The unhappiness and general malaise in Europe is usually discussed in economic terms, and Greece is the obvious example.. But surely the Europe-wide phenomena of waves of migrants from North African shores, the resulting welfare costs, and the expense of dealing with Islamic threats at every level, have effects on Europe's sense of wellbeing -- both from the recent upsurge in Muslim immigration and from those Muslim migrants in place for years who remain steadfastly unassimilated -- that are much more than a matter of economics. Ivan Rioufol chooses to concentrate on the economics in his article on Greece here.
Posters Threatening Homosexuals with Death Appear in Turkish Capital
Let's remember that no Christian group, no matter how literalist, advocates the killing of homosexuals. The Daily Star:
ANKARA: A Turkish Islamist group has pinned posters to walls and posts in the capital Ankara threatening gays with death, adding to concerns over growing intolerance against homosexuals in the country, an AFP correspondent said Tuesday.
The appearance of the posters in Ankara comes just over a week after Turkish police prevented Istanbul's annual gay pride march - a successful tradition in the last years - from going ahead and used water cannon against activists who showed defiance.
"Should those who practice the foul labor and adhere to the practice of the people of Lot be killed?" said the posters that appeared in the Turkish capital overnight.
The prophet Lot, who features in the Old Testament and the Koran, is decried by many Muslims for failing to halt the decline of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, which was blamed on the sexual preferences of their inhabitants.
A hitherto low-key Islamist group called the Young Islamic Defense claimed responsibility for the poster campaign through a Twitter account @islamimudafaa, saying it was trying to "respond to the immoral actions" of lesbians, gays and bisexuals.
The poster showed an image of a past gay pride march in Istanbul and the group said it was seeking to respond to such events.
The group said that the phrase used was a hudud - an Islamic concept - from the Koran.
Anti-riot police in Istanbul used teargas and fired rubber pellets to disperse thousands of participants in the city's Gay Pride march on June 28, with the authorities saying the event had not received the proper authorization.
Activists said that the authorities had tried to justify the ban by saying such an event could not take place during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey and unlike in many Muslim countries visible communities exist in the bigger cities, including Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.
But many gays still keep their sexuality a secret for fear of a backlash from family or the general public, and remain at risk of unprovoked attacks.
I don't know how long before Allison Pearson joins the exodus from the Telegraph to Breitbart. I hope her amusing family orientated pieces give her enough protection to allow her to keep writing this sort of straight talking piece in the main current affairs pages.
I can remember exactly where I was ten years ago today. Due to give a speech in the City of London, I was up early, but the radio had reports of a suspected power surge on the Underground so I emailed to the organiser saying I was worried I might run into travel problems. We agreed to keep an eye on the TV news.
I had no idea that Shehzad Tanweer, a young Muslim almost the same age as Emma (a family friend) was then, had detonated a bomb that had blown apart the carriage directly in front of the one in which Emma was travelling with her mother, on her way to start work experience.
I had no idea that members of the emergency services stood at the top of the escalator and were not allowed to go down and rescue stricken passengers in case there was a second bomb. (The Blitz Spirit had been cancelled in some quarters on 7/7 due to Health and Safety legislation. That dreadful day, it was often civilians and off-duty emergency personnel who did what came naturally, binding the wounds and comforting the dying.)
It was mid-afternoon when I heard a message on the house answerphone: Emma reassuring us that she was OK. Well, about as OK as you can be when you’ve made your way along a Tube track, stepping on and over bits of your fellow human beings. . . But on July 7, 2005, OK was the best you could hope for. OK was wonderful. There were 52 families who would have given everything they had for OK.
Four Muslim men who had all the advantages of growing up in our country hated our way of life so much that they murdered Jenny, Laura and all the other daughters and sons, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters. It was, it still is, intolerable.
Equally dismaying is the fact that, ten years on, the threat, as the Prime Minister admitted yesterday, continues to be real and deadly. Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorism squad says it has foiled up to 50 plots since 7/7. In the intervening decade, there have been more than 2,000 terrorism-related arrests. As we observed the silence for the dead of 7/7, arrests were at a record high, with almost one detention every single day.
Against that horrifying background, consider the complaint this week in the Guardian by the writer and editor, Mehdi Hasan. He says that since 7/7, British Muslims have met with discrimination – “subject to unprecedented scrutiny; tagged as a suspect community, the enemy within, a 'fifth column’ (to quote Nigel Farage)”.
Well, yes. If substantial numbers of men from a certain group in society are presenting an unprecedented threat to a country, then scrutiny and suspicion do tend to be the result. As for discrimination, try lying on a beach in Tunisia and being shot dead for no reason other than not being Muslim.
I’m not sure that Hasan and commentators like him fully grasp the widespread dismay at the failure of many Muslims to accept the values of our society, equality for women being foremost among them.
they keep on coming, these awful stories. Ahuge rise in sharia marriages is reported, many of them polygamous, all taking place in a parallel world within our liberal western one. What hope is there of Muslim children integrating into the wider culture, and coming to regard it proudly as their own?
You know, I really don’t want to live in a country which needs something called a “forced marriage” course. Neither did Emma. She’s in Australia now. On the tenth anniversary of the day Tanweer nearly killed her, she went to a liberal mosque to talk about her experiences of 7/7. The imam told Emma what an important symbol her visit was. One Muslim friend who was present said: “Muslims’ lack of understanding of other religions is quite scary.” Education, he said, was key. “Only education can stop the cancer spreading.” Education is a good preventative of the disease; but once you have cancer only chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery will do. Poison, burn, cut and destroy.
Emma texted me later: “I had to spend the day remembering that not all Muslims are out to kill us.” A sad, sorrowful sentiment Muslims might like to reflect on. I know how Emma hates to be reminded of 7/7, but anyway I texted back: “Just to say how glad we are that you’re still here and how much we love you.”
I was unable to attend at Tavistock Square with my friends from March for England this year due to family commitments. But a friend has allowed me to use his photograph of the flowers they left there. All was done in proper order as in previous years.
A minutes silence was called for 11.30am this morning and was honoured with impressive decorum in the place I happened to be. We will not forget. We will not forget the 38 holiday makers (30 of them British) murdered in Tunisia last month. Or Fusilier Lee Rigby.
The nightmare generated by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (IS) is causing turmoil in the Middle East. Everyone affected is now pondering, “Am I awake or is this just a dream?” The new advances by IS in June 2015 have led to the exodus of another 30,000 Arab Iraqis from Fallujah, now in the hands of IS, to the Kurdish area of Iraq. Another refugee problem, seemingly not a concern of the venerable Archbishop Desmond Tutu or Alice Walker, has been born.
One of the saddest misinterpretations of President Barack Obama was his terming IS a jayvee compared to al-Qaeda. IS has seized Palmyra in Syria, and then Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad, capital of Anbar, largest province in Iraq. It has lost some areas to the brave Kurdish forces, and some of its commanders have been killed by U.S. air strikes, but its relentless march continues, and must be stopped.
It is crucial to understand the extraordinary advance and success of this group whose origin can be traced back to the activity of the Jordanian -born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi who formed an insurgent al-Qaeda group in 2002, pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden and was killed four years later. He was replaced by Abu Bakhr al-Baghdadi who rebuilt and strengthened the organization that proclaimed itself the Islamic State in April 2003, a status that was rejected by the rival terrorist groups, al-Qaeda and the Nusra Front.
