Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Trump terms Holocaust the 'darkest chapter of human history' - Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff

by Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff

"The mind cannot fathom the pain, the horror and the loss. Six million Jews, two-thirds of the Jews in Europe, murdered by the Nazi genocide ... murdered by an evil that words cannot describe, and that the human heart cannot bear," U.S. president says.

U.S. President Donald Trump
Photo credit: AP

Video: Reuters

"The mind cannot fathom the pain, the horror, and the loss. Six million Jews, two-thirds of the Jews in Europe, murdered by the Nazi genocide. They were murdered by an evil that words cannot describe, and that the human heart cannot bear."

Trump's four-minute message included somber references to Jewish suffering in the Holocaust, a commitment to support Israel, and a rebuke of prejudice and anti-Semitism.

"Today, only decades removed from the Holocaust, we see a great nation risen from the desert and we see a proud Star of David waving above the State of Israel. That star is a symbol of Jewish perseverance. It's a monument to unyielding strength. We recall the famous words attributed to Theodor Herzl: If you will, it is no dream. If you will it, it is no dream," he said.

"Jews across the world have proved the truth of these words day after day. In the memory of those who were lost, we renew our commitment and our determination not to disregard the warnings of our own times. We must stamp out prejudice and anti-Semitism everywhere it is found. We must defeat terrorism, and we must not ignore the threats of a regime that talks openly of Israel's destruction. We cannot let that ever even be thought of," Trump said, referring to Iran.

"To all of you tonight, who have come from around the world, let it be known, America stands strong with the State of Israel. Thank you for your leadership, for your service, and for your vision of a world that is more free, just and peaceful place for all of God's people. Thank you, and God bless you all."

Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=41955

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

“A Mortal Enemy Called Radical Islam.” - Lloyd Billingsley

by Lloyd Billingsley

Gen. John Kelly charts how jihadists target the USA with “exported violence.”

“For a brief moment after the attacks of 9/11,” Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Tuesday, “our nation shook off its complacency, and realized our American values had a mortal enemy called radical Islam.” This threat, Kelly said, “has metastasized and decentralized, and the risk is as threatening today as it was that September morning almost 16 years ago.”

Part of the problem, Gen. Kelly said, is that many “holy warriors” will depart their home countries, and because of the Visa Waiver Program, “they can more easily travel to the United States which makes us a prime target for their exported violence.”

To address this problem, President Donald Trump issued an executive order temporarily restricting travel from seven predominantly Muslim nations with terrorist issues, only to have the order blocked by federal judge James Robart. Last month, President Trump issued “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” Federal judge Derrick Watson blocked the order, ruling that a reasonable person would conclude that the measure was “issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion,” not to prevent terrorists from entering the United States.

Neither judge made any reference to the way terrorists had gained entry to the United States in the past, particularly before September 11, 2001. As it happens, the United States government has already addressed that subject at considerable length.

“It is perhaps obvious to state that terrorists cannot plan and carry out attacks in the United States if they are unable to enter the country.”

That is from the introduction to 9/11 and Terrorist Travel: Staff Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States, which the 9/11 Commission failed to include in their larger report in July of 2004. It emerged on August 21, 2004, the same day the 9/11 Commission disbanded. The 19 radical Islamic terrorists responsible for 9/11 were able to enter the United States, and the report explains how they did so.

Those involved in that attack successfully entered the United States 33 times over 21 months through nine airports. A ballpark figure for the number who should have got in is zero. As the report notes, all 19 of the 9/11 terrorist visa applications were incomplete in some way, with data fields left blank and questions not fully answered.

Even so, U.S. officials approved 22 of the 23 hijacker visa applications. Of the 15 Saudis, four got their visas after the creation of the Visa Express Program in June 2001. Eight other conspirators tried to get visas during the course of the plot and three succeeded, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11.

The State Department actually speeded up the visa process in Germany, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, where 17 of the 19 hijackers got their visas. According to the report, the reason “has never been adequately explained.”

As 9/11 and Terrorist Travel also noted, “Three Salvadoran immigrants living in Virginia, two illegally and one as a lawful permanent resident, were found guilty of helping four September 11 operatives use fraudulent documentation to obtain Virginia identification documents.” In all, “the five hijackers based their Virginia identification documents on the residency information of one bribed Salvadoran.”

The illegal Salvadorans likely entered through the United States from Mexico. As the report notes, prior to September 11, 2001, “no agency of the U.S. government thought of border security as a tool in the counterterrorism arsenal. Indeed, even after 19 hijackers demonstrated the relative ease of obtaining a U.S. visa and gaining admission into the United States, border security still is not considered a cornerstone of national security policy.”

Before 9/11, the report explains, the Immigration and Naturalization Services operated in a “virtual intelligence vacuum.” Former INS boss Doris Meissner was briefed only once on the terrorist threat from Islamic militants, and when the 9/11 Commission interviewed her, she could not even recall that single briefing. Incredibly enough, Meissner had never heard of Osama bin Laden until August 2001, nearly ten months after she left the INS.

President Donald Trump, now attempting to shore up border security, will find the lessons of 9/11 and Terrorist Travel more valid than ever.

