Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Iran, Deeply Embedded in Syria, Expands ‘Axis of Resistance’ - Ben Hubbard, Isabel Kershner and Anne Barnard




by Ben Hubbard, Isabel Kershner and Anne Barnard

Hat tip: Dr. Jean-Charles Bensoussan

“If there is a war, it will be regional,” said Kamel Wazne, the founder of the Center for American Strategic Studies, in Beirut.“Any confrontation will be with the whole resistance front against Israel and its backers.”



By The New York Times | Source: Institute for the Study of War. Satellite images by Bing.

BEIRUT, Lebanon — When an Iranian drone flew into Israeli airspace this month, it set off a rapid series of strikes and counterstrikes that deepened fears over whether a new, catastrophic war was brewing in the Middle East.

That flare-up ended quickly, if violently, with the drone destroyed and an Israeli jet downed after bombing sites in Syria. But the day of fighting drew new attention to how deeply Iran has embedded itself in Syria, redrawing the strategic map of the region.

Tactical advisers from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps are deployed at military bases across Syria. Its commanders regularly show up at the front lines to lead battles. Iran has built and continues to back powerful militias with thousands of fighters it has trained in Syria. And it has brought in new technologies, like drones, to spy on enemies and perhaps to attack them from the sky.

Both Israeli officials and Israel’s enemies say that any new conflict between Israel and Iran, or any of its allies, could mobilize Iran’s expanding network of militant proxies in multiple countries, what Iran refers to as “the axis of resistance.”

“If there is a war, it will be regional,” said Kamel Wazne, the founder of the Center for American Strategic Studies, in Beirut, who studies the policies of the United States and Iran in the Middle East. “Any confrontation will be with the whole resistance front against Israel and its backers.”

Iran and its allies first intervened in Syria to defend the rule of President Bashar al-Assad against Syrian rebels after the civil war broke out in 2011, and later helped his forces against the jihadists of the Islamic State.

But as the rebels have lost ground and no clear threats to Mr. Assad’s rule remain, Iran and its allies have stayed, shifting their focus to creating an infrastructure to threaten Israel, analysts say. Iran continues to train and equip fighters while strengthening ties with allies in Iraq and Lebanon, in hopes of building a united front in the event of a new war.

“The ultimate goal is, in the case of another war, to make Syria a new front between Israel, Hezbollah and Iran,” said Amir Toumaj, a research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who studies Iran. “They are making that not just a goal, but a reality.”

Iranian leaders speak openly of their work to build this axis of resistance against Israeli and American influence. A key to Iran’s strategy, analysts and officials say, is to rely not on conventional military hardware or control of territory, which Israel can easily bomb, but on building ties with local forces who share its goals and benefit from its financing and expertise.

That approach has enabled Iran to amplify its power in the Arab world while decreasing the threat to its own forces and homeland. It has also created a problem for countries including the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia, who fear Iran’s growing influence but have struggled to come up with ways to stop it.



 
Pieces of an Israeli F-16 that crashed in northern Israel on Feb. 10 after coming under antiaircraft fire.CreditAbir Sultan/European Pressphoto Agency

Some people in Israel have started referring to a potential “First Northern War,” meaning that Israel will have to fight across both the Lebanese and Syrian frontiers. And many Israelis say the danger is not just from the new Iranian-backed militias, but also from the Iranian efforts to give advanced, high-precision weapons capable of hitting sensitive infrastructure to Hezbollah, Iran’s most powerful and experienced external force.

Israeli officials have said that Iran and its allies are seeking to establish a land corridor from Iran to the Mediterranean, via Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, to ease the transportation of such weapons and to build underground factories to manufacture them in Lebanon and Syria. Israel has been bombing convoys in Syria that are believed to be carrying advanced arms to Hezbollah, but the group’s covert nature makes it hard to determine which arms have slipped through and whether its arms factories are functioning.

Such arms, coupled with heavy barrages from the more than 100,000 rockets and missiles without high-precision targeting capability that Israel says Hezbollah already has, could overwhelm Israel’s defenses.

“Israel will face not only quantity, but the threat to vulnerable strategic sites,” said Yaakov Amidror, a former Israeli national security adviser and now a fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies. Referring to the combination of more precise weapons and a new front, he added: “Each one is problematic; together, they are devastating.”

Iran’s moves in the region have alarmed the United States. “What’s particularly concerning is that this network of proxies is becoming more and more capable as Iran seeds more and more” of its “destructive weapons into these networks,” Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, President Trump’s national security adviser, said at a security conference in Munich on Saturday. “So the time is now, we think, to act against Iran,” General McMaster added.

