Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Embraceing Hamas...Indirectly; Hamas Hides Behind Fatah

Hamas and the Washington establishment -Caroline Glick

After Hamas won the Palestinian elections in January 2006, Turkey was the first country to invite Hamas's terror master Khaled Mashal to Ankara. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's move provoked criticism from the Bush administration. But Erdogan just shrugged it off. And he was right to do so. By 2006, then secretary of state Condoleezza Rice had come to view Erdogan as the US's indispensable ally in the Muslim world. As she saw it, he was proof that Islamist parties could be democratic and moderate.

The fact that Erdogan embraced Hamas could not get in the way of Rice's optimistic assessment. So, too, the fact that Erdogan embarked on a systematic campaign to stifle press freedom, curb judicial independence and imprison his political critics in the media and the military could not move Rice from her view that Erdogan personified her belief that moderate jihadists exist and ought to be embraced by the US.

Rice's starry-eyed view of Erdogan set the stage of US President Barack Obama's even stronger embrace of the increasingly tyrannical Turkish Islamist. Since Obama took office, not only has Ankara stepped up its support of Hamas, and ended even the pretense of a continued strategic alliance with Israel that it maintained during the Bush years. Turkey began serving as Iran's chief diplomatic protector while vastly expanding its own strategic and economic ties with Tehran.

In the face of Turkey's openly anti-American behavior and actions, Obama clings to Erdogan even more strongly than Rice did. Obama reportedly views Erdogan as his most trusted foreign adviser. According to the media, Obama speaks with Erdogan more often than he speaks to any other foreign leader. In a recent interview with Time magazine, Obama listed Erdogan as one of the key foreign leaders with whom he has formed a friendship based on trust.

Over the past few weeks, Turkey has emerged as Hamas's largest financier. During an official visit in Turkey, Hamas's terror master in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh received a hero's welcome. Erdogan pledged to finance the jihadist movement to the tune of $300 million per year.

To understand how Washington acts as Hamas's protector, it is necessary to consider the nature of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.

Since its inception in 1993, the peace process has been predicated on Israeli concessions to the Palestinians. To the extent that Israel makes concessions, the peace process is seen as advancing. To the extent that Israel fails to make concessions, the peace process is seen as collapsing. True, at certain times, the Bush administration blamed the Palestinians for the failure of the peace process, but the blame owed to the fact that Palestinian terrorism made Israel less amenable to concession making.

Palestinian terrorism was not in and of itself blamed for the demise of the peace process. Rather it was perceived as the means through which Israel avoided making more concessions. And at certain times, the US supported Israel's avoidance of concession making.

Since Israeli concessions to the Palestinians are the only tangible component of the peace process, the US, as the chief sponsor of the peace process, requires the Palestinian Authority — run by Fatah — to be accepted as a credible repository for Israeli concessions regardless of its actual nature. Consequently, despite Fatah's two unity deals with Hamas, its sponsorship of terrorism, its incitement of terrorism, its refusal to accept Israel's right to exist, its adoption of negotiating positions that presuppose Israel's demise, and its conduct of political warfare against Israel, neither the Bush administration nor the Obama administration ever showed the slightest willingness to consider ending their support for the PA.

If Israel has no peace partner, then it can't make concessions. And if it can't make concessions, there is no peace process. And that is something that neither the Bush administration nor the Obama administration was willing to countenance.

It is true that under Obama the US has become far more hostile towards Israel than it was under Bush. The most important distinction between the two is that whereas George W. Bush sought to broker a compromise deal between the two sides, Obama has adopted Fatah's negotiating positions against Israel. As a consequence of Obama's actions, the peace process has been derailed completely. Fatah has no reason to compromise since the US will blame Israel no matter what. And Israel has no reason to make concessions since the US will deem them insufficient.

[T]his week Fatah-controlled PA TV aired a sequence venerating the murderers of the Fogel family. Udi and Ruth Fogel and their children Yoav, Elad and Hadas were brutally murdered in their home last March.

Fatah's glorification of their murderers is yet further proof that the foundations of the peace process are false. Peace cannot be based on appeasing societies that uphold mass murderers as role models. It can only be based on empowering free societies to defeat societies that embrace murder, terror and in the case of Hamas, genocide.
[Jewish World Review]

Friday, January 27, 2012

Flexing Its Muscles, Egypt Detains American

Detained in Egypt

Son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Barred from Leaving Egypt -Leila Fadel

Sam LaHood [pictured], director of the Egyptian program of the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, said he was prevented from leaving Egypt at Cairo airport along with at least five other Americans working for pro-democracy groups.

IRI was one of three U.S.-based nonprofit groups in Cairo that were raided and shut down on Dec. 29 by Egyptian authorities, who accused the groups of using foreign funds to support unrest in Egypt.

"To have a strategic U.S. ally issue bans against American citizens is deeply troubling," said Scott Mastic, IRI's regional director for the Middle East and North Africa.

