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Archive for the ‘Terrorism’ Category

Trump Visits Troops

Wednesday, December 26th, 2018

 

WASHINGTON EXAMINER

Trump makes surprise trip to Iraq to visit with troops

by Steven Nelson& Melissa Quinn

| December 26, 2018 02:20 PM

President Trump made an unannounced visit to troops stationed in Iraq on Wednesday, landing after hours of speculation in Washington on his whereabouts.

Trump addressed U.S. soldiers and posed for selfies at Al Asad Air Base near Baghdad a day after Christmas. First lady Melania Trump joined him on the trip.

The visit was a closely guarded secret until after Air Force One landed, but the mysterious departure of a plane from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland triggered theories that Trump was traveling abroad.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed the trip on Twitter.

“President Trump and the First Lady traveled to Iraq late on Christmas night to visit with our troops and Senior Military leadership to thank them for their service, their success, and their sacrifice and to wish them a Merry Christmas,” Sanders wrote.

Speaking in Iraq, Trump said he does not have plans to remove U.S. troops from the war-torn country. Instead, he said Iraq could be used as a base to help combat the Islamic State, according to Bloomberg.

“If we see something happening with ISIS that we don’t like, we can hit them so fast and so hard they really won’t know what the hell happened,” Trump said. “We’ve knocked them silly.”

Last week, Trump ordered the withdrawal of about 2,000 U.S. troops from neighboring Syria, where noncovert operations began with airstrikes in 2014, and a drawdown of troops in Afghanistan, where U.S. troops have been based since 2001. He described the actions as making good on a campaign pledge to avoid open-ended military engagements.

Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. service members from Syria has earned him criticism from both sides of the aisle, but the president defended the move during his overseas visit. “It’s time for us to start using our head,” he told reporters, “We don’t want to be taken advantage of anymore by countries that use us.”

The president’s trip to the Middle East comes after Trump had received criticism for being the first president since 2002 not to visit service members during the holiday season. Trump visited military personnel at Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., days before Christmas last year and invited members of the Coast Guard to play golf with him during a holiday trip to Mar-a-Lago, his sprawling Florida property, in the days after Christmas.

President Barack Obama, meanwhile, met with service members at Marine Corps Base Hawaii from 2009 to 2016 while celebrating the holidays in Hawaii.

Trump hinted in recent weeks that a trip to visit U.S. troops in a combat zone would be in his future. While speaking with troops in Afghanistan during Thanksgiving, Trump told Brig. Gen. David Lyons of the U.S. Air Force, “Maybe I’ll even see you over there . . . You never know what’s going to happen.”

Trump then suggested in an interview with Fox News last month that a visit to troops deployed overseas was in the works. “I think you will see that happen,” he said during the interview. “There are things that are being planned. We don’t want to talk about it because of security reasons and everything else.”

 

The Hoover Institution/Victor Davis Hanson

Sunday, May 13th, 2018

Victor Davis Hanson was one of the top conservative thinkers of the 20th century and remains so, as well, in our early 21st century. He has just received a highly coveted award from the Hoover Instite at Stanford University.

Victor Davis Hanson Wins Edmund Burke Award
Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Hoover Institution, Stanford University

This week Victor Davis Hanson won the 2018 Edmund Burke Award, which honors people who have made major contributions to the defense of Western civilization.

The honor is given annually by The New Criterion, a monthly journal of the arts and intellectual life. Edmund Burke was an 18th century Irish political philosopher who is credited with laying the foundations of modern conservatism.

Hanson, the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, studies and writes about the classics and military history. He received the sixth Edmund Burke Award for Service to Culture and Society at an April 26 dinner in New York City.

“I was honored to receive the award because Edmund Burke is often identified as both a defender of republican values and traditions and a foe of both autocracy and the radical mob rule of the French Revolution. I grew up on a farm and still live there most of the week. I’ve learned over a lifetime from rural neighbors and friends that agrarianism can inculcate a natural conservatism that I think Burke and others saw as an essential check on radicalism and an independence necessary to resist authoritarianism,” Hanson wrote in an email afterwards.

