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  1. This is the full clip from Trump's recent Phoenix speech. The Republican party is pretty good at throwing up some real fruitcakes, remember Sarah Palin? But Trump comes across as savvy. He's taken a hit for his anti-immigration/anti-Mexican stance, so he brings up an African-American dude whose lost a son to an illegal immigrant criminal. Neat. He's against Obamacare but he leavens that by emphasising that they need to help everyone, even if it angers Republicans. What I can't understand is that if he's candidature fails what will be the knock-on effect on his businesses, because he'll have upset a lot of businesspeople along the way. He pulls no punches with Macy's.
  2. The Hill Follow 199.2K Followers Number of anti-Muslim complaints in 2023 hit record high: CAIR Story by Miranda Nazzaro • 13h • 3 min read Number of anti-Muslim complaints in 2023 hit record high: CAIR© Provided by The Hill Over 8,000 anti-Muslim complaints were recorded across the nation last year, marking the highest total in the 30 years the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has tracked the complaints. In its report, published Tuesday, CAIR said it received 8,061 complaints of anti-Muslim incidents, surpassing the previous record in 2021, when 6,720 incidents were reported. This number is up 56 percent from 2022, which had the first ever recorded drop in complaints since CAIR started tracking complaints in 1995. CAIR received the most complaints in the final three months of the year and accounted for 44 percent of the year’s total tally, the report stated. CAIR, a leading Muslim advocacy nonprofit group, connected the late-year surge to the domestic fallout from Israel’s war with Palestinian militant group Hamas. The conflict began in October after the group’s surprise attack against southern Israel, which left about 1,200 people dead and saw 250 others taken hostage. About 100 of the hostages were returned to Israel during a weeklong cease-fire agreement in December, and another 100 are believed to still be alive in Gaza. For the past five months, Israel has embarked on a retaliatory military campaign to destroy Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist group that has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007. More than 32,800 Palestinians have died in Gaza since early October, per the Gaza Health Ministry, while hundreds of thousands face depleting supplies of food, water, and medicine, according to aid groups. Related video: “Muslims won’t be affected….” Jamaat president welcomes CAA (ANI Video) Uski notification jari kardi hai. Loaded: 34.85% Play Current Time 0:04 / Duration 2:00 Quality Settings Captions Fullscreen ANI Video “Muslims won’t be affected….” Jamaat president welcomes CAA Unmute 0 View on Watch During the three-month surge in which the most complaints – 3,578 – were received, employment discrimination was the main source of these complaints, followed by hate crimes and incidents, and education discrimination, CAIR noted. The tensions quickly spilled beyond the Middle East in early October, and the following months have seen an increase in pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel protests across the U.S. and other parts of the West. Several of these protests took place at college campuses, with students and administration faced with handling issues of free speech and the language used by both sides. “Employers, universities and schools were among the primary actors suppressing speech by those who sought to vocally oppose Israel’s genocidal onslaught on Gaza and call attention to Palestinian human rights, particularly Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians.” The report referenced the various schools that banned Palestinian-affiliated student groups on campus following the onset of the Israel-Hamas war, along with reports of employers’ not hiring prospects due to their activism for Palestinians. Regarding the total tally of last year’s complaints, immigration and asylum cases accounted for the most recordings. CAIR argued cases can “get delayed or intentionally stalled for the fear of the individual being a ‘terrorist’ or involved in ‘terrorist activities.” CAIR laid out a series of high-profile anti-Muslim incidents, including the alleged murder of a 6-year-old Palestinian-American and attempted murder of his mother in Illinois, nearly a week after the Oct. 7 attacks. The nonprofit also pointed to the Georgia teacher accused of threatening to behead a 13-year-old Muslim student, who said she was offended by an Israeli flag in the classroom last December. CAIR noted last month’s three-month surge also saw a higher number of complaints than in the months following former President Trump’s travel ban that targeted several majority-Muslim countries, which saw nearly half, or about 1,813 complaints.
