There’s nothing edgy about ‘honour killings’

I can’t believe this needs to be said, but the choices of the Festival of Dangerous Ideas suggests it does.

Uthman Badar, spokesman for Hizb ut-Tahrir in Australia, will be speaking at the Festival on the topic “Honour killings are morally justified”.

How clever.

It has been many years since FODI has shown any desire to live up to its name. Their existences hinge on the flow of government grants, directly or indirectly through the units that make up the art establishment. It’s not here to disrupt the status quo. It is here because, as a Facebook friend snarked, “the whole idea of a Festival of Dangerous Ideas [is to be] some white–person wankery for inner–city latte drinkers to indulge themselves in a trip to the opera house and [provoke] the special feeling of belonging to that special part of society that attends ‘cultural’ events.

So whilst I am openly impressed that FODI has actually gone and proposed a dangerous idea in that context, as far as dangerous ideas go this is quite safe… which is what makes it so dangerous.

It is dangerous in the first instance because the material is justifying murder. Violence is generally accepted as dangerous.

For anyone who, say, might like to think of themselves as culturally enlightened, the barest of philosophical forays will lead you to the subjectivity of morality and/or its experience by the individual.

Armed with this, it is totally conceivable that people who commit what we call “honour killings” have reasons for doing so. It’s a scary rejoinder to the idea of monstrosity as other and seemingly perfect for a crowd seeking “danger”.

This makes it a safe bet. It’s destined to light up blogs like this, and papers and talkback tomorrow, and possibly the 6pm news from earlier this evening. Helen Dale – who has lit up the local media a few times, including this week – called the decision to give Badar a platform “the intellectual equivalent of streaking”, which is so right not just because it’s flashy, insubstantive, and guaranteed to get your eyeballs on the dangly bits, but also because it isn’t novel.

We know that attention will be paid because we have had these debates before. We have had these debates before because there are millions of people who believe murder is a prurient respond to the exercise of certain kinds of autonomy – but they’re other, safely ‘over there’, and the unbridled, uncritical acceptance of the other is how the worst sort of unthinking leftist gets their counter-cultural jollies.

It will be controversial. Why millions of people would hold values so far removed from our own always will be.

And thus we have Badar at FODI, surrounded by the latte elite, who have already started falling over themselves to demonstrate their open-mindedness by paying to listen to a man who fronts the national arm of an organisation that opposes the close-mindedness of a Western liberalism that would go back to stoning women if the culture wasn’t so close-minded.

If an open-mind is worth keeping on this issue this is still not a justification for FODI’s decision. The point of keeping an open mind is to think, judge, and close it eventually. If it never closes it is no great feat of mind, but the simple abrogation of critical thought. FODI is, by choosing to give this violent idea a platform, abrogating that responsibility in the name of whoring themselves out for attention. This is not an act without consequences; what we say in public sends a powerful message about (are you ready for this?) what is is acceptable to say and do in public.

They’re not concerned about that, nor are they actually concerned about whether we should kill slutty sluts for slutting. They’re concerned about how they can leverage Uthman Badar and the Hizb ut-Tahrir brand and the white guilt that creates the cultural relativism that baby leftists are injected with when they submit their first protest poster for assessment, in service of painting the Festival and it’s supporters as open-minded, critically engaged and edgy, and getting the attention that gets them paid. With taxpayer dollars.

If open engagement is what we desire there’s an endless supply of literature on the subject that could be privately consumed. Somehow I don’t think that’s what Hizb ut-Tahrir wants.

That is what I find the most dangerous – it’s lovely to have organisations like FODI that self-consciously hike their skirts and whore their stages in the pretence of glorying in liberalism while trying to undermine it. These ideas don’t deserve to be paraded on a platform as flimsy as amusement. There is no honour in giving a microphone to a man who doesn’t want to give the microphone back, when he will use it to promote a ban on microphones.

FODI sets its own agenda. They made a considered choice to offer the stage to a lobbyist for Islamototalitarianism to promote the murder of (mostly) women.

If FODI wants to truly be provocative, there are orthodoxies far better challenged than the secular, liberal, individualist democracy that permits people – including women – to pursue the free thought that allows them to consider and reject the killing women who exercise autonomy could be totally sweet.