This weekend, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton raised the issue in a call with Egypt's foreign minister. President Obama also brought up the rights of NGOs specifically in a phone call last week.

In private, State Department officials have told Egypt that its actions are jeopardizing U.S. aid to Egypt's military.
(Washington Post)


Egypt to Prosecute 19 Americans, After Raids on Rights Groups

The son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is among 19 Americans being referred to criminal trial for allegedly receiving foreign funds illegally and being involved in banned activity in Egypt, news agencies reported.

The move is likely to further sour relations between Egypt's military rulers and the U.S., the Arab nation's chief Western backer for more than 30 years. Sam LaHood is head of the Egypt office of the Washington-based International Republican Institute.

All 19 of the U.S. aid workers sought shelter in the U.S. embassy in Cairo more than a week ago after they were denied the opportunity to leave the country.
(Fox News)

Obama's State of the Union: What it says about his relationship with Israel

Candidate Obama at Jerusalem's Western Wall. 
President Obama has not returned to Israel.

Obama’s State of the Union Speech -Barry Rubin

Our iron-clad commitment to Israel’s security has meant the closest military cooperation between our two countries in history.”

This is a carefully constructed sentence which I find makes me even more suspicious about Obama’s commitment toward Israel. Why? Because it is true that the bilateral military cooperation is as good as it has ever been. But all other areas of relations are terrible.

This sentence tells me that Obama understands that and wants to accentuate the positive without doing anything to improve the negative. He thinks U.S.-Israel relations are good enough and will not—even if, or especially if, elected to a second term.

Another point to notice is Obama’s failure to mention–much less highlight–the Israel-Palestinian “peace process.” They’ve given up on that one, at least for 2012.
[PJ Media]

Beware Woman with Gun

Video: The Work of an IDF Weapons Instructor

Behind every good soldier is in an exceptional instructor. Cpl. Daniella Stepanoe, an IDF weapons instructor, talks about training soldiers and shows off her skills.
(Israel Defense Forces)*

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Moderate Muslim Defends 'The Third Jihad' Against Attacks from the NYTimes

The New York Times has created quite a stir.
The film The Third Jihad exposes radical Islamist influences in the United States. The film can be viewed for free online...highly recommended. [Bruce]


Moderate American Muslim organization backs NYPD

Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser [pictured], a devout Muslim and the president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) issued the following statement regarding the vicious and malignant attack by the New York Times and the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) on the NYPD and Chief Raymond Kelly:

The American Islamic Forum for Democracy unequivocally supports the efforts of the New York Police Department and its Commissioner Raymond Kelly to fight the insidious ideology of militant Islamism.

This week's attacks on the NYPD and now Chief Kelly are yet another example of the depths of deception that groups such as CAIR are willing to go in order to suppress any criticism of the organization.

The story that the New York Times ran this week is over a year old. ... when a new kernel of information was released, CAIR seized that opportunity to reignite the furor. The "shocking" evidence was that 1,500 NYPD officers saw a film that is readily available to the general public and probably already viewed by millions.

This effort by CAIR is a blatant attempt to punish the NYPD and Chief Kelly for doing their job and to strike fear in the heart of anyone that does legitimate work in exposing their lifeblood of Islamism. Political correctness has made mere claims of discrimination and racial bias irrefutable and removed the ability for Americans to have honest discourse on religious issues.

The Third Jihad is not anti-Islam or anti-Muslim. If it were I would not have been a part of it. For me, it was an opportunity to speak with my co-religionists about the threat that exists to our children and our very way of life. It is a wake-up call for our community to accept our responsibility to fight against an ideology within our communities that seeks to strip us of our Constitutional freedoms.
[American Islamic Forum for Democracy]

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Will Iran's Nuke Program Survive?

Struggle over Nuke Program -Greg Sheridan

•In Jerusalem, Washington and Tehran, three different clocks are running. Maintaining a real degree of uncertainty about what it might do is central to the Israeli government's strategy. The most senior Israelis believe they do have a military option against Iran. It's not a perfect option but they believe that even today they could severely degrade Iran's nuclear program with aerial strikes.

•But the Israeli military option is running out. First, the Iranians are attempting to immunize their program from aerial strike by moving as much of it as possible deep underground and by creating so many facilities they become too numerous to bomb.

•Second, there will come a point at which the Iranians have developed so much nuclear expertise in depth that even if their physical facilities were damaged they could quickly reconstitute these and press ahead to weapons.

•Some Americans believe if the Israelis strike Iran, the U.S. will pay the political costs anyway, so it would be better for the Americans to do the job and do it properly. Their clock is a bit different from the one the Israelis hear. Because of their vastly superior firepower, the Americans could strike Iran later, more devastatingly and more sustainably.

