January 14/15

Bible Quotation for today/Don't Be Presumptuous
Sirach 05/ Don't rely on money to make you independent. Don't think you have to have everything you want, and then spend your energy trying to get it. Don't think that no one can exercise authority over you; if you do, the Lord is certain to punish you. Don't think that you can sin and get away with it; the Lord does not mind waiting to punish you. Don't be so certain of the Lord's forgiveness that you go on committing one sin after another. Don't think that his mercy is so great that he will forgive your sins no matter how many they are. He does show mercy, but he also shows his furious anger with sinners. Come back to the Lord quickly. Don't think that you can keep putting it off. His anger can come upon you suddenly, and you will die under his punishment. 8Don't rely on dishonest wealth; it will do you no good on that day of disaster. Be certain about what you believe and consistent in what you say. Don't try to please everyone or agree with everything people say. Always be ready to listen, but take your time in answering. Answer only if you know what to say, and if you don't know what to say, keep quiet. Speaking can bring you either honor or disgrace; what you say can ruin you. Don't get a reputation for being a gossip, and don't tell tales that will hurt people. Just as robbers will suffer disgrace, so liars will suffer severe condemnation. Do nothing destructive, whether it seems insignificant or not,

Latest analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on January 13-14/15
Hassan Nasrallah is no champion of free speech/Tariq Alhomayed /Asharq Al Awsat/January 13-14/15
Massacres cannot be excused/Diana Moukalled /Asharq Al Awsat/January 13/15

Reflections on the Murders in Paris/Jonathan Spyer/PJ Media/January 13/15
Turkey: Where Some Murders Are More Equal than Others/Burak Bekdil/The Gatestone Institute/January 13/15
Roumieh prison’s Control: Well done, more needed/The Daily Star/January 13/15
Iraq paid $10 billion for rusty Iranian arms/Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya/January 13/15

Lebanese Related News published on January 13-14/15
Army arrests suspected suicide bomber
Families of Arsal Captives Block Road Near Grand Serail
Suspected 'Suicide Bomber' Held in Tripoli, 2 Suspects in Arsal
Terror plans seized in Roumieh raid
Snow blocks off vital Mount Lebanon highway
Lebanese Army arrests suspected suicide bomber
Machnouk tours tattered prison after Block B raid
Salam invited to Egypt economic summit'
Lebanon fashion at the Golden Globes
Qaouq Praises Dismantling Roumieh 'Takfiri Emirate'
Berri Praises Hizbullah-Mustaqbal Dialogue's 'National Security' Breakthrough
Gemayel Hails Dialogue between Christians to End Divisions, Rift
Change and Reform Reveals 'Positivity' in LF Talks, Lauds Roumieh Operation
Jumblat Heaps Praise on ISF, Mashnouq over Roumieh Prison Success
Naameh Municipal Chief Vows 'Huge Protest' against Landfill Extension
Report: Suicide Bombers Linked to Fugitive Mansour Active in Tripoli

Miscellaneous Reports And News published on January 13-14/15
Charlie Hebdo’s new edition includes Muhammad cartoons

Pakistan rally celebrates Charlie Hebdo attackers

Canada's FM, John Baird to Make Second Trip to Egypt
Wife of lashed Saudi blogger calls for his release
France traces arms, attack money, prepares new terror laws
Up to 5,000 European fighters in Syria pose risk: Europol
'We are all Germany', President Gauck tells Muslim rally
French lawmakers extend military action against IS in Iraq
Probe into deadly Washington subway smoke may take a year: NTSB
Kerry arrives in Geneva for new Iran talks
US senators push moratorium on Guantanamo transfers
Key US military command's Twitter, YouTube sites hacked
Israeli Leaders Defiant as Paris Victims Buried in Jerusalem
US checks dead soldier for possible Ebola link
Bahrain hands Shiite opposition ex-MP jail term for tweet
U.S. says Nigeria vote a factor in increased Boko Haram attacks
UN to hold Libya peace talks in Geneva on Wednesday
Egypt mufti warns over new Charlie Hebdo cover
Pakistan rally celebrates Charlie Hebdo attackers
ISIS video has boy executing 'Russian spies'

U.S. blacklists leader of group that attacked Pakistan school
Syrian regime denies report of secret nuclear plant
Bulgaria arrests Frenchman with ‘links’ to Paris attacks
In Sri Lanka, Pope Francis backs search for wartime truth
Houthis free senior Yemeni security official after Omani mediation
Suicide bomber in Saudi border attack recruited family members to join ISIS: source
Egyptian court overturns last conviction against Mubarak

Jerusalem begins diplomatic fight against UN Commission inquiry on Gaza

Jihad Watch Site Latest Posts
White House: Obama will fight media to stop anti-jihad articles
UK shops to receive Charlie Hebdo as Muslim cleric calls it an “act of war” that will bring “repercussions”
Raymond Ibrahim: How the West Destroyed Libya
Pakistan: Muslim cleric holds rally praising Charlie Hebdo jihadis
Charlie Hebdo’s new edition includes Muhammad cartoons
Video: Robert Spencer on Fox and Friends, January 11, 2015, on jihad training in the U.S.
Hamas-linked terror org CAIR demands that Fox drop those who speak the truth about the jihad threat

