2016: A vintage year for tech billionaires and jihadis – Taki

Zulfiqar, meaning “bifurcated” (Arabic: ذو الفقار‎ Dhū l-Fiqār) is the sword of the Islamic leader Ali (or Husayn ibn ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib) who was the cousin of Muhammed. Two swords were captured from the temple of Manat in the Raid of Sa’d ibn Zaid al-Ashhali. Muhammad gave them to Ali, saying that one of them was Al-Dhulfiqar, which became the famous sword of Ali and a symbol of Islam.

Taki Theodoracopulos“The idea that the link between Islam and terror cannot be admitted is as outrageous as the claim that Islam does not preach violence against infidels. Days after the California massacre by an Islamic couple, Donald Trump was warned by the US attorney general that the First Amendment does not protect actions predicated on violent talk. In other words, if you tell the truth about Islam we just might throw you in the pokey.” – Taki

Mark ZuckerbergThis is going to be one hell of a year, hell being the operative word. It will be the year the greatest Greek writer since Homer turns 80 (but we’ll keep quiet about that for the moment). Our world is so stuck in reverse that a woman who was stabbed in Miami during the Art Basel shindig, and was bleeding and begging for help, was mistaken for an artwork and ignored. The woman survived but will art? Conceptual art must be the biggest con since Bernie Madoff and then some.

And speaking of con artists, I’ve never had any respect for Mark Zuckerberg, someone who is reputed to have copied the idea for Facebook from a couple of ex-classmates, and who now pledges the majority of his $45 billion fortune to charity thereby generating a public relations bonanza. But he has created an investment vehicle, not a charitable foundation with non-profit status. He has set up an LLC, a limited liability vehicle that allows a person to do things with their money without being subject to the rules, oversights and transparency requirements that govern charitable foundations. Smart little fella this Zuckerberg, but sort of a conman nonetheless. It will also cut his tax bill, thank you very much.

This year should also be a vintage one for social media, those nice apps that terrorists use so cleverly to help them murder innocent and unarmed people. While the Middle East remains a stagnant pile of poverty, intolerance and tribalism, the west keeps on taking the hits from the scum we accepted to our shores who have been radicalised via the apps that have made billionaires out of geeks who would have had sand kicked in their faces since time immemorial, but no longer. It’s time for governments to step in—and if your high life correspondent is saying that, something must really be wrong.

Radical Islam has caught on to the fact that political correctness shackles western military might, and will play it to the hilt in the future. Time is on Islam’s side. We will continue to curb freedom of speech, even after Barack Obama is out of office. It is a mistake of historic proportions. The idea that the link between Islam and terror cannot be admitted is as outrageous as the claim that Islam does not preach violence against infidels. Days after the California massacre by an Islamic couple, Donald Trump was warned by the US attorney general that the First Amendment does not protect actions predicated on violent talk. In other words, if you tell the truth about Islam we just might throw you in the pokey. Nice.

The coming year should not be a good one for my old Swiss friend Sepp Blatter. (And if you believe that I’m a friend of his, you need help.) After years of graft and kickbacks and making money, the show is about to close. The gusting winds of change are rattling the windows of the great edifice to dishonesty built not by Blatter alone, but by all his predecessors too. Football is as rotten and dishonest a game as there is, and in my country alone the owner of Olympiacos, the number one team, has been accused of bribing referees yet is still allowed to own the team and call the tune. This pig comes to Gstaad in winter. Bribes, fraud, kickbacks, crooked banks; this is the modern version of the beautiful game as the hucksters who publicise it call it.

Salman bin Abdulaziz al-SaudAnd in 2016 Taki will finally be able to call himself a farmer. My new chalet will be ready and I will be moving in sometime in July. (All I need now is to find some farm girls, but back to politics before my daughter reads this.) The world’s most-misguided leaders, Salman of Saudi Arabia and his ludicrous son Napoleon-Mohammed, are trying to build reputations as leaders of the Arab world. All they’ve managed to do, by bombing the hell out of hospitals in Yemen, is prove that the Saudi air force is on a par with that of Luxembourg, which doesn’t have one. Thousands of civilians have died in Yemen yet the Saudis, with a grand coalition, have achieved nothing. The little Napoleon has eaten humble pie and only western power will extricate him from the mess he and the rest of the Saudi gangsters have created. Alas, he will get it in 2016.

Finally, if the west had enough guts to stop the extensive transfers of cash from wealthy donors (ruling families) of the Gulf, perhaps those nice guys in Isis would stop raping nine-year-olds and go back to the fat wives they left behind. We need Russia and Uncle Sam to get together on this, but Barack seems to hate old Vlad. I happen to love him.

I’ve had enough. I am finally letting the real Taki show. So there’s not much more to say, except to all of you loyal readers, have a very happy new year. – The Spectator, 1 January 2016

» Taki is a Greek-born high society columnist and author living in New York City, London, Paris and Gstaad, Switzerland.

Mark Zuckerberg vs Julian Assange


A patriot’s view of the ‘refugee’ crisis in Germany – Alex S.