The speedy territorial aggression of IS incorporated Fallujah in October 2013, and Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, in June 2014, amounting to control of about 81,000 square miles, the size of the UK. In June 2014 the terrorist group formally declared itself a Caliphate, a demonstration of nation building. It is a state governed in accordance with Sharia law. It insists that all Muslims swear allegiance to Baghdadi, that they migrate to the territory he controls, that other jihadist groups accept his authority, that non-Sunni Muslims be treated, according to the doctrine of takfir, as apostates deserving death, that obstacles to restoring Allah’s rule on earth be eradicated, that women wear full veils, that non-Muslims pay a special tax, and that the main enemy is the U.S.-led coalition.
What is disquieting for all the non-believers in the Caliphate is its strength and efficiency. It claims a core of 30,000 fighters who have been joined by 22,000 foreigners from around the world, mainly Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Jordan, and Morocco. It also gets support from Sunni tribes who fear the Shia-dominated Iran.
The Islamic State is well armed; its military capability includes assets of armored vehicles captured from the Syrian and Iraqi armies, 2,300 armored Humvees, tanks, and bomb-proof trucks. It has received funding from private donors, mainly from the Gulf countries, from Islamic charities, but mostly from its sale of crude oil and refined products, kidnapping, robbery, looting, extortion, and sale of antiquities.
In its administrative organization, IS has an elaborate structure of advisory councils and administrative departments that have a wide range of functions: the principle entities are a Sharia religious council; SHURA advisory council; military council; and a security council. The same structure applies in 9 provinces in Syria, and 7 in Iraq. In this administration, former civilian and military officials of the Baath party of Saddam Hussein have been playing a role.
IS proclaims itself a social and political movement. It provides security to Sunni communities located in areas in the midst of conflict, offering itself, while exploiting local grievances, as the only alternative to social collapse in the Arab world. It provides a justice system and other essential services such as schools, clinics and bakeries so that believers can live in the promised paradise. It purports to be the last line of Sunni defense against the many enemies: the U.S.; the so-called apostate Gulf Arab states; the infidel Nusayri Alawite Syrian regime of President Assad, the Rafida (essentially Shia) in Iran and Iraq who reject the legitimate Islamic authority. It is noteworthy that the rivalry between IS and the Nusra Front takes on a tribal inflection.
IS thus contrasts with the al-Qaeda groups in putting less emphasis on religious argument and emphasizing continued territorial expansion, the use of violence and construction and control of a civil society, while insisting, in Stalinist fashion, that in areas under its control all answer to a single authority. Unlike al-Qaeda, the worldview of IS is the belief that the masses need guidance and a vision of the future glories of the state. In this respect, for IS there is an inherent contest between its passion to implement Islamic law with the attempt to get support of people in the territory who may not welcome the imposition of Islamic law.
The increased danger for the west is that IS, through its surrogates, is expanding its activities. Recent incidents include the bombing a Shiite mosque in Saudi Arabia, seizing control of part of Libya, organizing a bloody assault in Egypt along the Mediterranean coast, and establishing links in Nigeria through Boko Haram and in South Asia, especially through its affiliate IS Khorasan, whose former leader Hafiz Saeed, a former Taliban leader, was killed in Aril 2015.
It is disappointing that the Iraqi army, which inflates its numbers with ghost soldiers, has done badly in efforts to resist IS. Shia soldiers flee before the aggressive IS that killed 1500 army cadets. It is encouraging that Haider al-Abadi, Iraqi prime minister since August 2014, a Shia English-speaking individual with a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from a British University, has formed an inclusive government and is committed to fighting IS. He helped form an umbrella group Hashid al Shabi of 40 mainly Shia military forces based in Iraq but assisted by some Iranians, to fight IS. The U.S. suggests Abadi also arm Sunni tribes. For the U.S. the essential problem is that the coalition it has assembled is full of conflicting ambitions, and that Saudi Arabia sees the main enemy as Iran with its regional aspirations.
All opponents of IS must wake up and counter its advances, not only militarily but also from the point of view of security as well as halting information networks, and by skillful use of social media. The danger is that IS is its reaching out to the young , through a clever core group that sends message through the Internet, social media, and its very well produced propaganda journal Dabiq. It is instilling fear by its public exhibition of beheadings of prisoners and advocating death of all enemies. One valuable western response to all this is the suspension by social media networks of accounts linked to the IS.
IS is appealing to a critical mass available for radicalization who are affected for different reasons: their envy of the west; their acceptance of an Islamic doctrine of redemption; the attractiveness of becoming martyrs; their acquiescence in peer pressure ; and their swallowing of propaganda proclaiming the power of IS. It has successfully appealed to populations in the East End of London, the banlieues around Paris, and villages in the Balkans. In any case the west must both formulate a counter narrative and prevent terrorist messages. It must overcome the seeming appeal of martyrdom and the promise of an eternal paradise that IS proposes.
Western action will again raise the issue of balancing free speech against security, especially since lone wolf recent Islamic murderers were on the periphery of IS and known Islamist networks, and therefore harder to detect. The task is formidable, as is clear from the limitations the British have experienced where MI5 has 3,000 subjects of interest on its databases but only employs 5,000 to deal with them.
It is tempting to compare IS with the German Nazi regime not only because of the ruthlessness common to both, in the detached attitude towards mass killing, the vandalizing of culture artifacts and the war on cultural heritage, the threat to western civilization, the elevation of the Leader, and the elimination of non-believers. Above all, adherents of both have lost the moral compass that steers civilized people. The west must prevent another genocide. IS must be destroyed before it attempts to emulate the Nazis.
Kurds Lauded by Pentagon as “Reliable and Effective” Partners in War against ISIS
Kurdish YPG fighters capturing Tal-Abyad, Syria, June 2015
Monday, July 6, 2015 was a red letter day in Washington with Pentagon officials acknowledging the critical role of Kurdish YPG and Peshmerga forces successfully fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq. President Obama appeared at the Pentagon to give an update on the campaign to “degrade and destroy the Islamic state”. It wasn’t a great score card since his declaration made on national television on September 10, 2014. He suggested that winning the war was going to a “generational conflict’. “This will not be quick. This is a long-term campaign. (ISIS) is opportunistic and it is nimble," Obama said. As usual he reiterated that the ISIS campaign was “not a war against Islam”. This despite that ISIS practices pure Salafist Islam that has attracted tens of thousands of foreign fighters from across the Muslim ummah. The President still hasn’t addressed a coherent strategy except to commit minimal numbers of US trainers to develop combat cadres in both Iraq and Syria and conduct air assaults against ISIS targets. During his remarks he pointed to more than 5,000 air strikes in Iraq, Syria and North Africa equivalent to just three days of air operations during the Gulf Wars.
According to CNN, President Obama suggested that the ‘coalition’ was going after “the heart” of the Islamic State. He exhorted Congress to confirm the replacement head of the Treasury Department, Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Adam Szubin. He suggested that US Trained forces had some successes on the ground in both Iraq and Syria backed up by air support, without naming them. They are the Kurdish YPG (Popular Resistance Forces) in Syria and the Peshmerga in Iraq. In our July New English Review (NER) Article, “Empowering Kurdistan”, those front line Kurdish forces have been the only forces capable of rolling back ISIS forces. Obama and his national security staff had met with President Barzani and aides of the Kurdish Regional Government in early May 2015 during the latter’s meetings in Washington seeking quality weapons and support in the war against ISIS. We noted in our NER article that both KRG and Syrian Kurdish leaders had met separately with Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) in the House and Senate Armed Forces Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ). That resulted in amendments to the National Defense Appropriate Act authorizing military assistance for Kurdish fighting units in both Syria and Iraq.
