The Left’s climate of misinformation.
In this era when there has been more information available to more people than at any time in the past, it is also true that there has been more misinformation from more different sources than ever. We are not talking about differences of opinion or inadequate verification, but about statements and catchwords in utter defiance of facts.
Among the most popular current catchwords are “climate change deniers.” Stop and think. Have you ever — even once in your entire life — seen, heard or read even one human being who denied that climates change?
It is hard even to imagine how any minimally knowledgeable person could deny that climates change, when there are fossils of marine creatures in the Sahara Desert. Obviously there has been quite a climate change there.
The next time someone talks about “climate change deniers,” ask them to name one — and tell you just where specifically you can find their words, declaring that climates do not change. You can bet the rent money that they cannot tell you.
Why all this talk about these mythical creatures called “climate change deniers”? Because there are some meteorologists and other scientists who refuse to join the stampede toward drastic economic changes to prevent what others say will be catastrophic levels of “global warming.”
There are scientists on both sides of that issue. Presumably the issue could be debated on the basis of evidence and analysis. But this has become a political crusade, and political issues tend to be settled by political means, of which demonizing the opposition with catchwords is one.
It is much the same story on economic issues. Any proposal to reduce income tax rates is sure to bring out claims that these are “tax cuts for the rich,” based on the “trickle-down theory” that reducing the taxes collected from the rich will cause some of their wealth to “trickle down” to people with lower incomes.
Here, yet again, all you need to do is think back over your own life, and ask yourself if you have ever — even once in your entire life — seen, heard or read a single human being who advocated this “trickle-down theory.”
Yet there are ringing denunciations of the “trickle-down theory” in books, articles, and in politics and the media. That theory has been denounced as far away as India.
The next time someone talks about the “trickle-down” theory, ask them to tell you where specifically you can find the writings, videos or any other evidence of someone advocating that theory. You may get some very clever and creative evasions of your question, but no actual answer.
One of the best-selling history textbooks did name Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon as having said in the 1920s that letting the rich pay less taxes would allow their wealth to “trickle down” to others. It was one of the very rare examples that actually named a name.
Unfortunately, what this widely used history textbook attributed to Andrew Mellon was the direct opposite of what he actually said. In Mellon’s own book, “Taxation,” he said that wealthy people were not paying enough tax revenue to the government, because they put their money into tax-exempt securities.
Mellon called it “incredible” that tax laws allowed someone making a million dollars a year to pay not a cent in taxes, and an “almost grotesque” consequence that people of more modest incomes had to make up the shortfall.
He understood, however, that higher tax rates did not automatically mean higher tax revenues. So when the tax law changes that he advocated cut tax rates, the income tax revenues actually hit a record high at that time. Moreover, the rich paid more tax revenue and a much higher percentage of all income tax revenues than before.
Issues in both economics and science can get complicated. But when one side of those issues has to resort to demonstrably false catchwords, that should give us a clue.
WHY IS WAR OFF THE TABLE IN THE CONFLICT WITH IRAN?
Inaction is as risky as action, and frequently riskier.
Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
The Washington Free Beacon’s Matthew Continetti reminds us of how the Obama administration sold the Iran Nuclear Deal. In 2016, Obama’s ex national security advisor Ben Rhodes told the New York Times Magazinehow the administration “created an echo chamber” in the media in order to sell the terminally flawed Iran Nuclear Deal to reporters who, Rhodes said correctly, “literally know nothing.” The center-piece of Obama’s narrative was an either-or fallacy: sign the deal with Iran, or go to war.
The strategy worked, which may be why in the current crisis we’re seeing it again. Now, however, the media are taking their direction from Iran. A few days ago an advisor to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (pictured above), the alleged “reformer,” tweeted, “You [Trump] wanted a better deal with Iran. Looks like you are going to get a war instead. That’s what happens when you listen to the mustache.” The “mustache,” of course, is National Security Advisor John Bolton, whom the Dems and their media flunkeys have tarred as a “war-monger” leading the cognitively impaired president into war. As Continetti shows, the media have dutifully followed the Iranians’ propaganda: “Their goal is saving President Obama’s nuclear deal by manipulating Trump into firing Bolton and extending a lifeline to the regime.”
While correcting the old “deal or war” fallacy, however, other commentators seemingly take war off the table, while accepting the need for military action that retaliates or deters. These responses are what, so far, the Trump team is threatening rather than war, contrary to the media shills. But these two important tools for dealing with adversaries and enemies are effective only insofar as the threat of war is credible. If an enemy thinks war is not in the cards, he can continue his aggression, absorbing the occasional military strike or economic sanctions, and buying time in which he continues to escalate his aggression, secure in his assumption that he will not face significant or existential damage.
Of course, we all know why democratic leaders “take war off the table”: we the voting people don’t like war. In an age of instant video, the gruesome carnage and suffering of war are present in our homes, disturbing our peace of mind. Nor do we care for the expense of war, a truism of democracies since ancient Athens. As a character in Aristophanes’ Knights says, “If two politicians were making proposals, one to build warships, the other to spend the same on state pay [to citizens], the pay man would walk all over the trireme man.” So too today, buying butter trumps buying guns. That’s why entitlement and welfare spending eat up over two-thirds of the annual budget, while military spending takes a bit more than one-sixth.
Another problem with democracies and war is that democracies are prey to short-term thinking. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote why in 1835: “The people are more apt to feel than to reason; and if their present sufferings are great, it is to be feared the still greater sufferings attendant upon defeat will be forgotten.” For us Americans today, only a tiny portion of whom actually suffer the horrors of war, we are jeopardizing our future security in order to avoid spending money we’d rather spend on ourselves, and feeling bad over disturbing images that offend our therapeutic sensibilities––even if a nuclear armed Iran will in the future exponentially endanger our own interests and security.
Given these restraints, as things stand today a formal war with Iran is politically impossible, not to mention contrary to Trump’s campaign pledges to stay out of conflicts abroad. Last week he said publicly, “We don’t want a war with Iran,” and some State Department officials explicitly told journalists that there were no plans for an invasion. Apparently, Trump’s deployments to the region and precautionary withdrawal of U.S. personnel from Iraq, are signals meant to intimidate the Iranians back to the negotiating table in order to work out a nuclear deal that doesn’t give the store away.
Indeed, there are rumors that we are already engaged in talks, or at least talks about talks. I’m not sure what evidence from the last 40 years suggests that the mullahs see diplomatic engagement as anything other than a delaying tactic, and that any “agreement” or even “treaty” they sign has any more value than did the worthless piece of paper Neville Chamberlain waved when he returned from Munich.
Moreover, how many examples of failed diplomacy do we need to realize it can’t work with a determined, ruthless foe? Decades of summits, bribe, meetings, and deals with North Korea couldn’t stop a dysfunctional gangster-state on Chinese life-support from acquiring nuclear weapons. Or how about the mother of all failed “diplomatic engagement,” the Arab-Israeli conflict? The roster of “summits,” and “agreements”–– Madrid (1991), Oslo (1993), the Wye River Memorandum (1998), Camp David (2000), Taba (2001), the Arab Peace Initiative (2002), the Roadmap (2003), the Geneva Accord (2003), Annapolis (2007), and Washington (2010) ––is a record of abject failure. Even as Trump’s envoys are talking today, the Palestinian Arabs still passionately long for Israel’s destruction, and still see terrorist violence as a legitimate means to that end. “Two states living side-by-side in peace” is of no interest to them, as 70 years of rejected peace-offers and violence against Israel shows.
But didn’t the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq disabuse the jihadists of this belief and restore America’s prestige? At first they did, but soon the mistakes, unforeseen consequences, and tragic costs typical of every war ever fought, along with the political aims of the antiwar Democrats, and Bush’s misbegotten Wilsonian policy of democracy promotion, squandered U.S. morale. Barack Obama exploited this disaffection to get elected, and his vacillating, half-hearted policy in the Middle East nourished a perception among our enemies that we just wanted to get out and wash our hands of the whole region. As a result today Iran is more consequential in Iraq than we are, and along with Russia has usurped our traditional dominance in the region.