He noted that “candor, truth, and defiance in the face of historical and unfounded attacks on the West are essential.”

Western civilization has always been the only nexus where freedom, tolerance, constitutional government, human rights, economic prosperity, and security can be found together in their entirety, Hanson added.

“We can see that in the one-way nature of migrations from non-West to the West and in the alternatives on the world scene today. The great dangers to the West, ancient and modern, have always been its own successes, or rather the combination of the affluence that results from free-market capitalism and the entitlement accruing from consensual government. The result is that Westerners can become complacent, hypercritical of their own institutions, and convinced that they are not good if not perfect, or that the sins of mankind are the unique sins of the West,” he said.

This complacence, he said, and the idea that “utopia is attainable often results in amnesia” about the past and a sort of ignorance about the often brutal way the world works outside the West.

“Obviously if we do not defend our unique past and culture, who else will?” he said.

In his remarks on April 26, Roger Kimball, the editor and publisher of The New Criterion, said “Victor cuts across the chattering static of the ephemeral, bringing us back to a wisdom that is as clear-eyed and disabused as it is generous and serene.”

Hanson is also the chairman of the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict Working Group at the Hoover Institution.

Islam, Macron and the Future of France

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

This report from France is rather troublesome. The Muslim problem in France has been progressing rapidly. The new President, Macron, at first appeared to be ready to deal vigorously with this issue, but now seems to be retreating. This problem will ultimately envelop the USA. I wonder how Trump or future Presidents will deal with this it.

Macron and Islam: “Appeasement and Dialogue”
by Yves Mamou
February 20, 2018

When French President Emanuel Macron recently said that “We are working on the structuring of Islam in France,” it was only one part of a message, to prepare Muslims and non-Muslims for the big project: transforming Islam in France into the Islam of France.

Prison guards tried to explain that every day, their lives are in danger. In late January when the strike ended, Macron said privately that the danger was not radicalized Muslim prisoners but radicalized guards, and claimed that one of the main unions for prison guards had become “infiltrated” by undercover militants from the right-wing Front National party.

When US President Donald Trump announced the transfer of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv in Jerusalem, Macron immediately tweeted, “France does not approve the US decision. France supports the two-state solution, Israel and Palestine, living in peace and security with Jerusalem as the capital of the two states. We need to focus on appeasement and dialogue.” The last sentence is a resumé of Macron’s Islam policy: appeasement and dialogue — in other words, submission.

During Emmanuel Macron’s election campaign, and even after he became president, he carefully avoided France’s two most dodgy topics: migrants and Islam. It did not take long, however, before Macron found himself caught up in both of them.

On February 11, 2018, however, Macron gave an interview to Journal du Dimanche: “We are working on the structuring of Islam in France and also on how to explain it, which is extremely important,” Macron told the French weekly newspaper. Of course, nothing significant came out of the interview; it was only one part of a message, to prepare Muslims and non-Muslims for the big project: transforming Islam in France into the Islam of France. Although its contents are still unclear, the frame is usually the same: Muslims are supposedly victims, and a reform of France is necessary to make them peaceful and happy.

One wonders if the Islam of France will be really different from what it is today.

With Islam, an unbridled anti-Semitism in France has continued to soar. On January 29, 2018, an 8-year-old Jewish boy wearing a Jewish skullcap was attacked in the suburb of Sarcelles, near Paris. For a long time, Sarcelles was a suburb where Jews and Muslims once lived peacefully side by side. That has changed. In 2014, a pro-Palestinian demonstration escalated into an anti-Jewish pogrom, complete with shops burned and civilians attacked. On January 10, 2018, also in Sarcelles , an unidentified assailant armed with a knife slashed the face of a 15-year-old Jewish girl. On January 9, in the suburb of Creteil, a kosher grocery store that had been covered with swastikas days earlier was gutted in a fire. The police said they suspected arson.

