Tag: refugees


Syria – the Beginning of the End?: Sarit Zehavi, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 15, 2017— In the past two months, several things happened in Syria that oblige us to examine the question of where this five-year civil war is going.

Pitting Russia Against Iran in Syria? Get Over It: Frederick W. Kagan, Fox News, Feb. 15, 2017— Faced with the Syrian debacle, Trump administration officials, among others, claim that the U.S. can exploit the weakness of the growing strategic coalition between Russia and Iran…

Trump’s Bid to Keep Syrian Refugees Safe — at Home: Benny Avni, New York Post, Feb. 8, 2017— President Trump’s refugee restrictions dominated days’ worth of news cycles, but it’s only half of his approach to Syria.

Syrian Refugees Are the New Jews. So Who Are the Nazis?: Lee Smith, Tablet, Feb. 2, 2017— For the last week, protestors have been filling American airports from JFK to LAX…


On Topic Links


Iraq Takes the Fight Against ISIS to Syria: Ben Kesling, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 24, 2017

The Fall of Aleppo: Fabrice Balanche, Middle East Forum, Feb. 7, 2017

A Journey Through Assad's Syria: Fritz Schaap, Spiegel, Feb. 20, 2017

Syria and the Failure of the Multicultural American Left: Yoav Fromer, Tablet, Feb. 12, 2017



                                                Sarit Zehavi                            

Jerusalem Post, Feb. 15, 2017


In the past two months, several things happened in Syria that oblige us to examine the question of where this five-year civil war is going. Namely the fall of Aleppo, followed by the cease-fire declaration and the peace talks in Astana. Seemingly, the talks are just another failed attempt at halting the fighting while the regime and the Russians continue to attack areas and organization that have signed on to the cease-fire. Despite this, why is it that we are now able to point to a changing trend in contrast with the previous cease-fires that were signed?…


Much has been written on the numerous deaths that have resulted from Russian and Syrian bombing. Aleppo was the symbol of this carnage. But very little has been written about the implications of the convoys of buses that evacuated the rebels and their families from the city and the resulting demographic and geopolitical ramifications. The fall of Aleppo symbolizes Syrian President Bashar Assad’s victory. This was the largest city in Syria, with some 2.5 million inhabitants prior to the civil war. Aleppo possesses a history and heritage dating back thousands of years; it is in fact one of the world’s most ancient cities.


Up until the beginning of the 20th century, it was considered to be the commercial center for the region lying between Mesopotamia in northern Iraq and the Mediterranean. However the city descended from its high position over the past several decades, mainly due to the development of alternative commercial routes as Damascus evolved into the capital of the A-Sham (Levant) region.


Aleppo residents were primarily Sunni, while the city also had a Christian quarter. The city’s demographics reflect a process that all of Syria underwent prior to the civil war. The Sunni population has grown significantly over the years. However, this sizable population lived in poverty and oppression. This is in contrast with only a moderate increase in the population of the minorities. Thus, the Sunnis became an absolute majority in the country, and therefore endangered the coalition of minorities headed by the dictatorship of the Alawite Assad family.


As in many cases of revolutions in history, the phenomenon of people taking to the streets is linked with socioeconomic conditions among others; often, this serves as fertile ground for the sprouting of ideological, religious and other conflicts. In mostly Sunni Aleppo, with the city’s magnificent history etched in the DNA of its residents, the poor neighborhoods rebelled, while the revolutionary movements were much less successful in the rich neighborhoods.


After a sustained siege of the city’s rebel- controlled quarters and virtually indiscriminate killing of citizens, the largest human evacuation of the Syrian war took place in Aleppo. In an interview with Fatma, the mother of Bana, a seven-year-old girl who last year told the entire world of the happenings in Aleppo via Twitter, she said: “I left my soul there, they make us leave our country. I don’t want to be like a refugee in other countries.” From Fatma’s words it appears that she doesn’t envision the possibility of returning to Aleppo in the foreseeable future. The evacuation of Aleppo residents, under UN protection, is not really aimed at saving their lives; rather, it is aimed at vacating the city of its Sunni rebel residents and bringing about a change in its demographic composition.


A website identified with the Syrian opposition’s Southern Front (Al-Jabha al-Janoubiya) aptly described it this way: “Control of this historic and important city…has been taken by Iran, the Persian state, together with the Assad regime. This conquest is of a totally clannish hue.” Even if it is not entirely clear how many Sunnis remain in Aleppo, the tour of the city’s streets by Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Qasem Suleimani after the city’s fall only strengthens this perception. This method was also used in other areas of Syria prior to the fall of Aleppo. However, it was particularly effective after the city’s collapse because Aleppo has become a model. That being the case, the war in Syria has not ended with the fall of Aleppo as there are highly active pockets of resistance in the large cities.


However, the fall of the city enables the regime to fulfill its goal in a far more methodical and easy manner – to bring about a demographic change in Syria and create a 50-100 km. wide “strip” in western Syria, from north to south. The strip comprises the large cities, which would have a less than 50% Sunni minority facing a coalition of minorities headed by Shi’ites of different varieties. Thus, for example, Shi’ites were settled in villages along the Syria-Lebanon border from which Sunnis were expelled/evacuated in order to create a Shi’ite continuity between the Lebanese Bekaa Valley and Shi’ite villages on the Syrian side of the border. Several Arab sources have coined the term “La Syria Utile” for this policy, taken from the term used by the French Mandate following the First World War.


In his speech of July 2015, prior to Russia’s intervention in the fighting, President Assad stated: “The Syrian army must withdraw from certain areas in order to protect other, more important areas.” Then, Assad was ready to temporally forgo Aleppo as part of this policy to ensure his control in western Syria, however Russian intervention two months later allowed him to expand the boundaries of his ethnic cleansing and include Aleppo…

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






Frederick W. Kagan

Fox News, Feb. 15, 2017


Faced with the Syrian debacle, Trump administration officials, among others, claim that the U.S. can exploit the weakness of the growing strategic coalition between Russia and Iran, ultimately using Russia to contain Iran in Syria and throughout the Middle East. The Obama administration had this idea too, and it remains wrong. Circumstances could arise that might split the partners, but American outreach to Moscow won’t do it. A bigger question for the U.S. right now is whether we can prevent other nations vital to our interests from shifting toward the new Russian-Iranian orbit.


There are reasons why the Russia-vs-Iran fantasy is attractive. Historical tension between Iran and Russia is real, and neither state knows how to be a good ally. Russia sees itself as a superpower and disdains to treat other states as equals. Iran sees itself as the natural hegemon of the Middle East and leader of the vast Shi’a Muslim denomination. Marginalization and persecution of Shi’as over the centuries makes it hard for the Islamic Republic to trust outside powers. Tehran also has had tensions with Russia over Caspian Sea resources and oil.


Thinking too much about these historical disagreements, however, obscures the deep commonality of aims shared by Moscow and Tehran–driving the U.S. from the Middle East being the chief of these common goals. Iran’s leaders constantly assert that the Middle East should be free of the influence of outside powers. They never point that argument at Russia or China, but rather at the U.S., Britain, and their allies. Russia’s leaders and doctrines assert that the U.S. must abandon its position as a global power and yield to a multipolar world order in which Russia is its equal.


Russia and Iran also share allies and goals around their periphery. Both back Armenia over Azerbaijan in the Caucasus. Russia has kept a military base in Armenia since the end of the Cold War, while Iran fears that Azerbaijan could attempt to stir up separatism within Iran’s large Azeri population. Both seek stability in Afghanistan and prefer to work with local Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Hazaras rather than Pashtuns. Both have, however, worked with, and even supported, Taliban factions when it suited them.


Only extreme circumstances will split the Russo-Iranian coalition in Syria—if the Assad regime faces defeat, or the pro-regime coalition succeeds enough that it can move on to consider its next goals. Neither is likely. Vladimir Putin would give up on Bashar al Assad long before Ayatollah Khamenei would, but right now Putin needs an Alawite government like Assad’s to let him keep his new military base on the Mediterranean. Ayatollah Khamenei needs the Assad regime to give the Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force and its Hezbollah allies a secure rear-area from which to confront Israel. Russia needs Iran in Syria at least as badly as Iran needs Russia.


The Assad regime and army are kept alive artificially by tens of thousands of Iranian, Hezbollah, Iraqi Shi’a militia, and Afghan and Pakistani militia troops, all provided, paid for and commanded by Iranians. The Russians neither can, nor would, replace these forces with their own. If the Russians agreed to drive the Iranians from Syria, the Assad regime and Russia’s position would collapse. Russian and Iranian aims in the region diverge significantly on two points. The Islamic Republic is committed to destroying Israel and containing or collapsing Saudi power. Moscow shares neither goal. But Moscow has done nothing to protest or contain Iran’s harassment of Israel using Hezbollah and Hamas.


The Russians have also reached out to the Saudis and Gulf states to mitigate damage their support for Iran has done to their position in the region. Moscow would prefer a Sunni power to balance Iran, where Tehran prefers unquestioned hegemony. There is some surprising overlap even in this divergent effort, however. Egypt is drifting away from the Saudi bloc and toward Moscow and even Tehran. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi voted for Russian initiatives in Syria at the U.N. and even sent a small number of Egyptian troops to Syria on behalf of the Russo-Iranian coalition.


The Iranians have no quarrel with Sisi, and have never directed against him the kind of vitriol they reserve for the Saudis and their Gulf Arab allies. Russia and Iran may, in fact, come to see Cairo as a mutually acceptable contender for leadership of the Sunni Arabs in the region at the expense of Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. This would be a formidable new challenge to American strategy and statecraft. American policy-makers must get past facile statements about the supposed limits of Russian and Iranian cooperation and back to the serious business of furthering our own interests in a tumultuous region. The Russo-Iranian coalition will no doubt eventually fracture, as most interest-based coalitions ultimately do. Conditions in the Middle East and the world, however, offer no prospect of such a development any time soon.





Benny Avni

New York Post, Feb. 8, 2017


President Trump’s refugee restrictions dominated days’ worth of news cycles, but it’s only half of his approach to Syria. The other half is designed to keep Syrians from becoming refugees in the first place. The idea of creating “safe zones” in Syria was high on the agenda Wednesday when Trump spoke on the phone with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkish sources tell me the two leaders didn’t get into details, but CIA Director Mike Pompeo will visit Turkey on Thursday to try to flesh it out.


Trump vowed back in November to build “a big beautiful safe zone,” where, he said, Syrian refugees will “have whatever it is so people can live, and they’ll be happier.” And in his first week at the White House, he once again promised to “absolutely do safe zones in Syria.” That’s where Erdogan comes in. He’s long advocated carving out an area in Syria where refugees can feel safe under Turkish protection and stem the tide of migrants into neighboring Turkey and on to continental Europe.


But President Obama shot the idea down. He was wary of any serious American involvement in the Syrian crisis, and, just as importantly, he had soured on Erdogan by the time the idea was broached. That was a big change from early in his presidency, when Obama consulted Erdogan more than any other regional leader and cited Turkey as proof that democracy can flourish under an Islamist ruler.


Erdogan liked to brag about Turkey’s foreign-policy doctrine of “no problems” with its neighbors, but even Obama eventually woke up to the reality that Turkey was in fact at war with each of its neighbors — and that Erdogan methodically suffocated Turkey’s democracy. Erdogan, meanwhile, was angry with Obama for supporting the YPG, a Kurdish faction that became our only fighting ally in Syria. (Turkey considers it a terrorist organization.)


For better or worse, Trump’s leadership style prioritizes transactional realism over America’s traditional moralism. As such, he might have more patience with authoritarians like Erdogan. Erdogan is also working with Vladimir Putin on Syria because, with Iran, Russia is the most powerful foreign actor in the conflict. And Putin doesn’t necessarily oppose creating humanitarian safe zones. And why not? Half of Syria’s population is homeless. Its neighbors — Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey — carry most of the burden of handling the refugees.


And they’re exhausted. Europe is facing a populist backlash against its permissive refugee resettlement. Same here, though Obama took in just a minuscule number of Syrians to begin with. Hence, despite the obvious challenges in getting under control a bloody civil war that has so far killed a half-million, keeping Syrians in Syria is starting to look like it’s worth the effort. With nearly 2 million Syrians in camps inside Turkey, Erdogan would love to move them back into Turkish-controlled areas inside Syria. Meanwhile, Trump could answer critics of his immigration ban: Safe zones, he’ll argue, will alleviate the humanitarian crisis better than taking in asylum seekers.


The catch: Moscow, always fearing an American occupation and US military “mission creep,” won’t bless any of this before seeing the details. Ah, the details. “We have in history different examples of safe zones, and some of them were tragic,” new UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said recently. Specifically, the United Nations is traumatized by Srebrenica, a supposedly “safe” zone in Bosnia, where in one 1995 week, 8,000 Muslims were massacred as UN guards helplessly watched. Would anyone have better luck in similarly bloody Syria? Can any zone, no matter how well guarded, be completely safe? Also, occupying a slice of Syria could turn expensive and bloody. Trump indicated that Gulf states would finance the project. Turkey, which already occupies parts of northern Syria, would shoulder most of the military burden. But America would still need to take a larger military and diplomatic role, which was more than Obama was willing to do.


Done right, safe zones could ease one of the biggest challenges the Syrian war presents to the West. Yes, it’s a complex operation, but not necessarily undoable. Question is, can Trump (or more likely Pompeo, Defense Secretary James Mattis and the rest of the team) work out the details? Because, good or bad, no idea will succeed unless it’s well-planned and well-executed. For that to happen, the chaotic early days of the Trump presidency will have to give way to competence and order — and soon.





Lee Smith

Tablet, Feb. 2, 2017


For the last week, protestors have been filling American airports from JFK to LAX, demonstrating against President Donald Trump’s “Muslim Ban”—the executive order that in fact suspends for 90 days the issuance of visas to seven countries that are either major state sponsors of terror, or failed states without functioning governments where terror groups like ISIS, Al-Qaida, and their various off-shoots are flourishing. But the EO also suspends indefinitely the issuance of visas for Syrian refugees. And the opinion of protesters, as well as much of the press, is that Syrian refugees are like the Jews—fleeing genocide in search of safe shores: How can we have forgotten the past so completely that we deny entry to those whose suffering and want must serve as a reminder of our past failures to protect others, like the Jews that America so coldly turned away in the 1930s and 1940s?


In December, my Tablet colleague James Kirchick warned that “invoking the Holocaust for contemporary political debates is an inherently tricky business.” Nonetheless, it’s become the consensus take in the media, as seen with The Washington Post, Politico, Cokie Roberts on “Morning Joe,” and, of course, The New York Times, including a signature Nicholas Kristof column arguing that “Anne Frank Today Is a Syrian Girl.” Former President Barack Obama may have been among the first to make the comparison. In a December 2015 address to newly minted American citizens, Obama said: “In the Syrian seeking refuge today, we should see the Jewish refugee of World War II.” Obama’s conviction that the suffering of Syrian refugees is directly similar to that of Europe’s Jews is perhaps why he appointed his former top lieutenant Ben Rhodes to the Holocaust Memorial Council, responsible for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. Maybe Rhodes will ensure that the Museum commemorates the trials of the Syrian people, a people who suffered, as the Jews suffered at the hands of the Nazis, at the hands of…


Wait, at whose hands did the Syrian people suffer something like genocide? If they are like European Jews fleeing the Nazis, then who are the Nazis? In the various articles, statements, tweets, Facebook posts making explicit comparisons between Syrian refugees and Jewish refugees, no one, it seems, has bothered to identify the agents responsible for the murder, suffering, and dislocation of so many Syrians. So where are the Nazis? Who are they? It has to be Trump. Well, it is true that the new president has indefinitely suspended issuing visas to Syrian refugees, but the Nazis didn’t simply turn Jews away, they murdered them—and the analogy was popular well before Trump became President. Trump is rather more like FDR in this scenario, the American president who refused to provide sanctuary for victims of a genocidal regime.


So who has actually been exterminating Syrians—Syrian men, women, children and the elderly—as if they were insects, as the Nazis exterminated Jews? It is true that ISIS murders Christians and other minorities and has also killed members of its own Sunni sect, but the vast majority of those who have been murdered in Syria are Sunni Arabs. The Sunnis have been the target of a campaign of sectarian cleansing and slaughter since the earliest days of the nearly six-year-long Syrian conflict. The Sunnis therefore also make up the preponderance of those seeking refuge the world over, from Turkey and Lebanon, to Europe and North America.


At first, the Sunnis were fleeing Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, but Assad has become a relatively insignificant factor in the war. In this scenario, Assad is rather like Mussolini, a dictator in charge of incompetent and dwindling forces incapable of holding ground. The Alawite sect (around 11 precent of a country with a pre-war population of 22 million) that Assad depended on for his survival was too small to ensure his survival against the country’s Sunni majority, 74 percent of the population, 80 percent of which are Sunni Arab. Hence, Assad needed to mobilize his allies, especially the regime’s chief protector, the Islamic Republic of Iran.


Iran sent in its crack troops, the Quds Force, led by Qassem Soleimani, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ expeditionary unit. Also at Iran’s disposal was a large number of regional organizations, ranging from the elite Lebanese militia Hezbollah to less prestigious fighting outfits, like Iranian-backed paramilitary groups from Iraq, or ragtag bands of Shia fighters recruited from Afghanistan and Pakistan and trained by Iran. It was these groups, later joined by Russia, that hunted Sunni Arabs like animals and slaughtered them or sent them running for their lives. These are the Nazis. That’s who sent the Syrians running for their lives like Jews fleeing Hitler.


It is terrible that Syrian refugees are suffering. It is wrong that the Trump Administration has cruelly shut America’s doors on children who have known nothing in their short lives except to run from the jaws of a machine of death. But America’s shame is much, much worse than that. For in securing his chief foreign policy initiative, Barack Obama made billions of dollars and American diplomatic and military cover available to Iran, which it has used to wage a genocidal war against Syria’s Sunni Arab population.


Not only have we failed so far to protect today’s Jews by stopping today’s Nazis, the 44th president of the United States assisted them in their campaign of mass murder. That’s why when people liken Syrian refugees to Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis, no one dares to complete the analogy and identify today’s Nazis—it’s Iran. America’s shame is worse than anything that the protesters at airports imagine. Donald Trump is a latecomer who has arrived mid-way through the final act of a tragedy which has been unfolding for the past five years, and in which the US has been something more than an idle or disinterested bystander. The refugees are real, the genocide they are fleeing is real, and the Nazis are also real. What we have done is unspeakable.




On Topic Links


Iraq Takes the Fight Against ISIS to Syria: Ben Kesling, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 24, 2017—Iraq’s air force on Friday carried out its first-ever strikes against Islamic State in neighboring Syria, the country’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said, marking a dramatic escalation in its effort to roll back the insurgency by pounding a sanctuary across the border.

The Fall of Aleppo: Fabrice Balanche, Middle East Forum, Feb. 7, 2017—The fall of Aleppo was a turning point in the Syrian civil war. In an impressive feat, the Russian-backed Syrian army dealt a crushing blow to the rebel forces, driving many of them to entertain a compromise with the Assad regime.

A Journey Through Assad's Syria: Fritz Schaap, Spiegel, Feb. 20, 2017—On an icy January evening in eastern Aleppo, a grotesque scene of destruction, five men are standing around a fire in a battered oil drum in a butcher's shop.

Syria and the Failure of the Multicultural American Left: Yoav Fromer, Tablet, Feb. 12, 2017—Among the countless heartbreaking images that came out of the earthly inferno of Aleppo, one remains particularly haunting: that of a grief-stricken mother cradling the lifeless body of her child emerging out of the rubble and raising her face to the heavens in a deafening cry of despair. The human tragedy in the war-ravaged Syrian city mercilessly bombarded by Russian jets operating in the service of Bashar Assad was so disturbing because it was so familiar.





Why it’s Naive to Argue that Trump’s Travel Ban is ‘Helping’ to Create Islamic Terrorists: Eli Lake, Bloomberg, Feb. 10, 2017— Since President Donald Trump last month issued an executive order banning travel from seven Muslim majority nations, we’ve heard a lot about how it will aid jihadists.

Islamic Terror and the U.S. Temporary Stay on Immigration: Uzay Bulut, Gatestone Institute, Feb. 13, 2017— In San Bernardino on December 2, 2015, 14 people were murdered and 22 others seriously wounded in a terrorist attack.

Turkey's 'Lifestyle Massacre': Burak Bekdil, Middle East Forum, Jan. 8, 2017— Last year was no doubt an annus horribilis for Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that 1,178 people were killed between July 2015 and December 2016 in Turkey's fight with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Can Islam be Reformed? Who Will, or Even Can Be, a Muslim Martin Luther?: Robert Fulford, National Post, Feb. 10, 2017— “I was a Muslim refugee once,” Ayaan Hirsi Ali declared this week in her response to President Donald Trump’s travel ban.


