Thursday, November 30, 2006

Courting failure & creating a monster

Why is this man smiling?
This pix was taken in New York City right after his recent UN speech,
when the world community gave him a forum to promote his new Persian Empire.
Engaging this man in diplomatic banter will empower him further.
We should cease doing stuff that makes him smile. See article below.
Bruce, your Soundbiter
Talking to the Rogues - Editorial

One of the worst-kept secrets in Washington is the Iraq Study Group's expected recommendation that the U.S. negotiate over Iraq's future with rogue regimes in Iran and Syria...

The Bush administration - like many of its predecessors - has tried time and again to resolve differences with Tehran and Damascus at the most senior levels. With both governments, the result has been a nearly unbroken series of diplomatic failures dating back to Jimmy Carter's presidency.
(Washington Times)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Olmert's Foolish about some outrage!

Olmert 'disappointed' by rocket fire

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Tuesday evening that "we are a little disappointed by the continuation of Kassam rocket fire at the South by the Palestinians."
[Jerusalem Post]

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

From "Palestine" with love

Explosive Teddy Bears Found in West Bank Bomb Lab - Efrat Weiss
Israeli security forces uncovered an explosives lab in the West Bank city of Nablus Friday that contained teddy bears with wires hanging from them, slated to be used as explosive devices.
(Ynet News)

Rubin: Right War, Wrong Tactics

Right war, botched occupation -Michael Rubin

After billions spent and the sacrifice of almost 3,000 U.S. troops, it is right to ask whether democracy in Iraq was not a fool's dream.
It was not.

What went wrong? Iraq's transformation was undercut by naive faith, not in democracy but rather in diplomacy. Instead of securing Iraq's borders, the Bush administration accepted Syrian and Iranian pledges of non-interference.

Iraqis embraced democracy, but the wrong kind. U.N. experts sold the White House an election system based on party slates rather than on districts. Any system in which politicians are more accountable to party leaders than constituents, though, encourages ethnic nationalism and sectarian populism. Add militias to the mix, and the result is explosive.

Iraqis greeted U.S. troops as liberators, but the Bush administration fumbled the occupation. Blaming democracy does not address the cause of strife; rather, it absolves policymakers for poor decisions and implementation. Too much is at stake, not only for Iraq but also for U.S. national security, if policymakers learn the wrong lessons.
[USA Today]

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Virtual Cease Fire -Elliot Chodoff

Last night Ehud Olmert joined the ranks of Israeli leaders who have achieved cease fire agreements with the Palestinians over the past decade. It is a club he should not be proud to have joined.

We have been through so many cease fires with the Palestinians that the term should certainly have humor value by now. You could just die laughing.

The primary reason that the Palestinians need a cease fire at this moment is that the IDF is preparing for a major operation in Gaza in the near future, and the terrorist organizations would like a bit more time to prepare for it.

The tragedy, of course, is that when the terrorists feel that they are prepared to engage the IDF the virtual cease fire will evaporate.

The utter failure of [Israeli] national leaders to engage in strategic thinking is striking. One can only presume that their struggle and maneuvering to keep their positions in the face of growing public criticism and internal political conflicts has left them bereft of the energy required to confront national crises in a coherent, focused fashion.
[Mideast: On Target]

Friday, November 24, 2006

"The International Outrage Machine"

A Town Under Siege - Joel Mowbray

Hamas has no plans to stop [bombing Sderot] voluntarily, and the international outrage machine won't ask it to. The Islamic terrorists are merely fulfilling a promise made this June: "We have decided to turn Sderot into a ghost town. We won't stop firing the rockets until they all leave."
(Washington Times)

Former British Labour MP defends Israel

Why I'm Backing Israel - Lorna Fitzsimons

We need to think carefully about the consequences of questioning the defensive reactions of a nation-state that is constantly bombarded by an enemy calling for its destruction, especially after it has withdrawn from Lebanon and Gaza.

Would we as British citizens accept a single rocket on a British town?

