The Real Story About Kerry’s “Man Of Wisdom” In Saudi Arabia

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King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia passed away last month after a long illness. Western leaders and media hurried to eulogize Abdullah and to laud his ‘life-time achievements’.

Secretary of State John Kerry called Abdullah “a man of wisdom and vision” and “a revered leader.”

UK Prime Minister David Cameron said Abdullah ”worked for peace and prosperity and strengthened understanding between faiths.” Former British PM Tony Blair joined the chorus of praise and claimed that the Saudi king was a “patient and skillful modernizer.”  Flags in England were flown at half-mast after the announcement of Abdullah’s death.

US President Obama spoke of a ”genuine and warm friendship” and cut short his official visit to India and flew to Riyadh to pay his respects. In an official statement, Obama praised the king’s efforts to achieve peace between Israel and the Arab world. Obama was referring to the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 that was endorsed by the Arab League in 2002 and 2007.

Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, even announced a research and essay competition, to be run through National Defense University, to honor King Abdullah. “This is an important opportunity to honor the memory of the king, while also fostering scholarly research on the Arab-Muslim world,” Dempsey said in a statement. He characterized the king as a “man of remarkable character and courage.”

Israeli commentators sharply criticized these eulogies and ridiculed the ”sycophantic pilgrimage” to Riyadh by world leaders after Abdullah’s death.

These analysts mainly focused on the abysmal state of affairs of human rights in Saudi Arabia. Jerusalem Post editor Seth Franzman was one of the Israeli critics. He gave some examples of human rights abuses in the Saudi Kingdom.

Here’s what he wrote:

One wonders if Sri Lankan maid Rizana Nafeek saw the great wisdom of Abdullah when she was dragged from a van by Saudi soldiers last year and executed publicly by a sword-wielding man in a white robe, as crowds looked on in pleasure. She was sentenced to death at the age of 17 in 2007 after her employers claimed she was responsible for the death of their child, that she was taking care of as part of her duties as a housemaid. A video posted online shows the gruesome ceremony, the result of the great wisdom Western leaders showed such fawning appreciation for.

Did Burmese maid Layla Bint Abdul Mutaleb Bassim share the “modern” vision of the king as she was dragged through the streets and then beheaded in public while being held by four soldiers on January 18 of this year? She pleaded for her life and declared her innocence. It is tradition in Saudi Arabia’s injustice system that executioners ask those they kill for forgiveness prior to beheading them. But the young Bassim shouted in the street, blindfolded and with her arms tied behind her back: “haram [forbidden], haram, haram, I did not kill, I do not forgive you, this is an injustice.” And then the sword of modernity, of progress, of “warm and genuine friendship,” fell on her neck – three times, as the executioner could not kill her in one stroke. The man who filmed the gruesome legal murder of Bassim was arrested.

Franzman ridiculed India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who called Abdullah “ an important voice which left a lasting impact on his country and a guiding voice.”

“Modi is right, in a sense. The Saudi king indeed left a ‘lasting impact’: bloodstained streets and scarred backs. He made a lasting impact on thousands of poor people from families throughout Asia, such as Sri Lanka, Nepal, India and Burma, whose loved ones who were beheaded after working as semi-enslaved housekeepers in the kingdom. When the Times said Abdullah ‘re-shaped’ Saudi Arabia, it was correct; decapitating people is re-shaping them indeed,” Franzman wrote.

He concluded: “ It is time to wake up from the slumber of hypocrisy and moral relativism. Saudi Arabia is not a role model, and leaders who laud it as one deserve to be called onto the carpet.”

Another Israeli commentator criticized President Obama’s silence on human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia and compared that to his criticism of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians.

Saudi Arabia beheaded 80 people last year, and it is one of several Arab countries in which Jews are forbidden to live.  The most recent State Department report on international religious freedom  contained the following comment on Saudi Arabia: “Freedom of religion is neither recognized nor protected under the law and the government severely restricted it in practice,” and all practices of non-Muslim worship are illegal.

