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Graham: Allowing Enrichement Puts Iran Nuclear Deal ‘on the Road to Armageddon’

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he’s “begging” the Obama administration to not give Iran the right to enrich uranium in the ongoing P5+1 talks to arrive at a final agreement.

“I’m sure they will probably continue to negotiate, but here’s what you need to understand about the negotiations. The Obama administration is about to give the ayatollahs in Iran the right to enrich uranium,” Graham told Fox. “This is what they did with North Korea. They allowed the North Koreans a small enrichment program and they were gonna monitor it with the U.N. weapons inspectors. Well, guess what? And that sanctions. The North Koreans have nuclear weapons.”

“We’re on the path to repeating Iran the same mistakes we had in North Korea. I am begging the Obama administration if the Iranians have a nuclear power program, fine, just control the fuel cycle. Do not allow them to enrich uranium. You’ll have a North Korean result on your hand and in the Mideast if the Iranians get a nuclear capability, Sunni Arabs are gonna want one of their own and you are on the road to Armageddon.”

A senior administration official said on background last week that “on some issues, if you can move forward, you may open up trade space on another issue.”

“When we’ve talked about enrichment before, that has many, many pieces to it – from stockpiles to facilities to enrichment levels to centrifuge production,” the official said. “I mean, it’s just a myriad of subsets. And that’s true of every issue.”

Graham said Iran’s recent attempt to send a 1979 hostage-taker to New York as its UN ambassador raises questions about their motives and sincerity.

“If they are really sincere about wanting to reach a peaceful resolution, that nuclear program, why would they do this to begin with? This really tells you all you need to know about this Iranian regime. They are a bunch of thugs,” he said.

“The largest state sponsor of terrorism for the last 30 years. They killed our American soldiers in Iraq providing weapons to people in Iraq to kill American soldiers. They are trying to develop a nuclear weapon, not a peaceful power program. And this is just — tells you all you need to know about the Iranians.”

July 20 has been set by the negotiating parties as the deadline for a final nuclear deal with Iran.

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New Video Shows Largest Al Qaeda Gathering in Years

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

CNN reports that rumors of al Qaeda’s demise — which have been spread by President Obama and the Democrats — have been greatly exaggerated.

Washington (CNN) – A new video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years. And the CIA and the Pentagon either didn’t know about it or couldn’t get a drone there in time to strike.

U.S. officials won’t comment on that, but every frame of the video is now being analyzed by the United States.

In the middle of the clip, the man known as al Qaeda’s crown prince, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, appears brazenly out in the open, greeting followers in Yemen. Al-Wuhayshi, the No. 2 leader of al Qaeda globally and the head of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has said he wants to attack the United States. But in the video, he looks unconcerned that he could be hit by an American drone.

All the US domestic spying and electronic monitoring did not help.

Here is the video. It was recently taken in Yemen, where US drones have taken out several al Qaeda terrorists over the past few years.

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Hamas Leader Praises Shooting that Left Israeli Father Dead, Pregnant Wife Wounded

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

But…Hamas just wants peace!

The prime minister of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Tuesday praised a shooting that killed an Israeli and wounded his wife and son as they drove through the West Bank the previous evening en route to a Passover meal.

Speaking in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh said the attack outside the city of Hebron “brought back life to the path of resistance” against Israel and warned of more attacks in the Palestinian territory.

The slain man’s wife is reportedly pregnant. There were several children in the car. One of them was wounded in the same attack.

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Jerusalem Mayor: City ‘Will Never Function as, God Forbid, a Divided City’

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The mayor of Jerusalem told CNN that “God forbid” the city be carved up in a peace plan to give the Palestinians East Jerusalem as the capital of a state.

“Let me take you back 3,000 years. Jerusalem is the capital of the world, the temple of the middle, and it was never divided to the tribes. But everyone was welcome to come to the city of Jerusalem. The DNA of Jerusalem is a united city respecting all people, residents, visitors, and Jerusalem has a role to play,” Mayor Nir Barkat said.

“And that DNA of the past, that’s how Jerusalem functioned for a thousand years, is our future. By definition it cannot be divided. Our role is to open up and to enable people that come peacefully to the city of Jerusalem to have freedom of religion that did not existed for 2,000 years. Today you go to walk the streets of Jerusalem, you’ll find that the churches are managed by the Christians, the mosques are managed by the Muslims, and the Jews manage the Jewish sites. It was not like that.”

The Palestinians have said that any deal which doesn’t give them East Jerusalem is a non-starter, and the plan being pushed by Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly includes half of the city in return for the Palestinians recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.

“There are solutions to that, but there is not a solution of, God forbid, dividing the city of Jerusalem. It will never function. It’s against the DNA of the city. And by the way, there is not one example of a city in the world that ever got split and became functional,” Barkat said.

“…You can call Ramallah, the center of the Palestinian people, they can bring their embassy to Jerusalem. They today have freedom of movement, freedom of religion. Today Jerusalem is an open international city, and by the way it’s doing extremely well. Jerusalem, if you look at the trends in the city of Jerusalem, our economy has been growing 8 percent from year to year.”

Barkat stressed that “satisfaction of all residents — Muslims, Christians, Orthodox, secular, is otherwise, our crime rates are .1 an average of any American city. When I fly to the States I pray because I know I’m 10 times more exposed to crimes in the United States than I am back home in Jerusalem. And all of that, the economy going north, crime rates going south, all of that, we must be doing something right.”

And giving half of that to Palestinians, he added, is “a very clear no.”

“I’m committed to serve all my residents, the Muslim, the Christian, the Jewish residents. For me they’re all the same. That’s what the Jewish tradition, that’s what the Jewish Bible says. You’ve got to treat everyone equally, and that’s exactly what we’re doing. And there are gaps to close on the Arab neighborhoods, and the Jewish neighborhoods, and I’m committed to closing those gaps,” Barkat said.

“I think it’s a demand that has to be off the table, because whoever raises such a demand doesn’t understand the importance of the city of Jerusalem as a united city. And unfortunately, sometimes I feel that Israel does not have a partner to negotiate with because the charter of, unfortunately, many of the Palestinians and our neighbors is to destroy Israel. And when somebody wants to destroy Israel, sometimes we feel that this is a salami-style negotiations,” he continued. “Let’s take a piece now and then we’ll argue about the rest. It’s — the whole concept of negotiating with the Palestinians has to take another route. They have to understand that Jerusalem will never function as, God forbid, a divided city.”

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Report: US to Let Spy Go Free In Swap for Palestinian Terrorists

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Sen. John McCain and Secretary of State John Kerry got into a heated stare-off over the apparent death of the Israel-Palestinian peace talks earlier this week. Kerry blamed the Israelis for, essentially, the Palestinian desire to destroy their country.

If reports coming out of Israel are true, today, Kerry has sweetened the pot and struck a deal. But it’s a deal that would set some bad precedents.

As teams met in Jerusalem, source tells Al Arabiya Israel agrees to free prisoners, freeze West Bank construction, while Palestinian will backtrack UN bid and US will release Pollard in final bid to save peace talks. US, Palestinians, Israel sources claim report ‘premature’.

An unnamed source told Al Arabiya that a deal has been reached to extend peace talks, but all three parties have since downplayed the claim as premature, but the US did say “gaps were narrowing” in talks.

Jonathan Pollard was convicted of spying on the US and sentence to life in prison. He has served 27 years of that sentence. He was spying for the Israelis, and has remained a sore spot in US-Israel relations ever since. Releasing him would ignite a firestorm in Congress. If Kerry thought McCain gave him the hair-dryer treatment earlier, he hasn’t seen anything yet.

The firestorm may not come, though. Politico says that the State Department is quashing the exchange story.

Administration officials moved quickly Thursday to shoot down reports that a deal had been struck to keep open negotiations over a framework for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that would include releasing the former Navy intelligence officer and convicted spy from a North Carolina prison.

“Nothing has changed. No decision has been made about Jonathan Pollard,” said State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki.

Special envoy Martin Indyk, who remained in the region meeting with Israeli and Palestinian officials after a frustrated Secretary of State John Kerry left last week, ended his talks Thursday without a deal.

“There is no breakthrough. All of the current rumors that a deal has been reached are false,” a senior administration official said.

That’s pretty definitive.

Releasing Pollard in exchange for promises and an extended talks deadline could put a whole lot of people who are currently held in US prisons in play in Israel-Palestinian negotiations. First among them, the Blind Sheikh who masterminded the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. It was actually a demand to release Omar Abdel-Rahman, not a YouTube movie, that sparked the Cairo riot in September 2011 that culminated with terrorists jumping the walls of the US embassy there and replacing the American flag with the black flag of Islam. It’s unwise for the US to put anyone in our prisons in play.

What Kerry stands to gain by releasing Pollard is, from the Israelis, the release of over 100 Palestinians along with a halt to settlement construction, and from the Palestinians, a promise not to engage in the unilateral statehood moves that they’re not supposed to be involved in anyway, and from both, an extension in the talks.

Is that enough to set such a dangerous precedent?

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Turkey to Make Dramatic Foreign Policy Move as Russia Rises

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Turkey used to be a reliable NATO member and ally of Israel. But the Islamist government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan is taking Turkey far away from all of that. Turkey prolonged the Iraq war by not allowing US troops to move in through Turkish territory or use Turkish bases. Turkey has also agitated against Israel and in favor of the Palestinians over the past few years.

