Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Another Soros puppet string revealed - Thomas Lifson




by Thomas Lifson

It is by far the most tangible action in a progressive push to find, prepare and finance criminal justice reform-oriented candidates for jobs that have been held by long-time incumbents and serve as pipelines to the federal courts — and it has inspired fury among opponents angry about the outside influence in local elections.

George Soros is a brilliant mastermind, the closest thing to a real-life Bond villain in human history.  He thinks strategically, targeting sources of leverage, and he wants to bring about structural change.  See, for instance, his close involvement in the Secretary of States Project.

Another attempt at targeting strategic sources of leverage has been outed at Politico (!) by Scott Bland:
While America’s political kingmakers inject their millions into high-profile presidential and congressional contests, Democratic mega-donor George Soros has directed his wealth into an under-the-radar 2016 campaign to advance one of the progressive movement’s core goals — reshaping the American justice system.
The billionaire financier has channeled more than $3 million into seven local district attorney campaigns in six states over the past year — a sum that exceeds the total spent on the 2016 presidential campaign by all but a handful of rival super-donors.
Typically, D.A. races do not attract big bucks, so the Soros money can become a major factor.  Needless to say:
His money has supported African-American and Hispanic candidates for these powerful local roles, all of whom ran on platforms sharing major goals of Soros’, like reducing racial disparities in sentencing and directing some drug offenders to diversion programs instead of to trial. It is by far the most tangible action in a progressive push to find, prepare and finance criminal justice reform-oriented candidates for jobs that have been held by long-time incumbents and serve as pipelines to the federal courts — and it has inspired fury among opponents angry about the outside influence in local elections.
That is a remarkably long time horizon for a man as old as Soros to embrace.  Generational in scope.  Maybe he expects his sons to complete his vision, but my guess is that his money has funded a vast organization that will operate tax-free to accomplish this huge political transformation.

Throughout the progressive agenda.  For many decades ahead.

There is a lot of good reporting in the story on the various races Soros has funded.  Kudos to Politico for this one.

Ed Lasky adds:

Soros runs rings around the Koch brothers and everyone else yet merits little attention from the media.  He drills down to state level and probably county levels when it comes to judges as well.  Also, he led the way with the Secretary of State Project that helped elect various secretaries of state – positions responsible for ensuring the integrity of voting practices and results – and can be manipulated, as was most probably the reason we have Al Franken as the senator from Minnesota.  I wrote about the SOS strategy of his and the Democracy Alliance years ago.  The judiciary is supposed to be independent.  There is no branch of government on the federal or state level – and county level – that Soros does not want to manipulate.

Richard Baehr adds:

The amount Soros spends – a few million here, a few million there – look benign compared to Adelson throwing 100 million into the 2012 campaign.  But he is far more effective.  

The recent release of emails was a complete non-story for major media.  They won’t attack him.


Thomas Lifson

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2016/08/another_soros_puppet_string_revealed.html

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Everything You Have Been Told about Gayness and Gender Is Wrong - Doug Mainwaring




by Doug Mainwaring

The hard Science behind "gender identity"


You haven’t been told the truth. You have been subjected to relentless sophistry and lies. 

We have been told over and over again that gays, lesbians, and transgenders are “born that way.” Science, in fact, makes no such claim. Never has. In fact, social science, biological science, and every branch of medical science and psychology contradict this claim.

The New Atlantis, A Journal of Technology and Society, has produced a remarkable, far-reaching landmark study which offers a summary and an up-to-date explanation of research on sexual orientation and gender identity from the biological, psychological, and social sciences, covering nearly 200 peer-reviewed studies. Please watch the excellent short introductory trailer:




In a nutshell, here is what science and medicine, not popular culture or media and political elites, tells us:

  • The belief that sexual orientation is an innate, biologically fixed human property -- that people are “born that way” -- is not supported by scientific evidence.
  • Likewise, the belief that gender identity is an innate, fixed human property independent of biological sex -- so that a person might be a “man trapped in a woman’s body” or a “woman trapped in a man’s body” -- is not supported by scientific evidence.
  • Only a minority of children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood. There is no evidence that all such children should be encouraged to become transgender, much less subjected to hormone treatments or surgery.
  • Non-heterosexual and transgender people have higher rates of mental health problems (anxiety, depression, suicide), as well as behavioral and social problems (substance abuse, intimate partner violence), than the general population. Discrimination alone does not account for the entire disparity.
The authors are Lawrence S. Mayer, M.B., M.S., Ph.D., scholar-in-residence in the Department of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University and a professor of statistics and biostatistics at Arizona State University; and Paul R. McHugh, M.D. professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who for twenty-five years was the psychiatrist-in-chief at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The vast body of scientific evidence tells a different story from the one you have heard: Being same-sex attracted is shaped primarily by a person’s relationships, culture and other experiences, not genetics or prenatal hormones. 

