The Turkish Vote

Bloomberg posted an article yesterday about the results of the referendum in Turkey. The results of the election are not good news for freedom-loving people in Turkey or in the Middle East.

The article reports:

Turkey voted to hand Recep Tayyip Erdogan sweeping authority in the most radical overhaul since the republic was founded 93 years ago on the expectation he’ll safeguard security amid regional wars and kickstart the economy.

The referendum won approval of 51.3 percent to 48.7 percent of Turks, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency, as opposition parties alleged fraud and the European Union branded it as unfair. Once implemented, Erdogan will have authority to appoint ministers and top judges at his discretion and call elections at any time. It will also give him much greater sway over fiscal policy and may deepen investors’ concerns about the independence of the central bank.

The win “represents a blow to the assumption that liberal or even in some cases hybrid democracies are structured to prevent authoritarian figures from hijacking the political system,” Anthony Skinner, a director with U.K.-based forecasting company Verisk Maplecroft, said before the results were declared.

Erdogan triumphed by appealing to voters in the small towns that dot the Anatolian heartland where he won overwhelmingly. These Turks want a firm hand at the helm to combat the resurgence of terrorism, fight Kurdish separatism and Islamic State in Syria and defend Turkey’s global interests. The result is a victory not only for him, but for type of authoritarian system exemplified by Vladimir Putin that has gained admirers around the world.

It helps when looking at this situation to look at some of the history of Turkey and some of its current friends. Turkey is a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) as well as a member of NATO. The OIC describes itself as “the collective voice of the Muslim world” and works to “safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony.” It’s important to note here that the definition of peace under Sharia Law is the subjugation of all countries and people of the world to Sharia Law. This is not a group that favors democracy.

Historically, Turkey was the heart of the Ottoman Empire, which was defeated in World War I.  In 1924, Ataturk (Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Republic of Turkey, serving as its first President from 1923 until his death in 1938) enacted a new constitution in Turkey. The new constitution instituted laws and jurisprudence much like European laws. There was also a thorough secularization of modernization of the administration. The dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the secularization of Turkey caused Hassan al Banna to found the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in 1928 with the purpose of unifying the Islamic states under a new caliphate.

We need to remember that the Ottoman Empire was dissolved less than one hundred years ago. There are still many Muslims who want to bring back the caliphate. I suspect that in addition to his desire to obtain more power and more control, Recep Tayyip Erdogan may well be moving in the direction he feels will bring back the caliphate.

 

 

Bad Behavior By A Supposed NATO Ally

The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that Dion Nissenbaum, a Wall Street Journal staff reporter, was detained for 2 1/2 days last week and not allowed to communicate with either his family or an attorney.

The article reports:

Mr. Nissenbaum’s detention came amid a broader crackdown on press freedom in Turkey, where dozens of reporters, mainly Turkish, are behind bars. Since the summer, Turkey, where the government has imposed a state of emergency, has closed more than 100 domestic media outlets.

While in custody, Mr. Nissenbaum, a U.S. citizen, was denied access to lawyers despite repeated requests, he said. He also wasn’t allowed to contact his family or his employer. Mr. Nissenbaum said authorities told him he was under investigation, but they declined to say for what.

It is time to reevaluate our relationship with Turkey. Turkey is moving closer to Russia, but at the same time President Erdogan is also moving toward the establishment of an Islamic state. At some time in the future, that will be a problem for the relationship between Turkey and Russia, but right now that relationship is useful to both countries. Erdogan wants to end any idea of an independent Kurdish nation by crushing the Kurds and Russia wants to keep Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power. Right now, they can work together. It is anyone’s guess as to how long that alliance will last. Erdogan’s goal is to recreate the Ottoman Empire. As a Muslim, Erdogan would be quite comfortable with the Islamic principle of taqiyya (deceit or dissimulation, particularly toward infidels–Quran 3:28 and 16:106). Much like Putin, former KGB, would have no problem using Erdogan for his own purposes, Erdogan would have no problem lying to Putin for his own purposes. Good luck to both of them, they deserve each other.

I think it’s time to reconsider the role of Turkey in NATO. As much as it would be nice to have a country in NATO that would be a bridge between east and west, I think Turkey has shown by its actions that it is not that country.