Hassan Nasrallah is no champion of free speech
Tariq Alhomayed /Asharq Al Awsat
Tuesday, 13 Jan, 2015
It is not surprising that a merchant of death like Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanese Shi’ite group Hezbollah, has attempted to use the terrorist attack on the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo to burnish the public image of his group. Nasrallah claimed Sunni takfirist groups, such as those assumed to have carried out the attack, had insulted the Prophet Muhammad more severely than those they attacked ever had.
But the truth—which everyone in our region knows—is that Hezbollah is hardly concerned with people’s freedom, nor protecting them, and that the group is not one that seeks to avoid bloodshed, or even respect the religious beliefs of others. Hezbollah, and all Iran’s allies in the region, are guilty of inflaming sectarian tensions there—and, of course, guilty of much more than that. Nasrallah claims that through carrying out the attacks in Paris, the takfirists themselves have managed to besmirch the image of the Prophet more than their enemies were ever able to. At this juncture, one might put to him the following question: why then did you, and Bashar Al-Assad, support the many marches through Lebanon and Syria which condemned the cartoons by Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten depicting the Prophet Muhammad? Abdulrahman Al-Rashed has also pointed out in this paper recently how Iran issued a fatwa against the author of The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie, threatening to kill him and arm anyone or any group willing to do so. He also reminded us how “Iran, which fumed over Rushdie’s novel, also allows thousands of books to be printed each year which directly insult the Prophet’s companions.”
But it doesn’t stop there. One could also ask Nasrallah, this man who has the blood of thousands of Syrians on his hands and is also apparently a guardian of free speech, why the Assad regime’s thugs broke the hands of famous Syrian cartoonist Ali Farzat, who had been critical of Assad, shortly after the revolution against the regime began? Back then, Nasrallah didn’t move an inch to defend Farzat or freedom of speech.
One can also ask Nasrallah the following: what is the difference between these takfirists who kill thousands of people, and the Assad regime and its supporters, among them Hezbollah and Nasrallah himself, who also kill thousands of people? Moreover, if the leader of Hezbollah is so “moderate,” as he claims to be, then why does he not tell us who assassinated Samir Nusair and anti-Syrian editor and politician Gibran Tueni in the same year in Lebanon?
The truth is that Nasrallah is simply attempting to polish his image in front of Lebanese and regional public opinion, and the rest of the world, by portraying himself as “tolerant,” in order to brush over the crimes his group has committed in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. For Nasrallah is fully aware that the world is now a different place following the Paris terror attacks. The region and the world must all be aware of this deception by Iran and all its allies. Before it, of course, came the first deception— a prime example of taqiyah (dissimulation)—which occurred right after the 9/11 attacks. What the world must not forget is that Hezbollah not only fans the flames of sectarianism and terror in the region and beyond, but that it is also one of the most prolific practitioners of these dark arts. The most obvious example of this is of course what the group is currently doing in Syria, where it is at the very least complicit in the Assad regime’s horrendous crimes.

Massacres cannot be excused
Diana Moukalled /Asharq Al Awsat
Tuesday, 13 Jan, 2015
Was the reaction among the majority in the Arab and Muslim world to the massacre that occurred at the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo one of condemnation, or would it be more aptly characterized as one of justification, or even approval?
Maybe this question has been posed too simply and directly, but perhaps it will eventually yield an answer. What is clear is that this incident, in which the staff of a newspaper were murdered in cold blood and in broad daylight, is one of many that has brought to the fore once again this catastrophic situation. The people who carried out these attacks were Muslims, who claimed they had perpetrated this crime out of revenge for their religion being targeted. It is true that three criminals are alone responsible for the crime they committed, but it is also true that we are responsible for our reaction to the crime and the direction we will take from here.
There is no accurate way for us to gauge public opinion in the entire Arab and Muslim worlds, but we can take some indication of what this could be like from the press coverage of the events in Paris by outlets from these regions. We saw it in headlines, opinion columns, televised debates, and even in social media outlets. There exists a clear tendency among some people to attempt to justify and make excuses for this crime, even to attack the freedoms which France and the West practice, among them the unbridled freedom of expression that includes the right to satirize and ridicule.
Finding outright condemnation is difficult, because for many people, their condemnation of these crimes is often appended with an insidious and justificatory “but . . .” The fact is that twelve people were murdered in cold blood. And yet they are the ones condemned and criticized and cursed. And often this is followed by denials such as “But we are not the ones who killed them.”
France and others in the West are now once again debating the question of the integration of Muslim immigrants into their societies, a debate that has legitimized once again a number of related questions about immigration in general and the systems these countries use to manage it, as well as other questions such as how Western values can be protected from the threat of extremism. On the other hand, there is a keen desire to not generalize the problem and blame all Muslims for what happened.
These debates are complex and multifaceted. So what about the debates we are currently conducting following these events? We are still at square one. The questions still revolve around whether the incident is to be condemned totally, or whether it should also be accompanied with a “but . . . ” to round it off. We can also remind ourselves of the many incidents that followed the publications of these notorious cartoons back in 2012, among them numerous marches and protests, some of which resulted in the loss of life. And we see not one demonstration or march in the Arab or Muslim worlds condemning what the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is doing in the name of Islam.
Don’t all these events now going on around us and committed in our name require us to break the fear barrier and begin to question our region and our societies, especially the ideas being trafficked there that have led us to this awful stage where we are tearing one at another’s throats—to mention nothing of what as a result also happens beyond our region?
You won’t get anything out of those individual, and rather shy, voices that come out and try to absolve Islam of these crimes while also talking of the effects of colonialism and criticizing the West and its many freedoms that we clearly cannot stomach. There is no doubt the West has its responsibilities regarding this issue. But we too have ours, ones we have attempted to airbrush out of existence until we have fallen into this never-ending crucible of death.
The murder of the Charlie Hebdo journalists was a terrible crime. We will not have any real progress in our region if we do not realize this once and for all.

Families of Arsal Captives Block Road Near Grand Serail
Naharnet /The relatives of the so-called Arsal hostages blocked on Tuesday the road near the Grand Serail in downtown Beirut a day after al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front issued a new threat against the soldiers and policemen who were taken captive in the summer.
Their move was the first since they removed barriers from the street ahead of Christmas. The families of the abductees renewed their protest a day earlier after they blocked the nearby Riad al-Solh road. The relatives said the Lebanese government had until Wednesday to give them news about the captives. “We will then take escalatory measures,” they said following talks with Druze spiritual leader Sheikh Naim Hassan. Al-Nusra Front published Monday on its Twitter account pictures showing the kidnapped servicemen laying face down on the snow with five guns aimed at their heads. The phrase “Who will pay the price?” was written on the pictures. This line had been used in the past each time the Front sought to threaten the execution of one of the captives. The new threat came after security forces transferred detainees from the notorious block B of Roumieh prison where militant Islamists were being held. The soldiers and police were taken hostage by al-Nusra Front and Islamic State group fighters when they overran the northeastern border town of Arsal in August. The jihadists have executed four of the captives. Among the demands of the hostage-takers is the release of Islamists from Roumieh.

