Wednesday, November 30, 2011
UPDATE: I also recommend the following blog which contains a section on Luttwak that presents some of his ideas that I have expressed myself (don't be distracted by the title):
Edward N. Luttwak, Tomorrow 2009
'You can't buy democracy in a shop, religion more meaningful in N.Africa'
Edward Luttwak, Tomorrow 2008
Elliott Abrams: Iran’s Obligations, and Ours
President Obama’s reaction to the looting of the Embassy is pathetically weak. He said today that “for rioters, essentially, to be able to overrun the embassy and set it on fire is an indication that the Iranian government is not taking its international obligations seriously.”
Not taking its international obligations seriously? A regime that is the greatest state sponsor of terrorism in the world? That continues to defy UN Security Council and IAEA resolution after resolution? That supplied IEDs to kill countless Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan?
If that is the strongest language he can muster, President Obama is not taking his own obligations seriously. After all, we are but weeks from the Iranian effort to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington—for which the regime paid absolutely no price. His mild response suggests they will likewise pay no price—or at least none involving the United States—for this latest abuse. The ayatollahs must wonder why anyone seriously expects them to abandon their nuclear program when they appear free to kill Americans, undertake terrorist plots in our capital, and now—in a striking reminder of how they entered the scene, with the 1979 hostage crisis at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran—attack embassies without evoking anything from Washington.
The Iranian regime returned those hostages on the day Ronald Reagan took office. There’s a lesson here in Iran reacts to strength, and how it reacts to weakness.
FP: God save us, and I am an Atheist.
Israel announced on Wednesday it will resume the transfer of Palestinian Authority tax funds to Ramallah, but not before warning it will consider freezing the funds again if the PA renews its bid for statehood recognition in UN institutions.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu convened his inner cabinet of eight ministers to discuss the matter, and it was decided – with only Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman opposing – to transfer to the PA $100 million that was held up after UNESCO accepted the Palestinians as a full member in early November.
Netanyahu had been lobbied intensively over the last two weeks from numerous world leaders, warning that the continued failure to transfer the funds would weaken PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, as well as the Palestinian security apparatus, which was playing a role in keeping the West Bank quiet.
Quartet envoy Tony Blair, among the leaders who spoke to Netanyahu about the matter, issued a statement after the decision, characterizing the step as “important.”
“As I have said on numerous occasions, this is Palestinian money, which is critical to sustaining the PA and should be transferred on a regular and predictable basis in line with previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements,” he said.
FP: First, no, those are Palestinian funds only in the context of Oslo; the Palestinians have systematically violated Oslo and declared it null and void when they went to the UNSC for regonition; consequently, the funds are no longer theirs.
Second, I predicted that Netanyahu would cave again and he did. The rationalization he used to justify it is pathetic. Note that none of the ministers except Liebeman have any balls, which is exactly what I predicted.
Third, the government refuses to accept reality and terminate its ruinous strategy of appeasing the West. Indeed, it is this strategy that has put Israel in a situation without good options which is approaching existential dangers.
London (CNN) -- Mass strikes began across the United Kingdom on Wednesday, with up to 2 million workers walking off jobs in schools, hospitals and police stations in protest over proposed pension reforms.
Chaos was predicted at Heathrow airport in London, one of the world's busiest international airports, but Wednesday morning operations were more or less normal.
Lines at immigration were moving smoothly, but BAA, the company that operates Heathrow, said they could get worse and incoming passengers could expect waits of two to three hours because of strikes by border control staff.
FP: I predicted that the crisis will induce serious societal unrest in the West, including the US and here it is. And it’s just the beginning.
The resolution, which coincided with the U.N.'s annual day of solidarity with the Palestinian people, recognizes the PLO as the legal authority for a Palestinian state, urges peace agreement
FP: Between it own bankruptcy and the European crisis, Iceland has nothing better to do than recognize a Palestinian state. It becomes clearer and clearer why Europe is not gonna stop its decline.
Walter Russell Mead: But They Are Anti-Zionists, Not Anti-Semites
According to this report, two Iranians were kayaking off the coast of Thailand when their kayak overturned far from shore. They were rescued from drowning by two Israelis who saw them struggling in the water and rowed back to shore.
When they reached the shore the two, who introduced themselves as Mundar and Ali, hugged and kissed their rescuers and thanked them.”When we told them we’re Israelis they just got up and fled,” Nimrod noted.
This no doubt was due to their strong and principled anti-Zionism; they, like so many others around the world, are careful to separate their opposition to the state of Israel from their warm and fraternal regard for the Jewish people. Only wicked people would think otherwise. (h/t: Instapundit.)
FP: This is for the various claimers that the Iranian people, as distinct from their leaders, are not anti-Semitic.
Roughly 50 staffers at CNN were given pink slips today, including nearly a dozen photojournalists. In an email to the staff, Senior VP Jack Womack cited the accessibility of cameras and the growth of citizen journalism as reasons for the terminations:
We also spent a great deal of time analyzing how we utilize and deploy photojournalists across all of our locations in the U.S. [...] We looked at the impact of user-generated content and social media, CNN iReporters and of course our affiliate contributions in breaking news. Consumer and pro-sumer technologies are simpler and more accessible. Small cameras are now high broadcast quality. More of this technology is in the hands of more people. After completing this analysis, CNN determined that some photojournalists will be departing the company.
CNN's citizen journalism initiative, iReport, has proved extremely valuable as a source of imagery during things like disasters and protests. However, it has also received criticism for not paying for submitted photos -- even those that are subsequently broadcast worldwide.
(via LittleGreenFootballs via The Hollywood Reporter via FilmmakerIQ)
FP: In case you wondered how the mainstream media has been going down the drain.
BOSTON -- As the nation's Muslim population grows, so does debate over religious accommodation.
