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October 21, 2016 / 19 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Libya’

Analysis: Trump’s Anti-Terror Plan Calls for Tough Immigrant Vetting, International Coalition Against ISIS [video]

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump on Monday gave a foreign policy speech in Youngstown, Ohio, outlining his plan to fight terrorism. Addressing the large crowd (as usual), Trump opened, “Today we begin a conversation about how to Make America Safe Again. In the 20th Century, the United States defeated Fascism, Nazism, and Communism. Now, a different threat challenges our world: Radical Islamic Terrorism.”

The candidate cited a very long list of terrorist attacks against individual Western targets (Paris, Brussels, Orlando), as well as a more generalized but no less forceful depiction of attacks on Muslims: “Overseas, ISIS has carried out one unthinkable atrocity after another. … We cannot let this evil continue.”

Trump promised, “We will defeat Radical Islamic Terrorism, just as we have defeated every threat we have faced in every age before.” He then threw a jab at both president Obama and Democratic presidential Candidate Clinton, saying, “Anyone who cannot name our enemy, is not fit to lead this country.”

This led to a Trump analysis of how President Obama and his Secretary of State Clinton are to blame for the current alarming state of events. He blamed them for policies that led to the creation of ISIS, saying, “It all began in 2009 with what has become known as President Obama’s global ‘Apology Tour.’”

Remarkably, Trump omitted eight whole years in which the US was attacked by a different group of Islamic radicals, and the fact that then President GW Bush retaliated by invading a country that had nothing to do with that attack, inflicting chaos on Iraq and taking out the one fierce regional enemy of Iran, Saddam Hussein. According to Trump, none of those eight bloody years of a Bush war had anything to do with the creation of ISIS (which took place in 2004) — it all began with “a series of speeches,” in which “President Obama described America as ‘arrogant,’ ‘dismissive,’ ‘derisive,’ and a ‘colonial power.'”

“Perhaps no speech was more misguided than President Obama’s speech to the Muslim World delivered in Cairo, Egypt, in 2009,” Trump said Monday night. Of course, the Obama Al Azhar University speech did launch a bizarre foreign policy that punished America’s friends and rewarded its enemies. Even if one were not pro-Israel, one would have to wonder what drove that disastrous foreign policy. But the Obama speech did not instigate the catastrophic failure of US policy in the Middle East, it only picked up Obama’s predecessor’s very bad situation and made it worse.

Trump believes that “the failure to establish a new Status of Forces Agreement in Iraq, and the election-driven timetable for withdrawal, surrendered our gains in that country and led directly to the rise of ISIS.” But in eight miserable years, having spent trillions of borrowed dollars our grandchildren and their grandchildren after them will continue to pay for, there were no US gains in Iraq — which is why when Obama honored the Bush agreement with the Iraqi government and withdrew some of the US forces, the whole thing came tumbling down.

Trump blames Hillary Clinton for destabilizing Libya, a claim supported by many, including President Obama and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. He also added a jab at the Clintons, saying, “Yet, as she threw the Middle East into violent turmoil, things turned out well for her. The Clintons made almost $60 million in gross income while she was Secretary of State.” It’s factually true, but the implied moral outrage is hard to accept with a straight face, seeing as it came from a man who prided himself on turning homeowners’ misery into a hefty profit for himself during the housing crisis of 2008.

After much more of the candidate’s unique view on US foreign policy and the causes for rise of terrorism, Trump finally cut to the chase.

“If I become President, the era of nation-building will be ended,” he said. “Our new approach, which must be shared by both parties in America, by our allies overseas, and by our friends in the Middle East, must be to halt the spread of Radical Islam. … As President, I will call for an international conference focused on this goal. We will work side-by-side with our friends in the Middle East, including our greatest ally, Israel. We will partner with King Abdullah of Jordan, and President [Al] Sisi of Egypt, and all others who recognize this ideology of death that must be extinguished.”