This history leaves us with a melancholy conclusion: either we destroy an offending regime and then go home, which means running the risk of even more destructive disorder arising in the rubble; or we return to the Cold War geopolitical model, in which we keep extensive military garrisons and air bases to maintain order, buttressed by indigenous regimes, no matter how illiberal, that we keep in power as long as they serve our interests. Whether a “butcher and bolt” foreign policy, or a quasi-empire of client states, neither alternative is palatable to American voters.
If war, then, is politically off the table, and if diplomacy’s dismal record argues against going down that road again, then can calibrated, selective military actions at least deter Iran from further mischief? The 1987-88 Tanker War, which destroyed Iranian naval vessels and Republican Guard bases for attacking international shipping and U.S. military assets, was a success, but it took place while the Iranians were weakened by a vicious, costly war with Iraq. A retaliatory action today against a militarily stronger Iran will have to go beyond a pinprick attack like Trump’s bombing of a Syrian airfield in retaliation for Assad’s use of chemical weapons. Despite that warning, the Syrian tyrant is still using chlorine gas and barrel bombs.
Deterrent retaliation cannot comprise just one-offs, but must reflect a planned escalation that increases the severity of the punishment after each incident, and that at some point targets the capital and the regime’s financial and military assets. But here’s the rub: if the enemy is stubborn enough and indifferent to the lives of its citizens, eventually the next retaliatory response will be war. And then we’ll be back to the political complications mentioned above, not the least being the need for the Senate’s approval. And right now, we have a bipartisan consensus among voters and most of Congress against further serious military involvement abroad.
Forty years of allowing Iran to get away with its aggression against our interests and security have created a problem that today has no good solution. We seem now to be relying on some chance event––another attack as horrific as 9/11, or the collapse of the Iranian theocracy from within––to make the hard decision for us. But inaction is as risky as action, and frequently riskier, a lesson I hope we don’t have to learn the brutal way France and England learned it in 1940.
* * *
Hunt: Britain Has Helped 16 NATO Allies Tackle Russia Hacking Attempts
Britain has shared information on Russian cyberactivities with 16 NATO allies, helping them counter malicious threats against their countries over the past year and a half, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will announce on May 23, AFP and other media outlets reported.
In a May 23 speech at the NATO Cyber Defense Pledge Conference in London, Hunt accused Russian intelligence services of mounting a “global campaign” to “compromise central government networks.”
The event was attended by NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, who warned that the Western military alliance was ready to use all means at its disposal to respond to cyberattacks.
The remarks by Hunt and Stoltenberg reflect persistent tension between Russia and the West, where governments have accused Moscow of using cyberattacks and social-media activity to sow discord abroad and increase its global clout.
London’s relations with Moscow have deteriorated considerably since the poisoning last year of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in the southern British city of Salisbury.
“I can disclose that in the last 18 months, the National Cyber Security Center has shared information and assessments with 16 NATO allies — and even more nations outside the alliance — of Russian cyberactivity in their countries,” Hunt told the London gathering, which was also attended by NATO’s ambassadors.
Britain’s National Cyber Security Center was set up in October 2016.
“Together, we possess options for responding to any attacks. We should be prepared to use them,” the British foreign secretary warned.
Hunt said that attempts to influence elections in the United States and Ukraine “breach international law — and justify a proportionate response.”
In his speech, Stoltenberg said that NATO was beefing up its resources to tackle cyberthreats.
“Hybrid threats, including cyberthreats, need a whole of a government response,” the NATO chief said, adding: “It takes just one ‘click’ to send a cybervirus spreading across the globe, but it takes a global effort to stop it from inflicting chaos.”
A meeting of national security advisers from all of NATO’s 29 member states is scheduled at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels next week.
NATO pledged to build up national cyberdefenses at a summit in Warsaw in 2016.
At the same summit, the alliance also agreed that there be an annual Cyber Defense Pledge Conference.
With reporting by AFP, dailymail.co.uk, and itv.com
Copyright (c) 2019. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
Pakistan Tests Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missile
Pakistan says it has successfully conducted a “training launch” of a ballistic missile capable of carrying both nuclear and conventional warheads up to 1,500 kilometers.
The move came amid Pakistan’s heightened military tensions with neighboring rival India, and it is seen by observers as part of the efforts Islamabad is making to keep pace with New Delhi’s massive investments in military hardware and advancements.
After the indigenously produced Shaheen-II medium range rocket was fired into the Arabian Sea on Thursday, military spokesman Major-General Asif Ghafoor said that it is “a highly capable missile which fully meets Pakistan’s strategic needs towards maintenance of desired deterrence stability in the region.”
Ghafoor noted the head of the military unit that oversees the country’s nuclear program witnessed the training launch along with other senior officials, scientists and engineers.
“President (Arif Alvi) and Prime Minister of Pakistan (Imran Khan) have also conveyed their congratulations on the achievement,” he added.
Pakistan has already test-fired the Shaheen-III nuclear-capable missile with a range of up to 1,700 miles, enabling it to strike all corners of India and reach deep into the Middle East, including Israel.
Thursday’s missile launch came a day after Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi spoke briefly with his Indian counterpart, Sushma Swaraj, on the sidelines of a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states in Kyrgyzstan. Following what he said was an informal interaction with Swaraj, Qureshi said he conveyed Pakistan’s readiness to engage in a dialogue with India to resolve all bilateral matters through negotiations.
“We want to live like good neighbors and settle our outstanding issues through talks,” he said.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in March the country had shot down a satellite in low orbit, making it the fourth country, after the United States, China and Russia, to have used an anti-satellite weapon.
Islamabad had criticized the move as a “matter of grave concern” and a militarization of space by New Delhi.
In the backdrop of India’s recent anti-satellite tests, Pakistan announced Wednesday it has signed a joint document with Russia on no-first placement of weapons in outer space. An official statement said the two countries have agreed to “make all possible efforts to prevent outer space from becoming an arena for military confrontation and to ensure security in our space activities.”
Analysts estimate that both the South Asian rivals possess about 100 nuclear warheads each.
Brink of war
Pakistan and India have fought three major wars since 1947 and came close to the brink of another war earlier this year.
In mid-February, a suicide bomber struck an Indian paramilitary convoy in the disputed Kashmir territory, killing 40 security personnel. The Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) reportedly claimed responsibility for the bombing, fueling tensions between India and Pakistan despite Islamabad’s denial it had nothing to do with the attack.
Indian fighter planes on Feb. 26 flew into Pakistan and carried out airstrikes against what New Delhi alleged was a JeM training camp in the mountainous town of Balakot. The next day, Pakistan retaliated with airstrikes of its own, shooting down an Indian plane and capturing its pilot in an ensuing fight over the disputed Kashmir border.
The aerial clash was the first between Pakistan and India in five decades, dangerously escalating tensions to a point where both countries reportedly had mobilized their missiles. Islamabad returned the pilot two days later, and the tensions have since eased, following intervention by major powers, including the United States and China.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has denied reports that between 5,000 and 10,000 U.S. troops could be sent to the Middle East to defend against a potential threat by Iran. …
The town of Vardo in the Norwegian Arctic near the Russian border is home to a US surveillance radar station dubbed Globus II.
China’s meter wave anti-stealth radar capable of guiding missiles to destroy stealth aircraft: senior designer
By Liu Xuanzun Source:Global Times Published: 2019/5/23
China’s meter wave anti-stealth radar not only detects advanced stealth aircraft, but also guides missiles to destroy them, a senior Chinese radar designer said at a recent interview.
Meter wave radar can be deployed on vehicles, on land and warships, creating a dense web that gives hostile stealth aircraft nowhere to hide, Chinese military experts told the Global Times on Thursday.
“As long as they are designed to serve this purpose, meter wave anti-stealth radars can fulfill the requirement,” Wu Jianqi, a senior scientist at the state-owned China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC) who conducts researches and designs anti-stealth radar, said when asked in an interview with the Naval & Merchant Ships magazine whether a meter wave radar can guide missiles to shoot down stealth aircraft.