If by the end of this year Iran has not negotiated the abandonment of its nuclear weapons program, if sanctions have not comprehensively crippled its economy and if its nuclear program has not been degraded by Israeli or U.S. air strikes, then it becomes overwhelmingly likely that Iran has survived the Western bluff and will in due course acquire nuclear weapons.
(The Australian)


Will Israel Attack Iran? -Ronen Bergman

After speaking with many senior Israeli leaders and chiefs of the military and the intelligence, I have come to believe that Israel will indeed strike Iran in 2012.

Perhaps in the small and ever-diminishing window that is left, the United States will choose to intervene after all, but here, from the Israeli perspective, there is not much hope for that. Instead there is that peculiar Israeli mixture of fear — rooted in the sense that Israel is dependent on the tacit support of other nations to survive — and tenacity, the fierce conviction, right or wrong, that only the Israelis can ultimately defend themselves.
[New York Times]

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

US Weakened in MidEast

America lost most in 'Arab Spring' -Caroline Glick

To understand the depth and breadth of America's losses, consider that on January 25, 2011, most
Arab states were US allies to a greater or lesser degree. Mubarak was a strategic ally. [Yemen's] Saleh was willing to collaborate with the US in combating al- Qaida and other jihadist forces in his country. Gaddafi was a neutered former enemy who had posed no threat to the US since 2004. Iraq was a protectorate. Jordan and Morocco were stable US clients.

One year later, the elements of the US's alliance structure have either been destroyed or seriously weakened. US allies like Saudi Arabia, which have yet to be seriously threatened by the revolutionary violence, no longer trust the US. As the recently revealed nuclear cooperation between the Saudis and the Chinese makes clear, the Saudis are looking to other global powers to replace the US as their superpower protector.

Perhaps the most amazing aspect to the US's spectacular loss of influence and power in the Arab world is that most of its strategic collapse has been due to its own actions. In Egypt and Libya the US intervened prominently to bring down a US ally and a dictator who constituted no threat to its interests. Indeed, it went to war to bring Gaddafi down.

Moreover, the US acted to bring about their fall at the same time it knew that they would be replaced by forces inimical to American national security interests. In Egypt, it was clear that the Muslim Brotherhood would emerge as the strongest political force in the country. In Libya, it was clear at the outset of the NATO campaign against Gaddafi that al-Qaida was prominently represented in the antiregime coalition. And shortly after Gaddafi was overthrown, al-Qaida forces raised their flag over Benghazi's courthouse.

US actions from Yemen to Bahrain and beyond have followed a similar pattern.

In sharp contrast to his active interventionism against US-allied regimes, President Barack Obama has prominently refused to intervene in Syria, where the fate of a US foe hangs in the balance.

Obama has sat back as Turkey has fashioned a Syrian opposition dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Arab League has intervened in a manner that increases the prospect that Syria will descend into chaos in the event that the Assad regime is overthrown.

Obama continues to speak grandly about his vision for the Middle East and his dedication to America's regional allies. And his supporters in the media continue to applaud his great success in foreign policy. But outside of their echo chamber, he and the country he leads are looked upon with increasing contempt and disgust throughout the Arab world.

Obama's behavior since last January 25 has made clear to US friend and foe alike that under Obama, the US is more likely to attack you if you display weakness towards it than if you adopt a confrontational posture against it. As Assad survives to kill another day; as Iran expands its spheres of influence and gallops towards the nuclear bomb; as al- Qaida and its allies rise from the Gulf of Aden to the Suez Canal; and as Mubarak continues to be wheeled into the courtroom on a stretcher, the US's rapid fall from regional power is everywhere in evidence.
[Jewish World Review]

Monday, January 23, 2012

The New Face of Egypt

Two youngsters sport headbands reading "Muslim Brotherhood," a group which supports world domination through an Islamist caliphate.  Aren't they cute?

Middle East Miscalculation -Mortimer B. Zuckerman

•The euphoria of the "Arab Spring," the instant transition from dictatorship to democracy, is seen for what it is: an illusion. In mid-December, violent Islamic Salafist extremists burned down Cairo's famous scientific Institute d'Egypte, which housed 200,000 original and rare books, maps, archaeological objects, and nature studies from Egypt and the Middle East, the result of generations of work by researchers.

•We had long shared with the Egyptian military understandings on national security, ours with an eye to maintaining peace in the region. That relationship is now pretty much lost.

Americans, in their perennial innocence, have demanded that the generals turn over power to the civilians whomever they may be, just as they did to the Persian shah, just as they did after Israel's pullout from Gaza when they hadn't a clue about the danger posed by Hamas. Our ingenuous attitude has been tantamount to handing over Egypt on a silver platter to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists.

•[Egypt's] new foreign policy will include opening the blockaded border with Gaza, ending normal relations with Israel, and opening them with Hamas and Iran in such a way as to alter the balance of power in the region against U.S. interests. Indeed, one of the few things that unites the political parties in Egypt is an anti-Western foreign policy.