In expanding its influence in Syria in recent years, Iran has followed a standard template. In Lebanon in the 1980s, it helped create Hezbollah, which has since evolved into the country’s predominant military force and a regional power in its own right, joining the wars in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. In Iraq, Iran has sponsored a range of militias while developing deep ties to the Iraqi economy and political system.

The war in Syria gave Iran a new opportunity to advance that project by linking its allies across the Levant together.

Fighters from Hezbollah routed Syrian rebels near the Lebanese border and Iran sent advisers to help Mr. Assad’s beleaguered forces during the early years of the war.

But by 2013, Mr. Assad’s forces were on the verge of collapse, and Iran intervened more forcefully, undertaking an extensive regional operation to train, arm and transport thousands of Shiite militiamen from abroad to Syria to fight the rebels and the jihadists of the Islamic State.

Estimates of the number of Iranian military personnel in Syria today range from the high hundreds to the low thousands. While some directly participate in combat, most are trainers, commanders or experts who advise the Syrian military and oversee militias. It is these militias, which could have as many as 20,000 fighters, that give Iran its true muscle.


Those fighters include about 6,000 from Hezbollah. Most of the rest of the militia members — who come from Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan and elsewhere — have been enticed to fight in Syria with money and appeals to their Shiite faith. Indeed, most see the war in Syria in religious terms, as a jihad against enemies of their religion.

Ali Alfoneh, a researcher at the Atlantic Council who tracks reports of foreign militia fighters killed in Syria, said the number of deaths reported had decreased substantially as those fighting for Mr. Assad have gotten the upper hand in the war. But instead of leaving the country, he said, the militias appeared to be shifting their sights toward Israel.




Israeli soldiers near the village of Keshet in Golan Heights, in 2015.CreditUriel Sinai for The New York Times

“Iran has realized that it is actually possible to maintain a front against Israel where there is no war but also no peace,” Mr. Alfoneh said.

In his research, Mr. Alfoneh said he had identified three main Iranian bases that oversee operations in large parts of Syria — one near Aleppo in the north and two south of the capital, Damascus — as well as seven smaller tactical bases near active front lines where Iran and its proxies have a presence.

The idea of a permanent Iranian presence in Syria worries Israel, which fears that it could face a threat there similar to that posed by Hezbollah in Lebanon. Analysts close to Iran and its proxies say that is exactly the idea.

“It’s like a replication of the Hezbollah model,” said Ali Rizk, a Lebanese analyst who writes for Al Monitor, a news website focused on the Middle East. Iran is already training fighters in southern Syria, he said, so that if Hezbollah draws down its presence there, as its leaders have vowed to, it will leave behind a Syrian prototype.

In recent months, at least two Iraqi militia leaders have visited the Lebanon-Israel border with Hezbollah, and militia members say the visits have included developing plans for how they might collaborate in a future conflict.

Life has returned to normal in the Israel-controlled Golan Heights since the day of battle on Feb. 10, and the ski resort on Mount Hermon has been operating as usual. There was no immediate sense among Israelis of being on a war footing.

But Israelis and many Lebanese have long worried that another war across their border is inevitable. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ratcheted up the rhetoric on Sunday at the security conference in Munich, warning Iran’s leaders not to test Israel’s resolve and pledging that if pushed, Israel would act “not only against Iranian proxies that are attacking us, but against Iran itself.”

Both sides say they do not want war, and the fear of extensive destruction and civilian deaths has deterred new hostilities since the last war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006. But the more entrenched Iran’s allies become, the greater the pressure Israeli leaders could face to launch a strike — and the greater the chances that a miscalculation or mistake by either side could provoke new hostilities.

Some analysts have expressed hopes that Russia, which also intervened in Syria on Mr. Assad’s behalf, could serve as a check on Iran’s ambitions. Russia has cooperated with Iran during the war but also seeks to maintain good relations with Israel.

Notably, Russia has not publicly complained when Israel has bombed convoys believed to be bound for Hezbollah. Others question to what degree the Syrian population will buy into Iran’s ideological project, noting that only a tiny portion of Syrians share Iran’s Shiite faith.

Much remains unclear about Iran’s intentions. Days after Israel destroyed the drone, Israeli military officials said they were still not sure whether it had been armed, had been sent on a surveillance mission or was merely a test of Israel’s defenses.