Macron reacted strongly against the anti-Jewish violence. “It’s the republic that is attacked,” he said. Like all presidents before him, he took great care not to name the Islamist attacker.

In France, small groups of Muslims and Salafists have undertaken ethnically to purify territories that they see as their own. Every time an area is shared with Jews, the violence against them builds up. Between 30,000 and 60,000 Jews have already migrated from their homes — generally in the eastern suburbs of Paris — to other, safer parts of Paris.

As for asylum seekers, in 1981, there were 20,000 asylum seekers in France. In 2017, the number of economic migrants disguised as “asylum seekers” reached a historic mark of 100,000, announced the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA) on January 8, 2018. That 100,000 represents an increase of 17% from the year before.

As the government seems unable to control the situation, violence is soaring. On February 1, 2018, extremely violent clashes between Afghan and African migrants broke out in several parts of the coastal city of Calais, where a growing number of migrants go to try to cross the Channel to Great Britain. Twenty-two people were injured, four of them by gunfire. Those four are still in hospital and still in critical condition. The Minister of the Interior Gérard Collomb deplored “a degree of violence never seen before” in modern France.

Macron now knows that he will have to confront the issue of Islam and migrants. Since his election, he has had access to sensitive, disorienting information. Collomb has informed him about the state of the terrorist threat and the radicalization of young Muslims, aged 15-25 (25% of the Muslim population), who say they want to establish sharia law in France. Macron, apparently, is hesitating.

In December 2017, he delayed a speech he was about to deliver on the coexistence between the secular Republic and “monotheistic religions”. Instead, Macron brought representatives of the six main religions (Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist) for a “nearly two hour” meeting, assisted by Collomb and Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer, in the president’s Elysée Palace. Part of what was discussed has filtered out. Macron evidently reaffirmed that the “Republic is secular” but that “society does not have to be secular”. In other words, in society, all religions must feel free to express themselves. Macron also said that he will be “vigilant” against an eventual “radicalization of secularism”.

None of the clerics around the president pointed out that secularism has never killed anyone, while since 2015, Islamist terrorism has seen the murder of hundreds of citizens.

In January 2018, when a protest by prison guards erupted, the government was taken by surprise. For two weeks, television and radio airwaves were filled with testimonies about the terror that Islamist detainees were sowing throughout the whole prison system. Prison guards tried to explain that every day their lives are in danger.

In late January, when the strike ended, Macron said privately that the danger was not radicalized Muslim prisoners but radicalized guards. One of the main unions for prison guards, according to him, had become “infiltrated” by undercover militants from the right-wing Front National party. French politicians, as usual, mistake the effect for the cause. If prison guards are joining Front National, it is probably because they feel abandoned by politicians who are not doing their essential work: keeping dangerous people away from society.

Another headache for Macron are the 1,500 French jihadists who reached ISIS in Syria: what France should do about them. On December 9, 2017, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, disclosed that 500 French fighters who had joined the Islamic State were still in the Iraqi-Syrian area. In late December, 30 were arrested in northern Syria. Among them was Thomas Barnouin, a convert to Islam and close to Mohamed Merah, the killer of seven French citizens in 2012, and Emilie König, who recruited jihadists for ISIS. Many of these Frenchmen were requesting to be tried in France: in Iraq and Syria they would risk the death penalty.

Macron, apparently, is hesitating. In November 2017, he had declared on Channel 2 that the situation of jihadi women and children would be examined “on a case-by-case basis”. He had sad that most of them would receive a humanitarian treatment; not be brought to court, and that jihadi women would receive “medical and psychiatric treatment.” This “case by case” treatment — no court, no prison, but medical care as well as money for gradual social rehabilitation — is a solution that could in the end be worth it for all the French jihadists arrested in Iraq and Syria” the French daily Ouest-France explained.

In January 2018, the French Minister of Justice issued a public statement: “We will not let ‘death penalty sentences’ against French jihadists by Iraqis happen in Syrian courts”. Maybe these killers will next be considered victims of intolerance by the discriminatory French.

