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ISIS suspected in terror bombings against … Hamas?

Westlake Legal Group alBaghdadi ISIS suspected in terror bombings against … Hamas? The Blog terror attacks Taliban suicide bomber ISIS Hamas Gaza Afghanistan

That’s not all that new, as it turns out, although it’s a new sign that ISIS remains a transnational threat. The BBC reported today that Hamas has begun rounding up ISIS sympathizers after two bombings killed three police officers in Gaza. It’s part of an ongoing turf war between Islamist factions that extends far beyond Gaza (via Twitchy):

Hamas is arresting suspected jihadist activists in Gaza, which the militant Islamist movement controls, after what a security source said were suicide bomb attacks on two police posts.

Three police officers were killed in the attacks, which are thought to have been carried out by extremists with links to the Islamic State (IS) group.

Gaza’s interior ministry declared a state of emergency after the bombings.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniya vowed to hold those responsible to account. The bombings would “not be able to undermine the stability and steadfastness of our people”, he added.

AFP had earlier reported that the attacks were suicide bombings on motorcycles. At that time, Hamas suspected their rival Islamic Jihad network was involved:

Hamas said Wednesday that two overnight bomb attacks killed three police officers in the Gaza Strip as the Palestinian enclave was placed under a state of alert.

Witnesses told AFP that both bombings were suicide attacks by assailants on motorbikes, but there was no official confirmation.

A source familiar with the investigation said a Salafist movement in Gaza that sympathises with Islamic State group jihadists was suspected.

The war between Hamas and ISIS goes back a few years, although it has been relatively low-level and somewhat one-sided. ISIS has occasionally conducted attacks in Gaza, including this 2015 car bombing series on leaders of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad, as part of its claim to have supremacy over the Muslim world. After declaring a caliphate, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi demanded the loyalty and fealty of all Muslims but especially Islamist terror networks — and has been willing to make war on rivals, even when their immediate goals coincide and there is no fear of overlap.

ISIS has been doing the same thing in Afghanistan in targeting both the government and the Taliban. The Afghan government insists that it has isolated ISIS, and the Taliban want to kill it just as badly on the eve of what might be a US withdrawal. Neither is fully succeeding, however:

The United States and the Taliban have been holding talks on an initial agreement for months. The top U.S. negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad, was expected to arrive in Qatar on Wednesday to prepare for the final round of negotiations after receiving President Trump’s blessing. In the current draft, the deal outlines the initial withdrawal of about 5,000 U.S. troops in exchange for a Taliban pledge to sever ties with al-Qaeda. It also calls for the beginning of Taliban talks with the Afghan government and planning for a cease-fire.

But the agreement does not mention the Islamic State, a sworn enemy of the Taliban that is considered by far the bigger terrorist threat. In a report to Congress last month, the Defense Department said that even if a settlement is reached, al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and some Taliban hard-liners will constitute a “substantial threat” to Afghanistan and the United States, requiring a “robust” counterterrorism capability for the “foreseeable future.” …

The Islamic State in Afghanistan is estimated to number between 2,500 and 5,000 fighters, according to figures from the U.S. military and the United Nations. The U.S. military estimated that the total was around 1,000 active fighters in 2017. But there is widespread concern here that those numbers could rise even more if the Islamic State uses a U.S.-Taliban agreement to siphon off hard-line Taliban fighters who are opposed to the deal and ramp up its terror war.

This shows why it was dangerous for the US to declare a premature victory over ISIS in Syria. As long as its leadership remains intact, it still has a powerful claim in Islamist circles to loyalty to its so-called caliph. Both Hamas and the Taliban have to make concessions at some point to governance, but ISIS can remain the pure jihadist movement in contrast and recruit murderous super-malcontents from the ranks of ordinary murderous malcontents.

Until their leadership is neutralized, that risk remains. Their willingness to target other Islamist networks suggest that they’re more ready for wider conflict than we might believe — even if we care less about internecine wars between radical Islamist terror networks.

The post ISIS suspected in terror bombings against … Hamas? appeared first on Hot Air.

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AOC on House BDS resolution: If we punish nonviolent forms of protest, it might force people into violence

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Why, my dear congresswoman, is that a threat?

Of course it’s not a threat, AOC would say. She says right there in the quote below that she hates violence, doesn’t she? Right, but in practice it amounts to “Let me get my way or don’t be surprised if people end up hurt.” If we discourage boycotts of Israel, even with nothing stronger than a frowny-face resolution in the House, then we shouldn’t act shocked later when people start, say, vandalizing Israel-linked businesses to express their frustration instead.

Which was already happening in Rashida Tlaib’s backyard, by the way, even before yesterday’s resolution passed.

The point is to preemptively shift blame away from the violent actor and onto his nonviolent critics:

Ocasio-Cortez said Tuesday that BDS is “a tough issue, especially for constituencies back home,” but told BuzzFeed News that “ultimately it comes down to protecting free speech. And my concern with being overly punitive on nonviolent forms of protest is that it forces people into other channels and I would hate to be a part of, you know, paving that kind of path.”

But Ocasio-Cortez said she wasn’t disappointed by how few Democrats voted with her, saying, “I don’t think so. … I saw how those votes were going.”

What’s she saying here about BDS supporters, wonders Noah Pollak?

The resolution condemning BDS ended up passing 398-17, with Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar — but not Ayanna Pressley, the fourth member of the Squad, interestingly — voting no. I reiterate a point made in yesterday’s post: The resolution wasn’t “punitive” towards free speech in any way, not “overly” and not minimally. It suggested no sanction for BDS supporters. It was the legislative equivalent of a thumbs-down emoji. If merely indicating disapproval of BDS is enough to force adherents into “other channels” then we have a major problem.

But that’s of a piece with AOC’s view of criticism generally. Remember, her response to Pelosi’s jabs at the Squad was to wonder if she had a problem with women of color and to note that the four members were receiving death threats. Criticism of Ocasio-Cortez and her causes is perpetually deemed illegitimate at best and dangerous incitement at worst, even when it’s coming from Democratic leaders. Go figure that she’d view a toothless House resolution as potential justification for a terrorist backlash.