It is perhaps obvious that the head of the INS should be an expert on terrorism and always in the loop on intelligence briefings. As the report says, if terrorists are unable to enter the country, they can’t carry out attacks.

It is perhaps obvious that if an applicant makes any mistake or omission on a visa application the United States should bar entry to that person. By extension, if U.S. officials are unable to vet any refugee from any country, that person should be denied entry.

The radical Islamic terrorists of 9/11 connections collaborated with illegal Salvadorans. So it should perhaps be obvious that massive illegal immigration can bring deadly consequences. The Department of Defense should give the Border Patrol all the help it needs to keep the nation safe.

9/11 and Terrorist Travel notes the 1995 observation of the late Barbara Jordan, the Texas Democrat who chaired the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform. “Those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave.”

President Trump is on board with that but his efforts draw fierce reaction from the left, determined to protect violent criminal illegals in sanctuary cities. In similar style, the federal judges have blocked the president’s efforts to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the country with a temporary travel ban.

Violent criminals and jihadists still enter the country with the greatest of ease. That is why, as Gen. Kelly said Tuesday, “we still face the highest terror threat level in years,” just like “that September morning almost 16 years ago.”

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation, and Bill of Writes: Dispatches from the Political Correctness Battlefield.

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/266456/mortal-enemy-called-radical-islam-lloyd-billingsley

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

China Deploys Floating Nuclear Power Plant to South China Sea - Debalina Ghoshal

by Debalina Ghoshal

China's motive for building the nuclear reactors is clear: to exert its dominance and influence throughout the area.

In April 2016, reports began coming in that China has plans to build floating nuclear power plants in the South China Sea. A floating nuclear power plant consists of one or more nuclear reactors, located on a platform at sea. China apparently plans to "speed up the commercial development" of the South China Sea and views the nuclear power plants as part of that plan.[1]

Final assembly of the reactor is reported to start in coastal city of Huludao, in Liaoning province, and will be built by Bohai Shipbuilding Heavy Industry Co Ltd, a unit of China Shipbuilding Industry Corp (CSIC).[2]

China's 2016 nuclear plan, a component of the China's 13th five-year plan, is evidently to complete 58 nuclear reactors by 2020 and build another 100 gigawatt-sized reactors by 2030. These would make China the largest nuclear power producer in the world. China's floating nuclear reactor initiative seems to be a component of this nuclear plan.

Reasons for such reactors

China's stated reasons for venturing into such technologies include providing an inexpensive source of electricity and fresh water for both military and economic gains, as well as ensuring China's strategic dominance in the South China Sea. Nuclear power plants could not only provide cheap electricity to defense facilities but also to desalination plants. Normally, the defense facilities such as airports and harbors depend on oil or coal for power generation. A nuclear power plant on the sea would ensure a continuous supply of water as coolant -- a necessity for any reactor.

A 60 MWe reactor is said to be beneficial for supplying electricity, heat and desalination, and could be used on islands and on coastal areas or for offshore oil and gas exploration.

A scale-model of a Russian floating nuclear power plant. (Image source: Felix/Flickr)

A common theme in the narrative about floating nuclear power plants is that they would provide energy and freshwater to the disputed Spratly Islands and also to China's artificial islands in the South China Sea, such as Woody Island. Beijing, however, is entangled in territorial disputes with Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam, to name a few in the region.

China is already building man-made islands in the South China Sea by shifting sediment from the sea floor to the reefs. It is also building ports, airstrips and radar facilities. In 2016, reports also stated that China has deployed HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles in the Woody Island, close to the Paracel Islands. in South China Sea. China has also deployed a HQ-9 and shorter ranged HQ-6 air defence system at the Paracel Islands.

At the Hainan base, China operates guided missile-destroyers: Yinchuan, Hefei, Kunming, and the Changsha. The DF-21D "carrier killer" anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) is also an added asset for China.

China has, as well, unilaterally established an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea and stated that it had the right to establish similar zones in the South China Sea.

As China flexes its muscles in the South China Sea, building a floating nuclear reactor is yet another step toward strengthening this regional dominance.

All these man-made islands have limited amounts of fresh water. A key part of aircraft maintenance to avoid corrosion when operating in a salt water environment is washing the planes down with fresh water or chemical solvents. While desalination is an option, nuclear energy might facilitate that. China already has experience in nuclear desalination, with China General Nuclear Power commissioning a sea-water desalination plant that uses waste heat to provide cooling water at the Hongyanhe project at Dalian, in Liaoning province.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that there are 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the seabed. Geopolitical and energy security analyst Jeremy Maxie writes:
"Most of the gas in the SCS is located in offshore deep-water fields (defined as 400-1,200 meters) that is more technologically challenging and costly to develop than shallow-water or onshore fields. In order to monetize any potential deep-water gas discoveries, subsea pipelines would need to be built to onshore processing facilities."
This plan that may or may not be politically conceivable. Maritime nuclear floating reactors would apparently provide an advantage for offshore gas exploration.

The South China Sea is crucial for states vying to gain influence in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East, as well as for maritime commerce. The South China Sea is also rich in hydrocarbons and fish in a region where the staple diet is fish.

