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July 2017

The Iran-Deal Swindle We thought we were the ones buying time. By Elliot Kaufman

Two years on, the Iranian nuclear deal is a failure.

Some will surely protest that this cannot be; on Monday, the Trump administration just indicated that it plans to certify Iranian compliance to Congress. But that certification does not mean what it may seem to.

It certainly does not indicate that Iran has been in perfect compliance with the deal. Iran has already exceeded its limits on uranium enrichment and production of heavy water on several occasions. Furthermore, a series of recent German intelligence reports discovered Iranian efforts to procure technology that “can be used to develop plutonium for nuclear weapons.” One report concluded there was “no evidence” of the “complete about-face in Iran’s atomic policies” that had been hoped for.

But of course there’s no evidence of that. This was the central flaw of the Iran deal: There was never any reason to suspect that the nature or aims of the Iranian regime had changed. Iran of course has scaled back its nuclear advances, but the Supreme Leader and his cronies still seek to obtain a nuclear weapon to fortify their regime, advance Iranian regional hegemony, and threaten Israel. Until this changes, the Iranians can safely be expected to use any deal to better pursue those aims. This is why it matters when H. R. McMaster, director of the National Security Council, explains that Iran has violated the spirit of the agreement.

So why does Trump plan to certify compliance? One debilitating weakness of the Iran deal is that there are no punishment mechanisms short of re-imposing sanctions, at which point Iran can reasonably argue that the deal is dead and it is free to pursue whatever nuclear advances it wants.

The deal provides a process whereby America can allege misconduct and force the U.N. Security Council to vote on a resolution. This resolution would maintain the deal’s suspension of sanctions, so any veto — including the U.S.’s own — would trigger the reestablishment of the legal basis for sanctions. But there are several hurdles to getting the sanctions to “snap back” as promised.

As Eric Lorber and Peter Feaver wrote in Foreign Policy, “An effective sanctions regime consists of a legal basis, the institutional capacity to implement the sanctions, and the political will to carry it through. This course of action only provides for the first.” Indeed, if the sanctions are rejected by Russia or opposed by European allies eager to continue trading with Iran, both of which are likely in the absence of truly flagrant Iranian violations, the sanctions regime will not be effective. It might not even get off the ground and certainly will fail to pressure Iran the way our previous sanctions regime, which took a decade to ratchet up, did. That’s why formally alleging Iranian misconduct is extremely risky: It would unleash Iran and offer only weak and disunited sanctions.

This means that incremental Iranian cheating will likely continue to go unpunished. The best we can do is remain neutral, neither certifying compliance nor alleging noncompliance. But even with this meek third route, declined by the Trump administration this time, the deal leaves us helpless to stop Iran from slowly — never radically — preparing itself to push for a nuclear weapon once the deal’s restrictions wear off in ten and 15 years.

That’s why the deal will be certified. But why is it a failure? Some might say that pushing back a confrontation with Iran by ten or 15 years is a major accomplishment. We’ve bought ourselves time, claimed the deal’s advocates, over and over again.

Philip Gordon and Richard Nephew, two of the Obama-administration officials who negotiated the Iran deal, now repeat this mantra in The Atlantic. The deal was supposed to “buy time for potential changes in Iranian politics and foreign policy,” they write. But have we actually bought ourselves time?

What if it is Iran that has been buying time, using the sanctions relief to put itself in a stronger position for an eventual confrontation? What if, at the end of the Iran deal, Iran is stronger economically, geopolitically, and domestically, while we find ourselves with less power in the region and bereft of an international sanctions coalition?

Then, you might say, we got swindled.

Trump Administration Slaps Iran With Additional Sanctions Sanctioning of more than a dozen people, entities follows decision to certify Iran’s compliance with nuclear deal By Felicia Schwartz

WASHINGTON—The Trump administration on Tuesday leveled more sanctions against Iran, targeting its elite military unit and ballistic missile program in a move that heightened tensions between the two countries and raised new questions about the fate of the 2015 international nuclear deal.

The sanctions came after the administration told Congress late Monday that Iran was continuing to comply with the 2015 international nuclear agreement, a notification that kept the accord in place for now. But that determination came after an intense debate within the administration over whether to certify Iran’s compliance, according to officials familiar with the discussions.