Trump added to the list of his envisioned coalition partners the NATO countries, explaining that although he “had previously said that NATO was obsolete because it failed to deal adequately with terrorism; since my comments they have changed their policy and now have a new division focused on terror threats.”

He also wants Russia to participate, clearly despite its dubious new alliance with both Iran and Turkey that threatens the very presence of US troops in that part of the region.

On this point, the Trump vision looks an awful lot like the current Administration’s policy on fighting ISIS: “My Administration will aggressively pursue joint and coalition military operations to crush and destroy ISIS, international cooperation to cutoff their funding, expanded intelligence sharing, and cyberwarfare to disrupt and disable their propaganda and recruiting. We cannot allow the Internet to be used as a recruiting tool, and for other purposes, by our enemy – we must shut down their access to this form of communication, and we must do so immediately.”

So far so good, but then Trump suggested “we must use ideological warfare as well. Just as we won the Cold War, in part, by exposing the evils of communism and the virtues of free markets, so too must we take on the ideology of Radical Islam.”

Trump then depicted his opponent as contributing to the repression of Muslim gays and women, promising his “Administration will speak out against the oppression of women, gays and people of different faith. Our Administration will be a friend to all moderate Muslim reformers in the Middle East, and will amplify their voices.”

At which point one must ask if the candidate is relying on expert advise on the Middle East. Because while he is absolutely right in condemning the cruelty and repression that have been the reality in Muslim countries from Pakistan to Morocco, his idea of promoting an American foreign policy of “speaking out against the horrible practice of honor killings” and against the myriad other acts of unimaginable violence against women, his ideas that to defeat Islamic terrorism, the US must “speak out forcefully against a hateful ideology that provides the breeding ground for violence and terrorism to grow” is shockingly sophomoric. Surely Trump knows that these attempts are a recipe for a far worse disaster than the one brought on by the Obama Al Azhar speech.

At this point, Trump turned to an area with which he is more familiar, the need for a new immigration policy. “A Trump Administration will establish a clear principle that will govern all decisions pertaining to immigration: we should only admit into this country those who share our values and respect our people,” the candidate declared, adding that “the time is overdue to develop a new screening test for the threats we face today.”

“In addition to screening out all members or sympathizers of terrorist groups, we must also screen out any who have hostile attitudes towards our country or its principles – or who believe that Sharia law should supplant American law,” Trump said, explaining that “those who do not believe in our Constitution, or who support bigotry and hatred, will not be admitted for immigration into the country. Only those who we expect to flourish in our country – and to embrace a tolerant American society – should be issued visas.”

Easier said than done, of course, because it’s naturally difficult to discern what lurks inside the mind of any person, immigrants included. Trump’s solution is, to “temporarily suspend immigration from some of the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world that have a history of exporting terrorism.”

“As soon as I take office, I will ask the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security to identify a list of regions where adequate screening cannot take place. We will stop processing visas from those areas until such time as it is deemed safe to resume based on new circumstances or new procedures.” It should be interesting to gauge the response of, say, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, to the news that no more cash-laden Arab oil sheiks would be allowed to visit Vegas under a Trump Administration.

“Finally, we will need to restore common sense to our security procedures,” Trump declared, listing several notorious murders committed by Muslims on US soil, noting that in each case there had been warning signs that were overlooked by the authorities.

“These warning signs were ignored because political correctness has replaced common sense in our society,” Trump stated flatly, adding, “That is why one of my first acts as President will be to establish a Commission on Radical Islam. … The goal of the commission will be to identify and explain to the American public the core convictions and beliefs of Radical Islam, to identify the warning signs of radicalization, and to expose the networks in our society that support radicalization.”

“This commission will be used to develop new protocols for local police officers, federal investigators, and immigration screeners,” Trump said, essentially suggesting legitimizing the police profiling that has been so vilified in the media and by many politicians. He also promised to keep Guantanamo Bay prison open (although Obama has just released fifteen of its inmates). He wants additional staff to Intelligence agencies and will keep drone strikes against terrorist leaders as part of his options. He also wants military trials for foreign enemy combatants.

