Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Welcome to Barack Obama’s America. By Ben Domenech.

Welcome to Barack Obama’s America. By Ben Domenech. The Federalist, December 8, 2015.

Trump’s Muslim Immigration Ban Should Touch Off a Badly Needed Discussion. By Andrew C. McCarthy.

Trump’s Muslim Immigration Ban Should Touch Off a Badly Needed Discussion. By Andrew C. McCarthy. National Review Online, December 8, 2015.

Why Do These Young Muslims Hate Us? By Hisham Melhem.

Why Do These Young Muslims Hate Us? By Hisham Melhem. Politico, December 7, 2015.

The Key to Crushing ISIS. By Anatol Lieven.

The Key to Crushing ISIS. By Anatol Lieven. New York Times, December 3, 2015.

Divide and Conquer in Syria and Iraq. By Barak Mendelsohn. Foreign Affairs, November 29, 2015.

Will drawing new borders create and sustain peace? By Sholto Byrnes. The National [U.A.E.], December 8, 2015.

Mass Murder and Identity Politics. By Victor Davis Hanson.

Mass Murder and Identity Politics. By Victor Davis Hanson. National Review Online, December 7, 2015.

Dispelling the “Few Extremists” Myth – the Muslim World Is Overcome with Hate. By David French.

Dispelling the “Few Extremists” Myth – the Muslim World Is Overcome with Hate. By David French. National Review Online, December 7, 2015.

The Deadly Link Between San Bernardino and Pakistan. By Arif Jamal.

The deadly link between San Bernardino and Pakistan. By Arif Jamal. DW, December 5, 2015.

DW and Jamal:

The link between California shooters and Pakistan has once again highlighted the danger the country poses as a terror exporter. US-based Islamism expert Arif Jamal tells DW why Washington can no longer ignore the threat.

DW: What sort of links did San Bernardino shooters Tashfeen Malik and Syed Farook have with radical Islamist groups in Pakistan, and how much did they influence the killings?

Arif Jamal: We still do not have authentic information on the links between the San Bernardino mass shooters and radical Islamist groups in Pakistan or elsewhere. Tashfeen Malik was a relatively liberal and modern woman for her family in Pakistan’s Punjab province until a couple of years ago. Several members of her family reportedly belong to the terrorist outfit Ahlay Sunnat Wal Jamaat – formerly known as Sipah-e-Sahaba (the Army of the Prophet’s Companions) – but there is so far no evidence that she was also an ASWJ member.

Also, the Bahauddin Zakariya University in the city of Multan, where Malik had studied, is a hub of Islamist groups. Although indoctrination must have started much earlier, we see a radical change in her a few years ago, particularly after she moved to the United States. It seems the couple was actually indoctrinated by American Islamic organizations. Islamic organizations conveniently blame Western foreign policies for the rise of jihadism.

How do you analyze the claim by the “Islamic State” (IS) that its “supporters” carried out the attack in the US? What does IS mean by “supporters”?

It is highly plausible that the San Bernardino shooters were influenced by the IS call to take up arms against the infidel West without the practical support from the Middle Eastern militant group. In fact, the available evidence is clearly leading to this conclusion. The IS call for jihad against the West is actually directed at people who are already indoctrinated and need a push to carry out violence. The IS seems to be succeeding in its strategy to destabilize the Western countries.

It’s been reported that Tashfeen Malik had met with IS supporter and cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz in Islamabad. Why do Pakistani authorities continue to ignore the threat posed by pro-IS clerics and organizations in the country?

The reports of her links with Aziz of Islamabad’s Red Mosque, which is affiliated with the IS, do not seem to be authentic. They are attributed to nameless sources in London and appear to be mere speculation. US officials do not seem to have any such knowledge. As we know that the shooters were influenced by IS and its ideology, it is quite possible that they had had some links with the Red Mosque clerics. If there were any links between the shooters and the Red Mosque, they were more likely ideological.

What is driving Muslims living in the US toward groups like IS?

The most important reason behind the Muslims’ fascination with jihadism in the US and elsewhere is their victimhood syndrome. Jihadism teaches them that the failures of Muslims as individuals and as an ummah (community) are caused by the infidels, who must be fought against, as Islamic scriptures order them.

To what extent is Saudi Wahhabism, which many experts believe provides ideological impetus to global jihadi groups, influencing American Muslims?

The Wahhabist and Salafist interpretations of the Quran and hadith are at the root of the rise of modern global jihadism. Unlike other Islamic denominations, Wahhabism and Salafism teach the literal interpretation of the Islamic scriptures. Salafism aims at establishing a caliphate similar to the earliest time in the Islamic history, when the Muslims were constantly at war with the rest of the world. The three biggest jihadist organizations – IS, Jamaat ud-Dawa (or Lashkar-e-Taiba) and Boko Haram – are Salafist.

