Latest Analysis and Commentary

How Despots Interpret Deals with the West

by Bassam Tawil  •  September 6, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • The European Union wants the world to welcome Iran back into the international community because as far as the Europeans are concerned, it appears that the stronger Iran is, the better: a renewed Iran would further Europe's hope of seeing Israel and the Jews wiped off the face of the earth. Heard just a few months ago were calls such as, "send Jews to the ovens," "Hitler didn't finish the job," and "kill the Jews."

  • The Trump administration has created the impression in the Arab and Muslim world that it is ready to beg the leaders of Iran to engage in direct negotiations with Washington. This approach is exceptionally harmful to US interests: it sends a message to many Arabs and Muslims that Americans are prepared to surrender again and humiliate themselves for the sake of any kind of deal with the Iranians. As Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said last month, America should "bow down" to Iran. Seems it is.

  • Advice to the Trump administration is: Stay strong. As Osama bin Laden correctly observed, "When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature, they will like the strong horse."

  • Strength and more strength is the only way to earn the respect of those running the show in Beijing, Kabul, Moscow, Pyongyang, and especially in Tehran, Gaza and Beirut.

US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper was quoted as saying on August 28 that the US is "not seeking conflict with Iran." During the Pentagon press briefing, Esper repeated Trump's calls for diplomatic efforts with Iran. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The European Union says it will support talks between the US and Iran, but only if the current nuclear deal with Tehran is preserved.

The idea of direct talks between the US and Iran seems to have developed after President Donald Trump recently said he was ready to meet Iran's President Hassan Rouhani.

"We are always in favor of talks, the more people talk, the more people understand each other better, on the basis of clarity and on the basis of respect," EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said last month.

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Islamist-inspired Terrorism Returns to Yemen

by Con Coughlin  •  September 5, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • Recent tensions within the coalition between the Saudis and the Emiratis, over which faction they support in the Yemeni government, has added yet another political dimension to the country's bitter civil war -- one Islamist terrorists have been quick to exploit.

  • The Saudis and Emiratis are now trying to heal the rift by hosting a peace conference involving the rival factions, in Jeddah.

  • While the political uncertainty continues, however, al-Qaeda and ISIL are taking advantage of the political vacuum to reestablish their own operations in the country, a deeply worrying development that certainly does not bode well for UN-sponsored attempts to end the country's long-running civil war between the government and the Iranian-backed Houthis.

  • So long as groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIL are able to act with impunity in Yemen, the more remote are the prospects become of ending this dreadful conflict anytime soon.

In the latest wave of terror attacks last month, a suicide bombing in Aden, Yemen claimed the lives of three members of the government's security forces while, in a separate attack, a senior security official survived a roadside bomb attack against his convoy in the centre of the city. Pictured: Militia members aligned with the Yemeni government, on September 19, 2018 in Al Khawkhah, Yemen. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

As if war-torn Yemen did not have enough violence to contend with at present, the recent spate of terror attacks in its southern port points to the return of Islamist terror groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIL, which are still plying their deadly trade in the country.

In the latest wave of terror attacks last month, a suicide bombing in Aden has claimed the lives of three members of Yemen's security forces while, in a separate attack, a senior Yemeni security official survived a roadside bomb attack against his convoy in the centre of the city.

Initially Yemeni security officials said the attack had been carried out by al-Qaeda, which has claimed responsibility for a number of recent attacks in government-controlled territory in the south of the country. In early August, for example, an al-Qaeda attack on a military base claimed the lives of 19 Yemeni soldiers.

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Brexit - The Saga Continues

by Andrew Ash  •  September 5, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • The lack of concern for a 'hard Brexit' shown by both the voters and commentators during the referendum in 2016, was due to a few factors. Those who wanted out, the 'Leavers', were interested in only one thing -- a clean break, whilst the 'Remainers' were so certain they would win the vote, they felt it unnecessary even to contemplate the 'wrong' result.

  • In 1973, when Britain joined the 'European Economic Community', as it was then known – there was no similar referendum on joining Europe. The people were simply never consulted.

  • After experiencing firsthand the broken promises and negative effects of an EU membership in which the British public had no say, it was an easy vote, when the referendum came around in 2016, to 'Leave'. It was time to flee from an authoritarian system that had no direct elections, no transparency, no accountability, and no mechanism either for un-electing anyone or for leaving. It was, sort of, a Roach Motel: one can come in but not go out.