 

 

How Do Federal Regulations Affect You?

On Wednesday, The Daily Signal posted an article entitled, “The Federal Regulations That Affect Your Thanksgiving Foods.” Federal regulations seem like a remote concept (unless you are trying to run a small business and adhere to them), so I thought this article needed to be shared.

The article reports:

Let us also give thanks that the Obama administration will soon cease, albeit leaving behind more than 21,000 regulations that President Barack Obama’s regulators issued, and which increased regulatory costs by more than $100 billion annually.

The burden of this vast administrative state is crushing America’s entrepreneurial spirit, productivity, and economic growth.

Independent estimates find that total regulatory costs are exceeding $2 trillion annually—more than is collected in income taxes each year.

So what are some of the regulations that impact Thanksgiving?

Turkey. Title 9, Part 381.76, of the Code of Federal Regulations directs turkey inspectors on the proper method of examining a frozen bird, to wit: “If a carcass is frozen, it shall be thoroughly thawed before being opened for examination by the inspector. Each carcass, or all parts comprising such carcass, shall be examined by the inspector, except for parts that are not needed for inspection.”

Cranberries. Title 7, Part 929, establishes a “marketing committee” overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to set quotas on the volume of cranberries shipped to handlers from growers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, and Long Island, New York. The grower “allotments” help to ensure that the price of cranberries remains artificially high.

Bread/Rolls. Title 21, Part 136, requires anything labeled as “bread” in a bakery to weigh one-half pound or more after cooling. To be legally called a “roll,” each unit must weigh less than one-half pound after cooling.

Potatoes. Title 7, Part 51.1546, dictates the proportion of allowable defects among specific grades of spuds. Potatoes graded as “U.S. No. 1” may not exceed the following tolerances at the point of shipping: 5 percent for external defects, 5 percent for internal defects, and not more than a total of 1 percent for potatoes that are frozen or affected by soft rot or wet breakdown. An entirely different set of tolerances apply to U.S. No. 1 potatoes while en route or upon reaching the destination, while similar standards are also set for “commercial” grade potatoes, “U.S. No. 2” potatoes, and “off-size” potatoes.

The list goes on to include green beans, cornmeal (used in stuffing) and pecans. How did we ever exist when we simply bought produce from local farmers that they grew in the ground and sold? Incidentally, I am on my way to the Farmers’ Market this morning!

We can be thankful that this insanity will be coming to an end.

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.

Why There Is A Coup In Turkey

The news tonight is that there is a military coup happening in Turkey. The plan is to remove President Erdogan from office. So how did we get here?

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 2015, 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.

When Ataturk set up the secular state in Turkey, he regarded the military as the safety valve in case the democracy was in danger. In recent years, President Erdogan has removed military leaders that he believed would be a threat. Evidently he missed a few.

The latest story I have is from the UK Daily Mail Online. The UK Daily Mail reports:

The Turkish military has announced it has taken control and overthrown the government of Recep Erdogan as troops round up police and attack the capital Ankara

Eyewitnesses have reported attack helicopters firing machine guns in the capital Ankara in a bid to depose the Islamic government.

The military said they have taken control in order to protect human rights, however, prime minister Binali Yildirim said only a ‘faction’ was involved. 

Fast attack jets and helicopters were heard above Ankara and Istanbul after the military confirmed they had seized control of the country,.  

Istanbul’s Bosphorus Bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge were both closed after the military deployed roadblocks. 

Tracer fire from Turkish military helicopters was spotted over Ankara with fast attack jets flying combat air patrols over the city.

President Erdogan is reported ‘as safe’. A spokesman for the Turkish government claimed the coup has been unsuccessful and they are still in power. 

Erdogan used FaceTime to talk to a journalist on a privately run TV station to stress he was still in control of the country and warned of retaliation.  

If this coup is successful, it changes the balance of power in the Middle East. Before President Erdogan, Turkey was aligned with Israel in fighting terrorism. Turkey is a member of NATO, but as Turkey moved toward an Islamic State, that became an uneasy alliance. There have been reports that military aid given to Turkey under President Erdogan has been used to fight the Kurds–not to help in the battle against ISIS. A successful coup would be good news for the war against terror and good news for the freedom of the Turkish people.

