Category Archives: Middle East

UPDATED: Not Russia, But American Ally Turkey Is ‘The World’s Biggest Jailer Of Journalists,’ Frequently For LIFE

Foreign Policy, Free Speech, Journalism, Media, Middle East, Russia, War

If you’re getting your news from the American media, you probably don’t know that Turkey, so far an American ally, headed by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is massacring “Kurdish insurgents in Syria’s Afrin province.”

Turkish troops are capturing Kurdish villages, and killing members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). Lots of civilians, no doubt, are perishing. Except that Turkish journalists are forbidden to report about their government’s atrocities ongoing.

When “Turkey’s army claims to have ‘neutralized’ over 2,000 YPG fighters in Afrin without killing a single civilian,” that’s what goes to press. “Not a single mainstream media outlet has question[s] the figures.”

Why?

Because “Turkey is the world’s biggest jailer of journalists, with over 100 currently behind bars.” (“Muzzling the Media No one in Turkey dares report accurately on the war in Syria,” The Economist, Mar 1st, 2018.)

On February 16th a court sentenced six media workers, including a prominent novelist, to life in prison without parole on trumped-up charges of involvement in an abortive coup in 2016. … The internet is no longer a safe space for dissent. In the past month more than 800 people have been detained for protesting against the war on social media.

MORE.

UPDATE: Trump turning on the Kurds to pacify the Turks. Us “moving to repair relations with Turkey, endangering ties with Kurdish allies.”

UPDATED (4/5/018): Jews Must Never Forget Trump For Remembering Our Unforgettable Jerusalem

Christianity, Donald Trump, Hebrew Testament, History, Islam, Israel, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Middle East, Private Property, Religion

NEW COLUMN: “Jews Must Never Forget Trump For Remembering Our Unforgettable Jerusalem” is the new column, now on Townhall.com.

An excerpt:

…. A quick quiz: What does “unoccupied” or “liberated” Palestinian land look like? Answer: Like Gaza.

Gaza serves as a sufficiently strong precedent against the folly of ceding territory to Islam. (With the exception of the long-suffering Kurds, what Muslim nation has recently made good on territory gained or on self-determination won?)

Gaza was “returned” to the Palestinians, who promptly destroyed the hothouses Israelis had built there, and planted in the ground Qassam rocket launchers, instead. Gaza now hothouses Hamasniks. In all, granting statehood to their nihilistic neighbors has been pretty thankless for Israelis.

But what of Palestinian families who’ve resided in The City for generations? This the libertarian must address.

The question of generational attachment to place and title in property is simple to solve if intentions are good.

Of course Palestinians should retain their properties.

An historical, national Jewish right to the city of Jerusalem does not extinguish the property rights of individual Arab homesteaders acquired over the years.

Muslims residing in East Jerusalem must just learn to extend to their Jewish neighbors the courtesy their Muslim brethren receive from their Jewish neighbors, in Israel proper.

In other words, allow Jews to live in peace. Or, just live.

Faith and the facts of history notwithstanding, Jerusalem undivided as the capital of the Jewish State is what Christians should be praying for if they value celebrating future Easter Holy Weeks in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, located in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The current pontiff is not Pope Benedict, who was—still is—a brave and brilliant scholar.

Pope Francis is likely more familiar with Quranic verses than with Psalms 137:5, in which the exiled Jews likened forgetting Jerusalem to forgetting the function of one’s right hand. (Literally translated, it is a vow: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.”)

That was in 607 BC (Before Christ), and we Jews have still not forgotten. …

… READ THE REST. THE Complete column, Jews Must Never Forget Trump For Remembering Our Unforgettable Jerusalem,” is now on Townhall.com.

Pope:

UPDATED (2/4/018): It’s Been A While Since Foreign Policy Has Been So Perilous On So Many Fronts

Foreign Policy, Middle East, Neoconservatism, Russia, War

Scanning the front page of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity should make all sane people gloomy. The neoconservatives are in charge and no one is the wiser. Certainly in foreign policy, there has been a speedy reversion to the neoconservative mean.

A smattering of headlines:

* “US Troops Arrive in Israel to Practice for Potential War With Hezbollah.” WTF!

*Mattis Threatens Military Action Over Syria Gas Attack Claims, Then Admits ‘No Evidence‘”

*Breaking: US-Backed Free Syrian Army Group Shoots Down Russian Jet, Kills Pilot

*Rex Tillerson: Neocon.”

Doesn’t look like President Trump has surrounded himself with the best people to optimize his original America First promise. Neoconservatives are indisputably the worst. In my book, The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed, you will find recommendations for the excellent people we could have had in place, down to the military.

