This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Asserting Trump Control

"MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military. Very bad for U.S. This will change."
"[Most of other 28 NATO member states fail to pay their fair share of defence; [not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States."
U.S. President Donald J. Trump
Video for trump elbowing aside european leader
Stills from video with Trump elbowing Montenegrin president aside: I'm in charge here!

Is it because he cannot believe he actually persuaded enough American voters that he has what it takes to make America great again, to vote him into office, that President Trump throws his considerable weight around, in the process reassuring himself, while alternately infuriating, amusing and alienating other world leaders by his abrupt, uninformed, arrogant and insulting manner? Or could it even be remotely possible that this man thinks of himself as not only the first but the only authority among world leaders?
"The time when we could completely count on others is a little bit in the past. That is what I have experienced in the past few days. That is why I say that we Europeans must really take our own fate into our own hands ..."
"We have to know that we must fight for our own future and destiny together as Europeans."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel

"[That interminable grip of a handshake] was not innocent. We don't make little concessions, even symbolic ones."
French President Emmanuel Macron

"The future of Europe is perhaps in our hands. [Europeans must] speak more forcefully than in the past."
"[But] that does not mean that we forget the importance of our transatlantic relationship. The United States remains an important ally but that does not mean that we renounce certain principles about which Italy is very clear."
Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni

"Leaders who think we can hide from these changes [climate change, trade, refugees] or turn back the clock are wrong. It is our responsibility to harness these changes and make them work for people."
"[Yes, the stakes are high and] yes, the United States was an important part of the discussion..."
"We have to recognize that on matters of values and the desire to give our citizens the same opportunities, we share the same values as the United States."
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
So a united G7 and NATO have become somewhat insecure and a trifle disunited of late. The United States has long been the essential glue that kept the disparate parts together in a common contract, based on similar values and aspirations. During the eight years that former President Barack Obama occupied the leaders' throne thee was a gap in the role and a little insecurity crept in now and again but goodwill remained constant and so did a self-assuring future that the compact was secure.

Now, the gruff and crude entrance of a man whose instincts are firmly lodged on his imagined personal magnetism that brooks no dissent when his abrasive rejection of all that the aggregate in the alliances rely upon to maintain integrity of purpose and trust has been destabilized leaving the others gasping for the oxygen of a leadership assurance that has been summarily kicked out of alignment. The parameters have been re-aligned and any who disagree will be shoved aside.

The issues of immigration, inter-faith relations, free trade versus protectionism, defence spending and the Paris Agreement on climate change have been yanked out of their common agreement and they lie in disarray, twitching in an agony of uncertainty. Just as Trump's first instinct was to deny American interest in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, leaving it dead in the water, the G7 are now wondering whether their alliance has been permanently pulled asunder.

As for NATO, the musketeer approach of "one for all and all for one" appears to be in jeopardy. The nation that always represented itself as the foremost among almost-equals appears no longer to be prepared to act as the big brother whom all the little brothers call upon to face up to the schoolyard bully. NATO's ultimate principle of self-defence lies in an agonizing funk of leaderlessness.

At least one thing has been resolved; the nervousness and trepidation with which other G7 leaders viewed the entrance of the new president has been resolved; he is every bit as churlishly ignorant in his state of arrogance as they feared.
President Trump at the NATO summit with world leaders in Brussels on Thursday. Credit Matt Dunham/Associated Press

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Courting Diplomatic Dysfunction

"All of those things add up [and] present a picture that isn't particularly pretty when India is looking at it."
"There was always a concern [in New Delhi] that this particular government would be somewhat beholden to the gatekeepers to the Sikh community, to some of the more radical groups."
Anirudh Bhattacharya, Canadian corespondent, Hindustan Times

"We have taken it up with Canada in the past and the practice [of the Prime Minister's presence at Sikh political commemorative events] has not been discontinued."
"We reject this misguided motion [Ontario legislation's Sikh genocide resolution] which is based on a limited understanding of India, its constitution, society, ethos, rule of law and the judicial process."
Vishwa Nath Goel, Indian High Commission, Ottawa

"There is a certain underlying policy and current going on [in India] that is continuously discriminating against a minority."
"Yes, the Sikhs are left with no choice but to push for a separate homeland."
Balkaranjit Singh, Ontario Sikhs and Gurdwara Council
Hundreds push and shove their way through the crowd to take pictures or shake hands with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during Khalsa Day at City Hall in Toronto on Sunday April 30, 2017. Veronica Henri/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

Canada's worst experience with homegrown terrorism that caused the death of 329  Canadians when Sikh extremists living in Canada plotted to set off bombs on an Air India flight from Canada to India in 1985 was never satisfactorily prosecuted, nor the plotters found guilty and punished for their dreadful crime. Before then, Sikh-Canadian critics of militant Sikhs in Canada agitating for a separate Sikh Khalistan were threatened and persecuted and targeted by Sikh extremists.

