Friday, October 16, 2015

What Do Palestinian Terrorists Want? - Bassam Tawil



by Bassam Tawil

  • Palestinian terrorists are not driven by poverty and deprivation, as many have long argued. Instead, they are driven by hatred for Jews -- because of what their leaders, media and mosques are telling them.
  • These young people took advantage of their status as permanent residents of Israel to set out and murder Jews. Their Israeli ID cards allow them to travel freely inside Israel. They were also entitled to the social welfare benefits and free healthcare granted to all Israeli citizens.
  • Muhannad Halabi wanted to murder Jews because he had been brainwashed by our leaders and media, and was driven by hatred -- he was not living in misery and deprivation. The family's house in the village of Surda, on the outskirts of Ramallah, looks as if it came out of a movie filmed in San Diego.
  • This conflict is not about Islamic holy sites or Jerusalem. Murdering a Jewish couple in front of their four children has nothing to do with the Aqsa Mosque or "occupation."
  • For the terrorists, all Jews are "settlers" and Israel is one big settlement. This is not an intifada -- it is just another killing-spree aimed at terrorizing the Jews and forcing them out of this part of the world. It already succeeded in the rest of the Middle East and is now being done there to the Christians as well.
  • The current wave of terrorism is just another phase in our dream to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. The terrorists and their supporters are not struggling against a checkpoint or a wall. They want to see Israel destroyed, Jews slaughtered, and the streets of Israel running with Jewish blood.

During the past few days, I had occasion to visit the homes of some of the Palestinian men and women involved in the ongoing wave of terrorism against Israelis -- the violence that some are calling an "intifada," or uprising.

What I saw -- what you or anyone could see during these visits -- was that none of these Palestinians had suffered harsh lives. Their living conditions were anything but miserable. In fact, these murderers had been leading comfortable lives, with unlimited access to education and work.

Four of the terrorists came from Jerusalem and, as permanent residents who had not applied for citizenship, held Israeli ID cards. They enjoyed all the rights of an Israeli citizen, except for voting for the Knesset -- but it is not as if the Arabs of Jerusalem are killing and dying because they want to vote in Israeli parliamentary elections.

These young people took advantage of their status as permanent residents of Israel to set out and murder Jews. They all had Israeli ID cards that allowed them to travel freely inside Israel, and even own and drive vehicles with Israeli license plates. They were also entitled to the social welfare benefits and free healthcare granted to all Israeli citizens, regardless of their faith, color or ethnicity.

None of the young Palestinians involved in the recent terror attacks lived [in] a mud house, a tent, or even a rented apartment. They all lived in houses owned by their families, and had unlimited access to the internet. They all carried smartphones that allowed them to share their views on Facebook and Twitter and, among other things, to engage in wanton incitement against Israel and Jews.

At the home of Muhannad Halabi, for example, the Palestinian who murdered two Jews in the Old City of Jerusalem last week, you would discover that his father is a businessman who deals in air-conditioning systems and has his own business in Ramallah. The family's house, in the village of Surda on the northern outskirts of Ramallah, looks as if it came out of a movie filmed in San Diego.

Muhannad Halabi, his relatives said, was a spoiled boy who had gotten everything he asked for. He had been studying law at Al-Quds University near Jerusalem, and was able to commute freely between Ramallah and the campus. But the good life Muhannad had did not prevent him from joining Islamic Jihad and murdering two Jews. He wanted to murder Jews because he had been brainwashed by our leaders and media, and was driven by hatred -- he was not living in misery and deprivation.

The case of Shuruq Dweyat, an 18-year-old female student from the Tsur Baher village in Jerusalem, is not really different from that of Muhannad Halabi. She is now receiving treatment in an Israeli hospital, free of charge, after being shot and seriously wounded by the Jew she tried to murder inside the Old City of Jerusalem. She was studying history and geography at Bethlehem University, to which she travelled four times a week from her home, without facing any obstacles or being stopped by Israeli soldiers.

Photos Shuruq posted on social media show a happy woman who never stopped smiling and posing for "selfies." She has her own smartphone. Her family, like those of all the other terrorists, own their own house and lead an extremely comfortable life. The Israeli ID card Shuruq holds allows her to go to any place inside Israel at any time. She chose to take advantage of this privilege to try to murder a random Jew in the street. The reason? She, too, was apparently driven by hatred, anti-Semitism and bigotry. She, too, was the victim of a massive propaganda machine that ceaselessly demonizes Israel and Jews.

If you had met 19-year-old Fadi Alloun, you would have seen possibly the most handsome man in Jerusalem. Fadi, who came from Issawiyeh in Jerusalem, had also been enjoying a good life under Israel's administration. He too had an Israeli ID card and was able to travel freely throughout the country. His family told me that he had loved going to shopping malls in Israel to buy clothes from chain stores such as Zara, Renuar, Castro. With his snazzy clothes and sunglasses, he looked like more like an Italian fashion model than your average terrorist. He, too, had unlimited access to the Internet and his family owned their own house.

Fadi's good life in Israel, however, did not prevent him from setting out to stab the first Jew he met on the street. This happened last week, when Fadi stabbed a 15-year-old Jew just outside the Old City of Jerusalem. Fadi was shot and killed by Israeli policemen who rushed to the scene of the attack. Fadi did not set out to murder Jews because he had a harsh life. Nor was he driven by misery or poverty. He had almost everything to which he aspired, and his family were well-off. The life Fadi had, in fact, was much better than the lives of many of his fellow Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. As an Israeli resident, Fadi was able to go anywhere he wanted in Israel and had free access to restaurants, shopping malls and gyms.

Fadi Alloun, possibly the most handsome man in Jerusalem, stabbed a random 15-year-old Jew in the street last week. Police shot and killed Alloun moments after the attack.

The other young men and women who have carried out the current wave of terror attacks were also leading good lives; some had jobs inside Israel, in part thanks to their Israeli ID cards. Those who came from the West Bank were able to bypass checkpoints and the security barrier, just as thousands of other Palestinian laborers do, who cross into Israel every day in search of work and better lives.

To be honest, I envied these terrorists because of the comfortable lives they had. The furniture in their homes is far better than my furniture. Still, their luxuries did not stop them from setting out to murder Jews.

