Analysis of the Israeli PM’s Speech: Vintage Netanyahu

Netanyahu always places the focus first and foremost on security; He sees his historic role as leader of Israel not necessarily as being the one who will bring peace.

Watch the full speech here:

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The Jerusalem Post (Sep 30) — Netanyahu stood on the world’s grandest stage on Monday and delivered three key messages: Israel’s fight is your fight, the time has come to retire the 20-year-old template of direct negotiations with the Palestinians as the path to peace, and that his main historic role is to defend the Jewish state.

The speech was vintage Netanyahu. It had passion, it had soaring rhetorical flourishes, it had sarcasm. It even had a contemporary reference to retiring New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter.

And, finally, it had an appraisal of how Netanyahu views his role as a leader.

Toward the end of the speech, Netanyahu said that some in the world do not take Israel’s security concerns seriously.

“But I do, and I always will,” he said. “Because as prime minister of Israel I am entrusted with the awesome responsibility of ensuring the future of the Jewish people and the future of the Jewish state. And no matter what pressure is brought to bear, I will never waiver in fulfilling that responsibility.”

That theme has been woven more than anything else through all of Netanyahu’s major addresses. Some leaders, like Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Olmert, saw their ultimate role as being a peacemaker, and emphasized that in their keynote addresses.

Not Netanyahu. He always places the focus first and foremost on security. He sees his historic role as leader of Israel not necessarily as being the one who will bring peace, but rather the one who will ensure the country’s security, even if it means taking positions unpopular around the world to do so. One such position may be his signal Monday that he now prefers partnership with the Arab world as a way to reach some kind of accommodation with the Palestinians, rather than negotiations and peace with the Palestinians as the ticket to rapprochement with the Arab world.

In the role he envisions for himself as the defender of the Jewish people and the Jewish state, Netanyahu sees it as his responsibility to sound the warning loudly and clearly about the incoming storms.

He did that in his addresses to the UN in 2012 and 2013, focusing on Iran, and he did it again Monday.

This time the storm had two names: Iran and militant Islamic radicalism.

Knowing full well the world in which he lives, Netanyahu tried to draw parallels between Islamic State, which has the world up in arms, with the Islamic state of Iran, which he fears the world is willing to give a pass. Though there might be differences in their theological approach, he stressed, the aim is the same: world domination.

Netanyahu sees it as his role to shout from the mountain tops about the incoming storms. And he artfully shouted about them Monday at the UN. And if the world does not heed his warnings, he had another message as well – one that also always props up in his keynote addresses: Israel will always defend itself, by itself, against any threat.

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Netanyahu at the UN: Arab world beginning to see common interests with Israel

Netanyahu at UN

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds up a photograph as he addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly. (Photo: Reuters)

The Jerusalem Post (Sep 29) —  Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the UN general assembly on Monday in New York and warned the crowd of the threat of radical militant Islam.

He said that the Arab world, for the first time, was beginning to recognize the benefit in aligning themselves with Israel and seeing they have a common enemy.

He also said that he is willing to make a “historic compromise” with the Palestinians.

The prime minister spoke in his speech of the correlation between Hamas and ISIS, saying the two are “branches from the same poisonous tree.”

He warned that the escalation of the radical groups is similar to that of the Nazi’s and continued to warn about Iran, saying that Iran is not actually willing to give up nuclear weapons, rather just wants to get rid of the sanctions against them.

Netanyahu then spoke about Operation Protective Edge, saying that the IDF is the most moral army in the world.

Netanyahu said that Israel “faced a propaganda war because in an attempt to gain sympathy, Hamas used human shields, homes and hospitals to fire rockets at Israel while Israel surgically struck military targets.”

He said that Israel took steps to minimize civilian casualties and that “Palestinians were tragically and unintentionally killed. Israel was not targeting citizens.”

Prior to leaving for the US on Sunday, Netanyahu said that his speech would “deflect all the lies about us, and tell the truth about the heroic soldiers of the IDF, the most moral army in the world.”

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Priest tells UNHRC to ‘end witch hunt’ of Israel

Israeli Arab Father Gabriel Naddaf says the Jewish state ‘is the only place where Christians in the Middle East are safe’

Father-Naddaf-Speech-PhotoTimes of Israel (Sep 23) — Greek Orthodox priest from Israel defended the Jewish state before the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday, arguing that it is the only country in the Middle East where Christians are not persecuted, and imploring the 47 member nations to “end your witch hunt of the only free country in the region.”

