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Ruth King

Change in the House of Saud Mohammed bin Salman wants to transform the hidebound Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia has resisted modernity since its founding in 1932. But the political sands are shifting, and the change will accelerate with Wednesday’s appointment of Mohammed bin Salman as Crown Prince.

King Salman broke with decades of tradition with his royal decree that ousted his nephew, security czar Mohammed bin Nayef, in favor of Salman’s son, Mohammed bin Salman. The Saudi crown has typically passed from one octogenarian or septuagenarian brother to another, so the rise of the 31-year-old son as heir designate is a monumental development.

This is all the more remarkable given the young leader’s reformist inclinations. The Saudis face a triple challenge in falling oil prices, a youth demographic bulge and Iranian imperialism. The Crown Prince believes the answer is an assertive foreign policy that unites Sunni Arab states against Tehran, combined with domestic reform that weans the Kingdom off oil.

This regional vision took shape soon after King Salman ascended the throne in 2015. As Defense Minister (a portfolio he will retain), the Crown Prince emerged as the architect of the Saudi-led military campaign to oust the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels from Yemen.

The Yemen operation has been long and hard, but it has largely succeeded in cutting off Iranian supplies to the Houthis and boosted the confidence of Arab states. Mohammed bin Salman has also spearheaded efforts to diplomatically isolate Qatar over its two-faced policy of cooperating with the West while funding Islamist groups like Hamas.

Last year the Crown Prince launched Vision 2030, a reform program to diversify the Saudi economy and expand the role of private enterprise. The heart of the plan is to boost the private share of the economy to 65% by 2030 from about 40%, and reduce the government’s dependence on oil for revenues, now at 70%.

That’s a tall order in a Kingdom that has historically offered its citizens oil-funded, cradle-to-grave welfare in exchange for little say in politics. Many Saudis have grown up to expect high-paying government jobs that are increasingly hard to subsidize with oil at under $50 a barrel. Unleashing the private economy will also require liberating Saudi women to enter the work force—the right to drive would be a start—and that has already triggered clashes with the Wahhabi clerical establishment.

Earlier this year the government was forced to reverse a pay cut for state employees. Yet Mohammed bin Salman has made progress in other areas. A plan to offer public shares in the state-run oil company, Aramco, is moving ahead. Concerts are performed and movie theaters are opening for the first time in the Kingdom, allowing young Saudis access to entertainment and social interaction that their peers nearly everywhere else take for granted.

His appointment as Crown Prince will strengthen his hand by putting to rest competing claims to the throne from more conservative corners of the House of Saud with its 7,000 princes. A moderate and prosperous Saudi Arabia would bolster stability across the Arab world and is squarely in the U.S. national interest. Washington should support and encourage the young prince as he pursues change.

The Real Georgia Lesson GOP success in Congress can overcome liberal Trump loathing.

Democrats thought they could pick up a GOP-leaning House seat by turning Tuesday’s special election in Georgia’s sixth congressional district into a referendum on the Trump Presidency. The lesson of the GOP’s four-percentage-point victory is that Republicans can preserve their congressional majority despite doubts about Donald Trump—if they deliver on their agenda.

Republicans staved off what the press would have portrayed as a catastrophe and portent of a GOP wipeout in next year’s midterm elections. And they did so with a weak candidate in Karen Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state who lost bids for Governor in 2010 and U.S. Senate in 2014.

Democrats thought they could steal the seat because it is full of the upscale, college-educated Republicans who dislike Mr. Trump. While Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price was re-elected last November by 23 points, Hillary Clinton came within two points of beating Mr. Trump. Democrats—who, by the way, favor limits on campaign spending—poured $31 million into the district to turn out liberal voters.

Yet Republicans managed to turn out their voters by portraying Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old former congressional aide who doesn’t live in the district, as a foot soldier for Nancy Pelosi. Conservative voters showed they aren’t ready to hand the House back to Mrs. Pelosi whatever their doubts about Mr. Trump.

One immediate benefit is that the victory might deter some Republican retirements that would create more open seats in 2018 if they fear a Democratic wave. But Democrats are still likely to turn out in big numbers next year. The challenge for Republicans will be to give their voters a reason to match that liberal enthusiasm. That’s all the more reason to put accomplishments on the board that voters can see on health care, taxes and more.

