Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Obama administration gave $500 million of foreign aid to Islamic radicals

From Investors Business Daily.

Excerpt:

The sequester has “cost jobs,” says President Obama, and “gutted investments in education and science and medical research.” But somehow he’s earmarked $500 million for Hamas terrorists.

Circumventing Congress and with no fanfare, President Obama last week issued an executive order enabling him to send an additional $500 million directly to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank — much of which you can bet will wind up going to the Iranian-backed Hamas terrorist organization.

According to Obama, “it is important to the national security interests of the United States to waive the provisions of” Congress’ legislative restrictions “in order to provide funds . .. to the Palestinian Authority.”

At the beginning of his first term, Obama promised close to $1 billion in aid to the Palestinian Authority, with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledging none of it would reach Hamas.

But the Hebrew-language newspaper Yediot Acharonot has documented that tens of millions of dollars in aid for the PA — from Israel — ended up being used by Hamas for weapons. If Israel can’t guarantee its own aid is safe, how can we?

The Christian Science Monitor has more on Obama’s generous use of taxpayer dollars.

Excerpt:

The US military has been ignoring warnings that its spending in Afghanistan is funding Al Qaedaand the Taliban. And John F. Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), appears to have had enough.

He issued a blistering cover letter with SIGAR’s quarterly report to Congress today that called into question what “appears to be a growing gap between the policy objectives of Washington and the reality of achieving them in Afghanistan.”

The US has $20 billion of Afghan reconstruction spending scheduled, and a further $10 billion requested for the 2014 budget. But after 11 years of war, there are “serious shortcomings in US oversight of contracts: poor planning, delayed or inadequate inspections, insufficient documentation, dubious decisions, and – perhaps most troubling – a pervasive lack of accountability,” Mr. Sopko wrote. Good intentions, he added, appear to be running way ahead of commitment to execution.

Now I know what Obama meant when he said that the economy works better when you “spread the wealth around”.

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Christians celebrate the end of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government

North Africa and Middle East Political Map

North Africa and Middle East Political Map

CNS News explains how the downfall of Obama’s Muslim Brotherhood allies is being greeted with joy by Egypt’s Christian community.

Excerpt:

Father Rafik Greiche, head of the press office of the Egyptian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, declared that the ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood supporters on July 3 was “a joyous day for Christians.” “The ousting of Morsi and the political new beginning is a joyous day for us Christians in Egypt and for all Egyptians. We hope that we will not be excluded from the political process that lies before us,” he said during a talk last Thursday with the Catholic charity, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

[...]Fr. Greiche made a point to note that what happened in Egypt was not a coup d’état. Rather, he said, “the army carried out the will of the people. They expressed this unequivocally over the last few days through millions of signatures and massive demonstrations in Cairo and throughout the whole country.”

“A number of western media are now presenting it as a coup d’état. But a putsch happens when officers take power and act without the endorsement of the people. But this is exactly what did not happen in Egypt yesterday. Moreover, the army wanted to prevent the bloodshed the Muslim brothers were threatening. This is why they took action.”

[...]A 2012 State Department report noted increased violence towards Egyptian Christians following the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and the election of Muslim Brotherhood-backed Morsi a year ago.

“The government generally failed to prevent, investigate, or prosecute crimes against members of religious minorities, including Coptic Christians, which fostered a climate of impunity. In some cases, authorities reacted slowly or with insufficient resolve when mobs attacked Christians and their property,” according to the State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report.

I think this story beautifully illustrates why Christians should care about politics and foreign policy. The truth is that there are forces in places throughout the world that are hostile to Judeo-Christian values. Good foreign policy that promotes economic freedom and freedom of religion should be the cause of every informed Christian. One of the reasons why the Muslim Brotherhood, a group linked to terrorism, is doing so well is because Egypt’s economy is doing so poorly.

Investors Business Daily thinks that the best way to bring freedom to Egypt is by bring prosperity to Egypt – the same way that freedom was brought to Chile in the past.