On Topic Links


The Third Jihad – Radical Islam's Vision for America (Video): Clarion Project, Nov. 21, 2012

Smoking Out Islamists via Extreme Vetting: Daniel Pipes, Middle East Forum, Spring 2017

The Final Obama Scandal: Stephen F. Hayes & Thomas Joscelyn, Weekly Standard, Feb. 6, 2017

We Can’t let Radical Islam Take Over the World: Lior Akerman, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 9, 2017                                                                                     


IS ‘HELPING’ TO CREATE ISLAMIC TERRORISTS                                                    

Eli Lake

                      Bloomberg, Feb. 10, 2017


Since President Donald Trump last month issued an executive order banning travel from seven Muslim majority nations, we’ve heard a lot about how it will aid jihadists. Leading Democrats, counterterrorism experts and even Iran’s foreign minister have all asserted that Trump’s travel ban will end up being used by the Islamic State to recruit new terrorists. Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, made this point forcefully on Jan. 30, when he told MSNBC that Trump’s executive order “ultimately is going to get Americans killed.”


The argument goes like this: Jihadists believe there is a Manichaean struggle between Islam and the West. An alleged “Muslim ban” plays directly into this worldview, telling Muslims that they are not safe in the un-Islamic world. No wonder they are calling the executive order a “blessed ban” on Islamic State web forums.


This is a familiar line to anyone who has followed the national security debate since 9/11. Democrats in particular have argued that the Iraq War, the Guantanamo Bay prison and anti-Muslim web videos help to radicalize otherwise peaceful Muslims to murder us at random. Hence Trump’s travel ban is now a “recruitment tool.” If only jihadi recruitment were so easily disrupted. Sadly it’s much more complicated.


To start, the process by which an individual gets sucked into the death cults of al Qaeda or the Islamic State cannot be reduced to a single cause. Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, the research director for the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, put it like this: “The argument that the Trump policy will radicalize people is predicated on the flawed premise that people radicalize as a response to government policy. The reality is it’s a highly complex process that involves religious and personal factors. A government policy may play a role, but it’s one of many factors.” Meleagrou-Hitchens’s program released an invaluable report last year that studied motivations of Americans who had declared allegiance to the Islamic State. It found that the motivations ranged from sympathy for the plight of Syrians suffering under their dictator’s war to a sense of religious obligation to join a new utopian Islamic caliphate.


Another problem with this argument is that it fails to account for the significant rise in radical Islamic terror under President Barack Obama. He went out of his way to counter the jihadist worldview. He began his presidency by delivering a speech to the Islamic world from Cairo, in which he stressed his own administration’s respect for Islam. He promised, and ultimately failed to, close Guantanamo; he withdrew U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011, and he scrubbed terms like “radical Islam” and “war on terror” from the government’s lexicon.


And yet despite his efforts, the FBI arrested more Americans for joining Islamic terrorist groups during his presidency than during that of George W. Bush. And while Obama decimated al Qaeda’s central leadership following the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda’s franchises in Yemen, Somalia and Libya grew stronger. Meanwhile, the Islamic State broke away from al Qaeda during Obama’s presidency and managed to gain territory in Syria and Iraq. Only now has the military campaign to liberate Mosul shown some success.


It’s true that Obama also did many things jihadists did not like during his presidency. For example, he used drone strikes against more of them than his predecessor did. And when the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the legal right to gay marriage, Twitter accounts affiliated with the Islamic State posted video of gay men being thrown to their deaths off of high buildings in Raqqa, with the hashtag #lovewins. The Islamic State didn’t like the Iran nuclear deal, either. After all, Shiites like the Iran regime are seen as apostates, and in the battle for Syria, the Iranians are on the side of the oppressors. This gets to the most important point. The fanatics who seek to recreate an eighth-century caliphate have an endless supply of grievances about our open society. If we succumb to the fallacy that we can counter their propaganda by not doing things they could exploit for propaganda purposes, we are giving them too much power.


A far better argument against Trump’s executive order is that it undermines our own recruitment efforts to counter the jihadists. At first the travel ban applied to translators who helped the U.S. military in Iraq, not to mention leading advocates for the Islamic State’s victims like the Yazidi-Iraqi legislator Vian Dakhil. Fortunately the Trump administration has reversed these elements of the travel ban in the last week. But the perception that America would close its doors to the people who helped us makes it harder to recruit allies against the Islamic State going forward. Critics of Trump’s travel ban are not inclined to make that argument. After all, Democrats were silent when Obama abandoned the Iraqi sheiks who helped to temporarily drive al Qaeda out of the Anbar province between 2007 and 2009. At the time, they were too busy insisting the Iraq War helped create more terrorists.







Uzay Bulut

Gatestone Institute, Feb. 13, 2017


In San Bernardino on December 2, 2015, 14 people were murdered and 22 others seriously wounded in a terrorist attack. The perpetrators were Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a married couple. Farook was an American-born U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, who worked as a health department employee. Malik was a Pakistani-born lawful permanent resident of the United States. Among the victims of the terror attack was Bennetta Bet-Badal, an Assyrian Christian woman born in Iran in 1969. She fled to the U.S. at age 18 to escape Islamic extremism and the persecution of Christians that followed the Iranian revolution.


"This attack," stated the Near East Center for Strategic Engagement (NEC-SE), "showcases how Assyrians fled tyranny, oppression, and persecution for freedom and liberty, only to live in a country that is also beginning to be subject to an ever-increasing threat by the same forms of oppressors…NEC-SE would like to take this opportunity to once again urge action to directly arming the Assyrians and Yezidis and other minorities in their indigenous homeland, so that they can defend themselves against terrorism and oppression. This tragedy is evidence that the only way to effectively counter terrorism is not solely here in the US, but abroad and at its root."


Members of the Islamic State (ISIS) have declared several times that they target "kafirs" (infidels) in the West. In 2014, Syrian-born Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the official spokesperson and a senior leader of the Islamic State, declared that supporters of the Islamic State from all over the world should attack citizens of Western states, including the US, France and UK: "If you can kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way, however it may be. "Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him."


It is this barbarity that the new U.S. administration is trying to stop. FBI Director James Comey also warned in July of last year that hundreds of terrorists will fan out to infiltrate western Europe and the U.S. to carry out attacks on a wider scale, as Islamic State is defeated in Syria. "At some point there's going to be a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we've never seen before. We saw the future of this threat in Brussels and Paris," said Comey, adding that future attacks will be on "an order of magnitude greater."


How many ISIS operatives are there in the U.S.? Are ISIS sleeper cells likely in American cities? The people who are trying to create hysteria over the new steps taken by the Trump Administration should focus on investigating these issues more broadly, but they do not. To them, it must be easier to go after the U.S. president than after ISIS terrorists. This way, they can also pose as "heroes" while ignoring the real threat to all of humanity.


It is not only Islamic terrorists that pose a threat. It is also the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, the font of all the modern extremist Muslim ideologies. The crimes committed by radical Muslims are beyond horrific, but it is getting harder to expose and criticize them. Many critics of Islam in Western countries — including those of Muslim origin — have received countless death deaths and have been exposed to various forms of intimidation.


Some were murdered, such as the Dutch film director, Theo van Gogh. His "crime" was to produce the short film Submission (2004) about the treatment of women under Islam. He was assassinated the same year by Mohammed Bouyeri, a Moroccan-Dutch Muslim. Some have had to go into hiding. American cartoonist Molly Norris, who promoted an "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day", had to go into hiding in 2010 after her life was threatened by Islamic extremists. She also changed her name and stopped producing work for the Seattle Weekly, the New York Times reported. Who are these people hiding from? From the most radical and devoted followers of the "religion of peace".


Why should people living in free Western countries be forced to live in fear because they rightfully criticize a destructive and murderous ideology? They get numerous death threats from some people in the West because they courageously oppose grave human rights violations — forced marriages, honor killings, child rape, murdering homosexuals and female genital mutilation (FGM), among others. Why do we even call criticism of such horrific practices "courageous"? It should have been the most normal and ordinary act to criticize beheadings, mutilations and other crimes committed by radical Muslims. But it is not. It does require tremendous courage to criticize these acts committed in the name of a religion. For everybody knows that the critics of Islam are risking their lives and security…

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





Burak Bekdil

Middle East Forum, Jan. 8, 2017


Last year was no doubt an annus horribilis for Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that 1,178 people were killed between July 2015 and December 2016 in Turkey's fight with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Bomb attacks by the Islamic State (ISIS) claimed another 330 lives. Those numbers exclude 248 people who died during the bloody coup attempt of July 15, as well as 9,500 apparent PKK members who were killed by Turkish security forces. Turkey also claims that it killed 1,800 ISIS members since July 2015. These numbers put the total death toll in Turkey at 13,056, in a span of fewer than 17 months.


Just when most people thought that would be the final death toll for 2016, on December 10, a twin bombing in Istanbul outside a soccer stadium killed at least 38 people, and injured another 136. A week later, a suicide car-bomb in central Turkey killed 13 off-duty soldiers aboard a bus and wounded 56 more. After so much bloodshed, Turks thought they could now enjoy New Year's festivities in peace. They were wrong.


About an hour into the New Year, a mysterious man, later identified as a Kyrgyz ISIS terrorist, walked into Reina, a posh nightclub on the Bosporus, took out an assault rifle and started to shoot at the hundreds of guests celebrating the New Year. The assailant killed 39 people and injured 65, changed his clothes, and, pretending to be a customer, walked out of the club. As of January 8, the killer was still on the run.


ISIS terror attacks are no more than violent expressions of the dominant Islamist ideology ruling in Turkey. The attack at Reina was ISIS's 15th major act of violence in Turkey since 2014, but its first targeting a nightclub. There was, in fact, a "sociology" behind the jihadists' choice of target. ISIS clearly wanted to send various messages at many wavelengths. One was to tell "infidel" Turks that they should not celebrate the New Year; another was to tell conservative Muslim Turks that ISIS was on their side. Actually, ISIS's terror attack was no more than a violent expression of the dominant Islamist ideology ruling in Turkey.


About 10 days before ISIS's attack, Turkish authorities banned teachers and pupils at Istanbul Lisesi, an elite school in Istanbul that is partly funded by Germany, from singing carols or celebrating Christmas in any way. German teachers at the school received an email from the headmaster early in December, informing them of the new rules.


Around the same time, a soap opera broadcast on Samanyolu TV, a conservative Muslim station, featured Santa Claus as a "terrorist." Meanwhile, Turkey's top religious authority, the prime ministry's General Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), declared at Friday prayer sermons that New Year celebrations were religiously "illegitimate."


Elsewhere in Turkey, banners were unfurled, showing a bearded man punching Santa Claus; another banner showed a group pointing guns in the face of another Santa. On December 31, a headline in an Islamist newspaper read, "This is our last warning, DO NOT celebrate."


Taha Akyol, a prominent Turkish columnist, calls ISIS's latest attack "a lifestyle massacre." He wrote: "Innocent people who were having fun were massacred because of their lifestyle." He reminds that about 8% of Turks sympathize with ISIS. That makes nearly 6.5 million people. ISIS's attack on Reina was a salute to those millions of Turks who admit their sympathy for ISIS, and millions of others who hide their sympathy.


With its increasing vulnerability to jihadist terror and with a homegrown jihadist ideology that provides a safe haven for terror, Turkey is becoming like Iraq, where violence takes lives almost daily. ISIS's first act of terror targeting Christmas celebrations took place on December 25, 2013, when the radical group killed 38 Christians in Baghdad. Three years later, ISIS visited New Year's celebrations in Istanbul.


Where, you might ask, are the Turkish authorities? They are busy. The Turkish police, unable to prevent ISIS's attack, instead detained a woman in Istanbul who called for secularism in a speech protesting jihadist groups. Aysegul Basar, a leftist, was detained after her speech, given at an Istanbul teahouse, emerged on social media. "We say 'enough!' From now on we won't allow ISIL or any reactionary jihadist group into our neighborhoods," Basar had said. From a law enforcement point of view, Istanbul is safer for an ISIS gunman than for someone who pledges to fight jihadists.      






                                                            Robert Fulford

National Post, Feb. 10, 2017


“I was a Muslim refugee once,” Ayaan Hirsi Ali declared this week in her response to President Donald Trump’s travel ban. “I know what it’s like. I know what it’s like to fear rejection, deportation and the dangers that await you back home.”


She remembers being in the Frankfurt airport in 1992, waiting for the plane that would take her to Canada for a marriage arranged against her will by her father. Something cracked, a spirit of individualism stirred within her, and suddenly she needed to escape. Somalia-born, she fled to the Netherlands, obtained asylum and learned Dutch. She studied John Locke, Voltaire and John Stuart Mill while doing a graduate degree at the University of Leiden. It was, she recently said, a journey “from the world of faith to the world of reason.” She decided that Islam is, among other things, too intolerant of free thought. Now she’s an ex-Muslim and an articulate author. She’s also very much an American and a believer in democracy.


Probably to the surprise of her admirers, she sees good intentions in Trump’s executive order about refugees. It was clumsy and confusing but it demonstrated, she says, that Trump has a realistic view of “the hateful ideology of radical Islam” and its continuing threat to democracy. She shows no sympathy for those, like Barack Obama, who could not utter a phrase like “Islamic violence” lest he encourage bigotry.


She cites a survey showing that large numbers of Muslims in many countries believe Sharia law is the word of God and should govern where they live. Many also think Muslims who leave Islam (as Hirsi Ali did) deserve execution, that suicide bombing in defence of Islam can be justified, and that honour killing of women is not always deplorable.


This way of thinking is spreading, and works against the reformation of Islam that she considers necessary. She believes the Trump administration should not only fight Islamist violence but should oppose Dawa, the proselytizing of Islam, “which is already well established right here in the United States.” This movement has “for too long been going on with impunity.” She wants to see it dismantled. The U.S. should start with a commission on Islam so that the public can know what it’s facing.


Having dedicated herself to reforming Islam, she believes the U.S. government should play a vigorous part in that process. How will that happen? By mass education? A propaganda campaign? How could Muslims accept enormous changes in their thinking?


Could they change something so large, reaching into many lives? The all-time champion in the revision of religious belief is Martin Luther, the friar who started a new phase in European history by disobeying Catholic authority on the question of selling indulgences. When he challenged church authority with a protest that he nailed on a church door in Wittenberg in 1517, half a millennium ago, he inadvertently created the Christian Reformation and became the most famous man in Europe. But someone dealing with Islam will have an even harder job than he had. Islam has no pope, no overall authority to defy. It differs from community to community, from imam to imam.


How could Muslims accept radical changes in their thinking? She believes that the U.S. won the Cold War, in part, by exposing the evils of communism. Now the U.S. must expose the ideology of radical Islam. There are many reformed Muslims in America, she argues, immigrants who have adopted “the core values of Western democracies, using the freedoms they have found in the West.” Many thrive.


They are her models, the beginning of a free and tolerant Islam. Hirsi Ali seems to believe that Muslims can be converted to democracy, presumably because democracy will work better for them than a theocratic tyranny. But many or most Muslims can barely believe in the existence of nations that pride themselves on their tolerance, in which one religion is as acceptable as another. At the outer extreme, the soldiers of the Islamic State are so convinced of Islam’s total and exclusive truth that they take pleasure in destroying monuments left behind by religions that died before Islam was born. To many in the Christian and Jewish traditions, that’s outlandish, but within Islam it makes a kind of sense.


If Muslims were to accept another form of religion, they would have to give up their politics as well, since many countries govern by Islamic rules. They cannot easily change, as countries in the West try socialism for a while, then switch back to a market economy. Just contemplating that sort of transition would be unthinkable for many.


From the perspective of the West, the world would be more peaceful if Muslims were persuaded to adopt some version of Hirsi Ali’s proposal. It seems more likely that many, from the depths of their convictions, will brusquely dismiss her as a heretic and go on their way. Still, it’s stimulating that a world citizen like Hirsi Ali devotes her attention to this issue. In her courageous way she opens a pressing issue and demands we think seriously about it.




On Topic Links


The Third Jihad – Radical Islam's Vision for America (Video): Clarion Project, Nov. 21, 2012—The Third Jihad is a film that exposes the threat that Islamic extremism poses to the American way of life.

Smoking Out Islamists via Extreme Vetting: Daniel Pipes, Middle East Forum, Spring 2017—Donald Trump issued an executive order on Jan. 27 establishing radically new procedures to deal with foreigners who apply to enter the United States.

The Final Obama Scandal: Stephen F. Hayes & Thomas Joscelyn, Weekly Standard, Feb. 6, 2017—Less than 24 hours before the official end of the Obama presidency, while White House staffers were pulling pictures off the walls and cleaning out their desks, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) posted without fanfare another installment of the documents captured in Osama bin Laden’s compound during the May 2011 raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

We Can’t let Radical Islam Take Over the World: Lior Akerman, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 9, 2017  —‘All Muslims are terrorists.’ “Islam will destroy the world.” “All the Muslims want to kill us.” What are we to make of these political slogans? Is every person who calls out Allahu akbar intending to kill people? Let’s take a step back and learn some facts.                       









A European Migrant Reckoning: Editorial, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 10, 2016 — Europe’s migration crisis may have reached a turning point.

Europe's Planned Migrant Revolution: Yves Mamou, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 12, 2016— Everyone now knows — even German Chancellor Angela Merkel — that she committed a political mistake in opening the doors of her country to more than a million migrants from the the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Syrian Refugees: the Romance and the Reality: Margaret Wente, Globe & Mail, Oct. 1, 2016 — Jim Munson has one of those refugee stories that warm your heart.

Shame and Refugees: Burak Bekdil, Hürriyet Daily News, Sept. 9, 2016— [Turkish] President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is right: there is something shameful about the refugee crisis. But he is wrong about whose shame it is.


On Topic Links


After Snub, Turkey’s President Threatens to Unleash Another Migrant Surge on West: Michael Birnbaum & Brian Murphy, Washington Post, Nov. 25, 2016

Save the Refugees on the Berm: Jason Cone, New York Times, Aug. 10, 2016

Quelle Surprise: France’s Political Right Turn: Konrad Yakabuski, Globe & Mail, Nov. 24, 2016

Europe's Terror Challenges: The Returnee Threat: Abigail R. Esman, IPT News, Oct. 19, 2016





          Wall Street Journal, Nov. 10, 2016


Europe’s migration crisis may have reached a turning point. With populist and far-right parties on the march across the Continent, mainstream European leaders are starting to listen to voters’ concerns about absorbing more than a million newcomers from the Middle East and Africa. It’s about time.


One sign came Sunday, when the German Interior Ministry called for aggressive interception of refugees attempting to cross the Mediterranean from North Africa. “The elimination of the prospect of reaching the European coast could convince migrants to avoid embarking on the life-threatening and costly journey,” an Interior Ministry official told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.


The Mediterranean crossing from Libya to Italy is one of two major routes used by migrants to reach Europe, and it is by far the more perilous. With revenues down, smugglers are stuffing more would-be migrants aboard unseaworthy boats for a crossing on choppy waters that can take several hours. One in every 44 doesn’t make it.


Even so, some 164,000 crossed through the Libya-Italy route this year. The German proposal could dramatically reduce that number by rerouting intercepted migrants back to African countries such as Egypt and Tunisia. Currently, intercepted boats are towed to the Italian coast. Once rerouted, the migrants would be allowed to apply for asylum through legal channels. This model, which we have long championed, has the benefit of imposing order on a chaotic situation. It also reduces the incentives for the smuggler business model, since the traffickers’ clients—the migrants—will understand that they are wasting their money and risking their lives in vain.


Which brings us to the second migrant route, from Turkey to the Balkans via the Greek islands. About 170,000 have arrived via the so-called Western Balkan Corridor so far this year, and here, too, there are signs that European officials are getting serious. To wit, Austrian Defense Minister Hans Peter Doskozil over the weekend warned that a Brussels deal with Ankara to intercept migrants may not last, and that European governments must be prepared to police EU borders on their own.


Under the current deal, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has agreed to stanch the flow and accept some repatriated migrants in exchange for €6 billion ($6.54 billion) in European funding in addition to visa-free travel to the EU for Turkish citizens down the road and renewed talks on Ankara’s accession to the bloc.


So far the deal has held, but there is no guarantee that Mr. Erdogan’s authoritarian regime will honor it indefinitely. He can always reopen the refugee spigot if he is displeased with Brussels. Hence Mr. Doskozil’s warning. “I have always said that the EU-Turkey deal should only be a stop-gap measure until the EU is in the position to effectively protect its external borders,” he told the Bild newspaper. “The time to organize for that is ever closer.” Amen.


