Terror in Nice: Time to unite in the fight against radical Islam

What is it going to take for us to correctly identify the enemy and unite in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism?

A 13 year old Jewish girl stabbed to death in her own bed in Israel? A massacre at a gay club in Orlando? Attacks against travelers in Brussels and music fans in Paris? Yazidis, Christians and other minorities persecuted throughout the Middle East? Muslims who are butchered because they are the ”wrong” kind of Muslim? Pedestrians run over by a truck in Nice?

The reason for radical Islamic terrorism is not poverty, lack of opportunities, or Israeli ”occupation” (who exactly is Nice or the LGBT community in Orlando ”occupying”?). It is a political ideology that calls for the destruction of Western society and the establishment of Sharia law worldwide.

We are all targets of this totalitarian medieval ideology and therefore we have to unite and fight it together.

It’s not too late to turn the tide on this war but we all need to do our part. Educate yourself on the enemy, elect the right leaders, get involved in your community and don’t be afraid to speak up but base your arguments on facts and not prejudice.

The Arab Implosion Continues

By Walter Russel Mead for the American Interest (May 6):

arab spring chaos

  • Last weekend, protesters loyal to cleric Moqtada al-Sadr stormed Baghdad’s government seat and occupied the Iraqi parliament. At the other end of the Arab world, more than 80 migrants are feared to have drowned close to the Libyan coast. These are just two of many stories pointing to the implosion of the Arab republics and the comprehensive failure of postcolonial political development in the “modernizing” Arab states.
  • There are many consequences to this implosion: a power vacuum that leaves the Arab world open to intervention, most recently by Russia and Iran; cultural and social crises that made fanatical jihadimovements possible; economic crisis and vast migration; the accelerating collapse of order and security; and the inability of governments to control much of their territory and the rise of quasi-independent separatist militias.
  • The U.S. has tried its hand at nation-building repeatedly. We have met with no real success, and we have no real idea what to try next. So it looks as if for the foreseeable future, the rest of the world is going to have to deal with the consequences of Arab failure without being able to do much about the underlying conditions.
  • Among the likely consequences of this reality: There will be less attention paid to the Palestinian issue as larger and more immediate problems capture the world’s attention.
  • The Israeli argument that the Palestinians do not have, and cannot soon build, a functioning state structure capable of either making peace or of keeping radicals from attacking Israel after peace is signed will likely gain force within and beyond Israel.

    The writer is professor of foreign affairs and humanities at Bard College and professor of American foreign policy at Yale University.

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Honor crimes – one of the world’s most urgent human rights disasters

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I recently watched “Honor Diaries,” (see official trailer above) a heartwrenching documentary about honor crimes – one of the world’s most urgent and widespread human rights disasters.

  • More than 140 million women & girls are living with the consequences of female genital mutilation (FGM)
  • 6,000 women & girls undergo female genital mutilation EVERY DAY
  • More than 60 million girls worldwide are child brides
  • In Afghanistan, 87% of women face violence or forced marriage
  • In Pakistan, 90% of women experience domestic violence
  • In Egypt, more than 99% of women have experienced sexual harassment
  • In the UK, there are about 3,000 honor attacks EVERY YEAR

The fact that people in the West largely refuse to discuss this issue due to political correctness is a moral disaster that will haunt us for generations.

Watch this documentary and share the information:
http://www.honordiaries.com/

Terror attacks in Brussels – it’s time to wake up and identify the enemy: radical Islam

Today radical Islamic terrorists targeted the men and women of Brussels as they went to work on a spring morning. In a series of co-ordinated attacks they murdered and maimed dozens of innocent commuters at subway stations and travelers at the airport.

The terrorists do not care about the identities of the innocent victims – we are all guilty in the eyes of these terrorists for not submitting to their ideology.

Even though radical Islamic terror attacks have become all too common, many of our leaders refuse to correctly identify the perpetrators out of fear and political correctness. We can no longer afford either. Whether or not we’d like to admit it, radical Islam is at war with us and the first step to defeating an enemy is to identify it.

I believe that freedom will always defeat tyranny, but for that to happen the West and other like-minded societies have to join together and fight this ideology together.

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Will the West Defend Its Own Values Against Radical Islam?

Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser (Ha’aretz 21 Dec)

  • The report published by the chairman of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) asserts that Iran lied when it claimed it had never tried to develop nuclear weapons. It is certain that Iran conducted a full and organized military nuclear program up to 2003 and continued to pursue aspects of it at least until 2009.
  • The U.S. Administration says its moves regarding Iran are aimed at helping the moderate Rouhani fight the extremists. Yet Rouhani is part of the leadership of the Islamic Republic. In the eyes of Supreme Leader Khamenei, Rouhani’s whole mission is to mislead the Americans and get the sanctions lifted. At the end of the day, helping Rouhani means helping Khamenei.
  • The nuclear agreement with Iran, the recognition of Iran as a key actor in the region, particularly in Syria, and the easing of pressure on Iran’s lackey, Assad, have sown despair and anxiety among Sunni pragmatists. A large portion concluded that under these conditions they had no future in Syria, and the result was the huge wave of migrants now flooding Europe.
  • The strategy toward radical Islam must begin with recognition of the threat and with preparedness to take realistic measures to counter it. The West must stop treating representatives of Islamic extremists, Muslim Brotherhood organizations, and supporters of the Iranian regime as its allies. This policy weakens the pragmatists and encourages radicalization.
  • Finally, the West must make clear that it is committed to its own values and prepared to defend them. Settling for airstrikes, while using the ridiculous excuse that ground activity is what ISIS wants, displays weakness and confusion and plays into the radicals’ hands.
  • The admired Polish king and commander, John III Sobieski, went boldly into the decisive battle at the gates of Vienna in 1683, and his victory saved Europe and enabled the flourishing of Western culture. Can the West regain its resolve this time as well?

