Friday, February 26, 2016

How Obama Helped Fund Palestinian Terror

By infusing 150 billion into the Iranian economy, President Obama has aided Iran's terror financing.  Iran just announced their intention to pay dividends to families of terrorist who successfully murder.  Thank you President Obama. 

Nuke Deal Assists Iran's Support for Terror - Herb Keinon

"Yesterday Iran announced that it will finance the families of the terrorists and murderers," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

"This shows that Iran, even after the nuclear agreement, is continuing to aid terrorism, including Palestinian terrorism, Hizbullah terrorism and its assistance to Hamas.

This is something that the nations of the world must confront and condemn, and assist Israel - and other countries, of course - in repelling."  
(Jerusalem Post)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Gaza's Future: Peering into the Crystal Ball

Will Gaza Blow Up in Hamas' Face? - Alex Fishman 

Residents of Gaza who have left the Strip believe another military confrontation with Israel is a certainty. 
They also believe that it will be a lot more aggressive, that Israel is sick of playing these games with Hamas, and that Israel will do everything to eliminate the organization.

Gazan society has started to disintegrate. The number of suicides is unprecedented. There is a phenomenon of women stabbing their unemployed husbands. Every third person is on anti-depressants. There has been an increase in the phenomenon of teenagers marrying much older men who are able to support them as a second or third wife.

50% of Gaza youth said in different surveys that they want to leave Gaza forever.

On top of all of this, Gazans are mad that Hamas has built for themselves what amount to underground cities, while they are left without bomb shelters.                  
(Ynet News)

The Next War May Be Fought Underground - Kate Shuttleworth

In 2014 the Israeli army discovered 32 tunnels in Gaza, half of which penetrated into Israel. Recent winter rains caused five Gaza attack tunnels to collapse, killing Palestinian diggers. "The death of the tunnel workers during the last severe storm gave a very serious signal that Hamas is working around the clock, even in the worst weather circumstances," says Mkhaimer Abusada, a professor of political science at al-Azhar University in Gaza. Dr. Abusada believes that some of the much needed building materials entering Gaza through Israel were ending up in Hamas' hands, where they were redirected toward tunnel construction.

While Abusada estimates that two-thirds of the Gazan population do not support another war with Israel, there are many who do. "The Palestinian community in Gaza is divided - those affiliated with Hamas are very comfortable with the strategy of digging tunnels and developing missiles. Hamas create an illusion that Israel will be defeated and that people will be able to pray in al-Aqsa mosque - people buy this fantasy."

Yousra al-Shobaki, mother of a tunnel digger who fought for Hamas, said: "We will win in the end. I ask all the mothers in Gaza to support the jihad teach their sons what jihad means....There is no such thing as Israel." 


Hamas Civil Servants Strike over Unpaid Salaries    

Civil servants hired by Hamas in Gaza implemented a one-day strike on Thursday to protest unpaid salaries.

The employees have not been regularly paid since 2014, by some estimates receiving only 40% of what is owed to them.   
(Ma'an News-PA)

The India - Israel Alliance

India-West Asia Relationship - Daniel Pipes, PhD

[India's] Alliance with Israel: Growing relations with the Jewish state offer a singularly bright note. India's population may be over 150 times larger than Israel's (1,300 million vs. 8 million) but the two countries share important qualities.

Most profoundly, their populations adhere to an ancient, non-proselytizing religion. Both practice democracy and secularism, ally with the United States, and possess nuclear weapons. Both have substantial Muslim minorities (14 percent in India, 19 percent in Israel) whose loyalties remain in question as both countries face a potential existential threat from a Muslim state (Pakistan, Iran).

Beyond these generalities, each country has specific benefits to offer the other: The two states can share intelligence. Jerusalem can help with access in Washington, New Delhi can help with access for what remains of the non-aligned movement. In areas where Israel is a world leader, such as water technology, medicine, security, and hi-tech innovation, Indians need what Israelis have to offer even as Israelis need the vast Indian market. Indeed, India's government is about to purchase US$3 billion in Israeli military hardware, Israel's largest-ever sale.
[Hindustan Times]

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Syria Boils Over: Obama Sleeps

The Syrian Cauldron Boils Over - Jonathan Spyer

Russian intervention which began on September 30, 2015 and which is now rolling across northwestern Syria announces the arrival of a growing de facto alliance between Moscow and the Islamic Republic of Iran. This alliance currently works to the benefit of both parties...