Take a look:

Like with Morsi, Chile in 1973 was ruled by a so-called democrat, Salvador Allende, who after barely winning election revealed he didn’t intend to govern democratically. A Marxist, Allende moved fast to ram through radical, Cuban-style “reforms” on an unwilling public.

Allende foreshadowed Morsi, demolishing political institutions, trampling the free press, disrespecting minority rights, ignoring the constitution, disregarding the separation of powers, trashing property rights and ruining the economy. Also, Allende was in thrall to a failed and inhuman foreign ideology — communism — just as Morsi was to Islamofascism. In both cases, the only exit was a military coup.

Had Chilean military commander Augusto Pinochet simply handed the country back to “democracy” without changing the root causes of the turmoil and tyranny, the cycle would have had a replay.

But he didn’t. He used his military government as an incubator for free-market changes, transforming his country into not just Latin America’s best economy, but also Latin America’s most durable democracy. Pinochet — who stepped down dutifully after 17 years upon losing a referendum — understood that economic freedom had to precede political freedom. He employed a brilliant group of mostly University of Chicago-educated young Chilean economists, known as the Chicago Boys, to transform the society by cleaning out thousands of weedlike laws choking Chile’s economy — on labor, mining, currency, fishing, vineyards, startups and pensions.

They made the central bank independent and instituted hard-core fiscal discipline that has left the country debt-free and pushed its credit rating toward triple A.

Thousands of businesses were freed to open and operate without thickets of regulations — resulting in the spate of Chilean products now seen in America’s supermarkets: wine, fruit, fish.

They signed free-trade pacts with 60 countries to expand the reach of their tiny market to a global one — the better to attract foreign investment.

And in what economist Milton Friedman called “the crown jewel” of these reforms, Chile’s 30-year-old Labor Minister Jose Pinera offered Chileans a choice of public or private pensions — making each worker a minicapitalist with a stake in the system — and giving the country a vast pool of capital to develop the country.

Right now, frankly, this is what Egypt needs — a free-market economy that enables it citizens to matter.

America now pushes for political freedom before the economic kind. It did this Iraq and now in Egypt, creating weak or failed democracies. In 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was getting calls from Egyptians during the Arab Spring asking how to replicate Chile’s reforms — and we’ve heard nothing since.

But the Chilean example shows that economic freedom is what makes political freedom possible .

Fox News recalls why the Muslim Brotherhood got into power in the first place.

Excerpt:

Millions protesting in the streets. Another leader deposed. Dozens killed in violent clashes, including at least 51 people slain on Monday. Obama’s Mideast policy is in shambles. Nowhere is that more obvious that Egypt, which just held its second revolution in as many years.

Egypt isn’t just a problem. It’s a full-fledged disaster, hand-delivered to us by President Obama. He sabotaged our ally Hosni Mubarak more than a year ago, then defended that strategy during his reelection campaign.

[...]Back in February 2011, Obama first said “change must take place” and about a week later outright called for Mubarak to go. Given the U.S.’s financial influence on Egypt, that effectively destroyed a key ally.

[...]When asked during the presidential debates in October if he regretted abandoning Mubarak, Obama was clear: “I don’t because I think that America has to stand with democracy.” He then listed several areas that he expected the new government to push including taking “responsibility for protecting religious minorities,” recognizing “the rights of women,” abiding “by their treaty with Israel,” and “developing their own economy.”

With the exception of Israel, Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood failed at the rest and now Obama is standing by them. Christians have been attacked, women raped and terrorized, and the Egyptian economy is a disaster. Fuel shortages are common and half the population is living on less than $2 a day.

The Muslim Brotherhood has shown itself to be radical and dangerous. One of the last straws for the Egyptians was apparently when Morsi called for a holy war in Syria in support of the Sunni Muslims against the Shia Muslim leadership.

The Brotherhood even released a bizarre, anti-Semitic statement about Morsi’s replacement, saying, “A Jew in Egypt’s seat of power.”

Now that same military Obama trusted last time around has rejected Morsi’s anti-American, radical Islamist government. The Obama response? He has ordered a review of the funding we send to Egypt. He even supported keeping the Brotherhood in the government.