What does all this mean? It shows that the Palestinian terrorists are not driven by poverty and deprivation, as many have long been arguing. Palestinian terrorists are driven by hatred for Jews because of what their leaders, media and mosques are telling them: that the Jews are the enemy and that they have no right to be in this part of the world.

It also shows that this conflict is not about Islamic holy sites or Jerusalem, but about murdering Jews whenever possible. Murdering two Jews inside the Old City of Jerusalem or a Jewish couple in front of their four children has nothing to do with the Aqsa Mosque or "occupation." It is simply about the desire to murder as many Jews as one can. The terrorists did not draw any distinction between a Jew living in east Jerusalem, the West Bank, Tel Aviv or Afula [northern Israel]. For the terrorists and their sponsors, all Jews are "settlers" and Israel is one big settlement that needs to be eliminated.

Our conflict with Israel is not about "occupation" or Jerusalem or holy sites or borders. Nor is it about poverty and poor living conditions or walls and fences and checkpoints. This conflict is really about Israel's very existence in this part of the world. The current wave of terrorism is just another phase in our dream to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. This is not an intifada. It is just another killing-spree aimed at terrorizing the Jews and forcing them to leave this part of the world. It already succeeded in the rest of the Middle East, and is now being done to the Christians as well.

The terrorists and their supporters are not struggling against a checkpoint or a wall. They want to see Israel destroyed, Jews slaughtered, and the streets of Israel running with Jewish blood.


Bassam Tawil

Source: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/6669/palestinian-terrorists

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

Watch: Arab TV Anchor Tears into Arab MKs for Inciting Violence - Ari Soffer



by Ari Soffer

Lucy Aharish, Israel's best known Arab TV anchor, unleashed a fierce condemnation of Israeli-Arab leaders and MKs for the role they are playing in stoking violence against Israeli Jews over the past several weeks.





Aharish made her comments in a Channel 2 interview on Tuesday, just hours after two deadly attacks in Jerusalem by Arab terrorists, and another two Arab-on-Jew stabbings in the central Israeli city of Ra'anana.

She accused Arab leaders of not only "keeping a horrific and deafening silence," but of actually "adding fire to the environment" and inciting further attacks.

Aharish - who herself works as a morning news anchor for Channel 2 - noted that once the dust had settled it would ultimately be Israeli Arabs who paid the price for their supposed leaders' actions.

"The second intifada took such a heavy price from Israeli Arabs, and the Palestinians. We are not learning from the mistakes," she said.

Dismissing the oft-made accusations by Israeli-Arab MKs and Islamist leaders, as well as Palestinian Arab leaders, that Israel is trying to "change the status quo" on the Temple Mount as false, she continued: "I don't understand... Even if the status quo on the Temple Mount has been broken, does that permit someone to go and murder someone else because of a holy place, or because of religion, or because, 'heaven forbid,' a Jewish person went to pray in the House of God?"

"I can't understand it or comprehend it," she continued, noting that many of the Arab MKs invoking "Al Aqsa" in inflammatory speeches aren't even religious Muslims.

"What God are they speaking of that allows for children to go out and murder innocent people?" she asked, referring to a shocking anti-Semitic stabbing spree the previous day committed by two Arab children.

"I don't understand it and I don't justify it in any way. I can't accept it. I'm not prepared to accept even excuses of 'frustration'," she added, echoing recent words by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in which he dismissed the notion that the string of attacks was linked to frustration over lack of progress in peace talks, linking it instead to Islamic extremism.

Aharish concluded by observing that the actions of Arab Israeli MKs and others demonstrated their "weakness" as leaders.

"It's so easy to go and march, and go up to Al Aqsa (Temple Mount) and scream and shout - even though you don't believe in God, you don't even have a religion... but the most important thing is to say 'it's ours!' 

"Which 'ours' are you talking about? ...It's the House of God. Yours? Do you own it? Do you have a deed of ownership? What are you talking about.

"You are inciting thousands of young people to go out into the streets. You are destroying their future with your own hands."

Aharish is just the latest Israeli-Arab figure to vent her frustration at radical Arab MKs for inciting violence, despite its negative impacts on the very constituents they are supposed to be supporting.

Last week the Arab mayor of Nazareth, Ali Salam, interrupted a live interview with Joint List leader Ayman Odeh to harangue him for "ruining" his city by driving a wedge between Arabs and Jews, in video footage which went viral.

"You have ruined this city, ruined everything! We did not have even one Jew here today, not one!" Salam screamed at a visibly shocked Odeh.

"What are giving interviews for? You have done nothing! You have destroyed the world! Get Out of here!” the angry mayor thundered at the speechless MK.


Ari Soffer

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/201942#.Vh-uVyuzdds

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

Blaming the Victims of the Palestinian Death Cult - Joseph Klein



by Joseph Klein

The international community's response to unabashed slaughtering of Jews.




Vicious attacks by Palestinians, using knives, guns and vehicles as weapons of choice against Israeli civilians, are escalating to an alarming degree. In response, the so-called “international community” is siding with the Palestinian killers and blaming the Jewish victims, despite the clear source of the violence. Spurred on by hate-filled social media postings exhorting Palestinians to go out and kill as many Jews as possible, would-be Palestinian martyrs – including women and teenagers -- set out to do just that. In two dozen violent incidents since October 1st, at least seven Israelis have been killed and scores more have been wounded.

As just one example of the incitement to violence appearing on social media, the following tweet was posted last week under the hashtag “The Intifada Has Started”: "There is no greater reward in Islam than the one given for jihad, and there is no greater reward than the one given for #Slaughtering_the_Jews... Kill them wherever you find them." (Source: The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)) 

There are also tutorials on how to most effectively stab Jews to death. For instance, in a tweet posted from an individual in Gaza under the hashtag " Poison The Knife Before You Stab," the following ghastly advice was offered: "Dip [your] knife in an active poison before carrying out [a stabbing], so that even if the knife does not manage [to kill], the poison will do the job." (Source: MEMRI)

Israel’s new ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon described in a communication to the United Nations Security Council and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon one recent horrific attack involving a 13-year-old Palestinian perpetrator and a 13-year-old Israeli victim. It may well have been the product of the call to kill Jews appearing on Palestinian social media:

“On Monday, in a particularly shocking and horrific attack, two Palestinian teenagers, one of them merely 13 years old, stabbed a 13 year old boy riding his bicycle and an Israeli man who was walking down the street. This was just one of the four attacks that took place on that day alone, three of which were carried out by minors.”

