Category Archives: Muslims


BLOG 254 May 25, 2015

ISIS (The Islamic State) has not slowed down in its military efforts. In addition to taking the Iraqi city of Ramadi just days ago, they have now captured the ancient town of Palmyra inside Syria. Apparently, the Syrian soldiers fled just as the Iraqi army did earlier. While President Obama maintains American air power is stopping ISIS, the battlefield reports certainly do not support this contention at this time.

Because Palmyra is an ancient city, the world is terrified that ISIS will continue the cultural genocide that destroyed ancient and great treasures inside Iraqi. Why would they perform such terrible destruction?

As noted in last week’s blog, ISIS is fighting a holy war, a religious crusade to win the world to Islam or make civilization bow in submission. ISIS maintains that these great sites from antiquity are pagan remnants that must be destroyed in order to maintain religious purity. As noted earlier, ISIS is fully an expression of medieval Islam.

For example, they support the practice of takfir, or excommunication. The punishment for such apostasy is death.  Zarqawi (the current head of al-Qaeda) has greatly expanded the list of behaviors that define a Muslim as an infidel that results in death.

Mainstream Muslim organizations have declared ISIS to be un-Islamic without facing up to their own past. Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel said they have a “cotton-candy” view of their own faith that neglects what their own religion has historically and legally required. In other words, the Muslim community at large has failed to face the realities of the ISIS mentality. Obama’s mistaken support of air strikes as successful is  only compounded by the dim view in the Muslim world.

One of the major objectives of the ISIS military effort is the restoration of the caliphate. This religio-political system of government has not functioned except in name for around 1,000 years. A caliph must be an adult Muslim of Quraysh descent who displays authority and moral probity.  Not only is the caliphate viewed as a political entity, the restoration of office is seen as a vehicle for salvation. ISIS propaganda reports that pledges of money now pour in from jihadist groups throughout the Muslim world to support this effort.

During the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the ISIS mentality believed the signs of the end times were everywhere. They were expecting the arrival of the Mahdi, a messianic figure who would lead Muslims to victory just before the end of the world. This expected epic battle between good and evil fills a deep psychological need for the radical jihadists. A blood-bath mentality with its sociopathic and psychotic overtones fuels “the crazies” who behead their opponents and commit violent acts. Once again the religious motif supporting war looms on the horizon.

Would ISIS send an ambassador to the United Nations to end this strife? Abu Baraa said definitely not. “To send an ambassador to the UN is to recognize an authority other than God’s.”

Get the picture? It’s time to rethink how to successfully confront ISIS. They will not stop because of bombs, a few defeats, and military set backs. Their mentality suggests that to be a martyr is a ticket straight to heaven. The West had best think again!

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BLOG 253  May 18, 2015

Every time Americans turn on the evening news, they are mystified by the report of some person or group that have tried to leave the country to join ISIS. The common perception is that these “nut cases” are off on a rampage. Moreover, the wanton destruction of property and lives appears as another example of run away crazies. How could some British citizens stand before a TV camerawith a knife and  then behead another human being? Beyond bizarre.

Actually, there is a logic and rational behind all of this madness that I have personally never heard any commentator explain. The media appears as lost as the general public to explain this illogical behavior. Segments of the Muslim population in the United States and Britain say they oppose ISIS (though that message doesn’t seem to appear in mosques on days of worship). But the truth is that ISIS is very Islamic: Just a different brand from the usual.

ISIS is an extremist expression of medieval Muslim faith that is practicing exactly what that variety of religious expression once believed. Americans (including the Obama Administration) don’t grasp that from the ISIS Muslim point-of-view, they are in a religious war. Their extreme actions are meant to bring about the apocalypse that will end all history with a Muslim victory.

