Saturday, December 31, 2016

Recruiting Minds Into Jihad

"There is a lot of firepower hanging around in this line-up. Tension would be a good way to describe it, for sure."
"You know that every time one of them [Iraqi and coalition warplanes] goes off lives are being taken [in besieged Mosul]."
"It is a situation of: 'Who do you trust?' I am sure some of these people do have ugly pasts and have committed some pretty horrible crimes."
"I am not here to judge but to provide health care to the people. That is what I go by."
Ian MacKay, nurse, Samaritan's Purse, Hassan Sham-1 UNHCR Camp, Iraq
Matthew Fisher/Postmedia
Ian MacKay, a nurse from Squamish, B.C., who is working in Iraq with Samaritan’s Purse: “I am not here to judge but to provide health care to the people.” Matthew Fisher/Postmedia

A Kurd spoke briefly with a five-year-old child refugee from Mosul who with his family and thousands of other Sunni Iraqis rescued from Mosul from the control of Islamic State, had once been a member of the Kurdish special forces. He was responding to the little boy's shouts of "Allahu Akbar", as he ran about the camp with a toy rifle. Dressed all in black, the boy looked like a miniature version of an ISIL jihadist. And  he was certainly emulating their familiar presence in an unfamiliar theatre of the conflict between the Iraqi military and ISIL, routing the jihadist group from Mosul.

The boy's mother described to the Kurdish interrogator how dreadful it had been for them all, living under ISIL in Mosul. She spoke of her husband cursing their fearsome presence in their city and how her husband "would show them no mercy", could he confront them. She described the miserable passage of the family out of Mosul, at the first opportunity that had presented itself. This, in the face of facts that much of the city's Sunni population welcomed the Sunni jihadists. Who, moreover, set up teaching centres in the city, where children were indoctrinated into their violent doctrine.

The little boy and his older brother were dressed entirely in black, the colours preferred by ISIL. Yet another indication that among the refugees that had been 'rescued' from Mosul so that they might not become further victims of civilian casualties that might arise from the Iraqi and Kurdish forces battling the ISIL jihadis in the city, augmented by U.S.-led airstrikes over Mosul. As acknowledgement that would seem logical enough, that among the refugees would be those infiltrators who represent ISIL.

Matthew Fisher/Postmedia
Matthew Fisher/Postmedia   
Mustafa and his brother, Ahmed, dressed entirely in black — the preferred uniform of ISIL jihadists

The former Kurdish soldier swiftly determined that the little boy was yet another of those who had "been brainwashed", leaving for speculation who else might have been, since cladding a child in black would not occur without the concurrence of the child's parents, let alone tutoring an impressionable child that emulating the actions and speech of an Islamofascist group is not generally considered the hallmark of a civilized society, much less providing him with a look-alike toy.

These are refugees, obviously seeking assistance to obtain the bare necessities of life, to substitute for the normal life they left behind them in the city of their birth. They require food, water and shelter, their minds obviously crowded confusingly with some level of concern over the manner in which fate had left them without all those necessities of life, taking away from them their security, their possessions, their view of the future.

But invariably, among those are others who were also rescued from the confines of a city embattled who appeared to have been well nourished, seemingly having no problem coming to grips with what had unfolded around them. Whom, it could be conceived, were co-conspirators and aids to the ISIL jihadists, sharing a vision of a world dominated by rigidly-exclusively domineering Sunni extremist, responding to the Shiite domination they witness and live under.

For the time being, humanitarian groups and UN agencies struggle to care for another 100,000 homeless civilians in need of care; medicine, health assessments, and guidance to food distribution centres.

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Betrayed? By Islamist Terror!

"I was betrayed."
"All the security improvement and welfare information we were told we would find here turned out to be false."
"We got many promises, but it was a deception meant to make us leave [the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya]."
Madino Dhurow, Daryeel refugee camp, Mogadishu, Somalia
In this photo taken Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016, Somali refugee and mother of six Madino Dhurow, who was repatriated to Somalia from Kenya’s Dadaab camp, stands by her makeshift shelter in the Daryeel camp for the displaced, where she now lives in Mogadishu, Somalia. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
Somali refugee and mother of six Madino Dhurow, who was repatriated to Somalia from Kenya’s Dadaab camp, stands by her makeshift shelter in the Daryeel camp for the... (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

"As opposed to what we were told, what we found here is all about insecurity incidents during the day and gangs preying into our camps to rob us of the little things we were given before."
"Whoever ventures to go outside will be killed."
Ali Haji, Somalian returnee from Dadaab refugee camp, Kenya

Just as refugees have been and are continuing to be created throughout the Middle East by terrorism imposed upon Muslims through ethnic, tribal and mostly sectarian animus, where the sacred writings of the Koran impose jihad on its faithful, to transform the world into one great Sharia-inspired caliphate, North Africa continues to go through its prolonged destination toward the Islamification of every aspect of life; no casual iteration of Islam is to be tolerated, it must sweep backward toward the purity of its initiation.

And in its initiation it represented a wide and ever-growing arc -- like a stone thrown into a pond's inexorable spread to its outer reaches, of world-absorption through violent conquest -- at which time the fulfillment of Islam's destiny will have been achieved. Only then may the faithful rest in the assurance that their mortal obligation to Islam will have reached its conclusion, when no other religions are left to which people will cleave; a time when those who spurned the imperative of Islam will all have been slaughtered.