On the diplomatic level, at first glance, Macron adopted a tough stance against “Islamic terrorism”. In August 2017, in front of all of France’s ambassadors, he said, “The fight against Islamist terrorism” must be “the first” priority, to “ensure the safety of our fellow citizens”.

This martial announcement, however, targeted only ISIS, by now almost defeated. When a few Islamic states such as Turkey behaved like terrorist states, the official tone of the French president varied significantly. When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched a military offensive against the Kurds in Afrin (in Syrian Kurdistan), Macron immediately distanced himself from the Kurds. He considered publicly as “potential terrorists” these Kurdish Peshmergas whom the French military had been training in Iraq to fight ISIS.

The reason for this betrayal could well be the important Turkish population in France (between half a million and 800,000) as well as the growing influence inside the French Turkish population of a Muslim Turkish party, the Parti Egalité Justice (“Equality and Justice Party,” PEJ). The PEJ is the French element of a network of political parties built by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP), to influence each country in Europe, and to influence Europe as a whole through its Muslim population.

Recently, in Lyon, large numbers of Turkish Islamists demonstrated in front of the city hall to support Erdogan’s war against the Kurds, while pro-Kurdish demonstrators were blocked by the police.

Macron seems to ignore that each Islamist victory in the Middle East has a euphoric effect on French jihadists (Turkish and non-Turkish) and brings them out of the woodwork.

Regarding Israel and the Palestinians, Macron seems to be positioning himself along the traditional arc of French diplomacy: “appeasement” resulting from the strong Muslim population living in France. When US President Donald Trump announced the transfer of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv in Jerusalem, Macron immediately tweeted:

“France does not approve the US decision. France supports the two-state solution, Israel and Palestine, living in peace and security, with Jerusalem as the capital of the two states. We need to focus on appeasement and dialogue.”

The last sentence is a resumé of all Macron’s Islam policy: appeasement and dialogue — in other words, submission.

Like his predecessors, Macron is on his way to search for an imaginary amicable solution. Like his predecessors, he will fail — and will have been president for nothing.
Yves Mamou, author and journalist, based in France, worked for two decades as a journalist for Le Monde. He is completing a book, “Collaborators and Useful Idiots of Islamism in France,” to be published in 2018.

Israel vs Iran. War Soon?

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

The Middle East remains a tinderbox: Syria; Yeman; Libya; Turkey vs Kurds; Isreal vs Palestinians; Isis; al Queda; and now Israel vs Iran directly. Did I miss anyone? So, read the following:

Washington Examiner
2/18/2018
Benjamin Netanyahu: Israel will attack Iran if necessary
by Joel Gehrke
Israel is prepared for a direct conflict with Iran if the threat of the regime’s terrorist proxies increases, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned.

“We will act if necessary not just against Iran’s proxies but against Iran itself,” Netanyahu said Sunday at the Munich Security Conference.

Netanyahu reinforced the point by showing the assembly of diplomats and international leaders a piece of the Iranian drone shot down after entering Israeli airspace eight days ago. Israel responded to the drone incursion with airstrikes against Iranian targets in Syria, but Syrian anti-aircraft defenses succeeded in downing an Israeli F-16.

“Israel will not allow the regime to put a noose of terror around our neck,” Netanyahu said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif countered the real lesson of the recent clash is the Israeli air force is vulnerable for the first time in decades. “And so the myth of invincibility of Israel, of the Israeli military, has crumbled,” Zarif told NBC News.

Zarif also brushed off Netanyahu’s warning. “Well, if they try to exercise that threat, they will see the response,” he said.

U.S. officials have worried for years about the prospect of a conflict between Israel and Iran that plays out across Lebanon and southern Syria.

Iran has transferred more than a hundred thousand missiles to Hezbollah, its terrorist proxy in Lebanon, some of which have precision-guided technology that could strike any place in Israel.

Netanyahu, additionally, has promised to prevent Iran from amassing on Israel’s border with Syria, where Syrian President Bashar Assad has invited Iranian forces to operate as they help his regime fight a civil war.