Apart from Obama’s silence on Saudi Arabia’s abysmal human rights record, there is another mind-boggling aspect to his attitudes towards Abdullah. We are not talking here about the fact that he bowed to the Saudi king during his first visit to Abdullah, but about his praise for the king’s contribution to peace between Israel and the Arab world. The fact of the matter is that the late king was never a promoter of peace in the region. On the contrary, Abdullah was part of a government that sponsored terrorism and refused to take Osama bin Laden into custody in 1996 and to arrest Hezbollah terror mastermind Imad Mugniyeh when he was in Saudi Arabia

As for the Arab Peace Initiative that Abdullah instigated, this was in fact nothing more than a restatement of the Arab interpretation of UNSC resolution 242 of November 22, 1967. That resolution called upon Israel “to withdraw from” territories occupied during the Six Day War in 1967 in exchange for peace–and not, as Abdullah’s initiative demanded, “all territories.” The Arab peace plan called also for a just solution for the Palestinian refugees, meaning that Israel should accept the influx of millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants.

These conditions for peace would in fact have meant that Israel committed suicide, and it was the main reason for the Israeli rejection of Abdullah’s “peace plan.”

But before that happened, however, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon offered to discuss the plan with the Arab League. When he didn’t receive an answer, Sharon directly invited Abdullah to Israel to discuss the plan. Abdullah didn’t respond either.

At the same time that the then-prince Abdullah wrote his peace initiative, the Saudi government was busy sponsoring Palestinian terror groups. During the Second Intifada, when the IDF launched Operation Protective Shield to stop the wave of suicide attacks on Israeli citizens, the Israeli army captured many documents showing that hundreds of thousands of dollars were being distributed to the families of terrorists by Saudi Arabia. Israel also released a Saudi spreadsheet that recorded a payment to the suicide bomber who detonated himself in a bus in Jerusalem on August 21, 1995. A press release from the Saudi embassy in Washington in January 2001 described the Saudi support for the Al-Aqsa Intifada and boasted that Saudi Arabia had distributed $33 million to the families of Palestinian ‘martyrs.’

The second reason why Obama was wrong when he branded Abdullah a peacemaker is the fact that he was part of the Saudi leadership that has been promoting the same Wahhabi ideology that has been adopted by Islamist groups that are now terrorizing large parts of the world.

One of these groups is Al-Qaeda, responsible for the attack on the Twin Towers in New York on 11 September 2011. Fifteen of the nineteen terrorists who were responsible for the death of almost 3000 Americans were Saudi citizens. Dick Ganon, the former head of the State Department’s Office of Counter-Terrorism, said at the time: “We’ve got information about who’s backing Bin Laden, and in lot of cases it goes back to the royal family.” According to the Sunday Times, the Saudis paid at least $300 million in “protection money” to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. This also explains why Al-Qaeda did not attack targets in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi monarchy also bankrolled programs that propagate the militant Wahhabi version of Islam. It is commonly known that Saudi Arabia funded Islamic schools and madrassas around the world.

But it didn’t stop there. For example, in the United States, the Middle East Studies centers in universities offered a curriculum that was paid for by the Saudis. These centers do not have scholars on Israel and are primarily inhabited by faculty hostile to Israel. Saudi Arabia also directly funded universities in the United States. More than $130 million was donated  between 1986 and 2007.  Harvard, for example, received a $20,000,000 donation from Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. Harvard Law received $5,000,000 from the King Fahd Fund for Islamic Shariah.

As a result, universities in the United States have become hotbeds of anti-Israel activity. Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh once said that on US university campuses, there is more sympathy for Hamas than there is in Ramallah.

The same goes for Britain. As long ago as 2008, the director-general of MI5, Jonathan Evans, said that the Saudi government’s multi-million dollar investments in British universities had led to a dangerous increase in the spread of extremism on leading university campuses.

This is the true story about King Abdullah and Saudi Arabia.

His successor, King Salman, will no doubt be hailed as a reformer and a modernizer too. During the first week of his reign, four people were beheaded; the media only reported about his ‘reforms.’ The new king decided to reshuffle the government and ordered the payment of two months of bonus salary to all government employees and to retired government workers. He also ordered payments to students and grants to all sorts of cultural institutions and sport clubs.

Reuters wrote that Salman’s handouts were related to the economy because the expected growth in GDP will be 3.2 percent this year, down from 3.6 percent in 2014.

