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Ruth King

Merkel’s Not-So-Grand Coalition To duck a new election, she may move further left on policy.

Angela Merkel’s leftward drift cost her center-right party seats in September’s German election, and her center-left coalition partners fared even worse for having governed with her. Yet now she proposes to move even further left at the behest of that losing partner so she can form another unpopular coalition with them? Go figure.

Mrs. Merkel has failed to form a government since September’s murky result in which her center-right Christian Democrats (the CDU and Bavarian CSU) lost 65 seats. Her first try at a coalition, with the free-market Free Democrats (FDP) and the urban leftist Greens, fell apart when the FDP refused to bend on energy policy and migration.

Yet Mrs. Merkel is resisting a new election or a minority government, on the theory that either would be a post-War novelty in Germany and would echo a less stable and more frightening time in the country’s history. Instead she’s trying to browbeat the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) into negotiating another grand coalition after months of SPD resistance.

The SPD has participated in such coalitions for eight of the 12 years that Mrs. Merkel has been in office and seemed to have concluded after winning their lowest post-1949 vote share in September that voters want an opposition party that opposes.

On the policy merits a grand coalition is likely to be a bad deal. Some SPD leaders think the party can mitigate the political fallout from cooperation with Mrs. Merkel by striking a harder bargain than it has in the past, and Mrs. Merkel might go along to keep power.

That would mean less tax relief than the €15 billion ($18 billion) cuts to personal income taxes Mrs. Merkel promised before the election, or a further retreat from modest pension reforms that raised the retirement age. The SPD also could pull Mrs. Merkel away from a more realistic approach to Middle Eastern migration.

The bigger consequences of another grand coalition would be political. Mrs. Merkel, having been punished by voters for her milquetoast centrism, would be bowing to the policy wishes of a center-left party that now has even less of a mandate than it did before the election. This will be worse than the instability of a minority government or another election because it signals that voter dissatisfaction doesn’t matter in Berlin. That, and not a second election, is what creates opportunity for political extremists on the left and right.

A Foreign Policy for ‘Jacksonian America’ Sen. Tom Cotton has a worldview—even a doctrine—that is hawkish and realistic, though tinged with idealism. By Jason Willick

At 40, Tom Cotton of Arkansas is the youngest member of the U.S. Senate. He was called a young man in a hurry four years ago when he announced, during his first and only term in the House, that he would challenge the incumbent senator, Mark Pryor. Now there is talk President Trump may nominate him to lead the Central Intelligence Agency as part of a national-security shake-up. Admirers have also suggested he is presidential timber.

I met Mr. Cotton this week in his Capitol Hill office to explore his foreign-policy thinking. What emerged was the outline of a coherent if contentious worldview—one might even call it a doctrine—that begins with a sense that U.S. foreign policy has been adrift for a quarter-century.

“The coalitions of the Cold War rapidly began to break down as soon as the Soviet Union dissolved,” Mr. Cotton says. That first became clear during the debate over the Balkan wars of the Clinton years. “You had some Cold War hawks that were all of a sudden sounding like doves,” Mr. Cotton says, referring to conservatives who’d been staunchly anti-Soviet but were wary of U.S. involvement in what was then Yugoslavia. “You had Cold War doves”—including the liberal humanitarians of the Clinton administration—“that were beginning to sound like Teddy Roosevelt, ready to charge up the hill. That pattern consistently repeated itself” in subsequent years.

When it comes to America’s present challenges—from Iran to North Korea, China to Russia, Syria to Ukraine—Mr. Cotton, a conservative Republican, is squarely on Team Roosevelt. “There is always a military option,” he says. “That is the case everywhere in the world.”

But he believes that the lack of a clear organizing principle for how and when to use that power has knocked America’s global strategy off kilter. It also has created a divide between foreign-policy elites and what Mr. Cotton calls “Jacksonian America”—heartland voters who favor a strong national defense but are skeptical of foreign entanglements and humanitarian interventions.

“Foreign policy, to be durable and to be wise, must command popular support,” Mr. Cotton says. Statesmen and diplomats “might craft what they think is a wise foreign policy—something that Metternich or Bismarck might draw up in his study,” he continues. “But without the support of Jacksonian America, the people who are going to cash the checks that are written by elites in New York and Washington”—that is, to pay the price for intervention—“no foreign policy can ultimately be successful.”