EU Politicians

A major doomsday event is nigh!Germany—the country at the center of the European Union and its economic powerhouse—is something of a black hole. The national press, popularly referred to as Lügenpresse (the lying press) faithfully echoes the party line set in Washington. Germany’s spineless politicians, popularly renamed from Volksvertreter (people’s representatives) to Volksverräter (traitors to the people) are no better. And so we are unable to see what is actually happening there, as the European Union is, in the words of Russia’s FM Sergei Lavrov, “committing suicide” by letting in the invading hordes from the Middle East. And so this short report by Alex, who tells us what he sees, is most welcome. – ClubOrlov Editor

Do you remember the last time you saw a man with wild eyes, strange clothes and a giant sign around his neck saying “The End Is Nigh”? “How ridiculous and pathetic!” you might have thought. Now, imagine the reality of your country changing within weeks to a point where you come to the same conclusion as him, suddenly feeling that his approach might be ever so reasonable. When a large part of your fellow-humans catch a strange sort of illness, one which leads to complete insanity faster than in the worst zombie outbreak, you might find yourself out of more viable strategies.

This exactly is happening to me, as well as most people I know, right now, right here in our export-champion, model-democracy Germany. Sane people are finding themselves isolated and helpless amid insane politicians, an antagonistic press, paralyzed communities and a large inert populace unable to even fathom what’s happening. I am of course talking about the so-called “refugee crisis,” but because even this name is working against us, I will call it what it really is—a war against Europe by means of invasion. It is now vitally important to call things by their right name, because this distinguishes friend from foe.

But it is even more important is to understand why this is a war rather than a crisis caused by refugees. Everything about this development bears the hallmarks of a military/intelligence operation.

First of all, look at the timing and the scale. It really took off around September, and within less then two months it is already threatening the stability of Europe as a whole, to a point where even the European “leaders” are talking about the end of the European Union. Credible numbers are not available, but the German government estimates the number of “refugees” that have already arrived somewhere between one and two million, so the real number is probably much larger. Almost all the camps are crammed with far more people than is claimed. Some towns are being forced to cope with more “refugees” than they have citizens, some double as many. The estimates for next year amount to something between two and five million more “refugees.”

Ask yourself, why would millions of men (the overwhelming majority are young men) suddenly and collectively decide to leave their families behind, leave their country, travel thousands of miles and head for either Germany, Austria or Sweden, ignoring all the other safe countries on the way? Who told them that this would be worth it? Where did they all get the money to pay for it? Why was there absolutely no effort at any border to stop them? Why did this not start earlier? After all, the middle east has been a war zone for years—ever since the USA exploited 9/11 to start “spreading democracy.” How could this happen within days, weeks at most. Did the first hundred thousand send a message to the rest that it was OK for them to come too? If so, how?

Secondly, look at the character of the average “refugee.” Why are they all well-fed, well-clothed, self-confident young men showing no signs of stress or hardship? Why are they leaving their families behind? Do they know their wives and children can follow them later? If so, how? Why do these men not want to stay behind and try to rescue their countries? Why do they all own high-quality mobile phones charged with seemingly endless minutes? It is clear that the “refugees” have been briefed on exactly what kinds of social benefits they can demand, and how to go about doing it, and so they are audacious and become violent if met with resistance. They even demand expensive medical treatments, which are granted and taken for granted. Why? There are no background checks for any of these people—naturally, because there is no time to do ten thousand-plus background checks every day. For all we know, these people could be criminals, mercenaries and terrorists. An unknown number have serious diseases, such as hepatitis, TB and even the plague. No one keeps track of that, no one registered them, no one limits their freedom of movement. Those who register do so mostly with forged Syrian passports, which Turkey hands out like candy, even to black Africans who look nothing like the Syrians. Tens of thousands of “refugees” have “disappeared” from their camps, some even stopped the special trains midway to their destinations by pulling the emergency brake and ran off into the wilderness. Where to and why—no one knows. No one asks questions, but what is clear is that we have completely lost control over European territory.

Thirdly, there is the little matter of collaboration and treason. Even if this is a genuine refugee crisis, why is that none of the policies of the German/European government make any sense? And why is the press acting continuously and uniformly in favor of their policies, and is downright hostile toward the European populace? If millions of people have to flee immediate peril, there are a lot of different ways to care for them without endangering the integrity of Europe and ruining several national budgets. But instead of discussing what to do, how to do it and how to pay for it, the plan seemed to be predetermined, decided and fixed long ago.

The political “solution” is to soak every city and town in Germany, Austria and Sweden with people of unknown origin and intention. Flanked by a press hailing the process, underestimating their numbers and suppressing reports of crimes committed by the “refugees,” damning and demonizing every form of opposition. Every branch of government, all authorities and parties, in concert with the press, stand should to shoulder in pushing this agenda against the overwhelming indignation of their citizens and closing their eyes to the fact that this is against the law. Censorship, propaganda, hate speech, defamation and open rejection of basic democratic rights against any opposition, are simply exploding right now. A prime example of this is Germany’s vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, who called an undefined but large part of the German populace who dare to oppose this insanity “Pack” (vermin).

Everyone who takes a stand in Germany now, opposing any refugee-related policy by the government, is subjected to insults is labelled as a right-wing extremist, a hateful criminal and a danger to society. Some get singled out and persecuted in public using extensive defamation campaigns. The author Akif Pirinçci became the latest victim after giving a speech at the Pegida demo, the accusation against him based on a shameless misrepresentation of the facts.

Even the most peaceful protest is immediately threatened with a ban (but most are still granted permission anyway). Every speech or publication mentioning treason or comparable accusations is instantly subject to investigations under the charge of demagoguery or threat of violence. Current examples can be found daily in the major mainstream outlets such as Der Spiegel, Die Welt, Bild and the like. If this situation came about by chance, such a spontaneous consensus would have been extremely unlikely. But from day one this has been an obvious propaganda/defamation campaign against the truth and against the interests of the European populace.