As for Democrats, the defeat underlies the contradiction between the total resistance to Mr. Trump needed to win a primary and the centrist coloration needed to flip a GOP-leaning seat in areas like northern Virginia (held by Barbara Comstock ) and Upper Hudson Valley New York ( John Faso ). Mr. Ossoff energized progressives by promising “to make Trump furious.” After the primary he tacked to the middle by running as a fiscal conservative and against tax increases on the rich.

But by then Republicans were already defining him as a Pelosi pawn. It didn’t help that so much of his cash came from liberal redoubts like San Francisco or that he was endorsed by Bernie Sanders. Some groups on the left like MoveOn.org are now saying that the lesson from Mr. Ossoff’s defeat is that Democrats need to run as pure left-wing populists in 2018.

This left-center tension in the Democratic Party is likely to intensify, especially if the GOP racks up some policy victories, which could propel Democrats to nominate candidates who are too far left for the districts they need to win in 2018. But Republicans can’t afford complacency, and their best defense against an anti-Trump wave is legislative success.

Robert Mueller Needs to Answer Some Crucial Questions—If Only Republicans Would Ask Them By Angelo Codevilla

Editor’s Note: The following is a memo crafted by the author as it ought to be written to Special Counsel, Robert Mueller from the two Judiciary Committee chairmen in Congress.

If only . . .
From: Charles Grassley – Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee & Bob Goodlatte – Chairman, House Judiciary Committee

To: Robert Mueller – Special Counsel, Department of Justice

Subject: Oversight of your office
As our committees consider the Justice Department’s budget request to authorize appropriations for the department’s many activities for the upcoming fiscal year, we try to understand those activities’ scope and efficacy, focusing especially on ones that raise questions with the public. Making well-informed judgments regarding funding and legislative guidance of departmental activities under our purview is our constitutional responsibility. We are confident that you, having been a valuable partner in this exercise of that responsibility during your years as director of the FBI, will answer these questions, because they are essential for the Congress and the public’s understanding of what your office is doing and not doing.

The deputy attorney general established your office to “to inform or consult with the Attorney General or others within the Department about the conduct of his or her duties and responsibilities” specifically about “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump…” .

If we read this correctly, you are to report to the nation’s chief law enforcement officials about their “duties and responsibilities.” The duties and responsibilities of the Department of Justice—correct us if we are mistaken—can only be the enforcement of the laws of the United States.

We hope that you will forswear any investigation not pursuant to the underlying crime, if any, specified in your appointment order, and can assure you that our committees will make sure that no funds authorized by us can be used for such purposes.

This being the case, would you enumerate for us the laws of the United States which you believe “individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump” may have broken, who these “individuals” may be, and the “probable cause” for so believing in the possibility of their violation, that suffices as basis for investigating them or anyone else regarding “links and coordination “with “the Russian government.”

The Deputy attorney General’s establishment order also contains the anodyne words “any other matters that arose or may arise from the investigation.” To understand what these words mean to you, we must ask: For you to investigate any person, what relationship need there be between that person’s activities and any violation of a U.S statute related to that person’s “links and/or coordination between the Russian government…”? Since the Department of Justice’s purview stops at the edge of politics, what do you believe that these words do not authorize you to “inform or consult” about in a prosecutorial manner?

China Leapfrogs U.S. in Critical Strategic Technology By David P. Goldman

The year’s most important news story probably never made it into your news feed. Nonetheless it might change your life forever. For the first time, China has demonstrated that it is far ahead of the United States in a critical new technology, namely quantum communications. A Chinese satellite succeeded in transmitting so-called entangled photons to earth stations. That’s the high-tech equivalent of sending a message in undeveloped photographic film: If you try to read it, the light will destroy it. The Chinese breakthrough has huge implications for cryptography, and for a host of other applications.

The tortoise just overtook the hare. We haven’t woken up from a decades-long nap, and we’re at serious risk of losing the race. If we do lose, there will be a name for an American who works for a Chinese: “Employed.” This is not a drill. This is the real thing.