Until the West comes to grips with this expression of Muslim faith, they will only play into the hands of ISIS as they are doing now. The extremist that keep joining the war in the Middle East are drawn because they share this faith. Fundamentally, it is a conviction that this current war is the start of a Day of Judgement that will bring in the final consummation of history. ISIS differs from al-Qaeda in that Ben Laden’s army hit underground, even as they do to this day. ISIS operates in the open with the beheadings and destruction meant to terrify (in their terms) all apostates and non-believers. They are following the prophecy and example of Muhammad in punctilious detail. The Koran specifies crucifixion as one of the punishments for enemies of Islam. The ninth chapter instructs that a fight against Christians and Jews should occur until they pay the jizya  tax in submission to Islam. Muhammad (who had slaves) set the stage for what ISIS now practices with a far greater seriousness than other segments of Islam practice. ISIS is simply reliving the earliest period when Islam conquerored with the sword.

In the October issue of Dabiq magazine, ISIS published an article entitled “The Revival of Slavery Before the Hour.” The story analyzed what should be done with the Yazidis sect that was under attack at the time. The conclusion was the Yazidi women and children should be divided according to Shariah law among the warriors of ISIS.

Part of what has given ISIS such a thrust in the Middle East is that the jihadists, who pour in come not only to fight, but intend to die. Suicide bombers get an automatic free ticket to heaven along with other benefits for killing themselves in religious warfare.

Until the West wakes up to the realities about ISIS and fights a religious war in religious terms, they can not hope to bring an end to the indiscriminate menace that is now haunting the Middle East.

Next week we will take a further look at what makes ISIS tick.

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BLOG 243 MARCH 9, 2015

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington came at the invitation of Speaker John Boehner – not the Obama administration. With Netanyahu only weeks from a re-election vote, his visit has been protested in Israel as well as by the current administration. The Western nuclear negotiators on Iran put out leaks to the media that ran from Netanyahu is a liar to a disruptive element for the White House. On the other hand, Israel maintains publically that if a bad deal is struck in Iran, their fate will end in total annihilation.

How do we sort out these contradictions? Possibly by considering what is behind each side’s position. One of the lingering criticisms of the Obama era will be the withdrawal of America from an international leadership position. As we now know, the vacuum was not filled by “good-guys.” Putin’s march into the Crimea following Obama’s backing away from his red-line in Syria is such an example. America appears to be back-tracking from its former role of leadership in maintaining world order.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the Israelis recognize that radical Islam comes into two varieties: Shi’ites and Sunnis. They worry more about the Shi’ites because they have a well-entrenched state in Iran that is hot pursuit of The Bomb. The potential capacities of this group are real. Israel lives daily with that fact.

The U.S. government continues to point to the United Nations as the enforcer of world peace. America resorts to the UN in debates and discussions of possible actions. Does anyone really believe the UN can enforce world peace? No.

Israel points to the fact that UN has repeatedly sided with the Palestinians and ignored such realities as Hezbollah shooting thousands of rockets into Israel. Study groups and committees within the UN have been labeled anti-Semitic. Israelis (as well as most of the rest of the world) see the UN as going nowhere when it comes to war and peace.

There is with Shi’ite Islam a “quietism” tradition that believes politics and religion don’t mix.  This ends up with the idea that ultimate leadership should come from the Muslim clergy. (i.e. Iran.) The Israelis certainly don’t see that system working out on their behalf.

Obama recently called the attacks in France “senseless violence.” Israel would call it “logical violence.” They see it as having definite reasoning.  For example, the New York Times refused to publish cartoons that Muslims protested while publishing cartoons that are offensive to Christians and Jews. An Islamic purpose was accomplished. This contradiction displays how what may seem pointless can mean a great deal in the Muslim world.

The bottom line is negotiations to end nuclear pursuit in Iran would be Obama’s major accomplishment in his second term. The agreement would be his legacy. On the other hand, the Israelis believe Iran has no intention of signing a treaty that halts their pursuit of The Bomb on a permanent basis. This view seems them as only stalling for time.

Does this amount to a problem between Israel and the United States? Big time.

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BLOG 242 March 2, 2015

Americans continue to be obsessed with the things that really count –athletic events, the Oscars, and what dresses the women wore. The country worries when professional basketball players get hurt, but can’t remember who assassinated President John Kennedy. A soldier stationed in Afghanistan said, “While I am fighting in the field, Americans are at the mall. These misplaced values are serious –because there is smoke on the horizon and the public needs to pay attention to the source of the fire.

