Watch it. It will be time well spent.
Jun 20 2010
Entertaining. And educational.
Jun 01 2010
From the Drudge Report, headlines, May 31, 2010:
Israel faces int'l fury over flotilla...
Israel: Passengers were armed, 'no peace activists'...
Turkey warns of 'consequences'...
Israel in eye of storm...
Thousands protest, clashes in Athens...
Paris: Demonstrators tried to break into Israeli embassy...
From the Drudge Report, headlines, May 31, 2010, in an alternate universe:
Palestinians faces int'l fury over flotilla...
Hamas: Passengers were armed, 'no peace activists'...
Turkey warns of 'consequences'...
Iran in eye of storm...
Thousands protest, clashes in Athens...
Paris: Demonstrators tried to break into Iranian embassy...
We have come to this – instant global condemnation of Israel every time an incident occurs. Israel is now officially presumed guilty until proven innocent. Not many facts are yet known about this incident, but in our world today facts are little more than an annoyance. No, what seems to matter most is to lay the blame on Israel.
And a sitting U.S. President has become a part of the condemnation chorus virtually from the day he took office. All the while the terror-sponsoring state of Iran, whose own President has sworn to wipe Israel from the face of the earth, rushes full tilt toward becoming a nuclear power. And when they do I imagine our president’s reaction will be to bow a little deeper to Amadinejad, and he’ll wag his finger a little longer at Netanyahu. Madness.
Mr President, your words and actions have emboldened not only our enemies but the enemies of one of our closest allies. And at least in part, the blood shed today is on your hands. Words have meaning, Mr. President. You know that. And your obvious lack of support for the State of Israel coupled with your failed attempts at diplomacy towards our enemies has made this world in which we live a less safe place. This incident is just a drop in the bucket compared to what I fear is is coming. And the headlines do not bode well for the State of Israel.
Apr 20 2010
Israel has warned Syrian President Bashar Assad that any missile attack against Israel by Hizbullah would result in retaliation against Syria, the Sunday Times reported on Sunday.
According to the UK paper, Israel’s missive – sent earlier in April – defined Hizbullah as a “division of the Syrian army,” a military branch of Damascus in Lebanon.
The warning was reportedly delivered to Damascus by a third party.
Meanwhile on Sunday, Al-Hayat reported that Hizbullah minister Nawaf al-Moussawi had said Israel’s accusations against Syria were only a ploy meant to divert attention from its failure to relaunch peace talks with the Palestinians.
Last week, the Kuwait-based Al-Rai reported that Syria had transferred Scud missiles to Hizbullah. According to the report, the missiles were recently transferred to Lebanon, prompting a stern Israeli warning that it would consider attacking both Syrian and Lebanese targets in response.
Scud ballistic missiles have a longer range than the rockets previously used by Hizbullah against Israel, and can carry chemical warheads.
On Thursday, the Kuwaiti paper reported that Hizbullah had confirmed receiving a shipment of Scud missiles from Syria. “It’s only natural for Lebanon to have the means to defend itself against an Israeli attack,” Hizbullah official Hussein Haj Hassan told Al-Manar TV on Friday.
The Syrian leadership has consistently denied the charge.
On Saturday, Reuters quoted US officials as saying that while the “intent” to transfer ballistic missiles to Hizbullah existed, it was doubtful such a transfer had actually taken place.
Obama may be about to find out what happens when Israel senses, correctly, that Obama is abandoning it. When Israel no longer feels a significant pressure from the USA to restrain Israel’s enemies, we should expect Israel to take matters into its own hands.
If Obama is smart, he will make it clear to Syria that the USA will also consider a Hizbullah attack on Israel as a Syrian attack, and take steps accordingly. He doesn’t have to do it publicly. But he should do it diplomatically, even via “back-channels.” And if he’s smart, he’ll find a way to let Israel know that he has done so.
But he may be blinded by his presuppositions.
Apr 14 2010
Obama is, once again, giving away the store… or at least the markets in Tel Aviv, by trying to make nice with the implacable enemies of supposed allies.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Syria has transferred long-range Scud missiles to Hezbollah. There have been rumors about this for a few days, but now U.S. officials, who at first refused to confirm them, are saying that the transfer has occurred.
The Scuds are believed to have a range of more than 435 miles. This means that Hezbollah can now bomb Jerusalem and Tel Aviv from Lebanon. During the 2006 war, the rockets Hezbollah rained on Israel had a range of 20 to 60 miles.
I hope you’ll read the entire article at the link above, and ponder the situation a bit.
One can only wonder: exactly how much damage can Obama-style foreign policy do in four years?
If the Carter administration is any guide, a truly immense amount.
Obama remains deeply confused about who are our allies and friends, and who are our adversaries. One hopes he doesn’t stay in office long enough to be educated directly by the course of events, though the next administration is going to have a lot of pieces to pick up.
Nov 28 2009
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday accused US President Barack Obama of doing “nothing” to achieve peace in the Middle East. Speaking to Argentinian newspaper Clarin, Abbas said he hoped that Obama would “take a more important role in the future.”
