Posted tagged ‘Cognitive dissonance’

Was Thucydides right about democracies in peril?

November 20, 2015

Was Thucydides right about democracies in peril? National Review, Victor Davis Hanson, December 7, 2015 print issue

President Obama is not so much complacent as an appeaser of radical Islam — an identification he refuses to employ. Yet the president condemns Christianity by reminding us at prayer breakfasts of its violent Crusader roots, or he lists false glories of the Muslim world, as in his Cairo speech. Obama’s rhetoric of the last seven years has been predicated on the false assumption that his own supposed multicultural fides and his father’s Islamic connections would make him the perfect Western emissary to defuse radical Islam. This has not come to pass, as we see from the recent Paris mass murders. Never has the Middle East been more unhinged and never has the U.S. been more disliked by it.

During the Obama administration, radical Islam finally has grasped that the way to destroy Western societies is to employ Western political correctness against them, leading eventually to their paralysis — as long as the war is waged carefully, insidiously, and over decades.


The historian Thucydides felt that democracies were characteristically volatile and yet complacent when existential dangers loomed on the horizon. But once faced with impending doom — such as the near collapse of Athens after the disaster of the Sicilian Expedition — they usually proved the most capable of marshaling the entire population for war. Accordingly, the recent ISIS terrorist strike in Paris — a result of lax security and failure to monitor borders — even at the eleventh hour should wake up the French to the existential danger they face.

America’s wars of the 20th century seem to confirm that ancient wisdom. A complacent, naïve, and isolationist United States came late to both world wars. Nonetheless, once engaged, the United States almost immediately amassed huge armies ex nihilo and produced unprecedented quantities of arms to ensure Allied victories in both conflicts. No other power fought in so many theaters of battle to such effect and with such consideration for reducing its own casualties.

The pattern of the ensuing Cold War was hauntingly similar: initial Western-democratic naïveté about the vicious nature of the erstwhile wartime ally the Soviet Union, precipitate post-war disarmament — and finally, during the Korean War, an abrupt remaking of the American military, characterized by the development of a sophisticated deterrent strategy that kept the global, Communist Soviet Empire contained until its collapse in 1989.

Ostensibly, that same pattern of initial blinkered indifference and lack of attention ended by sudden reawakening and panicked mobilization marked the American response to radical Islam. The fall of the shah of Iran, the subsequent Khomeini revolution, and the appeasement embraced by the Carter administration between 1979 and 1980 — all in the depressed landscape of the post-Vietnam era — illustrated how the United States was initially baffled by and indifferent to the rise of radical Islam.

At first the U.S. assumed that radical Islam was primarily an aberrant Iranian and Shiite phenomenon uncharacteristic of our Sunni and Wahhabist friends in the Gulf. Some Cold War–era analysts of the time believed that the Iranians were analogous to Marxist-inspired Palestinian terrorists of the 1960s and 1970s, even though the latter were secular and were funded and often trained by Moscow and its appendages. Later, leftists sought to cite proof of American culpability — colonialism, neo-imperialism, racism, capitalist exploitations, etc. — that might in some fashion contextualize the seemingly illogical anger of the Muslim world toward the United States.

In the 20-year interval between the Tehran hostage-taking and the cataclysmic September 11 suicide attacks, radical Islamists, of both the Shiite and Sunni varieties, declared a veritable war against the West in general and in particular the United States — most notably with the Beirut Marine-barracks/U.S.-embassy bombing (1983), the first World Trade Center bombing (1993), the Khobar Towers bombing (1996), the East Africa embassy bombings (1998), and the attack on the USS Cole (2000). But in these two decades before 9/11, radical Islamists, especially those of al-Qaeda organized by Osama bin Laden, were never directly confronted by the United States in any lethal way. Islamists were explained away as either an irritant incapable of inflicting existential damage given their lack of a nation-state arsenal or a passing phenomenon in the manner of former Middle East terrorists of the sort led by Abu Nidal against Western and especially Israeli interests.

There were grounds to be baffled at first, perhaps in the fashion of bewilderment at Hitler’s fanaticism in 1936 or Stalin’s betrayal of his wartime Western allies in 1946. After all, in the 1930s and 1940s, the Islamic Middle East had been enamored of secular fascism inspired by Nazi Germany. Subsequent Pan-Arabism, Baathism, Soviet-inspired Communism, and Palestinian nationalism were likewise mostly secular in nature. And these ideologies similarly proved transient manifestations of the Middle East constant of tribalism, poverty, statism, authoritarianism, anti-Semitism, and religious and cultural intolerance.

Why, then, at the end of the 20th century, had terrorist movements reverted back to seventh-century fundamentalism? Why was it that the wealthier the petroleum-rich Middle East became, the more globalized — and Western-oriented — communications, entertainment, and popular culture grew, the more knowledge that the Islamic world gained of relative global wealth and poverty, and the more the post–Cold War United States proved postmodern in its attitude about the causes and origins of war, all the more did radical Islamists despise the West? Islamists apparently were confident either that Western economic and military power was a poor deterrent against their own supposedly ancient martial courage or that such material and technological power would never fully be unleashed by confused elites uncertain about their own degree of culpability for the mess they found themselves in.

In any case, deterrence was lost. A 20-year path of appeasement of radical Islam inexorably led to 9/11. Then, as with past aroused democracies, 2001 seemingly changed everything, as the West seemed to gear up to restore its security and strategy of deterrence. Almost every aspect of American life was soon altered by just a handful of Islamist planners in Afghanistan and their suicide henchmen in hijacked planes, even as economic recession followed the 9/11 attacks. Intrusive new security standards changed forever the way we boarded airline flights, took the train, and visited public buildings. The Patriot Act accorded intrusive powers of surveillance to government agencies to monitor communications that fit particular criteria learned from prior terrorist attacks.

These Patriot Act measures and their affiliated protocols played a key role in ensuring that in the subsequent 14 years  there was no attack on the United States analogous to 9/11, despite horrific but isolated killings such as the Fort Hood massacre and the Boston Marathon bombing. A cultural war erupted over the causes of Islamic violence, with both Republican and Democratic administrations seeking some magical formula that might reassure the world’s billion Muslims, in and outside the West, that the United States did not see any innate connection between Islam and Islamist terrorism. Such a profession was supposed to remind the Islamic world to police its own, on the assumption that there were no logical grounds for any Muslims to hate the U.S. The age-old antithesis — that the West did not much care what the non-West thought of it as long as it understood preemptory attacks against the West were synonymous with the aggressors’ own destruction — was apparently unpalatable to a sophisticated and leisured public that even after 9/11 did not see the Islamic threat as intruding into the life of their suburb or co-op.

How, then, is the supposed war on Islamic-inspired terror currently proceeding, especially in comparison with past U.S. efforts in World Wars I and II and the Cold War? At first glance, it appears the realists were correct that Islamism is hardly an enemy comparable to the Nazis or Soviets. First, other than the case of Iran after 1980, the terrorists still have not openly and proudly assumed the reins of a large nation-state with a formidable arsenal. Second, for all the talk of the spread of WMD, they have not staged a major nuclear, biological, or chemical attack. Third, fracking and horizontal drilling inside the United States, along with petroleum price wars among Middle Eastern exporters, crashed the price of oil, robbing terrorists of petrodollars and aiding Western economies.

That price drop — coupled with a supposed Western exhaustion with war after the experience of Afghanistan and Iraq — has fooled Westerners into thinking the Middle East is now less strategically important than it has been in the past, as if most of the world were becoming as self-sufficient in oil and gas as is the United States. Are the realists correct in reminding us that we still do not face from radical Islamic terrorists an existential threat analogous to those of the 20th century during World War II and the Cold War?

In the decade and a half after September 11, the Islamists have influenced Americans far more than we them — well aside from inflicting a level of destruction inside the United States, in New York and Washington, that neither Nazi Germany nor Soviet Russia was ever able to achieve. Everyday life has been radically altered, from using public transportation to entering a government building for minor business. Westerners are losing the propaganda war: While al-Qaeda and ISIS have matched their blood-curdling rhetoric with equally savage snuff videos, we have been emasculated by euphemisms. “Death to America” is matched by “workplace violence,” “man-caused disasters,” and “overseas-contingency operations.” Jihad is redefined by American-government officials as a personal spiritual odyssey and the Muslim Brotherhood as a largely secular organization. After the Danish-cartoon attacks and the Charlie Hebdo killings, fearful Westerners are voluntarily self-censoring in a manner that Islamists themselves do not have to enforce by direct coercion.

President Obama is not so much complacent as an appeaser of radical Islam — an identification he refuses to employ. Yet the president condemns Christianity by reminding us at prayer breakfasts of its violent Crusader roots, or he lists false glories of the Muslim world, as in his Cairo speech. Obama’s rhetoric of the last seven years has been predicated on the false assumption that his own supposed multicultural fides and his father’s Islamic connections would make him the perfect Western emissary to defuse radical Islam. This has not come to pass, as we see from the recent Paris mass murders. Never has the Middle East been more unhinged and never has the U.S. been more disliked by it. Westerners are as likely to join ISIS as reformed terrorists are to enlist in the fight against the jihadists in their midst.

In other words, the Islamist threat is so far unquenchable because it has the West’s number: Radical Islam understands that the more pre-modern it becomes, the more postmodern is the likely Western response — a situation analogous to a deadly parasite that does not quickly kill but slowly sickens a host that in turn scratches at, but does not kill, the stealthy tormenter. Obama has described ISIS as a “JV” organization and al-Qaeda as “on the run.” On the eve of the Paris attacks, he deprecated ISIS as “contained,” while Secretary of State John Kerry warned that its “days are numbered.” A supposedly right-wing video maker, not a pre-planned al-Qaeda assault, explained our dead in Benghazi. Such euphemism is not just symptomatic of political correctness and an arrogant assumption that postmodern Westerners have transcended the Neanderthalism of war, but also rooted in a 1930s-like fear of expending some blood and treasure now to avoid expending far more later.

The first decade and a half of the current phase of the Islamic war were characterized by insidious alterations in Western life to accommodate low-level but nonetheless habitual terrorist attacks. As long as the Islamists did not take down another Western skyscraper, blow up a corner of the Pentagon, or kill thousands in one operation, Westerners were willing to put up with inconvenience and spend trillions of dollars in blood and treasure on anti-terrorism measures at home and the killing abroad of thousands of Islamists from Kabul to Baghdad.

But conflicts that do not end always transmogrify, and the war on terror of 2015 is not that of 2001, much less that of 1979.

Time for now is on the Islamists’ side. Not if but when Iran will acquire nuclear weapons is the question. Not if but when ISIS strikes a major American city is what’s in doubt. As America abdicates from its role in the Middle East, Vladimir Putin creates an Iran–Syria–Hezbollah arc of influence, reassuring the terrified Sunni Gulf states that he is a far better friend — and could be a far worse enemy — than the United States.

More important, Russia, Iraq, and Iran — and the Gulf monarchies — could act in concert under the aegis of Putin and thereby control 75 percent of the world’s daily exports of oil. It is also conceivable that ISIS could fulfill something akin to its supposedly JV notion of creating a caliphate, given that it has already carved out a rump state from Syria and Iraq. A nuclear Iran could play the berserker role with Russia of a crazy nuclear North Korea cuddling up to China. Meanwhile, our new relationship with Iran makes it hard to partner with moderate Sunni states against ISIS, given that the Iranians enjoy the bloodsport that ISIS plays among both Westerners and Sunni regimes.

In short, on four broad fronts — the emergence of terrorist nation-states, the acquisition of nuclear weapons, the global reach of terrorists, and the ability to alter global economic contours — the Islamists are making more progress than at any time in the last 35 years.

Was Thucydides, whose notions of democracy were echoed from Aristotle to Winston Churchill, correct that democracies in the eleventh hour galvanize to meet existential threats?

So far, not this time. During the Obama administration, radical Islam finally has grasped that the way to destroy Western societies is to employ Western political correctness against them, leading eventually to their paralysis — as long as the war is waged carefully, insidiously, and over decades. In their various rantings, Osama bin Laden and his successor Ayman al-Zawahiri referenced the Western failure both to enact campaign-finance reform and to address global warming — topics not usually associated with the agendas of radical Islam. While ISIS mowed down Parisians, Al Gore was on the top of the Eiffel Tower doing a marathon webcast about the existential danger of climate change and prepping for a Parisian global conference that will now take place amid the detritus of a recent mass terrorist attack — all echoing President Obama’s assertion that the greatest danger to our security is carbon, not radical Islamic terrorism.

The war will be lost when listless and weak Westerners no longer realize that they are in a war but have largely become exactly what their enemies had envisioned them to be all along.

The Iran Delusion: A Primer for the Perplexed

July 8, 2015

The Iran Delusion: A Primer for the Perplexed, World AffairsMichael J. Totten, Summer 2015


US foreign policy in the Middle East is focused on two things right now: containing ISIS and preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. These are both worthy goals, but if sanctions are lifted on Iran as part of a nuclear deal, whether or not it gets the bomb, Tehran will certainly have more money and resources to funnel to Hezbollah, the Assad regime, Iraq’s Shia militias, the Houthis in Yemen, and—perhaps—to Saudi Arabia’s disaffected Shia minority. The region will become even less stable than it already is. ISIS and al-Qaeda will likely grow stronger than they already are.


The chattering class has spent months bickering about whether or not the United States should sign on to a nuclear deal with Iran, and everyone from the French and the Israelis to the Saudis has weighed in with “no” votes. Hardly anyone aside from the Saudis, however, seems to recognize that the Iranian government’s ultimate goal is regional hegemony and that its nuclear weapons program is simply a means to that end.

What do these shatter zones have in common? The Iranian government backs militias and terrorist armies in all of them. As Kaplan writes, “The instability Iran will cause will not come from its implosion, but from a strong, internally coherent nation that explodes outward from a natural geographic platform to shatter the region around it.”

That’s why Iran is a problem for American foreign policy makers in the first place; and that’s why trading sanctions relief for an international weapons inspection regime will have no effect on any of it whatsoever.

Iran has been a regional power since the time of the Persian Empire, and its Islamic leaders have played an entirely pernicious role in the Middle East since they seized power from Mohammad Shah Reza Pahlavi in 1979, stormed the US Embassy in Tehran, and held 66 American diplomats hostage for 444 days.

In 1982, they went international. When the Israelis invaded Lebanon to dislodge Yasir Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Army, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps commanders forged a network of terrorist and guerrilla cells among their coreligionists in Lebanon’s Shia population.

Hezbollah, the poisoned fruit of these efforts, initially had no name. It was a hidden force that struck from the shadows. It left a hell of a mark, though, for an organization of anonymous nobodies when it blew up the American Embassy in Beirut and hit French and American peacekeeping troops—who were there at the invitation of the Lebanese government—with suicide truck bombers in 1983 that killed 368 people.

When Hezbollah’s leaders finally sent out a birth announcement in their 1985 Open Letter, they weren’t the least bit shy about telling the world who they worked for. “We are,” they wrote, “the Party of God (Hizb Allah), the vanguard of which was made victorious by God in Iran . . . We obey the orders of one leader, wise and just, that of our tutor and faqih [jurist] who fulfills all the necessary conditions: Ruhollah Musawi Khomeini. God save him!”

The Israelis fought a grinding counterinsurgency against Hezbollah for 18 years in southern Lebanon before withdrawing in 2000, and they fought a devastating war in 2006 along the border that killed thousands and produced more than a million refugees in both countries. Hezbollah was better armed and equipped than the Lebanese government even then, but today its missiles can reach Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and even the Dimona nuclear power plant all the way down in the southern part of the country. 

Until September 11, 2001, no terrorist organization in the world had killed more Americans than Hezbollah. Hamas in Gaza isn’t even qualified as a batboy in the league Hezbollah plays in.

Hezbollah is more than just an anti-Western and anti-Jewish terrorist organization. It is also a ruthless sectarian Shia militia that imposes its will at gunpoint on Lebanon’s Sunnis, Christians, and Druze. It has toppled elected governments, invaded and occupied parts of Beirut, and, according to a United Nations indictment, assassinated former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Hezbollah is, for all intents and purposes, the foreign legion of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. The parts of the country it occupies—the northern Bekaa Valley, the Israeli border region, and the suburbs south of Beirut—constitute a de facto Iranian-controlled state-within-a-state inside Lebanon. 

After the United States demolished Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-dominated regime in 2003, Iran’s rulers duplicated their Lebanon strategy in Iraq by sponsoring a smorgasbord of sectarian Shia militias and death squads that waged war against the Iraqi government, the American military, Sunni civilians, and politically moderate Shias. 

Unlike Lebanon—which is more or less evenly divided between Christians, Sunnis, and Shias—Iraq has an outright Shia majority that feels a gravitational pull toward their fellow Shias in Iran and a revulsion for the Sunni minority that backed Hussein’s brutal totalitarianism and today tolerates the even more deranged occupation by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. 

The central government, then, is firmly aligned with Tehran. Iran’s clients don’t run a Hezbollah-style state-within-a-state in Iraq. They don’t have to. Now that Hussein is out of the way, Iraq’s Shias can dominate Baghdad with the weight of sheer demographics alone. But Iran isn’t content with merely having strong diplomatic relations with its neighbor. It still sponsors sectarian Shia militias in the center and south of the country that outperform the American-trained national army. They may one day even supplant Iraq’s national army as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps has more or less supplanted the Iranian national army. Iraq’s Shia militias are already the most powerful armed force outside the Kurdish autonomous region and ISIS-held territory.

When ISIS took complete control of the city of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Province, in May of 2015, the Iraqi soldiers tasked with protecting it dropped their weapons and ran as they had earlier in Mosul, Tikrit, and Fallujah. So Iraq’s central government tasked its Iranian-backed Shia militias with taking it back. 

On the one hand, we can hardly fault Baghdad for sending in whatever competent fighting force is available when it needs to liberate a city from a psychopathic terrorist army, but the only reason ISIS gained a foothold among Iraq’s Sunnis in the first place is because the Baghdad government spent years acting like the sectarian dictatorship that it is, by treating the Sunni minority like second-class citizens, and by trumping up bogus charges against Sunni officials in the capital. When ISIS promised to protect Iraq’s Sunnis from the Iranian-backed Shia rulers in Baghdad, the narrative seemed almost plausible. So ISIS, after being vomited out of Anbar Province in 2007, was allowed to come back.

Most of Iraq’s Sunnis fear and loathe ISIS. They previously fought ISIS under its former name, al-Qaeda in Iraq. But they fear and loathe the central government and its Shiite militias even more. They’d rather be oppressed by “their own” than by “the other” if they had to choose. But they have to choose because Iran has made Iraq its second national project after Lebanon.

It doesn’t have to be this way. At least some of the tribal Sunni militias would gladly fight ISIS as they did in the past with American backing. If they did, residents of Ramadi, Fallujah, and Mosul would view them as liberators and protectors rather than potential oppressors, but Tehran and Baghdad will have none of it.

“All attempts to send arms and ammunition must be through the central government,” Adnan al-Assadi, a member of Parliament, told CNN back in May. “That is why we refused the American proposal to arm the tribes in Anbar. We want to make sure that the weapons would not end up in the wrong hands, especially ISIS.”

That may appear reasonable on the surface, but ISIS can seize weapons from Shia militias just as easily as it can seize weapons from Sunni militias. The real reason for the government’s reluctance ought to be obvious: Iraq’s Shias do not want to arm Iraq’s Sunnis. They’d rather have ISIS controlling huge swaths of the country than a genuinely popular Sunni movement with staying power that’s implacably hostile to the Iranian-backed project in Mesopotamia.

The catastrophe in Iraq is bad enough, but the Iranian handiwork in Syria is looking even more apocalyptic nowadays. ISIS wouldn’t even exist, of course, if it weren’t for the predatory regime of Bashar al-Assad, and the close alliance that has existed between Damascus and Tehran since the 1979 revolution that brought the ayatollahs to power.

Syria’s government is dominated by the Alawites, who make up just 15 percent of the population. Their religion is a heterodox blend of Christianity, Gnosticism, and Shia Islam. They aren’t Shias. They aren’t even Muslims. Their Arab Socialist Baath Party is and has always been as secular as the Communist Party was in the Soviet Union (and it was in fact a client of the Soviet Union). A marriage between an aggressively secular Alawite regime and Iran’s clerical Islamic Republic was hardly inevitable, but it’s certainly logical. The two nations had a common enemy wedged between them in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, and both have been threatened by the region’s Sunni Arab majority since their inception. 

Hezbollah is their first child, and the three of them together make up the core of what analyst Lee Smith calls the Resistance Bloc in his book, The Strong Horse. The Party of God, as it calls itself, wouldn’t exist without Iranian money and weapons, nor would it exist without Damascus as the logistics hub that connects them. And it would have expired decades ago if Syria hadn’t conquered and effectively annexed Lebanon at the end of the Lebanese civil war in 1990.

