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Ex CIA Chief David Petraeus Says Everyone In Russia Will Be Surprised In 33 Days, Collapse Has Begun
Russia Can Not Escape This Catastrophe, Russia Is Heading For Epic Collapse – Ex CIA Warns Of Mutiny
- Matthew SussexFellow, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University
Matthew Sussex has received funding from the Australian Research Council, the Lowy Institute and various Australian government agencies.
Australian National University provides funding as a member of The Conversation AU.
Among the many questions asked about Russia’s disastrous war against Ukraine, one of them is posed only very rarely: can Russia survive what seems increasingly likely to be a humiliating defeat at the hands of its smaller neighbour?
On the face of it, the prospect seems almost absurd. Vladimir Putin may have been weakened by a trio of crucial miscalculations – about Russian military strength, Ukrainian resolve, and Western unity – but there’s no evidence yet that he’s on the verge of losing his grip on power, much less the Russian state imploding.
There have been few significant demonstrations on the streets to protest against the war, against Putin’s leadership, or even against the mobilisation of conscripts. Those with the wherewithal to leave Russia for fear of getting drafted have already fled. And while there are likely to be significant economic shocks as Western sanctions begin to bite, some creative fiscal management by Moscow has dampened their impact so far.
Indeed, by rattling the nuclear sabre ever louder amid blatant false flags about Ukrainian “dirty bombs”, the image Putin seeks to project is one of strength, not fragility.
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Cognitive biases among Western commentators can also play a role when making judgements about authoritarian states like Russia, leading us to see weakness when in fact it is absent. After all, nobody seriously thought the United States would disintegrate after its ignominious withdrawal from Vietnam, or Iraq, or Afghanistan for that matter.
But there are three good reasons why we should not discount the possibility that defeat in Ukraine might make the Kremlin’s edifice crumble, leaving Russia difficult to govern in its entirety, or at least its present form.
1. It has happened before
First and most obvious – it has happened before. And in an historical sense, it has happened relatively recently, with the collapse of the USSR in 1991 rightly considered a seismic event in world politics.
The rub is that nobody predicted the end of the USSR either.
In fact, it was confidently assumed in the West that Mikhail Gorbachev would go on ruling the Soviet Union, until the hard-line coup that failed to topple him (but left him mortally wounded in a political sense) made that view obviously redundant.
2. Lack of viable alternatives to Putin
Second, the distribution of political power in Russia means there are no viable alternative answers beyond Putin. Part of this is deliberate: Putin has constructed the state in his own image, making himself inseparable from any major question about Russian society and statehood.
Eschewing an imperial title, but acting in accordance with its precepts, Putin is Russia’s tsar in virtually everything but name. But that also means there is no patrilineal succession plan, nor anyone in his increasingly shrinking orbit of semi-trusted courtiers who readily stands out as a replacement. It’s difficult to imagine a successor who could command respect and wield authority to unite the competing Kremlin cliques – groups that Putin himself encouraged to form in order to ensure their weakness and continued fealty.
Names like Sergei Kiriyenko, Nikolai Patrushev and Sergei Sobyanin are often bandied around when analysts play speculative “who succeeds Putin?” games. But each of them have either irritated Putin, given him cause to mistrust them, or would struggle to bring the different clans together.
3. Ethnic tensions
A third reason Russia’s ongoing viability in the wake of defeat in Ukraine isn’t totally assured is that the war has exacerbated cracks between the privileged Russian political core and its ethnically concentrated periphery. Part of the mythos beloved by Russia’s far right is that Russia is the “Third Rome”, a necessary great power that unites people from different ethnic and religious backgrounds and prevents them from fighting one another.
Given the relative poverty of Russia’s minorities, it’s unsurprising they tend to be over-represented in the military. We know, for instance, that Russia’s military casualties have come disproportionately from Russia’s poorest ethnic groups: Dagestanis, Chechens, Ingush, Buryats and Tuvans.
We also know the Kremlin’s campaign to draft an additional 300,000 personnel for service in Ukraine was similarly targeted along ethnic lines. That shields the residents of Moscow and St Petersburg, keeping the war an abstract phenomenon that only touches their lives in peripheral ways.
But it also means those on Russia’s periphery are effectively being used as cannon fodder.
If Russia were to fracture, where and how might this come about?
The North Caucuses would be the most likely centre of gravity. Of the few demonstrations against the Kremlin’s military mobilisation campaign, those in Dagestan have been the most visible, including violent clashes with riot police. But attention is now also turning to Chechnya, where attempts to secede from Russia led to two wars: from 1994 to 1996; and from 1999 to 2009.
Ramzan Kadyrov, the outspoken Chechen leader, has been kept on a fairly tight leash by Putin since being installed in 2007, and has been one of his most vigorous supporters. But this again underscores the fragility of Putin as the key to keeping others in check.
Kadyrov has few friends in Moscow beyond the Russian president, and he has emerged as a leading critic of Russia’s military leadership – particularly Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu. On October 6 he followed the suggestion by Kiril Stremousov, the Moscow-backed chief of occuptied Kherson, that Shoigu should consider suicide with the claim that General Oleksandr Lapin, a Shoigu ally, should be sent to the front lines to “wash away his shame with blood”.
The concern here is that should Putin exit the political stage, Kadyrov would be very difficult to control. He has what amounts to his own private army (the Kadyrovtsy, who are loyal to him and have been implicated in numerous human rights abuses). More than that, he could be incentivised to exploit a power vacuum by seeking greater independence.
This is important because Russia’s multi-ethnic makeup has not erased ethnic identities and ideas about nationhood.
History is instructive here on two counts. One is that the dissolution of the USSR in 1991 was not brought about by Gorbachev, its last general secretary. Rather, the Soviet collapse was engendered by Boris Yeltsin, then-leader of the Russian Republic – as the largest part of the USSR – and the first president of the new Russian Federation.
More broadly, the end of the Soviet Union came about due to simultaneous national revolutions, with Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic States and the Central Asian former republics of the USSR all choosing self-determination rather than continuing to be part of the Soviet empire.
A second historical fact is that the end of the USSR saw the creation of four new nuclear-armed states: Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine. But the lesson of Ukraine in 2022 – which in 1991 was the most reluctant of the three non-Russian countries to hand control of the nuclear weapons on its territory back to Moscow – is that it’s vital to retain every instrument of power as potential insurance.
Gradually, and then all at once
This is why, aside from the human rights emergency it would represent, a fragmented Russia (or one in the middle of a civil war) would put regional and global security in a precarious position. Even a localised breakup would inevitably be along ethnic lines, and potentially create a variety of nuclear-armed aspirant statelets.
And while the end of the Soviet Union literally reshaped the map of Eurasia, any contemporary splintering of Russian power would potentially be far more dangerous, with no guarantee a potentially bloody domino effect could be averted.
So is it speculative to talk about a future Russian collapse? Yes. Is there evidence it is imminent? No. But in many ways that’s the problem: when authoritarian regimes implode, they tend to do so very quickly, and with little warning.
Hence in the Russian case, it’s important to consider all possible eventualities, even if they might appear implausible at the moment.
And, if nothing else, it’s always better to be pleasantly surprised than blindsided by events we inconveniently decided not to foresee.
Chinese media reports that at the recent Zuhai air show 2022 held in China, Saudi Arabia made purchase transactions from China amounting to 4 billion dollars which included the following items:
📌 300 Chinese CH4 drones
📌 Production line of TB001 UAVs
📌 YJ-21e supersonic missiles
📌 variety of laser-based systems
Arms deals of this type indicate a Saudi rapprochement with China at the expense of the Americans.
November 17, 2022
Ibrahim’s profound hatred of the Jewish state calls into question his ability to impartially report on the Arab-Israeli conflict.
By Akiva Van Koningsveld, Honest Reporting
Idris Muktar Ibrahim, a California-educated native of Kenya, has done work for CNN since 2015, reporting on critical events in Africa, including then-President Barack Obama’s visit to the region and the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.
Earlier this year, following his graduation from UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, the broadcaster’s international desk took him on as a producer.
Ibrahim’s name has appeared in multiple bylines on CNN.com, including one above a November 13 article about Israel’s incoming coalition, titled “Israeli President invites Netanyahu to form government.”
Yet Ibrahim’s profound hatred of the Jewish state calls into question his ability to impartially report on the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan outdid himself in his recent diatribe defending Kyrie Irving and Kanye West while slamming Jews for the alleged “horror” their parents have done to blacks in America and throughout the world.
PROTESTERNA I IRANPublicerad 16 nov 2022 kl 23.31
Iranska styrkor öppnar eld i t-banan – resenärer flyrUnmutePauseFullscreen
Bilderna från Teheran uppges visa brutalt våld från regimen.
Ytterligare fyra personer har dömts till döden efter protester mot regimen i Iran, rapporterar BBC.
Personerna anklagas för ”fiendskap mot gud”.
Människorättsorganisationer fördömer domarna och menar att demonstranter torteras och tvingas till falska erkännanden.