“This administration will continue to aggressively target Iran’s malign activity, including their ongoing state support of terrorism, ballistic missile program, and human-rights abuses,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in imposing the new sanctions Tuesday.

Referring to the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Mr. Mnuchin said, “We will continue to target the IRGC and pressure Iran to cease its ballistic missile program and malign activities in the region.”

The Trump administration is reviewing the nuclear agreement and its policy toward Iran, a move that has European allies worried about the fate of the deal.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the U.S. would meet its commitments as the review progressed and would press Iran to do the same. The U.S. will next have to certify Iran’s compliance with the deal in October, and some officials expect the review will be completed by then.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry condemned the new sanctions, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency. Iran will retaliate by placing its own sanctions on American entities, the ministry said, adding that those targeted would be named soon.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Tuesday’s sanctions “poison the atmosphere.”

“That’s what they’re designed to do, actually,” he said in an interview with CBS. “They’re not designed to help anybody, because they know that none of them ever travel to the United States or will have an account in the U.S.”

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the 2015 nuclear agreement is formally known, was championed by the Obama administration as a way to obtain Iran’s agreement to significantly cut back its nuclear program in exchange for relief from international sanctions. CONTINUE AT SITE

Our Changing News Climate Why even New York Times readers may resist the faith. James Freeman

Just exactly how much has the climate changed in recent decades? Longtime New York Times readers can be forgiven if they are now thoroughly confused on the matter.

Last month this column noted that the actions of the New York Times suggest that the people who put out the newspaper don’t think burning carbon is as dangerous as one would think from reading their product. How else to explain their marketing effort to persuade well-heeled readers to increase emissions by travelling the globe aboard a barely-filled Boeing ? And now, one particularly industrious Times reader submits evidence of another reason to resist the paper’s climate faith. In this case the skepticism about global warming comes not from refusing to take the paper seriously but from taking it too seriously.

Anyone old enough to have been a Times reader in the late 1980s may recall a series of stories that helped educate the public on how cool our planet used to be. Here’s one report from March of 1988:

One of the scientists, Dr. James E. Hansen of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan, said he used the 30-year period 1950-1980, when the average global temperature was 59 degrees Fahrenheit, as a base to determine temperature variations.

The paper returned to the topic in June of that year, and reminded readers of the planet’s colder past:

Dr. Hansen, who records temperatures from readings at monitoring stations around the world, had previously reported that four of the hottest years on record occurred in the 1980’s. Compared with a 30-year base period from 1950 to 1980, when the global temperature averaged 59 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature was one-third of a degree higher last year.

The following year, the paper reported a new record high in global temperatures and affirmed its climate history, which seemed to be the consensus view—at least among scientists quoted by the Times:

The British readings showed that the average global temperature in 1988 was 0.612 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the long-term average for the period 1950 through 1979, which is a base for comparing global temperatures. The average worldwide temperature for that 30-year period is roughly 59 degrees Fahrenheit, the British researchers said.

In 1991, the Times reported yet another record high, and published yet another reminder of how cool the planet used to be:

The Goddard group found that the record average surface temperature for the globe was eight-tenths of a degree Fahrenheit above the 1951-1980 average of 59 degrees. The British group found it seventh-tenths of a degree higher than the 1951-80 average.

By that point a reasonable consumer might have been ardently hoping to return to that magical era in which global temperatures averaged just 59 degrees. But in the ensuing years it must have been difficult for Times readers to stay hopeful. As the years and then the decades rolled by, The Times routinely reported record or near-record highs as global temperatures appeared to march ever higher.

In January of this year, the newspaper published a feature entitled, “How 2016 Became Earth’s Hottest Year on Record.” The Times noted the disturbing news that “2016 was the first time that the hottest year on record occurred three times in a row.” And things could be about to get much worse. “We expect records to continue to be broken as global warming proceeds,” climate enthusiast Michael Mann told the Times.

Is there any way to return to the salad days of 59 degrees? Well, it turns out to be easier than you might think. In January, as the government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was reporting the third consecutive year of record highs, it noted that the average global temperature in 2016 had surged to a sizzling… 58.69 degrees.

