LCCC ENGLISH DAILY NEWS BULLETIN
Bible Quotation For Today/Turn away from those who are causing the divisions and occasions of stumbling
Romans 16/17-20: " Now I beg you, brothers, look out for those who are causing the divisions and occasions of stumbling, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and turn away from them. For those who are such don’t serve our Lord, Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by their smooth and flattering speech, they deceive the hearts of the innocent. For your obedience has become known to all. I rejoice therefore over you. But I desire to have you wise in that which is good, but innocent in that which is evil. And the God of peace will quickly crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you."
Latest analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on September 17 and 18/14
Ted Cruz: A Man of Principle/John Hajjar/MECHRIC/September 18/14
War against ISIS Headed for Failure/By: Tarek Fatah/The Toronto Sun/September 18/14
Multiculturalism is a failure/By: Walter Williams/Human Events/September 18/14
Half the Iraqi army is useless, and the other half needs work/By: John Hayward /Human Events./September 18/14
Obama’s ‘no troops’ vow is unrealistic/By: Michael Young/The Daily Star/September 18/14
Torn States and Changing Identities/Eyad Abu Shakra /Asharq AlAwsat/September 18/14
Lebanese Related News published on September 17 and 18/14
Nusra threatens to kill Lebanese soldier
Lawmakers for life in Lebanon
Four out of five Syrian children in Lebanon lack schooling
Vote too close to call as Scots go to polls
Hariri: No parliamentary polls before president
Closer look at parliamentary election hopefuls
Security under control, Moqbel says after soldier
Families of missing pressure government for probe
Students back at LAU, pessimistic about future
Sound reading of Islam will root out extremism
Refugees flock to General Security centers to legalize stay
Nazarian: 1 MW solar plant to be ready in 2015
Jumblatt convinced by Aoun's logic in presidential run
Lebanon to set up Syrian refugee camps, introduce new measures: minister
Miscellaneous Reports And News published on September 17 and 18/14
Israel 'concerned' as Iran belittles US
Iranians back nuclear deal, reject tough demands
Iran slams 'ridiculous' US coalition as Congress funds arms against ISIS
Iran's Rouhani: Islamic State wants to 'kill humanity':
Obama: U.S. troops won’t play combat role in Iraq
ISIS no threat to Erbil: Peshmerga official
Military Intelligence collects tens of millions of pieces of information a day
Netanyahu: Hamas arrested those responsible for Gaza fire and made clear they are committed to truce
Biden apologizes for using anti-Semitic term following
chiding by ADL
US mulls next steps in battle against ISIS
Stray mortar strikes Golan
Shift in Israelis' security perception
Hate crimes up against Jews, Muslims
Iran slams 'ridiculous' US coalition as Congress funds arms against ISIS
Gaza widow offers insight into world of spies
IDF major becomes first Israeli UN peacekeeper
ISIS shuts down bases before possible U.S. strike
Saudi Council of Senior Scholars warn against “heinous” terrorism
Gulf states “optimistic” Qatar dispute will be resolved: UAE FM
Ted Cruz: A Man of Principle
John Hajjar/Middle East Christian Committee (MECHRIC)
September 17, 2014
As the public opinion of Congress sinks to new lows, we see in Ted Cruz, the Texas Senator, the rare qualities of strength of character, intelligence and leadership so lacking in modern politics. His detractors call him a demagogue and an extremist and resort to character assassination because they are so frightened by the power of his convictions, moral clarity and lack of political correctness. His style resonates with the American public and is reflected in his meteoric rise in the Senate.
And so we see in James Zogby’s attack on Senator Cruz (Ted Cruz: The Dangers of not Listening) published yesterday more of the obfuscation, double standards and out right bigotry against what he calls ‘Arab Christians’ and their natural allies in Israel. Mr. Zogby accuses Senator Cruz of being a poor listener and exhibiting insensitivity to the concerns of the large crowd that gathered last week in Washington, DC for the ‘In Defense of Christians’ conference. Senator Cruz was the keynote speaker at the IDC conference on Wednesday evening at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.
Mr. Zogby’s beef with Senator Cruz stems from the latter’s statement that “Christians have no better ally than the Jewish State” to which he was booed by activists in the gathering. He followed by stating the obvious that “those who hate Jews hate Christians” which was also followed by booing. These forthright pronouncements should be self-evident to the many Middle Eastern Christian gathered that night but their political masters in Iran, Syria and Lebanon would hold them responsible for failing to object. Anyone who even cursorily follows current events knows that the native Christian numbers throughout the Middle East are falling dramatically as a result of Islamic Fundamentalism with one glaring exception: Israel. There the numbers of the faithful are increasing, churches, schools and other institutions are thriving and the Palestinian Christians are even serving in the Israeli Defense Forces.
The attendees know these facts and so does Mr. Zogby who is a well-known lobbyist for various Arab interests. Proclaiming them publicly, however, would cause potentially grave consequences for the attendees who hold positions of power in their native lands-read: politicians, businessmen and high ranking clergy- so they shut their mouths to the persecutions and murders carried out by their political patrons in both Iran and Damascus. Worse, they rush to defend this Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah axis of evil whenever it is called out by those who really know what is happening in the region and Senator Cruz is most definitely a well-informed leader and listens very well contrary to the assertions of Mr. Zogby.
Senator Cruz is a regular attendee at the Coptic Solidarity Convention which is held annually in Washington. Through his involvement with both Coptic Solidarity and the Middle East Christian Committee (MECHRIC) and due to his bright intellect and faith Mr. Cruz is recognized as an expert on Middle Eastern affairs and has been extremely concerned about the persecution of the indigenous Christians and other non-Muslim minorities in the region for some time. For Mr. Zogby to proclaim the ‘ignorance and bigotry’ of Senator Cruz is disingenuous, untrue and reflective of his Arab nationalist mindset which was honed over many decades by defending and promoting the most odious characters and regimes in the Arab world. Regimes such as Saudi Arabia that forbid the practice of Christianity outright, persecute women, moderate Muslims and anyone that doesn’t toe the Salafist line. What hypocrisy!
