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February 1, 2015 / 12 Shevat, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘war on terror’

Canadian Foreign Minister Baird ‘Shoulder-to-Shoulder’ with Israel

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Visiting Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Monday, “Canada doesn’t stand behind Israel; we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with it.”

Baird won a warm welcome in Jerusalem after Sunday’s visit to his Palestinian Authority counterpart in Ramallah, where his car was pelted by eggs thrown by demonstrators waiting outside the Canadian offices in the city.

Netanyahu told Baird Monday, “To fight Islamist terrorism, we need clarity and courage. Canada has both. You know who is the aggressor; you know who is the defender. You know that Israel legitimately defends itself against the war crimes of Hamas and other terrorist groups. You know that it’s a travesty of justice to haul Israel to the dock in The Hague, and you know that the entire system of international law could unravel because of this travesty.”

Baird declared, “The great struggle of our generation is terrorism and far too often the State of Israel and the Jewish people around the world are on the front lines of that struggle.”

Netanyahu Thanks French Jews for Warm Welcome

Monday, January 12th, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with French Jewish leaders Monday morning and said that that terrorism will spread and worsen if the world does not join forces to fight it.

“Israel supports Europe in the struggle against terrorism and the time has come for Europe to support Israel in the exact same struggle, he said.

The Prime Minister tried to make believe that French officials did not want him to attend yesterday’s massive solidarity rally and said, “As soon as the security problem was resolved, thus allowing me to come, it was natural that I come here, it was important that I come here and therefore I came here.

“There is great significance in what the world saw, the Prime Minister of Israel marching with all the world leaders in a united effort against terrorism, or at least in a call for unity.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu also told French leaders, “Yesterday’s event in the La Victoire synagogue was emotional. I was also moved at the meeting with the bereaved families. I embraced the two brothers and I told them that I understand their feelings very well and that the entire Jewish People embraces the families. This was a moment of genuine Jewish solidarity. The visit to Paris was also a moment of general solidarity with humanity.”

Netanyahu Reassures Israel: War Mode until Total Quiet

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took to the air waves Wednesday night to reassure the country that the war against Hamas will continue until there is total security, peace and quiet not only for residents in southern Israel but also for all of the country.

The rah-rah speeches by the Prime Minister, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz included nothing that was not said in the past but were a clear message to the people of Israel and to Hamas that the resumption of missile attacks on Israel has deepened the government and military’s resolve to put an end once and for all to nearly a decade of rocket, mortar shell and missile s launched from Gaza at Israel, from the Gaza border to the north.

“We are taking all means to reach the objective and bring complete quiet,” Netanyahu said.” Operation Protective Edge has not ended, not even for a second,”

He recounted the heavy damage the IDF inflicted on the hams terrorist infrastructure but left unsaid that the “heavy blow” to Hamas has not deterred the terrorist organization from continuing to place most of Israel under daily and nightly rocket attacks.

“We will not stop until there is total security to southern Israel and to all citizens of the country,” he added.

“Our policy is simple. Shoot? You will get it back,” Netanyahu asserted. “If Hamas does not understand that today, it will understand tomorrow. If not tomorrow, then in two days because in the Middle East, it not just a matter of force but a matter of continued force.”

The IDF has called up more reservists and has recalled thousands of reservists who have been on an extended leave of absence. Plans for a massive ground incursion have been drawn out although it may be the last option the government and military want to exercise.

The Prime Minister sounds like he means what he says. The goal of the war has changed from destroying terror tunnels to a broader but an indefinite objective that will require an even stronger retaliation.

After nearly a decade, it’s about time, isn’t it?

Al-Qaeda Threat to Shutter US MidEast Embassies Sunday

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

The U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf gave an initial heads up at the State Department press conference on Thursday afternoon, August 1, that “certain U.S. embassies and consulates to remain closed or to suspend operations on Sunday, August 4.”

It was later disclosed that all U.S. embassies and consulates across the Middle East and in parts of Asia will be closed on Sunday.

The reason for the unprecedented closure is a possible al-Qaeda-related threat to diplomatic posts.

As NBSNews.com noted, Sunday is President Barack Obama’s 52nd birthday, and it’s also the day Iran inaugurates Hassan Rowhani as its new president. But U.S. officials told NBC News they had heard nothing to indicate that the date was chosen for either of those reasons.