BBC skriver att totalt fem personer har dömts till döden i Iran bara sedan i söndags.
Enligt den iranska domstolen – lagen i Iran är baserad på sharia – har en av ”upprorsmakarna”, som de kallas, kört på och dödat en polisman med sin bil. En annan sägs ha gått beväpnad med kniv och någon annan typ av vapen. Den tredje ska ha skapat ”terror” genom att blockera trafiken och den fjärde personen uppges ha utfört en knivattack. Detta enligt den regimkontrollerade nyhetsbyrån Mizan.
Men flera människorättsorganisationer fördömer nu dödsdomarna och säger att personerna inte fick rättvisa rättegångar.
Enligt Iran Human Rights har demonstranterna i Iran inte rätt till försvarare vid förhör, utsätts för tortyr och tvingas till falska erkännanden.
350 demonstranter uppges ha dödats
Namnen på de dödsdömda har ännu inte offentliggjorts av Iran, men enligt Amnesty rör det sig om Mohammad Ghobadlou, Manouchehr Mehman Navaz, Mahan Sedarat Madani, Mohammad Boroughani och Sahand Nourmohammad-Zadeh.
Omkring 350 demonstranter har dödats och nära 16 000 frihetsberövats efter protesterna i Iran, enligt människorättsorganisationen Hrana.
Protesterna startade i september efter att 22-åriga Mahsa Aminis avlidit i samband med ett frihetsberövande av den iranska moralpolisen. Efter att en ny protesvåg blossade upp under tisdagen ska tolv personer ha dött, rapporterar BBC.
The Gross Domestic Product per capita in Israel was last recorded at 39913.10 US dollars in 2021 -compared to Germany
by Guy Millière
- Hundreds of thousands of immigrants enter Europe illegally each year. Many head for France and stay there. They have been benefiting, since 2000, from financial aid and free medical care to which even poor French citizens do not have access. If they are arrested, like Lola’s murderer, they are ordered to leave the country, but are not placed in a detention center so the order, never enforced, is not an order at all. In 2020, 107,500 orders to leave France were issued; fewer than 7% took place.
- Approximately 48% of all crimes committed in Paris in 2021, he notes, were committed by illegal immigrants. Murders almost as gruesome as Lola’s — most of which are committed by illegal immigrants — are committed nearly every day. No one even mentions them. The victims often have their throats slit.
- Maurice Berger, a psychiatrist, speaks of ”gratuitous violence”: violence for no other reason than the pleasure of committing it. He reports that in France, gratuitous violence resulting in injury or death happens, on average, every two minutes. France reports more than two hundred rapes a day.
- In L’archipel français (”The French Archipelago”)… sociologist Jérome Fourquet writes of a French ”collective nervous breakdown” and the ”crumbling” of French society. He notes that the religious and historical moorings of the French people are disappearing: churches are empty, important moments in the country’s history are no longer taught in schools… France’s Muslim population, on the other hand, maintains its culture, customs and traditions, assimilates into French society less and less, and appears more and more filled with contempt and hatred for France…
- Speaking about a ”great replacement” of the population in France is taboo. Anyone who does it is immediately demonized and described as a follower of conspiracy theories. But the numbers are clear… In addition to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants already in France, approximately 400,000 more immigrants from Africa and the Arab world enter France each year. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of French people emigrate from France annually. In 2018, the most recent year for which figures are available, 270,000 French people left. Over the past 20 years, the number of French people living abroad has increased by 52%.
- Whenever someone is arrested, injured or killed by the police in or near a no-go zone, riots break out. When an arrest turns violent, the police are asked to let criminals seeking refuge in a no-go zone escape. The government evidently fears that a larger conflagration might occur.
- Inside classrooms, in high schools and primary schools, the French educational system is subject to Islamic intimidation…. Those who might have thought that the beheading of Samuel Paty would lead the authorities to make drastic decisions were proven wrong. Today, teachers throughout France report the relentless threats they receive. In the complaints they file, many say that Muslim students threaten ”doing a Samuel Paty” to them.
- Economically, France is in decline. French GDP has gone from fifth in the world in 1980 to tenth today…. France is among the European countries which impose the heaviest tax burden on its population (45.2% of GDP in 2022). France also has the highest level of public expenditure in the developed world (57.9% of GDP in 2022) — and an increasing share of public expenditure goes toward financial aid to immigrants, legal and illegal…. Taxes, however, are insufficient to pay for these public expenses….
- ”Worse than the rise of barbarity is the feeling that our leaders are in denial and unable to take the strong and effective decisions that would be necessary to ensure the protection of the population. Barbarity spreads when the authorities no longer know how to be the guarantors of law and order.” — Céline Pina, author, Le Figaro, October 19, 2022.
October 15. The corpse of a 12-year-old girl hidden in a big plastic box is discovered on a sidewalk in the eastern part of Paris. The victim’s name was Lola. She was the daughter of the caretakers of the building where the murder took place.
Witnesses, fingerprints and images from surveillance cameras quickly lead police to arrest a woman. She confessed but said she had absolutely no remorse. The details she gave, confirmed by the autopsy, are that she gagged Lola with tape, undressed her, tied her to a chair, raped her with objects, partially cut her throat, put the blood in a bottle and drank it, smoked a cigarette, then finished slitting Lola’s throat and beheaded her. The woman stabbed the corpse multiple times before placing it in a plastic box, and took it down to the street.
The woman, a 24-year-old Algerian named Dahbia B., came to France on a student visa but did not leave after it expired in 2018. She had already been arrested by the police this August, ordered to leave France — and then released. She should not have been in France in the first place. Had she been deported, and if the French police and department of justice had done their job, Lola would still be with us.
”The suspect in this barbaric act should not have been on our territory,” said Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Rally Party. ”Too many crimes and offenses are committed by illegal immigrants whom we have not been willing or able to send back home.”
”When will we defend our children against attacks committed by the same people, always at the expense of the same people,” asked former journalist Éric Zemmour, president of the Reconquest Party.
”This criminal immigration laxity revolts me,” said Eric Ciotti, one of the leaders of the Republicans Party.
Instead of acknowledging flaws in police procedures and promising to improve security, the French government offered Lola’s parents condolences.
President Emmanuel Macron waited two days to receive the victim’s parents briefly. He did not say a word in public. No political decisions regarding illegal immigration and its links to increased crime in France were announced, no political decisions will be taken.
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne told the political leaders that they had shown no respect for the pain of the victim’s family. She accused them of ”indecency” and asked them to be quiet.
”Using a 12-year-old kid’s coffin like a stepping stool to indulge in diatribes is shameful,” Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti added.
A lawyer, Gilles-William Goldnadel, suggested that the government preferred silence so that no one would talk about how extremely lax its immigration policy is, as well as the consequences. It was indispensable to face the situation urgently without looking away, he said.
The borders between France and other European countries are open and, like all the borders of Europe, porous. Hundreds of thousands of immigrants enter Europe illegally each year. Many head for France and stay there. They have been benefiting, since 2000, from financial aid and free medical care to which even poor French citizens do not have access. If they are arrested, like Lola’s murderer, they are ordered to leave the country, but are not placed in a detention center so the order, never enforced, is not an order at all. In 2020, 107,500 orders to leave France were issued; fewer than 7% took place.
Illegal immigrants in France are the perpetrators of nearly half of crimes committed in the country, according to the recently published L’ordre nécessaire (”The Necessary Order”), by Didier Lallement, former chief of the Paris Police. Approximately 48% of all crimes committed in Paris in 2021, he notes, were committed by illegal immigrants. Murders almost as gruesome as Lola’s — most of which are committed by illegal immigrants — are committed nearly every day. No one even mentions them. The victims often have their throats slit. When the mainstream media report on the murders, they do not talk about slit throats. They say the victim was ”stabbed in the neck.”
The French now live in a climate of generalized violence. Maurice Berger, a psychiatrist, speaks of ”gratuitous violence”: violence for no other reason than the pleasure of committing it. He reports that in France, gratuitous violence resulting in injury or death happens, on average, every two minutes. France reports more than two hundred rapes a day. Berger, in Sur la violence gratuite en France (”On Gratuitous Violence in France”), notes that usually the assaults have a racist dimension: the victims are always white people, the aggressors are almost always Arabs or Africans — details omitted by the commentators. Polls show that the French population are seeing violence rising sharply: 68% of French people say they feel their lives are increasingly insecure, and 75% say that the record of Macron and the government fighting crime is poor. 70% believe that illegal immigration is a serious problem. Nevertheless, in May 2022, a majority of voters re-elected Macron and rejected candidates who promised to fight crime and illegal immigration.