Army arrests suspected suicide bomber
The Daily Star/Jan. 13, 2015
BEIRUT: The Lebanese Army arrested in Tripoli Tuesday a Lebanese national suspected of planning a suicide attack, days after a twin suicide bombing rocked a crowded café in the northern city. According to an Army statement, Basam Houssam Naboosh was arrested in Tripoli's Mankoubine neighborhood over suspicions of preparing to launch a terrorist attack. The suspect hails from the same neighborhood as the two suicide bombers who carried out Saturday’s attack on the Jabal Mohsen neighborhood that killed at least nine and left over thirty wounded. The statement did not say whether the suspect was wearing an explosive belt at the time of his arrest. The Army also announced the arrest of Lebanese national Ziad Hujeiri and Syrian national Abdullah Badran by the Wadi Hmayed checkpoint in the outskirts of the northeastern town of Arsal. The two suspects, who were driving a Kia vehicle with a Syrian license plate, attempted to flee arrest and failed to comply with the orders of soldiers manning the checkpoint.  According to security sources, Hujeiri, who is an Arsal resident, was driving back from work in the outskirts of Wadi Hmayed with a his Syrian employee. Hujeiri was barred from entering the border town pursuant to an Army decision that involved closing all roads linking Arsal to the outskirts after 5 p.m.  The hold-up led to a verbal exchange between the area resident and soldiers, leading to his detention. Security sources however, said that Hujeiri and his Syrian companion would be released later today.

Terror plans seized in Roumieh raid
The Daily Star/Jan. 13, 2015 /BEIRUT: Documents recently seized from the notorious Roumieh prison have shown that Islamist inmates were planning further terrorist attacks in Lebanon, a security source told The Daily Star Tuesday. A large number of files that were seized in an operation in Roumieh’s notorious Block B Monday revealed that several terrorist attacks across Lebanon in the past had been directed from inside the prisoners’ “operations room.” Documents also uncovered that the attacks had been coordinated with external sides, according to the source. Security forces stormed Block B Monday, moving all 900 Islamists to Block D, in an unprecedented nine-hour operation linked to the weekend twin suicide bombing in the northern city of Tripoli that left nine people killed and at least 30 wounded. The source stressed that the operation’s purpose was first to separate prisoners in well-monitored cells and to end the previous chaos, where they had illicit access to mobile phones and the Internet. Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said Monday that security forces “have seized all phones” in a move he said aimed to “stop a process of communication that was facilitating terrorism.”Machnouk also vowed to "cut off heads" if mobile phones were allowed to be smuggled into prisons by corrupt guards. The security source, however, said two more cell phones were confiscated Tuesday from Block D. The source said a wall-mounted prison jammer has been reactivated so that cellular phone users, if any, would not be able to make or receive calls. Among Block B’s inmates, more than 300 are labeled terrorists by security forces. Excluding Lebanese prisoners, most inmates in Block B are Syrians and Palestinians – though other Arab and non-Arab nationals are also present. The block also boasts a collection of dangerous individuals accused of belonging to militant Islamist movements such as ISIS; Al-Qaeda and its Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front; and Fatah al-Islam, among others.

Machnouk tours tattered prison after Block B raid
The Daily Star/Jan. 13, 2015
BEIRUT: Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk toured Roumieh prison's notorious Block B Tuesday in his first official visit to the facility after security forces stormed the jail a day earlier. “I am here to see the building and how it can go back to being a humanitarian prison that meets minimum standards in the quickest time possible,” he told Al-Jadeed TV. “The visit serves to identify what measures should be taken to improve the jail.”Machnouk also said that plans to rehabilitate the building would be finalized in approximately three months, making way for prisoners to return to the block. Walking passed the entrance of the building, Machnouk said Monday’s raid had made entering the prison simple. “Had it not been for operation it wouldn’t have been so easy to get in,” he said. The minister’s visit came a day after the ISF elite forces stormed Roumieh Prison, emptying out its Bloc B after intercepting calls between Islamist prisoners and members of the cell behind Saturday's suicide bombings in Tripoli. Bloc B is well-known for holding many suspected and convicted Islamist militants who manage to operate with relative impunity from inside the prison. The operation’s purpose was first to separate prisoners in well-monitored cells and to end the previous chaos, characterized by inmates illicit access to mobile phones and Internet. Televised footage of the jail showed Roumieh in tatters. Graffiti scribbled across the walls of the prison. Black bags, plastic and glass bottles, rags and dirt littered the floors. Prisoner cells were covered in piles of clothing, overturned mattresses and broken refrigerators and microwaves. Footage from the second floor of the building showed an inmate barber shop fully equipped with razors, scissors, shaving machines and hats. Inmates even had a small coffee shop with a stand displaying Nescafe packets and a small stove. When asked about contraband seized during the raid, Machnouk said that no weapons were found during the inspection. After concluding the tour, Machnouk thanked all who contributed to a fund set up for rehabilitating the facility. The interior minister thanked Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh, along with a number of NGO’s for their donations. “We are a government which tries people through the judiciary and sanctions them in humanitarian jails,” he said. Security forces stormed Block B Monday, moving all 900 Islamists to Block D, in an unprecedented nine-hour operation. Earlier Tuesday, a security source told The Daily Star that a large number files that were seized during and after the operation revealed that inmates had had a part to play in many terrorist attacks that have targeted Lebanon in the past. Documents also revealed that some of the inmates were preparing for new attacks to be carried on Lebanese soil. Also Tuesday, Machnouk headed a meeting for the Lebanese Central Security Council to discuss the implementation of the security plan in northeast Lebanon. The minister’s decision to storm the infamous prison block was widely praised by politicians from across the political spectrum. He was also called by Speaker Nabih Berri, Grand Mufti Abul-Latif Derian, and prominent Shiite religious figure Abdel-Amir Qabalan, who all saluted his efforts to ensure Lebanon's security.