 

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.

Balance In American Education

One educational issue that has recently come up in American schools is the teaching of Islam. Although most Americans agree that it is appropriate for students to learn about Islam, many parents have been alarmed at what seems to be the indoctrination of students into Islam.

In October 2015, the Clarion Project posted the following about a recent law passed in Tennessee to make sure students are not being indoctrinated:

Charges of indoctrination by Tennessee parents are reminiscent of a case in California where a federal lawsuit was filed against the Byron Union School District concerning a three-week course about Islam seventh-graders that used the workbook, Islam, A simulation of Islamic history and culture.

In the California school, 12-year old students were told:                                                                  

I have never seem a similar lesson in a public school regarding Christianity. Again, I believe that it is appropriate to teach the basics of Islam (as it is appropriate to teach the basics of Christianity and Judaism). Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are considered the major religions of the world, and I believe it is to our advantage to let our students know the basic facts of each. Indoctrination is an entirely different matter.

Tennessee has taken action in this matter.

This is the text of the Tennessee bill:

HOUSE BILL 1418

By Butt

AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49, Chapter 6, Part 10, relative to curriculum for K–12 public schools.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE:

SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49, Chapter 6, Part 10, is amended by adding the following language as a new, appropriately designated section:

(a) The state board of education shall not include religious doctrine in any curriculum standards

for grades prior to grades ten through twelve (10–12).

(b) The state board shall provide curriculum standards for grades ten (10), eleven (11), or twelve (12) that teach comparative religion as it relates to history or geography, but no religion shall be emphasized or focused on over another religion.

(c) If the curriculum standards in grades prior to grades ten through twelve (10–12) include a reference to a specific religion or the role and importance of a religion in history or geography, then the state board shall ensure that the reference does not amount to teaching any form of religious doctrine to the students.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law, the public welfare requiring it.

In January, the bill was sent to the Education Instruction & Programs Subcommittee. It is not yet passed.

I am not sure exactly what was being taught in Tennessee, but the fact that the California curriculum included declaring Jihad on another group is an indication that this curriculum is not as harmless as it should be.

Part of the teaching of the Koran is the idea that Muslims are obligated to spread Islam peacefully or violently. The ultimate goal is a worldwide caliphate. That is not an abstract concept, and we are not immune from that quest. We need to remember that the Ottoman Empire existed until the early 1900’s. That was the caliphate. The goal is to recreate it with America included in it. Part of the methodology in including America involves the education of our children at all levels. The Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) is operating in our colleges with that goal in mind. Organizations (named as unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation trial) include CAIR, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the North American Islamic Trust and others. For further information on the plan to bring America into the caliphate, please see the official Federal Court translation of Government Exhibit 0036-0085 3:04-CR-240-G in U.S. v Holy Land Foundation, et al. with punctuation, line spacing and spelling intact. You can find that document by googling “Holy Land Foundation exhibits.” It is a document all Americans need to be aware of. It is eye-opening.

 

Does The Truth Change The Impact Of The Picture?

We have all seen the recent picture of a three-year-old boy who drowned as his family was traveling to Europe from Turkey. The story surrounding the picture was that the family was fleeing the violence in Syria. The facts are somewhat different.

On Monday The Daily Caller reported that Abdullah Kurdi, the boy’s father, had been living in a relatively safe part of Turkey for the past three years. The family was not fleeing the war in Syria, they were traveling to Europe in order for Abdullah Kurdi to have his teeth fixed. The trip was financed by a relative in Canada. It was reported that the family had sought asylum in Canada and been turned down, but that was also proven to be false.

The facts are important, but have gotten lost in the impact of the picture.

The truth does not change the fact that there is a refugee crisis. The truth does not change the fact that unscrupulous people are making a lot of money bringing people out of Turkey on boats that are not safe. The truth does not change the fact that western countries need to take some of these refugees in. However, the the truth also does not change the fact that because the majority of these refugees are healthy young men–not families–they need to be vetted carefully or we may find ourselves importing terrorists into western countries in the name of charity.

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.

What Coalition?

The Hill is reporting today that Turkey has stated that it will not allow the United States to use its military bases in Turkey as operational bases against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The article reports:

National security adviser Susan Rice said Sunday on NBC that Turkey agreed to let the U.S. use its bases and territory, including the Incirlik air base in southern Turkey, to train moderate Syrian rebels.