In an apparent attempt to explain this odd outcome, many commentators say that the French population now expects the downfall of their country. They quote surveys, carried out year after year, which show that the French population is the world’s most pessimistic. An overwhelming majority of French people evidently think the future will be worse than the present. A poll published in April 2022 states that 77% of French people are certain that the country will not overcome the present economic and social crisis; a poll published in September 2022 show that 67% of French people think that the global situation will worsen due to climate change and that the planet has no future. In L’archipel français (”The French Archipelago”), published in 2019, sociologist Jérome Fourquet writes of a French ”collective nervous breakdown” and the ”crumbling” of French society. He notes that the religious and historical moorings of the French people are disappearing: churches are empty, important moments in the country’s history are no longer taught in schools. He adds that France’s Muslim population, on the contrary, maintains its culture, customs and traditions, assimilates into French society less and less, and appears more and more filled with contempt and hatred for France, which many of them accuse of colonizing the Muslim world and exploiting Muslim workers.
Speaking about a ”great replacement” of the population in France is taboo. Anyone who does it is immediately demonized and described as a follower of conspiracy theories. But the numbers are clear. Former Secretary of State for Foreign Trade Pierre Lellouche recently said that ”40% of children aged 0 to 4 are immigrants or of immigrant origin as of the last census”. In addition to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants already in France, approximately 400,000 more immigrants from Africa and the Arab world enter France each year. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of French people emigrate from France annually. In 2018, the most recent year for which figures are available, 270,000 French people left. Over the past 20 years, the number of French people living abroad has increased by 52%.
Speaking about the 750 no-go zones (”zones urbaines sensibles”) growing on the outskirts of all France’s big cities, and ruled by Islamic gangs and radical imams, is also taboo. Many books describe the seriousness of the situation. In his book Les territoires conquis de l’islamisme (”The Conquered Territories of Islamism”), published in 2020, the sociologist Bernard Rougier wrote:
”Islamist networks managed to establish enclaves in the heart of working-class neighborhoods…. ideological and institutional centers located in the Arab Middle East and the Maghreb can successfully disseminate their concept of Islam there”.
The meticulous data in the book did not elicit any response from the French government
. Whenever someone is arrested, injured or killed by the police in or near a no-go zone, riots break out. When an arrest turns violent, the police are asked to let criminals seeking refuge in a no-go zone escape. The government evidently fears that a larger conflagration might occur.
Since the beginning of September, scenes of violence have been taking place in front of high schools in the Paris suburbs: French law prohibits religious symbols at school, and groups of Muslim high school girls claim a right to wear the Islamic hijab in class. High school principals, obligated to obey the law, prohibit it. Groups of young Muslims (mostly boys) respond with acts of looting.
Inside classrooms, in high schools and primary schools, the French educational system is subject to Islamic intimidation. In 2002, historian George Bensoussan published Les territoires perdus de la république (”The Lost Territories of the Republic”), in which he disclosed that it was now impossible to talk about the Holocaust in high schools in France. In 2017, he published Une France soumise (”A Submissive France”), which shows that the situation had become even worse. It was no longer possible, in French high schools and primary schools, to speak of secularism and tolerance. One teacher, Samuel Paty spoke of secularism, and on October 16, 2020, paid with his life.
Those who might have thought that the beheading of Samuel Paty would lead the authorities to make drastic decisions were proven wrong. Today, teachers throughout France report the relentless threats they receive. In the complaints they file, many say that Muslim students threaten ”doing a Samuel Paty” to them. Jewish teachers face anti-Semitic threats and insults. The principal of a high school in the suburbs of Paris recently received an anonymous letter threatening a teacher who happened to be Jewish. ”We are going to do a Samuel Paty to him and his father, the old Zionist rabbi,” the letter said. ”We don’t want Jews in high schools. Stay in your synagogues! We will take care of the teacher when he exits the high school”. The principal filed a complaint. It will probably come to nothing. Year after year, 80% of such complaints filed in France do not lead to further action.
Economically, France is in decline. French GDP has gone from fifth in the world in 1980 to tenth today, and GDP per capita has gone from fifth in the world to twenty-third during the same period. France’s weight in the global economy has fallen from 4.4% in 1980 to 2.3% today. France is among the European countries which impose the heaviest tax burden on its population (45.2% of GDP in 2022). France also has the highest level of public expenditure in the developed world (57.9% of GDP in 2022) — and an increasing share of public expenditure goes toward financial aid to immigrants, legal and illegal. ”We have one of the most generous social models in the world,” Macron said, ”it is a strength”.
Taxes, however, are insufficient to pay for these public expenses, so France’s national debt is rapidly increasing. The revolt of the ”yellow vests,” originally over the rising cost of fuel, started in November 2018, and lasted until the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. At the time, France had 9.3 million people living under the poverty line (on an income not more than 1,063 euros per month), and surveys showed that hundreds of thousands of families were suffering from malnutrition. Since the ”yellow vests” were not Muslim rioters, the security services under Macron reacted to their protests with violent repression: dozens of demonstrators lost an eye, a hand, a foot, or part of their brain function after a skull fracture. The decision by the French government to lock all French people in their homes for months in the name of the pandemic extinguished the revolt (France has had one of the strictest lockdown policies in Europe). These controls lasted until a few days before the first round of the presidential election in April 2022. The French economy suffered as a result of the lockdown. The number of poor people increased sharply and now stands at 12 million (18.46% of the population). During the third quarter of 2022, 9,000 French companies closed down; and 160,000 French companies declared themselves insolvent between January and June 2022.
In Èric Zemmour’s Le suicide français (”The French Suicide”), published in 2014 when he was still a journalist, he wrote that France was dying, and that if courageous, essential decisions were not taken urgently, would not survive. Saying that these decisions were now a matter of life or death for the country, he ran for president in 2022, and received just 7.3 % of the vote.
Essayist Céline Pina writes that the murder of little Lola, the reactions of the murderer after the crime and the government’s attempt to impose silence about the event, mark another step in France’s slide towards collapse, barbarity and chaos:
”The horror of the ordeal that this child had to live through, the fact that the atrocities took place during the day, in Paris, the fact that the presumed author of the act is once again a foreign person in irregular situation and under an obligation to leave French territory, all these elements mean that behind the particularly horrific nature of this murder, we find recurring elements that relate to other cases and to a larger situation…. The murder of Lola reveals the disappearance of all civilizational achievements…
”Worse than the rise of barbarity is the feeling that our leaders are in denial and unable to take the strong and effective decisions that would be necessary to ensure the protection of the population. Barbarity spreads when the authorities no longer know how to be the guarantors of law and order.”
Dr. Guy Millière, a professor at the University of Paris, is the author of 27 books on France and Europe.
by Bassam Tawil
- The Palestinians, who keep complaining about the rise of the right-wing parties in Israeli elections, are the ones who brought the terrorist Hamas group to power.
- In 2006, a majority of Palestinians voted for Hamas, whose charter openly calls for the elimination of Israel.
- The Palestinians who voted for a jihadist terror group would therefore seem to have little justification to complain about the outcome of any Israeli election.
- The statements that Palestinian leaders and officials are making in response to the latest elections are identical to those they issued after previous rounds of voting in Israel.
- After Israel’s 2020 election, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum… urged Palestinians to step up the ”resistance” against Israel to thwart then US President Donald J. Trump’s plan for peace in the Middle East, titled ”Peace to Prosperity: A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People.”
- As far as the Palestinians are concerned, any elected government in Israel that does not submit to 100% of their demands is a bad and dangerous government.
- The second camp, represented by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and several other armed groups, is seeking to replace Israel with an Islamist state. This camp does not believe in Israel’s right to exist….
- The Palestinians… continue to engage in fear-mongering after each Israeli election in efforts to intimidate the Israeli public into complying with their demands. They also have used this tactic for three decades to frighten the international community into pressuring Israel to make dangerous territorial concessions.
- The Palestinian claim that there is no partner for peace in Israel is totally false. In fact, the opposite is true…. The sad fact is that there is no partner for peace on the Palestinian side.
- The next time the Palestinians wring their hands about Israeli elections, the international community might remind them that it is Palestinian terrorism that drives the Israeli ballot-box results.
- The Palestinians also need to be reminded that it is their own leaders, and not those of Israel, who reject peace.
- Rather than bemoaning the Israeli election results, Palestinian leaders should be granting their own people even a part of what the Israelis wish for them in the Abraham Accords: equal justice under the law, freedom to speak and publish without fear of retribution, freedom to become prosperous, and freedom to live lives that have opportunity apart from the cottage industry of terrorism — lives free from their own leaders’ corrupt, unending suppression.
Even before the final results of the latest Israeli general elections were announced, Palestinian leaders and officials were quoted as expressing deep concern and fear that the outcome of the vote would lead to increased tensions and violence between the Palestinians and Israel.
Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh was quoted as saying that the results of the election ”confirms” that the Palestinians have no partner in Israel for peace.”
The Palestinians, who keep complaining about the rise of the right-wing parties in Israeli elections, are the ones who brought the terrorist Hamas group to power.
In 2006, a majority of Palestinians voted for Hamas, whose charter openly calls for the elimination of Israel. Since then, Hamas has carried out countless terror attacks, killing and injuring thousands of Israelis. The Palestinians who voted for a jihadist terror group would therefore seem to have little justification to complain about the outcome of any Israeli election.