And while the terms “sexual identity” or “sexual orientation” are so commonly used that they go unquestioned and are perceived to have been derived from biological or medical science, they are not. These terms are merely expressions of desire, behavior and identity, all of which are fluid and may change over time. Additionally, “gay”, “lesbian” and “transgender” are not scientific terms. Gays, lesbians and transgenders are not separate species of human beings.  Those of us who experience same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria are simply human beings; no additional modifiers necessary.

The only thing that science actually tells us is that we are born either male or female: Undeniable, irrefutable biological and psychological truth. We are either men, or women. Period.

Popular culture now espouses the notion that heteronormativity is harmful to those with same-sex attraction. But “Heteronormativity” is nothing more than a recently made up entry in the Dictionary of Political Correctness. And while many have passively accepted the “Minority Stress Model” -- the notion that LGBTs experience elevated levels of mental and emotional distress due to social stigma and living within a heterosexist society – science identifies no linkage.  It’s a dead end theory.

Likewise, those who identify as “transsexual” are not expressing a true or immutable trait. Gender dysphoria is not much different from anorexia -- the potentially life-threatening belief that one is overweight when in reality one is not -- and is perhaps just as dangerous. Men are men and women are women.  Biology offers only a binary choice, not the thirty-one (31) gender options recently identified by New York City's experts or the fifty-eight (58) gender options identified by Facebook.

Braced for Ridicule or Neglect

As you can imagine, I will be labeled a Neanderthal, a bigot, and homophobe for stating this and for sharing this study with you.  

As a same-sex attracted man who has testified against same-sex marriage in various state Legislatures and who has spoken in numerous public forums, I’ve witnessed this firsthand. For objecting to the notion of same-sex marriage I have been told by commenters at American Thinker that I am “ ...an ignorant, grotesque, waste of life, anti-freedom, anti-American, parasitic, self-loathing, gay Uncle Tom, mentally diseased, barbarian Nazi TRASH who should be legally tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for crimes against humanity,” (yes, that is a single, exact quote). Many with whom I proudlly stand shoulder to shoulder on this issue have experienced far worse, far more dire threats to their families and livelihoods.

I condemn no one -- gay, straight, transgender or whatever; I do however seek to identify and condemn errant, harmful ideologies and lies, especially those which diminish and endanger -- sometimes horribly -- the lives of children. I don’t call myself “gay” because it is a term devoid of real meaning. I am a man, and despite my inclinations, my body is made for having sex not with other men, but with one woman, my wife, whom I love. 

A Grave Existential Threat to the Gay Lobby

The mainstream media will deride and ridicule this study and/or simply ignore it because it is based on irrefutable scientific fact, and as such is an enormous threat to the grand pretension of genderlessness and genderless marriage. 

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has already attacked the study for the simple reason that it represents a grave existential threat. This study undermines any justification for HRC’s continued existence and the estimated nearly $30 million it hauls in annually from contributions. Its luxurious headquarters located on Rhode Island Avenue in Washington DC would have to be sold to some other high-powered lobbying enterprise. 



HRC Photo.

Once freed from the pursuit of political power and manipulation of those with same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria, perhaps the staff might then be able to concentrate on helping LGBTs with their real, actual problems and challenges as outlined in The New Atlantis study -- not imagined, fabricated or opportunistic ones.

More key findings:


● Compared to the general population, non-heterosexual subpopulations are at an elevated risk for a variety of adverse health and mental health outcomes.

● Members of the non-heterosexual population are estimated to have about 1.5 times higher risk of experiencing anxiety disorders than members of the heterosexual population, as well as roughly double the risk of depression, 1.5 times the risk of substance abuse, and nearly 2.5 times the risk of suicide.

● Members of the transgender population are also at higher risk of a variety of mental health problems compared to members of the non-transgender population. Especially alarmingly, the rate of lifetime suicide attempts across all ages of transgender individuals is estimated at 41%, compared to under 5% in the overall U.S. population.

● Compared to the general population, adults who have undergone sex-reassignment surgery continue to have a higher risk of experiencing poor mental health outcomes. One study found that, compared to controls, sex-reassigned individuals were about five times more likely to attempt suicide and about 19 times more likely to die by suicide.

● Longitudinal studies of adolescents suggest that sexual orientation may be quite fluid over the life course for some people, with one study estimating that as many as 80% of male adolescents who report same-sex attractions no longer do so as adults (although the extent to which this figure reflects actual changes in same-sex attractions and not just artifacts of the survey process has been contested by some researchers).

● Compared to heterosexuals, non-heterosexuals are about two to three times as likely to have experienced childhood sexual abuse.

● Children are a special case when addressing transgender issues. Only a minority of children who experience cross-gender identification will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood.

● There is little scientific evidence for the therapeutic value of interventions that delay puberty or modify the secondary sex characteristics of adolescents, although some children may have improved psychological well-being if they are encouraged and supported in their cross-gender identification. There is no evidence that all children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior should be encouraged to become transgender.