Over the years researchers seem to have concluded that the planet was not as hot as they thought. Oops.

The most important facts in the climate debate are subject to frequent revisions. This doesn’t mean the global warming thesis is wrong, but it argues for skepticism. The Journal’s Holman Jenkins noted in 2015:

By the count of researcher Marcia Wyatt in a widely circulated presentation, the U.S. government’s published temperature data for the years 1880 to 2010 has been tinkered with 16 times in the past three years.

While waiting for the science to settle, this column’s advice to Times readers is to go ahead and fly around the world on the newspaper’s luxurious jet—if you don’t mind the company. CONTINUE AT SITE

The Red Cross and the Holocaust As early as 1933, the Red Cross received letters from Dachau, including one pleading: ‘I beg you again in the name of the prisoners—Help! Help!.’ Samuel Moyn reviews “Humanitarians at War” by Gerald Steinacher.

By the eve of World War II, the International Committee of the Red Cross had reshaped the landscape of humanitarianism. Founded in 1863 by Henry Dunant, a Swiss businessman appalled by the carnage he saw on an Italian battlefield, the organization had made itself the central player in the modern law of war. Having organized the conference that drew up the original Geneva Conventions, the ICRC was formally empowered to tend to wounded, sick and imprisoned soldiers and to ensure that they were humanely treated rather than left for dead. The ICRC had given rise to Red Cross organizations around the world, including in the United States, and had begun attending to disasters, natural and manmade.

But what began as an organization meant to curb the barbarity of warfare has found it difficult to live down its most grievous mistake: cozying up to the Third Reich, remaining silent about the Holocaust and later helping Nazis escape justice. In his last book, “Nazis on the Run: How Hitler’s Henchmen Fled Justice” (2011), historian Gerald Steinacher chronicled one aspect of this shameful era. His newest effort, “Humanitarians at War: The Red Cross in the Shadow of the Holocaust,” synthesizes what he and other historians have learned about the ICRC’s conduct during this troublesome period before adding new material on what the organization did next. This more comprehensive account of the ICRC’s actions equips the reader to decide whether the organization truly recovered from its wartime and postwar errors.

Much of “Humanitarians at War” re-treads the ICRC’s missteps in those dark years, rightly laying most of the blame on Switzerland’s Carl Jacob Burckhardt. With the ICRC’s moralistic Christian president, Max Huber, elderly and often ill during the 1930s, it was Burckhardt, his second in command, who made major decisions regarding relations with Adolf Hitler’s government. A diplomat and known careerist, Burckhardt harbored a traditional anti-Semitism and such hatred of communism that he regarded German Nazism as a bulwark of civilization and a necessary evil. As early as April 1933, the ICRC was receiving desperate letters from inmates of German concentration camps, including one from Dachau pleading: “‘I beg you again in the name of the prisoners—Help! Help!’” Yet as Mr. Steinacher writes, during this period Burckhardt was given an inspection tour “and officially lauded the commandant of Dachau for his discipline and decency.”

It wasn’t just willfully repeating the Germans’ propaganda that stained the ICRC. Nor was it only the fact that, knowing the Nazis had confirmed their policy of mass extermination of the Jews at the 1942 Wannsee Conference, the ICRC did nothing to intervene. What was more difficult to defend was Burckhardt’s sympathies with and efforts on behalf of Nazi actors after Germany’s defeat. He opposed the Nuremberg trials, labeling them “Jewish revenge.” Red Cross officials attempted to whitewash the record of Nuremberg defendant and high-ranking Nazi diplomat Ernst von Weizsäcker. After the Holocaust, the ICRC—by then helmed by Burckhardt—even abetted the flight of Nazis such as Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengele by providing them with travel papers. CONTINUE AT SITE

The President’s Base vs. the Republican Party Trump voters care more about having a leader who understands them than about quick policy wins.By Jason L. Riley

The GOP’s inability to scrap ObamaCare this week means, among other things, that President Trump will end his first six months in office without a major legislative accomplishment. And one question is how much his supporters care.

Recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News polling gives the president a 40% job-approval rating among all voters, while 55% disapprove. In counties Mr. Trump won last year, however, voters still back him by 50% to 46%. Similar results come from a Washington Post/ABC News survey released Sunday, which found that the president’s approval rating had slid to 36% from 42% in April, while his disapproval rating had climbed five points to 58%. Yet among Republican voters over the same period, Mr. Trump’s favorability has barely budged and remains above 80%.

Moreover, these polling results reflect voter sentiment since news broke that Donald Trump Jr. met during the campaign with a Russian lawyer who claimed to have dirt on Hillary Clinton —the latest development in the Kremlin “collusion” narrative that has saturated cable news for months. According to the Post/ABC poll, 41% of all voters believe that the Trump campaign helped Russia try to influence the election, but that belief is shared by fewer than 1 in 10 Republican voters. The average Trump supporter’s concern about Russia roughly matches his concern about the president’s unreleased tax returns or witching-hour tweets.

Six months into the Trump presidency, the media by and large remain unable or unwilling to understand what drives his blue-collar supporters. Journalists continue to prioritize their own political concerns and play down those of the nearly 63 million people who pulled the lever for him in November. In her new book, “White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America,” Joan C. Williams writes that “during an era when wealthy white Americans have learned to sympathetically imagine the lives of the poor, people of color, and LGBTQ people, the white working class has been insulted or ignored during precisely the period when their economic fortunes tanked.”

In an essay on the rising rate of premature deaths from suicide, opioids and alcohol poisoning primarily among less-educated whites, Carol Graham of the Brookings Institution observes that “poor blacks and Hispanics are much more optimistic about their futures than are poor whites and, in turn, mortality rates have not increased the same way among minorities.” She adds, “A critical factor is the plight of the white blue-collar worker, for whom hopes for making it to a stable, middle-class life have largely disappeared. Due in large part to technology-driven growth, blue-collar jobs in the traditional primary and secondary industries—such as coal mines and car factories—are gradually disappearing.”

Mr. Trump’s ability to appeal to these voters is the reason he won and the reason his base isn’t abandoning him, with or without a significant legislative victory at the six-month mark. Emily Ekins, a Cato Institute scholar who is part of a politically diverse team of academics and pollsters in the process of analyzing the 2016 election, told me on Monday that Trump supporters are less concerned about his policy agenda and more interested in having someone who understands them occupy the Oval Office. The president’s relentless rhetoric about the “costs” of illegal immigration and free trade, his attacks on outsourcing, and this week’s White House “Made in America” stunt are all of a piece.

“I think there’s a lot of evidence to support the idea that Trump’s main appeal was validating the fears and concerns of a certain segment of Americans who felt they were being ignored by elites in the media, elites in politics, elite Republicans,” said Ms. Ekins. “My reading of the data is that he’s not on a timer or a clock. And it’s not clear to me that his supporters are waiting for him to achieve X, Y and Z policy goals. That’s an example of the press imposing their expectations on voters.”CONTINUE AT SITE

‘Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly’ Reaches New Viewership Low Kelly’s attempt at hard-hitting political analysis struggles to do well in the ratings.

When Megyn Kelly publicly defected to NBC from Fox News following the Roger Ailes sexual harassment scandal, it was pretty much assumed by her new employer (and former fans) that Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly would be a major player in the broadcast news magazine space. And on paper, it looked exactly like that: It promised hard-hitting interviews, a more conservative-friendly target audience, and big-name guests like Vladimir Putin.

But ever since that first interview—and most notably after Kelly decided to feature conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on the show—the show’s ratings have been in free fall.

As The Hill tweeted out last night, Kelly’s latest show was beaten out by a rerun of America’s Funniest Home Videos. And Ad Age TV reporter Anthony Crupi provided the crippling data points:

Through 6 episodes, the show is averaging just 941,332 members of the target demo (adults 25-54). This experiment ends w/ the new a.m. show.

NBC has a tough decision ahead if their would-be star doesn’t start producing better numbers on Sunday nights. That said, Kelly has nothing to worry about at the moment, though, as she’s still tapped to launch a morning show this fall.

