – to continue living here or to move around Europe trying to survive somehow?

G: But some Italians seem to like or at least tolerate all this scam (because at this point plain evidence shows all this to be nothing but a huge scam). And, as in every scam, there is someone out there reaping a profit.
AB: Of course, the numbers of those involved of what we can now call a well-established industry are not so small. It’s a growing industry which now commands huge numbers, in the billions of euros. And not just in Italy, where the government (read: Italian taxpayers) this year (2017) will spend well over 4.5 billion euros for this industry. I will just give one example outside Italy: Agadez, Niger. This town is practically living off the migrants’ main route to Libya. All these sub-Saharan Africans need all sorts of services en route to Europe, and they are providing this town with a livelihood that otherwise would not come from other sources.

G: Do you see any light at the end of this tunnel? Any hope that a future government of Italy will turn the tide? We all know too well that forced deportation of masses like these would be next to impossible in terms of financial efforts, not to mention that Italy has already a huge debt that shows no signs of improving.
AB: The only way to reduce the arrivals of these masses is for European governments to intervene effectively in Africa, with extensive information that explains in simple terms to young Africans that Europe is not the land of unlimited wealth for all. Until this myth persists in the minds of young Africans, there is simply no hope of preventing them from arriving here only to find themselves without a job, without their families, without knowing anything about our way of life. In short, without a future.

A telephone interview with Anna Bono, September 2017, by Daniel Moscardi for gefira.org.

Time for Trump to Decertify the Iran Deal

October 5, 2017

Time for Trump to Decertify the Iran Deal, PJ MediaRoger L Simon, October 4, 2017

(President Trump has two options: (1) he can certify that Iran is not developing nukes and is also in compliance with the JCPOA in all other respects or (2) he can decline to do so. In view of the acknowledged inability of the IAEA to conduct meaningful inspections of military and other non-designated sites, President Trump has no way to determine that Iran is not developing nukes. In the absence of even minimal evidence that Iran is not developing nukes, it seems very unlikely that he will certify compliance.

President Trump does not need to go so far as to certify that Iran is not in compliance, as he should perhaps explain to Tillerson, Mattis et al. Any belief held by Tillerson, Mattis et al that, regardless of the lack of evidence of Iranian compliance, the Iran scam is a “good deal” for America is irrelevant. — DM)

Mideast Iran Nuclear Deal

Last week IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] chief Amano revealed the IAEA has been unable to verify Iran is fully implementing the nuclear deal, specifically Section T which prohibits certain activities related to “the design and development of a nuclear explosive device,” because Iran has barred inspectors from military sites where those activities would be occurring . . . .

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For all the talk of “morons” Wednesday — did Rex Tillerson call Donald Trump a moron and what does that mean, if anything — the real issue for those not transfixed by media gotcha games is the certification, or not, of something truly moronic:  the Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA).

In normal times, devoid of mass murderers and endless natural disasters, the looming October 15 certification decision on this deal would be front and center in the national consciousness.  It still should be because, ultimately, it is even more important than hurricanes and psychopathic killers. It’s about nuclear war.

The biggest mistake of the Obama years was not the Affordable Care Act — that can be fixed eventually — but the Iran deal, which has already resulted in massive catastrophe, causing irreparable damage. Iran, financially enriched by the agreement, has been able to play a growing and truly evil role throughout the Middle East (and even South America), but especially in the unending Syrian civil war through its brutal own Revolutionary Guard and its bloodthirsty Hezbollah cutouts. This war has undoubtedly changed the character of Europe forever by creating millions of refugees. Every one of our lives has been or will be affected by it, directly or indirectly. (Reminder: One of the Paris Bataclan theatre terrorists who slaughtered 130, more than twice Las Vegas, held a Syrian refugee passport.) Even now, as ISIS is being pushed back, Iran, not us or our allies, is moving in to take control of their territory. We can be sure the mullahs will use it to build children’s hospitals and cancer research institutes — either that or murder thousands more in the name of the Twelfth Imam.