After Israel’s 2021 election, Shtayyeh also remarked that the results showed there was little hope for peace. He said that the right-wing dominance in the election results indicated there could be no potential for talks with the Israeli side. Shtayyeh called on the international community to ”stop Israeli attacks on Palestinian land, water and property.”
This was not the first time that the Palestinians had expressed dissatisfaction with, and concern over, the outcome of an Israeli election, especially when right-wing parties win a majority of the votes, and either form the government or become part of the ruling coalition.
The statements that Palestinian leaders and officials are making in response to the latest elections are identical to those they issued after previous rounds of voting in Israel.
After Israel’s 2021 election, PLO official Tayseer Khaled was quoted as saying that the results indicated that the Israeli public was leaning toward ”fascism” and extremism.” After the November 1, 2022 election, Khaled published a similar statement in which he called on all Palestinians to ”confront Israeli fascism.” He also warned that the rise of the right-wing parties in the election constituted a serious challenge to the Palestinians’ present and future because it could lead to ”ethnic cleansing.”
After Israel’s 2020 election, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said that the results will not stop the Palestinians from pursuing the fight against Israel. He urged Palestinians to step up the ”resistance” against Israel to thwart then US President Donald J. Trump’s plan for peace in the Middle East, titled ”Peace to Prosperity: A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People.”
Commenting on Israel’s 2019 election, Hamas accused all the Israeli parties of ”inciting aggression on the Gaza Strip and the desecration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
After Israel’s 2015 election, senior Hamas official Ahmed Bahr claimed that the rise of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to power was a ”declaration of war” on the Palestinians. Similar warnings were issued by another senior Hamas official, Musa Abu Marzouk.
It is hard to remember when the Palestinians were ever fully satisfied with the results of any election in Israel. As far as the Palestinians are concerned, any elected government in Israel that does not submit to 100% of their demands is a bad and dangerous government.
What are the Palestinian demands?
Israel is facing two Palestinian camps that have their own demands. The first camp, represented by the Palestinian Authority, wants Israel to fully withdraw to the indefensible ”borders” of pre-1967. This is in addition to the demand that Israel allow more than five million Palestinian ”refugees” to flood the country as part of the so-called ”right of return.” Such a move would mean the end of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, who would have to live as a minority in a new Arab state in the Middle East.
Under the current circumstances, an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines would result in the emergence of an Arab terror state run by Hamas and funded and armed by the mullahs of Iran.
The second camp, represented by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and several other armed groups, is seeking to replace Israel with an Islamist state. This camp does not believe in Israel’s right to exist and, like the first camp, has been carrying out terrorist attacks against Israelis for several decades.
The Palestinians, who have failed to hold general elections since 2006 due to the ongoing dispute between Hamas and the ruling Fatah faction headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, continue to engage in fear-mongering after each Israeli election, in efforts to intimidate the Israeli public into complying with their demands. They also have used this tactic for three decades to frighten the international community into pressuring Israel to make dangerous territorial concessions.
The Palestinian claim that there is no partner for peace in Israel is totally false. In fact, the opposite is true.
All the peace offers made by Israeli leaders to the Palestinians over the past two decades have been rejected by the Palestinian leadership. In 2000, then PA President Yasser Arafat turned down the peace offer made by then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak at the Camp David summit. Referring to Arafat, Barak was later quoted as saying:
”He did not negotiate in good faith; indeed, he did not negotiate at all. He just kept saying no to every offer, never making any counterproposals of his own.”
Abbas, for his part, has admitted that he rejected a peace deal offered by then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008. Olmert said that he had offered a near-total withdrawal from the West Bank.
In 2020, the Palestinians rejected Trump’s peace plan as a ”conspiracy.” The plan proposed a ”two-state” solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which envisages Israel and a future Palestinian state living alongside each other.
The Palestinians later rejected the Abraham Accords normalization agreements signed between Israel and four Arab countries – the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco – dubbing them a ”stab in the back of the Palestinian people” and a ”betrayal” of Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The sad fact is that there is no partner for peace on the Palestinian side.
The 87-year-old Abbas is not a partner because he is too weak and unwilling to deliver: he correctly fears that, like the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, he would be murdered by his own people as a traitor. Public opinion polls have shown that Abbas is extremely unpopular, with more than 70% of the Palestinian public demanding his resignation.
Abbas is also aware that he does not have a mandate from his people to strike any peace deal with Israel. His rivals in Hamas, on the other hand, have repeatedly and consistently made it clear that they are categorically opposed to any peace agreement with Israel.
What is equally noteworthy is that the Palestinians keep stating that they see no difference between right-wing and left-wing parties in Israel. If that is so, why do the Palestinians always voice concern when the right-wing parties win elections?
The next time the Palestinians wring their hands about Israeli elections, the international community might remind them that it is Palestinian terrorism that drives the Israeli ballot-box results.
The Palestinians additionally need to be reminded that it is their own leaders, and not those of Israel, who reject peace.
Rather than bemoaning the Israeli election results, Palestinian leaders should be granting their own people even a part of what the Israelis wish for them in the Abraham Accords: equal justice under the law, freedom to speak and publish without fear of retribution, freedom to become prosperous, and freedom to live lives that have opportunity apart from the cottage industry of terrorism — lives free from their own leaders’ corrupt, unending suppression.
Bassam Tawil is a Muslim Arab based in the Middle East.
- [In the video, the 36-year-old mother of three] appears naked, with both of her arms and legs cut off. One of her eyes is clearly gouged out. A severed finger appears sticking out of her mouth, and another appears to be sticking out of her private parts. The Muslim soldiers videotaping their handiwork… can be heard laughing and joking in the background. Video footage similarly showed Azerbaijani soldiers overpowering and forcing down an elderly Armenian man, who cries and implores them for mercy, as they casually carve at his throat with a knife. — Video, September 13, 2022, Azerbaijan/Armenia.
- Bashir threatened the Christians: ”If you continue insisting that Jesus is the Son of God, then Allah will kill all of you.” — ”Bashir,” before drowning five Christians, Morningstar News, September 8, 2022, Uganda.
- ”There is still no breathing space for Christian communities in southern Kaduna, as terrorists, jihadists, bandits and armed herdsmen have continued to plunder and wreck Christian communities in the southern part of Kaduna state.” — Statement from the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union on extensive murders, saharareporters.com, September 19, 2022.
The following are among the abuses Muslims inflicted on Christians throughout the month of September 2022:
The Muslim Slaughter of Christians
Azerbaijan/Armenia: On Sept. 13, Azerbaijan launched drones, artillery, and mortars on several Armenian villages; the bombardment continued for two days. More than 100 Armenian soldiers were killed. Although widely seen as a territorial dispute between (Christian) Armenia and (Muslim) Azerbaijan, jihadist hate has long fueled the conflict. During this most recent assault, for instance, in the words of an Armenian military official, the Azerbaijanis:
”committed atrocities in our combat positions against our servicemen, including women soldiers. I cannot find words to describe how they dismembered a female soldier, cut off her legs, fingers and stripped her naked. This is unheard of cruelty.”
A video of these atrocities, made by the Azerbaijani soldiers themselves shows piles of mutilated and decapitated Armenian soldiers, including the woman in question [Note: I have the video; it has been scrubbed from the Internet]. She appears naked, with both of her arms and legs cut off. One of her eyes is clearly gouged out. A severed finger appears sticking out of her mouth, and another appears to be sticking out of her private parts. The Muslim soldiers videotaping their handiwork, which included several other mutilated and beheaded Armenian men, can be heard laughing and joking in the background.
The murdered woman was identified as ”Anush Apetyan, 36, a mother of three children [who] was reportedly captured alive in Jermuk and then raped, tortured and dismembered by Azerbaijani soldiers.” The severing of this woman’s fingers is a sign that jihadist sadism fueled the mutilation. In the Koran, for example, after declaring ”I will cast terror into the hearts of infidels,” Allah calls on Muslims to ”strike off their heads and strike off their every fingertip” (Koran 8:12; emphasis added).
Sadly, these recent mutilations an aberration. When Azerbaijan attacked Armenia in late 2020, Muslim soldiers ”tortured beyond recognition” a mentally disabled Armenian woman by hacking off her ears, hands and feet before finally executing her. Video footage similarly showed Azerbaijani soldiers overpowering and forcing down an elderly Armenian man, who cries and implores them for mercy, as they casually carve at his throat with a knife.
Mozambique: During the night of September 6-7, armed Muslim terrorists affiliated with the Islamic State stormed a Catholic mission compound in Chipene, where they set fire to the church, schools and hospitals. During the chaos, one of the nuns, Maria De Coppi, 83, was shot in the head and killed as she ran towards a burning dormitory to assist the few remaining students hiding there. She had spent 59 years serving the people of Mozambique. Three other Christians were killed during this jihad. Hours before her murder, Sister Maria had called her niece and left a voice message, describing Islamic terror attacks from days earlier:
”Hello, Gabriella, good evening. I just wanted to tell you the situation here is agonizing, it’s not good. It is very tense. Everyone here is fleeing, the people are running away. It is a very, very sad situation. Pray for us, that the Lord protects us and also these people. Goodbye, good night.”
