An Interesting Choice

The Washington Times is reporting today that Donald Trump has asked Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn to be his national security advisor. General Flynn is an interesting character who speaks very bluntly and has the background for the position.

The article reports:

Flynn, who turns 58 in December, is a native of Middletown, Rhode Island. He graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 1981 with a degree in management science and was commissioned a second lieutenant in military intelligence. He held various positions in military intelligence throughout his career, including director of intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the top intelligence officer for the commander of the U.S.-led international military coalition in Afghanistan in 2009-10.

According to a biography published by the DIA during his time as its director, Flynn’s academic credentials include three graduate degrees: a master’s in telecommunications from Golden Gate University; a master’s in military arts and sciences from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; and a master’s in national security and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Island.

He drew public attention in January 2010, during his time in Afghanistan, for his unorthodox decision to have a Washington think tank, the Center for a New American Security, publish his critique of the U.S. intelligence system in Afghanistan.

The report said: “Having focused the overwhelming majority of its collection efforts and analytical brainpower on insurgent groups, the vast intelligence apparatus is unable to answer fundamental questions about the environment in which U.S. and allied forces operate.”

I disagree with General Flynn on Turkey. The article states:

Flynn’s dark warnings about Islam have not extended to the Islamist-leaning authoritarian Turkish government headed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In an op-ed for the Washington newspaper The Hill just before the election, Flynn wrote that “our ally Turkey” needs support and echoed Erdogan’s warnings that a “shady” Turkish leader now exiled in Pennsylvania should not be given safe harbor in the U.S. Erdogan has called for the extradition of the exile, Fethullah Gullen, but the Obama administration has made no move to comply.

Under President Erdogan, Turkey is moving toward becoming an Islamic state. The only advantage in supporting the current government of Turkey is that a change of government through a revolution might result in a civil war and failed state similar to what we have seen in Syria.

Overall, I think General Flynn is a very good choice as national security advisor. He will oppose the spread of radical Islam in ways that the Obama Administration did not. He is also someone who is going to be honest as to what we are up against and the current risk of terrorism.

Failed Coup In Turkey May Not Have Been As It Appeared

PJ Media posted a story this morning about the military coup in Turkey last night. As I have previously stated, I was hoping that the military would oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and move the country back toward a secular democracy. Unfortunately, that did not happen. It should also be noted that President Obama supported President Erdogan rather than the military who were attempting to undo President Erdogan’s move toward becoming an Islamic state. However, there may be another aspect to this story that is not being widely reported.

The article at PJ Media reports:

…Both Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called into news programs and told their supporters to go out on the streets and fight back against the soldiers. A short while later, streets in the big cities (Ankara and Izmir) were flooded with Erdogan-supporters, who even climbed on top of tanks. Fast forward a few hours and it was officially announced that the coup had failed, and that Erdogan and his AK Party remained in power. About 1500 soldiers were arrested.

As I wrote on Twitter yesterday, there were three options:

  1. The coup was staged by a small group within the military, which would severely limit their ability to strike.
  2. The coup was staged by the entire military, which meant Erdogan’s chances of surviving politically were extremely small.
  3. The coup was a set-up. Think the Reichstag fire.

The main argument against option number three is that there was some very serious fighting taking place, including massive explosions. Dozens of people have been killed. If this was a fake coup, it probably was the bloodiest one ever. That’s why many people are skeptical about this option, and believe it was just an incompetent attempt at a military takeover.

The article also mentions the possible result of the coup. President Erdogan will undoubtedly move against those who were (or who he decides were) involved in the coup. He will consolidate his power and move Turkey closer to an Islamic state. It will be interesting to see what impact this coup will have on the recent agreement signed with Israel.

Turkey is a member of NATO.  At best, that is awkward for the west–as Turkey moves closer to being an Islamic state, that alliance is going to be severely strained.