What Christians should have done in 2008 and 2012 is voted against Obama, because apologizing to Muslim dictators and Communist dictators is not going to spread the prosperity and liberty we need in order to have world peace. Christians need to think hard about the role that foreign policy plays in a Christian worldview. I think this is especially important for Christian women, who in my experience struggle to understand how foreign policy works. We need to think about the way the world works in order to achieve good. Achieving good is not the same thing as being liked or feeling good. We want to achieve good, and that takes knowledge of how the world really works.

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Large numbers of Christians fleeing oppression in Muslim countries

Fox News put up an editorial about a tragedy that is often neglected by the liberal media.

Excerpt:

A mass exodus of Christians is currently underway.  Millions of Christians are being displaced from one end of the Islamic world to the other.

[...]In 2003, Iraq’s Christian population was at least one million. Today fewer than 400,000 remain—the result of an anti-Christian campaign that began with the U.S. occupation of Iraq, when countless Christian churches were bombed and countless Christians killed, including by crucifixion and beheading.

The 2010 Baghdad church attack, which saw nearly 60 Christian worshippers slaughtered, is the tip of a decade-long iceberg.

[...]In October 2012 the last Christian in the city of Homs—which had a Christian population of some 80,000 before jihadis came—was murdered. One teenage Syrian girl said: “We left because they were trying to kill us… because we were Christians…. Those who were our neighbors turned against us. At the end, when we ran away, we went through balconies. We did not even dare go out on the street in front of our house.”

In Egypt, some 100,000 Christian Copts have fled their homeland soon after the “Arab Spring.” In September 2012, the Sinai’s small Christian community was attacked and evicted by Al Qaeda linked Muslims, Reuters reported. But even before that, the Coptic Orthodox Church lamented the “repeated incidents of displacement of Copts from their homes, whether by force or threat.

[...]In Mali, after a 2012 Islamic coup, as many as 200,000 Christians fled. According to reports, “the church in Mali faces being eradicated,” especially in the north “where rebels want to establish an independent Islamist state and drive Christians out… there have been house to house searches for Christians who might be in hiding, churches and other Christian property have been looted or destroyed, and people tortured into revealing any Christian relatives.” At least one pastor was beheaded.

Even in European Bosnia, Christians are leaving en mass “amid mounting discrimination and Islamization.” Only 440,000 Catholics remain in the Balkan nation, half the prewar figure.

Problems cited are typical: “while dozens of mosques were built in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, no building permissions [permits] were given for Christian churches.” “Time is running out as there is a worrisome rise in radicalism,” said one authority, who further added that the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina were “persecuted for centuries” after European powers “failed to support them in their struggle against the Ottoman Empire.”

The article has even more disturbing statistics.

This violence is not surprising, considering the attitudes of Muslims in Muslim dominated countries.

Consider this article from the liberal Washington post.

Excerpt:

A majority of Muslims in several countries say that any Muslim who leaves the faith should be executed, with the share who support this nearing two-thirds in Egypt and Pakistan. In Afghanistan, 78 percent say apostates should be killed.

As I wrote yesterday, the issue of apostasy is a complicated one with its roots in Islam’s unique foundational history. But the effect is a deeply chilling one for religious freedom, with atheists and converts often persecuted.

I was listening to a debate recently featuring Jim Wallis and Jay Richards on Christianity and economics, and I was surprised when Jim Wallis sort of threw out this strange thought at the end of one of his speeches about Islam. Something like “What are Christians doing to love their Muslim neighbor?” I think a very good thing for Christians in the West to do would be to realize that not all religions are the same, and that some are more peaceful than others. Maybe instead of worrying about not offending Muslims all the time, we could instead think about what it is like for Christians to be living in these Muslim countries, and facing horrors like being killed, raped and tortured.

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Obama foreign policy: Muslim Brotherhood imposing anti-US dictatorship in Egypt

North Africa and Middle East Political Map

North Africa and Middle East Political Map

The Heritage Foundation explains what Obama enabled by using American military force to remove Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.