In conclusion, there was absolutely no new policy idea in the Trump speech on foreign policy Monday night, but there was an implied, if mostly unspoken promise, to encourage all levels of law enforcement to be less restrained in pursuing their targets. In fact, across the board, what Trump was offering Monday night were not so much new ideas as the promise of taking existing ideas to a new level of dedication in their execution. It could mean a wider loss of individual civil rights, and serious economic hardship for US industries that cater to any aspect of immigration, and it could also end up with the alienation of both European and Mid-Eastern countries who would not take kindly to Trump’s promised level of fierceness, and would retaliate.

It should be noted in that context, that after having spoken bluntly about extreme security measures that could harm specific ethnic and religious groups, Trump attempted to soften his own tone with a final paragraph that promised: “As your President … I will fight to ensure that every American is treated equally, protected equally, and honored equally. We will reject bigotry and oppression in all its forms, and seek a new future built on our common culture and values as one American people. — Only this way, will we make America Great Again and Safe Again – For Everyone.”

Like him or hate him, Donald Trump remains the champion of cognitive dissonance.



‘What’s Changed about Being Jewish in Scotland?’ Fear, Study Finds

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities recently issued the final draft of a report titled, “What’s Changed About Being Jewish in Scotland,” the catalyst for which was the huge spike in anti-Semitic incidents in August 2014 (the time of the Gaza War), when SCoJeC received almost as many reports in a single month as in the entire previous year:

“The large increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Scotland during the third quarter of 2014 following the war in Gaza came as an unwelcome shock, not only to the Jewish community, but to civil society at large. During august 2014 alone, SCoJeC received more than 25 reports relating to at least 12 separate anti-Semitic incidents, almost as many as in the whole of 2013, and police in Scotland advised us that they had received reports of threatening phone calls and e-mails, graffiti on synagogues, and two cases of incitement to break the criminal law. In addition, many people told us that they now felt uncomfortable, anxious, and in some cases even afraid, going about their day-to-day activities as Jewish people in Scotland. Although these absolute numbers may not seem high, the most recent Scottish government figures reveal that, when the size of the different faith communities is taken into account, Judaism is almost 8 times, and Islam 3 times as likely as Christianity to be the victim of religious hatred,” SCoJeC related on its website.

Like the 2012 study, the new report provides a comprehensive overview of what Jewish people in Scotland are thinking, feeling, and experiencing, based on responses from a significant cross-section of the Jewish population of Scotland, spread across the entire country “from the Borders to the Shetlands, from members of the larger Jewish communities in Glasgow and Edinburgh, the smaller ones in Dundee and Aberdeen, and also from Jewish people who live very many miles from the any Jewish facilities.”

“We heard from Jewish people whose families had lived in Scotland for generations, and people who had very recently arrived in Scotland from other parts of the world,” the organization says, adding, “We heard from members of the Orthodox, Reform, and Liberal Jewish communities, as well as from people with no connection to formal Judaism, from people who had no interest in the Jewish religion or Jewish ritual, but who, in a wide variety of ways, felt connected to Jewish culture or for whom particular foods or melodies evoked their childhood, as well as from people who only found out they were Jewish as adults.”

The following are quotes from the new report. For the full report click here.

“As a child and teenager growing up in Edinburgh, I was proud to say I was Jewish and it was viewed positively by Edinburgh people who often had memories themselves of growing up alongside Jewish people and spoke enthusiastically of that. I am very wary now to be up front about being Jewish in certain circles, and especially after the events this summer [2014].” (F, 60s, Edinburgh)

“As far as the children are concerned we are telling them to be less open about being Israelis. Two years ago it wasn’t like this. It is a question of safety now.” (M, 40s, Edinburgh)

