Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Threat Within: US jihadist killed

FBI agents take cover under a trailer during an operation outside a warehouse in Dearborn. A leader of an Islamist group was fatally shot while resisting arrest and exchanging gunfire with federal agents

FBI Kills Islamic Leader -Nick Bunkley

FBI agents fatally shot Luqman Ameen Abdullah, 53, described as the leader of a violent Sunni Muslim separatist group.

Abdullah, whom the agents were trying to arrest in Dearborn on charges that included illegal possession and sale of firearms and conspiracy to sell stolen goods, refused to surrender and began firing at them from a warehouse.

Abdullah trained his followers in the use of firearms, martial arts and sword fighting, and directed them to conduct an "offensive jihad" against the U.S. government.
(New York Times)

Clinton receives warm welcome in Pakistan

An attack in a marketplace in Pakistan killed and injured mostly women and children

Clinton Arrival in Pakistan Met by Fatal Attacks -Mark Landler & Ismail Khan

Militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan punctuated Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's arrival here with deadly attacks, underscoring their ability to cause chaos even in the face of offensives on both sides of the border.

In Pakistan, a devastating car bomb tore through a congested market in the northwest city of Peshawar, killing as many as 101 people, many of them women and children. Pakistani authorities said the attack was the country's most serious in two years, and the deadliest ever in Peshawar, which has become a front line for Taliban efforts to destabilize the government through violence.

In the Afghan capital, Kabul, Taliban militants stormed a guesthouse, killing five United Nations employees and three other people in a furious two-hour siege. The attack was meant to scare Afghans away from voting in a runoff election on Nov. 7.

The violence cast a shadow over the visit of Mrs. Clinton.
[New York Times]

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Clinton finally presses Palestinians

Hillary Clinton preparing for her meeting with Abbas?

Clinton Tries to Persuade Abbas to Negotiate with Israel -Avi Issacharoff

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will arrive for a visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority during which she will attempt to persuade PA leader Mahmoud Abbas to reopen negotiations with Israel on a final peace agreement. Clinton will ask Abbas to restart the negotiations with Israel without a complete freeze of construction in the settlements.

Deadlock on Restarting Israeli-Palestinian Talks -Barry Rubin

What both the U.S. and Europe fail to see is that the Palestinians don't need or want rapid progress on negotiations or even a state. They believe that intransigence on their part actually brings more criticism of Israel.

If you believe that the world is about to condemn Israel as a pariah, war criminal state, why make compromises with it?
(Jerusalem Post)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Palestinian Authority & Hamas keep tension high on Temple Mount, hoping for new Intifada

Abbas Aide Among Rioters Arrested on Temple Mount -Liel Kyzer

Some 100 Arabs hurled stones and firebombs at Israeli police on the Temple Mount, wounding three policemen, after Muslim leaders urged Arabs to defend Jerusalem against "Jewish conquest."

During the clashes, police arrested Mahmoud Abbas' adviser on Jerusalem affairs, Hatam Abd al-Qadir [pictured above].
(Ha'aretz/Ynet News)

Hamas: "Jerusalem's Fate Will Be Decided by War" -Jack Khoury

Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal declared that "Jerusalem's fate will be decided with jihad (holy war) and resistance, and not negotiations."

Israel Police Commissioner David Cohen said the leaders responsible for inciting the riots were on location at the Temple Mount, provoking the rioters. Cohen added that Israel's policy is to keep the Temple Mount open to both Jewish and Muslim visitors "today and on every other day."

Netanyahu: UN Gives Terrorists New Weapon -Lally Weymouth

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said:

There has yet to be a Palestinian leader who actually turns to his people and says - it's over....We recognize that Israel is the Jewish state just as we ask the Israelis to recognize the Palestinian state.

The Arabs fought wars and terror campaigns in the 1920s, '30s and '40s against any Jewish state, and then they rejected the [United Nations] partition.

Our presence in the territories is not the cause of the conflict but one of its results....[t]he cause is the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize the Jewish state at any point.
(Washington Post)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Chinese Jews arrive in Israel

Chinese Jewish Descendants Start a New Life in Israel

Seven young Chinese men wearing kippot arrived in Israel via Uzbekistan to make aliya, descendants of the Jewish community of Kaifeng.

At its peak during the Middle Ages, Kaifeng Jewry numbered about 5,000, and the community lasted until the middle of the 19th century.

Hundreds of people in Kaifeng still cling to their identity as descendants of the city's Jewish community and, in recent years, a growing number have begun to express an interest in studying Jewish history and culture.
(Jerusalem Post)

Iran Double-Crosses Obama

Iranian Lawmaker Dismisses Deal -Robert F. Worth

Mohammad Reza Bahonar [pictured above], the deputy speaker of Iran's Parliament, appeared to reject a plan to have Iran ship its uranium abroad for processing. Bahonar said the terms of the deal were "not acceptable," the official news agency IRNA reported.
(New York Times)

Is Tehran Toying with the World - Again? -Peter Grier

Is Tehran just yanking our chain?
(Christian Science Monitor)

Iran Talks Finish Amid Doubts on Uranium Deal -James Blitz

Western diplomats expressed serious doubts that Tehran would sign up to an agreement to reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium.

One European official said: "The last two days in Vienna have been something of a reality check for Obama's officials on just how difficult and intransigent Iran really is."
(Financial Times-UK)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

VideoBite: UN trashed by HonestReporting

HonestReporting takes on the United Nations

UN Council's Anti-Israel Agenda -Adam Raskin

The UN Human Rights Council has become a shill for the international delegitimizing of a single nation: Israel.

Since its inception three years ago, 80% of the business of the Human Rights Council has involved the censure of Israel. For a country with a democratically elected government that enshrines freedom of speech and religion, protects the rights of women, gays and lesbians and minorities - a country that has 80 human rights organizations of its own - all this attention seems a bit strange.
(Dallas Morning News)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Novel tackles Iran

Serendipity -John Clayton

[T]here's a little thing in the publishing business called serendipity, and it comes into play when you write a novel and your fictional premise suddenly becomes a shocking truth, a truth that results in global outrage, banner headlines and round-the-clock cable news coverage.

That's what's happening to [author] Joe Smiga. [T]he central storyline in "Behind the Lies," [is that] Iran has nukes [and] Hamas, Hezbollah and renegade Ayatollahs control Kilo-class submarines. Joe has scripted a cliff-hanger.

Talk about lucky timing.

"[T]he fact that my book has a black President who's in his first term in the book strikes a chord with readers," Joe said.
[Union Leader]

Friday, October 16, 2009

VideoBite: Turkish TV spreads hate of Israel

The video above is the shortest I could find of this anti-Israel propaganda brought to you by a country that has formally been seen as Israel's ally.

Turkish TV Portrays IDF Soldiers as Murderers -Barak Ravid

[Israel's] Foreign Minister instructed the Foreign Ministry to protest to Turkey a new television drama airing on [a Turkish] state-sponsored television channel that depicts Israel Defense Forces soldiers as brutal murderers.

The show depicts multiple images of the IDF brutalizing the Palestinian population in Gaza by shooting children, kicking elderly people on the ground, and lining up Palestinians to be shot by a firing squad.

Israeli soldiers can be seen shooting a smiling young girl in the chest [and] steamrolling a tank through a crowded street.

Jacoby: Obama's failure is predictable in the MidEast

Peace vs. the 'peace process' -Jeff Jacoby

Obama was right when he said there had been no progress toward Arab-Israeli peace under Bush. Nor had there been any under Clinton. Nor will there be any under Obama.

Why? Because the "peace process" to which all of them, their sharp differences notwithstanding, have been so committed, is not a formula for ending the decades-long war in the Holy Land, but for prolonging it.

Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat shake hands at the White House in September 1993, launching the Oslo "peace process." What resulted was not peace but an intensified war.

Arafat called [then President Bill] Clinton in January 2001 to tell him what a great man he was, Clinton was bitter. "I am not a great man," he told Arafat. "I am a failure, and you have made me one."

Diplomacy cannot settle the Arab-Israeli conflict until the Palestinians abandon their anti-Israel rejectionism. US policy should be focused on getting them to abandon it. The Palestinians must be put on notice that benefits will flow to them only after they prove their acceptance of Israel.

Until then -- no diplomacy, no discussion of final status, no recognition as a state, and certainly no financial aid or weapons."
[The Boston Globe]

Osama's cash flow problem

Al-Qaeda "Faces Funding Crisis"

Al-Qaeda is in its worst financial state for many years and has made several appeals for funds already this year, according to senior U.S. Treasury official David Cohen.

"We assess that al-Qaeda is in its weakest financial condition in several years and that, as a result, its influence is waning," Cohen said in Washington.

He also noted a trend in militant organizations turning to criminal activities to finance themselves. Hizbullah, he alleged, is involved in making and selling illegal copies of music and computer software, as well as cigarette smuggling.
(BBC News)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Obsessive Compulsive Israel Disorder

This short clip suggests the world's obsessive focus on the Arab-Israeli conflict, ignores other vital global problems

Conclusions about Israel's Guilt in Gaza -Zion Evrony

The Goldstone mission was mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, which has passed 20 resolutions censuring Israel in the three years since its founding, out of a total of 25 resolutions passed by the Council.

