Sunday, October 11, 2015

Killing Christians And Jews, Escalating Israeli-Palestinian Violence, Russia: Next Stop Iraq, Washington's Allies In Syria: 'Endangered Species'

Killing Christians and Jews

The gunman in Oregon performed a powerfully bigoted and hateful argument as a statement against Christians and Jews.  The steadfast refusal of our intellectual culture to take seriously the global and American agenda of violence against Christians and Jews is important and immoral.  Our society accepts violence against Christians and Jews as being a comprehensible response to overzealous and “privileged” communities both here at home and abroad.  We need to take clear stock of social markers taking us down a path of intimidation that must be confronted and stopped.

Our society arguably crossed a political Rubicon on December 12, 2008.  Less than one month after losing the presidential election, the much maligned governor Sarah Palin’s Christian church was burned around the entire perimeter with women and children trapped inside.  Plainly sexist verbal assaults from feminist comedians that asked for Palin to be raped and brutalized were realized in a hate crime that earned no federal investigation, no serious social commentary from the media, and no prosecutions to date.  No one has been arrested for the crime in Alaska against Palin’s church.  The deliberate silence that would not have been practiced if Biden or Obama’s (if he had one) church had been burned with women and children inside, is part of a socialized stigma toward Christians deemed by our elite as socially and politically regressive.

In 2010, a Christian man in St. Louis from Iraq who had converted from Islam was pulled from his car and had a Star of David carved into his back by his attackers.  His attackers deemed his poetry defending the dignity of Jews in the Middle East to be too offensive for their tastes.  Our intellectual elite conflate their antisemitic and anti-Christian views by arguing that the conservative Christian defense of Israel is an attempt to force a nihilistic theological Armageddon on unbelieving adversaries

Those antisemitic dispositions were on vivid display as the prime minister of Israel stated in stark and obvious terms how the international community has turned a blind eye toward Iran’s genocidal goals regarding the one Jewish state in the world.  The American delegation of Samantha Power and John Kerry would not sit for the speech from Israel demanding greater accountability for these genocidal ambitions— even though Power has made a career castigating political bodies for inaction on these types of questions.  Netanyahu stared down the United Nations for 45 eerie seconds of silence that mocked the international bodies protracted silence regarding violence against Jews and Christians globally.  

Christians who continue to turn the other cheek toward this hatred are unwitting accomplices to the increasingly popular fantasy of killing Christians and Jews.  Our silence conveys an acceptance of what is unacceptable— the killing of the innocent in order to reify the powers of the intolerant. It is painfully obvious from comedic outlets, to college classrooms, to popular sports broadcast, to international political forms, that it is ok to speak of Christians and Jews in ways we would not speak of other groups.  It is equally acceptable to silence and shun those who speak in defense of these groups.  Now is the time to end silence surrounding this new American habit adapted to please our secular pharisees. 

But now, the mass shooting that left nine people dead at an Oregon community college has brought with it the chilling reminder that Christians are targets in America, too.

“One of the things that I address in my book is this horrendous increase in the targeting of Christians in America,” said Carl Gallups, referring to his new book “Be Thou Prepared.” “Now, that’s unthinkable when you consider why our nation was founded, how it was founded, the First Amendment, the faith of most of our Founding Fathers, Christianity, Judeo-Christian understanding, and now we are at a place in America where Christians are being targeted.”

Various media outlets have reported that Christopher Harper-Mercer, the 26-year-old Oregon shooter, targeted Christians. Stacy Boylan, the father of 18-year-old shooting victim Anastasia Boylan, relayed to CNN his daughter’s account of events. He said the killer asked each student to stand up if he or she was a Christian, and if the student stood, the killer said, “Good, because you’re a Christian you’re going to see God in just about one second.” He then fired a fatal shot.

Gallups, a pastor, radio host, author and former law enforcement officer, agreed with Brown. He pointed out demonization encompasses more than mass shootings and violence. Oregon bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein were demonized and penalized by the state for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual couple. Ditto for baker Jack Phillips in Colorado. Washington state florist Barronelle Stutzman was sued and fined for refusing to provide floral arrangements for a “gay” wedding.

Brown noted the Oregon shooting was not the first time American Christians have been hit by mass violence. Floyd Corkins, inspired by a Southern Poverty Law Center “hate map,” attempted to shoot up the Family Research Council in 2012 because he didn’t like the conservative Christian values for which the organization stands.
“Most Christians in America would not define themselves as being heavily persecuted every day, not when we consider what’s happening in the Middle East, China, North Korea, Sudan,” Gallups said. “But what we’re watching is this downward degradation of our culture. It’s aimed at Christianity, taking away the First Amendment rights of all citizens, and Christianity stands in the way of that.”
But the mainstream media do not seem to be concerned about that. Gallups and Brown both noted that major media outlets did not discuss the possible anti-Christian nature of the shooting at first. Brown said his wife was watching coverage on CNN, and it wasn’t until about midnight that the network began talking about the Christian angle of the killing.