In addition, with proven oil reserves, the South China Sea would yield 130 billion barrels of oil, according to Chinese estimates. Moreover, 80 percent of the China's energy requirements pass through the Malacca Strait into the South China Sea; China is therefore largely dependent on the Malacca Strait and the South China Sea, a circumstance termed by then-Chinese President Hu Jintao as the "Malacca Dilemma."

Building nuclear reactors in the South China Sea would enable Beijing to exert its assertiveness at every turn.


Constructing such reactors in a region prone to typhoons is, as can be imagined, hazardous, resulting in accidents and meltdowns. Radioactive waste would spread to neighboring countries and cause catastrophic damage to sea-currents as well as maritime flora and fauna. Moreover, the capacity of maritime reactors to produce power is far less than for land-based reactors. China's motive for building the nuclear reactors, however, is clear: to exert its dominance and influence throughout the area.
Debalina Ghoshal is a Research Fellow specializing in nuclear and missile issues at the Centre for Human Security Studies, Hyderabad, India.

[1] The China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) is to build the nuclear power plants in cooperation with China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC). This reactor ACPR50S is a 60MWe reactor based on the 100MWe China National Nuclear Corporation's ACPR100S MR.
[2] The Bohai Company convened to discuss possible location and relevant viability issues pertaining to the construction of the reactor with the Liaoning Provincial Economy and Informatization Commission, Huludao Municipal Economy and Informatization Commission, CSIC's nuclear safety department's safety inspection team and Wuhan Second Institute of Ship Design-Institute 719 under the CSIC.

Debalina Ghoshal is a Research Fellow specializing in nuclear and missile issues at the Centre for Human Security Studies, Hyderabad, India.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/10253/china-floating-nuclear-reactor

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

White House calls all US Senators for NKorea briefing - debkaFile

by debkaFile

"The status quo in North Korea is unacceptable. It’s a big problem, has been for decades and we must finally solve it.”

In view of escalating threats from North Korea, all 100 US senators were invited to the White House Wednesday for a rare classified briefing on the crisis from the administration’s top security chiefs: Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, National Intelligence director Dan Coats and Chairman of the US chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford.  Vice President Mike Pence has interrupted his Asian trip to attend.

President Donald Trump, who spoke Sunday with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said: The status quo in North Korea is unacceptable. It’s a big problem, has been for decades and we must finally solve it.”

 As North Korea prepares to mark the 85th anniversary on Tuesday of the founding of its Korean People's Army – a possible date for the regime to test military hardware – its official website warned Monday that Pyongyang will “wipe out” the United States if Washington starts a war on the peninsula.

US commercial satellite images have indicated increased activity around North Korea’s nuclear test site, while Kim has said that the country’s preparation for an ICBM launch is in its “final stage.” Earlier, Pyonyang threatened to sink the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier which is leading a strike group toward the Korean peninsula along with two Japanese destroyers.

Xi told Trump that China strongly opposed North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and hoped “all parties will exercise restraint and avoid aggravating the situation.”  This drew an angry response from North Korean media: The state-owned KCNA news agency suggested Beijing was “dancing to the tune of others” and warned China of “catastrophic consequences”.


Source: http://debka.com/article/26024/WHouse-calls-all-US-Senators-for-NKorea-briefing-

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

How New is the New Hamas Charter? - Denis MacEoin

by Denis MacEoin

Article 19 of the New Charter repeats that there will never be peace so long as Israel still exists.

  • The Arab states that reject Israel today forget that they themselves would not exist without the Mandate system – a point seldom if ever acknowledged in public forums where the legitimacy of Israel is debated.
  • If there is any Palestinian desire for a two-state solution, it is questionable: according to current maps of "Palestine," and the New Hamas Charter, it is supposed to be on its neighbouring state, Israel; not next to it. The wish of Palestinian leaders to have a Palestinian state is never realized solely due to the unending rejection of their Jewish neighbour.
  • Article 19 of the New Charter repeats that there will never be peace so long as Israel still exists. It declares: "We do not leave any part of the Palestinians' land, under any circumstances, conditions or pressure, as long as the occupation remains. Hamas refuses any alternative which is not the whole liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea."

Anyone with a serious interest in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians will be familiar with the oft-cited Charter (or Covenant [mithaq]) of the terrorist group currently ruling the Gaza Strip, Hamas. The Charter (in Arabic here) was published on 18 August 1988. Its proper title is "The Charter/Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement 'Hamas' Palestine", Hamas being an acronym for "the Islamic Resistance Movement".

This April, the Lebanese news site al-Mayadeen leaked a draft version of a much-revised version of the 1988 Charter, due to be released "in the coming days". The anti-Israel website Mondoweiss subsequently provided an English translation of the draft, made by someone from the Ayda refugee camp in the West Bank. So far, I have been unable to find the Arabic text of the draft online, even though it has been discussed many times in the wider Arabic media. We shall turn to it later, but it is obviously sensible to look first at the 1988 version as a basis of comparison. And even before that, we need to see how the Hamas Covenant differed from, and resembled, the PLO Covenants of 1964 and 1968.