Now we are to believe that Mr. Zogby is a Christian activist and Senator Cruz a shameless bigot who knows nothing of the Middle East and ‘Arab’ Christians when the opposite is true. Senator Cruz knows that there are indeed Arab Christians but he also is well aware of the pre Arab ethnic identities of most of the Christians of the Middle East. He knows that the liturgical language of the Maronites and Assyro-Chaldeans is Syriac and that many Assyrians in Iraq still speak the language of Christ. He knows that the Copts of Egypt are definitely non-Arab and have suffered for centuries because of their faith, language and culture as have all of the Christians of the Middle East. He is well aware that Copts had their tongues cut off for speaking Coptic after the conquest of the seventh century, do you Mr. Zogby?
Zogby claims in an earlier piece promoting the IDC conference that he is concerned about ‘Arab’ Christians while denying the ancestry of the vast majority who are not. Obviously he doesn’t believe in the Western virtue of diversity choosing to lump all the Middle Eastern Christians under the label of Arabs. This is bigotry bordering on fascism. While the Christians of the Middle East have contributed greatly to the Arab world and in certain times were broadly respected, they have suffered dearly to preserve their religion and culture over the centuries. History is replete with examples of pogroms, slaughters and genocides too numerous to mention. Mr. Zogby can libel Senator Cruz all he wants but the facts are clear. To point out these facts does not make Senator Cruz a bigot, a hater or anything but a truth teller. After all, a basic tenet of Christianity is to bear witness to the truth. The newly minted Christian activist James Zogby should understand this fact quite well.
Mr. Zogby laments that the Middle East is a region of which we know so little imploring us to learn more of the people, culture and social dynamics at work in each country of the region. How can this happen when we have the likes of Mr. Zogby purposefully hiding truths, obfuscating facts and slandering brave leaders like Senator Cruz? The reality of Jihadism is now a worldwide problem that will take bold and courageous leadership to confront and to ultimately defeat. Indeed, moderate Muslims are sounding the same alarm. Middle Eastern Christianity now hangs in the balance. Its leaders can rise to the challenge and act as St. Paul did while proclaiming the good news or they can aid and abet Saul. If they choose the former course, they will have no greater ally than Senator Ted Cruz.
Nusra threatens to kill Lebanese soldier
The Daily Star
BEIRUT: The Nusra Front threatened to kill one of the Lebanese soldiers it is holding Tuesday, an indication that Qatari-brokered negotiations to end the hostage crisis have reached an apparent deadlock. Under the title of “Who will pay the price?” a statement published on a Nusra Front-affiliated Twitter page said that “[soldier] Mohammad Maarouf Hammieh might be the first to pay the price.”The Nusra Front and ISIS are still holding at least 22 policemen and soldiers captive, after militants took hostage over 30 military and security personnel during last month’s clashes in the northeastern border town of Arsal. So far, ISIS has beheaded two Army soldiers, while the Nusra Front has yet to kill any of its hostages. The Nusra Front is fed up with negotiations with the Lebanese government, the group said, stressing that prolonging talks might close the door for negotiations. “Let everyone know that negotiations were not closed by us,” the Nusra Front tweeted. “We don’t have impossible demands.” The militant group said that it realized that “the road to negotiations was closed” when Lebanese politicians said that “talks may go on for one month or two.”The statement also cited what it called Hezbollah’s continued crackdown on Syrian refugees in Arsal and along the town’s borders as another reason behind their dissatisfaction with negotiations. “Don’t blame us if we have had enough,” the statement said. Commenting on the Nusra Front’s announcement, a source from the General Security neither confirmed nor denied that negotiations have failed. “We are not concerned by the statement the group has released,” the source told The Daily Star.The Lebanese government has been negotiating with militants over the release of the abducted security personnel and has tasked General Security head Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim with the matter.
An envoy sent by Qatar had previously met with the militants and relayed their demands to the Lebanese government.
Nusra Front and ISIS are both demanding the release of Islamist inmates from Roumieh Prison. Prime Minister Tammam Salam and a ministerial delegation held talks Sunday with Qatari officials in Doha over the release of the hostages. The delegation returned to Beirut the same day, while Ibrahim was back Tuesday. Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi said Tuesday that 28 Islamist suspects had been tried and acquitted recently, while decisions were made to release four other defendants, as part of the government’s bid to speed up the trial of Islamist detainees which could be part of a deal that would see the hostages released. In an indirect response to MP Walid Jumblatt, Rifi refuted allegations that trials of Islamist detainees could be concluded in three days, saying “it is mere talking, because it is impossible not to respect legal deadlines” that require more time. “I will not pretend to be able to close that file in days. This is totally incorrect. We will not turn our tribunals into martial courts, and the judges and judiciary should abide by the law,” Rifi said during a visit to the Higher Judicial Council during which he announced the kickoff of the “new judicial year. Rifi stressed that speeding up the Islamists’ trials and dealing with the problems of prisons that suffer from overcrowding, among other things, were his top priorities, noting that the court had recently acquitted 28 suspects, including one in custody, and decided to release four defendants.
Asked to comment on reports that Islamist detainees might be swapped with security personnel held captive by extremist militants from ISIS and Nusra Front, Rifi said that in the absence of a president such a move could only be decided by the government unanimously.The head of Higher Judicial Council, Judge Jean Fahd, said the council had regrouped the cases of 430 Islamist suspects into 39 categories for the sake of accelerating the process, noting that two rulings were expected to be issued in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, militants on the outskirts of Arsal have released a Lebanese citizen abducted Saturday, a security source told The Daily Star Tuesday.
The source said Ahmad Hujeiri was part of a group operating in Arsal in collaboration with Lebanese Army Intelligence during the clashes with the militants last month. The militants accused him of cooperating with Hezbollah.
In parallel, Palestinian businessman Mohammad Khaled Ismail was also released, two days after his kidnapping for unknown reasons from in front of his residence in Baalbek. The National News Agency said Ismail’s release was the result of pressure from political parties.