In reality, Salman fears for the future of the Saudi monarchy now that Islamic State has announced that Saudi Arabia is the next target; and Iran-backed Houthi rebels are threatening the south of the country after taking over Yemen last week.

Despite Obama’s emollient words about that “genuine and warm friendship,” Salman knows he cannot rely on the US administration to secure his rule. That’s why he decided to buy the support of the Saudi population and to build a wall along the Iraqi border after the Islamic State attacked Saudi Arabia and killed three border guards last month.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

STUNNING VIDEO: Look How John Kerry Just Tried To Make Nice With France After Paris No-Show

WCJ images Kerry Taylor

By almost any standard, in virtually any context, this will no doubt rank in the minds of many as one of the more bizarre moments in U.S. diplomacy — not only bizarre but also eye-shielding awkward, even surreal.

A no-show at the recent Paris solidarity march to protect freedom of expression and to protest Islamic terrorism, Secretary of State John Kerry was in the French capital today to give our allies what had been billed as a “big hug“.

It was a kind of make-up gesture after the Obama administration came under heavy, sustained fire for not sending a high-level official to join some 40 other world leaders at the Paris rally.

In addition to Kerry’s words of support and solidarity for the French, America’s chief diplomat also brought live entertainment to the Paris stage. Singer James Taylor performed his 1970’s classic “You’ve Got A Friend” as Kerry stood by rather uncomfortably.

When you watch the stunning video, you’ll see that not only was the Secretary of State uncomfortable, but so was the music legend as he had to hunch over to sing into the microphone intended to pick up his guitar. Technicians scrambled to provide a vocal mic for Taylor.

The whole scene was reminiscent of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s ill-conceived reset-button experience with the Russians.

Watching the poorly conceived, embarrassingly executed pop-song style of U.S. relations with a key European ally, one can reasonably ask if this memorable moment in terror-rattled Paris will come to represent the level of maturity and sophistication of Barack Obama’s foreign policy.

You can watch James Taylor try his best to deliver a worthy rendition of his hit song, “You’ve Got A Friend,” by clicking on the video above. You can also imagine how feverishly the comedy writers of “Saturday Night Live” are scrambling to rewrite this weekend’s show; or the satirical cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo rethinking their next cover.

 

H/T: The Daily Caller    Image Credit: youtube

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Syria Causing Heated Debate On Capitol Hill

Photo credit: Navajo Nation Washington Office (Flickr)

The big debate before the Committee on Foreign Relations is an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) in Syria.

Under normal circumstances, this would involve the Obama administration sending Congress a draft AUMF resolution and requesting its passage.

These types of resolutions are required under the War Powers Act, and have largely replaced the constitutionally required Declaration of War.

But Obama has sent nothing to Congress.

He seems to believe the open-ended resolution that was passed in 2002 – giving President Bush the authorization to oust Saddam Hussein – still gives him enough power to push ahead with war in Syria.

So, as Senate Democrats are rushing to pass one of these resolutions before Republicans take control of the Committee (and the U.S. Senate) in January, what can we expect to happen?

Not Another Iraq…

Democrat Robert Menendez of New Jersey (Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations for the next few weeks) wants any resolution to contain clear boundaries on troop deployments and a limited timeframe–the main reason being the Democrats’ frustration with the open-ended resolution Bush had on Iraq.

On December 10, Secretary of State John Kerry was on Capitol Hill arguing against the restriction. And here’s what he said before the Committee: “The fact is that we’re going to continue this operation, because the president and the administration are absolutely convinced – and I respect your opinion – [that] we have the authority.”

Translation: They believe they don’t need Congress’ okay.

In hindsight, it’s ironic that both Obama and Kerry held different opinions when they were in the U.S. Senate. As Senators, both were actively trying to limit President Bush’s actions as Commander-in-Chief.

Unconstitutional Moves?

At this point, the fight is primarily within the Democratic Party. Most Republicans are sitting on the sidelines because they believe the U.S. President has wide latitude to make his own decisions concerning the use of force. Heck, the majority of Republicans would give even Barack Obama a blank check to run the war anyway he pleases.

While the Republicans are mum, one stands alone – Rand Paul. And his position is much more principled. Paul believes we don’t need an AUMF resolution, but a full-blown Declaration of War (as mandated by the U.S. Constitution) before Obama moves forward.