“As more and more of my friends have moved away, I increasingly feel like a minority. I am not aware of any other Jews in my workplace (it is a large organization). I think this has made it even more important to me to represent my race in Scotland. It has also changed in the last year due to the Scottish reaction to Operation Protective Edge, in particular the raising of the Palestinian flag. I am using social media much more regularly to try and educate friends about the situation in the Middle East. (F, 30s, Glasgow)


Analysis: Trump’s Praise for Saddam Challenges GOP Presidents Who Took him Down [video]

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

“He was a bad guy, really bad guy. But you know what? He did well. He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn’t read them the rights. They didn’t talk. They were terrorists. Over,” Donald Trump said at a campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina Tuesday. In comparison, Trump said, “today, Iraq is Harvard for terrorism. You want to be a terrorist, you go to Iraq. It’s like Harvard. Okay? So sad.”

That assertion may be challenged by Israelis, as Clinton’s senior campaign adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN, “In reality, Hussein’s regime was a sponsor of terrorism — one that paid families of suicide bombers who attacked Israelis, among other crimes.”

Then Sullivan added that “Trump’s cavalier compliments for brutal dictators, and the twisted lessons he seems to have learned from their history, again demonstrate how dangerous he would be as commander-in-chief and how unworthy he is of the office he seeks.”

Not necessarily so. In retrospect, after the violent collapse of the “Arab Spring” everywhere but in Tunisia, Trump’s assessment of what the Arab world requires to keep it stable is not necessarily democracy. Back in October, 2015, Trump said he believed Iraq and Libya would be more useful in forging a stable Middle East if ruthless dictators like Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gadhafi had not been terminated by a succession of American presidents.

“If you look at Iraq from years ago,” Trump said in October, “I’m not saying [Hussein] was a nice guy, he was a horrible guy, but it was a lot better than it is right now. Right now, Iraq is a training ground for terrorists. Right now Libya, nobody even knows Libya, frankly there is no Iraq and there is no Libya. It’s all broken up. They have no control. Nobody knows what’s going on.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) rushed to the defense of both Bushes and Obama, telling Fox News’ Megyn Kelly that Saddam Hussein “was one of the 20th century’s most evil people. He was up there. He committed mass genocide against his own people using chemical weapons. Saddam Hussein was a bad guy.”

Yes, but, in the immortal words of FDR, when someone asked him about the wisdom of supporting Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza, “He may be an SOB but he’s our SOB.” Back in 1979, when Iran’s Shah was overthrown by the Islamic Revolution, giving way to an Islamic republic led by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, which drove the US out of Iran (and kept hundreds of American hostages), only Saddam Hussein was able to limit the spread of Iranian influence in the region. The Iran–Iraq War lasted from September 1980 to August 1988, exacting millions of victims in the service of Western interests in the region. No Arab democracy (an oxymoron if ever there was one) could have stopped Iran. The only force able to facilitate Iran’s yearning for regional hegemony were presidents Bush I and Bush II, followed by Obama.

On July 25, 1990, US ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie held an emergency meeting with Saddam, who attacked American policy with regards to Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Saddam complained bitterly: “So what can it mean when America says it will now protect its friends? It can only mean prejudice against Iraq. This stance plus maneuvers and statements which have been made has encouraged the UAE and Kuwait to disregard Iraqi rights.”

Saddam was referring to his neighboring oil sheiks “drilling sideways” into Iraqi deposits. Saddam viewed the entire concept of there even being a country named Kuwait to have been a conspiracy of British Petroleum and Her Majesty’s government to steal oil-rich Iraqi land. Saddam felt that in light of his service to the US, he should receive its support in his conflict with the Kuwaitis.

Ambassador Glaspie replied that the US would rather see the conflict resolved through peaceful means, but in the end, “…we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait.”

And so, after his ultimatum to the Sabah ruling family of Kuwait had failed, Saddam invaded Kuwait, believing the US was going to take a neutral position on his move. But his move frightened the Saudis, whose Ambassador under both Bush administrations had his own desk in the Oval office, and they pressured Bush I to start what is now a 26-year program of completely destabilizing the Middle East, complete with attacks on US soil, lingering civil wars in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, two worldwide Islamic terrorist armies, one of them a Caliphate wannabe blowing up half of Europe. All of which could have been avoided had the Bush I and certainly Bush II administrations been more accommodating to the monstrous dictator who used to be our monstrous dictator.