Watch this C-Span video of President Obama’s Pentagon Conference on the ISIS War, July 6, 2015:
Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, The Pentagon, July 6, 2015
Source: Carolyn Kaster/AP
A few hours before President Obama and military leaders briefings on the War against ISIS, there was another Pentagon meeting with a more positive message. This one featured Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter and French Defense Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian to specifically discuss military aid for the Kurds. McClatchey had a definitive report on that more substantive meeting recognizing the Kurds as “reliable and effective allies” in the war against ISIS, “Kurdish militia proving to be reliable partner against Islamic State in Syria.”The McClatchey report noted:
In comments Monday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter acknowledged that Kurdish fighters from the YPG militia are identifying bombing targets for U.S.-led airstrikes. He referred to the militia as “capable,” hailed its “effective action,” and said because of the Kurds’ actions, U.S. forces had been able to “support them tactically.”
It was the first public description by a senior Obama administration official detailing the cooperation that has been unfolding for months between the United States and the militia, which has drawn the ire of key NATO ally Turkey.
The militia’s success is one of the reasons the United States is intensifying its bombing campaign against the Islamic State in Syria, Carter said.
“That’s what we were doing over the weekend north of Raqqa, which is conducting airstrikes that limit ISIL’s freedom of movement and ability to counter those capable Kurdish forces,” Carter said, referring to the Islamic State by a common acronym.
Carter’s singling out of the YPG, or the People’s Protection Units, comes after months in which U.S. officials have said they were putting off a more concerted campaign in Syria in favor of pressing against the Islamic State in Iraq because the U.S. lacked a capable ground partner in Syria. As long ago as October, then Pentagon spokesman John Kirby was blunt about why U.S. activities there were lagging: “We don’t have a willing, capable, effective partner on the ground inside Syria. It’s just a fact.”
Secretary Carter went on to commend the YPG, ironically an offshoot of the Turkish Kurdish resistance PKK, still listed as a terrorist organization. The YPG successes have unnerved Islamist Turkish President Erdogan that he has suggested invading Syria to establish a 100 x 30 mile buffer zone to forestall further Kurdish advances to the west of Kobani on the Turkish frontier at Suruc. Turkish military leaders are less supportive of that incursion. Moreover, Erdogan’s agenda may have been effectively eclipsed despite an agreement to form a working coalition with the Turkish National Party, HNP. The latter was one of three minority parties, including the Kemalist CHP and the upstart Kurdish HDP that won a plurality of seats in the Ankara Parliamentary elections of June 7, 2015.
Carter went to site the YPG contributions in Syria:
Backed by U.S. air power, he said, YPG forces have advanced in the past weeks to within 18 miles of Raqqa, the main stronghold of the Islamic State in Syria.
“That's the manner in which effective and lasting defeat of ISIL will occur, when there are effective local forces on the ground that we can support and enable so that they can take territory, hold territory and make sure that good governance comes in behind it,” Carter said.
How far the YPG will push its offensive is uncertain. Raqqa is not traditionally a Kurdish area, and Kurdish forces, which are said to number an estimated 16,000 troops, are not expected to try to take the city alone.
But the YPG offers a much more robust anti-Islamic State force inside Syria than does the training program the United States has undertaken: so far, only about 190 so-called moderate rebels have been enlisted in the program, which is intended to train 5,000 anti-Islamic State fighters a year.
The United States last month also expanded its airstrikes to northern Aleppo, another key northern Syria city about 100 miles west of Raqqa, putting the Islamic State on notice that a new drive to remove them from what is called the Marea front could be in the offing.
Carter made it clear that U.S. and allied warplanes are increasingly depending on the Kurdish forces as part of the Pentagon’s broader campaign to defeat the Islamic State.
“We are doing more in Syria from the air,” Carter said. “I think you saw some of that in recent days. And the opportunity to do that effectively is provided in the case of the last few days by the effective action on the ground of Kurdish forces, which gives us the opportunity to support them tactically.”
What has not been addressed publicly is the delivery of quality military weapons and training of YPG and Peshmerga forces who have fought with Soviet era weaponry against US arms and equipment obtained by ISIS from fleeing Iraqi national forces routed from Mosul in June 2014 and Ramadi in late May 2015. That may soon be coming given the presence of French Defense Minister Le Drian. You may recall Secretary Carter upon learning of the fall of Ramadi accused Iraqi national forces of having” no will to fight”. The Kurds exemplify military valor and have a proven record. Secretary Carter should move expeditiously to release weapons and equipment from the US War Reserve Stock pre-positioned in Israel to the YPG, KURDNAS forces in Syria and Peshmerga in Iraq. Moreover, Gen. James Allen who heads the US-led coalition force should ramp up aerial sorties beyond the paltry 40 sorties used to provide close air support to the YPG this past weekend. President Obama, unfortunately, has yet to recognize the pure Salafist form of Islam that is embodied in the barbaric violence perpetrated by ISIS on women, children, ancient religious minorities and Syrian and Iraqi military prisoners. Yes, Mr. President this is a war against Salafist Islam that the secular Muslim Kurds recognize must be destroyed
The silence was truly deafening. Not a sound from Archbishop Desmond Tutu or Alice Walker or the eager boycotters of Israel or the United Nations Human Rights Council about the brutal massacre of more than 70, perhaps 100, Egyptian soldiers and civilians by Islamist terrorists in the northern Sinai peninsula.
Since Israel, after the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, withdrew all its forces and all settlements -- including Yamit -- by 1982, the Sinai peninsula has been plagued by terrorist attacks, especially against tourists, by kidnappings, and by violence. After the 2011 Egyptian revolution and consequent uprisings, a major terrorist group emerged and became even more belligerent after the coup that deposed President Mohammed Morsi on July 3, 2013. This was Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM) that has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks against both Israeli interests and Egyptian personnel.
These assaults included an attack in July 2012 against a Sinai pipeline, a rocket strike in August 2012 on Eilat in south Israel, suicide bombings in el Tor in southern Sinai in May 2014, downing an Egyptian military helicopter in a missile attack, car bombings and hand grenades in Cairo, assassinations and attempted assassinations of Egyptian officials, beheading of four individuals in October 2014, an attack on a security checkpoint, and the June 29, 2015 murder in Cairo of Hisham Barakat, the Egyptian Prosecutor General, who in only two years in office had detained hundreds of members of the Muslim Brotherhood. He was the most senior Egyptian government official murdered.
In November 2014, ABM declared its allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (IS) and accepted the new self-appointed Caliph. It appears to have several hundred trained operatives and collaborators. There are different opinions about the actions of the Sinai Bedouin population, especially that of the largest of the 10 major tribes, the Tarabin tribe in northern Sinai, a tribe that is notorious for drug dealing, weapons smuggling, and human trafficking in prostitutes and African labor workers. Tarabin is said to have called for unification of all the tribes against the terrorists, but rumors of clashes appear to be untrue, and some even allege collaboration with the terrorists. What is true is that local Bedouin tribesmen, alleging discrimination by the state against them, have launched attacks against government forces in Sinai.
Over the last two years ABM, now regarding itself as a dedicated affiliate of IS, has tried to undermine the rule of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. It has attacked Egyptian army posts, and security centers, and also the UN Multilateral Force in northern Sinai, that oversees the terms of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, and tried as well to infiltrate Israeli territory.
There had already been terrorist attacks on October 2014 and January 2015 when more than 30 were killed on each occasion in northeast Sinai. The most dramatic deed of ABM, which now seems to have changed its name to Province of Sinai, (POS) was the series of simultaneous coordinated attacks on July 1, 2015 on fifteen army centers of security forces and checkpoints in northern Sinai. The attacks, including three suicide bombers, killed at least 70 soldiers and civilians.
Evidently POS, imitating its mentor IS that has taken and now rules cities in Iraq and Syria, wanted to take over the city of Sheikh Zuweid, close to Israel, and cut off Rafah from al-Arish.