  • Alarm began at the introduction of the Euro currency in 2002, and the eradication of our partners' domestic currencies: these moves magnified the true aim of the European Commission -- to control, and make uniform, every aspect of our lives.

(Image source: iStock)

What we have learned in Great Britain from the 'Remainers', and the US as well, is: there are a multitude of ways to snub the result of a democratic vote.

Britain's Prime Minister, Boris Johnson was accused by his opponents of staging a 'constitutional coup' by suspending parliament to block MPs from preventing Britain from finally leaving the Europe Union on October 31.

The Labour party's leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, chimed in -- claiming that the new prime minister is behaving like a 'tin pot dictator' -- thereby inflating the hysterical reaction to Johnson's bid finally to push through the will of the people.

It has been three years since Britain held a referendum on whether or not to remain in the EU. There was never any talk of a 'deal'. The vote was simply: leave or remain. The nitty gritty, should we vote to leave, could supposedly be worked out in the run-up to the departure date.

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Italy: Salvini Down but Not Out

by Soeren Kern  •  September 4, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • The new governing alliance, if realized, may be short lived. In an interview with the Italian daily La Stampa, former Interior Minister Roberto Maroni of the Lega Nord party said that the new government, if it comes to fruition, will be "intrinsically weak" because it would exist, "not for a shared political project but only to avoid elections." He added that there was a possibility that the new government could last for the entire legislature "in order to avoid delivering the country to Salvini."

  • "Do you think I am afraid of a few months in opposition?" Salvini asked in a Facebook video. "You have not got rid of me with your political games. You do not know me, I do not give in." He has called for a protest against the new government in Rome on October 19. Polls show that 67% of Italians are in favor of early elections.

  • "We Hungarians will never forget that you [Salvini] were the first Western European leader to make an effort to prevent illegal migrants from flooding Europe via the Mediterranean Sea. Irrespective of future political developments in Italy and of the fact that we belong to different European party groups, we consider you as a brother in arms in the fight to preserve Europe's Christian heritage and stop migration." — Hungarian President Viktor Orbán.

Matteo Salvini, Italy's deputy premier and interior minister since 2018, has been shut out of the Italian government after his gambit to force snap elections to become prime minister backfired. (Photo by Ernesto S. Ruscio/Getty Images)

Matteo Salvini, Italy's deputy premier and interior minister since 2018, has been shut out of the Italian government after his gambit to force snap elections to become prime minister backfired.

As the de facto leader of Europe's anti-mass-migration movement, Salvini's departure from government may set back efforts to slow illegal immigration to the continent. Many analysts, however, believe that Salvini, who continues to lead his rivals in opinion polls, will be back in government soon and in an even stronger position than before.

On August 8, after months of public feuding, Salvini declared the governing coalition between his League party and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) unworkable. He accused M5S of blocking the League's main policies and said that the only way forward was to hold fresh elections.

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Boko Haram: Bloody Terror, No End in Sight

by Uzay Bulut  •  September 4, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • Every year, Nigeria's Boko Haram, which has gained a foothold in the neighboring African countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger, appears to be growing stronger.

  • Suicide bombings and other deadly attacks committed by Boko Haram terrorists over the past decade have claimed the lives of tens of thousands of innocent people, while more than two million others have been displaced.

  • "Nigeria's government has proved itself to be incompetent at best, and at worst, complicit in the attacks." — International Christian Concern's regional manager for Africa, Nathan Johnson, to Gatestone Institute.

  • "The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), for example, gives billions of dollars in aid to northeastern Nigeria. The problem is that aid, which helps fix small amounts of damage, is not a sufficient answer. As long as groups such as Boko Haram are able to keep destroying whole villages and infrastructure -- while devastating populations -- NGOs will never be able to keep up." — International Christian Concern's regional manager for Africa, Nathan Johnson, to Gatestone Institute.

Boko Haram just celebrated the 10th anniversary of its establishment. Every year, the Nigerian terrorist group, which has gained a foothold in the neighboring African countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger, appears to be growing stronger. Pictured: Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, from a November 2018 propaganda video by the group.

