Pope Francis Says Islam and Christianity Will Promote Common Values

Upon returning from his historic Apostolic Journey to the Arabian Penninsula, specifically the United Arab Emirates, Pope Francis said that the Islamic world and the Christian world will work together to promote “common values.”

Speaking before his general audience in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday, Pope Francis discussed his meeting with the Great Imam of Al-Azhar and their signing of the document on the Human Brotherhood, which condemned all forms of religious violence, and the spreading of authentic values throughout the world.

“The Great Imam of Al-Azhar and I signed the document on the Human Brotherhood, in which together we affirm the common vocation of all men and women to be brothers in. As God’s sons and daughters, we condemn all forms of violence, especially those with religious motivation, and we commit ourselves to spreading authentic values and peace throughout the world,” Pope Francis said. “It gives so much pressure to move forward in the dialogue on human brotherhood.”

The Holy Father said the document was meant to give a “clear and decisive sign” that different religions can respect each other in dialogue. He also denounced the temptation to see a “clash between Christian and Islamic civilizations.”

“In an era like ours, in which the temptation to see a clash between Christian and Islamic civilizations is strong, and also to consider religions as sources of conflict, we wanted to give a further, clear and decisive sign that instead it is possible to meet, it is possible to respect and dialogue, and that, despite the diversity of cultures and traditions, the Christian and Islamic world appreciate and protect common values: life, family, religious sense, honor for the elderly, the education of young people, and others,” the Pope said. (Read more from “Pope Francis Says Islam and Christianity Will Promote Common Values” HERE)

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The Dossier: Trump May Keep Troops in Iraq to Watch Iran

President Trump wants to keep U.S. troops in Iraq for eyes on neighboring Iran

President Trump has floated the idea of keeping a strong U.S. military presence in Iraq to keep eyes on its neighbor, the terrorist regime that runs Iran.

The president made the comment during an interview with CBS that aired Sunday afternoon.

“I want to be able to watch Iran. All I want to do is be able to watch. We have an unbelievable and expensive military base built in Iraq. It’s perfectly situated for looking at all over different parts of the troubled Middle East rather than pulling up,” the president explained. “We’re going to keep watching and we’re going to keep seeing and if there’s trouble, if somebody is looking to do nuclear weapons or other things, we’re going to know it before they do.”

China to export ‘tiny cars’ to the United States

China is seeking to enter the U.S. auto market with ridiculously cheap electric vehicles. The U.S. version of the low-speed electric vehicles (LSEVs) will sell for under $10,000 dollars but will come with many restrictions, such as a top speed of under 40 miles per hour, that will make it impractical for long trips. It will also cost almost four times more than its cost in China.

Venezuela defections continue; more side with opposition

Venezuelan military officials continue to abandon socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro, siding with opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself the true interim president of Venezuela.

Over the weekend, a Venezuelan Air Force general posted a video announcing that he was supporting Guaido, claiming that 90 percent of the military no longer has faith in Maduro as its leader.

It’s still too early to tell who will prevail. The United States, along with much of the Western world, is pushing hard for Guaido to wrest control over the country from Maduro, whose socialist policies have left the country in ruins.

Trump State of the Union may include North Korea talks, wall funding

The president has hinted that two of the major national security and foreign policy issues he will discuss in his Tuesday State of the Union address are the upcoming North Korea summit and finding funding for border security. On Friday, the president said that his upcoming meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un “is set,” leading many to speculate that those details will emerge tomorrow. The president also said that there’s a “good chance” he will have to declare a national emergency to receive the funding necessary to secure the southern border.

(For more from the author of “The Dossier: Trump May Keep Troops in Iraq to Watch Iran” please click HERE)

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ISIS Brutality Leading Some Muslims to Convert to Christianity

By The Blaze. A new Christian church in Kobani, a city along the Syrian-Turkish border, is attracting converts who have seen and experienced brutality at the hands of the militant group ISIS. . .

Jasim attends the Church of the Brethren, one of the first Christian churches to appear in the area in decades. His move is a bold one, as those who abandon Islam are often shunned by their families and communities. . .

Jasim, a mechanic, told the news outlet he converted to Christianity late last year. In early 2016, he was jailed by ISIS for not knowing the basics teachings of Islam. According to Jasim, he was tortured by the militant group and forced to read the Quran.

The church’s priest declined to be interviewed and one church leader spoke only on the condition of not using his last name, NBC reported. They cited safety concerns as the reason. . .

