Get PJ Media on your Apple

The PJ Tatler

U.S., South Korean Defense Officials Huddle in Washington About Stopping Kim Jong-un

Thursday, April 17th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The Department of Defense and South Korean Ministry of National Defense wrapped up their fifth defense dialogue in Washington this week with an agreement to “substantively” increase cooperation against North Korean aggression.

Over the course of the two-day meeting, ROK Deputy Minister for Defense Policy Yoo Jeh Seung met with the U.S. Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense Mark Lippert, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia David Helvey, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy Elaine Bunn, the Pentagon said.

“The two sides reaffirmed the shared view that recent North Korean provocations, including recent missile launches, artillery fire in the Yellow Sea, the infiltration of small unmanned aerial vehicles, and the looming threat of a fourth nuclear test undermine stability of the Korean Peninsula and the region. The two sides also addressed ways to strengthen coordinated actions and the importance of continued close collaboration within the alliance to enable better deterrence of and response to North Korean provocations,” the DoD described the meeting.

“The two sides discussed ways to strengthen the combined defense posture to defend the Republic of Korea and to deter North Korean aggression by enhancing combined Alliance capabilities, and continuing combined exercises. The ROK and U.S. also discussed the ROK proposed conditions-based approach to wartime OPCON transition. The ROK and the U.S. will continue cooperating to develop the future command structure, combined operational plans, ROK critical military capabilities, and U.S. bridging and enduring capabilities.”

Particularly welcome was the South Korean National Assembly’s recent ratification of more cost-sharing support to “offset costs associated with stationing U.S. forces on the Korean Peninsula.”

“The 2014-2018 agreement will provide for continued ROK support in logistics, labor, and construction and will help ensure that we have the resources necessary for the combined defense of the Korean Peninsula,” the Pentagon said.

“The two sides also addressed various areas of alliance cooperation, including regional and global cooperation, and efforts to counter weapons of mass destruction and interdiction, command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence interoperability, and cyber and space cooperation.”

That included a “continued U.S. commitment to provide and strengthen extended deterrence for the ROK using the full range of military capabilities, including the U.S. nuclear umbrella, conventional strike, and missile defense capabilities.”

“The two countries discussed implementation of the tailored deterrence strategy to include combined exercises to ensure that deterrence and extended deterrence remains credible, capable, and enduring,” the Pentagon continued. “Both sides also discussed efforts to counter North Korean missile threats, including the continued combined development of comprehensive counter-missile capabilities to detect, defend against, disrupt, and destroy North Korean missile threats, in particular strengthened missile defense interoperability, including the ROK ‘Kill Chain’ and Korean air and missile defense systems.”

A sixth round of talks is scheduled in Seoul this July.

Read bullet | Comments »

Schumer Lobbies Pentagon for Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans’ Parade

Thursday, April 17th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is lobbying the Defense Department to host an official welcome-home ticker-tape parade for Iraq and Afghanistan vets down Broadway in Manhattan.

Schumer said former Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried to get this after President Obama announced an end to the Iraq war, but was told by the Pentagon that the conflicts are interrelated and “because many people who served in Iraq went to serve in Afghanistan and vice versa, that they shouldn’t do it.”

“Now, the president called for combat to end by the end of 2014. Hagel seconded this. So, now is the time to get moving and prepare and do the great parade that New York can do down the Canyon of Heroes. I talked to DoD. And — they, you know, they’re the bureaucracy of bureaucracies, and they’re jumping through 100 hoops. But they have been very positive,” the senator told MSNBC.

It can be done without the Pentagon, he added, but with cooperation “we can have the top military brass come. We can have flyovers. We can have all kind of military bands and everything else. It will be a grand, grand parade.”

“So, the other parades were good. But to give these women and men who served us and risked their lives for us, the recognition they deserve, there is nothing like a parade in the Canyon of Heroes with the full support of our nation’s Defense Department and all extra things that that entails.”

Schumer, who says he cut his “political teeth” protesting the Vietnam war back in the day, stressed it was “wrong” that those veterans didn’t get a parade for a decade.

“There was just so much anger at the establishment in Vietnam that it boiled over unfortunately into the veterans as almost symbols of the establishment,” he said. “In Iraq, people thought the war was wrong. But there wasn’t the same hostility to the whole way America was going. Vietnam was sort of an awakening to a lot of people.”

He conceded “it will take some money,” but said the city of New York is willing to chip in as are many veterans organizations.

“I think paying for it won’t be the hard part. It’s getting it organized. And we’ll have to figure out when we can do it,” Schumer said, adding Veterans Day would be a “great” day to hold the parade.

Read bullet | Comments »

The Ultimate Source of Islamic Hate for Infidels

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

Who is ultimately responsible for the ongoing attacks on Christians and their churches throughout the Islamic world?

Focusing on one of the most obvious nations where Christians are regularly targeted—Egypt’s Coptic Christians—one finds that the “mob” is the most visible and obvious culprit.  One Copt accused of some transgression against Muslim sensibilities—from having relations with a Muslim woman, to ruining a Muslim man’s shirt—is often enough to prompt Muslim mobs to destroy entire Christian villages and their churches.

Recently, for example, after her cross identified Mary Sameh George as a Christian, a pro-Muslim Brotherhood mob attacked, beat, and slaughtered her.

However, a recent Arabic op-ed titled “Find the True Killer of Mary” looks beyond the mob to identify the true persecutor of Christians in Egypt. According to it:

Those who killed the young and vulnerable Mary Sameh George, for hanging a cross in her car, are not criminals, but rather wretches who follow those who legalized for them murder, lynching, dismemberment, and the stripping bare of young Christian girls—without every saying “kill.”  [Islamic cleric] Yassir Burhami and his colleagues who announce their hate for Christians throughout satellite channels and in mosques—claiming that hatred of Christians is synonymous with love for God—they are the true killers who need to be tried and prosecuted…  The slayers of Mary Sameh are simply a wretched mob, with the body of a bull but the brain of a worm.  It’s not the puppets on the string who need punishing, but rather the mastermind who moves the puppets with his bloody fingers behind closed curtains that needs punishing.

One fact certainly validates this Arabic op-ed’s assertions: the overwhelming majority of attacks on Christians in Egypt and other Muslim nations—including the slaughter of Mary Sameh George—occur on Friday, the one day of the week that Muslims congregate in mosques for communal prayers and to hear sermons.

