Canadian Institute for Jewish Research
L'institut Canadien de Recherches sur le Judaisme
Strength of Israel will not lie

Month: August 2014

Frederick Krantz: OBAMA, IRAQ, AND SYRIA—BACK TO “BOOTS ON THE GROUND”?

These are portentous days in the global village. Having fiddled while Mosul burned, Barack Obama’s studied foreign policy passivity was finally shattered by TV scenes of tens of thousands of Yazidi sect members fleeing genocide at the hands of advancing Islamic State murderers marching through their villages towards the key Kurdish town of Irbil.
  
Dramatic and arresting media images of the plight of the stranded Yazidis, starving refugees exposed on a mountain-top to 40-degree C. days and cold nights, circled the globe. Having steadfastly refused to commit anything but a few US military observers in aid of hard-pressed Iraqi (and Kurdish) former allies, Obama (and his UN Ambassador Susan Powers) now dusted off their “responsibility to protect” doctrine, suppressed since having been invoked to bring down (from behind, of course), Libya’s Moammar Khaddafi.

That the nearby Kurdish city of Irbil, threatened by the Islamic State’s rapid advance, boasts a large American diplomatic station and a contingent of American military “observers”, may also have had something to do with Obama’s sudden decision to bring airlifted supplies to bear on the Yazidis, and F-18 bombs and rockets on the Islamic State forces approaching Irbil.  Another possible embassy destruction stirred repressed memories of the Benghazi disaster–a second, and larger, disaster could well sink Obama’s already plummeting approval ratings, and this just before the oncoming Congressional elections.
  
   We will see whether approaching disaster in Iraq results in a more forward policy insofar as military aid is concerned.  (One should recall, though, that Obama’s opposition to the Iraq war greased the ways for his 2008 nomination and election, and that having made good on his pledge to end the US involvement there, returning to it again now would be not only a humiliating admission of error, but would also risk alienating, as the pundits put it, his “base”.)

 

Insofar as humanitarian and/or politically calculated interventions are concerned, however, Obama’s track record is not a good indicator. In Syria, four years, 200,000 deaths, and seven million internal and external refugees later, the U.S. has yet to  support those “moderate” rebels against Bashar Assad to whom it had initially pledged  its help. 

And we all recall the disappearance of Obama’s poison-gas “redline” when push came to shove in Syria. (But precisely why millions of dying and starving Syrians, let alone the hundreds of thousands of dispossessed and displaced Christian victims of various Islamist murderers, have—unlike the Yazidis and Kurds–not elicited Obama’s concern remains a  mystery.)

 

The larger question is whether this latest Iraqi crisis entail a profound reversal of American foreign policy, within and without the region? Will Obama, suddenly disappointing his eco-pacifist “base”, end his second term as an embattled wartime leader, coming to the aid of the “good guys” in Iraq (and perhaps in Syria, Afghanistan, Libya (are there any good guys there?), and—for that matter–in Egypt and even in the Hamas war on Israel? (Will he finally now act decisively to destroy the genocidal, antisemitic Iranian mullahs’ nuclear capability (let alone check Chinese ambitions in the South China Sea, and–after the “re-set”’s failure—check Vladimir Putin’s appetite for ever-larger chunks of Ukraine and the other “near abroad” ex-Soviet territories)?  

 

We will see.  But if the possible fall of Irbil as well as dying Yazidis have finally focussed Obama’s attention (resolve?), a Kurdish peshmerga defeat there, despite the current US carrier-based sorties, would open the way to Islamic State’s drive south on to Baghad. And as earlier noted, an attack there, on the huge Green Zone American diplomatic embassy, would make Irbil, let alone Benghazi, look like child’s play.

 

(The recent removal of al-Maliki in Baghdad, and his replacement as Prime Minister by a more conciliatory Shiite politician amenable to American pressures, may yet rally Sunnis and Kurds to a central Shiite-led Iraqi government, enabling it to stand and fight against the Islamic State jihadis. But this ploy [shades of desperate US policy flip-flops in Vietnam!] may well fail, paradoxically leaving Obama only one way to avoid outright and final defeat: replicating the reviled George Bush’s “surge” strategy.)

 

History, and political necessity, have produced strange and unexpected political turn-abouts before. FDR in the 1940 elections assured a still-pacifist American electorate of his peace-seeking intentions; a year later, he was the indomitable leader of the two-front crusade against the German Nazi-Italian Fascist-Japanese Axis.  Richard Nixon, the Cold War anti-communist, engineered the American recognition of “Red” China.  And the inexorable advance of America’s enemies, as the Obama-led US slept for the last six years, may result in a similar, unexpected transformation.

 

Then again, it may not: the current shift may prove only a spasmodic fizzle, or it may simply be too little, too late. Still, what goes around tends to come around, necessity breeds strange bedfellows and, as the late Leon Trotsky (he should have known) said, “You may not care about History, but it cares about you”.  Boots on the ground again? a revival of American global leadership? We’ll see—and keep your eyes peeled: after all, the survival of Western civilization just may be at stake.

 

(Frederick Krantz is Director of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research [Montreal & Toronto] and Professor of History in Liberal Arts College, Concordia University)

 

Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org

 

 

Contents:  Weekly Quotes |  Short Takes On Topic Links

 

 

Download a pdf version of today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf

 

MEDIA-OCRITY OF THE WEEK: “The romantic Zionist ideal, to which Jewish liberals — and I was one, once — subscribed for so many decades, has been tarnished by the reality of modern Israel. The attacks on freedom of speech and human rights organizations in Israel, the land-grabbing settler movement, a growing strain of anti-Arab and anti-immigrant racism, extremist politics, and a powerful, intolerant religious right — this mixture has pushed liberal Zionism to the brink…The only Zionism of any consequence today is xenophobic and exclusionary, a Jewish ethno-nationalism inspired by religious messianism. It is carrying out an open-ended project of national self-realization to be achieved through colonization and purification of the tribe. This mind-set blocks any chance Israel might have to become a full-fledged liberal-democratic state, and offers the Palestinians no path to national self-determination, no justice for their expulsion in 1948, nor for the occupation and the denial of their rights,”—Antony Lerman, a former director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, and the author of The Making and Unmaking of a Zionist. (New York Times, Aug. 22, 2014)

 

On Topic Links 

 

IDF Eliminates Hamas Money Man (Video): Jewish Press, Aug. 24, 2014

Calling it a Day: Marissa Newman, Times of Israel, Aug. 27, 2014

Why Hamas Must Ultimately be Destroyed: Charles Bybelezer: Jerusalem Post, Aug. 11, 2014

Obama Faces a Back-to-Work Challenge: David Ignatius, Washington Post, Aug. 26, 2014

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

"As long as Hamas controls Gaza, we won't be able to ensure the safety of Israel's citizens in the South and we won't be able to make a peace agreement," —Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, on his Facebook page. A day after Israel agreed to a cease-fire seemingly putting an end to Operation Protection Edge, Liberman said that Israel must not, under any circumstances, agree to a diplomatic deal with Hamas. Liberman said Hamas was neither a partner for a diplomatic agreement nor for a security agreement. "It is impossible and forbidden to trust lowly murderers. Therefore, we are against a cease-fire that allows Hamas to rearm and wage another battle against Israel whenever it finds it comfortable," the foreign minister said. "A real peace process and a strategic breakthrough will only be possible after we succeed in freeing the Middle East and the Palestinians from the threat of Hamas (and no one else will do so in our place), " he wrote. (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 27, 2014)

 

“We will build and upgrade our arsenal to be ready for the coming battle, the battle of full liberation,” —Mahmoud Zahar, a senior Hamas leader, declared, surrounded by Hamas gunmen. Zahar also promised to rebuild homes destroyed in the war and said Hamas would rearm. Large crowds gathered in Gaza City after the truce took effect at dusk, some waving the green flags of Hamas, while celebratory gunfire and fireworks erupted across the territory. (Globe & Mail, Aug. 26, 2014)   

 

“If you read the Arab press, many of the commentators do not like it but they don’t dare to say (Sisi) is pro-Israel,” —Tzvi Mazel, a former Israeli ambassador to Egypt. In the Gaza conflict, while Egypt and Israel may not be brothers, they are certainly cousins with a joint interest in fighting Hamas, which controls the densely populated Gaza Strip. The Egyptian-brokered ceasefire has reinforced Egypt’s central position in the Arab world as the only country able to negotiate between Israel and Hamas. It will also likely solidify the position of Egyptian President Abdel Fatteh Al-Sisi, a former army chief, who had little experience in foreign policy before he was elected. Although Egyptian media have been virulently anti-Hamas during this conflict, Sisi runs the risk of being perceived as “pro-Israel.” “The Arab world is in a difficult position. People are more afraid of the [Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham, ISIS] than anything else,” added Mazel. (National Post, Aug. 26, 2014)    

 

“Hamas cannot be allowed to rain rockets on Israeli cities, nor can it be allowed to hold its own people hostage. Hospitals are for healing, not for hiding weapons. Schools are for learning, not for launching missiles. Children are our hope, not our human shields,” —letter from several Hollywood stars slamming Hamas over the “devastating loss of life endured by Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza.” The reported 187 signatories, who include Mayim Bialik, Minnie Driver, Kelsey Grammer, Seth Rogen, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sarah Silverman, and Sylvester Stallone, condemn the “ideologies of hatred and genocide which are reflected in Hamas’ charter, Article 7 of which reads, ‘There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!’” (Times of Israel, Aug. 23, 2014)

 

“I am giving this deadline today as I am ready to be martyred and I have taken the last bath today,” —Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, the Pakistani-Canadian cleric, whose supporters have overrun the government quarter of Islamabad in a protest against corruption. Waving a burial shroud, Qadri, 63, who has twice left a quiet life of retirement near Toronto for the roiling cauldron of Pakistani politics, set a 48-hour deadline for the resignation of Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s prime minister. Failing that, Qadri told thousands of supporters his own life could be the price. “I’m calling on people from across the country to come out and reject this corrupt and undemocratic government,” he told the Sunday Times. “People saw what we could do before. This time we will not stop until the government is removed,” Qadri said, referring to the march he led last year, which ended with the arrest of the previous Prime Minister, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf. Barely a year after the first transfer of power between democratically elected governments in Pakistan’s independent modern history, Pakistanis are frustrated at Sharif’s rule, his failure to conquer the energy crisis, and his pursuit of General Pervez Musharraf in what the Financial Times said “looks like a personal vendetta.” Qadri has compared the moment to the Arab Spring. With his slogan that Pakistan’s “lawmakers are lawbreakers,” he returned to Pakistan in June, publicly declaring the government would not survive. Almost immediately, police and military stormed his headquarters in a confrontation that left 12 people dead and 80 injured, one of the rare moments of outright violence in his campaign, which he calls “an intellectual and spiritual war against extremism and terrorism.” (National Post, Aug. 25, 2014)

 

"The question is, if a people without guns, without any arms, if they have nothing to defend themselves, to whom comes the duty to defend them?" —Pope Francis' envoy to Iraq, reinforcing the Vatican's position that military force is justified when religious minorities are being attacked by Islamic extremists, and must be defended now and given international protection so they can return home. He added that "in my opinion, this is not a war when you have two actors facing each other with the same capacities. This is defending the right of defending these poor, simple people who are unable to defend themselves." The Vatican's position is significant because it often opposes military intervention on the basis of its overall peace message. This case is different, however because Christians are being directly targeted because of their faith, and Christian communities, which have existed for 2,000 years in Iraq, have been emptied as a result of the extremists' onslaught. (U.S. News, Aug. 22, 2014)

 

“Given the onset of so many other armed conflicts in this period of global destabilization, the fighting in Syria and its dreadful impact on millions of civilians has dropped off the international radar,” —United Nations human rights agency chief, Navi Pillay, bluntly criticizing Western nations, saying their inaction in the face of the slaughter had “empowered and emboldened” the killers. It is “scandalous,” she said, that the depth of the suffering in Syria no longer attracts much international attention. The fact that the crisis has been allowed to continue for so long, with no end in sight, and is now spilling into neighboring Iraq and Lebanon is “an indictment of the age we live in,” she said. “Short-term geopolitical considerations and national interest, narrowly defined, have repeatedly taken precedence over intolerable human suffering and grave breaches of — and long-term threats to — international peace and security,” Pillay told the Security Council, adding that “I firmly believe that greater responsiveness by this Council would have saved hundreds of thousands of lives.” (New York Times, Aug. 22, 2014)

 

“If you come after Americans, we’re going to come after you, wherever you are,” —Benjamin J. Rhodes, U.S. President Obama’s deputy national security adviser. “We’re actively considering what’s going to be necessary to deal with that threat and we’re not going to be restricted by borders.” While President Obama has long resisted being drawn into Syria’s bloody civil war, officials said recent advances by ISIS had made clear that it represents a threat to the interests of the U.S. and its allies. The beheading of American journalist James Foley has contributed to what officials called a “new context” for a challenge that has long divided the president’s team. Officials said the options include speeding up and intensifying limited American efforts to train and arm moderate Syrian rebel forces that have been fighting both ISIS as well as the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Another option would be to bolster other partners on the ground to take on ISIS, including the Syrian Kurds. An expanded intervention into Syria would represent a striking turnaround for a president who has opposed such a move before, and some administration officials therefore doubt that he will agree. From the start of the Syrian civil war, Obama’s response has been marked by a pattern of heightened public statements and indications of stepped-up involvement, followed by far less action than suggested. (New York Times, Aug. 22, 2014)

 

“I find myself compelled to write about the President’s decision to keep his scheduled golf date with a couple of friends immediately following his televised comments—a decision that revealed a complete lack of class on Mr. Obama’s part,”Forbes columnist Rick Ungar. President Obama’s two-week vacation on Martha’s vineyard, and his hours on the golf course, have his detractors teeing up as they highlight the mounting foreign policy crises facing the United States. After delivering an angry statement last Wednesday condemning the beheading of Foley by ISIS, Obama headed straight for the greens. “What yesterday’s decision to hit the links revealed to me was that our president is, sadly, capable of showing a stunning inability to grasp the nation’s collective pain and respond accordingly,” added Ungar. (Forbes, Aug. 21, 2014)

 

“Fore! Score? And seven trillion rounds ago, our forecaddies brought forth on this continent a new playground, conceived by Robert Trent Jones, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal when it comes to spending as much time on the links as possible — even when it seems totally inappropriate, like moments after making a solemn statement condemning the grisly murder of a 40-year-old American journalist beheaded by ISIL. I know reporters didn’t get a chance to ask questions, but I had to bounce. I had a 1 p.m. tee time at Vineyard Golf Club with Alonzo Mourning and a part-owner of the Boston Celtics. Hillary and I agreed when we partied with Vernon Jordan up here, hanging out with celebrities and rich folks is fun…Yet it is altogether fitting and proper that I should get to play as much golf as I want, despite all the lame jokes about how golf is turning into “a real handicap” for my presidency and how I have to “stay the course” with ISIL. I’ve heard all the carping that I should be in the Situation Room droning and plinking the bad folks. I know some people think I should go to Ferguson. Don’t they understand that I’ve delegated the Martin Luther King Jr. thing to Eric Holder? Plus, Valerie Jarrett and Al Sharpton have it under control. I know it doesn’t look good to have pictures of me grinning in a golf cart juxtaposed with ones of James Foley’s parents crying, and a distraught David Cameron rushing back from his vacation after only one day, and the Pentagon news conference with Chuck Hagel and General Dempsey on the failed mission to rescue the hostages in Syria…” —Maureen Dowd. (New York Times, Aug. 23, 2014) 

 

Contents

 

SHORT TAKES

 

GAZA CEASE-FIRE BETWEEN ISRAEL, HAMAS GOES INTO EFFECT (Jerusalem) —Israel accepted another cease-fire on Tuesday, for the 12th time in 50 days, with this one open-ended and brokered again by the Egyptians. Shortly after the cease-fire went into effect, Palestinians poured onto Gaza’s streets to celebrate “victory,” while in Israel government representatives spoke of a feeling of an opportunity missed, along with cautious optimism that as a result of Operation Protective Edge Hamas’s control of Gaza has been dealt a fatal blow. Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said that while Hamas was not knocked out, it was delivered a severe blow that could very well be the beginning of the end of its control of the Gaza Strip. Hamas started this round with 10,000 rockets, and is now estimated to possess between 2,000 and 3,000. It started with Hamas possessing some 32 attack tunnels leading into Israel, and the army destroyed all the ones it had identified. And Hamas has had hundreds of fighters, including commanders, killed. “Hamas destroyed Gaza, harmed itself, and didn’t achieve anything,” Steinitz said. “Hamas knows the truth, they can celebrate, but they know the truth.” (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 26, 2014)

 

HAMAS EXECUTES 18 SUSPECTED COLLABORATORS WITH ISRAEL IN GAZA (Gaza City) —Hamas-led gunmen in Gaza City executed 18 Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel on Friday, a day after Israeli forces killed three Hamas brigade commanders. Gunmen wearing masks and dressed in black shot seven of those condemned, whose faces were covered and hands bound, in front of worshipers emerging from the Omari Mosque, in the first public executions in the Strip since the 1990s. A further 11 were killed at an abandoned police station near Gaza City, Hamas security officials said. Israeli security sources said that the 18 people executed in Gaza had been in jail for collaboration for the last two years, and Hamas took them out of jail to be executed. (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 22, 2014) 

 