•As Robert Satloff, the executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, has put it, "The Brotherhood is not, as some suggest, simply an Egyptian version of the March of Dimes - that is, a social welfare organization whose goals are fundamentally humanitarian." It is a "profoundly political organization" that seeks to reorder Egyptian society along Islamist lines and "transform Egypt into a very different place."
(U.S. News)

How the U.S. Should Handle the Islamist Rise in Egypt -Robert Satloff & Eric Trager

From an American perspective, the situation in Egypt is a nightmare, with the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and the even more fundamentalist Nour Party winning about two-thirds of the seats in Egypt's next parliament. While both parties have paid lip service to respecting Egypt's international obligations, American leaders cannot ignore the fact that the security partnership Washington had with Cairo for more than 30 years is in serious jeopardy.

Some have sugar-coated the Islamists' ascendance by arguing that the responsibility of governance will moderate them. Experience suggests otherwise.

Washington has assets to preserve its equities in Egypt. At $1.2 billion, U.S. military assistance is essentially the procurement budget for the Egyptian armed forces. Direct U.S. economic support is $250 million and America has a substantial voice in international financial institutions to which Egypt almost surely will turn for help.

In the coming period, when Egypt's Islamist politicians will test just how far the U.S. will bend to accommodate a new political reality, the U.S. should be willing to use all these tools to advance its interests.

Washington's message should be that U.S. support is conditional on Egyptian cooperation in maintaining peace with Israel and preserving political pluralism and religious and minority rights.
Mr. Satloff is executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where Mr. Trager is a fellow.
(Wall Street Journal)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Irony: Liberals Sweep the Streets for Islamists

Western pundits and governments said it would not happen.  They believed that that liberals, who led the street revolts that swept Mubarek from power, represented the popular view.  But, as the video above illustrates, election results are clear.  Liberals make up only 7% of the Egyptian electorate.  The street revolt cleared a path for Islamist ascendancy.  This cannot be good. If Egypt was a real democracy I could be more optimistic, as democracies are, in the long run, self correcting. But I strongly suspect that we've seen the last displays of democracy in Egypt, as a dictator [Mubarek] was replaced with a group of jihadi dictators. Minority rights will continue to deteriorate: watch the fate of Coptic Christians in Egypt for a taste of the future. [B]

Friday, January 20, 2012

Powerful Video

United Against Nuclear Iran [UANI] just released this parody of Fiat endorser Jennifer Lopez's "My World" Fiat commercial.  UANI is leading a campaign against auto manufacturer Fiat for doing business with Iran. 

Obama & Ahmad

Can Obama Get Away With Iran Inaction? -Jonathan Tobin

President Obama has been assuring the public since before he was elected in 2008 that he would never allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. But the question facing the White House this year is whether a failure to make good on that pledge will be more damaging to his chances of re-election than a spike in oil prices.

That’s the dilemma Obama has been grappling with since Congress passed a bill over his objections last month that mandated a complete ban on all transactions with entities that did business with Iran’s Central Bank. Sanctions on the bank are the lever by which an international embargo on the sale of Iranian oil is made possible. But as American diplomats are laying the groundwork for such an embargo, the administration is also sending out signals that indicate it is less than enthusiastic about dealing with the possible economic fallout of the one tactic that might stop the Iranians short of war.

According to the New York Times, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has already told Congress he thought the bank measure interfered with the administration’s “carefully phased” approach to sanctions on Iran. Having demanded and gotten a waiver inserted into the bill that would allow the president to put off the sanctions indefinitely, there is now a very real chance Obama will decide the sanctions are not worth the trouble. With the president’s favorability numbers already low, the White House may believe the impact of a major increase in the price of gas and the consequent economic distress may be more politically toxic than actions that can be interpreted as acquiescing to a nuclear Iran.

But with diplomacy offering no hope and since the administration has made it clear it will not support the use of force against Iran and opposes Israel doing so on its own, punting on an oil embargo will be seen as an indication Obama is not prepared to do anything to stop Tehran.

[F]or Obama to refuse to use the one economic lever he has at his disposal to avert an existential threat to Israel as well as to the entire Middle East would certainly cost him heavily among Jews as well as non-Jewish friends of Israel.

Essentially, Obama has until late June to decide whether or not to use the waiver. While we must expect the administration would attempt to explain its use as part of a long-range strategy against Iran, the consequences of doing so could be greater than just some lost votes. If the United States chooses not to push tough sanctions against Iran, then Israel may decide it must take matters into its own hands. [T]he president has acted at times as if he was more afraid of Israel attacking Iranian nuclear sites than he was of the ayatollah gaining control of a bomb.

Even worse for the president is the possibility that further delay will result in an Iranian announcement of nuclear capability on Obama’s watch.

But if Obama is left with no good choices about Iran he has only himself to blame. Having wasted his first three years in office on a foolish policy of “engagement” with and feckless diplomatic initiatives that accomplished nothing, the fact that he has painted himself into a corner on this issue during an election year is entirely his own doing.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Murder in Texas: Did Iran Do It?