The significance of this fact can easily be understood by analogy: what if Christians were especially and consistently violent to non-Christian minorities on Sunday—right after they got out of church?  What would that say about what goes on in Christian churches?

What does it say about what goes on in Muslim mosques?

The Arabic op-ed also does well to name Sheikh Yassir al-Burhami as one of those who “announce their hate for Christians throughout the satellite channels and in mosques, claiming that hatred of Christians is synonymous with love for God.”

For example, Dr. Burhami—the face of Egypt’s Salafi movement—once issued a fatwa, or Islamic edict, forbidding Muslim taxi- and bus-drivers from transporting Coptic Christian priests to their churches, which he depicted as “more forbidden than taking someone to a liquor bar.”

As for hating non-Muslim “infidels,” many Islamic clerics, especially Salafis, believe that the doctrine of “Loyalty and Enmity” (or wala’ wa bara’) commands Muslims never to befriend or be loyal to non-Muslims.

Burhami himself appears on video asserting that if a Muslim man marries a Christian or Jewish woman (known in Islamic parlance as “People of the Book”)—even he must still hate his wife, because she is an infidel… Keep reading

Read bullet | Comments »

The CIA Director Turned Up in Kiev. Here’s Why.

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Daily Beast Eli Lake and Josh Rogin report that CIA Director John Brennan visited Kiev to work up a plan to share US intelligence on Russian troop position with Ukraine.

Over the weekend, CIA Director John Brennan met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaliy Yarema to discuss the formation of new, more secure channels for sharing U.S. intelligence with the country now fighting pro-Russian secessionists in its eastern cities, according to U.S. and Western officials briefed on the meeting.

It’s a vitally important issue because the Ukrainians are badly outmatched by the Russian forces massed on their border and infiltrating their cities. If Kiev is going to have a hope of withstanding the pressure from Moscow, their intelligence on the Russian military’s activities will have to be exquisite.

The military and several members of Congress have pushed for the US to share data on Russian troop positions with Ukraine. Sharing intel with Ukraine is tricky, though, because the Russians have thoroughly penetrated Ukraine’s military and intelligence. Whatever we tell Ukraine is bound to get to Moscow in short order.


The Ukrainian government is said to be requesting advanced secure communications equipment from the United States, one on a long list of items the U.S. government has not yet agreed to provide. On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney declined to say what if any non-lethal military equipment the U.S. might provide the Ukrainian armed forces, beyond the military rations that were delivered earlier this month.

Happy Meals aren’t going to help very much.

Read bullet | Comments »

Pro-Russian Politician Mobbed, Beaten in Ukraine

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Big things have small beginnings.

Oleh Tsarev, who has backed Ukraine’s membership of the Moscow-led customs union rather than European integration, was attacked after giving an interview to Ukraine’s ICTV channel in which his critics said he appeared to back an intervention by Russian troops in Ukraine’s rebellious eastern regions.

He later denied saying this and said he was categorically against Russian forces being sent into Ukraine.

Tsarev tends to go around wearing a “Born in the USSR” shirt.

The 44-year-old Tsarev, whose presidential bid has only the tiniest support, waited two hours at the studios before stepping out into the crowd where, despite some protection from his bodyguards, he was engulfed by a mob who threw eggs at him and then beat him.

He was hustled into a waiting ambulance but members of a far-right nationalist group Right Sector seized him and drove him first to the headquarters of the state security service and then to the prosecutor’s office.

Standing bare to the waist and with a black eye and scratches to his face, Tsarev told journalists: “I did not ask for Russian troops to be sent in. I am categorically against this. I am against a third party interfering in the affairs of Ukraine. Until we learn to listen to each other, Ukraine will stand no chance.”

Tsarev has little support within Ukraine, but may have serious support over the border in Moscow.

Read bullet | Comments »

Has Russia Invaded Ukraine?

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said today that Ukraine is in a state of “civil war.”

That’s the pre-text upon which Russia is expected to launch military action against Ukraine — to “protect” ethnic Russians living in eastern Ukraine, as it “protected” ethnic Russians in Crimea.

The “civil war” is actually the government of Ukraine cracking down on pro-Russian groups that have been causing unrest over the past few days. Ukraine’s action, while necessary, falls right along with Russia’s plans.

Meanwhile, forces have been battling over an airport in eastern Ukraine, according to the AP.

KRAMATORSK, Ukraine (AP) — In the first Ukrainian military action against a pro-Russian uprising in the east, special forces on Tuesday recaptured a small airport that had been occupied by militiamen, the government said.

Ukraine’s acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, had earlier announced an “anti-terrorist operation” against the insurgents who have seized control of numerous buildings in the east of the country.

Heavy gunfire rang out at the airport near the town Kramatorsk. Russian state television reported four to 11 people had been killed, but there was no independent confirmation of any casualties. Much of the shooting appeared to have been warning shots into the air.

The armed pro-Russian militias are occupying government, police and other administrative buildings in at least nine cities in the Russian-speaking east of the country around the major industrial city of Donetsk. They are demanding broader autonomy and closer ties with Russia.

The “militiamen” who seized the buildings might or might not be Russian troops. When Russia invaded Ukraine, its troops wore uniforms without any national markings. Obscuring the identity of the “militiamen” could well be another of Russia’s gambits to create confusion, and some degree of deniability if that turns out to be useful.

Read bullet | Comments »

Caption Contest Winner: Hillary’s New Book Needs A Title (and now it has one!)

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 - by Myra Adams
Credit: Drudge Report

Credit: Drudge Report

The only word I can use to describe our latest contest is AMAHZING!

Thanks to all who made this contest one of the best in the glorious history of PJM Photo Caption Contests.  Our judges had a very difficult time selecting the winners and the criteria they used was, “Does it sound like a book title?” That is important to note because there were so many fabulous entries.

Our grand prize winner (of a future IRS investigation if SHE wins in 2016) goes to Booger2.0 for this gem:

I Slept With Bill Clinton and All I Got Was This Lousy Pantsuit

Booger2.0 also had an honorable mention for: It Takes an Intern

Our second grand prize winner is Fail Burton with:

The Beverly BillHillaries.  