The German press even earned itself a new name that sticks: “Lügenpresse” (the lying press) is a word that can be heard on every corner. In private, the politicians are being called traitors all the time.

The national railroad company is ordered to offer special trains free of charge for the “refugees,” bringing them into every corner of Germany the fastest way possible while delaying regular trains.

Vacant houses and apartments are confiscated by force and given over to the “refugees” free of charge. Every “refugee” given rental housing is paid for by the communities, as much as 500 Euros per person per month. This is a big opportunity for some scumbags to make money really fast, by making ill and elderly Germans homeless.

The police and the press have been ordered to suppress reports of any crimes the “refugees” commit, and so you will not find any in the press, nor even in police reports. But if you ask around, you will hear plenty of stories about rampant assaults and rapes in every city and many towns in Germany. Some “refugee” camps burned down, but most were burned down by their inhabitants, mostly in protest or because of minor disagreements. Police sirens are heard in every city every hour now.

When the “refugees” started shoplifting, then raiding supermarkets, the government told the retailers to keep quiet about this, and has been paying for everything that was damaged or stolen ever since. The only exceptions are alcohol and cigarettes—all other retail goods are free, no questions asked.

The small business sector has declared the “refugees” unemployable, due to zero qualifications, unwillingness to work and lack of language skills. However, the experts in the press somehow see a “big opportunity” to grow the economy. There is no critical discussion and no plan for the future. The only advice Chancellor Merkel gave to Germany was “Wir schaffen das” (We will do it), not elaborating exactly what we will do, nor how. But anyone brave enough to think for themselves can easily guess.

The New EU-Muslim FlagTo keep it short, any political common sense and human instinct would prohibit such reckless, potentially irreversible, not to mention illegal behavior. Its end result is clearly visible: it is either the ruin of Europe—mainly the countries targeted by the “refugees,” which are Germany, Austria and Sweden—or war. Since I don’t believe that either coincidences or stupidity of this magnitude is possible, this is either treason or high treason. At least two charges have been filed against the current government, one for organized immigration crimes, and just recently for high treason. About 400 people became party to this action afterward. They are unlikely to succeed, because the judiciary is complicit. But if it isn’t obviously high treason now, it will become so within weeks—called out by everyone, because there is no end in sight.

The rest of organized society is equally treasonous. The press has openly declared itself an enemy of democracy and the general public, and at best a collaborators. The Church, even while immediately threatened by violent Islam, prays for more immigrants, damning people who dare to utter doubts. The intelligentsia is either silent or applauds our altruism. The treason is complete. Police and the military are completely overwhelmed. The military was reduced in size long ago to the point of utter ineffectiveness and has been stressed out by international missions. The police is simply not equipped to handle millions of potential enemies fanned out all over Europe, awaiting the order to attack.

For foreign observers, this may sound far-fetched and exaggerated. But consider this: in some areas of Germany, when you call the police now, no one will answer the phone. When they do, they are unable to do anything. A friend of mine called the police hotline (not the regular local emergency number) and was advised to form some sort of militia to solve the problem. A town of 600 has a dozen policemen at most, but often around a thousand “refugees” to handle. No one will come to their help if these “refugees” decide to take what they seem to believe is theirs already—because someone told them so, I guess. We are adrift in a sea of enemies, and the front-line in this war will run along the welcome mats at our front doors.

I find myself in a nightmare unable to wake up. Most people feel helpless and unwilling to accept the sad truth: we have been betrayed by everyone (except perhaps the police and the military) we entrusted with our safety and our hopes for the future. Even though the end of the global economy in its current form seemed a given to me, this kind of treason and ill intent to bring it all down took me by surprise. Among the twenty or so people I talked to about this in confidence, absolutely everyone is convinced that this is heading toward civil war—and fast! The only question remaining is whether the Germans start it, or the “refugees,” or some other party. We are one mayor terror attack away from sheer chaos. I have heard from several people connected to European security circles that the illegal weapons market is completely sold out, with many dealers holding on to their weapons for their own personal use. This is a rumour, but since we have been forced to depend on hearsay for any real information right now, I tend to believe it.

There is a small protest movement making headlines in Germany and even internationally. The Pegida movement has been gathering every Monday in Dresden to protest European immigration policy for a whole year now. They have had plenty of support since bad immigration policy has given rise to this manufactured “Völkerwanderung” (mass migration). On the October 19—the one-year anniversary gathering—around 35-40 thousand people came to protest peacefully, only to be attacked by several thousand violent “protesters” from the Antifa movement. An allegedly anti-fascist group, so violent and fascist in their behavior they would make for excellent recruiting material for the actual fascists of the SA or the NSDAP. One of the Pegida followers was beaten and severely wounded with a metal pole even before the gathering started. Several hundred policemen had to fight for their lives for hours. The Antifa, which is known to many as the second executive of the government, is nothing but an effective mobile force to quell resistance, exactly like the SA, only without the nice uniforms. Wherever demonstrations are announced, the Antifa members will travel there to express their opinion with “hard-hitting” arguments.

Unsurprisingly, Pegida is a prime target for hatred and defamation right now. As small as it is, the establishment seems to consider it as real danger, since their complete press gag order against it during the last year did not choke it off. But as important as they might be locally, the outcome seems to be irreversible. The invasion has succeeded already. With each passing day the numbers turn more and more against us. By now the best outcome is a civil war within months, reversing this development. The worst outcome is complete disintegration of European nations within the next few years, rendering large parts of the continent ungovernable. The divorce between the government and the people is almost complete by now. No sane person believes the press or the politicians. The ones who do retreat into fantasies of hate and self-hatred. Never before was it more visible to me that this society is completely broken, with every key element, acting against both individual and collective interests, seemingly following orders while digging their own graves.