Swampland’s Ten Commandments By Victor Davis Hanson

The Trump family is no doubt canny about the dog-eat-dog landscapes of the Manhattan real estate lagoon. But when the Trumps arrived in Washington, as political novices they entered an entirely new swampland, with which so far they remain unfamiliar. Their transition down the coastal corridor is sort of like leaving a Florida bog of alligators and water moccasins and thereby assuming one is de facto prepared to enter the far deadlier Amazon jungle of caimans, piranhas, and Bushmasters.https://amgreatness.com/2017/07/17/swamplands-ten-commandments/

Here, then, are some Beltway Swamp rules:

1) Improper Meetings. Always meet in his/hers jets, “accidentally” nose to nose on the airport tarmac. Style mitigates unethical behavior. When caught, claim the discussions centered around “grandchildren.” In contrast, never go to any meeting with a Russian anything. If one must meet a foreign official for dubious reasons, then a revolutionary Cuban, Iranian, or Palestinian is always preferable.

2) Emails. Delete at least 30,000 before the subpoenas come, claiming they are mostly about yoga and wedding planning. Political fallout from a leaked email trove is more likely to arise from politically incorrect messaging than from clear evidence of legal wrongdoing.

3) Opposition Research. The more outlandish and impossible the charge, the more it will be believed or at least aired on CNN. Rumored sex without substantial deviancy is not necessarily compelling (e.g., urination is a force multiplier of fornication). As a general rule, ex-intelligence officers-turned-private investigators and campaign hit men are both the most lurid and least credible.

4) Leaking. Assume that those who collect intelligence also are the most likely to leak it, the FBI director not exempted. The more the deep state recalls the excesses of J. Edgar Hoover, the more it exceeds them. Expect every conversation, email, and text to show up on the desk of one’s worst enemy—at least for a few seconds before being leaked to the press. The more a journalist brags on airing a supposedly smoking-gun leak, the less the public cares. In sum, leaks are more likely to be fabrications than improperly transmitted truths.

5) Reporters. Expect that the sins that journalists cite in politicians are only exceeded by their own, from plagiarism to lying. Reference to “high administration officials” or “unnamed White House sources” often is good proof that the story is unsourced and made up. Journalists fired for breaches of ethics usually turn up working somewhere else within days. The shallowness and ignorance of media icons can often be calibrated by the hours and capital invested in facial alterations and wardrobes.

6) The Deep State. Signing legislation into law or issuing executive orders does not equate to changes in government policy. Assume that almost any new law or reform can be nullified by cherry picking a liberal judge, serial leaking, or through bureaucratic slowdowns by careerist and partisan bureaucrats. The deep state works with those who rapidly grow the government; it seeks to destroy those who grow it slowly. The most powerful man in Washington is a federal attorney. With a D.C. jury and an unlimited budget and staff, he can bankrupt most anyone with dubious charges, on the assurance that when they are dropped or refuted, the successful defendant is ruined and broke while his failed government accuser is promoted. The more conservative the target, the more likely his lawyer should be liberal.

7) Obstruction of Justice. Explicit obstruction of justice—an Attorney General ordering, for example, a FBI Director to alter the nomenclature or course of an ongoing investigation—is often not pursued; implicitly suggesting to a subordinate a desirable outcome is. The subtler the obstruction, the more likely authorities are to resent the subterfuge; the more crass and heavy-handed, the more auditors are impressed at its audacity—and therefore the more likely to exempt the violation in admiration (see Thucydides’s stasis at Corcyra discussion on the advantage of the “blunter wits”).

8) Collusion. Crass payouts such as outlandishly high honoraria, or mega-donations to one’s foundation in quid pro quo efforts to subvert the law are so overt that they are usually not prosecuted. Big talk and braggadocio that do not include payoffs are felt to be the more sinister—and prosecutable. If one plans to collude, it is always wiser to do it boldly: Announcing to the world that a president’s foreign policy behavior will change after the election—if in exchange the head of a hostile power promises to behave during the campaign and make a president look good is seen as bold not collusion.

An ex-president can never be guilty of anything.