The irony seems to be that Sikhs in India have, over the years, resigned themselves to living as an integrated-but-separate group within the majority Hindu population. India, a vast country with the world's second-largest population -- about 1.2-billion people -- has many minority groups, including a Muslim population of about 172-million, making India's Muslim demographic the world's third-largest. The government of India does make a practical social and legal effort toward equality.

Great unrest in India occurred decades earlier when Sikh extremists challenged the government in their campaign for a separate Khalistan. The Golden Temple of Amritsar was the site of a military attack meant to rid it of armed rebels in 1984; that the Indian government sent the military to the most revered of sacred Sikh monuments enraged the Sikhs. It led to two Sikh bodyguards murdering then-prime minister Indira Gandhi, and that led to pogroms of rampaging Hindus attacking and killing an estimated 3,000 Sikhs in revenge.

With this volatile background, it was perhaps not entirely clever as even-handed diplomacy goes, for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to be the guest of honour at the April 30 Khalsa Day event in Toronto. Not that similar awkward Liberal presence at various ethnic/cultural events haven't taken place with, for example, the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka, and Muslim events featuring organizers with links to Islamic terrorist groups which Justin Trudeau has also attended and spoken at.
Trudeau mosque
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to members of the muslim community in Ottawa, Monday September 12, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld   Samy Metwally, the lead imam at the Ottawa Muslim Association, is a “a member of the International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS)”, according to the mosque’s website. In 2014 the United Arab Emirates placed the group on its list of designated terrorist organizations.

The political ingratiation of ethnic groups has a long tradition in the Liberal party. The Provincial Liberals recently passed a resolution in support of Sikhs claiming a genocide was perpetrated upon them through the pogroms of the 1980s after the death of Indira Gandhi. A more inappropriate gesture would be hard to identify; the word genocide misused, assaulting the sensibilities of the Indian political hierarchy. It is what is called pandering by the government to Canada's 460,000 Canadian Sikhs.

That this Liberal government has no fewer than four elected-to-Parliament Sikhs in its Cabinet is fairly extraordinary, reflecting the political activism of Sikhs and their clout. Canada's Minister of Defence is a Sikh and his visit to India last month occasioned much criticism in India through accusations that he is a separatist, though Harjat Singh Sajjan is as Canadian as he is Sikh. The criticism that came his way in Canada resulted from his foolish embroidery of his command status in Afghanistan as a military reservist specializing in intelligence.

When the Ontario legislature tabled the legislation referring to the 1984 riots and massacres as a 'genocide', India sat up and took serious notice; why would it not? Not that an Indian prime minister didn't apologize for the riots when the ruling Congress party was held to have been complicit in them. Which didn't stop Punjabi Sikhs to help elect the Congress party in the last election. To Indian authorities it is not Sikhs living in India who now present a problem, but those living abroad, in Canada.

The Khalistani movement that continues to simmer in Canada is dangerous, according to Mr. Bhattacharya of the Hindustan Times newspaper, because "it bleeds into the Punjab". Evidence can be found in the arrest of two Khalistani terrorists in the Punjab along with a cache of weapons, last week. It represented a cell manged by an Ontario-based "hardliner". So yes, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should indeed exercise a little more diplomatic caution when he embroils himself, and Canada, in movements whose purpose he seems oblivious of.

Of course, he should consult with his intelligence personnel to guide him in these matters, since he seems all too unaware for a man in his position. After all, if a foreign country, like France, and an esteemed visitor like, for example the late Charles de Gaulle shouted out Vive le Quebec libre! during a time of Quebec extremists engaging in violence to emphasize their dedication to separation, causing the current prime minister's late father to declare the imposition of the War Measures Act, his son's dallying in perceived support for the same elsewhere does little credit to the country.