We did pause when Kayla Mueller was killed by Islamic extremists in the Syrian-ISIS led war. Coming to the war torn world as an aid worker to alleviate suffering, Kayla took on suffering, writing home “I find God in human suffering.” What an extraordinary statement – and person! Now ISIS has gotten serious about killing Christians. Killing journalist reporting on the war wasn’t enough. After beheading 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians, they marched on in their attempts to create a self-styled caliphate. The Britain based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 90 Christians were currently being held by ISIS.

In three more days, ISIS attacked Christians in northeastern Syria pushing the number abducted the extremists to more than 220. Not only are the terrorist killing Christians, they are attempting to destroy the Assyrian heritage that extends back through the centuries even to the Akkadian civilization that is one of the cradles of all Western civilization. In Iraqi, ISIS now controls 1,800 of the countries major archaeological sites. The extremists appear to be on a rampage to destroy everything from statues to books to whatever they consider to be non-Islamic. They even attack Islamic sites that they consider to be apostate.

As I blogged earlier, American policy-makers appear reluctant to admit the Middle East is in a religious war. How any diplomat can look at pictures of priceless, ancient remainders of the beginning of history being destroyed and not get the picture is almost beyond comprehension. Westerners had best pay attention as such extremist will not stop at the Mediterranean Sea should they succeed in the Middle East.

Let’s remember how Islam spread, beginning in 620 BCE during the period of Imperial expansion. Conversion was by the sword. Accept their version of Allah or lose your head! Those days appear to have returned where even a leading Moslem cleric in England refused to condemn the beheadings by Jihadi John. And if a soldier for Islam should get killed? An instant free ticket to heaven!

The Crusaders were no better. Swords and spear killed Moslems up to the gates of Jerusalem. Eternal reward awaited those who fell in battle. Did both sides think would get to continue the war in heaven? Who knows, but such bizarre ideas rumbled along in those years.

Now they have returned.

The bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East has been run out of Syria. Possibly the oldest Christian Church in existence, they still speak Aramaic as Jesus did. With his congregation of displaced persons, he decried the destruction of the remnants of their civilization extending back well beyond 20 centuries. Perhaps, Kayla Mueller was right. Surely God is in the suffering of these Assyrian Christians running for their lives.

The smoke is on the horizon.

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BLOG 240 February 15, 2015

An attack on a free speech event and a synagogue in Denmark was apparently motivated by the horrific attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris that killed 17 people. All staged by Islamic radical terrorists. The Danish Prime Minister called it an attack on freedom of speech and anti-Semitism. But why would Middle Eastern Islamic terrorists assault citizens in far-off Denmark and France –and Jews in particular?

What is there in Islam that prompts such hatred of the Jews?

Actually, Mohammed admired Jews because they were monotheists and viewed them as natural adherents to his new faith. At the same time, he fought and killed Jews while being friends with other Jews. Some early Islamic practices were somewhat modeled on Judaism. After the 7th century rise of Islam, treatment of Jews varied and was not that different from the general populations conquered by the sword. Today many Muslims abhor jihadists’ violence. However, the variant practices of Mohammed were reflected in the Quran.

After Muslim prayers shifted from Jerusalem to Mecca, negative verses about the Jews appeared. The Quran and its interpreters had conflicting things to say about the Jews. Islamic tradition regarded Jews as a legitimate community of believers in God and called them “People of the Book.” On the other hand, Islam made mostly negative references to Jews in the Quran and Hadith. While some Quran verses preach tolerance of the Jews, other verses make hostile remarks. The standard Quranic reference (Quran 2:61) is:

            And abasement and poverty were pitched upon them, and they were laden

With the burden of God’s anger; that. Because they disbelieved the signs

of God and slain the Prophets unrightfully; that, because they disobeyed,

and were transgressors.

This page fuels the ISIS belief they are fighting a religious war with the West.

In Bernard Lewis’s book The New Anti-Semitism, he argues that negative stereotypes of Jews were different from the Europeans. Unlike Christians, Muslims saw Jews as objects of ridicule, not fear. Christians actually treated Jews worse during these early periods.