This disturbing account fell on deaf ears at the United Nations. 

When Palestinian assailants die or are injured after Israeli security forces respond to quell the violence and take down the murderous aggressors, the Palestinians are hailed as martyrs in their own communities and are excused by the “international community” for simply acting on their “frustration.” Israeli security forces are accused of using “disproportionate” force even as they themselves are attacked.

The United Nations regularly issues statements condemning the violence by both sides and calling for restraint. However, when the UN does look to assign blame, inevitably the pro-Palestinian UN bureaucracy targets Israel.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is a UN agency established back in 1949, originally as a temporary relief agency for displaced Palestinians with the objective of resettling them in communities willing to receive them. It has morphed into a permanent fixture. Its clientele today are some 5 million registered Palestine “refugees,” most of whom are descendants separated by several generations from the actual refugees who left their homes when Israel was created and who were supposed to have been resettled and integrated into their new communities. UNRWA intends to stay in business until as many of the 5 million so-called “refugees” can return “home” from Jordan where they are already citizens of that Palestinian majority country and from Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. “Home” to UNRWA and its clientele is not limited to just a new state bordering Israel along essentially the pre-1967 lines. It also means the “refugees” claimed “right of return” to lands encompassing pre-1967 Israel.

Against that backdrop, consider UNRWA’s false rationalization for the recent spurt of Palestinian violence: 

“The root causes of the conflict, among them the Israeli occupation, must be addressed. Across the occupied Palestinian territory there is a pervasive sense of hopelessness and despair resulting from the denial of rights and dignity. In the West Bank communities living under occupation feel profoundly marginalized. While in Gaza the latest demonstrations are evidence of a generation that has lost hope in the future; not least because of the lack of economic prospects -- youth unemployment is one of the highest in the world – but also because of the lack of reconstruction more than a year after the conflict. An entire generation of Palestinians is at risk.”

UNRWA condemned Israel’s response to the violence initiated by Palestinian killers. It claimed that “the high number of casualties, in particular those resulting from the use of live ammunition by Israeli forces raise serious concerns about the excessive use of force that may be contrary to international law enforcement standards.”

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are so very anxious to ingratiate themselves with the “international community,” as manifested by the United Nations. Thus, it should come as no surprise that Kerry is singing the same tune as UNRWA.  At Harvard University this past Tuesday night, Kerry complained, as he does so frequently, about the failure to negotiate a definitive two-state solution and about Israeli settlements as an obstacle to peace. This time he linked both to what he characterized as the Palestinians’ “frustration,” which he contended was what led to their resort to violence.

"What's happening is that, unless we get going, a two-state solution could conceivably be stolen from everybody," Kerry said. "And there's been a massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years, and now you have this violence because there's a frustration that is growing."

Kerry’s remarks were absurd on their face. Elliott Abrams, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C. who has served in government as a specialist in Middle East policy, went further in criticizing Kerry. He called Kerry’s remarks “morally obtuse and factually wrong.”

First of all, the issue that social media has been using to fire up the Palestinian assailants to engage in their recent attacks is not so much focused on the settlements. It involves the false rumors about alleged Israeli plans to change the status quo at the Temple Mount or, as Muslims refer to it, Haram al-Sharif. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that Israel is fully committed to maintaining the status quo at the compound. But that has not stopped exploitation of the false rumors by social media and by Palestinian leaders including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.  

Secondly, when Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and uprooted all of the settlers living there, the Palestinians failed completely to seize the opportunity to build a prototype model of a state.  Their “frustration” before Israel’s pull-out from Gaza did not give way in the least to constructive action after all the settlers and Israeli forces had left. Instead, the Palestinians squandered the opportunity in Gaza and irresponsibly rejected offers by successive Israeli governments for a peace agreement that would have given them much of what they have asked for in the West Bank. 

With regard to the settlements in the West Bank, good faith moratoriums on settlement building have been ignored by Palestinian leaders. Moreover, as Abrams pointed out, there has not been either a massive increase in the number of settlements or in settlement size. The growth in settlement population that has occurred, Abrams observed, has occurred largely “in the major blocs–such as Ma’ale Adumim–that Israel will clearly retain in any final agreement.” 

Violence is not the Palestinians’ last resort, born of frustration after seeing that nothing else has worked. It is the Palestinians’ first reflexive action in dealing with their own self-inflicted plight. The Palestinians regularly lie to the world with their propaganda campaign aimed at exonerating themselves of all responsibility and at delegitimizing the Jewish State of Israel. For the Obama administration to parrot the propaganda and join the “international community” in blaming the Jewish victims of terrorism for defending themselves is tantamount to anti-Semitism.


Joseph Klein

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/260462/blaming-victims-palestinian-death-cult%C2%A0-joseph-klein

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

Watch: Crowd Sing Israeli Anthem at Jerusalem Terror Site - Arutz Sheva Staff



by Arutz Sheva Staff

Dozens of passersby defiantly sign 'Hatikva' outside Jerusalem central bus station, following latest stabbing attack.




Dozens of defiant Jerusalemites and Israeli commuters united in defiance of Arab terrorism outside Jerusalem's central bus station Wednesday night, following the latest stabbing attack in the capital which left an elderly woman seriously injured.

The crowd - made up of religious and secular, young and old - spontaneously gathered to sing Israel's national anthem, Hatikvah ("The Hope") in an inspiring show of unity in the face of the ongoing wave of terrorism.


Arutz Sheva Staff

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/201899#.Vh-vsSuzddt

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

Kerry is mistaken - Elliott Abrams



by Elliott Abrams


The secretary of state ‎seems to believe that when  Palestinians stab Israelis, the real culprits are people ‎who build new housing units.