“It is very important for us to understand its mission,” Brig. Gen. Tomer Bar, the chief of staff of the Israeli Air Force, told reporters. “We have to understand it and we will investigate it till the end.”

Ben Hubbard and Anne Barnard reported from Beirut, and Isabel Kershner from Jerusalem.


Ben Hubbard, Isabel Kershner and Anne Barnard

Source: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/02/19/world/middleeast/iran-syria-israel.html?referer=

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How the IDF Is Preparing for Multi-Front War - Yaakov Lappin




by Yaakov Lappin

According to Israeli intelligence assessments, none of Israel’s enemies wants a full-scale war any time soon (and neither does Israel), but the growing tension in the region means incidents can quickly escalate.





BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 746, February 19, 2018

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The IDF is implementing a plan to improve its ability to operate on multiple battle fronts simultaneously. While there is no indication that any one of Israel’s enemies is interested in initiating a full-scale war in the near future, the growing explosiveness of the region means that any tactical incident can snowball and turn into an unintended armed conflict very quickly – and one front can ignite others. 

An Israel Defense Forces (IDF) plan designed to get it prepared for the challenge of multiple-front warfare is entering its third year.

The ability to operate effectively on multiple battle fronts simultaneously will be crucial for Israel’s ability to deal with unpredictable, explosive events that can begin on one front but quickly spread to others. According to Israeli intelligence assessments, none of Israel’s enemies wants a full-scale war any time soon (and neither does Israel), but the growing tension in the region means incidents can quickly escalate.

During a speech given to the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya at the start of January, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot identified the five fronts that pose threats to Israel’s security.

He noted that a “big, strong Iranian umbrella is hovering” over all five of these sectors. The first is Lebanon, where Hezbollah, with Iranian assistance, has built up a major capability. Based on a relatively simple concept, Hezbollah’s assets in Lebanon are designed with strong layers of defense around them, combined with an ability to heavily strike the Israeli home front with projectiles. This is a model the Iranian Republican Guards Corps (IRGC) and Hezbollah believe can challenge Israel’s military superiority.

Eisenkot named the second front as Syria, which has undergone drastic changes over the past year. Members of a Russian-led coalition, consisting of Iran, the Assad regime, Hezbollah, and Shiite militias, view themselves as the victors in Syria’s conflict and seek a presence on the Golan Heights. Iran has plans to establish an air, ground, and naval presence in Syria. “The danger to us is significant,” Eisenkot said.

The West Bank forms the third threatening sector. Hamas seeks to orchestrate terror attacks from there and divert “fire” away from Gaza, which it rules. Unorganized terrorism and ISIS-inspired lone attackers remain threats here too.

Gaza is the fourth sector. In the Gaza Strip, Hamas and other armed Palestinian factions have built up terrorist guerilla armies, armed with arsenals of projectiles. These forces are embedded in a densely populated urban jungle.

The Sinai Peninsula, where ISIS remains highly active, is the fifth sector.

Beyond the five fronts, Iran to the east – its nuclear ambitions and regional hegemony efforts – continue to threaten Israel.  The potential of reaching a high level of escalation “is immediate,” Eisenkot cautioned.

The IDF’s preparations for multiple-front war rest on several capabilities. The first is Israeli intelligence supremacy. This gives the military a high-quality picture of enemy assets and activities and the ability to launch mass, precision strikes in the event of a war. The second key capability is robust air power.

During a speech delivered to the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in 2017, former Israel Air Force Chief Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel stated that Israel’s air power remains its most generic military force, giving it the flexibility to deal with multiple fronts quickly and simultaneously.

“Speed – physics – still has a significance,” Eshel said. Threats, whether asymmetrical forces or older classical enemy divisions, can appear in bordering areas, or thousands of kilometers away. “When these approach, they can become a big problem. The solution of air power… arrives within minutes to hours,” Eshel said.

With no other military force able to respond this quickly, the IAF remains Israel’s first port of call in multiple-front warfare. Eshel said the IAF must be able to operate in three main sectors simultaneously, presumably referring to the north (Lebanon and Syria), the south (Gaza), and the east (Iran).

“In the morning, aircraft can be over the northern front. By noon, they can be to the east, thousands of kilometers away. And in the evening, they could be operating over Gaza. No other force can do this,” he said.

The IAF is structuring itself to deal with symmetric and asymmetric threats, near and far, all at the same time. In addition, the idea of a preemptive strike, if necessary, is making a return to military high command due to new air capabilities.

The IAF’s strike rate has “doubled twice” in recent years, Eshel said, meaning that several thousand targets can be hit within 24 hours, every 24 hours. This degree of air power is unprecedented in military history.