Obama’s motivation to make this deal, to choose the mullahs’ side in the more than thousand-year-old Shiite-Sunni blood feud that comes to us as a horrifying ghost from the pre-Middle Ages, remains one of the great mysteries of our time. It was the kind of agreement only State Department bureaucrats could love or, for that matter, see. In that sense, the Iran Deal is a perfect “Swamp” agreement. Nobody really knows what’s in it, deliberately so — just like the Affordable Care Act, actually. Only in this instance, Nancy Pelosi did not have to tell us to sign it to know what’s in it, because it was never signed in the first place — nor intended to be.  It was simply put in place — Constitution be damned — over the heads of an impotent Congress by Obama and his claque of unwise wise men and women.

But that was then and this is now. According to The Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo:

The Trump administration is expected to announce next week that it will not formally certify Iran as in compliance with the landmark nuclear agreement, a move that could kill the agreement and set the stage for Congress to reimpose harsh economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic, according to multiple U.S. officials and sources familiar with the situation.

While some senior Trump administration officials—including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis—are pushing for President Donald Trump to preserve the deal, it has become increasingly clear the president is frustrated with Iran’s continued tests of ballistic missile technology and rogue operations targeting U.S. forces in the region, according to these sources.

Let’s hope that Tillerson and Mattis won’t prevail if that really is still their opinion. You would think given Kim Jung-un getting almost as much media attention for his missiles as Stephen Paddock for his guns, and the longtime documented alliance on military matters of Iran and North Korea, they would be ready for another strategy. After all, looked at from afar (actually not that far) the JCPOA mirrors the approach many administrations took to North Korea. There are minor differences, but they all came down to “give them some money so they play nice.” How did that turn out? Perhaps I’m naive, but getting tough with tough guys for a change just might be worth a try.

It seems that Trump gets this. According to Eli Lake: “The centerpiece of Trump’s new Iran strategy will be the designation of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, placing it in the same category as al Qaeda and the Islamic State.”

The Revolutionary Guard is responsible for approximately 15 percent of Iranian GNP. Designating them a terror organization, which they indubitably are, would result in a substantial financial hit to the mullahs. The Swamp, of course, will object. That’s not how the game is played. But the truth is, the Swamp game is destructive to our country and the West, not mention factually absurd.

Omri Ceren, whose ongoing reporting on this “deal” has been invaluable (as has the work of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Mark Dubowitz), explained why in a recent email:

Last week IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] chief Amano revealed the IAEA has been unable to verify Iran is fully implementing the nuclear deal, specifically Section T which prohibits certain activities related to “the design and development of a nuclear explosive device,” because Iran has barred inspectors from military sites where those activites would be occurring,

Deal? What deal?

Your turn, Mr. President.

The Real Roots of Islamic Terrorism

October 5, 2017

The Real Roots of Islamic Terrorism, Gatestone InstituteKhadija Khan, October 5, 2017

Last month, an Islamic preacher was caught red-handed in Britain preaching for ISIS and jihad, and inciting youths to commit violence against non-Muslims. To everyone’s purported astonishment, he was not delivering his lectures on websites. He was delivering sermons live in a public-charity mosque — funded by taxpayers — in Stoke-on-Trent.

France and Britain remain in the constant grip of Islamist terror, yet their governments, despite having laws prohibiting “hate speech”, have so far failed to address the influence that preachers of violence and hatred have with local Muslims.

Blaming terror recruitment only on the internet is just an invented story, like the one that every suicide bomber or those who committed acts of terror in the name of Islam were lone wolves who merely took “inspiration” from terror outfits such as al-Qaeda or ISIS.

Governments in Britain and other countries in the grip of terror posed by Islamists have probably also been using the “online” excuse to shake off any charges of reckless endangerment or criminal neglect that they have might have committed by allowing these extremists to flourish in West.

The terrorists involved in the Parsons Green Underground attack and other incidents, as in Barcelona, were found to have ties with local mosques or seminaries, yet the administrations of these places have refused to take any responsibility, and stated that they are not accountable for the acts of their members.

 

Another terrorist attacks France and slaughters two innocent women at the Marseille train station. The terrorist was reportedly chanting the Arabic verses.

Within 24 hours, another terror attack took place in Edmonton, Canada outside a football stadium, when a man with a knife left five people injured. An ISIS flag was reportedly found in suspect’s car.

The strike in a country known for going extra miles to take in immigrants from the war-torn Middle East exposes the fact that these terrorists are enemies not only of human rights but often if the very people trying to help them.