In Syria, the abilities and needs of the Russian and Iranians are complementary. Russia brings an air capacity to the Syrian battlefield against which the Sunni Arab rebels are effectively helpless. But airp ower is of limited use without a committed ground partner. The Russians have no desire to become bogged down in a large-scale commitment of Russian ground troops.

The Iranians lack anything close to the Russian ability in the air. But what they possess, via the skills of the Qods Force of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, is a currently matchless ability to create and mobilize sectarian paramilitary proxies, and then to move them to where needed across the regional chessboard. Hence, the ground partner for Russian air power in northern Syria is today not only or mainly the Syrian Arab Army of Bashar Assad. Rather, Lebanese Hizballah, the Iraqi Shia Badr Brigade, the Afghan Shia Fatemiyun and IRGC personnel themselves are all playing a vital role.

It is not at all clear that this alliance will be able or even willing to complete the reconquest of the entirety of Syria – which remains the goal of the regime as stated by Bashar Assad last week. However, it will certainly be able to preserve the Assad regime from destruction, and may yet deliver a deathblow to the non-IS rebels in the northwest, center and south west of the country.

The potency of this emergent Russian-Iranian alliance is made possible only by the willed absence of the United States from the arena. Russia felt confident enough to launch its attempt to destroy the rebellion because it calculated that the prospect of the United States extending its own air cover westwards to protect the rebels (whose goal it ostensibly supports) was sufficiently close to zero. The Obama administration appears strategically committed to staying out. The US and its allies are making slow progress against the Islamic State. But west of the Euphrates, the United States is an irrelevance.

This brings us to the third salient factor apparent in the situation in northern Syria: namely, the relative impotence of the Sunni powers when faced with the superior force of Russia.

Syrian Kurdish performance both militarily and politically is worthy of note. Militarily, the YPG remains one of the most powerful forces engaged. Politically, the Kurds appear currently to be performing a balancing act whereby east of the Euphrates they partner with US air power against the Islamic State, while west of the river, they seek to unite the Afrin and Kobani cantons in partnership with Russian air power against the Turkish backed rebels – with the acquiescence of both powers.

So put all this together and you have a fair approximation of the current state of the Middle East, as reflected in miniature in the cauldron that is northern Syria: emergent Iranian-Russian strategic alliance, US non-involvement, hapless US-aligned Sunni powers flailing as a result of this absence, state fragmentation, the emergence of powerful 'successor' entities, the domination of Arab politics at a popular level by Sunni political Islam and the emergence of the Kurds as a militarily able and politically savvy local power.
Jonathan Spyer is director of the Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.
[Jerusalem Post]

Monday, February 22, 2016

Minneapolis Moderate Muslim Presses Youth on Identity

Screenshot from an 'Average Mohammed' cartoon

'Average Mohamed' Cartoons Fight Radicalization in U.S.

At first glance, the idea that a cartoon could fight the Islamic State, a brutal international terror organization, seems absurd. However, Mohamed Ahmed, the inventor of Average Mohamed, designed the cartoons to target a specific demographic -- young people -- who have ideologocial questions which, if answered incorrectly, can lead to radicalization.
Mohamed Ahmed

The cartoons openly discuss issues troubling young Muslims -- the same demographic the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) is targeting. Questions of identity, religious authenticity and wanting to make a difference in the world are tackled in an honest way, using both Islamic sources and common sense.
The idea for Average Mohamed came to Ahmed after the realization that "it is average people recruiting each other and becoming extremists. So we felt like it's the same way we need an average guy espousing the values of majority Muslims."

Ahmed fit the bill. A gas station manager with a wife, mortage and four kids in Minneapolis, Minnesota (home to a large Somali community from which ISIS has successfully recruited), Ahmed decided four years ago that he needed to do something to stop the flow of young people becoming radicalized.

In addition to the Average Mohamed online cartoon series, Ahmed also takes his message to schools, mosques and madrasas. He describes his work as "a counter-ideology platform. And the message is about the values: three principles. One is peace, second one is democracy and the third one is anti-extremism. So it is a way to talk to the youth without veils. And we try to connect with them. [We're getting an] enormous amount of support across faiths, gender, race."