The upheaval in Somalia has been ongoing  for decades, leaving some Somalian refugees considering the Dadaab refugee camp in eastern Kenya, their homes, for there they might have been born, 20 years earlier. The camp contained 260,000 Somalis who fled the 1991 civil war and the conflict and destabilization that has been the hallmark of Islamist strife ever since. al-Shabab took the initiative of a continuation of the murder and plundering.

The Nairobi government's announcement that it would close the sprawling refugee camp paired with its efforts to persuade Somali refugees to leave, to return to their country of origin, where normalization under a struggling government is proceeding at a snail's pace under great difficulties. The threat that al-Shabab continues to pose to the weak government has stalled its progress. So the Daryeel camp outside the capital is anything but a secure environment.

Families live there in homes made of sticks and plastic sheeting, little comfort in the monsoon rains, or protection from the armed gangs that roam about with impunity during the night-time hours. Each refugee family in the Kenyan refugee camp was informed that they would be safe and well looked after on their return to Somalia, and each was given a one-time United Nations cash support of $400 for anticipated expenses; funding that it was soon discovered, that melted quickly away.

 To the present, about 35,000 refugees have returned to Somalia voluntarily since 2014. To find the situation prevailing there no resemblance whatever to the promises that had convinced them  to return. There are reports of harassment and intimidation at the hands of the very Kenyan security agents that persuaded them to leave voluntarily. Obviously the process of emptying the Kenyan camp is a high priority and repatriation the essence of eventual success.

When the refugees return to Somalia, they are inevitably exposed to violence, amid risks to their very existence. Apart from the fact that they become susceptible to forcible recruitment into al-Shabab.

In this photo taken Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016, Somali children who were repatriated to Somalia from Kenya’s Dadaab camp, play in front of makeshift shelters in the Daryeel camp for the displaced, in Mogadishu, Somalia. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016, Somali children who were repatriated to Somalia from Kenya’s Dadaab camp, play in front of makeshift shelters in the Daryeel camp for the displaced, in Mogadishu,... (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Purging ISIL

"The primary finding from a circuitous 500 kilometre road journey that began east of Mosul near the Tigris River, then looped north and west through dozens of heavily armed checkpoints to within metres of the Syrian border was that tangible progress is finally being made in purging ISIL from Iraq, but it has become a savage war of attrition."
Matthew Fisher, journalist, National Post
Map showing territory recaptured by government forces around the Iraqi city of Mosul

Bombs and missiles continue to strike Iraq's second-largest city. Successive waves of Iraqi and coalition warplanes streak across the sky dropping their deadly payloads. Their shrieking passage heard, but unseen. Islamic State finds itself with a shrinking caliphate. But its zeal in committing itself to preserving what it yet can of its possessions is unabated.

And it had spent much energy and resources to its defense, re-creating a city of normalcy pre-occupation into one capable of withstanding a withering siege.

And a siege it is, with Iraqi regime forces, Kurdish militias, Iranian-devout Shiite militias on the ground, while air power provided by the regime, backed up by the U.S. hammers the jihadists from above and hem it in all around Mosul. Bordering Mosul are scores of towns that have been pounded into rubble. The Iraqi capital Baghdad, and the Kurdish capital of Erbil have absorbed legions of wounded and the dead in hospitals and mortuaries.

There are a million Iraqi civilians in the area of the conflict. And the situation is not entirely unlike the crisis that developed in Aleppo.  How the bombing is taking place without placing residents of Mosul and nearby towns in immediate peril is yet unknown. Syria's Bashar al-Assad certainly didn't mind the wholesale casualties his barrel-bombing had created in east Aleppo, and nor did the Kremlin appear too disturbed over accusations it had committed war crimes deliberately bombing hospitals and medical clinics in Aleppo, but doing likewise in Mosul would bruise both Iraq and the U.S.

Having lost Fallujah and Ramadi and Sinjar and Bashiqa, no doubt ISIL is particularly anxious to retain Mosul. They are no longer able to take advantage of the route they have used west of Mosul to be resupplied by their Syrian contingents, since Shia militias have now established a firm blockade in that area. Constant, street-by-street fighting is furiously underway in the city. ISIL counter-attacked, leading the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service to order troops withdrawal to an eastern suburb of the city, enabling ISIL to retake an area it had lost weeks ago, heavy casualties resulting on both sides.

Satellite map showing barricades in Mosul city

Twelve kilometres east of Mosul is the town of Bartella where most of the houses, churches and mosques of the mostly Christian town are riddled with booby traps and landmines. Buildings are covered with boastful graffiti lauding the purity and eternal presence of Islam, elevated and esteemed by its loyal fighters. This town is now the staging ground for the final conflict leading to the rousting of Islamic State and the restoration of the region to Iraqi government rule.

Matthew Fisher/Postmedia
Matthew Fisher/Postmedia     A severely damaged church in the liberated town of Bartella, 12 kilometres from still besieged Mosul.
Discovered in Mosul in areas taken by the military were huge caches of materials for improvised explosive devices. But the real eye-opener was the discovery of tunnelling machines obviously designed and manufactured for mining operations. Two metres in width, the machines with their giant bores helped to create subterranean passages woven under Mosul and surrounding towns to enable fighters to take shelter from airstrikes.

They were also enabled to cover ground by motorcycle underground, popping up behind Iraqi and Kurdish lines in surprise attacks.

Even though ISIL has been hemmed in and is being forced to defend itself against obviously superior force numbers it has not set aside its penchant for atrocities. Indulging in burying, burning or bulldozing those who fall into their hands, continuing to earn their reputation for brutalizing viciousness. ISIL fighters' embrace of martyrdom appears not to have diminished one iota, sending waves of suicide bombers in improvised armoured cars in attacks against coalition forces.