Salam invited to Egypt economic summit'
The Daily Star/Jan. 13, 2015/BEIRUT: Prime Minister Tammam Salam received an invitation Tuesday to attend an Egypt economic conference, scheduled for March 13-15 in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh. Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi’s invitation delivered to Salam by Egypt’s Ambassador Mohammad Badreddine Zayed. Zayed said he discussed ways to develop bilateral relations between Lebanon and Egypt with Salam. He said the meeting also touched on preparations for the Lebanese-Egyptian Economic Forum, set to take place in Beirut in February. “This will be another important step in building strong relations between the two countries,” Zayed told reporters at the Grand Serail in Downtown Beirut.

Roumieh prison’s Control: Well done, more needed
The Daily Star/Jan. 13, 2015/The Lebanese authorities took a long-overdue step Monday to clamp down on the chaos rampant in Roumieh prison’s Block B, after strong links were discovered to the deadly suicide bombing that shook the city of Tripoli this weekend.
After several contentious, violent hours, officials declared an end to the “no-go” zone for representatives of state authority at Lebanon’s central prison complex. Naturally, such moves require a suitable political climate in order to take place relatively smoothly, and perhaps it is no coincidence that the move coincided with the process of dialogue between the Future Movement and Hezbollah. But for the crackdown on Roumieh to generate greater benefits, the policy of eliminating open challenges to state authority should be applied elsewhere in the country. This can extend from ostensibly political groups, such as Hezbollah’s allied Resistance Brigades militia, which has a presence in the city of Sidon and elsewhere in the south. It can also target purely criminal organizations, as in the many mafias that exist virtually everywhere in Lebanon, dealing in a range of activities, whether it’s drug dealing, car theft or kidnapping. None of these lawbreakers should be allowed to operate with impunity, and the authorities should realize that the only way to build political support for Monday’s action is to ensure that the drive continues. The Roumieh operation swung into gear because of a terror incident, but the larger problem boils down to the weakness of state authority. The sooner that the action against Roumieh becomes a fixed government policy, applied across the board, the better for all.

Suspected 'Suicide Bomber' Held in Tripoli, 2 Suspects in Arsal

Naharnet/The army on Tuesday arrested a Lebanese man in the northern city of Tripoli on suspicion that he was plotting to carry out a suicide bombing, while two other people were captured in Bekaa's Arsal after trying to cross into its outskirts.
The army said in an official statement that its forces arrested “in Tripoli's al-Mankoubeen area the citizen Bassam Hussam Naboush on suspicion that he is a would-be suicide bomber.”The arrest operation comes two days after the double suicide blasts at a cafe in Tripoli's Jabal Mohsen which killed 9 people and wounded more than 37. The suicide attack was carried out by two residents of the al-Mankoubeen area. The National News Agency had reported in the afternoon that “an army force carried out raids in al-Beddawi's Wadi al-Nahle area and entered some houses in search for fugitives.”The military forces are still closing all the entrances that lead to Wadi al-Nahle, NNA said. Al-Beddawi municipal chief Hassam Ghamrawi stressed that “the people of a-Beddawi and al-Mankoubeen have nothing to do with the criminal acts.” ”We are the residents of the same area alongside the people of Jabal Mohsen and their tragedy is ours,” he added. Meanwhile, the army announced in the same statement the arrest of “the Lebanese Ziad Abdul Karim al-Hujeiri and the Syrian Khaled Abdullah Badran at the Wadi Hmeid checkpoint in Arsal.” They were riding a white Kia with a Syrian license plate while carrying no registration papers. The two men were arrested “after they attempted to infiltrate into Arsal's outskirts after disregarding the instructions of the soldiers at the checkpoint,” the statement said. Meanwhile, NNA reported that the troops opened fire in order to arrest them.