The Islamic State later claimed responsibility for the attack and said they killed the nun because she had ”excessively engaged in spreading Christianity.”
Uganda: Muslims drowned and killed a group of Christians. The Christians, five missionaries and their local guide, were travelling by boat to a region where they hoped to found a new church. While in the vessel, they encountered and began to talk to ten men dressed in Islamic attire. According to Amos, their Christian guide who survived,
”On our way, Tonny Ankunda [one of the missionaries] started preaching to the people on the boat, which resulted in a huge argument between Muslims and the missionaries concerning the Sonship of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
One of the Muslims, identified only as Bashir, threatened the Christians: ”If you continue insisting that Jesus is the Son of God, then Allah will kill all of you.” When the Christians continued to debate, including by citing scriptures, Bashir exclaimed: ”We are giving you one last minute to stop your blasphemy and to convert by confessing the shahada [Islamic creed], or else your lives are at risk.”
”When the five evangelists refused to renounce Christ, the Muslims seized them and pushed them off the boat one by one, Kyakulaga said. While the lake is only 4 to 5.7 meters deep, they were 200 meters from shore, and all five Christians drowned.”
Amos was released after telling the Muslims that he was not part of the team of five Christians.
In a separate murder in Uganda, a Muslim stepmother poisoned her stepdaughter for becoming a Christian. On Sept. 18, Namata Habiba, 23, attended a church service at the invitation of a friend. There, she put her faith in Christ. On returning home that night, her stepmother inquired as to why she had returned so late. Namata, according to the friend who accompanied her home, confessed the truth, at which point the stepmother stopped talking. She continued preparing supper for the two Christian women and retired for the night. The friend, whose name is withheld for security reasons, refrained from eating, as she was fasting, but Namata ate. Within minutes, she became very ill and began to vomit. Her friend began yelling for the stepmother, but she was nowhere to be found. Due to the ruckus, neighbors came to the house, and helped rush Namata to a local hospital. Despite treatment, she died. A postmortem revealed that she had died by ingesting rat poison. Namata leaves behind a 3-year-old child, whose Muslim father had promised but apparently failed to make Namata his second wife.
Nigeria: Some of the genocidal assaults on the West African nation’s Christian population throughout the month of September, 2022, follow:
On Sunday, Sept. 11, Muslim herdsmen killed a Christian security guard after abducting a pastor and wounding his wife. In the words of an area resident,
”The gunmen stormed the RCC [Regional Church Council] chairman’s residence, at about 10 p.m., shot and wounded the pastor’s wife, and killed one James Ngyang, a member of the church and security church worker, before they forcefully took away the pastor at gunpoint.”
On Sept. 12, the gunmen contacted the pastor’s family and demanded 20 million naira ($46,650) for his release.
On Sunday Sept. 18, Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed three Christians during a raid on a Christian village in Benue state, ”after slaughtering at least 22 others in the same area in the past three weeks.”
Three days later, on Sept. 21, more machete-wielding Muslim herdsmen massacred 15 Christians in midnight raids on two Christian villages.
Two days after that, on Sept. 23, Fulani raided six predominantly Christian villages in the same region of Benue state. ”These attacks by the herdsmen have left dozens of Christians dead and several more with gunshot injuries and machete attack wounds,” area resident Ukan Kurugh said of this last attack. Similarly, the Rev. Akpen Leva, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Benue State Chapter, added in a press statement that attacks against Christians ”have been ceaseless”:
”Armed herdsmen and terrorists have not stopped their unprovoked attacks on Christians in Benue state. These attacks are aimed at killing defenseless Christians and to force them out of their communities.”
In another targeted attack, machete-wielding Muslims hacked to death a 28-year-old Christian man, Samaila Sabo Awudu, who had recently graduated university with a biochemistry degree. According to his brother,
”We were told by some of his colleagues, corps members, that a group of five armed Muslims attacked him when they broke into his residence at the NYSC lodge in Yola and cut him with machetes. He was taken by police officers who went there to the Federal Medical Centre, Yola, where he died.”
Before being hacked to death, Samaila was described as a committed churchgoer who had ”lived an exemplary life, worthy of emulation,” said a pastor during his eulogy.
On Sept. 17, during an all-night prayer vigil inside the Cherubim and Seraphim Church in Suleja, Niger state, Muslim Fulani herdsmen broke in and abducted dozens of Christians, including the pastor. Less than a week earlier, 60 other Christians were abducted from the same denomination in another region of the country. As of the last report, the terrorists had demanded exorbitant ransoms for some of the kidnapped. Responding to these and other attacks, a statement from the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union said,
”There is still no breathing space for Christian communities in southern Kaduna, as terrorists, jihadists, bandits and armed herdsmen have continued to plunder and wreck Christian communities in the southern part of Kaduna state.”
On the evening of Sunday, Sept. 4 gunmen kidnapped dozens of Christians, including Steven Bala, the pastor’s son, who was taking care of a prayer house.
Muslim Attacks on Apostates
Australia: The family of two related Muslim women who had converted to Christianity and fled what police described as an environment of ”strict religious and cultural beliefs,” abducted and tortured the women, following a plot that required a ”significant effort to orchestrate.” After locating their new residence in Melbourne, the mother, brother, and cousin of one of the women broke in and waited for the women while they were away. Then, according to the Sept. 16 report,
”As the women returned home later that evening, the cousin grabbed one of them from behind, covered her mouth and held a knife to her neck. Another relative grabbed the other woman by the hair, pulled her to the ground and held the other knife to her stomach, allegedly telling her: ‘You bitch, you think you can run away from home? I have a knife in my hand. Don’t move, don’t scream.’ At one point during the ordeal, the cousin allegedly ripped a gold cross necklace from around the neck of one of the women, who had converted from Islam to Christianity. The women were then bound, gagged, forced into the back of a car and driven back to Sydney, their wrists and mouths concealed by coats and face masks. Meanwhile, the father of one of the women drove a truck to Victoria and cleared the home of their belongings.”
Luckily for the kidnapped apostates, their ordeal, which began in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, ”ended in western Sydney with police intercepting a car and freeing the women.” Four of their Muslim relatives—three men and one woman whose identities were not revealed—were charged with kidnapping and assault.
Libya: A Libyan court sentenced a young man to death for ”apostasy from Islam.” According to the Libyan al-Jumhiriyah channel, the verdict was issued against a man named Diya’ al-Din Bil’awa, who graduated from the College of Information Technology in 2018. Diya’ was also described as a hafiz—one who had memorized the entire Koran—suggesting that he was a member of the Islamic clerical class, making his apostasy all the more scandalous. According to the report, sometime in 2019, Diya’ was asked to retract his apostasy and rejoin the fold of Islam, but he refused to do so. The apostasy law cited in the report was established in Libya’s penal code after the ”Arab Spring” overthrow of Muamar Gaddafi, when ”We [the U.S.] came, we saw, he died,” to quote then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
Kenya: Muslim family members beat a Somali pastor of an underground fellowship, as well as his wife and child, for leaving Islam. Weeks after he had received medical attention, the 33-year-old pastor (name withheld for security) developed a serious infection in his hand, where his father-in-law had beat him with a thorny stick. ”This is a curse from Allah—if you return to Islam, then Allah will heal you,” local Muslims later told him. ”The thorny stick used to hit part of my hand and shoulder could have been a poisonous one,” he believes, and one doctor has suggested amputation. ”At the moment, that part of my hand is numb and the veins are inactive.” Meanwhile:
”All these three weeks while I’ve been sick, they have been pressuring my wife to divorce me and return to Islam. But my wife has stood with me. We really need prayers so that God will miraculously heal me and get me out of the hospital.”
His wife’s loyal perseverance has come at a price: ”Two Muslim women stopped me while coming from the market near our house and slapped me and caused some bruises on my face,” she said. ”When I screamed, they ran away.” Even the first of their four children, who is 8-years-old, was beaten by boys of Somali descent and received hospital treatment for injuries.
Uganda: A Muslim mob beat and destroyed the home of a Muslim father of four—aged 5, 8, 10, and 12—on learning that he had become a Christian. On Sept 9, Muslims approached the home of 38-year-old Musa Wabwire. Once they had confirmed he had become a Christian, and in Musa’s own words,
”[T]hey all got annoyed and flooded into my home and asked me many questions, which I failed to answer. I only told them to take their money box [he used to serve as the local mosque’s treasurer], and that I be left with Christ, who was enough for me. They became so angry and started beating me up while shouting, ‘Kafir, Kafir [infidel]!'”
According to the report, ”When he declined to renounce Christ, they flogged him 40 lashes with sticks.” Musa’s older brother, an imam in a nearby village, ordered the destruction of his home and crops. ”My belongings were thrown out in the rain and got all wet,” Musa said. ”My brothers said that I should not be killed but instead leave the homestead.”