The combined force of Iraqi, Kurdish, coalition troops along with Shia, Sunni, Christian and tribal militias have tightened their grip around Islamic State; matching the motivation of ISIL with that of their own, to destroy the menace that has threatened to turn Iraq and Syria into a charnel house of guts and blood in the name of Islam. For this purpose, at least, factions, sectarianism and tribal antipathies have been set aside to achieve a common goal.

Once that has eventually come to fruition, it is anyone's guess how the competing interests and goals will decide between themselves how the territory will be apportioned, and whether or how conflict can be set aside, at least for the near foreseeable future. Before another iteration of Shiite or Sunni imperialist theism rears its rapacious head and revels in building a reputation for itself as a fearsome source of barbaric viciousness.

(Photo: Screenshot from the video)
(Photo: Screenshot from the video of two Turkish soldiers burned alive by ISIL)

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The Unreliable Functionality of United Nations Peacekeepers

Burundian UN peacekeepers patrol in Bangui, Central African Republic -- Photo by Jane Hahn Washington Post

"The weakest and most vulnerable around the world rely on the United Nations to protect them, but it won't be able to fulfill their expectations if its members send protectors who are known abusers back home."
Akshaya Kumar, deputy UN director, Human Rights Watch

"[The UN] does not have dedicated resources to carry out human rights screening of individual contingent members, nor do we have the means to assess the records of individuals."
Farhan Haq, senior spokesman, UN peacekeepers

At the present time, the United Nations is engaged in managing sixteen separate peacekeeping missions with over 100,000 uniformed personnel and an annual $8-billion budget. It recruits peacekeepers from militaries around the world, many of which have notable records of military and institutionalized abuse serving repressive governments. But the United Nations lacks a system to identify conscripts with backgrounds replete with human rights abuses.

Burundi is a case in point, where the government has used its security forces as a punishing tool against political opponents. A team of human rights experts appointed by the UN warned months ago that their forces were committing "gross violations" of human rights, recommending it "phase out" use of Burundian peacekeepers. Consequently, the UN announced months ago it would no longer accept Burundian police as peacekeepers in the Central African Republic once the contingent has completed its tour.

The UN cited that cessation "given the current allegations of serious and ongoing human rights violations in Burindi". Despite which the UN employs over 800 Burundian soldiers in the Central African Republic, required, according to senior officials, to maintain the peace. Another 5,400 Burundian troops are supported through the African Union's mission in Somalia. And the reason that Burundian police and military are offered to the United Nations for peacekeeping is that millions of dollars are sent to the government of Burundi as payment for supplying the troops.

The same could be said for any and all governments who offer their security personnel for deployment as UN peacekeepers; governments are lavishly recompensed for their part in offering their national police and military to the United Nations. For their part, the conscripts to the UN peacekeeping effort view the opportunity to serve as a splendid personal opportunity to enhance their livelihood. The coveted posts pay exceedingly well, about $12,000 annually as opposed to the salary of a lieutenant in Burundi who makes $500 per year.

This is used as a form of pay-off by the Burundian government which reserves the peacekeeping nominations for its loyalist contingents. Congo too sent 850 peacekeepers to the Central African Republic with an African Union mission, in 2014 taken over by the United Nations. Like Burundi, Congo's military commits human rights abuses, raping and killing civilians during civil war. Similarly, the UN announced it would be ending Congo's role in the Central African Republic after incoming troops were unable to meet UN standards for vetting, training and equipment.

Security forces that open fire on protesters, kill and injure people, crack down on suspected government enemies, arrest hundreds in defense of government orders are considered loyalists by repressive, human-rights-abusing regimes which are still viewed with a measure of favour in the United Nations. Consider Syria's regime known to be responsible for a half-million Syrian deaths in civil war conflict, and millions of displaced Syrians; half its population. It still has a respected place within UN member-bodies.

A great majority of United Nations member countries are unable to bear even cursory scrutiny of their human rights records. Countries like Saudi Arabia with its misogynistic patriarchy and its penchant for inspiring terrorism, can still sit on a council ostensibly created to support women's rights. The United Nations was meant to be a bulwark against human rights abuses in the world, as a world body to promote peace and equality. Instead it has become a club for human rights abusers to stand in judgement over the relative few of the UN's members who are exemplars of human rights protection.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Abandoned, Forsaken, Alone

"I have heard nothing of my husband and daughters since the day that Daesh [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] took us."
"I cannot sleep at night; I think and I think and I think."
"They are in God's hands. We depend on God to take care of us. We believe in Him. I have no power, so I ask God to release them."
Ayshan Murat, Sinuni, Iraq
Matthew Fisher / National Post
Matthew Fisher / National Post     Ayshan Murat stands with her two sons, Jamal and Hachem (in her arms) who were released last year in Syria
"[ISIL did] terrible things."
"You can understand the meaning of 'destroyed' if you come here. Yazidi women were taken. Yazidi men were killed."
Aziz Chanem, Sinuni, Iraq

