Monday, October 5, 2015

The ‘Refugee Crisis’: Muslim History vs. Western Fantasy

The ‘Refugee Crisis’: Muslim History vs. Western Fantasy

Those who forget or ignore history are destined to be conquered by those who remember and praise it.

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
Originally published by PJ Media.

One of the primary reasons Islamic and Western nations are “worlds apart” is because the way they understand the world is worlds apart.  Whereas Muslims see the world through the lens of history, the West has jettisoned or rewritten history to suit its ideologies.

This dichotomy of Muslim and Western thinking is evident everywhere.  When the Islamic State declared that it will “conquer Rome” and “break its crosses,” few in the West realized that those are the verbatim words and goals of Islam’s founder and his companions as recorded in Muslim sources—words and goals that prompted over a thousand years of jihad on Europe.

Most recently, the Islamic State released a map of the areas it plans on expanding into over the next five years.  The map includes European nations such as Portugal, Spain, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Greece, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, Armenia, Georgia, Crete, Cyprus, and parts of Russia.

The reason these European nations are included in the Islamic State’s map is simple.  According to Islamic law, once a country has been conquered (or “opened,” as it’s called in the euphemistic Arabic), it becomes Islamic in perpetuity.

This, incidentally, is the real reason Muslims despise Israel.  It’s not due to sympathy for the Palestinians—if so, neighboring Arab nations would’ve absorbed them long ago (just as they would be absorbing all of today’s Muslim refugees).

No, Israel is hated because the descendants of “apes and pigs”—to use the Koran’s terminology—dare to rule land that was once “opened” by jihad and therefore must be returned to Islam.  (Read more about Islam’s “How Dare You?!” phenomenon to understand the source of Islamic rage, especially toward Israel.)

All the aforementioned European nations are also seen as being currently “occupied” by Christian “infidels” and in need of “liberation.”  This is why jihadi organizations refer to terrorist attacks on such countries as “defensive jihads.”

One rarely heard about Islamic designs on European nations because they are large and blocked together, altogether distant from the Muslim world.  Conversely, tiny Israel is right in the heart of the Islamic world—hence why most jihadi aspirations were traditionally geared toward the Jewish state: it was more of a realistic conquest.

Now, however, that the “caliphate” has been reborn and is expanding before a paralytic West, dreams of reconquering portions of Europe—if not through jihad, then through migration—are becoming more plausible, perhaps even more so than conquering Israel.

Because of their historical experiences with Islam, some central and east European nations are aware of Muslim aspirations.  Hungary’s prime minister even cited his nation’s unpleasant past under Islamic rule (in the guise of the Ottoman Empire) as reason to disallow Muslim refugees from entering.

But for more “enlightened” Western nations—that is, for idealistic nations that reject or rewrite history according to their subjective fantasies—Hungary’s reasoning is unjust, unhumanitarian, and racist. 

To be sure, most of Europe has experience with Islamic depredations.  As late as the seventeenth century, even distant Iceland was being invaded by Muslim slave traders. Roughly 800 years earlier, in 846, Rome was sacked and the Vatican defiled by Muslim raiders.

Some of the Muslims migrating to Italy vow to do the same today, and Pope Francis acknowledges it.  Yet, all the same, he suggests that “you can take precautions, and put these people to work.” 
(We’ve seen this sort of thinking before: the U.S. State Department cites a lack of “job opportunities” as reason for the existence of the Islamic State).

Perhaps because the U.K., Scandinavia, and North America were never conquered and occupied by the sword of Islam—unlike those southeast European nations that are resisting Muslim refugees—they feel free to rewrite history according to their subjective ideals, specifically, that historic Christianity is bad and all other religions and people are good (the darker and/or more foreign the better).

Indeed, countless are the books and courses on the “sins” of Christian Europe, from the Crusades to colonialism.  (Most recently, a book traces the rise of Islamic supremacism in Egypt to the disciplining of a rude Muslim girl by a European nun.)

This “new history”—particularly that Muslims are the historic “victims” of “intolerant” Western Christians—has metastasized everywhere, from high school to college and from Hollywood to the news media (which are becoming increasingly harder to distinguish from one another).

When U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama condemned medieval Christians as a way to relativize Islamic State atrocities—or at best to claim that religion, any religion, is never the driving force of violence—he was merely being representative of the mainstream way history is taught in the West.

Even otherwise sound books of history contribute to this distorted thinking.  While such works may mention “Ottoman expansion” into Europe, the Islamic element is omitted.  Thus Turks are portrayed as just another competitive people, out to carve a niche for themselves in Europe, no differently than rival Christian empires.   That the “Ottomans” (or “Saracens,” or “Arabs,” or “Moors,” or “Tatars”) were operating under the distinctly Islamic banner of jihad—just like the Islamic State is today—that connection is never made.

Generations of pseudo history have led the West to think that, far from being suspicious or judgmental of them, Muslims must be accommodated—say, by allowing them to migrate into the West in mass.  Perhaps then they’ll “like us”?

Such is progressive wisdom.

Meanwhile, back in the school rooms of much of the Muslim world, children continue to be indoctrinated in glorifying and reminiscing over the jihadi conquests of yore—conquests by the sword and in the name of Allah.  While the progressive West demonizes European/Christian history—when I was in elementary school, Christopher Columbus was a hero, when I got into college, he became a villain—Mehmet the Conqueror, whose atrocities against Christian Europeans make the Islamic State look like a bunch of boy scouts, is praised every year in “secular” Turkey on the anniversary of the savage sack Constantinople.

The result of Western fantasies and Islamic history is that Muslims are now entering the West, unfettered, in the guise of refugees who refuse to assimilate with the “infidels” and who form enclaves, or in Islamic terminology, ribats—frontier posts where the jihad is waged on the infidel, one way or the other.

Nor is this mere conjecture.  The Islamic State is intentionally driving the refugee phenomenon and has promised to send half a million people—mostly Muslim—into Europe.  It claims that 4,000 of these refugees are its own operatives: “Just wait….  It’s our dream that there should be a caliphate not only in Syria but in all the world, and we will have it soon, inshallah [Allah willing].”