  3. Daily Express US Follow 66.1K Followers Houthis 'sink UK ship and down US drone' as Middle East tensions flare Story by Charlie Bradley • 46m The Houthis are launching attacks from Yemen© Getty The Houthi Rebels of Yemen claim they have sunk a UK ship and downed a US drone as the group's skirmishes with Western forces escalate. In a statement released Monday evening, they said: "The total number of armed forces operations during the past twenty-four hours reached four operations. The first targeted a British ship and the operation resulted in its complete sinking, thanks to Allah. Ad "The second operation targeted the American aircraft "MQ9" in the airspace of Hodeidah Governorate, while the last two operations targeted two American ships. "The Yemeni Armed Forces affirm their full right to take further military measures in the Red and Arab seas in defense of our people, our country, and our nation, and in confirmation of their position in support of the oppressed Palestinian people, and that their operations in the Red and Arab Bahrain will escalate and will not stop until the aggression stops and the siege on the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip is lifted." READ MORE: US ship struck by missile as Houthi terror group steps up attacks in Red Sea The alleged attack on US and UK forces comes after weeks of Houthi assaults on shipping in the Red Sea. The group has vowed to continue disrupting international trade until Israel stops its campaign against Hamas in Gaza. Israel's attacks on Gaza have killed over 28,000 people, coming after Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis during their October 7 attack. The IDF's latest operations in the southern city of Rafah have been met with condemnation from leaders in the US and UK. The latest Houthi attack comes after a US drone was shot down and a British cargo ship was damaged, A Houthi spokesperson said: "The ship suffered catastrophic damage and came to a complete halt. "As a result of the extensive damage the ship suffered, it is now at risk of potential sinking in the Gulf of Aden." The UK Maritime Trade Operations agency said an explosion "in close proximity of the vessel" damaged it. The crew were able to escape the ship.
  4. Republicans Introduce Bill To Expel Palestinians From The United States Arthur Delaney, Rowaida Abdelaziz Fri, November 3, 2023 at 3:22 PM CDT·3 min read 5.1k Scroll back up to restore default view. WASHINGTON — Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) introduced legislation on Thursday to ban Palestinians from the United States in an echo of former President Donald Trump’s infamous “Muslim ban.” The bill would pause visas for Palestinians and go a step further by revoking any visas issued since Oct. 1. Zinke claimed the policy would protect Americans from the threat of Palestinian terrorists abusing the immigration system in the wake of the Hamas attack on Israel last month and Israel’s invasion of Gaza. “I don’t trust the Biden Administration any more than I do the Palestinian Authority to screen who is allowed to come into the United States,” Zinke said in a release. “This is the most anti-Hamas immigration legislation I have seen and it’s well deserved.” Though the legislation specifically targets Palestinians who obtained visas in the last month, the title of Zinke’s press release makes his broader sentiment clear: “Zinke Introduces Bill to Expel Palestinians from the United States.” The summary says the measure would direct the Department of Homeland Security to “identify and remove covered aliens without lawful status,” including those whose lawful status was just revoked. Zinke’s release cited attacks by Syrian refugees in the U.S. and other countries, but none by Palestinians. FBI Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers this week that the Israel-Hamas conflict could inspire more violence in the U.S., citing threats against Jews and the murder of a 6-year-old Palestinian boy in Illinois last month. “On top of the homegrown violent extremists and domestic violent extremist threat, we also cannot and do not discount the possibility that Hamas or another foreign terrorist organization may exploit the current conflict to conduct attacks here on our own soil,” Wray said. Despite the fact that Palestinians make up the largest stateless community in the world, the U.S. has only resettled roughly 2,000 of them in the last 20 years, according to the Migration Policy Institute, largely due to the fact that most Palestinians are ineligible for traditional visas and face exceptional immigration barriers. Israelis, by contrast, no longer need visas to enter the U.S., a policy updated just weeks before the Oct. 7 conflict. “Long-standing legal and logistical barriers make it exceedingly challenging for those in Gaza to resettle in the region, let alone resettle in the U.S. The political grandstanding we’ve seen so much of lately is a discriminatory solution searching for a nonexistent problem,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, the president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, a refugee resettlement agency. Zinke was appointed secretary of the Department of the Interior by Trump, who campaigned on a promise to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. and then followed through with restrictions on people traveling to the U.S. from Muslim-majority countries. Zinke was elected to the House last year. Zinke’s bill, co-sponsored by 10 other members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, stands no chance of becoming law but represents an escalation of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim rhetoric from the right. Zinke made no effort to differentiate between Hamas, which has been designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government, and residents of the Palestinian territories, not all of whom even live in the Gaza Strip where Hamas operates. One of the bill’s co-sponsors, Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), earlier this week forced the House to consider a censure resolution against Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), the sole Palestinian American serving in Congress. The House rejected the resolution, which falsely claimed that Tlaib had led an anti-Israel “insurrection” in a House office building last month. “She’s literally a terrorist in the House of Representatives,” Greene told HuffPost this week. View comments (5.1k)
  5. Is a US or Isreali Airstrike or attack on Iran imminent? Will there be a major conflict in the middle east? WIll it incite War in the Region? What do you all think?