The danger to all of the democratic countries is immediate for a number of reasons. The first is that the success of the terrorists in their daring ambushes, control of the roads, taking police officers hostage, and planting mines in the streets, indicates not only their disciplined activity but also the influence of IS operatives directly and indirectly through training. IS in Iraq and Syria has operated in just this aggressive and disciplined fashion. All authorities responsible for security in the United States should be conscious of and take account of this highly organized success and of the threat of future similar attacks in the U.S. itself.
The second reason is that Hamas in Gaza is providing support to POS with weapons and logistical support, and even with Hamas terrorists taking part in operations. These have come from Hamas commanders in the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades that have been prominent for anti-Israeli attacks, including suicide bombings against civilians inside Israel. One particular active commander is Wael Faraj, who has smuggled wounded fighters from Sinai into Gaza.
A third problem is the obvious attempt to undermine and aim at the overthrow of President Sisi, a voice of sanity in the Muslim world. He has courageously criticized the extremists of his religion. In his remarkable speech at al-Azhar University in Cairo on January 22, 2015, he said that fellow Muslims needed to change the religious discourse and remove from it things that have led to violence and extremism. The Muslim religion, he said to imams, is in need of religious reform.
Since he assumed power on June 8, 2014, Sisi has attempted to stem the tide of terrorism by reinforcing the Sinai, restricting traffic, imposing curfews in the area, and demolishing homes of suspected terrorists in Rafah. He sought to create a buffer zone along the border with Gaza, and to destroy the tunnels built by Hamas. But clearly Sisi needs help to survive. It is imperative for the U.S. together with Israel to provide that help to the overwhelmed Egyptian army and intelligence services.
Israel is acutely aware of the danger. POS captured armored vehicles on July 1, 2015 that it can now use to penetrate the border fence between Sinai and Israel. That fence is unlikely to deter a trained terrorist group that now has combat experience. Israel responded by closing roads and two border crossings as a precautionary measure. But all the democratic countries, especially the United States, and also the United Nations because of its Multilateral Force, are now aware that the Islamist terror is at their doors as well as at the outskirts of Israel, and should act accordingly.
Casting my eye idly over my bookshelves the other day, I picked out The Economic Consequences of the Peace by John Maynard Keynes, his internationally best-selling attack on the Treaty of Versailles, published immediately after his resignation from the British delegation to the Peace Conference in 1919. He predicted it would lead to disaster, and certainly disaster was not long in coming, though I leave it to historian to decide how far the disaster was actually caused by the treaty. After all, if you say that disaster is coming, you are seldom wrong. Perhaps we should have a law making it illegal to deny that the Treaty of Versailles caused the disaster of the 1930s. It would simplify matters greatly.
Several passages in the book struck me a relevant today, in the throes as we are of an enormous crisis after infinitely drawn-out and convoluted negotiations. Here, for example, is what Keynes said of the Peace Conference:
The proceedings of Paris all had this air of extraordinary importance
and unimportance at the same time. The decisions seemed charged
with consequences to the future of human society; yet the air
whispered that the word was not flesh, that it was futile,
insignificant, of no effect, dissociated from events; and one felt
most strongly the impression… of events marching on to their fated
conclusion uninfluenced and unaffected by the cerebrations of
Statesmen in Council…
But the opportunity was missed… during the six months which
followed the Armistice, and nothing we do now can repair the
mischief wrought at the time. Great privation and great risks to
society have become unavoidable. All that is now open to us is
to re-direct, so far as lies within our power, the fundamental
economic tendencies that promote the re-establishment of
prosperity and order, instead of leading us deeper into misfortune.
But is this not always the case? We are always where the last lot of fools led us, and not where we should have been if wiser counsels had prevailed. This is so even in our personal lives: who can say he is exactly where he ought to have been if wisdom had ruled?
According to Keynes, France demanded that Germany should indemnify France beyond its capacity to pay, in order that France should be able to pay back British loans, so that Britain could pay back American loans (as a result of the war, Britain was a net creditor: its problem was that its loans were bad but its debts were good).
Suffice it to say that the precedents are not encouraging.
A man and little girl seen flying an Isil flag outside Parliament on Saturday were allowed to continue by police who insisted they were 'within the law'.
The pair were seen by uniformed waving the outlawed group's distinctive black and white banner as they walked past a Scout group, just days before the 7/7 terrorist attacks will be remembered.
Scotland Yard said officers spoke to the man and considered his actions to be within the Public Order Act 1986. A spokesman said: "This man was spoken to by officers with consideration given to relevant legislation and a decision was taken by officers at the time that the man was acting within the law. He was not arrested."
The only Muslim survivor of the 7/7 terror attack in London is calling for unity in the face of increasing Islamophobia. Sajda Mughal was 22-years-old and travelling on the Piccadilly Line when four coordinated bombs were detonated by suicide bombers - including one on the train she was one. Now she says we should stand together against Islamophobia in the same way people did against terrorism a decade ago.
As part of a unique initiative, she runs courses for predominantly Muslim mothers on how to spot signs of extremism in their children, teaching them internet skills, how to search web histories and which websites to look out for. In the two years the project has been running, Mughal has helped 200 mothers, and in February she was awarded an OBE by the Prince of Wales.
Mughal’s own life has been irrevocably shaped by terrorism. On 7 July 2005, then aged 22, she was on the same Tube train as Germaine Lindsay, who blew himself up, killing 26 people as well as injuring 340 more.
That evening, Mughal started to hear news reports, first that it was a bombing and that the four men had carried out the attack in the name of Islam. For Mughal, a Muslim herself, this was devastating.
“It really affected me, having been down there and thinking I was going to die, then finding out it was done by men from my religion. Islam states if you take one innocent life it’s as if you’ve killed the whole of humanity – they had gone completely against Islam. . . But I couldn’t shake the questions I had. I was waking up every day thinking that 7/7 should never have happened. I kept asking myself, what could have been done to prevent those men doing that?”
Now Mughal works tirelessly at the charity – despite receiving regular death threats from people she calls Islamophobes – from 9.30am to 7pm, often staying up until as late as 3am. “There’s always a funding proposal to write,” she says, wryly.
It can be gruelling and distressing work. After the attacks she began researching extremist material online. “It was horrible. Some of the videos are disgusting. But I thought it was important to know what was out there.” She started speaking in schools, where some children would tell her they had sympathy with the bombers.
“I would tell them about my experience of 7/7 and tell them to imagine it was their mother, or sister, or friend down there. It’s important to have a face-to-face dialogue with children and provide counter-arguments, not push them online to find answers.”
When Mughal spoke to a packed hall of mothers at the end of last year, still only four per cent of them knew about Isil. “That is why we need to keep working, to improve education and help save our children,” she says.
But over the last decade she says she has seen an increase in Islamphobioa with attacks on women wearing the veil, vandalism of homes, discrimination in applying for jobs and bullying in schools. She also points to the recent trending hashtag "Kill All Muslims" as an example of how widespread it has become.
"When we speak to young Muslims they tell us they are experiencing a rise in Islamophobia and they are feeling disconnected from society because of that. Extremism to some degree is fueled by Islamophobia, young Muslims are telling us first hand they have experienced it or their family has and that is making them feel alienated and that leaves some vulnerable to radicalisation.
What was poignant for me and what stood out [after 7/7] was how Londoners came together to help everyone that day, regardless of your background, and that is what I would like to see happen today to tackle the issues of extremism and Islamophobia we are facing."
I'm sorry to have to tell you Mrs Mughal but knowledge once known cannot be dis-known. We know what it says in the Koran now,and the ahadith, and the conduct of Mohammed, that perfect man to be emulated in all things. I'll assume that you are genuine and mean well. Until and unless Mohammed is treated as a man, flawed and sinful like us all and not a god, then Islam cannot reform into a Godly creed.