It is often said that those who ignore history are destined to repeat it.  What does one say of those who rewrite history in a way that demonizes their ancestors while whitewashing the crimes of their forebears’ enemies?

The result is before us.  History is not repeating itself; sword waving Muslims are not militarily conquering Europe.  Rather, they are being allowed to walk right in.

Perhaps a new aphorism needs to be coined for our times: Those who forget or ignore history are destined to be conquered by those who remember and praise it.



Harry Richardson

Harry Richardson is a long-time student of Islam and author of best seller, "the Story Of Mohammed - Islam Unveiled',

In local councils across Australia, and indeed most of the Western World, applications are pending for the building of new Mosques. Until recently, these applications would have been approved with little more than a rubber stamp and a few suggestions as to local planning.

Today however, things have changed. Mosque applications have become rallying points for community anger and hostility. Demonstrations and campaigns are becoming commonplace.
There appears, in each of these disputes, a three way split with the bewildered councillors stuck squarely in the middle.

On the 'yes' side, we naturally have the Muslims who have purchased the land and want to build the mosque.  On the 'no' side is a group of strident residents and activists who are implacably opposed to it.

Then, also on the 'yes' side are those who sympathise with the Muslims who, as they see it, simply want to build a place of worship and should have the right to do so in a free society. For convenience, I will refer to this group as the allies.

In the main, the allies seem to view the protesters as uncultured rabble, motivated by racism and hatred of anything alien to their own small minded world. They consider them to be uneducated and acting from ignorance. They reason that if these protesters understood more of the ways of other cultures they would discover them harmless. They believe these protesters might then discover aspects of this culture (such as tolerance, for instance) from which they could in fact learn.

On the surface, this would seem a very reasonable stance for the allies to take but, as we start to dig a little deeper, we find that things are not quite what they seem. For a start, we soon find that the allies themselves have no knowledge of Islam whatsoever. What they do know has been successfully sold to them by Islamic spokespersons.

They do not take the time or make the effort to search beyond the Islamic line.

Ironically, many of the protesters have actually taken the time to educate themselves about Islam from the authentic Islamic sources and contemporary teachings.

Here are some of the reasons why we find many of these teachings to be deeply troubling.
What is a mosque?

It is vitally important to understand what a mosque represents in Islam.

A mosque is not like a church or a temple, it is much more than a place for Muslims to simply worship their God (Allah).

Mosques are modelled on the first mosque established by Mohammed in Medina which was a seat of government, a command centre, a court, a military training centre and an arms depot.

Mosque leaders today raise religious decrees, enforce Islamic doctrine, monitor conduct, punish transgressors and command actions including requirements to conduct Jihad.

A mosque is much more than a church.

In light of this, we need to answer these two simple questions:

1)           Why are so many mosques being built?
2)           Why do mosques have capacities much greater than the local Muslim communities could fill?


The Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, understood the military nature of a mosque when he stated:

“A mosque is our barracks, the domes our helmets, minarets our bayonets and the faithful are our soldiers."

Islam’s founder, the Prophet Mohammed, was not just a religious leader but a political and military one too. He raised armies and fought and killed people until he was the King of the whole of Arabia.
The religion of Islam is entirely based on the example and teachings of Mohammed.

Unlike any other major religion therefore, Islam is also a political and military force.

The Influence of the House of Saud

Mohammed was the guardian of Islam in the seventh century. Today that responsibility rests with the Saudi Royal Family or the House of Saud. The two holiest Islamic sites in Mecca and Medina are under its control.

The late king, Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, understood this when he wrote “The efforts of the servant of the two Holy Places support the Muslim Minorities.”

The Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (IMMA) is the vehicle which the late king created to establish the Islamic World Caliphate. It is Saudi Foreign Policy and Jurisprudence from the Saudi Ministry of Religious Affairs.

In the words of King Fahd, mosques, educational centres and Islamic bodies like the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and Muslim Students Association (MSA) are all geared towards hindering Muslim assimilation into non-Muslim nations so they can act as a fifth column to bring victory to Islam.

In 1965 during the pilgrimage or Hajj, the World Association of Muslim Youth or WAMY was created to work toward this end and for the non-Muslim world; IMMA or the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs was born.

WAMY and IMMA were a collaboration of the Wahhabist and Muslim Brotherhood led by:

1)           Said Ramadan, the son-in-law of the Muslim Brotherhood founder and,
2)           Abdullah Omar Naseef, a wealthy, suspected Al-Qaeda financier.
The House of Saud and the funding of terrorism

In May 2008, Robert Spencer’s website “Jihad Watch” reported that the Saudis had spent over $US100 billion on this project over the three previous decades.

These funds were used to build mosques to fund the payroll of Imams and to build Islamic schools.

They were also apparently intended to corrupt the education system through the funding of universities and the rewriting of school text books to favour Islam while denigrating Christianity and Western achievements.

According to this article, the late king Fahd bin Abd al Aziz and his family had personally donated hundreds of millions of dollars to groups like Hamas and Al-Qaeda.

Prince Salman, a full brother of King Fahd controlled the International Islamic Relief Organization or IIMO and directly donated to Hamas.

Prince Sultan bin Abd al-Aziz was a defendant in the September 11 trials and admitted to donating $US4 million to terrorist organisations like IIMO and WAMY.

Mosque building in Australia

Now we can answer our questions.

Question: Why are so many mosques being built?

Answer:   Muslims currently have over 370 mosques in Australia which, per capita, is more than six times the number of Buddhist and Hindu temples. This could well be because the mosque is intended as a beachhead for Islam, a place to plan Jihad and to implement Sharia law.

Question: Why do mosques have capacities that cater for far greater numbers than those in local Muslim communities?

Answer:   The mosque is deliberately built to dominate the neighbourhood to show the supremacy of Islam over Christianity and all other faiths.

Mosque teachings in Australia

What is taught in the mosque comes directly from the Qur’an, the Hadith and Sira, and the 'Reliance of the Traveller', which is the Manual of Islamic Law.

The Manual of Islamic Law teaches in Law O9.0 that it is a communal obligation for Muslims to wage Jihad to establish Islam as the religion and the law.