ABC news had even more specific information.  Reporters there claimed that a U.S. official had said the closings were due to a credible and serious security threat of the targeting of an “embassy or consulate in a Muslim country.”

“We just don’t know which one,” the official told ABC News.

According to CBSNews.com, as of 7:35 PM ET Thursday, at least 14 embassies had announced that they will close on Sunday in accordance with the State Department’s guidance.  These include the U.S. embassies in Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

“There could be other targets, not just embassies,” another U.S. official said. The threat is considered to be throughout the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.

U.S. Ambassadors, and not the State Department, usually determine when an embassy will close.  This is an unusual step.

It is possible the diplomatic posts will remain closed past Sunday.

Winning the war on terrorism?  Defeated al-Qaeda?  Doesn’t sound like it.

The Jewish Press will continue to update this story as details become available.

Obama’s Head-in-the-Sand Speech About Terror

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

President Barack Obama’s speech at the National Defense University, “The Future of Our Fight against Terrorism” is a remarkable exercise in wishful thinking and denial. Here is basically what he says: the only strategic threat to the United States is posed by terrorists carrying out terrorist attacks.

In the 6400 words used by Obama, Islam only constitutes three of them and most interestingly in all three the word is used to deny that the United States is at war with Islam. In fact, that is what President George Bush said precisely almost a dozen years ago, after September 11. Yet why have not hundreds of such denials had the least bit of effect on the course of that war?

In fact, to prove that the United States is not at war with Islam, the Obama Administration has sided with political Islam throughout the Middle East, to the extent that some Muslims think Obama is doing damage to Islam, their kind of non-revolutionary Islam.

And how has the fight against al-Qaeda resulted in a policy that has, however inadvertently, armed al-Qaeda, as in Libya and Syria?

Once again, I will try to explain the essence of Obama strategy, a simple point that many people seem unable to grasp:

Obama views al-Qaeda as a threat because it wants to attack America directly with terrorism. But all other Islamist groups are not a threat. In fact, they can be used to stop al-Qaeda.

This is an abandonment of a strategic perspective. The word Islamism or political Islam or any other version of that word do not appear even once. Yet this is the foremost revolutionary movement of this era, the main threat in the world to U.S. interests and even to Western civilization.

If one wanted to come up with a slogan for the Obama Administration it would be that to win the war on terrorism one must lose the war on revolutionary Islamism because only by showing that America is the Islamists’ friend will it take away the incentive to join up with al-Qaeda and attack the United States.

Please take the two sections in bold above very seriously if you want to understand U.S. Middle East policy.

According to Obama:

If the Muslim Brotherhood takes over Egypt that is not a strategic threat but a positive advantage because it is the best organization able to curb al-Qaeda. And that policy proves that the United States is not at war with Islam.

If the Muslim Brotherhood takes over Tunisia that is not a strategic threat but a positive advantage because it is the best organization able to curb al-Qaeda. And that policy proves that the United States is not at war with Islam.

If the Muslim Brotherhood takes over Syria that is not a strategic threat but a positive advantage because it is the best organization able to curb al-Qaeda. And that policy proves that the United States is not at war with Islam.

If a regime whose viewpoint is basically equivalent to the Muslim Brotherhood—albeit far more subtle and culture—dominates Turkey that is not a strategic threat but a positive advantage because it is the best organization able to curb al-Qaeda. And that policy proves that the United States is not at war with Islam.

These and other strategic defeats do not matter, says Obama in effect:

After I took office, we stepped up the war against al Qaeda, but also sought to change its course. We relentlessly targeted al Qaeda’s leadership. We ended the war in Iraq, and brought nearly 150,000 troops home. We pursued a new strategy in Afghanistan, and increased our training of Afghan forces. We unequivocally banned torture, affirmed our commitment to civilian courts, worked to align our policies with the rule of law, and expanded our consultations with Congress.

And yet the Taliban is arguably close to taking over Afghanistan in future. The group has spread to Pakistan. The rule of law in Afghanistan is a joke and soldiers there know that the Afghan government still uses torture.

