Wednesday, August 23, 2017

We're Not Stopping the Terror Factories

Mauro on Fox: We're Not Stopping the Terror FactoriesIslamist indoctrination is the first step that leads to terror attacks.Watch
Taliban to Trump: Leave Afghanistan Before It's a US GraveyardVows to make Afghanistan a 'graveyard' for Americans.Read
News Analysis
Winning Afghanistan: Support Trump's StrategyThe president just laid out his plan for clearing out terror.Read
US, Canadian Christians Attacked by Shiite MilitiaThe group was trying to visit Christians in Nineveh Province, Iraq.Read
Graphic Video: ISIS Child Warrior Threatens WestIssues a warning then executes his prisoner.Watch
Nursery School Children Show Signs of RadicalizationThe children were making 'death threats' to the 'non-believers.'Learn More
No! Big Ben Will Not Be Renamed Massive MohammedBut the fact people believed it shows the state of our public discourse.Read
Readers Write
“BLAMING the imam doesn't make your sons the "victims"!! They had choices to make and they made the WRONG choices which resulted in the DEATH of innocent people! The DEAD are the VICTIMS....NOT your sons!!”
“Thank God for security”
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Iran vs. Turkey, the MidEast's Perpetual Rivalry

Iran vs. Turkey, the MidEast's Perpetual Rivalry

by Daniel Pipes
Washington Times
August 23, 2017
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W.T. title: "Middle East rivalry between Iran and Turkey interminable"
News that Iran's and Turkey's governments reached an accord on Idlib, a Syrian town now the focus of American interests, brings relations between the two of the largest and most influential states in the Middle East momentarily out of the shadows.
Their rivalry goes back a half-millennium, included eleven wars, and now remains, in the words of the Washington Institute's Soner Cagaptay, the region's "oldest power game." What does the recent accord signify and how will their competition influence the region's future?
Iranian and Turkish parallels are noteworthy. Both countries have populations of 80 million. (Egypt, the region's third large country, has 96 million.) Both boast ancient civilizations, long imperial histories, tensions with Russia, and a successful avoidance of European colonialism. In modern times, each came under the rule of a ruthless modernizer after World War I, followed more recently by an even more repressive Islamist.
Ruthless modernizers: Iran's Reza Shah (L) visited Atatürk in 1934.
The current leaders, Iran's Ali Khamene'i and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, enjoy near-absolute power and both feverishly try to hide this reality under a large and noisy apparatus of elections, parliaments, cabinets, laws, and NGOs. Both aspire to lead the entire Muslim community, perhaps someday claiming to be caliph. In an era of muted anti-Zionism from Arab states, Tehran and Ankara now lead the charge, with the Islamic Republic of Iran loudly denying the Holocaust and the Republic of Turkey comparing Israelis to Nazis.
Even more repressive Islamists: Turkey's Erdoğan (L) visited Khamene'i in 2012.
In several ways, Iranians lead Turks, but the latter are catching up. Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in 1979 and Erdoğan in 2002. Iran has long enjoyed massive oil and gas reserves but Turkey recently built an impressive economic base. Tehran deploys forces abroad, dominating four Arab capitals, while Ankara still fights domestic opponents, especially Gülenists and Kurds. Both governments despise the West but Iran's is openly hostile while Turkey's formally remains in NATO and ostensibly seeks European Union membership.
Khamene'i's thugs capture American sailors on the high seas while Erdoğan's takes residents hostage. Conspiracy theories, long an Iranian art form, have made huge strides over the past two decades in Turkey, which may now boast the region's most fantastical speculations. Both became enthusiastic allies of Venezuela's dictator, Nicolás Maduro. As a longer-established dictatorship, Khamene'i can allow relative freedom of expression compared with Erdoğan's obsessive desire to control, including what basketball players in the United States say or what travelers transiting through Istanbul airport think.
Their most major difference concerns the attitudes of their subjects. Whereas Khamene'i enjoys the support of only about 15 percent of the populace, Erdoğan can count on some 45 percent, affording Erdoğan a legitimacy and confidence that Khamene'i can only dream of. In part, this results from longevity under Islamist rule, in part from difference in per capita income, which is only US$4,700 and stagnant in Iran, $10,700 and rising in Turkey.
Select economic indicators (World Bank).
Regime collapse in Iran is within sight and will diminish Islamism, encouraging Muslims to move toward a more modern and moderate form of their religion. The Turkish government's greater popularity and more advanced version of Islamism gives it greater staying power that makes it the more worrisome long-term opponent. Thus, the Middle East is likely to witness a grand switch, with Iran on course to moderation and Turkey becoming the region's supreme danger.
Bilateral relations flourished during the first years of Erdoğan's rule (2002-10), when they shared a Islamist worldview and a suspicion of U.S. intentions in Iraq. But relations then soured, primarily because both regimes seek foreign influence and, as neighbors, they inevitably clash. The civil war in Syria, where Tehran backs Shi'ite-oriented jihadis and Ankara backs Sunni jihadis, is their biggest but not only problem. Other matters also aggravate relations, such as their supporting opposing sides in Yemen, Turkish installing a NATO radar tracking Iranian activities, and Iranian support for Al-Qaeda against Turkey.
Tensions have reached the point that Ali Vaez of the International Crisis Group finds Tehran and Ankara "on a collision course." Left unchecked, he expects the present dynamics to point "toward greater bloodshed, growing instability and greater risks of direct ... military confrontation." More poetically, Cagaptay observes that the Middle East has room for "one shah or sultan, but not a shah and a sultan."
In this context, the Idlib accord looks flimsy and transient. Tehran and Ankara will probably soon turn against each other and with renewed vigor continue their perpetual rivalry.
Washington Times illustration.
Mr. Pipes (, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2017 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.
Related Topics:  History, Iran, Turkey and Turks
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Hezbollah Threatens Key Israeli Nuclear Research Facility