In Boston, one university has taken steps to help Muslim students maintain an important ritual: bathing before prayer.
At the center for English Language and Orientation at Boston University students come from all over the world to master English. The largest group is Muslims. [...]
Across the country a number of universities, including the University of Michigan in Dearborn and George Washington University in Washington D.C., have installed foot baths.
So have two airports, the Indianapolis Airport and KCI Airport in Kansas City, Missouri. In each case the move came with some degree of resistance.
Former Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee called the foot baths at the University of Michigan an "accommodation we're making to one religion at the expense of the others." He called it "un-American."
European refineries are facing closures due to poor demand, a result of slow growth and the euro crisis, according to an oil professional. Meanwhile Turkey and the Middle East are seeking ways to increase their production capacities.
The ongoing European economic crisis has paved the way for a significant decline in oil products in debt-hit European countries. Turkey is likely to attract more investments both in refinery and storage facilities as European plants close, the executive of a global energy company said.
Greek Petrol (ELPE), the biggest oil refinery in Greece, has refused to supply the Greek Army with oil after the land forces failed to pay a 43 million euro debt.
The embargo has also left the Greek police (ELAS) without gas for its vehicles, according to Greek daily Kathimerini. ELAS ran out of gas reserves on Nov. 28, according to reports.
FP: Collapse. The PostWest.
FP: Did I predict that the Islamists will play Washington like a violin, or didn’t I? The only question is whether this is pure gullibility, or the Obama realignment strategy, away from allies and towards Islamism. Well, the former is required by the latter, so there.
Yes, you read that correctly: Somehow, the Muslim Public Affairs Council has been given space in the Cannon Office Building on Capitol Hill this evening to welcome Rachid Ghannouchi, the leader of the Ennahda, the Muslim Brotherhood affiliate that recently won the election in Tunisia.
MPAC is an Islamist group whose founders included disciples of Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna as well as admirers of Hezbollah — some of whom referred to the Shiite terrorist organization that is an arm of Iran as a “liberation movement,” rationalizing its 1983 bombing of the U.S. marine barracks in Beirut as a “military operation” rather than a terrorist attack. After 9/11, MPAC’s current director, Salam al-Marayati, immediately pronounced that Israel should be on top of the list of suspects. (More background on MPAC from the Investigative Project on Terrorism, here.)
Rachid Ghannouchi is a longtime Islamist who was actually banned from the U.S. during the nineties — when he was invited here by Sami al-Arian, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative who has since been convicted on a terrorism charge. Consistent with the Brotherhood’s wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing marketing makeover, which is a perfect strategy for winning over Westerners desperate to be convinced, he and Ennahda are putting on their moderate airs. They purport to have committed to refrain from implanting sharia, to protect women’s rights, etc.
But Islamists have trouble maintaining this charade, especially when they think credulous English ears are not listening. As the Investigative Project on Terrorism reports in its story about tonight’s festivities, only a few months ago, in an interview with an Arab-language website, Ghannouchi called for the destruction of Israel and expressed optimism that the Jewish state would soon disappear:
The Arab Spring “will achieve positive results on the path to the Palestinian cause and threaten the extinction of Israel,” Ghannouchi said. “I give you the good news that the Arab region will get rid of the bacillus of Israel. Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the leader of Hamas, said that Israel will disappear by the year 2027. I say that this date may be too far away, and Israel may disappear before this.”
The IPT report elaborates that Ghannouchi is a cheerleader for Hamas (the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch), calling for Muslims to support the terrorist organization and excusing jihadist attacks against Israeli civilians as necessary “martyrdom operations.” His Ennahda group refers to Israel as an “alien entity planted in the heart of the homeland, which constitutes an obstacle to unity and reflects the image of the conflict between our civilization and its enemies.”
No wonder MPAC describes Ghannouchi as “one of the most important figures in modern Islamic political thought and theory.” MPAC, by the way, brags that President Obama personally calls its Washington office to thank the organization for its important work. By contrast, the White House sometimes seems less than proud of the relationship — inviting MPAC’s Washington director to its annual Iftar dinner but omitting his appearance from the published list of guests. But then again, the Obama/Holder Justice Department did rush to purge FBI training materials of information about Islamist ideology when Marayati took to the pages of the LA Times to complain.
Good to know who’s calling the tune in Washington these days. Happy Arab Spring!
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Giora Eiland: Egypt won't seek war
Op-ed: Any future Egyptian ruler knows that the price of war with Israel would be too high
I do not claim that things remain the same forever, yet we can assume that in the coming years we shall have to dedicate much attention to the tactical terror threat along the border rather than to war with our southern neighbor. If the government holds different estimates, it would have to significantly boost the defense budget, by much more than the NIS 3 billion it wishes to cut.
FP: True, except that long term tactical terror at yet another long border (Gaza and Lebanon are already there, Syria and Jordan on their way, see next) may well have strategic implications. Not to mention that given the impossibility of any Egyptian government to solve the country’s acute problems, the only avenue left is to play the Israel card and it can easily use the AQ and Hamas as proxies in a war of attrition.
Police say projectiles land in Biranit and Netua, in Western Galilee; some damage, but none hurt; Police, IDF search Kfar Vradim area for additional rocket after explosion heard; IDF on full alert in North.
FP: The chickens of Israel’s blunders are coming home to roost. Having permitted both Hizballah and Hamas to survive and rearm, can Israel allow attrition wars on both borders? And if not, will it be allowed to smash both decisively? To put it politely, I doubt it.
Robert Satloff: Washington and Egypt: The Incredible Shrinking Policy
The Obama administration's once-powerful message to Egypt about strategic direction, democratic institutions, and economic growth has lost its voice. Even as polls open, it is still not too late to engage Egyptians on the consequences of their vote.