Every armed faction in Lebanon, including Hezbollah, signed on to the Syrian-brokered Taif Agreement, which required the disarmament of every militia in the country. But the Assads governed Lebanon with the same crooked and cynical dishonesty they perfected at home, and as the occupying power they not only allowed Hezbollah to hold onto its arsenal, but also allowed Hezbollah to import rockets and even missiles from Iran.

“For Syria,” historian William Harris wrote in The New Face of Lebanon, “Hezbollah could persist as both a check on the Lebanese regime and as a means to bother Israel when convenient.”

The Party of God is now a powerful force unto itself, but it rightly views the potential downfall of the Assad regime as the beginning of its own end. The fact that Assad might be replaced by the anti-Shia genocidaires of ISIS compelled its fighters to invade Syria without an exit strategy—with the help of Iranian commanders, of course—to either prop up their co-patron or die.

Rather than going all-in, the Iranians could have cut their losses in Syria and pressured Assad into leaving the country. ISIS would be hiding under rocks right now had that happened. Hardly any Sunnis in Syria would tolerate such a deranged revolution if they had no one to revolt against. But the Resistance Bloc will only back down if it’s forced to back down. If ISIS devours Syria and Iraq as a result, then so be it.

And while the Resistance Bloc is fighting for its survival in the Levant, it’s expanding into the Arabian Peninsula.

The Shia-dominated Houthi movement took control of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, earlier this year following the revolution that toppled former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and its fighters are well on their way to taking the port city of Aden, in the Sunni part of the country.

The Houthis, of course, are backed by Iran.

They’re no more likely to conquer every inch of that country than Iran’s other regional proxies are to conquer every inch of anywhere else. Shias make up slightly less than half of Yemen’s population, and their natural “territory” is restricted to the northwestern region in and around the capital. Taking and holding it all is likely impossible. No government—Sunni, Shia, or otherwise—has managed to control all of Yemen for long. 

And the Saudis are doing their damnedest to make sure it stays that way. Their fighter jets have been pounding Houthi positions throughout the country since March.

Saudi Arabia is more alarmed at Iranian expansion in the region than anyone else, and for good reason. It’s the only Arab country with a substantial Shia minority that hasn’t yet been hit by Iranian-backed revolution, upheaval, or sectarian strife, although events in Yemen could quickly change that.

In the city and province of Najran, in the southwestern corner just over the Yemeni border, Shias are the largest religious group, and they’re linked by sect, tribe, and custom to the Houthis.

Not only is the border there porous and poorly defined, but that part of Saudi Arabia once belonged to Yemen. The Saudis conquered and annexed it in 1934. Najran is almost identical architecturally to the Yemeni capital, and you can walk from Najran to Yemen is a little over an hour. 

Will the Houthis be content to let Najran remain in Saudi hands now that they have Iranian guns, money, power, and wind at their back? Maybe. But the Saudis won’t bet their sovereignty on a maybe.

Roughly 15 percent of Saudi Arabia’s citizens are Shias. They’re not a large minority, but Syria’s Alawites are no larger and they’ve been ruling the entire country since 1971. And Shias make up the absolute majority in the Eastern Province, the country’s largest, where most of the oil is concentrated. 

Support among Yemen’s Sunnis for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula—the most dangerous branch of al-Qaeda on earth—is rising for purely sectarian reasons just as it has in Syria and Iraq. Iran can’t intervene anywhere in the region right now without provoking a psychotic backlash that’s as dangerous to Tehran and its interests as it is to America’s.

If Iranian adventurism spreads to Saudi Arabia, watch out. Everywhere in the entire Middle East where Sunnis and Shias live adjacent to one another will have turned into a shatter zone.

The entire world’s oil patch will have turned into a shatter zone.

US foreign policy in the Middle East is focused on two things right now: containing ISIS and preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. These are both worthy goals, but if sanctions are lifted on Iran as part of a nuclear deal, whether or not it gets the bomb, Tehran will certainly have more money and resources to funnel to Hezbollah, the Assad regime, Iraq’s Shia militias, the Houthis in Yemen, and—perhaps—to Saudi Arabia’s disaffected Shia minority. The region will become even less stable than it already is. ISIS and al-Qaeda will likely grow stronger than they already are.

We’re kidding ourselves if we think that won’t affect us. It’s not just about the oil, although until every car in the world is powered by green energy we can’t pretend the global economy won’t crash if gasoline becomes scarce. We also have security concerns in the region. What happens in the Middle East hasn’t stayed in the Middle East now for decades. 

The head-choppers of ISIS are problematic for obvious reasons. Their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, said, “I’ll see you in New York,” to American military personnel when they (foolishly) released him from Iraq’s Camp Bucca prison in 2004. But the Iranian-led Resistance Bloc has behaved just as atrociously since 1979 and will continue to do so with or without nuclear weapons.

US involvement in Syria and Iraq is minimal now, but even the little we are doing makes little sense. We’re against ISIS in both countries, which is entirely fine and appropriate, but in Iraq we’re using air power to cover advances by Shia militias and therefore furthering Iranian interests, and in Syria we’re working against Iranian interests by undermining Assad and Hezbollah. Meanwhile, the nuclear deal Washington is negotiating with Tehran places a grand total of zero requirements on Iran’s rulers to roll back in their necklace of shatter zones.

We don’t have to choose between ISIS and Iran’s revolutionary regime. They’re both murderous Islamist powers with global ambitions, and they’re both implacably hostile to us and our interests. Resisting both simultaneously wouldn’t make our foreign policy even a whit more complicated. It would, however, make our foreign policy much more coherent.

When Palestinians Die in Jail

July 6, 2015

When Palestinians Die in Jail, The Gatestone InstituteKhaled Abu Toameh, July 6, 2015

  • Like the mainstream media in the West, the UN chooses to look the other way when Palestinians torture or kill fellow Palestinians.
  • The Palestinian Authority and Hamas claim that the three men committed suicide.
  • When three detainees die in less than a week, this should sound an alarm. But pro-Palestinian groups and human rights activists do not care about the human rights of Palestinians if Israel cannot be held responsible. Their obsession with Israel has made them blind to the plight of Palestinians living under the Palestinian Authority.

Three Palestinian men were found dead in their jail cells in the West Bank and Gaza Strip this past week.

But their stories did not attract the attention of the international media or human rights organizations in the U.S. and Europe. Nor was their case brought to the attention of the United Nations or the International Criminal Court (ICC).

By contrast, the case of 17-year-old Mohamed Kasba, who was shot dead north of Jerusalem by an Israeli army officer as he attacked the officer’s car with stones, received widespread coverage in the Western media.

The UN even rushed to condemn the killing of Kasba, and called for an “immediate end” to violence and for everyone to keep calm. “This reaffirms the need for a political process aiming to establish two states living beside each other safely and peacefully,” said UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Maldenov.

The UN official, needless to say, made no reference to the deaths that occurred in the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas jails. He did not even see a need to express concern over the deaths or call for an investigation. Like the mainstream media in the West, the UN chooses to look the other way when Palestinians torture or kill fellow Palestinians.

The reason the case of the three detainees will not interest anyone in the international community is because the men did not die in an Israeli jail. Instead, the three men died while being held in Palestinian-controlled jails.

Had the three men died in Israeli detention, their names would have most likely appeared on the front pages of most leading Western newspapers. The families of the three men would have also been busy talking to Western journalists about Israeli “atrocities” and “human rights violations.”

But no respected Western journalist is going to visit any of the families of the three detainees: they did not die in an Israeli jail.

The same week that the three Palestinian men were found dead in jail, the UN Human Rights Council decided to adopt a resolution condemning Israel over the UN report into last year’s Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip. Again, the UN Human Rights Council chose to ignore human rights violations by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, who deny detainees basic rights and proper medical treatment.

Two of them died in PA security installations in Bethlehem, while the third was found dead in a Hamas-controlled jail in the Gaza Strip.

The two detainees who were found dead in their jail cells in Bethlehem are Shadi Mohamed Obeidallah and Hazem Yassin Udwan. The man who died in the Gaza Strip jail was identified as Khaled Hammad al-Balbisi.

The Palestinian Authority and Hamas claim that the three men committed suicide.

In the case of Obeidallah, the Palestinian Authority police said he hanged himself with a piece of cloth inside the jail restrooms. He was taken into custody on suspicion of committing a murder three years ago.

The second man, Udwan, died a few days later in another Bethlehem police facility. According to police officials, he too committed suicide.

The detainee in the Gaza Strip, al-Balbisi, was being held by Hamas authorities for allegedly assaulting his wife.

But al-Balbisi, 43, apparently did not commit suicide. He was very ill when he was arrested by the Hamas security forces, and did not receive proper medical care while in detention.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), a Gaza-based non-profit group dedicated to protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law and upholding democratic principles in the Palestinian territories, called for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the detainees.

“PCHR stresses that the Palestinian Authority is responsible for the lives of prisoners and detainees under its control and is thus responsible for treating them with dignity, including offering them medical care,” the group said in a statement.

1143The Palestinian Authority police on parade, January 2015.

When three detainees die in less than a week in Palestinian detention, this should sound an alarm bell, especially among so-called pro-Palestinian groups and human rights activists in different parts of the world.

But these folks, like the UN and mainstream media, do not care about the human rights of the Palestinians if Israel cannot be held responsible. Their obsession with Israel has made them blind to the plight of Palestinians living under the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, as well as to the horrific crimes committed every day by Muslim terrorists in the Middle East and elsewhere.

The story of the three men who died in Palestinian jails is yet another example of the double standards that the international community and media employ when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

The U.S. Must Help Egyptian President Sisi

July 6, 2015

The U.S. Must Help Egyptian President Sisi, American ThinkerMichael Curtis, July 6, 2015

(Not much chance of that. General al-Sisi supported the large masses of Egyptians who wanted then President Morsi deposed. He was later elected President of Egypt. Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood — which uses terrorism to gain and keep power — is an Obama favorite. Besides, al-Sisi’s efforts to reform Islam run counter to Obama’s delusion that Islam, as it is and has long been, is a wonderful religion of peace. — DM)

The silence was truly deafening. Not a sound from Archbishop Desmond Tutu or Alice Walker or the eager boycotters of Israel or the United Nations Human Rights Council about the brutal massacre of more than 70, perhaps 100, Egyptian soldiers and civilians by Islamist terrorists in the northern Sinai peninsula.

Since Israel, after the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, withdrew all its forces and all settlements — including Yamit — by 1982, the Sinai peninsula has been plagued by terrorist attacks, especially against tourists, by kidnappings, and by violence. After the 2011 Egyptian revolution and consequent uprisings, a major terrorist group emerged and became even more belligerent after the coup that deposed President Mohammed Morsi on July 3, 2013. This was Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM) that has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks against both Israeli interests and Egyptian personnel.