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Hamas and the Islamic State: Growing Cooperation in the Sinai

Washington Institute for Near East Policy (Dec 15) — Hamas has been increasing its clandestine military cooperation with the Islamic State’s “Sinai Province,” culminating in a prolonged secret visit to Gaza this month by IS Sinai’s military chief Shadi al-Menai. Menai has been at the top of Egypt’s most-wanted list. Over the past two years, IS Sinai has helped Hamas move weapons from Iran and Libya through the peninsula, taking a generous cut from each shipment.

In Sinai, a thousand heavily armed Bedouins affiliated with IS still pose a serious threat to Egyptian troops and government offices. Egypt’s General Intelligence Directorate officials are convinced that Hamas is engaged in a sustained effort to undermine government control over the Sinai, even as it publicly seeks a rapprochement with Cairo. Hamas cooperation with IS Sinai also opens the door to IS gaining more ground among the Palestinians.

CROSS-BORDER SMUGGLING AND TRAINING

Over the past two years, IS Sinai helped Hamas move weapons from Iran and Libya through the peninsula, taking a generous cut from each shipment. Hamas relies on Bedouin guides to avoid detection by the Egyptian army and reach the few tunnels that have survived Cairo’s aggressive flooding and closure campaign. In this manner, IS Sinai acquired the advanced Kornet antitank missiles it has used to sink an Egyptian patrol boat off the coast of al-Arish and destroy several tanks and armored carriers stationed in the peninsula’s northeastern sector. Hamas has also provided training to some IS Sinai fighters and assisted with the group’s media campaign and online postings.

The writer is an international fellow with The Washington Institute and a Middle East commentator for Israel’s Channel Two television.

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Expert: Palestinian Terror Is Directed from Above

After 20 years interviewing Palestinian terrorists in jails, Likud MK Anat Berko tries to explain the motivations of the current attackers.

mom-e1445889104288The Times of Israel (Dec 8) — Young Palestinians, many of them teenagers, are setting out to stab random Israelis, frequently losing their lives in the process. What are they hoping to achieve? MK Anat Berko (Likud) spent two decades as a criminologist specializing in suicide terrorists. So great were her listening skills that prisoners would talk to her for hours, hug her, cry and even give her their babies to hold.

Berko says the attackers are committing these acts for the sake of “glory” on social media and in Palestinian society, and they compete over who can be the biggest hero. The terrorists do not think death is the end, but fully believe they will enter paradise. Berko says many young Palestinians live in communities with a tremendous amount of social pressure, prohibitions and shame. In paradise, they can experience all the things that are forbidden in real life.

Berko says there is a normalization of violence in Palestinian society, with children’s television praising martyrs while al-Qaeda and Islamic State have upped the ante for brutality among would-be terrorists.

NOT LONE WOLVES

“I don’t accept the idea that these are lone wolves. This wave of terror is directed from above. The incitement is insane. It’s on TV, satellite broadcasts, in mosques, on the street and in schools, including East Jerusalem, in schools that we actually pay for. It’s so bad that it’s a surprise that not everyone is a terrorist. If you look at the website of the Palestinian Authority, they speak of all of Palestine, pre-1948, not just pre-1967.”

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Connecting the Terror in Paris with the Terror against Israel

Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser for Haaretz (Dec 1):

kashmir_plo_isisSeemingly, the connection between the Islamic terror against the West and the Palestinian terror against Israel is confined to technical aspects and does not run deeper than that. It mainly involves the notion that terror is terror and any form of it is cruel and morally unjustified, induces feelings of fear and helplessness in the target population and has to be fought with similar intelligence and operational measures. As many Israelis have been saying, “Now the French understand how we live.”

Those who question the connection Israel draws between the two kinds of terror claim that, whereas the anti-Western terror stems from a militant interpretation of Islam calling for an assault on the West, its culture, and its behavior (this, it must be acknowledged, is certainly a possible interpretation of the Koran and the other central Islamic texts, even if not an exclusive interpretation), the anti-Israeli terror stems largely from nationalist motives, even if these are entwined and suffused with Islamic claims. It is, then, even if unjustified, an in-built reaction to Palestinian suffering and the supposed wrong that was done them with Israel’s establishment and its ongoing control of the post-1967 territories.

If there is a connection between the two, it lies – some say – in the fact that among the factors contributing to Islamic terror against the West are the injustices the West has done to the Muslims, including the creation of a nation-state for the Jewish people in the heart of the Islamic region at the Palestinians’ expense. Thus, they assert, in addition to the acceptable forms of fighting terror, the West must find a way to atone for its crimes and enable the fulfillment of the Palestinian national goals, even if it entails a risk to Israel’s security. With that, Islamic anger will be allayed.