“In the Middle East today, there is one country where Christianity is not only not persecuted, but affectionately granted freedom of expression, freedom of worship and security,” Father Gabriel Naddaf said.

“It is Israel, the Jewish state. Israel is the only place where Christians in the Middle East are safe.”

According to Naddaf, some 120,000 Christians have been killed each year in the Middle East for the last decade. “That means that every five minutes a Christian is killed because of his faith,” he said. “Those who can escape persecution at the hands of Muslim extremists have fled. Those who remain, exist as second- if not third-class citizens to their Muslim rulers.”

Naddaf, who heads the Greek Orthodox Church in Yafia near Nazareth, maintained it “is time the world woke up to the fact that those who want to destroy the Jewish state are signing the death warrant on the last free Christians in the Holy Land.

“Leaders of people, seekers of peace, end your witch hunt of the only free country in the region,” he added.

Naddaf was brought to Geneva to testify on the plight of Christian minorities by The Face of Israel, a public diplomacy organization that’s affiliated with the Foreign Ministry.

Naddaf has become a controversial figure in Israel since joining the Forum for Drafting the Christian Community in October 2012 and for openly calling on Israel Christians to serve in the IDF. His activities have drawn criticism from Arab MKs as well as threats against his family.

In December 2013, his son was assaulted and hospitalized because of his father’s views.

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Israel says Iran used Parchin military site for testing nuclear detonation technology

Reuters (Sep 24) —  Israel said on Wednesday that Iran has used its Parchin military base as the site for secret tests of technology that could be used only for detonating a nuclear weapon.

The Jewish state has been a severe critic of six big powers’ negotiations with Iran on restraining its nuclear program, suspecting Tehran is only trying to buy time to master sensitive nuclear know-how and would evade the terms of any final deal.

The Islamic Republic says allegations that it is seeking a nuclear weapons capability are false and baseless. Tehran says it is Israel’s assumed atomic arsenal that is a destabilizing threat to the Middle East.

A statement from Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, issued a day before Iranian President Hassan Rouhani – the architect of Tehran’s diplomacy with the big powers – was to address the UN General Assembly, said internal neutron sources such as uranium were used in nuclear implosion tests at Parchin.

Israel, his statement said, based its information on “highly reliable information,” without elaborating.

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U.S. and Arab aircraft attack oil refineries seized by Islamic State in Syria

iraqsyriaisisstrikesWashington Post (Sep 25) — The U.S. military and two Arab allies on Wednesday bombarded a dozen small-scale oil refineries in eastern Syria as part of an expanding campaign to cut off key sources of financing and fuel for the Islamic State, according to the Pentagon.

U.S. fighter jets and drones, alongside warplanes from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, struck the refineries in remote parts of the Syrian desert one day after a larger wave of airstrikes targeted Islamic State training sites, ammunition depots and command centers in the country, U.S. military officials said. Wednesday’s operation was part of a broader strategy to sever supply lines and transportation corridors connecting Islamic State strongholds in Syria and Iraq, the officials said.

The Islamic State is estimated to produce between 25,000 and 40,000 barrels of oil a day, earning as much as $1 million a day, according to industry experts.

The attacks on the refineries came on a day when U.S. military forces reported hitting an Islamic State convoy in Syria near the Iraqi border and Syrian opposition groups reported heavy bombardment in areas near Turkey. American planes also carried out five airstrikes in Iraq, U.S. officials said.

Islamic State fighters are waging a two-front war in Iraq and Syria, seeking to expand the boundaries of their self-declared caliphate, or state ruled by strict Islamic law. The group is accused of widespread atrocities in both countries and the beheadings of at least three Western hostages.

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Islamic State Steps Up Propaganda After Strikes, Urges Lone-Wolf Attacks

ISIL fighters in a parade in Mosul / AP

ISIL fighters in a parade in Mosul / AP

Free Beacon (Sep 24) — The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) has stepped up propaganda operations following Monday’s U.S.-led airstrikes against the group in Syria.

An audiotape of an ISIL spokesman urges supporters to conduct unorganized “lone-wolf” attacks against Americans and others involved in the raids.