No soft gesture, however, will deter extremist Muslims unless the whole world submits to their version of Islam.

Pictured: Saint-Charles train station in Marseille, France, where an Islamist terrorist murdered two women on October 1, 2017. (Image source: ignis/Wikimedia Commons)

Western governments might nevertheless once again choose to ignore the existence of religious schools and mosques that serve as radicalization and recruitment centers for extremist Muslims across the West.

The authorities in Europe seem to have been doing very little to clamp down on the recruitment of mainly Muslim youths by terrorists. Many apologists seem to have been trying to confuse people by saying that the internet is root cause of the Islamic extremism and terrorism problem, and authorities have been blaming the websites of terror outfits. Websites do not vote.

France and Britain remain in the constant grip of Islamist terror, yet their governments, despite having laws prohibiting “hate speech”, have so far failed to address the influence that preachers of violence and hatred have with local Muslims.

Last month, an Islamic preacher was caught red-handed in Britain preaching for ISIS and jihad, and inciting youths to commit violence against non-Muslims.

To everyone’s professed astonishment, he was not delivering his lectures on websites or communicating with the gullible youths through online “chats”. He was delivering sermons live in a public-charity mosque — funded by taxpayers — in Stoke-on-Trent.

Governments in Britain and other countries in the grip of terror posed by Islamists have probably also been using the “online” excuse to shake off any charges of reckless endangerment or criminal neglect that they have might have committed by allowing these extremists to flourish in West.

The authorities seem deliberately to be ignoring the compelling presence of hardline madrassahs, mosques and faith-schools that might well be involved in clear instances of preaching violence and hate.

Blaming terror recruitment only on the internet is just an invented story, like the one that every suicide bomber or those who committed acts of terror in the name of Islam, whether in Paris, London or Berlin, are lone wolves who merely took “inspiration” from terror outfits such as al-Qaeda or ISIS.

It is laughable to claim that a “lone wolf” has committed a terror attack, especially when the terror outfits such as ISIS immediately take responsibility for them.

The London Bridge attack left Prime Minister Theresa May stating “enough is enough” and sounding finally determined to tackle terrorism a bit.

But the slogan merely ended up on the back-burner as the terror spree continued — as do the hardline seminaries and recruiters that then led to the Parsons Green Underground attack.

The terrorists involved in that and other attacks, as in Barcelona, were found to have ties with local mosques or seminaries, yet the administrations of these places have refused to take any responsibility, and state that they are not accountable for the acts of their members.

Westminster terror attacker Khalid Masood was serving as a public contact person for the website of the Luton Islamic Center Mosque just a week before he rammed a car into pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge and went on to kill a police officer.

Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi, who murdered 22 people, including children, regularly attended Didsbury Mosque, which was also known to have home to many other al-Qaeda and ISIS recruits. The mosque was also known for having ties with al-Qaeda-linked jihadists such as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.

The perpetrators of the London Bridge and Borough Market terror attacks — Khuram Shazad Butt, Rachid Redouance and Youssef Zaghba — were believed to be associated with the outlawed Islamist group al-Muhajiroun, co-founded by the convicted hate preacher Anjem Choudary. Khuram Butt was even seen brandishing an Islamic State flag in Regent’s Park in a Channel 4 documentary.

The Berlin Christmas Market terrorist, Anis Amri, was also reportedly radicalized by a local mosque. One of the preachers of the Mosque, Abu Walaa, is these days on trial with four others in Germany for serving as an ISIS recruiter.

There is a dire need to hold government officials — and the preachers and administrators of these mosques — accountable, and to demand that they take action against extremists who target these breeding grounds, or face criminal prosecution. The policy of avoiding the problem by keeping one’s eyes shut only enlarges it and sacrifices freedom on the altar of terror.

Khadija Khan is a Pakistani journalist and commentator, currently based in Germany.

In This Round of Reconciliation Talks, Hamas is the Great Victor

October 5, 2017

In This Round of Reconciliation Talks, Hamas is the Great Victor, FrontPage MagazineCaroline Glick, October 5, 2017

Tuesday’s surrender ceremonies tell us two things.