“That’s the new commitment, and one that we very much welcome,” she said.

However, on Monday, Turkish officials denied reaching such a deal, according to local media reports that said both sides were continuing to discuss the use of the military bases and Turkey’s airspace.

Turkey does not want the United States doing anything that will strengthen Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. Turkey also does not want anything to happen in the area that will strengthen the Kurds.

The awkward situation regarding Turkey, a supposed United States ally, illustrates the complexity of meddling in the Middle East. Every country where America has toppled a tyrannical dictator has disintegrated into chaos. Our ‘good deeds’ have resulted in people dying and an increase in Christian persecution. Oddly enough, I am not including the ousting of Saddam Hussein in this statement. The problem with Saddam Hussein is that had he been left in place, the United Nations would have been totally destroyed. As much as I would not object to the end of the United Nations, it is the world umpire we are currently dealing with and Saddam Hussein was thumbing his nose at the United Nations on a regular basis. Saddam Hussein had violated every condition of the peace treaty signed after the first Gulf War and he needed to be reminded that his behavior was unacceptable.

It is time to put an adviser in the White House that has some understanding of the Middle East. Right now we seem to be lacking that expertise.

 

A Solution To The Middle East Problem From Someone Who Would Know

Lieutenant General William “Jerry” Boykin posted the following on his Facebook page:

 

I have hesitated to write this posting because I have been trying to find an alternative to what I will propose here.

The situation with ISIS is very serious now as I am sure that everyone is aware. The Obama administration is totally inept and not serious about reducing the threat to America and American interests. These airstrikes are not effective because they have not been well directed at real targets in most cases and they have not been in large numbers.

So what do we need to do now? I hate to recommend this but I have considered the alternatives and I find none acceptable.

We need to do 5 things right now:

1. Put forth a significant intel effort against ISIS. This includes flying drones throughout the ISIS area of operations as well as a big Human Intel and Signals Intel effort. The idea is to find ISIS targets and kill them including the leaders and the command and control nodes.

2. Put as many Special Operations teams on the ground as the US Special Operations Command calls for. They should operate with the Kurdish Peshmerga and any Sunni tribal entities who can reasonably be assessed as true anti-ISIS entities. They should be equipped with SOFLAMS (Laser Designators) for controlling air strikes.

3. Deploy ground forces of at least one full US Army Armor or Mechanized division with supporting assets to go into the urban areas and to ferret out ISIS an kill them with anti-tank systems and attack helicopters. Yep, I know this is controversial and I don’t like it either but we have to destroy ISIS and reduce them as a threat. The US division must go in order to convince and persuade other nations to do the same. Even the NATO nations have to see that they either stop these pigs in Iraq and Syria or they will fight them on their home turf in Europe. The same applies to America. Now we cannot deny that they are coming across the US southern border since members of congress are now acknowledging the same thing.

4. Arm the Kurds directly and not through the Iraqi government. Anything going through the Iraq government never gets to the Kurds. Fly plane loads of arms and equipment into the city of Irbil and off load it there where the Kurds will get it themselves.

5. Cancel all foreign aid and foreign military sales of US arms and equipment to any nation that will not fight with us. Start with Turkey. Turkey is not a reliable ally and Erdogan is an Islamist himself. He has no intention of ever doing anything to stop ISIS. He wants Bashar al-Asaad’s head and has no interest in destroying ISIS because they are his strongest allies in the fight against al-Asaad. NO MORE US $ for nations that will not stand with us in the fight against ISIS.

Increasing The Stakes In The Propaganda War Because You Are Losing The Real War

Today’s Jerusalem Post is reporting that a flotilla is preparing to set sail from Turkey to Gaza to bring humanitarian aid. According to the report, the flotilla will be protected by the Turkish military.

The article reports:

Harold Rhode, a senior fellow at the New-York-based Gatestone Institute and a former adviser at the in the office of the American defense secretary on Islamic affairs, told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on Sunday that the real issue in the ongoing conflict is that Turkey and Qatar are supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas in their goals.

“[Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdogan has been associated with the Muslim Brotherhood long before he was prime minister,” Rhode said.