Reflections on the Murders in Paris
Jonathan Spyer/PJ Media
January 12, 2015
The Islamic world is currently in the midst of a great historic convulsion. This process is giving birth to political trends and movements of a murderously violent nature. These movements offer a supposed escape route from the humiliation felt at the profound societal failure of the Arab and to a slightly lesser extent the broader Muslim world. The escape is by way of the most violent and intolerant historic trends of Islam, into a mythologized and imagined past. The route to this old-new imagined utopia is a bloody one. All who oppose or even slight it must die. The simple and brutal laws of 7th century Muslim Arabia are re-applied, in their literal sense. The events of last week in Paris were a manifestation of this trend. These trends exist not only in the Arab and Muslim worlds themselves. Because of mass immigration from the Arab and Muslim world to western European countries, they are also powerful and present in immigrant communities in these countries. The Kouachi brothers and Amedi Coulibaly are the latest, and no doubt not the last representatives of this political world to impose themselves on us.The political trend in question is called political Islam. It manifests itself in its most extreme form in the rival global networks of the Al Qaeda movement and the Islamic State. But these, alas, are only the sharp tip of a much larger iceberg.
Political Islamists are not all, or mainly, young men from slums. Political Islamists are not all, or mainly, young men from slums. On the contrary, its adherents include heads of state, powerful economic interests and media groups, and prominent cultural figures. Some of these, absurdly, were even present at the "solidarity rally" in Paris. They rendered this event an empty spectacle by their presence.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey, for example, came to offer his solidarity to the victims of journalists murdered by Islamists in Paris, just two days after the Turkish courts sentenced a pianist to a 10 month prison sentence, suspended for five years, for the crime of "denigrating religion (ie Islam)." More urgently, Turkey has been an active supporter of both Islamic State and al-Qaeda forces in northern Syria over the last three years. That is, Davutoglu was marching in condemnation of forces to which his own government has offered support. Political Islam is a reaction to profound societal failure. It is also a flight into unreality. It has nothing practical to offer as an actual remedy to Arab and Islamic developmental problems. Economic, legal and societal models deriving from the 7th century Arabian desert are fairly obvious impediments to success in the 21st. Where they are systematically imposed, as in the Islamic State, they will create something close to hell on earth. Where they remain present in more partial forms — as in Qatar, Gaza, Iran, (increasingly) Turkey, and so on — they will merely produce stifling, stagnant and repressive societies. But the remedy for failure that political Islam offers is not a material one. It offers in generous portions the intoxicating psychological cocktail of murderous rage and self-assertion, and the desire to strike out and destroy those deemed enemies — infidels who transgress binding religious commandments, Jews and so on. This is not the first time that Europe has encountered political phenomena based on murderous rage and utopias buried in the magical past. The European fascist movements produced precisely such a mix. But of course, this time around, the rage and the utopia derive not from European culture, but from an alien culture which has implanted itself among the Europeans.
Arab and Muslim societies may be basket cases, but they retain an exceptionally strong and vivid sense of themselves.
Here is the second part of the problem. Arab and Muslim societies may be basket cases, but they retain an exceptionally strong and vivid sense of themselves. It is the irony of history that this sense of self is precisely of a type that is bound to keep their societies mired in failure. But history favors irony, and this sense nevertheless remains powerfully experienced and hence politically potent. In this respect, the modern Islamic world resembles western Europe of 80 or 90 years ago, but not the contemporary continent.
In contemporary western European societies, political Islam meets a human collectivity suffering, by contrast, from a profound loss of self. No one, at least in the mainstream of politics and culture, seems able to quite articulate what western European countries are for, or what they oppose — at least beyond a sort of vapid belief in everyone doing what they want and not bothering each other.
The result is that when violent political Islam collides with the satiated, lost societies of western Europe, the response is not defiance on the part of the latter, but rather fear. This fear, as fear is wont to do, manifests itself in various, not particularly edifying, ways.
In contemporary western European societies, political Islam meets a human collectivity suffering from a profound loss of self. The most obvious is avoidance ("the attacks had nothing to do with Islam," "unemployment and poverty are the root cause," "the Islamic State is neither Islamic nor a state," etc etc). Another is appeasement — "maybe if we give them some of what they want, they'll leave us alone." This response perhaps partially explains the notable adoption in parts of western Europe of the anti-Jewish prejudice so prevalent in the Islamic world.
The ennui of the western European mainstream will almost certainly prevent the adoption of the very tough measures which alone might serve to adequately address the burgeoning problem of large numbers of young European Muslims committed to political Islam and to violence against their host societies. Such measures — which would include tighter surveillance and policing of communities, quick deportations of incendiary preachers, revocation of citizenship for those engaged in violence, possible imprisonment of suspects and so on — would require a political will which is manifestly absent. So it wont happen. So the events of Paris will almost certainly recur. And lastly, since the elites will not be able to produce resistance, it will come from outside of the elites. Hence the growth of populist, nationalist parties and movements in western Europe. But Europe being what it is, such revivalist movements are likely to contain a hefty dose of the xenophobia and bigotry which characterized the continent of old. None of this can, at present, be discussed in polite European society. But all of it is fairly obvious. For this reason, Europe's Jews are at present warily eying the door. As someone who was born in western Europe, and left it 25 years ago for Israel, I am happy to conclude that as a result of the efforts and sacrifice of many, Europe's Jews are this time around neither defenseless nor alone. Nor will their blood be free to be taken with impunity.
**Jonathan Spyer is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, and a fellow at the Middle East Forum. He is the author of The Transforming Fire: The Rise of the Israel-Islamist Conflict (Continuum, 2011).

"Turkey: Where Some Murders Are More Equal than Others."
Burak Bekdil/The Gatestone Institute
January 12, 2015
Victims of the December 2011 Turkish air strike that left 34 Kurdish civilians dead.
What happens if an army kills Turkish civilians? It seems to depend on which army does the killing.
On May 31, 2010, the Israeli Defense Forces raided the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish vessel leading a flotilla in order to "end the illegal Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip."
During the raid, nine Turkish activists lost their lives due to what later Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted were "operational errors." (A United Nations-sponsored investigation known as the U.N. Palmer report later determined Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip to be legal, but stated that the "decision to board the vessels with such substantial force at a great distance from the blockade zone and with no final warning immediately prior to the boarding was excessive and unreasonable.")
In response, Turkey downgraded its diplomatic ties with Israel and threatened to isolate the Jewish state in an international campaign. Since then, Turkish-Israeli relations have never normalized.
Turkey's leaders -- then Prime Minister (now President) Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and then Foreign Minister (now Prime Minister) Ahmet Davutoglu -- not only labelled the incident "a crime against humanity," but they also claimed it was "a cause of war."
"Even in a war, you don't attack women, children and religious personnel," Erdogan said in a 2010 speech. Later, it would be a speech Erdogan would prefer not to remember.
Exactly 582 days after the raid on the Mavi Marmara, on December 28, 2011, the Turkish Air Force bombed a group of mostly teenage villagers from Uludere (Roboski in Kurdish), in predominantly Kurdish southeastern Turkey. Mistaking them for pro-independence Kurdish terrorists, they killed 34 civilians. December 28, 2014 was the third anniversary of what the Turkish collective memory bitterly recalls as the "Uludere incident."
Fifteen months after the Uludere incident, the Turkish parliament's Human Rights Examination Commission approved a report drafted by a sub-commission assigned to examine the controversy over the killings. The Uludere report concluded that the investigations produced no evidence that the attack was intentional. The chairman of the sub-commission, an MP from the ruling Justice and Development Party [AKP], confused minds further when he explained the situation: "The report's finding that 'there is no evidence that the attack was intentional' does not mean 'the attack was not intentional.'"
So, the air raid and subsequent killings were not intentional but maybe they were?
In May 2012, an Istanbul prosecutor prepared indictments, carrying life sentences, of four Israeli commanders allegedly involved in the Mavi Marmara raid. They charged each of the commanders with first-degree murder, assault, and torture (the indictment called for 10 life sentences to be imposed on each of them). Immediately afterwards, an Istanbul court unanimously accepted the indictments and launched criminal proceedings against the Israelis.
The military investigation report found that the Air Force killings took place due to "unavoidable mistakes" in the operation.
Meanwhile, precisely 740 days after the unintentional/intentional killing of 34 villagers in Uludere, military prosecutors in Ankara dismissed the investigation into the incident. The military investigation report found that the killings took place due to "unavoidable mistakes" in the operation. It was bizarre; there were mistakes but, mysteriously, they were "unavoidable."
Erdogan's government took a series of actions regarding the Uludere incident; none aimed at justice. Shortly after the killings, it won a court order to ban media coverage of the tragedy!
On January 16, 2012, three Uludere/Roboski massacre survivors were taken to the prosecutor's office, under investigation for passport abuse, illegal border-crossing and smuggling charges. On June 28, 2012, hundreds of protesters, including families of the victims and NGO members, faced police violence at the site of the massacre. On December 25, 2012, police detained 19 individuals in and around Sirnak province, just four days before the anniversary of the massacre. Ferhat Encu, who lost 11 relatives in the airstrike, has been reportedly taken into custody at least four times.
And on December 28, 2014, a crowd, including families of the victims, gathered to visit the cemetery in Uludere. Selahattin Demirtas, a pro-Kurdish politician, joined the commemoration. Three years after the incident, Demirtas was still calling on the Turkish government to find those responsible for the deaths. Not a single official has been found guilty by a court.
"You have closed the file at the courthouse," Demirtas said. "But how will you close the file in the conscience of the people?" Good question. He further said: "These families will not give you peace until the suspects of this case face the judge ... We will not leave this world before we call those who held this massacre to account."
Turkey is an increasingly bizarre country where a crowd of teenagers can be killed by rockets fired from warplanes, which the teenagers or their own families may have financed with their taxes. Where parliament finds that "the fact that there is no evidence that the attack was intentional does not mean it was not intentional." Where the military HQ finds that such tragic deaths could occur due to "unavoidable mistakes." And where courts ban media coverage instead of chasing down the guilty.
The nine Turkish citizens killed aboard the Mavi Marmara remain so dear to the official Turkish memory. The 34 Turkish citizens killed in Uludere are mere casualties that the official Turkish memory wishes to forget. Turkey is not only discriminating against the living, but also against the dead.
*Burak Bekdil, based in Ankara, is a columnist for the Turkish daily Hürriyet and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Canada's FM, John Baird to Make Second Trip to Egypt
January 13, 2015 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today announced that he will make his second visit to Egypt in under a year, on January 14 and 15, 2015. He will hold talks in Luxor and Cairo with senior government officials, including his counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
“Canada has been an ardent supporter of Egypt’s efforts to build a stable, inclusive, prosperous and democratic country based on respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law,” said Baird. “This trip will be an opportunity to further advance these priorities.”
On Wednesday, January 14, Baird will travel to Luxor, one of Egypt’s most picturesque historical sites, where he will meet with young leaders to discuss Egypt’s economic future, as well as Egypt’s democratic transition.
On Thursday, Baird will meet with his counterpart in Cairo to discuss issues of regional security, including the international fight against terrorism. Baird will also take this opportunity, as he has in the past, to discuss important consular issues.
Baird will also meet with some of Egypt’s most influential religious leaders to talk about religious freedom, an issue on which Canada has led the world since it created the Office of Religious Freedom.
“Canada views Egypt as an important player in the Middle East, as we saw with its work in brokering a ceasefire last year in Gaza,” said Baird. “We look forward to working closely to strengthen our political, economic, trade and social linkages, to the benefit of both countries.”