It’s an open question whether either of these proposals will become European policy. That depends in large part on Angela Merkel. The German Chancellor has clashed with other officials in her own government in the past to defend her open-borders invitation, and there is still no sign that she is prepared to cap the total number of migrants she is willing to accept. But if she has anything resembling a political survival instinct, Mrs. Merkel would close the gates before Germany’s election season kicks off next year.








Yves Mamou                                                                 

Gatestone Institute, Nov. 12, 2016


Everyone now knows — even German Chancellor Angela Merkel — that she committed a political mistake in opening the doors of her country to more than a million migrants from the Middle East, Africa and Asia. It was, politically, a triple mistake:        

Merkel may have thought that humanitarian motives (the war in Syria and Iraq, the refugee problem) could help Germany openly pursue a migration policy that was initially launched and conducted in the shadows. Merkel mainly helped to accelerate the defense mechanisms against the transformation of German society and culture into a "multicultural" space — the "multi" being a segregated, Islamic way of life. The anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) is now a big player on the German political scene. Merkel raised anxiety all over Europe about the migrant problem. She might even have encouraged the United Kingdom to Brexit and pushed central European countries such as Hungary to the point of seceding from the European Union.


For many years, Germany was the country in Europe most open to immigration. According to Eurostat, the official data body of the European Union, between 2005 to 2014, Germany welcomed more than 6 million people. Not all six million people came from Middle East. The vast majority of them, however, were not from Europe. Clandestine immigration is not, of course, included in these figures.


Other countries also participated in a migrant race. In the same time frame, 2005-2014, three million people immigrated to France, or around 300,000 people a year. In Spain, the process was more chaotic: more than 700,000 migrants in 2005; 840,000 in 2006; almost a million in 2007 and then a slow decrease to 300,000 a year up to 2014.


The "refugee crisis," in fact, helped to make apparent what was latent: that behind humanitarian reasons, a huge official immigration policy in Europe was proceeding apace. For economic reasons, Europe had openly decided years ago to encourage a new population to enter, supposedly to compensate for the dramatic projected shrinking of Europe's native population.


According to population projections made by Eurostat in 2013, without migrants, Europe's population would decline from 507.3 million in 2015 to 399.2 million by 2080. In roughly 65 years, a hundred million people (20%) would disappear. Country by country, the figures seemed even…more terrifying. By 2080, in Germany, 80 million people today would become 50 million. In Spain, 46.4 million people would become 30 million. In Italy, 60 million would decline to 39 million. Some countries would be more stable: by 2080, France, with 66 million in 2015 would grow to 68.7 million, and England, with 67 million in 2015, would shrink only to approximately 65 million.


Is migration in itself a "bad" thing? Of course not. Migration from low-income countries to higher-income countries is almost a law of nature. As long as the number of births and deaths remains larger than the number of migrants, the result is considered beneficial. But when migration becomes the major contributor to population growth, the situation changes and what should be a simple evolution becomes a revolution.


It is a triple revolution: Because the number of migrants is huge. The 2015 United Nations World Population Prospects report states: "Between 2015 and 2050, total births in the group of high-income countries are projected to exceed deaths by 20 million, while the net gain in migrants is projected to be 91 million. Thus, in the medium variant, net migration is projected to account for 82 per cent of population growth in the high-income countries."


Because of the culture of the migrants. Most of them belong to a Muslim and Arabic (or Turkish) culture, which was in an old and historical conflict with the (still?) dominant Christian culture of Europe. And mainly, because this Muslim migration process happens at a historic moment of a radicalization of the world's Muslim population.


Because each European state is in position of weakness. In the process of building the European Union, national states stopped considering themselves as the indispensable integrator tool of different regional cultures inside a national frame. On the contrary, to prevent the return of large-scale chauvinistic wars such as World War I and World War II, all European nation-states engaged in the EU process and decided to program their own disappearance by transferring more and more power to a bureaucratic, unelected and untransparent executive Commission in Brussels. Not surprisingly, alongside Islamist troubles in all European countries, weak European states have now to cope with the strong resurgence of secessionist and regionalist movements, such as Corsica in France, Catalonia in Spain, and Scotland and Wales in United Kingdom.


Why did France, Germany and many other countries of the European Union opt for massive immigration, without saying it and without letting voters debate it? Perhaps because they thought a new population of taxpayers could help save their healthcare and retirement systems. To avoid the bankruptcy of social security and the social troubles of "dissatisfied retirees," the EU took the risk of transforming more or less homogenous nation-states into multicultural societies.


Politicians and economists seem blind to multicultural conflicts. They seem not even to suspect the importance of identity questions and religious topics. These questions belong to nations and since WW II, "the nation" is considered "bad." In addition, politicians and economists appear to think any cultural and religious problem is a secondary question. Despite the growing threat of Islamist terrorism (internal and imported from the Middle East), for example, they seem to persist in thinking that any violent domestic conflict can be dissolved in a "full-employment" society. Most of them seem to believe in U.S. President Barack Obama's imaginary jobs-for-jihadists solution to terrorism.


To avoid cultural conflicts (Muslim migrants vs non-Muslim natives) Germany could, of course, have imported people from the countries of Europe where there were no jobs: France, Spain, Italy. But this "white" workforce is considered "expensive" by big companies (construction, care-givers and all services…) who need cheap imported workers no matter the area (Middle East, Turkey, Northern Africa) they are coming from. Internal migration inside the EU would not have solved either the main problem of a projected shrinking European population as a whole. Added to that, in a world where competition is transferred partially from nations to global regions, the might of European countries might be thought to lie in their population numbers…                                                                                                                                          

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




SYRIAN REFUGEES: THE ROMANCE AND THE REALITY                                                                   

Margaret Wente                                                                                                                                 

Globe & Mail, Oct. 1, 2016


Jim Munson has one of those refugee stories that warm your heart. He belongs to a private group in Ottawa that is sponsoring a Syrian family. Last winter, he was asked to make sure the boys got skates and hockey sticks. So he found them skates and hockey sticks and took them skating on the canal. Their first words in English were, “He shoots, he scores!” If only it were all that easy. Canada is held up as a model to the world for our warm welcome to Syrian refugees. People marvel that Canadians are clamouring to sponsor refugee families, sight unseen. In Canada, people complain not that we’re taking in too many refugees, but that we’re taking in too few, and eager sponsors are still waiting.


We are good people. But it’s a bit too soon for self-congratulation. Across Canada, refugees have been turning to food banks because they can’t make ends meet. Toronto’s Daily Bread Food Bank found that Syrian families have less than $400 a month left after they pay the rent. In Montreal, about 2,000 refugees depend on Moisson Montreal, the country’s largest food bank. In Winnipeg, Yasmin Ali, who runs the city’s newest food bank, told the CBC, “This is very stressful for them because I guess they didn’t expect this.”


To be fair, the federal government is in a bind. Its subsidies are pegged to provincial welfare rates. If refugees were to get better treatment than Canadians, Canadians would get cranky. Canada has a robust network of social-service agencies. But none were prepared for the deluge, and they didn’t get more funding to deal with it. In 2014, Canada resettled about 13,500 refugees; this year the number, from all countries, is expected to be more than 50,000. Language training, translators, trauma and mental-health care – all are in short supply. Refugees can’t find jobs until they learn English (or French in Quebec), but some language schools have run out of money to meet the demand.


“We need more than love,” Mr. Munson, who heads the Senate standing committee on human rights, told me. His committee has been monitoring the refugee program. To say the least, it has a lot of growing pains. In his view, we should be cautious about exporting the Canadian model while we figure out how to address them. On top of that, the rate of processing new refugees has slowed to a crawl. As hopeful families live in limbo abroad, sponsorship groups are increasingly fed up with an unresponsive immigration bureaucracy.


John Bryan belongs to a Toronto group that has agreed to sponsor a Syrian family currently living in Saudi Arabia. They’ve formed strong bonds. They’ve even arranged for one of the children, an engineering student, to go to York University. Now they have been abruptly informed that the family won’t be processed for three years or more. Why? Perhaps lack of resources, or perhaps bureaucratic logistics. Whatever the case, he told me, “The government made a commitment and they’re not going to keep it.”


Privately sponsored refugees do better than government-sponsored ones, in part because they have a better web of support. But for both groups, the money runs out after a year. Then what happens? The answer depends on employability. And the early signs aren’t very good. “Basically I can’t refer them to any employer because they don’t have basic communication skills,” one settlement worker told the Huffington Post. Also, few Syrian refugees are highly educated. (One survey of refugees in Hamilton found that two-thirds of those aged 15 and older had a high-school education or less.) And in some parts of Canada, especially Alberta, the job market is terrible.


“The last thing anybody wants to see is people moving from one government program to a provincial welfare roll,” Mr. Munson says. But it’s likely that more than a few will. No one expects the newcomers to be self-sufficient right away. That’s not why we took them in. We took them in because we have a moral obligation to ease the suffering of people who have survived an unspeakable humanitarian catastrophe. We owe it to them – and to ourselves – to give them the best support we can, and also to be realistic about what we can take on and what we can expect.


It would be foolish to open the doors even wider (as some people think we should) while so many newcomers are struggling to find purchase. It would also be smart of us to remember that integration takes more than a generation, and that not all immigrant groups are equally successful, no matter how much help they get. The Vietnamese boat people thrived in Canada. How will the Syrians fare? We’ll find out in 20 or 30 years. Meantime, we shouldn’t underestimate the challenge.          





SHAME AND REFUGEES                                                                                

Burak Bekdil                                                                 

Hürriyet Daily News, Sept. 9, 2016


[Turkish] President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is right: there is something shameful about the refugee crisis. But he is wrong about whose shame it is. Erdoğan repeated his clichéd rhetoric at the G-20 Summit in China that "the West's attitude over the refugee problem is disgraceful." Once again, he accused the West of racism.


… Since the beginning of the Syrian refugee crisis, Mr. Erdoğan has claimed that it was (Christian) Europe's moral obligation to accept a big part of the refugees. Because the refugees want to go to (Christian) Europe? Why? We all know why. But why is it not the neighboring Muslim countries' moral obligation to host overwhelmingly Muslim refugees in their own Muslim lands? Jordan's (late) King Abdullah wrote in his memoirs: The tragedy of the Palestinians was that most of their leaders had paralyzed them with false and unsubstantiated promises that they were not alone; that 80 million Arabs and 400 million Muslims would instantly and miraculously come to their rescue.


Decades later, Syrians fleeing the civil war in their homeland are not tempted into the same tragedy: They want to use Turkey and other Muslim countries as stepping stones to reach better, more civilized lands. Is it not neighboring Muslim countries' moral obligation to host Muslim refugees in their own lands? First of all, that is an Islamic self-insult: Why do Muslims risk their lives trying to cross into the predominantly Christian West, which probably most of them have viewed as "evil?" Why do our Muslim Syrian brothers not want to live with us? Why do they want to risk their lives and flee to Christian lands?


Even totally irrelevant, faraway non-Muslim countries like Brazil, Chile and Venezuela have said that they would volunteer to take thousands of Syrian refugees. Any Muslim refugees in oil-rich Muslim Gulf countries? How many in the Saudi kingdom that is the custodian of Sunni Islam and is the seat of the holiest Muslim shrines in Mecca and Medina? And, even if they had invited Syrian refugees, would the poor souls prefer to be accepted by Christian lands or by the custodian of Sunni Islam? We all know the answer. The Muslim refugees cannot even stand Turkey, which is heaven compared to the custodian of Sunni Islam.


And for all that self-humiliating picture, Mr. Erdoğan blames the West for having taken "only" over 250,000 refugees as opposed to almost none in the rich Gulf. Why really do Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman keep employing large numbers of Asian workers but have not taken even a few dozen Syrian Muslim refugees? Muslims in this part of the world view the Christian West both as 'evil' and as the most decent place to live.


The moral story is about a grandiose, multi-faceted Middle Eastern dilemma: Muslims in this part of the world view the Christian West as "evil," yet they know quite well that Christian lands are the most decent places to live economically and politically, while wealthy Arab states are programmed to turn their back on the plight of fellow Muslims who are in need of a helping hand and Islamists blame it all on the West – the easiest thing they, too, are programmed to do reflexively. The legitimate questions here are: Why do "West-hating" Muslims want to go to the "evil" Christian West? Why do their fellow Muslim Arab nations not raise even a helping finger, let alone a hand? And why should non-Muslims pay for exclusively intra-Muslim wars and the wave of migrants these wars create?


On Topic Links


After Snub, Turkey’s President Threatens to Unleash Another Migrant Surge on West: Michael Birnbaum & Brian Murphy, Washington Post, Nov. 25, 2016 —Turkey’s president warned Europe on Friday that his nation could unleash another migrant crisis in the West, sharply raising the stakes after E.U. lawmakers called for a suspension in membership talks with Turkey.

Save the Refugees on the Berm: Jason Cone, New York Times, Aug. 10, 2016— For millions of Syrian civilians trapped for five years by a relentless war, mere lifesaving aid, let alone refuge, is out of reach. But for the 75,000 displaced people caught on Jordan’s desert frontier with Syria, salvation is only yards away. Unlike many of their fellow citizens, they can be saved. So why have they been effectively abandoned?

Quelle Surprise: France’s Political Right Turn: Konrad Yakabuski, Globe & Mail, Nov. 24, 2016 —In a year of shocking ballot-box upsets, what’s truly shocking is that anyone could be so shocked by another one. Yet, France’s political establishment was knocked off its chair by François Fillon’s first-place finish in last Sunday’s opening round of the Republicans’ primary. With it, every assumption about the country’s 2017 presidential election went down the drain.

Europe's Terror Challenges: The Returnee Threat: Abigail R. Esman, IPT News, Oct. 19, 2016— Another week, another barrage of headlines illustrating the depth of Europe's terror threat.




A Short Review of Dutch Anti-Israel Incitement: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Jerusalem Post, Sept. 1, 2016  — Next week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit the Netherlands.

EU, Terror and the Transparency Bill: Ron Jontof-Hutter, Israel Hayom, Sept. 14, 2016 — On the December 7, 1970, German Chancellor Willy Brandt knelt solemnly before the Warsaw ‎Ghetto in contrition.

France: The Great Wall of Calais: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Sept. 23, 2016  — Building work has begun on a wall in the northern French city of Calais, a major transport hub on the edge of the English Channel, to prevent migrants from stowing away on cars, trucks, ferries and trains bound for Britain..

Let’s Keep Canada Canadian: John Robson, National Post, Sept. 19, 2016 — The other day, I read a European Union publication on Ireland, which I concede is a self-inflicted wound. But it threw an oddly bright light on the vexed question of how Canadian values ever became controversial.


On Topic Links


The Islamic Hatred of Modernity: John Mauldin, Maudlin Economics, Sept. 28, 2016

Germany: Beginning of the End of the Merkel Era?: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Sept. 10, 2016

Burkini Debate in France Exposes a Divide in its Jewish Community: Cnaan Liphshiz, Times of Israel, Sept. 24, 2016

Europeans Turn to Israel to Spur Lagging Economies: Breaking Israel News, Sept. 26, 2016




Manfred Gerstenfeld                                            

Jerusalem Post, Sept. 1, 2016


Next week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit the Netherlands. A succinct summary of anti-Israel incitement there may help him and his staff to better understand how the current Dutch reality differs from the distorted positive image many people still hold, namely the one based on the much publicized story of Anne Frank and her diary.


The Anne Frank story has entirely overshadowed a far more important one: the total disinterest of the Dutch government in exile in London during the Second World War in the fate of its Jewish citizens under the German occupation. Three-quarters of the 140,000 Jews in the Netherlands were murdered in the German death camps in Poland. The Netherlands is now the only Western European country which has never admitted to the wartime failure of its government’s attitude toward the Jews. Even Luxembourg and Monaco have recently done so. Furthermore, though archives contained the information for decades, it has only recently been published that Dutch SS volunteers participated in mass killings of Jews in Eastern Europe.


Around the turn of this century, the anti-Israel attitude in many Dutch circles strengthened. The ongoing incitement against the Jewish state by many Dutch politicians – mainly extreme-left and center- left – leading media, pseudo-humanitarian NGOs and so on has greatly influenced Dutch citizens. A Eurobarometer study in 2003 asked which countries are most dangerous to world peace. Israel came in second place after Iran – 59 percent of Europeans held this opinion. Of all countries polled the Netherlands had the highest percentage at 74%. This opinion can largely be explained by the widespread Dutch incitement against Israel. A 2011 study by the University of Bielefeld in Germany found that more than 38% of the Dutch population agreed with the statement that Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians.


The most dangerous political party to Israel nowadays is Labor, the junior partner in the current government led by liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte. The Labor Party incites against Israel in many ways. During its first Middle East Conference in 2013, party leader Diederik Samsom singled out the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the only one on which patience is running out. He placed the entire responsibility for solving the conflict on Israel. Labor, the D66 Democrats and the Christian Democrats have also promoted a parliamentary motion which may lead to sanctions against Israel.


Earlier this year, Foreign Minister Bert Koenders (Labor) tried to fool his Israeli counterparts by saying that while there is freedom of opinion in the Netherlands, the Dutch government is against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. He did not mention that the Dutch government subsidized the BDS-promoting Catholic development aid organization Cordaid, to the tune of half a billion euros from 2007 to 2011 and lesser amounts since. Cordaid’s support of extreme incitement against Israel goes back at least 15 years.


A major scandal developed in 2002 when it became known that the Ford Foundation had partly funded the anti-Israel hate-mongers of the Palestinian LAW organization which had to be disbanded due to widespread corruption. No attention was given to the fact that Cordaid had donated even more money to LAW. The current Labor Party minister of foreign trade and development cooperation, Liliane Ploumen, held top positions with Cordaid from 2001 to 2007. Other Dutch pro- BDS bodies also received large amounts of government funding. Koenders has been active in the European labeling of products from the West Bank as well.


The list of Jewish guests for the 2013 dinner hosted by Dutch King Willem Alexander for the visiting president Shimon Peres has never been published. The heads of the two largest Jewish communities, the Ashkenazi Orthodox and Liberals, were not invited. The head of the tiny, extreme Jewish anti-Israel group EAJG was.


For the first time in Dutch independent history – thus leaving aside the German occupation – a number of Jewish businessmen had to hire private bodyguards in 2014 as a result of threats. The most severe anti-Semitic incident in the Netherlands was a robbery last year (by criminals who appeared to be of Moroccan-Arab descent) of a couple of elderly Holocaust survivors in Amsterdam. The woman was a survivor of Auschwitz. The robbers called them “dirty Jews” and beat them severely. The most recent scandal is a claim in the NRC daily that the Mossad is threatening a human rights activist in the Netherlands.