In the Hadith of Muslim, book 41 No. 6985, Muslims are told to slaughter the Jews.

There are many examples of these teachings being delivered in mosques which give cause for alarm.

1. On April 27 in the Preston mosque in Melbourne, an audio tape exists of brother Baha delivering a speech calling on Muslims to engage in Jihad against Australians (in line with Islamic Law O9.0)
2. Sheik Feiz Mohammed who teaches at a mosque in Auburn in Western Sydney, is on video calling for the mass slaughter of all Jews, while making pig noises. (This is perhaps inspired by?) the Hadith of Muslim book 41 No. 6985)

3. Sheik Hilaly of the Lakemba mosque, a former Grand Mufti of Australia, defended the rape of women who were not covered in acceptable Islamic dress. There is now evidence of a rape epidemic in Europe by Muslims because Islamic Sharia law does not penalise a Muslim for raping a non Muslim woman.

What must be done?
The conundrum for Law-makers in the West is that a mosque operates under the protection of religious freedom.
This is unacceptable because a mosque is not just a religion, but also political centre and a place where legal rulings are made. Some of these rulings breach Australian law and ironically also call for the restriction of religious freedoms for all non-Muslims.

Our politicians, law-makers, law enforcement officers and security agencies need to acquaint themselves with the teachings within mosques which, after all, are preaching their prophet’s Sharia law which is largely incompatible with Australian law.

Law-makers and law-enforcers must now turn their minds toward recognising Islam as a political entity and remove the current protections Islam receives as a religion.

Failure to do this is likely to end in serious political and societal consequences in the future

ISIS on the run: Putin to blitz jihadi group with huge bombing campaign across Middle East

ISIS on the run: Putin to blitz jihadi group with huge bombing campaign across Middle East

VLADIMIR Putin is set to unleash his feared Russian jets across the Middle East as part of a huge campaign to hunt down and finish off evil Islamic State (ISIS), it emerged today.

Vladimir Putin, left, and a Russia pilot, rightREUTERS/Instagram

The ruthless Russian president will expand his country's relentless aerial campaign against the jihadis into Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries, leaving the hated group nowhere to hide.

He is also preparing to dispatch 150,000 elite battle troops into Syria to wipe out ISIS' presence in the region as Russia continues to make a mockery of the West's halting response to the crisis. 
Putin has already authorised an extensive bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria which has obliterated more than 50 jihadi targets in just three days including a vital command centre and a suicide bomb belt factory.

It is thought that the strikes have done huge damage to the terrorists' infrastructure, with a leading terror expert telling that they are now so weakened they could be defeated in a matter of hours. 
Drone footage of a Russian airstrike in SyriaREUTERS
Russian airstrikes have already obliterated jihadi targets in Syria
Drone footage of a Russian airstrike in SyriaREUTERS

Putin's jets have struck more than 50 targets in just three days

But defence sources have revealed that Moscow could now authorise a much wider campaign across the Middle East, with fresh strikes taking place as early as next week.

It is believed that the government of Iraq, where Britain and America have already been carrying out airstrikes, is now set to submit a formal request for Russia to intervene in its airspace.

A defence source told WND: "Moscow is awaiting a more formal request from the Iraqi government before expanding its campaign targeting insurgents in the region."


UK must prepare for WAR with Russia: Army calls for fleet of battle tanks to take on Putin

UK must prepare for WAR with Russia: Army calls for fleet of battle tanks to take on Putin

BRITAIN must invest in its fleet of main battle tanks to meet an increasing threat of ground war with Russia, senior Army officers have warned.

Putin threat
Britain is facing a threat from Putin and Russia

It comes as tensions between Nato countries and Moscow continued to mount, with Russia threatening “nuclear counter measures” over a plan to bolster nuclear facilities in Germany.
David Cameron is currently trying to find a “compromise deal” with Russian president Vladimir Putin over tackling the IS terror group in Syria.

But Russian aggression in Eastern Europe,  an increase in Nato air-space incursions by Russian bombers, and the development of a new Russian “super tank” has led senior commanders to admit that the prospects of a conventional ground war In Eastern Europe can no longer be ignored.
The British Army has 227 Challenger 2 main battle tanks but, while they are still respected, they are in urgent need of upgrade.

Last year the British Army took part in live-fire Nato exercise in Poland with more than 100 armoured vehicles. Operation Black Eagle “highlighted the British Army’s ability to deploy an armoured battlegroup at short notice anywhere in the world in support of the nation’s allies.”
The British Army has 227 Challenger 2 main battle tanks
The British Army has 227 Challenger 2 main battle tanks

However the Sunday Express has learned that, unlike its Nato allies, Britain not able to deploy a full squadron of 14 tanks plus two in reserve within the regulation 30 -days time limit.

Some, according to serving members of the Kings Royal Hussars armoured regiment, took more than three months to make ready because they had been mothballed, or cannibalised for parts.

Speaking recently General Sir Nick Carter, head of the British Army, confirmed that the future of the Challenger 2 was being considered at the highest levels.

"We have got issues with the tanks we've got and if we don't do something about it we will have issues - what we will do is in discussion, “ he said.

Senior Army sources confirmed last night that the development of the new Russian T-14 main battle tank, unveiled at the Moscow Victory Day Parade in Moscow in May, had “focussed minds” on the issue.
Vladimir Putin poses a threat despite working with Britain against ISIS
Vladimir Putin poses a threat despite working with Britain against ISIS

Boasting exceptionally think armour and an “unmanned turret”, the T-14 is the first of a new generation of power tanks for the Russia Army, which hopes to have 2,300 of them by 2020.

Last week Russia announced that it would be forced to take counter measures to “restore the balance of power” in Europe if the United States carried out upgrade its nuclear presence in Germany by placing 20 B61-12 nuclear bombs at the Büchel Air Base later this year.

Speaking last night Maj Gen Patrick Cordingly who, as commander of the “Desert Rats” 7th Armoured Brigade, led US and British forces to victory over Iraq forces in 1991, said:
“There are 100 nations in the world who have battle tanks – they have them for a reason and for us not to invest in our main battle tank now would go against logic.