Boko Haram, the ISIS-aligned group seeking to establish an Islamic caliphate in Nigeria, just celebrated the 10th anniversary of its establishment. Contrary to initial and subsequent assessments, however, the terrorist group, also known as Islamic State's West Africa Province (ISWAP), was not to be easily defeated. On the contrary, every year, the jihadist group, which has gained a foothold in the neighboring African countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger, appears to be growing stronger.

Suicide bombings and other deadly attacks committed by Boko Haram terrorists over the past decade have claimed the lives of tens of thousands of innocent people, while more than two million others have been displaced. These figures do not even include the thousands of women and children abducted, some of whom, according to the Counter Extremism Project (CEP), "have been forced to carry out suicide missions."

The CEP explains:

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Zarif's Inexcusable Warm Welcome in Europe

by Mina Bai  •  September 3, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • The behavior of European leaders towards Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during his visit illustrates how frightened they are of the Iranian regime and how these non-stop moralists will seemingly do anything for money. Iran's strong anti-Israel rhetoric apparently does not bother them, either.

  • Trade with Iran is crucial to many European countries. That is one possible explanation for the seeming doublespeak in which European leaders have been engaging since the establishment of the Islamic Republic 40 years ago -- boasting among themselves and with the United States about setting a shining example of human rights, yet giving their Iranian counterparts a pass on this issue.

  • Those of us who sought refuge away from the brutality of the Iranian regime observe with sadness and horror these desperate attempts by many European leaders to please Tehran. Europeans should be viewing the situation with equal sadness and horror.

The behavior of European leaders towards Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during his visit illustrates how frightened they are of the Iranian regime and how these non-stop moralists will seemingly do anything for money. Pictured: The EU's chief diplomat, Federica Mogherini (left), poses with Zarif during her August 2017 visit to Iran. (Image source: European External Action Service/Flickr)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made a surprise appearance at the Group of Seven (G7) Summit in Biarritz, France, which ended on August 26. Prior to his attendance at the gathering in France, he stopped in Sweden and Norway. Denmark was not part of his itinerary, of course, due to Copenhagen's rocky relations with Tehran, over last year's assassination attempt against an Iranian Sunni separatist on Danish soil.

The purpose of Zarif's trip to Europe, apparently, was to discuss ways to ease tensions in the Persian Gulf and rescue the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) -- the nuclear deal with Iran from which US President Donald Trump withdrew in May 2018.

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Erdoğan's Elections: Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

by Burak Bekdil  •  September 2, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan promised party fans a clear election victory in Istanbul [on the June 23 rerun] -- but lost, this time, by a margin of more than 800,000 votes, compared to only 13,000 in the original race.

  • "Your wrath stems from the fear in you." — Meral Danış Baştas, Kurdish MP, replying to Erdoğan.

  • By using an administrative decision as a pretext to oust elected mayors, Erdoğan is effectively nullifying millions of Kurdish votes. Moreover, if the ousted mayors actually had proven links to terrorist organizations, why were they allowed to run in an election in the first place?

  • This drama will probably continue: Kurds will elect their leaders, Erdoğan will sack them. Kurds again will elect their leaders, Erdoğan will sack them too. Kurds will vote for other leaders and Erdoğan will sack them too.

  • Erdoğan should sit down, think and find out: why do his country's 20 million or so Kurds insist on invariably electing "terrorists" as mayors to their cities and towns, and defying his calls to do otherwise?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has taken to ridiculing even further whatever little remains of his country's democratic culture. (Photo by Mark Schiefelbein - Pool/Getty Images)

No one in the saner parts of the world has ever claimed that Turkey's Islamist President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is a liberal democrat who never in the slightest rigged election results. But he was, at least, known to respect the ballot box. No longer. Erdoğan has taken to ridiculing even further whatever little remains of Turkey's democratic culture.

Claiming vote-rigging, he pressured Turkey's supreme election board for a recount of ballots cast on March 31 in Istanbul, Turkey biggest city, which boasts more than 10 million registered voters. His Justice and Development Party (AKP) had lost municipal elections in Istanbul by a small margin of 13,000 votes. This was the first time Erdoğan's party had lost elections in Istanbul since 1994. The man who is notorious for saying "who wins Istanbul, wins Turkey" immediately ordered a rerun.