Brown urged people to imagine the media reaction if the killer had targeted Muslims instead of Christians.
“What would have happened if the first reports were that he went in there and lined up students in a world religion class and said, ‘What’s your religion?’ and if they said Muslim, shot them in the head?” Brown asked. “The moment that report got out, the secular media would have been all over it. ‘Islamophobia,’ and ‘we need to do a better job of talking about Islam in America,’ and ‘look at this.’”
Gallups agreed the media would have reacted differently if Muslims were targeted. He said the media and progressives don’t understand that America’s Christian foundation is essential to the other fundamental freedoms that exist.

  • 11 October 2015
    13:18 GMT
    Israel has come in for harsh criticism for its use of force in the latest outbreak of violence with Palestinian protesters. Amnesty International told Al Jazeera that some of the recorded incidents amounted to "extrajudicial killings," while Human rights Watch was "strongly concerned" about Israel's "indiscriminate and even deliberate" use of gunfire on demonstrators. "These are extrajudicial killings against unarmed civilians," Mariam Farah, the spokesperson for Amnesty International in Israel, was quoted as saying.
  • 13:14 GMT
    Demonstrations near Gaza City's Shujai'yah neighborhood in the northern Gaza Strip are still under way, with up to 150 protesters trying to cross through the gap in the border fence that was created Friday, Ynetnews reports. IDF troops are reportedly attempting to push them back by firing warning shots into the air and with tear gas grenades. According to Ynetnews, Palestinian medical teams are evacuating the injured from the demonstration.
  • 13:10 GMT
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is holding consultations to promote sanctions against the Islamic Movement in Israel, AP reports. According to the Israeli leader, the movement, which runs education and religious services for Israeli Arabs, is a part of the "systematic, untrue incitement" against his country. Tel Aviv says the group has incited violence by spreading lies about Israel's intentions regarding al-Aqsa, the third-holiest site in Islam, sacred to both Muslims and Jews. At his weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday, Netanyahu singled out an Arab lawmaker, Hanin Zoabi of the Joint (Arab) List part, who reportedly called on hundreds of thousands of worshipers to ascend to al-Aqsa, located in East Jerusalem, “to stand against the Israeli plot for the blood of East Jerusalem residents.” The Israeli PM said that Zoabi’s call amounted to incitement to violence, and he asked legal authorities to launch a criminal investigation against Zoabi.
  • 08:56 GMT
    There are reports on social media of IDF forces beating and chasing away Palestinians near the Al-Aqsa mosque.
  • 06:16 GMT
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has approved 13 extra Border Police units to maintain security in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas, the Jerusalem Post reports, citing Israel Radio. Netanyahu said that the additional units are needed to bring back security and order to Jerusalem and the rest of the country. "We will continue to do whatever is necessary," the prime minister was quoted as saying.
  • 06:15 GMT
    The female Arab motorist who blew herself up at a West Bank checkpoint on her way to Jerusalem was critically injured, Israeli police confirmed. The police officer who pulled her over received minor injuries.

After losing all hope that the US and its allies would save Iraq from the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIL), and heartened by the actions of televised Russian military intervention on behalf of Syria against ISIL, Baghdad is now taking under serious consideration a formal request to the Russian Federation to lend it a helping hand in the fight against ISIL terrorists.

To obtain this goal Baghdad has sent an official request to Moscow to strike terrorist infrastructure with bombs and cruise missiles within Iraqi territory. It would also make a big difference for Russia if it was capable of deploying its aircraft from within Iraqi territory,as it has been demonstrated in Syria where air strikes have been far more effective when launched from local bases. In this case, Russia would be able to provide close air support for Iraqi ground troops, while coordinating with Iraqi spotters and Iranian drones. In the case of Iraq Russia could make good use of its strategic bombers which are capable of destroying heavily fortified positions in the areas of Fallujah, Ramadi and Mosul.

The first signs that Moscow and Baghdad are moving towards cooperation are already visible. It’s evident by statements made by senior officials of the the two states. In addition, in early October, representatives of Iraq’s armed forces announced that they had  signed an agreement on the exchange of intelligence data with Iran, Russia and Syria. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said a few days ago that he cannot exclude the possibility that Iraq will turn to Russia for further aid. A truly influential Iraqi Shiite spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called on the international community to take an active part in the fight against ISIL, while hinting that he too has nothing against Russia’s involvement. On October 5 Russia’s Chairman of the Federal Assembly Valentina Matviyenko said that Moscow was ready to consider a request to strike positions of the Islamic State in Iraq, if such a request was received.

As Russia continues its military engagement in Syria assisting Bashar al-Assad in his fight against the Islamic State, Washington's allies in the Middle East will likely increasingly support other radical groups trying to remove Assad from power, the National Interest observed.