Chris Scott wrote Friday in Asia Times:

On Thursday, a team of Chinese scientists released findings from a breakthrough study that makes China the indisputable leader in the field of quantum communication, an achievement that could be of immense strategic importance.

The study, led by Pan Jianwei and published in Science magazine, successfully demonstrated the ability to distribute entangled photons across unprecedented distances, from space to earth, opening the door for the practical application of cutting-edge, ultra-secure communication….

Encryption methods used today are nearly, but not completely, impossible to hack, but with more advanced computing power the forms of encoding that protect information sent online will become more and more vulnerable. Quantum key distribution, however, is unique in that any measurement of the transmission by an eavesdropper disturbs the transmission, thereby alerting the parties sending information.

So much for the mantra, “The Chinese steal technology but don’t know how to innovate.” Anyone who has seen China’s tech boom up close knows how dumb this view is. Books with titles like “The Coming Collapse of China” are now in their dozenth edition, while China is surging ahead in key areas of technology. China now graduates 1.3 million STEM students from its universities each year, vs. 300,000 in the US. How good are they? As Prof. Graham Allison reports in his new book The Thucydides Trap:

Professor Calls Whites ‘Inhuman A**holes,’ Tells Blacks to ‘Let Them F*cking Die’ By Tyler O’Neil

Mere days after a Bernie Sanders supporter shot Congressman Steve Scalise and two black members of his police detail, a Connecticut professor posted a Medium article on Facebook declaring: “Let Them F*cking Die.” The professor went on to write that white people are “inhuman a**holes” who still prop up a “white supremacy system,” so black people should not help them if their lives are in danger.

“I’m fed the f*ck up with self identified ‘white’s’ [sic] daily violence directed at immigrants, Muslim, and sexual and racially oppressed people,” Johnny Eric Williams, associate professor of sociology at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., posted on Facebook Sunday, Campus Reform reported. “The time is now to confront these inhuman a**holes and end this now.”

How should the allegedly oppressed “end this now”? Another post explained that. “It is past time for the racially oppressed to do what people who believe themselves to be ‘white’ will not do, put end to the vectors of their destructive mythology of whiteness and their white supremacy system,” Williams added in another post, including the hashtag #LetThemF*ckingDie.

On Thursday, Williams also posted a Medium article by that very title, which lamented that black Capitol Police officers who were assigned to Scalise’s detail had acted to protect him. The article, posted under a pseudonym, advocated letting white people die, as a form of combatting white supremacy.

What does it mean, in general, when victims of bigotry save the lives of bigots?

For centuries, black people have been regarded as sub-human workhorses whose entire purpose is to serve white people’s whimsies.

For centuries, queer people have been regarded as sub-human degenerates whose whole existence was an anathema to cisgender heterosexual people’s off-hand sensibilities.

The article attacked even the idea of morality as a tool for the immoral to oppress the moral. “They, these white/cisgender/heterosexuals, have created entire systems, philosophies, and values in which goodness, peace, and benevolence are virtues — but only, always, in other people. In themselves, though, it is only ever pretense.” CONTINUE AT SITE

Brown University Teaching High School Kids to Be Social Justice Warriors By Toni Airaksinen

While some high-school students spend the summer playing video games or hanging out with friends, other teens have different plans — and many of them are learning how to become social justice activists through college-sponsored summer programs.

Next month, Brown University will play host to one of these programs, a “Leadership and Social Justice” class geared towards students as young as 15.

Taught by Caitlin Murphy, a social studies teacher with a history of teaching kids social justice, the class vows to teach students “the tools and theory needed to become successful activists” and to fight for “social justice” in the realms of LGBTQ and immigration rights, among others.

The course appears to be a kind of advocacy boot camp.

During the course, students will be asked to “engage in various hands-on workshops and simulations, such as identifying an issue, developing a realistic timeline, publicizing a campaign, engaging the press, catering to an audience, and choosing effective tactics,” according to the course description.

Students will also be asked to develop a “Social Action Plan” with the help of their teachers, a detailed game plan on how they can fight for social justice once the program concludes and the students return home.