POTISKUM, Nigeria: A woman suicide bomber blew up in the midst of a crowded evangelical Christian church service in northeast Nigeria on Sunday and killed at least five people, witnesses said.
Police Sunday rushed to the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Potiskum, the largest city in northeastern Yobe state. Wailing women and stunned men wandered around the wreckage of smashed bricks and twisted zinc sheets blown off the church roof. One congregant said the blast came from a woman in the congregation. She was too scared to give her name.
An Associated Press reporter counted five bodies from the blast in the morgue of the local hospital, where a wounded woman was being treated.
...attacks are increasing as Boko Haram apparently responds to an Islamic State group directive to intensify violence during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Kedar noted that during Ramadan, the rituals of fasting and prayer bring many Muslims to feel closer to Allah.
This is in stark contrast, he said, to how many rulers of Islamic countries took power, conducted themselves, or treated their people - and the leadership's lack of adherence to religious law or lack of merciful rule often led to a sense of righteous indignation during Ramadan.
As a result, he said, there have been tensions between Muslims and leaders of Arab countries during the month-long holiday in many different periods of history.
"This is why, by the way, the Ottoman Empire in many places and at many times would announce the start of Ramadan in the morning, or at dawn, by the shot of a cannon," Kedar noted.
Not only was it to notify the people of the beginning of the fast, he said, but "also to remind the people who is behind the cannon - and that they should be very careful not to say something against the ruler or especially to do something against the ruler."
Kedar added that, today, Ramadan "adds to the religious adrenaline" of Muslim holy wars in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East, as well as the fervor of terror groups who vow to increase attacks on the West - and this "definitely motivates people to launch more attacks against the infidels and all those who are viewed as enemies of the Islamic world."
He also related to recent tensions in the Sinai, where Islamic State (ISIS) launched a coordinated attack on the Egyptian Army earlier this week which left at least 50 soldiers dead.
"In Sinai there is a war, there is an all-out war," he reflected, noting "this is not a new thing."
"Sinai became a vacuum of lawlessness, and many jihadists came from Egypt and from other parts of the world into Sinai, found there a safe haven, and they are acting against the regime big-time," he said. "The regime tried to ignore this for a long time - but when you ignore small problems, they become big problems."
Support the "Draw Mohammed" Cartoon Exhibition in London!
In September 2015 Sharia Watch UK, Vive Charlie and Liberty GB will host the UK "Draw Mohammed" cartoon exhibition in central London. The event has been organised in honour of the cartoonists, bloggers and artists around the world who risk their lives in defence of free expression, and of those who have been murdered in this cause.
The organisers are delighted to announce that Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Freedom Party, will speak at the event.
Anne-Marie Waters, Director of Sharia Watch UK http://www.shariawatch.org.uk/ said: "It is vital, in this era of censorship and fear, that we stand together in defiance and demand our right to free expression. We will not, and cannot, succumb to violent threats. The outlook for our democracy depends on the actions we take today. We owe it to future generations to pass on the freedom we have enjoyed."
To help make this event take place, we welcome your donations, large or small. Help us defend freedom of expression in Britain!
Misguided Israeli Populists Protest Deal for Offshore Gas Development
Tel Aviv Offshore Gas Deal Protesters, July 4, 2015
Source: Jerusalem Post
Last week, Israeli PM Netanyahu effectively declared offshore gas deal with Delek Partners and US Noble Energy, Inc. a national security issue. This was the conclusion reached after discussions with the development partners and economic analysis of other major gas developments resulting in a proposed framework to replace a series of bust deals with the Israel Antitrust Authority. He and his Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz may have a daunting task ahead next week contending with coalition partner, Economics Minister Aryeh Deri of Shas and Populist/Green opponents of the new deal. They support the position of the outgoing General Director of the Israel Antitrust Authority, Dr. David Gilo who resigned on May 26th objecting to the new deal saying he would not leave until August 2015. We have written about the offshore gas developments in several New English Review (NER) articles and Iconoclast posts. See: “Could Israel Lose the Energy Prize in the Eastern Mediterranean” NER (Jan. 2015). We specifically pointed out the radical populist actions by Dr. David Gilo, who didn’t appear to have the requisite understanding of energy market dynamics, let alone geo-political realities, or the risk capital requirements to develop and distribute gas.
Last December Gilo reneged on a March 2014 comprise deal with the Delek-Noble development partners instead accusing them of being a duopoly operating in restraint of trade. Instead he sent the development partners a consent decree forcing sale of interests in the offshore gas deals for which they provided the risk capital to bring to develop them. Thus began the unraveling of a potentially important development of significant natural gas reservoirs in Israel’s offshore Exclusive Economic Zone in the Eastern Mediterranean Levant Basin. Delek and Houston based Noble Energy had spent over $6 billion before bringing in the 9 trillion cubic feet tcf Tamir field in 2009 and the 21 tcf Leviathan field in 2011. Delivery of gas from the Tamar field began in 2013, while the significant larger Leviathan field might be brought on stream in 2018. When the Knesset adopted revised royalty and tax scheme proposed by the Sheshinski Committee in 2013, Israel looked like it might be on the path to a bright economic future. That included the possibility of earning upwards of $70 billion in future revenues funding an authorized Sovereign Wealth Fund. The tax revenues from the gas sold for domestic use and export would substantively alleviate social program and national security budgetary burdens. That was also evident to former Reagan National Security aide, Prof. Norman Bailey of Haifa U and, Caroline Glick, deputy managing editor of the Jerusalem Post in an op-ed published on Thursday, July 2, 2015, Israel’s Populist Energy Crisis.
Saturday night, July Fourth, the Jerusalem Postreported, thousands from the student Green Course movement protesting the new gas deal from Netanyahu in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, Jerusalem, Beersheba and at the PM’s home in Caesarea. According to the Post, “The activists demanded lower gas prices and increased use of gas in domestic factories, accusing the government of bending to foreign interests.”
The new proposal that Netanyahu is poised to secure cabinet approval on Monday, July 6th had the following terms according to the Post:
Under the government’s gas outline, Delek subsidiaries Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration would have to exit the 282-b.cu.m, Tamar reservoir, whose gas began flowing to Israel in March 2013, selling their assets there within six years.
Houston-based Noble Energy could remain the basin’s operator, needing to dilute its ownership from the current 36 percent share to 25 percent within the same time frame.
The Delek subsidiaries and Noble Energy would be required to sell their holdings in two much smaller offshore reservoirs, Karish and Tanin, within 14 months. Because the buyer would be required to sell gas only to Israel, export allocations intended for these reservoirs would be transferred to Leviathan, according to the outline.
In 2013, the cabinet decided to cap exports at 40% of production, and pipelines designated for export will not be entitled to tax benefits guaranteed to local pipelines, as mandated by the Sheshinski Committee, whose recommendations on hydrocarbon taxation became law in 2013.
Glick in her Post op Ed suggested that the hit that Israel had taken in foreign direct investment had a lot to do with misguided populist economic doctrine that pervades the Zionist Union, Yesh Atid, some coalition partners and Knesset opposition. From my own investment banking exposure in Israel these populist economic views are a reflection of the founding Labor Socialist parties and the Histadrut. The latter owns enterprises that have never been effectively privatized. It is also a poor reflection on a country that prides itself on the law, that doesn’t extend to honoring contractual obligations. She argues that is reflected in downward trends in Foreign Direct Investment cited in the most recent UN Council on Trade and Development report:
In 2014 Foreign Direct Investment in Israel was 46 percent below levels in 2013, dropping from $11.8 billion to $6.4bn. During the same period worldwide direct foreign investment dropped a mere 16%, meaning the drop in investment in Israel was nearly three times the global average.