He went on to say that the Palestinian people were awaiting US pressure on Israel, “so that it respects international law and takes up the Road Map,” stressing that the peace process could not be restarted without a halt to settlement construction.
When asked what he was willing to concede for peace, Abbas told Clarin that the Palestinian people had “already made concessions.”
He opined that the current government, with Binyamin Netanyahu as prime minister and Avigdor Lieberman as foreign minister, “is not seeking peace,” though he said that 73 percent of Israelis were in favor of peace.
What Abbas wants, of course, is for Obama to be tougher on his (putatively) only friend in the Middle East, Israel, than he is on actual opponents, like Iran, Syria or Hisbullah.
If we needed any reminder of the fact, this illustrates the basic dynamic of all Middle East peace negotiations. Israel, which has always been the attacked party, must give up land and options that were legitimately earned in acts of national self-defense from Arab aggression, self-defense against incredible odds. In the meantime, Palestine doesn’t have to give up anything, including the intent to see the end of Israel as a Jewish nation.
Prediction: Obama will be no more successful than any of his predecessors at convincing Palestinians that their best interests lie in normalizing relations with Israel, with reporting and fighting against the terrorists in their number, and with going about the business of building a functioning economy, without the ridiculous and unachievable destruction of Israel. Palestinians have exactly the same opportunity now that Israel had 60 years ago, to build something out of nothing in the desert. Further, they have a potential partner, Israel, which would help, if Palestinians could control their hatred of the Jews. I’m not holding my breath.
In the meantime, Obama brings a student council president level of understanding to a negotiation where world class diplomats have tried and failed. I won’t blame him for failing. I will blame him if he manages to cripple Israel while he is busy failing to engineer an unlikely peace.
Nov 28 2009
If you want to recruit men to risk their lives repeatedly for relatively minor gain, Hezbollah thinks it knows the secret:
Mohammad, a 40-year old Lebanese Shiite who lives in Hezbollah’s stronghold in Beirut’s southern suburbs, was holding forth on the virtues of resistance, loyalty, and sex. “You could create the most loyal army by providing political power, social services and fulfilling the desires of your men — namely, sexual ones,” he declared.
“And Hezbollah has been very successful in this regard,” Mohammad continued.
It is hard to disagree.
Hezbollah liberated South Lebanon from Israeli occupation, expanded the Shiite community’s political power within the country, and has provided social services, such as health care and education, to its constituency since the 1980s. Today, it is also working to fulfill the sexual needs of its supporters, though a practice known as mutaa marriage.
Mutaa is a form of “temporary marriage” only acceptable within Shiite communities, one that allows couples to have religiously sanctioned sex for a limited period of time, without any commitments, and without the obligatory involvement of religious figures.
In conservative Muslim societies known for their strict sense of propriety, mutaa offers an escape clause. The contract is very simple. The woman says: “I marry myself to you for [a specific period of time] and for [a specified dowry]” and the man says: “I accept.” The period can range between one hour and a year, and is subject to renewal.
A Muslim woman can only marry a Muslim man, but a Muslim man can temporarily marry a Muslim, Christian, or Jewish woman, as long as she is a divorcée or a widow. However, those interviewed for this article confirmed that Hezbollah-the “Party of God”-has allowed the practice to spread to virgins or girls who have never married before, as long as the permission of her guardian (father or paternal grandfather) is obtained.
Presumably, if you allow your virgin daughter to engage in a Shiite-sanctioned “temporary marriage,” you aren’t then required to kill her to preserve your family’s honor, which has been a big problem in Lebanon, it seems.
Jun 10 2009
Learning to understand Obama. Lesson ONE
Obama said he told Abbas the Palestinians must find a way to halt the incitement of anti-Israeli sentiments that are sometimes expressed in schools, mosques and public arenas. “All those things are impediments to peace,” Obama said.
Translation: please don’t be so public about your hatred of Israel, because you’re making it really, really hard for me to convince anyone that you have any interest in peace whatsoever, let alone a desire to live peacefully with Israel in a separate Palestinian state.
Obama, like predecessor George W. Bush, embraces a multifaceted Mideast peace plan that calls for a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
The president refused to set a timetable for such a nation but also noted he has not been slow to get involved in meeting with both sides and pushing the international community for help.
“We can’t continue with the drift, with the increased fear and resentment on both sides, the sense of hopelessness around the situation that we’ve seen for many years now,” Obama said. “We need to get this thing back on track.”
Translation: we have to work really, really hard to get Israel to give land back to the people who want them dead, because those same people promise to be nice after that. (Except, of course, that they never made such a promise, and never will.)
Abbas is working to repackage a 2002 Saudi Arabian plan that called for Israel to give up land it has occupied since the 1967 war in exchange for normalized relations with Arab countries. Abbas gave Obama a document that would keep intact that requirement and also offer a way to monitor a required Israeli freeze on all settlement activity, a timetable for Israeli withdrawal and a realization of a two-state solution.
In other words, if it weren’t for those nasty Israeli settlements, all would be peace and joy in Palestine.