Dr. Paul McHugh, co-author of the report, explains: “The aim [of the report] is to make sure people aren’t finding themselves in a misdirection of their life that’s going to keep them from flourishing as people.”

Adam Keiper, editor, The New Atlantis added: “The idea here is a full understanding of what it means to be human.”

Only truth, not lies -- no matter how popular they might be -- leads to human freedom and flourishing. 


Doug Mainwaring is a writer and marriage & children’s rights activist, currently working on his forthcoming book, Marriage, Ground Zero: The Real Battle Dawns. Doug can be reached at doug.MGZ@aol.com 

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/08/everything_you_have_been_told_about_gayness_and_gender_is_wrong_.html

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Black Lives Matter blindsides Jewish supporters with anti-Israel platform. (Surprise, Surprise …) - Valerie Richardson




by Valerie Richardson

The Black Lives Matter movement blindsided its Jewish supporters with the recent unveiling of its social and political policy agenda, a far-left manifesto that strays well beyond police brutality and accuses Israel of “genocide” and “apartheid.”


“The U.S. justifies and advances the global war on terror via its alliance with Israel and is complicit in the genocide taking place against the Palestinian people,” said the platform’s “Invest-Divest” policy brief. Through foreign aid to Israel, which the platform describes as an “apartheid state,” Americans are made “complicit in the abuses committed by the Israeli government,” the brief says.

The strong anti-Israel language stunned liberal Jews, many of whom have expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement’s protests against shootings by police of unarmed black men.

“It is a real tragedy that Black Lives Matter — which has done so much good in raising awareness of police abuses — has now moved away from its central mission and has declared war against the nation state of the Jewish people,” said Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan M. Dershowitz in a Friday column in The Boston Globe.

He called on the Movement for Black Lives coalition to rescind the anti-Israel component of the platform, issued Aug. 1 and backed by 67 groups, including Color of Change, which is funded by top Democratic Party donors George Soros and the Center for American Progress.

The liberal Ford Foundation announced last month that it would partner with Borealis Philanthropy, Movement Strategy Center and Benedict Consulting on a six-year commitment to fund “the organizations and networks that compose the Movement for Black Lives.” (Perfect examples of your naive charitable contributions going awry)

Although Mr. Dershowitz said that many Black Lives Matter supporters “may have no idea what the platform says,” he described the platform as “the closest thing to a formal declaration of principles by Black Lives Matter.” “The genocide paragraph may well have been injected by radicals who are not representative of the mainstream. But now that it has officially been published, all decent supporters of Black Lives Matter — and there are many — must demand its removal,” Mr. Dershowitz said.

An editorial Monday on MassLive in Massachusetts blasted the anti-Israel plank under the headline, “Attacking Israel dilutes Black Lives Matters’ cause.”

Progressives, meanwhile, have cheered the inclusion of the anti-Israel language, praising the document for linking the Palestinian and Black Lives movements.

“The affirmed solidarity of the Black Lives movement with the Palestinian experience imbues the Palestinian struggle for human and national rights with renewed energy,” Zeina Azzam, executive director of the Jerusalem Fund and Palestine Center in Washington, D.C., said in a column. “As Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’”

(It so happens Martin Luther King Jr. was a great friend of the Jews, realized they were his staunch allies. participated in all his rallies and in fact, shed Jewish blood with two Jewish boys and one Black killed brutally by the Ku Klux Klan …)

(The Mississippi civil rights workers’ murders were an incident of racial violence involving the abduction and murder of three civil rights workers in Neshoba County, Mississippi on the night of June 21–22, 1964. The victims, James Earl Chaney of Meridian, Mississippi, and Andrew Goodman and Michael “Mickey” Schwerner of New York City, were associated with the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) and its member organization, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). They had been working with the “Freedom Summer” campaign—attempting to register African Americans in the southern states to vote—contesting over 70 years of laws and practices comprising a systematic policy of disenfranchisement of potential black voters by several southern states beginning in 1890.) Wikipedia 
 
One of the platform’s authors, Ben Ndugga-Kabuye of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, said that black activists feel connected to the Palestinian conflict.


“The way we look at it is, we take strong stances,” Mr. Ndugga-Kabuye told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “The demand we’re making is we’re against the U.S. continuing funding and military aid to the government of Israel. These are all things that are going to be in debate.”

Pro-Palestinian messages are commonplace at Black Lives Matter protests, which routinely attract a hodgepodge of activists ranging from the Communist Party USA to fracking foes to opponents of food made with genetically modified organisms.

What the ambitious policy agenda shows is that Black Lives Matter itself is a creation of the progressive movement, not an organic response to outrage sparked by recent police shootings of unarmed black men, said Republican strategist Michael McKenna.

In addition to condemning Israel, the platform includes demands for race-based reparations, breaking up large banks, voting rights for illegal immigrants, fossil fuel divestment, an end to private education and charter schools, a “universal basic income” and free college for blacks.