"I don't think anybody could really understand the depth of human suffering that has happened here. The kind of trauma and kind of cruelty that these people have endured is something beyond what many of us have ever heard of or thought of."
"How they keep going through the injury and assault and abuse that they have suffered is amazing to me."
"They cannot finalize within themselves whether they are dead or alive or in captivity. They live in perpetual grief that can be very taxing."
"I am inspired by many of the women that have returned from intense suffering and intense abuse. They decide for the sake of their children they are going to get better and they work at making themselves better. They work at providing as comfortable a home as they can in their tent or unfinished building. Many of these women are inspiring to know because of the courage they show. They try to leave behind what has happened to them."
"We can help them with material things. But what they want is faith and hope."
Marigold Vercoe, Australian psychiatric nurse, humanitarian worker, Sinuni, Iraq

Yazidis' religion is an unique and ancient one, with various influences and origins. Their religion is particularly scorned by the barbarians of Islamic State. ISIL in its Sunni-sect-inspired Islamism has tormented and threatened and slaughtered Shiite Muslims, and Iraqi Christians, but it has reserved its very special atrociously inhumane treatment for Iraqi Yazidis. The men corralled and subjected to mass slaughter, women and children taken as slaves to be sold, and young women and girls as bartered sex slaves.

When Islamic State first marched into the ancestral geography of Iraq's Yazidi population around the city of Sinjar and the many towns in the area, they cleansed the city and the towns through killing and kidnapping. Those Yazidi men, women and children who managed to escape the deadly noose that closed around them, fled up nearby Sinjar mountain two years ago, and with winter oncoming, they were without food and potable water and shelter.

Ahmad Al-Rubaye / AFP / Getty Images
Ahmad Al-Rubaye / AFP / Getty Images    A file picture taken on August 13, 2014, shows displaced Iraqi families from the Yazidi community crossing the Iraqi-Syrian border at the Fishkhabur crossing, in northern Iraq
Both Iraqi and Syrian Kurds mounted a rescue of the trapped Yazidis, helping them off the mountain and into Kurdish territory. The Iraqi and Syrian Kurds had a falling out with the Syrian Kurds wanting to continue aid, comfort and haven for the Yazidis, guiding those they rescued toward Syria, while the Peshmerga warned the Syrian Kurds to vacate Iraqi Kurdish territory. The international community save for a brief flyover by American planes dropping supplies, did nothing. There are still thousands of Yazidis trapped on the mountain awaiting rescue, facing another winter.

The United Nations has given technical refugee status to Syrians fleeing their government, but have ignored the plight of the Yazidis. Without the official status of documented refugees it is difficult for countries offering to take in Syrian and Iraqi refugees to focus on taking in Yazidis as the most vulnerable and in need of help. To be eligible for UN refugee status people cannot remain in their native countries, but must move elsewhere.

Iraqi and Kurdish governments, along with international organizations, have discovered mass graves teeming with the skeletons of murdered Yazidis; some were shot, others buried while still alive, where leg bones and jaws can be seen in a field around Sinjar city which has since been retrieved by the government of Iraq. And where electricity and potable water are in short supply. Yazidis are slowly returning to the city where it will take a monumental effort to return it to the status and condition its residence once enjoyed.

Sinjar was once the cultural hub of the Yazidi community, where almost 100,000 resided. Now it is abandoned, its streets and buildings bearing the hallmarks of the violent ISIL invasion. There are booby-trapped bombs silently waiting to be set off, there are tunnels everywhere, ISIL-built and -used as cover for airstrikes and escape routes.

ISIL is complacent in its treatment of non-believers, with codified strict rules "on taking captives and slaves", published as guides. Women could be beaten, according to Koranic instructions and girls as well, avoiding the head. Women between 34 and 40 years of age are to be sold for $75, and those between age ten and 20 years valued at $130, while girls under the age of nine had a price tag of $172.

Ayshan Murat spoke of her nightmare when her family was captured two years earlier by the jihadists. She and her two young sons spent 14 months in captivity until her father-in-law and other relatives paid ISIL a ransom of $20,000 for their release. No one knows what had become of her husband and their three daughters after they were captured in their farming village at the foot of Sinjar mountain. Separated, she and her boys were taken to Syria and her husband and their girls, nine, seven and five were sent to Mosul.

She hopes that God will answer her prayers.

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Monday, December 26, 2016

Searching for the Cause . . . .

The Kremlin says the experienced pilot could have been to blame for the deadly crash
The Kremlin says the experienced pilot could have been to blame for the deadly crash : East2WestNews
"Possible malfunctions . . . certainly wouldn't have prevented the crew from reporting them."
Vitaly Andreyev, former senior Russian air traffic controller

"We will conduct a thorough investigation into the reasons and will do everything to support the victims' families."
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Now, there's an uncomfortable place to be for the Russian authorities. It is tantalizing in a sense to blame terrorism for yet another Russian air disaster when a previous one with a Russian airliner taking off from Sinai really did result from an explosive device claimed by Islamic State jihadists. If there was a responsible target, some shadowy group to blame for a viciously malevolent act of sabotage it might somewhat ease the pain of this dreadful loss of 92 Russian lives, many of them people of official substance.

On the other hand, the dreadful pain of the loss is there, yet another trauma for the Russian people to bear and the administration to bear up under. Along with the haunting reality of a previous 17 major Tu-154 plane crashes responsible for killing over 1,760 people. Most of which have been attributed to human error, and others to technical malfunctions. That's a lot of dead people. That's a lot of plane crashes attributable to one plane. Designed, engineered and manufactured in Russia.

Russia prides itself on its engineering and manufacturing capabilities of technologically advanced weaponry. Russian President Vladimir Putin boasted only a few days ago of the technological feats of engineering and manufacturing that Russia has perfected, that its military is now second to none, prepared and capable of responding to any threat, conventional or nuclear. If the Kremlin could identify an attack by terrorists having caused the latest plane to disintegrate with all aboard sacrificed, anguish could be directed there.