This “don’t criticize me or else” logic wouldn’t fly for her in other contexts, needless to say. If a Trump fan threw a rock through her campaign-office window, she’d be irate if the White House spun it as a regrettable but understandable burst of frustration over the recent House resolution condemning Trump’s “go back where you came from” tweets about the Squad. “If the president can’t express his opposition to their views through nonviolent means without formal disapproval from Congress,” the WH press office might say, “then we can’t be surprised when his fans decide that violent opposition is the only alternative.” That response would itself be condemned, correctly, as de facto incitement, possibly even drawing a second rebuke from the House. But here’s AOC embracing the same thought process for the BDS movement. No one will bat an eye, because who cares what one of the most influential politicians in America says about something like this? She’s not the president, right?

The post AOC on House BDS resolution: If we punish nonviolent forms of protest, it might force people into violence appeared first on Hot Air.

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Let’s Add FGM To The List Of Things Ilhan Omar Refuses To Condemn Like Al Qaeda and Hamas

 

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Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., left, joined at right by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., listens to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

 

Does anyone recall Rep. Ilhan Omar’s exchange with Elliott Abrams, the U.S. Special Envoy to Venezuela, during a February hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee? It was difficult to forget. Just one month into her term, and Omar was on the power trip of her life.

During the questioning, Abrams tried to explain his answers and Omar repeatedly cut him off, with a sharp, “Yes or no.”

“Yes or no. Do you think that massacre was a fabulous achievement that happened under our watch?,” she asked Abrams.

“That is a ridiculous question, and — no!,” Abrams answered.

“I will take that as a yes,” Omar said.

(The clip can be watched in the video below. The relevant portion begins at 2:10.)

It was with this same sense of moral superiority that she answered Ani Zonneveld, president of Muslims for Progressive Values when she had the temerity to ask Omar, “Will you be able to make a statement against FGM? Because that’s an issue in Detroit, and it would be really powerful if the two Muslim Congresswomen, yourself and Rashida, would make a statement on this issue.”

Omar said it was “an appalling question.” She then delivered a sarcastic, two minute lecture to this woman, never answering the question (the clip appears in the tweet below). Here is a portion of her answer.

Should I make a schedule? Like, does this need to be on repeat every 5 minutes? Should I be like, ‘so, today I forgot to condemn Al-Qaeda, so here’s the Al-Qaeda one. Today I forgot to condemn FGM so here it goes. Today I forgot to condemn Hamas so here it goes.’ It is a very frustrating question that comes up.”

And so, I think really I am quite disgusted, to be honest, that as Muslim legislators, we are constantly being asked to waste our time speaking to issues that other people are not asked to speak to because the assumption exists that we somehow support [it].

The questioner should have cut her off abruptly and snapped, “Yes or no, Ms. Omar.”

Here are a few reactions to Omar’s answer from Twitter users (via Twitchy):

She spent two minutes condemning questions she doesn’t like, so clearly she has no problem condemning things. It’s what she repeatedly refuses to condemn that’s troubling.

So she still won’t condemn those things? Got it.

It’s a yes or no question. Why is that a waste of time?

If she would just answer, people would quit asking.

The thing she vehemently condemns is being held accountable. SMH

Evade, evade, evade. Nicely done, Ilhan. Interesting that I can still never find any video evidence of you denouncing Hamas, Al Qaeda or the Muslim Brotherhood.

Is “yes I condemn them” so hard to say?

All she had to do is say yes. Instead she belittles the person who asked the question then continues to lecture the audience on priorities. She is not much of a politician. How did she ever get elected?

Seems like it would have taken less time to just condemn these things than to give this explanation and she’d never have to do it again. Makes you wonder why she just doesn’t come out against it, doesn’t it?

Noticed that she never answered the question. Speaking around the question is not the same as an answer.

Just answer the question!

I guess my question is this…Has she EVER condemned any of those things? Ever? Perhaps if she did then folks would stop asking her to condemn them.

She can condemn a question but not FGM. Interesting.

Instead of rambling on for 3 minutes, @IlhanMN could have simply said, “yes I’m against female genital mutilation.” Period. 3 seconds.

Conservatives are asked to condemn things all the time. Turnabout is fair play.

So let me get this straight. Every white politician has to denounce white supremacy just because they’re white even though they have nothing to do with it. But Omar is trying to make the argument that because she a Muslim she’s shouldn’t have to denounce terrorists or terrorism?

Triggered. All day. Everyday.

Regardless of who you support, facts is that she condemns POTUS and his actions all the time…..notice how she has no trouble taking a daily stand there…..that’s all you need to know……

So seriously, when Trump wins the popular vote and electoral college landslide, what will the Dems do?

The post Let’s Add FGM To The List Of Things Ilhan Omar Refuses To Condemn Like Al Qaeda and Hamas appeared first on RedState.

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Bob Seely: In the Gulf, we are paying the price for starving defence of funding for so long

Bob Seely is Member of Parliament for the Isle of Wight.

As if the Brexit crisis wasn’t enough for Boris Johnson’s first week as Prime Minister, he now has an international crisis in the Gulf too; one that, if handled badly, may lead to conflict. As Harold MacMillan said, when asked what throws a Government off course: events, dear boy, events.

On Friday, a UK-registered tanker, the Stena Impero, was seized by Iran, one of a series on incidents in the past three months between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the US and the UK. Iran, under pressure from US sanctions, is readying to cause chaos in the Gulf.

Here are some immediate thoughts:

The UK is caught between rock and a hard place. The Iran crisis is stretching the already strained alliance between the US and Europe – and we are feeling it more than most.  On the Iranian Nuclear Deal – which is at the heart of this crisis – we are diplomatically aligned with the EU in supporting the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), whilst we remain deeply embedded in the US military alliance which, regardless of who is president, retains remarkable importance for us.