Secretary of State John Kerry made an unhelpful, mistaken, ill-informed comment about the ‎current wave of Palestinian violence yesterday when speaking at Harvard University.‎

"So here's the deal," Kerry said. "What's happening is that unless we get going, a two-state solution could ‎conceivably be stolen from everybody. And there's been a massive increase in settlements ‎over the course of the last years. Now you have this violence because there's a frustration ‎that is growing, and a frustration among Israelis who don't see any movement."‎

Kerry does not know what he is talking about. There has simply not been "a massive ‎increase in settlements over the course of the last years." There has been a steady growth ‎in settlement population, though the bulk of that growth is in the major blocs -- such as ‎Maaleh Adumim -- that Israel will clearly retain in any final agreement. 

Kerry's imprecision is ‎another problem. Does he mean there has been a massive increase in the number of ‎settlements? That's flatly false. Does he mean a massive increase in settlement size, as ‎existing settlements expand physically? That's also flatly false. The so-called "peace map" or ‎‎"Google Earth map" of the West Bank has changed very little.‎

The frequent Palestinian claim that Israel is "gobbling up" the West Bank so that "peace will ‎be impossible" is what Kerry is here repeating when he says "a two-state solution could ‎conceivably be stolen from everybody." It's a false claim and he should know it. If that is not ‎what Kerry meant, he should be far more careful when he speaks about such an explosive ‎topic, and at such an explosive moment.‎

Moreover, his claim is plain silly. The slow but steady growth in population in settlements is ‎a completely unpersuasive explanation for the sudden outbreak of violence. That outburst ‎of violence and terror appears linked to lies about Israel changing the status quo at the ‎Temple Mount. But whatever its explanation, the false linkage to ‎settlements is of a piece with the Obama administration's continuing obsession with that ‎subject, despite all the evidence. It's remarkable that the secretary of state, who has spent ‎so much time with Israelis and Palestinians and has visited Jerusalem repeatedly, has not ‎bothered to learn the basic facts. He is instead parroting Palestinian propaganda. 

In fact, ‎Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been under pressure and criticism from settler groups ‎because he has restrained settlement population growth beyond the security barrier. To ‎suffer those political attacks and then hear criticism from the secretary of state about a ‎‎"massive increase in settlements" helps explain the lack of confidence Israeli officials feel in ‎the Obama administration.‎

Kerry is doing something else here that is even worse: blaming the victims. The State ‎Department has of course condemned acts of terror, but here in a question and answer ‎period we get beyond official statements and see what Kerry really appears to think. He ‎seems to believe that the real culprits, when Palestinians stab Israelis to death, are people ‎who build a new housing unit in a settlement.‎

The Kerry remarks at Harvard were morally obtuse and factually wrong.‎



Elliott Abrams is a senior fellow for Middle East Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=14025

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

Haredi Soldiers Foil Two Terror Cells - Arutz Sheva Staff



by Arutz Sheva Staff

Nahal Haredi troops take large role in combating the terror wave, even as they study Rambam as part of a special program.



Haredi Netzah Yehuda soldier
Haredi Netzah Yehuda soldier
Flash 90
 
Amid the growing wave of Arab terrorism that has plagued the Jewish state in the past two weeks, haredi soldiers of the IDF's Netzah Yehuda battalion have been at the fore thwarting Arab terror attempts.

The battalion, known as the Nahal Haredi for the way it allows haredi soldiers to incorporate their lifestyle into the framework of the army, have seized 35 leading Arab rioters who posed an immediate threat to the soldiers.

In the last several days, 13 wanted terror suspects have been arrested by the haredi soldiers in the Samaria cities of Jenin and Tulkarem.

The arrested included the members and leaders of two terror cells that were planning an immediate attack against IDF forces in the region. Two were arrested early on Thursday morning in the Tulkarem area.

Aside from their courageous duty in the field, the haredi soldiers have started a special program of studies from the writings of the famous medieval scholar Rambam. The soldiers have taken on learning a chapter from Rambam's writings every day so as to complete his magnum opus "Mishneh Torah" within three years, by the time they complete their army service.

Col. (res.) Jonathan Branski, former battalion commander and current director of the Netzah Yehuda Foundation, praised the soldiers and their action under the current terror wave.

"The last days have utterly stressed the unique integration that the haredi soldiers engage in, combining their haredi lifestyle and their devotion to the security of am Yisrael (the nation of Israel) in general and particularly to the haredi public which has been a main target of this last outburst of terrorism," said Branski.


Arutz Sheva Staff

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/201960#.Vh_5Ryuzdds

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

Hillary's 'Genocide' Lie - Jack Cashill



by Jack Cashill

When the late William Safire called Ms. Clinton a “congenital liar,” he knew whereof he spoke. Her debate comments on Libya clearly reveal that mendacity is in Hillary’s DNA.

“Well, let's remember what was going on,” Hillary Clinton told Anderson Cooper Tuesday night in Las Vegas in response to his question about the bombing of Libya. “We had a murderous dictator, Qadaffi, who had American blood on his hands, as I'm sure you remember, threatening to massacre large numbers of the Libyan people.”

Before going any further, we might want to note that In April 2009, Qaddafi’s son Mutassim had a cordial meeting with Secretary of State Clinton in Washington. At that time she was apparently not too squeamish about the blood on his old man’s hands. “We deeply value the relationship between Libya and the United States,” Hillary told the press with the tall, Western-looking young man standing beside her.

Back to Las Vegas. “We had our closest allies in Europe burning up the phone lines begging us to help them try to prevent what they saw as a mass genocide, in their words,” Hillary continued with a straight face.

When the late William Safire called Ms. Clinton a “congenital liar,” he knew whereof he spoke. Mendacity is in Hillary’s DNA. There was no genocide in Libya, nothing close. Although I have written about the Libyan fiasco previously on these pages, the story bears repeating at least in part as Hillary has assumed full ownership of the genocide lie.

In his March 2011 address to the nation, Barack Obama laid out the case for America’s surprise military intervention in Libya. “We knew that if we . . .waited one more day,” said Obama, “Benghazi, a city nearly the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.”  Two days earlier in a radio address, Obama used the word “bloodbath” to describe Benghazi’s likely fate at the hand of Moammar Qadaffi. 

Less than two months before America went to war, however, Obama had not so much as mentioned this benighted country in his State of the Union address. As late as September 2009, John McCain was meeting with Qaddafi in Tripoli and describing his regime as “an important ally in the war on terrorism.” Then, just eighteen months later, Obama was asking America to believe Qaddafi was about to smear a Rwanda-sized stain on “the conscience of the world.”