But Russian failed technology? Russian pilots not up to the job of flying Russian planes safely? Unthinkable! The three-engine airliner was designed fifty years ago. Over one thousand were built, and used throughout Russia and worldwide. The Tu-154 that crashed on Sunday was built in 1983 and tested in factory check-ups with maintenance carried out in 2014 and only months earlier in 2016, according to the Defence Ministry.

Members of the Aleksandrov Song and Dance Ensemble of the Russian Army perform at the concert marking the Day of the Union State at the 25th International Art Festival Slavonic Bazaar in Vitebsk. (File)
Members of the Aleksandrov Song and Dance Ensemble of the Russian Army perform at the concert marking the Day of the Union State at the 25th International Art Festival Slavonic Bazaar in Vitebsk. (File)  © Sputnik/ Viktor Tolochko
Security in Sochi, according to Russian authorities is tight. It is, after all, where Vladimir Putin had a palace built for himself nearby, where he is able to entertain foreign leaders. Which hasn't stopped murmurs of dissent that the crew failed to report any type of technical malfunction. And that the fact that the plane itself disintegrated, the parts flying off in all directions appeared consonant with an explosion. And the ongoing search covers a massive ten square kilometres.

For all the technical advances that Mr. Putin is so proud of, the plane's flight records had no radio beacons for locating purposes. A critical oversight. One might imagine more care would be taken to preserve the lives of so many people, 84 passengers and eight crew members. Not just any passengers but 60 members of the famed Red Army chorus heading to Syria to perform for Russian troops. Among the passengers, nine journalists and a Russian doctor honoured for her war zone ministrations.

The crash into the Black Sea took place two minutes after takeoff, and weather could not have been a factor. Over three thousand rescue workers from 32 ships have been tasked in a futile rescue attempt because there was no one to be rescued. Eleven intact bodies initially recovered, and plenty of body parts; death was likely instantaneous for all aboard. Helicopters, drones and submersibles all responding to the need for action, to retrieve bodies and debris.

A search-and-rescue operation begins after a Russian Defense Ministry plane, with at least 92 people aboard, crashed into the Black Sea after taking off from the city of Sochi on Dec. 25.
A search-and-rescue operation begins after a Russian Defense Ministry plane, with at least 92 people aboard, crashed into the Black Sea after taking off from the city of Sochi on Dec. 25. Artur Lebedev/TASS/ZUMA Press

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Buying and Selling Israel

"[Obama and Kerry] secretly cooked up with the Palestinians an extreme anti-Israeli resolution behind Israel's back, which would be a tail wind for terror and boycotts and effectively make the western Wall occupied Palestinian territory."
Israeli official [unidentified]

"[Washington] will not support the use of any additional land for the purpose of settlements. That has been the policy of every administration, Republican and Democrat, since before President Reagan and all the way through to the present day."
"[Settlement activity] harms the viability of a negotiated two-state outcome and erodes prospects for peace and stability in the region."
American Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power

"[Israeli settlements have] no legal validity. [Such activities must be halted for] salvaging the two-state solution. [Settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are a] flagrant violation [of international law]."
UN Security Council resolution
Friday UN Security Council resolution
The Security Council votes on resolution reiterating its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem. The vote was 14 in favour, with one abstention (United States). UN Photo/Manuel Elias

Loud applause. Egypt reconsidering its sponsorship of the resolution when the American president-elect intervened at Israel's request, suspended its sponsorship reflecting diplomatic considerations. Into the breach stepped four nations' representatives reflecting geographic areas encompassing all points of the compass. If a trope is repeated often enough and with sufficient indignation and sanctimony its cause is picked up and embraced by all within hearing distance.

And so, a perfectly legal move to ownership of a geographical area of the world whose heritage reflects antiquity forward to the present, which just happens to be contested by another group of come-latelies eager to re-write history and re-interpret reality with an internationally-digestible fiction conspires to deny Jews their homeland, when every other country of the world has in turn spurned its presence as an unassimilable alien presence persecuted and doomed by hatred.

The United States, which has assumed the mantle of champion of the underdog alternating with championing dictators whose ideological bent was agreeable to American fortunes, has latterly seen fit to buy the Jewish state's gratitude through the generosity of financial support greater in substance than similar support given to non-grateful nations like Pakistan and other recipients posing as friends of the West. Whereas, Israel's values and system of justice accurately reflects those of the West.

The resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed....cont:

Barack Obama came to power with the pledge that he would restore American prestige and respect the world over. The Nobel prize rewarded him for his rhetoric, anxious to do so before any actual reason for so doing might occur. And when President Obama assured the world of Islam from a speech in Egypt that America was Islam's friend, he meant it and they doubted it. The proof has been elusive, for Islam itself is conflicted and to befriend one sect is to insult another.

The sole substantive issue that unites all of Islam, however, is the Koranic injunction that no land consecrated to Islam by the presence of Muslims must be allowed to fall into the possession of non-Muslims, for to do so would be to degrade and insult the honour of Islam through the surrender of its exalted possession. Mr. Obama has demonstrated his statesmanship by honouring Islam's sacred precept of conquest. A solution readily arrived at by selling Israel's trust and security to the greater utility of proving that his word could be banked on.