Meter wave radars can detect stealth aircraft because modern stealth aircraft are mainly designed to avoid detection by microwave radar, and are less stealthy to meter wave radar, military experts noted.
However, analysts previously said that because of their low resolution and accuracy, meter wave radars can only send warnings about incoming threats. And even if microwave radars compensate for the shortcomings of the meter wave radars, they are unable to entirely overcome these shortcomings.
Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military analyst, told the Global Times that older meter wave radars could only see roughly an object’s general direction, not its exact location.
Wu solved the issue by designing the world’s first practical meter wave sparse array synthetic impulse and aperture radar.
Wu said that his radar has multiple transmitting and receiving antennas tens of meters high, scattered in a range of tens to hundreds of meters. They can continuously cover the sky as the radar receives echoes from all directions.
Wei said that this significantly enhances the radar’s ability to track an aerial target, pinpointing the stealth aircraft’s exact coordinates by synthesizing parameters and data gathered by the radar under the support of advanced algorithms.
Since the radar can now see stealth aircraft clearly and track them continuously and accurately, it could become capable of guiding long-range anti-aircraft missiles and landing precision strikes on them, Wei said.
Although other countries like Russia are also developing meter wave radars, Wu seems confident that China’s are the best.
“As for now, I do not see a meter wave air defense radar from abroad that can match the criteria of the advanced meter wave radar [like the one China has],” Wu said.
Qatar Shows Two Faces to the World
The attacks were a massive escalation, showing both the capabilities and determination of the terror groups to strike deeply and indiscriminately within Israeli territory. With new rockets, Israel’s main population centers surrounding Tel Aviv were under fire, as was the country’s rumored nuclear reactor at Dimona. Israel’s anti-missile system, Iron Dome, as well as luck and providence prevented the deaths of Jews on a massive scale.
Amid the back and forth, it appeared an Israeli ground invasion was imminent. There’s no country in the world that would allow such a threat on its borders to persist, yet a cease-fire between Israel and the terror groups, negotiated in part by Qatar, seems to be holding — at least temporarily.
Qatar’s role in negotiating an end to hostilities with Israel is more than a bit ironic, as that nation has been Hamas’ principal system of financial and diplomatic support.
The Islamist terror group’s long-standing relationship with Qatar runs through the Muslim Brotherhood. In its founding charter, Hamas declares itself as a branch of the Brotherhood in Palestine. For its part, the Brotherhood long has understood Hamas to be the tip of the spear when it comes to armed jihad against Israel. America’s largest terror finance trial, U.S. vs. Holy Land Foundation, described the primary function of the Brotherhood in America as being a fundraising and communications tool for the terror group.
Since the U.S. government closed Texas’ Holy Land Foundation more than a decade ago for funneling millions to Hamas, foreign nations such as Qatar largely have picked up the slack. Money for a terror group like Hamas is fungible. This means investing in social services and territory itself. Part of Qatar’s largesse solidifies Hamas’ grip on the population: bribing Gazans with services, feeding its citizens with jihadist propaganda, and maintaining a security force that stamps down dissent and engages in murders of suspected collaborators.
But Qatar doesn’t just support Hamas directly in Gaza. The Gulf emirate bankrolls the group’s massive communications support network, including the institutions, media outlets and influencers that comprise most of anti-Israel activism globally.
“Qatar has quickly and quietly built an unrivaled global influence operation.” — Brooke Goldstein, executive director of The Lawfare Project
Qatar’s Support for Islamists
For a half-century, Qatar has been a tiny oasis for Hamas’ ideological mothership, the Muslim Brotherhood and many of the world’s most virulent Islamists. In the 1960s, Gamal Abdel Nasser again banned and cracked down on the Brotherhood in Egypt, forcing thousands of the group’s agitators, clerics and community organizers to retreat elsewhere into the Middle East, Europe and North America.
Since then, the Arabian Gulf emirate of Qatar has been the Brotherhood’s most hospitable base of operations. In time, Brotherhood Islamism soon would emerge as Qatar’s de facto state ideology, as the ruling al-Thani family welcomed the Islamists with lavish funding, the highest state honors and the establishment of new Islamist institutions that would indoctrinate thousands of extremist clerics.
With the turn of Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia against Islamism, today Qatar is the last major state patron for Brotherhood activists and groups, especially in the West. Since Qatar’s most prominent export, state-owned television network Al-Jazeera, was founded in 1996, the Brotherhood has played a crucial role in programming and setting the editorial line, providing the network’s strong ideological Islamist backing.
By backing the Brotherhood in the region, Qatar’s adventurism greatly imperils the security of Israel as well as the United States. The emirate undermines the stability of its Arab neighbors, especially Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates; it promotes Islamists in vulnerable, Western-open societies; and it diplomatically and financially supports violent terrorist groups such as Hamas, al-Qaida and the Taliban.
Of course, nobody who credibly can be called pro-Israel would want to be in the position to defend these policy priorities, even for satchels of cash on offer from Doha, Qatar’s capital.
Nevertheless, after Donald Trump’s shocking victory in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, two well-connected Jews became lobbyists and signed a substantial contract to represent the Islamist-supporting emirate of Qatar in the Arabian Gulf. That decision got them working against Israel’s interests and eventually did considerable damage to their careers and reputations.
Qatar’s Media Empire of Influence
Information warfare products consist of weaponized information translated into a variety of media — from books and articles to television interviews, blog posts and tweets. Qatar’s media empire comprises 38 sports television channels in 36 countries, exclusive broadcasting rights to Turner-owned channels in the Middle East and North Africa, a Qatar Airways-sponsored monthly travel series on CNN and more.
“Qatar has quickly and quietly built an unrivaled global influence operation,” said Brooke Goldstein, executive director of The Lawfare Project, which provides legal services for the Jewish community. “It presents a squeaky-clean face to the West that hides the regime’s support for the most extreme Islamist groups … groups that murder Israelis and gravely threaten U.S. interests.”
Al-Jazeera is the most important news network broadcasting in Arabic in the world, with tens of millions of viewers spread across Arabic-speaking communities in nearly every country. Drawing a massive estimated audience of 35 million weekly, Al-Jazeera’s most popular Arabic program was “Sharia and Life,” starring Qatar-based virulently anti-Semitic cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s most prominent jurist.
Al-Qaradawi’s most infamous statement was an ode to Adolf Hitler: “Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption,” he proclaimed on Al-Jazeera. “The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them — even though they exaggerated this issue — he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hands of the believers.”
In explaining why Qatar can never turn its back on the Brotherhood or anti-Western Islamism, scholar David Warren stressed the importance of al-Qaradawi and his legacy in that country. “The Qatari royal family became a key supporter of Qaradawi,” he wrote. Today, al-Qaradawi meets regularly with the emir and his family, and the state media regularly distribute photos of family members embracing the sheik with great affection and reverence.
“Since the U.S. government closed Texas’ Holy Land Foundation more than a decade ago for funneling millions to Hamas, foreign nations such as Qatar largely have picked up the slack.”
“The fact that there is anti-Semitic material in Al-Jazeera is significant; that it has a daily diet of anti-American material is significant,” Middle East Broadcasting Networks president Alberto Fernandez said during a recent Washington conference on Qatar’s influence operations. “But the greatest problem with Al-Jazeera is how, for a generation, it has mainstreamed and normalized an Islamist grievance narrative, which has served as sort of the mother’s milk for all sorts of Islamist movements.”
As London-based Muslim liberal Nervana Mahmoud noted, the Qatari outlet “labels Arab states with good relations with Israel [like the United Arab Emirates and, most recently, Saudi Arabia] as ‘Arab Zionists.’ ” Of course, this kind of rhetoric makes Middle East normalization and eventual peace and with Israel more difficult.
Al-Jazeera is the world’s most successful and influential state-directed information operation. Its sophistication is evident in its ability to promote two very different messages to two audiences simultaneously. In Arabic, Al-Jazeera pushes a stream of vile, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and attempts to rile up religious and extremist Muslims against attempts at positive, human rights reforms in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states. In English, however, Al-Jazeera presents itself as progressive and left wing, attacking these same nations efforts at reform as fake and inadequate. A rebranding in English as “AJ+” was further meant to obscure the Islamist-run network and to appeal to younger people in the West, with social media material in English, Arabic, French and Spanish.