Israel's willingness to compromise for peace has never been enough, because Israel alone cannot gain peace. The Palestinians and others in the region also have to want peace. Why not concentrate attention there, rather than on the one player in the region who has always been serious about peace?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

World War 3

Former IDF Chief of Staff: War on Terror is WWIII

Lt.-Gen. Moshe Yaalon, who was Israel Defense Forces chief of staff said that the West must wake up and understand it is fighting World War III against a movement of global jihadists. "We are under attack, we are in defense, they are on the offense so far," he said.
(The Australian)


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Ball of Confusion

Our state of confusion -Shmuel Katz

The peace-at-any-price brigade is back in business.

Everything that's happened since disengagement illuminates a great divide within Israel between the people who believed the Arabs when they declared that their aim was the destruction of Israel and those who claimed, in spite of three generations of hard evidence to the contrary, that the Arabs only wanted a slice of land in order to make peace - and that consequently Israel should give it to them.

What followed the abandonment of Gaza was of course a new and emphatic vindication of the the Right in the genuineness of the Arab threats. The Arabs reacted to the Gaza operation exactly as the Right had said they would.

As for the Left, its political creed was torn to pieces.

Murder of another Lebanese Christian

Another Murder in Beirut for Jim Baker to Contemplate - Editorial

Former Secretary of State James Baker has been saying that, when it comes to diplomacy, you don't "restrict your conversations to your friends" - shorthand for the view that the U.S. should engage Syria and Iran...
But Tuesday's murder of Lebanese Minister Pierre Gemayel might remind even Mr. Baker and his Iraq Study Group what some of those non-friends are all about.
(Wall Street Journal)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Kissinger: negotiation with Iran useless

Iran Despises Weakness - Henry Kissinger

So long as Iran views itself as a crusade rather than a nation, a common interest will not emerge from negotiations.
(Sunday Times-UK)

Calibrating the Centrifuge - Zvi Bar'el

Iran has [an] "advantage": a president who looks like a poet and sounds like a lunatic, whose words swell like a radioactive cloud.

His threatening rhetoric even makes one forget that he is not the one responsible for the nuclear development. Rather, it was his predecessors, Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammed Khatami, presidents who were considered moderate in the West.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Unholy Alliance

Judging a Book by Its Cover and Its Content - Abraham Foxman

[Jimmy Carter] unjustly encourages Israel-bashers around the world. The legitimizing factor of being able to quote a former president of the United States and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize cannot be overestimated. Secondly, this gives comfort to the extremists on the Palestinian side who are reinforced in their extremism by this kind of "analysis."
(New Jersey Jewish Standard)

The Wild West Bank

Palestinian Rivalry Rings Up Cost of Guns - Joshua Mitnick
"When we are happy we shoot. When we are angry we shoot. At funerals we shoot, and at weddings we shoot."
(Washington Times)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

What motivates terror?

Islamists Are Not Driven By Israel-Palestinian Problem - Daniel Finkelstein
Prime Minister Blair's thesis...that the Israel-Palestinian dispute is the core quite wrong.

[Blair] has accepted the idea that the behavior of Israel is the underlying grievance that drives Islamists... The truth is very different. The existence of so many dictatorships, kleptocracies, and violent thugs in the Middle East is what drives on the conflict, in Israel, as elsewhere. The Palestinian an effect, an outcome, not a cause.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Shia-Sunni Anti-West Alliance? "Terrifying"

Doomsday Scenario: Iran Is Training Bin Laden's Successor - Con Coughlin

According to recent reports received by Western intelligence agencies, the Iranians are training senior al-Qaeda operatives in Teheran to take over the organization when bin Laden is no longer leader. Bin Laden, 49, who is known to suffer from kidney problems that require regular dialysis, has not appeared on videotape for more than two years.

"This is an important power play by the Iranians and the prospect of al-Qaeda and Iran forging a close alliance is truly terrifying," said a senior Western intelligence official. "We are looking at a Doomsday scenario here where al-Qaeda finally fulfils its ultimate goal of acquiring weapons of mass destruction..."

Monday, November 13, 2006

For the sake of Zion?