Israeli Leaders Defiant as Paris Victims Buried in Jerusalem
Tuesday, January 13, 2015/Israel Today Staff
Israeli leaders sounded a defiant tone on Tuesday as four Jewish victims of last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris were laid to rest in Jerusalem. Philippe Braham, Yohan Cohen, Yoav Hattab and Francois-Michel Saada were all killed during after a Muslim gunman stormed a Jewish grocery store and held shoppers and staff hostage, just days after fellow jihadists massacred employees at the offices of a satirical magazine in the French capital. The bodes of the four victims of the grocery store attack were flown to Israel along with their families.
Their funeral at Jerusalem’s Har HaMenuchot cemetery was attended by President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, opposition leader Isaac Herzog and many other political and military leaders. “This is not how we wanted to welcome you to Israel,” Rivlin said, looking to the bereaved families. “I stand before you, brokenhearted, shaken and in pain, and with me stands an entire nation. …This is sheer hatred of Jews; abhorrent, dark and premeditated, which seeks to strike, wherever there is Jewish life.”
Netanyahu vowed that no matter how dark the present situation, the terrorists “will never, ever beat us. This is the strength of an ancient people that has always prevailed and thank God, look around you, here in the mountains of Jerusalem, today we have a state of our own, flourishing and advanced, a state that is a moral beacon to the world.”Herzog said there was a direct connection between the hatred that brought about the Paris supermarket attack, and the spilling of Jewish blood in Israel. “A straight line connects the murder of the four Jews [in the Paris supermarket] to the bastards who penetrated the Har Nof synagogue and killed people at worship in their prayer shawls two months ago,” the opposition leader stated.
Herzog echoed Netanyahu in insisting that “terror will not win. …This is what brings the Jewish people together: the fact that we are set apart from other nations, the fact we face enemies.”