The full title of the movement is crucial to an understanding of the document and its aims. Hamas had been founded in 1987 as an intransigent extension of the Palestinian Mujamma linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, and was explicitly hardline and neo-Salafi in its religious orientation. This was in conspicuous contrast to its rival Palestinian movement, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), founded by the Arab League in 1964 as an overtly secular and nationalist entity. The two PLO National Covenants of 1964 and 1968 exclude religion as a basis for the anti-Israel struggle.[1]

But in those versions, that secular nationalism takes two distinct forms. The 1964 PLO Charter is based on the concept of pan-Arabism as inspired by the Arab League and Egypt's president at the time, Gamal Abdel Nasser. Palestinians are simply Arabs among millions of Arabs, and their struggle for liberation was carried out with little emphasis on the creation of a Palestinian state. This view changed, however, after 1967, when the Six-Day War showed the powerlessness of the Arab states to resolve the Palestinian issue. When Egypt and Jordan attacked Israel (Egypt's closing the Strait of Tiran was a legitimate casus belli, cause for war), Israel repelled them and ended up sitting on land -- Gaza, the Sinai Peninsula, Judaea and Samaria -- which it immediately offered to return in exchange for recognition and peace. That offer was rejected in a matter of weeks at the Khartoum Conference.

During and after the "peace process" and the Oslo Accords of the 1990s, the Palestinian leadership promised that it would delete the most offensive and anti-peace clauses of the 1968 Charter. Many years later, nothing has been done, and the existing Charter remains unchanged.

Nationalism is not an Islamic concept. Even pan-Arabism falls outside the remit of Islamic ideology and practice. Almost from the beginning, Islam has been predicated on the idea of a global community (the umma), which embraces all Muslims and Islamic regions, allegedly since the beginning of time, with a promise of eventual Islamic control over the Earth. According to a sound tradition in the canonical collection by al-Bukhari, among the five things given to Muhammad that had not been given to any previous prophet was that, "Every Prophet used to be sent to his nation only but I have been sent to all mankind."[2] In another version, he is recorded as saying: "I have been sent to all mankind and the line of prophets is closed with me."[3]

This sense of global scale has characterized the Islamic world from its beginning in the form of empires. These started with the Umayyads (661-750) and ended with the Ottomans (1299-1922). The long history of Islamic imperialism had two imperishable effects: it prevented the development of nation-state polity and imposed the theory of religious rule. Self-identification for imperial citizens functioned only through the family, clan, tribe, village or town or city; or according to religious affiliations of various kinds. Everywhere, the only true citizens were orthodox Muslims; subjugated minorities such as Jews and Christians were kept strictly as inferiors, with a separate set of harsh laws and a special tax, the jizya, to pay for "protection".

This legacy of Islamic dominance, of jihad as a legitimate and regular policy towards non-Muslim Europe, African regions, Central Asia and India, combined with the illegitimacy and unacceptability of Jewish, Christian or secular rule over Islamic territory, has left a deep mark on the Palestinian sense of identity. Formerly subjects of the Ottoman Empire in Syria, almost overnight in the 1920s the Arab Palestinians found themselves adrift in a sea of international rules and regulations concerning territory and national identity. This was the never-acknowledged pivot around which the growing conflict with the Jewish Palestinians revolved -- and still revolves.

The emergence of various nationalisms in the Islamic world since the early twentieth century (such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, or Syria) owes little or nothing to traditional Islam and much, if not everything, to the impact of the West, where nationalism first developed. Some Muslim states (such as Iran, Morocco or Egypt) have always had a sense of territorial identity, but most have been provinces of imperial systems. When the League of Nations set up three Class A mandates for Syria/Lebanon, Palestine/Transjordan, and Mesopotamia (Iraq), it created five nations out of two provinces. The Arab states that reject Israel today forget that they themselves would not exist without the Mandate system – a point seldom if ever acknowledged in public forums where the legitimacy of Israel is debated.

Palestinian nationalism is, therefore, an extension of the wider Arab nationalisms created out of the mandates, both in terms of the Palestinian Kingdom of Jordan and the long-postponed future state of Palestine. If there is any Palestinian desire for a two-state solution, it is questionable: according to current maps of "Palestine," and the New Hamas Charter, it is supposed to be on its neighbouring state, Israel; not next to it. The wish of Palestinian leaders to have a Palestinian state is never realized solely due to the unending rejection of their Jewish neighbour.

So long as the PLO dominated the political landscapes of the West Bank and Gaza, an eventual shift, through reasonable political compromise presumably from both sides, to a two-state solution, remained the only game in town. The secular-nationalist position of the Palestinians offered some hope of political normalization and the publication of a new Covenant. That changed in 1987 with the emergence of a major rival to the secular-nationalist position in the form of a new resistance organization, Hamas, founded shortly after the start of the First Intifada. Hamas is an acronym for harakat al-muqawama al-islamiyya ("Islamic Resistance Movement"). One year later, in 1988, Hamas made waves when it released its own Charter, an uncompromising document that took the PLO commitment to the abolition of Israel into deeper and little-charted waters, including the elimination of all Jews everywhere.