  6. The Guardian Follow Shia Muslim scholars denied entry into US suspect religious bias Story by Samira Asma-Sadeque • 11h ago It took the US consulate seven minutes to reject Nabil Ahmed Shabbir’s visa application. Photograph: Majid Saeedi/Getty Images© Provided by The Guardian Shabbir, a British Shia scholar, had applied for his US visa to assist with the birth of his first child. His wife, an American Shia Muslim, wanted to have the birth in the US. Shabbir hadn’t even left the embassy gate after handing in his visa application when he got a text message saying it had been rejected. Shabbir, whose work has brought him to the US dozens of times prior to this rejection in 2020, did not think obtaining a visa would be an issue. Instead, he had to watch his firstborn’s birth via WhatsApp video. Shabbir is one of numerous Shia scholars who have been repeatedly – and unexpectedly – denied entry to the US in the past decade, despite their prior travel to the country for work purposes, raising concerns that they are being deliberately excluded because of their religion. Despite traveling to the US regularly for five years on a valid 10-year visa, Shabbir was stopped at the airport in 2019 and detained for five hours, facing questions about the intent of his visit. He was traveling with his wife, but was asked why he had invitations from years ago from American organizations – which fed his suspicion that officials had gone through his email. He was eventually allowed to enter, but once he returned from the US, he received a notification that his visa had been revoked. This revocation – unceremonious, without a specific reason and out of the blue – fits a pattern that has been experienced by many Shia scholars. Mohammad Ali Naquvi, cofounder and chair of the American Muslim Bar Association (AMBA), said his organization has documented denials or revocations of more than 50 Shia scholars in the past decade. Some were denied entry as they were about to board a US-bound flight, some were denied entry after arriving in the country and forced to turn back despite having a valid visa – and some like Shabbir still remain in a limbo of “administrative processing”. “It has a burden on the religious practice of Shia Muslims in the US, not being able to have the scholars here,” Abed Ayoub, national executive director at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), said. “Not being able to have your religious events because of immigration enforcement is very problematic.” The issue has been going on for a long time. Sheikh Jihad Ismail, an Australian Shia scholar, was about to board his flight to Albany from Dubai in 2014 when he was told he couldn’t fly into the US. This threw him off, especially because he had visited the US nearly 20 times since 2002, giving talks and engaging with the Shia community in the country. His visa has been under “administrative processing” for six years. According to Naquvi, there are some “administrative processing” cases that go back nine years. What we believe is happening is the consular officers at the state department are misreading this law Abed Ayoub of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Both Ismail and Shabbir know numerous other scholars going through similar experiences. Ismail recalled the story of a friend who was recently made to return on the next flight after arriving in the US. Many of these scholars are from English-speaking countries such as the UK, Canada and Australia. There is no solid reason to which anyone in the community can point to explain why so many Shia scholars have been denied entry, but they say they have their suspicions. Ayoub traces the issue back to the San Bernardino shooting in 2015, in which the shooters had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. This was followed by the Obama administration passing the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, which disqualified the visa waiver for applicants from 40 countries if they had made any trips to Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen on a government assignment or military order. This is tricky because Shia pilgrimages, including the ziyarah, take place in Iran and Iraq. Nearly all Shia scholars have visited or regularly visit these countries, which automatically puts them under scrutiny under the law. “Because you’re seeing a big number of individuals coming from visa waiver countries, what we believe is happening is the consular officers at the state department are misreading this law,” Ayoub said. “What they’re doing, in our opinion, is yes, the individual may not qualify for visa waiver, but they’re holding the same standard in even issuing a visa,” he added. That still doesn’t explain why Ismail was denied the visa in 2014, before the San Bernardino shooting, feeding further confusion among the scholars. It’s clear that there is a pattern that holds true for all these instances, yet nobody can pinpoint the exact issue that would uniformly justify these cases. This has a grave impact for Shia Americans, especially the current generation. For a religion with a rich practice of cultural and knowledge exchange across borders, Shabbir said there is an immense value English-speaking scholars have in reaching the current generation, and these visa denials hamper that education. If scholars like himself aren’t allowed to teach in the US, the other option for such exchange programs is to invite scholars from countries where they may not understand British or American culture, and the culture gap could become a barrier. “Those young people then find it very difficult to consolidate their faith and the culture they are living in,” he said. “They see the western culture as something inherently bad, and if they’re going to be religious that means they have to be against western culture,” he added. “Whereas it’s not the case – but they won’t know that until they are presented with a western scholar who has grown up through the system.” But there are signs of progress. Ayoub said the Trump administration assisted on some individual cases, and activists are now in talks with Biden administration officials who Ayoub said had been “very receptive”. Those like Shabbir hope the doors open up soon. For him, beyond giving talks as a religious scholar, he misses the opportunity to visit his in-laws, with whom his wife has been staying for a few months to take care of her mother. This means he has to go months without seeing his wife or child. “It’s not just the visa rejection,” he said. “There’s just so much more that ends up being attached to it.”