Separately, a Muslim man beat and abandoned his wife after he learned that she had become Christian. On Sept. 10, Falida Nazziwa, 42, attended an all-night prayer vigil at a local church. She had expected her husband to return late on the following day, but he returned on the morning of Sept. 11—just as the secret convert was returning home from church. According to her,
”In the morning as I went back home, I found my husband very furious on the compound, and he asked about where I slept. I told him the truth that I had gone for an overnight prayer in the church. After hearing the words ‘overnight prayer,’ he just jumped on my neck shouting, ‘Prayers, not in my house,’ and started beating and strangling me while shouting, ‘Allah akbar [Allah is the greatest]! Kafir, kafir [infidel]!'”
Some people who heard her cries rushed to rescue her, and she and her two younger children managed to escape her husband. She received treatment at a medical clinic and has since taken refuge at an undisclosed location.
In yet another incident in Uganda, on Sept.16, Muslims attacked Shadia Namuzungu, a 52-year-old mother, two days after she put her faith in Christ following what she described as a miraculous healing. When an imam confronted her about her healing and conversion, and she told him of her experiences, the ”imam was left in disbelief and left without uttering a word,” Shadia said. ”But the following day, he returned with six other Muslims. Four of them started to destroy my crops, killed my sheep and began to pull down my house.” Other Muslims beat her with sticks, kicked, and slapped her. They fled when neighbors began to arrive. According to one of her neighbors, ”Shadia started to faint. She had deep injuries on her back, both hands, stomach, legs and had swollen eyes.” After being hospitalized for several days she was still unable to walk.
General Muslim Hostility for Christians
Egypt: On Sept. 12, a Cairo appeals court confirmed a five-year prison sentence (with hard labor) for a young Christian man, Marco Guirguis Shehata, charged with ”deriding Islam.” The accusation is based on ”evidence” found on his smartphone, which Marco had said was stolen at the time. His father, a modest iron smith, in Kena, north of Luxor, and his entire family were reported as being ”devastated” by the extremely harsh sentence.
Indonesia: On Sept. 15, a police general currently serving a jail sentence for corruption was handed another criminal conviction, as well as an additional five-and-a-half months prison time, for assaulting a former Muslim cleric who had converted to Christianity. The incident occurred in 2021, when Muhammad Kosman was being detained at the National Police detention facility in Jakarta on the charge of blasphemy. Then, Napoleon entered into his cell with a plastic bag full of human feces and violently smeared it over Muhammad’s face. Napoleon confessed to the incident during his hearing, before adding:
”Anyone can insult me, but not against my Allah, the Quran, the Prophet and my Islamic faith. Therefore, I swear I will take any measured action against anyone who dares to do so.”
Turkey: A young Muslim man claiming to be connected to the ultra-nationalist group made threats of murder to a Protestant church located in Malatya province—the same province where three Christian missionaries were tortured to death in 2007. According to the man, the Gendarmerie Intelligence and Anti-terror Unit (JITEM) approached him with addresses and photos of church members, and told him ”if you kill them, we will give you whatever you want.” According to the Sept. 8 report, they then ”gave him a gun and sent him to the church with a friend, but when they saw a little boy playing with a computer inside, they came back.” Although the threat was averted, and the church provided with governmental protection, the report points out that,
”Malatya is notorious for a hideous murder of Christians who belonged to the Salvation Church of which Serin [one of the Christians threatened] is a member. Two Turkish converts from Islam and a German citizen were attacked, tortured and murdered in a publishing house by five ultranationalists assailants on April 18, 2007. The murders became known as the missionary massacres in the Turkish media. After the killings, the publishing house was shut down and some Christians left the city or Turkey.”
Raymond Ibrahim, author of the new book, Defenders of the West: The Christian Heroes Who Stood Against Islam, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.
About this Series
While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, persecution of Christians by extremists is growing. The report posits that such persecution is not random but rather systematic, and takes place irrespective of language, ethnicity, or location. It includes incidents that take place during, or are reported on, any given month.
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by Amir Taheri
- By the time of this writing, we had the names of 385 protesters killed, including 40 women and 32 children, and 7 security men. A further 12,500 people have been arrested, according to statistics presented to the International Committee of the Red Cross.
- ”People just don’t believe what our authorities say,” complains former Islamic Majlis (parliament) member Masud Pezeshkian.
- Living in another time zone that bears no relation to reality, the Khomeinist regime is deeply anachronistic. It boasts about conquering the world for the Khomeinist version of Islam while not a single nation has bought or is likely to buy that bundle.
- While it lives in another time, the Khomeinist regime also thinks it lives on another planet.
- The Supreme Guide boasts of his imaginary triple alliance with China and Russia to ”end American domination”. But the fact is that neither China nor Russia is prepared to put a penny into the Khomeinist begging bowl.
- Even if it weathers the current storm, the Khomeinist system is on life-support and borrowed time.
- Even in new versions, the old recipe from the devil’s kitchen won’t whet the Iranian people’s appetite.
The kitchen is the same, as is the chef. The ingredients are also the same. But when the witches’ brew is served in the restaurant, Chez Ayatollah, would-be clients reject it in disgust. This is the image that comes to mind as the Islamic Republic of Iran struggles to crush the latest popular revolt.
Since its inception 43 years ago, the Khomeinist regime has used the same recipe with the same ingredients to save its skin: kill a few hundred, arrest a few thousand, bribe the military and security forces, browbeat celebrities, ban foreign journalists, unleash militia hounds, blame ”Zionist and CIA agents”, and invent ”secessionist” armed gangs and ISIS attackers coming to dismember Iran and kill innocent Shiites.
The recipe has been used against the current uprising, so far, without extinguishing the fire of anger raised by a large segment of Iranian people, notably the youth.
By the time of this writing, we had the names of 385 protesters killed, including 40 women and 32 children, and 7 security men. A further 12,500 people have been arrested, according to statistics presented to the International Committee of the Red Cross. An attack on a ”holy shrine” in Shiraz has been presented as an ISIS operation against Shiite worshippers, and turning the city of Zahedan into a war zone has been narrated as a riposte against terrorists invading Iran from Pakistan.
None of that, however, has bridged the credibility gap from which the Islamic Republic suffers.
”People just don’t believe what our authorities say,” complains former Islamic Majlis (parliament) member Masud Pezeshkian.
Because it is clear that the old recipe doesn’t work, most of the regime’s clerical, military, business, and propaganda heavyweights have either remained silent or equivocated in commenting about the protests. This time they are not marching to the usual drum calls while an increasingly clueless ”Supreme Guide” plays a solitary mandolin while the city burns.
So, what to do?
This is the question that many are beginning to pose within the ruling clique.
One idea, never spelled out in direct terms, is to move away from the ayatollah’s one-man rule towards ”collective leadership”.
A triumvirate, consisting of the President of the Islamic Republic, the Speaker of the ersatz parliament, and the head of the Islamic Judiciary, has held highly publicized meetings, something normally supposed to happen once in a blue moon.
Also, for the first time, people are beginning to at least hint at possible constitutional changes to merge the positions of the Supreme Guide with that of the President, or have three or five mullahs form a ”high council of guidance”.
Some groups, inside or on the fringes of the establishment, are calling on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to seize power and open ”a new chapter in the revolution”. Desperately seeking a Napoleon Bonaparte is also seducing some in the exiled opposition.
There are other recipes, however.
One is to bring the two leaders of the now defunct ”Green Movement” of 2009 out of house arrest and offer the discredited ”New York Boys,” led by former President Hassan Rouhani, a side chair close to the high table in the hope of uniting the fragmented Khomeinist constituency. The ”New York Boys” might also clinch a deal with the US while the Biden administration is still, more or less, in charge in Washington.
Some in the establishment are promoting the Leninist tactic of ”one step back, two steps forward,” which means offering concessions now and imposing tighter control later. Thus the deeply disliked Morality Police has been taken off the streets, ostensibly for a ”shortage of manpower”.
And more and more women are allowed to go about without the mandatory hijab even in the heart of Tehran.
Increasing the salaries of personnel in the military, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and various security forces by 20 percent is part of the same package, while smaller raises in pensions are designed to mobilize the older people believed to still hold fond memories of the revolution.
Another idea is to call for a constitutional reform referendum to divert energies from the uprising, in full assurance that referendums provide a safe way for dictators to reimpose their authority and help merchants of illusions to sell unicorns.
However, the challenge that the regime faces may be much bigger than its foes hope for and its friends fear.
Living in another time zone that bears no relation to reality, the Khomeinist regime is deeply anachronistic. It boasts about conquering the world for the Khomeinist version of Islam while not a single nation has bought or is likely to buy that bundle. As even the Lebanese branch of Hezbollah cuts new and larger pockets to be filled with a share of gold from oil and gas joint ventures with the ”Zionist enemy”, the Supreme Guide’s prophecy that Israel will evaporate reminds one of snake-oil merchants.