Fundamentally, Ahmed's message to the kids he speaks to is that they have a choice -- a choice about the world that are creating and in which they will be living.
[Clarion Project]

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

ISIS Shmisis

Why U.S. Middle East Policy Is Failing
- Kenneth M. Pollack & Barbara F. Walter

The murderous jihadists
of Islamic State, or ISIS, are only one symptom of a much larger problem in the Middle East. By fixating on this one symptom and then trying to convince everyone else in the region to do the same, we are setting ourselves up for failure.

Most Middle Easterners regard ISIS as abhorrent and want to see it obliterated. But ISIS is not the root problem. The real problems of the Middle East stem from the failure of the post-World War II Arab state system, which has produced state collapse, power vacuums and civil wars.

The region's civil wars invariably spawn extremist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda, but they have spread only to states in civil war or on the brink. Even if the U.S. were able to "defeat" or "degrade" ISIS, as long as civil wars burn on in the region, the conditions that led to its emergence would still exist, and new radical groups would simply emerge to replace it. End the civil wars, and the terrorist groups will wither.
Mr. Pollack is a senior fellow of the Brookings Institution. Ms. Walter is a professor at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California San Diego.
(Wall Street Journal)

Dem Slams Obama For Cuts to Anti-Terror Money


Schumer Slams Obama Budget Cuts to Anti-Terror Funds
- Michael Balsamo

Sen. Charles Schumer is slamming a White House proposal that would reduce funding for counterterrorism programs across the country by nearly $300 million.
The New York Democrat is pushing President Barack Obama to reconsider the cuts.  Schumer notes that the cuts to the Urban Area Security Initiative were included in the proposed 2017 budget released last week by the White House. The initiative helps fund programs in cities across the U.S. to prevent extremist attacks, or respond to and recover from them. The proposed budget would cut the funding from $600 million to $330 million.
"These proposed cuts are ill-advised and ill-timed and they must be reversed. End of story," Schumer said in a statement to The Associated Press. "In light of recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, and the vow by our extremist enemies to launch more attacks on our shores, it makes no sense to propose cuts to vital terror-prevention programs like UASI."
Schumer, who decried the cuts at a news conference on Sunday, said the program is necessary to adequately fund counterterrorism programs in high-density urban areas like New York City.  "New York City remains terror target number one and the NYPD relies on these programs to keep us safe," he said.
[ABC News]

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Technology & Terror-Innovation: It's Not Nice To Call Palestinians 'Rats'

Hamas' "final frontier"

It's Not Nice To Call Palestinians 'Rats:' Technology & Terror-Innovation 
- Bruce

Despite the offense that some will take, I can't help comparing our Palestinian enemies to rats. 

Joshua Mitnick of The Jewish Week observed:

Tunneling has been used for millennia in warfare, from the Vietnam War, to World War I, and all the way back to the Roman era and the Jewish Revolt. Hamas operatives used a tunnel in a 2006 border strike in which soldier Gilad Shalit was kidnapped into Gaza. Hamas has turned to tunneling because it has become the most effective method of psychological warfare against the Israeli population: Israeli fences have blocked suicide bombers and Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket system is protecting cities from Katyusha attacks. 

As you can see, Mr. Mitnick is a bit more diplomatic than I, saying Hamas has merely picked an "effective method" long used in warfare.  But I cannot help noting the fascinating shift in methodology:

First Palestinian jihadis adopt suicide bombing.  Israel builds a security barrier.  Suicide attacks are thwarted.  Suicide bombing then spreads all over the world.  Thank you Palestinians.  But, of course, Israel is criticized for protecting herself.  The world's heart bleeds for the terrible effect the "wall" has had on poor Palestinians.  The world's heart was not moved when Israelis were slaughtered in cafes and pizza shops.

Then, when they could no longer enter much of Israel, Hamas (& Hezbollah) turned to missiles and rockets.  The world yawned, at least until Israel decided to defend herself.  But the last Gaza War showed that anti-rocket technology could significantly thwart even that means of murder.  I hasten to add that the aforementioned rocket defense technology, began as President Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars" proposal.  Now it's called Iron Dome. 