DANGEROUS FORBEARANCE FOR “REALISTIC RADICAL ISLAM”

Seemingly there is some justification for distinguishing between the two kinds of terror. One kind is perpetrated by “ultra-radical” elements within radical Islam such as ISIS, the other mainly by Palestinians, some of whom belong to the “realistic” camp within radical Islam (primarily Hamas, which is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood), and some of whom (belonging to Fatah) lean more to the “pragmatic” camp in the Muslim world. At the same time, the common denominator among all the actors who belong to the radical camp – the ultra-radicals and the realists – is the vision of a struggle against the West and its culture and against Muslims who are prepared to adopt elements of Western culture and are regarded as heretics.

The difference is that the ultra-radicals believe the time to fight the West and the heretics who are friendly to it has already arrived, especially given the West’s spiritual weakness and inability or unwillingness to fight back as it seeks to gratify its earthly desires in this physical world (recently reflected in its willingness to pave Iran’s path to the bomb, its reluctance to put “boots on the ground” in the war against ISIS and the fear of calling the radical Islamic threat by name and preference for the hollow term “violent extremism”). The realists within radical Islam believe that in this stage terror should only be directed at Israel, the West’s “extension in the Middle East,” and not against the West as a whole, which is not yet weak enough for the terror to be effective.

In this regard the struggle that the ultra-radical Islamists are waging against the West and its allies, on the one hand, and the Palestinian struggle against Israel, on the other, complement each other. Their common goal is to destroy the world order that the West created after the First World War, which included the dismantlement of the caliphate, the Sykes-Picot Agreement, and the adoption of the Balfour Declaration at the San Remo Conference as part of the British Mandate. This world order was reinforced after the Second World War, among other things by the decision to establish a Jewish State in Eretz Yisrael, whose implementation in the face of Muslim opposition is still rejected by the Palestinians and by radical Islam in all its variants. Thus, the terror against Israel and the terror against the West are two sides of the same coin from an ideological standpoint as well, not only regarding its methods and the means of fighting it. Israel needs to make this connection clearer to its friends in the West.

What disturbs the Palestinians is that as radical Islam’s direct warfare against the West expands, they lose a key asset for promoting their goals. If, as is becoming increasingly clear, the Palestinian issue is not the heart of the problem, then the West’s expression of regret for its “crimes” on this issue will not solve the greater problem. The request for penance must be much more far-reaching; Iranian President Hassan Rouhani recently made dialogue with the United States conditional on an American request for Iran’s forgiveness. In addition, the more the connection between the two kinds of terror grows, the more the radical Islamic component of the Palestinian rejection of Israel’s existence as the democratic nation-state of the Jewish people and preference for a violent struggle to eliminate it, is exposed. The West would better understand how difficult it is to promote a settlement and may (as Israel would hope) come to understand that the terror against Israel is essentially part and parcel of the terror against the West.

Israel’s outlawing of the northern branch of the Israeli Islamic movement, which is the arm of realistic radical Islam among the Israeli Arabs, is part of the struggle against this radical ideology. Unfortunately, many in the West still think that realistic radical Islam (Rouhani and the Muslim Brotherhood, for example) is a legitimate partner in the fight against the ultra-radical Islamists, and favor it over the pragmatic elements in the Islamic world. I’m afraid that even the current wave of attacks will not suffice to change this mindset.

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In Europe, the penny still hasn’t dropped

By Ben-Dror Yemini for Yediot Aharonot:

Ben-Dror Yemini contends that the penny still has not dropped in Europe. The author notes the frenzy that rocked the continent this past week, following the terror attacks in Paris and intelligence information that Islamic State members are planning to carry out further attacks against France, Germany, Belgium, Italy and Sweden, but points out that “the same Europe, in complete chaos, is busy helping moves initiated by the anti-Israel boycott campaign, which has turned into Hamas’ propaganda wing.”

The author argues that “years of accusing the Jews – in other words, Israel – of treating the Palestinians like the Nazis treated the Jews, years of total blindness towards the Palestinians’ rejection of any peace proposal, years of a self-brainwash, have led to intellectual disability among Europe’s elites in general, and Germany’s in particular,” and adds: “Terror isn’t opening the elites’ eyes, but is rather pushing them more and more towards self-deception.”

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Don’t forget Iran

Iran-Terror-Plot-NigeriaIsrael Hayom discusses global terrorism, and notes that “The Paris terrorist attacks sparked unprecedented shock around the world. A global mobilization effort is underway, with the goal being to crush the head of the Islamic State snake and prevent the group from carrying out further attacks,” but reminds readers of the far more lethal terrorist attacks conducted by Iran and Hezbollah in recent decades.

The author is baffled by the growing legitimacy granted to Iran by the international community since the signing of the nuclear deal this past summer, and points out that “Iran has missiles that can reach most of Europe and a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a far greater threat to international security than Islamic State.”

The author concludes: “What is the difference between Islamic State propaganda videos and the chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” on the streets of Tehran? Is there a difference between an Islamic State terrorist and a terrorist backed by Iran and Hezbollah? The difference is largely tactical. It is easier to deter Iran, as it has a wider range of interests than Islamic State. But the threat posed by Iran to Israel, for example, is no less than that posed by Islamic State.

In fact, Iran is more dangerous. It is an unfortunate twist of fate that the world is ignoring the threat posed by Iran for the sake of fighting a lesser threat.”