“Even in Afghanistan, it would have been usefully to have our own battle tanks. We were forced to rely on the Danish army.

“A tank is more than a weapon system – it also makes a statement. And when you’re trying to reign in another country, it helps to be able to make a statement in this way. “


Islamic State 'blows up Palmyra arch'

Islamic State 'blows up Palmyra arch'

Islamic State militants in northern Syria have blown up another monument in the ancient city of Palmyra, officials and local sources say.
The Arch of Triumph was "pulverised" by the militants who control the city, a Palmyra activist told AFP news agency.
It is thought to have been built about 2,000 years ago.
IS fighters have already destroyed two ancient temples at the site, described by Unesco as one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world.
"The Arch of Triumph was pulverised. IS has destroyed it," Mohammad Hassan al-Homsi, an activist from Palmyra told AFP on Monday.

Ancient city of Palmyra

  • Unesco World Heritage site
  • Site contains monumental ruins of great city, once one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world
  • Art and architecture, from the 1st and 2nd Centuries, combine Greco-Roman techniques with local traditions and Persian influences
  • More than 1,000 columns, a Roman aqueduct and a formidable necropolis of more than 500 tombs made up the archaeological site
  • More than 150,000 tourists visited Palmyra every year before the Syrian conflict
Palmyra: Blowing ruins to rubble
Why IS destroys ancient sites
IS threat to 'Venice of the Sands'
Understanding sadness at loss of sites

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group monitoring the conflict, said sources on the ground had confirmed the destruction.

Syrian antiquities chief Maamoun Abdul Karim also confirmed the news, and told Reuters news agency that if IS remains in control of Palmyra, "the city is doomed".


Sunday, October 4, 2015

"50 Years of Dangerous Immigration Legislation" – Pipes in NRO, #1426

Daniel Pipes
Homepage   |   Articles   |    Blog

50 Years of Dangerous Immigration Legislation

by Daniel Pipes
Oct 3, 2015
Cross-posted from National Review Online, The Corner

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Unlike other government decisions – say tax rates or defining the nature of marriage – those affecting immigration are both irreversible and profound. In that light, today marks a half-century since the passage of one of the least heralded but most significant pieces of legislation in American history.
That would be the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965, known as the Hart-Celler Act, which ended the highly restrictive terms of the prior 1924 legislation, opening the United States to larger and more varied immigration.

Pew's percentages of the U.S. population.
Put in numerical terms, according to the Pew Research Center, the United States was 84 percent white, 11 percent black, 4 percent Hispanic, and 1 percent Asian in 1965; today, it is 62 percent white, 12 percent black, 18 percent Hispanic and 6 percent Asian, and 2 percent other. The center projects that in 2065, the population will be 46 percent white, 13 percent black, 24 percent Hispanics, 14 percent Asian, and 3 percent other.
As for numbers of immigrants, they totaled 5 percent of the population in 1965, 14 percent today, and are projected to make up 18 percent in 2065.
Theses changes have profound implications for the country; as Jeff Melnick of the University of Massachusetts puts it, "You'd have to go really far to find an area of American life that's untouched by the realities of the '65 law." Already in 1990, or only 25 years after Hart-Celler, Ben J. Wattenberg celebrated this change, calling the United States "The First Universal Nation." Many others join him in seeing population diversity as inherently positive.
But I take a darker view. As multiculturalism takes hold, I wonder if classic American culture, with its stress on individualism and freedom, will survive. As communication and transportation costs shrivel, maintaining bonds to other countries gets easier, permitting newcomers to opt out of critical portions of American life. I watch how the American power of acculturation weakens and a once-unified country becomes increasingly riven. I worry that the success of the United States will bring in so many from the world at large that they eventually undermine that very success.
Put differently, the first half century of Hart-Celler is just the warm-up act for what's to come. The United States of 2065 will differ much more, I predict, from today's country than today's does from that of 1965. And not be for the better. (October 3, 2015)
Related Topics:  Demographics, Immigration, US policy
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Bassam Tawil: Palestinians: Why Our Leaders Are Hypocrites and Liars

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Palestinians: Why Our Leaders Are Hypocrites and Liars

by Bassam Tawil  •  October 4, 2015 at 5:00 am
  • We contaminate our mosques with our own hands and feet, and then blame Jews for desecrating Islamic holy sites. If anyone is desecrating Islamic holy sites, it is those who bring explosives, stones and firebombs into Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Jews who visit the Temple Mount do not bring with them stones, bombs or clubs. It is young Muslim men who are desecrating our holy sites with their "filthy feet."
  • These leaders, including Abbas himself, are not willing to send their own children and grandchildren to participate in the "popular struggle." They are fully responsible for sending the children of others to throw stones and firebombs at Jews. Sitting in their luxurious offices and villas in Ramallah, they demand that Israel be held responsible for cracking down on "innocent" Palestinians. Their main goal is to embarrass Israel and depict it as a state that takes tough measures against Palestinian teenagers.
  • These youths are not taking to the streets to fight "occupation." Their main goal is to kill or cause grievous bodily harm to Jews. When someone tosses a firebomb at a house or a car, his intention is to burn civilians alive.
  • It is as if our leaders are saying that throwing stones and firebombs at Jews in their cars and homes is a basic right of Palestinians. Our leaders believe Israel has no right to defend itself against those who seek to burn Jews driving in their vehicles or sleeping inside their homes.
Palestinian Arab young men with masks, inside Al-Aqsa Mosque (some wearing shoes), stockpile rocks to use for throwing at Jews who visit the Temple Mount, September 27, 2015.
While Hamas and Islamic Jihad are continuing to exploit our teenagers in the Gaza Strip by training them to join the jihad against Jews and "infidels," our leaders in the West Bank are committing a similar crime against Palestinian youths.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, who falsely describes himself as President of the State of Palestine, has been encouraging our teenagers to engage in the so-called "popular resistance" against Israel. But these leaders, including Abbas himself, are not willing to send their own children and grandchildren to participate in the "popular struggle." As usual, our leaders want the children of others to take to the streets and throw stones and firebombs at Jews.