Bottom line: All Canadian citizens, loyal to their country, including immigrants who become citizens, should not meddle in the affairs of other countries, with historical backgrounds that are complex, in a one-sided manner. Issues that divide people in their country of origin should remain there, not to be imported when people migrate to another country, embroiling their adopted country in the politics and animosities of ethnic and religious groups elsewhere.

Hundreds push and shove their way through the crowd to take pictures or shake hands with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during Khalsa Day at City Hall in Toronto on Sunday April 30, 2017. Veronica Henri/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network
Veronica Henri/Toronto Sun

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Monday, May 29, 2017

Working for the UN; Life is Cheap

"I couldn't hear her voice [on released cellphone]."
"I just heard lots of men talking in the background, not just a few but many, a group of men talking."
Elizabeth Catalan, Swedish-Chilean, sister of Zaida Catalan

"What we hope for now is an independent international criminal investigation."
"We can't depend on the Congolese government to do it."
John Sharp, American citizen, father of Michael Sharp
Zaida Catalan and Michael Sharp were kidnapped with their interpreter Betu Tshintela on 12 March. The bodies of all three were found two weeks later.
Zaida Catalan and Michael Sharp were kidnapped with their interpreter Betu Tshintela on 12 March. The bodies of all three were found two weeks later. Photograph: TT News Agency/AFP/Getty Images and Human Rights Watch

"Our colleagues in the DRC [Democratic Republic of Congo] have seen the video and we are utterly horrified at what appears to be the killing of Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalán."
UN human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani

"Our police and soldiers are accused of being implicated in the assassination of the two UN experts. That is not the case. "
"The images speak for themselves. It is not our soldiers that we see in the video executing the two UN workers but the terrorists of the Kamuina Nsapu militia."
Government spokesman Lambert Mende
People are inspired to become cogs in the wheel of human rights justice. And the United Nations appears only too pleased to take on these people eager to do their part to make the world a better place by holding corrupt governments accountable and hoping to be able to protect vulnerable civilians through their actions and the revelations they alert the world to. People like American Michael Sharp and Swedish-Chilean Zaida Catalan, both contract investigators in their mid-30s, neither of whom had received adequate training.

They travelled with interpreter Betu Tshintela, driver Isaac Kabuayi and two motorbike drivers into a remote area of Democratic Republic of Congo on March 12, close to a remote village south of Kananga to investigate violence and human rights violations attributed to the Congolese army and local militias. They were determined to find who was responsible for a massacre in the DRC. And Zaida Catalan was one determined person "Exciting development. I can maybe nail this bastard. Damn!", she wrote in her diary.

Which was not quite what happened. A cellphone video was made available through the auspices of the Congolese government and shared with authorities at the United Nations. It showed the two UN investigators barefoot among a circle of armed men; the two forced onto the ground with Mr. Sharp arguing. Shots are fired and Mr. Sharp is the first to be hit. A screaming Ms. Catalan attempts to run away, and she is then twice shot. At some point she is beheaded. When their bodies are finally discovered in a shallow grave she is headless.

They have become two more UN-dedicated figures working for humanitarian reasons and losing their lives because they were untrained, unprepared and in the wrong place at the right time, investigating local corrupt authorities who had no wish to be investigated. Two months after their deaths the United Nations put together a panel to investigate why two of their investigators were placed in such a compromised situation, and paid the ultimate price for it in their innocent zeal.

As for the Security Council, it seemed content to leave the investigation of the deaths in the capable hands of the very nation where corruption and violence has swallowed billions in a failed UN plan to usher in stability. Ms. Catalan and Mr. Sharp were focusing on the role of the Congolese government in the chaos and deaths she was investigating. Debate has arisen once again over the responsibility of the United Nations to protect people it hires for the investigation of wrongdoing; people they have a moral obligation to prepare for the job they're undertaking.

The two investigators were part of a panel of six experts whom the Security Council authorized to investigate rapes, massacres and the exploitation of vast natural resources in the Congo. In pursuit of answers to the questions consuming them, they travelled to places considered no-go zones for United Nations employees. Little training was given the independent contractors as investigators, and nor did they have health insurance, or guidance on best practices in operating in such hostile environments.

According to the Congolese government, their release of the video had a distinct purpose; to prove that it was militia fighters, not its soldiers, who were responsible for the murders. Ms. Catalan had been scrutinizing a government official for his possible role in inciting violence last year in the Congolese region of Kasai. Clement Kanku, minister of development, more latterly dismissed, held close connections with the area militia fighters and Ms. Catalan was in possession of a recorded conversation linking Mr. Kanku to mayhem in the region.