Embrace Christian evangelical support -Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

How can a tiny nation, often hated wherever it resides, possibly survive? This has been the paramount question governing Jewish existence for two millennia.

Three solutions have traditionally been offered for the survival of the Jewish people:

*The religious solution - Jews survive only through adherence to their tradition.
*The Zionist solution - Jews can survive only with a country of their own.
*The miraculous solution - Jewish survival is a mystery, a supra-rational sign of God's providence.

For the first time in history there is a fourth and highly potent medium for Jewish survival: non-Jews.

That's right, the one group traditionally identified as the single greatest threat to our continuity is becoming one of the chief guarantors thereof. Specifically, believing Christians are taking it upon themselves to ensure the survival and prosperity of the Jewish people in general, and of Israel in particular.

[I]t is time others in the community overcame their skepticism of Christian support for Israel and accepted that while the two faith communities have substantial issues on which they will always disagree, on the most important issue, the survival of God's chosen people, we are in perfect harmony.

An inconvenient picture

Ahmadinejad - Hostage Taker? -Daniel Pipes
Soon after his election as president of of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad emerged showing him as a hostage-taker.

A new picture located by Kommersant re-opens this issue, providing new evidence that Ahmadinejad was not some backroom political type but in fact was a automatic gun-wielding hostage-taker.

[I]t brings back, especially for Americans over forty years old, the powerful and enduring humiliation of the 1979-1981 embassy takeover, with the likely consequence of hardening U.S. attitudes toward an Ahmadinejad-led government building nuclear weapons.

The machinery of international politics will likely find it too inconvenient for this unsavory history to be assimilated.
[Kommersant-Moscow daily]

Friday, November 10, 2006

Looking to Colorado

Israel Sees Shale Replacing Oil - Leah Krauss

An Israeli process for producing energy from oil shale...will serve as a guide for other countries with oil shale deposits, according to the Hom Tov company, which presented its oil shale processing method...

It would cost about $17 to produce a barrel of synthetic oil at the Hom Tov facility.
The U.S. also has a giant reserve, mostly in Colorado.

Of Pity & Aim

Murderous Strategies - Marty Peretz
I am not indifferent to the death of Palestinians. I am especially not indifferent [when] caused by Israeli fire. I do know who is indifferent to the death of Palestinians, and especially ecstatic if they are killed by Israeli fire.
Palestinians themselves.

Have pity on the Palestinians. But aim your criticism at those who think killing Jews is a solution to the Palestinian problem.
(New Republic)

Stopping Palestinian Rockets - Anshel Pfeffer
In Gaza there is no job with a lower life-expectancy than a member of a rocket team.

The IDF [has] managed to make it virtually impossible for the Palestinians to take real aim.
(Jerusalem Post)

Mubarak worries about...his own head

Mubarak Warns Against Hanging Saddam - Nadia Abou El-Magd

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak came out strongly against hanging Saddam Hussein... Analysts suggested that no matter how much Arab leaders disliked Saddam's regime, they are worried about the precedent an execution would set. (AP/Washington Post)

Pipes on election

Impact of US elections in Mideast - Daniel Pipes

In every full democracy, the legislative branch mostly enjoys power in domestic affairs, while the executive branch predominates in foreign policy. Congress has a distinctly secondary role in formulating America's role in the world. One vivid example of this: Congress has long tried to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but has never come close to succeeding.

Therefore, I expect the changes from this week's mid-term elections to have only minor impact on U.S. policy in the Middle East, including Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict.
[Jerusalem Post]

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The price of aggression

Rockets, Shells and Threats -Elliot Chodoff

The Palestinian threat to increase attacks in the wake of the Beit Hanun shelling is as hollow as the statement by Hamas leader Khaled Mash'al that this [is] the end of the cease-fire between Hamas and Israel. Pardon us, but what with all the attacks going on, we must have missed the cease-fire.

The calls for an end to the "occupation" as a prerequisite [for] a halt in terrorist attacks, make us wonder if Palestinian leaders are in touch with reality. Israel withdrew completely from Gaza in August 2005. [M]aybe the Palestinians are referring to the 'occupation' of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and other Israeli cities.