FromNJ was our third grand prize winner with: 

Am I President Yet?

Here are all the honorable mentions:

David77:  Stand by Your Man – How Hillary Clinton Failed as a Feminist

WWM: Hillary: The Difference She Doesn’t Make

SoIncredulous:  It’s All President Obama’s Fault

Allan Crowson: It Fakes a Village (with apologies to Potemkin)

JRSWINE: How to Succeed in Politics without Doing Anything (Honest)

RockThisTown had four great entries: The Feminist’s Guide to Dodging Sniper Fire

How I Learned to Forgive Bill . . . & Monica, & Paula, & Gennifer, & Elizabeth, & the vast right-wing conspiracy. Wait . . . scratch those last 5.

Breaking the Glass Ceiling . . . One Bimbo Eruption at a time

Clinton Impeachment: The Sequel

Anna Beatriz: “Better than the Previous Occupant” 

loveamerica: Smoke and Mirrors- How to tell lies and make people believe it

ISOaPBR: I’ll Get You, My Pretty (and Your Little Dog, Too)

Physics Geek had two clever titles: What To Expect When You’re Ruling and

The Liar, the Witch and the War Room

Kuce: Vast Right Wing Conspiracies for Dummies

Gbone: If You Fly Around A Lot, People Will Think You Are Doing Something

Fail Burton: Please Leave An Alibi At the Sound of the Beep

cfbleachers (The Great and Powerful) had these hilarious titles: I Don’t Bake Cookies, But I Helped Cook The Books

and   It Takes A Villain To Raze A Country

Now speaking of the Clintons:

Below is “contest worthy” photo in need of a caption (but this is NOT an official contest.) The photo was from an article on a liberal-leaning website with the title and subtitle: “Send in General Bubba” and “Send In Bill Clinton to Save the Democrat Midterm Campaign.”  

Credit: The Daily Beast

Credit: The Daily Beast

One can only imagine from his grave the real General Patton is swinging his famous pistols in disgust.

General Patton and some other notables

General Patton and his revolver chatting with some other notables.

Finally, the above photo prompted me to tell you this worthless tibbit:  In 1977 I had the opportunity to shake the hand of one of the men in this photo. Can you figure out which one?  See you all next time a photo is worthy of a PJM photo caption contest and Happy Easter everyone!


Read bullet | 20 Comments »

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.

Read bullet | 5 Comments »

‘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

Read bullet | Comments »

Ukraine Accuses Ousted, Pro-Russian President of Ordering Fire on Protesters

Friday, April 4th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Boston Globe:

Ukraine’s interim authorities on Thursday accused fugitive president Viktor Yanukovych of ordering snipers to open fire on protesters and getting help from Russian security agents to battle his own people, but they provided no evidence directly linking him to the bloodbath in Kiev that killed more than 100 people.

Acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov also accused former interior minister Vitali Zakharchenko, who was in charge of police, of recruiting gangs of killers, kidnappers, and thugs to terrorize and undermine the opposition during the monthslong protests.

It’s classic Spetsnaz behavior, going back to the Soviet days: Undermine opposition by dishonestly painting them as extreme. The Obama government is engaging in similar tactics, though the Russians (through Yanukovych, its puppet) went the next step and infiltrated some of the protests directly, and killed some of the protesters.

Speaking at a televised news conference, Avakov said police snipers shot at demonstrators near Kiev’s Independence Square, also known as the Maidan, as they walked toward the government district. He said that 17 people were killed by snipers positioned at the October Palace cultural center and that one sniper alone killed as many as eight people.

The Spetsnaz are rumored to be active in eastern Ukraine, across the border from where those thousand of Russian troops are amassed. Their aim would be to stir up what will appear to be anti-Russian protests and violence, to provide Putin an excuse to send in the troops to “protect” ethnic Russians.

Read bullet | Comments »

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

Read bullet | Comments »

Brit Sniper Offs Six Taliban Terrorists With One Shot

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Feel-good story of the year?

A British sniper in Afghanistan killed six insurgents with a single bullet after hitting the trigger switch of a suicide bomber whose device then exploded, The Telegraph has learnt.

The 20-year-old marksman, a Lance Corporal in the Coldstream Guards, hit his target from 930 yards (850 metres) away, killing the suicide bomber and five others around him caught in the blast.

The incident in Kakaran in southern Afghanistan happened in December but has only now been disclosed as Britain moves towards the withdrawal of all combat soldiers by the end of the year.

Fingers crossed that the Afghan security forces can keep the Taliban at bay once they are completely in charge. One British captain interviewed for this article is optimistic:

The country has its first round of presidential elections this Saturday, with an upsurge in violence expected as voters go to the polls.

“I am an optimist,” said Capt Ed Challis. “There are lots of things that have changed for the better. You would be a fool to think you can change a hundred years of culture fast, but have things improved? Yes. I believe they are able to take it forward.”

Read bullet | 8 Comments »

‘Come on, you old broads!’ — Ukrainian Women Get Ready for Putin

Monday, March 31st, 2014 - by Oleg Atbashian

The women in the Ukrainian folk music group “Lisapetniy battalion” from the village of Piatnychany were previously known in Ukraine and Russia for their humorous, self-deprecating “hillbilly” songs. Their first big hit was about selling moonshine and buying a bicycle without the brakes, on which the singer rode through the village “like a tank.”

But as the threat of Russian invasion is now overshadowing everyone’s lives, the singers came up with a new music video called “Come On, You Old Broads,” in which the women are getting ready to defend their village from Russian troops with hunting rifles, pitchforks, and an old WWII German machine gun from a neighbor’s basement, promising to “protect the Ukrainian border with their own ample breasts.”

And today EuroMaidan PR posted this video with English subs.

YouTube Preview Image

Read bullet | Comments »

Dem Senators Urge Navy Secretary to Ban Tobacco Sales on Bases, Ships

Monday, March 31st, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus is being urged by a group of Democratic senators blaming wide availability for higher military smoking rates to ban tobacco sales at naval bases and aboard ships.

Both the Navy and Marine Corps are considering the move, as reported by Military Times. A March 14 Defense Department memo encouraged bans on sales and use of tobacco on bases, yet didn’t call for a specific policy adaptation. The Pentagon said it’s still reviewing the issue and has not arrived at any decisions yet.