Today, one of Erdogan’s closest advisers is signalling that the West is about to lose one of its most strategic allies.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s chief economic advisor Yiğit Bulut has claimed that Turkey will no longer need Europe, stating that the “new West” solely comprises the US.

Bulut maintained that under the new world order, Europe will no longer be a relevant power, predicting that Turkey will cut off its relations with Europe at once.

According to Erdoğan’s aide, the new world will be shaped by the US and the axes of Turkey-Russia-Eurasia-the Middle East and China-India-Iran.

Get that? Turkey is switching sides.

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SecState Kerry Blames Collapse of ‘Peace Process’ on Israel

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Palestinians elected terrorist group Hamas to lead them. That group espouses the total destruction of Israel. Palestinians teach their children to hate and want to kill Jews. Hamas and Hizballah regularly stage deliberate attacks on Israeli civilian targets. The Palestinians do not truly believe in a “two state solution,” they believe in a one state solution that does not include the continued existence of Israel.

Yet to Secretary of State John Kerry, none of that matters as much as a few Israeli gestures.

“Both sides wound out in a position of unhelpful moves,” Kerry said at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, delineating what he said led to the current impasse.

“The prisoners were not released by Israel on the day they were supposed to be released and then another day passed and another day, and then 700 units were approved in Jerusalem and then poof — that was sort of the moment,” Kerry said.

The secretary of state was referring to the planned fourth release of Palestinian security prisoners, which was originally slated for March 29. Israel did not proceed with the release on time, with Jerusalem saying that it was delayed because the Palestinian Authority had demanded that Israeli Arabs be among those freed and was unwilling to commit to extend peace talks beyond their April 29 deadline.

On April 1, the Israel Lands Authority reissued a call for tenders for 708 homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, which is located beyond the 1967 lines and was annexed by Israel.

Later that same day, PA President Mahmoud Abbas signed 15 letters of accession to multilateral treaties and conventions, in what Israel said was a clear breach of Ramallah’s commitment not to take unilateral steps to advance their statehood bid so long as the talks were ongoing.

The Palestinians repeatedly broke their word, as they always do. The most that Kerry could say about that, about the PA’s open defiance on statehood, was that it was “unhelpful.”

There isn’t a whole lot that one can say to someone like Kerry. Sen. John McCain scolded him in that hearing, but it’s very unlikely that Kerry learned anything. If he doesn’t have a clue by now — and he doesn’t — it’s unlikely that he ever will. But he’s only a symptom of the problem. The Democrats as a whole have mostly turned against Israel, or at least see it as being on the same moral plane as Hamas. The average American voter doesn’t pay enough attention to foreign policy to realize the danger of electing any Democrat administration. The “free stuff” coalition has the upper hand in that party.

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‘They Are Slaughtering Us Like Chickens’

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

As happens at Christmas every year throughout the Muslim world, Christians and their churches were especially targeted—from jihadi terror strikes killing worshipers, to measures by Muslim authorities restricting Christmas celebrations.  Some incidents follow:

Iraq:  “Militants” reported the Associated Press, “targeted Christians in three separate Christmas Day bombings in Baghdad, killing at least 37 people, officials said Wednesday.  In one attack, a car bomb went off near a church in the capital’s southern Dora neighborhood, killing at least 26 people and wounding 38, a police officer said. Earlier, two bombs ripped through a nearby outdoor market simultaneously in the Christian section of Athorien, killing 11 people and wounding 21.”

Iran:  Five Muslim converts to Christianity were arrested from a house-church during a Christmas celebration. Plain clothes Iranian security authorities raided a house where, according to Mohabat News, “a group of Christians had gathered to celebrate Christmas on Tuesday, December 24.” Before arresting the five apostates, authorities “insulted and searched those in attendance, and seized all Christian books, CDs, and laptops they found. They also took the Satellite TV receiver.”  The original report received by Mohabat stated: “These Christians had gathered to worship and celebrate [the] birth of Jesus.”

Indonesia: Muslims in the Aceh province protested against Christmas and New Year celebrationsand called on authorities to ban them. Days earlier, an influential Islamic cleric organization, the Ulema Consultative Assembly, issued a fatwa, or edict, “prohibiting Muslims from offering Christmas wishes or celebrating on New Year’s Eve,” said the Associated Press.  Aceh is the “only province in predominantly Muslim Indonesia that is allowed to implement a version of Islamic Shariah law.”

Kenya: “Youths,” reported Reuters, “threw petrol bombs at two Kenyan churches on Christmas day … in the latest bout of violence against Christians on the country’s predominantly Muslim coast.”  The attacks occurred “in the early hours of December 25 after churchgoers held services to usher in Christmas.”  The churches were located in Muslim-majority regions. One church was “completely destroyed.”

Somalia: The more “moderate” government—as it is often portrayed in comparison to Al Shabaab (“The Youth”) opposition—banned Christmas celebrations. Hours before Christmas Day, the Ministry of Justice and Religious Affairs released a directive banning any Christian festivities from being held in the east African nation.  In the words of one ministry official: “We alert fellow Muslims in Somalia that some festivities to mark Christian Days will take place around the world in this week. It is prohibited to celebrate those days in this country.”  All security and law enforcement agencies were instructed to quash any Christian celebrations.

Pakistan:  During Christmas Eve services, “Heavy contingents of police were deployed around the churches to thwart any untoward incident.”  In some regions, “prayer service at major churches focused on remembering the Pakistani Christians who lost their lives in terror attacks.” For example, three months earlier, Islamic suicide bombers entered the All Saints Church compound in Peshawar following Sunday mass and blew themselves up in the midst of some 550 congregants, killing some 130 worshippers, including many Sunday school children, women, and choir members, and injuring nearly 200 people.

Even in Western nations like Denmark, Christmas Eve witnessed Islamic demonstrations and cries of “Allahu Akbar” (or “Allah is greater”).

Also in December, Syria’s Greek-Catholic Church declared that it had three “true martyrs”—men from the small town of Ma’loula, an ancient Christian site where the inhabitants still spoke the language of Christ.  According to Asia News, “When the town fell [in September, to al-Qaeda linked rebels], a climate of fear was imposed… When three men refused to repudiate their religion, they were summarily executed in public, and six more were taken hostage. This was followed by a failed attempt by Syrian government forces to retake the town.”  In the words of Patriarch Gregorios III to Pope Francis in a meeting: “Holy Father, they are true martyrs. Ordered to give up their faith, they proudly refused. Three others however gave in and were forced to declare themselves Muslim, but later returned to the faith of their ancestors.”  According to the families who fled from Ma’loula, “some of their Muslim neighbors took part in the attack that devastated this historic village where people still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus. Muslims are approximately one third of the population of the village…” Keep reading

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Carney Says Iran’s Hostage-Taker Pick ‘Not Viable’ for UN Ambassador

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The White House declared Iran’s pick for UN ambassador to be “not viable” a day after the Senate agreed by unanimous consent to block terrorists from entering the United States as envoys.

The bill, in response to Tehran naming Hamid Aboutalebi to the UN post, was a bipartisan effort led by Sens. Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).

A companion bill has been introduced in the House by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.).

Aboutalebi, formerly Iran’s ambassador to Belgium and Italy, was a member of Muslim Students Following the Imam’s Line when the group took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. Iran submitted a visa application for Aboutalebi to come to New York and serve as Tehran’s ambassador to the United Nations.

“Well, we share the Senate’s concerns regarding this case and find the potential — the nomination is extremely troubling. The U.S. government has informed the government of Iran that this potential selection is not viable,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters today. “The legislation passed by the Senate underscores just how troubling this potential nomination would be.”

When asked if President Obama would sign the Senate’s bill, though, Carney tried to be extra-careful to not irritate Iran.

“First of all, this is a potential nomination. We’ve informed the government of Iran that this potential selection, rather, is not viable,” he said. “It’s a potential selection. As I understand it, it has not been formally made. We’ve informed the government that that selection’s not viable.”

A senior administration official said on background yesterday that “if in fact this possible nomination were in fact the person nominated, it would be extremely troubling, as both our deputy spokesperson has said and as the White House spokesperson has said.”

“We are taking a close look at this case now and we have raised our serious concerns about this possible nomination with the government of Iran through a variety of channels that we use to convey our concerns,” the official said. “All I can say at this time regarding this is that if this possible nomination were the nomination, it would be extremely troubling, and we have raised those concerns with the Iranians.”

A member of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission. Mohammad Hassan Asafari, said the Senate’s action to “bar Aboutalebi’s entry as Iran’s designated ambassador at the UN is sheer interference in the internal affairs of the UN,” according to Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency.

“The Americans are not entitled to the right to oppose the entry of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s representative at the UN and the U.S. Senate approval is illegal,” Asafari said.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said Aboutalebi, “the ambassador who has been introduced[,] is qualified for the position and has had important diplomatic posts in European countries and Australia and has shown a good, effective and positive performance during his previous [diplomatic] career and missions.”

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‘Milking’ Egypt’s Christian Copts Dry

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

The Board of Inquiry in Cairo monitoring the “sectarian violence that continues to cross Egypt after the overthrow of President Morsi, has documented in a report released on Tuesday, March 25 the endemic forms of violence and abuse that continue to be perpetrated against Coptic Christians in many parts of the country, particularly in the governorates of Luxor, Sohag and Aswan.”  According to this report, “reference is made to abductions [almost always for ransom], expropriation of houses, shops looted where Egyptian Copts continue to be targeted victims.”