Separately, the Lebanese Army clashed with fighters from Nusra Front overnight, as the militants sought to cross into Lebanon after suffering heavy casualties in clashes with the Syrian army.
The state-run National News Agency said a number of the militants were killed and wounded in the fighting with Lebanese soldiers. – The Daily Star
Hariri rules out Parliament polls before president elected
Kareem Shaheen| The Daily Star
BEIRUT: There will be no parliamentary vote in Lebanon before a new president is elected, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri declared Wednesday, in a move that all but guarantees the extension of Parliament’s mandate.
“A lot will be said about an alleged deal to extend Parliament’s tenure,” Hariri, the Future Movement’s leader, said on Twitter. “There is no deal. We simply won’t participate in parliamentary elections unless a president is elected for the Republic.”
“Let them allow an end to the vacancy in the presidency and we will be ready for every other election,” he added, in a reference to Hezbollah and its allies. “Otherwise it would be betting on the unknown and maybe falling into total vacuum,” the former premier tweeted.
A solution that would allow Lebanon to hold parliamentary elections on time had appeared as elusive as ever despite public opposition to extending the chamber’s mandate by the country’s top politicians, before Hariri’s announcement confirmed the breakdown of talks.
Political deadlock appeared almost inevitable as the impasse over the election of a new president relentlessly continued and no compromise was reached to allow Parliament to vote on a raft of urgent legislation.
The Future Movement and Speaker Nabih Berri dispelled any notions of an agreement that would allow for the extension of Parliament’s mandate in exchange for holding legislative sessions.
The March 14 bloc has been boycotting legislative sessions at Parliament, saying a new president must be elected before voting on new bills.
The presidency has been empty since former President Michel Sleiman’s term ended in May, and initiatives on both sides of the political aisle have been repeatedly stymied over the absence of a consensus candidate.
MPs who visited the speaker at his Ain al-Tineh residence Wednesday quoted him as saying his “stands on all matters are always clear and explicit,” and stressed that his position opposing the parliamentary extension “is not open to negotiation or compromise.”
Legislators have argued that Parliament could address a raft of urgent matters that have paralyzed the country’s finances and economy, including a long-simmering bill outlining a new salary scale for public employees, the government’s extra-budgetary spending and allowing the government to sell Eurobonds to raise money for public financing.
Berri confirmed in his meetings with March 14 representatives that he considered the wage hike the first priority for action.
The Future Movement confirmed the stance after its weekly meeting with a statement that stressed the need to elect a president before the parliamentary vote.
The party said it had submitted its candidacies to the elections with the understanding that the presidential vote would take place first.
The Future Movement said the delays in electing a president would likely lead to a constitutional deadlock and a worsening security situation in the country.
The back-and-forth between the Future Movement and the speaker coincided with a high-profile visit between former rivals and current allies Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun and Druze leader Walid Jumblatt.
Jumblatt said that he agreed with Aoun’s logic regarding running for the presidency, but the Progressive Socialist Party leader stressed that their meeting did not include talks on the topic.“I am convinced with Aoun’s rationale behind his presidential candidacy, but we haven’t spoken about the issue in today’s meeting,” he said after meeting with the FPM leader. “There was an agreement on the majority of points,” he added, “the coordination between us will continue.”
Aoun also confirmed that the meeting excluded talks about the presidency but said a common view was shared on most other matters of discussion.
Jumblatt agreed with the view on the international coalition against ISIS that the FPM leader expressed in a televised interview Tuesday night.
Aoun had said he did not believe in a coalition that excluded countries, including Syria, that were suffering from terrorism.
The relationship between Aoun and Jumblatt has been mostly fraught since the former’s return from exile in 2005. But since Jumblatt’s announcement of taking a “centrist” line between March 14 and March 8, relations between the two leaders have improved. A month before Wednesday’s visit to Jumblatt, Aoun received the Druze leader for a meeting at his residence in Rabieh.
Lawmakers for life in Lebanon
The Daily Star/Our politicians surprised us again this week, as the deadline for candidacy in parliamentary elections came and went. More than 500 people declared an intention to run, even though an extension of Parliament’s mandate is nearly certain.
Nearly all current MPs found their performance of recent years to be so outstanding that they decided to run again. Meanwhile, several decided that their own status was so exalted that they instead put forward a family member to carry on the family tradition.
The best surprise came with the slew of “double candidacies.” Some MPs or former MPs did the following: They filed their papers, but so did a wife, son, brother or cousin, in the same district. If elections take place, one of the candidates will withdraw – the point is to keep the seat in the extended family. Rotation in office is supposed to mean one party’s giving way to another, peacefully, and not rotating a seat between father and son, down the generations. It’s easy to poke fun at politicians, but the country’s civil society movement also bears a great deal of responsibility for the shameful state of affairs. Despite all their noise and activities, civil society activists have yet to make a dent in the system. Instead of tossing a few crates of tomatoes at MPs, civil society groups should run and win their own campaigns, to prove that they have a following. They have to hit the street – in huge numbers – and not the cafes. People’s awareness has been raised; they need a viable way to fight back against the system, and not more lectures on why things are so disappointing.
Jumblatt convinced by Aoun's logic in presidential run
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Walid Jumblatt said Wednesday that he agreed with MP Michel Aoun’s logic in running for the presidency, but the Progressive Socialist Party leader stressed that their meeting did not include discussions on the matter. “I am convinced with Aoun’s rationale behind his presidential candidacy, but we haven’t spoken about the issue in today’s meeting,” Jumblatt said after meeting with the Free Patriotic Movement leader in Clemenceau. “There was an agreement on the majority of points,” he added, “the coordination between us will continue.” Aoun also confirmed that the meeting excluded any dialogue about presidential elections but stressed that a common view was shared on most other matters of discussion. Jumblatt agreed with the view on the international coalition against ISIS that the FPM leader expressed in a televised interview Tuesday night. Aoun had said he did not believe in a coalition that excluded countries, including Syria, that were suffering from terrorism. The relationship between Aoun and Jumblatt has been mostly negative since the former’s return from exile in 2005. However, since Jumblatt’s announcement of taking a “centrist” line between March 14 and March 8, relations between the two leaders have improved. A month before Wednesday’s visit to Jumblatt, Aoun received the Druze leader for a meeting at his residence in Rabieh.