Israel also had demonstrated that it was okay for foreign partners like Noble Energy to invest billions in offshore energy development, just as long if it came through, that the terms could change denying appropriate returns to risk investors. Moreover, the hue and cry in Israel that the duopoly of the Delek –Noble gas partnership could result in price gouging was false. When in fact since the Tamir field came on stream average gas prices dropped in Israel resulting in both lower energy and manufacturing costs.
The Israel Noble Energy manager Binyamin Zomer reinforced Glick’s observations with these comments cited in Globes Israel Business:
Let's make it clear. We didn't break the law, and we didn't prevent competition. What we did do was to succeed beyond the expectations of the government that invited us to invest in Israel. Israel was happy, it seems, for Noble Energy to risk its money in Israel, as long as it was unsuccessful. There is a monopoly - that's not a crime. Let's understand why this happened. The company agreed to invest its money where other companies refused (and we won't apologize for that); the supply of gas from Egypt ended in 2011 (and that was not our fault); other companies with no experience found no gas (again, not our fault); and the incessant interference by regulators with no background in oil and gas drove every gas company away, except for Noble Energy.
Glick offered the following proposals to rectify the impasse:
If we are to correct the damage – to our energy market specifically and to the Israeli economy overall – there is only one path to take. The Knesset must abrogate the 2011 windfall profits law and end all attempts to define the Delek-Noble partnership as a monopoly while seeking new, creative ways to seize their profits.
Then, the Knesset must pass a law that will protect investors from attempts to retroactively change the terms of operating licenses they receive from the State of Israel.
Israel has enough problems with the anti-Semitic boycott movement that is growing by leaps and bounds. We need to curb our populist tendencies and stop making those who want to invest in Israel feel that they are fools to do so.
As the late Hollywood and radio personality of my youth Bill Bendix might opine, “ this is a rotten development." Israel’s obsessive democracy makes the country prone to divisive squabbles and in this case possibly resulting in losing a glittering economic future. This latest Knesset speed bump doesn’t bode well for Israel achieving first world economic preeminence. As we have written innumerable times these Israeli populists are economically uniformed genetic socialists who have no understanding of both geo political resource realities and commodity market dynamics or the risk reward relationships undergirding energy development. We blame Dr. Gilo whose dictatorial arrogance reneging the original compromise deal with both Delek Group and Noble Energy was nothing but political grandstanding . He was awaiting the victory of Zionist Union and populist parties like Yesh Atid that didn’t occur on March 17, 2015. He should never have been permitted to remain as the radical leftist Antitrust Authority General Director until his departure in August after he rejected the Netanyahu government’s replacement deal on May 26th. No self respecting energy development group will invest a shekel in Israel's energy resources because it is no better than a third world country that doesn't honor agreements. Israel may have just screwed itself out of the future source of wealth that would alleviate social disparities and the budgetary burdens of national defense. Prime Minister Netanyahu is now caught in a nearly impossible task to push through this new agreement on July 6th given the makeup of his ruling coalition. The fictional book and film character Forest Gump has the last word on those populist protesters in Israel, “stupid is as stupid does”.
David Brog, the leader of the world’s largest Christian Zionist organization, began a recent presentation in Nashville by assuring fellow Jews in the audience that he understood their suspicion of Christians who profess to love Jews and the state of Israel.
“For 2,000 years you try to kill us or convert us and now you expect us to believe you love us,” he recalled thinking when, as an aide to then-U.S. Senator Arlen Spector two decades ago, he first encountered vociferous support for Israel coming from conservative Christians in rural Pennsylvania. But after years spent researching the Christian Zionist movement and getting to know and understand its adherents, Brog says he now is “ashamed that I judged these people without knowing anything about them.”
Brog, the national director of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), was the featured speaker at a Feb. 25 forum at the Gordon Jewish Community Center called “Christian Zionism: Why Evangelicals Support Israel.” The event was hosted by the Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee as part of its ongoing Israel advocacy and education series, “Increasing Your Israel IQ.”
Speaking to a mixed audience of 120 Jews and Christians that included Ambassador Opher Aviran, the consul general of Israel to the southeastern United States; pastor Moses Rodriguez of Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal Church in Nashville; local CUFI leaders Mike McNally and Pastor Lyndon Allen, and Federation President Carol Hyatt as well as four of her predecessors, Brog said the Christian Zionist movement is an outgrowth of “a theological breakthrough of millennial proportions.”
Rejecting the traditional and inherently anti-Semitic theology that God abandoned the Jewish people in favor of the Christian church, Christian Zionists instead embrace a theology called dispensationalism, which holds that the Jewish people remain dear to God and will play a pivotal role in the divine plan for humankind. Brog said this theological view engenders genuine attitudes of love and appreciation toward Jews and the state of Israel.
“The verse most often quoted by Christian Zionists is Genesis 12:3 – “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you,”’ he said.
Dispensationalism has been around for centuries, Brog said, and may help explain the actions of diverse historical figures ranging from Oliver Cromwell, the 17th Century English political leader under whom Jews were readmitted to England, to the ten Booms, a Dutch family who hid hundreds of Jews during World War II and helped them escape the Holocaust. Over the past century or so, the theology has become particularly prevalent – even if it is not yet the majority view – among evangelicals and other conservative Christians who read the Bible literally, Brog said.
CUFI itself was established in 2006 by Rev. John Hagee, the founder of a non-denominational Charismatic mega-Church based in San Antonio, whose own view, Brog said, is that “without Judaism, there would be no Christianity.”
Brog’s appearance was billed as a discussion, and he spent more than 20 minutes answering questions and then continued his conversation with members of the audience during a dessert reception that followed his remarks.
In response to one question, he acknowledged the Christian obligation to evangelize and win converts. But he said CUFI has a strict “non-conversionary” policy toward Jews and that Christian Zionists in general, because they are more familiar with Jews and their attitudes about conversion, are actually more likely to be sensitive to that concern and refrain from efforts aimed at converting Jews.
In response to another question, Brog addressed the concerns held by many Jews that, aside from their support for Israel, Christian Zionists hold views quite different from their own on many important social and political issues.
“A coalition on one issue doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything,” Brog said. “We can continue to have robust debates on other issues where we disagree.”
The relationship between personal experience and public policy is not at all straightforward, and of no aspect of public policy is this more true than that of illegal immigration. In Europe, the question is daily put before us by newspapers, magazines, blogs, radio, and television, with dramatic pictures of desperate illegal immigrants trying to reach our shores across the Mediterranean, many of them drowning en route. Even without such media coverage, however, the change in the ethnic and cultural origins of the inhabitants of our towns and cities is so obvious that no one could possibly miss it. Some glory in the change, some detest it; it is difficult to be neutral, or even merely objective, about it.
Although Europe is mired, for the moment, in economic stagnation (how long for is a matter of speculation), it is vastly rich, prosperous and stable compared to the countries from which the immigrants generally come. Even Greece seems a promised land to them, though mainly as a jumping-off point from which to reach a richer country yet.
On the subject of illegal immigrants, and the wider one of the change in the ethic and cultural composition of our societies, I confess that my thoughts and feelings are inconsistent and contradictory. I am myself the son of a refugee, and in my work as a doctor in a hospital in an area that came to be inhabited by, if not exactly to welcome, many refugees and illegal immigrants I came to almost always to sympathize with, and often to admire, them as individuals.
The difference between political refugees and economic migrants did not seem to me as important as it seemed to our authorities, for even the economic migrants were fleeing conditions that were unimaginably hard. The people I came to know were brave and enterprising, and had no desire to sponge on the state, but rather to work and improve their lives. Although they had no legal right to anything but emergency medical care, I ended up being primary care physician to them because they had no one else to turn to.