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In order to handle terror, France must end its denial

Op-ed: As long as Europe fails to understand that there should be no distinction between the ‘legitimate terror’ striking Israel and the ‘barbaric terror’ striking Europe, it will fail to find the appropriate way to deal with this horrible phenomenon.

66373500100084640360noYnet — … When Jews were murdered in Paris and in Toulouse, most French people saw it as a random and slightly troublesome spillover of a distant Middle Eastern conflict into their lives – but not as a cause for concern and for general mobilization. When journalists were murdered in the Charlie Hebdo newspaper offices, people explained that the reason was the fact that religious Muslim sentiments had been hurt. And even now, after terror attacks which have clarified that all of France is being targeted, many are refusing to acknowledge a simple fact: Terror is terror is terror.

The political-media discourse in France is now similar to the one which took place in Britain and Spain after the mass terror attacks in those countries a decade ago: There is no connection between the terror attacks in Europe and the terror attacks striking Israel.

The French are insisting on hanging on to their refusal to recognize the existence of a joint Israeli-French battle against a religious ideology of destruction. Commentators and politicians filling up the television and radio studios are refusing to mention Israel’s name as a country from which France can learn how to deal with a daily reality of terror, as the perception that Palestinian terror is the product of a legitimate national struggle – in other words, justified and understandable – has struck roots there.

Those creating distinctions between “legitimate terror” against Israel and “barbaric terror” against the West are singlehandedly sowing the atrocious bloody violence which is striking again and again in Paris and in all of Europe.

Islamic terror with its different names – PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, the al-Quds Brigades, ISIS, the al-Nusra Front, the Muslim Brothers – is one and has one goal: To impose Islam on the world – forcibly or through negotiations, by beheading people or through democratic elections, in the Middle East, in Europe, in Africa, in America and in Asia.

This is not a racist and paranoid conclusion. This is a quote of comments made by the spiritual leaders of the different Islamist factions. Racism is reflected in the Europeans’ chronic unwillingness to listen to what comes out of the Islamists’ mouth and accept their words literally.

When after the Paris attacks, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini tweets from the talks for an agreement in Syria that most of the countries present in the meeting suffer from terror – and willingly avoids stating that the talks are attended by many countries which uphold, fund and back Islamic terror – she is paving the way for the next terror attacks on European soil.

As long as Europe fails to understand that there is no difference between the terror striking Israel and the terror striking Europe, it will fail to find the appropriate way to deal with this horrible phenomenon.

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European Jewry’s bleak future

Israel Hayom comments on the implications of terror in Europe on European Jews:

“That a massacre of at least 129 civilians in Paris, in the heart of Europe, could be engineered by half a dozen militarily trained killers is an indicator of what we can expect in the future unless ruthless measures are taken to confront the terrorists in their home base and reverse the tide.

What is amazing is that, even after this last manifestation, many European leaders remain in denial and fail to recognize that we are not confronted by mindless nihilistic terrorists but by fanatically inspired Islamic extremists committed to the destruction of Western civilization and democracy.

The situation in Europe is catastrophic. Most countries, in particular France, now host large Muslim communities, a substantial proportion of which are radicalized, antidemocratic and sympathetic to terrorist acts. The last straw is the massive flow of “refugees” which threatens to completely change the demography of Europe. In the midst of this turbulent, massive migration and ongoing fears of new terror attacks, the future for European Jews appears bleaker than ever.”

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Welcome to World War Three

Analysis: The Paris attack is directly tied to events in Syria and Iraq; this was not an intelligence failure but rather the failure of the West to see itself as in a total war vs. radical Islam.

By Ron Ben-Yishai for Ynet (Nov 16) — It is time that we came to the realization: we are in the midst of World War III. A war that will differ from the others but will take place all over the globe, on land, air and sea. This is a war between jihadist Islam and Western civilization; a war between radical Islam and all those who refuse to surrender to its values and political demands.

… Therefore ISIS is attacking its enemies’ rear and Europe, as usual, is the first to get hit. ISIS and al-Qaeda prefer striking in Europe because it is considered the cradle of Christianity and Islamic fundamentalist organizations still see it as the homeland of the Crusaders, who just as in the past, are at present waging a religious and cultural war on Islam. France and Paris were chosen as a target as France stood at the forefront of the cultural and religious struggle against radical Islam. It is also the easiest target to attack.

map2_490_englishWhy France?

France was the target of a combined assault of radical Islam not just because it has a tradition of human rights and freedom of movement, but because France and French culture symbolize everything that radical Islam is afraid of and is in an all-out war against. France enacted a ban on women to wear the hijab in public places, the Supreme Court allowed the magazine Charlie Hebdo to publish caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad and President Francois Hollande recently refused Iranian President Rouhani’s request to not have alcohol served at a dinner in his honor. All these are challenges to the jihadists that no one else in the West have yet dared emulate. So that is the primary reason that France mourns the murder of at least 129 people.

The second reason is that France has the biggest and most established Muslim population in Europe that lives in large urban concentrations, mostly poor neighborhoods. These are ideal soil for the preaching of radical Islam in neighborhood mosques. The terrorists yesterday spoke French fluently and one can assume that at least some were French citizens of North African descent and other Muslim countries in Africa and Asia. They could thus assimilate into the population to choose destinations, collect information about them and flee from them after their attack.