Once again, unquestioning obedience has taken over German society, but this time without the consent by the masses, because this time the final solution concerns them. The chaos that will follow will by no means be an accident: it is engineered and ordered.

Once again, yet another generation will have to answer to their grandchildren: How could you let this happen? – ClubOrlov, 3 November 2015

The worst is yet to come!

See also

Saudi Arabia: Syrian refugees not welcome – Paul Joseph Watson

Saudi Arabia giving "helpful" directions to a Syrian refugee!

Paul Joseph Watson“While Europe is being burdened by potentially millions of people who don’t share the same culture or religion as the host population, [Saudi Arabia and the wealthy] Gulf Arab states refuse to pull their weight, resolving only to throw money at the problem.” – Paul Joseph Watson

Salman bin Abdulaziz al-SaudWhile European countries are being lectured about their failure to take in enough refugees, Saudi Arabia—which has taken in precisely zero migrants—has 100,000 air-conditioned tents that can house over 3 million people sitting empty.

The sprawling network of high quality tents are located in the city of Mina, spreading across a 20 square km valley, and are only used for 5 days of the year by Hajj pilgrims. As the website Amusing Planet reports, “For the rest of the year, Mina remains pretty much deserted.”

The tents, which measure 8 meters by 8 meters, were permanently constructed by the Saudi government in the 1990’s and were upgraded in 1997 to be fire-proof. They are divided into camps which include kitchen and bathroom facilities.

The tents could provide shelter for almost all of the 4 million Syrian refugees that have been displaced by the country’s civil war, which was partly exacerbated by Saudi Arabia’s role in funding and arming jihadist groups.

However, as the Washington Post reports, wealthy Gulf Arab nations like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and others have taken in precisely zero Syrian refugees. Although Saudi Arabia claims it has taken in 500,000 Syrians since 2011, rights groups point out that these people are not allowed to register as migrants. Many of them are also legal West Asia Refugee Mapimmigrants who moved there for work. In comparison, Lebanon has accepted 1.3 million refugees—more than a quarter of its population.

While it refuses to take in any more refugees, Saudi Arabia has offered to build 200 mosques for the 500,000 migrants a year expected to pour into Germany.

Saudis argue that the tents in Mina are needed to host the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, but given that the Arabic concept of ummah is supposed to offer protection to all Muslims under one brotherhood, surely an alternative location could be found so that Mina can be repurposed to house desperate families fleeing war and ISIS persecution?

While Europe is being burdened by potentially millions of people who don’t share the same culture or religion as the host population, Gulf Arab states refuse to pull their weight, resolving only to throw money at the problem.

The likelihood of the Saudis inviting Syrian refugees to stay in Mina is virtually zero, but the thousands of empty tents serve as a physical representation of the hypocrisy shared by wealthy Gulf Arab states when it comes to helping with the crisis. – Infowars, 10 September 2015

Tent city in Mina, Saudi Arabia

Tent city in Mina, Saudi Arabia

Tent city in Mina, Saudi Arabia

Tent city in Mina, Saudi Arabia

Tent city in Mina, Saudi Arabia

The guilty men—and woman—behind the creation of ISIS – Madhav Nalapat

Gaddafi and his European friends

Prof M.D. Nalapat“Why is it that the growth of ISIS has not been tracked to its source, including the source of the massive flow of weapons, cash and training to extremists fighting against Bashar Assad? Why has none of the countries that have given such largesse been held to account for the creation of a militia that is in the process of setting up a state which will serve as the base for operations against Europe?” – Prof Madhav Nalapat

ISIS destroys ancient artefacts in Mosul and PalmyraIslamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has developed into an international menace and is emerging as the biggest threat to global security. Hence it has become imperative to understand the circumstances that led it to become a powerful terror outfit. Its roots can be tracked to the operation in 2011 by Turkey, France, Qatar, the United Kingdom and other countries to topple the Muammar Gaddafi government in Libya. Once that was accomplished, this group of countries turned to Syria to overthrow Bashar Assad, again by arming, training and funding extremists to engage in a gory battle. It is these fanatics who form the core of what is now called ISIS. And eventually what was evident to a limited few during 2011 has now become obvious to the world.

The US-UK-France invasion of Libya and replacement of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi with a congeries of warlords has turned the country into a melting pot. While Gadaffi was certainly a capricious dictator, and prone to flights of fancy and hyperbole, the reality is that during his rule, the people of Libya had jobs to go to, houses to live in, and food to eat. Healthcare systems were adequate and even foreign education was encouraged.

The turning point came when Gaddafi surrendered his stock of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) to the US and the UK, as well as a trove of intelligence information about the way in which his team had dealt with terror groups across the globe. With this information in hand, several dozen terrorists were quietly rounded up as a result of such sharing of information, many by Gaddafi’s own secret service, headed by Moussa Muhammad Koussa (a Libyan political figure and diplomat, who served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from March 2009, into the Libyan civil war, and resigned his position from the Gaddafi regime on March 30, 2011).