Refugees flock to General Security centers to legalize stay
Samya Kullab/Mohammed Zaatari| The Daily Star
BEIRUT/SIDON, Lebanon: Syrian refugees across Lebanon flocked to General Security centers for the second day Wednesday to settle their residency status, as the Interior Ministry sought to reorganize the country’s refugee file. Earlier this month, Sept. 11, the Interior Ministry announced its decision to allow Syrian refugees who were in Lebanon illegally, or who had overstayed their legal stay, to remain in the country an extra six months free of charge.
As a result, hundreds of refugees packed the courtyard and main entrances to Tripoli’s Serail Wednesday to apply for their six-month residency, while scores of others lined up outside the gates toward the highway, causing monstrous traffic jams.
Police had to intervene to ease the traffic by closing the serail’s gates and reorganizing the queues.
Similar scenes unfolded in Sidon, as hundreds of men, women and children lined up under the scorching sun to renew their documents. By the end of the day General Security had processed about 400 requests, and many people were still waiting outside. At one point security personnel asked refugees to take shelter under trees for protection from the sun.
“Thousands of us entered illegally, or have expired documents,” said Al al-Khaled, complaining about the long queues.
“I’ve been here for three years, I entered legally but avoided renewing my residency because we didn’t have the money,” said Iktimal al-Soufy, who resides south of Sidon.
Yahya Faris, a Syrian refugee from Qusair residing in Bar Elias, whose residency expired a year ago, said the document was especially important for someone in his situation because “it makes it easier for me to get around,” and meant he didn’t have to worry about being stopped at checkpoints.
“Especially these days, it helps to remove suspicions or doubts [harbored by the authorities] at checkpoints that I might belong to [extremist] groups,” he said. “Right now, I don’t have legal documents to prove who I am.”
But other refugees expressed misgivings. Faten, a refugee living in Arsal, said she had been planning to go the closest General Security center in the Bekaa Valley, but opted not to when she heard that others had gone and come back empty-handed because there were too many people.
“I didn’t go because I’m a mother with a large family and I can’t afford the transport fees,” she said.
According to a General Security source, refugees need to present their passports or other valid identification documents to the authorities to begin the application process. Refugees have until the end of the year, Dec. 31, to settle their paperwork.
General Security issued a circular on Sept. 15, clarifying that the new decision would not apply to Palestinian refugees from Syria, and that though Syrian refugees who crossed into Lebanon illegally would be eligible for a onetime six-month stay, they would be handed a departure order after this time.
The latter group would also be banned from re-entering Lebanon, the statement said, although it did not specify whether the injunction was permanent or for a set period.
The decision regarding the legal stay for refugees was initially a suggestion made by the Interior Ministry to the Cabinet in August, said Khalil Gebara, an adviser to minister Nouhad Machnouk.
The move was partly to facilitate mobility for refugees and partly to organize the country’s disorganized refugee file.
“The interior minister knows that there are a lot of Syrian refugees registered with the U.N. who cannot go back to Syria and cannot afford to pay for the renewal,” he said. A refugee must pay $200 to renew their legal stay, a sum too large for the typical Syrian refugee, who earns an average of $250 per month.
Others have the option of crossing into Syria for 24 hours, and re-entering Lebanon, but some refugees and NGOs cite security concerns, especially in light of a government decree giving Lebanon the right to strip refugee status from Syrians who return to their home country.
“At the same time, ministries did not participate in registering refugees, so they don’t know who they are, they don’t know their names. So the Interior [Ministry] believes one way to reorganize the whole refugee file is by fixing paperwork problems first,” Gebara said.
“From a common-sense point of view, having Syrians with legal documents is better than having them in hiding illegally. The logic being that until we find a way to [comprehensively] reorganize the file, we need to start small somehow.”
Niamh Murnaghan, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Country Director in Lebanon, said that the step was a positive one, considering the economic hardship faced by refugees, but said it had been left vague what would happen when the six months were up.
“Hopefully by that time the government will have a comprehensive strategy,” Gebara said. – Additional reporting by Antoine Amrieh
Iran's Rouhani: Islamic State wants to 'kill humanity': NBC
Reuters/WASHINGTON: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani denounced Islamic State's beheading of innocent people, saying the militant group wants to "kill humanity," NBC News said in excerpts of an interview released on Wednesday.
"From the viewpoint of the Islamic tenets and culture, killing an innocent people equals the killing of the whole humanity," Rouhani told the television network, according to NBC. "And therefore, the killing and beheading of innocent people in fact is a matter of shame for them and it's the matter of concern and sorrow for all the human and all the mankind."
The hidden holiday: 36 years of peace between Egypt & Israel Egypt
Published: 09.18.14Israel Opinion
Op-ed: Very few of Israel's citizens know that they owe their lives today to the
leadership which signed Camp David Accords.
Today is a day of celebration for the State of Israel, but few of its citizens know that. It's a holiday hidden from the eye.
Today is the 36th anniversary of the Camp David Accords, which led to the peace treaty with Egypt. Peace with Egypt? One needs to have been for at least 50 years to understand the meaning of this peace.
How many people remember that Egypt led nearly every diplomatic and military move against Israel until 36 years ago? That the rusty, out-of-date and good-for-nothing Egyptian army managed to surprise the great and fearful IDF and deal it a serious blow?
Since its establishment, the State of Israel had been preoccupied with the Egyptian threat. Every move, every decision, every act and failure were determined according to decisions made in Cairo.
For generations, our practical life depended on the Egyptian presidential palace, on Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat and others. We beat them. We crushed their army and their economy. We haunted them – and the Egyptians always managed to shake off the dust and failure and recover.
I will forever remember that night's third watch, 36 years ago. The phone call I received from defense minister Ezer Weizman at 4 am and the exciting announcement: "We are on our way to the White House for a signing ceremony. We have peace with Egypt." My urgent phone calls to friends at 4 am with the joyful announcement and without apologizing about the early hour. How I choked with joy and traveled to the military cemetery in Kiryat Shaul that morning to tell my silent friends that the great news had arrived too late for them.