It should now be clear to all that Erdogan “is now out of the bag,” Rhode said, adding that US President Barack Obama does not speak to the Turkish leader anymore despite previously describing him as one of his closest friends among the world’s leaders.

“Erdogan is doing whatever he can to help Hamas,” he said, asserting that it will only hurt the Palestinian people in the end.

Israel has sent humanitarian aid to Gaza. They have treated residents of Gaza in Israeli hospitals with the same care given to Israelis. As word gets out that Hamas is using human shields and storing weapons in schools, Hamas begins to lose the propaganda war. The flotilla is an attempt to turn public opinion against Israel. Meanwhile, America is promising aid to Gaza. Where has the aid to Gaza gone in the past? It certainly has not been spent on the people or the infrastructure. The money we give to Gaza goes to weapons and to line the pockets of the leaders of Hamas and Fatah. It is time that we attached enough strings to any money given to Gaza so that we know it is spent on the people there to raise their standard of living. If we can’t do that, we should cut off the money.

Changing Alliances In The Middle East

Please excuse the short history lesson, but it is needed to put current events in perspective. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was the first President of Turkey. When the modern state of Turkey was established after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, Ataturk wanted to abolish the caliphate and create a secular country. (In response to the idea of Turkey becoming a secular country, Hassan al Banna founded the Ikhwan al-Muslimin, the Society of Muslim Brothers or the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in Egypt in 1928.) The efforts of Ataturk were successful until the election of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2003. Erdogan is very quietly moving the country toward an Islamic state. Logically, as Turkey moves toward becoming an Islamic state, relations between Israel and Turkey are becoming strained.

On Thursday, the Washington Free Beacon reported that Turkey has been charged with leaking the identities of Israeli agents to Iran.

The article reports:

Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) allegedly revealed the identities of as many as 10 Iranians who were meeting covertly with Israeli spies in Turkey, the Washington Post’s David Ignatius reported Wednesday. Israeli and Turkish intelligence have had a close collaboration for decades.

U.S. officials declined to protest the leak directly to Turkey after it was discovered, according to the Post. President Obama also pressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to come to a detente with Erdogan in March after several years of strained relations stemming from the 2010 Gaza flotilla raid.

“That Obama didn’t condemn the leak really is as great a scandal as Turkey betraying the secrets in the first place, especially given how the United States benefits so directly from Israel’s intelligence gathering,” said Michael Rubin, a Middle East scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Michael Rubin also stated that President Obama should suspend sharing intelligence information with Turkey.

A U.K. Telegraph article posted on Thursday added more information:

There was no immediate comment from Israel’s government, but one former intelligence chief suggested that the leak might have led to the men’s executions. Israeli media pointed out that the report fitted with Iran’s declaration in April last year that it had uncovered a network of 15 Mossad agents.

Turkey, a Nato member, has long been Israel’s key security ally in the region, but that changed gradually after Mr Erdogan, a “soft Islamist”, was elected prime minister and became more expressly vocal in support of the Palestinian cause.

At some point, we are going to have to examine Turkey’s membership in NATO.

The article in the U.K Telegraph points out:

However, the response inside Israel was bitter. Danny Yatom, a former head of Mossad, described the alleged incident as a “great betrayal”.

“It’s against all the rules which have existed for many years, the unwritten rules concerning cooperation between intelligence organisations that reveal sensitive information to one another and trust one another not to use that information to harm whoever gave it to them,” he told Israeli radio.

The alliances in the Middle East are changing; the Obama Administration needs to acknowledge that fact and act accordingly.

 

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The Phone Call Really Didn’t Solve The Problem

On Saturday, the New York Times remarked that President Obama’s talent for arm twisting to get things accomplished was wonderful. They were referring to the phone call placed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey that was supposed to have healed the rift between the two countries. (The Times noted that this kind of successful deal making has eluded the President when dealing with Congressional Republicans.) Well, as usual, not so fast.

Commentary Magazine posted an article yesterday stating:

But apparently the hosannas about the president’s achievement are a little premature. Less than a day after the supposed reconciliation Erdoğan was already backtracking, saying that the resumption of normal relations, let alone the old alliance between the two countries, was still on hold. It is to be hoped that a dose of reality will cool the ardor of those, like Kay, who believe Obama’s “much mocked faith in diplomacy and human rationality” has been vindicated.