Yet the Council, which includes paragons of human rights values such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Cuba, currently has nothing to say about the 400,000 deaths in Darfur for which Sudan is responsible, or the 1,000,000 displaced civilians in Somalia.
(Irish Independent)

Obama and the Internet: the dangers of giving up control of ICANN

Surrendering the Superhighway –Seth Mandel

We owe a debt of gratitude to Bangladeshi dissident Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury [pictured right], and many other[s], who have been able to, despite attempts to silence them, make important information public at great personal risk -- often using the Internet as their only line of communication with the outside world.

One way the United States has aided journalists like Choudhury in the past has been by simply retaining control over the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the nonprofit body that oversees and regulates Internet domain name registration, ensuring such voices weren't denied access to the World Wide Web.

The U.S. Commerce Department had control over ICANN and held veto power on its decisions to award domain names, but stayed away from any real involvement. America's veto power prevented despotic regimes and Islamic overlords from trying to prevent organizations they didn't like from registering domain names.

[T]he Internet flourished under America's watch, and the free flow of information enabled people like Choudhury to reach millions. It also prevented the world from taking punitive action against Israel, since the U.S. would never allow, for example, Israel to be stripped of its national Internet domain address (.il).

Until now.

"ICANN had previously been operating under the auspices of the American government, which had control of the [Internet] thanks to its initial role in developing the underlying technologies used for connecting computers together," explained the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper, in a story titled "U.S. relinquishes control of the Internet".

America had control until Sept. 30, when the Obama administration announced it was ceding that control to a more "international" forum. How, then, will decisions be made going forward? Who will have control, and how will it all function?

The Guardian adds:
"[This] will give other countries a more prominent role in determining what takes place online, and even the way in which it happens -- opening the door for a virtual United Nations, where many officials gather to discuss potential changes to the Internet."

Unfortunately, you know just how a "virtual United Nations" would rule. [W]e've surrendered the [internet to] the World Wide Web version of the United Nations.

We know what what the internationalization of the Internet means. It means the Choudhury’s of the world will be far less of a threat to their regimes. After all, in the last couple of years Russia has led "cyber-attacks" against its enemies in Georgia and Estonia, two post-Soviet democracies. Now it won't have to go through all that trouble.

The ICANN decision means the enemies of freedom can far more acutely silence the voices of opposition. But it also means [that dissidents who] don't have the free speech rights Americans enjoy, [will no longer have] America’s protect[ion].

A "virtual United Nations" is a nightmare.
[The Jewish State]

Sunday, October 11, 2009

PA rachets up rhetoric: compares Jews praying on Temple Mount to bombing; decries sharing Cave of the Patriarchs

Hebron's Cave of the Patriarchs, has separate Muslim & Jewish prayer spaces

Jews Praying on Mount is Like 'Suicide Bombing'

Mohammed Dahlan [pictured right], a top Palestinian Authority official, told Israel Radio that Israel was aggravating the situation by sending Jewish worshippers to pray on the Temple Mount. According to Dahlan, Israel's purpose is to "split" the Temple Mount into Jewish and Muslim areas, much as the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron is shared by worshippers.

Dahlan said that Jewish worshippers on the Temple Mount were, as far as the Arabs were concerned, a tragedy as terrible as a suicide bombing was for Jews.
[Note: Since Israeli law already forbids non-Muslim prayer on the Temple Mount, the PA seems to consider non-Muslims visiting as a provocation.]


Will anyone challenge Palestinian Sheikh on racism?

Israel soldier of Ethiopian background

Violence Began with Attack on French Tourists -Avi Issacharoff

Sheikh Kamal Khatib of the Islamic Movement explained in an interview with Army Radio that he finds it unacceptable that "an [Israeli] Ethiopian policeman, a Negro, would ask a Muslim for his identity card" at the entrance to the Temple Mount compound.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Assessing Abbas: Will the PA fall?

Abbas Facing Leadership Crisis -Richard Boudreaux

Hounded by his moderate supporters and militant rivals alike, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas [pictured] is facing a leadership crisis that will make it harder for the Obama administration to draw him into peace talks with Israel.

He made two concessions that ignited fury at home and across the Arab world: First he joined President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for a meeting in New York last month to explore prospects for formal talks. Then last week he agreed, under American pressure, to postpone the Palestinians' demand for a UN Security Council debate on a UN report accusing Israel of war crimes in Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has for months offered to resume talks.
(Los Angeles Times)

Abbas Tries to Rally Support -Khaled Abu Toameh

In response to a fierce protest campaign against Mahmoud Abbas over his decision not to press Israel over the Goldstone report on Gaza, the PA has begun organizing demonstrations in support of Abbas in different parts of the West Bank.