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European Dreams vs. Mass Migration

by Giulio Meotti  •  September 1, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • Unfortunately, the European mindset refuses to face the reality, as if the challenge is too severe to be addressed.

  • "The conference took place under the theme 'Penser l'Europe' ['Thinking of Europe']... There, I was disturbed to hear Tariq Ramadan speaking of Europe as dar al-Shahada, i.e. house of Islamic belief. The attending audience was alarmed, but did not get the message of the perception of Europe... as a part of house of Islam. If Europe is no longer perceived as dar al-Harb/house of war, but viewed as part of the peaceful house of Islam, then this is not a sign of moderation, as some wrongly assume: it is the mindset of an Islamization of Europe". — Bassam Tibi, Professor Emeritus of International Relations, University of Goettingen.

  • It is a false Marxist notion among young people here in Europe that if you are successful or comfortable, it can only have been at the expense of humanity: "If I win, somebody else must lose." There seems to be no concept at all of "win-win" -- "If I win, all of you can win too: everyone can win!" -- which underpins the free economy and has lifted so much of the world so spectacularly out of poverty.

  • It is important to... reject the current fashion of self-abasement. Europe seems to be afflicted with a skepticism about the future, as if the decline of the West is actually a justified punishment and a liberation from its faults of the past.... "For me, today," notes Alain Finkielkraut, "the most essential thing is European civilization".

The price for cultural relativism has become painfully visible in Europe. The disintegration of Western nation-states is now a real possibility. Multiculturalism -- built on a background of demographic decline, massive de-Christianization and cultural self-repudiation -- is nothing more than a transitional phase that risks leading to the fragmentation of the West. (Image source: iStock)

Europe presents itself as the vanguard of the unification of humanity. Europe's cultural roots, as a result, have been put at risk. According to Pierre Manent, a renowned French political scientist and a professor at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris:

"European pride or European self-consciousness depend on the rejection of European history and European civilization! We want nothing to do with the Christian roots and we absolutely want to be perfectly welcoming to Islam".

Manent delivered these words to the French monthly, Causeur. He cited, as an example, Turkey:

"It was very clear that not only was its massively Islamic character (even before Erdogan) not an obstacle but a sort of motive, a reason to bring the Turkey into the EU. It would finally have been the definitive proof that Europe had detached itself and freed itself from its Christian dependence".

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Trump and the Deceiving of Mullahs

by Amir Taheri  •  September 1, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • Both President George W Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair told me at different times that they had identified "men with whom we can work" in Tehran and that the key to success was getting rid of Khamenei and his "hardliners."

  • [W]hether we like it or not, it is Khamenei, and not Rafsanjani, Khatami or Rouhani, who set the tune in the Islamic Republic.

  • Thus if Trump, or anyone else, wish to make a deal with the present regime in Tehran, the man they should talk to is Khamenei, not Rouhani, an actor playing the president.

  • [T]he two are, in fact, just one creature in two disguises, a witch bent on doing mischief.

  • Trump has been warned!

If President Donald Trump, or anyone else, wish to make a deal with the present regime in Tehran, the man they should talk to is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (left), not Hassan Rouhani (right), an actor playing the president. (Image source: khamenei.ir)

For a few hours last weekend, political circles in Tehran were seized with speculative fever regarding a possible meeting between US President Donald Trump and the Islamic Republic's President Hassan Rouhani. Trump had announced in Biarritz, where the G7's farcical summit was held, that he would be prepared to meet the Iranian mullah and believed that could happen soon. For his part, Rouhani went on TV to declare readiness to meet "anyone", with no ifs and buts.

One "reformist" analyst phoned me in the middle of night Paris time to "inform" me that, with help from Trump, his faction was about to win a decisive victory over the "hardline" faction led by Supreme Guide Ali Khamenei.

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The Dangerous Stalinism of the "Woke" Hard-Left

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  August 31, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • People on the "woke" hard-left seem so self-righteous about their monopoly over Truth (with a capital T) that many of them apparently see no reason to allow dissenting, politically incorrect, views to be expressed. Such incorrect views, they claim, make them feel "unsafe." They can feel safe only if views they share are allowed to be expressed. Feeling unsafe is the new trigger word for demanding censorship.