If Obama did not know, Hillary certainly knew how the media would react when a Democrat president launched an unauthorized air war. In 1999, Serbian authorities were attempting to suppress an insurrection by Albanian Muslims in the Kosovo province of their fracturing nation. Like Obama, President Bill Clinton had not bothered getting congressional approval before unleashing America’s air power.

“Well, obviously, I voted, when President Clinton said, ‘let's stop ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.’ I voted for that,” bragged Senator Bernie Sanders in Tuesday night’s debate. Sorry, Bernie. There was no vote. There was no ethnic cleansing, for that matter.

To bolster public support, President Clinton and his people began a drumbeat about mass graves, ethnic cleansing, and genocide. As in Libya, there was no stated reason for this war other than to prevent genocide. The State Department’s David Scheffer was the first of many to claim a six-figure death count, specifically “upwards of about 100,000 [Islamic] men that we cannot account for" in Kosovo. President Clinton compared the work of the Serbs in Kosovo to the German “genocide” of the Jews during the Holocaust and assured America that “tens of thousands of people” had been murdered.

In the war’s wake, however, international teams could find no signs of genocide. The ethnic Albanian dead numbered in the hundreds, not in the hundreds of thousands. Spanish forensic surgeon Emilio Perez Pujol would tell the British Sunday Times that the talk of genocide was “a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda machines, because we did not find one -- not one -- mass grave.” In 2001, a United Nations court ruled, as the BBC noted, “Serbian troops did not carry out genocide against ethnic Albanians.” 

For the Libyan conflict, Alan Kuperman, a Democrat and author of The Limits of Humanitarian Intervention, did the calculations that the media refused to do. Just two weeks after the president’s address on Libya, Kuperman made the simple point, “The best evidence that Khadafy did not plan genocide in Benghazi is that he did not perpetrate it in the other cities he had recaptured.” He cited the Human Rights Watch data from Misurata, a city of 400,000 that Qaddafi’s forces had recently seized. There, in nearly two months of war, only 257 people were killed, including combatants. In Rwanda by contrast, more than 800,000 Tutsis were killed in just ninety days.

What did happen in Libya, Kuperman explained, was that rebel forces, fearing imminent defeat, faked a humanitarian crisis. On March 14, a rebel spokesman told Reuters that if Qaddafi attacked Benghazi, there would be “a real bloodbath, a massacre like we saw in Rwanda.’’ On March 21, the New York Times’ David Kirkpatrick reported, “The rebels feel no loyalty to the truth in shaping their propaganda, claiming nonexistent battlefield victories, asserting they were still fighting in a key city days after it fell to Qaddafi forces, and making vastly inflated claims of his barbaric behavior.”   

No matter, the U.S. military had already started bombing. A month later, Obama cosigned a letter claiming, “The bloodbath that he had promised to inflict on the citizens of the besieged city of Benghazi has been prevented.” In reality, the only people who promised bloodbaths were the rebel spokesmen and the Western leaders. By this time, Hillary and Obama had to know the pretext for war was false, but they would continue to pursue it for another six deadly months.

As the insurgency dragged on, the insurgents began spreading the myth that Qaddafi had been using African mercenaries. This falsehood, said the Times, “Rebels repeat as fact over and over.” Fired up by rumors of black mercenaries on Viagra-fueled rape sprees, the rebels did some ethnic cleansing on their own. Patrick Cockburn of the Independent saw the evidence up close. “Any Libyan with a black skin accused of fighting for the old regime may have a poor chance of survival,” he concluded. Hillary and Obama chose not to notice. Black lives may have mattered in Las Vegas on Tuesday, but they didn’t matter a hill of beans in Libya.

On October 20, 2011, militia members took Qaddafi prisoner, indelicately sodomized him with a knife, and captured it all on video. They then threw Qaddafi, still breathing, onto a pickup truck. When the truck pulled away, he promptly fell off. Said a giddy Obama in a Rose Garden speech about this Keystone Cops-meets-Mad Max muddle, "The dark shadow of tyranny has been lifted." In defending this nonsense, Hillary and Obama championed the victors and tried to turn Libya into a success story. This would have consequences not too far down the road.

If the major media were willing to endorse the White House narrative, Alan Kuperman was not. Writing for the Harvard Kennedy School’s International Security journal in 2013, Kuperman unspun the web of deception that the Libyan rebels and their NATO enablers had woven. “The biggest misconception about NATO’s intervention,” wrote Kuperman, “is that it saved lives and benefited Libya and its neighbors.”

In fact, Qaddafi did not attack peaceful protesters. The rebels started the violence, and Qaddafi responded. Barely six weeks after the rebellion started, Qaddafi had all but suppressed it at the cost of about one thousand lives. Then Obama authorized NATO intervention. That intervention prolonged the war seven months and cost roughly seven thousand more lives. At war’s end, rebels killed scores of the former enemy in reprisal killings and exiled some 30,000 black Africans.

During the insurrection, the Obama administration had been funneling money to Qatar to help arm Libyans rebels. As the Times reported more than a year after the fact, “The weapons and money from Qatar strengthened militant groups in Libya, allowing them to become a destabilizing force since the fall of the Qaddafi government.” After the fall of Qaddafi, these groups refused to disarm and continued to resist government authority.

In the midst of this mess, in early April 2011, American special representative Christopher Stevens arrived in Libya on board a Greek freighter. His job was to research the various groups involved in the Qaddafi opposition and report back to Washington. His bosses at State and in the White House would reward his loyalty and courage with the most disturbing lies of their relentlessly dishonest careers.

Needing to blame something for Stevens’ death other than the administration’s fatally befuddled foreign policy, Hillary Clinton sent a memo the very evening Stevens was murdered indicting “inflammatory material posted on the Internet."

Has there ever been a more mendacious major party candidate for president?


Jack Cashill

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/10/hillarys_genocide_lie.html

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

The Nuclear Deal’s True Purpose - Caroline Glick



by Caroline Glick

Obama selects his fall guys.



 
Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

It works out that US President Barack Obama’s signature diplomatic achievement, his nuclear deal with Iran, has nothing to do with preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power or even with placing restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities.
Just weeks after Obama led the international community in concluding the nuclear pact with Iran, the Iranian regime filed a complaint with the UN Security Council accusing the US of committing a material breach of the agreement.