At the same hearing… Paul said, “The Constitution is quite clear that this responsibility lies with Congress… For four or five months, we’ve been derelict in our duty… [and] I think this president has been derelict.”

So there’s the real division in D.C.: Both the Democrats and Republicans disregard the Constitution’s call for a Declaration of War – happy to settle with an AUMF. Obama has even less care for the rule of law, as he doesn’t even want a new AUMF.

And yet, only the Tea Party Constitutionalist Rand Paul wants a Declaration of War. And by the look of things, he’s completely outnumbered.

 

This commentary originally appeared at WallStreetDaily.com and is reprinted here with permission. 

Photo credit: Navajo Nation Washington Office (Flickr)

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Is Kerry Letting Iran Off Scot-Free Again?

Photo credit: Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (Flickr)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced from Vienna on Monday that the yearlong Iran Nuclear Talks will be extended by seven months after efforts to reach an enduring accord fell short.  There has been little progress over the past few days leading up to Monday’s deadline to reach a final nuclear deal that will cap some of Iran’s nuclear work in exchange for lifting economic sanctions.  Iran’s economy has been crippled by sanctions from six world powers that have cut its daily exports by 60% and frozen the ability of its banks to conduct international transactions.

The six countries, Germany, France, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, and the United States, have been in negotiations with Iran to finalize a preliminary deal to curb its nuclear program.  However, Iran claims that it is seeking atomic energy, not nuclear weapons.  Kerry called for patience, saying the added few months is the safe path forward.

We would be fools to walk away from a situation where the breakout times have been expanded.

Opponents of the extension argue that Iran has the ability to stage a breakout, or the production of one bomb’s worth of fuel.

Iran will receive $700 million per month in frozen assets through the end of June.

Jeremy Bash, former Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Defense and the C.I.A. under Leon Panetta, said that Iran will be able to amass additional know-how and new technology in developing nuclear weapons during the seven month extension.  Speaking on CNBC’s Squawk Box, the former Obama official said:

So they’re continuing to basically reap the benefits of being in this negotiation.  All the while, they are not making additional concessions.  So I think it’s a pretty dangerous game that shows you that Iran, frankly, wasn’t ready to make a deal.

(h/t: Washington Free Beacon)

Photo credit: Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (Flickr)

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Israel Could Soon Be Forced To Take Major Military Actions

Photo credit: U.S.Embassy Vienna (Flickr)

I laughed yesterday when I heard a news talking head say that no one wants an Iran deal more than Iran and John Kerry.

This is an understatement.

Iran wants relief from the crippling sanctions that Congress forced the Obama administration to impose. John Kerry wants kudos by his name for posterity, as the one who solved the Iranian problem.

The deal is the priority–just a deal. You don’t see the national security interest of the United States and her allies when discussing Iran. You just hear about getting a deal.

Today, the group of nations negotiating with Iran gave the Islamic theocracy another seven months to negotiate–SEVEN MONTHS!  Today was supposed to be the deadline for a reason-so that Iran would have to decide if they would stop its quest for nuclear weapons or not. Now they have relief from the pressure–and more time to enrich!

This is more of the same. More delays, obfuscation, and flat-out lying to give Iran more time to develop a nuclear weapons capability.

Israel has had enough. They see the deal being put on the table today as a gift to the Ayatollahs. In Israel’s view, Iran can continue to enrich uranium for the next ten years.

The Jerusalem Post writes today that an “Israeli official cites ‘sunset clause’ in proposed comprehensive deal, which guarantees Iran a path into the nuclear club and may corner Israel into war.”  The Post goes on to report: “But compounding Israel’s fears, the proposal Jerusalem has seen shows that mass dismantlement of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure – including the destruction, and not the mere warehousing, of its parts – is no longer on the table in Vienna.”

It is common knowledge that the American people cannot count on the Obama administration when it comes to national security (or anything else for that matter–but that’s another column). Israel, I am confident, WILL deal with this threat to her national security. They will most likely have to conduct this military action without support from the United States.

They may even face the United States as an adversary in this action. It remains to be seen if the U.S. military will support President Obama in stopping Israel from defending herself.

Photo credit: U.S.Embassy Vienna (Flickr)

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom