Thursday, March 26, 2015

Texas Town Supports Forbidding Sharia Law Despite Plea From New Islamic Tribunal; Mayor Says Citizens Need To Respect US Law

BY SAMUEL SMITH , CP REPORTER - March 25, 2015|5:30 pm

After America's first ever Islamic tribunal was established in Irving, Texas earlier this year, the town's city council dealt the local Muslims a blow by passing a resolution in support of new state legislation that would forbid the implementation of any "foreign laws," including sharia.


Irving Mayor, Beth Van Duyne, has been thrust into the national spotlight after taking a hard stance against the imposition of sharia by a Sunni mosque that formed the Irving Islamic Tribunal in January in order to provide koranic counseling and mediation for social disputes in the Muslim community.

After the Irving city council passed the resolution last Thursday to support Texas House Bill 562, which would forbid the use of "foreign law" and would also codify the supremacy of U.S. and state law, Muslims in the town were disgusted with the city's resolution, saying that it deliberately targets Muslims and spreads "Islamophobia."

But speaking at last Thursday's council vote, Duyne, who worked with state lawmakers to come up with the legislation, asserted that the statewide bill does not target Muslims.

"This bill does not mention at all Muslims, sharia law, Islam, even religion," Duyne stated.

She further asserted that all this bill was designed to do was to ensure that Texas citizens are assured that everyone in the state was beholden to U.S. and state laws.

"Respect them, obey them, embrace them," Duyne said in reference to state and federal laws.

Although the bill does not specifically mention the words "Islam," "sharia," or "Muslims," local Muslims feel this is clearly "anti-sharia" legislation.

"I think it's the most disgraceful day in the city of Irving," Omar Suleiman, a Muslim resident of Irving told a local CBS affiliate.

"The elephant in the room is that it's the anti-sharia bill."

In a February Facebook post, the mayor asserted that she gets paid to uphold the laws of the United States and Texas, not any "foreign laws" or punishments that the tribunal would like to impose in its community.

"As Mayor of the City of Irving, I took an oath to uphold the laws of the State of Texas and the Constitution of the United States," Duyne wrote.

"American citizens need to remember that their rights are guaranteed by the Constitution and I believe no one should subjugate themselves to anything less."

Some versions of sharia law, which have been implemented in Muslim nations like Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, enforce strict punishments that often violate basic human rights.

For example, under sharia law, a thief may have his hand chopped off, while a person that commits adultery can be stoned to death.

Sharia law also tends to place strong restrictions on the rights of women.

Although Duyne admits that she does not quite fully understand how the Irving tribunal will operate, she wrote that she will not hesitate to crack down on the tribunal should it impose rulings contradictory to state and federal laws.

"While I am working to better understand how this 'court' will function and whom will be subject to its decisions, please know if it is determined that there are violations of basic rights occurring, I will not stand idle and will fight with every fiber of my being against this action," Duyne asserted.

"Our nation cannot be so overly sensitive in defending other cultures that we stop protecting our own.

The American Constitution and our guaranteed rights reign supreme in our nation and may that ever be the case."

In an interview with local media, an Irving imam, Moujahed Bakhach, explained that the tribunal will simply act as a source of koranic mediation for conflicts among the Muslims in the community.

He feels people might get the wrong idea about sharia law because of how barbarically it is implemented in other nations around the world.

"We are not here to invade the White House or invade Austin. … We are humble and want to settle a problem between Muslims," Bakhach said.

"Maybe in their mind, the misconception about what they see through the media is that shariah means cut the head, chop the heads, cut the hands, and we are not into that."

In a recent interview with The Blaze, Duyne said that when she met with members of the tribunal to discuss their issues, they blamed her for "stirring up all kinds of Islamophobia."

She added that they asked her about a "dozen times" to issue an apology and retraction, and publish an explanation for her February Facebook statement.

Duyne denied those requests.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Stopping Iran: Where are the Wise Diplomats?

Robert Charles | Mar 24, 2015
Where are the wise diplomats?

Day upon day, the Secretary of State, President and those who stand in firm opposition to current US diplomacy with Iran, make their pleas to the public.

