Monday, July 31, 2017

Hezbollah takes journalists in Lebanon on a tour to prove Trump wrong

    Monday, July 31, 2017   No comments
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On Saturday, Hezbollah took a party of journalists on a tour that helped explain, trumpeting the results of the militia’s recent fight against Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate in barren mountains near the northeastern Lebanese town of Arsal.

The arduous trek into the rocky terrain underscored the sway the Iran-backed Hezbollah exerts in Lebanon, where it remains the most effective and best-armed military force and retains the ability to strike at will almost anywhere in the country.

It also illuminated the complexity of the political and military landscape in Lebanon — a U.S. ally, whose government includes Hezbollah, which is in turn branded a terrorist organization by Washington. Whether the Trump administration can navigate the pitfalls of this complexity may determine if this tiny, relatively calm country can continue to escape the turmoil raging elsewhere in the Middle East.

Trump’s comment was made alongside Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who was on a visit to the United States to seek U.S. support. “Lebanon is on the front lines in the fight against ISIS, al-Qaeda and Hezbollah,” Trump said, without apparently realizing that Hariri struck an alliance with Hezbollah late last year to secure his appointment as prime minister.

The comment coincided with the conclusion of a two-week offensive by Hezbollah in the Arsal area that drove out scores of al-Qaeda-affiliated fighters belonging to the group known as Jabhat al-Nusra, as well as well as several hundred former Free Syrian Army rebels — whose allies until recently had received support from the United States.

Hezbollah officials said they took journalists on the tour to demonstrate that Hezbollah, not the United States, is the one doing most of the fighting against terrorism.

“The current American president is ignorant of the region,” said Hezbollah spokesman Mohammed Afif, speaking to reporters in a cave until recently occupied by Nusra. “We are the force that fights terrorism while the United States continues to support terrorism in many forms.”

Guided by a vanguard of Hezbollah officials in black-windowed armored vehicles, a convoy comprising over 40 journalists’ four-wheel-drive vehicles set out Saturday from the nearby Bekaa Valley and trundled slowly up a rocky mountain into the area where the battles took place... source
  

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Arizona Muslim woman running for Senate is told, "We hate your filthy death cult"

    Wednesday, July 19, 2017   No comments
A Muslim attorney hoping to unseat Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) has been deluged with threats after posting a patriotic message on her Facebook page.

Deedra Abboud, a Phoenix attorney who’s running as a Democrat in the Senate race, has endured vitriol since announcing her campaign in the spring, but her recent post on religious tolerance prompted a wave of threatening messages, reported The Republic.
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Social media users attacked Abboud and made violent threats, some of which were printed in the newspaper.

“Nice try but your first love is Satan (AKA Allah) and your second love is to a litter box your ‘people’ come from,” said S. Jason Parr. “You are as American as Chinese checkers.”

“BAN ISLAM IN THE USA…WE HATE YOUR FILTHY DEATH CULT,” posted Chris Ruen.

“I bet you’ll be a BLAST with constituents,” wrote Tony Madden. source

Abboud, an attorney and community activist, says she’ll handle the cringe-worthy comments like she would any bully who confronted her on the political playground.
“We haven’t dealt with this really hateful rhetoric,” Abboud said. “We as a society never dealt with it, and we’ve been operating under a bogus bullying theory that if you ignore the bullies, they’ll go away.”
Abboud isn’t ignoring it, but she’s not letting it get to her either: “You’re going to win a match against a bully when you stay strong.” Source

Abboud, born in Little Rock, Arkansas, and who converted to Islam 19 years ago, is asked to go back... to somewhere. Michael Scozzari wrote “Vote to send them back to the sand pit, were (sic) these scumbag people belong!”
 
The attacks came in reaction to a post about her support for the separation of church and state:
 "Almost 250 years ago a group of dreamers came together and sketched out a revolutionary vision. No longer would they be shackled to the whims of a distant government, nor bound to the religion of an idiosyncratic king. They set out to forge their own futures, determine their own destinies, and follow their own faith. In their infinite wisdom, the Founding Fathers decreed that this nation would separate church and state, and in doing so protect both institutions. Government would be free from religious overreach, and religion would be free from government interference."

 




Friday, July 14, 2017

President Macron: France is no longer insisting on the removal of Syrian President Bashar Assad from power

    Friday, July 14, 2017   No comments

ISR comment: 
For the second time in a month, the French president reiterated his policy shift towards Syria. The emphatic statement, while bringing hope that the new approach will end the bloodshed, it confirms France's reckless policy in Syria for the past seven years. Indeed, Without France's (and its allies) insistence that Assad is removed, the war could not have lasted this long and 300,000 Syrians did not have to lose their lives.  This shift is an admission of failure and complicity in a war that should not have happened. Indeed, peaceful transition to representative rule could have been realized without the bloodshed. Now that goal may never be realized given that Syria is destroyed and its people will be focused on reconstruction, not on genuine political reform.
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The News:


France is no longer insisting on the removal of Syrian President Bashar Assad from power, President Macron announced on Thursday During a joint press conference with US President Donald Trump, Macron said defeating terrorism and seeking political stability at home was now his top priority. Macron said. “I do not require Assad’s departure, that’s no longer a prerequisite for France President Assad’s departure is no longer as relevant for Paris, as fighting terrorism at home has now become the top priority, Macron stated. “Indeed, we now have a new approach in Syria, because we want results and we want to work closely together with all our partners including the United States. We have one main goal which is to eradicate terrorism, no matter who they are, we want to build an inclusive and sustainable political solution,” Macron said. “I do not require Assad’s departure, that’s no longer a prerequisite for France. For seven years, we did not have an embassy in Damascus - and still we have no solution.”

 



Thursday, July 13, 2017

Google Academics Inc., financial support for academics and policy experts to influence public opinion in favor of Google

    Thursday, July 13, 2017   No comments
Campaign for Accountability (CfA) released a new report, Google Academics Inc., revealing Google’s extensive financial support for academics and policy experts.  CfA identified 329 research papers published between 2005 and 2017 on public policy matters of interest to Google that were in some way funded by the company.

CfA Executive Director, Daniel Stevens, said, “Google uses its immense wealth and power to attempt to influence policy makers at every level. At a minimum, regulators should be aware that the allegedly independent legal and academic work on which they rely has been brought to them by Google.”

Google Academics Inc. examines the contours of Google’s academic influence machine.  For instance, the report reveals that the number of Google-funded studies spiked during periods when its business model was under threat from regulators and when opportunities arose to push for new regulations on its competitors.

Google-funded studies are published by a wide variety of sources, and often blur the line between academic research and paid advocacy.  Reports funded by the company have been authored by academics and economists hailing from some of the nation’s leading law schools and universities, including Stanford, Harvard and MIT, as well as some of the most prestigious universities in Europe, including Oxford, Edinburgh, and the Berlin School of Economics.




Read the report here.

Iranian cancer researcher detained at Boston airport despite valid visa

    Thursday, July 13, 2017   No comments
An Iranian cancer researcher traveling to the US on a valid visa has been detained at Boston Logan international airport with his wife and three children, two weeks after Donald Trump’s revised travel ban came into force.

Mohsen Dehnavi was traveling to the US to work as a visiting scholar at Boston children’s hospital, which is affiliated with Harvard Medical School. But when he arrived on Monday afternoon, he was not allowed to enter the country and may now be sent home along with his family, according to a friend who was due to pick them up from the airport.

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