UPDATE (2/4/018):

Follow the money: Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD): Kurt Volker of the aptly named McCain Institute is speaking on Fox New charmingly about what’s essentially a nuclear arms race. So you know: US Missile Defense system has failed recently.

Yes, America Is Rome. And Yes, Americans Are Fiddling While Rome Burns

America, China, Foreign Policy, Iraq, Middle East, Military, War

The political establishment on both sides is preoccupied, with, as Buchanan puts it, “Fear that a four-page memo worked up in the House Judiciary Committee may discredit Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia-gate.

All the while, the US, led by freewheeling Mad Generals—who else?—is wading deeper and deeper into conflict and war abroad.

Patrick J. Buchanan exposes a reality that has little to do with the mindless things that busy Big Media. Mindless because we are no longer a constitutional republic, which is by nature antithetical to empire. Pretending that we are comes at the cost of neglecting to prevent wars in which the US only loses.

If Turkey is not bluffing, U.S. troops in Manbij, Syria, could be under fire by week’s end, and NATO engulfed in the worst crisis in its history.

Turkish President Erdogan said Friday his troops will cleanse Manbij of Kurdish fighters, alongside whom U.S. troops are embedded.

Erdogan’s foreign minister demanded concrete steps by the U.S. to end its support of the Kurds, who control the Syrian border with Turkey east of the Euphrates, all the way to Iraq.

If the Turks attack Manbij, the U.S. will face a choice: Stand by our Kurdish allies and resist the Turks, or abandon the Kurds.

…. But to stand with the Kurds and oppose Erdogan’s forces could mean a crackup of NATO and loss of U.S. bases inside Turkey, including the air base at Incirlik.

Turkey also sits astride the Dardanelles entrance to the Black Sea….

Yet Syria is but one of many challenges to U.S. foreign policy.

The Winter Olympics in South Korea may have taken the threat of a North Korean ICBM that could hit the U.S. out of the news. But no one believes that threat is behind us.

Last week, China charged that the USS Hopper, a guided missile destroyer, sailed within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Shoal, a reef in the South China Sea claimed by Beijing, though it is far closer to Luzon in the Philippines. … If we continue to contest China’s territorial claims with U.S. warships, a clash is inevitable.

In a similar incident Monday, a Russian military jet came within five feet of a U.S. Navy EP-3 Orion surveillance plane in international airspace over the Black Sea, forcing the Navy plane to end its mission.

U.S. relations with Cold War ally Pakistan are at rock bottom. In his first tweet of 2018, President Trump charged Pakistan with being a duplicitous and false friend.

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”

As for America’s longest war, in Afghanistan, now in its 17th year, the end is nowhere on the horizon.

A week ago, the International Hotel in Kabul was attacked and held for 13 hours by Taliban gunmen who killed 40. Midweek, a Save the Children facility in Jalalabad was attacked by ISIS, creating panic among aid workers across the country.

Saturday, an ambulance exploded in Kabul, killing 103 people and wounding 235. Monday, Islamic State militants attacked Afghan soldiers guarding a military academy in Kabul. With the fighting season two months off, U.S. troops will not soon be departing.

If Pakistan is indeed providing sanctuary for the terrorists of the Haqqani network, how does this war end successfully for the United States?

Last week, in a friendly fire incident, the U.S.-led coalition killed 10 Iraqi soldiers. The Iraq war began 15 years ago.

Yet another war, where the humanitarian crisis rivals Syria, continues on the Arabian Peninsula. There, a Saudi air, sea and land blockade that threatens the Yemeni people with starvation has failed to dislodge Houthi rebels who seized the capital Sanaa three years ago.

This weekend brought news that secessionist rebels, backed by the United Arab Emirates, have seized power in Yemen’s southern port of Aden, from the Saudi-backed Hadi regime fighting the Houthis.

These rebels seek to split the country, as it was before 1990.

Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE appear to be backing different horses in this tribal-civil-sectarian war into which America has been drawn.

There are other wars – Somalia, Libya, Ukraine – where the U.S. is taking sides, sending arms, training troops, flying missions.

Like the Romans, we have become an empire, committed to fight for scores of nations, with troops on every continent, and forces in combat operations of which the American people are only vaguely aware.


… As in all empires, power is passing to the generals.

And what causes the greatest angst today in the imperial city?

Fear that a four-page memo worked up in the House Judiciary Committee may discredit Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia-gate.

MORE: “Too Many Wars. Too Many Enemies”

RELATED: “How President Trump Normalized Neoconservatism.