The US action that precipitated the complaint was a statement by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest claiming that if Iran violates the deal, “the military option would remain on the table.”

In making the statement, Earnest was responding to a hypothetical question regarding what the US would do if the Iranians breached the deal.

Earnest explained that not only would the US then consider attacking Iran’s nuclear installations militarily, but that its “military option would be enhanced because we’d been spending the intervening number of years gathering significantly more detail about Iran’s nuclear program.”

“So when it comes to the targeting decisions,” he continued, “our capabilities [would be] improved, based on the knowledge that has been gained in the intervening years through this inspections regime.”

The Iranians argued that Earnest’s statement was a material breach of the nuclear agreement because under Iran’s interpretation of the deal, UN inspectors are barred from sharing sensitive information they collect during the course of their site visits.

As Tower Magazine pointed out at the time, Earnest’s remarks gave the Iranians a justification for refusing to allow UN nuclear inspectors from entering their nuclear sites. Indeed, Earnest’s remarks gave Iran a rationale for vacating its signature on the agreement.

Like the US and the other parties to the agreement, the Iranians can vacate their signature if they feel their claims against other parties’ perceived breaches of their commitments are not properly addressed by the relevant UN agencies. According to Obama, if Iran walks away from the deal, it will take the mullocracy up to a year to develop nuclear weapons.

Whereas Iran can use the deal to advance its nuclear program and then walk away, the US cannot use the deal to prevent Iran either from advancing its nuclear program or from walking away from the deal.

Sunday Iran test-fired a new ballistic missile. According to Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan, unlike the Shihab intermediate-range surface-to-surface missiles that Iran already fields, the new Emad missile is precision guided. The Wall Street Journal reported that experts assess its range at 1,300 km.

The missile test is not a violation of the agreement. Last month US Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged in a letter to Senator Marco Rubio that the deal does not restrict Iran’s ballistic missile program. Rather, Kerry claimed, Iran’s ballistic missile program is restricted by the Security Council resolution passed July 20 which calls on Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology,” for eight years.

In response to Iran’s missile test Sunday, State Department spokesman John Kirby said the US would take “appropriate actions” at the UN if the tests violated the resolution.

Unfortunately, Iran probably didn’t violate the resolution. Because whether the missile test was a violation or not is open to interpretation. Iran’s position is that the test is permitted because, it claims, it has nothing to do with its nuclear program. And because of the way Obama negotiated the nuclear deal and the Security Council resolution, Iran’s word is just as good as America’s on this score.

Moreover, even under the unlikely scenario that the administration determines that Iran’s missile test violated the Security Council resolution, such a conclusion will make no difference.

As Amir Taheri explained in The New York Post, America’s negotiating partners from the P5+1 view the nuclear deal as little more than a trade deal with Iran. Since they signed on in July, the Germans have expanded their trade with Iran 33 percent, making Germany Iran’s third largest trading partner.

Britain has lifted its restrictions on Iranian banks.

France has sent a 100-man delegation of salivating businessmen to Tehran.

China has penned an agreement to build Iran five nuclear reactors.

Russia has not only agreed to sell Iran the advanced S-300 air defense system and begun negotiating the sale of Sukhoi fighter jets, Russia has gone to war in coalition with Iran in Syria.

Other states, including India, Turkey, Austria and the UAE are all clamoring for deals in Iran. The question of whether or not Iran actually abides by the deal’s nuclear limitations is the furthest thing from anyone’s mind.

Given the circumstances, the idea that Obama’s much touted “snapback” sanctions will actually be implemented if and when Iran is caught cheating on the nuclear deal or the restrictions on its ballistic missile program is a joke.

Kerry admitted to Congress that the US has given assurances to the Russians and Chinese that in the event sanctions are re-imposed they will not jeopardize those nations’ trade with Iran.

So sanctions, which Obama himself insisted failed in the past to prevent Iran from advancing its nuclear program, cannot be reimposed, even if they are passed in the Security Council.

And they won’t be passed in the Security Council because no one on the Security Council is paying attention to whether or not Iran keeps its side of the agreement. And even if they did pay attention, and decide that Iran has breached the accord, Iran will simply walk away from the deal with little to no international response.

In his much cited article published last week about Obama’s ill-treatment of Israel during the course of his nuclear talks with Iran, ambassador Dennis Ross wrote that Obama’s commitment to preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons was never straightforward.

The issue of whether the administration would take all measures to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons or would merely seek to contain a nuclear Iran was never settled.

In a speech at a Washington synagogue last May, Obama insisted that he has a “personal stake” in ensuring the deal prevents Iran from developing nuclear weapons because “this deal will have my name on it.”

But as the deal’s substance and the behavior of the US’s negotiating partners makes clear, the purpose of the nuclear accord isn’t to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It is to get Obama off the hook and place the deal’s opponents in the dock.

By giving Iran the right to walk away whenever it claims the US has breached the deal, Obama has ensured that Iran will walk away, and has given himself the means to blame the Republicans for the deal’s failure.

Just as the Iranians used Earnest’s statement as a reason for leaving the deal, so they should be expected to use any limitation the US places on implementing the deal as a means to vacate their signature and walk away.

Last week we learned that aspects of the US ’s commitments to Iran under the deal are illegal under US law. If the Republican Congress tries to force Obama to obey the law (that he himself signed), Obama will blame the Republicans when the Iranians respond by abandoning the deal. If the Republicans try to impose new sanctions on Iran because Iran breaches its commitments, then Iran can leave the deal.

And Obama will blame the Republicans.

What this means for Republicans is clear enough.

They must recognize the deal for what it really is – a political tool to weaken them, not Iran. Once they understand what is going on, they must refuse to fall into the trap Obama set for them. Republican[s] mustn’t worry about whether or not Iran vacates its signature. It is the deal, not any action they may take, that ensures Iran will walk away.

Moreover, Republicans – and the deal’s Democratic opponents – must refuse to shoulder the blame when Iran acts as expected and walks away.

Obama negotiated a deal that guarantees Iran will become a nuclear power and prevents the US from taking steps, in the framework of the deal, to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Obama didn’t do this because he is a bad negotiator. He did this because his goal was never to prevent Iran from developing atomic bombs and delivery mechanisms. His goal was always to blame Republicans (and Israel) for what he had to power to prevent, but had no interest in preventing.