The gist of the pleas by the Secretary and sitting President boil down to: “We can get a deal,” although “gaps remain.”

The rejoinder is: “A bad deal is worse than no deal.”

Within this frame, the arguments go back and forth.

Missing is wisdom, hard-headed, history-anchored, sage and solemn wisdom.

In essence, one side thinks any deal that retards or slows the break-neck pace of Iran’s ambition to obtain a nuclear weapon is worth inking.

The other thinks that approach is wrong-headed from the start, but that the right approach is to ramp up economic sanctions and default to force to stop Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon.

Neither of these approaches seems destined to assure a permanent end to Iran’s misplaced desire for a nuclear weapon.

And there is the beginning of wisdom.

The word “misplaced.”

Never mind that a bad deal would tacitly permit – even encourage – Iran to press onward in pursuit of a nuclear weapon, and then a delivery system.

Never mind that resort to even an effective kinetic response would open a major new battlefront with a well- armed adversary, trigger the activation of Hezbollah terrorism worldwide, and alienate the very young Iranian population (which is ironically more pro-West than pro-theocratic dictatorship).

Never mind that Iran would likely tighten ties – in either event – with Putin’s anti-Western Russia, and likely accelerate nuclear research with Russian encouragement.

Never mind that Russia may use any deal or confrontation as a basis for selling heavy lift missile delivery systems to Iran, especially if the US stops buying those systems.

Never mind that Iran is presently – and rather ironically – the leading edge in the Iraqi battle to turn the tide on Islamic State terror there, and in Syria.

Never mind that neither a deal to “slow down” development of a nuclear weapon, nor an all-on confrontation, would deter others in the region from seeking nuclear weapons once Iran got one.

Go back to the word “misplaced.”

Iran actually has a “misplaced” desire for a nuclear weapon.

Protests aside, that is their desire – but it is destined to be a pyrrhic victory, inevitably a hollow, useless, senseless victory.

American diplomats – and European ones for that matter – seem to miss the forest for the trees, too.

What American diplomats should be doing is not bickering over terms for continued or verifiably limited nuclear weapons development.

Nor should they be following Congress into a full-on battle.

Wise diplomacy looks different.

Wise diplomacy would take a more effective tack.

First, in an old world, highly persuasive, methodical and relationship-based way, American diplomats should be laying out what they really know – and what the Iranians likely also know, if they will ponder facts – about the other states in the Middle East.

For example, a number of other countries are also within reach or could be within reach of a nuclear weapon.

These states would surely seek one with a vengeance once Iran got one, or was even suspected of having one.

They would – based on ties to other nuclear states – likely acquire such a weapon with speed.

Once Shiite Iran has such a weapon, expect a Sunni state to quickly discover one.

The Middle East, at that point, is wired with a nuclear tripwire – but only if Iran gets the bomb.

At present, for all the sectarian conflict and regional terrorism, the on-going battle is purely conventional – and in a strange way, thus more stable.

At the point where Iran gets the bomb, or is suspected of having it, and Sunni states acquire nuclear counterforce, all bets are off.

Nuclear blackmail or threats by Iran would be of no practical use.


Because – in a nuclear tinderbox – the outcome would either be an exchange of nuclear weapons or the inability to coerce other states.

In effect, the chances of a real and catastrophic nuclear war across the region – beyond the region – would go from zero to incalculable, while the ability to effect political change with weapons of any kind would go to zero.

While seeking a weapon to coerce others, Iran would lose the coercive power it presently possesses in a conventional world.

Under these circumstances, Iran should be candidly asked to think about the consequences of fulfilling its dream – what would a bomb really buy it?


Heightened instability, lack of influence across the region with conventional weapons, a sudden escalation of odds that Iran would be destroyed in a regional nuclear exchange, no relief from sanctions, and global condemnation.

By contrast, what would foreswearing nuclear weapons, stopping all bomb research and the nuclear weapons program buy it?

A non-nuclear Middle East for now, complete relief from sanctions, the ability to continue using conventional weapons, and preservation of rough order.