The ground maneuver

The days in which the IDF relied mainly on air power to wage a full-scale conflict are long gone. In line with the IDF’s multi-year plan, a major effort is underway to improve war readiness among ground forces. This year, enlisted operational forces are set to begin training for 17 weeks to match every 17 weeks of active security missions. This division of labor is designed to bump up combat readiness significantly, and not to let routine missions erode combat readiness.

In addition, the IDF has been creating light infantry brigades and deploying them to the borders with Egypt and Jordan. Their mission is solely limited to border security, thus freeing up enlisted combat forces, which would take part in ground maneuvers, for more war training.

To counter the threat of armor-piercing RPGs and anti-tank missiles, which are highly prevalent in Gaza and Lebanon, the IDF is mass producing modern armored personnel carriers (APCs) and tanks. These are the tracked Namer and the wheeled Eitan APCs. The latter can travel 90 kilometers an hour on roads, giving it the ability to leap from one battle front to another.

Israel is also mass producing the Merkava 4 tank. On all these platforms, the Defense Ministry is installing Rafael’s Trophy active protection system. This gives the armored vehicles the ability to intercept incoming missiles and to instantly detect and share the location of enemy cells that are firing at them, enabling rapid, accurate return fire.

As the IDF strengthens its ground war abilities, various command levels are training to improve their ability to launch multi-front attacks simultaneously.

The end goal of multi-front combat

The IDF’s official strategy, published in August 2015, states that the goal of such an effort would be to force the enemy to agree to a ceasefire or diplomatic solution from an Israeli position of strength that follows a military victory.

Forcing enemies into a position where they are unable or unwilling to continue fighting is the objective. Tactically, this means removing enemy capabilities and motivation to fight, destroying its forces, decreasing its ability to fire on the Israeli home front, hitting targets perceived as valuable by the enemy, and employing cunning approaches to hit the enemy’s weak spots.

These are designed to shock and surprise, and to harm enemy decision making, according to the strategy.

The IDF’s object is to achieve these goals as quickly as possible after the outbreak of large-scale conflicts. Launching an immediate ground offensive, seizing areas, and reducing fire from these territories on Israeli-populated areas is the main way to achieve this.

The mission of the ground forces will be to capture and destroy military infrastructure and harm the survivability of enemy governments over their areas, according to the IDF’s strategy.

This will be accompanied by large-scale air strikes.

The Israel Navy would have an important role to play in such a scenario.  The missile ship and submarine fleets, both of which are being modernized, can act as intelligence gatherers off enemy coastlines and as firepower platforms that can launch shore-to-surface guided missiles.

Covert special forces would presumably conduct elite missions behind frontlines in this scenario.  A digital, network-based military command system, able to share battlefield data and intelligence in seconds, is currently being developed. This network will enable IDF branches – air, sea, and ground – as well as the Military Intelligence Directorate to integrate their activities in new ways.

Aside from these preparations, the IDF is also working on its ability to launch continuous air-based and special forces operations against threats that do not border Israel.


BESA Center Perspectives Papers are published through the generosity of the Greg Rosshandler Family


Yaakov Lappin is a Research Associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. He specializes in Israel’s defense establishment, military affairs, and the Middle Eastern strategic environment.

Source: https://besacenter.org/perspectives-papers/israel-multi-front-war/

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Video: The Defectors - FrontPageMag.com




by FrontPageMag.com

Escapees from North Korea's prison camps share their harrowing ordeals.




With the establishment media's love affair with the North Korean dictator’s sister on recent full display at the Winter Olympics, Frontpage has found it fit to run Sky News' documentary about North Koreans who suffered years of brutality in North Korean prison camps. Sky's Asia Correspondent Mark Stone shares the astonishing and terrifying stories of those who have escaped one of the world's most brutal regimes. Don't miss it!




FrontPageMag.com

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/269327/video-defectors-frontpagemagcom

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Where Are the Indictments of Obama’s Foreign Colluders? - Daniel Greenfield




by Daniel Greenfield


The collusion fraud continues.




The indictments are in. 

Team Mueller indicted a bunch of Russians associated with a troll farm for interfering with an election in the United States. Russian troll farms generally don’t follow United States law. But foreigners are not allowed to interfere with elections in the United States. Unless they’re named Christopher Steele.

The Clinton campaign employed a British foreign agent who used Russian intelligence sources to put together opposition research meant to interfere with the results of a United States election. Collusion between the Clinton campaign, Steele and the Russians doesn’t require an endless fishing expedition.