If so, we have a news flash for them: rockets, missiles and suicide attackers are not going to remove Israel.

[T]he world would do well to internalize the simple fact that the way to stop IDF fire on Gaza is this: stop the rocket fire into Israel. Aggression carries a price; they can stop paying it any time they like.
[Mideast: On Target]

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Stalemate in Gaza

Egyptian Complicity, Israeli Understanding -Yisrael Ne'eman

Israel's latest week long operation in Gaza will not succeed in curbing...Palestinian terror. The IDF's long-term success is very much dependent on Egyptian cooperation in halting the weapons smuggling...

[But] President Hosni Mubarak's government has absolutely no interest in curbing terrorism... The calculation is simple. Should the terrorists fail at arriving at the front lines in Gaza to do battle against the "Zionist enemy" they will simply turn around and report for duty to overthrow Mubarak's secular regime. The Gaza front is Egypt's pressure valve when confronting militant, totalitarian Islam. Shooting at the Jewish State takes pressure off Cairo.

Jerusalem prefers the low intensity conflict with the Palestinians - tunnels, Kassams and all, over the risk involved in closing down the entire Gaza terror operation and having it backfire into the Nile Delta. This is bad news for the residents of Sderot...those living in Kassam range are paying the price for avoiding further instability in Egypt...
[Mideast: On Target]

Slow & Steady wins the race

No Partner for an Interim Agreement - Efraim Inbar
The two largest political parties, Fatah and Hamas and their associated militias, are too weak to constitute a strategic address for Israel, and the chaotic situation in the PA is likely to continue for some time. The remaining available strategy is simply to wait until the Palestinians put their house in order, which may take a long time.

Over a decade, territorial concessions on the part of Israel and generous international financial support have had no positive impact on Palestinian society, which has degenerated into chaos. Outside intervention has little chance of overcoming the political and social dynamics within the Palestinian entity.

US official: Israel won't bomb Iran -Tovah Lazaroff
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni...said that "control of the nuclear game was in the hands of the great powers."
[Jerusalem Post]

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

"Battered Woman's Syndrome"

Hot for Martyrdom - Michael Coren

Dr. Tawfik Hamid...a medical doctor, author, and activist who once was a member of...a banned [Egyptian] terrorist organization [said]:

"Stop asking what you have done wrong. Stop it! They're slaughtering you like sheep and you still look within. You criticize your history, your institutions, your churches. Why can't you realize that it has nothing to do with what you have done but with what they want."
(National Post-Canada)

Monday, November 06, 2006

A featherless wing

Analysis: The Left and Rabin's legacy -Anshel Pfeffer

A year after [Israel voted] for the most left-wing leader in its history, Peretz is now a disgraced warlord and Labor is a willing coalition partner with Lieberman. Meretz is a fractious mini-party on the brink of extinction, and opinion polls show a significant rightward shift among the public, now at its least receptive to new peace proposals.
[Jerusalem Post]

Sunday, November 05, 2006

VideoBite: "Obsession"

A 12 minute, abridged version of the intense one hour documentary "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West" has been made available by its producers.

OK, I know what you're thinking...and you're right...12 minutes is not exactly a "soundbite." But I could not resist posting this.

You can view it at either of the links below:

Saturday, November 04, 2006

American University tolerant of Jihad?

A recent photo of University President Amy Gutman [right] at an official University of Pennsylvania Halloween Party. By her side is a Muslim engineering student who says he attended dressed as a "freedom martyr."
Blogs abuzz over Penn -Joseph A. Slobodzian
Faster than one could say gigabyte, [the photo] was picked up by Winfield Myers and re-posted on his Democracy-Project and Campus Watch Web sites.

"An obvious question: would Gutmann have posed with a guest - or even allowed him into her house - if he'd dressed as Adolf Hitler or a Nazi SS officer? A KKK member?" Myers asked in his blog posting.