While the course description says it’s perfect for students who are already activists, students who don’t have a background in social justice advocacy shouldn’t be discouraged. “Students who hope to become activists” are invited too.

The class is part of Brown University’s Leadership Institute for high school students, which has been hosting leadership programs for teens since at least 2010.

Recent alumni who took other courses through Brown’s Leadership Institute — not the new one focused explicitly on social justice — praised the program in interviews with PJ Media.

Peter Prastakos, who just graduated high school and will be headed to Yale University in the Fall, credited the program for inspiring him to create an environmental club at his high school. “I always knew I wanted to do something related to the environment,” Prastakos said.

During the program, he worked alongside his instructors to devise a plan for an environmental club at high school, and when he got back to his high school the following year, he put his plans into action. CONTINUE AT SITE

Mueller’s Empire: Legions of Lawyers, Bottomless Budget, Limitless Jurisdiction By Andrew C. McCarthy

So I’ve been wondering: Why on earth does a prosecutor, brought in to investigate a case in which there is no apparent crime, need a staff of 14 lawyers?https://amgreatness.com/2017/06/21/muellers-empire-legions-lawyers-bottomless-budget-limitless-jurisdiction/

Or, I should say, “14 lawyers and counting.” According to the press spokesman for special counsel Robert Mueller—yeah, he’s got a press spokesman, too—there are “several more in the pipeline.”

Concededly, none of Mueller’s recruits requires Senate confirmation, as do Justice Department officials—notwithstanding that the former may end up playing a far more consequential role in the fate of the Trump administration. But does it seem strange to anyone else that, by comparison, the president of the United States has managed to get—count ’em—three appointees confirmed to Justice Department positions in five months?

A special counsel, the need for whom is far from obvious, has in just a few days staffed up with four times the number of lawyers. And all for a single investigation that the FBI has described as a counterintelligence probe—i.e., not a criminal investigation, the kind for which you actually need lawyers.

The way this is supposed to work is: the Justice Department first identifies a likely crime, and then assigns a prosecutor to investigate it. Here, by contrast, there are no parameters imposed on the special counsel’s jurisdiction. Mueller is loosed—with 14 lawyers and more coming—to conduct what I’ve called a “fishing expedition.”

Oh, and about those three Justice Department appointees: One of them, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has already recused himself from the investigation in question—the department’s most high profile undertaking. Another, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, is reportedly weighing whether he, too, should bow out. Perhaps he figures he has already done quite enough, having sicced a special-counsel investigation on the Trump Administration by flouting both the regulation that requires a basis for a criminal investigation before a special counsel is appointed, and the regulation that requires limiting the special counsel’s jurisdiction to the specific factual matter that triggers this criminal investigation.

The way this is supposed to work is: the Justice Department first identifies a likely crime, and then assigns a prosecutor to investigate it. Here, by contrast, there are no parameters imposed on the special counsel’s jurisdiction. Mueller is loosed—with 14 lawyers and more coming—to conduct what I’ve called a “fishing expedition.” But it is actually worse than that, as sagely observed in these pages by my friend John Eastman, the Claremont Institute scholar and former Chapman Law School dean. Mueller’s probe is the functional equivalent of a general warrant: a boundless writ to search for incriminating evidence. It is the very evil the Fourth Amendment was adopted to forbid: a scorch-the-earth investigation in the absence of probable cause that a crime has been committed.

For now, Mueller appears utterly without limits, in his writ and in his resources. As the ease with which he has staffed up shows, it is not hard to recruit lawyers. All you need is money. Mueller has a bottomless budget, thanks to a bit of Treasury Department chicanery known as “permanent, indefinite appropriations.”

Under the Constitution’s Appropriations Clause, no funding is supposed to be paid out of the treasury unless Congress has approved it in advance. Under the Framers’ design, with an eye toward limited, accountable government, every spending initiative must compete with every other one when Congress enacts a budget. Lawmakers must decide what we can and can’t afford when they draw on what is supposed to be the finite pot of money confiscated from taxpayers. We are supposed to know what we are underwriting and what it will cost.