A short video highlighting the Texas murder of Gelareh Bagherzadeh earlier this week. 
Did Iranian operatives do it? 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Red Lines for Iran

No-kidding red lines: US response may be bluster, but Israel's won't be
Frank J. Gaffney Jr

Don't do it." That is the message American officials, from President Obama on down, are delivering to their Israeli counterparts in the hope of dissuading the Jewish state from taking a fateful step: attacking Iran to prevent the mullahs' imminent acquisition of nuclear weapons.

This week, the nation's top military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin E. Dempsey, will visit Israel to convey the same message in person. [T]he general will deliver an insistent warning that Israel must give sanctions more time to work and refrain from acting unilaterally.

Such warnings have become shriller as evidence accumulates that Israel is getting ready to move beyond what is widely believed to be a series of successful - but insufficient - covert actions against the Iranian nuclear program, missile forces and associated personnel.

Some U.S. officials reportedly think the Israelis are just posturing. As one put it, they are playing out a "hold me back" gambit - perhaps hoping the Americans will do the job themselves or at least hoping to be rewarded for their restraint.

Others point, however, to evidence that the Israelis are concealing key military movements from our intelligence assets as an indicator that they are going for it and want to keep us from interfering. At a minimum, Jerusalem would have to worry that an American administration that is holding secret negotiations with Tehran in Turkey at the level of Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns would seek to curry favor with the mullahs by compromising any information it obtains about Israel's intentions.

The difference between the American and Israeli red lines is that the Israelis actually may take seriously the breaching of theirs. Presumably, that would be because the government of Israel has drawn them so as to define existential threats to the state, not simply as a matter of rhetorical posturing intended mostly for domestic political consumption.

The likelihood for such action can only have grown as a result of the contempt with which Mr. Obama has treated Israel, our most important regional ally. Dissing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is one thing. Allowing our own red lines to be flouted with impunity signals that Israel is on its own and must proceed accordingly.

If we are going to stop the nightmare of a messianic regime armed with nuclear missiles, somebody had better do it soon - and with something more effective than sanctions. America should take the lead. However, if the Obama administration won't, it should get out of the Israelis' way.

[Jewish World Review]

Monday, January 16, 2012

Iran Threatens Neighbors

Iran Warns Gulf Oil States Not to Increase Exports -Farhad Pouladi

Iran has starkly warned Gulf states not to make up for any shortfall in oil exports under new U.S. and EU sanctions.

If they compensate for a looming EU ban on Iranian imports, "we would not consider these actions to be friendly," Iran's representative to OPEC, Mohammad Ali Khatibi, said. "They will be held responsible for what happens," he said, adding ominously: "One cannot predict the consequences."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Peace Process Dead

Territorial Compromise Loses Ground in Arab Spring -Greg Sheridan

There is not the slightest chance of a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute any time soon.

Western politicians who address the issue ever more urgently are not only mistaken analytically, but may well be making things worse.

Spending time in Israel, it is impossible to reconcile the evidence of your eyes with the accepted international narrative about Israel. In the international media, Israel is presented as militarist and oppressive. In fact, it is the only pluralist democracy in the Middle East, the only nation where women's rights and gay rights are protected.

With the unfolding of the Arab Spring, elections have greatly strengthened Islamists and Islamist extremists. These newly empowered forces would fatally undermine any serious Palestinian compromise with Israel. Naturally Hamas is fantastically empowered by the way the Arab Spring is unfolding.

Israel won't make a peace deal unless it believes a Palestinian government can govern its territory effectively and prevent attacks on Israel from Palestinian territory. That is inconceivable today and all the trends of the Arab Spring make it ever more unlikely.
(The Australian)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Another Iranian Nuke Scientist Bites the Dust

Possible Israeli hit

Nuclear Scientist Killed in Tehran Blast

An Iranian university professor and nuclear scientist was killed in a terrorist bomb blast in Tehran.

A magnetic bomb was planted by a motorcyclist under the car of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a professor at Tehran's technical university. Ahmadi Roshan supervised a department at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility.


U.S. Condemns Bomb Attack on Iran Nuclear Scientist -Scott Shane

Like the drone strikes that the Obama administration has embraced as a core tactic against al-Qaeda, the multifaceted covert campaign against Iran has appeared to offer an alternative to war. The CIA, according to current and former officials, has repeatedly tried to derail Iran's uranium enrichment program by covert means, including introducing sabotaged parts into Iran's supply chain.

A former senior Israeli security official noted that Iran carried out many assassinations of enemies, mostly Iranian opposition figures, and had been recently accused of plotting to kill the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. in Washington. "In Arabic, there's a proverb: If you are shooting, don't complain about being shot," he said.
(New York Times)

Iran's Atomic Scientists Plagued by "Virtual Defection" -Dan Williams

The daylight killings of atomic technicians such as Roshan obviously deplete Iran's pool of nuclear experts. It also provokes panic in surviving colleagues, said an Israel official, generating a phenomenon that Mossad veterans dub "virtual defection."