Al-Jazeera’s mask is held tightly in place but occasionally it slips. Only last week, AJ+ Arabic and Al-Jazeera were rocked by a severe anti-Semitism scandal, beginning with a Holocaust-denial video. The video — professionally produced by the Doha-based network — denied that extermination took place at the Nazi concentration camps and accused the Zionist movement of benefiting from the atrocities. Soon, the network’s critics were finding recent tweet after tweet from a variety of Al-Jazeera contributors.
In an attempt to quell the anger that threatened to destroy all the effort Al-Jazeera had put into cultivating AJ+’s reputation and target audience, the network suspended two staffers. Calling the disciplined employees “scapegoats,” Muslim liberal commentator Asra Nomani tweeted, “The government of Qatar needs to take responsibility & everyone making excuses for Al-Jazeera is complicit in a cover-up.”
The scandal did damage Qatar’s influence operation — but just how much damage is yet to be seen. At the very least, more Americans know that the AJ+ social media content that’s targeted toward their children and young adults is actually Al-Jazeera, a foreign network owned and operated to advance the interests of the Qatari state. This kind of exposure is vital.
Unfortunately, American elites and policymakers long have been soft targets for Qatari information warfare, especially if it’s coated with the sheen of the network’s respectability. Even then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “Like it or hate it, [Al-Jazeera] is really effective.”
After the 2016 election, the specter of Russian news and commentary outlets like Russia Today and Sputnik as serious threats to American democracy allowed the massive Qatari elephant in the room, Al-Jazeera, to largely escape similar scrutiny. Last year, though, Congress finally appeared to get serious about foreign states’ roles in information operations directed at American citizens and media consumers. The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act requires all U.S.-based foreign media outlets — including Russia Today and Al-Jazeera — to identify themselves clearly as foreign outlets and report to the FCC every six months on their relations with their foreign principals. Trump signed it into law in August 2018; to date, neither foreign outlet has filed with the FCC or made their reports available to Congress.
When Qatar pays off people with pro-Israel bona fides, it has a downstream effect; others who might know less about the issues or the region itself will follow the thought leader.
Qatar’s Other Instruments of Influence
Qatar doesn’t control just networks. The larger picture of how its information assets play off one another is impressive. For example, a typical news story or TV news segment might feature a journalist to report the news; reference a recent think-tank study; and provide several experts to contextualize the importance of the news and provide historical perspective. What would happen to the coverage if all these elements shared a common benefactor — especially one that is adamant about message discipline and advancing its interests?
More than any other nation, Qatar shrewdly has invested in the infrastructure of this kind of influence, and it shows. Last month, The New York Times published an expansive story in a Sunday edition arguing that Democratic support for Israel quickly was evaporating in the wake of an ascendant boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.
Nathan Thrall, who wrote the story, tried to make the case that prominent Democratic donors deviously worked behind the scenes to maintain public support for Israel, even as the party’s base soured on the Jewish state. Thrall painted a bleak picture of Israeli atrocities and echoed age-old themes of untoward Jewish influence in America’s “paper of record.”
Yet, nowhere in the piece did the Times disclose that some of those paying Thrall’s salary have agendas hostile to Israel. The International Crisis Group (ICG) has received significant foreign funding from the emirate of Qatar, with other funding coming from U.S.-based backers of BDS.
The pro-Hamas ICG isn’t the only think tank that benefits from Qatar’s largesse. The Qatar Foundation owns the Brookings Doha Center, the Qatar-based branch of one of the oldest think tanks in the world, the Brookings Institution. The foundation’s listed “100%” ownership stake means Qatari heads of state control the Brookings Doha Center.
Even as it has been routinely criticized for promoting Islamic extremism, including anti-Semitism, the Qatar Foundation has been, like Al-Jazeera, a way for the emirate to project soft power — usually influence in one way or another — in the service of its national interests. The foundation’s three shareholders are in the highest echelon of Doha’s royal family.
Qatar lavishly spends on universities, not only in the United States, to create a network of American-affiliated schools in the emirate that will be predisposed to support it and its policies. The Qatar Foundation paid six U.S. universities hundreds of millions of dollars to operate campuses at the Education City complex in Doha. These universities are Cornell, Texas A&M, Carnegie Mellon, Virginia Commonwealth University, Georgetown and Northwestern.
Exposés in The New York Times and on Tablet in 2014 show that rather than producing objective, data-driven analysis about the region, Qatar’s millions colored the work the think tank produced. “[T]here was a no-go zone when it came to criticizing the Qatari government,” Saleem Ali, a former visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center, told the Times.
Yet, members of the media and policymakers still use these outlets as authoritative sources of analysis on the Middle East. Qatar-backed media outlets — including those such as CNN, which count on substantial advertising revenue from the oil-rich emirate — often feature talking heads from Brookings, ICG and other institutions with undisclosed financial ties to Doha. This cynically impressive scheme continues to work, thanks to the biases of the media and others who don’t want to look too closely at the sources of funding and influence.
For Qatar, endowments to Brookings and the International Crisis Group are tiny pieces of a much larger strategic influence campaign it successfully has waged in recent years, spanning from these multimillion-dollar investments in Washington, D.C., think tanks, universities and dozens of media outlets it owns to, most recently, a controversial and hard-knuckled, eight-figure lobbying effort in Washington.
Recruiting Muzin and Allaham
When the diplomatic war with Saudi Arabia intensified in the summer of 2017, Qatar likely recognized the need for more air cover in Washington. What better way than getting Jewish lobbyists to persuade influential Jewish community leaders to soften their stances on Qatar?
This effort culminated in a successful influence operation American lobbyists and agents — specifically Stonington Strategies, run by former kosher steakhouse owner Joey Allaham and former deputy chief of staff for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) Nick Muzin — carried out with Qatari money.
Muzin grew up in the Toronto Jewish community. He was a good student and a high achiever, completing medical school in the Bronx before switching gears and turning to law school at Yale. After a marriage to Andrea Michelle Zucker, the daughter of Charleston billionaires Anita and Jerry Zucker, he soon became involved in South Carolina politics. He helped then-Charleston City Councilman Tim Scott get elected in Washington, first to the House of Representatives, then to the Senate. Muzin worked as deputy chief of staff for Cruz during Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign, appearing often with the candidate at Jewish community events.
Allaham was born into a family of Syrian Jews in Damascus and arrived in the United States in the early 1990s. He opened several of New York’s premier kosher restaurants, including Prime Grill. One by one, though, Allaham’s seemingly successful restaurants began shutting their doors. Toward the end of 2017 — when Stonington’s contract with the Qataris was in full swing — the Forward reported on the closing of the last of Allaham’s restaurants, Prime at the Bentley, as Allaham was embroiled in lawsuits over a series of kosher Passover excursions he canceled, allegedly never returning his customers’ deposits.
In addition to his contacts in the Republican Party and the conservative movement in Washington, Muzin had married into a wealthy and well-connected family. In Manhattan, Allaham’s restaurants were upscale; his customers included not just the most important and powerful members of New York Jewish society but, significantly, anyone who’d want access to them. Muzin and Allaham were not Qatar’s only lobbyists in the United States. But by using their credibility to target and compromise some very influential voices, they unquestionably did the most damage to the Jewish community and Israel’s supporters in America. Together, the pair received approximately $7 million from Doha, according to an exposé on Tablet. Not only was that an awfully big paycheck for two newly minted lobbyists, but it enabled them to generously spread around a lot of dollars.
Of course, $7 million is a small fraction of the sums Qatar admits to spending on annual lobbying activities. Most of the money goes to buy the usual PR firms and advertising campaigns, media operators and former congressmen, generals and ex-staffers who are paid largely to open key office doors to influential people inside the Beltway. It’s this last group that’s most interesting and in the case of Stonington Strategies, deeply cynical.