Which of those two options – intuitively – would a wise Iranian diplomat choose, if carefully presented with the facts?

There is a second tool that wise American diplomats should use.

Advanced data analytics and predictive analysis.


Share these ideas with the Iranians in a negotiating session?

Yes, to a degree – with deliberation and candor, yes.

Here is how and why.

We can show – and they can see the assumptions, factual predicates, risks and full trajectory of events – that if they do achieve, or are perceived to have achieved, a nuclear bomb, never mind a delivery system, the level of regional fear, crisis responses, scrambling for nuclear counterforce, defensive and offensive reactions, and instability across the region –perhaps even globally – would become overwhelming.

Run the scenarios.

Run the software that projects events, origins, timetables, likelihoods, and then ask them if any of those eventualities are worth getting the bomb.

Ten bets to one, they all end badly, badly for the region and yes, badly for Iran.

If the future is inherently uncertain, predictive analytics should be highly persuasive in describing the likely endgames.

The boomerang effect of an Iranian bomb would be – or should be – highly persuasive.

That is, after all, why other aspiring nuclear aspirants have historically given up the aspiration; it is ultimately more self-defeating than redemptive.

Argument No. 2 is this: Beyond spurring a nuclear Middle East, and the diminished power Iran would have in such a nuclear neighborhood, the added chances of self-destruction become multiples higher; data analytics may even show the rough timeline for a nuclear conflict to occur, once Iran has the bomb.

The putative advantages disappear, and the negative effects go sky high, mathematically exponential if not vertical.

So let us stop murmuring about this and that bad solution, and revert to an old idea: Wise and thoughtful, intelligent and candid diplomacy.

Hide and seek is a child’s game; nuclear hide and seek is reckless.

Instead, let us take a page from the past – from effective negotiators like George C. Marshall, Theodore Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan – and protect the future.

Let us pursue the sort of diplomacy that amounts to cogent and persuasive presentation of incontrovertible facts, existential consequences and recognition by Iran that the bomb is the last thing that they should want.

That sort of hard-headed persuasion, frank dialogue, real interfaces during the tenure of Colin Powell as Secretary of State, produced a complete dismantling and disavowing of nuclear ambitions by at least one Middle Eastern country, with results that the Middle East did not go nuclear, sanctions on that country got lifted, and the battle-space remained conventional and diplomatic, not nuclear-tipped.

We need that kind of leadership today.

We need wise diplomats, wise members of Congress, not the hurly-burly of politics or the crazy notion that a real answer is beyond us.

It is not beyond us.

We should not be content with the bad choice between a bad agreement and a bad kinetic reaction if there is no agreement.

Where, I wonder again, are the wise men that once took such issues seriously, and gave us the peace from which we negotiate today?

That wisdom, circumspection and straight talk, direct appeals to enlightened self-interest and clear-headed presentation of facts, is needed now.


Robert Charles

Bobby Charles founded a national security and law enforcement focused consulting firm, The Charles Group, LLC in 1999 upon leaving service as Staff Director and Chief Counsel for the National Security, International Affairs, and Criminal Justice Subcommittee (GRO) in the House of Representatives from 1995-1999. Charles also served Subcommittee Chairman J. Dennis Hastert, onetime Speaker of the House, as chief staffer to The Speaker’s Task Force on a Drug Free America from 1997-1999 and as top staffer to the Bi-Partisan Drug Policy Group from 1995-1999. Bobby rejoined The Charles Group, LLC as President in April, 2005 after serving from 2003 to 2005 as Assistant Secretary of State, for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), under Secretaries Colin Powell and show moreCondoleezza Rice.

Bobby received his J.D. from Columbia Law School in New York, M.A. in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University in England, and A.B. from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Ukraine to protect human rights, assets in Crimea – Poroshenko

Dear All,

Russia’s dictator, Vladimir Putin, hasn’t been seen publicly for over eight days now (since March 05, 2015) and the news is traveling quickly around the world that there is speculation a shakeup is going on in that country. 