  7. Targeting Iran, US tightens Iraq's dollar flow, causing pain QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA and ABBY SEWELL Thu, February 2, 2023 at 12:37 AM CST BAGHDAD (AP) — For months, the United States has restricted Iraq’s access to its own dollars, trying to stamp out what Iraqi officials describe as rampant money laundering that benefits Iran and Syria. Iraq is now feeling the crunch, with a drop in the value of its currency and public anger blowing back against the prime minister. The exchange rate for the Iraqi dinar has jumped to around 1,750 to the dollar at street exchanges in some parts of the country, compared to the official rate of 1,460 dinars to the dollar. In Baghdad, exchange houses were closed on Thursday, while the Kurdistan Regional Government banned exchange companies in Sulaimaniyah from making transfers. Mustafa Al-Karawi, a member of the parliamentary budget committee, told the state news agency that the Central Bank “must meet the requirements of the Federal Reserve to...reduce the scarcity of hard currency in the country." He said new domestic procedures would be rolled out to improve access to currency, while a delegation of Iraqi officials will travel to the U.S. for negotiations next Friday. - ADVERTISEMENT - The devaluation has already sparked protests. If it persists, analysts said, it could challenge the mandate of the government formed in October after a yearlong political stalemate. The dinar’s deterioration comes even though Iraq’s foreign currency reserves are at an all-time high of around $100 billion, pumped up by spiking global oil prices that have brought increasing revenues to the petroleum-rich nation. But accessing that money is a different story. Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, Iraq’s foreign currency reserves have been housed at the United States' Federal Reserve, giving the Americans significant control over Iraq’s supply of dollars. The Central Bank of Iraq requests dollars from the Fed and then sells them to commercial banks and exchange houses at the official exchange rate through a mechanism known as the “dollar auction.” In the past, daily sales through the auction often exceeded $200 million per day. Ostensibly, the vast majority of the dollars sold in the auction are meant to go to purchases of goods imported by Iraqi companies, but the system has long been porous and easily abused, multiple Iraqi banking and political officials told The Associated Press. U.S. officials confirmed to the AP that they suspected the system was used for money laundering but declined to comment in detail on the allegations or the new restrictions. For years, large quantities of dollars were transferred out of the country to Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Lebanon through “gray market trading, using fake invoices for overpriced items," a financial adviser to the Iraqi prime minister said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. The inflated invoices were used to launder dollars, with most of them sent to Iran and Syria, which are under U.S. sanctions, leading to complaints from American officials, he said. In other cases, the currency is smuggled across land borders under the protection of armed groups that take a cut of the cash, said Tamkeen Abd Sarhan al-Hasnawi, chairman of the board of Mosul Bank and first deputy of the Iraq Private Banks League. He estimated that as much as 80% of the dollars sold through the auction went to neighboring countries. “Syria, Turkey, and Iran used to benefit from the dollar auction in Iraq,” he said. A member of one of Iraq’s Iran-backed militias, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the subject, said the majority of Iraqi banks are owned indirectly by politicians and political parties that have also used the dollar auction to their benefit. Late last year, the Fed began imposing stricter measures. Among other steps, at the request of the U.S., the Central Bank of Iraq started using an electronic system for transfers that required entering detailed information on the intended end-recipient of the requested dollars. One hundred Central Bank employees were trained by the Fed to implement the new system, the prime minister’s financial adviser said. “This system started rejecting transfers and invoices that used to be approved by the central bank,” he said. “Around 80% of transactions were being rejected.” The amount of dollars sold daily in the auction plummeted to $69.6 million on Jan. 31, from $257.8 million six months earlier, according to Central Bank records. Far fewer of the dollars are going toward buying imports as well, down to around 34% from 90%. Even when transactions are approved, it takes banks up to 15 days to get the funds rather than two or three days, Hasnawi said. Unable to get dollars at the official price through banks, he said, traders turned to the black market to buy dollars, causing the price to rise. In November, the Central Bank of Iraq added four new banks to the list of those banned from dealing in dollars. Two U.S. officials confirmed that the Fed requested the four banks be blocked because of suspected money laundering. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment on the case. A spokesperson for the New York Fed declined to discuss the specific measures taken with regards to Iraq. But the Fed said in a statement that it enforces “a robust compliance regime” for the accounts it holds. The statement said that this regime “evolves over time in response to new information, which we gather in the regular course of monitoring transactions and events that may impact an account and in communication with other relevant U.S. government agencies.” The system of keeping Iraq’s oil revenues at the Fed was originally imposed by U.N. Security Council resolutions after the 2003 ouster of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein by the U.S-led invasion. Later, Iraq chose to maintain the system to protect its revenues against potential lawsuits, particularly in connection to Iraq’s 1990s invasion of Kuwait. The new U.S. restrictions come at a time of increased tensions between the U.S. and Iran. Negotiations over a nuclear deal are floundering. Washington has imposed new sanctions and condemned Iran for cracking down on protesters and providing drones for Russia to use in Ukraine. Also, in Iraq, allegations came to light in October that over $2.5 billion in Iraqi government revenue was embezzled by a network of businesses and officials from the country’s tax authority The case “brought (U.S.) attention to the scale of corruption in Iraq” and how the corruption can benefit Iran and other parties hostile to the U.S., said Harith Hasan, head of the Iraq unit at the Emirates Research Center, an Abu Dhabi-based think tank. The new Iraqi prime minister, Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, who came to power via a coalition of Iranian-backed parties, does not have a strong relationship with the U.S. that could have enabled him to soften the implementation of the new financial measures, Hasan said. Al-Sudani has downplayed the current devaluation as “a temporary issue of trading and speculation.” He replaced the Central Bank governor and instituted measures intended to ensure a supply of dollars at the official rate. Al-Hasnawi said the government's recent measures will not stop the financial bleeding. If the current situation persists, he said, “within one year, most banks will declare bankruptcy” and there is likely to be mass civil unrest. “This U.S. pressure impacts the Iraqi street in a clear manner, and we do not see clear solutions until now,” he said. ____ AP staff reporters Samya Kullab in Baghdad and Christopher Rugaber in Washington contributed to this report. Sewell reported from Beirut. View comments
  8. Fact Check: Did U.S. Invade Iraq to Access 'Ancient Stargate'? Story by Robyn White • 36m ago It has been nearly two decades since the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003. But theories into the U.S' rationale behind the invasion continue to spread. Since the invasion, many hypotheses have been floated, from the official line about preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to others by the war's critics that involve oil and geopolitical interests. The complexity behind the rationale for the U.S. military operation has also triggered a variety of conspiracy theories. The Claim One such conspiracy theory has resurfaced recently on a Reddit post. The post, located in the conspiracy community on the platform, shows a picture of Iraq's historical landmark, the Great Ziggurat of Ur. "This is the real reason we invaded Iraq. Ancient alien Stargate portal located in the Great Ziggurat of Ur in Iraq," Reddit user PalatableMahogany said in a caption. The Reddit post has received 1.7k upvotes on the platform. Many other Redditors took to the comment section to debate the claim. "Wow, I never bothered to look it up. But yes, this makes sense. Get 2 birds stoned at once," one Reddit user said. Others were not so sure the theory made sense. "Pics of the Stargate or it didn't happen," another Reddit user said. Another Reddit user said: "And all that time I thought it was oil and gold...But, yeah, the Stargate. Makes sense." The Facts The Great Ziggurat of Ur is an ancient structure that used to be at the center of Mesopotamia, a historical region in western Asia. The Ziggurat was originally built during the Early Bronze Age and reconstructed in the 6th century. Today, it stands remarkably well preserved, in a remote pit of desert in Iraq's Dhi Qar Province, according to the Madain Project, an online archive of Abrahamic History and Archaeology. Often dubbed "Iraq's answer to the pyramids," the structure (and others like it) typically had several terraced levels as opposed to the pyramids' flat walls, but didn't have interior chambers. It originally stood between 70 and 100 feet high, according to the art history resource, Smarthistory. Mesopotamia used to be home to the Sumerians, which was one of the first civilizations to exist, dating back to 3,000 BC. The civilization worshiped a group of deities called Anunnaki, according to The Oxford Companion to World Mythology written by David Leemings. This may be the nugget of truth in the "stargate" narrative, with conspiracy theorists believing that the Anunnaki were actually extraterrestrials that