9) Sexism. Calling a state official “the best-looking attorney general in the country,” or warning a reporter to “hold on, sweetie,” or flirting and taking selfies with a hot blond Danish prime minister amid the solemnity of a state funeral is not necessarily sexist (in the fashion “that woman, Miss Lewinsky” was not either). But crassly telling the wife of a French president that she is in good shape or crudely commenting on one’s past facial surgery certainly is. In general, derogatory sexism is more often ignored if the perpetrator is a self-declared feminist with a large vocabulary.

Fake News and Junk Science: Stronger Together!By Michael Thau

If you voted for President Trump last fall, David A. Graham at The Atlantic says he has “good news and bad news” about your mental capacities. The good news is, contrary to what other liberal journalists have been saying, you “aren’t impervious to reality.”https://amgreatness.com/2017/07/18/fake-news-junk-science-stronger-together/

But don’t get cocky. The bad news is that you’re shallow and primitive, basing your political preferences on “image and tribal identity.”

Without explicitly saying so, Graham leaves the impression that Hillary Clinton enthusiasts like him are, by contrast, models of dispassionate scientific inquiry. Indeed, he claims his bad news about President Trump’s supporters comes straight from “a new political-science paper” whose main authors are “behind some of the most important work on the impact of corrections and fact-checking in recent years.”

Scientifically certifying the mental unfitness of your political opponents is, of course, the opening move in a very nasty game. The final move comes when the newly minted psychological rejects are consigned to maximum-security “psychiatric hospitals” for a long spell of “treatment.” All that’s required is abandoning the reactionary idea that hospitals should be more hospitable than gulags and, voilà, dissent can be hospitalized as well as criminalized. The most advanced progressive regimes realized this. The hospitalization of dissent was right up there with famine-induced genocide as a favorite technique of the USSR and Mao’s China. So, it’s alarming to hear that top tier progressive academics are boldly using their authority as scientists in ways that will marginalize and silence ordinary folk who happen not to share their views.

But, though a casual reading of their paper might lead one to accept this alarming take on its conclusions, a more careful reading shows that, contrary to Graham, the authors don’t explicitly (important word) draw any conclusions particular to the president’s supporters. The official (another important word) conclusion, though only tested on the latter, is supposed to generalize to everyone, whether they stood with the president, Secretary Clinton, or that weird little CIA agent from Utah who just won’t go away.

Here’s their thesis statement:

Are citizens willing to accept fact-checks of false or unsupported claims of candidates they support in the heat of a political campaign? Previous studies have reached conflicting conclusions about people’s willingness to update their factual beliefs in response to counter-attitudinal information. To discriminate between these findings, we conducted two experiments during the 2016 presidential campaign . . . These results suggest that corrective information can reduce misperceptions, but will often have minimal effects on candidate evaluations or vote choice.

Nearly 900 Cars Burned in France After Trump’s Bastille Day March By Tyler O’Neil

Late last week, before and after President Donald Trump marched through Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron to celebrate Bastille Day on Friday, nearly 900 cars were burned across Paris suburbs.

A total of 897 cars were put to the torch, and 368 people were held in police custody for the crimes on the evenings of July 13 and 14, the French Interior Ministry reported, according to French news channel BFM TV.

Torching vehicles has become a Bastille Day tradition in France, with 855 cars burned in 2016 and 577 people arrested last year. In 2015, 951 cars were burned.

“In the course of several episodes of urban violence, our security forces have been subjected to intolerable attacks, the perpetrators of which will have to be answered in court, just like the perpetrators of vehicle fires, of course always too many,” Pierre-Henry Brandet, the Interior Ministry spokesman, said in a statement.

Thirteen officials and soldiers were wounded in the attacks, Brandet added. According to the ministry’s count, 631 vehicles were set on fire and 266 were hit by spreading flames.

Pamela Geller immediately tied the violence to “Muslim immigrants,” but a Swiss American suggested such a view oversimplified the issue.

“These people are told they are French, they are French on the passport, but French society doesn’t view them as French,” the source explained. “It’s a conflict between the French state doctrine which says that French identity is based on common values of the republic and regular folks who say that French culture is linked to heritage.”

The areas of violence did indeed have higher migrant populations, but these are mostly second- and even third-generation immigrants who have not yet assimilated into French culture, the source noted. The underlying cause might be more cultural than religious.