Turkish Press's New Normal
"We Could Crush You Like a Fly"

by Burak Bekdil  •  October 4, 2015 at 4:00 am
  • Turkey's "Muslim Brothers" are behaving just like Muslim Brothers elsewhere. They came to power through democratic elections. They are making every sign that they have no intention of surrendering power through democratic elections.
Abdurrahim Boynukalin (center of left image), a Turkish Member of Parliament from the ruling AKP Party, leads a mob in front of the offices of Hurriyet newspaper, September 6, 2015. At right, the shattered windows of the building's lobby, after the mob hurled stones.
Last year, after a pro-government columnist tweeted news about this author, referring to him as "A Disgrace to Humanity," several others joined the lynching on social media. "A sperm of Israel," someone wrote. Another said: "Enmity to Islam spills from his face." Someone else wished that I would travel to Gaza so that "the al-Qassam [Brigade] could shoot him right in the middle of his forehead." Another campaigner invited "this ignoble, inglorious Zionist leftover to leave for Israel." Someone else wished, "May he and his family be bombed." And yet another offered a DNA analysis from a photograph: "He must be either Armenian or Jewish."
All that was the new normal in Turkey's increasingly militant, pro-Islamist media. Things are getting worse.

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Defeating ISIS, Rolling Back Iran :: Patten in Middle East Quarterly

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Defeating ISIS, Rolling Back Iran
Policy Brief

by David A. Patten
Middle East Quarterly
Fall 2015 (view PDF)
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Both U.S. secretary of state John Kerry (right) and the Joint Chiefs' chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey (left) seem to have concluded that working with Iran and its allies to thwart the Islamic State terror organization is a net positive, despite Tehran's long history of opposition to U.S. objectives in the Middle East.
In a recent article in The Atlantic, terrorism scholar Martha Crenshaw claimed it would be impossible to fight one enemy—either Iran or ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sha'm [Greater Syria])—without strengthening the other.[1] It appears the Obama administration agrees with this prognosis and is warming to an expanded role for Tehran in the region. This is not surprising given President Obama's statement last December that Iran could be "a very successful regional power ... that would be good for everybody."[2] Then in early March 2015, the Joint Chiefs' chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey remarked that Iran's efforts against ISIS in Iraq "will in the main have been a positive thing,"[3] so long as it did not inflame sectarian tensions. More recently, the State Department has been walking back Secretary of State John Kerry's slip that the administration might be open to negotiating with the Iranian-aligned Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad.[4]
However, the administration should not be so quick to cede to Tehran's victories in Iraq and Syria as the price for ISIS's destruction. Not only would it be disastrously wrong to defeat a middle-weight Islamist foe by strengthening a far more dangerous Islamist enemy, but the U.S. government is entirely capable of defeating ISIS and rolling back the Tehran regime at the same time. But to accomplish this, it needs more than a plan to "degrade, and ultimately destroy ISIL [ISIS]."[5] The administration needs three sets of policies—for Iran, Iraq, and Syria—with a convergent approach to defeating ISIS.