HAMAS MILITARY WING CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY FOR KIDNAP-MURDER OF 3 ISRAELI TEENS (Gaza City) —A senior Hamas official has claimed that the organization’s military wing was behind the kidnapping of the three Israeli boys who were found dead in June, according to Hebrew-language reports in the Israeli media. A video captured during a conference shows Hamas official Salach Al-Aruri crediting Al-Qassam Brigades with organizing the kidnapping of Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16. Al-Aruri said the Al-Qassam Brigades carried out the “heroic operation” with the broader goal of sparking a new Palestinian uprising. Prior to this statement, Hamas had denied responsibility for the kidnapping, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continued to allege that the organization was behind it. (Forward, Aug. 20, 2014, National Post, Aug. 22, 2014)

 

EGYPT, UAE RESPONSIBLE FOR LIBYA AIR STRIKES, U.S. OFFICIALS SAY (Cairo) —Twice in the past seven days, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have secretly teamed to launch air strikes against Islamist-allied militias battling for control of Tripoli, Libya, four senior U.S. officials said, in a major escalation between the supporters and opponents of political Islam. The U.S., the officials said, was caught by surprise: Egypt and the Emirates, both close allies and military partners, acted without informing Washington or seeking its consent, leaving the Obama administration on the sidelines. Egyptian officials explicitly denied the operation to U.S. diplomats, the officials said. Since the military ouster of the Islamist president in Egypt one year ago, the new Egyptian government, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. have formed a bloc, exerting influence in countries around the region to roll back what they see as a competing threat from Islamists. Several officials said that U.S. diplomats were fuming about the air strikes, believing they could further inflame the Libyan conflict at a time when the United Nations and Western powers are seeking a peaceful resolution. “We don’t see this as constructive at all,” one senior U.S. official said. (Globe & Mail, Aug. 25, 2014)

 

BOKO HARAM LEADER DECLARES ISLAMIC CALIPHATE IN NIGERIA (Lagos) —A northeast Nigerian town seized earlier this month by Boko Haram militants has been placed under an Islamic caliphate, the group’s leader said. “Thanks be to Allah, who gave victory to our brethren in (the town of) Gwoza and made it part of the Islamic caliphate,” Abubakar Shekau says in a 52-minute video obtained by the Agence France-Presse. “By the grace of Allah, we will not leave the town. We have come to stay.” In the video, Mr. Shekau lauds the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who in late June declared himself “the caliph” and “leader of Muslims everywhere.” Boko Haram is believed to be in control of large swathes of territory in Borno state and at least one town in neighboring Yobe state, AFP reported. Experts said Boko Haram is closer than ever to achieving its goal of forming an Islamic state across northern Nigeria. (Washington Times, Aug. 24, 2014)

 

ABOUT 1,400 ABUSED IN U.K. TOWN: REPORT (Rotherham, U.K.) —More than 1,400 children were sexually abused over a period of more than 16 years by gangs of pedophiles after police and city council bosses turned a blind eye for fear of being labelled racist, a damning report has concluded. Senior officials were responsible for “blatant” failures that saw victims, some as young as 11, being treated with contempt and categorized as being “out of control” or simply ignored when they asked for help. In some cases, parents who tried to rescue their children from abusers were themselves arrested. Police officers even dismissed the rape of children by saying that sex had been consensual. Tuesday’s report concluded that by far the majority of perpetrators were Asian men, and said council officials had been unwilling to address the issue for fear of being labelled racist. The report stated several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought racist; others remembered clear direction from their managers not to do so.” (National Post, Aug. 27, 2014)

 

AMERICAN WOMAN HELD HOSTAGE BY ISIS (Beirut) —The Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is holding hostage a young American woman who was doing humanitarian aid work hostage in Syria, a family representative said Tuesday. The 26-year-old woman is the third American known to have been kidnapped by the militant group. The terrorist group is demanding US$6.6-million for her safe release. ISIS recently threatened to kill American hostages to avenge the crushing airstrikes in Iraq against militants advancing on Mount Sinjar and the Kurdish capital of Irbil. The 26-year-old woman was captured last year while working with three humanitarian groups in Syria. More than a week ago, freelance journalist James Foley of Rochester, N.H., was beheaded by ISIS, which kidnapped him in November 2012. Foley, 40, has worked in a number of conflict zones across the Mideast, including Iraq, Libya and Syria. (National Post, Aug. 26, 2014)

 

U.S. TRIED TO RESCUE JOURNALIST JAMES FOLEY FROM ISLAMIC STATE CAPTORS IN SYRIA (Damascus) —U.S. Special Operations forces mounted an unsuccessful mission inside Syria earlier this summer to try to rescue several Americans held by Islamic extremists, including the journalist who was beheaded this week, senior Obama administration officials said. President Barack Obama ordered the secret operation, the first of its kind by the U.S. inside Syrian territory since the start of the civil war, after the U.S. received intelligence the Americans were being held by the extremist group known as Islamic State at a specific facility in a sparsely populated area inside Syria. Among the group, intelligence agencies believed at the time, was Foley, the U.S. journalist whose beheading was shown in a grisly video. (Wall Street Journal, Aug. 21, 2014)

 

FATHER OF 'JIHADI JOHN' SUSPECT ON TRIAL FOR AL-QAIDA ATTACKS (London) —A British extremist suspected of murdering American journalist James Foley is the son of an accused al-Qaida terrorist currently awaiting trial over the bombing of two U.S. embassies that resulted in the deaths of 224 people. Adel Abdel Bary, 54, is the father of Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, a 23-year-old former rapper from London who shares several physical attributes with "Jihadi John," the man who allegedly beheaded Foley in a video released by the Islamic State last week. Bary senior, an Egyptian who was granted asylum in the U.K. in 1993, was extradited from Britain to the U.S. at the same time as the hook-handed imam Abu Hamza. He is said to have been one of Osama bin Laden's key lieutenants in the 1990s. Bary senior is due to be tried in November over the al-Qaida bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. He faces 213 counts of premeditated murder over the bombing in Nairobi and 11 over the attack in Dar es Salaam. (Telegraph, Aug. 26, 2014)

 

DEATH TOLL IN SYRIA ESTIMATED AT 191,000 (Damascus) — The number of dead in Syria’s civil war more than doubled in the past year to at least 191,000, the United Nations human rights office said Friday. In its third report on Syria commissioned by the United Nations, the Human Rights Data Analysis Group identified 191,369 deaths from the start of the conflict in March 2011 to April 2014, more than double the 92,901 deaths cited in the group’s last report, which covered the first two years of the conflict. The report was confined to counting individuals who had been identified by name, along with the date and location of their death, using data from five organizations that was screened to avoid duplication. It did not include nearly 52,000 deaths that were recorded but lacked sufficient detail. (New York Times, Aug. 22, 2014)

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

IDF Eliminates Hamas Money Man (Video): Jewish Press, Aug. 24, 2014

Calling it a Day: Marissa Newman, Times of Israel, Aug. 27, 2014—After a grueling 50-day conflict, the ceasefire goes into effect and the Hebrew newspapers on Wednesday – deflated and disgruntled – sum up a campaign that exacted a heavy blow on the national morale, and left a battered and listless public in its wake.

Why Hamas Must Ultimately be Destroyed: Charles Bybelezer: Jerusalem Post, Aug. 11, 2014—As Operation Protective Edge was winding down, I was invited along with a group of journalists to visit the Kerem Shalom border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip. There, hundreds of trucks carrying humanitarian goods wer

Obama Faces a Back-to-Work Challenge: David Ignatius, Washington Post, Aug. 26, 2014—It’s “back to school” week for President Obama, after what a CNN analyst called “the vacation from hell.”

 

 

 

 

Rob Coles, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research/L'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme,   www.isranet.org Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284. mailto:ber@isranet.org

 

 

 

 

 

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QATAR, TINY, OIL-RICH EMIRATE, EMERGES AS KEY SPONSOR OF HAMAS & ISLAMIST TERRORISM

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 

 

Contents:

 

Obama's Hypocrisy on Hamas, ISIS, and Iran: Noah Beck, Algemeiner, Aug. 24, 2014  — The beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley has raised concerns in the West about Islamist threats.

Club Med for Terrorists: Ron Prosor, New York Times, Aug. 24, 2014 — The hostilities in Gaza between Israel and Hamas persist and the diplomatic war at the United Nations continues, also without resolution.

Playing with Terror: How to Stop Qatar’s Support for Hamas: Prof. Joshua Teitelbaum, BESA, Aug. 25, 2014 — Fifteen years ago very few people had ever heard of Qatar.

Filling Nasser's Shoes: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 25, 2014  — Qatar seems to be everywhere these days.

 

On Topic Links

 

Operation Protective Edge: Gains and Losses: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, Aug. 26, 2014

An American-Led Coalition Can Defeat ISIS: Jack Keane & Danielle Pletka, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 24, 2014

Slavery’s Modern Face in the Middle East: Robert Fulford, National Post, Aug. 16, 2014

Qatar Played Now-Familiar Role in Helping to Broker U.S. Hostage’s Release: Adam Goldman & Karen DeYoung, Washington Post, Aug. 23, 2014

 

 

OBAMA’S HYPOCRISY ON HAMAS, ISIS, AND IRAN                                                                      

Noah Beck                                                                                                                                                  

Algemeiner, Aug. 24, 2014

                       

The beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley has raised concerns in the West about Islamist threats. But Israel has been facing this specter for decades and – given Israel’s proximity to the Islamist threat – the Jewish State is the canary in the coal mine for the West. But Gaza seems to be the Western blind spot, even though the Hamas-ISIS parallels are glaringly obvious. Since beheadings are the current media focus, and ISIS has beheaded infants, it’s worth noting that Hamas praised the 2011 Itamar murders, which involved the decapitation of a baby. Islamist beheadings should surprise no one, given that they’ve been happening for much of (and despite) modernity – perhaps because “Islam is the only major world religion today that is cited…to legitimize beheadings,” according to this study.

 

While there have been no reported Hamas beheadings of journalists, the similarities between Hamas and ISIS are more important than their differences. Both would like to establish a Caliphate. Hamas Interior Minister declared as much in this 2013 speech. Both gain and keep power through savagery and fear. Hamas rose to power in Gaza thanks to its violent, 2007 coup, and recently planned a second putsch (in the West Bank). Hamas famously threw its political opponents off rooftops. Like ISIS, Hamas uses clinics, schools, mosques, and charities to gain legitimacy, and inculcates children with the values of jihadi terror. A Vice documentary exposed how ISIS indoctrinates and uses children for war, but Hamas has been doing so for years, educating children to worship death and using child soldiers. Hamas’ use of human shields has been widely documented (and proven very effective in turning public opinion against Israel by exponentially increasing Gazan civilian casualties). ISIS used 500 Yazidi captives and 39 abducted Indians as human shields.

 

ISIS is known for its expulsion of Christians from Mosul and its genocidal murder of Yazidis and Christians who refuse to convert to Islam or pay the jizyah. Hamas would undoubtedly behave the same way towards the religious minorities within its reach, if Israeli Jews didn’t have the protection of a superior military, and if Hamas didn’t depend on international donations to Gaza that might dry up after a wholesale slaughter of the tiny Christian community there. But even with these checks on Hamas’ brutality, Hamas regularly practices and preaches religious hatred. For years, Hamas has attacked Christians, including defiling Christian graves, abducting and murdering Christians, and more recently using a Gazan church to launch rockets at Israel. Hamas preaches hateful incitement against Jews, has desecrated Jewish holy sites, and has murdered hundreds of Jews in terrorist attacks. ISIS uses Sharia to justify its barbaric treatment of women. Also enamored with Sharia, Hamas treats women as second-class citizens and endorses honor killings. Like ISIS, Hamas advocates the death penalty for homosexuals, lets Islamic morality police govern economic activity, and punishes crime with lashings, amputations, and executions. There have been no broadcast beheadings of homosexuals by ISIS yet, but such horrors can’t be far off, given that ISIS fighters include gay-hating Westerners. Hamas condemned the assassination of Osama Bin Laden, and ISIS aspires to surpass him.

 

Yet, astonishingly, President Obama and liberals have continually called for restraint when Israel’s military has confronted Hamas (after Hamas’ countless attacks against Israeli civilians) and Obama has pressed Israel to negotiate with Hamas (as if the U.S. would ever negotiate with ISIS). Worse still, the Obama Administration tried to advance Hamas’ negotiating position and recently pressured Israel into letting Hamas keep its military capabilities. Given the opportunity to obliterate ISIS’ terrorist infrastructure, would the U.S. ever spare any part of it? Even more troubling – in terms of the perils involved – is Obama’s feckless strategy towards the Iranian regime, which is the world’s chief sponsor of Islamist terrorist groups (including Hamas and Hezbollah). Like so many Islamist terrorist organizations, Iran executes homosexuals; mistreats women; persecutes religious minorities; employs barbaric, Sharia-law punishments (like amputation and stoning); and brutalizes political dissenters (among myriad other human rights violations). But unlike the terrorist organizations, Iran could theoretically acquire a nuclear weapons capability in under two months. Imagine an Islamist state, which openly supports Islamist terrorists, possessing nukes. Alarmingly, Obama’s overall approach and eagerness to negotiate any deal he can get with Iran have signaled weakness in a region that respects only strength. As if to laugh at Obama’s naiveté, the Iranian regime has continued supporting Hamas despite the sanctions relief that Obama delivered to the Islamic Republic. Obama’s meek and misguided policy has only emboldened the Iranian regime, improved its economic condition, and given diplomatic cover to Iran’s nuclear program. Islamist groups like ISIS, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and Iran-backed Hamas and Hezbollah, all seek the destruction of Western values and civilization. The pursuit of nukes by the Islamist state of Iran – which could eventually enable nuclear terrorism by Iran’s jihadi proxies – poses the greatest threat of all. The West ignores these facts at its peril, and should therefore support Israel’s war against Hamas, and its efforts against Iranian nukes, just as the U.S. has rightly (albeit tardily and minimally) supported the Kurds in their fight against ISIS.

 

Contents
                            

CLUB MED FOR TERRORISTS                                                                     

 

 

Ron Prosor                                                                                                          

 

 

New York Times, Aug. 24, 2014

 

The hostilities in Gaza between Israel and Hamas persist and the diplomatic war at the United Nations continues, also without resolution. While there is no shortage of opinions on the way forward, the most obvious solution is strikingly absent — the need to disarm and isolate Hamas, the radical Palestinian Islamist group. Since Israel disengaged from Gaza in 2005, Hamas has dragged us into three rounds of major assaults, and more than 14,800 rockets have been fired into Israel by the group or its proxies. The discovery of dozens of tunnels packed with explosives, tranquilizers and handcuffs that end at the doorsteps of Israeli communities should be enough to convince anyone that Hamas has no interest in bringing quiet to Gaza or residing alongside Israel in peace.

 

It says a great deal that Hamas’s former Arab backers, which historically have included Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia, long ago abandoned the terrorist group. Only a few nations still stand by Hamas. Among the most prominent is the tiny Persian Gulf emirate Qatar. In recent years, the sheikhs of Doha, Qatar’s capital, have funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to Gaza. Every one of Hamas’s tunnels and rockets might as well have had a sign that read “Made possible through a kind donation from the emir of Qatar.” Sitting atop 25 billion barrels of crude oil reserves and enormous natural gas reserves, Qatar has the highest gross domestic product per capita of any country in the world. The emirate is known for international shopping sprees that have included the funding of six American university campuses in Doha, the purchase of the iconic Harrods department store in London, and ownership of the Paris Saint-Germain soccer club. For many years, the gas-rich gulf peninsula tried to avoid attracting attention lest it found itself in the same situation as oil-rich Kuwait, which was invaded by Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces in 1990. About 10 years ago, however, Qatar changed tactics. To ensure the country’s survival, the ruling House of Thani has spent extravagantly on increasing Qatar’s presence and prestige on the global stage.

 

Today, the petite petroleum kingdom is determined to buy its way to regional hegemony, and like other actors in the Middle East, it has used proxies to leverage influence and destabilize rivals. Qatar’s proxies of choice have been radical regimes and extremist groups. In pursuit of this strategy, the gulf state is willing to dally with any partner, no matter how abhorrent. Qatar has provided financial aid and light weapons to Qaeda-affiliated groups in Syria, and a base for leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Taliban. Qatar profits from terrorism and Hamas because it spikes the price of oil whenever there is more terrorism. The emirate has also used the Arabic service of Al Jazeera news network to spread radical messages that have inflamed sectarian divides. In the early days of the Arab Spring, Al Jazeera’s coverage of popular uprisings earned the network millions of new followers and solidified its status as a mainstream global news network. Qatar capitalized on this popularity by advancing its own agenda — namely, using the Arabic network to promote the views of extremists who were undermining the region’s more pragmatic elements. In particular, Qatar’s open support for the Muslim Brotherhood angered its gulf state neighbors. In March, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Doha in protest.

 

This hasn’t stopped the Persian Gulf monarchy from serving as a Club Med for terrorists. It harbors leading Islamist radicals like the spiritual leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who issued a religious fatwa endorsing suicide attacks, and the Doha-based history professor Abdul Rahman Omeir al-Naimi, whom the United States Department of Treasury has named as a “terrorist financier” for Al Qaeda. Qatar also funds a life of luxury for Khaled Meshal, the fugitive leader of Hamas. Mr. Meshal’s uncompromising stance — he has vowed never to recognize Israel — has long been an obstacle to reaching a peace deal. But behind Hamas, Qatar is pulling the strings. According to a report last week in the pan-Arab daily newspaper Al Hayat, Qatar even threatened to expel Mr. Meshal if Hamas accepted Egyptian proposals for a long-term cease-fire in Gaza. All because Doha wants a starring role in any cease-fire agreement between Hamas and Israel.