Foreigners interfering in United States elections are not a new phenomenon. Muslims in Gaza famously ran a phone bank for Obama. A Hamas political adviser had declared that he hoped Obama would win.

There was no investigation. Nor did anyone indict the Gazans running the phone bank.

The indictment states that, “the Federal Election Campaign Act… prohibits foreign nationals from making any contributions, expenditures, independent expenditures, or disbursements for electioneering communications.” But Obama had chosen to accept untraceable donations from abroad. He had failed to ask for proof of citizenship and his website had even allowed donations from Iran and North Korea.

The chair of Nigeria’s stock exchange had organized an “Africans for Obama” fundraiser. The Albanian Socialist Prime Minister had been accused of a scheme to transfer $80,000 to an Obama fundraising committee. Gazans bought and resold Obama t-shirts from the campaign website. And no indictments.

None of that counts as election interference. And none of it generated an investigation of Obama.

Indicting civilians covertly employed by a foreign government to engage in propaganda in the United States is an unserious act. But Obama Inc. responded in the same futile way to Chinese hacking efforts. Responding to cyberwarfare with toothless indictments is not how you head off the next attack.

But the indictments are also bad law. 

Facebook Vice President of Ad Product Rob Goldman noted that most of the Russian ad spending took place after the election

Specifically, "44% of total ad impressions" preceded the election while “56% were after the election.”

“We shared that fact, but very few outlets have covered it because it doesn’t align with the main media narrative of Trump and the election,” Goldman tweeted.

And that’s what this is still about.

The indictment and previous research showed that the Russian troll farm had run a variety of scams across the spectrum. They posed as Black Lives Matter and Republican activists, as militant feminists, outraged Indians, as Islamists and anti-Islamists at the same time. Did Russia actually care about Black Lives Matter or Trump? About as much as that “Nigerian prince” in your email cares about your politics.


The Russian troll farms covered Black Lives Matter for the same reason that Al Jazeera does. Qatar’s Al Jazeera, Russia’s propaganda networks and the other foreign foes trying to influence Americans have a core agenda that they package inside content that Americans care about, but that they don’t.

Qatar successfully packaged its campaign against Saudi Arabia’s struggle with Iran in Yemen by embedding its Yemeni famine myth inside a grab bag of social justice causes through Al Jazeera. Russia was doing the same thing with its online campaigns, embedding its pro-Assad Syria or anti-Ukraine propaganda by packaging it with a spectrum of partisan causes that Americans do care about.

Not only does the effort predate Trump’s entry into the race, but even the indictment notes that the Russian troll farm outline had urged employees to “use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump—we support them).” Was there also collusion between Bernie Sanders and Russia? Despite Bernie’s Soviet honeymoon, this “support” had nothing to do with collusion.

The Russian troll farm was built on engaging the most politically active and dissatisfied Americans. Going after supporters of Sanders and Trump by pretending to share their views was most likely to pay off in social media shares and influence building. The Russian troll farm wasn’t trying to change the outcome of an election. It was piggybacking on a current political controversy while playing both sides.

And, whether it’s the anthem or gun control, they went right on doing it after the election was over.

But, as Facebook’s VP of Ad Product noted, it doesn’t fit the media’s collusion narrative. The central thesis of the post-election Dem conspiracy theory is that Hillary would have won if it weren’t for the Russians. (Not to mention misogyny, Comey and around three hundred other reasons.) There’s never been any evidence that the thousands spent on Facebook ads altered the outcome of the election.

But if the Russians weren’t trying to influence the election, then the conspiracy theory collapses.

The conspiracy theory that ate Washington D.C. and most of the media assumes that the Russians wanted to influence the election. And that they wouldn’t have tried to do so of their own accord if there wasn’t collusion. But Russian collusion had originated as a Clinton smear during the election. If you believe the foreign agent hired by the Clinton campaign, it may have originated with the Russians. 

That’s much better evidence that Hillary was colluding with the Russians than that Trump was.

And if the Russians were conspiring with Trump, why were they also backing Bernie Sanders? If this conspiracy existed, why did American forces just take out 300 Russian mercenaries? Why did Trump go much further in helping Ukrainian forces against Russia than Obama was ever willing to? The Russians didn’t spend much money on this conspiracy. They weren’t very consistent. And they didn’t get anything for it. That’s much more consistent with social media influence building than the Manchurian Candidate.

Mueller and the media know all this. And they don’t care.