On Mueller investigation, Trump should fight fire with fire By Karin McQuillan

John Eastman, law professor at Chapman University, writes in American Greatness this week that the powers invested in Special Counsel Mueller to investigate “Russian hacking/collusion/obstruction poses grave dangers to our body politic and our liberty.” His advice to President Trump: Fight fire with fire. Turn the law and the courts back on your opponents. Trump is being investigated without any probable cause of a crime. The Obama administration, in contrast, is a target-rich arena of criminal activity.

It is unconstitutional to issue a search warrant when there has been no crime and there is no probable cause. But that is exactly what President Trump’s DOJ has inflicted on the president and his team with Mueller’s special investigation. It was not just cowardice, but folly for the DOJ to buckle to the left-wing media’s hysterical insistence to investigate our president’s alleged collusion with the FSB.

According to Professor Eastman:

The special counsel will not to track down the details of a crime known to have been committed and determine “who dunnit,” but will scour the personal and business affairs of a select group of people – the President of the United States, members of his family, his business associates, and members of his presidential campaign and transition teams – to see if any crime can be found (or worse, manufactured by luring someone into making a conflicting statement at some point). This is not a proper use of prosecutorial power, but a “witch hunt,” as President Trump himself correctly observed. Or, to put it more in terms of legalese, this special prosecutor has effectively been given a “writ of assistance” and the power to exercise a “general warrant” against this select group of people, including the President of the United States, recently elected by a fairly wide margin of the electoral vote.

That is the very kind of thing our Fourth Amendment was adopted to prevent. Indeed, the issuance of general warrants and writs of assistance is quite arguably the spark that ignited America’s war for independence.

Professor Eastman suggests fighting fire with fire, prosecution with prosecution.

The Forgotten War that Changed American History By Janet Levy

In the late 1700s, the newly independent republic of the United States was continually beset by piracy at sea from four Muslim Barbary Coast states: Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, and Morocco. The U.S., with limited military resources and staggering debts from the War for Independence, sought to establish secure routes for international commerce to spur rapid economic growth needed to build the emerging country. Yet the U.S. faced constant Ottoman attacks on its merchant ships. American and European ships venturing into the region routinely faced capture of crewmembers, who risked being held as slaves until hefty ransoms were paid. The persistent Barbary pirate raids created a major crisis for a new nation that could not afford to either suffer from economic isolation or pay the exorbitant tributes demanded by the pirates.

In Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates (Sentinel, 2015), coauthors Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger explore “the forgotten war that changed American history.” In an action-packed thriller that aptly captures the time, place, politics, and circumstances, the authors chronicle the crisis leading up to the Barbary Wars and their triumphant aftermath.

The authors begin their chronicle with 1785, when the American merchant vessel, the Dauphin, was intercepted off the coast of Portugal by an Algerian cannon-equipped vessel, suffering the same fate as many ships of the day venturing near the Barbary Coast. Together with the crew of the schooner Maria, captured the same year, the sailors were shipped off to Algiers to spend years or their entire lifetimes in slavery under the Ottomans.

Kilmeade and Yaeger explain that North African coastal states sustained their fiefdoms by routinely sending off ships to cruise the east Atlantic and Mediterranean looking for prey. For centuries, ships had been attacked in international waters and had their crews and cargoes held for ransom, even those belonging to the great naval powers of the day, France and Great Britain. Rather than fight the pirates, these countries preferred to pay annual tributes to purchase safe passage for their vessels.

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, then respective American ambassadors to Britain and France, were confounded by the Muslim practice of attacking a nation outside the context of war and absent an identifiable threat. To understand the problem and negotiate a reasonable solution, Adams visited the office of Tripoli’s envoy to Great Britain in London, who welcomed him with great hospitality. When the Tripolitan ambassador, Sidi Haji Abdrahaman, returned the visit a few days later, Adams perceived him as “a benevolent and wise man” with whom the United States could conduct business.

Sharing his positive perceptions and plans to broker an arrangement with Abdrahaman for safe passage of U.S. merchant ships, Adams invited Jefferson to join him in negotiations. Much to their mutual surprise, Abdrahaman unreasonably demanded exorbitant sums of gold for himself and informed the statesmen that additional sums would be required to buy peace with Tunis, Morocco, and Algeria.