In other words, Egypt’s Christians are increasingly being seen and treated, in the words of some early caliphs, as “milk camels” to be milked dry of their money and possessions. (Crucified Again, p. 200)

Even the most remote, modest, and apolitical Copts are being targeted so.  Late last month, Coptic activists in Egypt called on the Interior Ministry and its organs in the Fayum district to move and rescue the monks, workers, and visitors of the ancient Monastery of Saint Makarius, which is located in the desert between Alexandria and Cairo.

Arab Bedouins have been raiding, plundering, and keeping the monastery in a constant state of duress.  Among other depredations, these raiders have especially taken up the practice of waylaying Christian travelers from and to the monastery, including those in vehicles, and robbing them under threat of gunfire.

In one incident, a monk was stopped, seized, and  had gun shots fired near his ear, before he was robbed of all the money in his possession, which was meant to be used to purchase much needed building materials for the monastery.  In another incident, the monastery’s car was stolen and returned in exchange for a large sum of money.

Considering that the Western media is silent about the most horrific abuses the Copts suffer in Egypt—such as the brutal slaughter of a young woman identified as a Christian by her cross—it is little wonder that the oppression of these remote monks is seen as beyond irrelevant.

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Muslim Cleric Urges Homeless Women to Become Sex-Slaves

Friday, April 4th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

Within the context of keeping the Syrian jihad alive, it seems there is no end to the attempts of some Islamic clerics to legitimize otherwise forbidden behavior in order to gratify the sexual urges of the jihadis and keep them fighting Syrian president Bashar Assad.

First, there was the now infamous “sex-jihad” fatwa, which holds that any Muslim woman who willingly allows her body to be used by the sexually-deprived jihadis becomes herself a jihadi, if not a “martyr,” deserving of all the honor and rewards associated with those titles.  (Much has been written about the sex jihad, including videotaped testimonials—and how one teenage girl, after copulating with countless jihadis, got pregnant and contracted aids—even as pro-Syrian war Western entities like Foreign Policy try to deny it.)

Another fatwa permitted the jihadis in Syria to enslave and rape any non-Sunni women—including Alawites (Assad’s sect), Christians, Druze, and all Shia—in the context of their status as melk al-yamin or “right hand possessions,” per Koran 4:3 (a verse that permits the enslavement and sexual use of conquered “infidel” women).

Now, the same Islamic cleric who issued this last “rape fatwa” has issued another fatwa urging destitute women in war torn Syria to become the “right hand possessions” of any man willing to support them—basically, to sell themselves into sex-slavery.

In a video that appeared in December 2013, Jordanian Sheikh Yassin al-Ajlawni, who says he lived in Syria for 17 years, asserted that “the needy, disenfranchised Syrian woman is permitted to ask the Muslim man who is capable of supporting her, to enter into a “right hand possession” contract with him, whereby she becomes his right hand possession.”

Ajlawni’s logic is that, because Syria is in a state of war, and the numbers of men are dropping, needy and displaced women are permitted to seek out support by selling themselves into concubinage.

In the Muslim sheikh’s own words:

We hereby give fatwa permitting the Syrian woman who desires to be married to a Muslim man, via a “right hand possession” contract—whereby he becomes her master and she becomes his slave—that all this contract needs is for the woman be clean of her menstruation period, and that this contract be registered with the sheikhs or other authorities, either in a Sharia or civil court…  Afterwards, once the woman says, “I give you possession over myself,” via contract of “right hand possession,” this woman becomes his loyal servant, and he her lord; she becomes a slave and concubine to him, and he must support her according to a previously agreed upon monetary fee … thus they become governed by the rulings of “right hand possession,” and there is no problem with this, Allah willing.

To bolster his fatwa, al-Ajlawni referred to a few hadiths (recorded words and teachings of Islam’s prophet Muhammad), including: “One of the signs of the [final] hour is that knowledge will decrease, ignorance will increase, adultery will appear, women will grow in numbers, while men will grow less, so that fifty women will be worth one [man].”

Al-Ajlawni also cited a hadith from the canonical Sahih Bukhari, which has the prophet saying: “whenever fitna [sedition from Islam] becomes widespread, Allah distinguishes his followers, so that 50 women follow one man, saying, ‘Oh Abdullah [“slave of Allah”], take care of me,’” adding that in the same narrative the woman says, “O Abdullah, have sex with me.”… Keep reading

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Iran’s New UN Envoy ‘Not Something We Can Just Turn a Blind Eye Toward’

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

A New York Democrat said despite the difficulty in blocking another country’s diplomat from coming into the U.S., anyone who participated in the 1979 hostage taking in Iran needs to be stopped.

“Let me just say for Ted Cruz and Eliot Engel to agree on something, it’s got to be right,” Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) quipped to CNN.

“Look, this fellow, by being an interpreter for the group that took American hostages, was certainly complicit in their capture,” he said of Hamid Aboutalebi, who was a member of Muslim Students Following the Imam’s Line when the group took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. “And I just think it’s a terrible insult to the United States at a time when Iran is talking with us, purportedly is doing that in good faith, Iran continues to make mischief and wreak havoc in other places of the world. They are negative in Syria, they are a major funder of Hezbollah, a terrorist organization. They continue to do that with impunity. And now this, which is a real slap in the face.”

“The Iranians should withdraw their nomination and should send somebody else, because this — all of us that were alive at the time remember that hostage crisis, and that is not something I think we can just turn a blind eye toward.”

Engel said it’s “obvious” the ayatollah is pulling the strings on these provocations as Iran’s new president tries to project a facade of moderation.

“It’s just very, very troubling. It’s a slap in the face to Americans. And it ought to be withdrawn. And, you know, it’s very difficult for us to block a diplomat from coming in. But if it’s proven that he was part and parcel of it, I would urge our authorities to deny him entry into the country,” he said.

“…So it’s as if the Iranians are thumbing their nose at us and saying, well, we’re going to negotiate with you but we’re not going to change any of our bad behavior while we’re negotiating. It seems to me if you’re really serious in having negotiations that are fruitful, you’d stop some of the outrageous behavior. And sending this diplomat to New York as their representative to the U.N. is just another indication that the Iranians think they can get away with anything. And that, I think, is an ominous sign to their seriousness in these nuclear talks.”

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Senators Want to Block Visa for Iran Hostage Taker, New UN Emissary

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Senators are trying to block Iran’s new emissary to the United Nations, who participated in the 1979 taking of the American Embassy in Tehran, from getting a U.S. visa.

Hamid Aboutalebi, formerly Iran’s ambassador to Belgium and Italy, was a member of Muslim Students Following the Imam’s Line when the group took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

Iran submitted a visa application for Aboutalebi to come to New York and serve as Tehran’s ambassador to the United Nations.

At the State Department on Monday, spokeswoman Marie Harf refused to comment on the new envoy. “The visa procedure is obviously confidential. We don’t discuss individual visa cases. People are free to apply for one, and their visas are adjudicated under the normal procedures that we adjudicate people’s. And we don’t comment and we don’t make a prediction about the outcome of what that process might look like,” she said.

When asked if the U.S. kept a reference list of all people involved in the 1979 seizure, Harf said she didn’t know.

“I really just don’t have anything further for you on the gentleman that they have reportedly named to be their UN perm-rep,” she told reporters at the daily briefing. “I’m sure we’ll talk about it more in the coming days, but nothing for you today.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said the granting of a visa would be “a slap in the face to the 52 Americans held hostage in Iran for 444 days and an affront to all Americans.”

“The very idea Iran would appoint someone to represent them at the United Nations in New York — who was connected in such a direct way to the American Embassy takeover in 1979 — says a lot about the regime and the so-called moderation of President Rouhani,” Graham said this morning. “Iran has been involved in worldwide terrorism plots and designated as a state sponsor of terrorism. Iran provided equipment used to kill American soldiers in Iraq. Iran supports Hamas and Hezbolloah, two terrorist organizations. And finally, Iran continues its pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability, not a peaceful nuclear power plant.”

“I’m hopeful the Senate will soon send a strong signal to Iranians that we will not accept this individual or allow him to represent Iran on American soil.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced a bill yesterday banning known terrorists from entering the U.S. on visas.

“It is unconscionable that, in the name of international diplomatic protocol, the United States would be forced to host a foreign national who showed a brutal disregard for the status of our diplomats when they were stationed in his country,” Cruz said.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) sent Secretary of State John Kerry a letter demanding that Aboutalebi take his rightful place on a visa blacklist.

“This man has no place in the diplomatic process, and the State Department should flat-out deny his visa application,” Schumer told the New York Post. “Iran’s attempt to appoint Mr. Aboutalebi is a slap in the face to the Americans that were abducted, and their families; it reveals a disdain for the diplomatic process and we should push back in kind.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called Iran’s selection “really kind of an in-your-face action by the Iranian government, sending a guy who was responsible for the absolutely, totally illegal incarceration of American citizens.”

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Abbas Defies Obama-Kerry Plan, Requests Recognition by International Agencies

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The Obama administration received a sharp rebuke on its drive to forge a Middle East peace process when President Mahmoud Abbas applied for Palestinian state membership in 15 international organizations.