The Church of the Brethren opened in September and that’s when Jasim decided to find out more about it. The Protestant church is part of a denomination that dates back to 18th-century Germany, the report states. (Read more from “ISIS Brutality Leading Some Muslims to Convert to Christianity” HERE)

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Life Under ISIS Led These Muslims to Christianity

By NBC News. Four years have passed since the Islamic State group’s fighters were run out of Kobani, a strategic city on the Syrian-Turkish border, but the militants’ violent and extreme interpretation of Islam has left some questioning their faith.

A new church is attracting converts. It is the first local Christian place of worship for decades.

“If ISIS represents Islam, I don’t want to be a Muslim anymore,” Farhad Jasim, 23, who attends the Church of the Brethren, told NBC News. “Their God is not my God.”

Religious conversions are rare and taboo in Syria, with those who abandon Islam often ostracized by their families and communities. . .

While residents are still dealing with the emotional scars left by the brutality of ISIS, Omar says many people in Kobani have been open-minded about Christianity. (Read more from “Life Under ISIS Led These Muslims to Christianity” HERE)

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Israeli Officials Announce Start of Construction on New Steel Barrier Along Gaza Border

Israel is working on its own version of a border wall. The Defense Ministry announced Sunday that it began building the above-ground portion of the Gaza border barrier, Haaretz.com, an Israeli news outlet reported. . .

The galvanized steel fence will span 40 miles and stand 20 feet high. Additionally, the western portion of the barrier will connect to the new sea barrier being built by the Israel Defense Forces.

The fence is designed to “prevent terrorists from Gaza from penetrating into our territory on the ground,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told media before the weekly cabinet meeting, the website France24 reported.

In addition, the structure is designed to prevent the construction of underground tunnels from Gaza. The project is estimated to cost the equivalent of about $833 million U.S. dollars. Its concrete wall will have sensors, according to Haaretz. . .

Palestinians have gathered along the Gaza border in numerous violent protests because they want to return to the land their families left during the war in 1948. They also want to end the blockade of Gaza by the Jewish state. At least 246 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since March 30. The majority happened during border protests but others were the result of “tank fire and airstrikes,” France 24 reported. (Read more from “Israeli Officials Announce Start of Construction on New Steel Barrier Along Gaza Border” HERE)

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HORROR: Mother Found Guilty of Mutilating 3-Year-Old Daughter’s Genitals

On Friday, a Ugandan migrant living in London was found guilty of mutilating her 3-year-old daughter’s genitals, a sexist practice meant to tame females’ sexuality common in some Muslim-majority countries in Africa and the Middle East.

The 37-year-old mom became the first in the U.K. to be convicted of female genital mutilation (FGM). According to the New York Times, the victim’s father, 43, was cleared of all charges. . .

The little girl was “deliberately cut and her injuries amounted to F.G.M.,” according to prosecutors. Medical experts refuted the mother’s claim that the girl’s injuries were from a fall onto a metal line cupboard door in the kitchen . . .

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that is estimated that “more than 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in the countries where the practice is concentrated.” The practice “has been documented in 30 countries, mainly in Africa, as well as in the Middle East and Asia.”

The United Kingdom is flush with migrants. In 2017, for example, London absorbed 3.4 million foreign-born people, according to Oxford University’s Migration Observatory. The city’s first FGM case follows a series of other assimilation-related problems increasingly plaguing the city, including an onslaught of acid attacks – over 1,800 reports of such a crime since 2010. Notably, as reported by the BBC, “Since 2014 about 74% of investigations have been wound down due to problems with identifying perpetrators, or victims being unwilling to press charges.” (Read more from “HORROR: Mother Found Guilty of Mutilating 3-Year-Old Daughter’s Genitals” HERE)

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The Dossier: The Case to Skip the Taliban ‘Peace Deal’ and Withdraw From Afghanistan ASAP

. . .President Trump took to Twitter this morning to highlight the long wars in Afghanistan in Syria, stressing the need to bring American troops back home.

“I inherited a total mess in Syria and Afghanistan, the ‘Endless Wars’ of unlimited spending and death. During my campaign I said, very strongly, that these wars must finally end. We spend $50 Billion a year in Afghanistan and have hit them so hard that we are now talking peace…” the president tweeted.

“….after 18 long years. Syria was loaded with ISIS until I came along. We will soon have destroyed 100% of the Caliphate, but will be watching them closely. It is now time to start coming home and, after many years, spending our money wisely. Certain people must get smart!” he added.

It’s refreshing to see that President Trump is ready to draw down troops from places where there are few to no U.S. interests and where U.S. cash is being burnt away to the tune of tens of billions of dollars per year.