 

It is time for the world to wake up and smell the gas fumes. Qatar has spared no cost to dress up its country as a liberal, progressive society, yet at its core, the micro monarchy is aggressively financing radical Islamist movements. In light of the emirate’s unabashed support for terrorism, one has to question FIFA’s decision to reward Qatar with the 2022 World Cup. Qatar’s continued sponsorship of Hamas all but guarantees that, whatever happens in this round of hostilities, the terrorist group will rearm and renew hostilities with Israel. The only way forward is to isolate Hamas’s last major backer. Given Qatar’s considerable affluence and influence, this is an uncomfortable prospect for many Western nations, yet they must recognize that Qatar is not a part of the solution but a significant part of the problem. To bring about a sustained calm, the message to Qatar should be clear: Stop financing Hamas.

 

                                                                                                              

Contents

PLAYING WITH TERROR:

HOW TO STOP QATAR’S SUPPORT FOR HAMAS                                     

 

Prof. Joshua Teitelbaum          

                                               

BESA, Aug. 25, 2014

 

Fifteen years ago very few people had ever heard of Qatar. A Persian Gulf backwater, it had little influence. Today it is the richest per capita country in the world, although that wealth is enjoyed only by 250,000 of its 1.8 million residents who actually hold Qatari citizenship. But a combination of a new and ambitious emir, huge revenues from natural gas (it has the world’s largest reserves, after Russia and Iran), and that emir’s obsessive-compulsive need to put Qatar on the map –  have caused it to embark on an erratic political path. This path has taken Doha from being one of the few Arab states to have diplomatic relations with Israel to being the main backer of Israel’s implacable Palestinian foe, Hamas.

 

Qatar has landed a branch of the prestigious Georgetown University, and it hosts the Doha Forum, a “world class event”  [Qatar’s words] of international glitterati. In 1996 it founded Al-Jazeera Satellite Channel, which angered every Arab government — except that in Doha. The government-owned Qatar Foundation is the main sponsor of the Barcelona Football Club – arguably the most famous soccer team in the world. But from the perspective of the former Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and his wife, fashion icon Sheikha Moza bint Nasir al-Misnad, his crowning achievement, as well as a testimony to the influence of money, greed, and graft, was winning a coveted prize: the hosting the FIFA Soccer World Cup in 2022. (In 2013 Hamad abdicated the throne in favor of the son he shares with Moza, Tamim.) Indeed, who in his right mind would agree to soccer matches in July in Qatar —where the average temperature is 105 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius) —without an impressive douceur? Indeed, Qatar’s labor practices while building the World Cup infrastructure have led to several deaths of foreign workers, and have come under withering criticism from human rights groups. And why should Qatar be rewarded with the World Cup when it supports Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist organization?

 

Qatar has contributed to Hamas’ emergence as a major contender to the Palestinian Authority. Qatar hosted Hamas leader Khalid Mash’al, first in 1999 when he was expelled from Jordan, and then again from 2012, when he left Syria. Qatar invited him to attend the 2009 Arab Summit in Doha, where he was seated next to Arab leaders, to the chagrin of the PA. In February 2012 it mediated a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement; in July it began delivering fuel to Gaza via Israel; and in October Emir Hamad visited Gaza, where he announced a $400m. aid program to  the Islamist organization. “Today you are big guest, great guest, declaring officially the breaking of the political economic siege that was imposed on Gaza,” gushed Ismail Haniya, the Hamas prime minister.  The PA felt jilted. “We call on the Qatari prince or his representative to visit the West Bank too!” screamed a headline in the leading West Bank newspaper, al-Quds. The delivery of fuel and building materials, including cement, came via Israel, as did Qatari officials and others involved in the reconstruction. The Qataris committed to purchasing much of the material in Israel. (For its part, Israel may have expected Qatar to renew diplomatic relations, broken in 2009.)

 

While Qatari officials say that Doha is helping the Palestinian people, not Hamas, Israeli officials are clear on this point: Doha is aiding and abetting Hamas, and Hamas is listed by the United States and others as a terrorist organization. The “terror tunnels were funded by Qatari money, ”noted Israel’s UN ambassador, Ron Prosor. Cloud technology based in Qatar guides Hamas rocket launches at Israel, and Qatar trained Hamas terrorists to manage its terror tunnel system, according to an Israeli cyber-security expert. The construction of these tunnels “under civilian populated areas and protected sites like hospitals, across borders, and/or with the intention of maiming civilians must be regarded as a violation of international law” and a war crime.

 

Qatar’ s support for terrorism should be enough to deny it the World Cup show; but what many do not know is that the World Cup tournament landed in Qatar due to corruption and graft. The evidence points to Qatar’s bribing of FIFA officials to receive the right to host the prestigious tournament. A Sunday Times investigation, based on a huge number of emails, reported that the decision to award the World Cup to Qatar had been influenced by payments made by former FIFA vice-president, Muhammad bin Hammam, a Qatari national. Hammam has already been removed from his position for buying votes in his campaign to become FIFA president. Hammam was allegedly in contact with the Qatar bid committee and hosted a number of lavish functions where he handed out cash gifts with the aim of securing the bid for Qatar. Qatar’s Shaykh Muhammad bin Hamad A Thani, a brother of the current emir and chair of the Qatari bid committee, described Hammam as the bid’s biggest asset. FIFA president Sepp Blatter has already said that it was a mistake to choose Qatar. The Qatari World Cup committee is currently under investigation by FIFA ethics investigator Michael Garcia, but Doha has not cooperated, refusing to supply details of its budget and how it was spent. Results of the investigation are expected in September.

 

Many laborers have actually died during construction, as Qatar struggles with a compressed time schedule to build an infrastructure that can support soccer events in the blistering summer heat. According to Human Rights Watch, Qatar’s labor system facilitates trafficking and forced labor. Between June 4 and August 8, 2014, 44 Nepalese workers perished from cardiac arrest and workplace accidents. The Qatari terrorist-soccer nexus came into play when Qatar’s Aspire Academy, a sports promoting organization that played a role in the Qatari bid, hosted Saudi sheikh Muhammad al-Arifi, who has been banned from the UK for urging young Britons to joint the jihad in Syria. On the same July occasion, Aspire Academy also hosted Wajdi Ghunaym, an Egyptian-Qatari preacher who was a fundraiser for Hamas. In 2009 he was banned from Britain for “engaging in unacceptable behaviour by seeking to foment, justify or glory terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs and to provoke others to commit terrorist acts.”

 

Taking the World Cup away from Qatar would send a strong signal to other countries that corruption and support of terrorism do not pay. It would be a setback to Qatar internationally. And it would weaken Qatar’s ability to stand up to Saudi Arabia, a loyal American ally, which, along with Israel, has stood at the forefront of countering Iranian nuclear ambitions. Through its money and mediating of conflicts, Qatar seeks a place on the world stage.  Its wings need clipping.  Recently US courts have agreed to hear a case against the Arab Bank for knowingly routing funds to Hamas operatives. Filed under the Antiterrorism Act of 1990, this is the first such case ever to go to trial in the US.  Investigators may yet find that aspects of Qatari financing of terrorism come under the Antiterrorism Act. But right now, a strong signal need to be sent to immediately. The world community should pressure FIFA to remove the 2022 Soccer World Cup from Qatar, or boycott the event. It’s the right thing to do.

                                                                               

Contents

 

FILLING NASSER'S SHOES                                                                          

 

Seth J. Frantzman                                                   

 

Jerusalem Post, Aug. 25, 2014

 

Qatar seems to be everywhere these days. “Qatar plays key role in securing release of US journalist,” “Qatar denies funding ISIS,” Qatar is said to have instructed Hamas not to give in to Egyptians and Israeli demands in Cairo, Qatar’s sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor al-Thani has just won a race in his al-Adaa’am 96 Spirit Catamaran on the Lake of the Ozarks, German minister “regrets” saying Qatar was involved with Islamic extremism. Just yesterday it was reported that famed architect Zaha Hadid is suing The New York Review of Books over an article that implied she is “showing no concern” over deaths of migrant workers in the construction of 2022 World Cup venues in Doha. How did we come to live in a world where the Qataris resemble the all-powerful “spacing guild” in the science- fiction novel Dune? What implications does its rise as a regional power have and what historic precedents is it building on? The “rise of Qatar” narrative is not a new one. Middle East expert Jonathan Spyer, in an article for Tower Magazine this month, looked at Qatar’s support for Hamas and its role in the Gaza war. He concluded that “Qatar is able to play an outsized role because the West, and most importantly the United States, permits it to do so.” He noted how it has built a “strategic partnership with the Muslim Brotherhood movement, of which Hamas is an offshoot,” and that Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the movement’s high-profile preacher, “is a resident of the Qatari capital.”

 

To understand the rise of Qatar and its implications we need to look at how it came to play the role that it does. Gaining independence in 1971, the foundations of the modern state were laid by Khalida bin Hamad al-Thani. By the 1990s its population of a meager 100,000 had quadrupled to 500,000 and would reach 2 million by 2012. Its GDP increased ten fold from 1990. Although Qatar itself has a minuscule military, an influx of US military might and a strategic partnership was a game changer. It was also clearly part of a larger strategy of Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who overthrew his father in 1995 in a bloodless coup when his father was abroad. Hamad, born in 1952, is a graduate of the British Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was deeply involved in Qatar’s ministry of defense and armed forces. In the 1980s he took the reins of Qatar’s economy and from 1992 was effectively running the country. In the aftermath of the First Gulf War in 1991, Qatar and the US inaugurated close military ties, with the US constructing several military bases there. The multi-billion dollar base at Ubeid, which has the longest runway in the Gulf region, can support up to 120 planes at a time according to reports. US military infrastructure projects increased dramatically after 9/11 and the Iraq war. The transfer of US military assets and CENTCOM command from Saudi Arabia, particularly air force assets that had been at Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia, constituted a strategic re-positioning of the US in the Middle East. A $11 billion deal to upgrade Qatar’s army was signed with the US on July 15th. Many initiatives that put Qatar on the global map stem from decisions made in the 1990s. In 1996 the kingdom founded Al Jazeera with a $137 million cash infusion, and the company was run by a relative of the emir. In 1995 the country set aside funding for the Qatar Foundation for education, science and community development. Among this organization’s influential programs was the Doha Debates, inaugurated in 2004 and broadcast by the BBC. Ostensibly the debates are a forum for free speech, in a country trying to show itself off as liberalizing and modern. Toward that end it constructed an “education city” near Doha, consisting of 14 square kilometers of educational and cultural institutions, including branches of six US universities. The country also decided to make itself a sporting hub, winning rights to host the World Cup and recruiting athletes abroad for its Olympic teams in the late 1990s.

 

More recently, Qatar’s involvement in Middle East affairs has accelerated dramatically. In December of 2010 when an uprising broke out in Tunisia that became the “Arab Spring,” Qatar jumped at the opportunity. It helped fund movements in Libya and Tunisia and played a leading role in encouraging other Arab regimes to back the rebellion in Syria. But in March 2011 when rebellion and demands for democracy spread to the Shi’ite majority in Bahrain (the country is run by Sunnis), Bahrain and the Gulf Cooperation Council sent in troops to put down the citizens’ uprising. “The duty of the Qatari troops participating in the Peninsula Shield force is to contribute toward restoring order and security,” Qatar Army Col. Abdullah al-Hajri said at the time. It was always clear therefore that Qatar’s “soft power” offensive, its keen use of multi-media and its supposed support for liberal and free speech abroad did not blend well with its domestic policy. For example, Arab Qataris only make up around 15 percent of the country’s population, and generally speaking only they receive citizenship. Qatar’s relations with Israel have similarly changed over time. Israel maintained a small trade office there since Shimon Peres paid a visit to the country in 1996. Tzipi Livni also visited in 2008. But the country expelled the Israelis in 2009. In 2012 the emir visited Gaza and lavishly pledged $400 million in aid…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

On Topic

 

Operation Protective Edge: Gains and Losses: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, Aug. 26, 2014—The jury is still out and few would envy Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s challenge in making the tough decisions required in an extraordinarily complex situation.

An American-Led Coalition Can Defeat ISIS: Jack Keane & Danielle Pletka, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 24, 2014—Two months ago we laid out a plan on these pages to bring Iraq back from the abyss of terrorist domination, turn the tide in the Syria conflict, and crush the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.

Slavery’s Modern Face in the Middle East: Robert Fulford, National Post, Aug. 16, 2014—The world doesn’t need more reasons to be angry at the governments of the Middle East, but the West should nevertheless know about their cruel treatment of labour.

Qatar Played Now-Familiar Role in Helping to Broker U.S. Hostage’s Release: Adam Goldman & Karen DeYoung, Washington Post, Aug. 23, 2014—Last month, an American media executive arrived in Doha with a retired FBI agent known for his extensive contacts within the government of Qatar.

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

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KEEP P.A., & NYT, OUT OF GAZA— AND, RE AFGHANISTAN, REMEMBER IRAQ

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Contents:

 

Bringing Abbas Back to Gaza Not a Good Idea: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Aug. 21, 2014  — Those who believe that the reinstatement of the Palestinian Authority [PA] in the Gaza Strip would destroy or undermine Hamas and end rocket attacks on Israel are living under an illusion.

The Media Intifada: Bad Math, Ugly Truths About New York Times In Israel-Hamas War: Richard Behar, Forbes, Aug. 21, 2014 — It’s a “media intifada,” notes Gary Weiss, an old colleague and one of the world’s top business investigative reporters.

General Greene's Death and the Afghan Mission: Max Boot, Commentary, Aug. 6, 2014 — The death of Major General Harold Greene in Kabul is shocking on many levels.

How Iraq Explains Why the U.S. Shouldn't Leave Afghanistan: Paul D. Miller, Foreign Policy, Aug. 25, 2014  — President Obama has tried to articulate a clear doctrine of when the United States should use force.

 

On Topic Links

 

Petition: Hamas Leaders Must be Tried For War Crimes

PA leader: "Am I stopping You From Slaughtering a Settlement?": Youtube, Aug. 13, 2014

New York Times Gaza Correspondent Exposed as Arafat Fan: Honest Reporting, Aug. 24, 2014

U.S. Army Major General Harold Greene Was Buried Today at Arlington National Cemetery…Guess Who Was Missing…: Aug. 23, 2014

Financial Crisis Looming Over Afghanistan: Nathan Hodge, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 25, 2014

 

BRINGING ABBAS BACK TO GAZA NOT A GOOD IDEA                                            

Khaled Abu Toameh                                                                                                      

Gatestone Institute, Aug. 21, 2014

 

Those who believe that the reinstatement of the Palestinian Authority [PA] in the Gaza Strip would destroy or undermine Hamas and end rocket attacks on Israel are living under an illusion. The talk about restoring PA control over the Gaza Strip was first raised during the indirect cease-fire talks between Israel and Hamas in Cairo. The Egyptians made clear during the talks that they would like to see PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his forces reassume control over the Gaza Strip. One proposal called for deploying security officers belonging to Abbas's "Presidential Guard" along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

 

The Egyptian proposal has won the backing of the U.S. Administration, many European governments and some Arab countries, including Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Abbas, who lost the Gaza Strip to Hamas in the summer of 2007, has thus far refrained from publicly commenting on these reports. Abbas would probably love to retake control over the Gaza Strip, especially as such a move would solidify his status as president of all Palestinians, and not just the ruler of certain parts of the West Bank. Abbas is well aware, however, that under the current circumstances, his return to the Gaza Strip would be seen by Hamas and other Palestinians as an act of treason. The last thing he needs is to be accused of returning to the Gaza Strip "aboard an Israeli tank."

 

There are other reasons why Abbas is not eager, at least at this stage, to regain control over the Gaza Strip. The main reason is that he still does not trust Hamas in spite of the unity agreement he signed with the Islamist movement last April. When Hamas defeated his forces and toppled the Palestinian Authority in 2007, Abbas was lucky to leave the Gaza Strip alive. After the Hamas coup, Abbas revealed that the Islamist movement had tried to kill him just before its militiamen seized control of the entire Gaza Strip. In a televised speech in June 2007, Abbas accused Hamas of trying to assassinate him by using tunnels to target his motorcade.

 

Abbas said he had seen videotapes of Hamas terrorists digging a tunnel under a road where his car was supposed to pass in the Gaza Strip. The terrorists, he added, had planned to fill the tunnel with 250 kilograms of explosives. Abbas said that the terrorists had boasted on the tape that the bomb was "for Abu Mazen" [Abbas's nickname]. He said that he sent copies of the videotape to Arab heads of state to expose the Hamas plot. Today, when Abbas sees the dozens of Hamas tunnels discovered by the Israel Defense Forces [IDF], he must be asking himself if these are the same tunnels that were supposed to be used in the assassination scheme against him. And there is no doubt that Abbas must feel relieved to see the IDF destroy the terror tunnels.

 

Another reason Abbas is reluctant to return to the Gaza Strip is the ongoing tensions between his Fatah faction and Hamas. These tensions have persisted despite the unity agreement between the two parties and despite the formation of a Palestinian "national consensus" government. According to sources in the Gaza Strip, since the beginning of the war Hamas has placed more than 250 Fatah members under house arrest. Some Fatah activists who violated the cease-fire were shot in the arms and legs. The lucky ones only had their arms and legs broken. Gen. Adnan Damiri, spokesman for the PA security forces in the West Bank, confirmed this week that Hamas has been targeting Fatah activists in the Gaza Strip. He said that some of the wounded men had been transferred for medical treatment in West Bank and Jordanian hospitals. A third reason why Abbas still does not trust Hamas is the revelation this week that the Islamist movement had planned to overthrow his regime in the West Bank. Thanks to the efforts of the Israeli Shin Bet and IDF, the coup plot was foiled after the arrest of dozens of Hamas operatives in the West Bank. Abbas himself seems to be aware that were it not for Israel, Hamas would have removed him from power a long time ago and extended its control to the West Bank.