While it lives in another time, the Khomeinist regime also thinks it lives on another planet.
It doesn’t realize that Iran is located in the middle of the deepest political fault line in the world, surrounded by enemies, false friends, and contemptuous neighbors. The Supreme Guide boasts of his imaginary triple alliance with China and Russia to ”end American domination”. But the fact is that neither China nor Russia is prepared to put a penny into the Khomeinist begging bowl.
The Khomeinist system is equally challenged by a widening generational gap.
Iran has a predominantly young population that wants to live in here and now not in a distant past of fake purity or an imaginary future of martyrdom and paradise. It wants to be happy; to have fun, to create, to work, to travel across the globe; in short, to enjoy a normal life. Yet the Supreme Guide repeats that he shall never allow Iran to ”become a normal country.”
Wise leaders make an ally of historic and generational changes to the benefit not only of their people but also of themselves. Unwise leaders turn change into an enemy of themselves and their people, making both losers.
Even if it weathers the current storm, the Khomeinist system is on life-support and borrowed time.
Even in new versions, the old recipe from the devil’s kitchen won’t whet the Iranian people’s appetite.
Amir Taheri was the executive editor-in-chief of the daily Kayhan in Iran from 1972 to 1979. He has worked at or written for innumerable publications, published eleven books, and has been a columnist for Asharq Al-Awsat since 1987.
This article was originally published by Asharq al-Awsat and is reprinted by kind permission of the author.
- In spite of US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley’s recently having said that the White House is not going to ”waste our time” on the nuclear deal ”if nothing’s going to happen,” he nevertheless stressed that the Biden administration is still committed to employing diplomacy, presumably to revive it at a later date.
- Pelosi might recall that although a ”deal” would professedly ”prevent” Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, the reality is quite different. Iran is acquiring nuclear weapons — rapidly — with a deal or without one. Any ”deal” appears simply a bribe to the Iranian regime please just not to use their nuclear weapons on the Biden administration’s watch.
- Pelosi might also recall that the nuclear deal will reward Russia by allowing it to cash in on a $10 billion contract to expand Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Russian President Vladimir Putin will most likely have a stake in the $10 billion contract.
- Pelosi might even further recall that it was the nuclear deal that allowed the brutal regime of Iran freely and legally to export weapons to Russia, in the first place.
- Any nuclear deal with Iran will not make the world a ”safer place”. It will provide the Iranian regime with billions of dollars, help it to send more advanced weaponry to Russia to inflict even more damage on Ukrainians, pave the way for the ruling mullahs to legally obtain nuclear weapons, and strengthen America’s other adversaries, Russia, China and North Korea.
- Now, why would the Biden administration want to do that?
The Biden administration is sitting idly by as the Iranian regime ratchets up, and keeps getting away with, both its attacks on its own fed-up populace, and its delivery of weapons to Russia — assisted, it seems, by China and North Korea.
In spite of US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley’s recently having said that the White House is not going to ”waste our time” on the nuclear deal ”if nothing’s going to happen,” he nevertheless stressed that the Biden administration is still committed to employing diplomacy, presumably to revive it at a later date.
Some other officials such as the US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi appear to be still in favor of reviving the nuclear deal. She said on October 25, 2022 that the United States has been ”trying for a while now to have a nuclear agreement with Iran so that we can make the world a safer place.”
Pelosi might recall that although a ”deal” would professedly ”prevent” Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, the reality is quite different. Iran is acquiring nuclear weapons — rapidly — with a deal or without one. Any ”deal” appears simply a bribe to the Iranian regime please just not to use their nuclear weapons on the Biden administration’s watch.
Pelosi might also recall that the nuclear deal will reward Russia by allowing it to cash in on a $10 billion contract to expand Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Russian President Vladimir Putin will most likely have a stake in the $10 billion contract.
Pelosi might even further recall that it was the nuclear deal that allowed the brutal regime of Iran freely and legally to export weapons to Russia, in the first place.
To clarify: among the many concessions that the Obama-Biden administration gave to the ruling mullahs of Iran, was one setting a date , October 18, 2020, when the arms embargo on Iran would be lifted. The Obama administration agreed to add this provision. Before that, the arms embargo on Iran had encompassed a wide range of weapons, including large-caliber artillery, drones, combat aircraft, battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, attack helicopters, some missiles and missile launchers, and warships.
This dangerous provision in the Obama-Biden administration’s nuclear deal remains mind-boggling. Some Democrats and Republicans were, in fact, stunned by the move. ”It blows my mind that the administration would agree to lift the arms and missile bans,” John Boehner then speaker of the US House of Representatives said out at the time. Senator Ben Cardin, the then leading Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, echoed the message: ”It’s hard for us to accept it, so we just want to take a look at it,” he said.
”Don’t just take it from me or the United States. listen to countries in the region, from Israel, the Gulf, countries in the Middle East who are most exposed to Iran’s predations are speaking with a single voice: extend the arms embargo”.
The Security Council, was, unsurprisingly, reluctant to do so, and Iran’s ruling mullahs celebrated their reward from the nuclear deal as the arms embargo against the Islamic Republic was lifted on October 18, 2020.
Pelosi, who thinks that the new nuclear deal with Iran will ”make the world a safer place,” is most likely aware that the Biden administration is permitting Russia to be the sole country to oversee compliance with the nuclear deal, and to keep Iran’s highly enriched uranium — able to return it to Iran if the mullahs request it, or perhaps use it fungibly with its own uranium stockpile.
In fact, this provision triggered 50 bipartisan US lawmakers to write to Biden:
”[W]e strongly urge your Administration not to permit Russia to be the recipient of Iran’s enriched uranium nor to have the right to conduct nuclear work with the Islamic Republic, including a $10 billion contract to expand Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. We should not let war criminal Vladimir Putin be the guarantor of the deal or the keeper of massive amounts of Iran’s enriched uranium. Iran supports the illegal war in Ukraine and has been supplying Russia with drones used to kill Ukrainians.”
Any nuclear deal with Iran will not make the world a ”safer place”. It will provide the Iranian regime with billions of dollars, help it to send more advanced weaponry to Russia to inflict even more damage on Ukrainians, pave the way for the ruling mullahs to legally obtain nuclear weapons, and strengthen America’s other adversaries, Russia, China and North Korea.
Now, why would the Biden administration want to do that?
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US Foreign Policy. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu
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- ”[W]e have nothing to fear from the demoralizing of some if others are left free to demonstrate their errors, and especially the law stands ready to punish the first criminal act produced by false reasoning. These are safer correctives than the conscience of a judge.” — Thomas Jefferson, 1801.
- Jefferson’s distrust of ”the conscience of a judge” would probably be even greater if the censors were the CEOs of companies that rely on advertisers for their profits.
- [C]ensorship requires censors, and once censors are given the ability to pick and choose what the public will hear, this slippery slope moves us away from freedom and toward repression.
- The issue is whether in an open society we must endure these pains in order to avoid being in even great pains of selective censorship.
- The Framers of the First Amendment chose to endure the pain of too much speech over the dangers of speech controlled by the government. But Twitter is not the government. Neither is Facebook or YouTube. They are giant media companies that dominate and control the flow of speech throughout the world. And the dangers of putting control of those flows in the hands of invisible elitist censors threatens to undercut our most important freedom.
- The first casualty of divisive extremism is nuance. And it is nuance that is sorely needed with regard to this issue of internet censorship…. Let nuanced proposals be offered and discussed.
- And most important, let free speech not become weaponized as a partisan issue.
A campaign is currently underway by left-wing organizations and politicians to demand that Twitter, now owned by Elon Musk, continue its practice of censoring hate speech and other ”objectionable” postings.
A letter sent to Twitter’s top 20 advertisers, signed by 40 activist organizations, including the NAACP, the Center for American Progress, GLAAD and the Global Project Against Hate and extremism, contained the following veiled threat:
”We, the undersigned organizations call on you to notify Musk and publicly commit that you will cease all advertising on Twitter globally if he follows through on his plans to undermine brand safety and community standards, including gutting content moderation.”
This means that Musk must not roll back what Twitter has on the books now, and commit to enforcing the existing rules. In other words, Twitter advertisers have been asked to boycott Twitter unless it continues to censor.
Decades ago, during the height of McCarthyism, it was the hard right that demanded censorship, while the left insisted that the marketplace of ideas should be left open to all forms of speech.
As Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1801:
”[W]e have nothing to fear from the demoralizing of some if others are left free to demonstrate their errors, and especially the law stands ready to punish the first criminal act produced by false reasoning. These are safer correctives than the conscience of a judge.”
Jefferson’s distrust of ”the conscience of a judge” would probably be even greater if the censors were the CEOs of companies that rely on advertisers for their profits.
At a time of growing division, hostility and violence, it is understandable to look to censorship as the easy solution to a difficult problem. But censorship requires censors, and once censors are given the ability to pick and choose what the public will hear, this slippery slope moves us away from freedom and toward repression.