The fact that she had this evidence against him was known to Mr. Kanku. When it became known that something horrible had happened to the two investigators it took four days for the United Nations to deploy its forces from other areas of the country to begin a search.

This composite image made from photos on their respective Facebook pages shows UN workers Michael Sharp, left, and Zaida Catalan. The two are among six people missing from Congo's Kasai region since March 12, 2017.

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Ramadan's Killing Fields

"They opened fire randomly on all of its passengers. Many children are among the dead."
"We are trying to calm them down. A girl has lost her parents and aunt. Another child, in front of me now, holds his mother's hand bag and doesn't know yet that she is dead."
Mikhail Ayoub,  Coptic church official

"It was a horrible scene, the heads of some people were destroyed and their brains were out."
"Others were lying dead inside and outside the bus, on the side of the road and under the bus."
Nabil Kamel Abdel Shahid, bus owner
The Egyptian Christians were killed on a desert road leading to a monastery
The Egyptian Christians were killed on a desert road leading to a monastery Credit: Minya Governorate Media office via AP
"What you've seen today will not go unpunished. An extremely painful strike has been dealt to the bases."
"Egypt will never hesitate to strike terror bases anywhere."
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi

The ten million Egyptian Christian Copts in a nation of 90 million, long predated Islam. There has always been a uneasy truce between the Arab Muslim Middle East and its minority Christians, and various levels of persecution by the majority Muslims from among the orthodox Islamists has always ensured that Christians in the Middle East in general have lived in the Chinese-cursed "interesting times".

Egypt now has in President El-Sissi a conciliator, a true moderate who is also a devout Muslim and even he is discovering that the ember of suspicion and hatred the breathes beneath the surface of Egyptian society is occasionally ignited into paroxysms of deadly violence and is difficult to douse, particularly when his government must fight a rear-guard action against the Muslim Brotherhood.

Islam does not look kindly upon competing religions challenging the primacy of Islam. And Sharia law, drawing from the Koranic precepts, the Sunnas and other sacred writings so often consulted, incite believers to holy jihad in the name of Islam. Christians and Jews are held by Islamists to represent an existence repulsive to Islam, tolerated only on Islamist terms recognizing them as inferior, supplicants who may be permitted to 'buy' protection through Jizya, failing which they may be slaughtered.

And this is precisely what the ten masked gunmen set out to accomplish once again as a symbol that throughout Ramadan, the killing of non-Muslims should be viewed as offering Allah a sacrifice that is most pleasing to the almighty. Twenty-eight souls, in one fell swoop, among them children. The bus was riddled with machine-gun fire along a remote desert road, in a deadly ambush by terrorists belonging to Islamic State riding in three SUVs, to attack the helpless civilians.

Coverage on Egypt’s state-run Nile News TV showing the remains of the bus.
Coverage on Egypt’s state-run Nile News TV showing the remains of the bus. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Since December, four deadly attacks have succeeded in killing Egyptian Copts. Egypt once before sent its military to bomb eastern Libya when Egyptian Copts working in Libya had been targeted for death. This time, once again fighter jets were dispatched to strike an al-Qaeda-linked Islamist militia. Islamic State resulted from a breakaway group that had been part of the al-Qaeda network, going its own way, to proclaim its new identity through naming itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Egypt, under President El-Sissi is addressing violent Islamofascism on a number of fronts, the most deadly targeting Egyptian police and its military, established in the Sinai where Salafist Bedouin, members of al-Qaeda, Islamic State and Hamas have all converged with the connivance of the Muslim Brotherhood, to counter and destabilize the government's efforts at containing the terrorists' ambitions.

The Egyptian Copts were embarked on a journey as pilgrims, en route to the St. Samuel the Confessor monastery in Maghagha, Minya some 220 kilometres south of Cairo. In December, 29 people died when an ISIL suicide bomber blew himself up in a Cairo church. On Palm Sunday in April, 45 people wee murdered when a pair of suicide bombings at churches took  place with ISIL claiming credit.

Jihadists' killing campaign of Christians in the Sinai has resulted in Christians fleeing, desperate to escape the fate Islamic State has planned for them. Given the opportunity to save themselves from death, the terrorists demanded of the Christians that they recite Islamic texts in proof of being Muslim, and therefore exempt from the death penalty being meted out. The Christians failed, loyal to their faith, becoming a Ramadan sacrifice.