Today, Osama bin Laden is dead, and so are most of his top lieutenants. There have been no large-scale attacks on the United States, and our homeland is more secure. Fewer of our troops are in harm’s way, and over the next 19 months they will continue to come home. Our alliances are strong, and so is our standing in the world. In sum, we are safer because of our efforts.

Well, it is quite true that security measures within the United States have been largely successful at stopping attacks. But the frequency of attempted attacks has been extensive, some of which were blocked by luck and the expenditure of one trillion dollars. Country after country has been taken over by radical Islamists who can be expected to fight against American interests in future. Obama continues:

So America is at a crossroads. We must define the nature and scope of this struggle, or else it will define us…

But he never actually defines it except to suggest that (1) al-Qaeda has spread to other countries (which does not sound like a victory for the United States) and (2) That its affiliates and imitators are more amateurish than those who pulled off the September 11, 2001 attack. Yet they got away with the September 11, 2012 attack.

Without Allies in the Fourth Great War

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

The announcement by Secretary of Defense Hagel that the United States will “rethink all options” including arming Syrian rebel groups, was carefully hedged. “It doesn’t mean… you will” (choose any particular path). The statement however moves the U.S. closer to picking sides in a war with no good options and no good allies, and which American public opinion has thus far eschewed. It is important to understand in the broadest sense how we got here.

In two of the three global conflicts of the 20th Century, the United States took sides; in the third, it was a side. In World War I, we were less against Germany than with our long-time cultural and political allies, Britain and France. The cordial reception given to Americans in Germany between the wars, and the American affinity for parts of German society made some Americans reluctant to criticize the rise of Hitler. (See Hitlerland, by Andrew Nagorski.) In the Cold War, the United States faced off against Russia. The Cuban Missile Crisis was not about Cuba; the Central American wars of the 1980s were not about Central America. It was a war to the death between communism and democracy.

The end of the Cold War had two generally overlooked consequences. First, non-communist Russia retained its historic imperial nature, characterized by deep concern for and violent repression of threats to its “near abroad.” Second, countries and groups in the Middle East were no longer bound to choose between Soviets and Americans as patrons. This was particularly important because neither democracy nor communism is compatible with Islamist thinking. (Obligatory disclaimer: This in no way implies that Muslim people cannot live in democracies or be democrats; or live in communist countries or be communists, for that matter.)

The fourth Great War is less “Islam against the West” (although that surely is there) than it is Sunni expansionists vs. Shiite expansionists. Neither is an appealing partner for the United States in the region, and neither has a natural claim on our politics or our interests.

For reasons having to do with Iran itself, the U.S. will not choose to support Iranian-backed Shiites. However, Sunni expansionists are simply no better; Saudi and Qatari-supported Islamists run from the unacceptable Muslim Brotherhood to the even more unacceptable Wahabis, al Qaeda or Jabhat al Nusra – it is like a choice between cancer and a heart attack. (Second obligatory disclaimer: That is not to say the U.S. has no interests in the Middle East/North Africa/Southwest Asia, or that there is no humanitarian impulse due. It is to say both Sunni and Shiite expansionists have views and values inimical to Western liberal democracies, and neither is better than secular despots.)

In broad terms, the current fighting in the region is Sunni-Shiite: Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain, Yemen, Pakistan, and rumblings in Kuwait all have a Sunni-Shiite component. Turkey thinks of the Ottoman Empire, particularly after the freeing of the “Stans” from Russian control. Iran revisits the Persian Empire. The Muslim Brotherhood, al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Jabhat al Nusra, and others all find patrons in the region rather than in the U.S. or Russia. Oil money, particularly Saudi, Iranian and Qatari, greases various paths.

As both Sunnis and Shiites try to expand both deeper into their own societies and move farther afield, they run headlong into other regional, tribal, ethnic, religious, and familial interests. Christians, particularly in Iraq, Egypt, and Nigeria, have been hard hit as intolerance increases; it is estimated that half of Iraq’s Christians have left the country. As a corollary, the minority communities of Syria backed the secular Assad regime for fear of an Islamist takeover. The U.S. has been attacked and vilified, and Europe is being subverted through “no go” zones for police, the installation of elements of Sharia law, and rising Muslim anti-Semitism. Venezuela and Argentina are Iran’s hoped-for proxies, and Hezbollah operates freely in several South American countries.