The Israelis, like all Jews, are a discontented nation which is also thirsty for the world's love. Many of them will say also today: You call this peace? There are no tourists from there, and now there are no tourists going there either. Trade relations? Absolutely nothing. The Egyptians hate us. They burn flags. Being an Israeli in Cairo today is extremely dangerous. Why don't they come here? Why are so hostile towards us?
My answer is painfully simple: So they don't like us. They even hate us. They burn Israeli flags like in Paris, London and Berlin. They don't want us to exist like the rest of the Arab world, which they are part of. So what?
For 36 years, there have been no wars between us. For 36 years, the State of Israel has been able to allot its resources to economy, education and health rather than to the establishment of additional armored divisions, thousands of soldiers and thousands of reserve duty call ups to guard the Israel-Egypt border.
True, there have been terror attacks. Israelis have been murdered in Cairo and on their way there. But – and there is no but when it comes to victims – the number of casualties in all those years barely reached the number of victims in one major terror attack against a bus in Tel Aviv or in Jerusalem.
Each of these victims is precious, just like the hundreds killed in the battles against the Egyptians in the War of Independence, and the hundreds killed in the Sinai campaign and in the Six-Day War, and the thousands who lost their lives in the Yom Kippur War.
We are willing to tolerate the hateful chants against Israel, and watch the flags burning in front of our eyes. We are willing to accept anything that doesn’t mean losing the lives of thousands of our children in the cycle of wars every few years.
You're saying it may all end tomorrow? Well, at least we gained 36 quiet years, and in the history of Zionism that's something too. We gained our lives and the lives of our children and our grandchildren. In the horrible and dreadfully cruel world we live in, 36 years is something too.
And this is also an opportunity to thank those who deserve the gratitude, and perhaps, first and foremost, late prime minister Menachem Begin, foreign minister Moshe Dayan and defense minister Ezer Weizman, who dreamt their entire life about Bir al-Thamada and Bir Gifgafa and the "third Israeli kingdom" and sang in the shower, "In the Nahal settlement in Sinai, so many good things I saw with my eyes," and promised to live in the settlement of Neor Sinai, and said that "better Sharm el-Sheikh without peace than peace with Sharm el-Sheikh," and then demonstrated leadership and changed their views in the face of reality.
On the streets of Tel Aviv, Kfar Saba and Ma'a lot, thousands of people are living and walking around as we speak without knowing that they owe their lives to that leadership. That is the reason why they are not celebrating that holiday hidden from the eye today.
Multiculturalism is a failure
By: Walter Williams
9/17/2014 /Human Events
German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that in Germany, multiculturalism has “utterly failed.” Both Australia’s ex-prime minister John Howard and Spain’s ex-prime minister Jose Maria Aznar reached the same conclusion about multiculturalism in their countries. British Prime Minister David Cameron has warned that multiculturalism is fostering extremist ideology and directly contributing to homegrown Islamic terrorism. UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said the United Kingdom’s push for multiculturalism has not united Britons but pushed them apart. It has allowed for Islam to emerge despite Britain’s Judeo-Christian culture. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the roots of violent Islamism are not “superficial but deep” and can be found “in the extremist minority that now, in every European city, preach hatred of the West and our way of life.”
The bottom line is that much of the Muslim world is at war with Western civilization. There’s no question that the West has the military might to thwart radical Islam’s agenda. The question up for grabs is whether we have the intelligence to recognize the attack and the will to defend ourselves from annihilation.
Multiculturalism is Islamists’ foot in the door. At the heart of multiculturalism is an attack on Western and Christian values. Much of that attack has its roots on college campuses among the intellectual elite who see their mission as indoctrinating our youth. In past columns, I’ve documented professorial hate-America teaching, such as a UCLA economics professor’s telling his class, “The United States of America, backed by facts, is the greediest and most selfish country in the world.” A history professor told her class: “Capitalism isn’t a lie on purpose. It’s just a lie.” She also said: “(Capitalists) are swine. … They’re bastard people.” Students sit through lectures listening to professorial rants about topics such as globalism and Western exploitation of the Middle East and Third World peoples.
Some public school boards have banned songs and music containing references to Santa Claus, Jesus or other religious Christmas symbols. The New York City school system permits displays of Jewish menorahs and the Muslim star and crescent, but not the Christian Nativity scene. One school district banned a teacher from using excerpts from historical documents in his classroom because they contained references to God and Christianity. The historical documents in question were the Declaration of Independence and “The Rights of the Colonists,” by Samuel Adams.
The U.S. is a nation of many races, ethnicities, religions and cultures. Since our inception, people from all over the world have immigrated here to become Americans. They have learned English and American history and celebrated American traditions and values. They have become Americans while also respecting and adapting some of the traditions of the countries they left behind. By contrast, many of today’s immigrants demand that classes be taught — and official documents be printed — in their native language. Other immigrants demand the use of Shariah, practices that permit honor killing and female genital mutilation.
Multiculturalists argue that different cultural values are morally equivalent. That’s nonsense. Western culture and values are superior. For those who’d accuse me of Eurocentrism, I’d ask: Is forcible female genital mutilation, as practiced in nearly 30 sub-Saharan African and Middle Eastern countries, a morally equivalent cultural value? Slavery is practiced in Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Sudan; is it morally equivalent? In most of the Middle East, there are numerous limits placed on women, such as prohibitions on driving, employment and education. Under Islamic law, in some countries, female adulterers face death by stoning, and thieves face the punishment of having their hand severed. In some countries, homosexuality is a crime punishable by death. Are these cultural values morally equivalent, superior or inferior to Western values?
Multiculturalism has not yet done the damage in the U.S. that it has in western European countries — such as England, France and Germany — but it’s on its way. By the way, one need not be a Westerner to hold Western values. Mainly, you just have to accept the supremacy of the individual above all else.
**Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.
Half the Iraqi army is useless, and the other half needs work
By: John Hayward /9/17/2014
General Martin Dempsey, U.S. military's top-ranked officer, said he believes American ground forces could join Iraqi and Kurdish troops on the ground in the fight against the Islamic State. President Barack Obama has...
Since the beginning of this crisis, I’ve been highly skeptical of the three-way alliance President Obama apparently expects to topple ISIS for him. The Kurds are solid players, but they’re mostly on defense, protecting territory that is likely to become an independent nation. That nation will make a fine regional ally for the West, but it will not be well-liked by either of its “partners” in the three-way alliance: what remains of Iraq, and the busload of Syrian rebels who aren’t already allied with al-Qaeda or at peace with the Islamic State.
The Syrian front in this anti-ISIS effort is a point of particular concern. Well, let’s be blunt: what the White House is talking about is sheer fantasy. They might as well be announcing plans to hit the Islamic State from the north with a coalition of hobbits, elves, and dragons. Most of the Islamic State’s strength is in Syrian territory. The relatively small and ineffective segment of the Syrian rebellion that isn’t composed of outright terrorists and al-Qaeda subsidiaries is much more interested in throwing Bashar Assad out of Damascus than flinging themselves into battle against the caliphate, while Assad sits back with a bowl of popcorn and enjoys the show. In addition to its legendary low-tech savagery, ISIS is also thought to have chemical weapons taken from both Syrian and Iraqi WMD stockpiles (which our friends on the Left spent a decade claiming were non-existent – yet another thing they were wrong about.) There have been reports of ISIS using chemical weapons.
Convincing a small and not-terribly-fierce subset of the Syrian resistance to forget about the guy they were resisting and charge into that chlorine-laced meat grinder with Barack Obama, of all people, watching their backs is not going to be easy. This President’s fecklessness, his view of foreign policy as an annoying distraction, and his penchant for turning on U.S. allies – because pushing them around is easier than taking bold stands against barbarians – will all come back to haunt us, as we try to round up proxies for an operation where the President keeps loudly declaring we won’t be on the front lines, no matter what happens. What this “no boots on the ground” stuff is saying to prospective Syrian proxies is: We won’t be there to save you, if this all goes wrong. We’ll be your air force, but that’s it.
Likewise, the endless public arguments between Obama and his subordinates about whether we’re at war or not – they’re basically arguing with each other on-camera, while the world watches in slack-jawed amazement – sends this message: We’re not really serious about this. It’s all about U.S. politics and media spin. If things go bad and our poll numbers dip, we’ll hang you out to dry in a single news cycle.
With that in mind, I wonder if the cagier members of the Syrian resistance will be able to resist the temptation to get some of that American air power turned against Assad, perhaps with a false-flag attack or two. Or if Assad sees his erstwhile enemies bleeding themselves out in battle against each other, what’s to stop him from rolling in at the end of the bloodbath to mop up the resistance and declare victory in the Syrian civil war? What if the rest of the Syrian resistance decides America’s willing proxies against ISIS are a distraction from what they see as the more urgent business of knocking down Assad, and turn against the American-allied Syrians in the kind of scrum that can’t be easily broken up from 30,000 feet? There are so many ways the Syrian side of this triangle can go wrong.
Which brings us to Iraq, where things are not looking good at all. In fact, the Iraqi military in such bad shape that General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress that American “boots on the ground” might just be in the picture after all… a burst of candor that will not endear him to the panicked White House.
In separate press conference, Dempsey also made remarks that have been widely reported as saying only half the Iraqi military is ready to fight. It’s actually much worse than that. What he said was that half the Iraqi military is almost completely useless against the Islamic State for sectarian reasons, and the other half needs work before it’s ready for heavy combat. From Fox News:
War against ISIS Headed for Failure
By: Tarek Fatah/The Toronto Sun
September 17, 2014
When U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sat down in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on the 13th anniversary of 9/11, surrounded by the leaders of 10 Arab states, to build a coalition against Islamic State (ISIS), the scene dripped with irony.
For decades, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, along with Arab billionaires in Gulf Arab states, have financed the breeding grounds of Islamic extremism in the tens of thousands of madrassas spread around the world, from Philippines to Philadelphia.
Take the case of the al-Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane, whose death President Barack Obama boasted about at the Wales NATO summit as an example of America's approach to dismantling al-Qaida-affiliated groups.
What Obama failed to mention was the fact Godane became a jihadi terrorist only after obtaining a Saudi scholarship to study radical Islam at madrassas in Sudan and later Pakistan.
Assuming the objective of the American/Arab coalition was to fight the misogynist murderers of ISIS, it was also ironic not a single woman sat at the table. Not even a female State Department staffer or assistant.
This was not a coalition that will defeat ISIS; it was a coalition that will end up reinforcing Islamic State as the one true answer to the crimes being committed against the Arab people by its own leaders.
Islamic State is being formed exactly the way Saudi Arabia was formed when thousands of bloodthirsty jihadis rose from the Sultanate of Nejd and invaded the Kingdom of Hejaz, slaughtering the country's citizens into submission in 1925.
This was not a coalition that will defeat ISIS; it was a coalition that will end up reinforcing Islamic State as the one true answer to the crimes being committed against the Arab people by its own leaders.
Remember, Saudi Arabia is a kingdom where the king had his own daughters held hostage to force their mom, his runaway wife, to return.
Then we have Turkey as a NATO ally sitting in on secret meetings where the West bungles its way trying to figure out the difference between "strategy" and "tactic".
As the New York Times disclosed today "one of the biggest source of (ISIS)recruits is neighboring Turkey, a NATO member."
The challenge posed by ISIS will not be resolved with the American airstrikes or by British Prime Minister David Cameron's declaration echoing George Bush's cliched chant that, "Islam is a religion of peace".
This will merely strengthen the jihadis' resolve and make more Muslims turn to ISIS.
Here is a five-point plan that will make ISIS weak from within:
•Recognize Iraqi Kurdistan as an independent country, a UN member state with a security pact with NATO.