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Social Welfare, Society's Contract and Jihad

"It is an easy way for a terrorist to move forward and finance their activities at the expense of the taxpayer."
"All you have got to do is get yourself into university and then off you go."
"Often, they have no intention of turning up [to the academic courses signed up for, and paid on the public dime]."
David Videcette, former Metropolitan police detective, London

"The British system makes funds readily available to jihadist students without checks on them."
"There needs to be an inquiry."
Prof. Anthony Glees, director, Buckingham University Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies
Salman Abedi
Salman Abedi received thousands of pounds in student loans -- The Telegraph

They are popularly portrayed in the liberal press as "mad", "insane", 'lunatics", for who else would claim to be doing God's work by slaughtering innocent people? Well, perhaps people who have been exposed to a violent ideology calling itself a religion, from cradle to grave. From the time they are impressionable young children to that time when they are old enough to respond subconsciously to the ingrained need to identify with the creed that has instructed you that killing is part of your world view through your religion's sacred dictates, the indelible impression is made.

And these religion-impassioned adherents of Islam, the religion of peace, where peace reins wherever Islam does, and war is regent wherever Islam is absent, recognize their sacred duty as martyrs whose mission is to slaughter and by so doing instill the kind of fear that demands Islam be recognized as the only solution whereby that fear can be alleviated. The language of Islam includes deceit and manipulation as tools of conquest.

When in the West, make use of the Western conception of societal welfare and the language that accompanies it to acquire legitimization. And so, those who have migrated, those who have been born in the West and whose exposure to the Western way of life, incapable of dislodging the Islamic way of life consumed from cradle forward, learn to exploit what is available to them as part of the larger society, while remaining aloof from it, and using those benefits to attain their own ends.

Their ethos of self-pity that legitimizes their drive to revenge and terror is not a sign of lunacy, but one of visceral entitlement to persuade the unaware non-Muslim enablers of jihad to sympathize with their victimized state, offering them understanding and material and psychological support. While  happy to accord the title of 'racist' or 'Islamophobic' to any whose vision is clear enough to peer through the obfuscating veil of normalcy.

The welfare system in Britain and elsewhere throughout Europe that manifests itself in support for those who clearly cannot and will not assimilate toward Western social, cultural and legal status, endows the evil in their midst with generous living allowances, lest they strain themselves seeking the wherewithal to be self-supporting, even while they plot against the state that supports their right to freedom of thought and expression.

In so doing, supporting the belief of Islamists that they have the right to freedom of action, as demanded by the Koran and by the Islamist Hadiths enjoining the faithful to jihad. British taxpayer-funded student loans and benefits generously supported the Libyan Manchester bomber, enabling him to forward his plans to murder ordinary Brits in Salman Abedi's drive to martyr himself for the greater glory of Islam.

Even while he was overseas taking training in bomb-making he was receiving thousands of pounds as his personal entitlement under the British welfare system. Police, looking into Abedi's finances; how a man who had never been gainfully employed had more than sufficient funds to fly back and forth from Britain to Libya, to rent various addresses, to pay for the bomb-making equipment he planned to use to demonstrate his loyalty to Islam, have produced some uncomfortable truths.

British jihadists of which there are an estimated tens of thousands, are readily able to manipulate the welfare system along with the student loans system in Britain for the financing they require. Jihadists enrolling in university courses are not interested in becoming educated, but in collecting student loans. At least seven thousand pounds was given Abedi from the Student Loans Company when he had registered for a business administration degree in 2015 at Salford University.

Police teams have been searching the Fallowfield home of Salman Abedi for clues
Police teams have been searching the Fallowfield home of Salman Abedi for clues -- Getty Images

Another $12,000 came his way in 2016 for a new academic year. That he had already dropped out of the course, seemed immaterial. The university has 'declined' the invitation to explain whether it had informed the Student Loans Company that they should have ended funding for Abedi. And the Department for Work and Pensions too abstained from the invitation to explain whether Abedi had received benefits, inclusive of housing and income support.

He had rented a house to live in in south Manchester. And that was followed by the rental of two other properties where he could stay when he wasn't travelling back and forth to Libya, Syria and elsewhere to touch his ancestral roots and the legacy of his religion.