Over the course of a year or longer, armed with funds from Doha, Muzin and Allaham launched an influence operation targeting prominent leaders in the Jewish and non-Jewish conservative communities. They used that money to wine and dine Israel supporters, bring them to Doha, donate to their nonprofits and, finally, convince them that Qatar — the patron of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, and Iran’s ally — is friendly toward Israel. And for a time, it seemed they were succeeding.
Lifting the Veil
An influence operation is the strategic use of interpersonal relationships and institutions. A long-term relationship or affiliation with an institution or person builds and solidifies the kind of goodwill that can be immensely valuable for a lobbyist to exploit. It takes surprisingly little contact and effort for a target of an influence operation to become an ally. For example, a longtime friendship with a Qatari lobbyist may make one predisposed to trust and feel sympathy for the Qatari point of view.
The relationships Muzin and Allaham could leverage for Qatar’s benefit were tremendously valuable. These connections enabled them to enlist others with unimpeachable pro-Israel credentials who could, in turn, serve as surrogates for Qatar’s interests. When Qatar pays off people with pro-Israel bona fides, it has a downstream effect; others who might know less about the issues or the region itself will follow the thought leader.
Modern information warfare is slick and unnoticeable; influence operations, though, are as insidious as they look. We understand that when politicians or influencers go on all-expense-paid junkets, it’s a clear example of bribery. The quid pro quo (for example, a trip to the Doha Forum) doesn’t have to be immediate, and it doesn’t have to be readily apparent. However, there is a promise of some kind of profit: money, fame, career advancement or even virtuousness. Wealthy nations such as Qatar can extend these kinds of benefits to a great many people — and they do.
“For a half-century, Qatar has been a tiny oasis for Hamas’ ideological mothership, the Muslim Brotherhood and many of the world’s most virulent Islamists.”
Thankfully, Muzin and Allaham’s aggressive, well-paid jaunt as lobbyists for Qatar soon darkened their reputations in both the tightknit pro-Israel and conservative communities in Washington, New York and Los Angeles. Their willingness to target longtime opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood, including former Republican National Committee finance chairman and pro-Israel philanthropist Elliott Broidy, also grated on many in the pro-Israel world.
Qatar is alleged to have been behind the hacking of more than 1,500 prominent individuals, from former Department of Defense and CIA officials to Europeanintelligence officials, Washington think-tank experts, journalists and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. With most people conducting business online or via text or email, targeted cyber-espionage campaigns can do tremendous damage to private citizens or countries.
According to a recent filing in District of Columbia Courts, Stonington’s Muzin and Allaham allegedly were behind the distribution of hacked and doctored emails belonging to Broidy. The lawsuit alleges that Stonington “was among the vehicles used by the State of Qatar to funnel funds to others involved in the attack.”
After it was revealed he had been targeted, Boteach described it as “a dangerous and direct attack by a foreign government against American citizens for exercising their First Amendment rights.”
Broidy was a prime target of the Qatari’s efforts in the United States; silencing him was very important, both to the lobbyists and their funders in Doha. They attempted to do so through a media campaign of intimidation, as the lawsuit alleges Greg Howard of Mercury Public Affairs worked with journalists eager to expose a Republican ally of Trump. Mercury Public Affairs is a lobbying and public affairs firm registered as a foreign agent of Qatar in the United States and is a subsidiary of Fortune 500 company Omnicom Group. The media offensive against Broidy took advantage of media outlets willing to run with incorrect information as long as it fit into their narratives.
Aside from the legal liability and stacks of lawsuits the lobbyists’ actions caused, the Qatar episode left their reputations largely in tatters. Amid the accusations in the Broidy cyber-espionage case, Muzin and Allaham publicly distanced themselves from Doha in June 2018. “Stonington Strategies is no longer representing the State of Qatar,” Muzin tweeted.
Ultimately, their plan to have the American Jewish community embrace Qatar didn’t really work — at least not as well as their Qatari patrons had hoped. However much one spends, one can have a hard time convincing most people that one of their most potent enemies is their ally.
The extent of Qatar’s influence and information operations remains one of the least-covered and least-scrutinized stories of the past few years — including its campaign to curry favor within the Jewish community. That slowly is changing. Because of Qatar’s promotion of the Muslim Brotherhood and its alliance with Iran, more Americans are coming to understand Qatar is a malign force, not just in the Middle East but in this country.
Israel’s political and security establishments understand this, as evidenced by multiple Israeli officials who assailed Qatar in their recent conversations with me on the sidelines of the AIPAC conference in March.
What was most shocking for these Israeli officials is not Qatar’s influence campaign itself, but the Jewish leaders who lent their de facto kosher certification to the emirate. “The Jewish leaders who became pawns of the Islamist-supporting regime in Qatar and accepted these state-funded trips to Doha did nothing short of betray Israel and the Jewish people,” an Israeli diplomat told me. “There has been concern about this campaign at the highest levels in Jerusalem. Those who participated in this disgrace should be held accountable.”
David Reaboi is senior vice president of the Security Studies Group.
Emergency Notification of Arms Sales to Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia
Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State / May 24, 2019
Today, I made a determination pursuant to section 36 of the Arms Export Control Act and directed the Department to complete immediately the formal notification of 22 pending arms transfers to Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia totaling approximately $8.1 billion to deter Iranian aggression and build partner self-defense capacity. These sales will support our allies, enhance Middle East stability, and help these nations to deter and defend themselves from the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Delaying this shipment could cause degraded systems and a lack of necessary parts and maintenance that could create severe airworthiness and interoperability concerns for our key partners, during a time of increasing regional volatility. These national security concerns have been exacerbated by many months of Congressional delay in addressing these critical requirements, and have called into doubt our reliability as a provider of defense capabilities, opening opportunities for U.S. adversaries to exploit. The equipment notified today includes aircraft support maintenance; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR); munitions; and other supplies. Today’s action will quickly augment our partners’ capacity to provide for their own self-defense and reinforce recent changes to U.S. posture in the region to deter Iran.
I intend for this determination to be a one-time event. Section 36 is a long-recognized authority and has been utilized by at least four previous administrations since 1979, including Presidents Reagan and Carter. This specific measure does not alter our long-standing arms transfer review process with Congress. I look forward to continuing to work with Congress to develop prudent measures to advance and protect U.S. national security interests in the region.
The United States is, and must remain, a reliable security partner to our allies and partners around the world. These partnerships are a cornerstone of our National Security Strategy, which this decision reaffirms.
South Asia’s two nuclear armed nations are testing weapons amid talks of restoring peace in the region which has been disrupted since mid-February when the Indian Air Force targetted alleged terror infrastructure inside Pakistani territory in response to a terror attack on 14 February in which 40 Indian soldiers were killed in Kashmir. …
Theresa May Quits, But Brexit Puzzle Remains
Theresa May became the third Conservative leader to fall victim to party divisions over Britain’s relationship with the European Union, following in the footsteps of Margaret Thatcher and David Cameron.
Facing a party revolt and threats of mass cabinet resignations, May on Friday announced her departure, but will remain as Prime Minister while the Conservatives elect a new leader, and will stay as head of government for U.S. President Donald Trump’s state visit to Britain next month.
Her exit, though, is unlikely to clarify how and when, and under what terms, Britain will leave the European Union, say party insiders and analysts.
Her successor will face exactly the same conundrum that thwarted May – bridging the division between those who want to remain in the EU and those who want out.
The irreconcilable division within the Conservative parliamentary party over Brexit reflects the split down the middle in the country at large. And with parliament hung, factions undermining party discipline, and no party commanding an overall majority in the House of Commons, the challenge to find a way out, nearly three years after Britons voted by a slim majority for Brexit, becomes thornier by the day.
“The scope for compromise has drastically narrowed,” warned The Economist magazine Friday.
Brexiters increasingly want a stark, sharp and total break with the EU and are dismissive of even negotiating a trade deal with Brussels; while their opponents now hope to reverse the 2016 referendum and shape the circumstances for a second plebiscite, which they hope will lead to Britain remaining a member of the bloc.
How Britain escapes the trap remains unclear and is unlikely to be helped by the results of the European parliamentary elections due to be announced Sunday. The newly formed Brexit Party of Nigel Farage will likely top the poll, but smaller pro-Remain parties will also likely do well – reflecting the overall confounding split in the country.