PA civil servants and schoolchildren have been ordered to take to the streets and demonstrate in favor of Abbas, eyewitnesses said. They said senior PA officials had threatened that anyone who refused to participate would be dismissed from their job.

About 40 Palestinian organizations have launched a campaign aimed at pressuring Abbas to resign.
(Jerusalem Post)

Palestinian Reconciliation Pact on Hold -Nidal al-Mughrabi

A crowd in Gaza threw shoes at a defaced portrait of Mahmoud Abbas and called him a traitor.

Hamas, by contrast, is enjoying a wave of popularity for securing the release of 20 female prisoners from Israel last week in return for a video showing that the Israeli soldier it has held captive for three years is alive and well.

No Breakthrough Expected -Haviv Rettig Gur

According to one senior Israeli official, it is unclear whether PA leader Mahmoud Abbas is politically able to conduct meaningful negotiations.
(Jerusalem Post)

Lieberman: Only Interim Peace Deal Possible

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman [pictured] said he would tell visiting U.S. envoy George Mitchell that there was no chance of reaching a comprehensive peace deal with the Palestinians for many years.

"I will tell him clearly, there are many conflicts in the world that haven't reached a comprehensive solution and people learned to live with it," Lieberman told Israel Radio.

"Whoever says that it's possible to reach in the coming years a comprehensive agreement that means the end of conflict, simply doesn't understand the reality," Lieberman said. "He's spreading illusions and in the end brings disappointment and drags us into comprehensive confrontation."
(Reuters-New York Times)

Disraeli echos thru time

Jerusalem United -Malcolm Hedding

Benjamin Disraeli [pictured], the prime minister of the United Kingdom at the turn of the 20th century, told detractors who heckled him as a Jew when he rose to speak in parliament: "My people were kings in Jerusalem while you were still scratching around in the fields for mushrooms."

The point is, Jerusalem was the capital of Israel long before Berlin or New York even existed. The city has been the capital of only one people, and that is the Jewish people.

When the Ottoman Turks conquered the region and reigned over it for 400 years, they never treated the city as anything more than a backwater provincial town. How strange it is then that the world believes that the ancient biblical city should not be Jewish.

The Jews have more claim to Jerusalem than the French have to Paris or the Germans to Berlin or the British to London.
The writer is executive director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.
(Jerusalem Post)


Battleground-Egypt: Islam battles itself over covering women

Egypt's Lurch Toward Fundamentalism -Samer al-Atrush

Most Muslim women in Egypt wear the hijab, which covers the hair, but the niqab [pictured], which covers the entire face, is becoming more popular on the streets of Cairo, a trend that worries the government as it battles a lurch toward fundamentalism.

Mohammed Tantawi, head of the Islamic Al-Azhar University and the country's top religious authority, said he intends to ban the niqab at the university.

The Ministry of Religious Endowments has distributed booklets explaining that wearing a niqab is un-Islamic. The majority of mainstream Muslim scholars say the niqab is unnecessary. It is commonly associated with followers of Salafism, an ultra-conservative school of thought mostly practiced in Saudi Arabia.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Who's laughing?

Chavez Jokes About Helping Iran Build a Nuclear Bomb -Guy Adams

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez [pictured] used a televised Cabinet meeting to crack jokes about helping Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to develop weapons of mass destruction.

Welcoming his minister for mining to the meeting, Chavez cheerfully inquired: "How's the uranium for Iran? For the atomic bomb?"

Inside the room, the remark drew giggles.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Temple Mount reflection

Temple Mount Is Key to Peace -Marvin Hier & Abraham Cooper

Generations of Palestinians have been taught not to believe there ever was a Solomon's Temple. Textbooks and Palestinian media all repeat the self-delusionary canard denying any historic Jewish continuity or legitimacy in the Holy Land.

President Bill Clinton was reportedly shocked when Arafat called the Western Wall "a Muslim shrine" and the Palestinian leader's chief negotiator at the Camp David peace talks denied the ruins of Solomon's temple lay beneath the Dome of the Rock.

The current violence and rabble-rousing by the Palestinians won't make it any easier for President Obama, but the first thing he must do is admonish the Palestinian leadership to stop denying the legitimacy of the Jewish people.