First, the notion that Fatah is even remotely interested in defeating Hamas is complete nonsense. For 10 years since its forces were humiliated and routed in Gaza, Fatah has faithfully funded and defended Hamas. Abbas’s only concern is staying in charge of his Israeli-protected fiefdom in Ramallah. To this end, he will finance – with US and EU taxpayer monies – and defend another 10 Hamas wars with Israel.

The second lesson we learn from Hamas’s victory is that we need to curb our enthusiasm for Sisi and his regime in Egypt, and for his backers in the UAE. Sisi’s decision to facilitate and mediate Hamas’s newest victory over Fatah shows that his alliance with Israel is tactical and limited in scope. His decision to side with Israel against Hamas during Operation Protective Edge three years ago may not repeat itself in the next war.

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Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

On Tuesday, a delegation of 400 Fatah officials from Ramallah, led by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, arrived in Gaza to officially surrender to Hamas.

No, the ceremony isn’t being portrayed as a Fatah surrender to Hamas. But it is. It’s also an Egyptian surrender to Hamas.

How is this the case? Ten years ago this past June, after a very brief and deadly assault by Hamas terrorists against US-trained Fatah forces in Gaza, the Fatah forces cut and ran to Israel for protection. Fatah politicians also headed for the border and then scurried into Fatah-controlled (and Israeli protected) Ramallah. Ever since, Hamas has served as the official authority on the ground in Gaza. Its personnel have been responsible for internal security and for Gaza’s borders with Egypt and Israel.

Despite their humiliating defeat and removal from Gaza, Fatah and its PA government in Ramallah continued to fund Hamas-controlled Gaza. They paid Gaza’s bills, including the salaries of all the PA security forces that were either no longer working or working double shifts as stay at home Fatah gunmen and up and coming Hamas terrorist forces.

The PA paid Hamas’s electricity bills to Israel and it paid Israeli hospitals which continued to serve Gaza.

Internationally, the PA defended Hamas and its constant wars against Israel. The PA and Fatah, led by President-for-life Mahmoud Abbas, continued to use Israel’s defensive operations against Hamas as a means to ratchet up their political war against Israel. The latest victory in that war came last week with Interpol’s decision to permit the PA to join the organization despite its open support for and finance of terrorism.

For most of the past decade, the PA-Fatah has allocated more than half of its EU- and US-underwritten budget to Hamas-controlled Gaza. It has defended its actions to successive delegations of US lawmakers and three US administrations. It has defended its actions to EU watchdog groups. No amount of congressional pressure or statements from presidential envoys ever made a dent on Abbas’s strident devotion to paying the salaries of Hamas terrorists and functionaries.

But then, in April, Abbas cut them off.

Ostensibly he cut them off because he was under pressure from the US Congress, which is now in the end stages of passing the Taylor Force Act. Once passed, the law will make it a bit more difficult for the State Department to continue funding the terror- financing PA.

While the Taylor Force Act is the ostensible reason for Abbas’s move, Palestinian sources openly acknowledge that congressional pressure had nothing to do with his decision.

Abbas abruptly ended PA financing of Hamas in retaliation for Hamas’s decision to open relations with Abbas’s archrival in Fatah, Muhammad Dahlan.

From 1994, when the PA was established, until 2007, when Hamas ousted his US-trained forces from Gaza, Dahlan was the Gaza strongman.

Once one of Abbas’s closest cronies, since 2011 Dahlan has been his archenemy. Abbas, now in the twelfth year of his four-year term in office, views Dahlan as the primary threat to his continued reign.

As a consequence, he ousted Dahlan from Fatah and forced him to decamp with his sizable retinue to the UAE. There Dahlan enjoys exceedingly close ties with the Nahyan regime.

The UAE is allied with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi. Both view Hamas’s mother organization the Muslim Brotherhood as their mortal foe. As a result, Sisi and the UAE as well as Saudi Arabia sided with Israel in its 2014 war with Hamas.

Since May, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have been in open conflict with Qatar. Qatar, which sponsors the Muslim Brotherhood, has long sponsored Hamas as well.

Since the start of the year, the UAE has been interested in prying Hamas away from Qatar. And so with the blessing of his UAE hosts, Dahlan began building ties with Hamas.