“Structural reforms in how and where we allow tobacco purchases to be made, as well as the need to consider tobacco-free installations, are all matters that require our near-term attention,” stated the memo, signed by Jessica Wright, acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, and Dr. Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) told Mabus they hope the service will “move forward with this initiative which will renew emphasis on the health of our dedicated sailors and Marines as well as provide for increased combat readiness.”

“The high rate of tobacco use by active-duty personnel is not only harmful to their health, but also costs the federal government significantly in the longterm. While annual profits from all Department of Defense (DOD) authorized military tobacco sales are roughly $90 million, a DOD report from June 2009 estimated that the annual tobacco-related military health costs and lost productivity are about $1.9 billion, or 21 times greater than the annual sales. While smoking rates among active-duty military have decreased in the past few decades—similar to the trends that we are seeing in the civilian population—DOD should do more to lower the smoking rates among active-duty military,” the senators wrote in their letter.

“A 2008 DOD study found that smoking rates among all branches of the military was 30.6 percent, compared to 20.6 percent among adults in the general U.S. population. Additionally, 33 percent of surveyed active-duty personnel said that the availability of cigarettes at many places on installations made it easier to smoke. Wide availability could contribute to the fact that nearly half of all smokers surveyed had attempted to quit but were unsuccessful. Several factors purportedly contribute to high smoking rates such as stress relief and the desire to relax or calm down. The Department should ensure that adequate support is always available to personnel seeking to quit tobacco use, including the existing effort to offer tobacco cessation products and services.”

The senators applauded Mabus for recent efforts “to increase smoke-free areas on bases, eliminate smoking on submarines, and improve access to cessation services.”

“We urge you to do everything in your capacity to address this issue for our military men and women, including moving forward with the proposal to stop the sale of tobacco aboard all naval bases and ships.”

Read bullet | 41 Comments »

Vietnam War Hero, Former Senator Denton Dies at 89

Friday, March 28th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Former Sen. Jeremiah Denton (R-Ala.), who survived nearly eight years of torture and imprisonment at the hands of the North Vietnamese, died Friday of a heart ailment at a Virginia Beach hospice. He was 89 years old.

President Obama said in a statement that Denton “bravely served his country as a naval aviator in Vietnam and went on to represent the people of Alabama in the U.S. Senate.”

“After his aircraft was shot down by enemy fire in North Vietnam, he spent nearly eight years as a prisoner of war. One of the highest-ranking officers to be taken prisoner in Vietnam, he endured torture, starvation, and years of solitary confinement with extraordinary fortitude,” the president continued.

“The valor that he and his fellow POWs displayed was deeply inspiring to our nation at the time, and it continues to inspire our brave men and women who serve today. As Senator, he served as a strong advocate for our national security. He leaves behind a legacy of heroic service to his country, and Michelle and I send our condolences to the Denton family.”

Navy Adm. Denton’s A-6 Intruder was shot down south of Hanoi just a month after he deployed to the region in 1965. In a 1966 propaganda video, he blinked the word “torture” in Morse code. In 1973, he was the first of the POWs freed at the end of U.S. involvement in the war to come off the plane at Clark Air Base in the Philippines.

Denton served one term in the Senate before being defeated by now-Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) in 1986.

“Admiral Denton will be long remembered for his service to America,” Shelby said in a statement Friday. “He was a war hero, an honorable senator, and a family man who cared deeply about his country. I send my deepest condolences to his family during this difficult time.”

Read bullet | Comments »

You Won’t Believe What the US State Department Did to ‘Support’ Ukraine

Friday, March 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Russia has already invaded Ukraine once (recently) and lopped off the valuable Crimea, making it now a part of Russia itself. Russia is also massing an estimated 80,000 troops and armor on the border at strategic points. What Ukraine could probably use right now is some weapons. A lot of weapons. Bullets and bombs. Guns. Tanks. Airplanes. Troops who know how to use them.

Instead, what they’re getting from the mighty United States of America’s Department of State is a Twitter hashtag.

I wish I was kidding.

This is literally the dumbest, least serious thing that has ever come out of this administration. And that’s saying a whole lot.

If Putin sends in the troops, a whole lot of people are going to die as Russia extends its territory. NATO will be forced to decide whether it’s relevant or not. The Pax Americana may come to swift and bloody end.

But hey, hashtags!

Read bullet | 8 Comments »

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.


Read bullet | Comments »

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 


Read bullet | Comments »

Is Democrat Leland Yee a Full-Blown Gun-Runner for Russians and Islamic Terrorists? (Updated)

Thursday, March 27th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

San Francisco Magazine has published highlights of the indictment against Democrat California Sen. Leland Yee. Yee is currently running for California secretary of state, a post from which it now appears that he intended to wage strategic guerrilla warfare until he went off the grid to fight for Islamic rebels himself.

Yee told an FBI agent to give him a shopping list of guns: “Senator Yee asked [the agent] to provide an inventory list of desired weapons [...] [The agent] told Yee he would deliver $2,000,000 cash.”

Yee could arrange from some serious firepower: “[The agent] asked about shoulder fired automatic weapons. Senator Yee responded by saying the automatic weapons are the equivalent to the ‘M16′ Automatic Service Weapon [...] [The agent] asked about the availability of shoulder fire missiles or rockets. Senator Yee responded ‘I told him about the rockets and things like that.’”

Yee took personal responsibility for delivering the weapons:  ”Senator Yee said, ‘We’re interested’ in arranging the weapons deal’ [...] and said of the arms dealer, ‘He’s going to rely on me, because ultimately it’s going to be me.’ [The agent] stated he would compensate Yee for brokering the relationship and arms deal.”

Yee was in it for the cash: “Senator Yee said, ‘Do I think we can make some money? I think we can make some money. Do I think we can get the good? I think we can get the goods.’”

Yee masterminded a complex scheme to import illegal weapons: “Keith Jackson [a political consultant who worked as Yee's fundraiser] told [an agent] that Senator Yee had a contact who deals in arms trafficking. This purported arms dealer was later identified. Jackson requested [a campaign donation] on behalf of Senator Yee, for Senator Yee to facilitate a meeting with arms dealer with the intent of [the agent] to purportedly purchase a large number of weapons to be imported through the Port of Newark, New Jersey. During a meeting [...] Senator Yee discussed certain details of the specific types of weapons [the agent] was interested in buying and importing.”