[E]arlier this week, in the midst of the Jewish High Holy Days, French tourists on the Temple Mount were pelted by irate Palestinian worshipers who "mistook" them for Jews. And the stones, and orchestrated crescendo of violence have continued unabated. During this seemingly annual exercise, has any diplomat, foreign minister, religious icon, or political pundit asked himself, or better yet the Palestinians, one simple question - why? Why can we all pray in peace at the Western Wall, but the very notion of a Jew praying on the site of Solomon's Temple begets only violence, denial and threats?

There can be no peace in the Holy Land without the Arab and Muslim world acknowledging what their Holy Book and ancestors recognized as the historic link of the Jewish people to its land and its holy sites. Unless and until that happens, there will be no peace in our time.
Marvin Hier is the founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, where Abraham Cooper is the associate dean.
(Jerusalem Post)


Thousand of Christians march for Israel

Thousands of Christians March in Jerusalem for Israel -Patrick Moser

Thousands of Christian pilgrims from around the world marched through the streets of Jerusalem, chanting their support for Israel and praying for peace in the Holy Land.

Marching under dozens of national banners, the pilgrims made their way from a park near parliament to the gates of the Old City. Many said the annual pilgrimage, organized by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, represented fulfillment of a biblical prophecy that all nations would gather in Jerusalem for Sukkot - the Feast of Tabernacles - which Jews celebrate this week.

Will Obama allow Iran to go Nuclear on his watch?

61 Percent in U.S. Back Attack to Prevent Iran Nukes -Janine Zacharia

61% of Americans would support a military strike to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, a Pew Research Center survey found.

64% said direct U.S. negotiations with Iran won't succeed. While 78% would approve tougher economic sanctions on Iran, 56% said they didn't expect the measures to persuade Iran to drop its nuclear program.

Is the U.S. Preparing to Bomb Iran? -Jonathan Karl

Is the U.S. stepping up preparations for a possible attack on Iran's nuclear facilities? Based on a little-noticed funding request recently sent to Congress, the answer appears to be yes.

The Pentagon is shifting spending from other programs to fast forward the development and procurement of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, a 30,000-pound bomb designed to hit targets buried 200 feet below ground.
(ABC News)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Did Nixon save Israel in 1973?

President Nixon [left] with Henry Kissinger

Richard Nixon Saved Israel—but Got No Credit -Jason Maoz

Precise details of what transpired on October 6, 1973 in Washington during the first week of the Yom Kippur War, are hard to come by...

What is clear is that President Richard Nixon — overriding inter-administration objections and bureaucratic inertia — implemented a breathtaking transfer of arms, that over a four-week period involved hundreds of jumbo U.S. military aircraft delivering more than 22,000 tons of armaments.

“It was Nixon who did it,” recalled Nixon’s acting special counsel, Leonard Garment. “I was there. Nixon said, [to] Kissinger, “Get your ass out of here and tell those people to move.”

Later, informed of yet another delay — this one because of disagreements in the Pentagon over the type of planes to be used for the airlift — an incensed Nixon shouted at Kissinger, “[Expletive] it, use every one we have. Tell them to send everything that can fly.”

Some revisionists have taken to claiming Nixon's actions on behalf of Israel were prompted by Golda Meir, who supposedly threatened to go public with all manner of juicy political and personal information she had on the president. Another commonly cited blackmail scenario, popularized by the play Golda's Balcony, has Meir putting the squeeze on Nixon by threatening to use nuclear weapons.

Nixon biographer Stephen E. Ambrose wrote:

"Those were momentous events in world history. Had Nixon not acted so decisively, who can say what would have happened? The Arabs might have even destroyed Israel. But there is no doubt that Nixon . . . made it possible for Israel to win. He knew that his enemies . . . would never give him credit for saving Israel. He did it anyway."
[Hat tip: MichaelW]

Iranian chessmanship

Iran Holds Up Inspectors' Visit -James Blitz & Daniel Dombey

Britain expressed irritation that the International Atomic Energy Agency was being forced to wait three weeks before being given access to Iran's hitherto secret enrichment plant, amid fears that the delay could allow Tehran to cover up possible evidence of military links to its nuclear program.
(Financial Times-UK)

Iran's Brilliant Chessmanship -Kaveh L. Afrasiabi

On the surface, President Obama seized on the disclosure about a second uranium-enrichment plant in Qom to mount new pressure on Iran.

Yet the disclosure about the "hidden site" provides leverage for Iran. It shows that it is now harder for the military option to achieve its objectives and that Iran can just as easily construct multiple similar sites.