 

Today, Abbas seems to feel safer sitting with Israel in the West Bank than he does being with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Abbas also knows that his return to the Gaza Strip would not stop Hamas and other terrorist groups from continuing their rocket attacks on Israel. Many seem to have forgotten that even while he was in control of the Gaza Strip, Abbas could not stop the rocket attacks or disarm any of the terrorist groups. Even his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, was not able to stop the rocket attacks or rein in the terrorist groups. Even if the Palestinian Authority were to return to the Gaza Strip, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups would not disappear. The PA in the Gaza Strip would end up like the Lebanese government, which has no control over the terrorist Hizbullah organization.

 

This is precisely what Hamas wants: a weak Palestinian Authority that would manage the day-to-day affairs of the Palestinians and pay salaries to tens of thousands of employees, while the Islamist movement and its allies continue to smuggle weapons and prepare for the next war with Israel. Such a scenario would only strengthen Hamas: it would absolve it of its responsibilities toward the residents of the Gaza Strip by laying the burden on the Palestinian Authority. Abbas and the PA cannot return to the Gaza Strip unless Hamas and its allies are completely disarmed or severely undermined as result of Israeli military action or international agreements to demilitarize the entire Gaza Strip. For now, it would be better to keep Abbas and his Palestinian Authority away from the Gaza Strip instead of turning them into puppets in the hands of Hamas and its sponsors in Qatar.

 

Contents
                            

THE MEDIA INTIFADA: BAD MATH, UGLY TRUTHS                                        

ABOUT NEW YORK TIMES IN ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR                                                  

Richard Behar                                                                                                               

Forbes, Aug. 21, 2014

 

It’s a “media intifada,” notes Gary Weiss, an old colleague and one of the world’s top business investigative reporters. He is referring of course to the ongoing war in Gaza, where journalists working for American news outlets have, he says, “become part of the Hamas war machine.” As more than a month has passed since Israel began its Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, it’s high time to dig through the carnage that many of my colleagues from major U.S. media outlets are leaving behind—especially the New York Times. On August 11th, the normally Israel-averse Foreign Press Association in Israel conceded what those closely following the war coverage already knew: That Hamas has been intimidating foreign reporters. In a harsh statement, it condemned the terrorist group for “the blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox methods employed by the Hamas authorities and their representatives against visiting international journalists in Gaza over the past month.”

 

This is hardly surprising, as who can expect a terrorist group to treat reporters nicely—except perhaps many reporters themselves? But what is surprising is that New York Times’ Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren undermined her own newspaper—quickly denouncing the FPA’s statement. She said in a tweet that she wasn’t aware of any such harassed reporters, even though she concedes she spent only one week in Gaza herself during the height of the conflict. In an email to the FPA, she said that the FPA’s statement could be “dangerous” to the “credibility” of the foreign press who are covering the conflict. “Every reporter I’ve met who was in Gaza during war says this Israeli/now FPA narrative of Hamas harassment is nonsense,” she tweeted. I agree that there’s a lot of nonsense being disseminated about Israel’s war with Hamas, and about the media role in the conflict. And I agree that there is a danger—if people believe that the media, including the New York Times, provides a fair picture of the war in Gaza. (I would argue it is not.)

 

Since late July, I’ve conducted an in-depth look at the credibility of the media coverage, plus interviews with military experts and some journalists covering the war. Among other things, I’ve discovered that the Times’ most important reporter in Gaza for the past few years has used the late Yasser Arafat as his profile photo on Facebook, and, in a second photo, praised the former Palestinian leader. This suggests that the Times may have less to worry about in terms of Hamas intimidation than others in the press corps. Indeed, this Times reporter’s parallel pieces for Qatar’s Al Jazeera since the war began can only be pleasing to the terrorists…

 

Since the operation (now clearly a war—albeit interspersed with ceasefires) began on July 8th, so much of the Western coverage has been predictably skewed against Israel—through those time-honored journalism tools of sloppy and lazy reporting, superficiality, nuance, omission, lack of historical knowledge, or flat-out agenda-driven lies and bias. Journalism ethics professors and historians take note: You are bearing witness, with few exceptions, to some of the most abysmal overseas reporting since Hearst’s New York Journal in 1898 got us into the Spanish-American War and Walter Duranty of the New York Times was ignoring Stalin’s crimes in the 1930s. “We’re not just talking bad journalism,” says Weiss. “We’re talking about journalism that functions as a tool of a terrorist organization, Hamas: breathlessly pushing its narrative, whether cowed by its threats, sympathetic to its cause, or simply ignorant.” It’s not for lack of personnel. Israel’s Government Press Office says just over 700 foreign journalists from more than 40 countries have come to Israel to cover the war (joining the 750 already there). But only a few of them are doing their jobs right—that is, moving beyond the surface imagery and the heavy-handed (and wrong) “David and Goliath” agenda being advanced by the fascistic, death-worshipping terrorist group Hamas.

 

I raised the topic last week with Ambassador Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in New York. “As someone who is a student of the media and a former journalist,” he says, “I find it bizarre — journalistically and morally – that after a month of intense fighting between Israel and Hamas, there were hardly any images shown in Western media of Hamas terrorists holding guns or Hamas terrorists engaged in hostile activities against Israel. It’s as if there’s only one side, and this could be a result of two reasons: Either journalists are looking for the easy story, the available story, what’s in front of their eyes. Or they’re being intimidated by Hamas. And I believe that what we’ve probably had is a combination of both.” This epidemic of journalistic malpractice is contributing to the pain and loss of life that Palestinians in Gaza are suffering—as it helps to empower Hamas, which has been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S., the EU, Canada, Japan, Egypt and Jordan. (This designation is too often not-fit-to-print by the New York Times and other media outlets.) In turn, this no doubt helps spread oil on the rising and frightening anti-Semitism we’re seeing in Europe and elsewhere.

 

And that is no accident. Hamas’s rarely-mentioned 1988 charter is a throwback to 1930s Nazi anti-Semitism, pure and simple, with a genocidal intent that is unambiguous. Indeed, Hamas is the spiritual successor to the anti-Semitic Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Palestinian leader who famously met and worked with Adolf Hitler and his henchman Heinrich Himmler, chief of the SS and architect of the Final Solution, as he aligned the Palestinian Arab cause with the Axis during World War II. You might say that the battle that Hamas is fighting is not a new one at all, but a continuation of Hitler’s unfinished business from World War II.  If this all sounds new to you it’s no wonder—the media rarely delves beyond the surface into Hamas’s ideology and historical antecedents. But that is but one of many problems with the coverage of the Israel-Hamas conflict, and not even the worst…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

                                                                                                               

Contents

GENERAL GREENE'S DEATH AND THE AFGHAN MISSION                          

Max Boot                

Commentary, Aug. 6, 2014

 

The death of Major General Harold Greene in Kabul is shocking on many levels. He is the most senior military officer killed in a war zone overseas since the Vietnam War and by all accounts a highly intelligent and competent officer who, ironically enough, had never served in combat before arriving in Afghanistan this year to take the No. 2 job at the command charged with training Afghan troops. Kabul is not particularly dangerous, especially not compared to Baghdad. I and many other visitors have been to the military academy where he was slain many times. Yet even in Kabul there can be terrorist attacks. The death of General Greene and the wounding of a number of other NATO personnel is all the more dismaying because the perpetrator was an Afghan soldier. Such incidents of “green on blue” violence have the potential to turn Americans against the entire Afghan endeavor. Why should we help them, many wonder, if even Afghan soldiers want to kill our troops?

 

A little perspective is in order. While there have been all too many “green on blue” attacks in Afghanistan, the number has actually dropped in the past year and it was never all that high to begin with. Very, very few Afghan soldiers have ever been driven to turn their weapons on their allies. As in, an infinitesimally small amount. We’re talking about a few dozen individuals out of a force more than 330,000 strong. Remember that even the U.S. Armed Forces are hardly immune to these kinds of “insider” attacks. Fort Hood alone has seen two such attacks, one in 2009, another in April. The fact that Major Nidal Malik Hasan fatally shot 13 people at Fort Hood in 2009 is not and should not be taken as evidence that the U.S. Armed Forces are fundamentally disloyal. It was and should be seen as a freak occurrence by one disgruntled officer. The shooting in Kabul should be seen in the same light. There is no larger problem of disloyalty among Afghan military units. They are not defecting to the enemy or refusing to fight. In fact they are fighting hard and suffering considerable casualties. The “insider” threat in Afghanistan is real, but it is actually decreasing. The U.S. military is acutely conscious of this issue and has taken steps to mitigate the danger, for example by assigning troopers to act as “guardian angels” for other troopers when meeting with Afghan counterparts. Such steps have paid off. According to the Brookings Institution, there were 21 insider attacks in 2011, 41 in 2012, 9 in 2013, and just one this year prior to the attack on General Greene.

 

Moreover, while any death is tragic, it is important to keep in mind that U.S. fatalities overall are rapidly decreasing. According to the icasualties website, 39 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan this year–down from 127 in 2013, 310 in 2012, and 418 in 2011. Those figures will undoubtedly fall even more as U.S. personnel transition to an entirely advisory mission. What may happen is that, as the threat from IEDs and other types of attacks goes down, the percentage of fatalities caused by insider attacks goes up. But that should not mask the overall trend, which is that Afghanistan is getting safer for U.S. personnel. Thus there is no reason to rethink the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan after this attack, no matter how shocking or tragic. Given General Greene’s lifetime of distinguished service–and the service of his family members as well–it is safe to assume that this is the last thing he would have wanted, for his death to lead to a pullout from Afghanistan that will undo all that he and so many other soldiers fought so hard to achieve.

 

                                                                                                               

Contents

HOW IRAQ EXPLAINS WHY THE U.S.

SHOULDN'T LEAVE AFGHANISTAN                                        

Paul D. Miller                                               

 Foreign Policy, Aug. 25, 2014

 

President Obama has tried to articulate a clear doctrine of when the United States should use force. He said in his Nobel lecture in 2009 that force was justified against al Qaeda because "negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms." He also said, "I believe that force can be justified on humanitarian grounds, as it was in the Balkans, or in other places that have been scarred by war. Inaction tears at our conscience and can lead to more costly intervention later." Force is justified when either or interests or our ideals, or both, are threatened. These principles seem to have animated his decision to use force against jihadists in Iraq. The militants, clearly in sympathy with al Qaeda's ideology, would present a danger to the United States if they gained the resources and safe haven of sovereignty. As it is, they already present a danger to U.S. allies in the region, including the Kurds. In addition, the terrorists "threat[en] to wipe out Yazidis and other religious minorities trapped on Mount Sinjar," according to the New York Times, "add[ing] to the urgency." Despite his obvious and understandable hesitations to return U.S. military forces to Iraq, the president's humanitarian concerns combined with the United States' strategic interests and added heft to his decisions to use force in Iraq.

 

In other words, the president has articulated the best possible argument for remaining engaged in Afghanistan beyond the 2016 deadline he established for the withdrawal of all U.S. troops there. The United States has real national security interests at stake in Afghanistan's future and the future of South Asia. Iraq could hardly be a clearer cautionary tale: If the U.S. withdraws before the Afghan security forces are fully prepared to lead the fight against the Taliban and deny safe haven against al Qaeda, jihadists are almost certain to regain safe haven there, much as the Islamic State (IS) has gained ground since the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011. That is what losing the war in Afghanistan looks like. But U.S. interests are not limited to a narrow counterterrorism concern. Just as in Iraq, there is the potential for a major humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan following the premature withdrawal of international security forces and development money. If the Taliban continue their resurgence in the wake of the international withdrawal (as noted by the Times here and here), they are likely to engage in reprisal killings against Afghans who allied with the Karzai government or international forces — including whole tribes who worked en masse with U.S. forces over the years. The ethnic Hazara, whom the Taliban targeted for ethnic cleansing in the 1990s, will face the same fate as the Iraqi Yazidis. The Hazara will be joined by women, Tajiks, Christians, Shia, and the Popalzai and Barakzai tribes.

 

The United States bears more responsibility for preventing mass atrocities in Afghanistan than in Libya, in which it intervened explicitly and solely for humanitarian reasons in 2011. First, the United States has repeatedly and publicly promised to stand by the Afghans and help them secure their country — in the 2005 Strategic Partnership Agreement, the 2012 Strategic Partnership Agreement, the 2013 Bilateral Security Agreement, the (presumably) forthcoming Status of Forces Agreement, and the 2012 designation of Afghanistan as a major non-NATO ally — promises we never made to the Libyans. The Afghans are betting their future on our promises. Secondly, many Afghans have risked their lives to fight our enemies. Countless Afghans soldiers, policemen, and intelligence agents have fought on the frontlines, and far more of them have been killed than U.S. troops. Nor has their service been simply in defense of their own country: Afghan forces have regularly been a part of broader counterterrorism operations of more concern to us than to them. Their service to our country creates an obligation on our part to help protect them. No such relationship ever existed with Libyan forces.

 

Third, the United States has a specific and unique opportunity to invest in Afghanistan that rarely exists in other countries facing state failure or mass atrocities. In many cases — the Congo, perhaps, or North Korea — the United States has virtually no presence, no resources, or no platform from which to base resources; or the political environment is an obstacle to the introduction of U.S. forces. We can't stop every atrocity in the world, nor should we try. But in Afghanistan we have a robust infrastructure in place. We have tens of thousands of troops already there. We have a partner in the Afghan government that wants us to stay. None of these things were true in Libya; there are not true in Iraq anymore; they are not true in Syria, Ukraine, North Korea, Mali, or just about any other place on the planet that faces the possibility of a mass atrocity. If there any single place in the entire world where we are most well postured to prevent atrocities where they are likely to occur, it is Afghanistan.

 

Some critics argue that we've already done everything we can and there is no point to investing any more in a country seemingly impervious to our best intentions. Others argue that the Afghan government's incompetence, paralysis, and corruption excuse our obligation to them. Both are wrong. Adm. Michael Mullen, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, famously told Congress in 2007, "In Afghanistan we do what we can. In Iraq, we do what we must." When the top military official in the United States openly admits that we did not devote to Afghanistan the resources required to accomplish the mission, there are no plausible grounds for arguing that the United States has done everything it can, and therefore no grounds for arguing that there is no point to further investment. Obama's surge of troops there helped, but did not change, the overall trend of under-resourcing the mission in Afghanistan. Nor does the Afghan government's corruption erase our obligation to them. It may change how we deliver our assistance, or cause us to place conditions on its use –but to pull out over frustration with the government's kelptocracy would be to punish the Afghan people for the sins of their government. Rather, continued engagement at least gives us the possibility of leverage to use against their corruption, while pulling out gives us nothing. The president has outlined clear criteria for the use of force abroad: primarily situations in which U.S. interests are at stake, but also those in which humanitarian crises are possible. That is a good standard. Afghanistan clearly meets the standard. That is why two administrations from both parties have repeatedly promised for more than a decade that we will stand by the Afghans. President Obama's decision to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2016 is inconsistent with his own standard for the employment of force abroad.

 

On Topic

 

Petition: Hamas Leaders Must be Tried For War Crimes—We, the undersigned to this petition and hundreds of million more around the world, expect the UN’s decisive action against Hamas leaders’ flagrant war crimes and crimes against humanity.

PA leader: "Am I stopping You From Slaughtering a Settlement?": Youtube, Aug. 13, 2014—Deputy Secretary of the Fatah Central Committee Jibril Rajoub:‎ “I’m telling everyone: Fatah has ‎decided that our relations with the Israelis are relations between enemies.

New York Times Gaza Correspondent Exposed as Arafat Fan: Honest Reporting, Aug. 24, 2014—Investigative journalist Richard Behar has written what is possibly the definitive article on the media bias we’ve witnessed during the current Gaza conflict.

U.S. Army Major General Harold Greene Was Buried Today at Arlington National Cemetery…Guess Who Was Missing…: Aug. 23, 2014—U.S. Army Major General Harold Greene was buried today at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors, including a caisson, two escort platoons, casket team, firing party, colors team, and a caparisoned horse.

Financial Crisis Looming Over Afghanistan: Nathan Hodge, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 25, 2014— Next week, if all goes to according to plan, a new Afghan president will take office and inherit an immediate crisis: a government that is running perilously low on cash.

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

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Paul Merkley: The Death Knell Sounds for the Christians of Iraq

In just a few weeks the government of Iraq lost control of most of Western Iraq and Northern Iraq. As the Army of Iraqi disintegrated, leaving to the Army of IS all that heavy weaponry (the very best of its kind in the whole world, paid for over two decades by the American taxpayer), mass executions, filmed by IS itself for us all to admire, were clearing the ground of any elements associated with the Baghdad regime.

 

At this moment it became clear to most alert Iraqis on the path to Baghdad that the best way of demonstrating fidelity to the new Caliph Imam Abu-bakr al-Baghdadi and to the goals of his pretended universal regime was to resume the task that Muhammad had left to all Muslims – the neglect of which, according to all believers everywhere, is the essential reason for the humiliation that befell the World of Islam in the Twentieth Century: that is, the task of eliminating Jews and Christians.