Muammar GaddafiThere were reports that the Libyan dictator even bankrolled the election campaign of selected French and Italian politicians, besides paying out a huge amount to the relatives of those killed in the Lockerbie air disaster (270 men, women and children had lost their lives in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland on December 21, 1988), despite the fact that the evidence linking his regime to the crime was entirely circumstantial and based on hearsay. Certainly there were plenitude of cheques flowing from Libyan coffers to miscellaneous individuals and institutions in the US and Europe.

In a telling example of how it is not possible to “bank” goodwill with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) powers (they simply pocket the concessions made and promptly demand a fresh installment, rather than reciprocate in ways other than cosmetic), none of the many concessions and cash doles made by Gaddafi prevented Nicholas Sarkozy, then President of France, hence from drafting UK Prime Minister David Cameron and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in his “Get Gaddafi” campaign. In the guise of saving civilian lives, they collectively condemned more than 60,000 Libyans to death in the military campaign against the Libyan armed forces, with further tens of thousands dying each year because of warlordism and other problems.

Infact, it was the manner in which the war against the USSR was fought in Afghanistan which gave birth to al-Qaeda. After the collapse of the Taliban in 2001, the organisation was in dire straits. The Libyan operation revived al-Qaeda and gave it cash, sanctuaries and recruits on a scale not even seen except during the 1990s, when Bill Clinton assisted the group to take over Afghanistan. This post-2011 gift of oxygen to a terror force comprising of Wahabbi extremists was reinforced by assistance given by some GCC countries (political and economic alliance of six Middle Eastern countries—Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman. established in Riyadh, Saudia Arabia, in May 1981) and NATO to arm fighters battling the Bashar Assad regime in Damascus. The spillover has been widespread from that fateful decision to battle Muammar Gaddafi and later Assad with the same cocktail tried out against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

Because it was Sarkozy who was instrumental in igniting this new jihad, the most apt name for the latest variant of al-Qaeda to have come out of the Libyan and Syrian theatre would be “al-Qaeda Sarkozy”. However, it is doubtful that there will ever be any accountability for the way in which Sarkozy has damaged international security by his cowboy-style intervention in Libya, or the way his successor Francois Hollande and David Cameron have further damaged the prospect of success against al-Qaeda by the repetition of the Libyan adventure in Syria. However, in the latter case, as Assad had not revealed his intelligence secrets—including details of his arsenal of weapons—to his enemies, it became a much more difficult task to subdue his military than it was in the case of Gaddafi. Unfortunately for the world, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was an enthusiastic proponent of the Turkey-Qatar plan for taking out those regional leaders whom they did not like, of course with the assistance of NATO, which joined with them in what became, in effect, a war between NATO and the Secular and the Shia elements in the leadership of the countries in the Arab world.

Hillary ClintonWhere Nicholas Sarkozy may get re-elected President of France in the next elections, defeating another walking disaster, Francois Hollande, while Hillary Clinton has a fair chance of getting elected as the first woman President of the US, especially if the Republican Party continues on the course of championing the interests only of billionaires seems bleak. It has been clear from US policy in several theatres that the Clinton view (which is aggressively Europeanist, seeking to retain that continent’s dominance into the 21st century) has in many cases prevailed over the more cautious view of President Obama. Given the reach of the Clinton couple in the “thought life” of their country and Europe, it has been no surprise that Hillary Clinton has almost completely escaped censure, or even attention, for the foreign policy errors that took place on her watch. How much of the policies followed by her is because of the huge donations made to the Clinton Foundation by donors in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE will never be known.

There should be accountability at the core of the policymaking process. Unless there is an objective assessment of the results of policies decided upon and implemented, errors are going to get repeated. Since long, the trend has been for policymakers in the NATO bloc to avoid shining the spotlight on their own errors, and focusing instead on others, usually “red herrings” designed to divert blame for failure. Why is it that after reports have begun to pour out about the chaos in Libya, the media in France does not question Sarkozy about his Libyan misadventure? Why do they not talk about the link between his launching a war there in 2011 leading to chaos of three years? Why is it that the growth of ISIS has not been tracked to its source, including the source of the massive flow of weapons, cash and training to extremists fighting against Bashar Assad? Why has none of the countries that have given such largesse been held to account for the creation of a militia that is in the process of setting up a state which will serve as the base for operations against Europe? These are the questions for which there does not as yet seem to be answers. – Organiser, 30 August 2015

» Prof Madhav Das Nalapat holds the UNESCO Peace Chair and is Director of the Geopolitics and International Relations Department at Manipal University, an international private university headquartered in Southern India. He is also the Editorial Director of The Sunday Guardian.

Muammar Gaddafi

Gaddafi with G8 member8 in Italy 2009

Gaddafi & Sarcozy

Hillary Clinton, Nicholas Sarkozy, and David Cameron

French President Nicholas Sarkozy, left, Libya's NTC leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, center, and British Prime Minister David Cameron, right, gesture during their visit to Benghazi, Libya, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011. Cameron and Sarkozy gave Libya's new rulers strong support during a landmark visit to Tripoli on Thursday, vowing to release billions of dollars more in frozen assets and to push ahead with NATO strikes against Moammar Gadhafi's last strongholds. (AP Photo/Philippe Wojazer, Pool)

Clinton celibrating after Gaddafi

ISIS in Libya

Muslim Liberals vs ISIS – Tufail Ahmad

Tufail Ahmad“Egypt’s TV channel Al-Kahera Wal-Nas aired an interview of human rights activist Ahmad Harqan who noted that ISIS is doing what Prophet Muhammad did. Harqan said he left Islam because it is ‘a very harsh religion’ and what ISIS is now doing is its ‘physical manifestation.'” – Tufail Ahmad

Abu Bakr al-BaghdadiThe Oxford dictionary defines barbarism as a condition of society characterised by “the collapse of civilization”. In recent months, the jihadist group Islamic State, or ISIS, has carried out acts of savagery whose purpose seem to be to taunt the modern world, expose the uselessness of Western military might, and to reverse the secular global order back to the 7th century. The ISIS butchered hundreds of Iraq’s soldiers because they were Shias, beheaded Coptic Christians much like Saudi Arabia beheads humans regularly, poured acid over Christian women for not wearing burqa, cut off hands of thieves, lashed musicians and threw individuals from tall buildings as punishment for “homosexual” affairs. It captures and sells Yazidi women into sexual slavery.