France traces arms, attack money, prepares new terror laws
Lori Hinnant/Angela Charlton/ Associated Press/Jan. 13, 2015
PARIS: France's prime minister announced he would seek tighter surveillance of convicted extremists Tuesday and reports emerged that the weapons used by a terror cell to kill 17 people around Paris came from outside the country.
In a rousing, indignant speech, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said "serious and very high risks remain" and warned the French not to let down their guard. He called for new surveillance of imprisoned radicals and told the interior minister to come up with new security proposals shortly.Christophe Crepin, a French police union representative, said several people were being sought in relation to the "substantial" financing of the three gunmen. He said the weapons stockpile came from abroad and the amount spent plus the logistics of the attacks indicated an organized network. French authorities were working to trace the source of the weapons funding while in Bulgaria, a prosecutor announced that a man already in custody had ties to one of the brothers who carried out the Charlie Hebdo newspaper massacre.
French police say as many as six members of the terrorist cell that carried out the Paris attacks may still be at large, including a man seen driving a car registered to the widow of one of the gunmen. The country has deployed 10,000 troops to protect sensitive sites, including Jewish schools and synagogues, mosques and travel hubs.
Earlier in the day, in ceremonies thousands of miles apart, France and Israel paid tribute to the victims of the terror attacks. At police headquarters in Paris, French President Francois Hollande paid tribute to the three police officers killed in the attacks, placing Legion of Honor medals on their caskets. Hollande vowed that France will be "merciless in the face of anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim acts, and unrelenting against those who defend and carry out terrorism, notably the jihadists who go to Iraq and Syria." As Chopin's funeral march played in central Paris and the caskets draped in French flags were led from the building, a procession began in Jerusalem for the four Jewish victims of the attack Friday on a kosher supermarket in Paris. "Returning to your ancestral home need not be due to distress, out of desperation, amidst destruction, or in the throes of terror and fear," said Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. Defying the bloodshed and terror of last week, a caricature of the Prophet Mohammad is to appear Wednesday on the cover of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, weeping and holding a placard with the words "I am Charlie." Above him is emblazoned: "All is forgiven" - a phrase one writer said meant to show that the survivors of the attacks forgave the gunmen. "I think that those who have been killed, if they were here, they would have been able to have a coffee today with the terrorists and just talk to them, ask them why they have done this," columnist Zineb El Rhazoui told the BBC. Two masked gunmen opened the onslaught in Paris with a Jan. 7 attack on the paper, singling out its editor and his police bodyguard for the first shots before killing 12 people in all. Ahmed Merabet, a French Muslim policeman, was one of the victims, killed as he lay wounded on the ground as the gunmen - brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi - made their escape.
Charlie Hebdo, which lampoons religion indiscriminately, had received threats after depicting Mohammad before, and its offices were firebombed in 2011.
France's main Muslim organization called for calm, fearing that a new Mohammad cartoon could re-ignite passions. In a sign that French judicial authorities were using laws against defending terrorism to their fullest extent, a man who had praised the terror attacks in a drunken rant to police was swiftly sentenced Monday to four years in prison.

Wife of lashed Saudi blogger calls for his release
Agence France Presse/Jan. 13, 2015/Montreal: The wife of a Saudi blogger who was publicly flogged for "insulting Islam" called for his release Tuesday. "My husband, Raef Badawi, is imprisoned for simply expressing liberal ideas," Ensaf Haidar, who sought asylum in Canada with her three children after Badawi was arrested, told a news conference in Montreal. In September, a Saudi court upheld a sentence of 10 years in prison as well as the 1,000 lashes for Badawi, who has been behind bars since June 2012. The 31-year-old received a first instalment of 50 lashes last Friday and is expected to have 20 weekly whipping sessions until his punishment is complete. "We're here so that he won't have to endure another 50 lashes next Friday," said Beatrice Vaugrante of Amnesty International. "We talk a lot about freedom of speech nowadays: I am Charlie, I am Raef Badawi," she said. "This concerns Canada, it concerns all Western nations that advocate freedom of expression." The Canadian government has called the public lashing "inhumane" but said it was limited in what it could do for Badawi beyond expressions of outrage as the blogger is not Canadian.

Pakistan rally celebrates Charlie Hebdo attackers
Agence France Presse/Jan. 13, 2015/PESHAWAR, Pakistan: While last week's attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo sparked global outrage, dozens of people in Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar paid tribute Tuesday to the brothers who carried out the murders. Though small in scale, the event was indicative of the anger that portrayals of the Prophet Mohammad can ignite in some parts of the Muslim world, particularly in Pakistan where tough blasphemy laws make insulting the Prophet a crime punishable by death.
Local preacher Maulana Pir Mohammad Chishti led some 60 people in prayers for Cherif and Said Kouachi, who shot dead 12 people at the magazine's offices on January 7, as worshipers called the pair "martyrs."They also chanted "Death to Hebdo publications" and "Long live Cherif Kouachi, long live Said Kouachi," and kissed posters of the brothers who were shot dead by police two days later."These two brothers have paid the debt of all Muslims in the world and we present them our salute and respect," Chishti said.
Aurangzeb Alhafi, professor of Islamic Studies at Punjab University in the eastern city of Lahore said he attended the prayers as a religious duty. "If freedom of expression stops at the mention of the Holocaust, then it should also stop at the honor of our Prophet," Alhafi told AFP. Fourteen people are languishing on death row in Pakistan for falling fall of its blasphemy laws, which rights groups say are used to persecute minorities and wage personal vendettas. Mobs often take matters in their own hands and lynch those accused of blasphemy, and such killers are widely feted. Charlie Hebdo meanwhile has announced it will defy the attackers by putting a cartoon of a weeping Prophet Mohammad on its next cover.

Charlie Hebdo’s new edition includes Muhammad cartoons
January 12, 2015
By Robert Spencer
charlie hebdo post massacre“We will not give in otherwise all this won’t have meant anything.” They are to be commended for their courage and resolution. While the lights of freedom are going out all over the West, as authorities and media outlets rush to capitulate to Islamic supremacist demands for conformity to Sharia blasphemy restrictions, Charlie Hebdo is hanging tough. If only we had 100 more publications like this one — the Islamic supremacists would be on the ropes.
“Charlie Hebdo’s Wednesday edition to include Prophet Mohammed cartoons,” by Henry Samuel, the Telegraph, January 12, 2015 (thanks to Jen):
The next edition of Charlie Hebdo, out on Wednesday with a million-copy print run, will “naturally” contain cartoons of Prophet Mohammed, along with jibes against politicians and religions across the board, said the stricken weekly’s lawyer.
Richard Malka was among the first to call for the magazine to continue functioning after nine of its contributors, including famed cartoonists Cabu and Wolinski and its publishing director, Charb, were gunned down last Wednesday by Chérif and Saïd Kouachi.
When asked whether that meant more cartoons of Mohammed, which have been a regular feature in the magazine until last Wednesday’s attack, he replied: “Naturally.”
“We will not give in otherwise all this won’t have meant anything,” he told France Info radio on Monday, which broadcast from the magazine’s heavily guarded temporary offices at Libération newspaper.
“Humour without self-deprecation isn’t humour. We mock ourselves, politicians, religions, it’s a state of mind you need to have.”
“The Charlie state of mind is the right to blaspheme,” he went on.
Referring to the “Je Suis Charlie” slogans in support of its slain cartoonists that have circled the globe, he said: “A Je Suis Charlie banner means you have the right to criticise my religion, because it’s not serious.”
“We have never criticised a Jew because he’s a Jew, a Muslim because he’s a Muslim or a Christian because he’s a Christian. But you can say anything you like, the worst horrors – and we do – about Christianity, Judaism and Islam, because behind the nice slogans, that’s the reality of Charlie Hebdo,” he said.
Asked whether the surviving Charlie editorial team were able to focus on their job, he said: “It’s complicated, because we have to manage the future, the funerals that will take place all this week, but it’s moving forward and will be completed this evening.”
“It’s an act of life, of survival,” he said.
Luz, a Charlie cartoonist, said working on the issue was keeping him and colleagues sane. “We’re getting by. We are having less nightmares. We are trying to put a magazine together and find some calm and inspiration, it’s not easy.”
“We are down to a skeleton staff since last Wednesday as you might have noticed but we’ll try our best.”…