Secretary of State John Kerry was supposed to meet with Abbas in Ramallah on Wednesday, but that was abruptly called off.

“I’ve heard a rumor about, a quote not being invited sort of, but I’m not sure I’m going, regardless of that, whether or not we have certain things that we’re trying to figure out in terms of the logistics on the ground and what is possible,” Kerry said Tuesday at NATO before confirmation that the trip wouldn’t be happening.

The administration has been pushing for a framework agreement by April 29, which would extend the talks into 2015. The Palestinians complained that Israel wasn’t releasing prisoners on time and complained about construction in the West Bank.

The White House has been considering releasing Jonathan Pollard, a U.S. citizen sentenced to life behind bars in 1987 for spying for Israel, in an attempt to butter up Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accept Obama and Kerry’s proposal.

“I continue to believe that releasing Jonathan Pollard is the right thing to do,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said. “However, releasing Mr. Pollard simply to keep Israeli-Palestinian talks going is totally misguided and would be seen as a desperate attempt to avert failure.”

Kerry swore, though, that even Abbas’ move in clear defiance of U.S. demands doesn’t mean failure.

“It is completely premature tonight to draw any kind of judgment, certainly any final judgment, about today’s events and where things are,” he said. “This is a moment to be really clear-eyed and sober about this process. It is difficult, it is emotional, it requires huge decisions, some of them with great political difficulty, all of which need to come together simultaneously.”

“And all I can tell you is that we are continuing, even now as I am standing up here speaking, to be engaged with both parties to find the best way forward. We’ve been in touch with the White House and Washington during the day, as well as all of the parties. And I’ve talked to many people on the ground in the region, and I will continue to even tonight.”

Kerry urged “both sides to show restraint” while a “team is on the ground” to work with both sides.

Abbas has said for nine months that he would set aside his pushes for statehood during negotiations, but instead he went on live Palestinian television to sign the applications for recognition by the agencies, including ones dealing with women’s rights and the Geneva and Vienna Conventions, a Palestinian official told the New York Times.

“We don’t want to collide with the U.S. administration. We want a good relationship with Washington because it helped us and exerted huge efforts. But because we did not find ways for solution, this becomes our right,” Abbas said.

At NATO, Kerry waxed that “it’s moments like this when we all need to remember exactly what brought us to this effort in the first place, what the goal is, and where everybody wants to end up.”

“I know that President Abbas in his comments made it clear that he intends to continue to work, even tonight, on this process that we are engaged in,” he said, adding in apparent reference to both Pollard and the Palestinian prisoners that “at this point in time, no agreement has been reached with respect to any prisoner.”

In fact, Kerry was insistent that Abbas hadn’t breached any part of the negotiations agreement because he wasn’t seeking UN recognition. “None of the agencies that President Abbas signed tonight involve the UN. None of them,” he said.

“And President Abbas has given his word to me that he will keep his agreement and that he intends to negotiate through the end of the month of April,” he added.

However, in the words of Abbas: “The Palestinian leadership has unanimously approved a decision to seek membership of 15 UN agencies and international treaties, beginning with the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

Palestinians were up in arms that Israel didn’t release a fourth batch of prisoners on March 29. “I’m not going to get into the who, why, what, when, where, how of why we’re where we are today. We’re where we are today – and the important thing is to keep the process moving and find a way to see whether the parties are prepared to move forward. In the end, this is up to the parties,” Kerry continued.

“…President Obama has been as committed to this as anybody. He has committed his personal time. He has committed my time. The President is desirous of trying to see how we can make our best efforts in order to find a way to facilitate. But facilitation is only as good as the willingness of leaders to actually make decisions when they’re put in front of them.”

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Bipartisan Capitulation on Iranian Nukes

Friday, March 28th, 2014 - by Andrew G. Bostom

One of the major themes of my new book, Iran’s Final Solution for Israel, is the abject failure of imagination regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran, which transcends the political and ideological Republican/Democratic party, and Right/Left, divides.

Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the craven capitulation to Obama administration demands that Congress “butt out” of the “P5 +1” sham agreement process which has provided dangerous U.S. and international validation of Iran’s uranium enrichment program.

As reported by Al-Monitor yesterday (3/27/14), House lawmakers are crafting a “bipartisan” bill targeting Iran’s jihad-terror “proxy” Hezbollah, having acquiesced to the Obama administration’s demand not to address Iran’s relentless pursuit of nuclear capabilities, whose ultimate goal has long been acknowledged to be the production of nuclear weapons. The Hezbollah-limited focus, though allegedly “in the works for several months,” in reality represented bipartisan subservience to Obama administration wishes, gaining momentum,

after Democrats acceded to the Obama administration’s request that Congress butt out of the multiparty nuclear negotiations with Iran. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has blocked a vote on a bipartisan Iran sanctions bill that has garnered 59 cosponsors, and the Househas also lifted the pressure since passing its own sanctions bill on a 400-20 vote last summer.

Pressed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, during hearings on February 4, 2014, U.S. chief negotiator with Iran Wendy Sherman conceded that the P5 + 1 agreement, failed to “shut down” Iran’s continuing development of ballistic missiles. These weapons, which have long range capabilities, are the preferred devices for delivering a nuclear payload. Senator Bob Corker (R., Tenn.), the committee’s ranking member, raised the appropriate questions, interspersed with relevant commentary:

Why did you all not in this agreement in any way address the delivery mechanisms, the militarizing of nuclear arms, why was that left off since they [Iran] breached a threshold everyone acknowledges.? They can build a bomb. We know that. They know that. They have advanced centrifuges. We have a major loophole in the research and development area that everyone acknowledges. We are going to allow them over this next year to continue to perfect the other piece of this, which is the [nuclear] delivery mechanism. Why did we do that?

Within 2-weeks later, Ms. Sherman admitted that if Iran’s nuclear program was only for peaceful purposes, the Islamic Republic “does not need” the fortified, underground uranium enrichment center at Fordow, or its plutonium heavy-water reactor at Arak.

One would have hoped that Wendy Sherman’s candid February 2014 acknowledgments strengthened the resolve of those U.S. lawmakers who have questioned the sobriety of the P5 +1 interim deal with Iran. Those hopes have now been dashed by our Congressional “hollow men/

The stuffed men.”

Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Deputy Commander Brigadier-General Hossein Salami made the following comments at a conference held in Tehran, which aired on Al-Alam TV on March 11, 2014:

Despite the geographical distance, we are attached to the hearts of the Palestinians. How is it that our slogans and goals are identical to the slogans and causes of the Palestinians? Why do we strive to become martyrs and risk our lives for the Palestinian cause? The answer is that the religion of Islam has designated this for us – this goal, this motivation, this belief, this energy – so that we, here, can muster all our energies in order to annihilate the Zionist entity, more than 1,400 kilometers away. We are ready for that moment in the future.

The Left says either the good general Salami doesn’t mean any of this, i.e., it is just “cultural bluster”—which of course shouldn’t be criticized at any rate, because that would be “racist.” The openly antisemitic hard Leftists admit they just don’t care if Israel is annihilated in a nuclear jihad.

Conservative “Iran shenasans”—(alleged) “Iran experts”—say he’s simply “distorting” Shiite Islam and we must be patient, support the Soylent Green Movement of Iranian Jeffersonian Democrats, and “regime replacement” will solve the Iranian nuke and all other such problems engendered by the  “distortion of Shiite Islam.” Ignore the hard data that show 83% support for Sharia in Iran—that too is “racist”—or if not racist, “Islamophobic”

Till now, those are your Iran policy options from the ones who control such discourse—and current or  planned actions—on the Left and Right.


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Turkey’s Latest Jihad on Christian Armenians

Friday, March 28th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

Far from being repentant of the Armenian Genocide, Turkey, under the leadership of Prime Minister Erdogan, is again targeting Armenians; is again causing their death and dislocation.

In the early morning hours of March 21, al-Qaeda linked Islamic jihadis crossed into Syrian territory from the Turkish border and launched a jihad on the Christian/Armenian town of Kessab.   Among other things, “Snipers targeted the civilian population and launched mortar attacks on the town and the surrounding villages.”  Reportedly eighty people were killed.

The jihadis later made a video touring the devastated town.  No translation is needed, as the main phrase shouted throughout is Islam’s triumphant war cry, “Allahu Akbar” (or, according to Sen. John McCain’s translation, “thank God”).
Nor are Armenians and others missing the significance of Turkey’s role.  In a written statement, the Armenian National Committee-International condemned Turkey’s active role in aiding and abetting Christian persecuting jihadi groups:

For months, we have warned the international community of the imminent threat posed by extremist foreign fighters against the Christian minority population in Syria.  These vicious and unprompted attacks against the Armenian-populated town and villages of Kessab are the latest examples of this violence, actively encouraged by neighboring Turkey. We call upon all states with any influence in the Syrian conflict to use all available means to stop these attacks against the peaceful civilian population of Kessab, to allow them to return to their homes in safety and security. In the last one hundred years, this is the third time that the Armenians are being forced to leave Kessab and in all three cases, Turkey is the aggressor or on the side of the aggressors [emphasis added].

On March 24,  Samvel Farmanyan, a member of the Armenian National Assembly, traveled to Syria to meet with Kessab’s dislocated Armenians: “I should say the impression was shocking,” he said.  “The situation is like the one we have read about in textbooks and literature about the Armenian Genocide, in the memories of Genocide survivors….  These are tragic events, which cannot but bring forth obvious parallels with the events of 100 years ago—the Armenian Genocide.”