These assaults included an attack in July 2012 against a Sinai pipeline, a rocket strike in August 2012 on Eilat in south Israel, suicide bombings in el Tor in southern Sinai in May 2014, downing an Egyptian military helicopter in a missile attack, car bombings and hand grenades in Cairo, assassinations and attempted assassinations of Egyptian officials, beheading of four individuals in October 2014, an attack on a security checkpoint, and the June 29, 2015 murder in Cairo of Hisham Barakat, the Egyptian Prosecutor General, who in only two years in office had detained hundreds of members of the Muslim Brotherhood. He was the most senior Egyptian government official murdered.

In November 2014, ABM declared its allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (IS) and accepted the new self-appointed Caliph. It appears to have several hundred trained operatives and collaborators. There are different opinions about the actions of the Sinai Bedouin population, especially that of the largest of the 10 major tribes, the Tarabin tribe in northern Sinai, a tribe that is notorious for drug dealing, weapons smuggling, and human trafficking in prostitutes and African labor workers. Tarabin is said to have called for unification of all the tribes against the terrorists, but rumors of clashes appear to be untrue, and some even allege collaboration with the terrorists. What is true is that local Bedouin tribesmen, alleging discrimination by the state against them, have launched attacks against government forces in Sinai.

Over the last two years ABM, now regarding itself as a dedicated affiliate of IS, has tried to undermine the rule of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. It has attacked Egyptian army posts, and security centers, and also the UN Multilateral Force in northern Sinai, that oversees the terms of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, and tried as well to infiltrate Israeli territory.

There had already been terrorist attacks on October 2014 and January 2015 when more than 30 were killed on each occasion in northeast Sinai. The most dramatic deed of ABM, which now seems to have changed its name to Province of Sinai, (POS) was the series of simultaneous coordinated attacks on July 1, 2015 on fifteen army centers of security forces and checkpoints in northern Sinai. The attacks, including three suicide bombers, killed at least 70 soldiers and civilians.

Evidently POS, imitating its mentor IS that has taken and now rules cities in Iraq and Syria, wanted to take over the city of Sheikh Zuweid, close to Israel, and cut off Rafah from al-Arish.

The danger to all of the democratic countries is immediate for a number of reasons. The first is that the success of the terrorists in their daring ambushes, control of the roads, taking police officers hostage, and planting mines in the streets, indicates not only their disciplined activity but also the influence of IS operatives directly and indirectly through training. IS in Iraq and Syria has operated in just this aggressive and disciplined fashion. All authorities responsible for security in the United States should be conscious of and take account of this highly organized success and of the threat of future similar attacks in the U.S. itself.

The second reason is that Hamas in Gaza is providing support to POS with weapons and logistical support, and even with Hamas terrorists taking part in operations. These have come from Hamas commanders in the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades that have been prominent for anti-Israeli attacks, including suicide bombings against civilians inside Israel. One particular active commander is Wael Faraj, who has smuggled wounded fighters from Sinai into Gaza.

A third problem is the obvious attempt to undermine and aim at the overthrow of President Sisi, a voice of sanity in the Muslim world. He has courageously criticized the extremists of his religion. In his remarkable speech at al-Azhar University in Cairo on January 22, 2015, he said that fellow Muslims needed to change the religious discourse and remove from it things that have led to violence and extremism. The Muslim religion, he said to imams, is in need of religious reform.

Since he assumed power on June 8, 2014, Sisi has attempted to stem the tide of terrorism by reinforcing the Sinai, restricting traffic, imposing curfews in the area, and demolishing homes of suspected terrorists in Rafah. He sought to create a buffer zone along the border with Gaza, and to destroy the tunnels built by Hamas. But clearly Sisi needs help to survive. It is imperative for the U.S. together with Israel to provide that help to the overwhelmed Egyptian army and intelligence services.

Israel is acutely aware of the danger. POS captured armored vehicles on July 1, 2015 that it can now use to penetrate the border fence between Sinai and Israel. That fence is unlikely to deter a trained terrorist group that now has combat experience. Israel responded by closing roads and two border crossings as a precautionary measure. But all the democratic countries, especially the United States, and also the United Nations because of its Multilateral Force, are now aware that the Islamist terror is at their doors as well as at the outskirts of Israel, and should act accordingly.


Pulling down the slaver flags of Islam and Africa

July 2, 2015

Pulling down the slaver flags of Islam and Africa, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, July 2, 2015


In our incredibly tolerant culture, it has become politically incorrect to watch the General Lee jump a fence or a barn, but paying tribute to the culture that sent the slaves here and that still practices slavery is the culturally sensitive thing to do.


The return of the Confederacy was averted in the summer of 2015 when major retailers frantically scoured through their vast offerings to purge any images of a car from the Dukes of Hazzard. If not for their quick thinking, armies of men in gray might have come marching down the streets of New York and San Francisco to stop off for an Iced Mocha Frappucino ™ at a local Starbucks before restoring slavery.

History will little note nor long remember the tired wage slaves making $7.25 an hour while checking Amazon and eBay databases for tin models of an orange car with a Confederate flag on top. During this courageous defense of the homeland from the scourge of a mildly politically incorrect 80s show, Hillary Clinton committed her own unpardonable racist hate crime by saying, “All lives matter”.

The politically correct term is, “Black lives matter.”

Even while our own Boss Hoggs in DC and SF are locking up the Duke boys as a symbol of racism, they are loudly arguing that black lives matter, all lives don’t. The proportion that the weight of a life should be measured by race is the sort of idea that we might have associated with slavery. Today it’s an idea that we associate with racial tolerance as we heal our nation’s racial wounds one race riot at a time.

Romanticizing the South means a whipping from our cultural elite. Instead of romanticizing the culture that bought slaves, they romanticize the Middle Eastern and African cultures that sold them the slaves.

When Obama condemned Christianity for the Crusades, only a thousand years too late, in attendance was the Foreign Minister of Sudan; a country that practices slavery and genocide. Obama could have taken time out from his rigorous denunciation of the Middle Ages to speak truth to the emissary of a Muslim Brotherhood regime whose leader is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. But our moral liberals spend too much time romanticizing actual slaver cultures.

It’s a lot easier for Obama to get in his million dollar Cadillac with its 5-inch thick bulletproof windows, a ride Boss Hogg could only envy, and chase down a couple of good ole boys than it is to condemn a culture that committed genocide in our own time, not in 1099, and that keeps slaves today, not in 1815.

Even while the Duke boys were being chased through Georgia, Obama appeared at an Iftar dinner; an event at which Muslims emulate Mohammed, who had more slaves than Robert E. Lee. There are no slaves in Arlington House today, but in the heartlands of Islam, from Saudi mansions to ISIS dungeons, there are still slaves, laboring, beaten, bought, sold, raped and disposed of in Mohammed’s name.

Slavery does not exist under the Confederate flag eagerly being pulled down. It does exist under the black and green flags of Islam rising over mosques in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and America today.

In our incredibly tolerant culture, it has become politically incorrect to watch the General Lee jump a fence or a barn, but paying tribute to the culture that sent the slaves here and that still practices slavery is the culturally sensitive thing to do. In 2015, slavery is no longer freedom, but it certainly is tolerance.

And it’s not just about Islam.

If romanticizing Dixie is wrong, so is romanticizing those ancient African cultures so beloved by amateur anthropologists and professional sociologists with more plastic tribal jewelry than sense. Slavery was an indigenous African and Middle Eastern practice. Not to mention an indigenous practice in America among indigenous cultures.

If justice demands that we pull down the Confederate flag everywhere, even from the top of the orange car sailing through the air in the freeze frame of an old television show, then what possible justification is there for all the faux Aztec knickknacks? Even the worst Southern plantation owners didn’t tear out the hearts of their slaves on top of pyramids. The romanticization of Aztec brutality plays a crucial role in the mythology of Mexican nationalist groups like La Raza promoting the Reconquista of America today.

Black nationalists romanticize the slave-holding civilization of Egypt despite the fact that the narrative of the liberation of the Hebrew slaves from bondage played a crucial role in the end of slavery in America. The endless stories about the “Amazons” of the African kingdom of Dahomey neatly fit into the leftist myth of a peaceful matriarchal Africa disrupted by European colonialism, but Dahomey ran on slavery.

The “Amazons” helped capture slaves for the Atlantic slave trade. White and black liberals are romanticizing the very culture that captured and sold their forefathers into slavery. “In Dahomey,” the first major mainstream black musical was about African-Americans moving to Dahomey. By then the French had taken over old Dahomey and together with the British had put an end to the slave trade.

The French dismantled the “Amazons” and freed many of Dahomey’s slaves only for the idiot descendants of both groups to romanticize the noble last stand of Dahomey fighting for the right to export black slaves to Cuba and condemn the European liberators who put a stop to that atrocity.

If we crack down on romanticizing Dixie, how can we possibly justify romanticizing Dahomey or the Aztecs or Mohammed? If slavery and racism are wrong, then they are wrong across the board.

Even by the miserably racist standard under which all lives don’t matter, only black lives matter, Dahomey and Mohammed had bought, sold and killed enough black lives to be frowned upon.

If we go back far enough in time, most cultures kept slaves. The Romans and Greeks certainly did. That’s why the meaningful standard is not whether a culture ever had slaves, but whether it has slaves today. If we are going to eradicate the symbols of every culture that ever traded in slaves, there will be few cultural symbols that will escape unscathed. But the academics who insist on cultural relativism in 19th century Africa, reject it in 19th century South Carolina thereby revealing their own racism.

And so instead of fighting actual modern day slavery in Africa and the Middle East, social justice warriors are swarming to invade Hazzard County.

As Ben Carson pointed out, we will not get rid of racism by banning the Confederate flag. Even when it is used at its worst, by the likes of Dylann Storm Roof, it is a symptom, not the problem. Roof was not radicalized by the dead Confederacy, but by the racial tensions kicked off by the Trayvon Martin case.

The same racial tensions that led to the murder of two police officers by a #BlackLivesMatter protester in New York City led to the massacre of nine black congregants in a church in Charleston. This surge of violence has its roots in racist activism by Obama and his supporters seeking power and political gain, but feeding racial tensions for political purposes eventually risks leading to actual violence.

The Confederate flag is a matter of history. The racial tensions stirred up by Obama have actually gotten people killed. Slavery is not making a comeback and Robert E. Lee will not come riding into San Francisco any time soon. The Civil War ended long ago. The country would be a better place if modern racists who believe that some lives, whether black or white, matter more than others would stop trying to start one.