Yee had connection with Filipino rebel groups: ”Keith Jackson advised that Senator Yee had an unidentified Filipino associate who was supplying ‘heavy’ weapons to rebel groups in the Philippines.”

Just ponder that one for a few seconds. Yee has tried to disarm Americans. Behind the scenes he claims that he is arming rebel groups in the Philippines. Which rebel groups? You’ll see on the next page.

Read bullet | 51 Comments »

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.

Read bullet | Comments »

Report: Russian Forces Moving Toward Ukraine

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Interpreter’s live blog reports that Russian troops are moving toward Ukraine.

Social media is flooded today with fresh pictures, videos, and reports of Russian tanks and troops on the move towards the Ukrainian border.

These videos, reportedly taken yesterday, claim to show lots of Russian armor loaded on trains in Voronezh, a Russian town just northeast of Kharkiv (map). We have not yet been able to geolocate the videos, however.

YouTube Preview Image

More at the link.

Earlier this week, news broke that Russian nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky penned a disturbing letter. In that letter, the Putin adviser and leader of Russia’s Liberal Democratic party proposed dividing Ukraine’s territory between Russia, Romania, Hungary and Poland. Zhirinovsky is the deputy speaker in Russia’s Duma, and is often aligned with President Vladimir Putin.

Read bullet | 14 Comments »

Poll: Obama’s Actions Create Headwinds for Democrats as the Mid-Terms Approach

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

When he was inaugurated president in 2009, Barack Obama promised to “repair” America’s image in the world. A majority of Americans believed he would do that.

But now, according to a new CBS News poll, more Americans believe that Obama is hurting America’s image in the world. The poll finds that 43% of Americans believe that America’s image has gotten worse since Obama became president. Just 32% believe that our image has improved under Obama’s watch.

More Americans also disapprove of Obama’s handling of the crisis in Ukraine than approve of it. A majority do support sanctions — 53% — but 46% disapprove of how Obama is handling the crisis. Just 38% approve. Just 32% of Americans believe that sanctions will have any meaningful effect in the crisis, though.

Overall, 42% of Americans view Russia as “friendly” to America, while 51% view it as “not friendly.” That finding indicates that more Americans would side with Mitt Romney today than in 2012, when Romney declared Russia to be America’s prime geostrategic foe, and Obama and the allegedly mainstream media mocked him for it.

The same poll finds Obama’s overall job approval rating at 43%, higher than most recent polls by a point or two. The poll is full of bad news for the president as he and his party head into the final mid-term elections of his tenure. More Americans disapprove than approve of his handling of foreign policy, the economy and health care. He has also lost majority support on immigration and his handling of the war in Afghanistan.

Republicans go into the mid-terms with more voter enthusiasm behind them, driven largely by the president’s signature and unpopular Obamacare law. The poll finds that 81% Republicans definitely intend to vote, versus just 68% of Democrats. Independents are also breaking against Obama.

Read bullet | Comments »

Obama on Ukraine ‘Scuffles’: ‘History Has a Funny Way of Moving in Twists and Turns’

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama used the word “scuffles” to describe the invasion of Ukraine while maintaining that his No. 1 security concern is a rogue nuclear weapon detonating inside the U.S. instead of Russia.

Obama was eager to stay on the nuke topic at a press conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte after the conclusion of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague. Foreign and American media alike, though, wanted to talk Russia after the G-7 met on the sidelines of the conference to take their caucus down by one member.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov showed up for the class photo at the end of the summit, but stood rows away from Obama.

Obama said he was “less interested” in President Vladimir Putin’s motivations for taking control in Eastern Europe than “the facts and the principles that not only the United States, but the entire international community are looking to uphold.”

“I don’t think that any of us have been under any illusion that Russia has been very interested in controlling what happens to Ukraine. That’s not new. That’s been the case for years now. That’s been the case dating back to the Orange Revolution,” he added.

“It is now up to Russia to act responsibly and show itself to be, once again, willing to abide by international rules and international norms. And if it chooses to do so, I think that there could be a better outcome. If it fails to do so, there will be additional costs. And those will have some disruptive effect to the global economy, but they’ll have the greatest impact on Russia.”

The G-7 agreed on sectoral sanctions that could be kicked into effect if Putin starts to grab more territory than Crimea.

A foreign reporter asked Obama what “guarantees” he could give to other countries in Eastern Europe that they wouldn’t be next on the land-grab list.

Obama said the seizure of Crimea isn’t a “done deal” as “history has a funny way of moving in twists and turns, and not just in a straight line.”

“So, you know, how the situation in Crimea evolves in part depends on making sure that the international community stays unified in indicating that this was an illegal action on the part of Russia,” he said. “With respect to the Russian troops that are along the border of Ukraine at the moment, right now they are on Russian soil. And if they stay on Russian soil, we oppose what appears to be an effort at intimidation. But Russia has the right, legally, to have its troops on its own soil.”

Obama brushed off Russia’s assertion that Russian speakers within Ukraine have faced any sort of threats that justify action by Moscow. “If anything, what we’ve seen are provocateurs who have created, you know, scuffles inside of Ukraine,” he said.

Read bullet | 16 Comments »

VIDEO — Obama Dismisses Russia as a ‘Regional Power’ that Invades Other Countries ‘Out of Weakness’

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

During his international press briefing in The Hague today, ABC’s Jon Karl asked President Obama a mischievous question. During the 2012 presidential battle, GOP nominee Mitt Romney asserted that Russia is America’s “most important geopolitical foe.” Obama scoffed, saying “The 1980s called. It wants its foreign policy back.” The media carried Obama’s derision forward.

Then a funny thing happened. Russia invaded Ukraine and took Crimea. So Karl asked Obama if Romney was right, that Russia really is America’s most important geopolitical foe.

Obama offered up a lengthy word salad, and then made a statement that’s likely to fall outside his standards for “smart power” and have negative consequences.

OBAMA: “With respect to Mr. Romney’s assertion that Russia is our number one geopolitical foe, the truth of the matter is that America’s got a whole lot of challenges. Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors not out of strength, but out of weakness. Ukraine has been a country in which Russia had enormous influence for decades, since the breakup of the Soviet Union.”