In the process, the United States will lose all of its Syrian allies, who will turn from "an endangered species into an extinct one," the bi-monthly magazine is convinced. Meanwhile, "the rubble of America's failed policy" towards the war-torn country will continue to grow.

The US did not and does not have many allies in Syria to begin with since two American programs aimed at training so-called moderate fighters turned out to be a total failure. With additional support from the oil kingdom and others, they have zero chance of survival.

"Washington's trickle of anti-tank missiles and field rations will be no match for Jabhat al-Nusra's overwhelming firepower and armor. Al-Qaeda will be able to destroy the small Free Syrian Army factions if it deems them a threat or merely finds them a nuisance," the National Interest explained.

By supporting extremists in Syria, King Salman, according to the magazine, wants to weaken Iran, whose growing power he views "as the greatest threat his kingdom faces."

For its part, Russia's airstrike campaign is aimed at defeating any group employing terrorist tactics, be it the Islamic State, al-Nusra Front or anyone else. As Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov put it: "If it looks like a terrorist, if it acts like a terrorist, if it walks like a terrorist, if it fights like a terrorist, it's a terrorist."

Russian Aerospace Forces have extended the range of their airstrikes on Islamic State positions in Syria to four provinces, focusing primarily on demolishing fortified installations and eliminating supply bases and the terrorists' infrastructure.
Over the last 24 hours Russian aircraft have attacked terrorist positions in the Hama, Idlib, Latakia and Raqqa provinces of Syria. In total, 64 sorties targeted 63 Islamic State installations, among them 53 fortified zones, 7 arms depots, 4 training camps and a command post.
The airstrikes were carried out by Sukhoi Su24M and Su-34 bombers and Su-25SM assault aircraft, with Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets ensuring air escort for the assault groups.
“Having accomplished combat assignments, all aircraft of the task force operating in Syria successfully returned to the Khmeimim airbase,” said the spokesperson for the Russian Defense Ministry, Igor Konashenkov.
In the vicinity of the city of Saraqib in northwest Syria, an artillery position known for inflicting strikes on the nearby residential areas has been exposed and eliminated.
A group of Sukhoi Su-24M bombers attacked a terrorist field headquarters near the village of Salma in northwest Syria. This command post has been coordinating operations of the militants in whole of the Latakia province.

“A direct hit of a guided KAB-500 air bomb completely destroyed a building with militant commanders inside," the Defense Ministry’s spokesperson reported. “The airstrike also eliminated five SUVs with ZU-23 double-barreled 23mm anti-aircraft guns mounted on them that were parked nearby.”
A Sukhoi Su-24M bomber attacked a thoroughly concealed position of SUVs with mortar launchers mounted on them near the village of Kafer-Delba. As a result of the attack, a mobile sub-artillery battery consisting of four vehicles was eliminated.
Aerial reconnaissance discovered a stronghold of terrorists near the village of Achan. A pinpoint airstrike carried out by Su-24M aircraft eliminated the installation, along with an ammunition and logistics depot.

The newly-formed Fourth Corps of the Syrian Army are about to make new advances in the Northern parts of the country.

“The formation of the Syrian Army's Fourth Corps will result in deep penetration into the Northern areas and collapse of the terrorist groups,” Issa al-Zaher told FNA.
The elite forces are well-experienced in combat under various climatic conditions and are adept at different kinds of fighting tactics.

The newly-formed corps of the Syrian army has between 60,000 to 100,000 troops with different expertise. It was earlier reported that the army was preparing for massive and significant operations in the Northern parts of Syria following Russia’s recent logistical backups.

“Blitz military operations which will be of decisive importance will soon start in Idlib, Jisr al-Shughour and Aleppo in the North,” Senior Political Analyst Ali Maqsoud told FNA.
He mentioned that the army plans to destroy enemy convoys that are on the move from Damascus to Homs and then from there to Lattakia, Idlib and Hama.

Peter Sutherland (shown), the United Nations special representative of the secretary-general for international migration, is hopping from one pulpit to the next, preaching the message that the refugee tsunami proves national sovereignty is an “illusion,” a mere shibboleth” that must be done away with. Moreover, says Sutherland, the United States and the European Union “have not merely a moral but a legal obligation to protect refugees.” And that means, he makes quite clear, that the United States and EU are obligated to take in an unspecified quota — but potentially millions — of refugees and migrants, most of whom are currently streaming out of the Muslim countries of the war-decimated Middle East and Africa.

In an October 8 interview with UN News Centre, Sutherland responded to the question, “What is your message to governments?” with this reply: “I will ask the governments to cooperate, to recognise that sovereignty is an illusion — that sovereignty is an absolute illusion that has to be put behind us. The days of hiding behind borders and fences are long gone. We have to work together and cooperate together to make a better world. And that means taking on some of the old shibboleths, taking on some of the old historic memories and images of our own country and recognising that we’re part of humankind.”

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