The first two questions are, at this point, academic. But the third is still operational; it is not too late. Indeed, having taken the dramatic step last week of endorsing a position advocated by Islamist parties, the administration has the standing to speak to Egyptian voters this week and throughout the multiple rounds of voting. The idea is not to endorse or warn against specific parties; rather, it is to lay out for voters in a sober, realistic way the implications of their choices in terms of international credibility and investor confidence. Given the stakes involved -- especially the health of Egypt's democratic institutions, the durability of its new political order, and the vitality of its economy, about which President Obama spoke so appropriately in February -- both Egypt's transition and U.S. interests deserve no less.
FP: There are no limits to Western delusions and denial.
JoshuaPundit: Iranians Sack British Embassy In Tehran
Protesters and 'students' attacked and looted the British Embassy in Tehran, throwing rocks, Molotov cocktails and burning documents looted from the offices. They tore down and burnt the British flag and replaced it with the Iranian flag while parading the streets with th eRoyal Crest and a framed portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.
Another group of protesters broke into a second British Embassy compound at Qolhak in north Tehran. This compound is now used to house diplomatic staff, a library and a school. The protesters likewise damaged the buildings and took six embassy staff hostage who were later freed by police, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.
Considering how well organized and timed the taking of the embassies were and that the Iranian police did absolutely nothing to stop it, it's fairly obvious that this was as 'unofficial' as the taking of the American embassy in 1979.
The Iranians, of course, are quite aware that after the gutting of the Royal Navy and its other military forces after a long period of Labour rule, Britain has little capacity to do much more than sputter and voice outrage. You have to wonder what a prime minister from Britain's former days like Benjamin Disraeli or Robert Gascoyne-Cecil transported into today's times would have to say about the spectacle of the British Lion being forced to acquiesce to this sorry situation out of sheer weakness and impotence.
Iran has been a rogue nation that ignores the rules most civilized countries abide by since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, and thus far they've gotten away with it. The end result of this appeasement will not be pleasant.
FP: How pathetic: this is what is left of the British Empire and Western civilization is following suit. The PostWest.
Jeffrey Goldberg: Praise Arab Spring, Except for Anti-Semitism
But now in Cairo, and across the Arab Middle East, Israel and the Jews are serving once again as universal boogeymen. Once dictators used anti-Semitism to divert their citizens’ attention away from their own problems. Now expressions of the most ridiculous conspiracy theories seem to rise up organically.
FP: I suggest that Goldberg asks himself why did the dictators used anti-Semitism to divert and why it was so effective. Because Westerners don’t ask this question that they delude themselves about Arab “deomocracy” and the Arabs being ‘just like us’.
Greek Petrol (ELPE), the biggest oil refinery in Greece, has refused to supply the Greek Army with oil after the land forces failed to pay a 43 million euro debt.
The embargo has also left the Greek police (ELAS) without gas for its vehicles, according to Greek daily Kathimerini. ELAS ran out of gas reserves on Nov. 28, according to reports.
FP: A government agency that is openly stating that it does not operate in the public interest. This is what happens in a corporate welfare system where the line between government agencies and corporations become one.
Greetings, folks. Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving…
Just a quick update on a big piece of news that came through yesterday. In one of the more severe judicial ass-whippings you’ll ever see, federal Judge Jed Rakoff rejected a slap-on-the-wrist fraud settlement the SEC had cooked up for Citigroup.
I wrote about this story a few weeks back when Rakoff sent signals that he was unhappy with the SEC’s dirty deal with Citi, but yesterday he took this story several steps further.
Rakoff’s 15-page final ruling read like a political document, serving not just as a rejection of this one deal but as a broad and unequivocal indictment of the regulatory system as a whole. He particularly targeted the SEC’s longstanding practice of greenlighting relatively minor fines and financial settlements alongside de facto waivers of civil liability for the guilty – banks commit fraud and pay small fines, but in the end the SEC allows them to walk away without admitting to criminal wrongdoing.
This practice is a legal absurdity for several reasons. By accepting hundred-million-dollar fines without a full public venting of the facts, the SEC is leveling seemingly significant punishments without telling the public what the defendant is being punished for. This has essentially created a parallel or secret criminal justice system, in which both crime and punishment are adjudicated behind closed doors.
This system allows for ugly consequences in both directions. Imagine if normal criminal defendants were treated this way. Say a prosecutor and street criminal come into a judge’s chamber and explain they’ve cooked up a deal, that the criminal doesn’t have to admit to anything or plead to any crime, but has to spend 18 months in house arrest nonetheless.
What sane judge would sign off on a deal like that without knowing exactly what the facts are? Did the criminal shoot up a nightclub and paralyze someone, or did he just sell a dimebag on the street? Is 18 months a tough sentence or a slap on the wrist? And how is it legally possible for someone to deserve an 18-month sentence without being guilty of anything?
Such deals are logical and legal absurdities, but judges have been signing off on settlements like this with Wall Street defendants for years.
Judge Rakoff blew a big hole in that practice yesterday. In his ruling he basically says that secret justice is not justice, and that the government cannot hand out punishments without telling the public what the punishments are for. He wrote:
Finally, in any case like this that touches on the transparency of financial markets whose gyrations have so depressed our economy and debilitated our lives, there is an overriding public interest in knowing the truth. In much of the world, propaganda reigns, and truth is confined to secretive, fearful whispers. Even in our nation, apologists for suppressing or obscuring the truth may always be found. But the S.E.C., of all agencies, has a duty, inherent in its statutory mission, to see that the truth emerges; and if it fails to do so, this Court must not, in the name of deference or convenience, grant judicial enforcement to the agency's contrivances.
Notice the reference to how things are “in much of the world,” a subtle hint that the idea behind this ruling is to prevent a slide into third-world-style justice. There are many such loaded passages in Rakoff’s ruling. Another one comes up around the issue of the “public interest.”