gifted 'Stargate' portals to the people living at the time, a 2017 VICE article reported. Stargate portals are hypothetical devices, often depicted in science fiction, that allow for rapid travel from one distant location to the other, and social media users purported that one of these stargates is located in the Great Ziggurat of Ur. However, there is no scientific evidence to back up the claim that an alien stargate is located in the Great Ziggurat of Ur, built around 2100 B.C.E. by the king Ur-Nammu of the Third Dynasty of Ur, less so that it was a factor in the U.S.' invasion of Iraq. The location was initially used by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's forces as a military facility, the Tallil Air Base, which was largely destroyed by the American forces in 1991, according to U.S. military records. Then, in 2003, the U.S. retook it, and the Pentagon closed public access to the land adjacent to the structure, after building a new airfield and military base there, as Fox News reported in 2009. While the move did restrict public access to the area, as the Fox News and other reports at the time noted, it remained open to U.S. military personnel stationed in the area, turning the location into something of a tourist hot spot for American troops. This was a source of much frustration for Iraqi citizens, who were not allowed to enter the holy site, especially amid reports, including by the Guardian, citing local aid workers, about cases of vandalism targeting the ancient structure. These incidents, the report noted, resulted in the Ziggurat being briefly declared off limits to U.S. troops as well. The Pentagon eventually handed control over the archaeological landmark back to the Iraqi government in May 2009, according to the U.S. military records, removing its location outside the official bounds of the base. The air base itself was held by U.S. forces, as well as variably by Australian and Romanian troops, until America's full withdrawal in December 2011, at which point the Pentagon handed control of it back to Iraq, as part of the New Dawn operation. As for the much more complex and controversial wider topic—the rationale behind the Iraq war—many reasons have been floated. But the general consensus, as stated by the Council on Foreign Relations and historians, remains that the main, if not isolated reason, was to end the regime of Saddam Hussein. The U.S. justified the invasion by claiming that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction and thus posing a major security threat. But while Iraq possessed such weapons during the Iran-Iraq War of 1980 to 1988, they no longer did in 2003 at the time of the war. What we know for sure is that the U.S has always had "long-standing geopolitical interests in the Greater Middle East," Jason Opal, Professor of History at McGill University told Newsweek. "Some of which they inherited from prior imperial powers such as Britain and France," Opal said. "These interests are mostly, although not entirely about access to oil—not just in terms of securing that oil for US consumers and corporations, but also in denying that same oil from enemy nations, such as Russia and China. "Especially after his invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990, Saddam Hussein—formerly a US ally against Iran—became a major threat to these interests, and his general brutality and unpredictability made him unacceptable to many US leaders." Until 2001, the U.S. resolved to contain and isolate Hussein, but the events of 9/11 gave President George W. Bush a pretext to "replace him with force," Opal said. "The evidence indicates that the Bush administration severely stressed the evidence of Hussein's terrorist ties and nuclear program, selling the war to the US public on exaggerated claims if not outright lies," Opal said. "But there is absolutely no reason to imagine any other hidden motives. Their purpose was to destroy Hussein's regime, implant a US-friendly government, and promote US (and, by extension, Israeli) dominance over the region. Period, full stop. "There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical about the Bush administration's stated and actual reasons for launching that war. But there are also plenty of ways to explain the underlying reasons without falling into fact-free conspiracy theory." The Ruling False. While the concrete reason for the Iraq war remains a subject of debate, the claim that an alien stargate triggered the invasion is false on multiple levels. Several genuine factors, including geopolitical and economic ones, form the basis of historians' consensus on the Bush administration's motives. The Ziggurat of Ur is an ancient structure, among several ziggurats still standing, that was built by ancient Mesopotamians and has since been reconstructed twice, in antiquity and again in the 1980s, but there is no scientific basis for claims that it is, or plays host to, an alien stargate. While it was indeed under U.S. control for some time (due to its location adjacent to an existing air base taken over by the Americans), it was handed back to the Iraqi government shortly before the full withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country.