When he mentions “talking peace,” the president is referring to the ongoing negotiations with the Taliban and the central government in Kabul. The misguided idea of peace negotiations with a terrorist group has mostly been pushed by senior bureaucrats in the State Department and Pentagon and the Taliban’s hosts in Qatar. It’s a fool’s errand to negotiate peace with the Taliban, given that it is a full-fledged jihadi group with one goal in mind: to take over Afghanistan by any means necessary. They are not to be trusted. The president should skip negotiating a peace deal that is sure to fail. The Taliban has all the momentum. This reality is unfortunate for the people of Afghanistan, but in order to counter this momentum, the United States would need to deploy countless soldiers in harm’s way, sacrificing American troops for the interests of Afghans. These “peace talks” are not worth being held responsible for the aftermath of a U.S. withdrawal. Instead of negotiating our withdrawal, President Trump should simply prioritize the safety and security of American troops and depart Afghanistan as soon as possible. As I have written about at length at Conservative Review, there is no longer an American interest in deploying troops to Afghanistan. U.S. soldier casualty counts continue to escalate, leaving America’s bravest in harm’s way for no good reason. (For more from the author of “The Dossier: The Case to Skip the Taliban ‘Peace Deal’ and Withdraw From Afghanistan ASAP” please click HERE)

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Canada Withdraws Half of Their Diplomats from Cuba Due to Mysterious Illness

The Canadian Government is withdrawing half of its diplomatic staff from Cuba’s capital after 14 cases of mysterious illnesses. . .

“The health, safety and security of our diplomatic staff and their families remain our priority,” the department wrote. “The Canadian government continues to investigate the potential causes of the unusual health symptoms experienced by some Canadian diplomatic staff and their family members posted in Havana, Cuba. To date, no cause has been identified.”

The series of illness cases started in early 2017, with the most recent case occurring in November 2018. 26 Americans were affected by the illness as well. Symptoms include “dizziness, insomnia, hearing loss and nausea when using a computer,” according to The New York Times. . .

The United States made a similar move back in October 2017. President Donald Trump expelled 15 of their own diplomats from Havana, leaving only a couple a dozen members. The U.S. also warned citizens not to travel to Cuba, but Canada’s global affairs department didn’t make such a warning. . .

The Cuban government denied any involvement with the health issue, and Canada said that they are working closely with the Cuban government to identify the cause of the problem. (Read more from “Canada Withdraws Half of Their Diplomats from Cuba Due to Mysterious Illness” HERE)

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It’s Time to Designate the Mexican Cartels as Terrorist Organizations

Imagine for a moment that groups of Islamic terrorists set up shop at our border, killed tens of thousands of Mexicans, mutilated bodies, controlled a flow of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants every year over our border, and flooded our country with drugs and gangs. These organizations, in our “hypothetical,” operate in over 40 countries, are flush with weapons, money, and military-style tactics, control operations inside our country, and bring in drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil that are essentially chemical weapons.

Try to picture the reaction of our government under that circumstance.

Now look at the reality. All of this is happening at our border and in our communities, with one exception. The perpetrators are not Islamic terrorists. It’s time for Trump to designate the Mexican cartels, such as Sinaloa, Zetas, Juarez, Jalisco, Gulf, La Familia Michoacán (LFM), and Los Guerreros Unidos (LGU), as foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs).

Although many of these groups have already been designated as Transnational Criminal Organizations, we will not be able to defend our national integrity and security with the tools we have, such as special operations strikes, until they are designated as terrorists.

These ain’t your grandfather’s drug cartels

Jaeson Jones, who spent 24 years with Texas Department of Public Safety’s intelligence and counterterrorism division, has studied and fought the cartels for his entire career and regularly speaks with cartel informants. He told me that “the term Transnational Criminal Organization (TCO) provides no authorities to law enforcement or the Department of Defense to eliminate the Mexican cartels” as the term “terrorist” would. “If we are to be successful in the future, our nation must designate the cartels as terrorists,” he said. “Then our military can collaborate with host countries around the world to end them.”

According to Jones, most of these named cartels operate in 50 countries, including in Asia, Australia, and Europe. Our military could work not just with the Mexican government but with close allies around the world to disrupt their operations.

Jones warns that the threat from the cartels, in some ways, is worse than that of Islamic jihad in our hypothetical. “We are confronted with a new threat, one more sinister in many ways than Islamic terrorists around the world. They do not kill for political change or ideology. They kill for money and control. If our nation is to meet this 21st-century threat, then we must be willing to create a new arena of counterterrorism.”