And ISIL released a new propaganda video showcasing ISIL warfighting that appears aimed at winning supporters.

The chief spokesman for the al Qaeda offshoot group, Shaykh Abu Muhammad al Adnani, issued a statement ridiculing Monday’s airstrikes against ISIL in Syria.

“Is this all you are capable of doing in this campaign of yours? Are America and all its allies unable to come down to the ground?” Adnani said in an audio message posted online.

Adnani also urged its backers to kill civilians, especially Americans, French nationals, and nationals of other countries that took part in the bombing raids in Syria.

“If you can kill an American or European infidel specifically French, Australian, or Canadian or other infidels from the allied countries who are fighting the Islamic State, put your trust in God and kill him in any way or manner whatsoever,” he stated.

“Whether the infidel was civilian or military, it is the same, kill him.”

Adnani said ISIL forces were bolstered by the capture of American-made military gear taken from Iraqi forces that fled rather than fight the group during its takeover of large parts of central Iraq beginning in June.

“Send arms and equipment to your agents and dogs … send them very much, for it will end up as war booty in our hands,” he said. “Look at your armored vehicles, machinery, weapons, and equipment. It is in our hands. … We fight you with it.”

The ISIL spokesman urge the West to send ground forces and warned “you will pay the price when your sons are sent to wage war against us and they return to you as disabled amputees, or inside coffins, or mentally ill.”

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Fatah rocket production in full swing in Gaza

Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades show off munitions factory replenishing missile stocks for future war with Israel.

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The Times of Israel (Sep 24) — Fatah’s military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, said it is producing more rockets and munitions to restock supplies that were consumed during the summer war in the Gaza Strip.

Last week, a reporter from Russia’s RT television network was given a tour of a rocket manufacturing site somewhere in the Gaza Strip. A video of the visit, with English subtitles, was published on YouTube by Palestinian Media Watch on Monday.

The RT reporter met with masked Fatah workers who were seen mixing rocket fuel and explosives in a saucepan heated with an open gas burner. In the small, windowless, facility, several rockets and mortars bombs could seen stacked up against a wall decorated with a poster featuring former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

“We are preparing and developing rockets in the productions division of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades,” one of the workers told the reporter. “During the last war we fired rockets at the Zionist enemy, we have notified the enemy that we have many more [rockets]. We have also successfully developed the K-132 rocket, which is here beside me.”

It was not clear whether the reference to a K-132 rocket indicted a new weapon or one that has already by fired at Israel in the past.

Fatah is the party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, though its armed wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, has been designated a terrorist organization by Israel, the US and the European Union for carrying out attacks against Israeli civilians.

In July, Fatah’s armed wing in Gaza joined Hamas and Islamic Jihad in firing rockets at Israel during the seven-week-long Operation Protective Edge.

Over 4,500 rockets were fired at Israel’s towns and cities during the conflict, which ended with a ceasefire signed on August 26. The IDF launched intensive airstrikes at rocket launching sites and production facilities throughout the fighting.

Palestinian sources claimed some 2,100 people were killed in the fighting, while Israel said about half of those who died were combatants. Israeli casualties included 66 IDF soldiers and six civilians.

Israeli and Palestinian representatives are to gather in Cairo on Tuesday for talks on a long-term ceasefire agreement that the Palestinians intend to include an easing of the blockade on the coastal enclave. Israel is expected to seek steps towards disarming Hamas and reestablishing elements of Palestinian Authority control in Gaza, as well as the return of the remains of two IDF soldiers killed during the fighting.

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Accused White House Intruder to Appear in Court

0Associated Press (Sep 22) — Investigators found more than 800 rounds of ammunition, a machete and two hatchets in the car of the former soldier accused of scaling the White House fence and sprinting inside while carrying a knife, a federal prosecutor said Monday. President Barack Obama was “obviously concerned” about the weekend incident, a spokesman said.

The Secret Service increased security around the famous grounds on Pennsylvania Avenue in the nation’s capital, some guards openly holding weapons, others escorting dogs. There was talk of expanding the security zone beyond the current area as a major investigation began into the question of how the man managed to get to the building without being stopped.