In today’s world, the radical hatred of the Jews is fueled by the rise of the nation of Israel. The success of Israel imparted a deep and embarrassing sense of failure and loss in the Muslim world. Religion has been superseded by politics.

So, how did the hatred of Israel in the Middle East get to France and Denmark? Hatred knows no boundaries. (ISIS just murdered 21 Christians) Perhaps, the terrorist in Europe were simply “nut cases.” Probably not. Possibly they were infected by the disease of murder. Could be. Sociopathic personalities look for chaos and hostility as an outlet for what they claim are “righteous” concerns. Conceivably the “true believers” fundamentalists believed that Allah was directing them and their martyrdom was a free ticket to heaven. A simple cartoon of Mohammed had already sent them on a rampage to stop so-called desecration as well as free speech along the way.

France has the largest community of Jews in Europe (around 600,000) but with attacks on their synagogues, kosher stores, and population, many are preparing to immigrate to Israel. Calling these attacks “Muslim anti-Semitism,” they recognize Muslim hatred of the nation of Israel does spill over and might well splash on their children. As frightening and sad as it is, racial hate never seems to stop.

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BLOG 236 January 26, 2015

Nina Shea, director of Washington based Hudson Institute Center for Religious Freedom, recently noted that the goal of Islamic extremists to achieve total Islamization has virtually been met in Iraq. The former 1.4 million Christians are nearly all immigrants, refugees, or displaced persons in Kurdistan. The religious violence has reached a level that is beyond persecution. It appears that the correct label is now religious cleansing.

For the first time in its history, Iraq has become entirely Muslim. In addition to the Christians, the Yazudi, Mandean, and Jewish communities have all been driven out. Because the Christians were the largest non-Muslim group they became the recent targets for attack. One aspect of the tragedy is that Christians have worked and lived in Iraq back to Biblical times. Now, they are on the run.

Equally alarming is the West’s apparent ignoring of this situation. At one point, Christians in Iraq called for the creation of a special province for minorities. Called the Nineveh Plains proposal, the idea was largely ignored by policy makers in the West.

The situation is no better in Iran. While President Rouhani tweeted a Christmas “best wishes” to the followers of “the prophet Jesus Christ,” Pastor Farshid Fathi was experiencing his fourth Christmas in jail because of his Christian ministry in that country.

Open Door USA is an organization that seeks to prevent Christian persecution and stays abreast of what is happening across the world. They constantly chronicle who and where these violations are occurring. In their Top 10 list of persecutors of Christians are Iran, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen are at the top. Of course, the emergence of the Islamic State (ISIS) now heads the list. An analysts for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting, Dexter Van Zile said that ISIS must not only be defeated but be made to pay for murdering Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities. He emphatically insisted they should not be able to get away with these crimes.

The violence in Iraq against Christians prompted Pope Francis to say, “Your resistance is martyrdom, dew which bears fruit.”

The analogy is now being made between current religious cleansing and what happened to the Jews during the Holocaust. Some of the blame for these deaths fell on nations that would not allow Jews to immigrate during the crisis. Voices like Van Zile are calling for the world to pay attention and not let such happen again.

Western policy makers have failed to focus on the jihadists who are attempting to wipe out Christians. The time has come to wake up!

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BLOG 235 January 19, 2015

The past week has exploded with jihadist terrorists spreading terror in Paris and across Europe. However, a second look suggests, the Al-Qada and ISIS extremists have not come off nearly as good as the media coverage of the two hits in Paris might portray. In fact, the extremists are in a worse position as the week comes to an end.

The attack on the Charlie Hebodo weekly and the kosher supermarket killed 20 people but left the three jihadists dead and their female accomplice on the run. In turn, anti-terrorist raids across Europe captured dozens of these criminals. In Brussels, Belgium, the army hit the streets to stop potential attacks by Mideast Islamic extremists. French, Germany, Belgian, and Irish police captured 30 extremists and put them in jail. Rifles, hand guns, and explosives were captured. Police uniforms were found that suggested an attack was planned by terrorists masquerading as police officers. In the eastern industrial city of Verviers two suspects were killed and a third wounded.