Hezbollah Threatens Key Israeli Nuclear Research Facility

Genocidal enemies ratchet up tensions just across the Jewish State's border.

On August 13, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah threatened to bomb Israel’s Dimona nuclear research facility in the event of war between Israel and Hezbollah. Nasrallah made the threat via video linkup from an undisclosed hidden location while addressing a crowd of Shia supporters in the southern Lebanese village of Khiam. For all of his bravado, Nasrallah still finds it necessary to hide, and scurry from location to location for fear of being targeted by Israel.

This isn’t the first time that the terrorist leader issued such a threat. In February, he issued similar sinister pronouncements during a speech commemorating the 9th anniversary of the liquidation of Imad Mughniyeh, Hezbollah’s chief special operations commander, who was eliminated in 2008 in a joint Mossad-CIA operation.

Nasrallah frequently issues threats to bomb civilian targets and other critical infrastructure in Israel. These threats are generally for internal public consumption but they are also directed at Israel as a form of psychological warfare. Nasrallah’s threats to target an ammonia storage plant in Haifa, Israel’s third largest city, likely factored into the decision by Israeli authorities to relocate the facility to a safer location further south, away from densely populated areas.

Despite Nasrallah’s bluster, Israel takes the terrorist leader’s threats seriously. Like Hamas, ISIS and other terrorist groups, Hezbollah does not feel constrained by the laws of war. That means that in any future engagement with Israel, Hezbollah will violate the legal principles of “Distinction” and “Shielding” in that it will fire its guided and unguided missiles and rockets at Israel in indiscriminate fashion and will also deliberately utilize Lebanon’s civilian population as cover in an effort to shield itself from retaliation.

These nefarious tactics were employed by Hezbollah in 2006 and by Hamas in 2009, 2012 and 2014, without legal consequence to either organization. For example, during the Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah fired rockets from the rooftop of a building housing a number of civilians in the southern Lebanese village of Qana. That rocket fire invariably drew Israeli counter fire, resulting in the deaths of some 60 civilians and an unknown number of terrorists. International outcry prompted a temporary halt of Israeli airstrikes which naturally benefitted Hezbollah. During Operation Protective Edge, Hamas utilized the basement of Al-Shifa hospital as a command and control center. Israel could have cut off the head of the snake with a couple of 1-ton bombs but that would have invariably led to enormous collateral damage – perhaps hundreds of civilian dead. Hamas was well aware of Israel’s weakness in this regard and its leadership continued to prosecute the war from Al-Shifa hospital, immune from aerial attack.

By contrast, despite the fact that Israel went above and beyond the requirements of international humanitarian law, often at risk to its own soldiers, the Jewish State was forced to contend with a plethora of legal complaints – including legal filings at the International Criminal Court – as a result of defensive actions undertaken by its armed forces. Western armies are often constrained by the laws of war and this is particularly true in the context of asymmetrical warfare where terrorist groups, operating under an immoral code, often utilize these known Western limitations to their advantage.
Nevertheless, in light of Hezbollah’s military build-up, its formidable rocket arsenal, genocidal threats and cynical exploitation of the civilian population, Israel may be compelled to relax the laws of war or at least argue that it is confronting a unique situation unparalleled in modern warfare, which dictates a reassessment of the doctrine of proportionality. That doctrine permits military action only if the military benefit derived from that specific action outweighs the collateral damage that would result therefrom.