The Democratic and Republican establishments insist on presenting Trump as an admirer of dictators, which he may be — but that was not the case Trump has been making for boosting rather than unseating dictators, such as Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Trump has a much clearer view regarding US foreign interest than do the establishment politicians on either side of the aisle, and it ain’t about spreading the spirit od democracy and goodwill to all mankind.


Report: Between 700 and 900 Immigrants Died at Sea Last week

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

“We will never know exact numbers” of drowned refugees fleeing the Middle East and East Africa for safe haven in Europe, Medecins San Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) tweeted Saturday, estimating that as many as 900 had died last week. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Sunday that more than 700 had drowned.

According to Reuters, some 14,000 refugees have been rescued since last Monday, but there have been reports of at least three boats sinking. The number of dead is estimated based on survivor testimonies. These included Saturday interviews with immigrants at the Sicilian port of Pozzallo, resulting in accounts of a large, motorless fishing boat that capsized on Thursday with a large crowd of women and children on board.

According to testimonies, when the boat capsized, 25 passengers swam to the towing boat, and as many as 90 others were saved by 3 boats with MSF rescue personnel. 15 bodies were recovered, which means that at least 550 died, according to the UNHCR.

The rescued refugees last week included Eritreans, Sudanese, Nigerians and other West Africans. The boats have mostly left from Libya, where many women said the smugglers had beaten and raped them.

On Friday, an Italian Navy ship collected 45 bodies and rescued 135 people from a semi-submerged rubber boat, which normally carries about 300.

David Israel

Libyan President Gaddafi Asked Israel for Help Against West

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

According to a report by Israel’s Galei Tzahal raqdio, the late Libyan president/dictator Muammar Gaddafi turned to Israel via secret channel, asking for Israel’s help in getting the Western forces to stop attacking and trying to overthrow his regime.

Obviously it didn’t work.

Gaddafi was killed in 2011.

Libya has been in a civil war with itself and in battles with ISIS for the past 5 years. Over half a million Libyans have been left homeless as a result of the fighting.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Report: Al Qaeda in Yemen Starts Using Surface-to-Air Missiles

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

Al Qaeda terrorists in Yemen have reportedly acquired sophisticated Russian-made surface-to-air missiles and have used them to shoot down a fighter jet this month.

In an exclusive report (March 26) The Independent claims Al Qaeda used an SA-7 surface-to-air missile to down a French-made Mirage fighter jet in Yemen. The missile was allegedly a “Strela” shoulder-mounted heat-seeking projectile with a kill range altitude of 15 to 1,500 meters.

According to the report, the incident took place two weeks ago (March 14), just outside th southern Yemeni port city of Aden.

The jet crashed into a mountainside; officials at the time told media the crash was due to a “technical malfunction” but sources told The Independent the jet was shot down by Al Qaeda using a surface-to-air missile (SAM).

The fighter jet was flying in the United Arab Emirates air force as part of a Saudi-led coalition air campaign against the Shi’ite Houthi rebels who are backed by Iran. Both pilots were killed in the crash. Locals told media the jet was flying low and attacking AQAP forces entrenched in a district west of Aden.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is deeply involved in this conflict, as is the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror group, whose guerrilla fighters have been spotted among the Houthis.

If the report is true, this will mark the first time a SAM was used in the Yemen conflict – but not the first time Al Qaeda has ever used one.

In fact, Al Qaeda produced a detailed guide to help its operatives learn how to use a SAM to bring down commercial aircraft. One such guide was found in Mali as far back as three years ago, according to a 2013 report by The Associated Press.