What, in your opinion, would be the repercussions of the San Bernardino killings on Pakistanis and Muslims living in the US?

Muslims in America have come under severe pressure from the society. There have been some attacks on mosques and Islamic centers. Muslim Americans have reported that the atmosphere in their offices has become tense. Some have told me that they never faced such backlash since the 9/11 attacks. Since one of the two shooters was a woman, Muslim women have also become suspect in the eyes of non-Muslim Americans. Muslim women were not subject to such hateful treatment before.

Will the Obama administration pressure Islamabad to crack down on Islamist radical groups or will it continue with its softer approach toward its ally?

The Obama administration is likely to increase pressure on Pakistan to rein in jihadist groups and close the jihadist factories, but it is highly unlikely it will work in the absence of some sort of economic and military sanctions. The verbal pressure has not worked in the last 15 to 25 years. We may see some halfhearted action by Pakistani authorities against the Red Mosque group if there is enough evidence of their involvement in this shooting. Nothing more.

Arif Jamal is an independent US-based journalist and author of several books, including “Call For Transnational Jihad: Lashkar-e-Taiba, 1985-2014.”

The interview was conducted by Shamil Shams.

California Killings: What Kind of Mother Would Do This? By Margaret Wente.

California killings: What kind of mother would do this? By Margaret Wente. The Globe and Mail, December 7, 2015.


What kind of mother would say goodbye to her six-month-old daughter, then drive with her husband to his workplace one morning to calmly, deliberately slaughter as many of his co-workers as possible?

Tashfeen Malik was that kind of mother. It was she who evidently radicalized her husband. It was she who was first to open fire. It was she who declared her loyalty to Islamic State in a Facebook post, and fired back at the police before the couple were mowed down in a hail of bullets.

The slaughter in San Bernardino introduced a new face – and phase – of terrorism. It was the first IS-inspired attack on American soil, committed not on military targets but, as in Paris, on ordinary civilians. Yet the immediate knee-jerk responses were entirely predictable. Guns are the problem! No, refugees are the problem! Just get rid of guns (or refugees) and we won’t have to worry.

Tighter gun control and better border screening would both, no doubt, be good things. But neither of them would solve the terrorism problem. And both liberals and conservatives are evading the central issue: What kind of new mother would do this?

Up here in Canada, we like to think that America’s gun culture is the source of all its social ills. So here are just a few quick facts. The San Bernardino couple’s arsenal of guns and ammo was, as a writer for The Nation put it, “as American as apple pie.” They purchased their guns legally and passed all the background checks. Such arsenals are common, and most are owned by Republicans. People are not going to give them up. Serious gun reform is impossible in the U.S. without repealing the Second Amendment, and that’s not going to happen. Nor would gun reform be likely to deter terrorists. France’s strict gun laws didn’t stop the carnage in Paris.

Conservatives don’t want to ban guns. They want to ban refugees, along with immigrants from suspicious countries like Iraq and Saudi Arabia. That won’t stop terrorist attacks either. Most terrorists in Europe and North America – including Ms. Malik’s husband, Syed Farook – are of the home-grown variety. They’re the offspring of people (often secular, educated, and horrified by their children’s deeds) who came here years ago. Ms. Malik, who was an immigrant from Pakistan, passed all the usual background checks.

There are more than seven million Pakistani emigrants around the world. Most are good guys. Pakistan’s radical Muslim groups were a problem long before Islamic State came along, but the West is powerless to rein them in. The West has pressured Pakistan for years to move against them, but it hasn’t worked.

Barack Obama doesn’t have the answers either. On Sunday night he addressed the country in an effort to look as if he’s on top of things. I’m not sure he convinced people. Iraq and Syria are in ruins, and Libya is an outlaw non-state. Afghanistan has reverted to its former chaos. A monumental U.S. effort to train and arm some good guys to fight in Syria produced exactly nothing. Butcher Bashar al-Assad is still in power, IS is still on the rampage, and the refugees are still fleeing. No wonder he sounded a bit defensive.

Unfortunately, attacks like the one in San Bernardino cannot be prevented by stricter gun control, or better refugee screening, or even stepped-up integration efforts. Islamism expert Arif Jamal, who’s based in Washington, D.C., explains why. The rise of modern global jihadism is rooted in extremist interpretations of Islam. Islamic organizations conveniently blame Western foreign policies for the rise of jihadism. “The most important reason behind the Muslims’ fascination with jihadism in the U.S. and elsewhere is their victimhood syndrome,” he said in an interview with Deutsche Welle. “Jihadism teaches them that the failures of Muslims as individuals and as an ummah (community) are caused by the infidels who must be fought against, as Islamic scriptures order them.”