Both Adams and Jefferson registered astonishment at the excessive tribute amounts and inquired how the Barbary States could justify “[making] war upon nations who had done them no injury.” The Tripolitan ambassador declared that “all nations which [have] not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave.” Kilmeade and Yaeger describe the two founders as being “horrified by the [envoy’s] religious justification for greed and cruelty.” Exhibiting no remorse or regret, the Tripolitan further explained that “every mussulman who was slain in warfare was sure to go to paradise.”

Interestingly, Jefferson had read the Koran while in law school, been perplexed by its values, and dismissively relegated a spot for the Muslim holy book next to his collection of Greek mythology. Kilmeade and Yaeger point out the irony of Jefferson, author of “all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” being confronted by the stark reality of Islamic doctrine.

ISIS Losing the Battle but Winning the War by Giulio Meotti

If ISIS is retreating in Mosul, it is rapidly advancing in Manchester. The Caliphate is winning its war in Europe. Six months ago in Britain, the rise of Jeremy Corbyn, the ultra-pacifist Labour party leader who blamed the “war on terror” for the recent attacks in Manchester and London, would have been unthinkable.

As the Caliphate razed to the ground everything in its path, Europe reacted as if that were just the result of regrettable manners that should not concern her. The Islamists, however, had other plans.

“Why, in August 2015, did ISIS need to blow up and destroy that temple of Baalshamin? Because it was a temple where pagans before Islam came to adore mendacious idols? No, it was because that monument was venerated by contemporary Westerners, whose culture includes an educated love for ‘historical monuments’ and a great curiosity for the beliefs of other people and other times. And Islamists want to show that Muslims have a culture that is different from ours, a culture that is unique to them”. — Paul Veyne, archeologist.

The Islamic State is crumbling — if too slowly. More than two years have passed since French President François Hollande promised, “We will bomb Raqqa”. Sooner or later, ISIS will probably be reduced to a small enclave with no territorial continuity, and its chief, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, will be eliminated. It would, nevertheless, be most dangerous to dismiss these three years as a short parenthesis: Nazism did not last as long: “just” 12 years in power and five at war with the rest of Europe. The physical and cultural consequences of the Nazi tyranny are, unfortunately, still visible in Europe. The same will be said of the Islamic State. Three years of terror and conquests are not bad in for a war between the Caliphate vs. everyone else.

ISIS will leave behind an unprecedented terrorist infrastructure (277 Europeans killed on European soil in two years). If ISIS is retreating in Mosul, it is rapidly advancing in Manchester. The Caliphate is winning its war in Europe. Six months ago in the Britain, the rise of Jeremy Corbyn, the ultra-pacifist Labour party leader who blamed the “war on terror” for the recent attacks in Manchester and London, would have been unthinkable. His success is clearly linked to the recent bloodshed in British streets.

In the West, ISIS has assailed parliaments in Ottawa, cafés in Copenhagen, beaches in Nice, social centers in San Bernardino, metros and airports in Brussels, music festivals in Manchester, theaters, sports stadiums, restaurants and kosher markets in Paris, churches in Rouen, Christmas markets in Berlin, malls in Stockholm. Not bad for a “JV team”, as Barack Obama called the Caliphate.

ISIS has been an unparalleled attraction for the umma, the world community of the Islamic faithful: about 30,000 Muslims around the world — 6,000 from Europe — have left their homes to fight under the deadly black flag of the Caliph. ISIS was able to build a global network of terror. Jihadist groups such as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis in Egypt, Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines, Ansar al-Sharia in Libya, Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Caucasus Emirate in Russia, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, along with others, have all pledged allegiance to ISIS. The Caliphate has also become the wealthiest terror group in history. Sebastian Gorka, a White House advisor on radical Islam, said: “The attacks of September 11, 2001, cost barely $500,000. ISIS makes that in six hours! Do you feel safe?”