Perhaps it helped that I had been to most of the countries from which they came: the Congo, Iran, Somalia, and so forth. For a native Briton to speak to them who knew even a little of their country must have come as some slight relief to them in a sea of strangeness, incomprehension, hostility, or indifference. I too enjoyed talking to them. It allowed me to feel benevolent at no great cost to myself.
It does seem to be the case that we need people to come to us from impoverished lands, and this is so despite the fact that we have a substantial fund of unemployed people. Why this should be I leave to labor economists to decide; I suspect it has something to do with the rent-seeking behavior of a very large percentage of our population (including me). But let me just describe the case of my mother-in-law living in Paris, now so infirm that she needs the assistance of three people working in shifts to allow her to remain at home.
These three are women who come from Cabo Verde, Mauritius, and Haiti. Whether they were ever illegal immigrants I do not know; but they are now legal residents of France and are paid in regular fashion, taxed normally and with all the rights of those who work in the official economy.
All three of them do far more for my mother-in-law than they are paid to do, not because of any attempt on our part to exploit them, but because they are extremely good people, whose warmth, kindness, humanity and mannerliness were obvious on first acquaintance. Indeed, these qualities induce a slight feeling of shame in belonging to a culture in which these qualities should seem exceptional rather than normal. It is we, not they, who are so often crude.
It so happened that when I first met the Haitian lady I had just been to an exhibition of Haitian art whose catalogue I showed her; moreover, my wife and I had been to Haiti (in my case more than once) and so were able to talk to her of Haitian history and literature. We discovered what is too easily overlooked in immigrants from poor countries, namely that she was a refined and educated person, though one who felt no shame in her work as caregiver to an old lady. Having made our acquaintance, she immediately brought us a present of a bottle of Haitian rum which, by the way, is by far the best that I know; its cost represented two and a half hours of her labor. She delights to cook Haitian dishes for us, doing this for the pleasure that our thanks give her. She is a woman who laughs at hardship, whose generosity of spirit is obvious.
The other two caregivers have different virtues, but are just as virtuous. And without the help of these women, we should either have to put my mother-in-law in a home or look after her ourselves, disrupting—not to say dominating—our lives entirely.
Having conveyed my personal experience, I musn’t shy from the question: is one’s personal experience sufficient to fashion a proper attitude or policy towards immigration, legal or illegal? I am not so unprejudiced a person that I view with delight the disappearance of the culture in which I grew up, which is being absorbed into a kind of cultural minestrone of no particular savor. Nor do I think that to know another culture is simply a matter of patronizing a restaurant of its cuisine from time to time. It is, rather, the work of years if not of a lifetime. Consider that multiculturalism therefore condemns us to be strangers to one another; and, while all cultures have their charms, they may not all be compatible in their conceptions.
The economic effects of mass immigration into European countries are disputed. Some claim that it leads to economic growth, but this is not the answer to the real economic question, which is whether it leads to age-adjusted per capita economic growth.
Even if this question could be answered affirmatively and beyond all doubt or debate, there would still remain the question of whether, for other reasons, it would be undesirable. The fact is that most people who support mass immigration are personally less keen on taking the social consequences of it. In France, for example, someone not long ago contacted more than 40 media personalities who publicly supported immigration and asked them whether they could assist personally with lodging an immigrant. Though each was rich, none said he could do so for more than a day or two, each finding a good excuse for his inability.
In summary, then:
I sympathize personally with the immigrants;
I like the majority of those whom I have met;
I recognize that, along with many others, I benefit from their presence, though I do not know precisely what the size of that presence ought to be;
I do not know what their overall economic effect is;
I do not want to see my society changed irreversibly by their uncontrolled influx.
The Claremont Review of Books requested my reply – in their pages — to Angelo Codevilla’s review of Henry Kissinger’s latest book, World Order, as part of an online exchange with the reviewer, to which he was to reply. The Claremont Review then wrote that Codevilla declined to reply to me and promised to publish an edited version of my response as a letter. Here is my reply:
Codevilla’s review is an astonishingly nasty farrago of insults. Apart from relentlessly dismissive comments on the book, Mr. Codevilla tries to hang on Kissinger, as “Kissinger’s views evolved in tandem with our ruling class’s,” every shortcoming of U.S. foreign policy and the foreign-policy establishment of the last 60 years, including many policies Kissinger had nothing to do with, and, in a number of cases, vocally opposed. I do not agree with Codevilla’s basic point, that Kissinger wrote that peoples pursue international order rather than “their own ambition, interests, or predilections.” He wrote that they pursue those goals, but that the protagonists are constantly forming countervailing arrangements to resist the supremacy of a single country or bloc.
Codevilla says that the U.S. foreign-policy establishment, with Kissinger complicit by membership in it or just by being contemporaneous with it in some decades, sought “order” and not the national interest — and that, as a result, it “lost the Vietnam war, discarded its defenses against air and missile attack; [sought] to keep together” the Soviet Union, having “wasted its superior forces in conflicts without end,” and now “cowers as terrorists surround it, and back peddles in the Pacific.” (I assume he means “pedals,” as I can’t imagine what even he might think Kissinger and the others are peddling.) In fact, Kissinger had nothing to do with the stoking up of the American effort in Vietnam and was quite critical of President Johnson’s strategy. He and President Nixon have acknowledged that bombing of North Vietnam should have been resumed in 1969, but they were concerned that the secretaries of state and defense, William Rogers and Melvin Laird, would resign and imperil the administration’s ability to get any war policy through the Congress (and Kissinger didn’t appoint Rogers and Laird). The Vietnamization policy enabled the U.S. to withdraw on land, and, with massive air support, assist the South Vietnamese in defeating the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong in the great offensive of April 1972. The same formula might well have worked again if the Democrats had not crucified the president over the mishandling of the trivial and tawdry Watergate affair.
It was the work of ten consecutive administrations that caused the USSR to implode, in the greatest and most bloodless strategic victory in the history of the nation-state, and Kissinger did his part. He opposed the Kennedy-Johnson-McNamara-Clifford policy of passively enabling the USSR to gain nuclear parity; worked with Nixon to regain superiority through multiple independently targeted warheads, in what was called “nuclear sufficiency” in the SALT I negotiations; and supported President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative as an expert witness in Congress. He had nothing to do with George H. W. Bush’s ill-considered paean to the virtues of Russian federalism in Kiev in 1991. Kissinger was not a supporter of the recent futile conflicts as conducted, and he hasn’t countenanced whatever Codevilla thinks has been happening in the Pacific under Obama.
The snide claim that Kissinger’s “‘creatively ambiguous’ diplomacy produced pretend agreements that aggravated conflicts and helped lead his country to its only defeat in war” is an outrage; apart from whatever chance South Vietnam might have had without Watergate, the arrangements with China over Taiwan and with Syria over the Golan have held. There is a great deal in this review of gratuitous stylistic snobbery and pompous reflections on Kissinger’s alleged ignorance of such esoteric figures (in contemporary foreign-policy matters) as Saint Augustine and Hegel.
I don’t really agree with the reviewer (or, altogether, the author either) about the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648; it didn’t so much entrench the principle of the equal sovereignty of states as it enacted Cardinal Richelieu’s perception that, for France to be the greatest power in Europe, the Germans had to be severely divided. To this end, scores of German principalities and petty kingdoms were proclaimed as legitimate and inviolable, and Austria, ramshackle assemblage of fragments as it already was, was to be protected from the Russians, Prussians, and Turks, to help keep the German world divided. (Richelieu died in 1642, but left the outline of the peace after the Thirty Years’ War, which war he had largely masterminded, to his successor, Mazarin.)