Said Mr. McKenna sarcastically: “I’m shocked that Black Lives Matters turns out to be a political movement holding down the left flank of the Democratic Party. I mean, what are the chances that an organization bankrolled by the usual suspects would turn out to be shills for the policy prescriptions of … the usual suspects?”

The billionaire, self hating Jew, Nazi sympathizer, Mr. George Soros donated in one year more than $33 million through his Open Society Foundations to groups affiliated with Black Lives Matter.

“[Black Lives Matter] is what it is — a political movement designed (immediately) to improve turnout for [former] Secretary [of State Hillary] Clinton, argue mostly unarguable points, create fear and uncertainty in society, and just generally advocate for ridiculous and noxious policy positions,” Mr. Kenna said in an email.

The Movement for Black Lives platform also creates more tension within the Democratic Party coalition with Jewish voters, many of whom have been frustrated by President Obama’s hard line on Israel and outreach to hostile nations such as Iran.

Roz Rothstein, CEO of the pro-Israel organization StandWithUs, warned that the “hyperbolic, inaccurate and dishonest language” threatened to drive a wedge between the black and Jewish communities, which have traditionally worked together to advance civil rights.

“The Black Lives Matter movement has done much to highlight these issues in recent years and to reinvigorate a much needed discussion on race relations,” StandWithUs said in a statement. “That is why we are so deeply disappointed that the recently released Movement for Black Lives platform demonizes and dehumanizes Israelis with false accusations of ‘genocide’ and ‘apartheid.’”

The Movement for Black Lives policy is “slanderous, deeply offensive to the vast majority of the Jewish community, and damaging to longstanding relationships between Jewish and Black communities,” said the statement.

In its introduction, the platform says that “we recognize we have a shared struggle with all oppressed people; collective liberation will be a product of all of our work.”

“We are intentional about amplifying the particular experience of state and gendered violence that Black queer, transgender nonconforming, women and intersex people face,” the platform says. “There can be no liberation for all Black people if we do not center and fight for those who have been marginalized.”


Valerie Richardson

Source: http://israel-commentary.org/?p=13735

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The End of Mahmoud Abbas - Caroline Glick




by Caroline Glick

The end of an era in Palestinian-Israeli relations approaches.

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post


Like it or not, the day is fast approaching when the Palestinian Authority we have known for the past 22 years will cease to exist.


PA leader Mahmoud Abbas’s US-trained Palestinian security forces have lost control over the Palestinians cities in Judea and Samaria. His EU- and US-funded bureaucracies are about to lose control over the local governments to Hamas. And his Fatah militias have turned against him.



Palestinian affairs experts Pinchas Inbari of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and Khaled Abu Toameh of the Gatestone Institute have in recent weeks reported in detail about the insurrection of Fatah militias and tribal leaders against Abbas’s PA. 


In Nablus, Fatah terrorist cells are in open rebellion against PA security forces. Since August 18, Fatah cells have repeatedly engaged PA forces in lethal exchanges, and according to Inbari, the town is now in a state of “total anarchy.”


In Hebron, tribal leaders, more or less dormant for the past 20 years, are regenerating a tribal alliance as a means of bypassing the PA, which no longer represents them. Their first major action to date was to send a delegation of tribal leaders to meet with King Abdullah of Jordan.


Even in Ramallah, the seat of Abbas’s power, the PA is losing ground to EU-funded NGOs that seek to limit the PA’s economic control over the groups and their operations.


All of this fighting and maneuvering is taking place against the backdrop of the encroaching PA municipal elections, scheduled for October 8.


Hamas is widely expected to win control over most of the local governments in Judea and Samaria. Hamas’s coming takeover of the municipalities is likely playing a role in decisions by Fatah terrorist cells to reject the authority of the PA. Many of those cells can be expected to transfer their allegiance to Hamas once the terrorist group wins the elections.


Given his Fatah party’s looming electoral defeat, more and more PA functionaries are wondering why Abbas doesn’t use the growing anarchy in Palestinian cities as a reason to cancel them. Abbas seems to have calculated that Israel will step in and, as it has repeatedly done over the past 20 years, cancel the elections for him.


Media organs Abbas controls are full of conspiracy theories whose bottom line is that Israel is not canceling the elections Abbas declared because it is in cahoots with Hamas and other “collaborators” to undermine the PA.


Although Israel, of course, is in cahoots with no one, it is the case that the government has apparently finally lost its patience with Abbas and is looking past him.


Repeated angry denunciations by government leaders of Abbas for his lead role in inciting violence against Israelis, leading the international movement to delegitimize Israel, refusing to negotiate anything with its leaders, and radicalizing Palestinian society, are finally being translated into policy.


Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s recent announcement that Israel is adopting a carrot-andstick approach not toward the PA but toward the Palestinians themselves, and will advance development projects in areas where terrorism levels are low and take a hard line against areas where terrorist cells are most active, has sent shock waves through Abbas’s palaces.