Several news outlets are even speculating that Putin is dead...........this has all been happening behind the backdrop of the recent slaying of Putin’s political archrivalBoris Nemtsov

Prior to Nemtsov’s murder on February 27, 2015, there were large protests around the country against Putin’s war against the Ukraine; and after the murder, there have been even larger protests in the streets of Moscow and other large Russian cities.

Meanwhile several news outlets continue to report that there are “very strange” things going on in Russia.  (my speculation: most likely leaks from high Russian government officials in the know]

One of the reports is that Russia is recalling its military personnel from all of their embassies across the world; fueling the speculation of signs of trouble in Russia.

Russia has denied these reports.....and meanwhile, Russia is reporting that Putin is still scheduled to meet with the leader of Kyrgz this coming Monday.

Several mainstream news outlets are now reporting on this issue:
And meanwhile, on March 10, 2015, Ukraines President Poroshenko announces to the world that Ukraine intends to seize back “The Crimea” from control of Russia’s Putin. (see article below)

Could be pretty interesting to see what comes about over the next few days!!

 Ron Kirkish

Ukraine to protect human rights, assets in Crimea – Poroshenko

March 10, 2015 @ 09:29

Ukraine intends to protect human rights and its assets in Crimea and to eventually regain control over the peninsula, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said.

"There are a number of steps we need to take and on which we will be insisting with the purpose of regaining Crimea," Poroshenko said in an interview with Pershyi Natsionalnyi Channel on Monday night.

The president said they would be protecting rights of Ukrainians residing in Crimea in the first turn.
"We need to protect every Ukrainian tortured by Russian security services: a Crimean Tatar, a Ukrainian activist or a cleric of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate.

This is the first priority I have set for the Foreign Ministry, the security services, the government and the others," the chief of state said.

In addition, Ukraine will insist on protecting its assets in Crimea, both government-owned and corporate, he said.

"On my orders, the Justice Ministry and the government will work out, in particular, with the assistance of foreign legal experts, and start to implement their tactics in legal defense of Ukrainian interests," the president said.

It is also important to take away all Ukrainian weapons left in Crimea, the Ukrainian leader continued.

"We need to take away all weapons left in Crimea, and we will be insisting on this," Poroshenko said.

Kyiv will be reinforcing the border with Crimea in order to prevent incursions of saboteurs, reconnaissance groups, terrorists and other threats, he underlined.

"Most importantly, we should demonstrate that life is much better on this side [of the border with] with occupied territory.

People are already coming to realize [the true nature of the situation]," Poroshenko stated.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Walker is Right: Trafficker Firings Affected Soviets

Dear All,

Robert “Bobby” Charles [former Assistant Secretary of State to General Colin Powell] remembers well how the projection of strength and power effected the very minds of the leaders of the Soviet Union (Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, and others). 
In this case, “Bobby” shows us that Reagan didn’t have to threaten the Soviet Union to pique their concern but instead, they could see that Reagan always dealt from a position of overwhelming strength when it even came to issues regarding “domestic” policies. 
The Soviets recognized that if Reagan was willing to shutdown aviation in America to enforce the law, then what else was he willing to do?
Signals of strength and the willingness to use it always triumph over weakness, whether real or perceived. 

Such is the nature of a true leader in a dangerous world.
Thanks again to Mr. Robert “Bobby” Charles for his generosity of sharing his close personal experience in the President Reagan Administration and especially his wisdom!

Ronald L. Kirkish 

Walker is Right: Trafficker Firings Affected Soviets

 By Robert Charles | Mar 05, 2015

• Robert B. Charles is a former assistant secretary of state [for former Secretary of State General Colin Powell in the Bush 41 administration] and also served as the former staff director and counsel to U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Make no mistake, Scott Walker is right about Ronald Reagan’s firing of the air traffic controllers, and the sobering impact this one decision – a domestic policy decision – had on the thinking of Soviet leaders.
In short, Reagan’s decisive domestic leadership sacred the Soviet Union, which was not accustomed to an American President doing exactly as he said he would do.