Indeed, the brutality of the cartels is unrivaled anywhere in the world, and it’s right on our border and in our communities. Remember, all of the people coming into the U.S. from Central America are “brought into the culture of the [Mexican] cartels if they don’t have the money,” as Jones warned on my podcast last week. “When the Zetas were in strength, I can tell you times when they would have kill houses and be killing these people in mass numbers of 10 and 20 in a night and then taking their bodies, hanging them up, and putting mantras and signs on them to a rival cartel that ‘If you come into our area, this is what’s going to happen to you.’”

The cartel terrorism has gotten so bad that even the popular resorts with wealthy Americans, such as Cancun, are now unsafe for travel. Mexico has over 250,000 dead and 38,000 missing since 2007. Just from September 2017 to July 1, 2018, 132 politicians and candidates were murdered in Mexico leading up to the recent elections.

Derek Maltz, former head of the DEA’s Special Operations Division, told me that if you just take a look at the State Department’s designation requirements, “it’s very clear the Mexican cartels fit the criteria of a terrorist group.” Maltz laments that our government still treats the Mexican cartels as “an isolated silo” of organized crime divorced from global terror, even though “for years, the leadership in our government has warned how terrorists are increasingly turning to drugs and organized criminal networks for their funding.” The same cartels that have “infiltrated all the major cities in America,” according to Maltz, are “operating in over 50 countries, helping to supply funding to Islamic terror groups through the West Africa drug trade.”

According to 18 U.S.C. § 2331, international terrorism is defined as, among other things, “violent acts or acts dangerous to human life” that violate federal or state law and are designed “to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping;” and “occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.”

Indeed, instilling fear and terror over turf is just as much a part of their modus operandi as drug smuggling. How would a terror designation help?

“When you look at the production operations in Mexico, it seems very clear to me that with all our intel, we could hit those laboratories and poppy fields hard with DOD capabilities,” said Matlz. “If we can destroy the production sites, the supply would go way down and make the cost more prohibitive for our youth.”

The quantum leap from drug runners to violent paramilitary terror groups

As much as the drug crisis itself should drive our treatment of these groups as terrorists, Jones warns that the cartels have evolved into a much greater threat than mere drug cartels; they are now “global violent organizations.” “We are seeing these cartels evolve in quantum leaps in capabilities,” he warned.

Jones noted that the quantum leap began with the Zetas cartel, which was made of former Mexican military special forces, often trained by our own military, where they used commando tactics and high-level weapons. The Zetas were responsible for the murder of Jaime Zapata, an ICE agent, who was forced off the road in Mexico and gunned down by operatives of the infamous cartel in 2011. Now, all the other cartels have upgraded their weapons and tactics. Breitbart Texas reported this week that El Torey, a known terrorist who led a grenade attack against our consulate in Monterrey last decade, is now the head of the Cartel Del Noreste faction of the Zetas and is allied with the equally dangerous Cartel Jalisco New Generation (CJNG) cartel in its war against the Gulf Cartel. This is causing unspeakable violence along our Texas border near Laredo.

The opinion by many in our broken intelligence agencies that these problems are not bleeding over to our side of the border is willful blindness.

Jones said, “Never mind the military-grade weapons that they’re using; look at the tactics. To cross into the U.S., you don’t just walk across the border. That’s not how it works. What happens is they have what are known as halcons or falcons [cartel lookouts], and there are literally thousands of them. These halcons utilize handheld radios that are digital in nature and encrypted as they monitor our movements and bring across their contraband. The halcons and the sicarios, which are assassins that we’re trying to work against, are leveraging a capability that our law enforcement, particularly local law enforcement, do not possess.”

Their threat is so much greater than just drugs, which in itself has evolved to what is essentially chemical warfare against our country. It’s a sovereignty issue, says Jones:

A new trend we’re seeing is where they’re taking armored vehicles and cloning them with military insignias from Mexico. That allows them to get up close to the military so that they can engage them. You see what I’m saying about tradecraft, military tactics, and what they’re using. These are not things that normal law enforcement can take on, and it’s imperative that our government recognize that, at some point, we’ve got to start creating the ability for the Department of Defense to be able to get into this and have authorities to go out and help Mexico be successful because a lot of folks, again, forget Mexico has thrown everything they’ve had at this since 2006, and it is getting worse, not better.

But it’s not just at the border. Cartel associates are now all over our country, taking orders from these paramilitary groups we refuse to eradicate. The FBI is currently looking for Juan Alberto Mendez, a known Gulf Cartel member, in the Indianapolis area. He is wanted for murder, drug trafficking, and racketeering in Indiana and Texas.