Iraq paid $10 billion for rusty Iranian arms
Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya
Tuesday, 13 January 2015
A recent Associated Press report spoke of Iran’s increased domination over Iraq under the cover of supporting it against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) organization. According to the report’s sources, the Iranians have sold Iraq nearly $10 billion worth of weapons to confront terrorism. These weapons include Kalashnikovs, rocket launchers and ammunition and the value of this weaponry may not even exceed $50 million!
Of course, it's needless to explain that $10 billion is a massive amount enough to have bought advanced armory from prominent countries which produce military hardware instead of rusty simple arms from Iran. But the objective was to fund Iran’s military needs during this phase in which it confronts domestic economic pressures.
The Iraqis who are currently overjoyed with this Iranian support will in the future end up complaining about Tehran’s domination over them. They will complain that they cannot freely take decisions according to their national interests. Iraq will then become submissive to Iran due to the latter’s increased political and security influence – just as Lebanon came under Syria’s influence in the 1970s when the latter’s troops entered the country to save it from Palestinian militias and only withdrew after 30 years of a quasi-occupation and after a threat by the U.N. Security Council.
“The Iraqis who are currently overjoyed with this Iranian support will in the future end up complaining about Tehran’s domination over them.”
Iraq, too, will become an Iranian farm which Iranian revolutionary guards, politicians, mediators and brokers exploit. Iraqis then will find problems coming from Iran increasing by the year, just like what happened to the Lebanese people who brought the Syrians into their country only to find out later that the chaos and violence of Palestinian militias were less than those coming the Syrian army. The Syrians controlled the Lebanese population and exploited the country and dictated all of its affairs, from the smallest of details to major decisions such as electing a president, a prime minister or a house speaker. They killed whoever disagreed with them.
The Iranian regime will go as far as to humiliate the Iraqis after claiming credit for protecting Baghdad from an ISIS invasion. We all know that the terrorist organization ISIS turned away from the capital and headed towards Mosul and Kurdistan when the Iranians weren’t even there to confront it. Shiite leaders will pay a higher price than others for the Iranian presence on Iraqi soil because Iranian influence will remain limited in Sunni areas no matter how expanded their military and security presence is in other parts of Iraq.
A Shiite leader claimed that the United States supported Sunni extremists over the past years and that it must accept Shiite extremists as well. This is an indicator of how Iran will empower Shiite extremists over moderates and other respectful Shiite and Sunni political parties. The American presence in Iraq was temporary, and it was the Americans who toppled Saddam Hussein’s regime after the Iraqi resistance - both Shiite and Kurdish - failed to do so.
If Iraqis keep silent over the Iranian regime’s incursion into their lives, they will suffer the oppression and cruelty which the Iranian people themselves are suffering from. In the end, the Iraqis will view the Iranians as an occupying force and they will be fought and expelled from Iraq just like their Mongol, British and American predecessors.
On the other hand, it may be in the interest of other countries for Iran to be involved in the Iraqi swamp and to clash with Arab Sunni powers at first and with Arab Shiite powers later. The Iranian regime has been smart and cautious enough to avoid direct military confrontation outside its borders. Even when the Afghani Taliban forces provoked the Iranian regime and killed many of its followers, Iran withdrew from the front line and did not engage in a confrontation with them. During the wars of the past 30 years, Iran settled with using “regional proxies” - like Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza and the Houthis in Yemen - to defend its agendas. It is these parties’ men who die on behalf of the Iranians. The entrance of Iran’s forces into Iraq and of its militias into Syria shows another side of Tehran and marks a new advanced phase of the struggle in the region.

Jerusalem begins diplomatic fight against UN Commission inquiry on Gaza
Jerusalem Post 14.01.15
Israel this week launched a campaign to thwart the UN Commission of Inquiry on Gaza, directing its diplomats to ensure that a majority of the 47 countries on the UN body that established the commission do not endorse its report.The commission, headed by William Schabas, is due to present its findings to the UN Human Rights Council that set it up on March 23, just six days after the elections. A vote on the findings will be held a few days after that. According to a Foreign Ministry cable sent to Israel’s representatives abroad, the goal of the campaign is to get “as many countries as possible – with the hope that at least 24 will not approve the committee's findings -- to either vote against, abstain or not show up [for the vote].”The cable said that while Israel does not have diplomatic relations with 11 countries on the council, and the battle in a number of other countries is already lost, “with proper diplomatic activity it is possible to influence not a small number of members.” Israel is refusing to cooperate with the commission, and the committee is therefore gathering testimony using technological means or through interviews done from Jordan. Part of the campaign against the commission will be to discredit its head, Canadian international law professor Schabas, who in 2012 said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be his “favorite person” to bring to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Furthermore, in 2009 Schabas -- who has accused Israel of war crimes and crimes against humanity -- expressed surprise that Sudan's president, and not then Israeli president Shimon Peres, would be prosecuted by the ICC.
“The Schabas Commission was born in sin,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon, explaining israel's decision to launch a campaign to discredit it. “It's mandate is highly distorted, and its head has already decided to indict Israel even before the commission started its work,” Nachshon said. “This is a sham, a mockery of justice, and reminiscent of the Inquisition trials.” Nachshon labeled the Human Rights Council “an anti-Israel body which has no intention whatsoever of judging Israel fairly and honestly.” He added that this was “demonstrated by the distorted mandate given to the commission, and by the appointment of a person highly hostile to Israel as its chairman.”