I certainly do not like the kind of anti-Semitic hate speech that is pervasive on many of today’s internet platforms and I am the recipient of these emails and tweets on an almost daily basis. Free speech is not free. The old expression that ”sticks and stone may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” is false. Names hurt me, my family and others. But that is not the issue. The issue is whether in an open society we must endure these pains in order to avoid being in even great pains of selective censorship.
The Framers of the First Amendment chose to endure the pain of too much speech over the dangers of speech controlled by the government. But Twitter is not the government. Neither is Facebook or YouTube. They are giant media companies that dominate and control the flow of speech throughout the world. And the dangers of putting control of those flows in the hands of invisible elitist censors threatens to undercut our most important freedom.
This is the most important free speech issue that will be faced during the remainder of the 21st century: whether to tolerate untrammeled and sometimes even dangerous freedom of speech or to demand private censorship of the kind that the government could not impose.
Some have proposed that we treat giant social media companies like ”common carriers,” such as railroads and telegraph companies. But under the First Amendment, placing controls over public speech is different from regulating travel and even personal telegraph communications.
One manifestation of the divisiveness of our nation is that complex issues of this kind are rarely debated dispassionately and intelligently. Instead, people are forced to choose sides: are you for Musk or against him? Are you for controls on internet speech or against it? The first casualty of divisive extremism is nuance. And it is nuance that is sorely needed with regard to this issue of internet censorship. Let nuanced proposals be offered and discussed. Let us not rush to judgment about so important and complex issues. And most important, let free speech not become weaponized as a partisan issue.
Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus at Harvard Law School, and the author most recently of The Price of Principle: Why Integrity Is Worth The Consequences. He is the Jack Roth Charitable Foundation Fellow at Gatestone Institute, and is also the host of ”The Dershow” podcast.
Translations of this item:
- ”Did you see ever a Christian attacked a Mosk [sic] in Christian majority towns in Middle East? Off course No. This shows difference of culture, faith, respect & recognition we hold” — Shadi Khalloul, prominent Christian rights advocate, Twitter, October 29, 2022.
- As in previous instances, the Palestinian Authority has failed to take real measures to punish those who attack Christians or Christian holy sites in the Bethlehem area.
- The attacks by Muslims on Christians are often ignored by the international community and media, who seem to speak out only when they can find a way to blame Israel.
- Another disturbing situation is that the leaders of the Christian community in the West Bank are reluctant to hold the Palestinian Authority and their Muslim neighbors responsible for the attacks. They are afraid of retribution and prefer to toe the official line of holding Israel solely responsible for the misery of the Christian minority.
- Sadly, it is safe to assume that the plight of the Palestinian Christians will only intensify in light of the silence of the international community and the all-too-justified fear of retaliation burdening their own leaders.
A series of violent incidents in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, and the nearby towns of Beit Jala and Beit Sahour, have left Christians worried about their safety and future under the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Many Christians living in these communities are complaining that the Palestinian Authority is not doing enough to punish those who attack churches and Christian-owned businesses. The perpetrators are Muslims who make up the majority of the population in the Bethlehem area.
Earlier this year, Palestinian Evangelical Pastor Johnny Shahwan was arrested by the PA security forces on charges of ”promoting normalization” with Israel.
The arrest came after Shahwan, founder and chair of the board of Beit Al-Liqa (House of Encounter) in Beit Jala, appeared in a photo alongside Rabbi Yehuda Glick, a former member of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset.
Beit Al-Liqa is a Christian community and training center. The center, accused of hosting the rabbi together with a group of German tourists, was ordered closed for one week by the Palestinian Authority.
After the photo of the pastor and rabbi appeared on social media, unidentified gunmen fired shots at the center. No one was hurt and no damage was reported. According to some reports, the pastor was held in Palestinian custody for more than a month to protect him from Palestinians who threatened his life.
In another incident earlier this year, a large group of masked Muslim men carrying sticks and iron bars attacked Christian brothers Daoud and Daher Nassar while they were working on their land. Bshara Nassar, the son of one of Daher, commented:
”I am particularly devastated that this [attack] was done by a group of Palestinian masked men from the nearby village of Nahalin. This for sure doesn’t reflect or represent who the Palestinian people are, and we are not sure of their motives or who is behind them. But it’s really hard to see our fellow Palestinian brothers attacking the family. The family demands justice and that people responsible are accountable for their actions.”
In early October, gunmen fired shots at the Bethlehem Hotel for displaying Jewish symbols in one of its meeting rooms. The gunmen accused the Christian-owned hotel of ”promoting normalization with Israel” because of the cardboard cutouts of a Star of David and Menorah which were placed in the room.
The Palestinian Ministry of Tourism ordered the closure of the hall and said that it has launched an investigation into claims that the hotel was preparing to host a Jewish celebration.
The terrified manager of the hotel, Elias al-Arja, denied the claims. He told the Palestinian radio station Mawwal that a group of tourists from the Philippines was preparing to hold a Christian religious conference in the meeting room. ”We don’t allow Jews to come here,” al-Arja said. ”We never hold parties for Jewish holidays.”
The ruling Fatah faction, headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, issued a statement in which it condemned the attempt to hold a ”Zionist party” in the hotel, dubbing it a ”stab to Bethlehem and a betrayal of the traditions and values of the Holy Land.”
The most recent attack on Christians took place in late October, when dozens of Muslim men targeted the Forefathers Orthodox Church in Beit Sahour. During the attack, the assailants threw rocks at the church, injuring several Christians.
The residents of the Christian town called on the Palestinian Authority to arrest all those who attacked the church. They said the attack on the church was an assault on the entire town. After the incident, the church bells rang for help, and some videos circulating on social media showed the attackers hurling stones at the building.
”The attack on the church is a criminal act par excellence. The church is not a place for settling accounts and expressing hatred by those who have lost their humanity and patriotic sense.”
Shadi Khalloul, a prominent Christian rights advocate, said in response to the attack:
”Muslim Arab tribe of Atamra attacked the Christian Church at Bet Sahour near Bethlehem yesterday night. Did you see ever a Christian attacked a Mosk [sic] in Christian majority towns in Middle East? Off course No. This shows difference of culture, faith, respect & recognition we hold”
The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land also condemned the attack on the church. ”A group of men attacked the church in Beit Sahour following a brawl among some young men,” the group said.
”We condemn this attack and demand that the Palestinian Authority bring the attackers to justice as soon as possible. On the other hand, we commend all those, from different faiths and families, who arrived at the site and did their best to protect the church. We hope that no similar incidents will take place in the future and urge all to keep places of worship away from any dispute.”
As in previous instances, the Palestinian Authority has failed to take real measures to punish those who attack Christians or Christian holy sites in the Bethlehem area. In April 2002, several gunmen stormed the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem. Three monks who were held hostage by the gunmen managed to flee the church via a side gate. They told Israeli army officers that the gunmen had stolen gold and other property, including crucifixes and prayer books.
Such incidents are the main reason that many Christians no longer feel safe in the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. The number of Christians has dropped significantly over the past few decades: from 18% of the population in 1948 to just 2% of the population of the West Bank, Gaza and Israel. In Bethlehem, it has dropped from 80% to 12%. Many have moved to the US, Canada and Europe.
The attacks by Muslims on Christians are often ignored by the international community and media, who seem to speak out only when they can find a way to blame Israel.
Another disturbing situation is that the leaders of the Christian community in the West Bank are reluctant to hold the Palestinian Authority and their Muslim neighbors responsible for the attacks. They are afraid of retribution and prefer to toe the official line of holding Israel solely responsible for the misery of the Christian minority.
Sadly, it is safe to assume that the plight of the Palestinian Christians will only intensify in light of the silence of the international community and the all-too-justified fear of retaliation burdening their own leaders.
Khaled Abu Toameh is an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem.
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The planned strikes are believed to be targeting Saudia Arabia and Iraq
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The United States and Saudi Arabia are on high alert after Saudi intelligence shared with the U.S. indicated that Iran is expected to carry out an attack on targets in Saudi Arabia, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Officials from both countries reportedly told the Journal about the concern over coming attacks. Saudi officials said that in addition to Saudi Arabia, Iran is also looking to strike Erbil, Iraq, where U.S. troops are located. The planned attacks are said to be intended as a distraction from protests taking place in Iran against the Islamic nation’s leadership.
Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said Tuesday during a press briefing that the U.S. remains ”concerned” about ”the threat situation in the region” and is ”in regular contact” with Saudi officials.
”We will reserve the right to protect and defend ourselves no matter where our forces are serving, whether in Iraq or elsewhere,” Ryder said, declining to give information about any specific threat.
Iran has warned Saudi Arabia against covering the protests on Farsi news stations and has accused Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the U.S. of being responsible for them.
”This is our last warning, because you are interfering in our internal affairs through these media,” Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami said in remarks reported by Iranian state media according to the Journal. ”You are involved in this matter and know that you are vulnerable.”