While both Hamas and the PLO/Fatah dreamed -- and still dream -- of a single Palestinian nation to replace Israel and its surrounding disputed territories, they differed in one major respect: the Hamas nation of Palestine would be an Islamic state, governed by Islamic values and shari'a law. Things had changed regionally since the two PLO Covenants were made public.[4]

The Middle East and the Islamic world in general were experiencing a shift: from Western-influenced political values based on modern states ruled by man-made law and based on secular governments whether democratic (as in Lebanon) or dictatorial (as in Syria) towards a return to and intensification of traditional Islamic theories of governance, made and governed solely by Allah (God, although their qualities are quite different, if not opposite).

Some form of Salafi Islam had existed from the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, together with the financial windfall from oil and the rise of jihadi movements such as al-Qaeda, brought violent radicalism to the fore, not only in the Shi'i world, but across Sunni countries from Egypt to Afghanistan.

Hamas had started life through connections with Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, which, although fundamentalist in orientation, originally was not particularly violent. Hamas, however, clearly engaged with the broadening current of anti-Western terrorism justified by jihad, a current that culminated later in the emergence of the Islamic State.

Hamas's 1988 Charter reflects this. It notes more than once that Palestinian nationalism should be religious in nature and quite distinct from other secular forms of national expression:
"Nationalism, from the point of view of the Islamic Resistance Movement, is part of the religious creed... If other nationalist movements are connected with materialistic, human or regional causes, nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement has all these elements as well as the more important elements that give it soul and life. It is connected to the source of spirit and the granter of life, hoisting in the sky of the homeland the heavenly banner that joins earth and heaven with a strong bond." (1988 Charter, Article 12)
"Nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its religion. Its members have been fed on that. For the sake of hoisting the banner of Allah over their homeland they fight." (1988 Charter, Article 13)
Notably, other parts of the 1988 Hamas Charter resemble the 1968 PLO Covenant. For example, in Article 13, we read:
"There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors." (1988 Charter, Article 13)
This comes very close to the PLO's secular use of "armed struggle" (al-kifah al-musalah):
"Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. This is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase. The Palestinian Arab people assert their absolute determination and firm resolution to continue their armed struggle and to work for an armed popular revolution for the liberation of their country and their return to it" (1968 PLO Charter, Article 9).
And the use of "jihad" by Hamas comes even closer to the PLO's "Commando action" (al-'amal al-fida'i), literally "self-sacrificial action". (1988 Charter, Article 10). Fida'i is from the same Arabic root that gives us fida'iyin (Fedayeen).

Hizbullah, Israel's greatest military threat in Lebanon, is, like Hamas, a revolutionary religious organization inspired by the Shi'i clerical regime that has been ruling Iran since 1979. Although Hamas is a Sunni entity, it has been as happy to accept arms and money from the Islamic Republic as Iran has been delighted to give them. This is of major significance. The assault on Israel is only part of what we see now as an international religious undertaking, one that incorporates the Iranian regime, Hizbullah in Lebanon and Syria, the Islamic State in the Middle East and Europe, al-Qaeda, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and dozens of Islamic actors from ideological movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Pakistan's Jama'at-i Islami to outright terrorists such as the Taliban in Afghanistan or Boko Haram in Nigeria.

Hamas, then, is far from being alone. While it may have ideological differences that make it hard to form a unity coalition with Fatah in Gaza and the West Bank, it is clearly open to alliances with Iran, Hizbullah, and whatever remains of the Islamic State in Sinai, Libya or elsewhere.

Armed Hamas militiamen on parade with a mock rocket in Gaza. (Image source: i24 News video screenshot)

However, the announcement of a new Charter this year, along with its supposedly reformed content, has suggested to some that Hamas may be about to enter a new phase. But is this so? Even a cursory glance will show that it is not.

The truth is that the new Charter, though vaunted as a major shift for the group, is, in reality, little more than a public-relations exercise. Hamas leaders have got smart, but have not changed their spots.

The most obvious change lies in the wording concerning Jews and Israelis. Whereas the Charter Mark I of 1988 contained numerous examples of pure anti-Semitism, singling Jews out as repellent enemies of God and calling for their wholesale destruction, it has finally dawned on the leadership that racist, anti-Semitic and genocidal words do not fare well in many Western states, even in ones with an anti-Zionist agenda.

