Escape from Paradise, – A Best Selling Book!

The book’s sensational reviews!

It took me two and a half evenings to complete your un-put-downable book…it is a unique contribution to the appreciation of a life in Singapore. Thank you for having written it.” C. V. Devan Nair, former President of Singapore.

Bought the book from Select this weekend and can’t put it down! It’s a great read! And so nostalgic for me—the good old days! Glen Goei, writer and director of the Miramax film That’s the Way I Like It and who played the title role opposite Anthony Hopkins in the London production of M. Butterfly. Mr. Goei’s latest film is The Blue Mansion – Click for the trailer!

It is a remarkable story and so full of intrigue that it reads at times like fiction.Jonathan Burnham, Editor in Chief & President, Talk Miramax Books.

“It’s quite a story The legendary Alice Mayhew, Vice-President & Editorial Director, Simon & Schuster.

This book out-Dallas, Dallas. No one has written so well of the other side of paradise,Francis T. Seow, former Solicitor General of Singapore

ThunderBall Films is successfully putting together the movie production of Escape from Paradise and has received a new LOI (Letter of Intent) from actress Bai Ling who starred with Richard Gere in the film Red Cross.

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Escape from Paradise – the Promotional Trailer

Mary Bancroft – Master Spy

“I can’t understand what the f–k you are saying.” The voice came from an elderly lady in the back row of my computer class. It was from Mary Bancroft, a part owner of The Wall Street Journal. She is the author of Autobiography of a Spy and was the woman behind the plot to kill Hitler, the lover of CIA chief, Allen Dulles, the lady who invited me to dinner to meet Woody Allen and, yes, Mary Bancroft was my computer student.

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Copyright © 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 John Harding

ISIS is winning!

Yemen’s capital has just been taken over by pro-Iranian Houthi tribesmen. Both the American diplomatic corps and military personnel have fled the country, leaving behind $500 million of valuable equipment and arms for the Houthi rebels.

In addition, secret files left behind by the fleeing Americans contain details of American intelligence operations in the country have been looted by Iran-backed militia leaders, exposing names of confidential informants and plans for U.S.-backed counter-terrorism strikes, U.S. officials say. The identities of local agents were compromised after Houthi leaders in Sana took over the offices of Yemen’s National Security Bureau, which had worked with the CIA, according to two U.S. officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive operations. The compromised agents’ lives are now in danger.

On Wednesday, March 25, Yemen’s President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi fled his residence in the southern Yemeni city of Aden.

This is a major victory for Iran which continues to exploit the ongoing unrest by the Shia majority in Bahrain, which threatens to spread to the Shia population in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province. Meanwhile, Sunni-backed ISIS continues to penetrate into Saudi Arabia from Iraq.

The strength of ISIS lies in social inequality, which is rife throughout the Arab and North African countries.

When unrest came to Syria in the spring of 2011, King Abdullah’s advisers thought that, with a little outside help, Syrians might be able to rid themselves of the Assad government and shift their country out of the Iranian orbit.

Washington shared this optimistic assessment, which turned out to be a tragic misreading of Syrian realities. 225,000 dead and nine million displaced Syrians later, Bashar Al-Assad still rules in Damascus. Worse, Syria has become the incubator for a self-proclaimed ISIS “caliphate” (“Da’ish,” to use the Arabic acronym for it), a renegade Muslim movement of truly satanic brutality that is at once an idea, a structure of governance, and an army.

ISIS was born by the U.S. intervention and misguided “surge” in Iraq, and has grown rapidly in Syria. It has already erased the Syrian-Iraqi border.

ISIS is determined to undo the legacy of colonialism in the Middle East, including the formation of the modern states of Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria, and to revenge past injuries to the world’s Muslims at the hands of Western powers elsewhere. ISIS plans to rule in Mecca and Medina. It now governs an area the size of Ireland with a population larger than Israel or Jordan.

ISIS is rapidly attracting migrants, recruits, and statements of allegiance from all over the world. ISIS is expanding into Africa. Potentially hundreds of millions of people with two continents could fall under the ISIS caliphate.

At the outset, Riyadh saw ISIS as a distastefully extremist but potentially useful instrument of armed opposition to Assad and Iran. But the Kingdom later realized that ISIS is threat to its interests, including its domestic tranquility and even the head of its ruler, among other Arab monarchs.

Under Saudi Arabia’s new monarch, King Salman, Saudi policy seems to be evolving toward actively countering ISIS as well as Iran and the Houthi’s in Yemen.

It looks as though Riyadh may now be in the process of organizing a coalition with its neighboring Arabian countries, especially with the Arab monarchies, whose Ankara, Amman, Cairo, and Islamabad so as to be able to counter both ISIS and Iran. This could change the regional balance and alter its political economy in important ways. With respect to Iran, Pakistan can provide a nuclear deterrent, Egypt can furnish military manpower, and Turkey has industrial strength. All three are producers of armaments as well as importers of them. Amman is on the frontline with Da’ish. Saudi money can help them cooperate or at least coordinate their policies to mutual advantage.

From an American perspective, such a coalition would be a mixed blessing. Certainly, Israel would not welcome it. But, if something like it came into being, there could at last be hope for an effective strategy that dealt with all three dimensions of the Da’ish phenomenon. Currently, there is a military campaign plan but no strategy. U.S. policy is especially limited. The Americans treat ISIS as a bombing target, even though military commanders all acknowledge that it is also an ideological and political problem that military means alone cannot address.
This is because Western interests are not credible or competent as commentators on ISIS connection to mainstream Islam. Rather than believe in an “extremist” version of Islam, ISIS may reflect what true Islam was originally.

Salafism has a literalist, strict and puritanical approaches to Islam. Salafi Jihadis who espouse offensive jihad (holy war) against those they deem to be enemies of Islam as a legitimate expression of Islam.

It is often reported from various sources, including the German domestic intelligence service, that Salafism is the fastest-growing Islamic movement in the world.

The Saudis had their Salafi reformation in the 18th century. Salafism in the Kingdom is a conservative, stabilizing, if repressive force. Many Saudis, like ISIS, are Salafis, being adherents of the view that the revival of their Islam requires reaffirmation of the way of the Salaf, the earliest Muslims and the repudiation of subsequent innovations, superstitions, and corrupt practices.

There are 4 million Saudi Salafis, making up 22.9% of Saudi Arabia’s population, while most of the rest are Wahhabi. The Salafi movement is often described as synonymous with Wahhabism, but Salafists consider the term “Wahhabi” derogatory.

The 4 million Saudi Salafis plus many socially deprived Saudi Wahhabis provide a fertile recruiting ground for ISIS. In fact, there are many ISIS attacks on Saudi Arabia and not just on its border. Internal attacks in Saudi Arabia by ISIS are increasing rapidly – something which is not reported in the news.

Both the rise of ISIS and the challenge of Iran’s advance into Iraq, Syria and Yemen underscore the importance of Saudi-American strategic cooperation. The window of opportunity is closing. For the sake of the West, the Arab and African counties quick, informed and decisive action must be taken to save the day.

Saudi Arabia has formed a coalition of more than 10 countries to attack the Houthi Shiites in Yemen. These include the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar. In addition, Egypt, Jordan, and Sudan have said they have forces involved in the operation. Even Pakistan is considering a Saudi request to send ground forces. Some reports say that Morocco will send combat aircraft as well.

Even if this is a winnable plan (and it may not be) its success is risky. If the effort fails, those opposed to ISIS will suffer the consequences and heads will roll (both figuratively and literally).

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