On that score, he thinks the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations all fell short. “Some of the interventions over the last 25 years, I think, have been plainly unwise and had very limited popular support, and they’ve created foreign-policy disasters,” he says. As a prime example, he cites the desultory 2011 air campaign in Libya, whose aftermath is now “destabilizing Europe and creating new terrorist breeding grounds.” President Obama, Mr. Cotton argues, “probably did the wrong thing” in helping to oust Moammar Gadhafi while leaving Bashar Assad alone. If the U.S. had intervened in Syria and not Libya, “we might have had a happier end in both.”CONTINUE AT SITE

How Shariah Law Handles Family Cases in Greece

How Shariah Law Handles Family Cases
Some Muslims in Greece are subject to rules based on the Quran governing marriages and legacies

Marriage
In a form of premarital agreement, the groom stipulates a specific amount of gold to be given to the bride in case of a divorce.
How Shariah Law Handles Family Cases
Some Muslims in Greece are subject to rules based on the Quran governing marriages and legacies

Divorce

The wife gets the gold set under premarital agreement, as well as three months of alimony payments. If the husband can’t fulfill the agreement, the couple has to stay married until he has the means to do so.
Inheritance
A dead person’s estate is distributed to all the legal heirs as set forth in Quran. A wife gets a 1/3 share, which drops to 1/8 if there are no children. Two-thirds of the assets are to be distributed among children at a ratio of 2:1 for sons and daughters. Other provisions apply to brothers, sisters and other relatives of the deceased.
Child custody
In case of a divorce, girls are to live with their mothers until age 10, boys until age 8. Thereafter they move in with their fathers, who are deemed more suited to teaching them how to behave. If the mother is found to be sinful, the mufti can decide that boys should live with the father from an earlier age.

Shariah Law Puts Greece at Odds with European Court—and With Turkey Athens’s move to mute law’s impact on Muslim minority, spurred by human-rights concerns, draws Turkish president’s ire Nektaria Stamouli

KOMOTINI, Greece—In this sliver of land on the border with Turkey, about 100,000 Greek citizens live with a relic of Greece’s historically fraught relations with its neighbor: Shariah law.

In Western Thrace, Shariah law is enforced for Muslim citizens, making Greece the world’s only non-Muslim country that officially applies laws grounded in the Islamic faith.

But that situation could soon be coming to an end, with the Greek government having submitted legislation this week that would make compliance with Shariah optional in the wake of a clash between Muslim rules and Greek laws. Government officials said it would become law before an international court rules that the current arrangement breaches Europe’s human-rights standards.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set on Friday to visit Thrace, where about a third of the 350,000 residents are Muslims who mostly speak Turkish. In a tense exchange with Greece’s president in Athens on Thursday, Mr. Erdogan said the rights of the region’s Turkish minority to uphold their traditions weren’t being properly honored.

His visit and his comments on the sensitive issue come on the heels of Wednesday’s debate in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, on whether to condemn Greece—where about 2% of the population is Muslim—for applying Shariah rules to family law.

The special status for Shariah law in Greece stretches back to the 19th century, when the country regained its independence after more than four centuries under Ottoman rule. Under an agreement set forth in the 1923 Lausanne Treaty, which said Thrace’s Muslim minority should be allowed to live under its customs, Greek legislation enshrined Shariah rules to govern family law for Muslims there.

Today, three muftis appointed by Greek authorities act as judges and enforce Shariah. That arrangement has persisted even after Turkey abolished Shariah in 1924 as part of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s push to modernize Turkey.

Chronicler of Islamic State ‘killing machine’ goes public By Lori Hinnant and Maggie Michael

The historian carried secrets too heavy for one man to bear.

He packed his bag with his most treasured possessions before going to bed: the 1 terabyte hard drive with his evidence against the Islamic State group, an orange notebook half-filled with notes on Ottoman history, and, a keepsake, the first book from Amazon delivered to Mosul.

He passed the night in despair, imagining all the ways he could die, and the moment he would leave his mother and his city.