… The third reason is the fact that France is in the heart of Western Europe and it is surrounded by states with large Muslim immigrant communities. The freedom of movement between European countries as per the Schengen Agreement allows the jihadists to utilize these communities to both find terrorist fighters who have been through the baptism of fire in the Middle East and to smuggle weapons required to perform attacks.

Another reason for choosing France is that it is considered the center of and the pinnacle of European culture and it is to a great extent a world city of the first order. Therefore the attack there has the greatest effect on people’s consciousness. Horror is effectively spread. It appears that the attackers were equipped with the pages of messages that declared so that those victims who survive would be able to cite to a media thirsty for every detail. “You bomb us in Syria and we bomb you in Paris,” was heard.

A change of perception needed

To carry out terrorist attacks in seven different locations requires lots of time and elaborate organization. One has to plan, to stockpile weapons and explosives, choose targets, collect information about the targets ahead of the attack, recruit attackers some of whom are willing to die in suicide attacks and tour the scene of the attack and prepare nearby before the actual attack. Therefore, it is reasonable to estimate that the attack was planned and prepared months ago and was kept on hold for a strategically opportune moment.

We need to prepare for further attacks not only in France, but throughout Europe…

The way Israel manages to gather intelligence and act on it quickly with the Border Police counter-terrorism unit and Shin Bet’s operational unit must serve as a model. It is clear that European bureaucrats, EU officials, will at first oppose the adoption of this model – but reality will probably force it upon them. They also will have to enact legislation to enable the mechanisms set up for intelligence gathering and rapid reaction to decisively prevent attacks before they occur and handle them quickly if they have already started to take place.

The world war between murderous fundamentalist Islam and Western civilization – and basically anyone and anything not Muslim – will have to be waged without compromise and without half-steps on land, air and sea. Brussels may not like it – but we’re all in the same boat. And no, the current wave of terrorism has nothing to do with the “occupation of Palestine.”

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This time it was Paris

Summary: “Whether or not people in the civilized world want to admit it, radical Islam has declared war on Western civilization,” and asserts that despite what many people have been insisting since 9/11, Israeli ‘occupation’ or ‘settlements’ are not the root of Muslim rage. The author argues that a clash of civilizations is the main cause of friction between Islam and Western civilization, and hopes that the world “will once and for all understand and appreciate that Israel is a Middle Eastern fortress of 21st century liberal democracy and human rights living in a region dominated by a seventh-century religion of conquest or submission.”

Israel Hayom (Nov 17) — … Since 9/11, many people have insisted on pointing to the Israeli “occupation” or “settlements” as the root of Muslim rage.

Nothing could be further from the truth. First of all, in various negotiations, Israel has offered to give up practically of the territories it was forced to conquer in the defensive war of June 1967. Every time, the Arabs have rejected the Israeli offers. They have chosen to remain in a continuous state of war, rather than accept the existence of a Jewish entity, which they view as a cancerous blight on what they deem to be “holy Muslim soil.”

There is ongoing a clash of civilizations and the fault line of this conflict runs right along the borders of Israel. Jews in Israel are despised for the exact same reason that attendees at a soccer match or rock concert in Paris or passengers on the London Underground are. Simply put, in the eyes of Islamist terrorists, they are all “the other.”

According to the Koran, the world is divided into two domains: Dar-al-Islam (the House of Islam), which submits to Shariah law, and Dar-al Harb (the House of War), which includes the rest of the world that does not submit to Shariah law and therefore must be conquered.

It is time for the West to wake up and realize that the war that Israel has been fighting for its survival ever since it came into being has nothing whatsoever to do with the shape of its borders. The terrorism that has been taking place in Israel has nothing to do with 1967 and everything to do with 1948.

Maybe this time, the world will finally wake up and understand the nature of the war the Islamists are waging against Western civilization. I erroneously thought the world had woken up from its slumber in 2001, but it proved that it would rather put its hand back on the snooze button and blame Islamic terrorism on extraneous and irrelevant factors, such as the “occupation.”

My hope and prayer is that the world will once and for all understand and appreciate that Israel is a Middle Eastern fortress of 21st century liberal democracy and human rights living in a region dominated by a seventh-century religion of conquest or submission. Israel is always willing and able lend a hand and to teach the painful lessons it has learned during its 67 years of survival in a tribal and primitive part of the world. It can teach about how to survive in a new globalized world where the friendly Islamist neighbor next door might suddenly wake up and decide to stab you in the back.

Sarah N. Stern is the founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, a pro-American and pro-Israeli think tank and policy institute in Washington.

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Radical Islam – the invisible enemy

“Every day the US and its allies maintain their refusal to acknowledge that radical Islam exists.”

By Caroline B. Glick, senior contributing editor of the Jerusalem Post.

The Jerusalem Post (Nov 17) — As the cleaning crews were mopping the dried blood from the stage and the seats of the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, a depressing act appeared on stage in distant Iowa.

Saturday night the three contenders for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination took to the stage in Iowa for a debate. The moderator asked them whether they would be willing to use the term “radical Islam” to describe the ideology motivating Islamic terrorists to massacre innocents. All refused…

But of course, it is easy to understand what motivates Islamic terrorists. They tell us all the time.

They want the world to be run by an Islamic empire.

When they are in charge, they will kill, subjugate, convert or enslave all non-Muslims, except Jews.

The Jews will be obliterated.