Second, we are paying the price for not paying for defence. Our emaciated presence in the Gulf is due to two decades of under-funding of the Navy and the Armed Forces more generally. We reaped the peace dividend at the end of the Cold War but refused to reinvest in the mid-2000s when the world became a more dangerous place. The Conservative-Liberal Coalition was a particularly shameful low-point in absolute cuts made to defence.

In the 1980s, the Royal Navy’s Armilla patrol in the Gulf had up to four destroyers or frigates (small destroyers). Then, the Navy had over 40 frigates or destroyers. We have 19 now. Whilst technology has made these vessels more powerful, we no longer have mass. At the same time potential adversaries, be in Iran or Russia, have invested in many varieties of power, including hard power, whilst some military technology, such as drones, have become much cheaper and more widespread. Despite this changing balance, our strategic responsibilities have stayed the same. We are trying to do the same with less as our rivals have more. Our only legally binding expenditure is on aid, which has gone up to £13 billion. Politically, in the last decade we have prioritised virtue signalling over protecting our national interests. This needs to change.

Third, warfare and conflict has changed and will continue to evolve. Two decades ago we entered the era of full spectrum warfare, sometimes known as hybrid or asymmetric warfare. This is where nations and non-state actors (think ISIS, Hezbollah, etc.) chose to use non-traditional methods to achieve their aims, either because they cannot match US technology, or because non-conventional methods of conflict are more effective in the era we live in. Iran, alone with China and Russia, are the major proponents of full-spectrum warfare. The seizure of the Stena Impero was an example of this.

Iran’s full spectrum tools also include influence or control over religious, political or paramilitary groups across the Middle East: the Houthi in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, the Alawite regime in Syria, proxies in Iraq and religious groups in the Gulf states. In case of further conflict, Iran will very likely initially seek to damage UK, US, Saudi Arabian or UAE targets in the Middle East, through its proxies, overtly or covertly. Lobbing a UK missile at a no-doubt empty target in Iran will achieve nothing except threaten British lives and interests across the Middle East.

Fourth, Iran wants to internationalise this crisis. It is suffering under new US sanctions since they were imposed when President Trump unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA in May 2018. US sanctions have been surprisingly successful. However, as a result moderates in Iran have been weakened, and anti-Western and illiberal elements strengthened. The thinking from those who know Iran is that, if Iran is going to suffer, it will make the rest of the Middle East suffer too. That could mean a mix of destabilising attacks on shipping, paramilitary attacks or assassinations in the Middle East.

So what’s the answer?

In the short term in the Gulf, the UK needs to renew international and regional alliances and find convoy partners. We should additionally put in place what deterrence forces we can in local bases in Bahrain and elsewhere; another destroyer or two if we can muster it, swift boats, helicopters and drones.

In the longer term, we need to work with the US, the EU and Iran to find a way out from the ongoing crisis. In practice, that means finding a realistic set of proposals acceptable to the US and Iran that gets the JCPOA back on track. Mike Pompeo has outlined 12 demands. These are seen to be unrealistic, but there is some chance for a more modest set of US proposals being put forward that Iran could sign up to, or at least use as the basis for negotiation.

Finally, and more broadly, we need to plan for the decades ahead. We are not doing so.

In February I launched a Global Britain study with the Henry Jackson Society. In that report, I outlined some key aims: reinvest in hard power whilst ensuring that we are capable of understanding and countering full spectrum warfare; integrate overseas policy and possibly even departments; redefine aid to allow DfID funds to fund peacekeeping options; and provide for a significant uplift to the BBC World Service Radio and TV. Most importantly, the UK should develop a global strategy for the next decade and two, driven by a UK Strategy Council.

The UK has benefitted from the international order constructed after the Second World War. We need to invest to defend it. That doesn’t mean, as the predictable line of questioning on the BBC in the last couple of days put it, wanting to be the world’s policeman or boss others about, but it does mean delivering an overseas policy which allows the UK to remain a leading player in the global order, and by so doing, defend our just interests.

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Ilhan Omar Compares BDS to the Boston Tea Party, Rep. Lee Zeldin Absolutely Crushes Her

Westlake Legal Group ilhan-omar-bds-resolution-SCREENSHOT-620x361 Ilhan Omar Compares BDS to the Boston Tea Party, Rep. Lee Zeldin Absolutely Crushes Her washington D.C. United Nations Uncategorized Terrorism Politics Minnesota Marc Lamont Hill Lee Zeldin Israel International Affairs Ilhan Omar House Foreign Affairs Committee Hamas Government Front Page Stories Foreign Policy Congress boycott divestment sanctions Boston Tea Party BDS movement Allow Media Exception

[Screenshot from Twitter, https://twitter.com/SteveGuest/status/1151560173540007937?]

 

During a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing Wednesday, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar earned her congressional paycheck by introducing a resolution affirming American’s right to stick it to Israel. The idea: Isolate the country through Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions — otherwise known as BDS (though she never used the term).

As reported by The Jerusalem Post, the resolution proclaims that “all Americans have the right to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad, as protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.”

In an effort to really sell it, Ilhan weirdly compared the move against Israel to the Boston Tea Party:

“[The resolution] recognizes the proud history of boycott movements in this country dating back to the Boston Tea Party. We should honor these movements and that history. We should honor our commitment to the principles that say we must hold our friends to the same standards that we hold our adversaries.”

So we honor history by trying to substantially shut down Israel?

In response, Republican New York Rep. Lee Zeldin absolutely crushed Ilhan’s offering:

“My colleague who just spoke used the frequent use of the words ‘honesty’ and ‘honest.’ Let’s just get to a lot of what is left out.”

Here we go…

“The BDS movement has not distanced itself from Hamas, a designated foreign terrorist organization. BDS supporters individually are not distancing themselves from Hamas, either. It is wrong to be blaming all Israeli and Palestinian violence ‘as being due to an occupation.’”