From time to time Prime Minister Rutte visits Israel with a delegation of Dutch businessmen. He is accompanied by two Labor Party ministers who visit the Palestinian territories. Perhaps next time Prime Minister Netanyahu can invite Rutte and his ministers for a memorial meeting at the site of the terrorist attack at the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem where a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up in 2001. Among the 15 killed were five members of the Schijveschuurder family. Two parents and three of their children were murdered, and three others were wounded. They were children and grandchildren, respectively, of Dutch Holocaust survivors. The above are a small sample of the widespread incitement against Israel in the Netherlands. This topic can easily be extended to book format.                                                                                                      




EU, TERROR AND THE TRANSPARENCY BILL                                                                             

Ron Jontof-Hutter      

Israel Hayom, Sept. 14, 2016


On the December 7, 1970, German Chancellor Willy Brandt knelt solemnly before the Warsaw ‎Ghetto in contrition. During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when Israel faced annihilation, the same ‎Willy Brandt denied German landing rights to U.S. planes carrying emergency supplies to Israel. ‎Chancellor Angela Merkel occasionally says that Israel's "right to exist" is Germany's raison d'etre.‎


Like Brandt, Germany appears to be two-tongued when it comes to anti-Semitism. Like the ‎EU, Germany makes a distinction between anti-Semitism and objecting to Israel's policies, which on ‎paper seems to be fair. Thus, giving the Hitler salute and denying the Holocaust are illegal. On the ‎other hand, the annual Iran-sponsored Al-Quds March through downtown Berlin, calling for the ‎destruction of Israel, is legal. Berlin constantly turns a deaf ear to appeals to ban that march.‎


The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — the Iran nuclear deal — was enthusiastically supported by Germany, enabling Iran to fully develop ‎its nuclear program after a decade, while currently testing missiles marked "Death to Israel." ‎However, the same Germany decided that nuclear facilities for peaceful purposes were too risky ‎for Germans. They are to be phased out by 2022.‎ Germany maintains it has a "special relationship" with Israel while the EU ambassador to Israel ‎explained that Israel is singled out because "you are one of us."‎


The EU countries support various NGOs despite their being termed "nongovernmental." Germany's Economic Cooperation and Development Ministry provides funding to NGOs as part of ‎its foreign aid programs. Recently, Professor Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor exposed the doublespeak ‎of Germany yet further. The German government annually pays 4 million euros ($4.5 million) to NGOs in Israel, ‎of which 42% goes to organizations that support the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and worse, like the Popular Struggle ‎Coordination Committee, which advocates violent riots in Judea and Samaria. The German Embassy in ‎Tel Aviv does not deny the funding, but blandly states that Germany does not support boycotts of ‎Israel. They donate to "organizations supporting peace."‎


Some of the NGOs funded by the EU are Zochrot, Grassroots Jerusalem and Baladna Arab Youth ‎Association, all of which are committed to getting Palestinian refugees and their third- and fourth-‎generation descendants to "return" even though most have never been to Israel. I have met some ‎of these "refugees," who lead comfortable middle-class lives, in Australia. They certainly do not fit ‎the image of a refugee we see on TV. In my recent satire, "The Trombone Man: Tales of a Misogynist," the story depicts one such comfortable refugee who, like his parents, has never been ‎to Israel. Despite these anomalies, the EU generously funds these organizations that are dedicated to ‎Israel's disappearance as the Jewish state.‎


The EU therefore supports some organizations dedicated to Israel's demise while paying lip service ‎to its "right to exist," whatever that means. The EU, led by countries such as Germany, also ‎supports labeling people and products from beyond the Green Line or "Auschwitz lines," as the late dovish Foreign Minister Abba Eban called it. Thus, while officially declining to support ‎BDS, the same EU countries fund NGOs that do — all with a straight face.‎


The EU, ‎committed to democracy and human rights, has been "deeply concerned" about the recent ‎transparency law passed by the Knesset, even though there is no suggestion these NGOs would be ‎banned from practising their dubious activities. The State Department termed it "chilling," despite ‎its funds being surreptitiously used to influence the outcome of Israel's last election. In the ‎meantime, Europe is reeling with regular terror attacks, for which Europeans cannot find an ‎answer — except to insultingly compare Israel to Putin's Russia and be "deeply concerned" with ‎their fellow democracy that struggles to maintain civil rights while upholding its ‎citizens' right to life.‎ Israel remains a vibrant democracy despite the underhanded tactics of the EU. As Europe grapples ‎with increasing terror, its exaggerated concern with an ally threatened daily by internal and ‎external terror is misplaced and misguided.‎


NGO Monitor has shown in great detail the doublespeak of the EU countries that mouth ‎unconvincing platitudes regarding Israel's "right to exist" while simultaneously funding many NGOs that ‎promote exactly the opposite.‎ At the end of the day, it should be remembered that the hidden agendas of many of these NGOs ‎have little to do with human rights, per se, but more to do with providing conditions that would ‎end the State of Israel, by stressing the Nakba, hope, resilience and the "right of return" of ‎refugees and their descendants.‎ That is why it is always worth remembering Willy Brandt 1970 and Willy Brandt 1973. It sums up ‎Europe perfectly.‎





FRANCE: THE GREAT WALL OF CALAIS                                                                                          

Soeren Kern                                                                                                          

Gatestone Institute, Sept. 23, 2016


Building work has begun on a wall in the northern French city of Calais, a major transport hub on the edge of the English Channel, to prevent migrants from stowing away on cars, trucks, ferries and trains bound for Britain. Dubbed "The Great Wall of Calais," the concrete barrier — one kilometer (half a mile) long and four meters (13 feet) high on both sides of the two-lane highway approaching the harbor — will pass within a few hundred meters of a sprawling shanty town known as "The Jungle."


The squalid camp now houses more than 10,000 migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East who are trying to reach Britain. The migrants at the camp are mostly from Sudan (45%), Afghanistan (30%), Pakistan (7%), Eritrea (6%) and Syria (1%), according to a recent census conducted by aid agencies. Construction of the wall — which will cost British taxpayers £2 million (€2.3 million; $2.6 million) and is due to be completed by the end of 2016 — comes amid a surge in the number of migrants from the camp trying to reach Britain. Around 200 migrants from Calais, the principal ferry crossing point between France and England, are successfully smuggled into Britain each week, according to police estimates cited by the Telegraph. This amounts to more than 10,000 so-called "lorry drops" — when illegal migrants hiding in the back of trucks jump out after reaching the UK — this year.


In 2015-16, more than 84,000 migrants were caught attempting illegally to enter Britain from the Ports of Calais and Dunkirk, according to Home Office figures cited by the Guardian. On just one day, December 17, 2015, around 1,000 migrants stormed the Channel Tunnel in a bid to reach Britain. Police, who used tear gas to disperse them, said the number seeking to cross the Channel in a single day was "unprecedented." Many of the migrants who are turned away move to "The Jungle" and try over and over again. Migrants at the camp have been using felled trees and gas canisters to create makeshift roadblocks to slow trucks heading for Britain. When the trucks come to a stop, migrants climb aboard to stow away as the vehicles head to Britain through the Channel Tunnel or on ferries.


UK-bound migrants are building up to 30 barricades a night to stop vehicles travelling through Calais, according to French officials. Teams of traffic police now spend every night trying to keep the roads around Calais clear of migrants and their debris. In recent months, masked gangs of people smugglers armed with knives, bats and tire irons have forced truck drivers to stop so that migrants can board their vehicles. The Deputy Mayor of Calais, Philippe Mignonet, has described the main route to the port as a "no-go area" between midnight and 6am.


In an interview with the French newspaper Liberation, Xavier Delebarre, who is in charge of France's northern road network, said the migrants have "tools, electric chainsaws that can be bought anywhere for fifteen euros." He added: "There is a strategy in their concerted attacks. They launch simultaneous assaults, and also diversions. Migrants build barricades by piling different materials on the road, including branches, as well as mattresses and trash. They set it on fire, and then put gas cylinders in the fire, which is very worrying. They create traffic jams to storm the trucks, so they can board them to try to get to England."


On September 5, hundreds of French truck drivers and farmers (who complain that fields around the migrant camp are full of rubbish and human excrement) blocked off the main route in and out of Calais, in an attempt to pressure the French government to close "The Jungle." The blockage brought to a standstill the route used by trucks from all over Europe to reach Calais and Britain.


Antoine Ravisse, president of the Grand Rassemblement du Calaisis, a coalition of local businesses, said the protesters wanted assurances from the French government that the roads in Calais will be made safe again. He said: "The main image of Calais today in the newspaper and on TV is very negative, all about the migrants and attacks on the highway. The first point is we want the highways safe again. It's unacceptable that today in France you can't travel without fear and without the certainty that you won't be attacked. We apologize to our British friends — our economy depends very much on the business we do with England. We apologize to all the families but some of them have experienced very bad times and dangerous times and they will agree it can't go on. We are standing here and we will wait until we hear something back from the government. We are not moving until we hear from the government."


David Sagnard, president of FNTR national truck drivers' federation, said: We have to do this. We have to escalate things, because for months now the situation has been getting worse and worse. Before, it was just attempts to get on trucks. Now there is looting and willful destruction, tarpaulins are slashed, goods stolen or destroyed. Drivers go to work with fear in their bellies and the economic consequences are severe."…      

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




John Robson

National Post, Sept. 19, 2016


The other day, I read a European Union publication on Ireland, which I concede is a self-inflicted wound. But it threw an oddly bright light on the vexed question of how Canadian values ever became controversial.

Everybody yammers on about them. An NDP email insists that health care is “a core Canadian value.” A Department of National Defence spokesman defends his department accidentally training a Bangladeshi terrorist by saying: “The Canadian Armed Forces has exchange and training programs designed to enhance our bilateral relationships and promote Canadian values.” Yet when Conservative leadership hopeful Kellie Leitch suggested screening immigrants to make sure they share those values, the smart set got a bad case of the vapours.


It seems we’re meant to know that “values” are for yokels, despite originally being Nietzsche’s subversively sophisticated substitute for moral truth. Which brings me abruptly, if unexpectedly, to that smarmy EU book. When you think of Ireland,” it concedes, “leprechauns, shamrocks, and Irish music might come to mind.” But if so, they are swiftly shoved aside: “modern-day Ireland… is no longer the homogeneous society it once was.” Formerly poor and quaint, it became a “Celtic Tiger” and “people from other parts of the world flocked to Ireland, seeking jobs and economic opportunity…. The flood of new cultures and peoples… has changed the centuries-old traditional life… there are now eight times as many people in Ireland who speak Polish as … Gaelic”. Nowadays “people from all around the world add their perspectives” in “the most globalized country in the world” where “society’s relaxed pace has disappeared” and “in a recent survey of Irish people between fifteen and twenty-four… more than a third did not know the meaning of Easter.


In short, there’s no longer any there there, just one more suburb of the galactic metropolis full of frantic, rootless, sleep-deprived materialist pseudo-sophisticates. Which is apparently good. As the introduction had already assured readers, Europe “is a continent with many different traditions and languages, but with shared values such as democracy, freedom and social justice, cherished values well known to North Americans. Indeed, the EU motto is ‘United in Diversity.’ ”


Such rhetoric certainly is familiar to Canadians. Eerily so. Our shiny prime minister, a walking, talking incarnation of post-modern vacuity, says “there is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada.” It’s odd to hear all this talk of diversity, while everything gets more and more similar. As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed after denying our core identity, “There are shared values — openness, respect, compassion, willingness to work hard, to be there for each other, to search for equality and justice. Those qualities are what make us the first post-national state.” The words “post-national” are key. They are meant to say that anything good about Canada comes not from our traditions but from discarding them in favour of those famous globalized perspectives that always sound exactly like Michael Ignatieff, who called Canada a “civic experiment” and a “fiction,” while claiming a deep “attachment to the place on Earth that, if I needed one, I would call home.” But he doesn’t. He’s a “citizen of the world,” just like Justin Trudeau and his father.


Leitch’s proposal has proved popular with actual people, who understand, as historian Daniel Boorstin once said, that, “Planning for the future without a sense of history is like planting cut flowers.” They want immigrants to share genuine Canadian roots. But the elite is busy hacking through those very roots because, to borrow a phrase from theologian N.T. Wright, they think “trees should be entirely visible and obviously fruitful, no part of them buried in dirty soil. What’s down there in the rich soil of our home and native land? Individual liberty. Rule of law. Critical self-examination. And yes, monogamy, sprouting from a Judeo-Christian tradition now deemed in especially urgent need of uprooting and burning.


The EU’s book on Ireland smugly explains that, “You might be accustomed to seeing dates expressed with the abbreviations BC or AD.” But they’re going with BCE and CE because “many people now prefer to use abbreviations that people from all religions can be comfortable using.” It’s ludicrous, since CE still dates from the supposed birth of you-know-who. Would it mollify Muslims if we called him Gezuz? But it’s part of an aggressive, if shallow, effort to eliminate everything that forms part of our true heritage, especially everything religious.


Hence efforts in Canada to ban Trinity Western University graduates from practising law, and efforts to eliminate faith-based exemptions to non-discrimination laws at all universities. And hence Trudeau, who in odd-numbered years considers gender equality a core Canadian value, speaking cheerfully in an even-numbered year at a mosque where his female ministers are segregated, forced to cover their lascivious hair and stay silent. It’s oh so cosmopolitan. But without roots, societies, like plants, wither and die. Let’s keep Canada Canadian.




On Topic Links


The Islamic Hatred of Modernity: John Mauldin, Maudlin Economics, Sept. 28, 2016 —I have for you a very interesting and unusual piece for this week’s Outside the Box. It is not that I do not regularly send things by authors who see the world differently from me, but I rarely delve into the political and geopolitical world.

Germany: Beginning of the End of the Merkel Era?: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Sept. 10, 2016 —German Chancellor Angela Merkel suffered a major blow on September 4 when the anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) surged ahead of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in elections in her home state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania.

Burkini Debate in France Exposes a Divide in its Jewish Community: Cnaan Liphshiz, Times of Israel, Sept. 24, 2016— Like their constituents, the mainstream representatives of French Jewry are not known for passing up opportunities to express their opinion on subjects of national debate.

Europeans Turn to Israel to Spur Lagging Economies: Breaking Israel News, Sept. 26, 2016—About 60 ministers of education from a range of OECD countries gathered Sunday in Jerusalem for a three-day program to explore Israel’s culture of entrepreneurship.




Europe: The Substitution of a Population: Giulio Meotti, Gatestone Institute, Aug. 27, 2016— Deaths that exceed births might sound like science fiction, but they are now Europe's reality. It just happened.

How Global Elites Forsake Their Countrymen: Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 11, 2016— This is about distance, and detachment, and a kind of historic decoupling between the top and the bottom in the West that did not, in more moderate recent times, exist.

Jewish Avengers Unapologetic for Targeting Nazis After WWII: Aron Heller & Randy Herschaft, Toronto Sun, Aug. 31, 2016— Seventy years after the most daring attempt of Jewish Holocaust survivors to seek revenge against their former tormentors, the leader of the plot has only one simple regret — that to his knowledge he didn’t actually succeed in killing any Nazis.

The Last Nazi Hunter: Stav Ziv, Newsweek, July 7, 2016— Efraim Zuroff has accomplished much in his long career, but there’s one thing he’s particularly proud of: He’s the most hated Jew in Lithuania.


On Topic Links


"The Longest and Most Vicious Confrontation": An Interview With Daniel Pipes: L'Informale, Aug. 30, 2016

Europe's Old (and New) Hells Remind us of Israel's Importance: Alan Dershowitz, Fox News, May 17, 2016

Marx and Freud: The Creatures of Prometheus: Daniel Johnson, Standpoint, Sept. 2016

In ‘Blazing Saddles,’ Gene Wilder Helped Recall a Fading Black-Jewish Alliance: Andrew Silow-Carroll, Times of Israel, Aug. 31, 2016



Giulio Meotti

Jerusalem Post, Aug. 29, 2016


Deaths that exceed births might sound like science fiction, but they are now Europe's reality. It just happened. During 2015, 5.1 million babies were born in the EU, while 5.2 million persons died, meaning that the EU for the first time in modern history recorded a negative natural change in its population. The numbers come from Eurostat (the statistical office of the European Union), which since 1961 has been counting Europe's population. It is official. There is, however, another surprising number: the European population increased overall from 508.3 million to 510.1 million. Have you guessed why? The immigrant population increased, by about two million in one year, while the native European population was shrinking. It is the substitution of a population. Europe has lost the will to maintain or grow its population. The situation is as demographically as seismic as during the Great Plague of the 14th Century.


This shift is what the British demographer David Coleman described in his study, "Immigration and Ethnic Change in Low-Fertility Countries: A Third Demographic Transition." Europe's suicidal birth rate, coupled with migrants who multiply faster, will transform European culture. The declining fertility rate of native Europeans coincides, in fact, with the institutionalization of Islam in Europe and the "re-Islamization" of its Muslims.


In 2015, Portugal recorded the second-lowest birth rate in the European Union (8.3 per 1,000 inhabitants) and negative natural growth of -2.2 per 1,000 inhabitants. Which EU country had the lowest birth rate? Italy. Since the "baby boom" of the 1960s, in the country famous for its large families, the birth rate has more halved. In 2015, the number of births fell to 485,000, fewer than in any other year since the modern Italy was formed in 1861. Eastern Europe now has "the largest population loss in modern history", while Germany overtook Japan by having the world's lowest birth rate, when averaged over past five years. In Germany and Italy, the decreases were particularly dramatic, down -2.3% and -2.7% respectively.


Out with the old, in with the new… Europe, as it is aging, no longer renews its generations, and instead welcomes massive numbers of migrants from the Middle East, Africa and Asia, who are going to replace the native Europeans, and who are bringing cultures with radically different values about sex, science, political power, culture, economy and the relation between God and man. Some businesses are no longer even interested in European markets. Kimberly-Clark, which makes Huggies diapers, has pulled out of most of Europe. The market is simply not cost-effective. Meanwhile, Procter & Gamble, which produces Pampers diapers, has been investing in the business of the future: diapers for old people.


Europe is becoming gray; you can feel all the sadness of a world that has consumed itself. In 2008, the countries of the European Union saw the birth of 5,469,000 children. Five years later, there were nearly half a million fewer, 5,075,000 — a decrease of 7%. Fertility rates have not only fallen in countries with aching economies, such as Greece, but also in countries such as Norway, which sailed through the financial crisis. As Lord Sacks recently said, "falling birth rates could spell the end of the West". Europe, as it is aging, no longer renews its generations, and instead welcomes massive numbers of migrants from the Middle East, Africa and Asia, who are going to replace the native Europeans, and who are bringing cultures with radically different values about sex, science, political power, culture, economy and the relation between God and man.


Liberals and secularists tend to dismiss the importance of demographic and cultural issues. That is why the most important warnings come from some Christian leaders. The first to denounce this dramatic trend was a great Italian missionary, Father Piero Gheddo, who explained that, due to falling birth rates and religious apathy, "Islam would sooner rather than later conquer the majority in Europe". He was followed by others, such as Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Rai, who leads the Eastern Catholics aligned with the Vatican. Rai warned that "Islam will conquer Europe by faith and birth rate". A similar warning just came from yet another cardinal, Raymond Leo Burke.


In one generation from now, Europe will be unrecognizable. People in Europe now largely seem to feel that the identity of their civilization is threatened primarily by a frivolous libertarianism, an ideology under the guise of freedom, that wants to deconstruct all the ties that bind man to his family, his parentage, his work, his history, his religion, his language, his nation, his freedom. It seems to come from an inertia that does not care if Europe succeeds or succumbs, if our civilization disappears, drowned by ethnic chaos, or is overrun by a new religion from the desert.


As a paper in the Washington Quarterly explains, the fatal meeting between Europe's falling birth rates and rise of Islam has already had significant consequences: Europe has turned into an incubator of terrorism; formed a new poisonous anti-Semitism; seen a political shift to the far right; undergone the biggest crisis in European authoritarian unity and witnessed a refocusing of foreign policy since Europe's withdrawal from the Middle East.


Demographic suicide is not only experienced; it appears to be wanted. The xenophile European bourgeoisie, which today controls politics and the media, seem imbued with a snobbish and masochistic racism. They have turned against the values of their own Judeo-Christian culture and combined it with a hallucinatory, romanticized view of the values of other cultures. The sad paradox is that Europeans are now importing young people in large numbers from the Middle East to compensate for their lifestyle choices. An agnostic and sterile continent — deprived of its gods and children because it banished them — will have no strength to fight or to assimilate a civilization of the zealous and the young. The failure to counter the coming transformation seems to come down on the side of Islam. Is what we are seeing the last days of summer?





Peggy Noonan

Wall Street Journal, Aug. 11, 2016


This is about distance, and detachment, and a kind of historic decoupling between the top and the bottom in the West that did not, in more moderate recent times, exist. Recently I spoke with an acquaintance of Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and the conversation quickly turned, as conversations about Ms. Merkel now always do, to her decisions on immigration. Last summer when Europe was engulfed with increasing waves of migrants and refugees from Muslim countries, Ms. Merkel, moving unilaterally, announced that Germany would take in an astounding 800,000. Naturally this was taken as an invitation, and more than a million came. The result has been widespread public furor over crime, cultural dissimilation and fears of terrorism. From such a sturdy, grounded character as Ms. Merkel the decision was puzzling—uncharacteristically romantic about people, how they live their lives, and history itself, which is more charnel house than settlement house.


Ms. Merkel’s acquaintance sighed and agreed. It’s one thing to be overwhelmed by an unexpected force, quite another to invite your invaders in! But, the acquaintance said, he believed the chancellor was operating in pursuit of ideals. As the daughter of a Lutheran minister, someone who grew up in East Germany, Ms. Merkel would have natural sympathy for those who feel marginalized and displaced. Moreover she is attempting to provide a kind of counter-statement, in the 21st century, to Germany’s great sin of the 20th. The historical stain of Nazism, the murder and abuse of the minority, will be followed by the moral triumph of open arms toward the dispossessed. That’s what’s driving it, said the acquaintance.


It was as good an explanation as I’d heard. But there was a fundamental problem with the decision that you can see rippling now throughout the West. Ms. Merkel had put the entire burden of a huge cultural change not on herself and those like her but on regular people who live closer to the edge, who do not have the resources to meet the burden, who have no particular protection or money or connections. Ms. Merkel, her cabinet and government, the media and cultural apparatus that lauded her decision were not in the least affected by it and likely never would be. Nothing in their lives will get worse. The challenge of integrating different cultures, negotiating daily tensions, dealing with crime and extremism and fearfulness on the street—that was put on those with comparatively little, whom I’ve called the unprotected. They were left to struggle, not gradually and over the years but suddenly and in an air of ongoing crisis that shows no signs of ending—because nobody cares about them enough to stop it.