Despite the positive historical precedent of blocking a missile barrage, following the war, the world again expressed sympathy for the poor Palestinians of Gaza and Israel's horrible blockade. 

Blocked from entering and causing mayhem [thank you security barrier] and blocked from hitting their missile targets [thank you Iron Dome] Hamas, never lacking in murderous creativity, morphed Hezbollah's tunneling technology to create the latest threat to Israel.  Currently, the world is yawning as Israel debates how aggressive to be against this newish threat.  Already responsible for kidnapping IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, this new methodology threatens to lead to mass casualty attacks in and around Israeli kibbutzim near Gaza. 

Anyone wanna guess how this will turn out?  Don't fret, I'll tell you.  Since history is the best predictor of human behavior, we can fully expect that:

1. Israel will (eventually) defend herself and destroy as many tunnels as they can.
2. The world will condemn her for doing so. 
3. Somehow, Palestinians will successfully assert their right to build tunnels. 

I promised at the beginning of this piece to compare our creative enemies to rats.  Before I do so, I must remind my dear readers that Palestinians invented modern terror warfare.  Kindly do not forget that the first terror hijacking of an airline was carried out by (yes, you guessed it) Palestinians.  In that respect, we can thank the Palestinians for 9-11

It is only a matter of time until stabbings and tunnels join other Palestinian terror innovations, and spread worldwide

Imagine a mass casualty attack in the United States carried out by terror operatives tunneling under the Mexican border.  Calls to prevent infiltration there would no longer be a marginal proposal by a controversial GOP candidate [whom I, incidentally, oppose]. 

If I were studying the history of warfare and applying it to the modern arena, I might be impressed with these creative adversaries.  But I am not an impassive observer.  I am a Zionist:

These Palestinian rats have entered their final frontier: under the groundIt is, perhaps, exactly where they belong

There were hints of this a few Gaza wars ago when Hamas leadership hid underneath hospitals.  They figured, correctly, that the IDF would leave them there without consequence. 

Israel is in the process of trying to develop technology to detect Hamas' underground labyrinths.  When they succeed and take action against Hamas, you can bet you life that Hamas will be portrayed by the media as victims and Israel will be painted as the aggressor

If you're an Israeli reading this, you will literally be betting your life.
[Bruce's MidEast Soundbites]

Monday, February 15, 2016

Jihad in Ohio

Hany Baransi

Ohio Restaurant Owner: Machete Attack Was Anti-Israel Terrorism
- Shiri Moshe

Hany Baransi, an Israeli Christian Arab, opened the Nazareth Restaurant & Deli in Columbus, Ohio, 27 years ago. In addition to having a sign bearing an Arabic greeting - "Ahlan Wa Sahalan" - the restaurant displays an Israeli flag. Baransi says he has always been outspoken about his Israeli identity, and so when his restaurant was attacked on Thursday by a machete-wielding man, he believed it was no coincidence. Baransi said the attacker, Mohamed Barry, "came in and asked where I was from." A young waitress told Barry that the owner is from Israel. Barry returned 30 minutes later with a machete and start hacking people. "It was a terrorist attack," Baransi said.

"You know, we are Israelis, used to this in our lives, people attacking us and wanting to kill us," he observed.

When asked whether he would consider removing the Israeli flag in his restaurant as a precaution, Baransi replied, "I am going to get a bigger flag."  
(The Tower)


This story has a sad ending.  PJ Media reports that restaurant owner Hany Baransi will be closing his restaurant and moving back to Israel, where he feels safe.  Yes, you heard that correctly.  This Christian is moving out of the United States to where he feel safer: in Israel

A blogger pointed out the irony: "Imagine, a Christian moving back to Israel because he fears jihad attack in America, Obama’s post-America. There is much to fear."

Red Lines: What Ever Happened to Syria's Chemical Weapons

Syria Did Not Declare All of Its Chemical Weapons - Armin Rosen 

In August 2014, the Obama administration declared that Syria's chemical stockpile had been destroyed.  However, on Feb. 9, 2016, U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a Senate committee:

"We assess that Syria has not declared all the elements of its chemical weapons program to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Despite the creation of a specialized team and months of work by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to address gaps and inconsistencies in Syria's declaration, numerous issues remain unresolved."