Indicting the Russians for trying to influence the election is bad law, but it shows that Team Mueller intends to go after President Trump. The evidence that the Russians tried to interfere with the election is weak. The more conventional fraud charges would have made for a much stronger case.

But nobody gave Team Mueller millions just to find out that some Russians were engaging in fraud. The Russians are just the tools that the Democrats and their allies have weaponized to overturn the election.

Russian troll farms are not a threat to our elections. Despite the paranoid conspiracy theories, Russian Facebook ads had less impact on the election than Jill Stein. And if we’re going to indict foreigners who interfere in our elections, we can start with Obama’s international cast of donors and supporters.

The real threat to our system of free elections is the refusal of the Democrats to accept defeat. When George W. Bush won, the Democrats rejected the outcome, invented conspiracy theories and protested in the streets. They did the same thing again when Donald J. Trump won. There’s a consistent pattern here and it doesn’t involve Moscow or the Supreme Court. Those are just their excuses.

The Democrats have never accepted a Republican in the White House in this century. Forget the Supreme Court or Russia; it’s the Democrats who are the biggest threat to democracy.


Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/269354/where-are-indictments-obamas-foreign-colluders-daniel-greenfield

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Hungary's PM Orban calls out Europe's surrender to Islamic invaders - Thomas Lifson




by Thomas Lifson

"Christianity is Europe's last hope."


Viktor Orbán, the forthright Hungarian prime minister, used unusually blunt language to lay out the "clash of civilizations" destabilizing Hungary's E.U. neighbors to the West and to state that Hungary will not yield to E.U. pressures to join the ongoing surrender. The Associated Press reports:
Hungary's prime minister says that "Christianity is Europe's last hope" and that politicians in Brussels, Berlin and Paris favoring migration have "opened the way to the decline of Christian culture and the advance of Islam."
Viktor Orbán said Sunday during his 20th annual state of the nation speech that his government will oppose efforts by the United Nations or the European Union to make migration acceptable to the world.
He conjured the image of a Western Europe overtaken by Muslims, saying that "born Germans are being forced back from most large German cities, as migrants always occupy big cities first."
It is a symptom of the civilizational sickness that grips the dominant powers of the E.U. – that guilt over the Holocaust massacre of Jews is being sublimated into surrender to mass immigration by Muslims, trained by sacred Scripture to hate Jews and finish the work that Hitler started.
Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 791:
Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Umar:
I heard Allah's Apostle [Muhammad] saying, "The Jews will fight with you, and you will be given victory over them so that a stone will say, 'O Muslim! There is a Jew behind me; kill him!' "
Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 177:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. "O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him."
To be sure, Hungary has a terrible history of anti-Semitism, and so P.M. Orbán has been accused of Jew-hatred, as if this invalidates his concerns over civilizational surrender to hijrah, the conquest of infidel nations by immigration of Muslims. Orbán has been explicit in his rejection of Jew-hatred. Via The Guardian:
The Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán – who has been accused of stoking antisemitism – has greeted his Israeli counterpart with a public promise to "protect" Hungary's Jewish community.
Referring to Hungary's collaboration with the Nazis, the rightwing leader told Benjamin Netanyahu, who is in Budapest on a controversial visit: "We decided in world war two, instead of protecting the Jewish community, to cooperate with the Nazis. This will never happen again."
"I made it clear to Prime Minister Netanyahu that the government will secure the Jewish minority and that we have zero tolerance to antisemitism," he added.
Netanyahu said Orbán had reassured him in unequivocal terms that the Hungarian government stood by the Jewish people, which he called "important words" coming on the back of Orbán's recent remarks that unnerved Jews in the country.
Hat tip: Bryan Demko

Thomas Lifson

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/02/hungarys_pm_orban_calls_out_europes_surrender_to_islamic_invaders.html

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Germany: Meet Jens Spahn, Merkel's Possible Successor - Soeren Kern




by Soeren Kern

"No country in the world, and no European Union, can withstand that if we give up control of our external borders." — Jens Spahn, Die Zeit.

  • "What is clear at any rate: the financing [of imams] by foreign actors must stop." — Jens Spahn, Deutsche Welle.
  • "The message that 'If you reach a Greek island, you will be in Germany in six days,' not only encourages refugees from Syria, but also many people in Bangladesh and India. No country in the world, and no European Union, can withstand that if we give up control of our external borders." — Jens Spahn, Die Zeit.
  • "To anyone who makes their way to Germany, it must made be clear that their life here will be very different from that at home. They should think carefully about whether they really want to live in this western culture." — Die Welt.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has sparked a mutiny from within her own party over a controversial coalition deal that allows her to remain in office for a fourth term. The deal, in which Merkel agreed to relinquish control over the most influential government ministries, has led a growing number of voices from within her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) to say — publicly — that it is time to begin looking for her successor.