This issue of whether or not the SEC must consider the public interest in granting these cozy settlements gets to the heart of what OWS is all about. The SEC in this case incredibly argued – out loud, on paper – that it could make regulatory decisions without considering the public interest. In particular, it argued that it didn’t need to consider the public interest when granting “injunctive relief,” i.e. an injunction barring future behaviors, as opposed to the stiffer and more immediate punishment of fines or criminal charges.
The SEC argued to Judge Rakoff that "the public interest ... is not part of [the] applicable standard of judicial review."
Translating loosely: “When we decide to let thieving megabank off with just a promise to never do it again, we don’t have to consider whether or not this is in the public interest.”
If you stand back and really think about what this argument means, it’ll make your head spin. What the SEC is saying here is that according to the incestuous values of the small community of high-priced revolving-door lawyers who both head the SEC enforcement office and run the defense teams of banks like Citi, a $95 million fine with no admission of wrongdoing for a $700 million fraud is, in fact, “fair” and “reasonable.”
The settlement only becomes problematic, the SEC implies, if you ask them to square their judgment with “the public interest.”
The SEC, in other words, is admitting that they have a standard for “reasonableness” and “fairness” that somehow does not coincide with the public interest. This surreal formulation translates as, “We’re doing the right thing – we’re just not doing it for the public.”
Rakoff’s response to this lunacy:
A large part of what the S.E.C. requests, in this and most other such consent judgments, is injunctive relief... The Supreme Court has repeatedly made clear, however, that a court cannot grant the extraordinary remedy of injunctive relief without considering the public interest.
The Rakoff ruling shines a light on the way these crappy settlements have evolved into a kind of cheap payoff system, in which crimes may be committed over and over again, and the SEC’s only role is to take a bribe each time the offenders slip up and get caught.
If you never have to worry about serious punishments, or court findings of criminal guilt (which would leave you exposed to crippling lawsuits), then there’s simply no incentive to stop committing fraud. These SEC settlements simply become part of the cost of doing business, as Rakoff notes:
As for common experience, a consent judgment that does not involve any admissions and that results in only very modest penalties is just as frequently viewed, particularly in the business community, as a cost of doing business imposed by having to maintain a working relationship with a regulatory agency, rather than as any indication of where the real truth lies. This, indeed, is Citigroup's position in this very case.
That line, “a cost of doing business imposed by having to maintain a working relationship with a regulatory agency,” is one of the more brutally damning things you’ll ever see a judge write. Rakoff is essentially saying that these fines are payoffs to keep the SEC off the banks’ backs. They’re like the pad that numbers-runners or drug dealers pay to urban precinct-houses every month to keep cops from making real arrests. That's what he means when he refers to "maintaning a working relationship." It's heavy stuff.
On the other hand, both the SEC and Citigroup insist that this secretive payoff system is defensible and must continue. They clearly believe, sincerely, that none of this stuff is really the public’s business.
This is an extraordinarily condescending attitude and shows exactly how little they think of the public at large. One wonders if decisions like Rakoff’s will at least help to wake the government up.
Monday, November 28, 2011
Would any religion today but Islam allow a house of worship to be used to promote what amounts to genocide?
Aside from being red meat for the jihad-hungry, Jew-hating masses,this was also a campaign rally for the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party in the run up to the beginning of Egypt's parliamentary elections.
If they get their expected majority and are able to get the army to cooperate, these are exactly the sort of people President Obama and the State Department characterize as 'moderate' and are working to help rule Egypt and Libya.
FP: The vast majority of Westerners divide into two categories: those who are ignorant of, or in denial of the treacherous and murderous nature of the Arab Islam and culture and those who would not mind or outright support genocide of the Jews. The size of the latter category is increasing at the expense of the former. That in itself is an indicator of Western collapse, as all previous collapses of civilizations included genocidal anti-Semitism.
Lieberman blasts Netanyahu over PA tax transfers
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman fiercely condemned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's support for transferring tax money to the Palestinian Authority on Monday but he said he would not remove his Israel Beiteinu party from the coalition in protest.
Lieberman spoke at a faction meeting of his party after Netanyahu's associates hinted that the transfer would take place soon. He criticized reporters who misinterpreted the opposition to the transfer that he declared last week as an ultimatum.
FP: You can set your watch by Netanyahu cave-ins. If anyone remembers one instance when he did not cave in, please let me know, because I do not. How can Israel complain of the West supporting Arab genocide when Israel itself does it/ And why should anybody expect the Arabs to compromise when there is only an upside--EU has increased the jizziyah to the PA despite the UN game and “unity” with Hamas and Israel keeps conceding—and no downside to rejectionism and violence?
Syria neighbors may soften sanctions blow
Iraq and Lebanon voted against sanctions; Syrian economy already reeling from unrest.
FP: Consequences of losing Lebanon and wasting a war on Iraq.
Iran body passes law expelling British ambassador
Council of clerics approves law passed one day earlier by Tehran's parliament, retaliating against UK sanctions.FP: Iran is teaching the West how to deal with enemies and demonstrates why it wins and the West loses. Guess who’ll blink.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Elder of Ziyon: Mughrabi Gate construction delayed by Prime Minister
Fearful of causing riots in the Arab world on the date of the Egyptian elections, Prime Minister Netanyahu asked the city of Jerusalem to postpone the beginning of the demolition of the bridge to Mughrabi Gate (pictured), which was scheduled to take place on Sunday. The bridge - which is unsafe - is to be destroyed and a new access to the Temple Mount via Mughrabi Gate is to be constructed.
FP: Netanyahu doing what he does best: caving in. Has he given any thought to the implications of being deterred by threats of violence?