On Monday evening, a temporary, second layer of fence was set up along the north side of the White House, in an apparent attempt to deter additional fence-jumping incidents

Forty-two-year-old Omar J. Gonzalez of Copperas Cove, Texas, faces charges of entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon. He had been arrested earlier in the summer in Virginia with a carful of weapons, authorities said, and a federal prosecutor said Monday in court that Gonzalez had had a map then with the White House circled.

Authorities ran into Gonzalez again, less than a month ago on Aug. 25, when he was stopped while walking along the south fence of the White House, his car parked nearby. He had a hatchet in a rear waistband but no firearms, a federal prosecutor said at Monday’s hearing. Gonzalez gave permission to search his car and was not arrested.

Friday evening, Obama and his family had left the White House for Camp David when the incident occurred. Gonzalez was seized just inside the building’s front door. No guns were found in his car.

In court, Gonzalez, with a gray beard, a shaved head and dressed in a standard prison orange jumpsuit, listened impassively as the prosecutor spoke. He could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted of illegally entering a restricted area with a dangerous weapon.

The Army said he served from 1997 until his discharge in 2003, and again from 2005 to December 2012, when he retired due to disability.

Obama, asked about the incident at the White House, said, “The Secret Service does a great job, and I’m grateful for the sacrifices that they make on my behalf — and my family’s behalf.”

But spokesman Josh Earnest said the president was “obviously concerned” about what had happened.

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Iranians Behind ‘Happy’ Video Sentenced to 6 Months in Jail, 91 Lashes

They were sentenced to jail and lashes because in Iran it’s 1) illegal for women to be out in public without a headscarf and 2) it’s illegal for women to dance with men. What a great country that the West totally believes while negotiating over nuclear weapons.

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The Independent (Sep 20) — A group of seven Iranian men and women who created and starred in their own version of a video for Pharrell Williams’ song ‘Happy’ have each been given suspended sentences of prison time and 91 lashes.

The fun-loving friends were arrested in May after posting their homemade music video ‘Happy in Tehran’ to YouTube.

They were forced to publicly confess and apologise on national television before being released on bail, with police chief Hossein Sajedinia warning others that the video was “a vulgar clip” which “hurt public chastity”.

Their lawyer Farshid Rofugaran told English-language Iranian news outlet IranWire that six of the group were yesterday given six months in prison and 91 lashes, while a seventh – the Director of the video – was also given 91 lashes but one year in jail. The sentences are suspended for three years.

“A suspended sentence becomes null and void after a certain period of time,” he said.

“When it’s a suspended sentence, the verdict is not carried out, but if during this period a similar offense is committed, then the accused is subject to legal punishment and the suspended sentence will then be carried out as well.”

The announcement of the arrests earlier this year drew widespread criticism and even led to Pharrell Williams tweeting that it was “beyond sad these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness”.

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Survey: 69 Percent of Americans Support Using U.S. Troops to Prevent Iran From Getting Nukes

Iran's second nuclear reactor in the Bushehr province / AP

Iran’s second nuclear reactor in the Bushehr province / AP

Free Beacon (Sep 19) — A majority of Americans continue to say they want the United States to assume an active role in global affairs after more than a decade of wars in the Middle East, according to a new survey released this week.

Sixty-nine percent of Americans said they would back the deployment of U.S. troops to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Large majorities also favored actions that do not typically involve ground troops, such as air strikes or drone strikes against suspected terrorists, as well as sending U.S. forces to prevent genocide or provide humanitarian relief.

The survey by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs found that 58 percent of Americans “think it will be best for the future of the country if we take an active part in world affairs.” That number has remained high throughout 40 years of polling by the Chicago Council, though it has dipped since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

More than eight in 10 Americans said strong U.S. leadership in world affairs is desirable.

The recent survey pushes back against the narrative that “war-weary” Americans are increasingly inclined to withdraw from the world after years of conflict overseas. Some commentators suggested that a Pew Research Center poll from July 2013—in which 46 percent of Americans said the United States “should mind its own business internationally,” the highest in 50 years of polling—provided evidence of a new isolationism among the public.

“It’s clear that Americans are fatigued by a decade of war, but describing them as isolationist is misleading,” said Ambassador Ivo H. Daalder, president of the Chicago Council, in a statement. “They understand that we live in a dangerous world, and that our safety and security will at times require a resort to arms. When that clearly is the case, Americans will support using force.”