The powerful show no particular sign of worrying about any of this. When the working and middle class pushed back in shocked indignation, the people on top called them “xenophobic,” “narrow-minded,” “racist.” The detached, who made the decisions and bore none of the costs, got to be called “humanist,” “compassionate,” and “hero of human rights.” And so the great separating incident at Cologne last New Year’s, and the hundreds of sexual assaults by mostly young migrant men who were brought up in societies where women are veiled—who think they should be veiled—and who chose to see women in short skirts and high heels as asking for it. Cologne of course was followed by other crimes.


The journalist Chris Caldwell reports in the Weekly Standard on Ms. Merkel’s statement a few weeks ago, in which she told Germans that history was asking them to “master the flip side, the shadow side, of all the positive effects of globalization.” Caldwell: “This was the chancellor’s . . . way of acknowledging that various newcomers to the national household had begun to attack and kill her voters at an alarming rate.” Soon after her remarks, more horrific crimes followed, including in Munich (nine killed in a McDonald’s ) Reutlingen (a knife attack) and Ansbach (a suicide bomber)…

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



Aron Heller & Randy Herschaft

Toronto Sun, Aug. 31, 2016


Seventy years after the most daring attempt of Jewish Holocaust survivors to seek revenge against their former tormentors, the leader of the plot has only one simple regret — that to his knowledge he didn’t actually succeed in killing any Nazis. Joseph Harmatz is one of the few remaining Jewish “Avengers” who carried out a mass poisoning of former SS men in an American prisoner-of-war camp in 1946 that sickened more than 2,200 Germans but ultimately caused no known deaths. A recently declassified U.S. military report obtained by The Associated Press has only added to the mystery of why the brazen operation did not kill Nazis, because it shows the amount of arsenic used should have been fatal to tens of thousands.


Still, the 91-year-old Harmatz says the message echoed into a rallying cry for the newborn state of Israel — that the days when attacks on Jews went unanswered were over. “We didn’t want to come back (to pre-state Israel) without having done something, and that is why we were keen,” Harmatz said in a hoarse, whispery voice from his apartment in north Tel Aviv.


Despite a visceral desire for vengeance, most Holocaust survivors were too weary or devastated to seriously consider it, after their world was shattered and 6 million Jews killed during World War II. For most, merely rebuilding their lives and starting new families was revenge enough against a Nazi regime that aimed to destroy them. For others, physical retribution ran counter to Jewish morals and traditions. For even more, the whole concept of reprisals seemed pointless given the sheer scope of the genocide.


But a group of some 50, most young men and women who had already fought in the resistance, could not let the crimes go unpunished and actively sought to exact at least a small measure of revenge. The Nuremberg trials were prosecuting some top Nazis, but the Jewish people had no formal representative. There was a deep sense of justice denied, as the vast majority of Nazis immersed themselves back into a post-war Germany that was being rebuilt by the Americans’ Marshall plan.


While there were some isolated acts of Jews harming individual Nazis after the war, the group, codenamed Nakam, Hebrew for vengeance, sought a more comprehensive form of punishment. “We didn’t understand why it shouldn’t be paid back,” said Harmatz, who was nicknamed Julek, and lost most of his family in the Holocaust. So the group set out with a simple mission. “Kill Germans,” Harmatz said flatly. How many? “As many as possible,” he quickly replied.


The first plan of action described by Harmatz was audacious. Initiated by the resistance fighter and noted Israeli poet Abba Kovner, the idea was to poison the water supply of Nuremberg, a plot that could have potentially killed hundreds of thousands. But there were deep reservations even among the Avengers that such an operation would kill innocent Germans and undermine international support for the establishment of Israel. Either way, when Kovner sailed for Europe with the poison, he drew suspicion from British authorities and was forced to toss it overboard before he was arrested.


Following that setback, attention shifted toward Plan B, a more limited operation that specifically targeted the worst Nazi perpetrators. Undercover members of the group found work at a bakery that supplied the Stalag 13 POW camp at Langwasser, near Nuremberg, and waited for their chance to strike the thousands of SS men the Americans held there. It came on Apr. 13, 1946. Using poison procured from one of Kovner’s associates, three members spent two hours coating some 3,000 loaves of bread with arsenic, divided into four portions. The goal was to kill 12,000 SS personnel, and Harmatz oversaw the operation from outside the bakery.


While the mass death count of the first plan would have been disastrous for the Jewish people, the second’s more direct route was easier to accept, since its targets were the worst of the worst, said Dina Porat, the chief historian at Israel’s Yad Vashem memorial. She has written a biography of Kovner and is about to publish another book on the Avengers themselves. “The terrible tragedy was about to be forgotten, and if you don’t punish for one crime, you will get another,” she explained. “This is what was driving them, not only justice but a warning, a warning to the world that you cannot hurt Jews in such a manner and get away with it.”


Even if they were ultimately unsuccessful, she said, the Avengers’ act was seeped with symbolism for a burgeoning state of Israel fighting for its survival in a hostile region. “What is Zionism? Zionism is the Jews taking their fate in their own hands and not letting the others dictate our fate,” she said. “This is what they wanted to show. You cannot get away with such a terrible deed.” Under German regulations, authorities in Nuremberg later investigated Harmatz and Leipke Distal, who worked undercover in the bakery for months, after they appeared in a 1999 television documentary and revealed details of the operation…

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





Stav Ziv

Newsweek, July 7, 2016


Efraim Zuroff has accomplished much in his long career, but there’s one thing he’s particularly proud of: He’s the most hated Jew in Lithuania. His Lithuanian friend Ruta Vanagaite agrees: She called him a “mammoth,” a “boogeyman” and the “ruiner of reputations”—and that’s just in the introduction to a book they co-authored.


Last summer, in a journey that helped cement his notoriety, Zuroff set off across the Lithuanian countryside in a gray SUV with Vanagaite, an author best known for a book about women finding happiness after age 50. Their goal: to visit some of the nation’s more than 200 sites of mass murder during World War II. On the road, between destinations, they talked and talked, recording their conversations. The trip formed the basis of their 2016 book, Our People: Journey With an Enemy, an instant best-seller in Lithuania. It also ignited a rancorous debate among Lithuanians, who have long downplayed their country’s considerable role in the Holocaust.


Zuroff, often called the last Nazi hunter, has spent nearly four decades chasing down suspects from Australia to Iceland, from Hungary to the United States. His methods are sometimes controversial, but his mission is righteous: bringing to justice every remaining perpetrator of one of the most heinous crimes in history. For Westerners, the tiny country of Lithuania might seem an odd place for him to dig in, but with most Nazis either dead or too frail to face trial, this Eastern European nation may be the Nazi hunter’s last stand. He considers Lithuania one of his most important fights because it hasn’t addressed its role in mass murder during the Holocaust—its citizens killed almost all of the 250,000 Jews who lived there in 1941. “Not a single Lithuanian sat one day in jail in independent Lithuania” for collaborating with the Nazis and participating in the Holocaust, Zuroff tells Newsweek.


“I realize how difficult it could be for Lithuania to admit its complicity,” he told Vanagaite in Our People. “It took France 50 years to acknowledge its guilt. Germany had no choice. But for your sake and your children’s sake, the sooner you face this honestly, the sooner the healing process will start.” “If it took France 50 years, it will take Lithuania 50 years as well,” said Vanagaite. “No, it will take you 90 years,” replied Zuroff. “Because your crimes are greater, and your ability to deal with them is less. The French prepared the Jews to be sent somewhere, and they sent them away to be murdered. Here, the Jews were murdered by your people….You know why everyone in Lithuania hates me? Because they know that I am right.”


Zuroff wants to make it very clear that Nazi hunting isn’t as glamorous as it sounds. “A lot of times, people come up to me and say, ‘You have my dream job…. When I was a child, I wanted to be a Nazi hunter,’” he tells Newsweek, clearly amused by their ignorance. “You know—it’s not doing ambushes in the jungles of South America.” Nor does it resemble the popular ’70s book and subsequent film The Boys From Brazil, in which Laurence Olivier spends much of his time chasing Dr. Josef Mengele, played by Gregory Peck, and unraveling his evil plan to use 94 clones of Adolf Hitler to resurrect the Reich. The film doesn’t hold up particularly well, and not only because of its revenge fantasy ending that features Mengele being mauled to death by a pack of Dobermans. (In reality, the “Angel of Death” drowned while living under a pseudonym in South America.)


Zuroff says a Nazi hunter’s job these days is “one-third detective, one-third historian, one-third political lobbyist,” with countless hours spent tracking down witnesses, poring over archives and convincing governments to take action. Imagine Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom with the hero spending 98 percent of the movie in his school’s library. Zuroff never set out to become an object of contempt in Lithuania or the world’s last Nazi hunter. He grew up in the Brooklyn borough of New York—Brighton Beach and Flatbush—hoping to become the first Orthodox Jew to play in the NBA. Though he was named for his great uncle, Efraim Zar, who was murdered in Lithuania during the Holocaust, Zuroff’s career as a Nazi hunter began only after he made aliyah, Jewish immigration to Israel, in 1970 and completed his Ph.D. in Holocaust history.


In the early 1980s, he worked in Israel for the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, which was formed in 1979 to probe and prosecute war criminals. Since 1986, Zuroff has directed the Israel office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a human rights organization that combats anti-Semitism and is named after the Holocaust survivor and legendary Nazi hunter who died in 2005. Since he operates through a nongovernmental organization that has no power to prosecute, Zuroff is considered a “freelance Nazi hunter.”


Coming into the profession so late, Zuroff missed many of the big names Wiesenthal and others pursued—Mengele, Adolf Eichmann and Karl Silberbauer, the Gestapo agent who led the arrest of Anne Frank and her family. “That I’m jealous about, definitely,” Zuroff says, sitting in his sunny Jerusalem office, surrounded by books and overstuffed files, with framed press clippings surrounding him and a miniature basketball hoop in one corner. This could be the work space of a genial but harried accountant, until you look closer and notice that one little drawer reads “Latvian War Criminals Master List, M-Z.”…

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


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!





On Topic Links


"The Longest and Most Vicious Confrontation": An Interview With Daniel Pipes: L'Informale, Aug. 30, 2016—Daniel Pipes is today one of the most alert observers of the Middle East. From the history of Medieval Islam, he has shifted to modern and contemporary Islam upon which he has concentrated a large part of his focus as a scholar and historian, as well as son of another historian, Richard Pipes, the great Harvard specialist of Soviet Russia history.

Europe's Old (and New) Hells Remind us of Israel's Importance: Alan Dershowitz, Fox News, May 17, 2016—I just returned from a week-long journey through hell! It began with a visit to the Auschwitz and Birkenau death camps in what was once German-occupied Poland, as a participant of the March of the Living, following a conference commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Nuremberg laws and the 70th anniversary of the Nuremberg trials.

Marx and Freud: The Creatures of Prometheus: Daniel Johnson, Standpoint, Sept. 2016—Marx and Freud remain the twin titans of the modern mind. I use the word “titan” in the Promethean sense of mythical creators who suffered for their defiance of the divine order. Debunked and discredited, mocked and misinterpreted, these titans return to haunt each generation with their incendiary ideas.

In ‘Blazing Saddles,’ Gene Wilder Helped Recall a Fading Black-Jewish Alliance: Andrew Silow-Carroll, Times of Israel, Aug. 31, 2016 —Last year I joined some 3,000 people at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark for a wide-screen showing of Mel Brooks’ 1974 Western parody “Blazing Saddles.” In the onstage interview that followed, Brooks, then 89, was beside himself in his delight at sharing his 42-year-old comedy with a real live audience.
















Who Will Lead the United Nations?: John Bolton, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 7, 2016—Although few Americans are paying attention, the race to succeed Ban Ki-moon as United Nations secretary-general is well under way.


Facing Migrant Crisis, E.U. Makes a Dubious Deal with Turkey: Steven Erlanger, New York Times, Mar. 10, 2016— More and more, it seems that the European Union wants President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to replace Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi as the guardian of European shores against the flow of migrants from the Middle East and North Africa.

Migrant Policy in Europe Exposes its Hypocrisy: Shmuley Boteach, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 29, 2016— Europe has long touted itself as a beacon of human rights and freedoms.

Is a Break Up of the EU Good for Israel?: Manfred Gerstenfeld, CIJR, Feb. 24, 2016 — There is currently much tension in the European Union both among member countries and in their relationship with EU leaders in Brussels.

First Chief Kotel Rabbi’s Letter Reveals Desperation on Eve of Jordanian Capture: Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, Mar. 3, 2016— Adar 1948: Three letters recently uncovered from the besieged Old City of Jerusalem, written a month before the British left and two months before it fell into the hands of Jordan, betray the desperation of the residents and their leaders.



On Topic Links


Yitzhak Shamir Celebrating 100 Years (Photo Essay): Sharon Altshul, Baltimore Jewish Life, Feb. 29, 2015

Changing EU Requires New Alliances: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 24, 2016

Macedonia is Defending Europe from Itself: Gjorge Ivanov, Telegraph, Mar. 6, 2016

There’s Only One Country in the Middle East That Could Produce a Soldier Like Me: Major Alaa Waheeb, Jewish News, Mar. 3, 2016



Steven Erlanger

New York Times, Mar. 10, 2016


More and more, it seems that the European Union wants President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to replace Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi as the guardian of European shores against the flow of migrants from the Middle East and North Africa.


It was Colonel Qaddafi, the former Libyan strongman, who, before Europe and the United States helped to overthrow him, had an agreement with Italy to keep migrants from its shores. In 2010, visiting Silvio Berlusconi, then the Italian prime minister, Colonel Qaddafi demanded 5 billion euros, then about $6.6 billion, a year to continue to stem the tide. Otherwise, he said, Europe would become “another Africa” as a result of the “advance of millions of immigrants.” “Tomorrow,” he added, “Europe might no longer be European and even black, as there are millions who want to come in.” Colonel Qaddafi got his money.


Now it is the European Union, prodded by a beleaguered Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and overwhelmed by 1.3 million asylum seekers last year, that is desperate to deter as many migrants as possible. Their instrument of necessity is Mr. Erdogan, who, like Colonel Qaddafi before him, has a price, and knows how to bargain. As Marta Dassu, the former Italian deputy foreign minister and senior director for Europe for the Aspen Institute, put it: “Erdogan keeps locking and unlocking the door as it pleases him.”


Already, the European Union has promised Mr. Erdogan €3 billion. This week, in a sweeping deal still to be confirmed by European leaders, the bloc promised him at least twice as much, along with the prospect of visa-free travel for Turks and an acceleration of Turkey’s application to join the union — a process begun nearly 30 years ago, in 1987.


In return, Turkey has agreed to take back every illegal migrant reaching the shores of Europe. That would have an immediate impact on the 2,000 a day now reaching Greece, but it is also meant to discourage others contemplating the trip. Turkey will keep the migrants while they are screened, adding to the more than 2.5 million already in Turkish camps, and return those who don’t qualify to their country of origin. For every Syrian migrant returned to Turkey, Europe must accept a Syrian migrant now in Turkey who qualifies as a refugee.


But there is another kind of price to be paid by the European Union, reminiscent of the deal done with Colonel Qaddafi. The main cost is to European values. Even as European leaders met, the Turkish government seized the popular newspaper Zaman, which has been fiercely critical of Mr. Erdogan’s rule, and replaced its journalists with pro-regime hacks. Turkey has also continued to crack down on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which Ankara regards as a terrorist organization, under the pretext of fighting President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.


Since his re-election last year, according to Human Rights Watch, Mr. Erdogan “has demonstrated a growing intolerance of political opposition, public protest, and critical media. Government interference with the courts and prosecutors has undermined judicial independence and the rule of law.” European officials argue that they had to act tough and create serious disincentives for migrants to ease the enormous pressure on Greece and the countries along the Balkan route. Unless they acted, they say, the Schengen agreement on freedom of movement within most of the bloc, now effectively suspended, would collapse, with significant economic costs…

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




         Shmuley Boteach          

Jerusalem Post, Feb. 29, 2016


Europe has long touted itself as a beacon of human rights and freedoms. From their safe and secure area of the world, they’ve looked askance at Israel with a self-righteous smugness that proclaims, “If only we were in Israel’s position, there would have been peace and tranquility with Hamas, Hezbollah, the Palestinian Authority and all Arab nations.”


However, the recent influx of refugees has put Europe to the test, and to the unfortunate shock of many, we are starting to learn that Europe is not as tolerant as we might have believed. Yet the world really doesn’t seem so concerned about it. Europe is very good at judging Israel but seems to have a double standard when it comes to itself. What one must ask is, how would Israel have been treated if it had adopted the policies toward migrants that Europe has? Let’s look at some facts.


To begin, Czech President Milos Zeman recently said, “It’s practically impossible to integrate Muslims into Western Europe,” and referred to the migrants as implementing an “organized invasion.” The Czech Republic has refused to open its borders to the masses of refugees. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has complained that the influx of refugees “could redraw Europe’s cultural and religious identity.” Apparently when these statements are coming from Europe, they are not condemned.


Hungary and Slovenia have now built barbed-wire fences along their borders to keep migrants out. Poland and Slovakia follow a similar policy, not allowing any refugees within their borders. Austria has passed legislation allowing only 80 migrants a day to apply for asylum. Hungary has even taken the extra step of criminalizing undocumented border crossings with up to three years in prison.


We are also now learning that the poor and desperate refugees reaching Denmark are actually having their valuables confiscated by the government to pay for their processing. This includes watches, laptops and any cash amount over $1,450 dollars. This has been enshrined within Denmark’s laws. Switzerland has been doing the same thing and just recently Germany has accepted this policy as well. This is aided by legal strip-searches of migrants within some European countries. The little bit of money seized from these refugees may represent a lifetime of hard work and savings, confiscated in a moment with no legal recourse.


It is unimaginable that Israel would ever contemplate something similar. We are witnessing that racial profiling is an acceptable way of dealing with refugees – as long as you are Europe. In German, Austrian and Dutch cities migrant males have been legally banned from swimming pools, bathhouses and saunas. Clubs and bars in Austria have a “no migrant men” policy and in Denmark men will not be allowed into certain establishments unless they can speak Danish, German or English.


Coming out in the news is that Doctors Without Borders has announced that it will no longer provide services at migrant reception centers in Italy. Why? Because the Italian government has allowed these centers, which accommodate tens of thousands of refugees, to fall into disrepair. Squalid restrooms, bug infestations, showers without privacy, untreated mold, and water leaks are par for the course, and the Italian government has purposefully allowed this to happen in the hopes of dissuading future migrants. What if this was Israel instead? Can you imagine the headlines? Many other European states are passing laws making it almost impossible for migrants to ever adjust and live a normal life within these countries. Laws have been passed to severely limit migrants’ access to social welfare benefits, and other enactments that require waits of three years before family members can be brought over for reunification.


Some European states do not allow migrants to live outside of refugee centers – some of which are nothing but tent encampments. Migrants also face long waits just to acquire work permits. The overall goal of all these laws is to make it harder for migrants to gain permanent status and to make life so difficult they will be compelled to leave. Anti-immigrant verbal abuse and outright physical attacks are seemingly becoming the norm in Europe, as the ranks of far-right movements increase by the day.


Recently, in the East German town of Bautzen, a hotel that was being converted into a migrant shelter was engulfed in flames in a suspected arson case. A crowd at the scene cheered as the building burned and police said that many of the people looked and spoke with “unashamed delight.” Some of the crowd even tried to stop firefighters from putting out the flames. Another German town saw 100 angry protesters prevent a bus full of migrants from disembarking.


And now we are learning that Sweden has announced plans to deport 80,000 refugees while Finland announced deportations of 20,000. A number of European countries have begun passing legislation that classify refugees from Afghanistan as “economic migrants” thus barring them from being granted asylum. Never mind the fact that 2015 was the worst year for civilian casualties on record. People who risked their lives to escape squalor and tyrannical regimes are being cordoned off based on their ethnicity and forcibly removed from Europe.


Can you step back for a second and imagine if everything mentioned above had happened in Israel instead? Can you hear the condemnations and self-righteous proclamations that would have echoed from one side of the globe to the other? The calls for boycotts and sanctions? Now it’s reached the point where a recent poll shows 29 percent of Germans support a(n) open-fire policy on the border to keep the refugees out. Is shooting to kill now becoming an acceptable refugee policy? As larger number of migrants continue entering Europe, these sentiments will inevitably increase. One can only hope that fascist nationalism does not replace the crumbling policies and approaches of European governments that we are witnessing today…

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




Manfred Gerstenfeld                        

          CIJR, Feb. 24, 2016


There is currently much tension in the European Union both among member countries and in their relationship with EU leaders in Brussels. As a result, the continued existence of the Schengen open borders agreement, the Euro and even the EU itself has been brought into question by leading politicians, such as EU president Jean-Claude Juncker and EU parliament president Martin Schultz.