Video interviews with the recently dislocated Armenians of Syria further document this sentiment.   One elderly man says “We’ve been here 97 years since they slaughtered us in Turkey.  These al-Qaeda ‘rebel’ groups are the grandsons of Abdul Hamid” (the Ottoman sultan who committed the first systematic genocide of Armenians)… Keep reading 


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El-Sisi Turns in His Uniform, Running for President of Egypt

Thursday, March 27th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, who shepherded Mohamed Morsi out of office at the climax anti-Muslim Brotherhood protests on July 3, is running for president of Egypt.

El-Sisi resigned from his position as leader of the military today in preparation for the campaign to begin March 30, Al-Ahram reported.

“Today is the last time you’ll see me wearing this uniform. I was honored to wear it to defend the nation and today I am also leaving it behind to defend the nation,” said the 45-year military veteran. “…My determination to run in the election does not bar others from their right to run. I will be happy if whoever the people choose succeeds.”

The only declared challenger to El-Sisi is Nasserist politician Hamdeen Sabbahi, who came in third when Morsi won in 2012. “I welcome El-Sisi’s candidacy. We look forward to democratic, fair and transparent elections that guarantee the impartiality of the state and the people’s right to choose a president with their free will,” Sabbahi tweeted.

El-Sisi’s off to a good start with 51 percent saying they would vote for him and 45 percent undecided. More than 82 percent said they planned to show up to the polls, compared to the 52 percent voter turnout that saw Morsi elected.

After a death sentence was handed down for 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters in the murder of a police commander, Egypt is now trying Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and 682 of his supporters on various charges including murder.

Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement yesterday that he was “deeply, deeply troubled by the sudden and unprecedented decision” saying the verdict “does not reflect the values and goals to which the interim government has aspired publicly and privately.”

“The need for due process assumed greater urgency with the start of a new trial for nearly 700 more people in the same courtroom where the earlier judgment was rendered after a two-day summary proceeding in which the defendants were tried as a group rather than on the merits of individual cases. Many of those defendants were not even in the courtroom. It is impossible to believe that such a proceeding satisfied even the most basic standards of justice,” Kerry continued.

“The interim government must understand the negative message that this decision, if upheld, would send to the world about Egypt’s commitment to international law and inclusivity.”

The Obama administration has been pressing for Muslim Brotherhood inclusivity ever since Morsi’s ouster, and the Egyptian government has responded by cracking down on the group.

“For three years, Egyptians have demanded responsive leadership that protects human rights and promotes economic opportunity. Many lost their lives in that struggle. Adhering to the new constitution and maintaining a criminal justice system free of intimidation and political retribution are essential functions of a legitimate government,” Kerry said. “I urge the interim Egyptian government to reverse the court ruling and ensure due process for the accused. Anything less would dishonor the bravery of all who sacrificed their lives for democratic values.”

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Does a ‘Moderate Islam’ Really Exist?

Thursday, March 27th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

I discussed this question with CBN News recently, in connection with my article “Why Moderate Islam is an Oxymoron.”

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Muslim Brotherhood Supporter, Qatar, Turns to U.S. for Support

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Qatar crown prince, Sheik Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, greet each other at the Prince’s Sea Palace residence in Doha. AFP Photo

Qatar, which is under fire by fellow Gulf States and Egypt for its material and propaganda (Al Jazeera) support to the Muslim Brotherhood — which has again been reclassified as a terrorist organization by said Arab states — is now turning to the United States and Obama administration for support.

According to sources, “Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah, The Qatari Minister of State for Defence Affairs, is leaving for Washington to discuss the situation in Qatar with US Secretary of State John Kerry, an American Foreign Ministry source said on Monday. Al-Attiyah and Mohammed Jaham Al-Kuwari, Qatar’s Ambassador at Washington, are also planning to meet with Barak Obama during their stay in US, the source told reporters.”

And what is the purpose of these high level meetings?  The Qatar Royal family has sent an official letter “requesting urgent help and US mediation in the crisis between Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.”

Of course, all Qatar need do to avert this “crisis” is to stop supporting the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood; stop inciting violence, regional chaos, and terrorism (or “jihad) through its Al Jazeera network and Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi (who himself earlier called on the U.S. to wage jihad on Muslims).

It is specifically for these reasons that the tiny state, which aside from its Al Jazeera network has little influence, is under fire by its neighbors.

Yet instead of obliging and ceasing its pro-Muslim Brotherhood support, Qatar prefers to turn to the U.S. Obama administration for “mediation” — which of course is not surprising considering the latter’s connections to the Muslim Brotherhood.

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State Dept. ‘Pretty Shocked’ by Egypt’s Death Sentences for 529 Muslim Brotherhood Supporters

Monday, March 24th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The State Department lashed out at Cairo today for the 529 death sentences handed down to Muslim Brotherhood supporters in the murder of a police commander.

Mostafa El-Attar, deputy commander of the Matay district police station, suffered a head injury as rioters surrounded his police station. News crews in the area showed angry protesters trying to attack him even as he was dying.

Sixteen defendants were acquitted of murder charges after it was proven they helped save another officer’s life, Al-Ahram reported.

The Brotherhood claimed only 22 of those sentenced are members of their group.

“We are deeply concerned, and I would say actually pretty shocked, by the sentencing to death of 529 Egyptians related to the death of one policeman, as well as the spate of violence against police stations and security personnel in the aftermath of the clearing of two squares in mid-August. It’s our understanding that over half of those convictions were in absentia. Obviously, the defendants can appeal, but it simply does not seem possible that a fair review of evidence and testimony, consistent with international standards, could be accomplished with over 529 defendants in a two-day trial. It sort of defies logic,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters today.

“So we have continued to call on the Egyptian government to ensure that those detained are afforded fair proceedings that respect civil liberties and, as we’ve said many, many, many times, that the appearance of politically motivated arrests, detentions and convictions will just continue to move Egypt’s democratic transition backwards and not forwards, like we hope it does.”

When asked if the administration was just shocked or “outraged” to the point of taking action, Harf replied, “Well, what action are you suggesting we take?”

“We’re talking to the Egyptian government. We’re trying to ascertain all the facts here. Obviously, as I said, it’s a pretty shocking number. But we’re gathering all the facts and determining what we do going forward. Our policy towards Egypt, all along, since July, has been governed by a few principles. One is that it’s an important relationship. The second is that we don’t want to completely cut off the relationship, as you saw when we made the decision about aid,” Harf said.

“The second is that there are principles that we stand up for that include things like right to free and fair trial, that we will continue pushing with the Egyptian government. And the third is that we will engage with all parties and all groups in Egypt to make sure that as their democratic transition moves forward, it’s done so in an inclusive manner.”

She added “I don’t know if they’re serious” about carrying through the death sentences, which will now be appealed.

“I don’t want to describe motives here or motivations here. What we’ve said is that everybody needs to be given a trial in accordance of international standards, and that politically — there’s no place for politically motivated arrests, detentions, convictions in a country that’s moving towards democracy.”

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J Street Fundraising for Michelle Nunn in Georgia Senate Race

Friday, March 21st, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

J Street is raising cash for Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn, to fill the seat being vacated by Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), contending that the Republicans in the race don’t support a Palestinian state.

The pro-Palestinian lobbying group defines Congress’ “One-State Caucus” as members “who put Israel’s democracy and Jewish character at risk by promoting policies—such as annexation of the West Bank—that are at odds with long standing bipartisan support for a two-state solution.”

The fundraising call cited two of the GOP congressman vying for the nomination — Reps. Paul Broun and Jack Kingston — as falling under this designation. Rep. Phil Gingrey is also running for the nomination in the May 20 primary.

J Street criticizes the members for supporting “a greater Israel that spans from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.”

“Thankfully, Georgia Democrats have united behind a strong pro-Israel, pro-peace candidate to run in November. Michelle Nunn is one of JStreetPAC’s newest endorsees and spent time in Israel when Rabin and Clinton were working towards peace with the Palestinians. When Michelle’s elected to the Senate, she will be an outspoken advocate for US leadership towards two states,” reads the fundraising email.

“Paul Broun and Jack Kingston must have thought they were pandering to someone when they spoke out against a Palestinian state. But you and I know that American pro-Israel activists understand a two-state agreement is essential to promoting Israel’s security and preserving its democratic character. We need your help to teach Paul Broun and Jack Kingston what it means to actually be pro-Israel.”

Kingston has criticized President Obama for pressuring Israel to go to 1967 borders. “These decisions should be made in Tel Aviv by Israelis not in Washington by U.S. politicians,” he said in 2011.

Vice President Joe Biden was fundraising for Nunn earlier this month. Other fundraisers for Nunn include Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s wife, Amy Rule.

Broun leads the GOP pack so far in polls, and tied Nunn in a hypothetical matchup this month.

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Why the Media Doesn’t Cover Jihadist Attacks on Middle East Christians

Friday, March 21st, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

“To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace”—Hebrews 6:6

The United Nations, Western governments, media, universities, and talking heads everywhere insist that Palestinians are suffering tremendous abuses from the state of Israel.  Conversely, the greatest human rights tragedy of our time—radical Muslim persecution of Christians, including in Palestinian controlled areas—is devotedly ignored.