•Recognize the Kurdish Workers Party in Turkey (PKK) as an ally, not a terrorist group.
•Recognize the exiled Iranian Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) as an ally, not a terrorist group.
•Recognize the Balochistan struggle for independence from Pakistan and Iran as a legitimate national liberation struggle, similar to those of the Baltic Republics, Kosovo, East Timor and Eritrea
•Expel Turkey from NATO as it is an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood and represents a threat to the West.
As for Islamic leaders in North America and Europe, they should stop their exercise in "Muslim patriotism" and for once speak the truth.
Listening to the rhetoric from some leaders of my Muslim community reminds me of car company executives who, instead of addressing the problems with their cars, are more concerned with protecting the reputation of their brand.
Iranians back nuclear deal but reject
tough demands: poll
Agence France Presse
WASHINGTON/TEHRAN: As Iran and world powers prepare to resume nuclear talks, a new poll Wednesday revealed most Iranians back a deal but consider unacceptable some of the toughest demands to rein in their atomic program.
About 94 percent of Iranians said their country needed a nuclear energy program and seven in 10 said that it was for peaceful purposes only.
While 79 percent of those surveyed said they would back a deal that included Iranian assurances never to produce an atomic bomb, a large majority said demands such as dismantling half of Iran’s centrifuges and limiting nuclear research would be unacceptable.
The poll carried out by the University of Tehran Center for Public Opinion Research and the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland interviewed 1,037 Iranians by telephone between July 11 and 17.
“While the Iranian public is ready to accept taking some confidence-building steps, there are obviously some clear limits,” said Ebrahim Mohseni, a senior analyst at the University of Tehran.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani “is likely to face a political backlash if he goes farther than the public is ready to support,” he warned.
The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany return to the negotiating table Thursday with Iran in New York, seeking to scale back its nuclear activities to ensure it cannot make a swift dash to produce a bomb.
In return Tehran, which denies seeking nuclear weapons, wants U.N. and Western sanctions lifted, and is pushing for the right to enrich uranium, a process which can produce material for a bomb.
The poll also revealed deep Iranian skepticism that the West would keep promises to lift the U.S.-led sanctions on Iran, which have crippled its economy.
Three-quarters of those surveyed said they believed the U.S. would find another excuse to impose sanctions, fearing the U.S. is out to dominate Iran or block its development.
The office of Iran’s supreme leader published a series of graphics highlighting how little he believes the country has gained from dialogue with Washington.
The graphics posted on Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s official website include a cartoon of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry standing and pounding the negotiating table flanked by aides.
“The military option is still on the table if Tehran wants to relaunch its uranium enrichment program,” the cartoon Kerry thunders.
“Dialogue with the Americans has not reduced their animosity and has not been useful,” the graphic complains, quoting Khamenei’s words in an Aug. 13 speech.
“The Americans’ tone has become tougher and more insulting.”
Khamenei’s office did stress he had authorized the continuation of nuclear talks with major powers that are to resume in New York Thursday, despite his misgivings about the lack of benefits from the dialogue with the United States.
Obama’s ‘no troops’ vow is unrealistic
Michael Young| The Daily Star
There is a proverb that if you sit by the river long
enough, you will eventually see the body of your enemy floating by. Similarly,
observe Washington long enough, you will see politicians reversing themselves on
their most cherished beliefs.
In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, suggested that the United States might alter its position on the deployment of American troops in the fight against ISIS.
Dempsey stated, about President Barack Obama, “He has told me as well to come back to him on a case-by-case basis. If we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific [ISIS] targets, I’ll recommend that to the president.” While the chairman was speaking only about troops accompanying their Iraqi counterparts, not large contingents of American forces engaged directly in battle with ISIS, the ambiguities in Dempsey’s remarks had many observers wondering how the U.S. role in Iraq and Syria might change. Indeed, Congress will pass legislation to fund the arming and training of “moderate” Syrian rebels, but the House will affirm it does not support placing troops on the ground.
The White House sought to play down Dempsey’s remarks, describing what the chairman had said as a “purely hypothetical scenario.” But very subtly he had managed to shift the goal posts. By suggesting that the president was willing to consider using troops on a case-by-case basis, he showed that the administration was preparing for circumstances that could change.
American reluctance to send soldiers into new wars is understandable. But as a reluctant Obama prepares for a campaign against ISIS, it is noticeable how American political desires are constantly blindsided by reality. Where there are those in Washington who feel their country can deal with the world almost contractually, the fact is that the likes of Osama bin Laden and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi are not lawyers. Was it a good idea for the Obama administration to say that it would not send ground troops to fight ISIS? True, it did not want to undermine domestic support for the anti-ISIS campaign. However, like Obama’s policy in Afghanistan, where he set a deadline for an American pullout, when you tell the enemy what your constraints are, he adapts his strategy accordingly.
President Bill Clinton learned this in Kosovo in 1998-1999. Initially he was publicly very reluctant to deploy ground forces there. Slobodan Milosevic saw that all he had to do was hold out. Only when the administration began planning for a ground war did Milosevic capitulate. That, anyway, is the view of Gen. Wesley Clark, the NATO commander who led the campaign. War is about will, and someone like Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is not going to be impressed when the American priority is to limit casualties and stick to what is politically safe. That’s not to say he will triumph, but for all of George W. Bush’s errors in Iraq, his forces made headway when it became apparent that they were prepared to prevail against their opponents, whatever it took. And in that sense they succeeded, leaving Iraq far more secure than when they entered in 2003. However, such a narrative is not one the Obama administration embraces, even as the American military revives ties that were formed at the time with Sunni tribes, in order to strike against ISIS.
The big question mark is Syria. In Iraq there are forces that can take advantage of American air power, but not so, or not yet, in Syria. Obama’s plan to arm “moderates” has many people shaking their heads, but the president’s options are few. He should have done this long ago when the extremists were much weaker, but Obama was so busy trying to avoid Syria, that he helped create the very situation he is wrestling with today.