This decision by Reagan, made against the counsel of some of his senior advisors, had enormous implications for the Soviet Union – and theirs leaders knew it.
While Walker’s media critics disparage the comment and Reagan’s onetime Soviet Ambassador blithely dismisses the assessment, Walker is exactly right.

Here is the evidence.
For clarity, in 1981, nearly 13,000 air traffic controllers went on strike.

They walked off the job for more pay and a shorter workweek.
Despite the fact that the union had endorsed Reagan, this was patently against the law.

It violated provisions of Title 5 U.S.C. and their contract, which expressly prohibited a strike by government unions.
As the Nation worried about air travel – which the strikers knew they would – Reagan took to the air himself, and gave an Oval Office address.

He said: If the air traffic controllers “do not report to work within 48 hours, they have forfeited their jobs and will be terminated.”
As a young man, I worked in that White House and recall that speech vividly.

Roughly 1300 controllers returned to their jobs, while 11,345 ignored the president’s demand.
Against the strikers’ expectations, and most public expectations, Reagan summarily fired the strikers who defied the law.

Most never worked in the field again.
This was the death knell for the union.

It was decertified in 1981.
To assure safety in the skies, Reagan deployed the National Guard controllers, swiftly training and hiring fresh talent.

The world went on.
But not without notice.

Even then, global reaction was a matter of record.

There was no question that the Soviets noticed, and within a year were sitting up straight themselves.
That was August 1981, and by June 1982, the Soviets were on notice that – against the backdrop of the air traffic controllers’ decision – they were next in line.

Reagan gave another speech, in this one declaring before the British Parliament, with Margaret Thatcher looking on, “the forward march of freedom and democracy will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash heap of history.”
The Soviet leaders were on notice.

Nine months later, Reagan said “Communism is another sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages even now are being written.”
These were profound words.

They sent a chilling message to the Soviets.

Because this president was different.
He did not waste words, did not say anything he did not believe, and had proven true to his word.

He could turn into the wind of contrary expectations, and make real exactly what he believed.
They were more than aware of what had happened with the air traffic controllers.

Now move the clock ahead.
In 1989, just as Reagan had predicted, the Soviet Union fell.

Communism’s stranglehold on a beleaguered people – and suppression of their God-given freedom – was over.
In 1992, Ed Meese, Reagan’s thoughtful and articulate former Attorney General wrote of the air traffic controllers’ firing: “The message to the nation was clear and the public response was highly favorable.

We are informed, moreover, that this action had a sobering effect on the Soviet leaders, who also had become accustomed to seeing American presidents back down before a serious challenge.
The PATCO [union firing] action convinced them that Reagan was someone who had to be taken seriously.”

Meese was hardly alone in his reading of the facts.
Meese quoted Harvard Professor Richard Pipes, an expert in Soviet affairs, saying “The way the PATCO strike was handled impressed the Russians … and gave them respect for Reagan.

It showed them a man who, when aroused, will go to the limit to back up his principles.”
But the coup de grace is this.

At a conference in the early 1990s, held at Hofstra University and celebrating the life of Theodore Roosevelt, Edmund Morris was a speaker.
He was already working on the Reagan biography.

The topic of Reagan’s firing of the air traffic controllers – and the effect of this decision on the Soviet leaders – emerged.
Without presuming to quote Morris or other attendees this many years later, the consensus based on actual conversations with some of those leaders, was that the firing had shaken these leaders.

And for exactly the reasons that Governor Walker has recently cited.

In short, here was a president who knew what he believed, could communicate well what he believed, was unafraid to communicate well what he believed, and could bring the world around to his beliefs – in necessary, through decisive, unapologetic action.

He had contravened all public expectations by firing the illegally striking air traffic controllers, and he had condemned the Soviet leaders to the ash heap of history.
The connection, depth of conviction and potential implications were too close for comfort.

At least some of the Soviet leaders saw the writing on the wall.
And it remains on the wall today.

Only the Soviet Union – and the physical and spiritual walls, including the Berlin Wall, which held it up – are gone.

Thank you Scott Walker, for reminding us – principles count, along with principled actions and long memories.