The result is now a presumed distinction between Jews and Zionists/Israelis. Thus, we read:
"Hamas differentiates between Jews as people of the holy book, and Judaism as a religion and the occupation and the Zionist Project as something separate, and it sees that the conflict is with the Zionist Project not with the Jewish people because of their religion. And Hamas does not have a conflict with the Jews because they are Jews, but Hamas has a conflict with the Zionists, occupiers and aggressors." (New Charter 2017, Article 15)
However, this article follows one that is quite different:
"The Zionist Project is a racist, aggressive and separatist project based on violating others' rights and is against Palestine's people and its vision for freedom, liberation, sovereignty and the return of the refugees. And the Israeli state is the tool of this project and its foundation." (New Charter 2017, Article 13)
Needless to say, it is alleged that Hamas cannot possibly be anti-Semitic -- evidently trying to block out the 3,000 years of documented history that took place before World War II:
"Hamas sees that the Jewish problem and the "anti-semitism" and the injustice against the Jewish people is a phenomenon related to European history, not to the history of Arabs and Muslims or their heritage." (New Charter 2017, Article 16)
This is, of course, mere bluster that ignores the fact that outright anti-Semitism is to be found in the Qur'an, the Sacred Traditions (ahadith), shari'a law regarding the treatment of Jews and Christians as dhimmi inferiors to Muslims, or the countless persecutions and pogroms carried out against Jews in Muslim countries.[5]

In Article 16 of the New Charter, propaganda dominates the narrative and distracts us from Hamas's underlying commitment to traditional Islamic thinking about Jews and Judaism.

The difference between Hamas's unchanged jihad ideology and the image it now wants to project may be found in Articles 8 and 9 of the New Charter:
"8. Hamas understands Islam in all its details, and it is appropriate for all places and times in its neutral spirituality, and Hamas believes that it is the religion of peace and forgiveness, and under its shadow all different religious followers live safe and in safety. As well as it believes that Palestine was and will stay as an example of coexistence, forgiveness and civilian innovation." (New Charter 2017, Article 8)
"9. Hamas believes that the message of Islam came with morals of justice, truth, dignity and freedom, and is against injustice in all its shapes, and criminalizes the criminals whatever their sex, color, religion or nationality are. Islam is against all shapes of religious extremism, sectarian extremism and ethnic extremism, and it is the religion that teaches its followers to fight against the tyranny and help weak people and it teaches its followers to sacrifice their time, money and themselves in the defense of their dignity, land, people and holy places." (New Charter 2017, Article 9)
Here, we see in a fuller form the same connectivity to religion that characterized the first Charter.

Despite the claim that Islam is "the religion of peace and forgiveness, and under its shadow all different religious followers live safe and in safety", it soon becomes clear that Hamas's intentions towards Israel and the rest of the non-Muslim world have not changed in the least. First, the New Charter declares the Balfour Declaration, the British Mandate, and the 1947 UN partition resolution to be "illegal from the beginning" (New Charter 2017, Article 17), meaning that there can be little room for manoeuver about Israel's right to exist. That is driven home in the next article:
"We do not recognize the Zionist state. All shapes of occupation, settlements, Judaization and the forgery of truth are illegal. These rights do not dissolve with time." (New Charter 2017, Article 18)
And that is followed by a return to the jihad doctrine:
"Hamas confirms that no peace in Palestine should be agreed on, based on injustice to the Palestinians or their land. Any arrangements based on that will not lead to peace, and the resistance and Jihad will remain as a legal right, a project and an honor for all our nations' people." (New Charter 2017, Article 21)
Article 19 of the New Charter repeats that there will never be peace so long as Israel still exists. It declares:
"We do not leave any part of the Palestinian's land, under any circumstances, conditions or pressure, as long as the occupation remains. Hamas refuses any alternative which is not the whole liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea." (New Charter 2017, Article 19)
The New Charter is mere window-dressing; even a casual reading of it should show that the new Hamas is the old Hamas wearing a different face to try to disguise the true intransigence and hatred that have always characterized it.
Dr. Denis MacEoin is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, where he writes about Islam, Israel, Left-wing and Christian anti-Semitism and the Middle East.

[1] For the Arabic originals see here and here
[2] Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah, in Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 7, Number 331
[3] Narrated Abu Hurayra, Sahih Muslim 4:1062
[4] A short but scholarly comparison of the three charters by Philipp Holtmann is available here.
[5] See Andrew Bostom (ed.), The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Sacred History, reprinted 2008.

Denis MacEoin is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, where he writes about Islam, Israel, Left-wing and Christian anti-Semitism and the Middle East.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/10229/new-hamas-charter

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Turks Vote to Give Away Their Democracy - Burak Bekdil