Caroline Glick is the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Israel Security Project and the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post. For more information on Ms. Glick's work, visit carolineglick.com.

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/260458/nuclear-deals-true-purpose-caroline-glick

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

Al Nusra Atrocities against Syrian Druze Belie Its Rebranding - Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi



by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi


Al Nusra's treatment of Syrian Druze rivals the brutality ISIS has inflicted on Yezidis, Kurds, and other minorities.

Originally published under the title "Druze Clues: Al Nusra's Rebranding and What It Means for Syria."



Syria's Druze community has borne the brunt of Al Nusra sectarian killings and forced conversions.
The market for extremism has been so disrupted by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (also known as ISIS) and its penchant for extraordinary brutality that even a group as notorious as al Qaeda is now able to reposition—or, one might say, rebrand—itself. In Syria, al Qaeda has tried to paint itself as a more reasonable jihadist force with which other rebels on the ground and outside states can cooperate.

One indication of al Qaeda's success in this regard is that its Syrian affiliate group, Jabhat al Nusra, now openly receives financial and other material support from major U.S. allies, an arrangement that would have been unthinkable four years ago. Al Nusra plays a critical role in Jaysh al Fatah, the rebel coalition fighting against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad in northern Syria. Jaysh al Fatah, in turn, is backed by Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. (The United States and other Western countries are more suspicious of the coalition and find regional powers' decisions to back it alarming, but they have not gone out of their way to end the support.) Despite the more reasonable face that al Nusra has tried to show the world, its treatment of the Druze of Idlib province is little better than the brutality ISIS has inflicted on Yezidis, Kurds, and other minorities unfortunate enough to find themselves within their reach.

Al Nusra's treatment of Syrian Druze rivals the brutality ISIS has inflicted on Yezidis, Kurds, and other minorities.
There are several reasons al Nusra has been able to curry favor with regional governments despite its treatment of minority groups. For one, Sunni states' competition with Iran looms as their greatest concern, leading them to support an organization that has been effective at weakening the Iran-allied Assad regime even if its behavior is otherwise concerning. In addition, whereas ISIS is eager to fight every actor and state that falls short of its extreme ideals, al Nusra has skillfully integrated itself into the anti-Assad forces, making it appear as a more organic part of the landscape. Further, even if al Nusra doesn't do the right things with respect to protecting minorities, it is at least willing to say some of the right things, in contrast to ISIS' open brutality. Finally, whereas ISIS has embarked on a campaign of mass slaughter and brutality against religious minorities, al Nusra has instead favored reeducation and forced conversion. But the group's endgame is the same: to extinguish disfavored religious minorities (those who are not eligible for the status of dhimmis, or protected—albeit subjugated—minority groups).

Going Mainstream



Al Jazeera broadcast a fawning interview with Al Nusra emir Abu Muhammad al-Julani in May 2015.
As early as July 2014, al Qaeda emir Ayman al-Zawahiri issued a directive to Abu Muhammad al-Julani, al Nusra's emir, ordering him to improve its ties with the Syrian population and other rebel factions. These decrees codified, to some extent, al Nusra's preexisting strategy of collaboration with other Syrian rebel groups and ingratiating itself with the Syrian population rather than dominating it.

The group's implementation of sharia law has been relatively gradual in the areas that it has come to control, and al Nusra's preference for fighting with partners and as part of coalitions is designed to ease locals' fears about their intentions. For example, in March 2015, al Nusra and several other prominent rebel groups, including the hard-line Salafi organization Ahrar al Sham, formed the Jaysh al Fatah coalition. The group's preference for working with coalition partners and its behavior following its victories are designed to signal that al Nusra is open to sharing power with other organizations. After Jaysh al Fatah captured Idlib city, Julani stated that al Nusra would not "strive to rule the city or to monopolize it without others." This approach allowed al Nusra to amass considerable public support, even though there were a few periods in which it got caught up in infighting with other rebels.

Al Nusra has worked to ingratiate itself into the Syrian opposition and appear more moderate to an international audience.
Since Zawahiri's last decree earlier this year, al Nusra has worked to further ingratiate itself into the Syrian opposition while making itself appear more moderate to an international audience. In March 2015, the Qatari channel Al Jazeera aired an interview with Abu Sulayman al-Muhajir, an Australian cleric who is also one of the organization's top religious officials. Muhajir compared al Nusra to ISIS, stating that his organization's primary goal was to topple Assad and to "restore the right of the Muslim people to choose their leaders independently." Al Jazeera also conducted a rather fawning interview with Julani, who also asserted that al Nusra's sole goal was to topple the Assad regime. The interview created the impression that al Nusra was willing to protect religious minorities; Julani promised that his fighters would target neither the Druze nor the Alawite (although he did say that the Alawite would have to renounce elements of their faith that contradicted Islam, which Al Jazeera's English-language reporting omitted).

Besides the Al Jazeera interviews, most of al Nusra's efforts to take itself into the mainstream have been on the ground in Syria, through its cooperation with other rebel groups. Keen observers of the Syrian conflict have recognized the effort to legitimize al Nusra within the Syrian opposition. "The slow 'mainstreaming' of Jabhat al Nusra thanks in no small part to Al Jazeera will haunt Syria and its people for a long time," said Emile Hokayem, Senior Fellow for Middle East Security at International Institute for Strategic Studies, via Twitter. The Lebanon-based anti-Assad Druze politician Walid Jumblatt has been one of al Nusra's most visible supporters, frequently telling the media that they should not be seen as terrorists.

ISIS itself has even helped to foster the view that al Nusra is a more moderate group that would protect religious minorities; in the tenth issue of Dabiq, ISIS' English-language magazine, it published a withering attack on the organization. A generic photo of the Druze in Dabiq was captioned "The wretched Druze, an apostate sect under the protection of the Julani front." It was followed by a lengthy screed about how the Druze and other "apostate" sects cannot be afforded the second-class dhimmi status given to Jews and Christians. Dabiq likewise took al Nusra's apology for a June 2015 massacre in one of the Druze villages in Idlib as indicative of the group's protection of the sect. "So according to the Julani front and their allies, spilling the blood of the apostate and treacherous Druze is oppression!" the publication thundered. Al Nusra has not directly responded to ISIS' attack on its policies toward the Druze.