For someone so quick to asperse Henry Kissinger’s grasp of history, Codevilla is pretty shaky himself. He seems not to understand that Britain’s manipulation of the European balance of power, which really began with Henry VIII and Wolsey, was interrupted in the periods 1625–49 and 1660–88, when Louis XIII and XIV were father-in-law, brother-in-law, and uncle to the English kings Charles I, Charles II, and James II, which explains some softening in British policy toward France. Contrary to what Codevilla wrote, Eugene of Savoy did play a prominent role in the relief of the Siege of Vienna in 1683, though he was junior to Sobieski. Also contrary to Codevilla’s account, there was no inconsistency between the Pitts and Disraeli: Chatham (Pitt the Elder) and his son opposed France because it was the strongest continental power, and Disraeli opposed Russia as the primary threat to the British Empire in the Middle East and India, and then Germany when it became the strongest continental power, and was the first important statesman in the world to recognize the full significance of Bismarck’s creation of the unified German Empire.
Codevilla’s view of the Congress of Vienna, Kissinger’s original academic specialty, is also skewed: Its significance was the immediate admission of post-Napoleonic France (represented by the imperishable and egregious Talleyrand) as one of the contracting powers of a Europe of static borders (apart from changes wrought by the unification of Germany and Italy) for the Great Powers until World War I.
I do agree with Codevilla’s high opinion of John Quincy Adams, and with his view that American statesmen prior to Theodore Roosevelt were almost entirely concerned in foreign affairs to prevent external meddling in the Americas (to this end, Adams and Monroe piggybacked on the Royal Navy while claiming that America was the protector of the hemisphere). After the Civil War, the posture matched the reality of American power. The founders of independent America had no ambitions internationally, except not to be bothered, and that continued to be American policy for over a century. Theodore Roosevelt did arrange with Japan the reciprocal recognition of the two countries’ occupations of Korea and the Philippines, and was more strategically involved and astute than Codevilla admits.
Britain did not push Europe into war in 1914, as Codevilla mistakenly claims that Kissinger wrote; it clung to peace until convinced (correctly) that, if it did not join France and Russia, Wilhelmine Germany would be as great a threat to Britain as was Napoleon, and with a much stronger navy. There is no inconsistency in this; Kissinger doesn’t claim that such world order as there may be is very durable or stable, and the heart of Codevilla’s essay is largely pedantry and pettifogging. Kissinger correctly recognized that Woodrow Wilson saw that the American public would not support substantial foreign involvement without a moral justification. He transformed World War I into a war to end war and make the world safe for democracy, and was one of history’s great prophets: the first person to inspire the masses of the world with the vision of enduring peace. Kissinger grasps his importance better than Codevilla does.
Franklin D. Roosevelt persuaded the American people that the U.S. had to act preemptively to prevent Western Europe and East Asia from getting into the hands of America’s enemies. The incompetence of the last two administrations — none of which can be laid at Kissinger’s door, either directly or through the spurious mud-slinging device of identifying him with “the ruling class” — has strained that consensus, but not irreparably. Henry Kissinger has always been very cautious about the U.S’s becoming over-extended, but has understood much better than his reviewer apparently has that the country will buy into onerous foreign involvements only if legitimate national-security interests require it. Codevilla seems not to understand that Henry Wallace and Cordell Hull had no influence whatever on American foreign policy, and he claims that Roosevelt “moved the American legation from the U.S. embassy to the Soviet compound, where every room had been bugged,” at the Tehran Conference. In fact, Roosevelt moved himself to the Soviet compound in perfect certainty that his rooms were bugged (the U.S. legation was in the suburbs and there were security concerns), so he could get Stalin to demand that the Western powers attack across the English Channel in 1944 and not undertake Churchill’s hare-brained plan to charge up the Adriatic and through the “Ljubljana Gap” (which Eisenhower claimed did not exist). It was a stroke of genius, as Stalin supported a Western strategy that kept him from control of Germany and France, by helping Roosevelt rebut Churchill’s fears of fighting the German army again in Northeast France and Flanders. Stalin was recruited against his own interests, because he assumed that the Germans would throw the Western armies into the sea again, as they had at Dunkirk, Greece, Crete, and Dieppe. Roosevelt was right and Stalin and Churchill were mistaken, and Codevilla obviously doesn’t know much about these momentous events.
It is also a bit rich for Codevilla to attack Truman and Acheson for not confronting Stalin over Berlin: The Berlin Airlift was a clear Western success. His complaints about the Nixon-Kissinger policy toward Russia and China are simply churlish. Both men explained that they sought better relations with both of those countries than they had with each other, and that this was attainable because the U.S. had less to dispute with them than they had with each other, as Communist rivals and the chief powers of the Eurasian land mass.
Codevilla asserts that, “as Nixon and Kissinger toasted in the Kremlin [that is, drank toasts, in May 1972], the flow of Soviet armaments to Ho Chi Minh increased.” Ho Chi Minh had died in 1969 and, while Nixon and Kissinger were in the USSR on that occasion, Nixon ensured that there were 1,200 American airstrikes on North Vietnam every day. Codevilla’s claim that now “there is no world order because nobody really wants one,” is not quite right either. The Russians wish to regain status and China wants to advance to the first rank of nations, and Europe is too enervated to do anything while errors deplored by Kissinger as they were made in the last 20 years have temporarily immobilized America.
This reviewer is overwrought and irrational, and basically blames Henry Kissinger for all American foreign-policy errors subsequent to Kissinger’s time in office. He generously admits that “no one can read Kissinger without noting elements of insight.” That is not something that can be confidently said about this scurrilous review. It is a shocking outburst from an often perceptive writer.
Nusra Front Fighters Killed in Mosque Bombing in Syria
Nothing says Ramadan like flying body parts. We won't shed any tears for these guys, though. NYTimes:
BEIRUT — Activists say a bomb has exploded inside a mosque where al-Qaida's branch in Syria was holding a fast-breaking meal, killing at least 14.
Activists say the bombing inside the Salem Mosque in the northern town of Ariha occurred shortly after sunset Friday when scores of Nusra Front members gathered to break their fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Saturday that the explosion killed 31 Nusra Front members including five commanders.
Syria-based activist Ahmad al-Ahmad said 15 Nusra Front fighters were killed and more than 30 wounded.
The differences in casualty estimates could not be immediately explained since the Nusra Front cordoned off the area.
Ivan Rioufol: The French State In Retreat Before Its Domestic Enemy
It is the Muslims who appear to be winning, for the French State doesn't dare take them on as it should and must. Along with the astonishing remarks of Federica Mogherini, the EU Minister who thinks Islam a part of Europe that should be welcomed -- and Muslims clearly to be seen only as victims of ISIS, never its supporters -- this article worries and depresses.
The footage - filmed by activists in the city - shows three women, one of whom is armed with a Kalashnikov automatic rifle, walking through the streets of the city.
Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, 15, ran away from their homes in Bethnal Green, east London five months ago.
Credible sources have told The Telegraph's Ruth Sherlock that the video features at least two of the girls.
The third woman in the video is said to to be the girls' handler, Um Laith. A senior female member of Isil, Um Laith has reportedly been charged with looking after the girls, and, the activists report, she rarely lets them out of her sight.
At 9.30pm BST we will publish on this page the first full account of how, after escaping from Britain, the girls were smuggled into Syria and how they have spent their time with the extremists since.
The details have been supplied by anti-Isil activists in the city who have monitored the girls’ movements, and other knowledgeable sources.
The report is here. They were living in a compound for unmarried women and widows. They are being trained until their trustworthiness is beyond doubt. One or twice a week they are allowed out with a chaperone to carry the groceries back to the compound. It's heady stuff!