The personal antipathy that Barack Obama so obviously displayed in his aversion to Israel's current prime minister goes beyond inter-personal disagreement in situations where nation-to-nation business should take ultimate precedence. The deeper question is whether a deeply-ingrained anti-Semitism evoked such displays of blatant dislike of a head of state who refused to submit to the self-serving whims of an autocratic patron demanding submission by a supplicant.

No other country of the world has ever faced the demands that it surrender traditional geography it has defended against the violent threats and military assaults by its neighbours that Israel has suffered. Geography successfully defended from violent military aggression remains with the successful defender. Israel's claims to possession of ancestral land face condemnation by the international community invoking international law of questionable pedigree.

Israel's fault lies in the fact that it refuses to be a supplicant. It is a defender of the existence of world Jewry, when the world has proven time and again that it has no intention whatever at any time of ensuring that the survival of Jews is their responsibility. It has, as a result, become Israel's responsibility to ensure that the diaspora as well as the Jews of Israel survive. While the world appears more interested than ever in contesting its presence.

A nation under continual siege with little support on the world stage. Proudly defiant, Israel will survive because it must, in perpetuity. The Palestinians whose agenda is to reclaim the entire land on which Israel sits as its own, persuades the international community that it is a demoralized, persecuted minority fighting a Goliath when all it wants is parity in land to be apportioned to it. In the process inciting its people to commit acts of terrorism which the international community pretends to know nothing of.

The UN votes against 'occupation' knowing full well that the situation of 'occupation' has been forced upon Israel as a defensive measure against ongoing violent attacks by Palestinian Arabs against Israeli Jews. The occupation is a preventive effort to safeguard the lives of Jews from the vicious attacks of Arabs. Who are, after all, only doing what their European counterparts excelled at in years past.

Duplicity and sanctimony to spare.

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Sunday, December 25, 2016

His Brief Moment of Terrorist Notoriety

"He was the most wanted man in Europe. There is absolutely no doubt that the person killed is Anis Amri."
Italian Interior Minister Marco Miniti

"It was a regular patrol. They had no perception that it could be him, otherwise they'd have been more careful."
Milan police chief Antonion de Iesu

"We can be relieved at the end of this week that one acute danger has been ended."
"But the danger of terrorism as a whole remains, as it has for many years -- we all know that."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel

"God willing, we will slaughter you like pigs."
"To my brothers everywhere, fight for the sake of Allah. Protect our religion. Everyone can do this in their own way. People who can fight should fight, even in Europe."
"Fear is a reaction, courage is a decision."
Anis Amri, 24, Tunisian Jihadist
image grab taken from a propaganda video showing Anis Amri
Image caption IS released a video showing Amri pledging allegiance == AFP

Just as Islamic culture equates honour with the subjugation of women, jihadists equate courage with the decision to mount terrorist attacks upon vulnerable civilian populations with an aim to murder as many as conceivably possible, in honour of Allah. Islam demands of its faithful that they be willingly instrumental in spreading their sacred word of surrender to Islam. Jihad will not be complete until the world turns as one five times daily in Islamic prayer certifying that conquest is achieved.

On the other hand, perhaps it can be conceived that Anis Amri, once his bloody carnage was completed, failed the complete test of heroic courage. To martyr oneself in the course of jihadist action is to complete the process. Since there is honour in the slaughter of non-Muslims to please Allah, self-martyrdom is a requirement, upon which the martyr's ascent to Paradise is assured, when he can reap his promised reward for all eternity with submissive nubile virgins.

Perhaps Islamic clerics will now concern themselves with the scholarly discussions that must now ensue to determine whether this courageous man's actions, culminating in a desperate bid to escape unIslamic justice truly equates with martyrdom, since the concept of the ideological belief in jihad is to sacrifice one's life since, as jihadists are so often fond of claiming, they love death as others love life. Having no fear of death, prepared to clasp it to their bosom, has this man betrayed Islam?

And then other questions arise. Why cannot European intelligence agencies confer with one another and exchange vital information that could protect themselves against such bloody assaults? Authorities admit one time after another that jihadists had come under their surveillance as suspects long before the actual violence ensued. Finding themselves hamstrung with insufficient evidence reflective of Western judicial guidelines to remove the threat.

And this: despite a widespread European threat assessment and warning from various sources then the subsequent alerting of policing and intelligence agencies after the fact, the man who had left more than adequate evidence in his personal papers, his fingerprints, his blood sample at the scene of the crime, was still able to evade authorities in a string of countries including Austria or France or Switzerland. The murderer evaded German authorities, travelled through that country, then Austria and Switzerland, to arrive in Italy.

He was permitted entry to Italy, even though he had a criminal record in both Italy and Tunisia. It was only by chance that a two-man Italian police patrol on the lookout for a robbery suspect, stopped this unkempt-appearing man in the early morning hours at a train station popular with such as he. He had been identified as the prime suspect in the Berlin Christmas market truck ramming, yet Germany couldn't hold him and three other countries couldn't identify him.

This man represented one of the multi-thousand economic migrants who had entered the Italian coast through Lampedusa in 2011 before moving on to Milan; considered a "youth" to whom all opportunities as a Muslim migrant should be extended. He repaid that concern by burning down the refugee holding building he and countless others were sheltered in, over a complaint that the food was not to their liking. His subsequent years in a Milan prison were said to have exposed him to 'radicalization'.

This reflects the circumstances whereby Europe is slowly and steadily being undone.