The facts speak for themselves. Reliable estimates indicate that anywhere from 100-200 million Christians are persecuted every year; one Christian is martyred every five minutes. Approximately 85% of this persecution occurs in Muslim majority nations. In 1900, 20% of the Middle East was Christian. Today, less than 2% is.

In one week in Egypt alone, where my Christian family emigrated, the Muslim Brotherhood launched akristallnacht—attacking, destroying, and/or torching some82 Christian churches (some of which were built in the 5th century, when Egypt was still a Christian-majority nation before the Islamic conquests).  Al-Qaeda’s black flag has been raised atop churches.  Christians—including priests, women and children—have been attacked, beheaded, and killed.

Nor is such persecution of Christians limited to Egypt.   From Morocco in the west to Indonesia in the east and from Central Asia to the north to sub-Saharan Africa to the south; across thousands of miles of lands inhabited by peoples who do not share the same races, languages, cultures, and/or socio-economic conditions, millions of Christians are being persecuted and in the same exact patterns… Keep reading

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In Nowruz Message, Obama Lauds Rouhani and Plugs for Nuclear Deal

Thursday, March 20th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson
YouTube Preview Image

President Obama used the occasion of the Persian new year to pitch his nuclear deal with Iran as Ayatollah Khamenei issued a tweet threatening to obliterate Israel.

Obama also recognized a less-than-legitimate election, where opposition forces in the Islamic Republic didn’t have a chosen candidate as the Guardian Council whittled the ballot down to those who were Ayatollah-approved.

“Last year, you—the Iranian people—made your voice heard when you elected Dr. Hassan Rouhani as your new president.  During his campaign, he pledged to strengthen Iran’s economy, improve the lives of the Iranian people and engage constructively with the international community—and he was elected with your strong support,” Obama said.

“Last fall, I spoke with President Rouhani.  It was the first conversation between an American president and an Iranian leader since 1979. I conveyed to President Rouhani my deep respect for the Iranian people, just as he expressed his respect for the American people… Since then, we’ve made progress.”

Obama said the sanctions relief for Iran was being followed with “intensive negotiations in the hopes of finding a comprehensive solution that resolves the world’s concerns with the Iranian nuclear program.”

“As I’ve said before, I’m under no illusions. This will be difficult. But I’m committed to diplomacy because I believe there is the basis for a practical solution. Iran’s highest officials, including Supreme Leader Khamenei, have said that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons. So there is a chance to reach an agreement if Iran takes meaningful and verifiable steps to assure the world that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. Iran would have access to peaceful nuclear energy. And we will have addressed—peacefully, with diplomacy—one of the greatest challenges to international peace and security,” he continued.

“A comprehensive agreement on the nuclear issue—and an Iran that upholds universal rights, at home and abroad—would help move Iran along the new path that so many Iranians seek… Because for the first time in many years, we have the opportunity to start down a new path. If Iran seizes this moment, this Nowruz could mark not just the beginning of a new year, but a new chapter in the history of Iran and its role in the world—including a better relationship with the United States and the American people, rooted in mutual interest and mutual respect.”

The lengthy address seemed more a chiding of Congress than a message to the American people. Lawmakers this week delivered letters to Obama demanding “core principles” in a final nuclear deal, with a July 20 deadline.

Those congressional letters had veto-proof support: 83 senators and 395 members of the House.

Moscow and Tehran have also been drawing closer in a cooperative effort that may scrap any need for Iran to negotiate with the U.S. at all.

Today’s tweets from the ayatollah:


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Kerry Decides that Now’s as Good a Time as Any to Chew Out the Israelis

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Earlier in the week, Israel’s defense minister pointed out that the current US foreign policy is weak, especially regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said “If we wished others would do the work for us, it wouldn’t be done soon, and therefore in this matter, we have to behave as if we can only rely on ourselves.” Basically, if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Ya’alon added that US weakness is bad for the world, and that he hopes “the US comes to its senses.” Many Americans share that sentiment.

Ya’alon’s comments come after years of the Obama administration snubbing Israel, casting it as the villain in its difficulties with the Palestinians, and generally treating Israel and its leaders unfairly.

US Secretary of State John Kerry decided that he would demonstrate strength by calling up Israel’s prime minister to tell on Ya’alon.

“Secretary Kerry spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu this morning. And he protested to him his concerns about these comments,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Wednesday.

The U.S., Psaki reaffirmed, maintains an “unshakable commitment” to Israel’s security.

“So it is certainly confusing to us why Defense Minister Ya’alon would continue his pattern of making comments that don’t accurately represent the scope of our close partnership on a range of security issues and on the enduring partnership between the United States and Israel,” she said.

Campaign hack Psaki may find all this confusing, but it’s straightforward to anyone who has followed US-Israel relations, and Obama’s treatment of the Iranian nuclear standoff, since 2009. Obama has tilted toward Islamist groups from the Palestinian territories to Cairo to Syria and beyond, quite consistently. He has at the same time criticized Israel over settlements, tried to force it to accept indefensible borders, and publicly slighted its leaders. He has taken America’s positions of leadership in so many areas and thrown them away.

It all adds up to, as Ya’alon notes, Israel not being able to depend on the United States anymore.

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Fresh from Crimea Victory, Putin Aims to Cause Trouble Elsewhere Including Iran

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

First, Bosnia. Russia was never happy with how that war ended. Now Putin is stoking separatism.

Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik has long resisted any efforts to centralize power in Sarajevo, predicting instead the country’s eventual demise.

He met Russia’s ambassador to Bosnia, Aleksandar Bocan-Harcenko, on Tuesday and said the Serb Republic backed Sunday’s referendum in Crimea on joining Russia as “legitimate and democratic”, in accordance with international law and the U.N.-guaranteed right to self-determination, Bosnia’s Fena news agency reported.

As the Crimea crisis neared its climax last week, Dodik visited Moscow, where he was rewarded by Russian Patriarch Kirill for his efforts “to consolidate the unity of Orthodox nations”.

Ashdown noted an offer by Russia of a loan to Bosnia’s Serb Republic to compensate for a freeze in funding to both of Bosnia’s entities by the International Monetary Fund over stalled economic measures.

Russia stepped in to help Ukraine’s pro-Moscow president, Viktor Yanukovich, with billions of dollars in aid after he spurned a deal on closer ties with the European Union in late November. Yanukovich was toppled by mass protests in February, precipitating Crimea’s secession by referendum on Sunday.

“The actions of offering an alternative loan … to one of the (Bosnian) entities, the action of withdrawing support for a project to join Europe, it cannot have any other outcome but to encourage those who wish to see secessionism,” Ashdown told reporters.

“Is this just a coincidence? Ask the Russian ambassador.”

It’s no more or less a coincidence than Ed Snowden dropping leaks on U.S. intel capabilities from wherever he now lives in Russia. And it’s no more or less a coincidence than Russia going public with this now:

Interfax: Russian diplomat says Moscow considering changing stance in Iranian nuclear talks.

What does this mean? Russia has traditionally regarded Iran as a non-threat to itself, and has traditionally played its influence with Iran against U.S. interests. Iran’s nuclear program is built on Russian technology. While Russia does not want a radical Islamic state armed with nuclear weapons, Russia here is signalling that it will fight any U.S.-led effort to slow down Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Couple that with Obama’s own Hamlet-esque dithering, and the bottom line is that Iran will obtain nuclear weapons. Iran has previously threatened to obliterate Israel. Russia and Iran have an understanding about who their real enemy is.

The American celebrity and media culture that elevated Barack Obama to the presidency is going to have a lot of reality to come to grips with. Presidents have to know more than just college basketball stats and the odd hard-left ideological trope. Their skills must go beyond those of the average insult comic. They have to be more than glib and photogenic. The Russia-China-Iran axis, with junior partners in Pyongyang and Karachi, may be about to make some very consequential moves.

Putin looks set to start too many fires for Obama and his pitiful national security team to deal with. His immediate prize remains, in my view, Ukraine and its energy production. He’ll start one fire over here, another over there, and while those conflagrations get going, he gets what he wants, consolidates, and moves on to his next real target. So far, Putin is overmatching Obama. Badly.

And that’s supposing that Obama really wants to keep Putin in check. That’s not a given.

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Pro-Brotherhood Cleric Issues Fatwa to Terrorize Egypt

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

Recently on live TV, Sheikh Abdul Maqsud, an Islamic jurisprudent, issued a fatwa obligating “Muslims” (in this context, Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Egypt) to engage in acts of terror against “infidels” (in this context, the Egyptian government and anyone else opposing the Brotherhood).

Maqsud and Morsi in happier times

Maqsud began by quoting the well-known hadith in Sahih Muslim wherein prophet Muhammad reportedly said that if a Muslim sees forbidden acts being committed, he should forcefully stop them, “with the hand”; if he is not capable of doing so, he should try to prevent them “with his tongue”; and if he still cannot do that, he should at least be against such acts “in his heart.”

Maqsud’s point was that jihad must be understood in the context of capability.  Because the Muslim Brotherhood and its jihadi allies and supporters are simply not capable of taking the Egyptian state head on—due to, as Maqsud bemoaned, Egypt’s military strength and organization, advanced weaponry, and large numbers of soldiers—all pro-Brotherhood Muslims should limit themselves only to those things they can do, namely, terrorism.