For 22 years, Israel has bowed to Palestinian and Western demands and agreed to speak only to PA functionaries and Palestinian civilians authorized by the PA to speak to Israelis. Liberman’s decision to base Israel’s actions on the ground on the behavior of the Palestinians themselves rather than act in accordance with PA directives, along with his decision to speak directly to Palestinian businessmen and others, marks the end of Israel’s acceptance of this practice.


Without a doubt, Israel’s willingness to let Abbas fall is in part a function of the wider Arab world’s increased indifference to, if not disgust with the Palestinians. As MEMRI has documented, the Arab media is registering growing impatience with PA spokespeople. Arab commentators have harshly criticized PA functionaries who continue to insist their conflict with Israel is the most pressing issue on the pan-Arab agenda.


The disintegration of Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya and the rise of Iran as a mortal threat, along with Israel’s growing importance as an ally to Sunni Arab regimes have made the Palestinian cause look downright offensive to large swaths of the Arab world.


Part of Israel’s willingness to let Abbas fall also owes to its inevitability. Once Hamas wins the elections and takes control over the local governments, Abbas’s already weakened position will become unsustainable. As is already happening in towns and villages throughout the areas, Fatah cells will transfer their allegiance to Hamas. The areas will become Balkanized and radicalized still further.


Confrontation between Israel and the Hamas-controlled Palestinians in Judea and Samaria is inevitable.


Moreover, this process will likely be rapid. Just as Hamas’s complete takeover of Gaza from Fatah forces happened seemingly overnight in June 2007, so its seizure of control over Judea and Samaria will happen in the blink of an eye.


Many Westerners, Israeli leftists and PA functionaries hope that some deus ex machina will fall from the sky at the last minute and cancel the elections.


But even if that happens, the underlying reality in which Abbas is rapidly losing all semblance of control over events in Judea and Samaria will not be reversed. Abbas has incited the Palestinians to the point where they reject not only Israel, but Abbas and the PA.


Last week, the left-leaning Israeli Democracy Institute released the results of its joint survey with the Palestinian Center for Policy Survey Research regarding levels of support for a two-state solution.


For a generation, we have been told by world leaders that “everyone who is anyone” knows that the only way to reconcile the Palestinians and Israelis is to establish an independent Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and parts of Jerusalem, as well as Gaza, roughly along the 1949 armistice lines, with land swaps between the sides involving continued Israeli control over a small percentage of the land in exchange for Palestinian control over lands Israel has controlled since its establishment.


The same formula that “everyone who is anyone” agrees on assumes that the Palestinian state will be demilitarized and that Israel will accept around a hundred thousand Palestinians who were displaced in 1949 as citizens in a token acceptance of the Palestinian demand for a so-called “right of return” of the descendants of Arabs who left Israel in 1948-9.


The poll showed that this plan is a nonstarter for the majority of Palestinians and Israelis. 
Only 46 percent of Israelis accept the formula and a mere 39% of Palestinians do.


The PA itself rejected the two-state formula at Camp David 16 years ago.


The fictional peace process based on the failed policy model has been maintained ever since for two reasons. First, successive Israeli governments have been intimidated by successive US administrations into maintaining faith with it despite its obvious failure.


Second, Abbas has built, secured and maintained his corrupt dictatorship over Palestinian society on the West’s obsession with the two-state formula.


This practice has allowed him to serve into the 11th year of his five-year term of office. It has allowed Abbas, his sons and his cronies to build fortunes on the backs of the Palestinians they are supposedly serving.


Now that Abbas’s reign is ending, the West is losing their man in Ramallah. Abbas’s Hamas successors will not be beholden to Western donors, although to their discredit, the Europeans in all likelihood will shower them with cash and side with them against Israel.


16 years after the failed Camp David summit, the fiction of the two-state solution is about to be shattered once and for all. The only relevant question today, is what does Israel intend to do next?


Caroline Glick is the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Israel Security Project and the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post. For more information on Ms. Glick's work, visit carolineglick.com.

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/264005/end-mahmoud-abbas-caroline-glick

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Erdogan tells US: Stop backing the Kurds - debkaFile




by debkaFile

The KRG’s Peshmerga are moreover pitching in to fight with their Syrian brothers. Together, they plan to expel American presence and influence from both northern Syria and northern Iraq in response to what they perceive as a US sellout of the Kurds.




US-Turkish discord over the Turkish army’s onslaught on the Kurds of northern Syria reached a new low Wednesday, Aug. 30, when the presidential palace spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said in Ankara: “The US must revise its policy of supporting Kurdish forces.”

The demand came after a senior US official called on “all the armed actors in the fight against the Islamic State in northern Syria to stand down,” in an effort to contain the new conflict dragging northern Syria into further chaos.