And what does Hamas do? This:

“Hamas uses women and children as human shields. They declare jihad as an obligation. They deny humanitarian aid to their own people. They deny human rights, launching rockets from Gaza into Israel, killing innocent civilians.”

Lee went on to note the dangers the tiny country — with whom the United States has had a traditionally strong relationship — faces:

“Existential threats to Israel [are] all around it. [Israel is] our greatest ally in the Middle East, one that there’s been a historic relationship between our two nations — a beacon of hope and freedom and liberty in a region of the world that is filled with challenges.”

Ilhan’s proposal falls in line with a growing trend on her side of the aisle — the Democratic Party hasn’t exactly been fawning over the beleaguered nation as of late.

In the realm of media, left-wing CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill was fired in November after appearing to champion the destruction of Israel while speaking to the United Nations (here).

But there’s a staunch resistance elsewhere — some on the Left dropped a brick last year over Trump’s relocation of the American Embassy to Jerusalem (here).

As for Ilhan, perhaps for some she represents, BDS really is like the American revolution. It’s a revolution for a new America: Omar’s district is the #1 terrorist recruitment area of the United States (here).

To her — as well as, presumably, a contingent of those who voted her into office — Israel clearly has no right to exist. It is, simply, an “occupation”:

“We must support efforts to end the occupation…”

-ALEX

 

Relevant RedState links in this article: here, here, and here.

See 3 more pieces from me:

Trump Compares AOC To A Famous Nazi Sympathizer. She Ignorantly Takes It As A Compliment

Obama-Era Homeland Security Officials Lambast The Dems’ New Wave Of Open-Border Candidates: ‘It’s Going To Hurt Them’

Detroit Music Festival Charges All People $10 – Except Whites, Who Owe $20 For The Sake Of ‘Equity’

Find all my RedState work here.

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The post Ilhan Omar Compares BDS to the Boston Tea Party, Rep. Lee Zeldin Absolutely Crushes Her appeared first on RedState.

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Ilhan Omar Claims Palestinian Opposition to Israel Is “Non-Violent”

Westlake Legal Group ilhan-omar-620x413 Ilhan Omar Claims Palestinian Opposition to Israel Is “Non-Violent” terrorists racist Politics Palestinians Palestinian Authority No Occupation netroots nation Israel Ilhan Omar Hamas Gaza Strip Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story democrats Civil Rights Era anti-semite

Ilhan Omar speaking at worker protest against Amazon by Fibonacci Blue, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0/Original

Netroots Nation has been a goldmine of Democrats saying ridiculous things. This may qualify as the most disconnected from reality though.

This past weekend, Rep. Ilhan Omar was speaking on a panel and went on a several minute monologue on hypocrisy. Apparently, because our country celebrates the non-violent movements of our civil rights era but we aren’t celebrating Palestinians for their non-violent movement, we are all hypocrites. Amazing how it always comes back to how awful Americans are.

People can have varying views on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. It’s no secret that I find the Palestinian Authority and Hamas to be dumpster fire organizations that purposely choose suffering and terrorism over peace. Regardless, what Omar is saying here is objectively false no matter what your view of Israel is. There is no “non-violent” Palestinian movement to “liberate” (her words) them from Israel.

Here’s more non-violence from the Palestinian movement in a video put out just last month.

It should also be noted that liberate in this context clearly means to destroy Israel. How do I know that? Because the Gaza Strip is not occupied. Israel pulled out over a decade ago and it is governed by a terrorist group that was voted in by the residents there. Omar is never pressed on that fact, nor is Rashida Tlaib, as they continually push the “occupation” talking point that is simply false. The logical end game of their views on Israel is its downfall and the erection of yet another Muslim fundamentalist government in the Middle East.

How that’s not more controversial is beyond me, but I realize that inter-sectionalism essentially provides these Congresswomen with total immunity from hard questions.

I’ll also note that at the end of the video, Omar makes another nonsensical comparison that shows how illogical her thought processes are. Namely, that if you think healthcare is a human right, you must support Medicare for All or you are a hypocrite. I don’t think healthcare is a human right for obvious reasons, namely that you can’t make something a right to relies on the labor of others. But even pretending that’s not the cardinal issue, couldn’t someone believe healthcare is a human right but simply think Medicare for All is a terrible, completely unworkable plan that would collapse the system?

This is how Omar operates though. She sets up a false dichotomy and then calls you a bigot and/or hypocrite if you don’t agree with her. And because she’s from Somalia and is a Muslim, no one is allowed to even object without being accused of inciting violence against her. It’s a nice racket she’s got going.

————————————————-

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The post Ilhan Omar Claims Palestinian Opposition to Israel Is “Non-Violent” appeared first on RedState.

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John Jenkins: Too many excuses are made for Iran – especially by the EU. We must get real, stand with America – and take decisive action

Sir John Jenkins is a former British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and co-author of the Government’s Muslim Brotherhood Review of 2015.  He is a Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange.

How do we – the UK – solve a problem called Iran? The answer is more complicated than it should be, given the fragmented state of British politics, the way in which the Brexit debate has sucked all the policy oxygen from the room and now the absurd diplomatic spat with the Trump Administration.

But it is also urgent, given the way regional tensions are rising, bellicose noises from Washington DC and Tehran and our own self-understanding as a major international actor with a massive stake in global order and the reduction of conflict in the Middle East. What we decide to do about Iran now will also shape the views of Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, the US, France and Germany about what sort of power we shall continue to be after Brexit. It’s a test of our national will.

The general view of the commentariat seems to be that recent tensions are the fault of Donald Trump and his National Security Adviser, the belligerent John Bolton. They shouldn’t have abandoned the JCPOA, the nuclear deal negotiated over many painful years by the EU3+3, it is said. They shouldn’t have reapplied sanctions. They certainly shouldn’t overreact to Iran’s deliberate breach of the 300kg/3.67 per cent limits for uranium enrichment. And they should lay off Twitter. Is this fair?

Well, let’s remember that Iran has been an aggressive and often hostile presence in the Middle East since 1979. Under the Shah, it may have thrown its weight around from time to time. But it did so largely through OPEC and by trying to bully much smaller countries like Bahrain, backing down when confronted.