Emanuele Ottolenghi and Jonathan Schanzer: Austerity for Europe – Increased EU Aid for the Palestinians
Amidst Europe's worst economic crisis in recent memory, the European Parliament (EP) has just decided to raise Europe's aid to the Palestinians by €100 million - 30 percent more than previous years.
At the end of tough negotiations among the European Union's institutions over the 2012 budget, the EP somehow made room for an additional €18 billion over the €129 billion cap imposed by expenditures-wary EU member states. Among the additional line items is that extra €100 million for the Palestinians.
An extra €100 million may not seem like that much compared to an overall budget of €147 billion for 2012, but it cannot be ignored that this is money the EU does not have. Moreover, the EU is pledging taxpayer money at a time when the only guarantee it will be spent responsibly has just disappeared.
The EU budget decision was sealed just days before a highly anticipated summit between Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Meshal of Hamas – a designated terrorist group in the EU. The two factions have been in a state of a low-level civil war since 2007, but agreed on Thursday to set a date for elections that would begin to end their feud.
FP: Readers of this blog ought to know that this is precisely what I predicted. And Israel is still trying to appease these Western idiots who don’t seem to want to survive.
Israel Matzav: Reassuring…
Anyone want to volunteer to be an Egyptian poll watcher on Monday?
Gov to judges supervising elections: your families will get a millionLE if you are killed, 750,000LE if crippled. Reassuring.Indeed.
FP: Democracy Arab style.
Which is yet more proof that Arabs hate Israel more than they love each other.
This is a fundamental problem, and another reason why real peace is simply not possible. Peace can only come about between two rational players, but when one side is so consumed with hate that he doesn't mind hurting his own people just to have a chance of hurting the enemy, we have gone way beyond anything that can be solved with talks and goodwill gestures and negotiations.
FP: Which is precisely why a strategy of appeasement by Israel is suicidal.
Peter Goodspeed: As Arab Spring topples dictators, Iran’s influence grows
“The fall of dictators in the Middle East and Africa means a loss of a foothold for the U.S. and Israel,” Ramin Mehmanparast, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, told an academic conference in Tehran this week.
“The Americans are bewildered and confused in their decisions and behaviour in the face of the regional revolutions.”
A recent editorial in Kayhan, a daily Tehran newspaper run by the office of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, echoed similar statements. The United States is in “global retreat” and is “scared” of confrontation with Iran, it boasted.
In the foreseeable future, Iran will emerge as the most powerful state in the Persian Gulf region.
“Such a development is the natural consequence of its strength and the American policy that has removed all barriers to the assertion of its influence,” said Mr. Takeyh. “The Islamic Republic remains an opportunistic power that will take advantage of more favourable circumstances to project its influence.”
FP: Out of all the nonsense that emanates from Tehran about the only accurate claim they make is that the US and the West are collapsing.
FP: The left has brought Israel the Oslo disaster, but even its obvious consequences were not enough to realize the existential blunder that it was. Thanks to the lack of guts and strategic vision and to the domestic and foreign appeasement strategy of the right, it won’t rest until it dismantles Israel.
Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Purloined Letter” provides the perfect allegory to understand why so many people get so fooled for so long. A letter said to contain compromising information has been stolen by a brilliant thief. The police meticulously search the thief’s home, using even microscopes, but to no avail. How did the thief fool the police? By displaying the letter instead of hiding it. It is precisely because the police expected the letter to be hidden that it couldn’t see it.
For decades, many people in Israel have been wondering why right-wing governments are generally unable to implement their policies and often end-up adopting the rhetoric of the Left. Witness the fact, for example, that Netanyahu has officially endorsed the establishment of a Palestinian state against his own party’s platform, that his government might be toppled in a few months if it complies with the High Court of Justice’s injunction to dismantle outposts, and that some Likud ministers and MKs are speaking in unison with the Left on the need to preserve the cooptation system that guaranties the Supreme Court’s ideological uniformity.
The answer to this riddle was provided by Tel-Aviv Law Professor Menachem Mautner in his book “Law and Culture in Israel at the Threshold of the Twenty-First Century” (Tel-Aviv University Press, 2008): The Israeli Left lost its monopoly on power with the electoral victory of the Right in 1977, and it has successfully tried to keep its influence via the judicial system, academia and the media. At the Supreme Court, Judges are selected and appointed by Judges, and they have granted to themselves the right to repeal laws deemed “unconstitutional” (regardless of the fact that Israel has no constitution). Hence the “judicial activism” epitomized by Justice Aharon Barak: if the majority does not legislate according to the will and worldview of the “enlightened ones” (to use Barak’s own words), then laws must be repealed by self-appointed judges who know better.
In academia, it is virtually impossible for conservative-minded academics to get tenure in the social sciences and in the humanities outside of Bar-Ilan University. As for “dissident” journalists, there is hardly a payroll to be found outside of Makor Rishon and, more recently, of Israel Hayom. The recent legislation advanced by the Right and condemned by the Left (e.g. on boycott, on the funding of NGOs, on the appointment of Supreme Court Justices, or on defamation) suggests that the Israeli Right has finally noticed where the “purloined letter” was displayed, and is taking action to rule according to the will of its voters. But this is only half-true.
For a start, some of the legislation recently initiated by the Right is counter-productive. The fact that boycotters can now be sued for financial damage was meant to deter the Left from taking part in the BDS campaign and from boycotting settlements. But according to the same law, Ben-Gurion University (BGU) can now sue the student movement Im Tirtzu for asking BGU’s donors to keep their money away from this university until its Political Science Department respects pluralism. Likewise, the new legislation meant to increase six fold fines for defamation is more of a threat to a small and conservative newspaper like Makor Rishon than to a powerful and liberal newspaper like Yediot Aharonot. As for the law limiting foreign government funding for Israeli NGOs, it will certainly hurt the likes of Shalom Archav and Adalah in their pockets, but it will hardly make fundraising easier for Im Tirtzu or for My Israel.