He had spent nearly his entire life in this home, with his five brothers and five sisters. He woke his mother in her bedroom on the ground floor.

“I am leaving,” he said. “Where?” she asked. “I am leaving,” was all he could say. He couldn’t endanger her by telling her anything more. In truth, since the IS had invaded his city, he’d lived a life about which she was totally unaware.

He felt her eyes on the back of his neck, and headed to the waiting Chevrolet. He didn’t look back.

For nearly two years, he’d wandered the streets of occupied Mosul, chatting with shopkeepers and Islamic State fighters, visiting friends who worked at the hospital, swapping scraps of information. He grew out his hair and his beard and wore the shortened trousers required by IS. He forced himself to witness the beheadings and deaths by stoning, so he could hear the killers call out the names of the condemned and their supposed crimes.

The blogger known as Mosul Eye kept his identity a secret as he documented Islamic State rule.

He wasn’t a spy. He was an undercover historian and blogger . As IS turned the Iraqi city he loved into a fundamentalist bastion, he decided he would show the world how the extremists had distorted its true nature, how they were trying to rewrite the past and forge a brutal Sunni-only future for a city that had once welcomed many faiths.

He knew that if he was caught he too would be killed.

MY SAY: WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES

December 8, 2016 A federal judge on Wednesday halted Michigan’s recount of its 4.8 million presidential ballots, effectively ending a longshot attempt to challenge President-elect Donald Trump’s victory. U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith, who had ordered the state to start the recount to meet a federal deadline, said he had no reason to go against a state court ruling that Green Party candidate Jill Stein had no standing to demand the recount because she had no chance of winning and therefore was not an “aggrieved” candidate. Stein requested recounts in Michigan, where Trump won by just 10,000 votes, as well as Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. All three states would have had to flip to Democrat Hillary Clinton to change the election result.

Dec 24, 2016 – The United States on Friday allowed a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction to be adopted, defying … vote, which represented perhaps the final bitter chapter in the years of antagonism between President Barack Obama’s administration and Netanyahu’s government.

Trump Puts Fact Ahead of Fiction in Israel The only reason recognizing Jerusalem as the Jewish State’s capital is controversial is that the world has been pretending it’s not for decades. By Jonah Goldberg

The most exhausting thing about the Middle East — except for the bloodshed, poverty, tyranny, etc. — is that it refuses to conform to how it’s described in the West.

It’s like journalists, diplomats, and politicians want to announce a football game, but the players keep insisting on playing rugby. The field looks similar. The scoring isn’t all that different. It’s just a different game. But don’t tell the gang in the booth. They get furious when you point out that the facts don’t line up with the commentary.

Consider President Trump’s momentous (though for now mostly symbolic) announcement that the United States will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Before you can debate whether this was a good move, you must acknowledge one glaring fact that the chatterers want to ignore or downplay: It’s true. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. The Knesset, Israel’s parliament, convenes there. Israelis call it their capital for the same reason they claim two plus two equals four. It’s just true.

What makes the decision controversial is that everyone had agreed to pretend it wasn’t the capital in order to protect “the peace process.”

That’s another term that doesn’t quite correspond with reality. There is no peace process. Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president finishing the twelfth year of his four-year term, has refused to meet with the Israelis to discuss anything since early in the Obama administration.

GLAZOV MOMENT: TOP 10 FACTS ABOUT FLYNN’S PLEA VIDEO

http://jamieglazov.com/2017/12/07/glazov-moment-top-10-facts-about-flynns-plea/In this new Jamie Glazov Moment, Jamie shares the Top 10 Facts About Flynn’s Plea, unveiling what the establishment media doesn’t want you to know. Don’t miss it!And make sure to watch Jamie’s stirring speech delivered at a recentAmerican Freedom Alliance conference in Los Angeles. where he focused on United in Hate: The Left’s Romance With Jihad,reflecting on how: “I thought we escaped the Soviet Union. But the Soviet Union came to us.”

Trump Recognizes Jerusalem As Israel’s Capital Finally, the ancient Jewish city can take its place among world capitals. Matthew Vadum

President Donald Trump made history yesterday officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel, almost 70 years after the United States became the first country in the world to extend diplomatic recognition to the Jewish state.