In a prime-time interview with ZDF television on February 11, Merkel, already in power for 12 years, rejected the criticism and insisted that she will serve another full four-year term. "I ran for a four-year term," she said. "I promised those four years and I'm someone who keeps promises. I totally stand behind that decision."

Merkel, who has been called the "Teflon Chancellor" because of her political staying power, may indeed manage to eke out another four years in office, albeit in a much-weakened position. Her decision in 2015 to allow into Germany more than a million migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East sparked a mass defection of angry CDU voters to the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD), now the third-largest party in the German parliament. As a result, in Germany's inconclusive election in September 2017, Merkel's party achieved its worst electoral result in nearly 70 years.


The coalition deal, reached on February 7 between her center-right CDU, their Bavarian partners, the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), must still be formally ratified by the SPD's 460,000 rank and file members in a postal vote that begins on February 20. The outcome of that vote will be announced on March 4.

If the coalition agreement is not approved, Merkel may attempt to form a minority government, or German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier may call fresh elections. Either way, Merkel likely will face growing pressure to step aside.

A poll published by Focus on February 17 found that German voters are increasingly growing weary of Merkel. Nearly half (47.2%) of the respondents said that Merkel should step aside during the next legislative period; 38.5% said Merkel should to complete the full term.

The jockeying to succeed Merkel has intensified in recent days. At least half-a-dozen people are said to be in the running to assume leadership of the CDU if Merkel steps down.

A top contender, according to German political commentators, is Jens Spahn, a 37-year-old openly homosexual Roman Catholic with a reputation for straight talk. One of the rising stars of CDU's younger generation, he is viewed by many as a possible future chancellor.

Spahn, who hails from Ahaus, a small town near the German-Dutch border, was elected to parliament at the age of 22, before he was graduated from university. As deputy finance minister since 2015, he has been a vocal critic of Germany's healthcare and pension systems because of the massive financial burden they impose on future generations.

Spahn, a politically incorrect "liberal-conservative," appears determined to reverse some of the CDU's leftwards ideological drift, which occurred under Merkel's leadership. He has accused the CDU of being "too accommodating of a liberal elite that has become convinced of its own moral superiority." He has also said that he wants to win back disgruntled CDU voters who defected to the AfD.

Merkel may try to thwart Spahn's ambitions in retaliation for his public criticism of her policies. Spahn does not, however, appear easily intimidated.


Pictured: German Chancellor Angela Merkel (right) and Jens Spahn (left), a top contender for succeeding Merkel as leader of the CDU party. (Photo by Volker Hartmann/Getty Images)

The following is a brief compilation of Spahn's stated positions on issues related to Islam, immigration and integration.

Islam

Spahn has said that Germany needs an "Islam law" to regulate Muslim religious communities and ensure that what is being preached in mosques around the country is "transparent." He cited Austria as a precedent: "The Austrians have had an Islam law since imperial times and things there function better. We could learn from them."

Spahn has called for German language tests for imams, saying that many of the preachers who deliver sermons in German mosques come from abroad, cannot speak German and are paid by other countries: "Do we really know if their sermons are being made in accordance with our laws? And it's about more than that. Is it enough, just to ask that they don't break the law? Should they not encourage cooperation and integration?"

Spahn has demanded that mosques be registered, saying that authorities "do not know how many mosques there are in Germany, where they are or who finances them."

In addition, Spahn has called for the training of imams, teachers of religion and counselors to be paid for with taxpayer money. "That will be a hard debate, but I would rather we finance this than that the money comes from Turkey or Saudi Arabia," he said, noting that a "church tax" for Muslims was also a possibility: "If the Muslim communities want a tax law, we should talk about it." He added: "What is clear at any rate: the financing by foreign actors must stop."

Spahn has criticized Christian churches in Germany, accusing them of being "uncritical" with respect to Islam. "A friendly photo of fast-breaking, then each goes their own way; it can't go on like that."

In an interview with the Guardian, Spahn said:
"Germany's dominant culture and lifestyle has become a lot more liberal in the last 10 years, whether you are looking at gays and lesbians or at immigration. But my biggest fear is that this new openness is under pressure—from a very conservative form of Islam and a rightwing backlash against immigration—and that we will have to fight very hard to preserve it."
Spahn recently asked: "What is our relationship to Islam? I would like to turn this question around: what is the relationship of Islam to us?"