Besides shooting itself in the foot with counterproductive legislation, the Israeli Right is hopelessly absent from the intellectual arena. The Shalem Center was supposed to produce conservative thinkers but it has virtually withdrawn from Israel’s intellectual scene because of its focus on starting a new liberal arts college. Shalem is even ending the publication of Azure, Israel’s only high-quality conservative journal. The Shalem College might be successful in producing another type of intellectual leaders, but it will take a couple of decades to tell. Another Israeli conservative journal, Nativ, closed two years ago. The only conservative journal around is Hauma. Published by the Jabotinsky Institute (itself located at the Likud headquarter), Hauma has a small circulation and preaches to the convert. As for the Institute for Zionist Strategies, its research and papers are mostly kept away from the public by the media.
The Israeli Left is up in arms, but in truth it has little to worry about. Aside from doing a pretty good job at holding on in the judicial system, in academia and in the media, the Israeli Left has one asset that is both as obvious and as unnoticeable as the “purloined letter”: it intimidates the Right. Likud’s former “princes” have grown-up with an inferiority complex vis-à-vis the Left. They are petrified by Haaretz and by the accusation of not respecting “the rule of law.” They are imbued with the idea that people who read Haaretz and who live in Tel-Aviv are smarter, and that you need their seal of approval in order for your IQ to be declared above average. Haaretz has recently canonized Menachem Begin as Israel’s most impeccable democrat, but three decades ago it decried him as a warmonger, as a bigot and as a fascist. Why? To make sure that his son gets the message: continue to be a good boy and to keep your hands off the Supreme Court.
Tzipi Livni is the ultimate example of an intellectual lightweight easily intimidated by the Left. She has become to spokesperson of Haaretz not because she suddenly discovered that there are Arabs in the West Bank, but because she lacked the intellectual backbone to stand for her beliefs.
What the Israeli Right needs to do is to produce intellectuals. This is what institutions and movements such as the Jewish Statesmanship Center, Im Tirtzu, the Tikva Fund and the future Shalem College are trying to achieve. But those important initiatives are emerging nearly forty years after the electoral victory of the Right. For all its kicking and screaming, the Israeli Left can relax: surely if it took forty years for the Right to find the purloined letter, there is no reason to be hypochondriac.
On the eve of the Egyptian election, I’m really disgusted with the collapse of the moderate forces. While the Muslim Brotherhood is disciplined, united, working hard, and on message, the moderates are running around in circles. There is not the slightest sign of unity among the three main moderate parties (Wafd, Justice, and Free Egyptians) and the dozens of smaller ones.
FP: Nothing else could be expected, as Rubin knows better than anybody else what I have argued for years: there are only two forces unifying Arabs, Islam and hatred of the Jews and the West; about everything else they are at each other’s throat. That’s the reason why all the Arab regimes were dictatorships and used Israel as a scapegoat in order to obtain whatever little legitimacy they could muster. Anybody who expected the fall of the dictators to release anything other than Islamist, anti-Semitic, Jihadist forces was either ignorant or in denial. These are about the only values around which an Arab regime can unify a state, particularly one that is incapable of feeding and progressing its population.
In fact, Rubin has an excellent description of what could be expected in Egypt (and all other ME states where Islamists are winning elections):
The question is not what is to be done but how much they can get away with doing at any given moment. Such is “moderate Islamism.”
And hence they begin the short march through the institutions:
–Education. Textbooks to be rewritten; the principle that Islam is the only proper religion to be made as central as possible; all teaching of Islam according to their interpretation. Christians and Jews are evil; non-Muslims are enemies; Israel is demonic and must be destroyed. Teachers and administrators who reject their program of indoctrination to be fired; opportunists and careerists will go along.
–Government bureaucracies. The hiring of as many ideological supporters as possible; those who go along will be promoted; those who don’t will be fired or pushed aside. Requirements to be altered so that religious educational certificates will be made equal to academic education degrees in qualifying for high posts. If your wife doesn’t wear a hijab forget about being promoted.
–Media. Government control over state-run media will be renewed and strengthened. Licenses, censorship, subsidies, the whole panoply of government powers will be applied to reward flatterers and punish critics. If necessary, riots will be organized, threats made, fines imposed on those who don’t toe the line, though some margin of freedom will be permitted as long as it threatens nothing.
–Constitution. A new constitution will be written by a commission dominated by Islamists. In some cases they will do what they want—Sharia as the “main source” or “the source” of law—while in others they will hold back and be patient—promises that everyone will have equal rights. The new constitution, however, will provide the basis for Islamizing Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Turkey, etc.
–Religion. The ministry of religion will be under Brotherhood control. That means it can decide which mosques can be built or not built; who gets hired as imam in each mosque; what the sermons say; which preachers get on state television and radio, etc. Normative Islam will be Muslim Brotherhood Islam. The existing gap may not be wide but it is significant nonetheless. Eventually, the Brotherhood will get in control of naming the mufti of Egypt and the head of al-Azhar University. There will be only one interpretation of Islam and it will prevail through the country and shape the minds and behavior of Egyptians.
–Courts. There are some courageous judges but the Brotherhood will tame the courts by the power to control who becomes a judge, shaping the law, intimidation, and just not enforcing any decision they don’t like.
–Army. The Brotherhood will be patient. The deal just struck between the Brothers and the soldiers might be the precedent for arrangements under the new regime. The Islamists leave the army alone to control its budget and run its business enterprises; the army does not interfere with the Brotherhood’s governing of the country. Remember that while the now-broken Turkish army consciously saw itself as secularist, the Egyptian army holds no such doctrine. Many of the officers are quite pious.