And that’s the answer, more or less, to what kind of mother would do this. A mother who didn’t care that their baby would be an orphan, or that the people she set out to kill had chipped in for baby presents. A mother who wanted revenge on the West, and whose only regret, I suspect, was that she hadn’t killed even more.

Farook Was Obsessed with Israel — What Else Do We Need to Know? By Dennis Prager.

Farook Was Obsessed with Israel — What Else Do We Need to Know? By Dennis Prager. National Review Online, December 8, 2015. Also at


According to the father of the San Bernardino terrorist, Syed Farook, his son was “obsessed with Israel.”

In an interview in the Italian newspaper La Stampa, the senior Syed Farook said, “My son said that he shared [Islamic State leader] Al Baghdadi’s ideology and supported the creation of the Islamic State. He was also obsessed with Israel.”

Likewise, the Los Angeles Times reported, “As the investigation unfolded, friends and family of the shooters came forward to offer snapshots that may point to what motivated Wednesday’s attack, including Farook’s apparent fixation on Israel and Malik’s devotion to a fundamentalist strain of Islam.”

There is no greater predictor of violence than Jew-hatred. It predicts violence as accurately as animal torture does.

But while it is universally acknowledged that childhood torture of animals predicts violence, relatively few people understand that the same holds true of Jew-hatred.

Given that there has been no exception to this rule, one would think that non-Jews would learn from it and immediately oppose Jew-haters. But, incredibly, that is not the case. Most non-Jews have regarded Jew-hatred as the Jews’ problem — or as in the case of Israel-hatred — the Jews’ fault.

In the 1930s, when the Western democracies had a chance to crush the Nazis, they did nothing despite the fact that Hitler and Nazism were as obsessed with the Jews as Syed Farook was with the Jewish state. The West regarded Hitler’s anti-Semitism as essentially the Jews’ problem. Eventually, about 50 million people were killed, 44 million of them non-Jews.

So, too, when Israelis were being murdered by Palestinian Muslim suicide bombers in the so-called Intifada, the murders were largely ignored, or worse, “explained” by Western liberals as the understandable Palestinian reaction to Israeli occupation.

Then came 9/11, and America and the world began to appreciate — though the Left still doesn’t — that Palestinian terror was about Islamists killing Jews with the ultimate aim of annihilating Israel, not about “asymmetrical warfare,” or use of the “poor man’s atom bomb,” or “a reaction to occupation.”

Of course, some will object that it is neither fair nor accurate to lump Israel-hatred with Jew-hatred. So, let me briefly explain why Israel-hatred is just another form of Jew-hatred, or anti-Semitism.

First, we are talking about Israel-hatred, not Israel-criticism. No prominent defender of Israel — not one — has ever equated criticism of Israel with Israel-hatred or with anti-Semitism. It is a common charge made by anti-Zionists that defenders of Israel equate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, but it has no truth.

What is equatable with anti-Semitism is anti-Zionism, the belief that the Jewish state has no right to exist.

Why is that the same as anti-Semitism?

Because when one argues that the only country of the world’s more than 200 countries that has no right to exist is the one Jewish country in the world, there is no other possible explanation. There are 22 Arab countries, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Persian Gulf, and they all have a perfect right to exist, but somehow there is no room for one Jewish country the size of New Jersey.

When the Presbyterian Church USA or the American Anthropology Association votes to boycott one country on earth, and that country is the only Jewish country on earth, it strains credulity to argue that Israel’s being Jewish is irrelevant.

Israel is probably the oldest country in the world with an indigenous language and culture going back 3,000 years. Yet, much of the world denies these roots and favors the claim to the land made by Palestinians, a group that had no distinct identity before the mid-20th century.

The Jewish state plays the same role among the world’s nations as individual Jews played within the world’s nations: a superbly accurate way to assess a group’s moral compass. As George Gilder calls it, it is the Israel Test.

Those obsessed with the Jews in a negative way have a moral compass whose pointer points south. That’s why Syed Farook mass-murdered innocent Americans.

Farook and all the Islamist terrorists are ultimately Yasser Arafat’s and the Palestinians’ legacy to mankind — and especially to fellow Muslims, the greatest victims of the suicide terror introduced by the Palestinians.

Or, to put it in a positive way, show me Muslims who accept the right of the Jewish state to exist and I will guarantee you that they will never support ISIS or engage in terror.

When will the world learn this simple lesson?