Black Bat Flower
When a 1,400-year-old Iraqi Christian monastery was destroyed by the Islamic State (ISIS) most of the world condemned the demolition — except for spokesman for the U.S. military’s Operation Inherent Resolve, Col. Steve Warren.
“Thousands [of Iraqi Christians] have been killed, hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee,” said CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an interview with Col. Warren the other week. “There is legitimate fear — you’re there in Baghdad — that the long history of Christians living peacefully, productively in Iraq, is coming to an end. How worried should we be about the Christian community in Iraq?”
Col. Warren’s response: “Wolf, ISIL doesn’t care if you’re a Christian … We’ve seen no specific evidence of a specific targeting towards Christians.”
Except that roughly two-thirds of Iraq’s 1.5 million Christian citizens have been killed or forced to flee the country by ISIS and its jihadi predecessors over the past decade. This has nothing to do with their religious identity?
In Iraq and everywhere else it has conquered, ISIS has, at a minimum, rigorously enforced on pain of death Islam’s dhimmi laws, which require Christians to pay extortion money (jizya) for “protection,” and agree to live by a set of degrading rules.
One would think that with all the reasons that continue to pile up that in Israel at least we would see the solution and not be blocked by what is termed a right of center nationalist Zionist government, but you would be wrong. Naftali Bennet, who campaigned as a nationalist, religious Zionist, has turned from insisting that once we settle in an area that we stay and not destroy Jewish neighborhoods traumatizing complete communities and sparing few from the soured grapes of government wrath to Netanyahu’s pet attack bulldog assailing all who were those who supported Jewish Home with their votes. Benyamin Netanyahu claims he understands the will of the people, the vast majority of the people, when they yell in their hearts and minds to settle the land and send the bands of thugs from amongst our midst, but he sits on a report which grants and explains the…
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Britain’s trade figures released by the ONS last week have provided further evidence of how the nation’s trading future lies outside the EU.
The UK’s trade deficit with the EU rose to an all-time high of £89 billion — a figure which fully demonstrates the importance of Britain as the EU’s biggest single trade market. For those who have argued Britain would be prevented from securing a favourable trade deal following Brexit, the figures make humbling reading.
British importers and consumers have been propping up the economies of struggling eurozone countries — including Spain and Italy — alongside being vital markets for the economic heavyweights of France and Italy. This major imbalance should greatly strengthen the negotiating position of the UK post-Brexit, as the British Prime Minister could have simply threatened to walk away if he was not offered a good enough deal.
Such a decision would be disastrous for major European producers and manufacturers, such as German car manufactures, who would demand their respective governments offer Britain a better deal – despite the latest threats from Brussels they will make it hard for Britain with huge trade tarriffs. This is unlikely to happen, as they want to sell more to us then the other way around.
It is a shame Cameron instead decided to go into the negotiations shutting the proverbial door behind him, with his fellow EU leaders well aware he wants to keep Britain inside the EU — at any cost. Instead of putting forward the deal he promised Britain in his famous Bloomberg speech, and being prepared to walk away if he did not succeed — Cameron bottled it, abandoning any attempt to bring necessary reform to the EU.
Imam Oussama El-Saadi, of the Aarhus mosque in Denmark, said that child brides should be looked at from a “different perspective.”
“It is an extraordinary humanitarian situation, and I think you have to take care of these families. They’re married, and even if the man is twice as old as they have built a family. We have to accept that it is a different culture, and we cannot destroy family life,” he told Danish newspaper Metroxpress.
El-Saadi went on to explain the alleged benefits of such situations.
“If you look at the situation in the refugee camps, it is often filled with violence and uncertainty. If…
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The new year has not been kind to the hydroelectric-dam industry. On January 11th, the New York Times reported that Mosul Dam, the largest such structure in Iraq, urgently requires maintenance to prevent its collapse, a disaster that could drown as many as five hundred thousand people downstream and leave a million homeless. Four days earlier, the energy minister of Zambia declared that Kariba Dam, which straddles the border between his country and Zimbabwe, holding back the world’s largest reservoir, was in “dire” condition. An unprecedented drought threatens to shut down the dam’s power production, which supplies nearly half the nation’s electricity.
The news comes as more and more of the biggest hydroelectric-dam projects around the world are being cancelled or postponed. In 2014, researchers at Oxford University reviewed the financial performance of two hundred and forty-five dams and concluded that the “construction costs of large dams are too high to yield a positive return.” Other forms of energy generation—wind, solar, and miniature hydropower units that can be installed inside irrigation canals—are becoming competitive, and they cause far less social and environmental damage. And dams are particularly ill-suited to climate change, which simultaneously requires that they be larger (to accommodate the anticipated floods) and smaller (to be cost-effective during the anticipated droughts).
Mosul Dam’s predicament is partly a result of the ongoing war; many maintenance workers have not returned there since August of 2014, when ISIS fighters briefly took control. (Iraqi and Kurdish forces soon regained it.) But the main issue is that, like many such dams, the project shouldn’t exist in the first place. Opened in 1986, it was built on unstable gypsum bedrock, requiring grout to be constantly injected into the foundation to prevent the dam’s collapse. That work has ceased. In 2006, long before ISIS began making headlines, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers called Mosul Dam “the most dangerous dam in the world.”
Sadly, major world powers, including the United Nations, have not appeared serious about fighting terrorism or the Islamic State (ISIS, IS) or similar terrorist groups.
UN Security Council Resolution 2170 (August 15, 2014) called on member-states to take “national measures to prevent fighters from traveling from their soil to join the IS and deny it any arms or financial support. The resolution also “expressed readiness to consider putting on the sanctions list those who facilitated the recruitment and travel of foreign fighters.”
The continued growth of the Islamic State, however, shows that the UN’s member states have done little to fight it. According to an intelligence estimate more than 20,000 fighters have arrived in Syria and Iraq to fight for the IS. Of these, about a quarter hail from North America, Australia and Europe. Clearly, such a movement of IS fighters would not have been possible if the member states had been conscientious about implementing the UN resolution.
Sadly, the conduct of the UN Security Council does not seem any different today. Of late, four of the five permanent members of the Security Council — the United States, France, Russia and Britain — have been bombing IS locations, but the major powers seem to have divergent objectives in their war on ISIS.
Washington’s policy in the Middle East has been among the major reasons for the rise of the Islamic State. But today it is not clear what the United States wants, except for the next president to clean up the mess being made by this one.
Beijing, for its part, continues to back Syrian President Bashar Assad. In the past, China extended support to the Assad regime: even in the midst of allegations of chemical weapons attacks and slaughtering tens of thousands of civilians, China, together with Russia, repeatedly blocked sanctions attempts against the Syrian regime. Russia, one of Syria’s biggest arms suppliers, seems to have as a key goal blocking American efforts to shape the region. China appears more concerned with its financial ties with Syria.