That’s a unique assessment. The fact of the matter is, Russia has been caught probing American readiness in the past. It is presently forward deploying navy ships and long-range bombers to its allies in Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuala. Russia is also the broker on Syria’s promise to get rid of its chemical weapons. Russia is also key to dealing with Iran’s nuclear weapons program, and along with China, key to deal with North Korea. If that’s what a “regional power” does, what does it take to be a global power?

Russia’s recent actions can be understood through a study of the country’s history. Russia’s strategic aims over the past 300 or so years have moved around establishing buffer states between itself and the West, around securing warm-water ports for its navy, and about advancing its foreign policies through energy production and exports. Along with that, one must take Russia’s wounded pride from losing the Cold War into account. On that last point, was it wise or smart to dismiss a clearly global power that possesses nuclear ICBM’s as “regional”?

Read bullet | 16 Comments »

Obama Tells Congress of Central Africa Deployment, Could Be ‘As Many As’ 300

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama submitted his increase in U.S. forces in central Africa per the War Powers Resolution, stressing that they wouldn’t engage the Lord’s Resistance Army unless fired upon first.

Obama sent the notification to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate President Pro Tempore Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) today, saying “U.S. military personnel with appropriate combat equipment have deployed to Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Central African Republic to support regional forces from the African Union’s Regional Task Force that are working to apprehend or remove Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony and other senior leaders from the battlefield and to protect local populations.”

“Regional forces have consistently identified air mobility support with increased range and speed as one of the most-needed capabilities to pursue the remaining Lord’s Resistance Army leaders across a wide swath of one of the world’s poorest, least governed, and most remote regions. To enhance U.S. support to these regional forces, U.S. aircraft, aircrews, and support personnel deployed to central Africa on March 23 and 24, 2014. The approximately 150 additional personnel will principally operate and maintain U.S. aircraft to provide air mobility support to foreign partner forces,” Obama wrote.

That brings the number of U.S. personnel in the region to “approximately 280.”

The effort to hunt down Kony began under the George W. Bush administration, when the president sent 17 advisers to assist Ugandan troops. Obama sent additional assistance in 2011.

The guerrilla leader was indicted by the International Criminal Court in 2005 for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including kidnapping children to serve as soldiers in his group or as sex slaves.

“The aircraft and personnel providing the enhanced air mobility support will deploy to the Lord’s Resistance Army-affected areas of central Africa episodically, as they are available, consistent with other Department of Defense requirements,” continues the War Powers notification. “During these deployments, the number of U.S. Armed Forces deployed to the central Africa region will fluctuate, and may increase to as many as approximately 300. As I previously reported, U.S. forces will not themselves engage Lord’s Resistance Army forces unless necessary in self-defense.”

Obama said the deployment “is in furtherance of the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, including the policy expressed in the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009, Public Law 111-172, enacted May 24, 2010.”

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters yesterday that the department has deployed four CV-22 Ospreys two C- 130s, and one KC-135 to northern Uganda.

“They’ll be there for a period of time. These are aircraft and troops — support troops that are based out of Djibouti. They’ll be — they’ll be conducting, you know, periodic deployments to Uganda to support this mission,” Kirby said.

The 100 troops already there are special ops forces. The additional personnel ordered by Obama are “air crew, maintenance personnel, with the aircraft,” Kirby said.

“This is a mission that we’ve been conducting now for about a year. This is a support mission. Airlift has been one of the consistent requirements and requests of the African Union. We are in a position now to provide that airlift for a while and we’re going to do it.”

Read bullet | 17 Comments »

Afghanistan’s Karzai Splits with US, Sides with Russia

Monday, March 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Last week, Taliban militants stormed into the Serena Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing nine including children. The Serena was one of most heavily secured buildings in Kabul. The attack there follows many Taliban attacks on Afghan civilians and US forces, as well as Afghan forces attacks on American troops there.

But today, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai insists that “foreign intelligence agencies” are responsible for the Serena attack.

The Afghan government held foreign agencies of intelligence responsible for an attack against a luxury hotel in this city that left nine fatalities and various injured.

President Hamid Karzai’s management denied that groups of the political, social and military movement Taliban and Haqqani network were behind the attack.

Governmental sources said that the modus operandi did not match that of Afghanistan’s main groups of armed opposition.

“Foreign intelligence agencies” points to one of two likely targets — either Pakistan’s ISI or the US CIA. In January, Karzai aired his suspicions that the US was secretly instigating terrorist attacks in Afghanistan. He even published a list of a dozen attacks that he blamed on the US, while everyone else suspects the Taliban.

In what may be his final break with the US, Karzai is also siding with Russia over its seizure of Crimea from Ukraine.

Afghanistan this weekend joined Syria and Venezuela and became the newest member of a select club of nations: those that have publicly backed the Russian annexation of Crimea.

Citing “the free will of the Crimean people,” the office of President Hamid Karzai said, “we respect the decision the people of Crimea took through a recent referendum that considers Crimea as part of the Russian Federation.”

The New York Times points out that Afghanistan maintains a historic claim to a swath of Pakistan, and that may be motivating Karzai to side with Russia. If that is Karzai’s motivation, it’s ominous, suggesting that Afghanistan is ready to side with Russia should a regional war break out, if it gets Moscow’s backing to re-take that contested region of Pakistan.

Karzai’s government was installed by the US after the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, to depose its Taliban regime because it harbored al Qaeda. Karzai has enjoyed the benefits of American defense ever since. According to a review by ABC News, 2,176 Americans have been killed in Afghanistan since the war began.

Read bullet | Comments »

Washington Increases Deployment to Hunt Down Guerrilla Leader Kony

Monday, March 24th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Washington is increasing military assistance to the African-led mission targeting Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

“Since the first deployment of U.S. troops in 2011 to advise and assist the African Union Regional Task Force countering the Lord’s Resistance Army, I have strongly supported ongoing military efforts to kill or capture Joseph Kony and protect innocent civilians. That support continues today with the deployment of additional aircraft and 150 U.S. military personnel to assist African militaries in the hunt for Kony and what remains of the LRA’s leadership,” said Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs Chairman Chris Coons (D-Del.).