The call was addressed equally to Ankara to freeze its military operations in Syria and to the Kurdish PYD-YPG militia to halt the flow of fraternal reinforcements for defending Mabij, the Syrian town the militia wrested from ISIS earlier this month with US assistance.


debkafile’s military sources report that the Turkish army and Kurdish forces are already tensely aligned for a decisive battle over Manbij that will determine the outcome of the Turkish invasion of Aug. 24. President Tayyip Erdogan calculates that a Turkish victory will force the Kurds to retreat to the eastern bank of the Euphrates and away from the Turkish border, while Kurdish leaders are determined to halt the Turkish army at the gates of the town, and so brand the invasion a fiasco and carry off an epic victory.

The Obama administration is making a huge effort to avert this confrontation. In the hope of reining in the Turks, Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Ankara on the day their army crossed the Syrian border and met them halfway by issuing an ultimatum to the Kurds to withdraw to east of the Euphrates or else lose US support.


Unheeding of the US warning, the Kurds went forward to build up their fighting strength and engage the Turkish army.


Ankara suspects that the Americans are continuing notwithstanding to give the Kurds weapons and assistance on the quiet


Washington fears that a Turkish-Kurdish showdown in Manbij will further destabilize the military situation such as it is in northern Syria and northern Iraq, and all their efforts to persuade the Kurds to lead the ground forces of the coalition offensives against ISIS will go for nothing.


In an earlier report on Monday, debkafile covered the conflict between Turkey and the Kurds as it unfolded after the Turkish invasion.

An all-out Turkish-Kurdish war has boiled over in northern Syria since the Turkish army crossed the border last Wednesday, Aug. 24 for the avowed aim of fighting the Islamic State and pushing the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia back. Instead of falling back, the Kurds went on the offensive and are taking a hammering. This raging confrontation has stalled the US-led coalition offensive against ISIS and put on indefinite hold any US plans for campaigns to drive the jihadists out of their Syrian and Iraqi capitals of Raqqa and Mosul.

The Kurdish militia ground troops, who were backed by the US and assigned the star role in these campaigns, are now fully engaged in fighting Turkey. And, in another radical turnaround, Iraqi Kurdish leaders (of the Kurdish Regional Republic) have responded by welcoming Iran to their capital, in retaliation for the US decision to join forces with Turkey at the expense of Kurdish aspirations.


The KRG’s Peshmerga are moreover pitching in to fight with their Syrian brothers. Together, they plan to expel American presence and influence from both northern Syria and northern Iraq in response to what they perceive as a US sellout of the Kurds. 


debkafile’s military analysts trace the evolving steps of this escalating complication of the Syrian war and its wider impact:
  • Since cleansing Jarablus of ISIS, Turkey has thrown large, additional armored and air force into the battle against the 35.000-strong YPG Kurdish fighters. This is no longer just a sizeable military raid, as Ankara has claimed, but a full-fledged war operation. Turkish forces are continuing to advancing in three directions and by Sunday, Aug. 28 had struck 15-17km deep inside northern Syria across a 100km wide strip.
    Their targets are clearly defined: the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northwest Syria and the Kurdish enclave of Qamishli and Hassaka in the east, in order to block the merger of Kurdish enclaves into a contiguous Syrian Kurdish state.
    Another goal was Al-Bab north of and within range of Aleppo for a role in a major theater of the Syrian conflict. To reach Al-Bab, the Turkish force would have to fight its way through Kurdish-controlled territory.
  • The Turks are also using a proxy to fight the Syrian Kurds. Thousands of Syrian Democratic Army (SDF) rebels, whom they trained and supplied to fight Syria’s Bashar Assad army and the Islamic State, have been diverted to targeting the Kurds under the command of Turkish officers, to which Turkish elite forces are attached.
  • A Turkish Engineering Corps combat unit is equipped for crossing the Euphrates River and heading east to push the Kurds further back. Contrary to reports, the Turkish have not yet crossed the river itself or pushed the Kurds back - only forded a small stream just east of Jarablus. The main Kurdish force is deployed to the south not the east of the former ISIS stronghold.
  • Neither have Turkish-backed Syrian forces captured Manbij, the town 35km south of Jarablus which the Kurds with US support captured from ISIS earlier this month. Contrary to claims by Ankara’s spokesmen, those forces are still only 10-15km on the road to Mabij.
  • Sunday, heavy fighting raged around a cluster of Kurdish villages, Beir Khoussa and Amarneh, where the Turks were forced repeatedly to retreat under Kurdish counter attacks. Some of the villages were razed to the ground by the Turkish air force and tanks. At least 35 villagers were reported killed.
  • In four days of fierce battles, the Kurds suffered 150 dead and the Turkish side, 60.
  • debkafile military sources also report preparations Sunday to evacuate US Special Operations Forces and helicopter units from the Rmeilan air base near the Syrian-Kurdish town of Hassaka. If the fighting around the base intensifies, they will be relocated in northern Iraq.
  • Fighters of the Iraqi-Kurdish Peshmerga were seen removing their uniforms and donning Syrian YPG gear before crossing the border Sunday and heading west to join their Syrian brothers in the battle against Turkey.
  • The KRG President Masoud Barazani expects to travel to Tehran in the next few days with an SOS for Iranian help against the US and the Turks. On the table for a deal is permission from Irbil for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to win their first military bases in the Iraqi Kurdish republic, as well as transit for Iranian military forces to reach Syria through Kurdish territory..