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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas US/Judas Betrayal of Israel

"To understand the severity of [what] the situation is, let us recall that in the 1950s about 86% of the population of the Bethlehem area was Christian. Today, we are only 12%. In Israel, by contrast, we have 133,000 Christians and the figure is stable. Of course, I am worried about the future of Christians here. Looking at the facts on the ground, you can see that there is no future for the Christians here. We are melting; we are disappearing. I fear the day will come when our churches will become museums. That is my nightmare."
Samir Qumsieh, Christian Palestinian, Bet Sahour, near Bethlehem

"Israel’s borders and territorial scope are a source of seemingly endless debate. Remarkably, despite the intensity of the debates, little attention has been paid to the relevance of the doctrine of uti possidetis juris to resolving legal aspects of the border dispute. Uti possidetis juris is widely acknowledged as the doctrine of customary international law that is central to determining territorial sovereignty in the era of decolonization. The doctrine provides that emerging states presumptively inherit their pre-independence administrative boundaries."
"Applied to the case of Israel, uti possidetis juris would dictate that Israel inherit the boundaries of the Mandate of Palestine as they existed in May, 1948. The doctrine would thus support Israeli claims to any or all of the currently hotly disputed areas of Jerusalem (including East Jerusalem), the West Bank, and even potentially the Gaza Strip (though not the Golan Heights)."
Palestine, Uti Possidetis Juris, and the Borders of Israel  -- 58 Ariz. L. Rev. 633 (2016)  Abraham Bell & Eugene Kontorovic, Professor of International Law, Northwestern University

The Security Council votes on resolution reiterating its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem. The vote was 14 in favour, with one abstention (United States). UN Photo/Manuel Elias

Palestinian law prohibits Palestinians renting property to Jews. President Mahmoud Abbas has stated categorically that no Jews may live among Arabs in a new Palestinian State; the presence of Jews will be strictly prohibited. A Palestinian State will be restricted from Jewish habitation entirely. A Palestinian State will be prepared to offer itself to Arabs only. Sounds like Apartheid. Good grief, it is apartheid, is it not? Will the world's supporters of the Palestinian 'cause' do a 180-degree pivot and urge boycott-divestment-sanction against a Palestinian state?

Yesterday, at the United Nations, that increasingly dysfunctional, morally-absent world body a resolution condemning Israel for building settlements in the West Bank passed unanimously. The one permanent member of the Security Council that could have halted that resolution from becoming official UN policy decided to abstain, which in the circumstances acts as a vote for the resolution.
Countries that sit on the revolving Security Council are often the world's most blighted human rights abusers.

The permanent members of the UN Security Council include both Russia and China, both of which are well known for their lack of concern over human rights, each of which is known to engage in unofficial extrajudicial murder. The revolving membership this year includes Angola, Egypt, Japan, Spain, Malaysia, Ukraine, New Zealand, Senegal, Uruguay and Venezuela. Angola, known for torture, beatings, police action, arbitrary arrest and detention. Egypt lacks freedom of assembly, expression and rights and liberties.

Reporters Without Borders has ranked Malaysia 147 out of 180 nations for press freedom. Ukraine rates for violation of of the rights of vulnerable groups and police abuse and violence. Senegal: state corruption, rape, discrimination against women, security forces violence, child abuse, infanticide etc.  Uruguay's human rights abuse includes the use of torture, police violence, and sexual discrimination.Venezuela: attacks and intimidation against human rights proponents and journalists, arbitrary detention, corruption.

Those living in glass houses don't hesitate to cast stones upon those whose glass houses pass muster as human rights' exemplars. Where public relations-mandated abuses against Palestinians are charged against Israel, when Gazans suffer serious abuses at the hands of Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority is well known to amass foreign investment meant to support PA citizens but which are placed in personal bank accounts. In both territories children are abused by authorities who groom them for violent 'resistance' against 'occupation'.

That the 'occupation' is a desperate effort at defence from people whose leaders have incited them from childhood to adulthood to hate Jews and view the existence of the State of Israel as an assault against Arab rights and Islamic honour, within which the tiny state which harbours among its Jewish population of six million, several million Arab Muslims and Christians, Kurds and Bedouin, among others with equal status as citizens -- is deliberately overlooked.

With President Obama's decision to exercise a vituperative last-minute administrative spite to cap his animosity toward his Israeli counterpart whom he has always detested and acted toward with a grim-mouthed lack of diplomacy, to slam the Jewish state for appropriating land the international community enjoys claiming is the Palestinians' right to claim for themselves, represents the height of rank hypocrisy. American government 'occupation' of Guantanamo Bay in Cuba rates as a prime example of sanctimonious territoriality.

But the U.S. is not alone among those who grasp at any opportunity to slander Israel for its 'occupation' of 'Palestinian' land. There is Great Britain, with its grasp of the Falkland Islands which is really Argentina's Islas Malvinas, a grim enough  territorial imperative that rated a deadly conflict far from Britain's shores but next door to Argentina's. Russia, yet another stalwart critic of Israel and supporter of the Arab cause of land consecrated to Islam has nothing to explain about Georgia, Ukraine and Kornengsberg, an ancient German city.

And nor has China whose occupation of Tibet is widely and universally rejected to no avail, yet no condemnation in the United Nations would make the effort to shame China on the world stage for China has the power and the veto to prevent it. Turkey, another fan of Israel's presence in the Middle East, has much to answer for in Cyprus, but will not deign to, now will it be held accountable for its lethal treatment of the Kurds whose ancestral land Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria occupy in part, and deny to the Kurds as their rightful homeland.