Recognizing Dahlan’s close ties to the UAE and through it, with Sisi, Hamas, which has been stricken by Sisi’s war against it, and particularly Sisi’s enforcement of the closure of Gaza’s border with Egypt’s Sinai, was quick to seize on Dahlan’s initiative.

The talks between Dahlan and Sisi on the one hand and Hamas on the other were ratcheted up in April after Abbas cut his funding to Gaza.

In May, Hamas formally cut its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.

In exchange, Sisi permitted the Rafah border crossing with Gaza to open for longer hours and permitted Gazans to transit Egypt en route to their religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, among other things.

To build its leverage against Abbas, beginning in the spring, Hamas began describing Dahlan as a viable alternative to Abbas. The UAE agreed to begin financing Hamas’s budget and to help pay for electricity.

Against this backdrop, it is self-evident that Abbas didn’t send his own representatives to Cairo to negotiate a surrender deal with Hamas because his aid cut-off brought Hamas to its knees. Abbas sent his people to Cairo because Hamas’s double dealing with Dahlan brought Abbas to his knees.

As for Sisi, Hamas has also played him – and the UAE.

Over the past few months, Hamas has been rebuilding its client relationship with Iran. A senior Hamas delegation visited Tehran last month for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s swearing-in ceremony.

They met there with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and with senior Revolutionary Guards commanders.

A month earlier, senior Hamas terrorist Salah Arouri, who lives under Hezbollah protection in Beirut, paved the way for the reconciliation in a meeting under Hezbollah sponsorship with senior Revolutionary Guards commander Amir Abdollahian.

Following the meeting in Tehran, Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar extolled Hamas’s relations with Iran as “fantastic.” Sinwar also said that Iran is “the largest backer financially and militarily” of Hamas’s terrorism apparatus.

Concerned about Tehran’s growing influence in Gaza, and through it, the Sinai, where Sisi continues to fight against an Islamic State-backed insurgency, Sisi has an interest in tempering Hamas’s client-ties to Tehran.

So just as Abbas has decided to restore financing to Hamas to keep Dahlan at bay, so Sisi has decided to embrace Hamas to keep Iran at bay.

In all cases, of course, Hamas wins.

The fact that Hamas has just won is obvious when we consider the unity deal it just concluded with Fatah.

Hamas made one concession. It agreed to break up its civil governing authority – a body it formed in response to Abbas’s decision to cut off funding in April. In exchange for agreeing to disband a body it only formed because Abbas cut off its funding, Hamas receives a full restoration of PA funding. The PA will fund all civil service operations in Gaza. It will pay the salaries of all civil servants and security personnel in Gaza. It will pay salaries to all Hamas terrorists Israel freed from its jails.

In other words, the PA will now be responsible for keeping the lights on and picking up the garbage.

And Hamas will be free to concentrate on preparing for and initiating its next terror war against Israel. It can dig tunnels. It can build missiles. It can expand its operational ties with Hezbollah, Islamic State, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and Fatah.

In the wake of Hamas’s leadership’s meetings in Tehran, Sinwar told reporters that Hamas is now moving full speed ahead toward doing all of these things. Sinwar said that Hamas is “developing our military strength in order to liberate Palestine.” He added, “Every day we build missiles and continue military training.”

Thousands of people, he said, are working “day and night” to prepare Hamas’s next terror war against Israel. And indeed, two weeks ago, two Hamas terrorists were killed when the tunnels they were digging collapsed on them.

Tuesday’s surrender ceremonies tell us two things.

First, the notion that Fatah is even remotely interested in defeating Hamas is complete nonsense. For 10 years since its forces were humiliated and routed in Gaza, Fatah has faithfully funded and defended Hamas. Abbas’s only concern is staying in charge of his Israeli-protected fiefdom in Ramallah. To this end, he will finance – with US and EU taxpayer monies – and defend another 10 Hamas wars with Israel.

The second lesson we learn from Hamas’s victory is that we need to curb our enthusiasm for Sisi and his regime in Egypt, and for his backers in the UAE. Sisi’s decision to facilitate and mediate Hamas’s newest victory over Fatah shows that his alliance with Israel is tactical and limited in scope. His decision to side with Israel against Hamas during Operation Protective Edge three years ago may not repeat itself in the next war.