Those results may well pull the two main establishment parties – the Conservatives and Labour – further to the extremes in the Brexit debate, polarizing Britain even more and making it harder for May’s successor to navigate a way out of the mess.
The drift is depressing the value of the pound, deterring foreign investment and prompting despair among business executives, who are unable to make any firm plans.
Boris Johnson, the colorful former foreign minister, is the leading contender to succeed May. An opinion poll published Friday in The Times suggested Johnson is the favorite among Conservative activists to be the next leader. But he’s unpopular among party lawmakers, who disdain his opportunism and showmanship and doubt he has the discipline and consistency to helm a government and put in the everyday work needed.
Conservative lawmakers initially pick via a series of knockout votes two candidates to present to the broader party membership, which makes the final decision. “The race really is Boris’s to lose,” according to Fraser Nelson, editor of the Spectator magazine.
Other candidates include the current foreign minister, Jeremy Hunt, the interior minister, Sajid Javid, and hardline Brexiters Dominic Rabb and Andrea Leadsom, whose resignation midweek as a minister triggered the chain of events for May’s decision to quit. Another possible dark horse is Michael Gove, the environment minister.
The election process will take nearly two months to conclude.
‘Fight to the death’
The political struggle ahead both within the ruling Conservatives and across the country is likely to be even more brutal than the last two years. “Brexit will become a fight to the death,” predicted commentator Philip Collins. “All along, there have only been three options: to leave without a deal, to leave with a deal and to remain via a second referendum. The country, though, has been held to ransom by purists.”
He added: “Brexit will become a straight contest between one group of extremists who kid themselves that leaving the EU without an agreement is worth the collateral damage, and another group of extremists who put their fingers in their ears so they cannot hear the banal truth that thwarting the 2016 referendum result comes at a severe political cost.”
The political damage is mounting. Both of Britain’s main two parties are cracking under the strain and face existential threats, the Conservatives most obviously. The Brexit Party is splitting the right-wing vote.
Pollsters say that Farage’s new party, if it continues to surge, could take between 60 to 113 seats off the Conservatives in a general election. That would deny the Conservatives any chance to form a new government, if an election is called in the next few months, a high likelihood. Labour, too, under the leadership of the far-left Jeremy Corbyn is seeing voters defect to the Liberal Democrats and small parties.
The continuing political uncertainty in London, with more disarray likely in the coming months, is exasperating EU leaders and the national leaders of the 27 other member states. Johnson has said if elected leader, he will seek to renegotiate May’s contentious Brexit deal, itself the result of nearly two years of ill-tempered haggling with Brussels.
But EU leaders have made it clear they’re unprepared to restart talks on the deal.
Reaction in Europe
European leaders reacting to May’s announcement expressed worry that a no-deal Brexit might now be more likely. Ireland’s prime minister, Leo Varakar, said: “Obviously, as anyone can see, British politics is consumed by Brexit and will be consumed by Brexit for a very long time. It now means we enter a new phase when it comes to Brexit and a phase that may be a very dangerous one for Ireland.”
Spain’s caretaker government said May’s resignation is bad news for those hoping for an orderly British exit from the EU. “A hard Brexit is a reality that under the current circumstances is almost impossible to avoid,” said spokeswoman Isabel Celaá.
France’s Emmanuel Macron said it would likely prolong an impasse.
by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the Cyber Defence Pledge Conference, London
- 23 May. 2019
Foreign Secretary Hunt,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me first thank the United Kingdom for hosting this second conference on the Cyber Defence Pledge.
The United Kingdom has been strongly committed to the Pledge ever since we made the pledge at the Summit of Leaders and Heads of State and Governments in Warsaw in 2016.
And the UK has played a crucial role in making cyber a priority for our Alliance.
Hosting this conference here in London, at the National Cyber Security Centre, is a testimony to the strong commitment and the the leadership of the UK in the cyber domain.
This Centre is a model for national coordination, bringing together the best expertise to tackle a growing threat.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Cyber-attacks can be as damaging as conventional attacks. A single attack can inflict billions of dollars’ worth of damage to our economies, bring global companies to a standstill, paralyse our critical infrastructure, undermine our democracies and have a crippling impact on military capabilities.
Cyber attacks are becoming more frequent, more complex and more destructive. From low-level attempts to technologically sophisticated attacks. They come from states, and non-state actors. From close to home and from very far away. And they affect each and every one of us.
NATO is not immune. We register suspicious events against NATO cyber systems every day. And cyber threats will become more dangerous with the development of new technologies. Such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep fakes.
These technologies are fundamentally changing the nature of warfare. As much as the industrial revolution did. NATO is adapting to this new reality.
NATO leaders have agreed that a cyber attack could trigger Article 5 of our founding treaty. Where an attack against one Ally is treated as an attack against all. NATO has designated cyberspace as a military domain.
Alongside land, sea and air. And at our Summit in Brussels last year, we agreed to establish a Cyberspace Operations Centre. At the heart of our military command structure. And we have agreed to integrate national cyber capabilities or offensive cyber into Alliance operations and missions. All of this has made NATO more effective in cyberspace.
The Cyber Defence Pledge is helping Allies boost their defences. They have strengthened their cyber capabilities, they have improved their legal and institutional frameworks, and they have increased the resources – people and money – devoted to confronting cyber threats.
As a result, we are tackling increasingly complex cyber threats faster and more efficiently. And we are more aware of the threats, more resilient to incidents. None of the attempts against NATO systems have compromised our networks. And none have affected our secure operations.
So Foreign Secretary, as you have just said, we also need to consider how we can deter attacks in cyberspace.
Part of the answer is in attribution. Cyber attackers must know that they will be exposed. As was the case last October, when authorities in the Netherlands, with the help of British experts, foiled an attack by Russia on the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague.
So Allies must be prepared to call out attacks.
And when needed, we must be ready to use our cyber capabilities to fight an enemy.
As some NATO Allies did, not least the UK, successfully in the campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
By using national cyber effects – or offensive cyber, they suppressed ISIS propaganda, degraded their ability to coordinate attacks,
and disrupted their recruitment of foreign fighters.
For deterrence to have full effect, potential attackers must know that we are not limited to respond in cyberspace when we are attacked in cyber space. We can and we will use the full range of capabilities at our disposal.
NATO leaders will meet here in London on 3-4 December. At this summit, bolstering our cyber defences and resilience will be a top priority. That is why I have convened a meeting of National Security Advisers at NATO Headquarters next week. This meeting will be the first of its kind for the Alliance. It is a recognition that hybrid threats, including cyber threats, need a whole of a government response.
It takes just a ‘click’ to send a cyber virus spreading across the globe. But it takes a global effort to stop it from inflicting chaos.
For 70 years, NATO has kept our people safe in the physical world. Now NATO needs to do the same in the cyber world.
To do that, we must keep the technological edge. And ensure we harness the potential benefits of new technologies. While minimizing any possible risks.
So our engagement with industry will become ever more important as technologies develop. Industry creates, innovates and operates.
NATO is making sure that Allies invest more in defence. And that they invest in the capabilities and technologies we need.
But cyber goes beyond technology.
The people behind the technology are just as important. We need to build a strong and diverse workforce of future cyber defenders.
For this, we must be smart about recruitment, and think about how to retain these highly skilled experts.
And ensure these skills are kept sharp through regular exercises, as we do through Cyber Coalition – one of the largest cyber defence exercises in the world.
That is why, in this conference, we are focusing on education and on training.
And Allies are taking innovative steps. A few examples are a Tech Academy in Luxembourg, student cyber competitions in Estonia, and the ‘CyberFirst’ programme here in the UK. These national initiatives contribute to NATO. And enable us to secure our cyber defence in the future.
At the same time we have to look beyond NATO. We all stand to benefit from a norms-based, predictable, and secure cyberspace.
So we have stepped-up our cooperation with the European Union. Together we uphold the international rules-based system, also in cyberspace. And together we promote stability and reduce the risk of conflict.
So Ladies and Gentlemen,
NATO is the most successful Alliance in history.