 

Evidently only a few individuals have taken up the Caliph’s “invitation” to convert even though mass executions have occurred in many places already. Entire communities of Christians, people who had lived in the land between the Euphrates and the Tigris for many centuries prior to the happy day when the Angel Gabriel handed down the Qur’an to Muhammad, have been forced onto the road; their homes have been marked with the Arabic equivalent of the letter N (for “Nassarah” = Nazarenes or Christians), advertizing that Muslims are invited to loot.

 

In an interview for the Lebanese LBC/LDC TV Channel, a Christian refugee from Iraq reports that his Sunni neighbours, now imagining themselves on an ascendant curve as the army that served the purposes of the Shia-dominated Maliki government, dropped all its weapons and ran away, cried out in chorus: “The land belongs to Islam and Christians should not live here.” Allah hu akhbar! (“Christian Refugee From Mosul: Our Neighbors Drove us Out,” MEMRI Daily (memri@memri.org, August 13, 2014.)

 

The Assyrians

 

(Some lines of this sub-section are adapted from my article, “How Christians Communities Die in the Middle East,” http://www.thebaviewreview.com, July 29, 2013.)

 

The great majority of Christians who live in Iraq today are called “Assyrians.” They probably do not descend from the Old Testament Assyrians –among history’s most blood-thirsty conquerors — but they most certainly are Christians and equally certainly have lived as a distinct population in the Middle East since the very beginning of the history of the Church – that is, for at least four centuries before the time of Muhammad.

 

Their story began in one of the Christian kingdoms that on today’s map would be located partly in Syria, partly in Iraq. They were among several distinct national minorities still governed by the Ottoman Empire at the opening of the Twentieth Century and then set loose from that regime when the Allies dismantled the Ottoman Empire after 1922. Because the Assyrians were Christians, they were despised by all of the other national communities who competed with them for the privilege of founding a separate nation – among whom were the Arabs and the Kurds.

 

The Twentieth Century leaders of the Assyrian communities in the Middle East imagined that since they were Christians and had indeed been Christians since long before any European nation had turned to Christian faith they would enjoy some sentimental advantage, to say the least, with the leaders of the Great Western Powers. But the days when the leaders of the Western Democracies openly identified themselves as “Christian” were already long gone and the days when their governments would pride themselves on never appearing to prefer the cause of Christians anywhere in the world had now begun.

Complicity of the Kurds in the Extirpation of the Assyrians in Syria.

 

Another major ethnic minority set loose by the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire and seeking recognition as a State was the Kurds. These are about eighty million in number today; they are related to the Iranians and are mainly Sunni Muslims, but their leading politicians are considered as dangerously secular by the major religious establishments.

We have to set aside the good press that the Kurds are receiving these days and recall that the Kurds of Britain’s Mandate of Mesopotamia (what is today Iraq) put themselves in August 1933 at the head of a military campaign to liquidate the Assyrians of Iraq, whom all sides hated because they were Christians. Several thousand Assyrians were massacred in the course of a few days. (See Editorial: “The Origin and Meaning of Assyrian Martyrs Day,” http://www.aina.org, August 6, 2014.)

 

The Kurdish leaders of that time assumed that this heroic campaign to liquidate the only intact Christian community surviving in this region since the Turks had carried out their attempted genocide of the Armenians during the First World War would be accepted by the British and French colonial regimes and then by the post-colonial Arab regimes in Iraq and Syria as proof of their entitlement to a nation-state of their own. However, it was not until the Americans imposed their no-fly against Saddam Hussein’s dying regime after the first Iraq War in the late 1990s that the Kurds of Iraq achieved an Autonomous State-within-a-state in Iraq.

 

The Assyrian Remnant in Iraq

 

In Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, the surviving Assyrians had looked to the dictator as their protector against popular hostility. Since Saddam Hussein’s fall, the small community of Assyrian Christians in Iraq has been reduced to something like half its previous numbers by the actions of Muslim mobs acting on the advice of their religious teachers.

Even before the Islamic State got into the game a few months ago, there had been hundreds of Christians kidnapped and murdered by other Iraqis because of their Assyrian ethnicity and their Christian faith. Taken together, these acts have driven approximately 1 million Assyrians out of their homeland. Many thousands now languish in refugee camps in Jordan, Turkey, and Syria. Only about 450,000 Assyrians remain in Iraq. Now the Islamic State has put this remnant on notice of imminent extirpation.

 

An editorial in the Jerusalem Post notes:

 

    For months, the march of the militant Islamic State organization was ignored by the international community. It wasn’t for lack of knowledge. Islamic State bragged about its atrocities, posting videos of its fighters loading Shi’ite men onto trucks and making them dig their own graves. They bragged about stoning women for “adultery” and posted gruesome photos of executions and crucifixions…. The deafening silence from the West was similar to that which has greeted previous genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda and Sudan, where lip-service was paid too late for crimes that could have been prevented.

 

The Case for Assyrian Autonomy

 

Most Kurdish politicians think that they see a silver lining to the present troubles. Suddenly there is a bandwagon movement among well-place Western politicians and journalists in favour of a State of Kurdistan, one that could have larger boundaries than those of the present Autonomous Region, intruding into parts of Turkey and perhaps even Iran.

This could be a worthy cause, and might even be a workable one — given that the Autonomous Region and its leaders have been receiving high marks for administering a quasi-modern economy and for making peaceful noises in the direction of their neighbours. But these friends of Kurdistan have a duty, in light of all the past injustice, to couple that cause with the cause of the Assyrians.

 

While the Kurds have appeared for the time being willing to welcome Assyrians fleeing from the common enemy, ISIS, history makes clear that the Kurds are no more immune than any of other of the component “nations” emerging from the old Ottoman nation to the local virus that has for millennia made it impossible for people living under the inspiration of Islam to tolerate difference of belief. Recent television coverage of the rescue by helicopters of the Kurdish Armed forces of desperate Yazidi refugees has left an impression of measureless generosity of the Kurds. But the whole truth is that Kurdish government security forces have failed to protect Christians and Yazidis on the Ninevah plain and beyond.

 

Alen Mirza, Global Policy Director for the Assyrian Universal Alliance of America, says:     Multiple reports confirm that Kurdish forces withdrew from … the Ninevah Plain and Sinjar and Zumar, leaving the population defenceless against ISIS Ground commanders were ordered to withdraw from these areas by the Kurdish government without explanation….Yet Western governments and the media have framed the narrative as the need to arm the Kurds to save them from impending doom. The Kurds have not been directly threatened, have not been uprooted and forced from their homes and villages, yet they are portrayed as weak and defenceless and in need of military aid…. Some analysts even suggest that Kurds are exploiting this opportunity, deliberately withdrawing their forces, showing “weakness” to gain more arms from the United States, and the Assyrians and Yazidis are pawns in this game, sacrificed for Kurdish interests.

 

This spokesman for the Assyrians urges us to think past the present moment of unfocussed sympathy for the suffering Assyrians and examine the case for internationally secured autonomy for the Assyrians – the case that Britain, supported by the other western powers, turned its back upon in the 1930s. While the government of France), for example, has announced its intention to grant asylum to Christians forced out of Mosul … [what is needed is] … a permanent safe-haven in the Middle East itself: the birthplace of Christianity. (Nujri Kino, “The U.S. and U.N. must establish a safe haven for Assyrians in Iraq,” http://www.huffingtonpost.com, August 5, 2014.

 

“Ask Not For Whom the Bells Do Not Toll”

 

There can be no doubt that the Caliph of All Muslims, together with his monstrous and mindless army, has brought up-to-date Muhammad’s plainly expressed prescription for the ultimate extirpation of Jews and Christians.

 

Last Sunday [June 22], for the first time in 1600 years, no mass was celebrated in Mosul. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) seized Iraq’s second largest city on June 10, causing most Christians in the region to flee in terror, in new kinship with the torment of Christ crucified on the cross. The remnant of Mosul’s ancient Christian community … now faces annihilation behind ISIS lines. Those who risk worship must do so in silence, praying under new Sharia regulations that have stilled every church bell in the city. (Andrew Doran and Drew Bowling, “Iraq’s Christians Flee as Church Bells Fall Silent in Mosul,” http://www.thedailybeast.com, June 30, 2014.

 

Something has gone fundamentally wrong with those modern minds who have committed themselves to extirpation of the Jewish State and in this cause are demonstrating on our streets today in collaboration with Hamas and Hezbollah. Some of these conscientious souls are Christians and some (incredibly) are Jews; but most belong in the category of non-believers as defined by Muhammad – and are scheduled to share the fate of the Yazidis! Can they not grasp that the bell that is not tolling for the Assyrians and the other Christians of the world is likewise not tolling for them too?

HAMAS & ISIS: “TWO SIDES OF THE SAME ISLAMIC TERROR COIN”

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 

 

Contents:

 

Letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon: Alan Baker, Aug. 15, 2014  — It is with considerable sadness and disappointment that we write this letter to you, in the name of thousands of lawyers associated with the Legal Forum for Israel.

Appeasing the Mob? That Ain’t Kosher: Stephen Pollard, National Post, Aug. 20, 2014 — Terrorism takes many forms. But whether it is Islamist extremists on the streets of London or beheadings in Syria and Iraq, it has one common thread: It is designed to instil such fear that a society or community changes its very way of life.

ISIS and Hamas: The Double Standard: Arsen Ostrovsky, Huffington Post, Aug. 20, 2014  — Hamas and ISIS are two sides of the same Islamic terror coin, yet while the West has rightfully united in condemnation and action against ISIS, it has applied a different standard towards Israel, who has been faced with the incessant terror of Hamas.

The Death Knell Sounds for the Christians of Iraq: Paul Merkley, Bayview Review, Aug. 19, 2014 — In just a few weeks the government of Iraq lost control of most of Western Iraq and Northern Iraq.

 

On Topic Links

 

Dear World (Video): Youtube, July 28, 2014

It’s Anti-Semitism, Stupid: Efraim Karsh, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 11, 2014

It's Britain, So the Anti-Semitism Is More Refined: Brendan O'Neil, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 15, 2014

The Battle of our Century: Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Post, Aug. 14, 2014

 

LETTER TO UN SECRETARY GENERAL BAN KI MOON                        

Alan Baker                                                                                                            

Aug. 15, 2014

 

Excellency,

 

It is with considerable sadness and disappointment that we write this letter to you, in the name of thousands of lawyers associated with the Legal Forum for Israel. We heard and read with amazement and incredulity your recent statements accusing Israeli forces of violating international humanitarian law, and especially your statement of 12 August 2014 questioning of Israel’s respect for the principles of distinction and proportionality, and your call for an “investigation into the repeated shelling of UN facilities harboring civilians”. We find these statements by you to be nothing less than shocking, deceitful and totally inaccurate.

 

We know that you have been fully briefed, and are well aware of the circumstances that have given rise to the hostilities between Israel and the Hamas terror organization, including the mass barrage of rockets fired by Hamas at Israel’s civilian centers, and the extensive offensive tunnels under Israel’s sovereign territory.

 

We also know that you are fully aware of the extraordinary lengths to which the Israeli forces have gone in order to ensure that all targets are legitimate military targets, and to fully observe the principles of distinction and proportionality – to the extent of suffering casualties because of this. We know that you are fully aware of the repeated warnings given to civilians to distance themselves from those structures used by Hamas for purposes of combat. We know that you are fully aware of the fact that Hamas, as a matter of its basic operational procedure, deliberately and willfully uses its civilians and its civilian structures, whether schools, hospitals, mosques or private homes, in order to shield its rocket emplacements, weapons manufacture facilities, tactical planning and operation centers and its stocks of rockets and other weapons. You are fully aware of the fact that they do this deliberately in order to generate civilian casualties, as part of their propaganda warfare.

 

Yet despite your knowing all these facts, you have nevertheless found it necessary to play along with the Hamas tactics and to arbitrarily and falsely accuse Israel of violating humanitarian norms, and you have even determined “that these attacks should be investigated and those found responsible will bear the consequences of their actions.” We have great difficulty in understanding the reasons for this deliberate and false deceit on your part. As Secretary General of the United Nations, we would have expected you to live up to the principles set out in the UN Charter requiring you and your staff to “refrain from actions which might reflect on [your] position as international officials responsible only to the Organization.” To lay the blame so blatantly and falsely on Israel, while totally ignoring the continued, willful and indiscriminate aggression by Hamas against Israel’s citizens, its utter disregard of humanitarian norms, and Hamas’s cynical violation of the basic rights to life of its own civilian population, you are undermining and discrediting your own position as Secretary General, as well as undermining the guiding principles set out in the Charter, and discrediting the organization.

 

We are shocked at your utter disregard of the fact that the very UN premises of which you accuse Israel of attacking, have been cynically abused by Hamas and used as store-houses for ammunition, and launching pads for rockets. Rather than falsely accusing Israel, one might have expected that as the executive head of the UN, you would have admitted responsibility of the UN for such abuse of its facilities, and instituted a thorough inquiry as to how and why UNRWA facilities were placed at the disposal of the Hamas terror organization, how and why the UN officials responsible for such facilities permitted this situation to occur, and why those rockets and other weapons that were discovered in such facilities were transferred to Hamas, for their continued use against Israel’s citizens. In permitting the storage of weapons, and in transferring such weapons into the hands of Hamas, the UN has in fact permitted itself to become accessory to the commission of war crimes…

 

Sincerely,

 

Alan Baker, Ambassador (ret’), Attorney Nachi Eyal, Director, International Action Division, CEO, Legal Forum for Israel

 

Contents
                             APPEASING THE MOB? THAT AIN’T KOSHER                                         

Stephen Pollard                                                                                          

National Post, Aug. 20, 2014

 

Terrorism takes many forms. But whether it is Islamist extremists on the streets of London or beheadings in Syria and Iraq, it has one common thread: It is designed to instill such fear that a society or community changes its very way of life. On Saturday, a branch of the British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s removed all kosher food from its shelves over fears that anti-Israel protesters picketing outside would attack the shop. In its way, the store was both giving in to, and colluding with, a form of terrorism. In response to those protesters outside Sainsbury’s Holborn branch calling for a boycott of its Israeli goods, the manager ordered his staff to clear the shop of all its kosher goods. Clearly the manager is not the brightest spark in the firmament, since kosher produce — which is the only food observant Jews are allowed to eat — is not the same as Israeli produce (which is simply food produced in Israel). The kosher produce in the shop was apparently made in the UK and Poland, and had never been near Israel.

 

It’s easy to imagine what went through the manager’s mind: “Israelis, Jews – heh, they’re all the same. Let’s just get rid of this stuff pronto and keep the protesters happy.” According to the witness whose Facebook posting of the empty shelves revealed the story, a staff member then defended the move, saying: “We support Free Gaza.” I can think of no other description for Sainsbury’s behaviour than that it is a “hate crime”. How else should one describe the targeting of Jews — by removing kosher food from a shop — simply because of the actions of a foreign government with which they have no connection other than religion, and with which they may or may not agree? Worse, the idea that the best way to deal with a mob of angry anti-Israel protesters is to give them even more than what they want, by removing all Jewish produce in the hope that they will then go away, is not merely spineless. It is, in its broadest terms, exactly the response that terrorists seek. Some hapless Sainsbury’s spokesperson issued a statement saying that the company was “an absolutely non-political organisation,” and went on: “It was an isolated decision made in a very challenging situation.”

 

Challenging. What a wonderful word that is, designed as a catch-all to excuse all sorts of inexcusable acts. So – given how challenging things are in Iraq at the moment – presumably Sainsbury’s will be removing all halal goods from its shelves because Islamic State is slaughtering Yazidis. No? You mean Sainsbury’s does not believe all British Muslims should be punished for the actions of a foreign body with which they have no connection? Mistakes happen. But the way they are dealt with is usually more indicative of the way an organisation is run. And Sainsbury’s is refusing even to investigate the incident. Not that it is the only supermarket to have been targeted by protesters. Over the past few weeks, they have been attempting to shut all sorts of shops. Until Saturday, the main significance of the protests had been to show how resolute the retailers have been. In a Tesco in the Midlands, for example, also on Saturday, a group waving Palestinian flags burst in and threw produce from the shelves to the floor. The police were called. That is the only sensible response to intimidation. But for Sainsbury’s, it seems, the correct response to threats is to give in to them.

 

The mobs, of course, do not come from nowhere. The previous Saturday, a front-bench Labour MP, Shabana Mahmood, praised a protest against a Sainsbury’s branch in Birmingham that had been forced to close while the police restored order. She told marchers in Hyde Park that such direct action against any firm that did business with Israel was the way forward: “Just as powerful as our passion is the practical action we can all take to make our Government sit up and take notice.” She proclaimed: “We lay down in Sainsbury’s in Birmingham and closed down a store for five-and-a-half hours at peak time on a Saturday.” It is no surprise to see such direct action — mob rule, to be more precise — when the British government itself includes a party that refuses to take action against an MP (David Ward of the Liberal Democrats) who writes: “If I lived in Gaza would I fire a rocket? — Probably yes,” and which has a Business Secretary who has said he will impose an arms embargo on Israel should fighting recommence.