"Moreover, we continue to judge that the Syrian regime has used chemicals as a means of warfare since accession to the CWC in 2013."
(Business Insider)


A Mini World War Rages in Aleppo, Syria - Liz Sly

In the northern Syrian province of Aleppo, a battle with global dimensions risks erupting into a wider war. Russian warplanes are bombing. Iraqi and Lebanese militias aided by Iranian advisers are advancing on the ground. An assortment of Syrian rebels backed by the U.S., Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are fighting back. Kurdish forces allied both to Washington and Moscow are extending Kurdish territories. The Islamic State has snatched a couple of small villages while all the focus was on the other groups.

The Aleppo offensive is affirming Moscow's stature as a dominant regional power. The advances by Shiite Iraqi and Lebanese militias are extending the sway of Iran far beyond the traditional Shiite axis of influence into Sunni areas of northern Syria. Almost all of the advances are being made by Lebanese Hizbullah, the Iraqi Badr Brigade, Harakat al-Nujaba and other Iraqi Shiite militias sponsored by Iran.
(Washington Post)

Israel Skeptical of Syria Ceasefire - Dan Williams

"The situation in Syria is very complex, and it is hard to see how the war and mass killing there are stopped," Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said in Munich. "Syria as we have known it will not be united anew in the foreseeable future, and at some point I reckon that we will see enclaves, whether organized or not, formed by the various sectors that live and are fighting there....As long as Iran is in Syria, the country will not return to what it was, and it will certainly find it difficult to become stable as a country that is divided into enclaves, because the Sunni forces there will not allow this."

Ram Ben-Barak, director general of Israel's Intelligence Ministry, told Israel's Army Radio: "Ultimately Syria should be turned into regions, under the control of whoever is there - the Alawites where they are, the Sunnis where they are....I can't see how a situation can be reached where those same 12% Alawites go back to ruling the Sunnis, of whom they killed half a million people there." An Assad victory in Aleppo, Ben-Barak said, "will not solve the problem because the battles will continue. You have ISIS there and the rebels will not lay down their weapons."  

Just Who is Killing Muslims?

Over 90% of the Muslims killed in the Middle East between 1950-2007 have been killed by Muslims
Graphic: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Arab-Israeli Fatalities - Gunnar Heinsohn & Daniel Pipes, PhD

The Arab-Israeli conflict is often said, not just by extremists, to be the world’s most dangerous conflict – and, accordingly, Israel is judged the world’s most belligerent country. 

But is this true? It flies in the face of the well-known pattern that liberal democracies do not aggress; plus, it assumes, wrongly, that the Arab-Israeli conflict is among the most costly in terms of lives lost.
To place the Arab-Israeli fatalities in their proper context, one of the two co-authors, Gunnar Heinsohn, has compiled statistics to rank conflicts since 1950 by the number of human deaths incurred.
These figures mean that deaths Arab-Israeli fighting since 1950 amount to just 0.06 percent of the total number of deaths in all conflicts in that period. More graphically, only 1 out of about 1,700 persons killed in conflicts since 1950 has died due to Arab-Israeli fighting. (Adding the 11,000 killed in the Israeli war of independence, 1947-49, made up of 5,000 Arabs and 6,000 Israeli Jews, does not significantly alter these figures.)
In a different perspective, some 11,000,000 Muslims have been violently killed since 1948, of which 35,000, or 0.3 percent, died during the sixty years of fighting Israel, or just 1 out of every 315 Muslim fatalities. In contrast, over 90 percent of the 11 million who perished were killed by fellow Muslims.

Despite the relative non-lethality of the Arab-Israeli conflict, its renown, notoriety, complexity, and diplomatic centrality will probably give it continued out-sized importance in the global imagination. And Israel’s reputation will continue to pay the price. Still, it helps to point out the statistic[s] as a corrective, in the hope that one day, this reality will register, permitting the Arab-Israeli conflict to subside to its rightful, lesser place in world politics.
[Front Page Magazine]
Hat tip: Joe S & Linda F


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Palestinians 'Invented' Modern Terrorism