Because we have always been able to change when the world is changing.
And that is precisely what we are doing now.
When our security landscape is defined by new and emerging technologies.
We adapt to those changes and to those challenges.
By doing so, NATO will remain an anchor of peace and stability for generations to come.
So thank you very much and all the best with this conference.
Thank you, Secretary General, and welcome to the Foreign Secretary back to this stage. I think we’ve got time for a couple of questions from the floor and from the media. I think the first question is from the Ambassador from the Czech Republic. Sir? A microphone is on its way.
Question: Thank you very much, sir and Foreign Secretary General. This is very impressive I’ve paged through your annual report 2018 and what you have achieved in those two / three half of the years is really immense and thank you for your leadership in the alliance and it was mentioned several times now. We’ve been attacked by our enemies in terms of critical infrastructure in terms of indeed military communication etc. That’s one side of the situation, the other side of the situation is that I believe that the more and better protected resilient we will have our critical infrastructure the more the enemies will focus on the mind of our societies. And here, indeed, the aim is to undermine the trust, the mutual trust, to undermine also the credibility of the government etc, etc – you mentioned that. Now, a critical moment in that respect is public awareness, education, making people understand the challenge so if you could develop on this side of the challenge. Thank you.
Jeremey Hunt: Let me go first on that one. I think the crucial thing to understand is that out opponents have developed a new strategy. One of the greatest strengths of the NATO alliance has been our leadership on values, our shared democratic values, our belief in an open society and that’s always been our secret weapon and for years authorisation societies have said all this stuff about values it’s just a cover for your core national interest, it doesn’t really amount to anything. But, they’ve found a way to attack that values leadership, which is by shaking the confidence of our own populations in democratic processes through activities on cyberspace where it is possible to influence what people think by use of social media platforms and a range of other techniques and so, that’s why I think this conference is incredibly important because we are now coming together and we’re recognising that we have to find a way to protect the confidence of our own populations in our own values, which are increasingly being threatened and one of the ways…the easiest ways to do that is to damage the credibility of elections and just to say look these are all being manipulated by different sources and the gap in my view, and I think we share this view is that what we don’t yet have is a proper deterrence strategy, which has been so effective in the nuclear field but, of course, it has to be quite different in cyber and the way we approach it. It can’t be symmetric deterrence and so we have to figure out a way to do it that is different but, make sure that people know that if they try there will be a price to pay and that price will be too high.
Jens Stoltenberg: Just, first of all I’m in full agreement second, just to add one reflection I think that to protect ourselves against any attempts to interfere in our democratic processes use cyber space to undermine our democratic institutions that’s part about technical measures to increase the technical defence of our systems and we are doing a lot to improve those defences as NATO and as allies and together. But, it’s as you mentioned not only about technical measures to protect our systems against hacking or cyber attacks but is also very much about awareness. And awareness is something we can increase by conferences like this. We can increase awareness by exposing the attacks and I think that’s extremely important that we are transparent and that we expose them when we see them. And also, through exercises and many of the people in this room have participated in the recent NATO exercise and I think we learn a lot from that about awareness and to fully understand that the gravity and the seriousness of cyber-attacks. So it’s important that NATO allies and NATO exercise but we need a whole of government approach so not only military structures but also civilian structures, institutions are exercising increasing awareness improving their understanding of the potential threats in cyber space.
Thank you both. I think we have a question from the Ambassador from Norway:
Question: Thank you and thank you to both of you for sharing your thoughts on such an important topic. I have a question that primarily would go to Foreign Secretary Hunt – you spoke about cyber deterrence could you say a few words on the role of resilience in deterring preventing and stopping cyber-attacks?
Jeremy Hunt: Absolutely. So I think that the very first step in this process is to reduce our vulnerability and that’s why I think the work of the NCSC and occurrence leadership is very, very important and we should never underestimate our ability to remain one step ahead of our opponents in terms of the things that they are likely to consider trying and we need to continue to invest in that. But, combined with that increased resilience, I think resilience has been the area that we’ve actually made the most progress on in recent years. I think we agree significantly more resilient than we were five years ago and I think all the people in this room, all the NATO allies deserve an utmost credit for that. But, I think we also then have to go one step further and say that it isn’t just resilience it’s also changing the calculations of your opponents as to whether they wish to try this in the first place. And if I can give you an example of where I think we’ve changed those calculations. It is the very successful response which NATO played a very, very important role in a response to the chemical weapons attack in Salisbury, which I think Russia thought that they would get away with. And the fact that there was the largest ever expulsion of Russian diplomats / spies from around the world will have done something to change their calculations in terms of what they choose to do in future because I think in the quieter moments in the Kremlin they will think that they probably paid too higher price for what they decided to do in Salisbury. So we have to think about those calculations now in a smart way. It can’t be the same as other deterrent strategies, you know, it’s going to be asymmetric and not always going to respond to a cyber threat with a cyber response. But, we need to go that extra stage because I think that’s been at the heart of NATO success in other areas.
Jens Stoltenberg: Again, I agree but let me just highlight that resilience is of course a national responsibility and different nations make sure that they have resilient systems infrastructure in different ways, at the same time I think we need to look into how we can develop more and strong common approaches and understanding of what we mean with resilience. We have the resilience pledge not the NATO pledge, which is actually addressing, I think it is several different areas where we have created guidelines and in the light of what we now see in cyber space and also other technologies I think that it’s an argument for us looking into whether we can strengthen and develop a stronger common understanding some kind of minimum standards for what is resilience. Because we are faced with the same threat, the same technologies, the same challenges across borders and across countries. These are one of the dilemmas we face in all international institutions and in NATO what is a national responsibility and what should we decide and develop on the international level. I’m not able to tell you exactly where that balance goes but at least I think it’s extremely important when you now are looking into how to strengthen the resilience.
Thank you. Moving to media colleagues I think we have a question from Roland at Sky News?
Question: Can you hear me? Roland Manthorpe at Sky News. Foreign Secretary, President Trump is going to be here next month with your strong warning on Russian manipulation in elections and reported tolerance for 5G. Is the UK diverging from the Trump administration on cyber and when he does come who do you think will be Prime Minister?
Jeremey Hunt: Teresa May will be Prime Minister to welcome him and rightly so and we are absolutely at one with the United States on the threat of cyber. I had substantial discussions with Secretary Pompeo when he came to London very recently on this issue and we all agree on exactly the message that we’ve been talking about this morning which is that the thing we must not allow to happen is for hostile States to damage the fabric of our democracy by reducing public confidence in the functioning of elections and United States is acuity aware of that because of their own experience but, actually, there are many many European countries that share those concerns. And when it comes to decisions about 5G as I have said many times we would never take any decision that either threatened our national security or our intelligent sharing capabilities.
I think we’ve time for a final question from Kim Sengupta at The Independent. Kim?
Question: Foreign Secretary and Secretary General you have both expressed your concern about the hostile cyber activity of Russia. You’ve stressed a need for Europe and NATO to have a strategy of common front to confront it. I just wonder how effective that is going to be with the rise of populist government within NATO who appear to be sympathetic to approving of Russia and Mr Putin and expect the success of populist parties with the same kind of views in the European elections and a quick supplementary Foreign Secretary, to you, you’re seeing the Prime Minister this afternoon. What will you be advising her?
Jens Stoltenberg: I can start on the first part of that question [laughter]. Because I think that you refer to the rise of populist parties and we are an alliance of 29 democracies and there are different parties and there are different views and there are actually a lot of disagreements within nations and between nations on many different issues. But the strength of NATO is that despite all these differences we have seen again and again that NATO is able to unite around our core post to protect and defend each other and what we now see when it comes to cyber defence is yet another example of that unity, our ability to deliver collective defence, our ability to stand together despite differences. And we have seen that now in cyberspace we had a remarkable increase in our capabilities to defend our networks to stand together, to integrate offensive cyber intermissions and operations and we have done that over the last years. And I totally agree with the Foreign Secretary that I think Russia has underestimated the unity of our alliance. He refer to the attacks or the use of a chemical agent in Salisbury but, I think if we look at what Russia has done over the last years in Crimea, in Donbass and elsewhere, they didn’t expect that NATO would react in this firm and united way we have done. With increased readiness of our forces, with for the first time in our history deploying forces to the eastern part of the alliance, with the economic sanctions which have been there year after year. And now what we see in cyberspace we are also willing to expose what they are doing. So, while we are 29 different democracies, people vote for different parties and they have done so for the 70 years NATO has existed but for all those 70 years we have proven that despite the differences, we are able to deliver strong collective defence and I am absolutely certain we will be able to do that after the EU elections this weekend.