It is possible the influx of immigrants from the Middle East in the wake of the Syrian Civil War may have exacerbated these tensions, but they predate that struggle and are independent of it. France has agreed to accept 30,000 refugees from Syria.

Similar attacks occurred on New Year’s Eve. This year, nearly 1,000 vehicles were burned, and the Interior Ministry reportedly planned on publishing a lower number, arguing that the violence was “contained.” In 2014, the department claimed victory in that “only” 1,067 cars had been burned, a 10 percent decrease from 2013.

According to Britain’s The Telegraph, “The custom of setting vehicles alight on New Year’s Eve is set to have kicked off around Strasbourg, eastern France in the 1990s, in the city’s deprived, high-immigrant districts.” CONTINUE AT SITE

ISIS Isn’t Going Anywhere Daniel Greenfield

ISIS has been defeated. That’s the official word out of Iraq. But don’t count it out just yet.

We beat ISIS twice before. Once in its previous incarnation as Al Qaeda in Iraq and in its even earlier incarnation as Saddam Hussein’s regime whose Sunni Baathists went on to play a crucial role in ISIS.

Each time it was reborn as another murderous monstrosity.

We don’t know what the next incarnation will look like, but considering Saddam Hussein’s rape rooms, Al Qaeda in Iraq’s love of suicide bombings and ISIS taking public torture to a new level, it will be bad.

We beat Saddam, Al Qaeda in Iraq and the Islamic State. But it keeps coming back because we don’t understand what it is. And we don’t get it because we don’t understand what Islamic terrorism is.

Islamic terrorists are not a “tiny minority of extremists” who “pervert Islam”. They are Islam.

ISIS keeps coming back because it’s rooted in the local Sunni Islamic Arab population and the religion of Islam. The Sunni link is why ISIS keeps popping back up. Bush suppressed Al Qaeda in Iraq by allying with Sunni tribes. Obama made a deal with Iran and let its Shiites dominate Iraq. Sunnis flocked to ISIS’ ex-Baathists who promised to bring back the good old days of Saddam’s supremacy for Sunnis.

As long as the Sunni-Shiite tensions in Iraq and Syria, not to mention those between Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen continue to play out, ISIS will stick around in some form waiting to make a comeback. The cycle of Sunnis turning to Al Qaeda/ISIS to beat the Shiites and then to the US to beat ISIS will continue.

Critics who accuse the US of creating ISIS by bombing Iraq miss the point. ISIS is the latest embodiment of Sunni supremacism and historical nostalgia for the Abbasid Caliphate. Both Saddam and the Caliph of ISIS capitalized on that nostalgia the way that Hitler did on Charlemagne. We didn’t create it. And it isn’t going anywhere. We can’t defeat it without breaking the historical aspirations of the Sunni population. That is what we are up against.

We’re not just fighting a bunch of ragged terrorists. We’re fighting against the sense of manifest destiny of a large Muslim population, not just in Iraq and Syria, but in London, Paris and every state in America.

The Islamic terrorist groups of the Middle East are especially dangerous because, as ISIS did with its Caliphate, they can closely link

themselves to crucial epochs in Islam. Al Qaeda leveraged its Saudi face to form a visceral connection with Muslims worldwide. ISIS repeated the same trick with its Iraqi link. And large numbers of non-Arabs and converts to Islam rallied from around the world to the Jihad. ISIS is now the new Al Qaeda. It may not be able to run Mosul, but it has become an international terrorist organization that is even more dangerous than Al Qaeda. And that may be what it wanted.

Like the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and other Islamic terrorist groups, the Islamic State was never very good at running things. The PA won’t make peace with Israel for the same reason that Hamas won’t make peace with the PA: statehood is a compelling imperative, but requires hard work in reality. It’s much easier to send off a few useful idiots to blow themselves up and then collect the Qatari checks.

Civilizations manage societies. Barbarians have more fun destroying things than taking out the garbage or cleaning the streets. That is why ISIS lost and why the Jihad will finally succeed only if civilization implodes too badly to resist its incursions or through the unstoppable force of brute demographics.