Abedi transferred his brother Hashim, above, £2,500 before the attack. Hashim is said to have known about the attack a month before
Abedi transferred his brother Hashim, above, £2,500 before the attack. Hashim is said to have known about the attack a month before -- Mail Online

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Friday, May 26, 2017

The Manchester Atrocity Canadian Connection

"Allah break the backs of the tyrants and the oppressors and the unjust and those nations of the world that are with them."
"Allah they have gathered against us and are scheming against us, so scheme against them. Trick them, kill them ... "
"We are waiting for martyrdom in the name of Allah. And by Allah this is our path until we push back evil. We will not stop nor resign."
"Jihad today is simple and easily accessible, and does not require moving as in the past, as it was for Afghanistan and Iraq."
Abdul Baset Ghwela/aka Abdu Albasset Egwilla

"The potential for any of these Canadians [who respond to the allure of ISIL recruiting campaigns] to return to Canada is an inherent security risk and requires CBSA [Canada Border Services Agency] scrutiny of Canadians travelling to and from Libya as potential High Risk Travellers."
CBSA intelligence report, November 2015
Facebook   Owais Egwilla (left), son of former Ottawa cleric, Abdu Albasset Egwilla (right).

As Islamic State increasingly loses its geographic caliphate it can no longer draw recruits to its co-opted territories in Iraq and Syria; those comparatively few areas remaining in ISIL's possession are dwindling as their entire territory does, resulting from Syria and Iraq slowly clawing back those parts of their territories that Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant triumphantly conquered in its initial swift sweep through countries unprepared for a modern-day campaign with well-armed and battle-seasoned jihadis who took their training fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Instead, through its online magazine, and through numerous Internet jihadi sites, influential ISIL clerics have been inciting their contacts abroad to take it upon themselves to respond to the Koran and the hadiths under Sharia that constantly remind Muslims of their sacred duty to Islam to dedicate themselves to jihad and to martyrdom, reflecting their passionate piety.They are urged to use whatever means are at hand, right where they are, in the countries to which their families had fled for haven.

Salman Abedi, of Libyan descent, whose entire family was involved in fundamentalist Islamist violence certainly responded as ISIL urged the faithful to. Armed with a new type of IED packed with shrapnel to exact maximum damage to the soft human bodies that surrounded him in the foyer of the Manchester Arena, his deed inspired by ISIL and reflecting his savage belief that he must avenge Islam for the insults and assaults perpetrated by the West, maximum damage was just what his atrocious act exacted on innocent Mancunians.

And the man whose influence appears to have been behind the planning for this hugely destructive attack was a Libyan with Canadian citizenship. He had preached under the name of Abdul Baset Ghwela at an Ottawa mosque, a man accused of inciting violence, now living in Libya. The Manchester assailant had been linked by investigators with British intelligence to a Libya visit with Ghwela/Egwilla mere days before his bomb was set off at a teen-packed pop concert.

In Libya where the Abedi family was living after having left Britain, Ramadan Abedi, father of the Manchester bomber, has been arrested along with his youngest son who knew all the details of the impending attack. Another younger brother of the attacker was also arrested in Manchester. Both Egwilla and Abedi senior were members of Libyan extremist groups reflecting Islamic State connections.

The son of Egwilla was killed while fighting with an Islamist group in Benghazi. The son, Owais, had grown up in Ottawa; he had posted Facebook messages on jihad along with the propaganda messages of the al-Qaeda Syrian branch. A mosque in Ottawa saw fit to hold a memorial service from the younger Egwilla, the mosque president refusing to discuss the issue with enquiring local journalists.

A number of Libyan-Canadians travelled back to Libya in 2011 to fight with Islamist militias for the removal of Col. Moammar Gadhafi; some took training and fought with various factions fighting to control the country. Now, Canada Border Security agents must maintain vigilance to ensure that any that return are noted so their presence can be followed, after interviews to determine their intentions. As though, intent on wreaking havoc in Canada, they would willingly disclose their plans.

Canada, like Britain, had taken an initiative under the previous government, to revoke the citizenship of anyone who failed to disclose previous membership in terrorist groups when applying for citizenship, or those who travelled abroad for the express purpose of jihadist combat training and/or had fought with jihadist groups. The current Canadian government chose to nullify that provision of citizenship under Canadian law.