Open Borders

Spahn has repeatedly criticized Merkel's open-door migration policy. He has described Merkel's failure to control mass migration as "a kind of state failure."

In an interview with Die Zeit, Spahn said he supports Hungarian President Viktor Orbán's decision to close the Balkan refugee route:
"The protection of the EU borders is in the EU treaties. What Orbán is doing at the EU's external borders is EU law, whether that pleases you or not. The message that 'If you reach a Greek island, you will be in Germany in six days,' not only encourages refugees from Syria, but also many people in Bangladesh and India. No country in the world, and no European Union, can withstand that if we give up control of our external borders."

Integration

Spahn has said that all migrants should be required to adapt to German society. In an interview with the Financial Times, Spahn said:
"For me what is decisive is that those who come here, understand, above all, that the values of the western world, this freedom, these basic principles, are different from those in Afghanistan, Syria, China or Bangladesh and that our society is therefore different.
"In essence, it is not only a matter of living by and recognizing the rules, but also of feeling that you belong to a community with a common future."
Spahn told Die Welt: "To anyone who makes their way to Germany, it must made be clear that their life here will be very different from that at home. They should think carefully about whether they really want to live in this western culture."

In an interview with Stern, Spahn said that German immigration policy must be revised: "Let us formulate common expectations for those who want to be part of our society, and then ensure that those expectations are complied with."

Spahn told Der Spiegel: "To anyone who considers our open society to be corrupt and effeminate, or who wants to live in a theocracy, I simply say: go and find another country."

Spahn has attacked those on the political left who, he said, have sought to justify honor killings and forced marriages as being culturally determined.

Spahn has demanded strict penalties for Muslims who refuse to send their children to school:
"Anyone who does not allow his daughter to attend school must know that in the future the girl will be picked up at her home by government agencies and brought to school. If children are persistently truant, welfare benefits should be cut. We have not been consistent enough in the past, and this misunderstood tolerance has always been to the detriment of the children."
Spahn has called for punishing repeat offenders with tougher penalties: "The biggest problems we have with the lack of willingness to integrate is with migrants from the Arab region—unfortunately also in matters of crime."

Spahn has called for a burqa ban: "A ban on the complete veiling, of nikabs and burkas, is overdue, even as a signal to the world." He added that men who force their wives to wear the Muslim full veil are "wrong" to be in Europe. "I do not want to see a burka in this country," he said. "In this sense, I am a burkaphobe."

On a television talk show broadcast by ZDF, one of Germany's main public broadcasters, Spahn said: "It is not particularly enriching to drive through streets where I don't see any women, and if I do, they are wearing headscarves."

Muslim Anti-Semitism

Spahn has repeatedly warned that Germany is "importing" anti-Semitism from the Muslim world, where, he said, the hatred of Jews is an "omnipresent part of everyday life." In an interview with Der Spiegel, said that Muslim immigrations were responsible for a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Germany: "Let's not fool ourselves: immigration from Islamic countries is changing the climate in our country."

Spahn denounced pro-Palestinian demonstrators who in December called for the murder of Jews and burned Israeli flags at the Brandenburg Gate to protest the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. "Burning the Star of David in front of the Brandenburg Gate is unacceptable, whether by right-wing extremists or Arab fanatics. The response from our government must be resolute." He added: "We have been ignoring imported anti-Semitism for too long with shrugs of misunderstood tolerance."

Spahn appears to harbor no illusions about Palestinian nationalism. "Israel uses weapons to protect its civilians, Hamas uses civilians to protect its weapons," he wrote in a tweet.

Anti-Americanism

Spahn has criticized the SPD for stirring up "cheap resentment" against the United States: "I find it impossible that [Foreign Minister Sigmar] Gabriel and [SPD chancellor candidate Martin] Schulz constantly show our American friends the middle finger." He said that the SPD's treatment of the United States, Germany's closest ally, was "irresponsible" and added: "There are transatlantic traditions that a Foreign Minister should not trample on." He also accused Schulz and Gabriel of setting "completely different standards" with regards to U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Future Plans

Spahn, who has said that politics are part of his genetic makeup, recently visited an elementary school in his electoral district, where a fourth-grader asked him: "Do you want to be chancellor one day?" Spahn replied: "Let's wait and see. I enjoy being part of making fundamental decisions. We'll see what jobs might await."


Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute.


Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/11912/germany-jens-spahn

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