Ali Al-SharimiSince mainstream journalism is essentially negative, such barbaric acts create an impression that Muslims are silent about ISIS and other jihadist outfits. This view is incorrect, as Muslims have been speaking out against the ISIS loudly and at risk to their lives. This is testified from articles and TV interviews of liberal Muslim writers and reformist clerics translated from Arabic and published by the Middle East Media Research Institute (where this writer works). Writing in Saudi daily Al-Watan, columnist Ali Al-Sharimi questioned apologists who fail to condemn ISIS clearly. “Have you ever heard of the ‘but’ gang?” he asked, adding, “This gang contradicts itself: It supports (jihadists), but it doesn’t support; it opposes, but it doesn’t oppose; it condemns, but it doesn’t condemn.”

Iyad Jamal Al-DinOn Al-Iraqiya TV channel, former Iraqi lawmaker Iyad Jamal Al-Din urged Islamic countries to evolve a civil state—as different from a sharia-based state—in which Muslims and non-Muslims could live together. He noted: “ISIS is based upon a certain ideology, upon a certain fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence). Unfortunately, what happened to the Yazidis … is to be found in the fiqh of Shias and Sunnis alike.” Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, the director of Al-Arabiya TV, called for fighting jihadists on the ideological plane, arguing extremism cannot be eliminated by security measures. He added: “The extremist thought will end and will not be reborn for another 100 years if its sources of education, media and funding are dried out.” Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi argued that for Muslim countries, “democracy is not a choice, but necessity”.

Ahmed HarqanEgypt’s TV channel Al-Kahera Wal-Nas aired an interview of human rights activist Ahmad Harqan who noted that ISIS is doing what Prophet Muhammad did. Harqan said he left Islam because it is “a very harsh religion” and what ISIS is now doing is its “physical manifestation”; “The Quranic texts are crystal clear. When the Quran says ‘strike their necks’, it is very clear”; “Boko Haram are also implementing this when they capture women”. Lebanese scribe Hisham Melhem denounced jihadism, saying: “ISIS may be the reject of Al-Qaeda, but like Al-Qaeda, it is the illegitimate child of modern political Islam that grew and expanded in … an embracing environment” fed by conspiracy theories.

Saad bin Nasser Al ShathriKhalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor, an influential trader of UAE, questioned the West for its failure to act against ISIS and then asked: “Where are the Arabs? This madness is playing out on our doorstep…. Forget the Arab world as an entity; it’s disunited and in disarray! The Gulf Cooperation Council has the firepower and expertise to militarily intervene on its own.” He suggested that governments could hire the Italian mafia to eliminate the ISIS. On Saudi TV channel Al-Majd, Saudi cleric Saad Al-Shathri declared ISIS fighters as apostates, noting, “An oath of allegiance pledged to ISIS is null and void” and anyone who died while fighting ISIS is “a martyr”.

Tareq Yousef Al-MasriAfter the January 7 attack on French weekly Charlie Hebdo, Imam Tareq Yousef Al-Masri delivered a Friday sermon in New York, where he named early Islamic jurists whose writings teach hate against other religions. “Let us admit something else. The majority of us Muslims hate the Christians,” he told the worshippers, adding: “If you have cancer, it won’t help you if I tell you that you have the flu.” During a Friday sermon in Birmingham, Imam Abu Usamah At-Thahabi urged British Muslims to talk to their children so they are not trapped by ISIS. Imam Hassen Chalghoumi of Paris-based Drancy mosque, speaking on Al-Arabiya TV, noted that about 1,000 French jihadists did not go to Syria “as tourists” and argued for deterrence. Saudi Arabia has deterrence, he reminded, in the form of 15 years in prison.

 Salman Husaini NadwiJordanian columnist Zaid Nabulsi called for recognising the problem with Islam, saying: “It is time to speak out. ‘Islam is innocent’ is an incomplete sentence.” He reminded that 120 Islamic scholars sent congratulatory letters to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. Indian cleric Syed Salman Husaini Nadwi was among them. “To understand the crisis of Muslims today, one has to remember that Wahhabism exists in several textbooks containing the alleged sayings of the Prophet Muhammad,” said Nabulsi, urging clerics to reform Islamic texts. Iraqi columnist Aziz Al-Hajj touched on the crux of the Muslim problem. “It is not enough for some Muslim religious leader to appear on the (television) screens in France and condemn (the Paris attacks), for it is quite possible that, a few years ago, he was one of those who encouraged the attack on Charlie Hebdo.”