To further bolster this view, the sheikh quoted from the renowned Islamic jurist Ibn Hazm, who wrote that Muslims must only draw the sword in jihad when victory is attainable.

And because the Brotherhood’s supporters have little chance of attaining victory by drawing the sword in a head on jihad,  “All that is left for us,” concluded Maqsud, “is to try to terrorize them, by burning their cars, threatening them, burning their homes, etc.”

Maqsud, like so many before him, rationalized jihad in the context of the doctrine of abrogation, specifically, by taking the view that later verses do not cancel out earlier ones, but rather that Muslims must uphold those verses that are closest to their personal circumstances.

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83 Senators Put Obama on Notice About Iran, Demand ‘Core Principles’ in Any Deal

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Eighty-three senators banded together today to demand that President Obama meet core principles, including clear consequences, in any final nuclear agreement with Iran.

The letter was spearheaded by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.).

The sheer number of senators on board serves as a warning call to the administration that they have the support to override a presidential veto on tougher Iran sanctions.

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who held up a sanctions vote at the request of the White House, was not among the signatories.

“For twenty years, Congress has consistently focused attention on the threat of the Iranian program and taken the lead in initiating sanctions.  Congress has repeatedly stated that preventing an Iranian nuclear capability is a key goal of U.S. foreign policy.  Nine separate pieces of sanctions legislation have passed Congress since 1996.  We appreciate your continued commitment to preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and your efforts to implement the sanctions, which isolated and pressured the regime into negotiations,” states the letter.

“We believe that Congress has a continuing role to play to improve the prospects for success in the talks with Iran.  As these negotiations proceed, we will outline our views about the essential goals of a final agreement with Iran, continue oversight of the interim agreement and the existing sanctions regime, and signal the consequences that will follow if Iran rejects an agreement that brings to an end its nuclear weapons ambitions.”

They requested that the administration insist on these “core principles” in a final Iran deal:

– We believe that Iran has no inherent right to enrichment under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

– We believe any agreement must dismantle Iran’s nuclear weapons program and prevent it from ever having a uranium or plutonium path to a nuclear bomb.

– We believe Iran has no reason to have an enrichment facility like Fordow, that the regime must give up its heavy water reactor at Arak, and that it must fully explain the questionable activities in which it engaged at Parchin and other facilities.

– We believe Iran must fully resolve concerns addressed in United Nations Security Council resolutions, including any military dimensions of its nuclear program.

– We believe Iran must also submit to a long-term and intrusive inspection and verification regime to achieve the goal described in the Joint Plan of Action of “reaffirm[ing] that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek or develop any nuclear weapons.”– Finally, we believe Iran must not be allowed during these negotiations to circumvent sanctions.  We view this period as one fraught with the danger of companies and countries looking to improve their commercial position in Tehran, especially given recent reports of rising purchases of Iranian oil.  Iran cannot be allowed to be open for business. As you have stated, we must come down on those who are undermining sanctions “like a ton of bricks.”

The letter makes clear that they expect Obama to come before Congress with a final agreement, since it would roll back sanctions approved by the legislative branch.

“Should negotiations fail or Iran violate the Joint Plan of Action, Congress will need to ensure that the legislative authority exists to rapidly and dramatically expand sanctions.  We need to work together now to prepare for either eventuality,” they wrote.

“Most importantly, Iran must clearly understand the consequences of failing to reach an acceptable final agreement.  We must signal unequivocally to Iran that rejecting negotiations and continuing its nuclear weapon program will lead to much more dramatic sanctions, including further limitations on Iran’s exports of crude oil and petroleum products.”

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Allah’s Sword of Terror

Monday, March 17th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

The first time I heard about Khalid bin al-Walid—the 7th century Muslim jihadi affectionately known in Islamic history as “The Sword of Allah”—was when I was in college researching for my MA thesis on the Battle of Yarmuk, when the Muslims, under Khalid’s generalship, defeated the Byzantines in 636, opening the way for the historic Islamic conquests.

Nearly a decade and a half later, Khalid, that jihadi par excellence, has come to personify a dichotomy for me—how the jihad is understood in the West and how it really is: officially, Western academia, media, and politicians portray it as defensive war to protect Muslim honor and territory; in reality, however, jihad is all too often little more than a byword to justify the most primitive and barbaric passions of its potential recruits and practitioners.

Based on the English language sources I perused in college, Khalid was a heroic, no-nonsense kind of jihadi—fierce but fair, stern but just.  He was the champion of the Apostasy Wars, when he slaughtered countless Arabs for trying to leave Islam after the death of Muhammad.

Modern day Muslims writing about Khalid—see for example Pakistani army lieutenant-general A.I Akram’s The Sword of Allah—had naught but praise for him, the scourge of infidels and apostates.

But as years went by, I came across more arcane and Arabic sources telling of the “darker side” of The Sword—a depraved and sadistic side.

For example, only recently I came across a video of a modern-day Egyptian Salafi explaining how Khalid raped Layla, the wife of Malik bin Nuwayra—but only after he severed her husband’s head, lit it on fire, and cooked his dinner on it.

Khalid was recalled and questioned by the caliph—not because he killed and dined on an apostate’s head and “married” his wife, but because some believed that Malik was still Muslim, not an apostate to be treated so, and that Khalid killed him on the accusation of apostasy only as a pretext to take possession of his wife, whose beauty was renowned.

In the words of Ibn Kathir’s authoritative historical tome, The Beginning and the End (al-bidaya we al-nihaya), “And he [Khalid] ordered his [Malik’s] head and he combined it with two stones and cooked a pot over them.  And Khalid ate from it that night to terrify the apostate Arab tribes and others.  And it was said that Malik’s hair created such a blaze that the meat was so thoroughly cooked.”

More eye-opening is the way the videotaped Egyptian cleric recounts this whole narrative with awe and admiration…  Keep reading

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CIA Chief: Jihad a Product of Injustices, Economics, and Ignorance

Friday, March 14th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

CIA director John Brennan is at it again—equivocating over the nature of jihad by evoking paradigms familiar to the West.

Last Tuesday, “during an event at the Council of Foreign Relations, Brennan was asked about the ‘war of ideas’ surrounding Islam, which the questioner said many Americans tend to equate with violence.”

The CIA chief responded by saying that al-Qaeda’s ideology is “a perverse and very corrupt interpretation of the Qur’an”; that “al-Qaeda has hijacked” Islam; that “they have really distorted the teachings of Muhammad.”

Even so, “that ideology, that agenda of al-Qaeda,” confirmed Brennan, “has gained resonance and following in many parts of the world.”

So what is the CIA chief’s explanation as to why such a “perverse and very corrupt” understanding of Islam—one that has “distorted the teachings of Muhammad”— resonates among Muslims?

He gives none—other than to say that this ideology is “fed a lot of times by, you know, political repression, by economic, you know, disenfranchisement, by, you know, lack of education and ignorance, so there—there are a number of phenomena right now that I think are fueling the fires of, you know, this ideology.”

Interestingly, if you watch the video clip of Brennan talking, you will note that he only “you knows” in the above quotation (four times) and right before it, when he says that al-Qaeda has “distorted the teachings of Muhammad, you know, for violent purposes.”

The rest of his talk is relatively smooth.

Could Brennan be self-conscious of his own equivocations—hence all these stilted “you knows” in one sentence?

Could he be aware of the Rand Corporation report on counterterrorism, prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2009?   It found that “Terrorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated, or afflicted by mental disease. Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy (within their environment). Terrorist leaders actually tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.”… Keep reading

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Islamic Jihad and the Doctrine of Abrogation

Friday, March 14th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

The Koran and Sword: Hand in Hand

While other scriptures contain contradictions, the Koran is the only holy book whose commentators have evolved a doctrine to account for the very visible shifts which occur from one injunction to another. No careful reader will remain unaware of the many contradictory verses in the Koran, most specifically the way in which peaceful and tolerant verses lie almost side by side with violent and intolerant ones. The ulema were initially baffled as to which verses to codify into the Shari’a worldview—the one that states there is no coercion in religion (2:256), or the ones that command believers to fight all non-Muslims till they either convert, or at least submit, to Islam (8:39, 9:5, 9:29). To get out of this quandary, the commentators developed the doctrine of abrogation, which essentially maintains that verses revealed later in Muhammad’s career take precedence over earlier ones whenever there is a discrepancy. In order to document which verses abrogated which, a religious science devoted to the chronology of the Koran’s verses evolved (known as an-Nasikh wa’l Mansukh, the abrogater and the abrogated).

But why the contradiction in the first place? The standard view is that in the early years of Islam, since Muhammad and his community were far outnumbered by their infidel competitors while living next to them in Mecca, a message of peace and coexistence was in order. However, after the Muslims migrated to Medina in 622 and grew in military strength, verses inciting them to go on the offensive were slowly “revealed”—in principle, sent down from Allah—always commensurate with Islam’s growing capabilities. In juridical texts, these are categorized in stages: passivity vis-á-vis aggression; permission to fight back against aggressors; commands to fight aggressors; commands to fight all non-Muslims, whether the latter begin aggressions or not. [1] Growing Muslim might is the only variable that explains this progressive change in policy.