  9. US warns of possible attack in Islamabad amid security fears ISLAMABAD (AP) — The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad on Sunday warned its staff of a possible attack on Americans at a top hotel in Pakistan's capital as the city was already on high alert following a suicide bombing earlier in the week. This is a locator map for Pakistan with its capital, Islamabad, and the Kashmir region. (AP Photo)© Provided by The Associated Press The U.S. government is aware of information that “unknown individuals are possibly plotting to attack Americans at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad sometime during the holidays," the embassy said in a security alert. The advisory banned its American personnel from visiting the popular hotel over the holidays. The U.S. mission also urged all personnel to refrain from non-essential travel in Islamabad during the holiday season. The embassy directive came two days after a suicide bombing in a residential area of the capital killed a police officer and wounded ten others. The explosion happened when police stopped a taxi for inspection during a patrol. According to the police, a rear seat passenger detonated explosives he was carrying, blowing up the vehicle. Militants with the Pakistani Taliban, who are separate from but allied with Afghanistan's rulers, later claimed the attack. Islamabad's administration has since put the city on high alert, banning public gatherings and processions, even as campaigns are ongoing for upcoming local elections. Police have stepped up patrols and established snap checkpoints to inspect vehicles across the city. A suicide bombing targeted the capital's Marriott Hotel in September 2008, in one of the deadliest such incidents in the capital. Attackers drove a dump truck up to the hotel's gates before detonating it, killing 63 people and wounding over 250 others.
  10. Republicans Could Elect Muslim to Senate in Historic First for U.S. Story by Xander Landen • Yesterday 12:28 PM If elected, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Pennsylvania's Republican U.S. Senate candidate in this year's midterm elections, could make history as the first Muslim to serve in Congress' upper chamber. Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz speaks to supporters at a campaign rally at The Chadwick on November 4, in Wexford, Pennsylvania. If elected, Oz, would make history as the first Muslim to be elected to Congress' upper chamber.© Jeff Swensen In September, Oz told ABC News that being the first Muslim elected to the Senate would mean "pride and honor." "I think America, especially this commonwealth of Pennsylvania, was built on allowing people of very diverse backgrounds to offer their best ideas. All of us are smarter than any one of us," he said. Oz, a celebrity heart surgeon, is running against the state's Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman for the open Senate seat. Polling shows the two candidates are neck-and-neck. Oz has been able to narrow his Democratic opponent's lead in recent weeks, according to FiveThirtyEight, which currently shows Fetterman's polling average is 46.8 percent compared to Oz's 46.4 percent. During his campaign, Oz, whose parents are Turkish immigrants, hasn't discussed his religion frequently. In a May interview with the conservative outlet Real America's Voice, Oz said that he's a "secular Muslim" and also spoke against Sharia law, a religious code that is interpreted widely among Muslims. "We don't want Sharia law in America," the Senate hopeful said during the interview, according to ABC News. "I don't want any of these religious fanatics playing a role in American society and I would aggressively block them." Oz's comments about Sharia law have been criticized by some Muslims, however. Ahmet Tekelioglu, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' chapter in Philadelphia, told Newsweek on Saturday that Oz's characterization of Sharia law is "problematic" and "definitely plays into anti-Muslim tropes." "I think that that needs to be called out and I hope that our community members who engage with Dr. Oz...will have real conversations with him about that," Tekelioglu said. "When he says 'We don't want Sharia law in America'—that's problematic. Him trying to paint people who attach to Sharia law as fanatics or people who don't self-identify as secular Muslim as fanatic, is problematic." Tekelioglu, whose organization is not making an endorsement in the race, said that he knows of community members and friends who "are very skeptical of [Oz], seeing him as a populist in the same fashion as Trump is." However, he added that there are also Muslims who believe that Oz's "affinity with Islam, or his affinity with Turkey as a Muslim-majority country will have a positive impact." Former President Donald Trump, who has endorsed Oz, campaigned in 2015 on a pledge to bar Muslims from entering the United States, and while in office, banned immigration and travelers from several majority Muslim countries. Newsweek has reached out to Oz's campaign for comment. In an interview with Al-Jazeera on Saturday, Mehmet Birtek, a 44-year-old from Alburtis, Pennsylvania, said he hopes Oz's candidacy will encourage other Muslims to join with the Republican Party. "He will make a big difference for the Muslim community, I believe, in the Republican Party – and this is the start," Birtek said. Khalid A.Y. Blankinship, the chair of the religion department at Temple University, told ABC last month that he doesn't believe Muslims "are going to be very influenced by the fact that Oz is a Muslim." "Some small number of people might be; it's conceivable," Blankinship said, who did call Oz's candidacy "a major event." "It is very significant that that has happened," he added.