“Encouraging progress has been made in the counter-LRA mission, including an increased number of defections of LRA operatives, the killing or capturing of LRA commanders, and a sharp reduction in the number of attacks against communities,” Coons added. “I hope this deployment will provide African troops with the additional tools they need to restore peace and security to communities across Central Africa that have, for too long, been terrorized by Joseph Kony and the LRA.”

The effort to hunt down Kony began under the George W. Bush administration, when the president sent 17 advisers to assist Ugandan troops. Obama sent additional assistance in 2011.

The guerrilla leader was indicted by the International Criminal Court in 2005 for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including kidnapping children to serve as soldiers in his group or as sex slaves.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) estimated in December that 326,000 people were displaced or living as refugees across the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and South Sudan as a result of the LRA threat.

“The United States’ comprehensive, multi-year strategy seeks to help the Governments of Uganda, the CAR, the DRC, and South Sudan as well as the African Union and United Nations to mitigate and end the threat posed to civilians and regional stability by the LRA. The strategy outlines four key objectives for U.S. support: (1) the increased protection of civilians; (2) the apprehension or removal of Joseph Kony and senior LRA commanders from the battlefield; (3) the promotion of defections and support of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of remaining LRA fighters; and (4) the provision of continued humanitarian relief to affected communities,” the State Department said today.

“There are significant challenges in pursuing small groups of LRA and protecting local populations across this vast, densely-forested area that lacks basic road and telecommunications infrastructure. The United States – through the Department of Defense, Department of State, and U.S. Agency for International Development – has pursued innovative, multi-faceted efforts to help regional partners overcome those challenges,” the fact sheet continues.

“…The U.S. military advisors are working to facilitate coordination, information sharing, and tactical coordination amongst regional forces; enhance the capacity of the regional militaries to fuse intelligence with effective operational planning; promote defections from LRA ranks, and support efforts to improve civil-military relations through increased coordination and communication with local populations and NGOs. The State Department has deployed a field officer to work alongside U.S. military advisors. In addition, to augment ongoing efforts to bring the LRA’s top leaders to justice, the Secretary of State authorized rewards for up to $5 million for information leading to the arrests and/or conviction of top LRA leaders Joseph Kony, Okot Odhiambo, and Dominic Ongwen.”

Read bullet | 5 Comments »

Hagel Weighing Ukraine Request for Military Assistance

Friday, March 21st, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The Pentagon said today that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is weighing potential military assistance options for Ukraine.

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said Hagel spoke again with Ukrainian Minister of Defense Ihor Tenyukh.

“In the 35-minute conversation, Secretary Hagel repeated his praise for the restraint demonstrated by Ukrainian forces in Crimea.  He also commended Minister Tenyukh’s leadership,” Kirby said.

“For his part, Minister Tenyukh updated Secretary Hagel on the situation in Crimea and throughout the country,” he continued. “Secretary Hagel re-affirmed the United States’ support for Ukraine, stressed that we are actively reviewing Ukraine’s request for military assistance materials, and agreed to stay in close contact with Minister Tenyukh moving forward.”

“Both leaders agreed on the need to find a diplomatic, peaceful resolution to this crisis.” Russian forces have been forcefully seizing Ukrainian military bases in Crimea.

Hagel spoke Thursday with Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu. “Secretary Hagel was clear and he was firm: Because Russian forces are in control of Crimea, they bear responsibility for what is happening there. He also pressed Minister Shoygu to explain Russian intentions with respect to forces they have aligned near Ukraine’s eastern and southern borders. And he reiterated his call that Russia immediately worked to de-escalate the tension and to restore Ukrainian territorial integrity,” Kirby told reporters of the hourlong call.

“…But Secretary Hagel appreciated Minister Shoygu’s time and the minister’s assurance that the troops he has arrayed along the border are there to conduct exercises only, that they had no intention of crossing the border into Ukraine, and that they would take no aggressive action.”

The Ukrainian government has submitted a list of what it needs in terms of military assistance, both lethal and nonlethal materials.

“We’re working our way through that request right now here at the department and in the interagency,” Kirby said. “I think it’s safe to say that right now, the focus of that review is on the non-lethal side of things, but it is very much still an active issue under consideration.”

Read bullet | Comments »

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

Read bullet | 10 Comments »

State Dept: Russia Is Feeling Economic Pain. Really. No, We Mean That.

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser


Russia’s intervention in Crimea has cost it “real economic pain,” the United States said Wednesday as it readied a new slew of sanctions to punish Moscow for taking over Ukraine’s southern peninsula.
“The question at this point is not if we will do more sanctions, it’s when,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

On Monday, Washington rolled out a series of sanctions against 11 mostly Russian officials, including seven of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

Psaki insisted there has been “a huge economic impact” following Moscow’s intervention in Crimea.

Asked about reports that the whole 450-member Russian Duma has responded by calling on the US to sanction them, Psaki retorted: “Be careful what you ask for.”

Publicly, Russian officials have laughed off the US sanctions, which freeze their assets in the US, despite similar travel bans and sanctions imposed by the EU.

But Psaki hit back “that there is real economic pain, and if President Putin cares about the economy in his country, cares about the economic impact on the people of his country, cares about his place in the world, then those are all factors that should be looked at.”

She reeled off a list of figures, including that Russian stock indexes plunged 17 percent Friday to their lowest levels since 2009, and that the ruble has hit a five-year low against the dollar.

“Russia’s 19 richest people lost $18.3 billion due to stock market volatility on March 3 — the first day of trading after the beginning of Russian military intervention in Crimea,” Psaki told reporters.

Oh, the bluster.

Here in the Diplomacy of Oprah Era, we are supposed to believe in the power of BIG SCARY WORDS when it comes to dealing with various ne’er do wells around the world. Publicly “ruble shaming” Vladimir Putin probably sounds like a viable approach to many inside Team Lightbringer. Most of us, however, probably have already gotten the impression that Vlad probably isn’t going to be embarrassed because someone at State is casting aspersions on his level of concern for the Russian people.

Read bullet | Comments »

U.S. Expels Staff from Syrian Embassy, Kremlin Rallies to Assad’s Defense

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The Syrian ambassador left Washington in December 2011, nine months after Bashar al-Assad began firing on pro-democracy demonstrators, but the Obama administration is finally kicking out the embassy’s personnel.