The war against ISIS will be a long one, and Obama would do best not to tie his own hands. Sending American ground forces to the Middle East may not be on the agenda now, or ever, but there is no point in ruling it out indefinitely, in all situations. What is politically expedient is one thing; but what is best for the military itself may be something quite different. The president undoubtedly wants to avoid mission creep, but his approach should not be defined solely by what he seeks to avoid, but by what he needs in order to achieve the aims he has set for himself. For instance, Obama has made extensive use of the American Joint Special Operations Command all over the world to assassinate or capture alleged terrorists. JSOC units were dispatched to Syria in the failed effort to liberate journalist James Foley. Does it make any sense for Obama to affirm that such units would not be used against ISIS, when one of the roles of JSOC is to engage precisely in that sort of intervention? Obama is not about to invade Arab countries, as Bush did. However, drifting to the other extreme of hesitating to do anything on the ground militarily is hardly the solution for the proliferating risk represented by ISIS. Dempsey implicitly showed the shortcomings of adopting too definite a position, and soon enough expect Obama to start doing the same.
**Michael Young is opinion editor of THE DAILY STAR. He tweets @BeirutCalling.
Torn States and Changing Identities
Eyad Abu Shakra /Asharq AlAwsat
Thursday, 18 Sep, 2014
Scotland’s pro-independence camp did not need to form armed groups or practice ritual murders to declare their intention to secede from the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, they pushed forward their secessionist scheme, which would separate the two most populous nations in the United Kingdom for the first time since 1707.
The separatists, according to many, are being driven by emotion, swimming against the current—the European current, at least, where steps of rapprochement and hidden federalism have long canceled the old national boundaries. After all, what is the point of the Scottish people ridding themselves of so-called “English hegemony” over their “national” resources within a kingdom that has shaken off the dust of the traditions of centralism and recognized the regional rights of its member countries, if an independent Scotland is going to coexist with its former partner under the umbrella of the European Union?
In the world of politics, two motives—one positive and another negative—maintain the unity of any political entity. The positive one is related to interests, particularly economic interests, in favor of coexistence. Fear of the adverse economic, political and security repercussions of independence represents the negative motive. The best example of this can be seen in “modern” states, such as the USA, Canada, Australia, Brazil and Argentina, which were all built by waves of immigrants from different places, religions and sects. Those immigrants found in these countries the safety and tranquility they missed in their homelands. In the same vein, mutual interest maintained the unity of pluralistic entities that accommodated different languages and sometimes different religions and ethnicities, such as in India, Iran, Belgium, Canada and others.
On the other hand, there are a few exceptions, which can be attributed to a deep sense of injustice. This was best expressed by Mahatma Gandhi, who, while defending himself before a British judge who accused him of civil disobedience, said: “I beg you to accept that there is no people on Earth who would not prefer their own bad government to the good government of an alien power.” Although there are those today who reject this logic, a good example of it is the dissolution of Czechoslovakia (despite the fact that the Slovaks were the less affluent and less advanced in the equation).
The Scottish people have every right to be proud of their identity and heritage and demand full control of North Sea oil, a resource that is being divided between 65 million Britons, only 5.5 million of which are Scots. Nevertheless, economic and constitutional experts point to several economic, monetary and legislative complications and make clear that sharing North Sea oil—a short-lived resource—is not without complications. This is not to mention other fundamental issues such as currency, the gold standard, and major foreign investments, among others.
In any case, the Scottish experience, regardless of the outcome of the referendum scheduled on Thursday, is not different from other European cases, nor can it be isolated from a growing drift in Europe towards extremism of a nationalist and racist character.
In France, where the latest estimates indicate a worrying surge in the popularity of the racist far right, there are chronic separatist tendencies in Corsica and the Basque Country. This is not to mention the issue of Alsace-Lorrain between France and Germany. In Spain, Basque nationalism takes on greater dimensions, in addition to the growing calls for an independent Catalonia. In Italy, the Lega Nord has been advocating the secession of the rich, industrial North, which it calls the Padania. While it is normal for a fanatical, nationalist organization to exist in pluralistic countries such as Belgium, racial intolerance towards immigrants is increasing even in ethnically and linguistically coherent countries such as Holland, Sweden and Denmark.
England itself, the United Kingdom’s largest member country, is witnessing a surge in the popularity of the UK Independence Party (Ukip) which is seeking an exit from the EU and threatening the once-guaranteed strongholds of the three traditional major parties, particularly the Tories.
Europe is facing a structural shift in terms of the definition of national identity, national and democratic interests, federalism, and the national role and demands of partisan institutions. What was possible in the 19th century when the American Civil War (1861–1865) was fought to deter the southern states from seceding from the United States is no longer an option in today’s Europe. That is, dealing with this secessionist phenomenon through the force of arms is not possible on a continent that played host to two world wars that have significantly altered its geographical map.
The situation is completely different in the Arab world. South Sudan seceded from the Sudan as soon as the circumstances on the ground allowed. Unfortunately, no alternative to the redrawing of the map looms on the horizon in the Arab Mashreq (East)—though this is a process that would no doubt be characterized by bloodshed, mass displacements, and the disruption of the fabrics of the current entities present there.
Today, as an international campaign is being mobilized to eradicate the phenomenon of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), many actors are deliberately refraining from addressing several issues. One of these is the importance of not framing this campaign as if it were a war on “Sunni political Islam.” Indeed, ISIS does not represent Islam but rather poses a major threat to it and the interests of Muslims everywhere. On the other hand, Muslims—and particularly Sunnis—should move beyond rhetoric and discourse to take practical steps to combat ISIS.
That there are mutual sectarian fears within a number of Arab Mashreq countries is understandable. But in situations such as this, a policy of “double standards” in approaching the issues and the political and religious dimensions of the region must be avoided at all costs. The long silence over the Syrian tragedy and the crimes of Bashar Al-Assad’s regime has given way to a decisive and swift international reaction when post-Saddam Iraq came under threat. It is wrong to endorse majority-based rule in one place while rejecting it for fear of threats to minorities in another.
Minorities are under threat wherever there is injustice, and they are safe and reassured wherever they can—alongside the majority population—express their demands and ambitions.