FODI has the right to offer the PR flak for totalitarian organisation a space on its platform, and its secular “cultural establishment” type audience is mature enough to consider the idea without accepting it (the way the Murdoch-media-swilling general publicans apparently cannot, no doubt). Minds aren’t likely to slip out from under the warm, prosperous blanket of liberalism for the rock hard reality of whatever backwards logic makes it okay to kill for a contorted derivative of honour. 

The Power of the Parti Quebecois Compels You!

FrontKeith Topolski examines the latest bout of xenophobia to spew forth from Quebec.


The most memorable line from the classic film Forrest Gump was about a box of chocolates being compared to life. The second most famous line, to my mind at least, was ‘Stupid is as Stupid does’.

 The Government of Quebec, headed by the famously anti-anything-that-isn’t-French Pauline Marois, recently demonstrated it’s intellectual bankruptcy by finding a way for a province in one of the strongest Western economies, indeed global economies, to shed 30,000 jobs in a single month.

 Now, the non-stupid response would have been to try and deregulate, maybe cut taxes, open up the economy to business. Nice try, this is the Quebec Government we’re talking about after all.

 No, THEIR response was that the problems are all caused by those evil God-believers, Allah-believers and, well, believers in ANY omnipotent being which has power over us.

 The best way to rescue an economy that makes Greece look stable? “..ban veils, kippas, turbans and other symbols from government offices, hospitals, schools and any other place that receives public funding”! Isn’t it obvious?!

 Of course, Quebec geared up for this attack on freedom of expression by banning the clearly performance enhancing turban from all soccer matches played within Quebec. Well, maybe not performance enhancing, but we can’t have a show of cultural diversity, so there!

 Well, actually, Pauline Marois claims that Quebec is a vibrant, tolerant province and, in order to protect that diversity, it must suppress that diversity from the public square. I kid you not, to protect religion, the Premier of Quebec says it must be suppressed.

 In suppressing religion, some have argued that a discussion needs to be had over the promotion of religion within the public space. This is a legitimate debate, but the Quebec Government decided to skip around that point because, well, the Quebec Government’s house is just a special exemption to this cause, while its employees are not, ok?

 This brainless act by Parti Quebecois has even been attacked by the teacher’s unions, who have stated that they will support any teacher sacked for wearing a religious icon, on the basis mainly that the Government are a bunch of filthy hypocrites. Freedom gets a run in there somewhere, sure, but hypocrisy is the main beef.

 Perhaps the union might like to make the point that, should this law be passed, Quebec might also run into a small problem of having a lack of luxury items like doctors and nurses.

 Whoops, the Government clearly didn’t think of that, so maybe they might allow for a little bit of leniency in some areas of life, like those pesky doctors and nurses who don’t do anything important. However, with all these exceptions, it will be a great way to create an extra 30,000 jobs in the bureaucracy to deal with the ‘administrative chaos’ this would cause.

 This attack on public employees, not because of their performance, but because of their religion smacks of the most flagrant sectarianism one could possibly come across, and it is quite right that people living in Quebec should challenge the Government on the question of whether the Government views certain citizens as being ‘Quebec’ enough.

 Of course, identity is a huge issue for Federal NDP leader, and Quebecer, Thomas Mulcair, whose opposition to these new proposals is due to religious discriminationinfringement on freedomslack of tolerance the possibility of targeting Muslim women.

 Newly elected Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, also from Quebec, also took the chance to condemn the laws. Such condemnation from Non-Quebecers (!?!) led to a demand from Bloc Quebecois leader Daniel Paille (whose party is travelling so well, their own leader doesn’t have a seat in Parliament) to allow Quebecers to have their own discussion on the laws. All those Albertans (commonly referred to as Canada’s answer to America’s deep south) like Trudeau and Mulcair getting in the way must really peeve Quebec.

 Of course, when a real Albertan, like Muslim Mayor of Calgary Naheed Nenshi, calls the charter what it is, it’s all a conspiracy by the ‘pathetic anglo media’ to portray Quebec as a province that is intolerant of the other. Yeah, like the Anglos from outside Quebec are the only people calling this Government on its bigotry.

 However, some are Quebecers are simply giving up. English school enrolments are dropping so fast the system is in danger of collapse, Universities and families of returned soldiers are under attack, and we’ve already touched on the 30,000 jobs gone in July alone.