Tehran relishes the fact that it has upstaged its rival diplomatically through a brilliant move that has advanced its chess pieces in the pretalk game.
The writer is a former adviser to Iran's nuclear negotiation team
(Washington Times)

Israel Innovation: Traffic generates electricity

Traffic, a new source of electricity

Israeli Scientists Generate Electricity from Road Traffic -Shira Horesh

Israeli scientists have achieved a breakthrough in alternative energy by generating electricity from road traffic, using technology developed by Innowwattech Ltd.

In a test along a ten-meter stretch of road, generators for "parasitic energy harvesting" were installed beneath the asphalt layer.

Dr. Lucy Edery-Azulay said: "The technology is based on piezoelectric materials, which convert mechanical energy generated from a vehicle's weight into electricity. Drivers feel no change in the road. Regular vehicle traffic can generate 2,000 watts per hour. The electricity is accumulated in batteries placed along the side of the road."

Monday, October 05, 2009

Point-CounterPoint: Is optimism warranted on Iran deal?

U.S. Wonders If Iran Is Playing for Time -Helene Cooper

If Iran has really agreed to send most of its openly declared enriched uranium out of the country to be turned into fuel, that is a significant concession, experts said.

The problem is that no one is certain that the Iranian government will actually do what Western officials say that it has now agreed to do.

In fact, after the talks in Geneva, Iranian officials did not sound as if they thought they had promised anything. "No, no!" said Mehdi Saffare, Iran's ambassador to Britain and a member of the Iranian delegation to the negotiations. The idea of sending Iran's enriched uranium out of the county had "not been discussed yet."
(New York Times)

Iran's Big Victory in Geneva -John Bolton

The most widely touted outcome of last week's Geneva talks with Iran was the "agreement in principle" to send approximately one nuclear-weapon's worth of Iran's low-enriched uranium (LEU) to Russia for enrichment.

Diplomacy's three slipperiest words are "agreement in principle."

An Iranian official said the Geneva deal "is just based on principles. We have not agreed on any amount or any numbers." Bargaining over the deal's specifics could stretch out indefinitely.

The "agreement" also undercuts Security Council resolutions forbidding Iranian uranium enrichment. Moreover, we have no idea whether its declared LEU constitutes anything near its entire stockpile.
(Wall Street Journal)

Will Iran Simply Further Enrich Nuclear Fuel? -Michael Rubin

While Iranian authorities pledged to ship uranium to Russia for further enrichment, the West has no guarantee that Iranian scientists will not simply enrich the fuel further when it is repatriated to Iran.
(National Review)

The Coming Failure on Iran -Jackson Diehl

The Obama administration's positive tone following its first diplomatic encounter with Iran covers a deep and growing gloom in Washington and European capitals.

None of the steps the West is considering to stop the Iranian nuclear program is likely to work. The headlines obscure the fact that Tehran's negotiator in Geneva declined to respond to the central Western demand: that Iran freeze its uranium enrichment work. Iran has rejected that idea repeatedly.
(Washington Post)

Did the Palestinian Authority plan riots for Jewish Holidays?

Palestinians throw stones, after Israel closed the Temple Mount to those under 50 years old. Clashes with police were minimized by the restrictions.

Police believe extensive rioting was planned for atop the Temple Mount to disrupt Jewish holiday rituals at the Western Wall below. In the past stones have been hurled from the Mount to Jewish worshipers below.

PA Waging War over Temple Mount -Barak Ravid & Liel Kyzer

[T]he Palestinian Authority has begun a new diplomatic campaign against Israel over what it terms "provocations" on the Temple Mount.

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told foreign ambassadors last [week] that the clashes on the eve of Yom Kippur were "an assault by extremist religious settlers on the Temple Mount compound." Yet [a]ccording to Israeli officials, a group of French tourists - most of them Christians - came to the mount for a previously arranged tour, and hundreds of Palestinians began hurling stones at them.

Nevertheless, Fayyad's plea drew a swift response from the U.S. and many EU countries, all of which demanded explanations from Israeli officials.

PA calls on Palestinians to confront Israel on Temple Mount -Abe Selig

The Palestinian Authority condemned Jerusalem's decision to restrict entrance to the Aqsa Mosque compound, calling on Palestinians to confront Israel in light of the "Israeli aggression." The PA government publicly decried "Israel's attempts to conduct Jewish prayer services in the Aqsa compound" and urged the world "to force Israel to halt is efforts to Jewify the city."

Jerusalem police explained their decision to allow only worshipers over the age of 50 into the Temple Mount, revealing that wheelbarrows filled with rocks had been discovered throughout the Aqsa Mosque compound on Sunday. Palestinians had filled the wheelbarrows with stones and bricks in preparation for riots in the Old City, police assessed.