By contrast, the Islamic Republic tried from the start to export revolution. When this failed, it sought to subvert its neighbours by providing support to a wide variety of largely Shia Islamist groups. It helped to establish Hezbollah in Lebanon in the early 1980s. After 1983 it built similar groups in Iraq – and after 2011 in Syria – on the same model. It now backs the Houthis in Yemen.

Throughout this period, Iran has engaged either through others or on its own account in terrorist attacks on the US (Beirut and Kuwait 1983), France (Beirut and Kuwait 1983), Kuwait (1983, 1985, 1988), Saudi Arabia and the US (Al Khobar 1996) and Israel (Buenos Aires 1994, and Thailand and Bulgaria 2012). It sponsored kidnappings in Lebanon throughout the 1980s and the 2007 abduction of a British IT adviser, Peter Moore, and his close protection team in Iraq. Through its allies in Iraq it killed and maimed US and UK military personnel from 2003 to 2010. It has conducted regular assassinations at home and abroad.

During the latter part of the Iran-Iraq war, it indiscriminately sowed mines in international shipping lanes. It is almost certainly behind the recent attacks on shipping off the UAE, in the Gulf of Oman and elsewhere. For years it has offered tactical if intermittent support to Al Qaeda – and at one time to the Taliban – including training the operatives who carried out the 1998 East Africa bombings. It has given substantial and sustained military support to the Assad regime in Syria. It has illegally supplied missiles and advanced guidance systems to Hezbollah, some Iraqi Shia militias and the Houthis. And it continues to seek to establish permanent military bases in Syria in order to threaten Israel directly.

You’d think that all this would give commentators pause, especially when they wonder whether war is coming. They don’t seem to have noticed that it never really went away as far as Iran is concerned.

Now you could argue that this picture is exaggerated. Everyone’s doing it in the Middle East. And that in any case Iran is simply defending itself against sectarian Sunni revanchism and bone-headed US hostility.

But everyone’s not doing it. The brutal murder of Jamal al Khashoggi was shocking for many reasons. But one of them is precisely that the Saudis don’t normally do that kind of thing. They may, of course, do lots of other things people don’t like, including locking up human rights activists, executing people without what we would consider due process and exporting extremism.  There’s truth in all that – but Iran does the first two things on an even greater and the third on at least a comparable scale. And the point here is not whether a particular country has an unpleasant way of managing itself, but what the impact is on regional and therefore global security.

On this point, there is no comparison. The Saudis, together with the UAE, certainly helped fund popular opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. But such opposition already existed, was widespread, peaceful and growing from 2012 onwards. There has been regional competition for influence in Syria since the outbreak of the civil war there in 2011. But no other Middle Eastern power has sought so consistently as Iran to foment violent revolution in neighbouring states or exported vast quantities of weapons to those who seek to subvert them. No-one else since the collapse of Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi has sponsored terrorist attacks across the region and abroad, obstructed maritime free passage, harrassed foreign naval vessels or laid mines. Virtually everyone else has made some sort of accommodation with Israel.

And no other state has talent-spotted, backed or created and sustained such an array of powerful and purposeful sub-state actors – from Lebanese Hezbollah to the Badr Brigade, the Leagues of the Righteous and Kata’ib Hezbollah in Iraq, the Afghan and Pakistani Shia militias in Syria and the Houthis in Yemen. No doubt these groups have their own interests and their own purposes. Hezbollah in particular is also a global criminal enterprise with its tentacles extending through West Africa to Europe, Australia and South America, engaging in human trafficking, money laundering, the drugs trade – including a nice recent line helping smuggle Captagon out of Syria to pay for Iranian oil – and cheque fraud on a vast scale

But with the exception (mostly) of the Houthis, they all recognise the supreme religious and political authority of the Supreme Leader in Iran and in practice share the same overriding goals, of an expanded Shia hegemony over the greater Levant and, if possible, further afield under an Iranian umbrella and the eventual triumph in these areas of Khomeini’s heterodox doctrine of Wilayat al Faqih – the trusteeship of the righteous jurisprudent, in practice the Supreme Leader in Tehran.

The Houthis now fire missiles with gay abandon at airports, power stations and desalination plants in Saudi Arabia, and have threatened to do the same to the UAE. It turns out that the most recent drone attack on oil pipelines in the Kingdom – something that only makes sense in the context of Yemen – originated in Iraq. You might say that KSA is at war with the Houthis. But you can’t condemn Saudi attacks on civilian infrastructure in Yemen without doing the same for the Houthis. And what’s Iraq got to do with any of this?

The answer, of course, is that they’re all in it together. Iran has mobilised its allies and assets from the Bab al Mandab through the Gulf of Oman up to Iraq, Syria and indeed Lebanon in order to send a clear signal about its geographical reach, the variety and deadliness of its partners and the way in which it can use asymmetric and often deniable attacks to compensate for its conventional weaknesses as it seeks to preserve its gains in the wider region, face down the US and intimidate Europe.

The US under Trump seems incapable of transmitting such clear and consistent signals – there’s the constant hiss of tantrum-driven static instead. But you’d think in the circumstances that the EU would be inclined to stand with Washington – its single most important ally – and state clearly and collectively that we will not be intimidated, we condemn all targeting of civilian infrastructure and interference with shipping; that we will join forces to guarantee the freedom of navigation in the Gulf and adjoining seas, work to prevent further missile proliferation and respond robustly to attacks on the Arab Gulf States – at the same time as seeking to end the calamitous war in Yemen.

You’d be disappointed. The EU’s incoming High Representative for Foreign and Security Affairs, the Spanish Foreign Minister, Josep Borrell instead simply shrugs his shoulders and says that the EU will continue to work with Iran – and if Iran wants to destroy Israel, well, we’ll just have to learn to live with it. His predecessor, Federica Mogherini, quixotically used her last months in office to promote a special financial mechanism to enable European companies to avoid the impact of US bilateral sanctions on Iran. They won’t use it, of course. Who in their right minds would? But it was important to show willing. Willing to help Iran, that is.