The article at PJ Media concludes:

Of course we now have to see what Erdogan’s government will do. More than 100 soldiers involved in the coup have been killed, military commanders were taken hostage, and Erdogan has vowed revenge. As anyone with even a bit of knowledge of history knows, the crackdowns after a failed coup can be as bad as the crackdown after a successful military takeover. Erdogan already wanted to change Turkey’s constitution and change the system into a so-called presidential system, meaning most if not all power would reside in his office. Nobody doubts that this is exactly what’ll happen now: he’ll draw all power to himself and ignite a major cleansing, possibly not only of the military and police forces, but also in politics itself.

The only possibly conclusion, then, is: no matter what, democracy will suffer a major setback in Turkey. We can only hope and pray that the consequences will be less severe than I fear.

I don’t know if it would have made a difference if President Obama had supported the coup. It is interesting to me that he was ready to depose dictators when the Muslim Brotherhood was in the wings, but not when a coup might have resulted in freedom for the people of Turkey.

Another Perspective On The Middle East Turmoil

The Middle East Forum is one of the few honest sources of news from the Middle East. They have a history of telling the truth regardless of where it leads.

On April 28 the Middle East Forum posted an article about Turkey’s involvement in the Syrian Civil War. One of the things to remember when evaluating the role of Turkey is their hostility to the Kurds. One thing that would help bring stability to the Middle East would be an independent Kurdish state. Turkey fears that because that state would be a true secular state on the Turkish border. As Turkey moves closer to being an Islamic state, that situation would not be acceptable. There have been numerous reports of Turkey using military equipment provided by America against Kurdish forces.

The article in the Middle East Forum reports:

On March 24, a Turkish court released seven members of IS, including the commander of the jihadists’ operations on Turkish soil. A total of 96 suspects are on trial, including the seven men who were detained but released. All are free now, although the indictment against them claims that they

engaged in the activities of the terrorist organization called DAESH [Arabic acronym of IS]. The suspects had sent persons to the conflict zones; they applied pressure, force, violence and threats by using the name of the terrorist organization, and they had provided members and logistic support for the group.

The release of terror suspects came in sharp contrast with another court decision that ruled for a trial, but while under detention, for four academics who had signed a petition calling for peace in Turkey’s Kurdish dispute. Unlike the IS militants, the academics remain behind bars.

The article further reports:

Russia has been claiming that Turkey keeps supporting the Islamic State through trading the jihadists’ oil, their main source of income. A new report claims that total supplies to terrorists in Syria last year was 2,500 tons of ammonium nitrate; 456 tons of potassium nitrate; 75 tons of aluminum powder; sodium nitrate; glycerin; and nitric acid. The report stated:

In order to pass through the border controls unimpeded, effectively with the complicity of the Turkish authorities, products are processed for companies that are purportedly registered in Jordan and Iraq … Registration and processing of the cargo are organized at customs posts in the [Turkish] cities of Antalya, Gaziantep and Mersin. Once the necessary procedures have been carried out, the goods pass unhindered through the border crossings at Cilvegozu and Oncupinar.

Turkey keeps playing a fake war on jihadist terrorists. At a March meeting with top U.S. officials, King Abdullah of Jordan accused Turkey of exporting terrorists to Europe. He said: “The fact that terrorists are going to Europe is part of Turkish policy and Turkey keeps on getting a slap on the hand, but they are let off the hook.”

…Apparently, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s declared political ambition to “raise devout generations” seems to have geared up. Turkey’s Religious Affairs General Directorate (Diyanet), the ultimate official religious authority in the country, recently issued comic books to the nation’s children telling them how marvelous it is to become an Islamic martyr.

One comic strip is a dialogue between a father and his son. “How marvelous it is to become a martyr,” the father says. Unconvinced, the son asks: “Would anyone want to become a martyr?” And the father replies: “Yes, one would. Who doesn’t want to win heaven?”

And this is the country its Western allies believe will help them fight jihadists? Lots of luck!

We need to reevaluate our policies in the Middle East. Common sense is not part of our current policy.

 

The Attack On Christianity In Turkey

The U.K. Express posted an article on Friday about the attack on Christian churches in Turkey.

The article reports:

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken control of six churches in the war-torn southeastern city of Diyarbakir in his latest move to squash freedom of speech and religious movement. 

The state-sanctioned seizure is just the latest in a number of worrying developments to come out of increasingly hardline Turkey, which is in advanced talks with the EU over visa-free travel for its 80 million citizens.