  11. Christians in the U.S. are on their way to becoming a minority (msn.com)
  12. Will the Shia population in the USA grow? Will Shias start promoting like Sunni/Salafi? Will they get islamic channels and stations in the USA?
  13. In this Video a lady describes an innocent man who she says everyone hates including Blacks!!!!But then goes on to praise the man and describe his qualities. What do Shias think? Would Shias hate this man too? Will they agree with the people on this man?
  14. Can religion keep the United States from sliding into tyranny? (msn.com)
  15. U.S. signals a boost in ties with Palestinians ahead of Biden visit (msn.com)
  16. Satanists in 2 US states offer Muslims helping hand amid growing Islamophobia — RT USA News
  17. Salaam, Jordan, Egypt, UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, Saudi Arabia (apparently) and now Morocco: https://www.aljazeera.com/amp/news/2020/12/10/israel-morocco-agree-to-normalise-relations-in-us-brokered-deal#click=https://t.co/banbRgkQLn Who's next in the chain of normalization and how can this change the political situation in the Middle-East in favor of Israel?
  18. Omar Assad, a long-time Milwaukee resident, found dead in West Bank after detention by Israeli soldiers. His family wants an investigation. (yahoo.com)
  19. Oxford University: Satanism 'Fastest Growing Religion' In America (newspunch.com)
  20. Whave any body heard if gangs like the Vice Ls, Or GD or Black Diciples (cheif Kefsgang)I heard some are muslim what do shias think?
  21. U.S. to Announce Troop Drawdown From Iraq (msn.com)
  22. US Reportedly Tells Iraq About Plans for ‘Step By Step’ Troop Withdrawal Jackson Richman 6 hrs ago Like9 Comments| 53 %7B City Barbeque chain sues locally owned Ohio City BBQ in Cleveland to force name… %7B Russia sends fighter jets to intercept U.S. strategic bombers %7B© Provided by Mediaite Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP via Getty Images. The United States will withdraw its combat troops from Iraq, reported a BBC World Service correspondent on Thursday. Nafiseh Kohnavard, the BBC correspondent, reported that Brett McGurk, the National Security Council Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, informed Iraqi officials that the withdrawal would be what Iraqi sources described to Kohnavard as “step by step” in that McGurk told the officials that “first combat troops will leave and then others.” It has been planned for a while to reduce U.S. combat troops from Iraq. No official timeline has been set for the withdrawal. Those Iraqi sources told the BBC correspondent, “Withdrawal from Iraq will not be like what happened in Afghanistan and it will be step by step. The schedule for this will be agreed during [the] Iraqi [prime minister]’s trip to Washington.” The visit by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi will be at the end of July.
  23. Pentagon Orders B-52 Flights to Middle East https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/10/world/middleeast/bombers-iran-deterrence.html The US just sent a warning to Iran in the form of two B-52H Stratofortress bombers https://www.businessinsider.com/us-warns-iran-with-b-52-stratofortress-bomber-flights-2020-12 U.S. flew two bombers from Louisiana over the Persian Gulf to deter Iran, says military https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/u-s-flew-two-bombers-louisiana-over-persian-gulf-deter-n1250682 What are your thoughts?
  24. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/us-threatens-to-destroy-iranian-missiles-shipped-to-venezuela/vi-BB1apeRb?ocid=msedgdhp
  25. This is how the US treat other sovereign country for their hegemonic power of the world. And what are you doing Muslim in US ? http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48920.htm
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