Kerry’s absolute idiocy

June 17, 2015

Kerry’s absolute idiocy, Power LineScott Johnson, June 16, 2015

The administration told Congress to hold off pressuring Iran by declaring they were going to bring home a deal in which the Iranians capitulated on PMDs. They failed. Now they’re claiming it never mattered anyway.


The Obama administration’s rush to sell us out to Iran presents a spectacle of deception, prevarication, and idiocy the likes of which we have never seen. It is as though Henry Wallace had been given the keys to the kingdom in 1945 instead of Harry Truman and made Alger Hiss Secretary of State instead of Dean Acheson.

Among the “parameters” of a final agreement set forth by the White House and supposedly agreed to by Iran is this one: “Iran will implement an agreed set of measures to address the IAEA’s concerns regarding the Possible Military Dimensions (PMD) of its program.” Sounds a little vague on a key measure that is necessary to provide a baseline against which future activities can be measured, but it was touted as a substantial requirement. In today’s news we have this development, summarized by Omri Ceren in an email this afternoon (including his footnotes):

Earlier today Secretary Kerry addressed the State Department press corps by teleconference. Here’s the quote, in response to a question from the NYT’s Michael Gordon on whether concerns over atomic work by Iran’s military would “need to be fully resolved before sanctions are eased or released or removed or suspended on Iran as part of that agreement.” The term of art for that work – which ranges from mines controlled by the IRGC to full-blown weaponization work – is “possible military dimensions” (PMDs):

Michael, the possible military dimensions, frankly, gets distorted a little bit in some of the discussion, in that we’re not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another. We know what they did. We have no doubt. We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in. What we’re concerned about is going forward. It’s critical to us to know that going forward, those activities have been stopped, and that we can account for that in a legitimate way. That clearly is one of the requirements in our judgment for what has to be achieved in order to have a legitimate agreement. And in order to have an agreement to trigger any kind of material significant sanctions relief, we would have to have those answers [1].

This is new. I don’t think the administration has ever tried to spin up reporters on the claim that the US “has absolute knowledge” of Iran’s military nuclear work. Certainly it’s never been a top message. But administration officials have no choice: the Associated Press confirmed last week that the P5+1 has collapsed on the demand that Iran come clean about its past atomic work, which would gut the verification regime that the White House has made the key criterion of any deal [2]. Without knowing what the Iranians did in the past there’s no way confirming they’ve stopped doing those things, which means there’s no way that Kerry’s other line about confirming that prohibited “activities have stopped” could ever be true. So the new argument is – as it sort of has to be – that Washington doesn’t need the Iranians to reveal anything because American officials already know everything.

Couple things to note about the claim:

(1) It’s false – Here is IAEA Director General Amano 3 months ago: “what we don’t know [is] whether they have undeclared activities or something else. We don’t know what they did in the past. So, we know a part of their activities, but we cannot tell we know all their activities. And that is why we cannot say that all the activities in Iran is in peaceful purposes” [3]. And here he is again a few weeks ago: “the Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities” [4].

And here is a partial list of things the West doesn’t know about Iran’s past atomic work (the first few are from current and former IAEA inspectors): how far Iran got on testing nuclear detonators [5], whether Iran maintains the infrastructure to do further tests and build on that work [6], whether Iran diverted nuclear material, including enriched material, for past or future clandestine purposes [7], what nuclear assets and knowledge Iran acquired from North Korea and is keeping on the shelf [8], same about nuclear assets and knowledge acquired from Russia [9], how Iran skirted inspectors in the past and whether they could repeat those tricks in the future [10], what the Iranians managed to destroy when it literally paved over the Parchin site where it did nuclear work [11].

(2) It’s a collapse the administration’s core promise to lawmakers on any deal – Every time the administration needed to defend negotiations they asked Congress and the public for breathing room by promising they’d force the Iranians to meet their PMD obligations. Lead negotiator Wendy Sherman sold the interim JPOA to Congress in December 2013 by telling Senate Banking that under the interim agreement Iran had agreed to “address past and present practices, which is the IAEA terminology for possible military dimensions” and that “we intend to support the IAEA in its efforts to deal with possible military dimensions” [12]. A few months later she told SFRC that “in the Joint Plan of Action we have required that Iran come clean” [13]. The same month she told AIPAC attendees to “create space” for talks because “the possible military dimensions of the Iranian nuclear program will have to be addressed” [14]. Kerry told PBS in April, in the immediate aftermath of Lausanne, that on PMDs the Iranians will “have to do it. It will be done” [15].

The administration told Congress to hold off pressuring Iran by declaring they were going to bring home a deal in which the Iranians capitulated on PMDs. They failed. Now they’re claiming it never mattered anyway.


Op-Ed: Core Synergies in Israel’s Strategic Planning

June 9, 2015

Op-Ed: Core Synergies in Israel’s Strategic Planning, Harvard Law School National Security Journal via Israel National News, Prof. Louis René Beres, June 9, 2016

(Rather “high brow,” but well worth considering seriously. — DM)

Significantly, the most insidious synergy of all could involve a rudimentary failure to understand that belligerent enemy intentions ultimately depend for their efficacy upon confused, partial, or inadequately thoughtful Israeli responses.


To best serve Israel, the country’s strategic studies community should favor more conceptual or “molecular” assessments of expected security perils. Going forward therefore, it will not suffice for this community to operate in ways that are roughly comparable to the purely reportorial activities of journalists and pundits, that is, of ordinary observers who focus exclusively on current personalities and events. With this timely warning in mind, the following brief essay explains and argues for a specifically enhanced Israeli consideration of enemy “synergies.”

For the most part, the concept of synergy is already familiar to capable scientists and scholars. It signifies, above all, that the usually binding axioms of geometry can sometimes be overridden by various intersecting phenomena. Applied to Israel, this concept suggests that certain identifiable threats to the Jewish State should no longer be considered as wholly separate or discrete, but instead, as more-or-less interpenetrating and mutually-reinforcing.

The most obvious and portentous example of pertinent synergy for Jerusalem is represented by Iranian nuclear weapons and Palestinian statehood.[1]

At first, any such talk of “synergy” may sound needlessly pretentious, or at least more contrived, concocted, or complicated than is really the case. In medicine, after all, it would already seem plain that the dangers of smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol together must exceed either one behavior without the other. This is because the synergistic effect is presumptively much greater than those consequences ascertained by merely adding these two injurious activities together.

For Israeli planners, the still-widely-unrecognized synergy between Iranian nuclearization and “Palestine” should finally be treated with a more emphatic intellectual regard.[2] Notwithstanding the declared assumptions of virtually all acknowledged national strategists, Iran and Palestine,[3] as “negative force multipliers,”[4] do not represent thoroughly separate or unrelated hazards to Israel. To continue to assess each one independently of the other would be a serious conceptual error. It would be to consciously obscure what is potentially most revealing and most ominous.

Israel’s main security policies must involve carefully nuanced considerations of active defense, as well as of deterrence, preemption, and war-fighting. The country’s multilayered missile defenses are central to national survival. As long as incoming rocket aggressions from Gaza, West Bank, and/or Lebanon (Hezbollah) were to remain “only” conventional, the inevitable leakage could still be tolerable. But once these rockets were fitted with chemical and/or biological materials, such porosity could quickly prove “unacceptable.[5] This means, among other things, that the projected harms of rocket attacks upon Israel would depend not only upon the inherent dangers posed by a particular weapon system, but also upon the ways in which these individual harms would intersect.[6]

Once facing Iranian nuclear missiles, Israel’s “Arrow” ballistic missile defense system would require a fully 100% reliability of interception. To achieve any such level of reliability, however, would be impossible. Now, assuming that the prime minister has already abandoned any residual hopes for a cost-effective eleventh-hour preemption against pertinent Iranian nuclear assets , this means that Israeli defense planners must prepare instead, and longer-term, for stable deterrence.[7]

Theory is a net. Only those who cast, can catch.[8] Because of the expectedly corrosive interactive effects involving Iranian nuclear weapons and Palestinian statehood, for example, Israel will need to update and refine its existing theories of deterrence.

Looking ahead, there are various antecedent issues of theoretical concern. For one, Israel’s leaders will have to accept that certain more-or-less identifiable leaders of prospectively overlapping enemies might not necessarily satisfy the complex criteria of rational behavior in world politics. In such partially improbable but still conceivable circumstances, assorted Jihadist adversaries in Palestine, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, or elsewhere might sometime refuse to renounce certain still-contemplated aggressions against Israel.[9]

By definition, these irrational enemies could exhibit such more-or-less plausible refusals even in anticipation of fully devastating Israeli reprisals. But, would they still remain subject to alternative threats or forms of deterrence? And might an entire state sometime exhibit such non-rational orientations, thereby becoming, in essence, a suicide terrorist writ large?

These utterly core questions can no longer be ignored. Sooner rather than later, and facing new and prospectively incalculable synergies from Iranian and Palestinian aggressions, Israel will need to take appropriate steps to assure that: (1) it does not become the object of any non-conventional attacks from these enemies; and (2) it can successfully deter all possible forms of non-conventional conflict. To meet this ambitious but indispensable goal, Jerusalem, inter alia, absolutely must retain its recognizably far-reaching conventional superiority in pertinent weapons and capable manpower, including effective tactical/operational control over the Jordan Valley.

In this connection, a Palestinian state could make Israeli military and civilian targets more opportune for Iranian rockets. It could simultaneously undermine the Jewish State’s critical early-warning systems.

Maintaining a qualitative edge in conventional war-fighting capacity could reduce Israel’s overall likelihood of ever actually having to enter into a chemical, biological, or even nuclear exchange with regional adversaries. CorrespondinglyIsrael should plan to begin to move incrementally beyond its increasingly perilous posture of “deliberate nuclear ambiguity.”[10] By preparing to shift toward prudently selective and partial kinds of “nuclear disclosure” – in other words, by getting ready to take its “bomb” out of the “basement,” but in carefully controlled phases[11] – Israel could best ensure that its relevant enemies will remain sufficiently subject to Israeli nuclear deterrence.

In matters of defense strategy, truth may emerge through paradox. Israeli planners, it follows, may soon have to acknowledge that the efficacy and credibility of their country’s nuclear deterrence posture could sometime vary inversely with enemy perceptions of Israeli nuclear destructiveness. However ironic or counter-intuitive, enemy views of a too-large or too-destructive Israeli nuclear deterrent force, or of an Israeli force that is not sufficiently invulnerable to first-strike attacks,[12] could substantially undermine this deterrence posture.

Here, too, carving “Palestine” out of the still-living body of Israel (whatamounts to the unhidden Palestinian Authority plan for a “one state solution”), could impact the Iranian nuclear threat, and vice-versa. Once again, Israel’s defense planning must account for possible and prospectively prohibitive synergies.