debkaFile

Source: http://www.debka.com/article/25637/Erdogan-tells-US-Stop-backing-the-Kurds

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French interior minister: “We are at war with an enemy trying to pit Muslims against non-Muslims” - Robert Spencer




by Robert Spencer

Muslims are exhorted to wage war against and subjugate unbelievers, with no exception made for unbelievers who are kind, accommodating, and welcoming toward Muslims.

This idea is very common in the West. American politicians have articulated it. The reasoning goes like this: jihadis recruit by pointing to Western counter-terror initiatives (such as France’s now-discarded burkini ban, which was meant to strike against allegiance to jihadist and Islamic supremacist groups that flaunt Islamic dress in the West, and proposals such as Trump’s now much-nuanced temporary moratorium on Muslim immigration) and telling Muslims that they will never be welcome in the West. So in the face of jihad attacks in the West, authorities must redouble their efforts to bring Muslims to the West and accommodate them. By showing Muslims and non-Muslims living together in harmony and peace, this will stymie jihadist recruitment in the West and around the world.

This argument rests upon the assumption that jihadis recruit based on grievances against the West, and that if those grievances were redressed, there would be peace. That ignores the jihad imperative embedded within the Qur’an and Sunnah: Muslims are exhorted to wage war against and subjugate unbelievers, with no exception made for unbelievers who are kind, accommodating, and welcoming toward Muslims.

In reality, the dynamic works in almost exactly the opposite way: after every jihad attack, jihad groups see Western governments becoming more welcoming and accommodating toward Muslims, and resisting all attempts to make even a symbolic stand (like the burkini ban) against jihad activity. This enables them to embed more jihadis among “refugees” to the West, and to plot more freely in Muslim areas without fear of surveillance that has been deemed “Islamophobic.” Thus Cazeneuve’s determination to resist “an enemy trying to pit Muslims against non-Muslims” only has the effect of making French citizens more vulnerable to jihad attacks.

Bernard Cazeneuve
“French minister: ‘We are at war with an enemy trying to pit Muslims against non-Muslims,’” Associated Press, August 30, 2016:
France’s Interior Minister is mounting a bid to unite Muslims and non-Muslims in France as tensions rise following the ‘Burkini ban’
France’s interior minister has said the country is at war with an enemy trying to pit Muslims against non-Muslims.
Bernard Cazeneuve called for urgent action to create a strong bond between the nation and citizens of the Islamic faith in response.
He also said it was crucial to tailor the religion to the values of secular France, “a pillar of the republic.”
Cazeneuve spoke after a day-long conference with Muslim leaders, professionals and lawmakers to try to kick start a project aiming to bind Muslims to the nation, a task given new urgency after deep divisions surfaced over burkini bans in 30 French beach towns and after extremist attacks that also stigmatised Muslims.
A high court struck down the burkini bans on Friday, but the debate had already seeped into France’s political sphere revealing tensions between the secular establishment and sectors of France’s estimated five million Muslims, the largest Muslim population in Western Europe.
Cazeneuve, speaking to reporters, said a “strong and calm” relationship with Muslims is “urgent and particularly necessary.”
“France is at war with terrorists, at war with an enemy trying to divide it and pit the French against each other, fracture the nation’s body, sap the republic,” he said.
“We must not fall into this mortal trap.”
The July 14 attack on revellers in Nice, the killing of a priest in Normandy on July 26 and the killing of a police couple in their home in June — all claimed by ISIS — have focused tensions on Muslims.
A French prosecutor opened an investigation into suspected racial discrimination after two Muslim women said they were ordered out of a restaurant over the weekend with the owner heard saying on an iPhone video, “I don’t want people like you in my place. … Get out.”
Cazeneuve warned in an interview with France’s Roman Catholic newspaper La Croix that if the political class cannot unite all French “the dynamics of division may prove dangerous.”
However, he ruled out drafting a national law banning burkinis.
“What is at stake is very important,” said Abdallah Zekri, who heads the Observatory Against Islamophobia. “Firstly, we must end the arguments over the burkini, which make no sense.”
He told reporters that some people wanted to use burkinis to stigmatise Muslims, while politicians looking to France 2017 presidential race seized the issue “for vote-catching reasons.”
He also contended that humiliating Muslims “has facilitated the work of Daesh (ISIS) recruiters” of vulnerable Muslim youth….