With the largest rally in French history filling the street with millions declaring that freedom of speech would not be halted, French president Francois Hollande put 122,000 police on high alert and sent ships to the Middle East. Far from crippling Europe, the jihadist are on the run.

The truth is that ISIS fighters are losing ground in the Middle East. More than a thousand militants were killed and territory lost in the border town of Kolani that stands on the edge of Syria and Turkey. USA led air strikes and Kurdish fighters have turned back the jihadists. No longer can the Islamic State fighters claim unstoppable momentum and inevitable victory. This loss of ground also robs ISIS of the psychological edge used for recruitment and intimidation. The truth is that extremists have been knocked backward. The US-led coalition air strikes tipped the balance of power,

In response to the French national rallies supporting Charlie Hebdo, two churches were burned in Niger. The death toil rose to 5 after a burned body was found in a Roman Catholic Church. Of course, the churches and their congregations had nothing to do with the rallies in far off France. But again, another meaning is hidden in this disruption. The antagonists revealed their hatred of Christians. For many of these jihadists, they see themselves in a religious war. Their violence gives the West a clear read on what they are about.

When you add up the score, the terrorists are actually not doing so well. Hard days are ahead for them.

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Bl0g 234 January 12, 2014

The headlines are ablaze with the story of the Islamic terrorists attacks in France. The Middle East war has boiled over and the French are not taking the assaults sitting down. However, in these blogs I attempt to go behind the headlines and keep readers informed about the untold situations. Consequently, I will not explore the Middle Eastern terrorists story today. The media is already covering the story well.

While Egyptian President Abdel el-Sisi is firmly in control, jihadists element continue in the country. Recently, the most lethal group called Ansar Beit al-Maqdis released a 30 minute video showing their attack that killed 31 Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula. Following the suicide bombing that initiated the assaults, radicals rushed in with guns blazing. Following this incident, Sisi declared a three month national emergency.

The Ansar Beit al-Maqdis and Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen groups are the latest jihadists organizations to spring up in the Sinai desert area. These groups consider themselves a part of the ISI army. In their video, the jidhadists released a message to Sisis, “we will be the sword that cuts off your head.” Their attacks are considered a retribution for the violent crackdown by Egyptian security forces on radicals. The best the jihadists can do is hit and run because the army will stay after them.

The Egyptian government pointed a finger at the Hamas rulers in Gaza as supporting this terrorist element. Because Hamas grew out of the Muslim Brotherhood, they are naturally supportive of groups opposing the current Egyptian government. At the least, Hamas had done nothing to stop the operation of the jihadists in the Gaza area they control. More over, Hamas has supported building tunnels into the northern Sinai that allow smuggling goods and weapons back and forth. While the terrorist claim an ideological relationship with ISIS, they are actually more directly related to Hamas.

Who are these nomadic Islamic terrorist running around with military weapons? Mostly they are fundamentalist with a religious impetuous to kill people they consider infidels. The Islamic State movement is not actually in the Sinai area, but they have these supporters ready to join.

In Israel, the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) just attacked with tank fire and airstrikes on targets in Gaza following Palestinian’s sniper fire. Gaza militants fired a rocket at Israel and the IDF immediately responded. Of course, the Gaza rocket assault was a direct violation of last summer’s cease fire agreement. The immediate response of Israel means that any such attacks will be met by a corresponding counter-attack from the IDF.

Trapped between Israel and Egypt, these new jihad movements are caught between fierce opponents that are capable of finishing them off.

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BLOG 232 December 29, 2014

With a new year only a few days away, the media will begin their prognostications for what’s coming down the track in the coming year. Probably most of predictions will turn out to be little more that wild guesses. Making divinatory projections about the Middle East will be little better – but then again, why not give it a try?

With an Israeli election in March, you can bet the political tension will heat up. Because their government is a coalition system, the juggling and horse trading will become fierce. Whether Netanyahu will stay or leave will be analyzed up to the last minute. He could go.