 What is most galling about this is how, if such an attack on a religious or ethnic minority occurred elsewhere in the Western world, it would be called out for the bigotry it is. And it did and it was.

 The Government of Quebec likes to declare itself a tolerant nation (yes, Quebec is apparently a nation, although how it squares that away with claiming Canadian equalisation payments is beyond me), full of diversity, but it doesn’t like that diversity being on display. However, perhaps we have misjudged Ms Marois’ intentions, so we’ll let her speak for herself. So, what does Ms Marois want to say, directly, to the minorities and believers of Quebec?





I figured as much.

(DISCLOSURE: While baptised a Catholic, I now identify as agnostic).

Keith Topolski is a regular contributor to Menzies House, with a particular focus on Canadian politics.

Toby’s Sunday light


It all began when Toby visited Sydney recently and decided to lunch in the Western Suburb of Auburn with a few old, Christian Brother’s School mates.

So it was to the recommended “Salim’s Bonza Mecca Burgers” they went. Being rather hungry Toby, unable to read the menu as it was in squiggly writing ordered a Mecca burger with Egg, pineapple and bacon with a large fries.

 “You can’t have bacon in here,” screamed Ali the burger turner, “besides, I can’t serve you until after the sun goes down,” 

“But that’s tea-time and now it’s lunch-time and I’m bloody starved,” retorted Toby.

“Don’t you know it’s Ramadan,” yells Ali, “you’re not allowed to eat until then, now get out and come back later.”

Feeling like infidels, although hungry infidels, Toby’s mates told him about the huge numbers of food items sold in Australian supermarkets and corner stores that exhibit Muslim Halal certification. Here is a story Toby thought. GC.Ed.@L.

Dear Editor:

The Association of Christian Churches plan to green-mail food suppliers by certifying that baked beans and porridge and so on, was “Dignum”. By doing so, an endless cash torrent would gush into the church money boxes without the Churches having to do more than hold a ceremony once a year blessing assembly lines.

Naturally, companies like Cadbury’s would print the ‘Dignum’ label on their product in the same eye-straining micro fonts they use for ‘Halal’.

["Dignum" is Latin for 'OK' in the same way as "kosher" and "halal" is Hebrew and Arabic for the same idea.]

However, trouble is brewing over the idea of halal water.

Already it is claimed that in hospitals in Victoria provide halal water whenever anyone at all requires a glass of water for swallowing a pill. Made halal, no doubt, by the Department of Health intoning توجيه الاتهام الى دافعي الضرائب (bill the taxpayer) while rowing across the reservoir.

Making water ‘halal’ is shaping up as business in England where a certain amount of re-cycling water goes on. Muslim leaders have graciously accepted that U.K. tap water is not 100% pure. In addition to residual pollutants, they say, “Local water authorities add various chemicals to reduce bacteria” but “cosmetic products which have been flushed down the drain, are not all removed by the water authorities’ treatments, and did you know that many cosmetics contain pig fat? You may be actually drinking and washing in that?”

So, trouble is brewing, but not from the West’s jelly-spined culturally aware tolerant merchants of appeasement.

No indeed. It has come from Muslims themselves, and in Aussie, where some mosques urge halal water to be drunk to honour traditions and standards.

“This is fanaticism,” says one Aussie Muslim, “because the very principle of Islamic law (permissible before impermissible) has been turned on its head. The reversal of this axiom in Islamic law by modern halalisers [his word] is absolutely astonishing. Everything in the world, if these zealots are to be believed, is now haram (forbidden) until proved halal!”

In other words, Islamic default position is that everything is good unless actually prohibited. Not that everything is forbidden unless explicitly allowed.

Another protester cites Islamic religious writing, “I heard that the people asked the Prophet of Allah (peace_be_upon_him): Water is brought for you from the well of Buda’ah. It is a well in which dead dogs, menstrual clothes and excrement of people are thrown. The Messenger of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) replied: Verily water is pure and is not defiled by anything.” [Abu Dawud Book 1, Number 67]

How long before a company has the cojones to say to buyers, “Yes, our meat pies are halal, if you don’t believe me don’t buy them. But we are not going to pay a licence every year to somebody for a worthless certificate.”

Companies might. Governments dancing in multi-culturalism moonshine won’t.