  • The other dangerous similarity between the Stalinists and the "wokers" is that both disdain due process for those they deem guilty of political incorrectness or other crimes and sins. They reject any presumption of innocence or requirement that the accuser bear the burden of proof.

  • For Stalinist and "wokers," there is no uncertainty or fallibility. If they believe someone is guilty, he must be. Why do we need a cumbersome process for determining guilt? The identities of the accuser and accused are enough. Privileged white men are guilty perpetrators. Intersectional minorities are innocent victims. Who needs to know more? Any process, regardless of its fairness, favors the privileged over the unprivileged.

  • That is why I make the controversial claim that today, the "woke" hard-left is more dangerous to civil liberties than the right. To be sure there are hard right extremists who would use — and have used — violence to silence those with whom they disagree. They are indeed dangerous. But they have far less influence on our future leaders than their counterparts on the hard-left. They are not teaching our college age children and grandchildren. They are marginalized academically, politically and in the media. The opposite is true of hard-left Stalinists. Many have no idea who Stalin even was, but they are emulating his disdain for free speech and due process in the interests of achieving the unrealizable utopia they both sought. They also have in common the attitude that noble ends justify ignoble means.

  • We must always remember that it is not only the road to hell that is paved with good intentions. It is also the road to tyranny.

A "woke" rally in Washington. We must always remember that it is not only the road to hell that is paved with good intentions. It is also the road to tyranny. Photo: Wikipedia.

Civil liberties are in greater danger today from the intolerant hard-left than from the bigoted hard-right. This may seem counterintuitive: There has been far more violence — mass shootings in malls, synagogues and other soft targets — from extremists who identify more with the hard-right than with the hard-left. But the influence of the hard-left on our future leaders is far more pervasive, insidious and dangerous than the influence of the hard-right.

People on the "woke" hard-left seem so self-righteous about their monopoly over Truth (with a capital T) that many of them see no reason to allow dissenting, politically incorrect, views to be expressed. Such incorrect views, they claim, make them feel "unsafe." They can feel safe only if views they share are allowed to be expressed. Feeling unsafe is the new trigger word for demanding censorship.

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To European Leaders, Jewish Flesh Is Cheap

by Guy Millière  •  August 30, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • The Oslo Accords were based on the illusion that the PLO could totally change and suddenly become a "partner for peace"... It soon became clear that the Palestinian Authority was still the PLO: terrorist attacks quickly multiplied. The money received by the Palestinian Authority was used to continue incitement to murder and payments to incentivize it.

  • In 1967, a change of strategy took place. No one, the PLO decided, would speak of a "war for the destruction of Israel". Instead, they would call it a "war of national liberation". From then on, the PLO was presented as a "liberation movement".

  • Arabs who had left Israel in 1948-49, many of whom remained in refugee camps, were defined as the "Palestinian people"; in this way were the Palestinian people invented. As PLO Executive Council member Zuheir Mohsen said in 1977: "The Palestinian people does not exist... Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people..."

  • The leaders of the Palestinian Authority have, in fact, never stopped resorting to "armed struggle", the name they give to terrorism and murdering Jews. To "frustrate all the schemes of Zionism", they invented the Palestinian people; their "struggle for national liberation" gave them international recognition. By renaming terrorism and murdering Jews "armed struggle", they made their use of terrorism and murder acceptable. By signing the Oslo Accords, they could appear interested in peace without having to renounce terrorism. They could even demonize Israel and give it the image of a barbaric and cruel country while continuing to murder Jews.

  • "If you look at history... what ends conflicts is one side giving up.... and then it's over.... in World War II, [the Germans] were forced to give up... and note how much they benefited by giving up." -- Daniel Pipes, historian, November 19, 2017.

  • No U.S. president had ever told Palestinian leaders that they were lying, or had required them to stop inciting murder and financing terrorism, and no U.S. president had ever decided to cut funding for the Palestinian Authority as long as it continued to incentivize terrorism. President Donald J. Trump did.

  • French President Emmanuel Macron accepted using taxpayer money to reward murdering Jews. Macron also still accepts the United Nations' (UNRWA's) unique definition of Palestinian "refugees": that they must include endless generations of descendants.