Despite this pessimistic outlook, the total disintegration of the EU seems largely theoretical. However, it is important for Israel to study the implications of such a development. An analysis of a possible break-up of the EU may help Israel understand how to proceed more effectively in its complex relationship with that body.


A more integrated European Union would not bode well for Israel. There is by now ample evidence to support the prediction that the more power Brussels has, the more it will abuse it against Israel. This may be seen, for example, from the discriminatory labelling of settlement products and the financial support for extremist so-called humanitarian Israeli NGOs – in reality humanitarian racist bodies — which remain silent about the genocidal intentions of Hamas, the largest Palestinian party. The EU also interferes in the in the Israel-controlled Area C in the territories in opposition to Israel’s declared wishes, including financing housing for Palestinians there.


Double standards are at the core of anti-Semitism through the centuries. The European Union has frequently applied these against Israel. The requirement to label goods from Israeli settlements – something not  demanded for other areas which are similarly in dispute – made the EU bias against Israel so explicit that the Simon Wiesenthal Center gave the EU pride of place in its annual 2015 list of major anti-Semitic slurs.


In the first part of the previous century Jews suffered hugely from extreme nationalistic anti-Semitism. The EU is a supranational body. Member states have gradually been relinquishing elements of their sovereignty in its favor. Israel is a nation state which jealously guards its sovereignty.  The EU, by nature a sovereignty-absorbing entity, can hardly look favorably on it, despite its being a democracy. Today Israel is the target of supranational anti-Semitism, exhibited among others by the EU and the UN. This is much weaker than traditional, national anti-Semitism, but far from innocuous.


The recent massive refugee influx has made many more Europeans aware of the potential consequences of the partial transfer of national sovereignty to the EU. This has been highlighted in the loss of control over member nations’ borders. Experts in the UK are also concerned about the primacy of European law over national law.


Those EU member countries which are willing to accept the Brussels dictum and take in significant numbers of new immigrants disperse them over many locations. Previous immigrants live usually in suburbs or neighborhoods of larger cities. During the recent influx, large numbers of asylum seekers were housed in smaller communities. This has substantial social and political ramifications. Among many other problems, asylum seeker centers have become a focus for attacks by citizens against asylum seekers and the centers themselves, violence within the centers and attacks against local residents by refugees.


Tensions within the E.U have oscillated over the past decades, Euroscepticism is probably currently at a historical high, partly due to the refugee crisis, which French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said is destabilizing Europe. Anti-European parties in various countries, including France and Netherlands are gaining in the polls. The EU’s opponents present many arguments, from the economic, citing the low growth of the E.U economy, to the security-related, in that open borders facilitate terrorism.


The upcoming UK referendum on a possible “Brexit” – whether the country should exit the EU or remain a member – is another important milestone in the unfolding anti-EU events. The many arguments brought forward by Brexit proponents against the EU may serve Israel in its negotiations with that body. Germany’s domination of the EU, already sizeable, will become even more problematic as a result of a possible UK exit. Wolfgang Schaüble, the German finance minister has said that investors in Asia and the US may diagnose terminal decline in Europe if the EU cannot prevent the UK from leaving its ranks.


The foreign ministers of the six initial founding states German, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg have recently been meeting on how to push European integration forward. This meeting took place against a background where the proponents of a federal Europe, although not fully defeated, have been pushed into a corner. For Israel, the difficult situation faced by the pro-integrationists is a welcome development.


A total break-up of the EU has both advantages and disadvantages for Israel. Rather than dealing with the EU, nominally representing 500 million citizens, Israel would then have to deal with many smaller countries. This may be beneficial when such countries attempt to meddle in Israel’s internal policies, without the power of a supranational body behind them. However, if the EU does disintegrate completely, countries such as Sweden ruled by an anti-Israel inciting government dominated by social democrats may embark on more extreme policies toward Israel when not bound within the EU to seek compromise. Although the absence of an EU may make it easier to face-off against the Swedes, very undesirable precedents may be created.  


In the light of all this a shrinking of the E.U’s power and competences without an actual break up would probably be best for Israel. This the more so if the Euro is dissolved and the Schengen open border agreement is cancelled. This would also mean a psychological trouncing. The above analysis at this early stage can only be indicative. Yet it can serve to clarify Israel’s thoughts as the situation evolves.      


Manfred Gerstenfeld is a CIJR Academic Fellow





Hana Levi Julian                                      

Jewish Press, Mar. 3, 2016


Adar 1948: Three letters recently uncovered from the besieged Old City of Jerusalem, written a month before the British left and two months before it fell into the hands of Jordan, betray the desperation of the residents and their leaders. The letters include one of the last letters signed by the Chief Rabbi of the Western Wall, known in Hebrew as the Kotel, who insisted on returning to the besieged city and was killed two months after signing the letter.


The three letters were written in the month of Adar 1948, 68 years ago, by the besieged people of the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem, were recently discovered by an unidentified individual in Jerusalem. The letters reveal another piece of the harsh reality in the besieged city, the internal arguments between its civilians and the efforts to save the Jewish way of life during the inferno. One of the letters is signed by Rabbi Yitzchak Avigdor Orenstein, the Kotel’s first and legendary Chief Rabbi, two months before he perished during the shelling of the Old City.


In the letter – signed also by Rabbis Yisrael Zeev Mintzberg, community rabbi of the Ashkenazi Jewish Quarter, Shalom Azoulay, Dayan of the Westerners community, and Benzion Chazan, founder of the renowned “Porat Yosef” Yeshiva – the four send a distress call to Israel’s Chief Rabbi at the time, Yitzhak Herzog. “Have mercy on the men, women, and children, and take drastic measures where needed elsewhere, so we won’t perish, God forbid.” The four describe the difficult situation in the Old City after the shelling by the British soldiers.


“The lives of the Old city residents are in a grave danger. During the last few nights British troops shelled the Jewish Quarter, harming the sanctity of the synagogue,” they write, adding, “The night of Thursday and the night of Motzei Shabbat, were nothing short of a nightmare for us, we thought that we would all perish, God forbid, but thanks to the mercy of Hashem, no casualties occurred… the awful bombing was imposed on us by the British soldiers, without any reason or cause.


“This morning we woke up agreeing unanimously to leave the property behind and save our lives, escape the Old City and the life of nightmare. Nevertheless, after we partially recovered, we called the residents of the city for help in taking counsel and decided to appeal to his Excellency with the broadcast above “. Rabbi Orenstein, who was appointed Chief Rabbi of the Kotel in 1930, insisted on returning to the Old City when the siege began, even though he was then visiting the new city.


Through special efforts done by Yitzhak Ben-Zvi and Rabbi Herzog, Rabbi Orenstein was able to enter the Old City. When asked why he was endangering himself, Rabbi Orenstein replied that “If someone is destined to sacrifice himself for the sake of the sanctity of ancient Jerusalem and its holy places, I am hereby committed to it more than anyone else.” Rabbi Orenstein was killed along with his wife, Rebbetzin Mushka Liebe, during the shelling of Iyar 14th, about two months after signing the letter above. He was buried in a mass grave that he himself approved to set up within the Old City limits.


Alongside this letter, the collection holds another letter written the next day, by the rabbi of the Ashkenazi community, Rabbi Mintzberg, who also addressed Chief Rabbi Herzog. In his letter, Rabbi Mintzberg describes once more the difficult situation in the quarter. “I am to inform him that after the past Sunday of Parashat Shemini (about a week before writing this letter), a bitter day for the residents of the holy city, the soldiers were raging once more, shooting the residents. In yards and homes before midnight Friday night and yesterday Motza’ei Shabbat for several hours continuously, they fired shells and mortars and destroyed several homes.”…

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



CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!


On Topic


Yitzhak Shamir Celebrating 100 Years (Photo Essay): Sharon Altshul, Baltimore Jewish Life, Feb. 29, 2015—Yitzhak Shamir was born Yitzhak Yezernitsky on October 22, 1915 and died on June 30, 2012. Shamir, the seventh Prime Minister of Israel, served two terms, from 1983–84 and 1986–1992. On the occasion of the 100th year of his birth, a crowd of family, old friends, and government officials, past and present, were joined by President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Menachem Begin Center in Jerusalem, Israel, on Sunday night.

Changing EU Requires New Alliances: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 24, 2016—The mass migration of Muslim “refugees” to Western Europe could result in one of the most significant global demographic upheavals in history.

Macedonia is Defending Europe from Itself: Gjorge Ivanov, Telegraph, Mar. 6, 2016—The migrant and refugee crisis is deepening and reaching a critical level. It used to take refugees and migrants six to eight months to reach their destination countries. Now they can do it in just a few days. Today united Europe has more walls than divided Europe had during the Cold War. Greece is facing a possible humanitarian crisis, and there are armies in a state of alert deployed on the borders of Balkan countries.

There’s Only One Country in the Middle East That Could Produce a Soldier Like Me: Major Alaa Waheeb, Jewish News, Mar. 3, 2016—In the last few weeks, students across the UK have been involved in Israeli Apartheid Week.  Some have supported it. Others have opposed it. Invited by the Zionist Federation UK, last week I was able to attend campuses up and down the country specifically to address and counter some of the claims involved.



















Assad’s Victory is at Hand: Robert Fulford, National Post, Feb. 27, 2016— More than a quarter of a million Syrians have been killed since the Arab Spring of 2011 set the stage for the civil war in Syria.

Israel and Syria: Jerusalem Post, Feb. 14, 2016— What effect, if any, will the Syrian cease-fire plan have on Israel?

Hezbollah is Learning Russian: Alexander Corbeil, Carnegie Endowment, Feb. 26, 2016 — Hezbollah has suffered several setbacks since it began its involvement in the Syrian war…

Europe is Planning to Deport Hundreds of Thousands of Muslims: Lawrence Solomon, National Post, Feb. 8, 2016— In a recent reversal, Sweden now says it will deport half of its 160,000 migrants…


On Topic Links


Airstrikes Resume Amid Shaky Syria Truce: Raja Abdulrahim & Dana Ballout, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 28, 2016

A Kurdish Convergence in Syria: Michael Cruickshank & Gissur Simonarson, New York Times, Feb. 25, 2016

Syria: Jihadi Group Claims to Kill ‘Dozens’ of Russian Generals with Car Bomb: John Hayward, Breitbart, Feb. 24, 2016

One Syrian’s Journey From Hometown Rebel to ISIS Bomber: Hwaida Saad & Anne Barnard, New York Times, Jan. 15, 2016



Robert Fulford

National Post, Feb. 27, 2016


More than a quarter of a million Syrians have been killed since the Arab Spring of 2011 set the stage for the civil war in Syria. About 11 million other Syrians have been forced from their homes by the fighting. About four million have left the country in an attempt to find safety elsewhere. As a UN report recently put it, Syria is a “fractured state on the brink of collapse.”


Russia and the U.S. have jointly announced…a cessation of hostilities in Syria (Feb. 27, 2016) … Russia has agreed to convince the Syrian government and its Iranian allies to stop fighting. The U.S. has agreed to get a similar undertaking from the factions that, with some U.S. help, have been fighting against the Syrian government. The Arab League, the European Union, the United Nations and 17 countries took part in the talks last November that led to the current negotiations.


Never in the history of human bargaining have so many argued so much and produced so little. Diplomacy is the art of pursuing results with little hope of success. Many of the diplomats involved expect the Syrian truce to fail, mainly because the two sides expect such different results. The High Negotiations Committee (HNC), representing the anti-government forces, expects an end to attacks on civilians, the freeing of prisoners and the delivery of food and medical supplies to regions isolated by war.


The president of Syria, Bashar Assad? Clearly he lives by narcissism and wishful thinking. He does not know, or believe, that he started the civil war when he turned soldiers loose on non-violent protesters opposing government policy. Eventually, the protesters and their friends answered violence with violence. Bombs have since turned much of Syria into rubble and transformed Assad into a major-league villain.


Yet he now expects that somehow he will be allowed to remain in power. And, if he pulls off a few more miracles, that may happen. There are said to be many Syrians who despise him and yet stay at his side in the wan hope that he can recreate the peaceful pre-war days, and because all known alternatives are even worse.

Russia is on his side, giving him hope for his future and stoking Vladimir Putin’s self-image as an international statesman.


At Latakia on the Mediterranean, Syria’s main seaport and the historical centre of the Assad-supporting Alawites, the Russians have built their Khmeimim airbase, with air-conditioned accommodation for 1,000 personnel and a complement of fighter-bombers and transports, along with many tanks and an advanced rocket-firing air defence system. Since the days of the British and French, few foreign states have so quickly set down such permanent-looking roots in the Middle East.


This week, the Assad government, with heavy air support from Russia, recaptured from ISIL the town of Khanaser, not far from Aleppo, a strategic centre much in contention. Russia has said that in future it expects to focus all its operations in Syria against ISIL and other terrorists. However that works out, Russia has brought Assad the equivalent of an air force, making the Syrian rebels helpless. Having lost in the civil war more territory than he now governs, Assad can dream of once more presiding over the whole country.


Two weeks ago, Assad gave a detailed account of Syria’s crisis as he sees it. He defined those who claim to be the opposition as “traitors and terrorists,” backed by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. He said these terrorists portray themselves as peaceful statesmen who wish only freedom for Syria. They call for negotiations, he said, but, “No country can agree to negotiate with terrorists.” Assad claims he’s supporting the Syrian people and the integrity of the state. Foreign countries have suggested that after the cease-fire a transitional phase might lead to changes, but “any transitional phase” must operate under the current Syrian constitution. That means under Assad’s direction.


A million editorials and numberless speeches from politicians have charged “Humanity” with saving the Syrians. It is widely believed that “Humanity,” when its moral sense is awakened, can do something. This time, it huffed and puffed, but with little effect. On Thursday morning, in the midst of controversy over the truce, the UN elected Syria (that is, Assad’s Syria) as co-chair with Venezuela of the decolonization committee that considers still-existing colonies such as Gibraltar, French Polynesia and the Virgin Islands. The committee’s job is assessing the “Subjugation of Peoples.” No one can say the UN has no sense of humour. Next month the war will be five years old.                                       




Jerusalem Post, Feb. 14, 2016


What effect, if any, will the Syrian cease-fire plan have on Israel? Announced in Munich last week by the major world powers – including Russia and the US – the plan calls for a “cessation of hostilities” within a week and immediate access for humanitarian supplies. “We believe we have made progress on both the humanitarian front and the cessation of hostilities front, and these two fronts, this progress, has the potential – fully implemented, fully followed through on – to be able to change the daily lives of the Syrian people,” US Secretary of State John Kerry declared on (Feb. 11, 2016).


The cease-fire effort is an attempt by the US and EU to end the civil war that has resulted in half a million deaths (sic), and to stop the waves of refugees making their way to Europe through Turkey. The humanitarian crisis in Syria since the civil war began five years ago has reached massive proportions with eight million Syrians – or about a third of the population – uprooted from their homes. But without a more robust American involvement in Syria, the cease-fire plan is unlikely to succeed and this could have an indirect impact on Israeli interests.


It seems likely that Russia and Russia’s allies in Syria – which include the Assad regime, Iranian forces and Hezbollah – are poised to benefit from the cease-fire. That’s because it contains a major loophole: The agreement doesn’t apply to Islamic State or the Nusra Front, two of the main targets of Assad and his allies, which leaves Moscow free to continue its air war in Syria. That means fighting in some parts of the country would continue – and even intensify – even if the cease-fire takes effect as planned.


And because insurgent groups supported by the US, Saudi Arabia and Qatar often cooperate in some places with the well-armed, well-financed Nusra Front out of tactical necessity, Russia can easily argue that many of these opposition forces are, in effect, Nusra affiliates. In any event, Russia has been bombing opposition groups positioned nowhere near Nusra or Islamic State. And there is no reason to believe that the Russians will stop in the wake of a cease-fire agreement that permits them to continue to fight Nusra. They will simply claim they are attacking Islamic State and Nusra when in reality they are attacking other rebel forces.


This means Russia’s indiscriminate bombing of Sunni- controlled areas will likely continue, particularly in Aleppo and in Deraa province, the latter the less important of the two, situated in southern Syria, close to the border with Jordan. Deraa has symbolic importance because it is where Sunni tribesman started the civil war five years. Capturing Deraa is also of strategic importance for the Russians and Bashar Assad. Rebels would be cut off from assistance from Jordan. And the Nusra Front’s headquarters are located there.


The fate of Deraa is important to Israel because it is just 35 kilometers from the border fence on the Golan Heights. If the Russians capture Deraa their next step might be to recapture the Syrian Golan in cooperation with Hezbollah and the Iranians. Russian jets would be operating dangerously close to Israel, which would test the coordination between the IDF and the Russian Air Force. If the Russian-Syrian coalition captures the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, it would make it easier for the Iranians and Hezbollah to open up another front for terrorist attacks against Israel.


Admittedly, Moscow has no interest in seeing Iran and Hezbollah open up a new front with Israel. Israeli counterattacks on forces working with the Assad regime would weaken the Assad coalition. Russia does not want to see this happen. Nevertheless, Hezbollah and Iran might take the risk of carrying out limited terrorist attacks that do not lead to major Israeli retaliations, and Israel might be hesitant to respond aggressively out of concern it might hit Russian troops in the process. The cease-fire negotiated in Munich is unlikely to bring about an end to the slaughter in Syria. It is more likely to allow Russia to continue to attack Sunni targets indiscriminately. The Assad regime and its allies would then be strengthened. And this could have bad ramifications for Israel. It is imperative that Israel continue to closely monitor the situation in Syria and not let its guard down.



               Alexander Corbeil

                                      Carnegie Endowment, Feb. 26, 2016


Hezbollah has suffered several setbacks since it began its involvement in the Syrian war—over 1,300 of its fighters have been killed and thousands injured, it has had to cut back on social services it provides to its constituency and had to resort to recruiting teenagers for the fight in Syria. However, the Syrian civil war, especially the recent Russian involvement is also helping enhance the group’s fighting capabilities which is likely to have significant political and security implications in Lebanon and beyond.


Hezbollah has proven to be a forward-thinking and malleable fighting force. In 2012, when the group began to engage more robustly in Syria, it quickly learned that its defensive tactics were not applicable to the fight. Instead of a modern Israeli army, Hezbollah faced an insurgency. These rebel groups applied similar tactics to Hezbollah’s against regime soldiers and further benefited from local knowledge of the terrain in areas crucial to Bashar al-Assad’s survival. For instance, during the capture of Qusayr in 2013 Hezbollah reportedly lost around one-tenth of its fighters, with estimates ranging from 70 to 120 dead and 200 wounded, up to two dozen of whom were killed in a rebel ambush on the first day of that offensive; what Hezbollah leaders thought would be a quick victory instead turned into a drawn-out fight. Fast-forwarding to 2016, Hezbollah has refined its offensive capabilities and—under the cover of a new powerful ally, Russia—continued to help the Syrian regime take back crucial territory with lower casualty rates.


In September 2015, the Russian military entered the conflict in support of Assad, reversing the course of the war. Having suffered heavy losses, including in the city of Idlib, it seemed it was but a matter of time before the regime collapsed. But beginning in January 2016, the Syrian regime, Hezbollah, other Iranian proxy groups, and the Russian military have dealt a series of crushing blows to the country’s myriad of rebel groups. On January 12, Hezbollah and regime forces, backed by the Russian air force and artillery, captured the town of Salma, the last rebel bastion in Latakia governorate and which had threatened the regime’s coastal enclave. This was followed by the capture of the town of Sheikh Miskeen in Daraa on January 26, reportedly by regime fighters, Hezbollah, and Russian special forces. This split rebel holdings in Daraa into eastern and western pockets and cut them off from rebel-held areas in Damascus. The biggest coup by this combined force came on February 4, when Hezbollah and Iranian-backed militias under the cover of Russian airstrikes broke the siege of Nubl and Zahraa. The predominantly Shia towns had been surrounded by rebel forces for three years, and in the process pro-regime forces cut their primary supply route linking Aleppo and the Turkish border. It is now likely that these forces will surround and attempt to starve out rebels in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city.


These victories make it apparent that the combination of regime irregulars, foreign militias, Hezbollah fighters, and crushing Russian bombardment has been a winning one in Syria. They have also had significant impact on Hezbollah’s fighting capabilities. While Hezbollah commanders have claimed to have received advanced weaponry from Russia, such assertions are hard to verify and have been disputed by Western officials and analysts, who believe that Moscow would not want to threaten its relationship with Hezbollah’s main enemy, Israel. It is more likely that the group is learning how a world-class army gathers intelligence, makes plans, and executes operations. Working side-by-side with Russian officers is sure to refine Hezbollah’s modern military strategy, and reports indicate that there are at least two joint Russia–Hezbollah operation rooms in Latakia and Damascus. With an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 Hezbollah fighters in Syria and Iraq, the exposure and experience is likely to trickle down to individual fighters.