 

A pattern is emerging in which a form of anti-Semitism is becoming normalised — as if it were now acceptable to speak or even act against Jews as Jews, under the cover of acting against Israel. Two week ago, the Tricycle Theatre in north London decided that it would not be able to host the UK Jewish Film Festival, which had graced its screens for the past eight years. Not an Israeli festival, mind you — a Jewish festival. The reason? The festival has received a £1,400 donation from the Israeli government. The Tricycle has happily shown films from Russia, China and other nations with deplorable human rights records and made no demands over the funding of the films. But unless the British Jews who put on the film festival were prepared to divorce themselves from Israel, they would no longer be welcome, they were told. Over the weekend, the Tricycle caved in and reversed its stance, although the film festival will not return there until next year at the earliest…

 

Over the course of July, the Community Security Trust, which monitors anti-Semitism in co-operation with the police, recorded over 240 incidents – and they have been on a similar scale in August. The situation in Britain is not comparable to that in France, where there have been anti-Semitic mobs torching synagogues, but for many British Jews something poisonous has now entered the ether and anti-Semitism, the oldest hatred, is being normalised. Last week, my own newspaper, the Jewish Chronicle, conducted a straw poll of 150 Jews stopped randomly in the street. The results were not scientific. But fully 63% said they and their friends had, over the past month, discussed whether Jews have a future in Britain. That’s not, of course, the same as saying they would leave. But in 2014, how shaming that even one Jew feels that the discussion needs to be had.

                                                                                                               

Contents

ISIS AND HAMAS: THE DOUBLE STANDARD                                  

Arsen Ostrovsky                                             

Huffington Post, Aug. 20, 2014

 

Hamas and ISIS are two sides of the same Islamic terror coin, yet while the West has rightfully united in condemnation and action against ISIS, it has applied a different standard towards Israel, who has been faced with the incessant terror of Hamas. A chorus of world leaders, from President Obama, the UN Secretary General and Pope Francis — have all been rightfully outraged by the barbaric carnage we are witnessing from ISIS in Iraq. Even other arch-terrorists, like Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, have called ISIS "a monster", while Osama Bin Laden, before he was killed, called for al-Qaeda to sever all ties with ISIS due to the group's "extreme brutality," saying that it could "harm al-Qaeda's reputation." They have sought to annihilate entire communities of minorities in Iraq, including the ancient Yazidis and Christians. Their tactics and methods have shocked all people with a shred of decency to the very core, including now their gruesome murder and public beheading of American journalist James Foley.

 

Today, ISIS makes Hezbollah and al Qaeda look like Mother Theresa. From the use of death squads, beheadings, rape and crucifixions, no one has been spared, especially not women and children. Simply put, their evil and depravity knows no rational bounds. Calling ISIS a "cancer", President Obama, with the support of other world leaders, instructed U.S. forces to conduct a military operation in order to prevent the "genocide" of the Yazidis and other minorities in Iraq, saying "the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye." However, in stark contrast, many of these same world leaders effectively question Israel's right to self-defense against Hamas, with President Obama having called for Israel to institute an "immediate and unconditional" cease fire, while at the same halting weapons sales to Israel, America's key ally in the region, as it faces a renewed bombardment of rockets from Hamas.

 

So, one begs to ask the question — what is the difference between Hamas and ISIS? Both organizations come from the same radical, murderous Islamic roots with a pervasive indifference to human life, freedom and democracy. Hamas is essentially Israel's ISIS — but funded by Iran, assembled on the border of the Jewish state and with genocidal intentions of destroying Israel and killing all Jews around the world. One need only read Hamas' own Charter and observe their methods, including using their own children as human shields, while openly professing to Israel "We desire death as you desire life," to see they are in word and deed made of the same terrorist cloth as ISIS. Just a few weeks ago, Hamas reiterated again, "Our doctrine in fighting you [the Jews] is that we will totally exterminate you. We will not leave a single one of you alive."

 

Yet, the double standards that exist between how the West has (rightfully so) approached the terrorist ISIS and Hamas-Israel conflict, is breathtaking. The UN Human Rights Council for example has recently ordered another one-sided 'Fact Finding Mission' against Israel. It would be better served by dropping this anti-Israel witch-hunt and instead focusing on what are the most egregious human rights violations in this region, such as the attempted genocide of Yazidis by ISIS. But don't hold your breath. Last week, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution condemning ISIS for "gross, systematic and widespread abuse of human rights," but has yet to call out Hamas for their gross human rights violations, including bombarding innocent Israeli civilians, using Palestinians as human shields, while also persecuting women, gays and Christian minorities in Gaza.

 

One may also ask where are all those so-called enlightened liberals who continue to call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against the Jewish State, but are silent in the face of Palestinian terror, or for that matter, the real oppressed people of Iraq? Hollywood stars Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz signed an open-letter castigating Israel and calling its actions against Hamas in Gaza "genocide." They too have been conspicuously silent as Hamas is firing thousands of rockets against Israeli civilians and an actual genocide is occurring in Iraq. Every Western leader, including Ban-Ki Moon and President Obama repeatedly call on Israel to exercise more "restraint," to avoid Palestinian civilian casualties. Taking aside for a moment that the Israel Defense Forces go to "unprecedented lengths" to avoid civilian casualties (many of which Hamas intentionally put in harm's way), you will seldom hear a world leader calling on President Obama or the West to exercise 'restraint' against ISIS. In short, the world seems to have one standard for the West dealing with terror, and a different one when it comes to Israel fighting terror. Is Jewish or Israeli blood really somehow cheaper?

 

Contents

THE DEATH KNELL SOUNDS FOR THE CHRISTIANS OF IRAQ           

Paul Merkley                                                      

Bayview Review, Aug. 19, 2014

 

In just a few weeks the government of Iraq lost control of most of Western Iraq and Northern Iraq. As the Army of Iraqi disintegrated, leaving to the Army of IS all that heavy weaponry (the very best of its kind in the whole world, paid for over two decades by the American taxpayer), mass executions, filmed by IS itself for us all to admire, were clearing the ground of any elements associated with the Baghdad regime. At this moment it became clear to most alert Iraqis on the path to Baghdad that the best way of demonstrating fidelity to the new Caliph Imam Abu-bakr al-Baghdadi and to the goals of his pretended universal regime was to resume the task that Muhammad had left to all Muslims – the neglect of which, according to all believers everywhere, is the essential reason for the humiliation that befell the World of Islam in the Twentieth Century: that is, the task of eliminating Jews and Christians.

 

Evidently only a few individuals have taken up the Caliph’s “invitation” to convert even though mass executions have occurred in many places already. Entire communities of Christians, people who had lived in the land between the Euphrates and the Tigris for many centuries prior to the happy day when the Angel Gabriel handed down the Qur’an to Muhammad, have been forced onto the road; their homes have been marked with the Arabic equivalent of the letter N (for “Nassarah” = Nazarenes or Christians), advertizing that Muslims are invited to loot. In an interview for the Lebanese LBC/LDC TV Channel, a Christian refugee from Iraq reports that his Sunni neighbours, now imagining themselves on an ascendant curve as the army that served the purposes of the Shia-dominated Maliki government, dropped all its weapons and ran away, cried out in chorus: “The land belongs to Islam and Christians should not live here.”…

 

The Assyrians: The great majority of Christians who live in Iraq today are called “Assyrians.” They probably do not descend from the Old Testament Assyrians –among history’s most blood-thirsty conquerors — but they most certainly are Christians and equally certainly have lived as a distinct population in the Middle East since the very beginning of the history of the Church – that is, for at least four centuries before the time of Muhammad. Their story began in one of the Christian kingdoms that on today’s map would be located partly in Syria, partly in Iraq. They were among several distinct national minorities still governed by the Ottoman Empire at the opening of the Twentieth Century and then set loose from that regime when the Allies dismantled the Ottoman Empire after 1922. Because the Assyrians were Christians, they were despised by all of the other national communities who competed with them for the privilege of founding a separate nation – among whom were the Arabs and the Kurds. The Twentieth Century leaders of the Assyrian communities in the Middle East imagined that since they were Christians and had indeed been Christians since long before any European nation had turned to Christian faith they would enjoy some sentimental advantage, to say the least, with the leaders of the Great Western Powers. But the days when the leaders of the Western Democracies openly identified themselves as “Christian” were already long gone and the days when their governments would pride themselves on never appearing to prefer the cause of Christians anywhere in the world had now begun.

 

Another major ethnic minority set loose by the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire and seeking recognition as a State was the Kurds. These are about eighty million in number today; they are related to the Iranians and are mainly Sunni Muslims, but their leading politicians are considered as dangerously secular by the major religious establishments. We have to set aside the good press that the Kurds are receiving these days and recall that the Kurds of Britain’s Mandate of Mesopotamia (what is today Iraq) put themselves in August 1933 at the head of a military campaign to liquidate the Assyrians of Iraq, whom all sides hated because they were Christians. Several thousand Assyrians were massacred in the course of a few days…The Kurdish leaders of that time assumed that this heroic campaign to liquidate the only intact Christian community surviving in this region since the Turks had carried out their attempted genocide of the Armenians during the First World War would be accepted by the British and French colonial regimes and then by the post-colonial Arab regimes in Iraq and Syria as proof of their entitlement to a nation-state of their own. However, it was not until the Americans imposed their no-fly against Saddam Hussein’s dying regime after the first Iraq War in the late 1990s that the Kurds of Iraq achieved an Autonomous State-within-a-state in Iraq.

 

The Assyrian Remnant in Iraq: In Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, the surviving Assyrians had looked to the dictator as their protector against popular hostility. Since Saddam Hussein’s fall, the small community of Assyrian Christians in Iraq has been reduced to something like half its previous numbers by the actions of Muslim mobs acting on the advice of their religious teachers. Even before the Islamic State got into the game a few months ago, there had been hundreds of Christians kidnapped and murdered by other Iraqis because of their Assyrian ethnicity and their Christian faith. Taken together, these acts have driven approximately 1 million Assyrians out of their homeland. Many thousands now languish in refugee camps in Jordan, Turkey, and Syria. Only about 450,000 Assyrians remain in Iraq. Now the Islamic State has put this remnant on notice of imminent extirpation.

 

An editorial in the Jerusalem Post notes: For months, the march of the militant Islamic State organization was ignored by the international community. It wasn’t for lack of knowledge. Islamic State bragged about its atrocities, posting videos of its fighters loading Shi’ite men onto trucks and making them dig their own graves. They bragged about stoning women for “adultery” and posted gruesome photos of executions and crucifixions…. The deafening silence from the West was similar to that which has greeted previous genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda and Sudan, where lip-service was paid too late for crimes that could have been prevented…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

On Topic

 

Dear World (Video): Youtube, July 28, 2014—Dear world, sorry that we established a country…

It’s Anti-Semitism, Stupid: Efraim Karsh, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 11, 2014—Let’s admit it: Israel can never win the media war against Hamas. No matter what it does, no matter how hard it tries.

It's Britain, So the Anti-Semitism Is More Refined: Brendan O'Neil, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 15, 2014 —Britain's leftists are patting themselves on the back for having resisted the lure of anti-Semitism.

The Battle of our Century: Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Post, Aug. 14, 2014—It began dramatically on Sept. 11, 2001. Our century is characterized by a lethal theological war in the house of Islam, with brutal consequences for the whole world, whether it be lower Manhattan or northern Iraq.

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

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A “CONTINUATION OF POLICY…BY OTHER MEANS”: WAR AGAINST ISLAMIC EXTREMISM IS BEING FOUGHT IN GAZA & IRAQ—HOW WILL THE WEST BE VICTORIOUS?

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 

 

Contents:

 

Israel, Hamas and the Third (and fourth?) Gaza War: A Clausewitzian Perspective: Frederick Krantz, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 20, 2014 — Despite the hypocrisy and pusillanimity of the “international community” and the distortions and blindness of the media, the nature and goals of the Hamas terrorist organization in its third war against Israel are clear enough.

On Cyprus, the World Is Silent: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, Aug. 14, 2014 — Cyprus is a beautiful island. But it has never recovered from the Turkish invasion of 1974.

The Islamic State’s Campaign of Terror Will Take More Than Words to Stop: Washington Post, Aug. 20, 2014 — With each day, the barbarism of the Islamist extremists terrorizing Syria and Iraq becomes more evident — as does the need for the United States and its allies to act more vigorously to block their rise.

Another Iraq War is Coming – the Only Question is Whether We Want to Win: Max Boot , Spectator, Aug. 16, 2014 — Iraq is a bloody mess.

 

On Topic Links

 

A Love Letter From Hamas to ISIS (With 10 Tips): Noah Beck, Algemeiner, Aug. 20, 2014

Why Israel is Losing the Information War: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 20, 2014

Gaza Operation Reflects Shift by Netanyahu: Joshua Mitnick, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 15, 2014 

What is Wrong with ISIS, is What is Wrong with Islam: Daniel Greenfield, Canada Free Press, Aug. 20, 2014

 

ISRAEL, HAMAS AND THE THIRD (AND FOURTH?) GAZA WAR:

A CLAUSEWITZIAN PERSPECTIVE                                                   

Frederick Krantz                                                                                                 

Jerusalem Post, Aug. 20, 2014

 

“Violence, that is to say physical force (for there is no moral force without the conception of states and law), is therefore the means; the compulsory submission of the enemy to our will is the ultimate object. In order to attain this object fully, the enemy must be disarmed; and this is, correctly speaking, the real aim of hostilities in theory. It takes the place of the final object, and puts it aside in a manner as something not properly belonging to war.” – Carl von Clausewitz, On War

Despite the hypocrisy and pusillanimity of the “international community” and the distortions and blindness of the media, the nature and goals of the Hamas terrorist organization in its third war against Israel are clear enough. Hamas’ binding covenant explicitly proclaims its dedication to the destruction of the Jewish state, a genocidal intention expressed in terrorist murders of Jews and indiscriminate rocketing of Israeli civilian populations.

 

An offspring of the Muslim Brotherhood fundamentalists in Egypt, Hamas emerged as a radical, explicitly Islamist faction within Yasser Arafat’s PLO. Coming to power in Gaza after Israel’s unilateral withdrawal in 2005, Hamas won a US-backed, onetime Palestinian Authority election, taking full power subsequently in a bloody putsch against the PA and its president, Mahmoud Abbas. Sworn to war against the Jewish state and backed by Israel’s nemesis, Iran, Hamas acquired and began to use a vast arsenal of short- and intermediate-range missiles against Israeli civilian populations. This lead to Israeli military responses in 2008, and again in 2012; despite short truces, new longer-range missiles were added, and tunnels dug for the secret import of contraband goods and weapons from Egypt.

 

The current war differs from the two previous conflicts in quantity and quality. More and longer-range rockets, supplied by Iran and capable of reaching deep into Israel, are being used, while the number, complexity and extent of cross-border attack tunnels has markedly increased. The political context is also different, in two related respects. First, under increasing domestic pressure as its economy sank, Hamas saw unemployment skyrocket, and its large 40,000-strong bureaucracy’s salaries went unpaid. Second, internationally, Gen. Abdel Fattah Sisi’s defeat of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt deprived Hamas of a political and economic patron, while Sunni Hamas’ support for the Iranbacked Assad regime’s Islamist opponents in Syria distanced Teheran from Gaza. Hence Hamas’ recent reconciliation with the PA, temporarily creating a reunified Palestinian government, was aimed as much at getting Gaza salaries paid by Abbas as it was at reconciling with the hated Fatah. Hamas’ launching of missiles, and then of the tunnel attacks, expressed a considered, if desperate, rolling of the dice, an effort to reinforce its shaken Gazan hegemony, attract Arab and Muslim (Qatar, Turkey) financial and political aid, and reaffirm its “revolutionary” leadership.

 

Yet Hamas alone cannot hope to defeat the regional hegemon, Israel; if a traditional military victory isn’t its goal, what is? The answer is three-fold: 1) To demonstrate, first to its own Gazan subjects, to the larger West Bank population and to Arab world generally, that it is indeed the incarnation of the “Resistance,” standing alone against the Jewish infidel “occupier” of the Palestinian Wakf, the regional area of Islam’s inalienable patrimony. Here Hamas’s readiness to use its Gazan subjects as “martyrs” turns on the assumption (proven in the earlier Gazan conflicts, and in the Arab-Israeli wars generally) that the “international community” – moved by the mass media’s scenes of civilian casualties – will pressure Israel into compliance with a cease-fire well before Hamas can be destroyed and/or Gaza re-occupied.

2) Importantly, Hamas’ notion of “victory” differs from the Clausewitz epigraph’s statement. Immediate submission of Israel’s will to that of Hamas, and its full disarmament [and therefore destruction] is not Hamas’ proximate goal (though it is, with the presumptive aid of the larger Muslim and international world, its hoped-for final objective).

 

Hamas’ specific goal is – by standing up to the Jewish entity’s superior military machine and inflicting casualties on Israeli civilians – to delegitimate the Jewish state internationally, by representing it to the world as a “genocidal” war criminal and racist human-rights violator. (Here, too, the functional, deeply anti-Semitic meaning of the world-wide “BDS” and “apartheid analogy” campaign is revealed: “delegitimation,” denial of the Jewish state’s right to exist, prepares the way for its destruction. Delegitimation and genocide are intimately linked. Hamas’ reliance on aggression and martyrdom, its seeking, as one of is spokesmen put it, for death rather than (like the Jews) life, to delegitimize Israel and thereby to spark a wider conflagration, is a good example of another of Clausewitz’s themes, that when war itself becomes an end, and not a means, it can have unimagined (or in Hamas’ case, imagined) consequences.

 

As current short-term truces collapse under the weight of Hamas’ truculence, Israel’s response to the third Gazan war’s amplified threat may morph from artillery and airborne bombing to a sustained ground war. It looks more and more as though Hamas has miscalculated, and that a quick cease-fire and a US – and “international community” – forced “peace” may not be available to rescue it. Squeezed between Sisi’s Egypt and Israel, with even Abbas (while condemning Israel for the mounting civilian casualties) condemning the rocket attacks, Hamas could be about to suffer a decisive defeat.