"But in modern liberal circles, posing as a Palestinian suicide bomber (see his kefiya) is just fine. After all, he mainly tries to kill innocent Jews," Myers added.
[Philadelphia Inquirer]

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Rearranging of deck chairs on the Titanic

The UN and EU are irrelevant - Daniel Pipes

A focused, defiant, and determined Teheran contrasts with the muddled, feckless Russians, Arabs, Europeans and Americans. A half year ago, a concerted external effort could still have prompted effective pressure from within Iranian society to halt the nuclear program, but that possibility now appears defunct. As the powers have mumbled, shuffled and procrastinated, Iranians see their leadership effectively permitted to barrel ahead.

[T]he situation has become crude and binary: Either the US government deploys force to prevent Teheran from acquiring nukes, or Teheran acquires them.

This key decision - war or acquiescence - will take place in Washington, not in New York, Vienna or Teheran (or Tel Aviv). The critical moment will arrive when the president of the United States confronts the choice whether or not to permit the Islamic Republic of Iran to acquire the bomb. The timetable of the Iranian nuclear program being murky, that might be either George W. Bush or his successor.

It will be a remarkable moment. The US glories in the full flower of public opinion with regard to taxes, schools and property zoning. But when it comes to the fateful decision of going to war, the American apparatus of participation fades away, leaving the president on his own to make this difficult call...

Should he allow a malevolently mystical leadership to build a doomsday weapon that it might well deploy? Or should he take out Iran's nuclear infrastructure, despite the resulting economic, military and diplomatic costs.

Until the US president decides, everything amounts to a mere rearranging of deck chairs on the Titanic, acts of futility and of little relevance.
[Jerusalem Post]

America sleeping

Scenes from the Jihad - Jeff Jacoby
Radical Islam is not going away. Like Nazism and communism, it is an ideology that produces the systemic murder of innocents. Like those earlier totalitarianisms, it will go on murdering until it is crushed. Like them, it is impervious to appeasement and contemptuous of weakness. The longer Americans sleep, the farther the jihad advances.
(Boston Globe)

Lieberman [not Joe] vs. The New York Times

A New Road for Israel - Avigdor Lieberman
To the Editor:

Re “The Wrong Partner in Israel” (editorial, Oct. 25), about my party, Israel Beiteinu, which has been invited into the governing coalition:

Your editorial got it wrong.

The declared missions of Hamas and Hezbollah are eradicate all Jews from Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem, and until they achieve that goal, they will not lay down their arms. The Middle East peace process has failed miserably, and trying to breathe new life into an already defunct process is not the way to go.

Israel needs a new direction. I suggest that we redefine our goals and focus on bringing security and stability to the Middle East instead of setting our sights on an unrealistic, unattainable fantasy.

After the terror attacks of 9/11, Madrid in 2004, London in 2005..., the world knows better. Thirteen years is long enough to determine that the peace process has failed.

Avigdor Lieberman
Minister of Strategic Affairs
Jerusalem, Oct. 30, 2006

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Delusions, reality and messages from TV

Views of a Palestinian State - Cal Thomas
During a recent interview, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and I disagreed on the issue of a Palestinian state. I think the Palestinians want the state to obliterate Israel...

According to Rice, "The great majority of the [Palestinian] people just want a better life. I just don't believe mothers want their children to grow up to be suicide bombers." Then she added: "If human beings don't want a better future, don't want their children to grow up in peace and have opportunities, then none of this is going to work anyway."

Exactly right.
[T]he State Department view over several administrations [is] self-delusional.
(Washington Times)

Facing Down Ahmadinejad - Amnon Rubinstein
Israel is not only tiny - a speck on the map - but is totally unprepared for such a destructive blow. It has no shelters suitable to withstand a nuclear bombardment, and has no alternative sites to which people can retreat while awaiting clean-up of contaminated areas.
(New York Sun)

Classical Anti-Semitism from Abbas' Media - Yaakov Lappin
The media is in the hands of Mahmoud Abbas. [Current] programming
ensure[s] the conflict will continue, and "wouldn't be happening if there was any intention of bringing about peace," Marcus added. "There is no indication of any change in the long-term policy."
(Ynet News)