Other experts have pointed out that Hezbollah will likely learn better surveillance and reconnaissance skills, employ special operations tactics, and learn more about upgraded equipment they will want to use in the future. This would better enable them to detect enemy forces, execute misinformation campaigns, analyze imagery intelligence, and make appropriate use of drones in the lead up to and execution of military operations. The latter is quite important, as Hezbollah has built a drone airstrip in the Bekaa Valley and has employed Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) over Syria to provide aerial reconnaissance and targeting information for its forces on the ground. These eyes in the sky have proven useful in the battle for the Qalamoun Mountains that straddle the Lebanese–Syrian border, where the group has helped the Syrian army surround Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State, and could be employed in future conflict with Israel.


The Israel Defense Forces estimate that Russia’s interaction with Hezbollah decreases the latter’s likelihood of war with Israel in the near future, figuring that Russia’s dialogue with the group is likely to restrain its response to perceived Israeli airstrikes at a time that Hezbollah is playing a crucial role in the Syrian regime’s advance. Furthermore, the Israeli army also views claims that the Russians are arming Hezbollah as baseless. Yet the longer-term impact of Hezbollah’s interaction with the Russian military is more worrying. A newly offense-minded Hezbollah, capable of more complex operations, could deal heavier blows to the Israeli army in a confrontation along the southern Lebanese border. It may even attempt to enter Israeli territory, as Hamas did in the 2014 conflict, albeit in a more capable manner.


Inside Lebanon, Hezbollah’s enhanced capabilities will ensure that the group continues to have a comparative military advantage vis-à-vis the Lebanese army, which has just had a $3 billion aid package suspended by Saudi Arabia. Improved tactics and diminished support to the national army will likely support Hezbollah’s argument that it is the only force capable of defending Lebanon from Israeli aggression and the radical Sunni threat. Already bolstered politically by the survival of the Syrian regime and the success of its own efforts in Syria—the continuation of which is thanks to Russian military support—the group will further push its agenda on crucial decisions regarding the Lebanese presidency, changes to parliamentary election practices, and security appointments. Hezbollah’s Russia education may stop with the end of the conflict in Syria, but its impact will continue to reverberate in Lebanon and the region.





                Lawrence Solomon                                   

                                                              National Post, Feb. 8, 2016


In a recent reversal, Sweden now says it will deport half of its 160,000 migrants, Finland plans to deport two-thirds of its 32,000 migrants and Germany intends to deport all migrants who arrived under false pretenses – a number that could total many hundreds of thousands – as well as all migrants from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, which Germany now deems “safe” countries because they are not at war. Most countries in Europe, in fact, are now cracking down on migrants from Muslim countries, raising the possibility of a modern-day expulsion that rivals that of the 16th and 17th centuries, when Spain, to its shame, not only ethnically cleansed its territories of all Muslims but also of their descendants who had converted to Christianity.


The sea change in attitude among Europe’s political leadership – mere weeks ago, many of them insisted that they must open their doors even wider on humanitarian grounds – followed mass sexual assaults in European cities on New Year’s Eve. Although government officials and the mainstream press initially tried to cover up the extent of the wrong-doing – an estimated 1,000 Muslims in Cologne alone participated in “Taharrush,” a practice of encircling, groping and sometimes raping women – the extent of the assaults led to a fire-storm of outrage on social media that forced both the mainstream media and the politicians to acknowledge the problems and reverse course.


The reversals were a long time coming, given what Europeans have endured in recent years from the uncontrolled influx of more than a million migrants, most of them Muslim men with little appreciation of Western values. Sexual assaults aside – rapes in many European countries are disproportionately attributed by law enforcement and NGOs to Muslims – crime by migrants is rampant. Hamburg police reports 20,000 purse-snatches a year, 90 per cent of them by males in their 20s from North Africa or the Balkans. In 2014, even before the migrant stampede accelerated, 38,000 asylum seekers had been accused of committing crimes.


With Europeans increasingly stating that they don’t recognize their own countries anymore, and don’t feel safe in it, politicians now face a furious backlash. Citizens are protesting in the streets and through social media. Anti-immigrant political parties are on the rise and often lead in the polls. Forty per cent of Germans now demand the resignation of once-popular German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Opposition to the governments’ open-immigration policies doesn’t manifest itself only through peaceful outlets. Mob justice is also increasing with hooded nativists intimidating and attacking migrants. With disrespect for the rule of law increasing across the board, societal breakdown has become thinkable, all a consequence of a soft-headed if soft-hearted desire to help desperate refugees.


It’s easy to see things getting much worse before they get much better. For one thing, it won’t be easy to identify which migrants are genuine, and are entitled to refugee status, and which have taken advantage of the chaos at the borders merely to partake of Europe’s welfare benefits. German media, for example, reports that the whereabouts of half of those seeking asylum are unknown while hundreds of thousands of others, according to the German government, entered the country surreptitiously, circumventing any background checks. Even when found, deporting migrants will be difficult, since those from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Tunisia, Morocco and other countries that do not qualify for refugee status routinely destroy their passports and other identifying documents, to prevent their deportation from Europe, while others purchase counterfeit Syrian documents to feign their bona fides…


Many migrants won’t take kindly to being deported, not least because home-grown activists will rise to their defense and because, as intelligence agencies report, the ranks of the migrants have been seeded by jihadists. Defiance by migrants, including rioting, is already common. As their defiance increases, so too will the backlash by the public, leading to both vigilantism and demands for curbs on immigration, changing the character of Western democracies. The free movement of peoples has begun to be restricted – for the first time since 1952, for example, Scandinavians require identification when crossing from Denmark to Sweden, the upshot of regulations introduced last month to stem illegal migrants.


The restrictions on movement can only deepen. Following the terror attacks in Paris, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security gave notice to European nations that visas may be required to enter the U.S. in future if better controls aren’t put in place, and last week the U.S. Senate in homeland security hearings raised questions about Canada’s plan to absorb 25,000 refugees. Because attacks on Western soil by jihadists posing as migrants are all but inevitable, more restrictions compounding today’s baggage checks and privacy intrusions are also all-but inevitable.


Canada has until recently entirely avoided the immigration turmoil, let alone civilizational threats, afflicting much of the West. Because we haven’t yet recklessly accepted untoward levels of migrants, we are not under pressure to recklessly deport untoward levels of migrants, as is occurring in the liberal democracies of Europe. Yet we have been coming perilously close to repeating Europe’s errors. During the last federal election campaign, a mass hysteria over the plight of migrants, and the perception that Canada was failing to be as welcoming to them as European nations, contributed to the election of Justin Trudeau, who came to office on a vow to rewrite immigration procedures in order to rush in 25,000 Syrian refugees by Christmas. When the Christmas target wasn’t met, an embarrassed government decided to double down by raising the number of Syrian migrants to 50,000 by the end of this year, an impetuous decision that seems driven by the same mix of political and humanitarian impulses that blindly led so many European countries to grief. 


Canada’s historic approach to immigration since Confederation – welcoming the multitudes who would fit in, but also requiring them to fit it – has served this country well, allowing us to maintain our liberties and grow our economy. Europe’s cautionary tale, coming to us now as it does, when we are at risk of falling prey to reckless, politically correct thinking on immigration, could not have been a more timely reminder of the ways in which our ​historic ​immigration ​policies have been ​wise.



On Topic


Airstrikes Resume Amid Shaky Syria Truce: Raja Abdulrahim & Dana Ballout, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 28, 2016—The Syrian regime and its Russian allies stepped up airstrikes on opposition-held territory Sunday on the second day of an internationally backed cease-fire after a lull in violence a day earlier, according to antigovernment activists.

A Kurdish Convergence in Syria: Michael Cruickshank & Gissur Simonarson, New York Times, Feb. 25, 2016—On Feb. 17, a bus filled with Turkish soldiers stopped alongside a car at a red light in Ankara. Moments later, a dark column of smoke rose over what had been considered the most secure district of the Turkish capital. A suicide car bomb had ripped through the military bus, killing 28 and injuring more than 60.

Syria: Jihadi Group Claims to Kill ‘Dozens’ of Russian Generals with Car Bomb: John Hayward, Breitbart, Feb. 24, 2016—An Islamist militant group in Syria called Ahrar al-Sham claims to have killed “dozens of Russian generals” with a car bomb attack in Latakia on Sunday afternoon.

One Syrian’s Journey From Hometown Rebel to ISIS Bomber: Hwaida Saad & Anne Barnard, New York Times, Jan. 15, 2016 —In the early years of Syria’s revolt, he filmed protests in the streets of his rebel-held neighborhood, in the historic center of the city of Homs. He chanted for dignity and freedom with a green, white and black banner, the old version of the national flag.















Will Turkey, Russia Fan Flames Into an Inferno?: Metin Gurcan, Al-Monitor, Feb. 4, 2016 — On Jan. 30, Turkey said its airspace was again violated by a Russian warplane.

Undoing Years of Progress in Turkey: Abdullah Demirbas, New York Times, Jan. 26, 2016— Entire towns and districts are under siege. Tanks ram through narrow alleys closed off by barricades and trenches.

The 'Ripple Effect': Canada's Support for the Kurds Brings Unintended Consequences: David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen, Feb. 5, 2016— Whenever he is asked what direction Canada will take in fighting Islamic extremists in Iraq, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan points to what he calls the “ripple effect.”

Turkey and Israel: A Loveless Date: Burak Bekdil, Gatestone Institute, Feb. 9, 2016 — There is official evidence and credible speculation that Turkey and Israel may be on the brink of a historic handshake.


On Topic Links


Merkel Voices 'Outrage' Over Syrian Offensive and Russian Airstrikes: Arne Delfs, Onur Ant, Patrick Donahue, Bloomberg, Feb. 8, 2016

Turkey: Reaching Limits But Will Keep Taking in Refugees: Mehmet Guzel & Suzan Fraser, Washington Post, Feb. 7, 2016

Precarious Syria Talks Leave its Future Uncertain: Jonathan Spyer, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 5, 2016

Turkey Planning $5 Billion for Gaza Seaport: Ari Yashar, Arutz Sheva, Feb. 5, 2015


WILL TURKEY, RUSSIA FAN FLAMES INTO AN INFERNO?                                                                              

Metin Gurcan

Al-Monitor, Feb. 4, 2016


On Jan. 30, Turkey said its airspace was again violated by a Russian warplane. A statement by the Turkish Foreign Ministry said a Russian Su-34 warplane on Jan. 29 had violated Turkish airspace despite repeated warnings in Russian and English.

The statement said this was yet another concrete indication of Russia’s escalation despite clear warnings by Turkey and NATO. The statement said, “We are calling on Russia clearly to act more responsibly and not to violate NATO airspace.” It warned that Russia would bear full responsibility for any consequences that could arise from these “irresponsible actions.”


The Russian ambassador in Ankara was summoned to the Foreign Ministry on the night of Jan. 29 to receive a protest of this violation. In turn, the Russian Defense Ministry called the claims "pure propaganda," according to the statement. That incident followed a Turkish F-16's downing Nov. 24 of a Russian Su-24 warplane that was giving air support to ground forces operating in Syria’s Bayirbucak region.


What makes the more recent violation different, however, is the type of the Russian plane involved. The Su-34 Fullback was armed with R-77 and R-73 air-to-ground missiles and designed for air-to-air combat. After the Nov. 24 downing, Russia had announced that Su-34s were now flying combat air patrols near the Turkish border.


The Su-34 is a tactical bomber that was being developed in the late 1980s to replace the Su-24. Its main function is to hit targets deep behind front lines at long distances with sophisticated guided missiles. It is fully equipped with advanced navigation and targeting systems. Su-34 development and mass production was stalled for a long time because of the collapse of the Soviet Union and consequent economic problems. The project was reactivated in the early 2000s and mass production began.


According to Arda Mevlutoglu, an aeronautics and space engineer, today Russia is believed to have about 100 SU-34s in its arsenal. He said there are six Su-34s and 12 Su-24s in Syria, supported by 12 Su-25 close air support planes. “Russian air power in Syria relies on Su-34s when attacking important ground targets," he said. "Now it appears that they are using Su-34s also against targets close to the Turkish border. This signifies that Russia is now more cautious about the possibility of encountering Turkish F-16s.”


Mevlutoglu’s disclosures can be best interpreted in the following way: Russia has upped its game by using Su-34s that have interception capability in critical operational missions near the Turkish border, and is saying that if Turkey challenges the planes, it will have to pay the price.


We hear about airspace violations only if the violated country reports it. Although Russia denies that it has violated Turkish airspace, if Turkey says it was violated, it means Turkey wants the international public to know about it. The intention is hidden in the emphasis on ‘‘NATO airspace” in the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s statement. That is how Turkey wants to get the support of NATO — in particular, the United States. Ankara believes Russia was probing the strength of Turkey-US and Turkey-NATO ties.


Another element that sets the latest airspace violation apart from earlier ones is its location. Although Ankara has not announced the location, observers believe it took place in the Turkish border region that faces the Azaz-Munbij front, which is currently controlled by the Islamic State. If this is accurate, Russia is telling Turkey openly that it seriously intends to maintain the de facto no-fly zone it has established over the Jarablus-Munbij areas, which are also of major concern for Turkey.


Russia’s first airspace violation with the Su-34 over the critical Azaz-Munbij front was clearly a deterrent message against Turkey. Turkey, by responding with strong words, had indicated that it has seen the Russian move and was notifying the United States and NATO that their support is required. If Russia is serious in its intentions, there will probably be more hot contacts between Russian Su-34s flying on the Azaz-Munbij front that includes Jarablus, and the Turkish F-16s that are flying round-the-clock patrols on the Turkish side.


Can Ankara-Moscow relations be normalized? According to Russian expert Habibe Ozdal of the Ankara-based International Strategic Research Agency, more time is needed to know. Commenting on the airspace violation, she accurately predicted some new "aftershocks" in bilateral and regional issues are unavoidable, She said, "Although the opposing views of Turkey and Russia about the PYD’s [US-supported Kurdish nationalist Democratic Union Party] participation in the Geneva talks are known, these Russian moves in Syria escalate tensions. It is clear that Russia is not targeting Turkey militarily. But at this phase there is no room for mistakes in bilateral relations. All military, political, social and cultural relations between Ankara and Moscow have been suspended, but meanwhile, the process to determine the future of the Middle East continues. It is obvious that the crisis in relations won’t serve the interests of both countries.”…               

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





 UNDOING YEARS OF PROGRESS IN TURKEY                                                  

                           Abdullah Demirbas

New York Times, Jan. 26, 2016


Entire towns and districts are under siege. Tanks ram through narrow alleys closed off by barricades and trenches. Residents are trapped indoors for weeks because of curfews. Those who venture outside risk sniper fire. Their bodies lie on the streets for days before they can be collected. Bullets fly in through windows and buildings collapse under shelling, killing those seeking shelter at home.


This is not Syria. This is Turkey, the European Union candidate country once hailed as a champion of the Arab Spring. The conflict that restarted here after the breakdown of talks between the Turkish state and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K., last summer has turned into a devastating war in Kurdish towns and cities.


One of the most affected places is the city of Diyarbakir’s historic Sur district, where I was mayor from 2004 to 2014. Sur has been under 24-hour curfew since the beginning of December. Many of its neighborhoods lie in ruins. Its historic buildings are damaged, once busy shops are shut, hospitals lack staff, and schools are closed. Tens of thousands of people have fled.


Sur’s walls surround an ancient city that has been inhabited for millenniums. Its narrow streets, spacious courtyards and elegant stone structures are reminders of a rich multicultural legacy — a legacy that has survived, albeit in an impoverished state, a century of conflict. Small but increasingly visible communities of Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Yazidis and other minorities live alongside adherents of diverse interpretations of Islam in what is now a predominantly Sunni Kurdish town.


Over the past decade, our municipality worked hard to revive and preserve this heritage. We oversaw the restoration of many historic buildings, including mosques and churches. The reopening of the Surp Giragos Armenian Church, which is now the largest Armenian church in the Middle East, after nearly a century in ruins has encouraged “hidden” survivors in Turkey of the 1915 genocide to rediscover and embrace their heritage. Efforts to restore the old synagogue in memory of Sur’s once vibrant Jewish community were underway before the eruption of violence last summer.


In 2012, Sur’s community leaders established an interfaith dialogue group bringing together representatives of the region’s different religions, cultures and civil society groups. Known as the Council of Forty, it has played a crucial role in keeping sectarian violence from reaching our city. Thanks to its efforts, Sur came to symbolize the vision of peaceful coexistence in a region plagued by intolerance. It causes me immense grief to see that pluralism fall apart along with Sur’s buildings.


Sectarianism is destroying Syria before our very eyes. To avoid the same fate in Turkey, the Council of Forty has called on the government to lift the curfews, and asked all sides to end hostilities and return to peace talks within the framework of parliamentary democracy.


President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said recently that military operations in the besieged Kurdish towns would continue until they were “cleansed” of terrorists.” “You will be annihilated in those houses, those buildings, those ditches which you have dug,” he threatened. But what peace can be built through destruction? Decades of military policies against the Kurds have shown only that violence begets more violence. Many residents of these towns are poor families who were forced to flee the countryside when the conflict between the Kurds and the Turkish state was at its peak in the 1990s. Those who are digging trenches and declaring “self-rule” in Sur and other cities and towns of southeastern Turkey today are mostly Kurdish youths in their teens and 20s who were born into that earlier era of violence, poverty and displacement, and grew up in radicalized ghettos.


Now a new generation will grow up with the trauma of killing, destruction and forced migration. Where will they go? What will become of them? And how will an angrier generation of Kurds and Turks find common ground? The truth is that my generation may be the last to reach a peaceful settlement through dialogue. Dialogue is possible when those in power want it. Last spring, the two sides were on the verge of a breakthrough after two and a half years of negotiations. The Kurds, when given a real and fair choice, have repeatedly picked politics over violence and opted for coexistence in a democratic Turkey, where their rights and identities are recognized, over separation. But as the destruction goes on, their faith in a political solution withers.


In 2007, Sur became the first municipality in Turkey to offer services in local languages, including Kurdish, Armenian and Assyrian, besides the official Turkish — a move that infuriated the authorities in Ankara, the capital, and led to my removal as mayor. In 2009, months after being re-elected with two-thirds of the vote, I was arrested on charges of separatism. (I was released five months later on health grounds and kept my role as mayor throughout my arrest.) As I was rounded up along with hundreds of Kurdish activists and elected politicians, my teenage son left our house to join the P.K.K. “You are wasting time with your politics and dialogue,” he told me. I dedicated my life to trying to prove him wrong and bring him home in peace. I have been discouraged before, but never lost hope. Today, I struggle to keep that hope alive.






David Pugliese                                                                        

Ottawa Citizen, Feb. 5, 2016


Whenever he is asked what direction Canada will take in fighting Islamic extremists in Iraq, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan points to what he calls the “ripple effect.” The Liberal government, he says, wants to ensure that its actions don’t make matters worse. In Afghanistan, for instance, the West’s support for corrupt individuals helped drive some of the population into the arms of the Taliban.


In Iraq, Islamic extremists took advantage of grievances felt by some groups and recruited those individuals into their ranks, explains Sajjan, a former Canadian Forces officer and Afghan war veteran. This time will be different, he says. “When we look at the decisions we make, the policies we create, we have to figure out what ripple we’re creating,” Sajjan said recently at a foreign policy conference in Ottawa. “We may not be able to control all the ripples that are out there, but we can control the ripples that we create.”


Can we? The ripples Canada is making in Iraq now, even before it announces its next steps, may already be flowing in directions we did not intend. Since the fall of 2014, Canada has been providing equipment and military training to Kurdish troops in northern Iraq. Canadian special forces have been working closely with the Kurds, providing them with skills needed to field a modern army.


And while the Kurds have used that training to fight Islamic extremists, such skills will also be useful in the future for another goal that Canada does not endorse: their plan to separate from Iraq. “The problem with training foreign forces is that you never know what they will put those skills to use for in the future,” said Walter Dorn, a professor with the Royal Military College. “With the Kurds there is the danger we are supporting a secessionist movement.”


The Liberals still have to decide how they want to proceed with the Iraq mission, an announcement that is imminent. Military sources say the government is leaning towards keeping the Canadian military’s aerial refuelling aircraft within the U.S.-led coalition, as well as providing more surveillance planes.


But also high on the list of options is providing the Kurds even more training. A new Kurdish special forces unit could be developed with Canadian expertise. Canadian training could also be expanded to include Kurdish police, Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion has said. When the Conservative government first committed Canada’s military to fighting the Islamic State (ISIL) in the fall of 2014, it said its goal was to protect the security of a unified Iraqi state. CF-18 fighter jets have been providing support to Iraqi security forces as they try to take back land seized by ISIL.