So, what chance did the “moderates” have? If you want to know what will happen in a ME taken over by Islamists, read it all.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon calls for a long-term interim agreement with the Palestinians instead of a comprehensive peace deal • Iran is involved in the unrest in Egypt and is encouraging extremism there, he says.
FP: Readers of this blog know that despite Israel’s threats that they will stop dealing with the Palestinians if they go to the UN and/or form a unity government, I predicted that concessions will continue even in these absurd circumstances.
A most important red line has been “no further concessions without termination of conflict and renouncing the right of return. Well, Ayalon seems to be signaling just what I’ve been predicting: that Israel is willing to abandon even that principle. Well, I told you so. Israel lacks a strategic vision and in over 60 years has not learned anything from the Palestinians about how to protect its interests in the conflict.
Pakistan stops Nato supplies after raid kills 28 troops
YAKKAGHUND: Nato helicopters attacked a military checkpoint in northwest Pakistan on Saturday, killing up to 28 troops and prompting Pakistan to shut the vital supply route for Nato troops fighting in Afghanistan, Pakistani officials said.
FP: Is this the NATO supposed to defend the West from the Taliban? God help us and I’m an atheist.
It looks like it’s collapsing together with the West and its fate will be the same as that of the Soviets and everybody else who tried their luck with Afghanistan in the past. Another huge waste of resources and blood for nothing, a self bankruptcy that will not prevent the Islamists from taking over, just like Iran won in Iraq.
Islamist party takes most seats in Morocco election
The Justice and Development Party (PJD) will be the largest party in the new parliament and charged with forming a new government — marking another Islamist victory in an election brought about by the Arab Spring.
FP: The Caliphate potential grows constantly.
Most Palestinians approve Schalit deal, poll says
85% say prisoners-swap deal with Israel was good, positively affected their position towards Hamas.
FP: Yet another worrying indicator that Israel refuses to accept reality and may not win the conflict.
Recession Forces Mobile Americans to Stay Put
New Census data suggest we're losing mobility of a different kind: around and across the country, not just up and down its income scales. Americans are literally less mobile than they've been at any time since World War II. And this is a troubling trend, too. Some of the decline -- which predates the recession -- speaks to an aging population that isn't all that interested in going anywhere. But much of it tracks the immobility of Americans -- particularly 20- to 24-year-olds, who would presumably love to leave their parents' basements if they could.
FP: Decline, whichever way you look.
James Cowie on the Geopolitics of Internet Infrastructure
FP: Very interesting information. I would be very surprised if the West is as effective in protecting its interests as its enemies in this domain, because the latter are shrewder at it than the West. But at least in this area Israel seems to have been wiser than in its political and military strategy.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Iranian military official tells ISNA the Islamic Republic has the capability to strike back anywhere in Israel.
FP: Why Iran wins and the West loses. If you want to deter, threaten, don’t have officials in and out of government explaining over and over again why a military option does not make sense (regardless of whether that is true or not). As I argued in the past, Iran is deterring the West, not the other way around.
State officials issue an apology to Egypt, saying MK Benjamin Ben-Eliezer's remarks did not represent the government's stance and were based on misinformed analysis • Ben-Eliezer: If you have a problem with my comments come to me, not the press; I don't make things up.
Egypt issued an official complaint this week over remarks by MK Benjamin (Fouad) Ben-Eliezer, who has repeatedly claimed that Israel is headed toward confrontation with Egypt. In response, Israel's leadership apologized to Egypt, and explained that Ben-Eliezer's remarks were a simple case of misinformed analysis and that they did not reflect the government's official stance.
Ben-Eliezer, a former defense minister and member of the Political-Security Cabinet, on Monday warned that Israel and Egypt may enter into a confrontation if Israel fails to jump-start negotiations with the Palestinians. In an interview with Army Radio, Ben-Eliezer described the current situation in Egypt as "anarchy" and said that good relations with Egypt were a first-rate strategic asset for Israel that must be preserved.
FP: Ben-Eliezer is not the sharpest member of the cabinet and a lefty to boot (he was about apologizing to Turkey), but the instinct of the Israeli government to apologize every time somebody coughs is pathetic and it will be costly. Because not only is the junta exploiting these weakness signals to distract from the protests, but just you wait and see what the Islamists will do with these signals when they come to power.
Syrian rebels held secret talks with Libya's new authorities on Friday, aiming to secure weapons and money for their insurgency against President Bashar al-Assad's regime, The Daily Telegraph has learned.t
At the meeting, which was held in Istanbul and included Turkish officials, the Syrians requested "assistance" from the Libyan representatives and were offered arms, and potentially volunteers.
"There is something being planned to send weapons and even Libyan fighters to Syria," said a Libyan source, speaking on condition of anonymity. "There is a military intervention on the way. Within a few weeks you will see."
FP: The beginnings of a califate?
The Obama administration is caught between two unpalatable options: backing elections that the Islamists are likely to win, or recommending a postponement and risk sounding anti-democratic.
FP: So army rule is anti-democratic but Islamist rule is not? If the US has to choose between an undemocratic regime allied with the West and an undemocratic regime rabidly anti-American, which one should the US support? The latter, of course.
In special interview with Israel Hayom, President Shimon Peres expresses strong opinions on domestic, foreign affairs • "Current legislation in Knesset harms democracy," he says • Israel can contribute to Arab Spring by making peace with Palestinians.
FP: Israel’s Jimmy Carter strikes again. Demonstrates why he was not ever elected to anything except to the Presidency and even that only the second time around, when there wasn’t any other serious candidate. And he was elected to a post where he wasn’t supposed to meddle. But just like Carter, he does.
InstaPundit: PREPARE FOR THE RETIREMENT TAX BITE.