Estimates of the death toll in Syria have topped 200,000.

“The suspension of the Syrian Embassy’s activities in Washington D.C. and its honorary consulates around the country is an important and welcome step,” said House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.). “After three years of brutality by Assad against his people, including the horrifying use of chemical weapons on civilians, it is crucial that we increase the pressure on his regime. The longer this war goes on, the more dangerous and unstable the region will become.”

“I welcome this overdue action. The brutal Assad regime is killing men, women and children,” said Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.). “Syrian diplomats should go. But it would be withdrawal of our diplomatic recognition of the regime that would signal strong American support for the Syrian people.”

The State Department today said it’s “prepared to consider, on the basis of reciprocity, the appointment of a third State to which the Syrian government may entrust the custody of the premises of its mission, together with its property and archives, and the protection of its interests.”

“Alternatively, the Syrian government may seek the Department’s approval of its assignment of these responsibilities to a member of its locally employed staff, who is either a citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States. If such arrangements have not been finalized or approved by the Department before March 31, 2014, in accordance with Article 43 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the Department will assume responsibility for ensuring the protection and preservation of the premises of the Syrian Mission, together with its property and archives.”

The Kremlin flew to the side of its ally, slamming the U.S. for expelling the embassy staff.

“The aim of regime change in Damascus prevails over the task of disarming Syria of its chemical weapons and helping millions of Syrians who have suffered from the armed conflict,” said the Russian Foreign Ministry, calling the move “worrying and disappointing.”

Syria complained that the administration committed “a clear violation of the Vienna conventions on diplomatic relations and consular relations by resorting to an arbitrary measure.”

Read bullet | Comments »

Russia Starts Another Fire — This One in a Baltic State

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Estonia is one of the Baltic States. A former Soviet state that was forced into the USSR, it joined NATO in 2004. It sits right next to Russia and has a Russian minority.



Russia used a non-existent threat to Russian minorities in Ukraine to justify seizing Crimea. It is using that same threat to menace eastern Ukraine and Moldova, neither of which are NATO allies.

This statement by Russia today is very significant.

GENEVA (Reuters) – Russia signaled concern on Wednesday at Estonia’s treatment of its large ethnic Russian minority, comparing language policy in the Baltic state with what it said was a call in Ukraine to prevent the use of Russian.

Russia has defended its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula by arguing it has the right to protect Russian-speakers outside its borders, so the reference to linguistic tensions in another former Soviet republic comes at a highly sensitive moment.

Russia fully supported the protection of the rights of linguistic minorities, a Moscow diplomat told the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, according to a summary of the session issued by the U.N.’s information department.

“Language should not be used to segregate and isolate groups,” the diplomat was reported as saying. Russia was “concerned by steps taken in this regard in Estonia as well as in Ukraine,” the Moscow envoy was said to have added.

The most significant international action taken by the Obama administration today was to gripe at Israel, our ally — on the same day that Russia signaled it may change its stance on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

At a time of real crisis, we’re in the very worst of hands.

Read bullet | 13 Comments »

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.

Read bullet | 27 Comments »

After Annexing Crimea, a Happy Putin Describes Ukraine as ‘Family’

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

You know what they say about friends and family. You can choose your friends. You can’t choose your family.


After a long, hard and exhausting voyage, Crimea and Sevastopol are returning to their harbour, to their native shores, to their home port, to Russia!

I would like to thank the residents of Crimea and Sevastopol for their consistent and decisive stance and for their clearly expressed will to be with Russia. We all felt for them, and Russia gave them its warmth, turned towards them and opened up its heart to them.

We are gravely concerned over the developments in Ukraine. But I believe that Ukraine will overcome all the hardships. We are not just neighbours, we are family and our future success depends on both of us, Russia and Ukraine.

“Family” is also a word that the mob uses to describe itself. It’s not always meant peacefully. Sometimes it’s used to mean that once in the “family,” you can never get out alive.

The Russian side of the “family” once committed mass murder against the Ukrainian side.

Read bullet | Comments »

Snowden Marks Russia’s Aggression by Disclosing Another American Intel Operation

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

For the second time since Russia’s offensive against Ukraine began, NSA leaker Edward Snowden has taken aim at the United States from Russian soil. The first occurred when he addressed SXSW via web video from an undisclosed location within Russia, where he has been granted asylum. That chat signaled to the world that President Obama and the United States are impotent to stop Snowden, and strongly suggested that Putin is controlling him. The latest disclosure, reported by the Washington Post, is about to cause a massive diplomatic headache for the United States.

The National Security Agency has built a surveillance system capable of recording “100 percent” of a foreign country’s telephone calls, enabling the agency to rewind and review conversations as long as a month after they take place, according to people with direct knowledge of the effort and documents supplied by former contractor Edward Snowden.

A senior manager for the program compares it to a time machine — one that can replay the voices from any call without requiring that a person be identified in advance for surveillance.

The voice interception program, called MYSTIC, began in 2009. Its RETRO tool, short for “retrospective retrieval,” and related projects reached full capacity against the first target nation in 2011. Planning documents two years later anticipated similar operations elsewhere.

In the initial deployment, collection systems are recording “every single” conversation nationwide, storing billions of them in a 30-day rolling buffer that clears the oldest calls as new ones arrive, according to a classified summary.

The call buffer opens a door “into the past,” the summary says, enabling users to “retrieve audio of interest that was not tasked at the time of the original call.” Analysts listen to only a fraction of 1 percent of the calls, but the absolute numbers are high. Each month, they send millions of voice clippings, or “cuts,” for processing and long-term storage.

At the request of U.S. officials, The Washington Post is withholding details that could be used to identify the country where the system is being employed or other countries where its use was envisioned.

The most likely targets are North Korea and Iran. Both are dangerous enemies bent on developing nuclear arsenals, and both are determined to cause havoc and destroy U.S. allies if not the U.S. itself. However, both North Korea and Iran are capable of surprising us with nuclear tests, missile launches and the like, so they may not be the targets, at least not yet. NSA might have developed the technology by targeting a much smaller and less governed country, say Yemen, with an eye to replicating it on a larger scale once the technology was sufficient. The U.S. does seem to find high numbers of terrorists to drone in Yemen.

Read bullet | 117 Comments »