Aziz Al-HajjIn Iraq where ISIS has risen, an identical force of pious Muslims known as Kharijites emerged during the rule of Islam’s fourth caliph Hazrat Ali. Like the ISIS, the Kharijites butchered Muslims in thousands by declaring them apostates. In those times, Islamic jurist Imam Abu Hanifa challenged Kharijite commander Zahhak in the Iraqi city of Kufa on his interpretation of Islam’s apostasy law. The punishments by ISIS are as per Islamic precedents. Muslims will follow Islam, but the Islamic criminal law must be declared null and void; otherwise, Muslim voices against jihadists will remain ineffective. While liberal Muslims may condemn ISIS, a conscientious Islamic cleric must rise and evolve a critique of Islam’s criminal legal code if we are to see true progress towards reform of Islam. – The New Indian Express, 2 March 2015

Offended Muslim

Young Muslims declare their opposition to rule by Islamic law – Thomas L. Friedman

ISIS tank on parade in Raqqa

Thomas Friedman“ISIS, by claiming to speak for all Muslims — and by promoting a puritanical form of Islam that takes present-day, Saudi-funded, madrassa indoctrination to its logical political conclusion — has blown the lid off some long simmering frustrations in the Arab Muslim world.” – Thomas L. Friedman

Abu Bakr al-BaghdadiThe Islamic State has visibly attracted young Muslims from all over the world to its violent movement to build a caliphate in Iraq and Syria. But here’s what’s less visible — the online backlash against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, by young Muslims declaring their opposition to rule by Islamic law, or Shariah, and even proudly avowing their atheism. Nadia Oweidat, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, who tracks how Arab youths use the Internet, says the phenomenon “is mushrooming — the brutality of the Islamic State is exacerbating the issue and even pushing some young Muslims away from Islam.”

Nadia OweidatOn Nov. 24, BBC.com published a piece on what was trending on Twitter. It began: “A growing social media conversation in Arabic is calling for the implementation of Shariah, or Islamic law, to be abandoned. Discussing religious law is a sensitive topic in many Muslim countries. But on Twitter, a hashtag which translates as ‘why we reject implementing Shariah’ has been used 5,000 times in 24 hours. The conversation is mainly taking place in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The debate is about whether religious law is suitable for the needs of Arab Alyaa Gadcountries and modern legal systems. Dr. Alyaa Gad, an Egyptian doctor living in Switzerland, started the hashtag. ‘I have nothing against religion,’ she tells BBC Trending, but says she is against ‘using it as a political system.’ ”

The BBC added that “many others joined in the conversation, using the hashtag, listing reasons why Arabs and Muslims should abandon Shariah. ‘Because there’s not a single positive example of it bringing justice and equality,’ one man tweeted. … A Saudi woman commented: ‘By adhering to Shariah we are adhering to inhumane laws. Saudi Arabia is saturated with the blood of those executed by Sharia.’ ”

Ismail MohamedIsmail Mohamed, an Egyptian on a mission to create freedom of conscience there, started a program called “Black Ducks” to offer a space where agnostic and atheist Arabs can speak freely about their right to choose what they believe and resist coercion and misogyny from religious authorities. He is part of a growing Arab Atheists Network. For Arab news written by Arabs that gets right in the face of autocrats and religious extremists also check out freearabs.com.

Another voice getting attention is Brother Rachid, a Moroccan who created his own YouTube network to deliver his message of tolerance and to expose examples of intolerance within his former Muslim faith community. (He told me he’s converted to Christianity, preferring its “God of love.”)

Brother RachidIn this recent segment on YouTube, which has been viewed 500,000 times, Brother Rachid addressed President Obama:

“Dear Mr. President, I must tell you that you are wrong about ISIL. You said ISIL speaks for no religion. I am a former Muslim. My dad is an imam. I have spent more than 20 years studying Islam. … I can tell you with confidence that ISIL speaks for Islam. … ISIL’s 10,000 members are all Muslims. … They come from different countries and have one common denominator: Islam. They are following Islam’s Prophet Muhammad in every detail. … They have called for a caliphate, which is a central doctrine in Sunni Islam.”

He continued: “I ask you, Mr. President, to stop being politically correct — to call things by their names. ISIL, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al Shabab in Somalia, the Taliban, and their sister brand names, are all made in Islam. Unless the Muslim world deals with Islam and separates religion from state, we will never end this cycle. … If Islam is not the problem, then why is it there are millions of Christians in the Middle East and yet none of them has ever blown up himself to become a martyr, even though they live under the same economic and political circumstances and even worse? … Mr. President, if you really want to fight terrorism, then fight it at the roots. How many Saudi sheikhs are preaching hatred? How many Islamic channels are indoctrinating people and teaching them violence from the Quran and the Hadith? … How many Islamic schools are producing generations of teachers and students who believe in jihad and martyrdom and fighting the infidels?”

Iraqi soldier's heads by ISISISIS, by claiming to speak for all Muslims — and by promoting a puritanical form of Islam that takes present-day, Saudi-funded, madrassa indoctrination to its logical political conclusion — has blown the lid off some long simmering frustrations in the Arab Muslim world.

As an outsider, I can’t say how widespread this is. But clearly there is a significant group of Muslims who feel that their government-backed preachers and religious hierarchies have handed them a brand of Islam that does not speak to them. These same authorities have also denied them the critical thinking tools and religious space to imagine new interpretations. So a few, like Brother Rachid, leave Islam for a different faith and invite others to come along. And some seem to be quietly detaching Obama also has a Christian agenda for South Asiafrom religion entirely — fed up with being patronized by politically correct Westerners telling them what Islam is not and with being tyrannized by self-appointed Islamist authoritarians telling them what Islam is. Now that the Internet has created free, safe, alternative spaces and platforms to discuss these issues, outside the mosques and government-owned media, this war of ideas is on. – The New York Times, 6 December 2014

» Thomas Loren Friedman is an American journalist, columnist and author. He writes a twice-weekly column for The New York Times and has written extensively on foreign affairs including global trade, the Middle East, globalization, and environmental issues, and has won the Pulitzer Prize three times.