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Hamas TV Just Can’t Seem to Get Enough of That Jews-Use-Christian-Blood-for-Matzo Theme

TheBlaze (Sep 19) — A Hamas spokesman this summer claimed that Jews use Christian blood to make traditional unleavened matzo bread for the holiday of Passover. Now, a Jordanian politician is circulating the same slur which was used widely as a pretext to persecute Jews during the Middle Ages.

The Middle East Media Research Institute posted a video clip showing former Jordanian parliament member Sheik Abd Al-Mun’im Abu Zant repeating the accusation on Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV last week, and even took it up a notch by accusing Jews of using Muslim blood as well.

“One could go on forever about the deceptiveness of the Jews,” Abu Zant said. “They are liars. They allow cannibalism, and the eating of human flesh.”

“Check their Talmud and religious sources. On their religious holidays, if they cannot find a Muslim to slaughter, and use drops of his blood to knead the matzos they eat, they slaughter a Christian in order to take drops of his blood, and mix it into the matzos that they eat on that holiday,” he said according to MEMRI’s translation.

Though the Jordanian politician claimed to have a knowledge of the Jewish religion, in fact, according to the Bible, Jews are strictly forbidden from consuming blood.

To abide by the mandate in Leviticus 7:26-27, “And you shall not eat any blood of fowl or beast in any of your dwelling places. Whoever eats any blood that soul will be cut off from his people,” observant Jews meticulously wash any meat to remove the blood and examine each egg to ensure there is no trace of blood before cooking.

Abu Zant went on to say, “We have to understand the true nature of the Jews, because the entire world is deceived and tormented by them. The Holy Koran has revealed their true nature, as expressed by our masters, the prophets.”

The “Jews use Christian blood for matzos” theme gained attention over the summer when Osama Hamdan, spokesman the terrorist group Hamas, refused to retract his promotion of the slanderous accusation in an interview with Wolf Blitzer.

Hamdan maintained that he didn’t “have a problem with” Jews, telling CNN, “I’ve said in the same — in the same occasion, that we don’t have a problem with the Jews as Palestinians and as Muslims, we don’t have problems with Jews.”

On his radio program in August, Glenn Beck mocked the Hamas blood accusation, using red syrup, waffles and pancakes as props.

Here is an excerpt of the Jordanian politician interview courtesy of MEMRI:

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Understanding Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi And The Phenomenon Of The Islamic Caliphate State

By: Y. Carmon, Y. Yehoshua, and A. Leone for MEMRI (The Middle East Media Research Institute) (Sep 14)

Introduction

The successive atrocities committed by the Islamic State (IS, previously called the Islamic State in Iraq and Al-Sham – ISIS) have diverted the discussion away from an understanding of this organization’s political program, creating the erroneous impression that it is simply a more vicious version of Al-Qaeda. According to this view, this organization presumably intends to attack the West by means of its foreign militants who hold Western passports and could return to Western countries to carry out terror attacks – and hence it is paramount to destroy the IS forthwith. Saudi King ‘Abdallah bin ‘Abd Al-‘Aziz promoted this approach when he said that he was certain that those jihadists “would arrive in Europe within a month and in America within two months”.[1]

This report seeks to clarify the IS’s doctrine based on the organization’s official writings and speeches by its leaders. It will argue that, unlike Al-Qaeda, the IS places priority not on global terrorism, but rather on establishing and consolidating a state, and hence it defers the clash with the West to a much later stage. In this, it is emulating and reenacting the early Islamic model.

Unlike Al-Qaeda, IS Prioritizes State-Building

Although the IS and global jihad organizations affiliated with Al-Qaeda share similar beliefs about the necessity to wage jihad for the sake of Allah and establish a caliphate where Islamic shari’a law will be instated, a major distinction exists between them in terms of the order of priorities for implementing these major goals. Whereas in Al-Qaeda, emphasis is on worldwide jihad prior to the declaration of the yearned-for Islamic caliphate (see Osama bin Laden’s February 23, 1998 declaration of jihad against the Crusaders and the Jews), IS doctrine is characterized by prioritizing the establishment and consolidation of the caliphate state as the immediate and overriding objective.[2] This objective is presented by the IS leaders as a matter of survival[3] that warrants making compromises dictated by reality, the major compromise being deferral of the struggle with the West to a distant future. In other words, the IS’ doctrine under Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi explicitly puts off the clash with the West to different times, and concentrates in the immediate term on the region where the Islamic caliphate is being established.[4] The IS’s English-language magazine Dabiqsays that the Islamic State “is a marvel of history that has only come about to pave the way for al-Malhamah al-Kubra [the grand battle against the Crusaders at the End of Days].”[5]