by Burak Bekdil

Alarmingly, the proposed system lacks the safety mechanisms of checks and balances that exist in other countries such as the United States. It would transfer powers traditionally held by parliament to the presidency, thereby rendering the parliament merely a ceremonial, advisory body.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims victory in the April 16 referendum at a rally on the night of the vote.
In a bitter irony, nearly 55 million Turks went to the ballot box on April 16 to exercise their basic democratic right to vote. But they voted in favor of giving away their democracy. The system for which they voted looks more like a Middle Eastern sultanate than democracy in the West.
According to unofficial results of the referendum, 51.4% of the Turks voted in favor of constitutional amendments that will give their authoritarian Islamist president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, excessive powers to augment his one-man rule in comfort.
The changes make Erdogan head of government, head of state and head of the ruling party -- all at the same time. He now has the power to appoint cabinet ministers without requiring a confidence vote from parliament, propose budgets and appoint more than half the members of the nation's highest judicial body. In addition, he has the power to dissolve parliament, impose states of emergency and issue decrees.
Alarmingly, the proposed system lacks the safety mechanisms of checks and balances that exist in other countries such as the United States. It would transfer powers traditionally held by parliament to the presidency, thereby rendering the parliament merely a ceremonial, advisory body.
1. Erdogan's confrontational Islamist-nationalist rhetoric keeps appealing to masses who adore him for his claims of being in the process of restoring the country's historical Ottoman influence as a leader of the Islamic world. His rhetoric -- and practices -- would often echo an authoritarian rule in the form of a sultan. It was not a coincidence that the thousands of Erdogan fans who gathered to salute their leader after his referendum victory were passionately waving Turkish and Ottoman flags and chanting "Allah-u akbar" ["Allah is the greatest", in Arabic]. For most of Erdogan's conservative fans, "God comes first... then comes Erdogan." That sentiment explains why the vote on April 16 was not just a boring constitutional matter for many Turks: It was about endorsing an ambitious man who promises to revive a glorious past.
2. The 'No' campaign and its supporters were systematically silenced and intimidated by a powerful state apparatus, including its police and judicial powers. In contrast, the 'Yes' campaign enjoyed all possible government support, with full mobilization of state means and public resources. Worse, Turkey went to the ballot box under a state of emergency that was declared after a failed coup in July.
3. A European Union (EU) parliamentary organization warned before the referendum that the democratic legitimacy of the vote was in question.
'The conditions for a free and fair plebiscite ... simply do not hold,' said the EU Turkey Civic Commission.
It mentioned that the lawmakers' ability to campaign for the 'No' vote had been undermined by the government. "The conditions for a free and fair plebiscite on proposed constitutional reforms simply do not hold," said a report released by the EU Turkey Civic Commission.
The report highlighted, among several other reasons, that the co-leaders of a pro-Kurdish political party who campaigned for 'No' have been imprisoned since November on charges of links with terror groups. In the 15 months leading up to the referendum, says a civil rights NGO, police used violence to stop a total of 264 peaceful demonstrations in support of the 'No' campaign.
4. With around 150 journalists in jail, the pervading climate was fear.
The great Turkish purge spells big numbers. According to Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu:
  • 47,155 people have been jailed since the coup attempt on July 15;
  • 113,260 people have also been detained;
  • 41,499 people have been released with condition of judicial control and 23,861 people have been released without any condition; 863 other suspects remain at large;
  • 10,732 of those who have been arrested are police officers, while 168 military generals and 7,463 military officers have been jailed as of April 2, 2017;
  • 2,575 judges and prosecutors, and 208 governors or other public administrators have been imprisoned. The number of jailed civilians, including handicapped people, housewives and elders, is 26,177
  • Over 135,000 people have been purged: A total of 7,317 academics were also purged as well as 4,272 judges and prosecutors who were dismissed due to alleged involvement in the coup attempt.
'No' campaigners were threatened and treated like terrorists. Observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) confirmed cases of intimidation against the 'No' campaign across the country.
5. The main opposition Republican People's Party claimed election rigging. It claimed the vote was manipulated in terms of content and method. Only an hour into the vote count, the Supreme Board of Elections declared as valid voting papers without official seals. That practice is clearly in violation of the election laws. The opposition also claimed that in some cities the election observers from the 'No' groups were removed from their polling stations. In Turkey, it probably does not matter what is in the ballot box; what matters more is who counts them.
By a narrow and controversial margin, Turks have voted to establish a sultanate.
The April 16 vote in Turkey meant more than a simple vote on a package of 18 constitutional amendments. With a narrow and controversial margin, the Turks voted to change regime in favor of a sultanate. It was not a coincidence that a news editor for Yeni Akit, a militantly Islamist newspaper and a pro-Erdogan outlet, tweeted after the referendum results, an obituary for the "Old Turkey." In January, a columnist for Yeni Akit claimed that Erdogan would become the "caliph" if he wins the referendum and the presidential election.
Turkey's soul-searching and societal wars never have a moment of truce. Turkey's wars are not just between political leaders and parties; they are wars between the supporters of a democratic, secular country and those of a caliphate which Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, abolished almost a century ago. As Kati Piri, the European Parliament's Turkey rapporteur, said of the referendum: "This is a sad day for all democrats in Turkey."

Burak Bekdil is an Ankara-based political analyst and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Source: http://www.meforum.org/6654/turks-vote-to-give-away-their-democracy

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

French Presidential Run-off Battle between Globalist and France-First Populist - Joseph Klein

by Joseph Klein

Macron versus Le Pen: the two major parties lose out.

Amid tightened security following last Thursday’s deadly terrorist attack in Paris, French voters turned out in high numbers to the polls on Sunday for the first round of the country’s presidential election. Globalist Emmanuel Macron and populist Marine Le Pen, the two top finishers amongst the eleven candidates running to replace the Socialist French President Francois Hollande, will face each other in a run-off on Sunday, May 7th.  Mr. Macron came out on top, with slightly over 23 percent of vote, and is the favorite to win the presidency outright in the May 7th run-off. Ms. Le Pen ran a close second. Neither of the top two finishers were candidates of France’s major mainstream left and right parties. The incumbent president is very unpopular, which no doubt burdened the Socialist candidate. The major right-of-center candidate has been mired in a scandal.