The Oslo Accords were based on the illusion that the PLO could totally change and suddenly become a "partner for peace"... It soon became clear that the Palestinian Authority was still the PLO: terrorist attacks quickly multiplied. The money received by the Palestinian Authority was used to continue incitement to murder and payments to incentivize it. Pictured: From left to right, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, U.S. President Bill Clinton, and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat at the signing of the Oslo I Accord at the White House in Washington, DC, on September 13, 1993. (Vince Musi/The White House/Wikimedia Commons)

August 7th. Israel. When Dvir Sorek, an 18-year-old student returned from Jerusalem to his school after having bought some books for his rabbis as an end-of-year gift, he was stabbed to death by two Arab terrorists.

As his funeral took place, while his father was delivering the eulogy, the inhabitants of the Arab village of Silwad, two miles North, to celebrate the murder, were setting off fireworks.

Sorek was apparently a peaceful teenager who had never hurt anyone. Among the books he brought was one by an Israeli left-wing writer, David Grossman, supporting the need to create a Palestinian state.

Sorek's "fault" was to be a Jew.

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Israel Faces a Serious Escalation in its Proxy War with Iran

by Con Coughlin  •  August 29, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • The fact that Israel has found it necessary to attack targets so far from its traditional area of military operations close to its immediate borders is indicative of the alarming escalation that has taken place in recent months in the threat Iran poses to Israeli security.

  • Earlier this week, in Lebanon, an Israeli drone was reported to have bombed a Palestinian base that is said to be funded by Iran. Israeli warplanes were also reported to have bombed Iranian military bases on the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus.

  • The very idea of Washington sitting down with the Iranians at a time when it is continuing to threaten the security of its closest Middle Eastern ally would be unconscionable.

  • The reality is that there can be no meaningful dialogue between Washington and Tehran on a future deal so long as Iran remains committed to its long-standing policy of seeking the wholesale destruction of the Jewish state.

Israel was responsible for the recent attack on an Iranian military base in Iraq, which was being used to assemble medium-range missiles with the capability to hit targets in Israel. The threat was deemed so important that senior Israeli officers decided to launch a daring bombing raid that required F-35 stealth warplanes to penetrate Saudi airspace to achieve their objective. Pictured: An Israel Air Force F-35. (Image source: Israel Air Force/Wikimedia Commons)

The recent confirmation by US military officials that Israeli warplanes were responsible for the recent attack on an Iranian military base in Iraq demonstrates the alarming extent to which the so-called proxy war between Tehran and Jerusalem has escalated in recent weeks.

According to senior Israeli security sources, spoken to on an off-the-record basis, the base in the northern Iraqi province of Salaheddin was targeted because they believed it was being used to assemble Iranian-made medium-range missiles with the capability to hit targets in Israel.

The threat was deemed so important that senior Israeli officers decided to launch a daring bombing raid that required F-35 stealth warplanes to penetrate Saudi airspace to achieve their objective. It is unclear whether the Saudis, who oppose Iranian meddling in Iraq but do not have diplomatic relations with Israel, gave permission for the Israeli warplanes to enter their airspace.

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Iranian Women Fight for Freedom

by Uzay Bulut  •  August 29, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • "The Islamic Republic authorities say 'compulsory hijab' is the law and must be obeyed. However, bad laws must be challenged and changed." — Masih Alinejad, Iranian-American journalist and award-winning activist.

  • "The basis of this tyranny is the religious law that the government has been enforcing since the 1979 revolution. Women are second-class citizens, and essentially slaves in Iran. The international community needs to have the courage to delegitimize religious law and call it out for its tyrannical nature. Just as the free world delegitimized communism during the Cold War, it should do the same to religious law." — Nasrin Mohammadi, author of Ideas and Lashes: The Prison Diary of Akbar Mohammadi, about the torture and death in prison of her late brother; to Gatestone Institute.

  • "The international community should also focus on Iran, struggle to end that regime and other similar governments across the world. With Iran, it should also point out the corruption, where religion is used as an excuse to steal money and power from the people." — Nasrin Mohammadi.

  • "But we need support of the international community to raise this issue with Iranian authorities and take action." — Masih Alinejad.