Also critical, of course, is that Israel’s current and future adversaries will always acknowledge the Jewish State’s nuclear retaliatory forces as “penetration capable.” This suggests forces that will seem “assuredly capable” of penetrating any Arab or Iranian aggressor’s active defenses. Naturally, a new state of Palestine would be non-nuclear itself, but it could still present a new “nuclear danger” to Israel by its probable impact upon the prevailing regional “correlation of forces.”[13] Palestine, therefore, could represent an indirect but nonetheless markedly serious nuclear threat to Israel. Here, yet again, is an example of the need for Israeli planners to think synergistically.

More remains to be done. Israel should continue to strengthen its active defenses, but Jerusalem must also do everything possible to improve each critical and interpenetrating component of its nuanced deterrence posture. In this bewilderingly complex and dialectical[14] process of strategic dissuasion, the Israeli task may require more incrementally explicit disclosures of nuclear targeting doctrine, and, accordingly, a steadily expanding role for cyber-defense and cyber-war.

Even before undertaking such delicately important refinements, Israel will need to more systematically differentiate between adversaries that are presumably rational,[15] irrational, or “mad.”[16]

Overall, the success of Israel’s national deterrence strategies will be contingent, inter alia, upon an informed prior awareness of enemy preferences, and of specific enemy hierarchies of preferences. In this connection, altogether new and open-minded attention will need to be focused on the seeming emergence of “Cold War II” between Russia and the United States. Any such emergence, of course, could have meaningful effects upon both Israeli and adversarial military postures.[17]

If, within a pattern of “Cold War II,” a newly-formalized state of Palestine does not find itself in the same ideological orbit as Iran, the net hazard to Decision-makers will then need to explore and acknowledge what amounts, paradoxically, to a geometry of chaos. Israel could still exceed the sum of relevant intersecting threats. While attempting to survive amid growing regional disorder, therefore, Israel’s leaders should learn to understand the profound strategic limits of normal “geometry”—where, quite mundanely, the whole is always expected to equal to the sum of its parts—and to augment an enhanced understanding with certain new geometric orthodoxies. In essence, these decision-makers will then need to explore and acknowledge what amounts, paradoxically, to a geometry of chaos.

Still, even this long-hidden geometry could reveal a discernible sense of symmetry and form, including the precise shape of certain critically interwoven enemy threats. Wherever the belligerent whole might add up to more than the sum of its constituent parts, Israel’s leaders could discover lethal hazards of adversarial synergies. Significantly, the most insidious synergy of all could involve a rudimentary failure to understand that belligerent enemy intentions ultimately depend for their efficacy upon confused, partial, or inadequately thoughtful Israeli responses.

When Pericles delivered his famous Funeral Oration, with its meticulously elaborate praise of Athenian civilization, his geostrategic perspective was applicable to more than the particular struggle at hand. Recorded by Thucydides, Pericles had expressed confidence in a military victory for Athens (a confidence, of course, that turned out to be misplaced), but also grave concern for any self-imposed limitations along the way: “What I fear more than the strategies of our enemies,” he had warned, “is our own mistakes.” However unforeseen, there is a vital lesson here for present-day Israel: In observing enemy preparations for war and terror, never forget that the ultimate success of these preparations will depend upon Israel’s selected responses.

There exists an overarching or determinative synergy between certain individual or intersecting enemy preparations and Israel’s own prepared policies and reactions.

In all world politics, but especially in the Middle East, we are present at the gradual unveiling of a “big picture,” but the nucleus of meaning—the essential truth of what is taking place—involves what is left out. For the foreseeable future, Israel’s enemies will continue with their ardent preparations for every form of war and terrorism. Unaffected by any civilizing expectations of international law of comity, these calculated preparations will proceed largely on their own track, culminating, if left suitably unobstructed, in new and ever more serious aggressions against Israel. The Jewish State must remain vigilant of such an emergent “big picture,” but also of every imaginable intersection or pattern of intersections between its component parts.

Always, Israel’s leaders and planners must reflect, core dangers to national security are profoundly synergistic.

Always, Israeli policy must recall, these fundamental dangers are potentially much greater than the additive sum of their  respective parts.

Always, Jerusalem must insightfully recognize, even a bewildering geometry of chaos has potentially meaningful sense and form.

Always, it must be Israel’s consuming task, to discover this synergistic truth.


[1] There are other still more complex synergies that need to be examined. These concern, especially, the intersecting roles of ISIS and al-Qaeda, including pertinent sub/state-state relationships with Syria, Iran, Libya, Lebanon, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia. Also worth exploring, in this connection, is the plausible escalation of “Cold War II,” a broadly transforming context of world politics that could create a “synergy of synergies.” Although all such bewildering hypotheticals may be intimidating or annoying to scholars and policy-makers, there remains no reasonable explanatory alternative to taking them into account.

[2] Rabbi Eleazar quoted Rabbi Hanina, who said: “Scholars build the structure of peace in the world.” See: The Babylonian Talmud, Order Zera’im, Tractate Berakoth, and IX.

[3] Once a Palestinian state were created, it would more likely become subject to destruction by assorted Arab forces, than by Israel. Plausibly, in this connection, ISIS forces fighting their way westward across Jordan could quickly arrive at the West Bank (Judea/Samaria), and make fast work of any now indigenous Hamas/PA national “army.” In such dire circumstances, the citizens of “Palestine” would assuredly rue the day of their recently-declared “independence.”

[4] This is a term that will likely be favored by the generals, over synergy.

[5] See, on this issue: Louis René Beres and (Major-General/IDF/Res.) Isaac Ben-Israel, “Think Anticipatory Self-Defense,” The Jerusalem Post, October 22, 2007; Professor Beres and MG Ben-Israel, “The Limits of Deterrence,” Washington Times, November 21, 2007; Professor Beres and MG Ben-Israel, “Deterring Iran,”Washington Times, June 10, 2007; Professor Beres and MG Ben-Israel, “Deterring Iranian Nuclear Attack,” Washington Times, January 27, 2009; and Professor Beres and MG Ben-Israel, “Defending Israel from Iranian Nuclear Attack,” The Jewish Press, March 13, 2013. See also: Louis René Beres and (General/USAF/ret.) John T. Chain, “Could Israel Safely Deter a Nuclear Iran?” The Atlantic, August 9, 2012; Professor Beres and General Chain, “Living With Iran,” BESA Center for Strategic Studies, Israel, May 2014; and Louis René Beres and (Lt.General/USAF/ret.) Thomas McInerney, “Obama’s Inconceivable, Undesirable, Nuclear-Free Dream,” U.S. News & World Report, August 29, 2013.

[6] Here, it warrants mention that Palestinian statehood could represent an enlarged set of risks to Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor. Already, in 1991 and 2014, this small reactor came under missile and rocket attack from Iraqi and Hamas aggressions respectively. For authoritative assessments of these attacks and related risks, see: Bennett Ramberg, “Should Israel Close Dimona? The Radiological Consequences of a Military Strike on Israel’s Plutonium-Production Reactor,” Arms Control Today, May 2008, pp. 6-13.

[7] With particular reference to nuclear deterrence, the primary function of Israel’s nuclear forces must always be dissuasion ex ante, rather than revenge ex post.

[8] This convenient metaphor is generally attributed to Novalis, the late 18th-century German poet and scholar. See, for example, introductory citation by Karl R. Popper, in his The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1959). Ironically, perhaps, Novalis’ fellow German poet, Goethe, had declared, in his early Faust fragment (Urfaust): “All theory, dear friend, is grey. But the golden tree of life is green.” (Grau, theurer Freund, ist alle Theorie, Und grűn des Lebens goldner Baum.)

[9] See, on this point: Louis René Beres, “Religious Extremism and International Legal Norms: Perfidy, Preemption, and Irrationality,” Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, Vol. 39, No.3., 2007-2008, pp. 709-730.

[10] See: Louis René Beres, “Like Two Scorpions in a Bottle: Could Israel and a Nuclear Iran Coexist in the Middle East,” The Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, Vol. 8, No. 1., 2014, pp. 23-32; Louis René Beres, “Facing Myriad Enemies: Core Elements of Israeli Nuclear Deterrence,” The Brown Journal of World Affairs, Vol. XX, Issue 1., Fall/Winter 2013, pp. 17-30; Louis René Beres, “Lessons for Israel from Ancient Chinese Military Thought: Facing Iranian Nuclearization with Sun-Tzu,”Harvard National Security Journal, 2013; Louis René Beres, “Striking Hezbollah-Bound Weapons in Syria: Israel’s Actions Under International Law,” Harvard National Security Journal, 2013; Louis René Beres, “Looking Ahead: Revising Israel’s Nuclear Ambiguity in the Middle East,” Herzliya Conference presentation, 2013; March 2013; IDC, Herzliya; Louis René Beres and (General/USAF/ret) John T. Chain, “Could Israel Safely Deter a Nuclear Iran?” The Atlantic, 2012.

[11] On identifying alternative nuclear disclosure options, see: Louis René Beres, “Israel’s Strategic Doctrine: Updating Intelligence Community Responsibilities,”International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Vol. 28, No. 1, Spring, 2015, pp. 89-104.

[12] On Israeli submarine basing measures, see: Louis René Beres and (Admiral/USN/ret.) Leon “Bud” Edney, “Israel’s Nuclear Strategy: A Larger Role for Submarine-Basing,” The Jerusalem Post, August 17, 2014; and Professor Beres and Admiral Edney, “A Sea-Based Nuclear Deterrent for Israel,” Washington Times, September 5, 2014.

[13] See: Louis René Beres, “Understanding the Correlation of Forces in the Middle East: Israel’s Urgent Strategic Imperative,” The Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs,Vol. IV, No. 1 (2010).

[14] Dialectic formally originated in the fifth century BCE, as Zeno, author of the Paradoxes, had been acknowledged by Aristotle as its inventor. In the middle dialogues of Plato, dialectic emerges as the supreme form of philosophical/analytic method. Here, Plato describes the dialectician as one who knows best how to ask and answer questions. This particular knowledge – how to ask, and to answer questions, sequentially – should now be insistently transposed to the organized study of Israeli security issues.

[15] Israelis, like Americans, are inclined to project their own dominant sense of rationality upon adversaries. Acknowledging that western philosophy has always oscillated between Plato and Nietzsche, between rationalism and irrationalism, we have all routinely cast our psychological lot with the Greek thinkers and their inheritors. Significantly, however, Israel is now up against a steadily transforming ordering of the geostrategic universe; now, Israel’s strategists might sometimes be better advised to read Dostoyevsky and Kafka, than to dwell too fixedly on Platonic rationalism.