It might appear that al Nusra straddles two identities: one is a rebel group fighting the Assad regime in Syria, and the other is an al Qaeda affiliate and a proponent of religious extremism. But there is, in reality, more harmony between these two priorities than might initially be evident. Ever since the defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq (the affiliate that would later become ISIS), top al Qaeda commanders have explored how to repair the organization's reputation. They appear to have settled for trying to be seen as fulfilling the aspirations of various local groups. In a letter from an unknown al Qaeda official to the affiliate al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the official criticized al Qaeda in Iraq for killing tribesmen and inciting a rebellion and stressed the importance of gaining public support, noting that "people's support to the mujahidin is as important as the water for fish." In a May 2010 letter, former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden himself proposed commencing a "new phase" in al Qaeda's operations that would "regain the trust of a large portion of those who had lost their trust in the Mujahidin." He emphasized minimizing Muslim casualties and directing affiliates to exert caution when civilians could be harmed, and he also urged a new media strategy.

ISIS' unchecked atrocities make al Nusra and al Qaeda appear more reasonable.
As the Arab Spring brought sweeping changes to the Middle East and North Africa, al Qaeda has been able to put their plan to rebrand into action. In September 2013, Zawahiri released a document entitled "General Guidelines for Jihad" that made public al Qaeda's new, population-centric approach. Zawahiri instructed affiliates to minimize violent conflict with Shiites and non-Muslims in order to prevent local uprisings and to abstain from attacks that could result in Muslim civilian casualties. And though ISIS' rise has been a disaster for al Qaeda in many respects, al Qaeda's rebranding campaign has benefited from the new group's emergence because ISIS' unchecked atrocities make al Qaeda appear more reasonable.

In other words, rather than trying to carry out two incompatible missions, al Nusra's activities in Syria fundamentally advance al Qaeda's long-standing desire to be seen in a new light. Indeed, today Syria is perhaps the foremost testing ground for al Qaeda's rebranding strategy.

Old Wine in New Bottles

But despite al Nusra's softened image, its brutality toward the Druze is clear. The Druze in Idlib inhabit a region known as Jabal al-Summaq, over which al Nusra gained control in the summer of 2014. Al Nusra's emir for the area, Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Tunisi, forced the Druze to issue a statement from representatives of the various villages agreeing to renounce their religion. This was the second such statement that the Druze were compelled to issue, with the first coming when ISIS had control over Jabal al-Summaq. In the statement, the Druze agreed to allow their shrines to be leveled, to abide by al Nusra's regulations on public morality, and to submit to lessons on Islamic doctrine and jurisprudence.



Some of the Druze villagers slaughtered by al Nusra on June 10, 2015 in the village of Qalb Lawze.
In June, al Nusra militants slaughtered 20 Druze villagers in the Idlib village of Qalb Lawze. The incident received plenty of media attention, and al Nusra issued an apology—but nowhere does the statement refer to the Druze. Indeed, al Nusra's public rhetoric suggests that it views the process of coerced conversion codified in the Druze leaders' public renunciation as a fait accompli. The statement of apology affirms that "since the beginning of the conflict in the land of Sham, [Jabhat al Nusra] has not directed its weapons against anyone except those gangs from the criminal Nusayri army, deviant Khawarij, and corrupt factions, who transgressed and assaulted the lives and honor of the Muslims." Nusayri is a derogatory term for Alawites, in this context referring to Assad's Alawite-dominated army. Khawarij, originally meaning a sect in early Islamic history notorious for its extremism, is now a standard Sunni rebel term for ISIS. From al Nusra's perspective, this language, which does not mention the Druze sect at all, makes sense: the Druze of Jabal al-Summaq, after undergoing two separate renunciations of their faith, are no longer Druze in their view. The coerced renunciations of their faith have made them Sunnis.

Following the massacre, al Nusra appointed a new emir for the area, Abu Qatada al-Iraqi (not to be confused with ISIS' emir in Mosul). Iraqi began his term by delivering a speech at a mosque in Kaftin. In a recording of the speech, he does not mention the June massacre at all but focuses instead on what is seen as the real problem: lack of proper observance of sharia. Although this is a common complaint by jihadists attempting to force citizens to conform to hard-line religious law, the problem may be particularly acute in Jabal al-Summaq because the Druze had been compelled to "convert" to begin with.

Al Nusra's atrocities against Syrian Druze belie its efforts to portray itself as more moderate.
"In the area recently there has been some neglect in the realm of sharia dress," said Iraqi. He vowed that "if we see any woman displaying her adornment and unveiled, we will detain her husband, but if she is not married, we will detain her siblings or father. . . All must embrace sharia dress." He also called on locals to refrain from shirk (idolatrous practices) and observe the closure of shops during prayer time. For any inquiries on adherence to sharia, Iraqi said locals could consult him in his base in "Qalb al-Islam, Qalb Lawze previously." (The Islamized renaming of Qalb Lawze mentioned in Iraqi's speech comes amid demographic shifts, with an influx of Syrian Turkmen into the village.)

Although al Nusra has been attempting to portray itself as a more moderate jihadist group, its treatment of the Druze belies these efforts. Although al Nusra is capable of appearing moderate in comparison with ISIS, the latter group is a particularly poor point of comparison.

Unfortunately, al Nusra's mistreatment of the Druze and other religious minorities is unlikely to undermine its rebranding campaign or the efforts of the broader al Qaeda organization to reposition itself. Indeed, al Qaeda's rebranding may be an issue that observers wake up to only after they have lost the ability to stop it and are left dealing with a world where the jihadist organization has far more ability to operate than it did before the Arab Spring. Yet al Nusra's determination to stamp out non-dhimmi religious minorities in Syria demonstrates that al Qaeda's intentions remain unchanged, even if the group is making its tactics more palatable to the masses.


Daveed Gartenstein-Ross is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, CEO of the consulting firm Valens Global, and an adjunct assistant professor at Georgetown University. 
Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi is a research fellow at Middle East Forum's Jihad Intel project.

Source: http://www.meforum.org/5561/al-nusra-druze

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