Excerpt:

Egypt was wracked by protests today, the day after President Mohamed Morsi purged key judicial officials and issued a decree that granted himself sweeping new powers. In Cairo, protesters gathered in Tahrir Square, the epicenter of Egypt’s stalled revolution, to denounce Morsi’s power grab and chant: “Morsi is Mubarak.” There were reports of heavy rioting in three Suez Canal cities, Suez, Port Said, and Ismaila, with angry crowds burning the offices of Morsi’s political party, the Freedom and Justice Party.

Opposition political leaders accused Morsi of “monopolizing all three branches of government.” Mohamed El Baradei tweeted that Morsi had “appointed himself Egypt’s new pharaoh.”

And more from a different Heritage Foundation article:

Egypt has been rocked once again by a political crisis triggered by President Mohamed Morsi’s relentless efforts to secure dictatorial power. Hundreds of protesters from liberal and secular opposition groups demonstrated in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the birthplace of Egypt’s stunted “Arab Spring” revolt. One barometer of the coming test of strength between Morsi and the weak and splintered opposition will be whether the disappointed democrats can retain control over Tahrir Square in the face of police and Muslim Brotherhood countermoves.

Egypt’s judiciary also has pushed back against Morsi’s power grab. The Supreme Council of the Judiciary denounced Morsi’s unilateral assertion of power over the judiciary as “an unprecedented attack on judicial independence.” The Judges Club, an association of judges made up of many appointees by the Mubarak regime, called for a strike by courts across Egypt.

But the judges alone will not be enough to reverse Morsi’s power grab. The key vote will be wielded by the armed forces. Morsi appears confident that he can count on support from key military leaders, whom he hand-picked after purging the top ranks of Mubarak loyalists in August.

While the army’s ultimate verdict on Morsi’s power grab is not yet apparent, Egypt’s investors voted with their wallets and withdrew their money from Egypt’s stock market, which plunged almost 10 percent on Sunday. Even if Morsi does secure the backing of the army, his assertion of dictatorial powers will further undermine what little confidence remains in Egypt’s deteriorating economy.

Guess what? It’s not always a good idea to use American power abroad. We have to ask what is in it for us. And in Egypt and Libya, there was nothing in it for us. We should have intervened appropriately in Syria and Iran, which are much more threatening to us.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Report: Iran shipping arms and personnel to Syria through Iraq

From left-leaning Reuters.

Excerpt:

Iran has been using civilian aircraft to fly military personnel and large quantities of weapons across Iraqi airspace to Syria to aid President Bashar al-Assad in his attempt to crush an 18-month uprising against his government, according to a Western intelligence report seen by Reuters.

Earlier this month, U.S. officials said they were questioning Iraq about Iranian flights in Iraqi airspace suspected of ferrying arms to Assad, a staunch Iranian ally. On Wednesday, U.S. Senator John Kerry threatened to review U.S. aid to Baghdad if it does not halt such overflights.

Iraq says it does not allow the passage of any weapons through its airspace. But the intelligence report obtained by Reuters says Iranian weapons have been flowing into Syria via Iraq in large quantities. Such transfers, the report says, are organized by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

“This is part of a revised Iranian modus operandi that U.S. officials have only recently addressed publicly, following previous statements to the contrary,” said the report, a copy of which was provided by a U.N. diplomatic source.

“It also flies in the face of declarations by Iraqi officials,” it said. “Planes are flying from Iran to Syria via Iraq on an almost daily basis, carrying IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) personnel and tens of tons of weapons to arm the Syrian security forces and militias fighting against the rebels.”

It added that Iran was also “continuing to assist the regime in Damascus by sending trucks overland via Iraq” to Syria.

I was recently having a conversation with someone who was all in favor of regime change in the Middle East, but thought that the best way to achieve that was by abandoning our military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. I didn’t say anything to him about it, but I do think it’s important to understand that any kind of intelligence gathering, covert operations, interdiction, espionage, etc. depends on having military bases nearby to support such operations. In particular, covert operations often require military support. You can’t wish the Middle East well, and then pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq. We need to be there to stabilize the region, just like we did in Japan, South Korea, etc. after other wars.

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