Watch out for halal water, and remember that water is the stuff that everybody washes in. Are we going to get Burrinjuck certified halal?

Islamic tolerance at work.

by Sebastion Melmoth, Chisling Wells UK

Hagia Sophia—Greek for “Holy Wisdom”—for a thousand years was Christianity’s greatest cathedral. Built in Constantinople, now Istabul, then the heart of the Christian world, it was a symbol of defiance against eastern aggressive Islam.

For nearly seven centuries Islam attacked Constantinople and finally broke through in 1453.

Hagia Sophia’s crosses were desecrated, its icons were defaced, and it was converted into a mosque, surrounded by triumphant tall minarets.

So much for the cant about Islam always being tolerant of other faiths.


After Turkey teamed with the losers in WW1, there were political upheavals there ending with Kemal Ataturk being the boss. As part of many, many reforms, Ataturk transformed Hagia Sophia into a “neutral” museum – not a Christian cathedral but not a mosque either. Nobody, but nobody, could hold religious services there.

Now the push is on by resurgent Islam to turn the museum back into a mosque.

And that is not the end of it.

As you read this, other historic Christian churches are currently being transformed into mosques, such as 800 years old church—also called Hagia Sophia—in the Black Sea city of Trabzon.

After the Islamic conquest, it too, was turned into a mosque, but because of its “great historical and cultural significance” for Christians, under the secular Ataturk it was treated like the Hagia Sofia and turned into a museum with its frescoes and icons restored.

However, recently, local authorities decreed that the frescoes would again be covered and the museum turned into a mosque.

The 1600-year-old Studios Monastery of St. John the Baptist is also set to become an active mosque.

And the existence of the oldest functioning Christian monastery in the world, the 5th century Mor Gabriel Monastery, is at risk. It is inhabited today by only a few dozen Christians dedicated to learning the monastery’s teachings; the ancient Aramaic language spoken by Jesus, and the Orthodox Syriac tradition. Muslims have filed a lawsuit accusing the monks of practicing “anti-Turkish activities”, and of illegally occupying land allegedly belonging to Muslim villagers.

The highest appeals court in Turkey ruled in favour of the Muslim villagers, saying the land that had been part of the monastery for 1,600 years is not really its property. Flinging away the slightest pretence to be real lawyers it absurdly ruled that the monastery was built over the ruins of a mosque—even though Muhammad himself wasn’t born until 170 years after the monastery was built!!

Calls to now turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque is not about Muslims wanting a place to pray—there are 3,000 active mosques in Istanbul alone. It’s about their trying to revive the glory days of Islamic jihad and conquest and restoration of the Caliphate.

They make no bones about it.

And the West could not give a toss. No complaints from the usual “save the…” mob

The US even co-operates with Muslims building a mosque next to the Twin Towers atrocity.

A symbol of tolerance?

Or a symbol of smirking triumph?

This is the way the US ends – with a PC whimper.

Toby’s Sunday light


Disguising himself as an idiot, and thus mixing easily with the staff of three hitherto reputable Christian organisations, Toby, was taken aback at what he saw and heard.

From the US, he reports personally: GC.Ed.@L.

“Wycliffe Bible Translators” and two associated companies “SIL” and “Frontiers”, have removed the terms Father, Son and Son of God from the Bible because these words may offend Muslims.

Father is replaced with Allah or Lord or Guardian, Son is replaced with Proxy and Messiah, so that “This is my beloved son” can be rendered as “This is my beloved proxy.”

I did the obvious things at first and examined the water supply, but it was clear of any mind-altering substances. Then I checked family history for evidence of insanity but, apart from finding an Australian cousin who had once voted for Billy McMahon and supported Manly, there was nothing—nothing at all.

When I asked them why they had done this they denied it point blank—they had not removed the words at all. When I pointed the words out in their publications they said that all they had done was merely re-translate—the original Son was still in there, it was just translated as proxy in case a Muslim ever dared to read the bible.

Wycliffe-bible-islamic-edition-210x300“What would happen if he did?” I asked.

“Well, for one thing he wouldn’t have a clue about the doctrine of the Trinity as it now stands. And we dropped the word “Our” from “Our Father” as it suggested sex was involved, and that would have offended him, too. You see, it is superior scholarship.”

“And you have explained the Trinity?” I asked.