Furthermore, Al-Baghdadi’s vision of the Islamic state is modeled on ancient Islamic history, and therefore does not descend to the level of wallowing in contemporary Middle East politics and struggles. Hence, it addresses political issues such as the Palestinian national struggle quite marginally, and even postpones them to the End of Days era as well.[6]

In the current stage, the IS is concentrating on consolidating its rule in the parts of Iraq and Syria it has already conquered, and on expanding its rule in these countries, beginning with areas where there is a Sunni majority.[7] The next stage will be conquering the bordering Muslim states.[8] The second issue of Dabiq cites a reliable hadith of the Prophet that precisely defines the organization’s order of priorities following the establishment of the state – first Saudi Arabia, then Iran and ultimately “Rome”:[9] “You will invade the Arabian Peninsula, and Allah will enable you to conquer it. You will then invade Persia, and Allah will enable you to conquer it. You will then invade Rome, and Allah will enable you to conquer it. Then you will fight the Dajjal, and Allah will enable you to conquer him.”[10] In his declaration of the caliphate, IS spokesman Abu Muhammad Al-‘Adnani stated that the area from which the caliphate will expand is the region presently under Al-Baghdadi’s rule, extending “from Aleppo to Diyala”.[11] …

Pursuing A State As A First Priority, Even At The Cost Of Compromises – Emulating The Strategy Of Muhammad

In his approach that prioritizes the consolidation of the Islamic State over an all-encompassing battle with Islam’s enemies, Al-Baghdadi is emulating the Prophet Muhammad – the ultimate Islamic role model.[21] The Prophet, while displaying cruelty in battle ­– cruelty mirrored by the IS – put off battles with his enemies and integrated compromises and tactical agreements in his policy, in order to gather strength prior to renewing action to obtain his ultimate goals.[22] The IS, ruling from its informal capital in Syria’s Al-Raqqa, conducts itself in a similar manner, enforcing the laws of the shari’a while selling oil to Europe via the black market.[23]

Assessing The Threat Posed By The Islamic State To The West

The IS’s ideology, discourse and conduct thus demonstrate that terror attacks in the West are at the bottom of its order of priorities. However, it is equally clear that, once the near and immediate enemy has been defeated, the West’s turn will arrive. Moreover, if allowed to implement its strategy of stages, upon reaching the third stage, the stage of war against the West, the Islamic state will no longer marshal only a few thousand fighters riding pickup trucks. Instead, it is likely to command a wide range of modern military assets, possibly including planes, guided missiles, and chemical weapons or some other kind of WMD. Therefore, postponing the clash with the West serves the IS’ interests rather than the West’s (which is precisely why it opts to postpone it in the first place).[24]

Furthermore, while the threat of terror in the West is not part of the IS’s immediate agenda, the threat to Western interests in the Middle East, for instance in the Gulf States, Yemen, and Jordan, materializes in the second stage, a good deal before the millenarian battles…

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The Shocking Display Seen at NYC’s Muslim Day Parade

TheBlaze (Sep 16) — New York City’s Madison Avenue was the site of the 29th annual Muslim Day Parade on Sunday. Last year’s Muslim Day Parade sparked some controversy as the black flags of jihad were spotted along the parade route. According to reports from a couple of sources, no black flags or flags from the Islamic State were on display.

However, that does not mean the parade was without controversy.

A marching band from the NYPD and a contingent of New Jersey Girl Scouts in Muslim attire kicked off the event. The streets were filled with flag-waving marchers, pro-Islam floats and a demonstration of a hanging.

That’s right, a hanging:

Hanging-close-up[1]

The “float” was really a crude display in the bed of a pickup truck adorned with the yellow and black R4BIA “Free Egypt” symbol that has been associated with the Muslim Brotherhood since August 2013, an Egyptian flag and several graphic images that appeared to be from riots associated with Egypt’s revolution from 2011:

Side-of-the-truck[1]

Women and children dressed in yellow garb followed the truck, carrying a large banner with the R4BIA logo and the words “Free Egypt”:

Free-Egypt-Banner[1]

Blogger Urban Infidel captured the hanging float rolling down the parade route:

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The men in black shirts were seen carrying tubes and sticks as they marched alongside the chariot. However, before the parade started, the same men were photographed carrying realistic-looking toy weapons. The NYPD reportedly told the men that the fake guns would not be permitted in the parade.