"It's not that we've been seeing mass resignations, but rather a sense of spreading paranoia given the degree to which their security has been compromised," said the official, who has extensive Iran expertise. "It means they have to take more precautions, including, perhaps, being a little less keen to stand out for excellence in their nuclear work. That slows things down."

"I think several players, not only Israel, are active (in Iran)," former Mossad deputy director Ilan Mizrahi said. "It's not only countries, it is movements. You have the Iranian opposition, which is very strong. They have their own capabilities inside Iran."

Sending a Message to Iran -Amir Oren

It doesn't matter whether the assassinations of Iran's nuclear scientists are "made in Israel" or the work of unknown assailants who simply share a common enemy with Israel in the form of a fanatic Islamic regime in Tehran. The working assumption is that Israel knows who is active in Iran's nuclear project, knows where and when to find them and how to eliminate them. Every Iranian nuclear scientist will know he's in the crosshairs. This is not a wide assault on the Iranian regime, just on its nuclear arm.

Delaying Tactics -Yaakov Katz

It is likely that nuclear scientist Mostafa Roshan's assassins believed his elimination would have a significant impact on Iran's nuclear program. It is possible that Roshan was one of the members of the "weapons group," scientists that will ultimately be tasked with building Iran's first nuclear weapon.
(Jerusalem Post)


Who's Really Killing Those Nuclear Scientists? -Michael Ledeen

•Several Iranian officials and scientists involved in the nuclear project have been blown up in the last two years, but a closer look at the Iranian victims raises questions.

•The first was an academic with no apparent connection to the nuclear project, a political activist who supported the Green Movement. The second was a theoretical physicist. On the very same day, another physicist was attacked, a regime supporter and a member of the Revolutionary Guards who was an active participant in the nuclear program. The news stories spoke of a bomb, but the photographs of the crime scene don't show evidence of an explosion (they do show some bullet holes in his car). He wasn't killed. Shortly after the event, he was promoted to head the nuclear program.

•The fourth case was a university student gunned down in front of his house. He wasn't a nuclear anything, he was studying electrical engineering. There is an Iranian nuclear physicist with a similar name, but that man was out of the country. The latest victim was a chemist, not a physicist, and his main connection to the nuclear program was administrative: he worked in the purchasing office for the Natanz operation.

•There's a lot of killing in Iran, and the overwhelming majority of murders are carried out by the regime, and the victims are Iranian citizens from all walks of life. From this standpoint, the regime is the most likely perpetrator.

•Scads of writers are quite sure that the Jews did it. But the rush to judgment smacks of political passion rather than cool analysis. And I'm struck by the uncritical expertise that would have us believe the Jews can do anything, even operate at will in the center of their most formidable enemy's capital city. That one's right out of the old anti-Semitic scrolls: whenever anything happens that upsets you, just blame the Jews. They can do anything, anywhere. If only it were true.
(PJ Media)

Ancient Kosher Seal Discovered

Archaeologists Find 1,500-Year-Old Kosher Bread Stamp

A 1,500-year-old ceramic stamp with the image of the seven-branched Temple Menorah has been discovered at Israel Antiquities Authority excavations east of Acre.

It is thought the stamp was used to mark baked goods, and is known as a "bread stamp."

"The Temple Menorah, being a Jewish symbol par excellence, indicates the stamps belonged to Jews, unlike Christian bread stamps with the cross pattern which were much more common in the Byzantine period," said Gilad Jaffe and Dr. Danny Syon, the directors of the excavation.

Atomic Threats

Ahmadinejad & Chavez laugh it up

Chavez and Ahmadinejad Joke about attacking US

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez mocked the U.S. and joked about directing 'a big atomic bomb' at Washington as they met in Caracas today.

The president of Iran was visiting his Venezuelan counterpart in an attempt to rally support for his government in the face of tightening sanctions from the West.

His meeting with Mr Chavez came on the day that Iran sentenced a man to death for allegedly spying on the country for the U.S., and claimed to have arrested several more American spies.

Mr Ahmadinejad is in Venezuela at the start of his tour of Latin American countries ruled by left-wing governments sympathetic to Iran's virulently anti-western regime.

Both men hugged, beamed, held hands and showered each other with praise, making macabre jokes which appeared to threaten the U.S., the principal enemy of both leaders.

Mr Chavez said that he was hiding a bomb under a grassy knoll before the steps of the presidential palace, saying: 'That hill will open up and a big atomic bomb will come out.' As the two men laughed, he added: 'The imperialist spokesmen say Ahmadinejad and I are going into the basement now to set our sights on Washington and launch cannons and missiles...'
[Daily Mail]

Jordan to Happily Host Hamas

A new home for this terrorist...thank you King Abdullah of Jordan

Jordan Allows Hamas to Take Up Residence -Karl Vick

In what looks like further evidence of diminishing American influence in the Middle East, the country that summarily ejected Hamas a dozen years ago is opening its doors to senior leaders of the group Washington and Israel regard first and foremost as a terrorist organization.