 

Clausewitz, well aware of the vagaries of war, and of the close filial relation between Bellona, the goddess of war, and Fortuna, goddess of chance, always insisted on the subordination of war to state policy. Currently unforeseen considerations (for Israel, massive international pressure resulting from a truly terrible accidental bombing) may give Hamas an escape route, or even realize its hopes for a widening of the conflict. For Hamas, a “success” – long-range Hamas rockets falling on densely-populated Tel Aviv or Jerusalem – could radicalize Israel’s determination to pursue the conflict to the bitter end, the “international community” and the media notwithstanding. The political objective, Clausewitz wrote, not war per se, is always the essential factor: “War is a… continuation of policy by other means,” not a substitute for it. In Hamas’ case, war – the killing of Jews, the hoped for genocidal destruction of Jewish Israel – is a nihilistic end-in-itself. This explains the seemingly paradoxical disproportion between Hamas’ limited means and its apocalyptic goal: steadfastness, unending aggression, murder and martyrdom are more important even than victory itself.

 

But for democratic Jewish Israel, a sophisticated, bureaucratic Western state, war is a calibrated adjunct of rational policy, not a nihilistic end-in-itself. When necessary, it is a means to achieve Israel’s overarching moral-political purpose: the preservation and well-being of the Jewish state, and of the Jewish People itself. As the third Gaza war enters its fifth week and casualties continue to mount, it is clear that Israel’s policy goal cannot be yet another easily-terminated de facto cease-fire. If a fourth Gazan war is to be avoided, the atavistic terrorists’ ability to re-supply, and ultimately to resume the deadly hostilities, must finally be blocked. And this may well mean the destruction not only of the missiles and tunnels, but of their recidivist progenitor, Hamas.

                       

(Prof. Frederick Krantz is director of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research)

 

Contents
                            

ON CYPRUS, THE WORLD IS SILENT                                                         

 

Victor Davis Hanson                                                                                           

National Review, Aug. 14, 2014

 

Cyprus is a beautiful island. But it has never recovered from the Turkish invasion of 1974. Turkish troops still control nearly 40 percent of the island — the most fertile and formerly the richest portion. Some 200,000 Greek refugees never returned home after being expelled from their homes and farms in Northern Cyprus. The capital of Nicosia remains divided. A 112-mile demilitarized “green line” runs right through the city across the entire island. Thousands of settlers from Anatolia were shipped in by the Turkish government to occupy former Greek villages and to change Cypriot demography — in the same manner the occupying Ottoman Empire once did in the 16th century. Not a single nation recognizes the legitimacy of the Turkish Cypriot state. In contrast, Greek Cyprus is a member of the European Union.

Why, then, is the world not outraged at an occupied Cyprus the way it is at, say, Israel? Nicosia is certainly more divided than is Jerusalem. Thousands of Greek refugees lost their homes more recently, in 1974, than did the Palestinians in 1947. Turkey has far more troops in Northern Cyprus than Israel has in the West Bank. Greek Cypriots, unlike Palestinians, vastly outnumbered their adversaries. Indeed, a minority comprising about a quarter of the island’s population controls close to 40 percent of the landmass. Whereas Israel is a member of the U.N., Turkish Cyprus is an unrecognized outlaw nation.

 

Any Greek Cypriot attempt to reunify the island would be crushed by the formidable Turkish army, in the brutal manner of the brief war of 1974. Turkish generals would most likely not phone Greek homeowners warning them to evacuate their homes ahead of incoming Turkish artillery shells. The island remains conquered not because the Greeks have given up, but because their resistance is futile against a NATO power of some 70 million people. Greeks know that Turkey worries little about what the world thinks of its occupation. Greeks in Cyprus and mainland Greece together number less than 13 million people. That is far less than the roughly 300 million Arabic speakers, many from homelands that export oil, who support the Palestinians. No European journalist fears that Greek terrorists will track him down should he write something critical of the Greek Cypriot cause. Greek Cypriots would not bully a journalist in their midst for broadcasting a critical report, the way Hamas surely would do to any candid reporter in Gaza. In other words, there is not much practical advantage or interest in promoting the Greek Cypriot cause.

 

Unlike Israel, Turkey is in NATO — and is currently becoming more Islamic and anti-Western under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. If it is easy for the United States to jawbone tiny Israel, it is geostrategically unwise to do so to Turkey over the island of Cyprus. Turkey is also less emblematic of the West than is Israel. In the racist habit of assuming low expectations for non-Westerners, European elites do not hold Turkey to the same standards that they do Israel. We see such hypocrisy when the West stays silent while Muslims butcher each other by the thousands in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, and Syria. Only when a Westernized country like Israel inflicts far less injury to Muslims does the West become irate. The same paradox seems to hold true for victims. Apparently, Western Christian Greeks are not the romantic victims that Palestinian Muslims are. In the 40 years since they lost their land, Greek Cypriots have turned the once impoverished south into a far more prosperous land than the once-affluent but now stagnant Turkish-occupied north — unlike the Palestinians, who have not used their know-how to turn Gaza or Ramallah into a city like Limassol.

 

Resurgent anti-Semitism both in the Middle East and in Europe translates into inordinate criticism of Israel. Few connect Turkey’s occupation of Cyprus with some larger racist commentary about the supposed brutal past of the Turks. The next time anti-Israeli demonstrators shout about divided cities, refugees, walls, settlers, and occupied land, let us understand that those are not necessarily the issues in the Middle East. If they were, the Cyprus tragedy would also be center-stage. Likewise, crowds would be damning China for occupying Tibet, or still sympathizing with millions of Germans who fled a now-nonexistent Prussia, or deploring religious castes in India, or harboring anger over the tough Russian responses to Georgia, Crimea, and Ukraine, or deploring beheadings in northern Iraq. Instead, accept that the Middle East is not just about a dispute over land. Israel is inordinately damned for what it supposedly does because its friends are few, its population is tiny, and its adversaries beyond Gaza numerous, dangerous, and often powerful. And, of course, because it is Jewish.

                                                                                                               

Contents

THE ISLAMIC STATE’S CAMPAIGN OF TERROR

WILL TAKE MORE THAN WORDS TO STOP                                                        Washington Post, Aug. 20, 2014

 

With each day, the barbarism of the Islamist extremists terrorizing Syria and Iraq becomes more evident — as does the need for the United States and its allies to act more vigorously to block their rise. On Tuesday the group that calls itself the Islamic State released a video of the beheading of American journalist James Foley . Mr. Foley, as President Obama said Wednesday, “reported from difficult and dangerous places. . . . [He] courageously told the stories of his fellow human beings.” One reason there has been so little outcry as more than 150,000 Syrians have been killed and millions rendered homeless is that reporting on that nation’s brutal war is so dangerous. Those like Mr. Foley, who risk everything to bear witness, deserve our admiration, and his killers deserve our contempt.

 

Mr. Foley is one among thousands of victims murdered by the Islamic State as it has conquered territory in Syria and Iraq. Mr. Obama summed up its record all too well. “They have rampaged across cities and villages killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence,” the president said. “They abduct women and children and subject them to torture and rape and slavery. They have murdered Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can, for no other reason than they practice a different ­religion.”

 

In recent days, the Obama administration has made some progress in blocking the progress of this terrorist group. U.S. air raids have helped Iraqi and Kurdish forces recapture some lost territory. U.S. pressure may have hastened the appointment of a new prime minister in Iraq, who, it is hoped, will work across sectarian lines better than his predecessor and so be better positioned to rally his country to defeat the so-called caliphate of the Islamic State. Mr. Obama has emphasized the importance of enlisting the Iraqi army and other local players in confronting this scourge, a goal with which we wholeheartedly concur. But urging others into the fray will not be sufficient. Nor is it wise to assume that the Islamic State will collapse under the weight of its cruelty. “People like this ultimately fail,” Mr. Obama said Wednesday. “They fail because the future is won by those who build and not destroy.” That may be so. But history provides too many examples of destroyers who hold power for long stretches of time and do not lose it until they are dislodged by “builders” who are finally roused to action.

 

For three years the United States stood aside as the Islamist extremists built up their strength inside Syria. Washington was surprised in June when they burst into Iraq, captured Mosul and threatened Baghdad and surprised again this month when they threatened Kurdistan. Now, according to most accounts, they are consolidating their hold inside a large swath of territory spanning the two nations even as they fight to expand. They are training hundreds of foreign terrorists, including from Europe and the United States, who could easily slip back into their home countries with malign intent. They proudly proclaim their enmity to America. America needs a genuine strategy in response.

 

Contents
 

ANOTHER IRAQ WAR IS COMING –

THE ONLY QUESTION IS WHETHER WE WANT TO WIN                     

Max Boot                                                   

Spectator, Aug. 16, 2014

 

Iraq is a bloody mess. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has extended its hold from eastern Syria into western and northern Iraq, massacring Shi’ites, Christians and Yazidis wherever it can. Meanwhile in Baghdad there has been a constitutional crisis, with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki threatening to cling to power even though his own political bloc has chosen a different candidate. The situation is now so bad that it has impinged on the holiday arrangements of our own leaders in the West. President Barack Obama, as he relaxes in Martha’s Vineyard, is at the same time somehow meant to be directing US warplanes back into action to succour tens of thousands of trapped Yazidis and to relieve the pressure on Kurdistan’s capital, Erbil. David Cameron, for his part, had to take time out from his holiday in Portugal so as to order the RAF to drop humanitarian supplies to the Yazidis.

 

But these are small steps that will hardly shake the newfound power of the Islamic State. What more are Obama and Cameron prepared to do to deal with the growing threat from Isis — which, left unchecked, would not only be a strategic disaster for their countries but a political disaster for them? Faced with these troubles in a strange, far-away land, it would be natural for many westerners, including Obama and Cameron, to despair. No doubt many on both sides of the Atlantic are concluding that this latest spasm of ugliness is a natural result of the misguided Bush-Blair invasion of Iraq, that Iraqis simply like to massacre each other and that there is little the West can or should do about it. Didn’t our previous intervention just make things worse? This is alluring but wrong-headed. In point of fact, while the US and Britain did create a disaster in Iraq by not doing more to maintain law and order after Saddam Hussein’s downfall, the situation turned dramatically after the success of the ‘surge’ in 2007-2008. Violence fell more than 90 per cent and Iraqi politics began to function again. The situation was stable enough that in 2010 Vice President Joe Biden bragged on CNN that Iraq would be ‘one of the great achievements of this administration’.

 

The wheels came off only when, after failing to get a Status of Forces Agreement with Maliki, Obama pulled out all US troops at the end of 2011. With no Americans looking over his shoulder, Maliki was free to unleash his inner sectarian. His victimisation of Sunnis made them receptive to Isis, which was being reborn in the chaos of Syria. This history is worth reciting to refute the common prejudice that Iraq is a hopeless basket case condemned to perpetual violence. Remember how dire the situation was in 2006 when even senior American military officers were convinced that Iraq was lost and when senior British officers were sheltering in their Basra bunkers from incessant rocket fire? Yet within a year there was a nearly miraculous turnaround brought about by an increase in the number of US troops, a change in their strategy and the mobilisation of the Sunni tribes against al-Qa’eda in Iraq (as Isis was previously known).

 

Similar success could be possible now even without dispatching 170,000 western troops, because Isis has a major weak spot that we can exploit: it is unpopular even with its Sunni constituents. Already there have been rumblings of discontent from Mosul among Iraqis who are not happy to have jihadists destroying their ancient monuments, such as the tomb of the prophet Jonah, and telling them how to live. (Among other things, Isis is fanatically opposed to smoking and drinking, two activities that ordinary Iraqis love.) Unfortunately, past tribal uprisings against Isis were brutally snuffed out until in 2006-2007 US military forces came to their aid. The US and its allies, including Britain, need to mount a similar campaign to mobilise tribal fighters once again. It won’t be easy, because Sunnis are intensely suspicious — and understandably so — of the sectarian leaders in Baghdad. There should, however, be a decent chance to form a government of national unity under Haider al-Abadi (who, unlike the more insular Maliki, speaks fluent English and earned a DPhil at the University of Manchester) that would have more credibility with Sunnis and Kurds. Then it would be a matter of giving the vast majority of Iraqis, who detest and fear Isis, the means to fight back without having to rely, as the Shi’ites have been doing lately, on help from Iran’s notorious Quds Force.

 

What this means in practical terms is that the US and its allies will have to beef up their presence in Iraq. That doesn’t mean sending ground troops but it does mean sending more advisers, more intelligence personnel, more aircraft and more special operations forces. Obama has already increased the US presence to more than 1,000 troops and set up two joint operations centres with the Iraqi military in Baghdad and Erbil. He has also begun air attacks on Isis, which are being carried out from the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush. The CIA has apparently also begun to arm the Kurdish peshmerga, whose resistance to Isis had been hindered by lack of ammunition and heavy weapons. This is a good start but only a start. The US and its allies, Britain foremost among them, need to expand their goals and their means to achieve them. So far President Obama has talked only of containing Isis, of preventing it from massacring Yazidis or taking Erbil. That’s not enough. We should not tolerate the existence of a terrorist state similar to Taleban-era Afghanistan sprawling across Iraq and Syria. Already thousands of foreign jihadis, including many Europeans, have been drawn to Syria. If left unchecked, this terrorist playpen is likely to generate attacks not only on neighbouring states such as Lebanon and Jordan but on western targets too. The West’s goal should be rollback, not containment. In for a penny, in for a pound. If we’re going to bomb Isis, let’s do it right. Or, as Napoleon aptly advised, ‘If you set out to take Vienna, take Vienna.’…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

On Topic

 

A Love Letter From Hamas to ISIS (With 10 Tips): Noah Beck, Algemeiner, Aug. 20, 2014—Dear Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Our leadership felt bad about all of the tough press you’ve been getting lately…

Why Israel is Losing the Information War: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 20, 2014 —For most Israelis, the international discourse on Gaza is unintelligible.

Gaza Operation Reflects Shift by Netanyahu: Joshua Mitnick, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 15, 2014  —After the end of Israel's conflict with Hamas in 2009, candidate Benjamin Netanyahu railed against the Israeli government for stopping short of ousting the Islamist movement from power in the Gaza Strip.

What is Wrong with ISIS, is What is Wrong with Islam: Daniel Greenfield, Canada Free Press, Aug. 20, 2014 —Know your enemy. To know what ISIS is, we have to clear away the media myths about ISIS.

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org

 

 

Contents:  Weekly Quotes |  Short Takes On Topic Links

 

 

Download a pdf version of today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf

 

Media-ocrity of the Week: “No need to be an expert to say that Israel could make Washington, Paris or Ottawa bend, knowing in advance that its diaspora, well established, will make any government submit!” —Gilles Proulx, a well-known Quebec media personality, who used his newspaper column, and an appearance on a Montreal radio show, to spout antisemitic opinions. Speaking to Radio X, he elaborated on his thinking, suggesting Jews historically provoke hate and persecution. “The diaspora is scattered around the world, where they take economic control, provoke the hatred of local nations, whether it is in Spain, for example, with the Inquisition, or again later with Adolf Hitler,” he said. Proulx has a long history of incendiary comments. During a 40-year career on radio and television, he singled out anglophones and immigrants for failing to integrate into Quebec society. (National Post, Aug. 13, 2014)

 

On Topic Links 

 

A Maori Woman Stands With Israel (Video): Youtube, Aug. 10, 2014                                                                          

Netanyahu Addresses the Foreign Press on Hamas Atrocities (Video): Jewish Press, Aug. 17, 2014  

Islamic Funeral: I See Dead People … Move (Video): Youtube, Aug. 14, 2014

Across Time and Death: Iran and the ISIS Challenge: Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall, JCPA, Aug. 18, 2014

James Foley Went Looking to Support Terrorists in Syria, Instead They Cut Off His Head: Daniel Greenfield, Frontpage, Aug. 19, 2014

                                                                                                                                 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

“On August 20, 1940 Winston Churchill, Great Britain's new Prime Minister, addressing Parliament as the desperate Battle of Britain continued, with the final victory of the RAF over the Luftwaffe's assault against  England still in the balance, said of Fighter Command, "Never on the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few".  This speech, which rallied the British nation facing a Nazi cross-channel invasion should the Battle have been lost, is directly applicable today to the valiant soldiers and pilots of the Israel Defense Forces. With an attention to civilian casualties, at the risks of their own increased losses, unknown in the annals of Western warfare, the IDF is defending Israel from the Hamas terrorists' sustained rocket and tunnel assault on the civilian population.  Let us salute our brave Israeli infantry, tankers, fighter-pilots and Iron Dome personnel who, subject to an unbelievable wave of viciously unbalanced media and "international community" blindness and hypocrisy, are bravely and indefatigably defending Israel and the Jewish people.  Once again, never have so many owed so much to so few; and once again, in the face of Hamas' genocidal antisemitic campaign, we Jews repeat, "Never again!",  —CIJR Director Prof. Frederick Krantz, from an Address to the Jewish People, Montreal, August 20, 2014

 

"The Cairo talks were based on an agreed premise of a total cessation of hostilities," —Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev. "When Hamas breaks the cease-fire, they also break the premise for the Cairo talks. Accordingly, the Israeli team has been called back as a result of today's rocket fire,” said Regev, adding: “This is the 11th Ceasefire that Hamas has either rejected or violated.”  An Egyptian effort to broker an end to a month-long war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip appeared to collapse Tuesday after Israel walked out on the talks in response to a barrage of Palestinian rocket fire. (Huffington Post, National Post, Aug. 19, 2014)