MB-with-fake-guns-1[1]

Also escorting the chariot, three men wearing masks depicting Secretary of State John Kerry, President Barack Obama, and Senator John McCain:

Kerry-Obama-McCain[1]

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Why Coca-Cola’s New Ad Has Received More Than One Million Views in Just Days

A new ad released in the Philippines by Coca-Cola has amassed more than 1 million views in just days — and about halfway through the video, it becomes clear why.

The ad, published on YouTube Thursday, shows a series of individuals answer one question: who are the people you say thank you to everyday?

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Each person reveals the special person they appreciate in their hectic lives: a driver, a grocery bagger and an apartment security guard. Then the individuals admit that they don’t know know the names of these people.

In the second half of the three minute commercial, the ad then shows the individuals say thank you to the people they appreciate by handing them a personalized Coca-Cola bottle featuring their name.

It’s unclear how the documentary-style ad was filmed, or how the individuals learned the name of the people they appreciate, (AdWeek suggests it was staged), but it has nonetheless warmed the hearts of thousands on the Internet.

“Good thing I didn’t skip this video,” one individual commented on YouTube. “Thank you, Coke.”

“This is the only advertisement I didn’t skip,” another echoed. “This is truly heart touching.”

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There Were 124 Reports on Bush’s Approval Rating in First Half of 2006 — 9 on Obama’s in First Half of 2014: ‘Incredible’

TheBlaze (Sep 15) — During the first half of 2006, there were 124 network news reports on former President George W. Bush’s approval rating, according to conservative watchdog group Accuracy in Media. Accordingly, there were just nine reports on President Barack Obama’s low approval rating in the first half of 2014.

The discrepancy has some decrying media bias. John Ekdahl, a blogger at the popular Ace of Spades blog, called the comparison “f***ing incredible” in a tweet.

The media study appears to have originated at the Media Research Center, which analyzed past ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts earlier this month to determine how many times public opinion polls were referenced for each president during the specified time frame:

Such coverage is in stunning contrast to how those same newscasts relentlessly emphasized polls showing bad news for George W. Bush during the same phase of his presidency. Media Research Center analysts reviewed every reference on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts to public opinion polls from January 1 through August 31, 2014, and from the same time period in 2006. Eight years ago, the networks aired 124 evening news reports which cited public opinion polls about either President Bush’s overall approval rating or his handling of specific policies. In 2014, those same broadcasts produced only nine reports which mentioned public opinion surveys related to President Obama.

The numbers were also featured on Fox Business:

Twitter

MRC also provides this telling infographic:
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Muslim Preacher Whips Out Machine Gun During Sermon to Make His Point About How to Secure ‘Mohammed’s Caliphate’

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TheBlaze (Sep 15) — In case his message that only armed jihad can establish a caliphate wasn’t fully understood by his congregation, a Muslim cleric in Gaza drove home his point recently by whipping out a machine gun and punctuating his militant sermon by repeatedly raising it to the sky.

The Middle East Media Research Institute posted a video along with translation of Sheik Iyad Abu Funun delivering his Friday sermon at Gaza’s Huda Mosque on August 29 during which he used the eye-popping prop.

“These weapons are our only means to liberate the Al Aqsa Mosque [in Jerusalem],” shouted Abu Funun. “These weapons are our only means to establish the Islamic state! … These weapons are our only means to reestablish Mohammed’s caliphate!”

The sheikh’s calls were answered by repeated shouts from the congregation of “Allahu Akbar! Allah be praised!”

“These weapons are our only means to instate the law of Allah. Therefore, they will take our souls before they can take our weapons!” the Muslim cleric declared.

Referring to the armed hostilities with Israel that ended in late August, the preacher said, “This war has proven that these weapons are our only means to liberate our land.”

When he announced a new campaign against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq last week, President Barack Obama asserted that the group “is not Islamic.”

“No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIS’s [the Islamic State’s] victims have been Muslim,” Obama said.