ISIS has made evil viral. The world was stunned when ISIS submerged the Western imagination in the public executions of journalists, the massacres of captured troops, markets for sexual slavery, executions of gays, and public drownings, burning people alive and crucifixions. “Never before in history have terrorists had such easy access to the minds and eyeballs of millions”, wrote Brendan Koerner, noting that “ISIS is winning the social media war”. Often, evil works. A few weeks ago, in Paris, a Jewish woman, Sarah Halimi was killed by a Muslim shouting “Allahu Akbar”. The case was barely covered by the mainstream press. Then several French intellectuals demand the authorities to denounce it as a case of anti-Semitism. ISIS’s threats are now so intense that even academic experts of Islam, such as Gilles Kepel, are under police protection.

In a few months, the Islamic State cleared the historic colonial border of Sykes-Picot, conquered half of Syria, destroyed entire cities of prices antiquities such as Palmyra, reached the periphery of Baghdad, and kicked out the Iraqi army, in which the United States had invested 25 billion dollars. That is why many counter-terrorism analysts are intelligently asking if “ISIS is winning”.

ISIS’s main legacy, however, is devastation — both cultural and human. ISIS has been successful in making a blank slate, a sort of Islamic “year zero,” in which, after an apocalypse, history will start again — supposedly virgin and pure. The Caliphate will leave behind a Middle East more and more Islamic, not only in the landscape, but also in demography. ISIS swept away entire non-Muslim communities that will never return. Many Christian and Yazidi towns within its orbit will remain permanently empty due to the slaughter, the exile and the disappearance of survivors. The Islamic State has been able to destroy the ancient Christian community of Mosul.

A new study published in the weekly magazine Plos Medicine concluded that around 10,000 members of the ethnic and religious Yazidi minority were killed. The researchers estimated that 6,800 other Yazidis were kidnapped, with more than one third still missing.

“Christianity in Iraq is over”, said Canon Andrew White, the great Anglican vicar of Baghdad. ISIS succeeded, for the first time in 2000 years, in cancelling Christian communion in Nineveh. Professor Amal Marogy, a native of Iraq, said, at a conference at the Hudson Institute, that while infrastructure such as the Mosul Dam can be saved from ISIS, the eradication of the Christian presence in Iraq means “the end of a peaceful civilization”. There are commentators who are now noting that “ISIS wins when Christians leave the Middle East”.

The jihadist recently vandalized ancient Roman statues and artifacts at the Syrian archaeological site of al-Salhiye, known as Dura Europos. ISIS devastated the most famous capitals of ancient Mesopotamia, from Nimrud to Hatra. “This destruction is unprecedented in recent history”, according to Marina Gabriel, coordinator of the American Schools of Oriental Research Cultural Heritage Initiatives, an institute that tracks the destruction of Islamic State.

The Nimrud ziggurat, built almost 2900 years ago — the most spectacular sacred structure known in ancient Mesopotamia — does not exist anymore. ISIS terrorists devastated the Mosul Public Library, where 10,000 manuscripts were burned or stolen. ISIS also managed to erase of the entire Jewish history of Mosul, including the tombs of Jonah, Seth and Daniel. The Caliphate destroyed the first Assyrian city, Khorsabad. The greatest devastation, however, took place in Palmyra, the most important archaeological jewel of the Middle East. Palmyra delenda est. The Islamic State also eliminated thousands of years of Syrian and Iraqi history, pulverizing exquisite ancient treasures such as the temple of Bal.

As the Caliphate razed to the ground everything in its path, Europe reacted as if that were just the result of regrettable manners that should not concern her. The Islamists, however, had other plans. Professor Paul Veyne writes in his book on Palmyra:

“Why, in August 2015, did ISIS need to blow up and destroy that temple of Baalshamin? Because it was a temple where pagans before Islam came to adore mendacious idols? No, it was because that monument was venerated by contemporary Westerners, whose culture includes an educated love for ‘historical monuments’ and a great curiosity for the beliefs of other people and other times. And Islamists want to show that Muslims have a culture that is different from ours, a culture that is unique to them. They blew up that temple in Palmyra and have pillaged several archaeological sites in the Near East to show that they are different from us and that they don’t respect what Western culture admires”.

That is why, after Palmyra, the Islamic State attacked music halls and other Western symbols in Europe. The “JV team” might be losing ground, but so far it is winning the war of civilizations. Will the West be able not only to free Raqqa and Mosul, but also to reverse this cultural avalanche trying to crush it?