The discovery of the wheelbarrows, in addition to intelligence information and the call on Palestinians to "come and defend" Al-Aqsa, led the police to restrict entrance to the Temple Mount.

Large forces of police and border police patrolled the city as thousands of Jewish worshipers flocked to the Western Wall Plaza for the [Sukkot] Priestly Blessing, which went ahead without incident.
[Jerusalem Post]
[Wheelbarrow is a file photo]


Friday, October 02, 2009

A change in Israel's military strategy coming?

The Goldstone Factor -Yossi Klein Halevi

In the decades following the Six-Day War, Israeli policy, upheld by successive Labor and Likud governments, was to deny terrorists a foothold along any Israeli border. [But] Israel's two unilateral withdrawals - from Lebanon in 2000 and Gaza in 2005 - both resulted in the creation of terror enclaves on its borders.

In both the 2006 operation against Hizbullah in Lebanon and this year's operation against Hamas in Gaza, Israel opted not to uproot the terrorist enclaves, hoping that the partial flexing of Israeli power would deter further aggression.

The Goldstone report may well mark the end of Israel's limited wars against terrorist groups. Israel cannot afford to continue to be drawn into mini-wars against terrorists hiding behind their own civilians to attack Israeli civilians, given that each such conflict inexorably draws the Jewish state one step closer toward pariah status. Limited victories on the battlefield are being turned into major defeats in the arena of world opinion.

That untenable situation may leave Israel no choice but to return to the policy of preventing altogether the presence of terror enclaves on its borders. Better, Israelis will argue, to deal decisively with the terror threat and brace for temporary international outrage than subject our legitimacy to constant attrition.
(New Republic)

Fascism dances with Islam in Gaza

The Islamic Republic of Gaza -Jonathan Spyer

Reliable sources confirm the growing dominance of Islam in Gaza.

A new "Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice" security force, has been tasked with enforcing Islamic codes of behavior. Its members patrol beaches, parks and public areas, ensuring proper Islamic modesty.

One man wearing shorts while sitting on his own balcony in southern Gaza was advised that this must not happen again. Rules ban men from bathing topless, and women from laughing or smiling while bathing.

A special all-female unit within the police has been created to enforce female modesty.

Every mosque now has an individual who functions as a kind of political commissar on behalf of the authorities. His task is to observe the prayer habits of all members of the mosque, and to intervene and offer help where insufficient devotion is diagnosed.
(Jerusalem Post)

Iran succeeds in stalling sanctions

Iran, Major Powers Reach Agreement -Glenn Kessler

The U.S. and Iran reached an agreement that would greatly reduce Iran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium. The sudden show of cooperation by Tehran reduces for now the threat of additional sanctions.

The ultimate U.S. goal is suspension of Iran's uranium-enrichment activities - and Tehran insists that it will never take that step.
(Washington Post)

Geneva Talks Rehabilitate Iran Regime -Editorial

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency won't find anything incriminating at the Qom facility. Having lied about it for years, the Iranians now have plenty of time to clean the place out. A freeze on enrichment used to be the U.S. precondition for talks with Iran. Now the U.S. and Europeans say that in exchange merely for a promise to send low-enriched uranium outside Iran for enrichment, they'll freeze any additional sanctions. Iran has timed its olive branch well.

The Europeans are more frustrated with past Iranian stalling than is Washington and have started to hanker for tougher measures. Those demands will now be muted.

Expect Iran to follow the North Korean model, stringing the West along, lying and wheedling, striking deals only to renege and start over. In the end, North Korea tested a nuclear device.

This supposed fresh start in Geneva only gives Ahmadinejad and Iran's mullahs new legitimacy.
(Wall Street Journal)

Tehran's Worst Fear Is a Human Rights Campaign -Anne Applebaum

What if President Obama held up a photograph of Neda, the young girl murdered by Iranian authorities, at his next press conference? What if he did that at every press conference?

I bet that would unnerve President Ahmadinejad and even the supreme leader far more than [sanctions, like] the loss of some German machine tool imports or Dutch tomatoes.

No Doubt about Iran's Nuclear Intentions -Shaul Rosenfeld

Any logical person would realize that no state that is home to giant oil and gas reserves, would be willing to pay intolerable economic, social, and diplomatic prices in order to acquire nuclear energy only for civilian needs.
(Ynet News)

Iran Has Bought Itself Time -Catherine Philp

Tehran's claims that the Qom plant was its only hidden site are hard to prove. The heat is off Iran for now - but it will not stay that way forever.

NewsFLASH: Hamas releases Gilad Shalit video

In Hamas video, captive Israeli says he is well -Amy Teibel

In the first glimpse of him since his capture more than three years ago, a thin but healthy-looking Israeli soldier said in a video that he is being treated well by his Palestinian captors.