Iran Is Not an Ally

It would be shortsighted to view Tehran as a potential strategic ally. The Islamic Republic's founding father, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, has castigated the United States as the "Great Satan," and there is no evidence that his successors have abandoned this outlook as evidenced by the recent "death to America" call by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamene'i.[6] Moreover, beyond the shared interest in seeing ISIS defeated, Washington's strategic objectives in Iraq and Syria diverge sharply from Tehran's, which seeks to preserve the Assad regime and to dominate Iraq's government and security forces. The U.S. government cannot bracket out these objectives as if the anti-ISIS war were taking place in the middle of nowhere. The Islamist group occupies large swaths of Iraq and Syria, which means any military action against it also affects the internal political situation of those countries.
These divergent goals translate into differences in the manner in which any administration would like to see the war prosecuted. Choices about when and where to attack ISIS, and which forces to use, could potentially affect Assad's ability to remain in control of Syria. Whereas Tehran may prefer attacking ISIS forces that threaten Assad's military, U.S. policymakers might favor intervening where ISIS fighters are engaged in atrocities against vulnerable groups in areas less strategically advantageous to the Syrian dictator.
Other divergences in priorities could also pose challenges for U.S. military commanders who are being asked to coordinate their decision-making with Iran's military or its proxies. For example, Tehran gives special priority to the Shiite shrine cities of Najaf and Karbala; this priority may not necessarily reflect U.S. military assessments of the threat posed to those locations. Similarly, the Iranian regime has closer relations with some Kurdish parties than others, and thus may be inclined to tailor the fighting to increase the relative power of its favored factions.
Tehran often has ulterior motives, and Washington puts itself at risk of being manipulated if it begins to believe that Iranian forces in Iraq and Syria are motivated solely or even predominantly by a shared desire to destroy ISIS. In late January 2015, Israeli missiles killed a group of senior Iranian and Hezbollah officers (including Iranian general Mohammed Ali Allahdadi), and while Tehran presented them as "martyred while defending the shrines and innocent people of Syria,"[7] Jerusalem claimed that they were plotting the establishment of a military position for Hezbollah attacks against Israel.[8] Tehran aims at expanding its presence and influence in Iraq and Syria, and what it does in the territory it gains will rarely be in U.S.—or its allies'—interests.
The most critical strategic discrepancy, however, pertains to the way in which fighting is being conducted in Iraq's predominantly Sunni provinces of Salah ad-Din, Nineveh, and Anbar (or the Sunni Triangle as the area is known). Bolstering Sunni support in the fight against ISIS is critical to U.S. strategy in Iraq, but the Sunnis are not important to Shiite Iran's strategy, at least not in the way they are to Washington.
Washington's interests have partly coincided with Iran's recently, but this has not led to anything resembling a partnership.
Tehran is more inclined than Washington or other members of the anti-ISIS coalition to inflict devastating costs on local communities. Contested areas are precisely where the administration and its allies need to focus efforts on developing a viable Sunni opposition to ISIS. However, since Iran's strategy hinges on strengthening its proxies, it has little incentive to prevent these neighborhoods from being purged or ransacked by militant Shiite liberators. British photojournalist Matt Cetti-Roberts, writing for the War Is Boring blog, provided a detailed account of the manner in which Shiite militants went about "liberating" the ISIS-held town of Jalawla. When the Shiites came, they took everything worth taking, according to residents, and stability was not restored until Kurdish peshmerga came. Roberts quotes a Kurdish officer: "The Shia were burning the houses because they saw Jalawla as a 99 percent Sunni town ...They came for revenge. They did not care who the house belonged to."[9]
Furthermore, in the eyes of many, a partnership with Tehran entails a tacit acceptance of its tactics and those of its clients. In addition to looting, this includes extra-judicial killings, torture, assassinations, and in Syria, the use of chemical weapons and barrel bombs. In essence, Washington would be providing cover for this behavior and creating space for Iranian-backed ground troops to do such things.
Partnering with Tehran would also likely alienate U.S.-Sunni allies throughout the region. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates are all making contributions to the fight against ISIS. But these states understandably worry how this conflict might enhance Iranian power, which threatens the stability of their regimes. If Tehran were to acquire U.S. backing, these states would very likely reassess their support for the fight. The Sunni Arab states refused to back the U.S.-led political process in Iraq following the toppling of Saddam Hussein because they believed Washington was delivering Baghdad to Tehran on a silver platter.[10] The semblance of a U.S. alliance with Tehran in Iraq would likely kindle similar fears and could trigger a Sunni Arab withdrawal from the anti-ISIS coalition.
In a recent exchange with Sen. Marco Rubio (Republican of Florida), Secretary Kerry maintained that Tehran "would welcome our bombing ... They want us to destroy IS."[11] This is an unfortunate case of presumptuous mirror-imaging—assuming one knows what one's adversary wants based on what one would want if one were in his position. The fact that Tehran and Washington share an interest in defeating ISIS is hardly a reason to believe the regime would welcome U.S. bombers or cease its efforts to promote anti-U.S. activities in the region. Coincidence of interest on one issue, however important, does not suffice for a partnership.
Washington's interests have partly coincided with Iran's in the recent past, but this has not led to anything resembling a partnership. When the U.S. forces invaded Iraq in 2003, they toppled a tyrant who was viewed in Tehran as a major threat and helped establish a replacement government led by Iran's coreligionists. In return, Tehran worked to turn the Iraqi population against the United States and directed its militia proxies to send U.S. soldiers home in body bags.[12] While the Tehran regime may lack the support base in Afghanistan to accomplish as much as it did in Iraq, it has clearly foregone cooperation in favor of obstruction despite its shared interest in keeping the Taliban far from power.
There is also al-Qaeda to consider, a terrorist organization that has shown as much zeal for killing Shiite Muslims as it has Americans. One would expect Tehran to have a strong interest in seeing U.S. efforts to defeat al-Qaeda succeed. Instead, it chooses to offer senior al-Qaeda leaders safe haven.[13] Tehran's behavior over the decades has consistently made clear that its chief foreign policy priority is confronting and weakening the United States. Washington and Tehran may have an overlapping interest in defeating ISIS, but this interest is not rooted in a shared strategic vision. Cooperation against ISIS is not likely to advance Washington's larger objectives in the region: to prevent the spread of Islamic extremism; reduce inter-state conflict; solidify diplomatic, military, and economic relationships with key Arab states; cultivate a stable and legitimate political order; and promote a greater respect for human rights.