“Jerusalem is not just the heart of three great religions, but it is now also the heart of one of the most successful democracies in the world,” President Trump said in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House.

Over the past seven decades, the Israeli people have built a country where Jews, Muslims, and Christians, and people of all faiths are free to live and worship according to their conscience and according to their beliefs. Jerusalem is today, and must remain, a place where Jews pray at the Western Wall, where Christians walk the Stations of the Cross, and where Muslims worship at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted thanks to Trump for the “historic decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The Jewish people and the Jewish state will be forever grateful.”

Of course the usual suspects were broken records, apoplectic on cue.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned there would be “dangerous consequences.” His office issued a statement declaring that “East Jerusalem is the key to war and peace and any solution must guarantee East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state.” Palestinian politicians are calling for “days of rage” in the streets to protest Trump’s decision, and are hoping the violence goes global.

Predictably, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Trump’s move was a “red line” for Muslims, whatever that means.

Jordan’s foreign minister, Ayman Safadi, warned U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that Trump’s proclamation could “trigger anger across the Arab and Muslim world, fuel tension and jeopardize peace efforts.”

These are the same tedious things Islamists always say whenever the United States does anything perceived as supportive of Israel.

In making the proclamation about Jerusalem, Trump honored a campaign promise, one to which plenty of politicians on both sides of the aisle have given mere lip service over the years.

President Trump’s courageous, unprecedented proclamation finally ends the long-running charade that Jerusalem is legally or politically different from or somehow not legitimately a part of sovereign Israeli territory. And it confers on Israel as a whole a special kind of political legitimacy well beyond what President Harry Truman provided May 14, 1948 when he extended U.S. diplomatic recognition to the nascent State of Israel.

President Trump’s Jerusalem Move Deals a Blow to Terror We won’t let Islamic terrorists decide where we put our embassies. Daniel Greenfield

Hamas has announced that President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has opened the “gates of hell.” Its Muslim Brotherhood parent has declared America an “enemy state.”

The Arab League boss warned that the Jerusalem move “will fuel extremism and result in violence.” The Jordanian Foreign Minister claimed that it would “trigger anger” and “fuel tension.”

“Moderate” Muslim leaders excel at threatening violence on behalf of the “extremists”.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) warned that recognizing Jerusalem will trigger an Islamic summit and be considered a “blatant attack on the Arab and Islamic nations.”

The last time the OIC was this mad, someone drew Mohammed. And wasn’t stoned to death for it.

According to the Saudi ambassador, it will “heighten tensions”. The Deputy Prime Minister of Islamist Turkey called it a “major catastrophe”. And the leader of the largest Muslim country in Europe, France’s Emmanuel Macron “expressed concern” that America will “unilaterally recognize Jerusalem.”

PLO leaders and minions meanwhile made it quite clear that now the dead peace process is truly dead.

The Palestinian Authority’s boss warned that recognizing Jerusalem will “destroy the peace process”. The PLO’s envoy in D.C. threatened that it would be the “final lethal blow” and “the kiss of death to the two-state solution”. A top PA advisor claimed it “will end any chance of a peace process.”

A day later, the peace process is still as alive and as dead as it ever was.

Since the chance of a peace process is about the same as being hit by lightning while scoring a Royal Flush, that “chance” doesn’t amount to anything. The peace process has been deader than Dracula for ages. And even a PLO terrorist should know that you can’t threaten to kill a dead hostage.

The only kiss of death here came from Arafat.

Peace wasn’t killed though. It was never alive. Because a permanent peace is Islamically impossible.

“The world will pay the price,” warned Mahmoud Habash, the Palestinian Authority’s Supreme Sharia judge.

Habash isn’t just the bigwig of Islamic law, he’s also the Islamic adviser to the leader of the Palestinian Authority. And Abbas, the terror organization’s leader, was there when Habash made his remarks.

Previously Habash had declared that the Kotel, the Western Wall of the fallen Temple, the holiest site in Judaism, “can never be for non-Muslims. It cannot be under the sovereignty of non-Muslims.”