Other scholars put a gloss on this by arguing that over a twenty-two year period, the Koran was revealed piecemeal, from passive and spiritual verses to legal prescriptions and injunctions to spread the faith through jihad and conquest, simply to acclimate early Muslim converts to the duties of Islam, lest they be discouraged at the outset by the dramatic obligations that would appear in later verses.[2] Verses revealed towards the end of Muhammad’s career—such as, “Warfare is prescribed for you though you hate it”[3]—would have been out of place when warfare was actually out of the question.

Allah himself speaking through the Koran justifies abrogation:  “Whenever We abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten, we replace it by a better or similar one.  Know you not that Allah has power over all things?” (Koran 2: 106; see also 16:101, 13:39, and 17:86)… Keep reading

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The Double-Edged Sword of Jihad

Thursday, March 13th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

Islamic nations are again learning that the jihad is a volatile instrument of war that can easily backfire on those who preach it; that “holy war” is hardly limited to fighting and subjugating “infidels”—whether the West in general, Israel in particular, or the millions of non-Muslim minorities under Islam—but can also be used to fight “apostates,” that is, Muslims accused of not being Islamic enough.

In an unprecedented move and following Egypt’s lead, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain recently withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar, largely due to its Al Jazeera propaganda network which, since the ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood, has been inciting chaos in the region.

According to a March 7 Reuters reports, “Saudi Arabia has formally designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, in a move that could increase pressure on Qatar whose backing for the group has sparked a row with fellow Gulf monarchies….  Saudi Arabia and the UAE are fuming over Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, and resent the way Doha has sheltered influential cleric Yusuf Qaradawi, a critic of the Saudi authorities, and given him regular airtime on its pan-Arab satellite channel Al Jazeera.”

Qaradawi, of course, has been an Al Jazeera mainstay for many years, regularly preaching jihad against Israel and other “infidels”—telling millions of Muslim viewers to “obey the prophet, even if he tells you to kill.”

Back then, Qaradawi was not a problem for the Gulf States.

However, since the Egyptian June 30 Revolution saw the ousting and subsequent banning of the Muslim Brotherhood, and ever since the Brotherhood’s supporters—chief among them Qaradawi, through his Al Jazeera program—have been inciting violence in the region, especially in Egypt and Syria, the jihad is spinning out of control; and the Gulf monarchs know that, if not contained and directed, it can easily reach them.

For if jihadis are fighting fellow Muslims in Egypt and Syria—under the accusation that they are not “true” Muslims—what is to stop them from targeting the Gulf monarchies in the same context?

Thus, although the Saudis originally promoted the jihad against the Syrian government—sending and supporting militants, both Saudi and otherwise—in a complete reverse, the Arabian kingdom has just designated several of these jihadi organizations, including the Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant, as “terrorist” organizations.

This move, according to Reuters, “underscored concern about young Saudis hardened by battle against Assad coming home to target the ruling Al Saud royal family—as has happened after the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

And so history repeats itself.  Back in the 1980s, the Saudis were chief supporters of the jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan and helped create al-Qaeda… KEEP READING

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Terrorist Org. Ansar Bayt al-Muqadas Receives ‘Major Blow’ from Egyptian Forces

Thursday, March 13th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

Abu ‘Ubaida, a leader of Ansar Bayt al-Muqadas, the most recent terrorist organization to plague post-Muslim Brotherhood Egypt, was killed yesterday by Egyptian forces.

According to Egyptian Maj. Gen. Muhammad Nour al-Din, ‘Ubaida was the regional director of the terrorist organization in Egypt, and was directly involved in the planning and implementation of all attacks in Cairo.

Speaking yesterday on the television program “Happening in Egypt,” which airs on MBC Egypt, Nour al-Din said that “Today’s killing of Abu ‘Ubaida counts as a major blow from the National Security Agency to the members of Bayt al-Muqadas.”

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Saudi Arabia Labels the Muslim Brotherhood a Terrorist Group. But the Democrats are Having a Fundraiser With Them.

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston


Saudi Arabia has formally designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation.

An interior ministry statement also classified two jihadist groups fighting with the Syrian rebels – the Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant – as terrorist groups.

The statement gave Saudis fighting in Syria 15 days to return.


A Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated activist whose organization recently came under fire for holding an anti-Semitic rally in support of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi will head a fundraiser for Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly (Va.).

U.S.-based Muslim Brotherhood alliesAkram Elzend and Sameh Elhennawy will co-host a fundraiser for Connolly later this month at the Fairfax residence of Mohamed Mohamed, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Both Elzend and Elhennawy have been tied to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and were listed as U.S.-based cells of the group, according to a report in Egypt’s El Watan newspaper.

They also were identified on a list of Morsi supporters in America who issued an Arabic statement demanding that the former president “cleanse the media and police.” The statement additionally hailed Morsi’s power grab in Egypt as “one of his revolutionary decisions.”

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Uh-Oh! Another Movie Is Causing Problems Across the Islamic World…

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Russell Crowe has earned himself a fatwa in three Islamic countries — so far — for his epic film Noah:

One of the world’s most respected Islamic institutions has issued a fatwa against a Hollywood epic about Noah’s Ark because it ‘contradicts the teachings of Islam’.

Russell Crowe’s £75million film Noah has also been banned in three Arab countries after religious leaders complained that it depicted the Biblical figure – who is also a holy messenger in the Koran.

Due to premiere later this month, the blockbuster will not show in Qatar, Bahrain or the United Arab Emirates and several other countries are expected to follow suit.

Their beef against Noah is that it depicts a figure deemed to be holy in Islam. That is haram, whether the depiction is flattering or not. Non-Muslims don’t do haram, but these folks would like to force us to.

Crowe’s Noah is apparently just odd, as the Genesis epic reportedly runs off into global warming alarmism. That wasn’t a political or religious issue in Noah’s day. Or, if it was, it had nothing to do with cars and airplanes and the use of internal combustion engines, leaving Al Gore with a massive sad.

Director Darren Aronovsky didn’t even rely heavily on his source material, or respect the Christian audiences most likely to want to see the film.

“Noah is the least biblical biblical film ever made,” Aronofsky is quoted as saying. “I don’t give a fuck about the test scores! My films are outside the scores. Ten men in a room trying to come up with their favourite ice cream are going to agree on vanilla. I’m the rocky road guy.”

Classy. That’s reaching out to your target audience!

Back to the fatwa.

The fatwa – a ruling or injunction under the laws of Islam – was made by the influential Al-Azhar institution in Egypt’s capital Cairo, a centre of Sunni Islam thought which was founded in around AD970 and includes a university and a mosque.

‘Al-Azhar… renews its objection to any act depicting the messengers and prophets of God and the companions of the Prophet (Mohammad), peace be upon him,’ it announced in a statement.

The fatwa added that the depictions ‘provoke the feelings of believers… and are forbidden in Islam and a clear violation of Islamic law’.

Oddly enough, there isn’t yet a fatwa against Son of God.

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American Bob Levinson Held in Iran for Seven Years Now

Monday, March 10th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Sunday marked seven years since a former FBI agent disappeared on an Iranian island.

Robert Levinson, a 65-year-old retired FBI agent and father of seven, was working as a private detective on a cigarette smuggling case on Kish Island, an Iranian resort port in the Persian Gulf with looser entrance requirements, when he disappeared on March 9, 2007.

Levinson’s wife, Christine, has reported her frustration from years of trying to push the administration to get her husband home. After releasing in January photos the family had received from his captors, Christine Levinson said she’d gone to the press with the pictures, received nearly two years earlier, because “there isn’t any pressure on Iran to resolve this.”

In November, Levinson became the longest held U.S. hostage in history, passing Terry Anderson’s 2,454 days in captivity at the hands of Hezbollah before being freed in 1991.

“Nothing can bring those lost years – more than 2,500 days in all – back to all those who love him. Mr. Levinson’s disappearance has been heart-wrenching for his wife and children, who feel his absence especially deeply at the many family milestones missed these past seven years,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement Sunday. “The United States remains committed to the safe return of Mr. Levinson to his family. We appreciate the support and assistance from our international partners as we work to end this awful separation. Given Mr. Levinson’s health, age, and length of time in captivity, we mark this anniversary with a special sense of urgency.”

“We respectfully ask the Government of Iran to work cooperatively with us on the investigation into his disappearance so we can ensure his safe return,” he added.

The administration has conceded that discussion about Levinson — and two more Americans being unjustly held by Iran, Marine Corps veteran Amir Hekmati and pastor Saeed Abedini — was at the most a sideline conversation at the P5+1 talks in Geneva and the three men were not included in conditions under which sanctions would be peeled back. U.S. officials have said off the record that they believe the Iranian government is behind the hostage photos and video emailed to the family.

The FBI is offering a $1 million reward for any information that could lead to his safe return.

“This is the seventh year that Mr. Levinson has spent without his family. We remain committed to the hard work ahead to ensure that it’s his last,” Kerry added.

The Society of Former Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Society) and the FBI Agents Association (FBIAA) asked the 20,000 members of both associations to observe a moment of silence on Friday to mark the solemn anniversary.

Today, the Levinson family released a voicemail saved from January 2007, two months before he disappeared.

“The voicemail speaks for itself as you will hear how it encompasses everything that is good and right about our amazing dad,” the family said in a statement. “Please continue to be outraged that he is still being held. This is humanity at its worst. Bob Levinson has devoted his entire career to serving our country. He deserves better than this.”

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