And this points to a bigger problem in the mindset of European and indeed US elites over Iran, quite separate from the question of whether the US was right to withdraw from the JCPOA. If there’s any benefit of any doubt going around, Iran gets it. This isn’t just because Iran keeps teasing Europe with the idea that they might be the ones to save the JCPOA (though it does). And it isn’t quite universal. There’s an excellent and acerbic account of the intense final stages of the nuclear negotiations by the then French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, which makes clear his view of how Iran played the Kerry team. And even Europe may eventually run out of patience with Iranian posturing.

But there has long been a strong thread of Iranophilia in European policy circles, particularly but not exclusively on the Left. This is not out of love for Iran: but because far too many people in these circles dislike the US and did so even before Trump. A year or so ago at an Iran-related event, I heard a senior European External Action Service adviser tell a friend that it was important to support Iran (rather than Saudi Arabia) because only Iran in the region stood up to US imperialism.

That’s not an uncommon view and is now combined with a visceral loathing for Trump. It’s reflected in the way that many liberal commentators can’t bring themselves to admit that Iran, the Houthis, Hezbollah and many of the Iraqi Shia militias are in cahoots. The argument tends to be twofold: (a) Iran has a right to defend itself and (b) proxies equals puppets – any suggestion that these groups are just proxies misses their functional independence within particular socio-political contexts.

It’s a classic straw man argument. No one serious claims that these groups are puppets or simply proxies. They’re actually lots of different things, most of them unpleasant. But none of that alters the fact that they will serve Iran when Iran calls. We have seen them do so repeatedly from the 1980s – when Badr fought with Iran against their fellow Iraqis and Hezbollah bombed and kidnapped with impunity – to the present – when the Houthis keep the Saudis pinned down and distracted with Iranian technology while pumping out their propaganda from the Hezbollah stronghold of South Beirut. And little of this is about Iran’s right to self-defence.

It’s still not clear to me that there will be open war between the US and Iran. The latest French outreach to Iran may encourage both sides to step back. Neither wants a real fight. Trump has made clear his aversion to one as the US enters an election year. Iran knows and seeks to exploit this just short of conflict, though it also believes that if something does kick off, Trump is likely to want to end it quickly.

But you never know. And there are some clear if unsurprising policy conclusions for the new Foreign Secretary – when one is appointed and has decided who will replace the admirable Kim Darroch in Washington. First, si pacem vis, bellum para. What stokes the flames at times of tension is weakness and a lack of clarity. During the 1980s, Iran backed off because the US was crystal clear about both sending and acting upon its signals. Barack Obama set a bad precedent by abandoning his red lines in Syria in 2013. Trump didn’t do much better by striking Syrian targets once in 2017, blustering, and then last month advertising the fact that he had aborted a military response to the Iranian downing of a US surveillance drone.

This can only be remedied in Washington. That’s going to do take a lot of work. We should certainly advise against war – there are other things we can do instead. But we must stand by the US when it acts – whatever we may think about the President, the US is more than one person and remains indispensable to our security. The instinctive wringing of hands in Brussels and other European capitals simply encourages Iran.

The French at least will probably also want to be robust. We should work with them in shaping a realistic response with the US. If that means joint military action, we need to be part of it. We also need collectively to be clear about the triggers for any escalation ladder – from the new Gulf maritime protection force proposed by the US to the use of proportionate force in self-defence against Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) naval forces, the possible targeting of IRGC command and control nodes if they persist in hostile action and so forth.

We should be hard over against the Iran-aligned Shia militias in Iraq – just as we’ve decided belatedly to get real with Hezbollah by ending the feeble pretence (which they publicly ridiculed) that they have separate military and political wings. The Iraqi Prime Minister has said he wants to bring them under proper central governmental control. Some people suspect that’s an excuse to let them take over the state instead. We need to work with partners – again the US and the French, the Kurds, elements of the Iraqi government and key Iraqi Shia clerics – to stop them doing so.

We need to push for a settlement in Yemen. The war damaging, draining and entirely counterproductive. The UAE have wanted a settlement for the last couple of years and are now drawing down their forces. We have our differences with them. This is an area where we can potentially work together.

In the longer term, British and indeed western policy towards Iran needs to be what it always should have been, clear, robust, sustained and collective containment and deterrence. I’ve recently seen some very prominent former Obama officials argue that that’s precisely what the JCPOA was.

I didn’t think that withdrawing from the deal was particularly sensible. But that wasn’t because I thought it was a great deal. It was because I thought it bought us time – around 15 years to be precise. The task was to agree how to use that time well. But that’s not what actually happened. When the deal was formally ratified in 2015, the Obama Administration did nothing about Iran’s horizontal escalation in the region. Instead, they urged western businesses to start flooding back.

But business was reluctant – they suspected rightly that they’d find themselves in bed with some alarming partners which would spell serious trouble for them back home if these partners didn’t stop doing what they were doing in Iran, in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, not to mention further afield. And that was the problem. There was no effort to stop them nor any plan for containment and deterrence, just relief that we’d escaped from the trap we’d set for ourselves when we’d threatened consequences we weren’t prepared to deliver.

I’m glad to see we’ve now had the guts to stop a tanker we believe is smuggling Iranian oil in defiance of sanctions on Syria. The fact that the Iranians have threatened to retaliate – and may already have tried – suggests the charge is true. This won’t have been an easy decision to make. Over the last decade, there has been a startling lack of action over Iranian smuggling – of weapons, missile components and oil, even in areas where international maritime task forces – with British participation – operate such as the Gulf, the Indian Ocean, the Horn of Africa and the approaches to the Red Sea. So to stop a tanker now – even if it is Syria-related – sends a message of intent. It may also suggest that we are becoming more inclined to back the US – which has probably have supplied the intelligence on which the stop order was based.