Jordan kicked out Hamas way back in 1999 under pressure from the United States.

The Palestinian organization had been anchored in Amman, but was forced to move its headquarters to Syria, where it officially remains. Life in Damascus has gotten mighty uncomfortable over the last year, however.

Quietly, senior Hamas officials began moving their families out of Syria months ago, and despite routine denials, the organization has been looking for a new home for its headquarters, too.

Amman, the Jordanian capital, already provides a place for the leader of the other major Palestinian faction to rest his head. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who leads the secular Fatah party, regularly sleeps in Amman while traveling in and out of the adjoining West Bank, which has no working airport.

Khaled Mashaal [pictured above], who was nearly killed by Israeli agents in a botched 1997 assassination attempt in Amman, will be among those setting up housekeeping in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, roughly half of whose residents are Palestinians who made their way across the Jordan either in 1948, in 1967, or in the steady flow of “soft immigration” that has gone on since.
[Time Magazine/Global Spin Blog]

Friday, January 06, 2012

The End of Land for Peace

The "land for peace" formula was begun by [right to left] Begin, Carter & Sadat at Camp David.  It may soon to be declared dead.

The land-for-peace hoax -Caroline Glick

[I]f the Obama administration, or whatever administration is in power when Egypt abrogates the treaty, does not issue a demand that the new Egyptian government give Sinai back to Israel, and stand behind it, and if the EU does not support the demand, the entire concept of land-for-peace will be exposed as a hoax.

Indeed the land-for-peace formula will be exposed as a twofold fiction. First, it is based on the false proposition that the peace process is a two-way street. Israel gives land, the Arabs give peace. But the inevitable death of the Egyptian-Israeli peace accord under an Egyptian jihadist regime makes clear that the land-for-peace formula is a one-way street. Israeli land giveaways are permanent. Arab commitments to peace can be revoked at any time.

Then there are the supposedly iron-clad US and European security guarantees that accompany signed treaties. All the American and European promises to Israel - that they will stand by the Jewish state when it takes risks for peace - will be exposed as worthless lies. No one will insist that the Egyptians honor their bargain.

As it has become more apparent that the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist parties will hold an absolute majority in Egypt's democratically elected parliament, Western governments and media outlets have insistently argued that these anti-Western, and anti-Jewish, movements have become moderate and pragmatic. Leading the charge to make the case has been the Obama administration. Its senior officials have eagerly embraced the Muslim Brotherhood. Indeed, the spiritual head of the Muslim Brotherhood Yusuf Qaradawi is reportedly mediating negotiations between the US and the Taliban.

Both the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists are happy to cater to the propaganda needs of Western journalists and politicians and pretend that they are willing to continue to uphold the peace treaty with Israel. But even as they make conditional statements to eager Americans and Europeans, they consistently tell their own people that they seek the destruction of Israel and the abrogation of the peace deal between Egypt and Israel.

[In] Cairo this week, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists secured their absolute control over Egypt's parliament. Specifically, our leaders should note the absence of any voices demanding that Egypt respect the peace treaty with Israel or return Sinai.

The time has come for Israel to admit the truth. Land-for-peace is a confidence game and we are the mark.
[Jerusalem Post]

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Obama Screws Moderate Muslims with Embrace of Islamist Brotherhood

The Brotherhood's logo

Overtures to Muslim Brotherhood Reverse Longtime Policy -David D. Kirkpatrick   

    With the Muslim Brotherhood pulling within reach of an outright majority in Egypt's new parliament, the Obama administration has begun to reverse decades of mistrust and hostility toward an organization once viewed as irreconcilably opposed to U.S. interests. The reversal also reflects the administration's growing acceptance of the Brotherhood's repeated assurances that its lawmakers want to build a modern democracy that will respect individual freedoms, free markets and international commitments, including Egypt's treaty with Israel.

    At the same time it underscores Washington's increasing frustration with Egypt's military rulers, who have sought to carve out permanent political powers for themselves and used deadly force against protesters seeking an end to their rule.
(New York Times)

Israel Questions U.S. Stance on Muslim Brotherhood - Shlomo Cesana

    The U.S. needs to face up to the threat presented by the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood across the Middle East, Israel's National Security Council concluded during a strategic discussion several days ago.

    The council, responsible for providing the prime minister with strategic assessments, said it was concerned about the Muslim Brotherhood's pronouncements, repeated this week, that call the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty into question. The Brotherhood's second-in-command, Dr. Rashad Bayumi, said that the Muslim Brotherhood, which is set to dominate Egypt's new parliament, will never recognize Israel and will even work to amend the Egypt-Israel peace treaty.

    In its assessment, the council, headed by Major General Yaakov Amidror, concluded that Israel needed to accept the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood would eventually assume power in most Arab countries, with Egypt first and foremost. The council believes that the Muslim Brotherhood is not just a religious and cultural force, but also a reincarnation of the totalitarian fascist movements seen in Europe over the past century.