Included in the seizures are Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches, one of which is over 1,700 years old.

The churches are now considered state property.

The article reports the ‘justification’ for seizing the churches:

The order to seize the churches was made on March 25 by Erdogan’s council of ministers, according to the website World Watch Monitor. 

They claim it was made on the grounds that authorities intend to rebuild and restore the historical centre of the city, which has been partially destroyed by 10 months of urban conflict between government forces and militants from the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK). 

President Erdogan has been moving Turkey toward a caliphate since he took office. He has replaced many of the top military leaders in the country with Islamists who support Sharia Law. He has moved away from his alliance with Israel and closer to alliances with Muslim Countries. He has also used the Syrian Civil War as a shield to hide his actions against the Kurds. He does not want the Kurds to have their own country, and has been using the cover of the Syrian Civil War to attack them as they have been fighting ISIS.

Christians in the Middle East are under attack. The only country where they are safe is Israel. Israel is also the country in the Middle East where the Arabs who live there have the most freedom and there is a Middle Class. Israel is truly the only free country in the Middle East.

When We Ignore The Words Of Those Who Know…

PJ Media posted an article by Andrew McCarthy today about last night’s events in Paris. Mr. McCarthy references an article he wrote after the Charlie Hebdo attacks called Islam and Free Speech which is part of a series published by Encounter Books.

The following is from that article:

How did we get to this historical anomaly in France where, as the estimable scholar Daniel Pipes observes, “a majority population accepts the customs and even the criminality of a poorer and weaker community”? It is the result of a conquest ideology taking the measure of a civilization that no longer values its heritage, no longer regards itself as worthy of defense.

France’s population of 66 million is now approximately 10 percent Islamic. Estimates are sketchy because, in a vestige of its vanishing secularist tradition, France does not collect census data about religious affiliation. Still, between 6 and 7 million Muslims are reasonably believed to be resident in the country (Pew put the total at 4.7 million back in 2010 – other analysts peg it higher today). To many in France, the number seems higher, due to both the outsize influence of Islamist activists on the political class and the dense Muslim communities in and around Paris – approximating 15 percent of the local population. An online poll conducted by Ipsos Mosi in 2014 found that the average French citizen believes Muslims make up about a third of the country’s population.

When refugees assimilate, there is no problem. When refugees refuse to assimilate, there is a problem.

Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, A Qatar-based Egyptian octogenarian, is a Muslim Brotherhood icon. He is considered the world’s most influential sharia jurist. He has stated:

Were we to convince Western leaders and decision-makers of our right to live according to our faith — ideologically, legislatively, and ethically — without imposing our views or inflicting harm upon them, we would have traversed an immense barrier in our quest for an Islamic state.

The article at PJ Media states:

The key to the conquest strategy is to coerce the West into accepting a Muslim right to resist assimilation, to regard sharia as superseding Western law and custom when the two conflict. For precisely this reason, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation – a bloc of 56 Muslim countries (plus the Palestinian Authority) – has decreed that “Muslims should not be marginalized or attempted to be assimilated, but should be accommodated.” Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Islamist president of Turkey who has systematically dismantled that country’s secular, pro-Western system, similarly pronounces that pressuring Muslims to assimilate in the West “is a crime against humanity.”

Free expression is the gateway to assimilation. Consequently, radical Islam cannot tolerate it.

France has had “no go zones” for years–places where non-Muslims are not welcome. These zones are places where jihadist activity can flourish without restraint.

The article concludes:

Some of these zones inevitably evolve into hotbeds of jihadist activity. As the Gatestone Institute’s Soeren Kern notes, there has been no shortage of Internet traffic suggesting, for example, “the killing of France’s ambassadors, just as the manly Libyan fighters killed the U.S. ambassador in Benghazi.” In a low-intensity jihadist thrum stretching back several years, the torching of automobiles has become a commonplace – as many as 40,000 cars burned annually. Perhaps most alarmingly, over a thousand French Muslims, more than from any other Western country, are estimated to have traveled to Syria to fight for ISIS – meaning many will return to the country as trained, battle-hardened jihadists. Beyond the direct ISIS participants, moreover, the Washington Post has reported that a recent poll found 16 percent of French citizens expressing some degree of support for ISIS – an organization whose rule over the vast territory it has seized is best known for decapitations, rapine, the execution of homosexuals, mass graves, and the enslavement of non-Muslim communities.