How Palestinians Hurt the Palestinians - Dr. Ely Karmon (Times of Israel)
  • While UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke recently of growing Palestinian frustration, he did not mention the half century of frustration of the Israeli people, who sincerely hoped to achieve peace with the Palestinians.
  • The Palestinians have been the pioneers of the global terrorism that now threatens the international community and many UN members. Palestinians were responsible for the first hijacking of a civilian airplane (El Al in 1968); attempts at suicide air attacks (by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine); the first attack on the Olympic Games (Munich 1972); the first use of anti-aircraft missiles against civil aviation (Rome 1971), and the use of barometer bombs in airplanes (Swiss Air flight 330 in 1970 - all 47 passengers killed).
  • Most of the perpetrators of these attacks were quickly released by most of the countries involved, even when their own citizens were the victims.
  • Before al-Qaeda set up its training camps in Afghanistan, Palestinians were training a long list of terrorist groups in Lebanon, including the Japanese Red Army, the Armenian ASALA, the Argentine Montoneros, and the Basque ETA.
  • One al-Qaeda ideologue and strategist of jihad was Palestinian Islamic scholar Abdullah Azzam who created the Mujahideen Services Bureau in Afghanistan. His teachings about jihad had a huge impact on generations of fighters including Osama bin Laden himself and his ideas inspire foreign fighters to this day. Azzam was instrumental in the formation of Hamas.
  • It is time the UN and the international community recognize the Palestinians' key role in their present predicament, as well as the Israeli people's frustration and lack of confidence in the Palestinians' acceptance of a historic compromise for a two-state solution.

    The writer is Senior Research Scholar at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, IDC Herzliya.

Robert Kennedy's Palestinian Assassin Denied Parole
- Corky Siemaszko

Sirhan Sirhan

Robert F. Kennedy's Palestinian assassin, Sirhan B. Sirhan, was denied parole for the 15th time on Tuesday.

Sirhan, a Palestinian from Jordan outraged by RFK's support for Israel, was caught with a gun in his hand and later convicted of the killing. He was sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted to life in prison after California banned the death penalty.

Kennedy, the younger brother of slain President John F. Kennedy, was shot June 5, 1968, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles just after he'd won the state's Democratic presidential primary.
(NBC News)


Humor may help, but this is quite serious

New ISIS 'help desk' to aid hiding from authorities - Cory Bennett

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has opened up a new technical “help desk” that instructs terrorists on how to hide from Western authorities, according to researchers.  

The Electronic Horizon Foundation (EHF) was launched on Jan. 30 as a joint effort of several of the top ISIS cybersecurity experts, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) said in a new report.

While researchers have previously uncovered an ISIS “help desk” and 34-page manual that help extremists encrypt their communications, MEMRI said the EHF takes these services to an “alarming” new level.

“Jihadis have long sought technical information, which has been confined in the past to various password-protected jihadi forums,” said the MEMRI report, shared exclusively with The Hill. “However, the freedom and ease by which they can now obtain that information is alarming, especially when such information is shared over private and secure channels.”
As of early this week, the EHF Telegram account had over 2,200 members.
In the wake of the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., law enforcement officials have cautioned that potential terrorists are increasingly using encryption to hide from investigators, a phenomenon they call “going dark.”
The warnings have led to some calling for legislation that would guarantee government access to encrypted data, although momentum on Capitol Hill for such a bill has cooled in recent months.

“I don’t think we’re any closer to a consensus on that than we were, I think, six months ago,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat, said last week. “Or if there is a consensus, it is that a legislative solution, I think, is very unlikely.”
[The Hill]


Monday, February 08, 2016

The Obama - Iran Alliance

Photo Credit: WhiteHouse.Gov

America's U-Turn in the Middle East - Tony Badran
  • The first thing the Obama Administration did following the recent burning of the Saudi embassy and consulate in Iran by a state-sponsored mob was to launch a media campaign pushing the message that the problem was actually Saudi Arabia.
  • The foundation of the new American-approved security framework for the region is the legitimization of Iranian spheres of influence, especially in Iraq and Syria. President Obama has repeatedly described this new structure as establishing "equilibrium" between "the Shiites," which means Iran, and "the Sunnis," primarily meaning the Saudis.
  • Iran has naturally been seizing the opportunity to leverage U.S. support to advance its own regional interests, which happen to run squarely against the traditional American alliance system. Iran is a revolutionary actor, whose expressed objective is to overturn the existing order and replace it with Iranian hegemony.
  • Iranian impunity is not a function of Iran's actual military power vis-a-vis the U.S. Rather, it emanates from the Iranian understanding that Obama wants to extricate the U.S. from the region, has no interest in maintaining the old American order, and is therefore willing to recognize Iran's position at the head of the regional table.
  • Hence, the administration has found itself repeatedly acting as Iran's lawyer, excusing and justifying its behavior, legitimizing its ambitions, and instead lashing out at old regional allies like Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.
  • Yet there is nothing very appealing to most Americans about the prospect of making a pro-Iranian U-turn in U.S. foreign policy.