Jeremey Hunt: Well I’m sorry to disappoint you in terms of the answer to your second question but, I mean, all discussions between the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister should remain confidential and I’m not going to change that this morning. But with respect to the first question I think that the fact that NATO is an alliance of countries with different parties in control, different philosophies of ruling parties, is also a sign of the strength of our belief in democratic values and our belief that in every country the people who run the country should be decided by the people who live in the country and it is true that there is a spectrum of views as to the degree of friendliness or the degree of suspicion with which we should hold President Putin and his intentions, but I have never encountered anything other than total unanimity behind the view that the electoral processes of any country, any democracy must be sacrosanct and we need to be very, very robust with countries that seek to interfere with those processes.
I think that’s all we have time for, Foreign Secretary, Secretary General. Thank you for those excellent contributions to this most important of events we are honoured by your presence and I just invite the audience to express their gratitude for your being here. Thank you.
13. Για κάποιους που μας λένε ότι γράφουμε μόνον κολακευτικά για τον Κο Β. ΝΕΤΑΝΙΑΧΟΥ!
THE PERILS OF NETANYAHU’S ‘MONARCHIC DIPLOMACY’
Once the voting was over, Netanyahu posed for a photo-op with close Likud Party associates under a giant picture showing him meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
WHAT WOULD A PALESTINIAN STATE ACTUALLY LOOK LIKE?
In 1970s Lebanon, the Palestinian movement established its dominion within refugee camps.
Soccer Football – International Friendly – Northern Ireland v Israel – Windsor Park, Belfast, Britain – September 11, 2018 Free Palestine message displayed on a hill outside the stadium. (photo credit: CLODAGH KILCOYNE/REUTERS
The Trump administration is poised to announce a “Deal of the Century” to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hints and leaks suggest that the proposal would stop short of endorsing the goal of a sovereign Palestinian state. That prospect has pushed some into mourning.
The Trump plan, writes distinguished American diplomat William Burns, will likely be “a eulogy for the two-state solution.” The administration is about to “bury the only viable plan” for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
The goal of a Palestinian state is commonly seen as an obvious good – and the fact that it has yet to be realized, a mark of shame for Israel and the United States. But, whatever the actual terms and merits of President Donald Trump’s proposal, we need to question the diplomatic article of faith that Palestinian statehood is necessary for peace.
If you care about justice and the rights of individuals – of Palestinians and Israelis – here is a crucial question seldom asked. What would such a Palestinian state actually look like?
No need to speculate; there have been four Palestinian quasi-states that provide ample data. In Jordan (1968-1970); in Lebanon (1970-1982); the Palestinian Authority in parts of the West Bank and Gaza (1993-onward); and most recently, the Hamas regime in Gaza (2007-onward).
To the extent the Palestinian movement has gained any semblance of self-rule and territorial control, it has built quasi-states that are militant and dictatorial – much to the detriment of the Palestinian people themselves and the goal of peace.
In Jordan in the late 1960s, the Palestinian movement created a mini-state with autonomous shadow-government institutions in all spheres – military, political and social. Palestinian factions ran their own police forces and courts of law, arresting people and punishing them at will. This authoritarian regime was a base of operations for launching attacks on Israel. A plot to overthrow the Jordanian regime led Jordan to liquidate this militant Palestinian quasi-state.
In 1970s Lebanon, the Palestinian movement established its dominion within refugee camps. It imposed taxes, operated courts, conscripted men of fighting age and reshaped the school curriculum – to ensure thought control. The Palestinian movement also seized several coastal towns in Lebanon and parts of the Lebanese administration, and “enforced its will with an iron hand.” From southern Lebanon, Palestinian fighters launched rockets on Israeli towns. This Palestinian quasi-state fell apart after Israel retaliated by sending forces into Lebanon.
THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY (since 1994) was the fruit of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. An interim step toward full sovereignty, the PA enjoys formal recognition and far more autonomy than the previous quasi-states – and it has been correspondingly more oppressive and militant.
The Palestinian Authority quickly became yet another Middle East dictatorship, notorious for controlling the press and silencing opponents. The PA operated multiple, competing security forces. Its courts lacked any semblance of judicial independence. Arbitrary arrests were common, and leaders of the regime expropriated their own people’s money and property.
Even with only limited self-rule, the Palestinian Authority provided space and abundant resources to foment and carry out attacks on Israel. In the early 2000s, the regime orchestrated a brutal terrorist war against Israel.
By 2007, the Palestinian Authority split in two: one quasi-state headed by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in parts of the West Bank; and the second run by the jihadists of Hamas in Gaza, a militant regime shaped by Sharia law.
Hamas methodically indoctrinates its subjects on TV, in print, on radio and at the mosque, hammering the themes of holy war and martyrdom for the cause. True to their ideas, the jihadists of Gaza have launched thousands of rockets targeting Israeli cities. These led to several wars and many skirmishes – the most recent in early May.
A common denominator among these four Palestinian quasi-states?
Whenever the Palestinian movement has attained a modicum of self-rule over a stretch of territory, it has subjugated its own people and waged war against Israel.
No honest error or inexperience with governance can explain this pattern. It reflects the ideas animating the leading factions of the Palestinian movement. For many years, the movement’s spearhead was the PLO. Its numerous factions espoused a mixture of Marxism-Leninism, watered-down socialism and variations on Arab nationalism. Since the 1980s, Islamists have moved to the vanguard of the Palestinian movement. All these factions are self-consciously hostile to freedom and individual rights.
Some argue we must disregard the evidence of these quasi-states, because they fall short of full sovereignty. We should suspend judgment until a sovereign, independent Palestinian state is realized. That’s absurd. Why expect that handing authoritarians and theocrats more political power will convert them into champions of individual freedom?
The idea of national self-determination cannot be a license to subjugate. No individual, no group of individuals, no self-identified national community has the moral right to create a tyrannical regime.
Is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict solvable? Actually, yes, as I argue in my book What Justice Demands, and a crucial starting point is to fundamentally rethink our past approach to the conflict. Anyone concerned with the fate of individual Palestinians and Israelis who desire freedom and justice must question the lethal premise of the “two-state solution.” Handing the Palestinian movement even greater political power is a recipe not for peace, but for continued strife.
The writer is a director and senior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and is the author of What Justice Demands: America and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. @ElanJourno
Edinilen bilgilere göre, talepte Türkiye’nin NATO’nun güneydoğu sınırını oluşturduğu ifade edildi. Bölgedeki istikrarsızlık nedeniyle füze tehdidinin sürdüğü, bu nedenle hava savunma sistemlerine dönük ihtiyacın devam ettiği kaydedildi.
Patriot sistemi Adana‘da, SAMP-Tt sistemi ise Kahramanmaraş’ta konuşlanmış durumda. İki sistemin görev süresi de haziran sonunda doluyor.
Öte yandan, Fransa ile bir SAMP-T hava savunma sisteminin Türkiye’de konuşlandırılması konusunda da görüşmeler sürüyor.
2013 yılında Türkiye-Suriye sınırı yakınlarına Amerika Birleşik Devletleri, Almanya ve Hollanda Patriot hava savunma sistemleri yerleştirilmiş, ancak her üç ülke de 2 yıl içinde bataryalarını, füze tehdidi kalmadığı ve teknik güncelleme ihtiyaçları çerçevesinde geri çekmişti.
Türkiye’nin hava savunma ihtiyacı, İtalya ve İspanya’nın bataryalarıyla sağlanmaya başlanmıştı.
(26 23:00 Μαϊ 2019)
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