Three Iranian women held in Tehran's notorious Qarchak prison were sentenced recently to what could amount to more than 10 years in prison. Their "crime"? Failing to wear headscarves, thereby defying the country's dress code. Pictured: An Iranian policewoman (left) warns a woman about her clothing and hair during a crackdown to enforce the regime's dress code, on April 22, 2007 in Tehran, Iran. (Photo by Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)

Three Iranian women held in Tehran's notorious Qarchak prison were sentenced recently to what could amount to more than 10 years in prison. Their "crime"? Failing to wear headscarves, thereby defying the country's Islamic dress code.

The women were apprehended after a video they posted online during International Women's Day went viral. In the clip, they are seen walking bear-headed on a Tehran metro and distributing flowers to female passengers.

"The day will come when women are not forced to struggle," one of them is heard saying, while another expresses hope that one day women in hijabs will be able to walk side-by-side with women who choose not to wear them.

The battle on behalf of a woman's right not to cover her head spurred Iranian-American journalist and award-winning activist Masih Alinejad – author, most recently, of The Wind in My Hair: My Fight for Freedom in Modern Iran -- to found a social-media movement called "My Stealthy Freedom."

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Palestinians: Why Allow Facts to Get in the Way?

by Bassam Tawil  •  August 28, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • Why are the details about Rina Shnerb's hometown and her age worth mentioning? Because the Palestinian media has again engaged in a campaign of fabrications and lies to justify the terror attack and the murder of an innocent Jewish teenager.

  • The Palestinian media, however, does not feel comfortable reporting the facts about the terror attack. In the eyes of Palestinian new editors and journalists, Rina was a "settler" and a "soldier." By using such terms, the Palestinians are trying to create the impression that she was not an innocent teenager, but a Jew who lived in a settlement and was even serving in the IDF.

  • Finally, it is important to note that many Palestinian media outlets and officials continue to refer to Israel as "occupied Palestine." They see zero difference between a Jew living in the West Bank and a Jew living inside Israel. For them, all Jews are settlers and colonizers, and all cities inside Israel -- Tel Aviv, Haifa, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Eilat, as well as Lod, the hometown of Rina -- are "occupied." In the eyes of Palestinians, in fact all of Israel is "occupied" and a "settlement."

  • When Palestinian terrorists fired three rockets at Sderot on August 25, Palestinian media outlets reported that Sderot is a "settlement." In case anyone had doubts, Sderot is an Israeli city in the Negev Desert, not a "settlement." By using the term "settlement," the Palestinians are again trying to create the impression that a city it is a legitimate target for rocket attacks because it is an "illegal settlement."

Why are the details about Rina Shnerb's hometown and her age worth mentioning? Because the Palestinian media has again engaged in a campaign of fabrications and lies to justify the terror attack and the murder of an innocent Jewish teenager. Pictured: Rina Shnerb, who was murdered in a terrorist bombing on August 23. (Photo courtesy of the victim's family)

Rina Shnerb, the 17-year-old teenager who was killed in a Palestinian terror attack in the West Bank on August 23, was born and raised in the Israeli city of Lod. She had never lived in a settlement in the West Bank. Moreover, she never served in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) or any security agency, as she was too young to be recruited for service.

Rina was killed in a bomb explosion when she and her family were visiting the popular Ein Buvin spring near the West Bank city of Ramallah. Her father, Eitan, and brother, Dvir, were injured when an explosive device planted near the spring went off.

Why are the details about Rina's hometown and her age worth mentioning? Because the Palestinian media has again engaged in a campaign of fabrications and lies to justify the terror attack and the murder of an innocent Jewish teenager.

Lod is not a settlement. It is a city located in the Central District of Israel, and even has an Arab population of 30%.

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What Will China Do with the Hong Kong Protests?

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  August 28, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • The real "elephant in the room" not being addressed, however, is what the Hong Kong protests are really about: 2047, when Hong Kong is supposed to be handed over to China without any "one country, two systems" protection. What then?

Pictured: Riot police detain a pro-democracy protester on August 24, 2019 in Hong Kong. (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

Protests in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (SAR) -- which began in early June with demonstrators denouncing a proposed law to permit the extradition of SAR residents to the mainland to be tried in Chinese Communist courts -- have entered their 12th week and show no signs of abating. If anything, they are becoming increasingly strident, with calls for the resignation of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam's administration, among other broadening demands . The unfolding events present the Communist Party leadership in Beijing with a serious dilemma: to quell the protests with military force or wait until they die down.

According to a recent analysis in Bloomberg:

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