Once one grasps the voluntary apartheid strategy, it becomes obvious why radical Islam’s inroads in France, and elsewhere in Europe, seamlessly translate into demands for the enforcement of sharia’s curbs on speech and artistic expression. What is not so obvious is just how profound a challenge to the West this constitutes.

Western civilization is in a war for its survival. The question is whether or not we will fight that war. Whether we fight that war or not, the jihadists will fight it.

We need to pray for France, but we also need to pray for western civilization. That is what is on the line.

Trying To Turn Turkey Into An Islamic State

This article is based on a Wall Street Journal Article and a Wall Street Journal Editorial from today’s Wall Street Journal.

If you have been reading this website for a while, you are familiar with what has been going on in Turkey recently and how it relates to the end of the Ottoman Empire. So please forgive me for repeating myself, but this is relevant to today’s events.

On 29 October 1923, the Republic of Turkey was proclaimed. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, a Turkish Army officer, was the first President of Turkey. His goal was to set up a secular state rather than an Islamic state. The Ottoman Empire, which Turkey had been part of, was an Islamic Caliphate. Ataturk was looking toward the future and felt that it was in Turkey’s best interests to become a secular state aligned with the West. Ataturk banned the growing of beards by men and the wearing of headscarves by women. He banned the call to prayer by muezzins, abolished the Turkish script and replaced it with the Latin alphabet. In response to the secularization of Turkey, Hassan al Banna founded the Ikhwan al-Muslimin, the Muslim Brotherhood, in Egypt with the goal of forming a new Islamic caliphate.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been in office since 2014. From 2003 to 2014 he was the Prime Minister of Turkey. During his time as Prime Minister and during his time as President, he has attempted to move the country back to an Islamic state. He has purged military leaders that opposed him, and moved his diplomatic ties away from Israel and toward the Arab countries in the region. In June, the election in Turkey undermined his control of the nation and the direction in which he was going. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its majority in parliament.

The article in the Wall Street Journal states:

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the snap election on Monday but didn’t set a date.

On Tuesday, Mr. Erdogan tasked his handpicked successor Ahmet Davutoglu with heading an interim administration. Mr. Davutoglu heads the biggest bloc in parliament, the Justice and Development Party or AKP. He will run the government through the vote and until the next national assembly is seated.

In the last election in June, voters delivered Turkey’s first hung parliament since 2002. Following two months of fruitless coalition talks, Mr. Davutoglu failed to form a government.

Mr. Erdogan then broke with political custom and refused to offer the main opposition party the chance to cobble together its own coalition.

The Wall Street Journal editorial states:

Now Mr. Erdogan seems to hope that an electoral do-over will flip enough marginal seats back to the AKP to restore the party’s simple majority. Politicians in parliamentary democracies often resort to such a tactic, sometimes to good effect. But Mr. Erdogan’s bad faith since his June defeat suggests this is another attempted power grab. The same goes for his efforts to demonize, falsely, the HDP as the political arm of militant Kurdish separatists who have been staging terror attacks inside the country.

All of this is happening as Ankara finally seems to have gotten serious about the Islamic State menace. In the meantime, Turkey’s economy is faltering and peace talks with Kurdish separatists have collapsed. Turkey could use a leader capable of taking his electoral lumps and working within the parliamentary system. Too bad Mr. Erdogan is mainly interested in boosting his own power.

Turkey never really reached its goal of a totally secular state. A friend of mine who worked with a Christian church in Turkey a few years ago told me that it would have been unwise to put a sign in front of the church designating it as a Christian church. Theoretically there was freedom of religion, but it was also suggested that Christians keep their heads down.

We have to find our allies where we can in the Middle East, but we need to remember that the only Middle Eastern country that truly practices freedom of religion is Israel. Israel is the only ally that we can actually count on in that region of the world.