This betrayal of Israel by the United States has been a long time brewing. Israel knew full well what was in the offing, but as hope springs eternal, the anticipation was that perhaps, just perhaps, a moral twinge of responsibility would turn the tide at the last possible moment. Israel, however, had no reason to hope that justice and truth would prevail in the grand salons of the United Nations, nor that President Obama whose antipathy toward Benjamin Netanyahu ran deep and rank, would nonetheless choose to be fair and decent.

Four different areas of the world, Malaysia, New Zealand, Senegal and Venezuela, representing for the most part, some of the most indecent human rights violators in their geographic areas, chose to sit in judgement of a nation exceptionally superior to their own. East Jerusalem, the biblical homeland and heritage of Israel, to be commandeered once again by forces indignant that Jews might feel entitled to reclaim that which was historically theirs and currently open to all religions under Israeli auspices.

And yesterday, outgoing UN director-general Ban Ki-moon, who only a week earlier, commented on the unfairness of the UN's continual resolutions against one tiny state when egregious human rights violations conducted by countless members of the United Nations went unnoticed with studied oblivion, commented the following in a display of utter hypocrisy:
"The resolution is a significant step, demonstrating the Council’s much needed leadership and the international community’s collective efforts to reconfirm that the vision of two States is still achievable. The Secretary-General takes this opportunity to encourage Israeli and Palestinian leaders to work with the international community to create a conducive environment for a return to meaningful negotiations. The United Nations stands ready to support all concerned parties in achieving this goal."

 That damning resolution, demonstrating the collusion between the American administration and the Palestinian Authority will go far to ensure that the PA will continue evading its responsibility to engage in direct talks with Israeli negotiators to arrive at an agreement that is fair and just for both parties. The PA will now feel entitled to continue the path it has been engaged on, because it works for them; direct engagement with the UN to do the work for the PA that the PA refuses to do for itself, and as is usual with arbitrators, their decision-making is in favour of those whom they favour.

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Exulting in The Certainty of Power

"We can say with certainty: We are stronger now than any potential aggressor. Anyone!"
"Russia must act with alacrity in] adjusting plans to neutralize potential threats to our country."
"We need to enhance the combat capability of strategic nuclear forces, primarily by strengthening missile complexes that will be guaranteed to penetrate existing and future missile defence systems."
Russian President Vladimir V. Putin
Alexei Nikolsky/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP
Alexei Nikolsky/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP    Russian President Vladimir Putin, centre, meets with senior military officials in Moscow, Russia on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016. Russia's military is now stronger that any possible foe, Putin told an annual end-of-year meeting with the defence ministry on Thursday.
Moscow is preparing for the centenary of its 1917 revolution. This is when the Bolsheviks assumed power in Russia. It is what led to the rise of the USSR. Russia's great dominance of its neighbours under the assurance that all were equal and as one, nothing could defeat them. And within the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics all would thrive, none would be superior to the other, and the resources that reflected the quality of life would be available in equal measure to all, irrespective of their station in life.

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." 

But first the revolution had to cleanse itself of its reactionary irritants, the intellectuals who denied the superiority of the ideology that exemplified the Soviet Union, the wealthy who thought they could evade their responsibility to society, and once their presence was expunged all would be tranquil, the revolution could get on with its amelioration of all the insincerities, insecurities and inequalities that life had offered to those who suffered the misfortune of misery and poverty.

And then a most strange occurrence came to pass, long after the Ukrainian Holdomor and the Nazi invasion when Soviet Russia suddenly disintegrated under the weight of its own tyranny when its satellites weary of 74 years of bondage gradually lifted themselves from their prone condition and quietly rebelled, leading a Russian president to introduce glasnost and perestroika. In his dotage, Mikhail Gorbachev, great man that he was, bemoans the West's failure to Marshall Plan Russia.

A Russia that has gone full circle, from its disintegration to its experiment with Russian-style democracy, back to autocracy veering back toward dictatorship. In lieu of nation bondage the renewed Stalinist agenda is to act under the radar to recoup what was lost. The experiment with Georgia elicited little international backlash, so it was on to Ukraine and further afield to Syria. With all those successes amid demurs from the international community, Russia re-armed under Vladimir Putin is drunk with power and success.

Nostalgically recalling Russia's glorious past, Mr. Putin aches to revive it. He has exalted himself as the successor to Stalin, yet requiring the official palace of a czar, reflecting his munificent majesty. His word now makes the Baltic states tremble for what they don't say, but imply, despite NATO's assurances. Vladimir Putin viewed with disdain President Obama's limp-wristed Syrian rebel policy as he spurned a no-fly zone, leaving the vacuum that Putin filled.

And now he looks to help unseat the UN-backed Libyan government, toothless in the face of tribal-backed militias. An emerging relationship between the Russian-educated and -speaking 73-year-old warlord Khalifa Haftar now in control of a large swath of oil-rich Libya is meant to unseat the west-approved Libyan prime minister. What's in it for Russia? Billions in arms and other contracts from a different Libya.

Mr. Putin has no trouble aligning himself with tyrants familiar with torture and extra-judicial killing.

"Russia's support for Khalifa Haftar in the name of countering terrorism could instead escalate Libya's conflict and undermine the UN-sponsored political process", reported the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, this month. What's that to Vladimir Putin? "We are stronger now" than anyone.

The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes
U.S. Air Force via AP, File
U.S. Air Force via AP, File       Like a giant pen stroke in the sky, an unarmed Minuteman 3 nuclear missile roared out of its underground bunker on the California coastline Friday, Feb. 26, 2016, and soared over the Pacific

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