(Israel Hayom)


Muslim Brotherhood Will Not Honor Peace Treaty with Israel -Daniel Siryoti & Eli Leon

The deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, Essam Arian, told Al-Hayat Saturday in an interview: "We never promised that we would honor the peace treaty with Israel. The treaty is not sacred and we can and should make changes in it."

His remarks denied those made by U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland that the Islamist group made guarantees to the U.S. that it would continue to respect Egypt's peace treaty with Israel.
(Israel Hayom)

Monday, January 02, 2012

Mutant Terror Threat

The Mutating Al-Qaeda Threat -Mitchell D. Silber    

    Ten years ago last month, "shoe bomber" Richard Reid boarded an American Airlines flight bound for Miami from Paris, intending to kill himself and all of the other passengers by detonating an explosive device he had concealed in his shoes.

    What was unknown at the time is that Reid was not supposed to act alone. Saajid Badat - like Reid a British citizen - was supposed to ignite his own pair of explosive shoes on a different trans-Atlantic flight, but he dropped out in the plot's final stages.

    A careful dissection of 16 of the most important "al-Qaeda" plots launched against the West since 1993 reveals a consistent trend.

    They used men who radicalized to violence in Western cities such as Hamburg, Montreal, London and New York, who showed up on al-Qaeda's doorstep on their own initiative and then were trained, turned around and launched back at the West by al-Qaeda.

    Whether it was the Madrid transit-system attacks of 2004, the bombings in London on July 7, 2005, or the New York City subway plot of September 2009, the bombers lived in the great cities of the West, were radicalized in the West and turned to violence in the West.
The writer is director of intelligence analysis for the New York Police Department.

(Washington Times)

Twitter for Terror

Is Twitter Aiding Hizbullah? -Kevin Flower

    Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of the Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center, sent a letter to Twitter asserting that the company is violating U.S. law by allowing groups such as Hizbullah and al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab to use its popular online network.

    "Please be advised that (doing so) is illegal and will expose Twitter Inc. and its officers to both criminal prosecution and civil liability to American citizens and others victimized" by Hizbullah, al-Shabaab and other foreign terrorist entities.

    Hizbullah and al-Shabaab are officially designated as terrorist organizations under U.S. law. A 2010 Supreme Court case - Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project - upheld a key provision of the Patriot Act prohibiting material support to groups designated as terrorist outfits. 


Ahmadinejad's "Tour of Tyrants"

Iran Seeking to Expand Influence in Latin America -Joby Warrick

Iran is quietly seeking to expand its ties with Latin America in what U.S. officials and regional experts say is an effort to circumvent economic sanctions and gain access to much-needed markets and raw materials. The new diplomatic offensive includes a swing through Venezuela, Ecuador, Cuba and Nicaragua this month by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said she was disturbed by Ahmadinejad's plans for what she called a "tour of tyrants," saying it would bring "the Iranian threat closer to our shores."
(Washington Post)

Iran Is Feeling the Heat of Sanctions -Peter Jones

The overwhelming bulk of Iran's oil exports flow through the Strait of Hormuz. Oil is virtually Iran's only export and the only thing keeping up its moribund economy. It is inconceivable that Iran would shut down the strait, unless the regime faced its own demise. Anything less than that, and Iran would never cut off the strait, whatever its rhetoric.

This verbal jousting on the part of the Iranians demonstrates that they are feeling the heat of sanctions.
The writer is an associate professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa.

(Ottawa Citizen-Canada)

Tehran's Hollow Hormuz Strait Threat -Michael Rubin

While the threat from a resurgent Iran is real, its bluster about closing the Strait of Hormuz is more diversion than danger. The waterway may be an economic chokehold, but it is also a vital passage for Iran's survival. Any Iranian challenge to the strait would be suicide.

When the Iranian government mined the Persian Gulf in 1988, damaging a U.S. guided missile frigate, President Ronald Reagan launched Operation Preying Mantis, simultaneously attacking two Iranian oil platforms. In the surrounding firefight, Iran lost a frigate, a gunboat, three speedboats and, temporarily, two oil platforms. The U.S. lost one helicopter, the casualty of a crash rather than battle damage.
The writer is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
(New York Daily News)

Iran's Currency Hits Record Low after Latest U.S. Sanctions -Thomas Erdbrink

Iran's currency declined by 12% against foreign currencies after President Obama signed a bill that places the Islamic republic's central bank under unilateral sanctions. The rial has lost 35% of its value since September. The slide of the rial is a huge blow to Iran's leaders, who have been claiming that the sanctions aren't hurting the country. Housing prices have risen 20 percent in the past few weeks, the semiofficial Mehr News Agency reported. Private companies and importers say they are in deep trouble.
(Washington Post)

VideoBite: Happy New Year from Israel

Happy 2012 from Israel's IDF soldiers