 Erdoğan’s double dealing on normalization even after Netanyahu’s call is hardly surprising. This is, after all, the same person who recently compared Zionism to fascism and whose regime has encouraged anti-Semitism as it transformed a secular republic into an Islamist regime in all but name. The Mavi Marmara incident, in which a flotilla of ships sponsored by Turkey attempted to run the Israeli blockade of Hamas-run Gaza, was intended to provoke an Israeli attack. While, as Netanyahu admitted, the raid on the ship appears to have been botched by Israeli forces, Ankara’s purpose was to create a pretext for a complete break. This was the end of a process begun years earlier by Erdoğan, not a spontaneous reaction to anything Israel had done.

I believe that most of the world would love to see peace come to the Middle East, but there are some pretty big obstacles to peace in that region. The Islamic countries surrounding Israel do not acknowledge Israel’s right to exist–they want to drive Israel into the sea. That philosophy does not lend itself to peace. The children in Gaza are being trained for war from the time they are toddlers.

Watch the video below posted on YouTube to understand the problem:

Until the children spouting this garbage are taught that it is garbage, we can expect to see war–not peace in the Middle East.

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The Part Of President Obama’s Trip To Israel That Was Not Widely Reported

When President Obama traveled to Israel, the American press hailed it as a new beginning–a do-over of the way President Obama had treated Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu during the President’s first term. President Obama did say a lot of the right things when he spoke to Israel–he seems to understand to some degree that in order for Israel to survive, they may have to attack Iran. But there is another part of the story.

On Friday, Paul Mirengoff at Power Line reported:

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu apologized today to Turkey for an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla. The apology is, of course, the handiwork of President Obama. Indeed, Netanyahu made the call during an airport meeting with Obama shortly before Obama mercifully left Israel.

The apology is a humiliation for Israel, which had nothing for which to be sorry. Netanyahu’s statement — which he wisely resisted making for three years — will not improve Israeli relations with Turkey. Relations are poor not because of the flotilla incident, but because Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, a good friend of Obama’s, is an Israel-hating Islamist.

Prime Minister Erdogan has been systematically moving his country away from its previously secular government into a Muslim state. He has cancelled military operations with Israel (which used to be routine) and condemned the State of Israel whenever possible.

The article at Power Line cites some of Prime Minister Erdogan’s recent statements:

How much does Erdogan hate Israel? Daniel Pipes reminds us that last month, Erdogan stated: “Just like Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism, Islamophobia must be regarded as a crime against humanity.” And three days ago, Erdogan stood by his claim that Zionism, the principle upon which Israel is founded, constitutes a crime against humanity.

He really does not sound as if he wants to make friends.

Andrew McCarthy posted an article at PJMedia on Saturday which provided more information on the flotilla that was the source of the problem:

The lowlight of President Obama’s Middle East trip is his strong-arming of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu into a humiliating apology to Turkey’s Islamic-supremacist government over Israel’s defense in 2010 of its blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza. The blockade was subjected to a terrorist offensive camouflaged as a humanitarian flotilla. The spearhead of the siege was the Mavi Marmara, a vessel controlled by a Turkish jihadist organization, the IHH, that is a part of the Union of Good, a formally designated terrorist organization under American law. Due to President Obama’s close relations with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Obama administration has resisted congressional calls to designate the IHH itself as a terrorist organization – sparing itself the embarrassment of noticing the intimate collusion of Erdogan’s ruling Islamist party and the jihadist group.

President Obama is not a friend of Israel. He may pose as a friend, but his actions show that he is not a friend.

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While We Were Focused On Sequestration

The Obama Administration has a habit of focusing our attention on ‘the crisis of the moment’ while they do something significant behind the scenes, hoping we won’t notice. Well, they’ve done it again.

Andrew McCarthy posted an article at the National Review today about the upcoming trial of Sulaiman Abu Ghayth, the son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, in New York City. Sulaiman Abu Ghayth was captured in Turkey last month, and rather than being sent to Guantanamo to face a military tribunal, he was transported to New York to stand a civilian trial.