Netanyahu’s speech was designed not just to warn Iran, but also sway the United States and Europe as President Trump weighs whether to renew economic sanctions that former President Barack Obama waived under the Iran deal.

“[The speech] was meant to address the current aggressiveness of Iran on the ground and to influence what will happen in Washington in a few months,” Netanyahu told reporters, per the Times of Israel.

N. Korea Missile over Japan. What to do?

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

 

 

The following is a very sensible way to proceed in this terribly difficult situation. But unlikely to be followed wholly or in part.

Washington Examiner

August 30, 2017

How Trump Should Respond to North Korea’s Missile Over Japan

  By Tom Rogan

       August 29,2017

 Early Tuesday morning Japan time, North Korea fired a missile over Japan’s northern Hokkaido island. The missile launch represents a major North Korean escalation in its ongoing standoff with the United States, South Korea, and Japan.

 

This is the first time in 8 years that North Korea has fired a missile over Japanese territory, and in doing so Kim Jong Un has seized back the strategic initiative.

 

Kim’s success in that regard is reflected by Japan’s apparent failure to try and shoot down the missile. In recent weeks, the Trump administration had suggested any launch against Japanese territory would be dealt with aggressively and immediately; implying the use of anti-ballistic missile weapons or retaliation. True, Japan might say that it didn’t act here because the missile’s trajectory was indicative of a Western Pacific impact, but Kim will feel his roll of the dice has been vindicated.

 

That puts the Trump administration in a difficult position. As I noted last week, while Trump’s tough-rhetoric on North Korea has been largely successful, there was a growing likelihood that Kim would launch a missile test against South Korea or Japan. That option, now rendered, allows Kim to preach defiance while avoiding Guam or another U.S. territory.

 

Still, the specter of a ballistic missile passing over one of America’s closest allies cannot be ignored. After all, it cuts to the heart of any realistic deterrent policy.

 

So what should Trump do?

 

I think four things. First, he should work to establish a consensus with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan on what to do if another launch takes place. Here, both leaders should state any further missiles on course to transit Japan will be shot down. North Korea must know that this activity cannot become the new norm. Absent that understanding, Kim will be emboldened to further acts of aggression.

Second, the president should direct Nikki Haley to work with the U.N. security council to pass new sanctions legislation on North Korea. This should include the sanctioning of North Korean government accounts used to support its diplomats around the world, and the North’s importation of machinery, electronics, and refined petroleum from China and Russia. While China and Russia might well veto such legislation, it would force China and Russia to take a stand against the international community. With export reliant economies, both nations would worry about the impacts of that vote. An able negotiator, Nikki Haley should call on allies like Britain and France to lobby on America’s behalf.

 

Third, Trump should order the deployment of additional forces to the U.S. Military’s Pacific Command. As I’ve explained, these deployments should be focused on air and naval striking capabilities. The intent here would not simply serve the prudent preparation for military action against North Korea’s ballistic missile program, but to remind China that the U.S. sees the end game on the horizon. North Korean nuclear-ballistic capabilities are growing in many areas, and China continues to take only mild action. Put simply, either that must change or the U.S. must strike.

 

Fourth, as soon as is feasibly possible (following his visit to Texas), Trump should visit Tokyo and make a speech in solidarity with U.S. allies in the region. Doing so wouldn’t simply calm our friends in the Asia-Pacific, it would personally stake Trump’s reputation on resolving this crisis. Knowing his ego is considerable, Trump’s arrival might deter those like China and North Korea who would accept the North’s conduct as the new norm.

 

Ultimately, Kim has changed the dimensions of the crisis by this missile launch. While a diplomatic solution is both possible and preferable, Trump must ensure everyone knows that time for a peaceful solution is running out.

 

Author’s note: An earlier version of this article suggested that the last North Korean missile to transit Japan was fired in 1998. While a missile was launched over Japan in 1998, the last such transit was in 2009.

Tom Rogan Donald Trump Japan North Korea White House Opinion Beltway Confidential


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