FARC, the infamous Colombian cartel, has already been designated as a terror group, but it took years for our intelligence agencies and the State Department to recognize the threat from the Colombian cartels and that it wasn’t just about drugs. Jones explains that the Mexican cartels were trained by these very actors that are already designated. “We’re seeing a lot more Colombians intermingled within the training and tradecraft of multiple cartels, so things are evolving and changing every day. That’s just another example of the hypocritical mindset of our intel agencies; they understand these tools are the tradecraft of a terrorist organization, yet the cartels are employing and utilizing them every day but they refuse to designate them as terrorists.”

Why wait until it’s too late?

Trump has two choices. He can either grovel before Pelosi and offer a massive amnesty in order to get some pennies for a partial border fence, as suggested by Jared Kushner and the Koch staffers in the White House. Or he can actually use his existing powers as commander in chief to finally go to the source of the illegal immigration and drug problems and deal with it as a national security threat. Designating the cartels as terrorists will go a long way both in terms of policy and messaging to the public in building that case.

Why do we always have to wait until a problem is too big to solve with straightforward military operations to understand the strategic threats? Our intelligence community is always a generation behind the problem. The cartels are getting stronger by the day, thanks to our immigration policies and our callous disregard for the security threat they pose to our nation. Trump needs to build the case with the public and with the Mexican government that he is committed to destroying the cartels and their infrastructure and is willing to expend DOD resources to do so. This begins with designating them as terrorists and building up our military at our border. As Jaeson Jones warned, “It’s not a matter of if we’re going to end up going after the cartels. It’s a matter of when.” Why not do it from a position of strength? (For more from the author of “It’s Time to Designate the Mexican Cartels as Terrorist Organizations” please click HERE)

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Model Admits She Made up Russia Collusion Story About Trump

A Belarusian model who originally said she had secret recordings that tied President Donald Trump to Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska and showed collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign now says she lied.

Anastasia Vashukevich, who goes by the alias Nastya Rybka on the internet, told CNN in a report published Tuesday that she made up the whole story as a means of getting out of a Thai prison last year.

Vashukevich was doing hard time in Thailand for offering her sex coach talents to the locals. Arrested and convicted for solicitation, she was sent to prison. Allegedly fearing for life behind bars, she decided to attract some international media attention with her story of having information that would link Trump to the Russian oligarchy. . .

Deripaska is closely linked with Russian President Vladimir Putin and has had business dealings with Paul Manafort, who ran Trump’s presidential campaign. Manafort plea bargained with special counsel Robert Mueller for the investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. He had been charged with illegal lobbying on behalf of Ukraine. . .

Vashukevich’s checkered past also includes a nude protest in front of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, when she and another internet model took off their clothes in support of disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. The two stated at the time: “We came here to support the producer who offered women sex. Sex is right, sex is cool!” (Read more from “Model Admits She Made up Russia Collusion Story About Trump” HERE)

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Christian Asia Bibi Free to Leave Pakistan After Spending Nearly a Decade on Death Row Under Blasphemy Charges

In October, Pakistan’s Supreme Court overturned the death sentence placed on Asia Bibi, a minority Christian woman who was convicted in 2010 of blasphemy under section 295-C of the Pakistani Penal Code.

Led in part by the extremist Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan party (TLP), thousands filled the streets in the following days, protesting Bibi’s acquittal. There were calls for Bibi’s death, as well as the deaths of the three judges who acquitted her.

In an attempt to appease the TLP and other hardliners who railed against the ruling, the prime minister’s administration reportedly agreed to look into placing Bibi on the “exit control list” while a petition against the acquittal was reviewed. This would prevent her from leaving Pakistan despite the court’s decision in her favor.

On Tuesday, however, Asia Bibi’s acquittal was upheld by the Pakistani Supreme Court, and she is now free to leave Pakistan. According to the BBC, she “is being kept by authorities at a secret location in Islamabad.” This secrecy will likely continue until such a time that Bibi can leave the country.

The Associated Press writes that Bibi watched the announcement on TV, and is ready to see her daughters, who previously fled to Canada. An anonymous friend relayed the following quote from Bibi: “I am really grateful to everybody. Now after nine years it is confirmed that I am free and I will be going to hug my daughters.” (Read more from “Christian Asia Bibi Free to Leave Pakistan After Spending Nearly a Decade on Death Row Under Blasphemy Charges” HERE)

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