    The writer is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Christians Under The Thumb: Trailer of Upcoming Documentary

Faithkeepers is an upcoming documentary film about the violent persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East. The film features exclusive footage and testimonials of Christians, Baha’i, Yazidis, Jews, and other minority refugees, and a historical context of the persecution in the region.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Next President Can Cancel Iran Deal

Malcolm Hoenlein

Next US president could cancel Iran deal - Herb Keinon

The Iran nuclear deal passed in the US because of a “parliamentary maneuver,” and as a result the next president might not feel bound by it, Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said.

Hoenlein told The Jerusalem Post [that the Iran deal] was not a signed treaty and therefore the next president could rethink it. He pointed out that polls showed that 80 percent of the public was opposed. The deal went through on the strength of a parliamentary maneuver, “[a]nd the next president might not be bound by the deal.”

He quoted a researcher in Washington as saying that there were between 30,000 to 40,000 Hezbollah agents in South America, and that they have dug tunnels into the US from Mexico. “Hezbollah people are in Mexico,” Hoenlein said. “Iran has weapons manufacturing plants in South America, all sorts of businesses, including one of the richest uranium fields, second only to Canada, in Venezuela.”

Hoenlein also said that Hezbollah runs an illicit cigarette ring with some 50 locations along the Canadian-US border, costing New York state some $300 million a year in lost tax revenue. In light of this, he said, it is a grave mistake for the US to think that Iran is solely an Israeli or a Middle East problem.
[Jerusalem Post]


A Republican President Will Tear Up Iran Deal

A Republican victory in the US presidential election could result in the collapse of the Iran deal, says American political commentator Daniel Pipes.

Pipes, who has served with the US defence and state departments and now heads the Middle East Forum, described the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JPCOA) signed with Iran as a "very, very strange deal".

"The (Iran) deal may not survive. If a Democrat wins, it would be more or less a continuation of the present regime's policies. Bernie Sanders would move to the left and Hillary Clinton to the centre," he told editors at Hindustan Times on Thursday.

"But if a Republican candidate were to become the next US president, the first thing he would do on January 20, 2017, would be to tear up the Iran deal."

The historian expressed doubts about the longevity of Tehran's current regime. "The Islamic Republic of Iran will not be along for a very long time. It is doomed. There is such hostility within the country to the regime that I see it like the Soviet Union in the 1970s...It's powerful, it's aggressive, but it stays on the boil."

Pipes said the Islamic State (IS) poses a serious threat to global security. "I doubt whether the IS will last very long because it has so many enemies. But it has the potential to appear elsewhere, like Libya or Yemen, and to inspire individuals in other places in the world."
[Hidustan Times]

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Could Some Terror Stabbers Be Mentally Ill Suicide Patients

Mahmoud Illean / AP

Are Palestinians Committing "Suicide by Soldier"? - Simona Weinglass

Ariel Merari, a professor emeritus of psychology at Tel Aviv University, interviewed would-be Palestinian suicide bombers in previous waves of attacks. Regarding the motivations of the current wave of stabbers, he says the first question that has to be asked is not why there are so many attackers, but why there are so few. He notes that there are many good opinion polls of the Palestinian population, and there is no doubt that the overwhelming majority of the Palestinian population hates Israel. "But when it comes down to it, very few are willing to carry out these attacks themselves."

"It's pretty similar to what in the United States is called 'suicide by police'."
The fact that Islam forbids suicide is key, said Merari. "If someone commits suicide, his family becomes outcasts. If he really wants to die, in the current political climate, it is very convenient to do it this way, to commit suicide by police. Because then the entire society will say, 'How wonderful, he is a shahid, he is a hero.' They will not say he committed a religiously forbidden act."  
(Times of Israel)