“Well, no, nobody ever really has, but we have taken out the bits that might offend Muslims. You must see—it is all about tolerance and compromise and reaching out, don’t you agree?”

“And you expect the Quran to drop the bit about killing Jews and re-translate so that it will not offend Jews?”

“Goodness, no, the Quran is the actual direct word of God according to Muslims.”

“I understand that your staff have resigned.”

“Some have. We just couldn’t get them to understand that we are right and that they are dwelling in darkness. They don’t understand about tolerance and compromise.”

It occurred to me, as far as I remember from Sunday School, that unless Christ was divine the Bible is just a book of good advice and there is no reason on earth a Muslim should read it or even follow any suggestions made.

Then it also occurred to me that the editors are pompous billygoats drifting toward surrender and calling it tolerance, drifting towards nonsense and calling it scholarship, toward ‘reaching out’ and falling to their knees in subservience.

But I could be wrong.

Editor: “pompous billygoats” is a re-translation of Toby’s original expression and more accurately reflects what he probably really meant. His original was loose, meandering, choleric, and incoherent.

Not even true to themselves

Islamvaa_thumbAccording to many observers Brother Razvi brings new meaning to the term, "honour among thieves." His apology for the no-show of his key attraction, the speaker who would attract the bulk of paying attendees, came but a day before kick-off.

Advertised as "Australian Islamic Peace Conference" stalls were offered to other church groups.

Dutch politician Geert Wilders received no such easy ride with the media. GC.Ed.-at-Large.

BROTHER Waseem Razvi, the organiser of the Australian Islamic Peace Conference, opened the event in front of about 2000 faithful yesterday with two apologies.

Advertised keynote speaker Sheik Abdul Rahman al-Sudais – the imam of the Grand Mosque of Mecca, whose invitation had drawn opprobrium from Jewish, Christian and interfaith groups concerned about his calls for the annihilation of the Jews and descriptions of them as "pigs and monkeys" — could not make the Melbourne conference "for personal reasons".

Some Christians who had approval to hire a stall giving away Bibles at the Islamic ‘Peace Conference’ at the Melbourne Showgrounds this weekend have had this approval withdrawn. The Christians, from various churches around Melbourne, had been offered a 6 x 3 metre stall for $600. The Islamic Research and Educational Academy (IREA) contacted them last night and said that the Bible stall could not go ahead because it would be “unsafe”. 

Read more:

Slowly, slowly, catchy monkey

NEIGHBOURS are divided over a proposed "halal housing" development in Sydney's west.

While some feared it would lead to friction with Muslims, others welcomed the plan.

Qartaba Homes is promoting its 145-lot subdivision at Riverstone, near Rouse Hill, as Australia's "very first project of its kind for the Muslim community", The Daily Telegraph revealed yesterday.

The developer yesterday insisted people of any religion were welcome to purchase land.

Read more:

Time to wake-up Australia

The military arm of Hamas has been listed on our books as a criminal organisation since 1995. Dr Mohamed's visit displays his arrogance and contempt for Australians. When will our leaders put end to this divisive attitude by Muslim leaders and "scholars" who then preach against us? GC.Ed. 

Australia's Grand Mufti meets Hamas

"I am pleased to stand on the land of jihad to learn from its sons and I have the honour to be among the people of Gaza where the weakness always becomes strength, the few becomes many and the humiliation turns into pride," he told local news agencies.

"We came here in order to learn from Gaza. As I said in my speech, we will make the stones, trees, and people of Gaza talk, in order to learn steadfastness, sacrifice, and the defence of one's rights from them.

Read more:

Of trust sullied

Thursday-crockerOnly paedophiles and sexual abusers would argue against the government’s call for a Royal Commission into institutional sexual abuse. Following the initial excitement of yet another Gillard, lousy performance diversion, this popular initiative to hunt down and deal with all wicked “priests” may have, at the outset, failed to foresee the complexities and the many byways to wrongdoing. The commission’s designing architects will quickly learn that sexual abuse is not the exclusive domain of the Catholic Church.

However, Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney did within hours of the commission announcement call a press conference to sing the government’s praise. In mounting his charge for glory to the church and government approbation, has placed his church in the front line of enquiry.