Support for Iraq

As long as Washington remains committed to keeping large scale combat troops out of Iraq and expects the Iraqis themselves to do the lion's share of the fighting, U.S. strategy should focus on building and professionalizing Baghdad's security forces as well as the Kurdish peshmerga. The focus should be on professionalism, not merely effectiveness. It is important that professional soldiers, not just competent fighters, be ultimately responsible for clearing, holding, and stabilizing the territory now occupied by ISIS. At the same time, Washington must roll back Tehran's influence in Iraq, which has increased exponentially since the departure of U.S. ground troops.
To be sure, there are legitimate worries about the Iraqi military's capabilities as a professional army. When ISIS initially launched its grand offensive in June 2014, Iraq's Second Division instantly crumbled, allowing the jihadists to seize territory and heavy weaponry and commit atrocities against the local population. Other units of the Iraqi army also had little success in stopping ISIS's advance,[14] and Shiite militias are largely credited with preventing the Islamist group from taking Baghdad.[15] Yet while the Iraqi military's performance was disgraceful, and U.S. policy makers should be concerned about continuing to invest billions of dollars propping up an ineffective military force, if Washington does not want to send combat brigades again into Iraq, then the Iraqi forces will have to be propped up in some fashion. It should be noted that under close U.S. supervision (and before the U.S. withdrawal of 2011), the Iraqi armed forces proved themselves capable of conducting successful military operations. After U.S. troops departed, Prime Minister Maliki began replacing seasoned officers with cronies. These unprofessional officers began selling surplus ammunition, auctioning off commissions, and creating "ghost soldiers" who exist only on the payroll so senior officers could claim their pay.[16] This corruption resulted in the army devolving into a shell of a defense force. Once corruption is rooted out and discipline restored, the Iraqi army could well become part of the solution. Combating graft in the Iraqi army will also have the effect of reducing Tehran's influence since much of the corruption stems from Shiite military commanders who had previously served in the Badr militia, one of Tehran's foremost military proxies in Iraq. This would, in turn, increase the power of Sunni Iraqis in the military, part of an overall strategic goal of protecting the Sunni Arab population that Washington needs as allies.
Protecting the Iraqi Sunnis is just as critical to rolling back Iran as it is to defeating ISIS.
Protecting the Sunnis is just as critical to rolling back Iran as it is to defeating ISIS. This requires enabling them to take on a greater role in the fight against the Islamists. Even without deploying combat brigades, the administration could and should establish a strategically influential presence on the ground in Sunni and mixed Sunni-Shiite regions. Not all of these troops need to be U.S. forces, but a significant contingent should be in order to keep eyes and ears on the situation and deter sectarian abuses. Simultaneously, as numerous Arab states are already contributing to the anti-ISIS coalition, they could be persuaded to send peacekeeping contingents to Iraq. These troops would not need to have a role engaging ISIS. Rather their purpose would be to guarantee the safety of Sunni Iraqis in strategically important territory from overzealous Iraqi security forces.
Presently, the Shiite militias supported and led by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) are leading the fight against ISIS. As these militants gain ground, Tehran extends and deepens its grip on Iraq. It would be a Pyrrhic victory if Shiite militants defeated ISIS but dragged Iraq into a sectarian civil war in the process. Tehran most likely does not want a civil war in Iraq either, but if its presence sparks one, there is little doubt it will do what it takes to assure its allies win decisively. Since the strategy for defeating ISIS hinges on the Iraqis themselves taking the fight to ISIS, Washington has a strong interest in ensuring a fully-fledged sectarian conflict does not break out. It would not be imprudent to deploy U.S. ground forces to accomplish that mission.
Lecturing Baghdad politicians and relying on the professionalism of Iraq's security forces is not enough. That professionalism is a critical goal, not a starting point. Gaining Baghdad's trust and cooperation will undoubtedly require U.S. forces to make a contribution to the military dimension of the conflict that would make it worthwhile for Baghdad to stand up to Tehran and assert its independence. This should not be an insurmountable challenge if Washington is willing to raise its level of commitment.
U.S. forces will need to take an active role in planning operations to retake cities and towns from ISIS.
Tehran cannot match U.S. airpower, its intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities, or its operational and strategic planning means. While airpower alone will not win a war, it is critical to prepping the battlefield and facilitating the advance of ground troops. In June 2015, the U.S.-led coalition launched 1,686 airstrikes, part of a year-to-date total of 2,764 flights with at least one weapon released and 11,061 total sorties, according to U.S. Air Forces Central Command.[17] The Air Force is capable of doing more. U.S. forces similarly dwarf Iran's ISR capability,[18] which is critical for enabling Iraqi soldiers to monitor their forward routes, guard against improvised explosive devices and ambushes, gain an early warning in advance of an attack, or locate top tier ISIS leadership. As these elements of warfare come to prove increasingly critical to the success of its troops on the ground, Baghdad may very well reconsider the wisdom of allowing the Iranians to be its primary security partners.
U.S. forces, however, should not be limited to training and advising roles. It is becoming increasingly likely that in the near future, they will need to take an active role in planning operations to retake cities and towns from ISIS. As important as materiel support is, in the absence of actual leadership on the ground, criticisms such as those made by Badr militia commander Hadi Amiri that "those who kiss the hand of the Americans get nothing in return,"[19] will start to ring true. If necessary, U.S. troops should become available to clear and hold key terrain. At the very least, it is unwise to rule out the possibility of U.S. troops on the ground in advance. It would be a potentially costly strategic oversight to cede leadership of ground force operations in Iraq to IRGC generals.
Following the collapse of the Iraqi army, many analysts were quick to point to the Kurdish peshmerga as the most reliable fighting force in the region. This may be largely true, but it should not lead Washington to overestimate the peshmerga's capacity or overlook internal rivalries between Kurdish groups and other significant issues, including corruption and poor training.
Finally, there is the matter of the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga, military forces associated with the two major political parties of the Kurdistan Regional Government. They also need U.S. training, supervision, and leadership.
Following the collapse of the Iraqi army, many pundits were quick to point to the peshmerga as the most reliable fighting force in the region. This may have been true, but it should not lead Washington to overestimate the latter's capacity. The peshmerga suffer from many of the same problems as the Iraqi army: corruption, poor training, ghost soldiers, mistrust due to the partisan and ethnic nature of the force, and lack of equipment. When ISIS invaded northern Iraq, the peshmerga offered little resistance and did very little to protect the Yazidis who were being massacred in Sinjar.[20] The intense rivalry between the Kurdish Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan has led to poor cooperation between their respective fighting forces. Nor do the peshmerga have a good working relationship with the Iraqi army. Defeating ISIS will undoubtedly require unity of effort. A strong U.S. presence among the Iraqi Kurds would likely help considerably.