The attacks they carry out in the Western world are viewed both as battles for the soul of Muslims worldwide and as a means to terrorize non-Muslims into accepting subjugation.

… The radical Islamic goal of destroying America – and the rest of the world – is the same regardless of who ends up winning the intramural jihad contest.

And as we have seen repeatedly in recent years, the sides are happy to come together to achieve their common goal of killing us and destroying our societies.

The Americans’ avoidance of reality is not unique.

The Europeans also refuse to see it.

Following the jihadist massacres at Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher in Paris in January, French President Francois Hollande insisted that the attackers who killed in the name of Islam had nothing to do with Islam.

After jihadists in London beheaded British soldier Lee Rigby outside his barracks in 2013, British Prime Minister David Cameron insisted that the attack, carried out in the name of Islam, had nothing to do with Islam.

The operational consequences of the West’s refusal to acknowledge the nature of the forces waging war against it have been disastrous.

Radical Islam is an ideology that serves both as an organizing principle for civil societies and a military doctrine. By ignoring it, the US and the rest of the free nations of the world have made it impossible to conceptualize or implement a strategy for either discrediting it or defeating its adherents.

Rather than develop comprehensive plans for dealing with this enemy, the Americans, the Europeans and others have opted for a mix of policies running the spectrum from appeasement to whack-a-mole operations.

Abroad, appeasement has taken its most significant form in the US-led nuclear deal with Iran. As the largest state sponsor of terrorism and the most active radical Islamic imperialist force in the Middle East, Iran is the ground zero of radical Islam. It not only oversees and directs the operations of its puppets, like Syrian President Bashar Assad, and its foreign legions, like Hezbollah. The Iranian regime has also played a key role in developing Muslim Brotherhood offshoots like al-Qaida, which received, and likely continues to receive training and direction from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. As for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, if Iran had been interested in preventing its rise, IS would never have taken over any territory in either country.

At home, appeasement of radical Islamic forces has involved embracing Muslim Brotherhood front groups and insisting that radical Islamic clerics are moderates because they aren’t pulling any triggers.

The West’s whack-a-mole war against radical Islam at home and abroad has meant that even as one group – like core al-Qaida – is cut down, it is swiftly replaced by other groups, like Islamic State. And if IS is eventually cut down, it too will be replaced by another group, and then reconstitute itself as IS when the West’s attention is taken up by the next major group.

Obama has enabled this state of affairs by defining the enemy as narrowly as possible, reducing the whole sphere of radical Islam to a few discrete groups – like al-Qaeda and IS – that he seeks to defeat or contain.

It is not simply that the whack-a-mole strategy doesn’t work. It is self-defeating. Since the radical Islamic trigger pullers in the West are usually no more than a few people who get together to murder people, insisting that someone has to be a card carrying member of a recognized terrorist group before authorities will go after him makes it almost impossible to find operatives and prevent attacks.

The murderers Friday may well never have received formal orders to commit their attacks from a central jihadist headquarters. They may have met at a mosque in Paris or Brussels and decided to do it.

Certainly they needed no advanced training to mow down people eating dinner or watching a rock concert. They didn’t even really need to know how to shoot straight.

As for their explosives vests, all they needed was a guy with a working knowledge of explosives to set them up with the means to turn themselves into human bombs. Maybe he trained in Syria. Maybe he has a degree in chemistry from the Sorbonne.

Maybe he is just good at following YouTube videos.

The most important component of Friday night’s massacre was the terrorists’ radical Islamic motivation.

Their belief in their ideology motivated them to die killing innocent people. Everything else was secondary. They may have been inspired and loosely directed by the heads of IS. But if Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed six months ago, they would have found another source of inspiration.

And that’s the main point. While Friday’s killers may have given their allegiance to IS, they were operationally and ideologically all but indistinguishable from their predecessors in the London subways in 2005 and the Madrid commuter rails in 2004 who hailed from al-Qaida. Likewise, while the US may have seriously degraded core al-Qaida in the Middle East over the past seven years, IS in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Libya is an organic extension of al-Qaida.

To defeat these groups, the US and its allies need to adopt a strategy that is rooted in an acknowledgment of the nature of our true enemy: radical Islam.

Armed with this recognition, the nations of the free world can determine operational guidelines for combating not only specific, discrete groupings of adherents to this ideology, they can develop overall strategies for combating it at home and in the Middle East.

At home, such strategies require Western governments to penetrate, disrupt and destroy radical Islamic networks on the ground in a sustained, concentrated manner. In the Middle East, they require the free world to stop seeking to appease leaders, regimes and militias that support and ascribe to radical Islam.

… Every day the US and its allies maintain their refusal to acknowledge that radical Islam exists and that the regime in Tehran, al-Qaida, IS, Hamas and all the rest are mere expressions of this larger ideology, the danger radical Islam poses to the survival of free societies will continue to mount and grow. Saturday night’s Democratic debate was a depressing reminder how low we have fallen.

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Why the Paris Massacre Will Have Limited Impact

urlBy Daniel Pipes for National Review Online (Nov 15) — The murder of some 127 innocents in Paris by a jihadi gang on Friday has again shocked the French and led to another round of solidarity, soul searching, and anger. In the end, however, Islamist violence against Westerners boils down to two questions: How much will this latest atrocity turn public opinion? And how much will it further spur the Establishment to deny reality?