And this is one way ahead. It’s not a question of toppling the Iranian regime. That’s a matter for Iranians. Nor is it a question of war: if the Iranians insist on continuing to threaten their neighbours, imperil shipping and subvert our friends, then we need to find and use ways to stop them doing so. But we need to do so proportionately, coolly and in partnership with others who are similarly willing, the US and the French in particular: the Germans will remain ambivalent. We also need to go after the criminal money flows around the world that sustain Iran and its allies in the region. The US Department of the Treasury and the FBI have been doing so for years. We should be part of all this.

In doing so we need to make sure that our military, our intelligence and security services and our diplomatic effort are properly funded, with the right equipment, staff and skills. And that they feel they have the full backing of ministers. That’s not been the case for some years now. Putting things right will be a generational task.

Needless to say, none of this will be remotely possible if a Corbyn government gets elected. So best get cracking now…

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Son of Hamas founder: It’s a “racist terror organization,” you know

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Even more remarkable than what Suheib Yousef said is where he said it. The son of Hamas founder Hassan Yousef appeared in an interview with an Israeli television broadcaster to tell the truth about his father’s creation. Not only is Hamas a “racist terror organization,” Yousef told journalist Ohad Hemo, its leaders live high on the proverbial hog on monies intended for those they oppress,

In fact, they make that money by turning poor Palestinians into cannon fodder for Iran:

“Hamas leaders [in Turkey] live in fancy hotels and luxury towers, their kids learn at private schools, and they are very well paid by Hamas. They get between four and five thousand dollars a month, they have guards, swimming pools, country clubs,” said Suheib, who worked for Hamas’s political branch in Turkey.

“When I lived in Turkey, I was shocked by the behavior of the Hamas members. They ate in the best restaurants, in places where one course cost $200,” he said. “A family in Gaza lives on $100 per month.”

In hiding in an unnamed Asian country, Suheib also said Hamas was working for a “foreign agenda,” selling information about Israel to the Iranians in exchange for financial assistance. He said the group’s operation in Turkey was run under the guise of a civil society organization but was gathering intelligence on Palestinian leaders in Ramallah, as well as leaders from other Arab countries.

He also said the group actively recruited young Palestinians in the West Bank to carry out attacks against Israel, not to liberate Palestinian land or for resistance, but to spread the crisis from Gaza to the West Bank.

The Washington Post’s coverage omits one key detail from Yousef’s description of “spreading the crisis.”  Yousef told Hemo that Hamas recruits children for terror attacks against you know who:

He said the setup in Turkey was also used to conscript people, including children, in the West Bank to carry out terror attacks against Israelis.

“The point of the attacks in the West Bank is to kill civilians, not for the aim of resistance, nor Jerusalem; not for liberating Palestinian land, and not even because they hate Jews,” he told the TV channel. “They send out these innocents because they want to export the crisis [from Gaza] to the West Bank.”

Yousef has a suggestion for Hamas’ leadership on that score:

“I want them to send their own children to carry out attacks if they have to. Why doesn’t [Hamas leader] Ismail Haniyeh go to the fence to throw stones?” he asked, referring to weekly protests along the Gaza-Israel border organized by Hamas.

“How does Hamas benefit from these attacks? Nothing,” he said. “It is a racist terror organization that is dangerous for the Palestinian people.”

Yousef is the second son of Hassan Yousef to turn on Hamas. His older brother Mosab defected over a decade ago, working for Israel at first before coming to the West and converting to Christianity. Known as “the Green Prince,” Mosab wrote his memoirs, Son of Hamas, and has actively campaigned against his father’s organization. Suheib sounds distant from his brother, emphasizing that he himself never worked for Israel and never intends to do so, but that he wants to work against Hamas and its corruption.

For the US, the most intriguing part of Yousef’s declaration might be the spy ring operating under the auspices of our supposed ally, Turkey:

Now, he reveals how the organization’s political bureau operates, which actually serves as a spy center for Iran.

“Hamas operates security and military institutions on Turkish soil under the guise of civil society,” Yusuf explained. “They have security centers, and from there they use sophisticated listening equipment to listen to people and leaders in Ramallah, using sophisticated equipment and software on the computers, and some people are experts on this.

“They use state-of-the-art equipment to promote a foreign agenda and that’s what I want to expose,” said a former Hamas official. “The movement uses this information not for the benefit of the Palestinian people – it sends the intelligence information to Iran in exchange for financial support, even money being transferred through Turkish banks under the guise of civil society centers.”

That revelation comes at a particularly bad time for Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He’s trying to eat his cake and have it too with purchases of both the F-35 and Russian anti-aircraft systems, plus maintain his status within NATO. If Erdogan is allowing Iran to penetrate Turkey, it’s not going to be just to target Israel. This puts the US at risk as well as its European allies.

So what will happen to the man who made all this public? Yousef seems more fatalistic than his older brother. “If Hamas wants to turn me into a shahid, then I will be a martyr,” he told Hemo. “I prefer to be the victim and not the one who hurts [others].” Hamas will want to accomplish that before Yousef can pass along the details of these intelligence operations, if he has not already done so. The US should work to put Yousef under our protection quickly — even if it won’t necessarily bring the two brothers any closer.

Yousef speaks for himself in this video, which is entirely in Hebrew and Arabic. It’s worth it for a look at the man who dared to tell the truth about Hamas, even while many prefer to live in denial.

The post Son of Hamas founder: It’s a “racist terror organization,” you know appeared first on Hot Air.

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Rashida Tlaib Comments on the Holocaust, Ends Up Propagating Anti-Semitic Garbage

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Rashida Tlaib has continually found herself repeating Hamas propaganda. As Israel was being struck with hundreds of rockets last week, she took to Twitter to deflect blame and repeated a false claim that Israel randomly shot a pregnant woman and instigated the attacks. In reality, a Hamas rocket fell short and killed the woman in question (as well as her unborn child and another child). Islamic Jihad, one of the terrorist groups operating in Gaza, admitted to the incident.