Syria's Moderate Opposition

The U.S. strategy for defeating both ISIS and Assad in Syria should begin with the Syrian Kurds. The Popular Protection Units (Yekîneyên Parastina Gel) of the Syrian Kurds, seen here, are religiously tolerant moderates who have fought effectively against ISIS with little outside help.
Washington's strategy for defeating both ISIS and the Assad regime should begin with the Syrian Kurds. While the administration may be relying overmuch on the Iraqi peshmerga, Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute has made the case persuasively that Washington needs to stop neglecting the Popular Protection Units (Yekîneyên Parastina Gel, or YPG) of the Syrian Kurds, who proved their mettle by withstanding ISIS's siege of Kobane in northern Syria.[21] The YPG are religiously tolerant moderates who have fought effectively against ISIS with little outside support. They are affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan or PKK), which the State Department has labeled a terrorist group apparently to appease Ankara.[22] In the meantime, the Turks are working toward their own peace accord with the PKK. It would be foolish to allow the pace of internal Turkish politics keep Washington from supporting the armed faction that is presently positioned to be its most viable partner on the ground in Syria.
The Kurds, however, are not enough. The more moderate elements of the Syrian Arab opposition are indispensable to a successful U.S. strategy in Syria. The U.S.-led coalition should focus first and foremost on driving ISIS out of Iraq, then on eliminating its capacity to successfully attack Kurdish territory in Iraq, Syria, or Turkey. As ISIS loses ground on its eastern and northern borders, it might finally engage Assad's forces on its western front as this would be its only remaining avenue for expansion in the Levant. At that point, the Syrian moderates will come to play a pivotal role.
The moderate Syrian resistance is often derided as being a completely fictitious entity. This criticism is baseless but could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Take the case of Harakat Hazm (Steadfastness Movement) which emerged in January 2014 as a promising military force with a secular ideology only to find half-hearted Western backing. In February 2015, its headquarters were overrun by Jabhat an-Nusra, Syria's al-Qaeda affiliate, and the surviving members disbanded.[23] If Harakat Hazm no longer exists, that may tell more about the U.S. mismanagement of support than about the group's original potential.
Critics of the idea of supporting the moderate opposition generally base their argument on the premise that Western-friendly opposition forces in Syria are too small and too weak to compete against the regime, ISIS, or their jihadist counterparts. Some argue that, at best, such groups might contribute to ISIS's toppling of Assad but would then simply be purged by ISIS or other jihadist groups in the aftermath.[24] This concern might have validity if the conflict is seen as ending in the near future. But since a quick resolution of the Syrian civil war seems unlikely, this objection is premature. A prudent approach would be to keep Western-trained, moderate fighters out of the fight completely for several months. Presently, an-Nusra and other jihadist groups are targeting these moderates in order to "purify" the resistance. If these lightly-trained and lightly-armed, Western-backed rebels were not providing jihadists with such easy targets, those Islamists might well return their focus to fighting Assad.
ISIS seems powerful enough to make it probable that the conflict will continue for at least two or three more years.
Washington needs to prepare the moderate opposition for the endgame, not the present fight. ISIS seems powerful enough at this point to make it highly probable that the conflict will continue for at least two or three more years.[25] In the meantime, the U.S. administration should be readying a core group of trustworthy moderates to accomplish the tasks that will be necessary to transition Syria to new governance. Washington should train them to build an effective, nationwide political organization; to cultivate intelligence networks that will help clarify the situation on the ground when the time comes to liberate key cities and towns; to communicate with the Syrian public and international community; to effectively govern and provide security, and to negotiate peace with remaining regime forces. These are primarily non-military functions, so Washington does not risk its materiel falling into the wrong hands and being turned against it. The moderates should, of course, receive combat training as well, but the bulk of U.S. military aid should be delivered to them only after they have sufficiently demonstrated that they are truly ideologically moderate and politically competent.
At the same time, there are serious problems with the training program of the Syrian resistance as it is currently being conducted. Training bases are located in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar, but the latter two at least have not proved themselves reliable allies in the fight against jihadism. Working with partners in Egypt, Jordan, or the United Arab Emirates would be preferable.
The bigger problem is that the length and focus of the training program may be inadequate. Certain details of the program remain classified, but news reports citing U.S. military planners indicate groups of three hundred trainees are receiving six to eight weeks of training before being sent back to fight in Syria.[26] This is little more than a recipe for producing cannon fodder. There is no good reason for sending lightly-trained, lightly-armed fighters into the Syrian theater. This allows Assad's forces to rest or improve their position while the Islamist resistance goes about exterminating the ill-prepared and unprotected moderates.
It is an underlying assumption of many pundits and military decision-makers that if ISIS does the lion's share of the fighting against the regime, the country will belong to them once Assad is deposed. For example, Julian Lewis, chair of Britain's defence select committee, said it was impossible to intervene in Syria without helping either the Islamist terrorists in the north of the country or the Assad regime.[27] But if the moderate opposition could effectively demonstrate its competence and strength, it is possible that many Syrians would be more inclined to support them rather than ISIS, regardless of who contributed more to the dictator's defeat.


ISIS is an extremist and dangerous proto-state that engages in habitual atrocities against the people who live in the territories under its control. It enslaves people, forcibly marries off young girls, trains boys to become bombs, destroys ancient artifacts, outlaws religions other than its own brand of Islam, ritualistically executes people in public, performs mass beheadings, and promotes a ghoulish worldview via social media to lure jihadist wannabes throughout the world. Even without its threat to regional stability, it would be safe to say that expediting its demise would be in the best interest of the United States. The U.S. strategy for defeating ISIS, however, must look beyond finding the quickest and easiest means of killing terrorists and destroying terrorist bases and consider how to rout them without compromising Washington's interests in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and the Middle East more broadly.
David A. Patten is a defense contractor in northern Virginia and an Iraq war veteran. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Stony Brook University and a masters in security studies from Georgetown University.

[1] The Atlantic, Mar. 11, 2015.
[2] National Public Radio, Dec. 29, 2014.
[3] The New York Times, Mar. 3, 2015.
[4] CNN, Mar. 16, 2015.
[5] White House Press Office, Sept. 10, 2014.
[6] The Times of Israel (Jerusalem), Mar. 21, 2015.
[7] BBC News (London), Jan. 19, 2015.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Small Wars Professionals (blog), Feb. 24, 2015.
[10] Anthony H. Cordesman, Peter Alsis, Adam Mausner, and Charles Loi, "The Real Outcome of the Iraq War: U.S. and Iranian Strategic Competition in Iraq," Dec. 20, 2011.
[11] CNN, Mar. 11, 2015.
[12] Kenneth Katzman, "Iran's Influence in Iraq," CRS Report for Congress, Feb. 2, 2007.
[13] NBC Nightly News, June 24, 2005.
[14] The Guardian (London), June 11, 2014.
[15] Ibid., June 15, 2014; The Telegraph (London), June 21, 2014.
[16] The New York Times, Nov. 24, 2014.
[17] Air Force Times, July 14, 2015.
[18] United States Institute of Peace, Washington, D.C., May 11, 2015.
[19] The Military Times (Springfield, Va.), Mar. 13, 2015.
[20] The Daily Beast (New York), Aug. 17, 2015.
[21] Michael Rubin, "The U.S. Gets the Kurds Wrong—Again," The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 13, 2014; Commentary, May 17, 2015.
[22] National Public Radio, Sept. 23, 2014.
[23] The Washington Post, Feb. 28, 2015.
[24] See, for example, Tamara Cofman Wittes, "The regional impact of U.S. policy toward Iraq and Syria," Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., Apr. 30, 2015.
[25] Voice of America, June 27, 2015.
[26] Al-Jazeera TV (Doha), Feb. 18, 2015.
[27] The Independent (London), July 18, 2015.
Related Topics:  Iran, Iraq, Syria, US policy  |  David A. Patten  |  Fall 2015 MEQ This text may be reposted or forwarded so long as it is presented as an integral whole with complete and accurate information provided about its author, date, place of publication, and original URL.

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