As these questions suggest, the people and the professionals are moving in opposite directions, the former to the right, the latter to the left. In the end, this clash much reduces the impact of such events on policy.

Public opinion moves against Islamists specifically and Islam more generally when the number of deaths is large enough. America’s three thousand dead on 9/11 stands out as by far the largest mortality but many other countries have had their equivalent – the Bali bombings for Australia, the railroad bombing for Spain, the Beslan school massacre for Russia, the transportation bombings for Britain.

Sheer numbers are not the only consideration. Other factors can multiply the impact of an assault, making it almost the political equivalent of mass carnage: (1) The renown of those attacked, such as Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands and the Charlie Hebdo office in France. (2) The professional status of the victim, such as soldiers or police. (3) High-profile circumstances, such as the Boston Marathon bombing.

In addition to the over 27,000 attacks globally connected to Islam since 9/11, or more than 5 per day (as counted by TheReligionOfPeace.com), a huge increase in illegal immigration from the Middle East recently exacerbated feelings of vulnerability and fear. It’s a one-way street, with not a single soul ever heard to announce, “I used to worry about Islamism but I don’t any more.”

These cases make more Westerners worried about Islam and related topics from the building of minarets to female infibulation. Overall, a relentless march rightwards is underway. Surveys of European attitudes show 60 to 70 percent of voters expressing these concerns. Populist individuals like Geert Wilders of the Netherlands and parties like the Sweden Democrats are surging in the polls.

But when it comes to the Establishment – politicians, the police, the press, and the professors – the unrelenting violence has a contrary effect. Those charged with interpreting the attacks live in a bubble of public denial (what they say privately is another matter) in which they feel compelled to pretend that Islam has no role in the violence, out of concern that to recognize it would cause even more problems.

These 4-P professionals bald-facedly feign belief in a mysterious “violent extremist” virus that seems to afflict only Muslims, prompting them to engage in random acts of barbaric violence. Of the many preposterous statements by politicians, my all-time favorite is what Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, said about the Charlie Hebdo jihadis: “They’re about as Muslim as I am.”

This defiance of common sense has survived each atrocity and I predict that it will also outlast the Paris massacre. Only a truly massive loss of life, perhaps in the hundreds of thousands, will force the professionals to back off their deeply ingrained pattern of denying an Islamic component in the spate of attacks.

That pattern has the very consequential effect of shutting out the fears of ordinary voters, whose views thereby have negligible impact on policy. Worries about Shari’a, rape gangs, exotic diseases, and bloodbaths are dismissed with charges of “racism” and “Islamophobia,” as though name-calling addresses these real issues.

More surprising yet, the professionals respond to the public’s move to the right by themselves moving to the left, encouraging more immigration from the Middle East, instituting more “hate speech” codes to suppress criticism of Islam, and providing more patronage to Islamists. This pattern affects not just Establishment figures of the Left but more strikingly also of the Right (such as Angela Merkel of Germany); only Eastern European leaders such as Hungary’s Viktor Orbán permit themselves to speak honestly about the real problems.

Eventually, to be sure, voters’ views will make themselves heard, but decades later and more weakly than democratically should have been the case.

Placing the murderous rampage in Paris into this context: it will likely move public sentiments substantially in one direction and Establishment policies in quite the opposite way, therefore ultimately having only a limited impact.

Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum.

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Turkey’s Election Results Stink of Fraud

By Daniel Pipes, known for accurately predicting political events in the Middle East. Read some of his predictions that came true here:

http://www.danielpipes.org/predictions/

National Review Online (Nov 5) — Like other observers of Turkish politics, I was stunned on Nov. 1 when the ruling Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, or AKP) was reported to have increased its share of the national vote since the last round of elections in June 2015 by 9 percent and its share of parliamentary seats by 11 percent.

The polls had consistently shown the four major parties winning about the same number of seats as in June. This made intuitive sense; they represent mutually hostile outlooks (Islamist, leftist, Kurdish, nationalist), making substantial movement between them in under five months highly unlikely. That about one in nine voters switched parties defies reason.

Polling results between the June and November 2015 Turkish elections.

Polling results between the June and November 2015 Turkish elections.

The AKP’s huge increase gave it back the parliamentary majority it had lost in the June 2015 elections, promising President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan a semi-legal path to the dictatorial powers he aspires to.

But, to me, the results stink of fraud. It defies reason, for example, that the AKP’s war on Kurds would prompt about a quarter of Turkey’s Kurds to abandon the pro-Kurdish party and switch their vote to the AKP. As news of irregularities comes in, Michael Rubin of AEI summed up the problems at Commentary:

Turkish political analysts attribute Erdoğan’s cheating quotient at around 5 percent – that takes into account stuffed ballots, shenanigans on the state-run Turkish Airlines as it transports ballots from abroad, disappeared ballot boxes from opposition-run towns and districts, and pretty much everything involving the mayor of Ankara. In the case of Sunday’s elections, it appears that Erdoğan’s AKP won the votes of hundreds of thousands of dead people..

Given the history of fraud in Turkey’s elections, that this one was rigged should come as no shock, especially as rumors swirled in advance about sophisticated efforts to manipulate the results. (For methods, think the Volkswagen emissions scam.)

The citizens of Turkey now face the decisive question of whether to accept or reject the results of this election. Which will prevail – fear of Erdoğan’s ruthlessness or anger at his swindle? Sadly, because his electoral coup d’état has blocked the path of democracy, should Turks resist, they are compelled to do so in non-democratic ways.