One of the issues that may prove explosive is whether the pursuit of a two-state solution for the struggle with the Palestinians is profitable for Israel. American Secretary of State John Kerry just announced the only path to peace is the two-state route. Less than 24 hours earlier Economy Minister Naftali Bennett dismissed that idea was unrealistic. With states like Egypt and Jordan now recognizing the value of Israel’s existence for the larger Arab world, support for a Palestinian state may be slipping enough that Israel would dare to drop the idea. As radical as such a solution might be, the Middle East has a long history of abrupt changes and unanticipated shifts. The Palestinians are playing their cards to the United Nations and the European Union which doesn’t impress Israel. The Israelis have no tolerance for Palestinian terrorism and might see a radical shift as having nothing to loose but a lot of heated rhetoric. Sound far out? Who knows?

With more than 200,000 citizens killed and a million wounded, the Syrian civil war rumbles into its fourth year with no end in sight. The war has reached a chaotic stalemate going nowhere. Many Syrians, who were part of the original rebellion, now feel their gamble to de-throne Bashar al-Assad is a failure. The rebels have broken into various Islamic groups that fight with each other more than they attack the government troops. The Nursa Front (aligned with Al Qaeda) and the Islamic State (ISIS) battle over their differing interpretations of Islamic practice while ISIS has been loosing ground in Iraq. Unfortunately, no one now seems to remember why the war started in the first place. While these groups uniting could bring a quick end to civil war, no one in one group can trust the other. In the south, rebels trained in a covert CIA foray have more freedom of movement. However, their recent successes have come with the help of the Nursa Front that has weakened government military with their suicide bombing attacks. Strange contradiction.

While Israel knows Assad is a bitter enemy, they have stayed on the sidelines because they believe “the devil you know” is to be preferred to “the devil you don’t.” Other prognosticators believe the USA wants Syria split between Assad’s forces and the Sunni extremists. Is that possible? Not in the near future.

What’s ahead in 2015? One sure bet is a long grinding war accomplishing nothing.

Happy New Year.

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BLOG 230 December 16, 2014

The hot debate in the USA at this moment is over allegations that the CIA tortured prisoners and lied to Congress and the President. The Democrats have released a report that the Republicans are protesting. All of which sounds a tad political. The CIA says that protecting citizens is worth the pain; The Senate Committee responds that torturing prisoners is not who we are. The battle will probably rage on into the new year.

One thing you can count on. ISIA, Al-Qaida, the Taliban, and Muslim terrorists find this laughable. Terrorists, who cut off people’s head with a butcher knife, view the uproar  going on in Washington as laughable. They think the USA is hypocritical and confused.

Their war goes on.

Case in point: The West’s negotiations with Iran. This week Secretary of State John Kerry said progress may come faster than expected. We’ll see.

As reported earlier, the November 24 extension gave both sides time to go home and consult on a possible agreement. As a carrot on a stick, the West agreed to release $700 million from frozen Iranian bank accounts. Iran desperately needs to get out of the penalty box. The drastic drop in oil prices tightened the noose on the Iranian economy that has been steadily deteriorating and in the last few months took a nose dive. Their national budget has been based on the price of $140 a barrel for oil. Currently, the per barrel price has dropped to $80 a barrel. There’s the squeeze! Covering such a loss means austerity reflected incutting subsidies for food and housing. After years of struggle, the Supreme Leader has to fear a backlash that could produce an uprising. They want out of jail.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani blamed Saudi Arabia for the sharp fall in oil prices, calling the drop a politically motivated conspiracy against their interests. Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran are pitted against each other in the civil war in Syria. Iran is really feeling the pinch at home.

On the other hand, the West knows Iran desperately wants a nuclear bomb and they are close to building one. The issue staring the West in the face is how long can they keep Iran from assembling a weapon. Iran is now close enough that they stand on the threshold. The West must make sure they don’t cross the line.

Countries like Israel and Saudi Arabia have the most to fear. However, Iran is also working hard to develop missile capacity that could reach far beyond the Middle East. If they are not stopped or their political ideals do not change, the world is facing another frightening specter with the West looking down the Iranian gun barrel.

No matter what the rhetoric is from either side, big differences remain. However, time is running out for the West as Iran continues to enrich uranium and work on The Bomb.

Let’s hope Secretary John Kerry is right. It’s a much bigger deal than the CIA lying.

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