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Trump and the Arab Peace Initiative

"Despite their frustration with Israeli behaviour regarding the Palestinians, the Gulf states recognize that Israel is a strong, advanced country with a military that could act against their common foes and that has intelligence capabilities that could mesh very well with the needs and capabilities of Gulf agencies."
Jason Isaacson, associate executive director, American Jewish Committee

"This younger generation [of Gulf State leaders] sees Israel much more in terms of practical alliances."
"So suddenly Israel is not seen in that one-dimensional term of being the occupier of Palestinian land, but rather as a potential partner against the greater evil, if you will, which is Iran."
Stephen A. Seche, executive vice-president, Arab Gulf States Institute, Washington

Suddenly -- as sudden as the change in administration of the United States of America -- Saudi Arabia is happily basking in the limelight of American trust and friendship again. In gratitude to the man who swiftly reversed the collapse of U.S. support and allegiance with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during President Obama's eight years in the White House, on impossibly short notice, the House of Saud pulled out all the stops to demonstrate their blissful satisfaction, welcoming U.S. President Donald Trump as though he were the mountain moving to Mohammad.

President Trump, it seems, feels that the Arab Peace Initiative which the Kingdom had devised as a prod to solve the Israeli-Palestinian impasse, signed by the 22 members of the Arab League in 2002 seems the likeliest solution to settling disagreements, leading to a peace agreement and a two-state solution. This is a warmed-up, cooled-down, re-warmed and rejected 'plan for peace'. Calling on Israel to withdraw to 1967 lines before it had gained the opportunity to reunite Jerusalem after yet another combined Arab military attack which failed.

In exchange for peace between the Arab states and Israel, a Palestinian state would be established in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. East Jerusalem -- the Old City of Jerusalem, the jewel in Israel's crown of its immemorial heritage, where its ancient Temples of Solomon stood and the Ark of the Covenant was venerated holding the original tablets of the Ten Commandments  -- according to the Arab League plan, to be handed over once again to Islamic stewardship (as it was when Jordan assumed that unauthorized role and Jews were not permitted entry).
Fate of Ark of the Covenant Revealed in Hebrew Text
This bas-relief image showing the Ark of the Covenant being carried is from the Auch Cathedral in France. A newly translated Hebrew text claims to reveal the locations of treasures from King Solomon's Temple and discusses the fate of the Ark itself.  Credit: Photo by I. Vassil

Also part of the onus of conditions to be met by Israel was a "just" solution to the issue of Palestinian refugees -- the original 700,000 of whom were said to have fled when Israel declared itself statehood after the UN's offer of Partition -- now grown to over six million declaring themselves Palestinian "refugees". That "just" solution has always been seen as inviting the "refugees" to return to Israel, their presence to obviously overwhelm in sheer numbers the existence of Israel as a Jewish state.

Nothing in the Arab League peace plan addresses the forgotten issue of the 800,000 Arab Jews who were summarily expelled, their properties confiscated from Arab lands when the State of Israel came into being. No compensation for them, no just solution considered, no invitation for them to return and retake possession of all that had been taken from them. The issue of the Jewishness of Jerusalem as the centre of life for ancient Israelites has its counterpart in the second most sacred place of Islam's heritage, Medina.

Medina was a place where ancient Jewish tribes had long been settled. When Mohammad was exiled from Mecca and approached the Jews of Medina to forsake Judaism for what he informed them was God's final iteration of Monotheistic piety and convert to Islam, the Jews refused. In response, Mohammad assembled his army of new-adaptees to Islam and besieged the Jewish tribes, slaughtering many, banishing many others.

Is the Kingdom prepared to exchange Medina for Jerusalem, the latter of which is declared the third most holy site for Islam? Where Islamic rulers, after conquering the city from the Christians who held it and who lived among the Jews who never left the ancient city, built their Islamic structures signifying conquest over the ruins of the second destroyed and looted (by the Romans) Temple of Solomon as though this symbolic act transformed the nature and the presence of a city ordained to Israel to one consecrated to Islam.

Under Jewish stewardship of Jerusalem, all faiths now have access to their sacred places of worship. Israeli authorities have sacrificed the right for Jews to pray at the Temple Mount to salve Muslim rage at any Jewish presence. Under Islamic rule of Mecca and Medina -- and Jerusalem, if the Arab League had its way -- only Muslims are permitted to enter those sacred precincts; non-Muslims are strictly forbidden entry.

Even as Saudi Arabia has been busy crassly destroying some of the ancient monuments held to be sacred to Islam to make room for luxurious new hotels and shopping malls.