Long involved in the repression of Sunni Caucasian nationalists, although the Chechen war only took on religious overtones in its second incarnation (2002-2007), Russia has chosen the Shiite side of the larger war. Even the idea of a nuclear Iran does not disturb Russia as much as the idea of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft weapons in the hands of Sunni terrorists. Russia preferred secular despots in the Middle East as well — Saddam, Assad father and son, Nasser — who would repress the Muslim Brotherhood and other internationalist Sunnis. The despots obliged. Nasser outlawed the Brotherhood, Assad killed tens of thousands in Hama, and Saddam ran a savagely secular state to ensure that his minority Sunnis could remain in power. Russia’s commitment to Bashar Assad should not be underestimated.

Talking about Terrorism and Islam

Monday, April 8th, 2013

The first rule of Jihad Club is that there’s no talking about it. For the second rule, see the first rule. The culture of silence and terrorism denial is sometimes well meaning. Since the Bush days, experts on Islam have warned that the best way to defeat Islamic terrorists is to undermine their claim to fighting on behalf of Islam by refusing to call them Islamic. The sheer brilliance of this strategy was only partly undermined by its origins in Saudi Arabia, the country sponsoring Islamic terrorists, and by the fact that recruiting primarily takes place in media and channels completely immune to the voluntary speech codes adopted by the A.P. stylebook.

The average Al Qaeda recruit is utterly unaffected by whether the White House press secretary calls the group Islamic, Islamist or terrorist or militant. He similarly does not care whether Nidal Hasan’s shooting rampage at Fort Hood is called an act of terror or workplace violence. Such concerns exist only in the bubble of experts who offer shortcuts to fighting terrorism that don’t actually involve killing terrorists.

Muslims are more likely to see Al Qaeda as Islamic because it kills Americans, regardless of what the official representatives of the Americans call that killing. The reasons for this are to be found in the militant roots and practice of their religion. And the Americans who get to die, but do not get a vote on how their deaths will be described, know that Al Qaeda is a Muslim terrorist group. Only in the realm of the expert bubble is it thought that changing words can change how favorably Muslims will view the killers of Americans and how Americans will identify or misidentify their killers.

Largely though the denial is not well meaning. To the left, Muslim terrorism runs the gamut from being a distraction to a call for reforming American foreign policy. After Obama won two elections, the liberal has trouble figuring out what more reforms need to be passed and complains that all this terrorism is a distraction from truly important issues like Global Warming and school budgets, while the avowed leftist goes Full Greenwald and rants about drone holocausts in Pakistan.

After the Arab Spring, the withdrawal from Iraq and the coming withdrawal from Afghanistan, and Obama deftly maneuvering into a pro-Hamas position on Israel; it’s hard to see what else America can or should do to appease the Jihad. The left will always have its checklist, but even Obama knows that no matter what he says or does, the drones will have to keep flying because it decreases the chances of a major terrorist attack that will force the country into taking a much more aggressive posture against Islamic terrorism.

The new low-intensity conflict is big on things we don’t talk about. We don’t talk about the drones and we don’t talk about the terrorists we are fighting. Instead we talk about how great Islam is.

Talking about how great Islam is and not talking about terrorism is an old hobby for America. We’ve been at it since September 11 and no matter how many interfaith meetings have been held and how often we talk about how much we have in common, the bombs still keeping showing up.

All the projects for Muslim self-esteem, from world tours of Muslim Hip-Hop groups to NASA being turned into a Muslim self-esteem laboratory, seem like bad refugees from failed 70s solutions to crime. All that’s left is to hold midnight basketball events across the Middle East and call for prison reform and we might as well be back in the worst days of the liberal war for crime. The problem is not that Muslim terrorists don’t love themselves enough… it’s that they love themselves too much.

Islamism is not caused by poor self-esteem, but by a lack of humility. Americans are often told that they are not good enough to tell the rest of the world what to do. But Islamists are never told that at all. Instead they are told by their own religious leaders that their way is superior and ought to be imposed on everyone and they are told by our leaders that their way is superior but should only be imposed on everyone after a democratic election.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/daniel-greenfield/talking-about-terrorism-and-islam/2013/04/08/

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