Israel received the two-minute video of Sgt. Gilad Schalit from Hamas after it released 19 female Palestinian prisoners.

The images of Schalit were the first to be released since his capture 3 1/2 years ago by Hamas-linked militants in the Gaza Strip. Dressed in olive drab military fatigues, Schalit sat in a chair in front of a bare wall reading a prepared statement tucked behind an Arabic-language newspaper, displayed to show the date, Sept. 14.

At one point, he rose from the chair and walked toward the camera and back, apparently to demonstrate he could stand on his own. He smiled several times during the video.

Speaking lucidly and reading clearly in Hebrew, he sent his love to his parents [and] recalled in detail a 2005 visit his family paid to his military base...
[Associated Press]

Female Prisoners Released in Exchange for Shalit Video -Ali Waked

19 female Palestinian security prisoners were released in exchange for a two-minute videotape of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in a deal brokered between Israel and Hamas.

The prisoners were received with victory songs played over a loudspeaker system. Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is to greet the released prisoners at his office in Ramallah. 14 of the released prisoners had been convicted of attempted murder.
(Ynet News)
[Hat Tip: LarryH]


Thursday, October 01, 2009

Honor Killings: UK makes policy moves

Sarah & Amina Said at a happier time.
Their father is still at large

Getting Serious About Honor Violence -David J. Rusin

For the first time, [British] law enforcement officials have been issued specific guidelines for investigating honor-based violence and protecting those at risk.

Recent news items from across the West underscore the need for an effective strategy:

UK (July): A Danish-born Muslim man suffered stab wounds, was beaten with bricks, and had acid poured down his throat "for having a relationship with a married woman."

Canada (July): Muslim parents, along with their son, were charged with premeditated murder after their three teenage daughters and the father's first wife were discovered dead in a submerged car. The girls' Westernization has been suggested as a motive.

Germany (August): A Muslim asylum seeker was found guilty of brutally killing his German-born wife because, in the words of the prosecutor, she was "too independent."

Canada (September): A judge ordered a Muslim father and son to stand trial next year for the 2007 strangulation murder of sixteen-year-old Aqsa Parvez, who had defied her father's demand that she wear the hijab.

Italy (September): A Moroccan confessed to stabbing his daughter to death for "dishonoring the family," based on her relationship with a non-Muslim man.

United States (September): The mother of Sarah and Amina Said [pictured above] finally described their January 1, 2008, shooting deaths as an "honor killing" carried out by their Muslim father.

[O]ther countries should follow the UK's lead. Innocent lives hang in the balance.
[Islamist Watch]

VideoBite: Chilling spot on Iran

A 30 second spot on the Iranian threat to Israel

American Jews get hawkish on Iran

Survey: American Jews support military action against Iran

According to the 2009 AJC Survey of American Jewish Opinion, 56% support and 36% oppose U.S. military action against Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. A year ago, the AJC survey found that 42% supported and 47% opposed such action.

94% of American Jews agree that the Palestinians should be "required to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in a final peace agreement." 75% agree that "the goal of the Arabs is not the return of occupied territories but rather the destruction of Israel."
(American Jewish Committee)

Regime change for Iran?

Few Choices Left on Iran -Eliot A. Cohen

Only the terminally innocent should have been surprised to learn that Iran has at least one other covert site whose only purpose could be the production of highly enriched uranium for atom bombs.

Pressure, be it gentle or severe, will not erase Iran's nuclear program. A large sanctions effort against Iran has been underway for some time. It has not worked to curb Tehran's nuclear appetite, and it will not.

It is in the American interest to actively seek the overthrow of the Islamic Republic. Not by invasion, which this administration would not contemplate, but through every instrument of U.S. power, soft more than hard.
(Wall Street Journal)

Target Iran's Weakening Regime -Robert Kagan

Sanctions will not persuade the present Iranian government to give up its nuclear weapons program.

But the right kinds of sanctions could help the Iranian opposition topple its vulnerable rulers. The Iranian government's behavior during and after the election has opened an irreparable breach between the regime and large elements of Iranian society, and even within the clerical ranks. The notion that the Iranian opposition will suddenly rally around Ahmadinejad and Khamenei if the West imposes sanctions is absurd. The opposition leadership is engaged in a struggle to the death with the regime. When sanctions begin to cause hardships, the opposition will press its case that the regime is leading Iran to ruin.

That is the case for moving ahead with crippling sanctions as soon as possible and not waiting months for Iran's leaders to drag out talks.
(Washington Post)