The 26-page document, written in Arabic, was recovered by AP in a building that had been occupied by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghred (AQIM). This manual also was used for SA-7s, also called “man-portable air-defense systems, or MANPADS.

In that instance, the SA-7s in question were believed to have originated from the arsenal of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

Not only were they found in Timbuktu, however. Atlantic Council analyst Peter Pham, a former adviser to U.S. military command in Africa and instructor to U.S. Special Forces told AP at the time he believed Al Qaeda had fighters who already knew how to use the SAMs effectively.

Moreover, the Libya-based Al Qaeda group was not the first to have MANPADS. It was also believed there were Al Qaeda groups in Iraq and Afghanistan who also had MANPADS, as well as a Somalian terror cell who boasted at the time about its SA-7 in a video message.

This Saturday, a second source told The Independent, “Al Qaeda has confiscated huge amounts of weapons from bases in Yemen.” The SA-7s in this case are believed to have been sold to Al Qaeda, or to Yemen by Bulgarian arms dealers who acquired them when the Soviet Union broke apart.

The source added, “Al Qaeda are smarter than Islamic State (ISIS); They speak with the tribal elders, they co-opt people, get them on their side. Islamic State uses fear and coercion. It’s flashy and seeks a lot of attention but Al Qaeda is laying low and playing the long game.”

The source claimed that fighters from both sides of the conflict in Yemen are selling arms to AQAP.

Hana Levi Julian

Report: ISIS is Building Air Force in Sirte

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

The Da’esh (ISIS) terror group has somehow acquired flight simulators, captured fighter jets and is now starting to train pilots to fly them at an air base in Libya, according to numerous reports.

The group has allegedly acquired two flight simulators “the size of a small car” — one from a civilian plane and the other, that of a fighter jet, according to the London-based A-Sharq al-Awsat. The information was confirmed to the paper in an interview with a senior Libyan military officer in Cairo.

The terror organization is “now actively training its jihadis on it to fly flighter jets” at an air base in Sirte, the hometown of former Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, who was murdered in custody in 2011.

Nor is the group lacking in aircraft with which to begin to equip its fledgling air force: Da’esh has already managed to capture a number of fighter jets in Iraq and Syria.

Given these elements, Da’esh terrorist pilots could conceivably hijack planes and then crash them into high-value targets as did Al Qaeda on Sept. 11, 2001, or simply take to the skies in their own ISIS air force, perhaps to attack other targets. The group has felt no compunction about destroying any treasured site that might hold value to any society, be it religious or cultural, thus far. Moreover, Da’esh also appears to be escalating the caliber of its actions with each new attack.

At present, there are an estimated 3,000 Da’esh terrorists in Libya, a United Nations committee said in a report submitted to the U.S. Security Council and released to the public last week.

“Since 2013, the country has experienced several waves of Libyan returnees, which also formed the backbone of the newly established ISIL (ISIS -ed.) in Libya. In addition, the country continues to attract foreign terrorist fighters in significant numbers from North Africa. While currently concentrated in its stronghold in Sirte, ISIL could seek local alliances to expand its territorial control, also entailing the risk of motivating additional foreign terrorist fighters to join the group in Libya,” the committee reported in the executive summary.

Libya borders Tunisia and during the Arab Spring, Libyan rebel fighters flowed back and forth across the border, as did female Qaddafi family members who were fleeing the fighting.

During these times, members of the ancient Jewish communities of Djerba and Tunis prudently maintained a particularly low profile, often with assistance from longtime Gentile friends and neighbors, in order to increase their chances of staying alive through the storm.

It is not clear how the Tunisian Jewish community will be impacted by the growth of Da’esh next door, now spreading its tentacles throughout a nation that has never managed to achieve any stability since Qadaffi was toppled.

It is perfectly clear, however, that the world will be an infinitely more dangerous place if Da’esh succeeds in its bid to build a terrorist air force and if its success in achieving mastery of chemical and biological warfare is not sabotaged as soon as possible.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/report-isis-is-building-air-force-in-sirte/2015/12/08/

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