That no other institution or alleged sources of such abuse were mentioned or came forward—George Pell was the lone piper. Amidst what would certainly be no small amount of panic in the ecumenical catacombs of confidence, Cardinal Pell, like his namesake the Red Cardinal songbird, began to sing a tune not of contrition but perhaps more of relief. Will it be a welcome confession of truth, or the fear of uncontrolled consequences?

Nevertheless, George Pell is not noted for statesmanlike deliveries. In April this year he shocked the Executive Council of Australian Jewry with his remarks about Jews saying they were ‘intellectually lesser than the Egyptians, including Jesus Christ.’ Maybe in vino veritas hold true with church wine.

However, many church supporters would laud the Cardinal’s rush to “clear the air” but such hope might have been dashed when they heard his emphatic defence of the secrecy of the confessional with, “…the seal of Confession is inviolate.” And to press the point, repeated that statement. No doubt George Pell as Cardinal has strong views about leadership and therefore runs his own show but Bishop Geoffrey Robinson said Cardinal Pell was not a team player—a trait common to great leaders.

Cardinal Pell for a long time has battled sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. We may never know his instructions from Rome. But under the cloak of secrecy and denial complaints are many, mostly documented and filed. The satisfaction rate for the abused has been meagre but demands for justice are now echoing loudly throughout the cloisters. All church leaders would no doubt be gravely concerned about the number of skeletons languishing in vicarage cupboards around the country, so George played the “victim” card and canted about a “smear campaign against the Catholic Church.”

For hundreds of years churches have swept rampant sexual abuse under the carpet. This alone proved their willingness to accept the biological inevitability that the human sexual drive can and will dilute the vows of celibacy no matter how fervently offered at the time. The very nature of religious venues provokes an aura of mystery and fear regulated by God’s officials—mere earthly mortals. Secrecy is exemplified with the power of the confessional in mind. But, it doesn’t stop there.

Any abuse is traumatic, perhaps none to the extent of sexual abuse. Of late, suffering victims call talkback radio hoping that purging their demons will ease their pain—the stories are heart-wrenching—the damage mostly permanent and often lethal. The suicide rate is 17 times higher for sexual abuse victims.

Cardinal Pell can assert a smear campaign against the Catholic Church but a report by Monash University lawyer and researcher Judy Courtin who said recently, that much of the reported abuse will have happened in Catholic institutions. The Sydney Morning Herald this week ran an online poll. The question: “Is Cardinal George Pell in denial over sex abuse by clergy?” 92% said yes, 8% no.

Some say a Royal Commission may run for 10 years. Once the terms of reference is established and with little restriction, 10 years may not be enough as the abused gain confidence and in their newfound catharsis and cry for justice and punishment to the perpetrators.

Senior police investigator Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox last week publicly challenged NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell to launch a royal commission into child sex abuse by clergy. Other investigations will be called for even among the normally taboo religions such as Muslim Australians, some of whom have to face cultural abuse such as female genital mutilation.

Northern Territory Country Liberal MP Bess Price, a Warlpiri woman, pulled no punches. “A lot of abuse happens out here. It needs to be addressed. Aborigines are Australians citizens, they can't be ignored or excluded,” she said.

Australians had better tighten their seatbelts when this enquiry gets into full gallop. The stories are sure to shock, if not sicken. The extent of, the cover-ups, the lies told, the hindered police investigations, the destruction of evidence and the high offices of meddlers will change the rulebook forever.

This Royal Commission in Australia will not only be closely watched around the world but it will spark similar investigations. The Vatican will be forced to consider what may be a root cause of sexual abuse in their houses—the  oath of celibacy.
The oath of celibacy, against which earthly forces tempt, and trust becomes sullied.

Thought for the week: Since there is no time like the present, john thought it was time to
present the present.

And, where are the feminists?

Much has been written lately on the wearysome matter of Islam. Although, little if any about the suffering of women under that regime of love and peace. The following should have feminists of the West jumping up and down with rage. Sadly, not a squeak can be heard. Shame on them.

A 27-year-old Tunisian woman who alleges she was raped earlier this month by two policemen now stands accused of indecency, her lawyer said. The woman was called by a judge to confront her two assailants on Wednesday, but in an unexpected development, the judge decided to pursue the victim for “outraging public decency” attorney Saida Garrach told Al-Monitor. 

Read more:

(Thanks reader Abe.)