Robert Spencer

Source: https://www.jihadwatch.org/2016/08/french-interior-minister-we-are-at-war-with-an-enemy-trying-to-pit-muslims-against-non-muslims

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Deja vu and the coming PA elections - Elliott Abrams




by Elliott Abrams

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Municipal elections are scheduled for October 8 in the West Bank and Gaza. Hamas has ‎reversed its previous position and is now participating, and may win -- not as Hamas, per se, ‎but by putting forth "fellow traveler" candidates known to be close to Hamas. The elections ‎will likely be close.‎

The unpopularity of the Palestinian Authority and the ruling Fatah Party due to corruption, ‎incompetence, and growing repression helps explain why West Bank voters might choose ‎Hamas. In other cases voters may prefer Hamas' Islamism to Fatah's brand of ‎secularism -- or may prefer Hamas' manifest desire to kill Israelis over Fatah's and the PA's ‎tamer stance. And there is another factor: In many areas Hamas is presenting a single ‎candidate while the non-Hamas vote is split among rival contenders. As The Times of Israel ‎reported about Hebron:‎

"These are the first elections in more than a decade in which voting is taking place at the ‎same time in both Gaza and the West Bank, and Hamas and Fatah are going head-to-‎head. ... As in the other cities in the West Bank, the trouble in Hebron is that because there ‎are so many secular slates of candidates, there is a reasonable chance that the more ‎moderate camp of Fatah and groups of its ilk will split the secular vote, paving the way for ‎victory by Hamas candidates.‎"

Deja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra is said to have said. In the 2006 Palestinian ‎parliamentary elections, most of these same conditions existed and the result was a narrow ‎Hamas victory in the popular vote (44 to 41%) that produced a much larger Hamas ‎majority in parliament (74 to 45).‎

There is one difference from 2006 that is very much worth mentioning. The myth exists ‎that the United States forced the Palestinians to hold those elections over the objections of ‎the PA leadership. That's false (as I explained at length in my book about Bush ‎administration policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, "Tested by Zion"). In fact, the ‎Palestinians had held a successful presidential election in January 2005 whose purpose was ‎to establish the legitimacy of Mahmoud Abbas as Yasser Arafat's successor. They wanted ‎parliamentary elections, again to strengthen Fatah's legitimacy, and were confident they ‎would win. We did not force them to hold the 2006 elections. Today, at least that argument ‎is over: No one is claiming that these elections of 2016 are being demanded by the United ‎States and imposed by the Obama administration on a reluctant PA leadership.‎

But the similarities to 2006 are very striking, including the most fundamental one: allowing ‎a terrorist group, Hamas, to contest the election without the slightest nod to stopping its ‎terror or giving up its rule of Gaza. This is wrong for many reasons, but here are the top two. ‎First, Hamas may win power in a number of West Bank cities but Fatah will not be able to ‎contest elections as freely in Gaza. In this sense the dice are loaded, or to mix ‎metaphors, Hamas can say heads I win in the West Bank and tails you lose in Gaza. Second, ‎those who wish to contest elections should be forced to choose between bullets and ballots. ‎This is what happened in the Northern Ireland agreements, where the Irish Republican Army had to end its ‎guerrilla and terrorist war and could then run for office. It is a mistake with global ‎implications to allow terrorist groups to have it all: to run for office like peaceful parties, but ‎continue their violent activities. That was the mistake we made in 2006, and it is being ‎repeated.‎

There is an argument for holding these elections, of course, and a powerful one. There have ‎been no parliamentary or presidential elections in the West Bank and Gaza since 2006 and ‎these elections provide at least a taste of democracy. They will tell us a good deal about ‎Palestinian public opinion. And perhaps in some cases they will produce better, meaning ‎more responsive and competent, municipal governments. But perhaps their clearest ‎achievement will be to show that nothing has changed since 2006 and indeed for decades ‎more: Fatah and Hamas are implacably at odds, Palestinians are split, the Palestinian ‎‎"national" government and national movement are hopelessly divided, Hamas' brand of ‎rejectionism and terror remains widely popular, and a negotiated peace agreement between ‎Israel and the Palestinians is nowhere in sight.‎

Well, one thing has changed since 2006: Abbas is 10 years older and his time in office is ‎closer to its end. Until succession issues are dealt with, the notion of serious Israeli-‎Palestinian negotiations is completely unrealistic -- whatever happens at the United Nations, ‎whatever the French suggest or the Russians try, and whatever the Obama administration ‎or its successor believe.‎



Elliott Abrams is a senior fellow for Middle East Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. This piece is reprinted from Abrams' blog "Pressure Points."

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=17045

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King David-era battle comes to life in new museum exhibition - Efrat Forsher




by Efrat Forsher

Relics from Khirbet Qeiyafa, a Judean city close to where David fought Goliath, including two portable shrines, showcased by Bible Lands Museum • Artifacts date back to 11th century BCE, provide strong evidence that ancient Israelites lived in area.



Artifacts from Khirbet Qeiyafa find featured in the exhibition
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Photo credit: Oren Ben Hakoon


Efrat Forsher

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=36041

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