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Analysis: Lone wolf terrorism and social media

An excellent and thorough analysis of the recent wave of terrorism in Israel.

terror social mediaThe Jerusalem Post (Nov 1) —  Israel is in the throes of a nationalist and religion-driven wave of terror fueled by incitement falsely accusing it of desecrating the al-Aqsa Mosque and changing the status quo on Jerusalem’s holy Temple Mount.

This kind of propaganda had been disseminated for some time by Palestinian terrorist organizations, especially Hamas and Islamic Jihad. But their inflammatory messages received a tailwind when senior Palestinian Authority (PA) officials and other Arab leaders joined the chorus, urging Israel not to “contaminate” the Temple Mount. This mainstream voice was the catalyst that drove inflamed young people into the streets, taking the law into their own hands and randomly wounding and killing Israelis.

The current wave of terror started as a succession of terrorist attacks carried out primarily by “lone wolves,” using knives and axes or ramming vehicles into bystanders.

By any rational cost-benefit analysis, the initial wave seems to have failed. In most cases, the terrorist perpetrators were killed, wounded or captured, and the strategic damage they were able to inflict was limited.

As a result, the Palestinian terrorist organizations led by Hamas stepped up their incitement on the Web and published instructions on how the attackers could be more effective. The instructions are usually accompanied by video clips with recommendations on the kind of knives to use, where to stab the victims, from which angle to attack and so on. In some instances, the terrorist organizations suggest attacking in pairs or larger groups, seizing rifles from prospective military victims and opening fire in all directions.

This institutional incitement and training via the Web reflects only one aspect of the growing importance of the social media in the current wave of terror. The social networks, especially Facebook and Twitter, are used by many of the young terrorists as a platform to convey their thoughts, feelings and political messages before leaving for their attacks.

Some see this as a way of putting their suicidal actions in the desired context, stressing their supreme sacrifice and altruism.

Their words serve as a kind of spiritual last will and testament, guiding friends and family on how to act after their deaths. Without these messages, the terrorist acts they are about to commit might lose their meaning and quickly sink into oblivion in the maelstrom of conflict-related events.

Another aspect, no less important, is the glorification bestowed by the social media on the lone wolves in the wake of their terrorist acts. Spurred on by the terrorist organizations and their supporters, the networks promote escalation and encourage other potential terrorists to attack.

Each terrorist act becomes a model for emulation, sparking a vicious cycle that is fueling a terrorist epidemic.

With regard to the number of dead and wounded and the degree of damage they cause, the lone wolf attacks are limited compared to the use of explosive charges, shootings or suicide bombings. But they are more difficult to prevent because of the inherent lack of early warning intelligence. As opposed to attacks by terrorist organizations, in which there are usually a number of people in on the secret and involved in the initiating, planning, preparation and implementation, making it possible for security forces to glean intelligence through infiltration of the terrorist chain and foil attacks before they are carried out, “private initiative” terror begins and ends in the teeming brain of the individual terrorist, with nobody else in the know.

Nevertheless, the current wave of terror points to the fact that gathering open intelligence in the public domain, especially through monitoring of the social networks, could become an effective and practical substitute for traditional intelligence gathering. This could help address the intelligence lacunae in the case of lone wolf terror and, in some cases, provide an early warning of lone wolf terrorist plans.

Moreover, the incitement and instructional activities of the terrorist organizations and their supporters out on the Web could also prove to be an Achilles heel. This could also be exploited to thwart some of the terrorist attacks. In other words, while the social media networks play a significant role in the initiation, guidance and escalation of knife-wielding terror, they could also be key in thwarting or preempting terrorist acts.

Nevertheless, we need to be absolutely clear that the current wave of terror will only subside after the incitement abates and the messages from the Palestinian leadership to the Palestinian public change. And since it is totally unrealistic to expect the terrorist organizations to make any such changes, we should concentrate our efforts on PA and Arab leaders, especially Jordan’s King Abdullah and PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

These two leaders adding their voices to the plaintive cries of the Palestinian terrorist organizations over the ostensible danger to the al-Aqsa Mosque and the alleged changes to the status quo on the Temple Mount was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. The change in their messages sparked the eruption of terrorist knifings because it signaled the mainstream’s joining the extremist bandwagon.

The reaction of the street was not slow in coming. Therefore, conversely, those two leaders, especially Abdullah, could play an important role in halting the terror.

They could issue a public call to end the violence, as soon as they are convinced that there is no danger to al-Aqsa and that there is no intention of changing the status quo.

For that it is not enough for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to declare that Israel hasn’t changed and does not intend to change the status quo. He has already done so several times.

As a confidence-building measure and gesture toward Abdullah, he should declare publicly and in detail what the principles of the status quo acceptable to the parties have been up until now, and solemnly pledge that they will remain exactly the same in future. His endorsement of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s understanding of the status quo, backed up by closed-circuit television cameras monitoring every move on the mount and broadcasting directly to the king’s palace in Amman, is a step in the right direction.

Now, if he so wishes, Abdullah could, as he has done in the past, quickly transform the Arab and Palestinian discourse and help restore order.

Prof. Boaz Ganor, the founder and executive director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT), is the dean and the Ronald S. Lauder chair in Counter-Terrorism at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya.

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