[16] “Do you know what it means to find yourselves face to face with a madman,” inquires Luigi Pirandello, “with one who shakes the foundations of all you have built up in yourselves, your logic, and the logic of all your constructions? Madmen, lucky folk, construct without logic, or rather, with a logic that flies like a feather.”

[17] On this point, see: Louis René Beres, “Staying Strong: Enhancing Israel’s Essential Strategic Options,” Harvard National Security Journal, Harvard Law School, June 13, 2014.


Obama Assures Iran It Has Nothing to Fear

June 2, 2015

Obama Assures Iran It Has Nothing to Fear, Commentary Magazine, June 1, 2015

(Obama seems to have been talking about Iranian efforts to militarize nukes, not peaceful uses such as medical or generation of electricity. If, as claimed, Iran has no intention of getting, keeping or using nukes why try to halt it? Why bother even to negotiate?– DM)

“A military solution will not fix it. Even if the United States participates, it would temporarily slow down an Iranian nuclear program but it will not eliminate it.”


At this point, there is virtually no one in Israel or the United States who thinks it is remotely possible that the Obama administration would ever, under virtually any circumstances, use force against Iran. Though President Obama and his foreign policy team have always claimed that “all options,” including force, are always on the table in the event that Iran refuses to back down and seeks to produce a nuclear weapon, that is a threat that few took seriously. But President Obama has never been quite as explicit about this before as he was in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 in which he reportedly said there is no military option to stop Iran. If Obama wanted to telegraph Iran that it could be as tough as it likes in the talks over the final text of the nuclear deal being negotiated this month this statement certainly did the job. Though they had little worry about Obama’s toughness or resolve, the ayatollahs will be pleased to note that the president no longer even bothers to pretend he is prepared to do whatever is necessary to stop Iran’s nuclear ambition.

According to the Times of Israel, Obama said:

“A military solution will not fix it. Even if the United States participates, it would temporarily slow down an Iranian nuclear program but it will not eliminate it.”

Though he continued to use rhetoric that left force as an option, the implicit threat of American action if a nuclear weapon were a possibility has lacked credibility since the president began his second term. Once he embarked upon secret back-channel talks in which, one by one, he abandoned his previous pledges about forcing Iran to shut down its program in concessions and virtually every other U.S. position on the issue, force was never a real possibility. The signing of a weak interim deal in November, 2013, and then the framework agreed upon this spring signaled the end of any idea that the U.S. was prepared to act. That is especially so because the current deal leaves Tehran in possession of its nuclear infrastructure and with no guarantees about inspections or the re-imposition of sanctions in the event the agreement collapsed. The current deal, even with so many crucial details left unspecified makes Iran a U.S. partner and, in effect, the centerpiece of a new U.S. Middle East policy that essentially sidelines traditional allies like Saudi Arabia and Israel that are directly threatened by Iran.

Moreover, it must be conceded that the use of force against Iran would be problematic even for the United States and its vast military resources. As for Israel, despite a lot of bold talk by some in the Jewish state, there has always been skepticism that its outstanding air force had the ability to sustain an air campaign for the length of time that would be required to make a difference. Nevertheless, the notion that force would not be effective in forestalling an Iranian bomb is mistaken. Serious damage could put off the threat for a long time and, if sanctions were kept in place or made stricter as they should have been to strengthen the West’s bargaining position, the possibility of an Iranian nuke could have been put off for the foreseeable future.

Yet, while talk about using force has been largely obsolete once the interim deal was signed in 2013, for the president to send such a clear signal that he will not under any circumstances walk away from the current talks, no matter what Iran does, is significant.

After all, some of the most important elements of the deal have yet to be nailed down. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has publicly stated that he will never allow the sort of inspections that would make a deal verifiable. He has also demanded that sanctions be lifted permanently on the day the agreement is signed, and that there should be no provision for them to be snapped back. Nor are the Iranians conceding that their stockpile of nuclear fuel be taken out of their hands.

So if Obama is to get the “verifiable tough agreement” he told Channel 2 he seeks, the U.S. must somehow convince the Iranians to back down on all these points. That’s going to be difficult since the past two years of negotiations with Obama have taught them to wait for him to give up since he always does so sooner or later. The president’s statement makes it clear that, no matter how obdurate the Iranians remain, he will never walk away from the talks. And since this deal is the lynchpin of his foreign policy legacy, they know very well that all they have to do is to be patient.

Iran already knows that the deal in its current form allows them two clear paths to a bomb. One is by cheating on its easily evaded terms. The other is by waiting patiently for it to expire, the sunset provision being another astonishing concession by Obama.

If a tough deal were even a possibility, this would have been the moment for the president to sound tough. But throughout this process, the only toughness the president has shown has been toward Israel as he sought to disparage and dismiss its justifiable worries about his course of action. Merely saying now, as he does in the Channel 2 interview, that he understands Israel’s fears is mere lip service, especially since it comes along with a virtual guarantee to Iran that it needn’t worry about a U.S. strike under any circumstance.

With only weeks to go until the June 30 deadline for an Iran deal, there is no question that Obama’s statement makes an unsatisfactory final text even more certain than it was before. That’s good news for Tehran and very bad news for an Israeli people who have no reason to trust the president’s promises or believe in his good intentions.

Islam and Appeasement

February 4, 2015

Islam and Appeasement, American ThinkerG. Murphy Donovan, February 4, 2015

The US State Department is one of the few institutions in America, other than the Nation of Islam, blessed with the gift of prophecy.  Logic, reason, and morality have been subverted to serve the cause of appeasement. Pandering to savages has always been the one policy choice that guarantees that things will get worse.


Europe and America are impaled on the horns of a strategic dilemma. On the one hand, the world is besieged by jihadi religious terror, barbarity, and serial wars with jihadists.  Concurrently, most of the civilized world defends the very religious cultures, Sunni and Shia Islam especially, where the problems originate.  To be clear at the outset; with Islam today, there seems to be less and less daylight between secular and religious imperatives.

RehanaISIS Islamist with the head of “Rehana,” Peshmerga fighter.

Theology, for the most part, is the a priori premise for Muslim politics and evangelism, Islamism if you will. Culture proceeds from or is conditioned by religious writ or tradition in the Ummah.  The adjective “Islamic” before the noun “republic” is not just an historical artifact.

Indeed, since the 1979 Shia religious coup in Persia, the political trend lines throughout dar al Islam are clearly theocratic. You might call the recent Shia coup in Yemen a copycat killing. Secular Islam is in the crosshairs. The trend suffered a setback in Egypt recently, but only at the expense of a military coup.

Theocracy or the generals are the two political default settings in the Muslim world today. Priests and brass hats are never far from the nexus of power. If behavior is a measure of merit in the Ummah, the generals are to be preferred over the ayatollahs, Islamic scholars, mullahs, or imams. Cairo might take a nervous bow here.

A priori or unwarranted assumptions are not limited, however, to the Islamic side of the geo-strategic conundrum. European and American intellectuals, politicians, generals, and academics, are handicapped with the same infirmity.

Terror provides a snapshot of the logic that flows from flawed premises, foregone conclusions that attempt to absolve Islam.

After most atrocities, East or West, the specter of the late Edward Said reappears. Said is the Palestinian apologist, tenured at Columbia University, who coined the theory of “Orientalism,” a grab bag of complaints that cover a host of shibboleths that permit blanket absolution for the Muslim majority today.

Infidels in the West usually begin with ritual handwringing about the horrors of bombs, bullets, and beheadings, followed immediately by a logical hairball where moral poles are reversed — a universe where the Islamist villain morphs into the Muslim victim. Shooters and bombers are rhetorically excommunicated by Western Quislings.  Such is the “logic” that allows a black  politician from Chicago to declare emphatically that “ISIS is not Islam,” a little like parsing jackals from coyotes.

In contrast, few prominent Muslims condemn or ostracize jihadists. Jihad is as Muslim as Mohammed. Indeed, nearly 50 countries in dar al Islam now send Islamist fighters to ISIS, hirsute recruits that are happy to execute, in the name of Allah, any European, American, or East Asian that falls into their hands. Most recently, two Japanese civilians lost their heads. The executioner of choice at the moment apparently carries a British passport.

Before the blood dries after such barbarism, politicians and media pundits go on defense lest atrocity stain the veil of immunities created for all Muslims. Indeed, when the President of the United States or the Prime Minister of Britain says that ISIS, or any terror group, is not Islamic, they confer blanket amnesty on a sixth of the world’s population, the now celebrated “pacific,” passive-aggressive, Muslim majority.

The anointing of Islam as victim is underwritten by a litany of lesser and equally unsupportable excuses including but not limited to: colonialism, exploitation, poverty, illiteracy, imperialism, racism (sic), and moral equivalence. Of these, moral equivalence is the most absurd.

Few Muslim scholars, ayatollahs, or imams make any claim of moral equivalence. Mohamed, Islam, the Koran, and Hadith are thought to be a unity, the final, singular, and unalterable truth. The Islamist sees all other religions, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, and Hindu especially, as infidels or apostasies, vessels of ignorance. Ecumenism and multiculturalism is only possible, and only a tactic at that, in polities where Muslims are a minority. Tolerance is nearly absent where Muslim majorities prevail.

Within major religions, moral consistency is now an oxymoron. Discrimination in the West is a still a vice while bigotry in Islam has been ordained a cultural virtue.

Jews and Christians have been removed from most Arab states and are in peril in the Muslim world at large. Jews in Europe are also under siege now by a coalition of traditional anti-Semites on the Left, augmented by irredentist Muslim immigrants on the Right.  In contrast, 1.5 million Muslim Arabs still thrive in the tiny state of Israel.

Equality is a claim made by western apologists on behalf of Islam. Few Sunni or Shia clerics or scholars confer equality, civic or religious, on the unbeliever — infidel or apostate. Among Muslims, small minorities like the Kurds, the Zezidi, Ahmadiyya, and the Sufi might legitimately think of themselves as moderates, but they represent only five percent of Islam.

Premature absolution of Islam is now the knee jerk response to all atrocity. Never mind that most terror groups are Muslim and proudly array themselves with all the predictable kit: incantations, black surah flags, the Koran, the Hadith, beards, and burkas — all in the name of Mohammed. Somehow we are supposed to believe that none of this has anything to do with true Islam. The Ummah plays the victim with the passive approvals of believers and the active collaboration of infidels. “Great religion” indeed!

A standard mantra claims that the majority of Islamist victims are Muslims, another absurd tautology. The summary execution of milquetoast Muslims by righteous Muslims is a kind of cultural masochism. Jihadists who kill, or are themselves killed, are celebrated from Gaza to Kabul as heroes or martyrs.