Not surprisingly, the lackluster economy, including 10 percent unemployment, and security concerns emanating from repeated terrorist attacks emerged as the leading issues in the race.

French voters will be choosing as their next president between two individuals with starkly different world views. As of now, according to Politico, Emmanuel Macron is ahead of Marine Le Pen by 20 to 30 percent in a one-on-one match-up. Moreover, in an initial positive response from investors to Mr. Macron’s first-place finish and prospects in the run-off, the Euro rose to a 5½-month high against the dollar. Nevertheless, given Ms. Le Pen’s close finish in the first round and her enthusiastic constituency, it is premature to count her out. After all, the pundits and pollsters were virtually unanimous in picking Hillary Clinton to win last fall over Donald Trump. We know how that turned out.

Emmanuel Macron, 39, who founded his own independent party just a year ago, is a pro-European Union centrist. He believes in gradual deregulation and fiscal discipline, while at the same time espousing even closer cooperation among the EU’s 28 member states. Several EU leaders expressed delight with Mr. Macron’s strong finish and prospects in the run-off. For example, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said, “He is the only pro-EU candidate.” Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said he was “happy that Macron will represent in the second round democratic and European values that I share.”

Mr. Macron, speaking after the election results came in, congratulated the other candidates he ran against, except Ms. Le Pen. In a barb at his opponent in the May 7th run-off, he said he would lead “the patriots facing the nationalists.”

Marine Le Pen, 48, is the leader of the nationalist Front National party. She ran on a platform combining anti-globalist sentiments with economic populism.

In a recent debate, Ms. Le Pen summed up how she viewed her candidacy: "I'm a French woman, a mother and a candidate for the presidency. For me this election is about a choice of civilizations. Our country is overrun by insecurity, economic and social disorder and Islamist terrorism. Our values and identity are under threat."

While not endorsing Ms. Le Pen outright, President Trump remarked that she was “strongest on borders, and she’s the strongest on what’s been going on in France.”

Shortly after the election results became known, Ms. Le Pen reprised her anti-globalist, populist themes. She framed the “great issue in this election” as “the rampant globalization that is putting our civilization at risk." At a rally in northern France, she declared, “The choice now is between a wild globalization, a world in which terrorists can travel free, and a France with strong borders. It is time to free the French people from the arrogant elite. I am the candidate of the people.”

Looking ahead to the run-off, Ms. Le Pen is likely to paint Mr. Macron, a former banker who served in President Hollande’s cabinet, as part of the “arrogant elite.” She also claimed the mantle of the patriot for herself, fighting against "wild deregulation," open borders, and "the free circulation of terrorists."

Marine Le Pen’s qualification for the run-off indicates the continuing strength of the anti-globalist, populist movement sweeping the West, which first showed up in the United Kingdom’s pro-Brexit vote and then in the victory of Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election last fall. In 2011, Ms. Le Pen took over the Front National party founded by her racist, Holocaust-denying father and has since transformed it into a France-first, populist movement that caught on with voters disaffected with the major traditional parties.  To shed the Front National’s extremist, anti-Semitic image, she cast her father aside after his continued offensive outbursts.

However, Ms. Le Pen retains some traces of her father’s stereotyping of Jews. She claims to believe that radical Islam is a “threat on French culture,” but then demands that Jews make certain “sacrifices” in their own public expression of religious beliefs so that limitations imposed on Muslims living in France, as part of the fight against jihad, will not be seen as discriminatory. For example, she believes that Jews should give up wearing a kippah in public. “Maybe they will do with just wearing a hat, but it would be a step in the effort to stamp out radical Islam in France,” she said.

When was the last time a kippah concealed a bomb or a gun? Yet, Ms. Le Pen effectively equates observant Jews and radical Islamists as dangers to France’s secular identity because both minority populations are overtly religious.

Ms. Le Pen has also downplayed the role of France's Vichy government in the roundup and deportation of Jews to concentration camps during the Nazi occupation.

Thus, it is no surprise that between the two run-off candidates, French Jews are favoring Mr. Macron. However, to be fair, Mr. Macron is not without his own biases and expression of moral equivalency. Last fall, he remarked about the tendency of “more and more children being sent to religious schools which teach them to hate the Republic and teach mainly in Arabic, or in other places” where they “teach the Torah more than general studies.”

The pro-globalism establishment is rooting for a Macron victory, which would be seen as a major rebuff of the populist, anti-immigrant movement in Europe. The populist movement has already suffered recent defeats in Austria and the Netherlands. Mr. Macron’s election in France would represent a far more significant defeat for the populists. However, Germany’s federal election will be held in September. Whatever happens in France next month, the electoral results in Germany are more likely to determine whether the EU can survive the populist reaction to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s reckless open door policy, admitting hundreds of thousands of self-proclaimed “refugees” and migrants from terrorist prone countries. As long as the wave of “refugees” and migrants continues to sweep over Europe, it will be impossible to put out the populist fires she helped to ignite in the first place.

Joseph Klein is a Harvard-trained lawyer and the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom and Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam.

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/266493/french-presidential-run-battle-between-globalist-joseph-klein

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.