Sep 27 2008
Thnk the ability to debate is seriously important? Think it matters more than good judgment, clear understanding of the world, and commitment to the welfare of America above party?
The threats, and some unfortunate connections, are made clear here. These are serious people, with seriously bad intentions, who aren’t impressed by debate tactics, smooth talk or stage presence. They will not be “negotiated with” in the normal sense of the term, because we have nothing they want that they aren’t going to get from us anyway. We cannot give them enough to remove their bad intentions, and they have the capabilities, by and large, to act on those intentions, if we give them time and opportunity. All of them have proved that.
Who is the very serious person you want as President of the USA to deal with these people? Who, among the candidates we have, has sufficient wisdom, experience, clarity and toughness to represent us, and make decisions critical to our security? Who has proved that he will put us first, regardless of his own self-interest, regardless of political fallout? Who, among the candidates we have, will these people take seriously? I think you know.
The old standbys, also hip deep in bad plans for the USA, and freedom around the world.
And then, there are our “friends”.
Whose vested interest is keeping us waiting in line for their largess.
Sep 19 2008
From Haaretz, Egypt draws up plan to end internal Palestinian crisis
Egypt has drawn up a plan to end the internal Palestinian crisis and
will propose it to rival Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, as soon as the sides agree to hear it sources said Saturday.
Egypt has come up with the plan after several rounds of bilateral talks with representatives from the different Palestinian factions. Later this month, Egyptian officials will meet with leaders from Hamas and Fatah separately to propose the plan and get their acceptance.
The Palestinian crisis escalated in June 2007 when Hamas routed security forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas, ousted his Fatah movement and took over control of the Gaza Strip, effectively separating it from the West Bank where Abbas has consolidated his rule.
Its government needs to appear to be working in good faith to resolve difficult aspects of the Palestinian situation. It cannot be seen as being in conflict with the Palestinians, which makes situations like this a major problem.
On 22 January 2008, after Israel imposed a total closure on all exits and entrances to the Gaza Strip, a group of Hamas demonstrators, many of whom were women, attempted to force open the door of the Rafah crossing from Gaza into Egypt. They were beaten back by Egyptian police and gunfire erupted. That same night, Hamas militants set off 15 explosive charges demolishing a 200-metre length of the metal border wall that had been erected by Israel in 2004. After the resulting Breach of the Gaza-Egypt border, many thousands of Palestinians, with estimates ranging from 60,000 to 350,000 flowed into Egypt to buy goods. Palestinians were seen purchasing food, fuel, cigarettes, shoes, furniture, car parts, generators, and even weapons.
Egypt has prospered from its peace agreement with Israel, in terms of trade, tourism, and the regard of the world. Palestinian conflicts destabilize that agreement. Egypt’s people, of course, are mainly sympathetic with the Palestinians. That makes it tough to take strong enforcement action against Palestinians trying to breach the Gaza/Egypt border. If Palestine can be somewhat stabilized, the chances of that kind of conflict are reduced. Egypt’s battle with its own homegrown terrorists, the Muslim Brotherhood (the seedbed for Al Qaeda and others), makes it especially necessary for the government not to be seen as being in conflict with the Islamic side of any dispute.
Unlike some decades ago, the governments of Jordan and Egypt are both willing to be part of a two-state solution, if they don’t have to offend their own people’s sympathies to get it. They understand, correctly, that it is to their financial and political benefit to do so.
It’s tempting to paint all Islamic mid-east nations with the same brush. But the fact is that there would be considerable hope for peace if Syria and Iran dropped their support of Hamas and Hizbullah, and the Palestinians could see their way clear to elect a leadership that was not dedicated to maintaining the conflict.
Put simply, Iran’s and Syria’s leadership depend on maintaining that conflict for their own power. And Russia is helping them do it, and helping the governments of Iran and Syria stay in power. The odds of Iran/Syria/Russia abandoning Hizbullah and Hamas are miniscule. But if there was some way to do an end-run around Hamas in Palestine, in terms of forming a government, it would be a start. I have no illusions about Hamas peacefully allowing this to happen. But, just possibly, if Hamas is seen by the Palestinians as being against a greater Palestine government, and if Hamas starts being known more for attacking other Palestinians than Israelis, something like the Anbar awakening could occur, where the locals once sympathetic to terrorists realize the danger they pose.
Egypt, hardly an ideal of freedom, is nevertheless doing the right thing here, and should be supported by the west in whatever ways will help. In the meantime, the west has to find a way to get aid into Palestine that does not flow through Hamas first, so that the west does not support the Palestinian image of Hamas as caregiver. I don’t have a suggestion about HOW to do this, and I recognize the difficulty of it. Nevertheless, we have to find a way to get aid to Palestinians that does not simply prop up Hamas. Just possibly, the beginning could be Egypt’s intervention to help develop a non-Hamas AND non-Fatah Palestinian unified government, through which aid from the west could be funneled that would help stabilize that new government.
The two state solution cannot work if one of them is simply a terrorist nation. But if, by some working of God and diplomacy, a non-terrorist Palestinian government could form, there would be hope. It’s worth the effort.
Next Page »