There are some interesting implications of doing this:

Because Abu Ghayth was not detained at Gitmo, he was not subject to the statutory prohibition against using government funds to transfer enemy combatants into the U.S. So, while no one was paying attention, the administration whisked him into lower Manhattan, where his indictment in civilian court was promptly announced. He thus promptly received legal representation — so much for interrogation — and is enjoying all the protections of the Bill of Rights.

…Moreover, as Attorney General Holder must know, by proceeding with this civilian prosecution in New York at the very moment when  KSM and the other 9/11 defendants are facing a military commission at Gitmo, he has given KSM & Co. an exquisite legal argument that proceeding with their military commission would be arbitrary and unjust in light of the grade-A due process Abu Ghayth is getting. That is, the government is virtually inviting the federal courts to invalidate military commissions — which was a top goal of many Obama administration lawyers back when they were in private practice, volunteering their services to terrorist detainees.

Snookered again by the snookerer-in-chief. Unfortunately, this move prevents the officials at Guantanamo from collecting intelligence from this man, and it creates massive legal problems for those attempting to carry out the military tribunals. This move makes Americans less safe.Enhanced by Zemanta

Are Economic Sanctions Working On Iran ?

On Friday, the Washington Free Beacon posted an article about the impact of economic sanctions on the economy of Iran.

The article reports:

As Tehran moves to bolster its bilateral trade relations, senior regime leaders have indicated that Western sanctions are leading Iran to become more economically independent and less reliant on oil revenue.

The region’s continued dependence on Iran’s energy sector and other exports suggests that Western sanctions have not dented the pocketbook of Tehran’s top leaders.

Iranian officials estimate that the government will earn $70 billion in non-oil exports by March 2013.

Meanwhile, Iran’s nuclear program continues.

Turkish energy minister Taner Yildiz recently stated that Turkey would not honor the sanctions prohibiting Turkey from importing natural gas from Iran, as that is essentially imposing a natural gas sanction on Turkey.

The article concludes:

The biggest hole in sanctions, however, is Barack Obama,” Rubin added. “His waivers [on sanctions] make legal the same sanctions avoidance in which many of these other countries engage. Moral clarity is important.”

Tehran meanwhile has downplayed the effect of Western sanctions on its economy.

Iranian General Mohammad Reza Naqdi said Friday that a decrease in oil revenue should be ”turned into opportunities to boost self-sufficiency and produce economic independence,” according to Fars.

Reports earlier this year indicated Iranian exports of copper and medicine have drastically risen in recent months, earning the regime more than a billion dollars in revenue.

Meanwhile, the nuclear program in Iran continues…

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Now For Something Completely Different

The civil war in Syria continues despite the fact that the news doesn’t seem to be paying a lot of attention to it. I have no suggestions for a course of action–I am not convinced anyone involved is the ‘good guys.’ My only concern is for the civilians caught in the middle. We need to find a way to get the civilians out of the way and let the people who are determined to fight with each other slug it out. However, the human cost of this civil war is a major concern.

Gary Lane at CBN News posted a story today about the refugees that are fleeing the Syrian civil war.

Please follow the link above to CBN News to see the video showing what is going on in Syria.

The article reports:

The United Nations estimates the number of registered Syrian refugees at more than 170,000. They have scattered across the region, ending up in Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan.

These refugees are being met by Christian relief groups who are helping move from border camps to apartments. I was touched by a quote from a woman who was helped by the Christian groups:

The article reports:

Doyle (Tom Doyle, with the Dallas-based ministry E3 Partners) witnessed how the effort affected the life of one refugee.

“Some of the people were pushing them around and it was mass chaos and this woman looked at me and she said, ‘but it was the Bible people that came to us and gave us food and clothes and loved us and played with our children. It was the Bible people who were there for us,'” Doyle recalled.

“When she got done sharing her story she looked at me and said, ‘And I want you to know, I love Jesus now!'” he said.

Out of wartime tragedy, “The Bible People” are having an impact on the lives of the refugees by sharing the love of Christ, meeting material needs and shining light into the lives of Syrians fleeing chronic darkness.

Obviously, this is an awful situation, but it is encouraging to know that Tom Doyle and others like him are helping the refugees find a new life after fleeing such horrendous violence.

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