When the Arab proposal was first announced in 2002, Israel saw no merit in it. The Arab world from the inception of Israel's renewal as a Jewish state to the present has always viewed Israel as an interloper in the Arab world, an aggressor, an usurper of Palestinian 'rights'. For the Koran states unequivocally that land once consecrated to Islam must never be permitted to fall into the hands of non-Muslims.

As for Israel's rights, there are none, but those the Arab world is now prepared, grudgingly, to permit Israel to assume, under Arab conditions.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Deadly Bolt Out of the Blue

"It was carnage. Everyone was scrambling over each other --- It was just a race to get out really."
"We just heard a bang. Everyone stopped and turned around. You could hear adults telling the little ones it was only a balloon."
Charlotte Fairclough, 14, Manchester Arena Ariana Grande concert
Three of the known victims of the attack
Three of the known victims of the attack - from left: Saffie-Rose Roussos, Georgina Callander and John Atkinson The Telegraph

A public celebrity event of families with children in attendance, of teens accompanied by adults and unaccompanied other than with their friends had set out for a long-anticipated social event in a venue capable of holding thousands of attendees, to enjoy an evening of music and colour and light and social company. Uppermost in mind was admiration for the performer and the performance and gratitude that they were the fortunate ones who witnessed the entertainment.

Satisfaction with the evening turned to incredulity when the peace of a successful evening out was shattered by the gruesome reality that someone had set out to instill fear in the wider public by targeting children and families for slaughter, wrenching the event from its celebratory mood to one of stark terror. This scar on the face of normalcy will be permanent, etched in the sorrowing hearts of families who lost a child among the 22 dead victims of Islamist fascism.

The hundred people in attendance at this carefree event of music and social celebration who were wounded face a future far different than the one destiny had intended for them at the outset of the evening. A nation's peace has been shattered, once again with the terrible reality that stark terror can erupt anywhere at any time where and when it is least expected. That despite precautions and a determination to forge on and live normal lives some will be disrupted and others will be terminated.

The perpetrator, born in Britain, a young man of 22 whose view of his religion urging him to destroy the lives of non-Muslims through a sacred act of jihad as a sacrifice to Islam and in the process elevating himself to the status of martyr for whom reward awaited in Paradise, was one of those whose actions had alerted British security. That same British security that apprehends an average of one threat each and every day on the Sceptred Isle.

Where an estimated five thousand Muslims have been identified as potential terrorist-aligned threats to the security and stability of the nation, through violently malign intentions on the way to becoming real, malignant events of murderous design. Not all attacks can and will be preventable. Not even those where the perpetrators are shown to have been on the radar of intelligence officials. Not even those who have returned to Britain as citizens after having fought abroad on behalf of jihad and returned.

Salman Abedi, born in Manchester of Libyan descent, a devout and quiet young man according to descriptions of those who knew him, chose death for himself, and chose to take with him twenty-two innocent people who had no choice in the matter. ISIL has been swift to claim credit for the triumph of tragedy, lauding Abedi as a "soldier of the Khalifah", speaking of the victims as "crusaders" and the concert hall as a "shameless concert arena", the killings "revenge for Allah's religion", responding to "transgressions against the lands of the Muslims".

It would be interesting to know how others who pray at the Didsbury mosque where the Abedi family worshipped interpret this event. Whether they make any connection to the Friday sermons that speak of the unclean Jews and Infidels and the obligation of the faithful to jihad, to what has just occurred at the Manchester arena. British security authorities have now arrested five people suspected of having been involved in this carnage. The terrorist's father and younger brother have also been arrested.

One brother was on the radar of Libyan security intelligence officials on suspicion of planning an attack in Libya. Assuredly the Libyans shared their suspicions with the British. And while Muslims hasten to assure any who will listen and those who will not, that terrorism such as this has 'nothing to do with religion', that the warped minds dedicated to terrorism have insulted Islam by assaulting Western nations, there are those who nod sagely and agree, and others who will not.

Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi
Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi : The Telegram

  • Woman arrested in Manchester in connection with attack
  • Manchester bomber's father Ramadan​ detained in Tripoli, Libya
  • Follows Tripoli arrest of bomber's younger brother Hashim
  • Security forces say brother was planning terror attack
  • Almost 1,000 British soldiers deployed on streets
  • Police confirm officers investigating 'network' behind bomber
  • The bomber: University dropout who turned to terror
  • The victims: Girl, eight, among 22 people killed as scores hurt

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