Hezbollah possesses missiles that are within reach of all of Israel’s major population centers. The M-600/Fateh-110 for example, has a range of 300 km and can carry a conventional payload of between 500-650 kg. The missile is relatively accurate and has a 50-50 chance of landing within 100 meters of its intended target. Hezbollah is said to possess hundreds of these missiles, which can be fired from either fixed positions or from mobile platforms. Hezbollah is also said to possess the ability to manufacture surface -to-surface missiles, and with Iran’s assistance has constructed missile-building factories in fortified facilities 50 meters beneath the ground. Hezbollah is believed to possess at least two such factories in Lebanon.

Moreover, Hezbollah has constructed several missile launching facilities in and around the Syrian province of Qusair. Hezbollah took control of the region in 2013 and will likely use the area, which it treats as its own turf, as a platform to strike at Israel in any future conflict. Hezbollah’s rocket arsenal is believed to be 15 times greater than it was in 2006, dwarfing the collective inventories of all NATO countries, save for the United States.

The combination of such a lethal arsenal, cynically deployed amidst Lebanese civilian infrastructure, for use against Israeli civilian infrastructure, means that in the next war, Israel must respond with massive and overwhelming force. Israel’s terror-sponsoring enemies, chiefly Syria and Iran, should be on notice that the target bank will not be limited to Lebanon, and the world should be on notice that Hezbollah, and not Israel will bear full responsibility for all civilian casualties that ensue. The days where Israel is forced to fight with one hand tied behind its back due to the pernicious nature of its genocidal enemies, and overzealous application of the rules of war exclusively to one side but not the other, are over.


Campus Watch and 'The Lobby': An Ongoing Fantasy

Campus Watch and 'The Lobby': An Ongoing Fantasy

by Cinnamon Stillwell  •  Aug 18, 2017 at 12:53 pm
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Conspiratorial Fantasies About 'The Lobby' Live On
Of all the baseless accusations against Campus Watch (CW), the charge that CW is a member of an all-powerful, all-seeing "lobby" is the most absurd. Writing for Al-Jazeera, Ramzy Baroud, a journalist and non-resident scholar at UC Santa Barbara's Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, is the latest to employ this tired canard against CW and its founder, Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes.
According to Baroud:
In its early years, the mission of combating any kind of dissent against Israel within the US was entrusted to the likes of notorious Zionist Daniel Pipes and his "Campus Watch," a Big Brother type of organisation aimed at intimidating teachers, scaring off students, and monitoring and reporting nonconformist educational institutions across the country.
"Entrusted?" He never explains who "entrusted" this mission to Pipes, but the clear implication points to—who else—"the lobby." This echoes the contention of John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt in their book, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, where they claimed:
The Lobby also monitors what professors write and teach. In September 2002, Martin Kramer and Daniel Pipes, two passionately pro-Israel neo-conservatives, established a website (Campus Watch) that posted dossiers on suspect academics and encouraged students to report remarks or behaviour that might be considered hostile to Israel.
Pipes responded to this accusation in a 2006 letter to the editor in the London Review of Books (and reprinted at his blog), making clear that it was nonsense:
This account is inaccurate in several ways (e.g. Martin Kramer had no role in founding Campus Watch), but I write specifically to state that no "Lobby" told me to start Campus Watch. Neither the Middle East Forum nor myself has ever taken orders from some mythical "Lobby," and specifically I decided to establish Campus Watch on my own, without direction from any outside source.
Mearsheimer and Walt did not correct their transparent error, instead issuing countless, error-riddled swipes at Pipes and CW over the years, swipes that live on with the hapless Baroud.
Baroud ends his harangue against CW with a back-handed endorsement, asserting that "Not only did Pipes miserably fail, but his tactics unwittingly inspired real, often heated debates and discussions across American campuses." But if Pipes had failed, Baroud would hardly be ascribing such powers to CW fifteen years later. And those "often heated debates and discussions across American campuses" were hardly unwitting inspired. Would that such debates carry on indefinitely. That is, if "the lobby" permits.
Cinnamon Stillwell is the West Coast representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. She can be reached at
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