Tlaib has apparently learned nothing from that episode. She recently went on a podcast named “Skullduggery” where she found herself making more historically illiterate and anti-Semitic remarks about the Holocaust, Jews, and the state of Israel.

The largest point of contention involves this comment.

“There’s always kind of a calming feeling I tell folks when I think of the Holocaust, and the tragedy of the Holocaust, and the fact that it was my ancestors — Palestinians — who lost their land and some lost their lives, their livelihood, their human dignity, their existence in many ways, have been wiped out, and some people’s passports,” Tlaib said just after the 28 minute mark. “And just all of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post-the Holocaust, post-the tragedy and the horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time. And I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that, right, in many ways. But they did it in a way that took their human dignity away and it was forced on them.”

To start, the whole “calming feeling” thing is really awkward language but I don’t think it’d be fair of anyone to take that as her supporting the Holocaust. To focus on that misses the greater issue and just gives her defenders an excuse to dismiss legitimate criticism. What she’s attempting to say is that she feels proud that the Palestinians opened their arms to victims of the Holocaust and gave up “their” land to do so.

The problem with that thought is that it’s objectively false and it’s a common claim you see in anti-Semitic, Arab propaganda to support the destruction of the Jewish state.

This thread explains the situation well and why Tlaib is saying what she’s saying.

Tlaib is repeating anti-Semitic propaganda that asserts Jews had no right to be in Israel despite predating Arabs in the area by thousands of years. By her telling, the Jewish state as it exists today was a random post-1945 invention led by the migration of European Jews after the Holocaust. It’s a subtle, yet purposeful way to paint the Jewish people in Israel as foreign invaders who “stole” their land.

We know this is nonsense. There is no historical question that Jews were in Israel long before any Arab populations. That should be enough given the typical Democratic position on land rights (i.e. Native Americans for example), but even if we are talking modern day, Jews were migrating back to Israel in large numbers in the 1800s. The state of Israel was planned in the early 1900s. It was not something that just sprung up after the Holocaust to facilitate European Jews.

The Palestinians also never opened their arms to the Jews even though the Jewish people had a clear historical right to be in the area. In fact, the Palestinian leadership joined with Hitler and tried to exterminate the Jews. Furthermore, the surrounding Arab populations, including the Palestinians, tried to destroy Israel in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. The idea that there was any acceptance toward the Jews by Palestinians is a historically ignorant thing to say. It’s also dangerous because it propagates myths about Jews being “outsiders” in their own land, which only foments violence.

And that’s the big picture here.

Tlaib opposes the very existence of a Jewish state. This is one of the reasons she supports the boycott, divestment, and sanction movement. The entire goal of that movement is the internal collapse of Israel. Implicit in the propaganda she’s repeating about the Holocaust is the false idea that the Palestinians gave up “their land” and that the Jews have no right to be there.

It’s historically illiterate garbage.

What’s sad is that I’m not even sure she realizes what she’s doing. Tlaib strikes me as someone who’s been so pumped full of false anti-Semitic talking points her entire life that she actually believes what she’s saying. That’s no excuse though. She’s a U.S. Congressional member now and is responsible for the things she propagates. At every turn she finds a way to take the side of terrorists in Gaza when it comes to dealing with Israel and this latest outburst is no exception.

If we had a media worth anything, someone would have asked her directly by now if she believes Israel has any right to the land they hold. She’d almost certainly say no because her entire worldview is one where Israel has no right to exist and the Palestinians, even their terrorist leadership, are never at fault. Tlaib’s support for a non-Jewish, one-state solution is insidious because the purpose of such a view is to see Israel overwhelmed and destroyed.

She should be called out and condemned – strongly and often.

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Ilhan Omar Has a Habit of Tweeting Hamas Terrorist Propaganda

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Westlake Legal Group ilhan-omar-speech-SCREENSHOT-620x319 Ilhan Omar Has a Habit of Tweeting Hamas Terrorist Propaganda terrorists Terrorist Supporter republicans Propaganda Politics Mehdi Hasan Isreal Islamists Ilhan Omar Hamas Front Page Stories Featured Story democrats Dan Crenshaw anti-American

We almost made it two days without Ilhan Omar doing something completely awful.

Someone reset the counter because her latest escapade involves supporting terrorism by retweeting multiple pieces of Hamas propaganda. They came from a man named Mehdi Hasan, an Islamist mouthpiece who works for Al Jeezra.

It is objectively false to say that Israel occupies Gaza. They do not and not a single Jew has lived there since 2005. Israel controls their borders because they are also Israel’s borders. That’s not a complicated thing to grasp. The fact that the UN claims an occupation still exists is simply a testimony to how illogically dumb that organization is.

Omar wasn’t content with one retweet though.

Westlake Legal Group Untitled-3 Ilhan Omar Has a Habit of Tweeting Hamas Terrorist Propaganda terrorists Terrorist Supporter republicans Propaganda Politics Mehdi Hasan Isreal Islamists Ilhan Omar Hamas Front Page Stories Featured Story democrats Dan Crenshaw anti-American

There’s one major problem with Omar’s endorsement of Hasan’s statement.

It’s total garbage.

Islamic Jihad admitted that it was one of their rockets falling short that killed the pregnant woman and her niece. Palestinian terrorists could not care less about their own people.

You’d think a self-proclaimed champion of human rights like Omar would speak out against such barbaric treatment but nah. She was quick to spread Hamas propaganda but when the facts go against her world-view, she suddenly falls silent.

This is a woman who sits on the powerful Foreign Affairs Committee.

We passed the point of being able to dress this up as innocent a long time ago. Day after day, Omar finds ways to support terrorists and take blatantly un-American positions. It’s surreal at times, and if you point it out, liberals and the media rush to proclaim that you are inciting violence against her. Absurdity is the word for it.

I keep thinking she’ll finally cross some line where Democrats will go “ok, enough is enough.” I continue to be proven wrong.

The post Ilhan Omar Has a Habit of Tweeting Hamas Terrorist Propaganda appeared first on RedState.

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