Khorasan Hadith: The dubious prophecy that inspires Muslim terrorists – Michael Crowley

Khorasan Hadith

Michael Crowley“The prophecy—attributed to the Prophet Muhammad but which many experts call of dubious origin—imagines a Muslim army emerging from the Khorasan region and conquering the Middle East, including Jerusalem, under their black flags. This great victory, Soufan writes, amounts to ‘the Islamic version of Armageddon.'” – Michael Crowley 

Abu Jandal  (Nasser al-Bahri)It was six days after the Sept. 11 attacks, and with dark smoke still rising from lower Manhattan, Ali Soufan was face-to-face with the most senior al-Qaeda leader in American custody.

Soufan, an FBI counterterrorism agent, was inside a Yemen prison, interrogating a captured al-Qaeda operative named Abu Jandal, a former bodyguard and confidante to Osama bin Laden.

He continued with a grin: “The hadith says … ‘If you see the black banners coming from Khurasan, join that army, even if you have to crawl over ice; no power will be able to stop them.’”

Soufan recognized this Islamic saying immediately, and interrupted Abu Jandal to complete it: “And they will finally reach Baitul Maqdis [Jerusalem], where they will erect their flags,” he said.

The grin was gone. “‘You know the hadith?” Abu Jandal asked with surprise. “Do you really work for the FBI?’”

Abu Jandal had failed to appreciate that knowing the Khorasan hadith was part of the job of an Islamic terrorism expert like Soufan. As the former FBI agent explains in his 2013 book The Black Banners, the hadith of Khorasan — sometimes also spelled Khurasan — is fundamental to radical Islamist ideology. A prophecy describing a Muslim army from Central Asia storming across the Middle East and into Jerusalem has long inspired violent jihadists.

Muhsin al-FadhliThe hadith of Khorasan is newly relevant thanks to the disclosure by U.S. officials of a terrorist group by that name operating in Syria. The Khorasan Group was a surprise target of American air strikes in Syria on Monday night mostly aimed at the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).

While America obsessed over ISIS in recent weeks, Khorasan remained unknown to the public until this month. President Obama had never publicly mentioned its name before Tuesday morning. But U.S. officials say they have tracked the group for two years.

Khorasan, they explain, consists of about two dozen members of al-Qaeda’s core leadership. Previously based in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, the men recently relocated to Syria. Unlike al-Qaeda operatives who fight the Syrian regime under the name of al-Nusra Front, the members of Khorasan reportedly took advantage of the country’s lawlessness exclusively to plot terrorist attacks against the West. (Officials are trying to confirm whether the group’s leader, Muhsin al-Fadhli, was killed in Monday night’s strikes.)

Even as Americans try to understand this new threat, many terrorism analysts are skeptical of the moniker. They question whether Khorasan truly constitutes an independent group, or simply a clique within al-Qaeda.

“I’d certainly never heard of this group while working at the agency,” says Aki Peritz, a CIA counterterrorism analyst until 2009 and co-author of Find, Fix, Finish. Peritz wonders if the group is meaningfully different from bin Laden’s al-Qaeda. “If senior members from a company’s headquarters go work in a branch office, are they still part of the main office or a superempowered part of the branch?” Peritz says. “It’s not like al-Qaeda operatives carry business cards.”

Peritz isn’t alone in his skepticism. “We used the term [Khorasan] inside the government, we don’t know where it came from,” Robert Ford, who served until this spring as Obama’s ambassador to Syria, told al-Jazeera on Wednesday. “All I know is that they don’t call themselves that.” Two U.S. intelligence officials did not respond to requests for comment on the name’s origins.

Amid that confusion, however, it’s clear that the word Khorasan sheds important light on the grandiose, even apocalyptic vision that drives many Sunni radicals to terrorism.

Khorasan (later called Parthia)The word itself refers to a historic region centered around modern Afghanistan and which spills into Iran, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It was once an important part of the pre-Ottoman Islamic caliphate.

The prophecy cited by Abu Jandal — attributed to the Prophet Muhammad but which many experts call of dubious origin — imagines a Muslim army emerging from the region and conquering the Middle East, including Jerusalem, under their black flags. This great victory, Soufan writes, amounts to “the Islamic version of Armageddon.”

Soufan says many of the al-Qaeda operatives he has interviewed believed they were helping to fulfill the Khorasan prophecy.

Bin Laden was well aware of Khorasan. As former State Department counterterrorrism official Daniel Benjamin notes in the new issue of TIME, the founder of al-Qaeda announced from Afghanistan in 1996 that he had found “a safe base … in the high Hindu Kush mountains in Khorasan.” Bin Laden may have chosen al-Qaeda’s black flag as an homage to mythical black banner. The ISIS flag is also mostly black.

Several videos are available online telling the story the black-flag Islamic army. One of them, titled The Emergence of Prophecy: The Black Flags of Khorasan, was part of a YouTube playlist created by the slain 2013 Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

The 13-minute video, which depicts the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as a sign of the prophecy’s fruition, summons Muslims to join the battle.

It is still available online. – Time, 25 September 2014

Black banners of ISIS