But Canada’s military efforts in northern Iraq are another matter. There, the Kurdish people have their own semi-autonomous region, and the Kurdistan Regional Government, as it is known, is technically still aligned with the federal government in Baghdad. The Liberals, like the Conservatives, maintain that Canada remains committed to a unified Iraqi state. But Canadian military officers privately acknowledge that, although it’s not their goal, they are indeed training an independent Kurdish army.

“We are providing training to essentially an independent military force that may or may not be used in other ways down the road besides fighting ISIL,” said retired Lt.-Col. Chris Kilford, who until 2014 was Canada’s military attaché in Turkey. Canada’s policymakers are aware of the problem of supporting the Kurds too much. But their alternatives are limited. The U.S. has spent billions of dollars and years training the Iraqi military yet it seems incapable of making many inroads against ISIL.


The Liberal government has suggested that one of its options could be providing aid to Lebanon and Jordan, to shore up those countries in a troubled region. That might be a safer bet – if one is trying to minimize ripples. The Kurds have never hidden their plans to eventually form an independent country. In December, Sajjan meet with Kurdish President Massoud Barzani and his son Masrour, who heads the intelligence services of the Kurdistan Regional Government. Both are strong advocates for an independent Kurdistan. Massoud Barzani has suggested that Iraq is finished as a nation. It has already been broken up into various regions controlled by different forces or ethnic groups, such as the Kurds…


Full independence is next on the agenda. “We are not pushing for forced separation,” Masrour Barzani said in July 2015 during an interview with Al-Monitor, a news site that covers developments in the Middle East. “We are talking about an amicable divorce.” Indeed, the Kurds have emerged as the real winners from the chaos that has engulfed Iraq and Syria with the arrival of ISIL. Western nations have seen them as reliable allies in the war and have provided them with air support, training, equipment and cash. As a result, the YPG, the Kurdish force that is battling ISIL, has been able to carve out its own mini-state in northeastern Syria…                                                                                                                                                 

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





Burak Bekdil                                   

                                                Gatestone Institute, Feb. 9, 2016


There is official evidence and credible speculation that Turkey and Israel may be on the brink of a historic handshake. Some say that it may be a matter of weeks, some speak of a couple of months before old friends, new foes, Turkey and Israel, will befriend each other once again. Probably until they become foes once again. Ankara and Jerusalem look like two teenagers being forced into an unwilling date by their classmates, friends, foes and schoolteachers, and also because they feel alone and threatened; not because they feel even halfheartedly warm toward one another. They are nervously, grudgingly going on their date.


After nearly six years, staggering diplomacy and pragmatism will probably win over emotions and deep mistrust. Since Turkey and Israel downgraded their diplomatic ties in 2010, Turkey's Islamist leaders have been careful about distinguishing between the "Israeli people" and "Israeli government." Deviating from that rhetoric for the first time, Omer Celik, spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development Party, said that "the Israeli state and people are friends of Turkey." That was a powerful confidence-building effort on Turkey's part. Celik's statement found an echo in Israel. On January 23, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he was hopeful about normalization of ties with Turkey, and that normalization would be good for both countries.


But, as peace looked to be blossoming, reality showed its face. Speaking in Athens, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon bluntly told the world where he sees Turkey in the global fight against Islamic terror. The Turkish government has to decide, he said, "Whether they want to be part of any kind of cooperation in fighting terrorism, [and] this is not the case so far." More disturbingly, Ya'alon said that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) "enjoyed Turkish money for oil for a very, very long period of time," that Turkey allowed jihadists to move from Europe to Syria and back home, and that Turkey still hosts Hamas's "external terrorist brokers in Istanbul."


All that, under different circumstances, would have triggered a prompt and strong backlash from Ankara. Surprisingly — or not — Ankara remained unusually mute and mature. The denial of Ya'alon's allegations came from Ankara, but not from the Turkish government. The U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, John Bass, rejected the Israeli minister's claims and insisted that there is no evidence to support the allegations. Bass said: "In fact, ISIS oil smuggling has decreased over time, due to the efforts of Turks and other counter-ISIS coalition members to target oil extraction and transportation infrastructure. Turkey continues to take steps to improve the security of its border with Syria, working with the United States and other international partners."


Why were the Turks — always childishly angry at any accusation from Israel — silent, and why did the U.S. ambassador jump in like a referee in a boxing ring? It is vital for U.S. interests that the country's two Middle Eastern allies stop their feud and shake hands. And the American ambassador wanted to diffuse a potentially explosive dispute before it seriously began. Yet the ground is, and will probably remain, shaky in the Turkish-Israeli dating scene. Recent research found that nearly 60% of Turks view Israel as a security threat to their country. Worse, anti-Semitism in Turkey, fueled in recent years by the same Islamist government that now shyly wants to make peace with Israel, does not allow the Turks to be aware that it is time to be a bit more mature and a lot more pragmatic.


Turkish vandals spray-painted graffiti on a synagogue in Istanbul, just days after a one-time prayer service was held — the first in 65 years. They wrote on the external walls of the building, "Terrorist Israel, there is Allah," in white paint. "Writing anti-Israel speech on the wall of a synagogue is an act of anti-Semitism," said Ivo Molinas, editor-in-chief of Salom, a weekly newspaper of Istanbul's Jewish community, in an interview with the Turkish newspaper, Today's Zaman.


That will be the problem after any possible Turkish-Israeli handshake. Diplomacy is about ups and downs. But stereotypes and public perceptions of who is the foe or friend are often sticky. Turkey's ruling Islamists have systematically nurtured and exploited anti-Semitic sentiments. Now that the nearest election is four years away and there is no longer an emerging Turkish empire on the Arab Street, government-sponsored anti-Semitism in Turkey is suddenly supposed to be a thing of the past. By a simple twist of fate, the architects of Turkish anti-Semitism will now have to use the same propaganda machine they used to fuel anti-Semitism to diffuse, it if they want a sustainable courtship with their old Jewish friends.


On Topic


Merkel Voices 'Outrage' Over Syrian Offensive and Russian Airstrikes: Arne Delfs, Onur Ant, Patrick Donahue, Bloomberg, Feb. 8, 2016—German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed outrage over Russian-backed attacks in Syria as a government offensive drives thousands of civilians to the Turkish border, exacerbating the already critical refugee crisis Merkel is struggling to resolve.

Turkey: Reaching Limits But Will Keep Taking in Refugees: Mehmet Guzel & Suzan Fraser, Washington Post, Feb. 7, 2016—Turkey has reached the end of its “capacity to absorb” refugees but will continue to take them in, the deputy premier said Sunday, as his country faced mounting pressure to open its borders to tens of thousands of Syrians who have fled a government onslaught.

Precarious Syria Talks Leave its Future Uncertain: Jonathan Spyer, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 5, 2016—UN Special Envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura this week announced the suspension of just-convened peace talks in Geneva intended to resolve the Syrian civil war. The failure of the talks was predictable, and foreseen by most serious analysts on Syria.

Turkey Planning $5 Billion for Gaza Seaport: Ari Yashar, Arutz Sheva, Feb. 5, 2015—In the midst of ongoing normalization talks with Israel, Turkey is planning to invest $5 billion in reconstructing the Hamas stronghold of Gaza including a seaport – which Israel has fiercely opposed due to the blatant threat of weapons smuggling.










One skill of a true statesman is the ability to learn from the experience of other countries and peoples. The number of European politicians who have managed to learn anything from Israel’s experiences over the last decades seems minimal. The outbreak and handling of the recent mass sex assaults in Cologne and other German cities has also demonstrated their inability to learn anything from what has happened to Jews in Europe during the current century.


On 31st December 2015 a wave of sex assaults broke out in various German cities. Incidents also occurred in Zurich, Helsinki,[1] Salzburg, Vienna[2] and in Sweden[3], reports of which were published later on. Cologne was the worst hit. Initially it was reported that an estimated 1000 men of Arab and North African extraction sexually attacked and robbed women at the town’s central station. By 5th January, the Cologne police had already received over 100 theft and sexual harassment complaints submitted by female victims.[4] By January 10th the number of complaints had increased to over 500.[5] In Hamburg by January 10 the police received 133 complaints.[6]


On the night of December 31 the Cologne police lost control of the situation, despite the town’s police chief’s insistence that his people had done their best .[7] The police even issued a statement on 1st January that the night had been quiet.[8] It took until January 6 before the Cologne police arrested the first two suspects. This is also surprising, as it later became known that many of the perpetrators had already been identified by the police on the evening itself. The police also knew that evening that many of those who harassed the women were recent refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. This information was concealed during the early days after the mass sexual assaults.[9]


From an Israeli viewpoint, the Cologne police behavior seems absurd. For Israelis unhappy with the Netanyahu government and the Israeli police in dealing with Palestinian terrorist murderers, this should provide food for thought about how efficient the Israeli authorities are in difficult circumstances.


In November the head of the German detectives union predicted that 10% of the new refugees would turn out to be criminals.[10]  Statistics later published for the German state of Saxony showed that the number of asylum-seekers in that state tripled to 45 000 during the first nine months of 2015. The number of police suspects among asylum seekers increased from 3,100 to 4,700 over the same period. People from this group are responsible for about 10,000 crimes.[11] Nor has the terrorism threat been unfounded.  The Munich police closed two train stations on 31st December 2015 because of a warning that Syrian and Iraqi terrorists intended to commit suicide attacks in those locations.[12]


So where does what has been happening to the Jews come in? When evaluated against the percentage of Muslims as part of the total population in Europe, a disproportionally large number of anti-Semitic incidents were perpetrated by Muslim immigrants in Europe over the past ten to fifteen years.[13]  Worse than that, the forms of anti-Semitic crime which have been imported to Europe by Muslim criminals is far more extreme than that caused by Europeans in the decades since the Second World War. All murders of Jews in anti-Semitic incidents in Europe over the last ten years were committed by Muslims. The summer 2014 attacks on synagogues in Paris and Sarcelles by bands of Muslim hooligans are unprecedented in post-war Western Europe. Malmo’s importance in contemporary Jewish history derives uniquely from the fact that due to ongoing Muslim harassment, the town is now known as the capital of European anti-Semitism. 


The extreme characteristics of crimes committed by some Muslim immigrants should have given European politicians and police pause for thought. With minimal intellectual effort it would have become clear to them that all groups facing discrimination in the immigrants’ homelands would be at risk, not only the Jews. This has been sharply illustrated in the number of honor killings within immigrant families, yet another evil imported by some Muslim refugees.


In the sexual abuse scandal in the British city of Rotherham an estimated 300 men of Pakistani origin abused mainly white children. Over an 16 years their number is estimated to have been about 1400.[14] The mass sex assaults in Cologne and Hamburg oddly resemble the huge sexual harassment of women at Tahrir Square in Cairo as the Arab Spring turned out to be a pipe dream.[15]


Islam is not only a religion and an ideology. The culture of the Muslim world is very different from that of the Western democracies. The recent incidents in Germany again demonstrate that some immigrants bring considerable negative attitudes with them from parts of the Muslim world. The sex assaults were a damning indictment of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open borders policy toward the refugees. According to the most recent data, in 2015 1.1 million refugees entered Germany, many of whom with minimal scrutiny or selectivity.[16] Germany is already familiar with ongoing problems caused by past Muslim immigrants.  Many have warned in vain that Merkel’s decisions will add considerably to the already sizeable difficulties.


In their response to the mass sexual assaults, German Muslim organizations demonstrated a very common reaction among Muslim immigrants in the Western world. They reproached the police for their behavior. Rather than asking ‘what can we do to help suppress ugly characteristics from fellow immigrants from Muslim countries and culture,’ — a move which would require them to own up to such characteristics — they try to shift the blame to others.[17] By now, the widespread lack of introspection among European Muslims should have become clear to many. It is rare, for example, to find among them leaders who will admit that murderous acts of terrorism, such as the Madrid train bombings in 2004, the 2005 attacks on the London transport system and the 2015 Paris bombings, are linked to Islam and its culture.


There is more to be learned from the incidents in Cologne and elsewhere. The issue of the future potential economic contribution, or burden, of Germany’s new refugees is probably secondary to criminal and social problems with immigrants which are already emerging. They may also be secondary to political problems, such as the rise of right-wing parties and extremist right-wing movements.


In the past, many of the German media remained silent about the massive crimes committed by immigrants. It has recently been reported that for over a year now, the Dusseldorf police has been keeping a watch on 2,200 criminals in the city’s Maghreb neighborhood, mainly of Moroccan descent.[18] Now, in addition, many more reports are emerging about sexual harassment by refugees in asylum centers.


The events in Cologne witnessed significant suppression of information by police. Further suppression of news by police and media regarding a minority with disproportionate criminality is the result of a warped sense of political correctness. This reflects the ongoing mental impact with respect to minorities of the massive scale of murder committed by Germans of Jews and other minorities more than seventy years ago.


The question remains.  How much will the Germans learn from the Cologne riots? The most probable answer is: not much. Each incident clarifies the reality somewhat for some people. In the meantime every day more examples emerge where problems concerning the German reality and the presence of Muslims in that country are hushed up or swept under the carpet.

[1] Richard Orange, “Unprecedented sex harassment in Helsinki at New Year, Finnish police report,” The Telegraph, 8 January 2016.  

[2] “Silvester: Auch in Österreich sexuelle Übergriffe,” Die Presse, 7 January 2016.

[3] “New Year's Eve sex assaults reported in Sweden,” CTV News, 8 January 2016.

[4] “Gewaltsame Silvesternacht in Köln,” Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, 10 January 2016.

[5] “Übergriffe an Silvester: Zahl der Anzeigen in Köln steigt auf mehr als 500,” Der Spiegel, 10 January 2016.

[6] “133 Silvester-Anzeigen gestellt – Gwosdz äußert sich erneut,” Hamburger Abendblatt, 10 January 2016.

[7] “Erste Köln-Täter verhaftet,” Wiener Zeitung, 7 January 2016.

[8] Sarah Brasack, “Polizei-Berichte zu Silvesterübergriffen machen fassungslos,” Kölner Stadt Anzeiger, 7 January 2016.

[9] Tim Stinauer, “Polizei verheimlichte offenbar Herkunft von Verdächtigen,” Kölner Stadt Anzeiger, 7 January 2016.

Wolfgang Büscher , Martin Lutz , and Till-Reimer Stoldt , “Die meisten waren frisch eingereiste Asylbewerber,” Die Welt, 7 January 2016.

[10] Manuel Bewarder and Karsten Kammholz, “Zehn Prozent der Flüchtlinge werden straffällig,” Die Welt, 9 January 2016.

[11] Stefan Locke, “Wenige Intensivtäter in Sachsen mit vielen Vergehen,” Frankfurther Allgemeine 10 January 2016.

[12] Joern Poltz, “Syrian, Iraqi militants said to have planned New Year attack in Munich,” Reuters, 1 January 2016

[13] Naama Lansky, “Sakana Berura Umijadit,” Israel Hayom, 22 August  2014. (Hebrew)

[14] Helen Pidd, “Rotherham child exploitation inquiry: councillors among possible suspects,” The Guardian, 24 June 2015.

[15] “80 sexual assaults in one day – the other story of Tahrir Square,” The Guardian, 5 July 2013.

[16] “1,1 Millionen Flüchtlinge kamen 2015 nach Deutschland,” Die Welt, 6 January 2016.

[17] Marcel Leubecher , “Muslime fordern Rücktritte bei der Polizei,” Die Welt,  6 January 2016

[18] “Düsseldorfer Maghreb-Viertel: Polizei ermittelt im Milieu der Antanz-Trickdiebe,” Focus Online, 8 January 2016.







While Ottawa focuses only on bringing the Syrian migrants, continuing to ignore the problems inherent in their decision, they are ignoring hundreds of thousands of non-Muslim minorities, targeted for immediate genocide by ISIS.  At the top of the list are the ancient Yazidi people, then the Chaldo Assyrian Christians.  But all non-Muslim minorities  – the Mandaens, the Bahai, Shebak, Turkoman – in northern Iraq and Syria are threatened.

In August, 2014, the Islamic State attacked northern Iraq, home to over 400,000 Yazidis.  The UN confirmed that 5,00O men were executed and as many as 7,000 women and girls were made sex slaves.  Last month, German broadcasters produced footage documenting the slave trade being conducted through an office in Turkey near the border with Syria. "IS offers women and underage children in a kind of virtual slave market with for sale photos." Germany has committed to taking in immediately, 1000 of these ISIS victims for special treatment.

There are more than 25,000 Yazidi refugees currently languishing in Turkey and Syria according to Mirza Ismail, Chair Yazidi Human Rights Organization International.  "They are abused by the Muslim authorities in charge, denied food and medicine.   Or they can't get into UN refugee camps at all since the Muslims who dominate the camps do not want them there," he said.  Daily, desperate Yazidi refugees are risking their lives, fleeing to Greece via the Aegean Sea on tube boats and on foot to Bulgaria.  Since December 10, more than 40 have drowned.  Majid Abdal a Yazidi who lives now in Toronto, lost his cousins, five children and their parents.

The same for the Chaldo Assyrian Christians who have repeatedly been forced to renounce their religion or die.  Enslavement, rape; their churches destroyed."

Ismail is recently back from Washington where he testified to a sub-committee hearing of the US Committee on Foreign Affairs, Genocidal Attacks Against Christian and Other Religious Minorities in the Middle East. Obama too, is focusing only on Syrian refugees.  Chairman Smith voiced the concern of the Committee that "the Yazidis, Christians and other non-Muslim religious minorities are facing genocide.  Their lives are at risk from ISIS".   They declared them "a refugee crisis". "We are giving lip service to Never Again," said Chairman Smith.  "We must act".


Senator Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee said: "There is a concern with this large volume in such a short period of time, that adequate vetting may not be occurring…these individuals could represent a threat to America given our porous border."

It's impossible to screen the Syrians for security since the institutions where they could be checked in Damascus no longer function.  There are no records available.  Furthermore, said Toronto immigration lawyer Guidy Mamann, no criminal records doesn't eliminate the possibility of terrorists.  "The 9/ll hijackers had no criminal records, nor the Boston marathon bombers or the San Bernardino shooters. These are no anti-Muslim statements; they're facts.  Not all are bad, but some are.  We are asking our border officials to do the impossible, to try and figure out what's inside someone's mind and to figure out what a person is going to be thinking tomorrow."

"Also," he added, "we are not pulling people (Syrians) out of the battlefield or people who are on the run.  We are pulling people out of Jordan and Turkey who have been there for months, even years."  Now we discover that many of those, an estimated six percent of eligible Syrian refugees, are not interested in coming to Canada, hoping to be able to return to their home country.

In February, ISIS sent a message to the world, that they had 5,000 of their recruits planted among the Syrians coming into Europe.  In Lebanon, where one in five is a Syrian refugee, the Minister of Education stated there were 20,000 jihadi terrorists among them.  More than half of them were migrants from other countries in the Middle East or even farther, with faked Syrian passports.

A new report announced on CNN, warned that based on US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's intelligence sources, ISIS has access to passport printing machines and blank passport books.  They have announced publicly that they are sending their fighters to infiltrate Western nations by hiding them amongst refugees from the Middle East and North Africa.

For Jews, these persecuted peoples, abandoned by the world, strikes a painful, familiar chord.  It evokes the anguish of the Jews of the thirties threatened with Nazi genocide. Then too, the world was silent.  Jews were quick to respond.  Soon after the initial attack by ISIS last Augusts, Canadian Jews and Friends of Yazidis formed in Toronto.  They were making inroads with the previous government, but, reported head of the group, Rananah Gemeiner, she has called John McCallum, Minister of Immigration and Refugees repeatedly for an "immediate emergency meeting regarding the Yazidis and other minorities deserving priority refugee consideration," and received no answer.  Nor has Mirza Ismail.

Many, including President Obama, say the situation of Syrian refugees is similar to the plight of the Jews in WW11. But Jews were never a terror threat; there is evidence terrorists and radical Islamists are hiding among the Syrians.  Jews were singled out for persecution by the Nazis; it is the Yazidis, the Christians and other non-Muslim minorities who are being hunted down by ISIS.   Jews had nowhere to go; Syrian refugees should have many places to go especially among the 57 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.  The majority are migrants, not refugees as defined by international law. They include those who have found shelter but prefer to go to the Western countries.

The situation of the homeless Syrians is dreadful and heart wrenching.  But choices must be made; priorities established.  On humanitarian grounds, the Yazidis and other minority groups should receive priority because they are the most persecuted in the Middle East and have nowhere else to go. They present no social adaptation or security problems and face daily genocide and imminent extinction.

  Dr. Catherine Chatterley Director of the Canadian Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism has stated; "Special priority should be given to the orphans, specially girls and young women, who are the most vulnerable to sexual assault and exploitation in refugee camps and the victims of ISIS's rape culture of sexual slavery.