However, Palestinian terrorist groups – along with the Islamic State – repeatedly use Muslim imagery alongside weapons, emphasizing that their religious goals can be obtained only through violence. One recent example was a photo posted online of a newborn baby posed with the Islamic State’s black flag emblazoned with the word “Allah” surrounded by grenades and guns. Another example: Posters and backdrops at Hamas rallies printed with graphics displaying the Al Aqsa Mosque together with machine guns and crossed swords.

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Saudi anti-Christian sweep prompts calls for US involvement

Saudi King Abdullah speaks before a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at his private residence in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Saudi King Abdullah speaks before a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at his private residence in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Fox News (Sep 10) — Dozens of Christians arrested at a prayer meeting in Saudi Arabia need America’s help, according to a key lawmaker who is pressing the State Department on their behalf.

Some 28 people were rounded up Friday by hard-line Islamists from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in the home of an Indian national in the eastern Saudi city of Khafji, and their current situation is unknown, according to human rights advocates.

“Saudi Arabia is continuing the religious cleansing that has always been its official policy,” Nina Shea, director of the Washington-based Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, told FoxNews.com. “It is the only nation state in the world with the official policy of banning all churches. This is enforced even though there are over 2 million Christian foreign workers in that country. Those victimized are typically poor, from Asian and African countries with weak governments.”

In Friday’s crackdown, several Bibles were confiscated, according to reports from the Kingdom.

Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va, told FoxNews.com he will press the U.S. ambassador in Riyadh and the State Department to assist the arrested Christians.

“I hope our government will speak up,” said Wolf, adding that the anti-Christian raid was not surprising given that the Saudi regime “did not want our soldiers to wear crosses during the Desert Storm” operation in 1991 to stop Iraqi jingoism.

A spokeswoman for Saudi Arabia’s embassy press officer, Nail Al-Jubeir, in Washington, told FoxNews.com that “Mr. Jubeir has nothing on that [arrests of Christians].” She suggested calling the Saudi Gazette newspaper.

The English-language paper Saudi Gazette, along with Saudi Arabic-language news outlets, published a news item about the mass arrests.

An article posted on the Arabic-language news website Akhbar 24 said the arrests came after the Kingdom’s religious police got a tip about a home-based church. The report further noted that “distorted writings of the Bible were found and musical instruments, noting their referral to the jurisdictional institutions.”

The Saudi media reported different compositions of the arrested Christians. Some reports said the Christians were men and women, while the Saudi Gazette wrote that children, as well as men and women, were detained. It was unclear if a court date has been set in the notoriously opaque fundamentalist court system.

Saudi Arabia has gone to great lengths over the years to re-brand its image as a tolerant advocate of multi-religious dialogue. The arch-conservative monarchy funded the Vienna-based King Abdullah International Center for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue. Nevertheless, critics argue, Saudi Arabia’s Islamist religious police continue to expunge any trace of Christianity within its territory.

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Countering Islamic State will be hard in Iraq and harder in Syria, officials say

ISIS brutalityThe Washington Post (Sep 11) — President Obama’s strategy to beat back Islamic State militants spread across Iraq and Syria will depend on far more than U.S. bombs and missiles hitting their intended targets.

In Iraq, dissolved elements of the army will have to regroup and fight with conviction. Political leaders will have to reach compromises on the allocation of power and money in ways that have eluded them for years. Disenfranchised Sunni tribesmen will have to muster the will to join the government’s battle. European and Arab allies will have to hang together, Washington will have to tolerate the resurgence of Iranian-backed Shiite militias it once fought, and U.S. commanders will have to orchestrate an air war without ground-level guidance from American combat forces.

“Harder than anything we’ve tried to do thus far in Iraq or Afghanistan” is how one U.S. general involved in war planning described the challenges ahead on one side of the border that splits the so-called Islamic State.

But defeating the group in neighboring Syria will be even more difficult, according to U.S. military and diplomatic officials. The strategy imagines weakening the Islamic State without indirectly strengthening the ruthless government led by Bashar al-Assad or a rival network of al-Qaeda affiliated rebels — while simultaneously trying to build up a moderate Syrian opposition.

All that “makes Iraq seem easy,” the general said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to share views on policy. “This is the most complex problem we’ve faced since 9/11. We don’t have a precedent for this.”

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