There is no organized, universal opposition to the bomb, bullet, or the knife in the Arab League or the 56 nations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).  Indeed, the surah, the sword and the gun are the staples of modern Muslim iconography. Flags and banners alone put the lie to the “moderate” meme.

194001_5_Islam in London

When the goal is submission, the modalities for victory are clear, indeed, endorsed by scripture. No Muslim cleric argues that any surah, Koranic admonition, needs amendment or reform. Individual or isolated voices might be raised against violence, but there is no reform movement.

The reform vacuum has its own logic. The reformer would be an apostate and a target in any case.  The penalty for apostasy is death!  Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Salman Rushdie are examples. What is there to alter if you believe that you have the immutable word of God as guidance? And why change anything if you are winning?

The imperial Islamic 5th column in the West now punctuates evangelism with periodic massacres like Charlie Hebdo in Paris just to remind infidels which side has the upper hand.  Global terror may not be orchestrated by any one Muslim group or Islamic state. Alas, centrifugal terror is a tactical conundrum for the West and a strategic asset for the Islamist. Nothing succeeds like viral success.

Strategy in Brussels and Washington has deteriorated to what amounts to “whack-a-mole,” a carnival game where the hammer falls only where the rodent raises its head. ISIS is the rodent du jour. The tunnels of Gaza are the literal incarnation of such Muslim tactics, the strategic significance of which is designed to bleed Israel, in particular, and the West, in general, into submission.

Appeasement in the West and serial terror in the East makes for a calculus where new terror groups or Islamic states are likely to proliferate. ISIS, Boko Haram, and Hisb ut Tahrir provide some of the more recent evidence.

ISIS is the new and now more candid face of Islamo-fascism, savage and uncompromising, with a flair for public relations. Brute force is the attribute that merits the fascist label. Preliminary evidence suggests that ISIS tactics, on a global scale, are better proselytizers and recruiters than any al Qaeda atrocities. Al Baghdadi is not just another Sunni Osama bin Laden.  Baghdadi is worse — and more effective at the same time.

When American soldiers like Chris Kyle used words like “savages” to describe Islamists, he was only giving voice to the least offensive description of those who kill in God’s, Mohamed’s, or Islam’s name.

Boko Haram is another metastasizing menace. With the assistance of the US State Department, these Islamic slave traders flew under the terror radar for decades. The ninnies at Foggy Bottom can’t bring themselves to put the words “black Muslim slave trading terrorists” in the same sentence. Political correctness in Washington is a kind of Yankeefatwa nowadays, a death warrant, especially for African schoolgirls.

Political correctness is now the official Achilles heel of social democracies.

Hizb ut Tahrir is another caliphate proselytizer flying under the media radar with an assist from the US State Department and the Intelligence Community. HT activities seldom see the light of day although this mutation of Sunni Islamism now operates openly, like al Ikhwan (aka, the Muslim Brotherhood), without a US terrorist designation and associated scrutiny. If the activists of HT, al Ikhwan, and affiliates were audited, the totals would number in the hundreds of millions.

Moderation among Muslims is not a function of kinetics so much as it is a function of cultural affiliations and sympathies. The Pew Research Center and World Health Organization surveys provide ample testimony to toxic Islamic attitudes and social abuses like capital apostasy, polygamy, and consanguinity.

At the moment we live in an era where the Muslim Brotherhood, and affiliates (see CAIR), are welcomed at the Oval Office, but the Prime Minister of Israel is snubbed and reviled. The reasons for such folly are clear: fear for the economy, fear for energy sources, fear of global Muslim numbers, and ultimately the fear that terrorism might get worse.

The US State Department is one of the few institutions in America, other than the Nation of Islam, blessed with the gift of prophecy.  Logic, reason, and morality have been subverted to serve the cause of appeasement. Pandering to savages has always been the one policy choice that guarantees that things will get worse.


Humor: How to deal with enemies, foreign and domestic

February 2, 2015

How to deal with enemies, foreign and domestic, Dan Miller’s Blog, Sen. Ima Librul, February 2, 2015

(The views expressed this article are mine and those of my imaginary guest author. They do not necessarily represent the views of Warsclerotic or its other editors. — DM)

Editor’s note: This is a post by my (imaginary) guest author, the Very Honorable Ima Librul, Senator from the great State of Confusion Utopia. He is a founding member of CCCEB (Climate Change Causes Everything Bad), a charter member of President Obama’s Go For it Team, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Chairman of the Meretricious Relations Subcommittee. He is also justly proud of his expertise in the care and breeding of unicorns, for which his Save the Unicorns Foundation has received substantial Federal grants. We are honored to have a post of this caliber by a quintessential Librul such as the Senator. Without further delay, here is the Senator’s article.


As the anointed leader of my Librul kingdom, countless methods for dealing with “enemies” are at my disposal. I, along with my loyal Secretary of Slyness (SOS) Sir Ketchup, bring happiness to all. Many “enemies” of my kingdom have yielded to my wisdom without even knowing that they have. I owe everything to my dear leader Obama, my rock of ages in the past and hope for years to come.

Ketchup Kerry

Example One

When my kingdom was threatened by wolves and foxes, which intended to eat all of my free range chickens, I bravely sent Sir Ketchup to deal with the problem. At my direction, he immediately put half of my chickens into secure coops and invited the invaders to do as they desired with the rest. That satisfied them only briefly, so he dispatched half of my remaining chickens to be eaten. The process continued until I had only one chicken left.

Here’s why I can humbly wear the label “The Won,” along with my dear leader Obama. The invaders, stuffed pleasantly full of chicken and amazed at my brilliance, resolved not to attack my kingdom again until my chicken population had been restored and it was once again worthwhile to invade. Unfortunately for them, a single chicken cannot reproduce, so they will never again have any reason to return.


Example Two

A few weeks later, my kingdom was again invaded by “wild and vicious” packs of wolves and foxes. They divided their attentions between slaughtering each other and slaughtering and eating my sheep. I solved the problem by giving ample sheep to both packs and explaining to them that they were neither wild nor vicious, but simply misguided in attacking each other. Their mistake lay in believing that the traditions of their ancestors mandated such activities, even though it is not true. As a widely acknowledged expert on the traditions of wolves and foxes, I understand these matters far better than they do. Hence, I was able to convince them that with reality-based understanding such as I possess, they too would seek the beauties and benefits of unity permitting them to slaughter and eat my sheep peacefully and together.

Some who do not fully understand the inherent beauty and fairness of multiculturalism might contend that my actions were unfair to the sheep. They would be wrong. Sheep are gentle creatures and have been good to me; I have always ensured that they have plenty to eat and I have fleeced them only to provide for their well-being. We are as one and, to the extent that I am able, these benign practices will continue.

However, it is far more important to bring happiness and unity to creatures which have suffered for ages because of their erroneous but stereotypical characterization as evil. There is no evil and there is no good; all is relative. Who are we to declare that sheep are good and that wolves and foxes are evil? Don’t we also kill sheep and eat mutton? Wolves and foxes are neither better nor worse than human carnivores and it is prudent to act only on the basis of what is best for all.

My plan was successful. Happy with their full bellies, the wolves and foxes departed my kingdom in peace, promising to return together and in harmony only when they need my sheep. In the interim, they will devote their attentions to visiting neighboring farms in hopes that the owners will see the justice in my methods and adopt them. I promised to help my neighbors to adopt my enlightened multicultural views and to accord wolves and foxes every courtesy. As wolves and foxes come to understand the beauty and benefits of true multiculturalism, they will cease to be significant threats to anyone. That is a hope for change we can — and must — believe in.


In fairness, I must acknowledge that my dear leader Obama demonstrated the efficacy of this solution several years ago when, with remarkable success, He persuaded diverse groups of Muslims to unite against America to force her to reject her old ways of dealing with what she wrongly characterized, not only as enemies, but even as evil enemies. Since then, we have made great progress in defeating the Non Islamic Islamic State (NIIS) and others allegedly intent upon endangering our national security. The world be a far better place now if President Roosevelt had fully accepted Nazi Germany, not as an evil enemy or even as an enemy, but as a friend and a humanitarian force for peace and enlightenment of civilization. Had my dear leader then been our President, that would have happened and there would have been no more war.

Example Three

This year, representatives of the Non-Islamic Taliban (NIT) sought to use several acres of my kingdom for an insurgent training camp. They explained that since my dear leader Obama has declared that they are not foreign terrorists, I should have no objection. On that basis, I saw no problem in dealing with them. They offered to pay me $5,000 per acre per week and I accepted, subject to the requirement that they wear Girl Scout costumes rather than their traditional attire so that none of my Islamophobic neighbors would be offended irrationally. The deal was struck.

Since they had not stated which part of my kingdom they wanted to use, I provided land on which my free range unicorns frolic. I assumed that they would not notice, and they didn’t. Only truly superior beings, like our own glorious dear leader Obama, myself and unicorns can communicate with unicorns; the NIT members couldn’t even see them.


I promptly advised my dear leader of my findings, and He stated that He will soon dispatch brigades of well trained unicorns, under the command of Brevet General Bowe Bergdahl, to do battle with both NIT insurgents and NIIS terrorists. When the unicorn brigades triumph, dear leader Obama will be able to proclaim yet another grand mission accomplished and demonstrate, once again, that we stand firmly, shoulder to shoulder, behind our gallant friends and allies who have been harmed by our dastardly non-Islamic enemies. No longer will we be viewed as impotent.

It may be true that, until now,

Nothing in all that standing together has been potent enough to stop these barbaric, brutal, heinous beheadings of American and British and Japanese citizens.

Brevet General Bergdahl and his brigades of unicorns will change that!


I have many more inspiring stories to tell, but must leave immediately to chair a meeting of my Meretricious Relations Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Former President Clinton, the principal speaker on “How to lie with impunity,” will be accompanied by his lovely wife and confidant, Saint Hillarion, also a long recognized expert on that topic as well as concerning infamous right-wing conspiracy theories.

Their talents, like those of our current dear leader Obama, are much needed in dealing with our domestic enemies, evil right-wing terrorists all!

I look forward to serving under Saint Hillarion when she becomes our next dear leader, just as I have served under dear leader Obama.



Editor’s comments

Senator Librul words of wisdom will be of great assistance to Obama in His war on non-Islamic terror and insurgency. Ideas such as the Senator’s are badly needed because in the aggregate they are far better, and hence far more likely to bring success, than what Obama has tried thus far.


If the spirits shine brightly and in copious quantities upon us, we may be able to believe that even before Obama’s son Trayvon II becomes our President, our enemies will have ceased to be our enemies and unicorns will again be able to frolic in peace throughout the entire world, Insha’Allah.