 

"I hope that it is clear now that the policy of 'quiet will be met with quiet' means that Hamas is the one that takes the initiative and the one that decides when, where, and how many rockets it fires on Israeli civilians, while we are making do with reacting. Even if our reaction is a strong one, it is still a reaction," —Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, in a Facebook post titled "Bring Hamas to submission." Liberman implicitly criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, accusing him of surrendering the initiative to Hamas in the wake of the collapse of the latest cease-fire in the South. "Hamas has control over the intensity of the fighting and it fires whenever it is convenient for it to interrupt the daily routine of Israeli civilians, particularly those living in the South," the foreign minister wrote. "The proposals we have heard thus far whereby there is no deal, no agreement, and no unequivocal commitment by the Palestinians to halt their fire means that we are in for a war of attrition, which is something that the State of Israel cannot be dragged into…We are also hearing proposals from certain politicians who advocate unilateral steps," Liberman said. "These politicians are suffering from memory lapse, as I would like to remind you that a unilateral measure known as 'disengagement,' which has already been carried out in Gaza, has yielded the results for which we are paying today." (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 20, 2014)

 

"I can assure you now, that business as usual will be no more. Status quo no more," —Saeb Erekat, a Palestinian negotiator, from his office in Ramallah. "If the international community, the Camerons, the Kerrys, the Fabiuses of this earth – after these massacres that have been committed against the Palestinians – will just tell the Palestinians and Israelis, 'we invite you back to negotiate' – this is not going to happen," Erekat added. Erekat, one of the key architects of the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and Palestine, issued the ultimatum to the international community during ceasefire negotiations in Cairo last week. Erekat revealed that Palestine intends to become a member of the International Criminal Court "this month", in a bid to hold Israel accountable for possible war crimes committed in Gaza. "We believe that Israel as an occupying power has no right to bombard an area that it occupies like Gaza with missiles, with F15s, F16s,[and] Apaches. We believe that these are the war crimes", he said, adding: "I want the Israelis to defend themselves in the ICC – and not to say that they are defending themselves with missiles, massacring women and children." (Telegraph, Aug. 15, 2014)

 

“They’ve got to get this done because the wolf’s at the door,” —U.S. President Barack Obama. Obama hailed the recapture of Mosul dam Monday as a “major step forward” as a barrage of U.S. airstrikes helped Kurdish and Iraqi forces score the biggest victory of its counteroffensive against the Islamic State militants. “We’ve got a national security interest in making sure our people are protected and in making sure that a savage group that seems willing to slaughter people for no rhyme or reason other than they have not kowtowed — that a group like that is contained because ultimately it can pose a threat to us,” Obama told reporters. Islamic extremists captured the Mosul dam on Aug. 7. Had the dam on the Tigris River had been breached it could have had catastrophic consequences and endangered American Embassy personnel in Baghdad. (Globe & Mail, Aug. 18, 2014)

 

“The people of Amerli are reaching the end of their strength and the Islamic State’s jackals are waiting for their chance to overrun the town,” —Michael Knights, who has visited the town and describes it now as a “hellish cauldron where 12,000 people are being starved and bombed by ISIS.” Amerli is only 180 kilometres north of Baghdad and the Iraqi army is only 30 km away, but it is powerless in the face of the terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), said Mr. Knights. U.S. airstrikes could save the town, but America has taken no action. “By the U.S. lifting its little finger, two or three drone strikes are going to save 12,000 people, that’s what makes what is happening there so uniquely dreadful,” he said in an interview. In an article for Foreign Policy magazine, the specialist in the military and security affairs of Iraq, Iran, and the Persian Gulf states added, “This is Iraq’s other humanitarian crisis, the one no one seems to care about.” (National Post, Aug. 15, 2014)

 

“Beheading Shias is a beautiful thing,” —Tweet from June on a Twitter account believed to belong to Mohamed Shirdon, a young Calgary man who is believed to have been killed in Iraq fighting for ISIS. It’s unclear when he joined the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham but in an ISIS video that surfaced four months ago, Shirdon can be seen burning his Canadian passport and threatening Canada and the United States. Shirdon is one of several Calgary men who went overseas to fight for extremist groups in recent years. In January Calgarian Damian Clairmont died in Syria after converted to Islam following a suicide attempt. In November 2013 Pakistani-Canadian Salman Ashfrafi was blamed for a suicide bombing that killed 19 Iraqis. (National Post, Aug. 15, 2014)  

 

“It’s a continuation of a trend that has quite a history, and not merely with Proulx but with other radio commentators in Quebec over the last several years,” —Ira Robinson, CIJR Academic Fellow and interim director of the Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies at Concordia University. Prof. Robinson said he has seen a trend for the past six years or so where Quebec radio commentators have increasingly been giving airtime to people with controversial views. “There’s a sort of discourse in francophone Quebec where this sort of thing comes forth. Quebec is the kind of place where these controversial issues are discussed much more openly than in English Canada,” Mr. Robinson said. (National Post, Aug. 13, 2014) 

Contents

 

SHORT TAKES

 

PALESTINIANS SAY ISRAELI AIRSTRIKE TARGETS TOP HAMAS COMMANDER IN GAZA (Gaza) —Palestinians on Wednesday accused Israel of attempting to assassinate the top Hamas military commander in the Gaza Strip, killing his wife and child, a day after negotiations for a permanent truce broke down amid renewed rocket fire from Gaza and retaliatory strikes by Israel. Hamas said the Israeli missile strike targeted its top commander, Mohammed Deif, and “opened the gates to hell.” The Israeli F-16 attack hit the Gaza City home of Mohammed Yassin Dalu, reportedly the head of the Hamas rocket division. It is not clear whether either Deif or Dalu survived this attack. Dalu was the target of an Israeli strike on his home in November 2012 that killed 12 people, including four of his children. The shadowy Deif is reported to be the mastermind behind extensive tunnel networks in Gaza. Israeli officials say he has waged terrorist campaigns and an asymmetric war against Israel for decades, and he has survived repeated Israeli attempts to assassinate him, earning him the moniker “the cat with nine lives.” (Washington Post, Aug. 20, 2014)

 

B’TSELEM’S GAZA WAR STATISTICS UNDER FIRE (Jerusalem) —Two organizations in Israel have cautioned against accepting casualty figures coming out of Gaza. Both the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Center and NGO Monitor criticized the verification methods of the left-wing human rights group B’Tselem for its claims of Gaza casualty numbers that were recently released for Operation Protective Edge. The Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor issued a report in which it concluded that “B’Tselem presents what it terms ‘initial’ and ‘preliminary’ data, but these are inherently unverifiable and based solely on information from Palestinian sources in Hamas-controlled Gaza.” NGO Monitor leveled criticism against B’Tselem for relying on the Hamas Health Ministry in Gaza as its “primary source for casualty claims,” asserting that “B’Tselem has no independent sources of information in Gaza…its only source of independent information is from telephone interviews with Gaza residents, whose claims cannot be verified.” (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 20, 2014)

 

ISRAEL LETS WOUNDED PALESTINIANS FLY FROM BEN-GURION TO TURKEY FOR MEDICAL AID (Tel Aviv) —On Wednesday Israel permitted 17 wounded Gazans to fly for medical help from Ben-Gurion Airport, which Hamas has targeted,   to Turkey, whose leader has likened Israel to the Nazis. The Foreign Ministry issued a statement Wednesday saying that a second group of 17 Palestinians wounded in the recent fighting will be flown to Turkey for medical treatment. Each patient will be accompanied by one family member. Following the announcement last week of a 72-hour cease-fire, Turkey's foreign ministry – which along with its newly elected president Recep Tayyip Erdogan – have been vitriolic in their criticism of Israel, approached Jerusalem with a request to transfer wounded Palestinians from Gaza for treatment in Turkey. (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 20, 2014)

 

HAMAS IN WEST BANK 'PLANNED TO TOPPLE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY' (Ramallah) —A large-scale Hamas terrorist formation in the West Bank and Jerusalem planned to destabilize the region through a series of deadly terrorist attacks in Israel and then topple the Fatah-ruled Palestinian Authority, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said Monday. The Shin Bet announcement was a follow to a Jerusalem Post story regarding the indicting of Hamas's West Bank leader, dozens of his operatives, and a massive plot to recreate Hamas's West Bank infrastructure on August 7. The plot was orchestrated by overseas Hamas operatives headquartered in Turkey, and centered on a string of mass-casualty terrorist attacks on Israeli targets, the Shin Bet added. The end goal was to destabilize the Palestinian territories and use the instability to carry out a military coup, overthrowing the government of PA President Mahmoud Abbas. (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 18, 2014)

 

ISLAMIC STATE CLAIMS IT EXECUTED AMERICAN PHOTOJOURNALIST (Damascus) —The Islamic State claimed Tuesday to have beheaded an American photojournalist in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes in Iraq. A video posted on YouTube, later removed, purported to show the execution of James Foley after he recited a statement in which he called the U.S. government “my real killers.” A second prisoner, said to be Steven Joel Sotloff, like Foley an American journalist who disappeared while covering Syria’s civil war, then appears in the video. The masked executioner, speaking in English with what sounds like a British accent, identifies Sotloff and says that “the life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision.” Foley, 40, was working in Syria for the Boston-based news Web site Global­Post when he disappeared on Thanksgiving in 2012. (Washington Post, Aug. 20, 2014)

 

YAZIDI AND CHRISTIAN LEADERS TO UNITE IN GENEVA, DEMAND UNHRC ACTION (Geneva) —Breen Tahseen, an Iraqi diplomat whose father, Prince Tahseen Saeed Bek, is the leader of the Yazidi people, will join together with leaders from the Iraqi Christian community at a rally tomorrow in Geneva calling for the UN Human Rights Council to meet urgently on the destruction of minorities in Iraq. Organized by the Geneva-based non-governmental human rights group UN Watch, the rally will call on UN rights chief Navi Pillay to take action to convene an urgent session of the 47-nation council on the ISIS atrocities in Iraq against minorities, echoing a recent appeal by more than 20 MPs and human rights activists. UN Watch has also arranged for the Yazidi and Christian leaders to meet with key diplomatic figures in the UNHRC system. (UNWatch, Aug. 18, 2014)

 

US BANS FLIGHTS OVER SYRIA AS REPORT WARNS OF THREAT TO AIRLINERS (Damascus) —Armed groups in Syria have several hundred portable anti-aircraft missiles that could easily be diverted to extremists and used to destroy commercial planes, according to a new report by an international arms research group. The report was released a few hours after the Federal Aviation Administration issued a notice to US airlines banning all flights in Syrian airspace. Most American and other commercial airlines already have halted flights over and into Syria during the past three years of conflict between the Assad government and insurgents. Citing the threat of missile strikes, the FAA warned American carriers in May 2013 to avoid Syrian airspace, and on Monday this was stepped up to a total ban. (Guardian, Aug. 19, 2014)

 

PAKISTAN PROTESTERS MARCH ON PARLIAMENT (Islamabad) —The Pakistani government on Tuesday called in the army to protect government and diplomatic buildings in the capital, raising the stakes ahead of a showdown with protesters who want to topple Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and Muslim cleric Tahir ul Qadri led thousands of highly-charged followers to enter Islamabad's Red Zone, which houses Parliament, the prime minister's house and office, and numerous embassies and ministries. Mr. Khan announced that if Mr. Sharif doesn't resign by Wednesday night he would take the protest to the prime minister's house. Aides to Mr. Sharif and many opposition politicians privately say they are convinced that the protesters are secretly backed by the military, which has been at odds with the 14-month-old government over a range of issues, especially the prime minister's determination to prosecute former army chief Pervez Musharraf for treason. Mr. Musharraf ousted Mr. Sharif's last government in 1999 and ruled until 2008. (Wall Street Journal, Aug. 19, 2014)

 

UK SUPERMARKET SAINSBURY'S REMOVES KOSHER GOODS (London) — A Central London branch of Sainsbury's, Britain's third largest supermarket chain, removed UK-made kosher goods from their shelves this weekend in an apparent stand with 'Free Gaza' protesters. While the central Twitter account of the national chain denied that it was a protest, customers visiting the store have reported that staff claimed that the goods were being removed to coincide with anti-Israel protests. The news comes shortly after a report about anti-Israel protesters trashing a Tesco store in Birmingham. Sainsbury's apologized on Monday for removing the kosher food, following an outpouring of outrage on social media. (Breitbart, Aug. 17, 2014)

 

WHITE HOUSE NOW SCRUTINIZING ISRAELI REQUESTS FOR AMMUNITION (Washington) —White House and State Department officials who were leading U.S. efforts to rein in Israel's military campaign in the Gaza Strip were caught off guard last month when they learned that the Israeli military had been quietly securing supplies of ammunition from the Pentagon without their approval. Since then the Obama administration has tightened its control on arms transfers to Israel. In addition, current and former American officials say, U.S.-Israel ties have been hurt by leaks that they believe were meant to undercut the administration's standing by mischaracterizing its position and delay a cease-fire. The battles have driven U.S.-Israeli relations to the lowest point since President Barack Obama took office. (Wall Street Journal, Aug. 14, 2014)

 

ANTI-ISRAEL PROTESTERS DEMAND END TO US MILITARY AID TO ISRAEL (Los Angeles) —Nearly a dozen anti-Israel protesters were arrested after having been removed from the Los Angeles, California office of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on Monday afternoon, Aug. 18, according to a report in a far left website. The group included members of Jewish Voice for Peace and American Muslims for Palestine, as well as some clergy members. The protesters staged a sat-in Feinstein’s office and refused to move until their demand was met. They demanded a meeting with Feinstein because they want to prohibit any further U.S. military aid to Israel. Another group staged a sit-in against support for the measure at the senate office of another progressive California senator, Barbara Boxer, but that group was dispersed after a shorter period of time. Taher Herzallah, national campus coordinator with American Muslims for Palestine, is part of the team of activists and clergy who sat in at Feinstein’s office. Herzallah is also a community organizer with the California branch of the American Civil Liberties Union and was an intern with the California office of the Committee on American Islamic Relations. (Times of Israel, Aug. 19, 2014)

 

20,000 MARCH IN INDIA IN SHOW OF SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL (Kolkata) —In what is being called by organizers the biggest pro-Israel, anti-terrorist rally in recent years, an estimated 20,000 gathered in India on Saturday in a show of solidarity with Israel. Protesters holding pro-Israel banners marched through the streets of Kolkata, while community heads delivered speeches proclaiming Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas. “The destiny of both India and Israel as thriving democracies are intertwined. We both share the same values,” said rally organizer Tapan Ghosh. The August 16 event was organized by a political movement known as Hindu Samhati in memory of Gopal Mukhopadhyay, who, according to press material, is “a local hero who saved many innocent lives during the Great Calcutta Killing in 1946.” (Times of Israel, Aug. 17, 2014)

 

IRWIN G. BEUTEL, Z’L

 

It is with great sadness that the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research  notes the passing of Irwin G. Beutel. The generous and resourceful head of our Board for well over a decade, Irwin was a key force in helping to build CIJR into the world-class pro-Israel academic think-tank which it is today.  An internationally-known and unfailingly generous pro-Israel philanthropist and community leader, he supported many institutions, and his achievements were recognized both here and in Israel. Irwin had an encyclopedic knowledge of the community and an unfailingly clear and sound judgement. He was particularly interested in supporting Jewish students, at all stages of development, and off- as well as on-campus.  Irwin supported CIJR's development of the unique Israel Learning Seminar, designed to help students develop the knowledge needed to confront antisemitism on campus, and we are proud that our regular public program includes the annual Irwin G. Beutel Student Activism Colloquium. All of us here at CIJR, our National Board, Academic Council, and Student Committee, valued his friendship, his wonderful sense of humor,  and his wise counsel: one of the Lamed Vavniks, the 36 kedoshim who in each generation assure the continuity of the world, Irwin was a truly good man and an unfailing friend, a real Mensch in the deepest and best sense of the term.  We will miss him deeply, and extend our heartfelt sympathy to his family and friends. (The funeral will be on Friday, Aug.22, 2014, 12:00 noon, at Paperman's.)

 

Frederick Krantz, Director

Baruch Cohen, Research Chairman

Jack Kincler, Board Chairman

Canadian Institute for Jewish Research

 

 

 

 

 

Rob Coles, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research/L'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme,   www.isranet.org Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284. mailto:ber@isranet.org

 

 

 

 

 

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Frederick Krantz: Address to the Jewish People

On August 20, 1940 Winston Churchill, Great Britain's new Prime Minister, addressing Parliament as the desperate Battle of Britain continued, with the final victory of the RAF over the Luftwaffe's assault against  England still in the balance, said of Fighter Command, "Never on the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few". 

 

This speech, which rallied the British nation facing a Nazi cross-channel invasion should the Battle have been lost, is directly applicable today to the valiant soldiers and pilots of the Israel Defense Forces. With an attention to civilian casualties, at the risks of their own increased losses, unknown in the annals of Western warfare, the IDF is defending Israel from the Hamas terrorists' sustained rocket and tunnel assault on the civilian population.  Let us salute our brave Israeli infantry, tankers, fighter-pilots and Iron Dome personnel who, subject to an unbelievable wave of viciously unbalanced media and "international community" blindness and hypocrisy, are bravely and indefatigably defending Israel and the Jewish people. 

 

Once again, never have so many owed so much to so few; and once again, in the face of Hamas' genocidal antisemitic campaign, we Jews repeat, "Never again!"