“One of the nastiest surprises awaiting some retirees is the devastating impact that taxes can have on their cash flow. Although many people welcome the upfront tax breaks of contributing to traditional IRAs and 401(k) plans during their working years, they’re not so thrilled when Uncle Sam demands his cut when they start tapping those retirement accounts. Imagine you are retired, plan to buy a new car for $30,000, and have all your savings tied up in a traditional IRA or company 401(k) plan. If you’re in the 25% tax bracket, you’ll need to withdraw $40,000 to have enough after-tax money to buy that $30,000 car. Ouch! Welcome to the IRA tax trap.”
Well, if you’re working, you’ll have to earn $40,000 to pay for that $30,000 car. That’s not so hot either.
UPDATE: Reader John MacDonald writes: “When they reach 70, they have to make withdrawals but since the banks are only paying 1.5% , their retirement principal becomes depleted at a faster rate. Financial planners used to factor in returns of 7-8% when figuring how long their clients’ money would last. That’s been thrown out the window….that’s a story the media haven’t written about. Middle class seniors thought they would be OK, but aren’t so sure today… they haven’t made money on stocks they held since 2000. …to add insult to injury, banks have been paying an anaemic 1% on CD’s….If they saved $500,000 for example over 40 years, it would throw off $30000 @ 6% but @1% it’s a puny $5000…Lots of belt tightening ….and no hope on the horizon.”
If we had a Republican president, the press would be pushing the poor-seniors angle a lot harder.
FP: When I say that the US is not far behind Europe, I know what I’m talking about.
Friday, November 25, 2011
HOW HAS this situation arisen? How is it possible that the US finds itself today with so few good options in the Arab world after all the blood and treasure it has sacrificed? The answer to this question is found to a large degree in an article by Prof. Angelo Codevilla in the current issue of the Claremont Review of Books titled "The Lost Decade."
Codevilla argues that the reason the US finds itself in the position it is in today owes to a significant degree to its refusal after September 11, 2001, to properly identify its enemy. US foreign policy elites of all stripes and sizes refused to consider clearly how the US should best defend its interests because they refused to identify who most endangered those interests.
The Left refused to acknowledge that the US was under attack from the forces of radical Islam enabled by Islamic supremacist regimes such as Saudi Arabia and Iran because the Left didn't want the US to fight. Moreover, because the Left believes that US policies are to blame for the Islamic world's hostility to America, leftists favor foreign policies predicated on US appeasement of its enemies.
Since Obama came into office, he has followed the Left's ideological guidelines of ending the fight against and seeking to appease America's worst enemies. This is why he has supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. This is why he turned a blind eye to the Islamists who dominated the opposition to Gaddafi. This is why he has sought to appease Iran and Syria. This is why he supports the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Syrian opposition. This is why he supports Turkey's Islamist government. And this is why he is hostile to Israel.
FP: I have been arguing this since before Obama got elected, and his policies were predictable. To reiterate: Obama has decided to realign the US with the Islamists in the delusion that they will realign with America. He’s in for some major shocks.
US, EU call for quick transfer to civilian rule in Egypt
EU condemns "excessive violence" in Cairo, calls for independent investigation; White House says situation requires a "fundamental solution, devised by Egyptians."
FP: The Islamist ass-licking by the West gives me nausea. But then, isn’t that what you would expect from a collapsing civilization? (see next on EU, the US is not far behind) Unfortunately, this won’t help: Islamists will perceive this, accurately, as the weakness that it is and will pounce on Western interests at first opportunity.
Benny Morris: Egypt at the Tipping Point
A standoff between an army that refuses to relinquish power amid mass protests is likely to result in chaos and possibly civil war. Such an outcome would result if the army, which includes many conscripts, begins to fall apart and divide (as some reports suggest is beginning to happen in Syria).
FP: It is highly likely that a large proportion of the conscripts and low-to-medium officer ranks are Islamists or sympathizers thereof. To the extent that they sense that the MB are about to win and the junta is weak, they will split.
Michael Barone: Want to read something scary about Europe?
If you want to read something really scary about Europe, read this http://www.zerohedge.com/news/sarkozy-europes-liquidity-run-has-begun-because-there-30-trillion-problem Zero Hedge blogpost and listen to the embedded CNN interview with Oliver Sarkozy and Roger Altman. Sarkozy is the brother of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and a high executive at The Carlyle Group; Altman is a Wall Streeter with Evercore Partners who served in the Clinton Treasury Department. Sarkozy seems to think the Eurozone countries are going to have to come up with a financial rescue package ten times the size of our TARP--and very soon.
FP: Goodbye Europe. Hello The PostWest.
Hamas: Israeli threats won't stop unity gov't
Likud MK: I will petition international community to isolate Palestinian unity gov't including Hamas.
FP: Israel still deludes itself by relying on the West, when the West has done nothing but support Palestinian Jihad against Israel. Good luck with that.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
This is a validation of my constant argument that Israel’s strategy since Oslo to appease the West instead of vanquishing its enemies was a fool’s errand and would blow in its face. As I’ve already written in a previous post, EU’s proposal is essentially an attempt to blackmail Israel into suicidal concessions which kills any incentive for the Palestinians to make genuine peace. It is the logical conclusion of a “peace process” in which the Palestinians have been given no incentive to compromise and every incentive to reject peace. Indeed, the conflict has persisted only because the West has supported and sustained it for decades. Without that it would have been resolved a long time ago.
The proposal essentially says to Israel: Either you agree to a Palestinian state without any compromises from the Palestinians—no recognition of Jewish Israel, no termination of the conflict, no renouncement of the right of return, no peace and no security arrangements--or we will give exactly all this to them as full UN recognition, even if it will be governed by Hamas. This has always been clear to the Palestinians, who played perfectly the Blackmailer’s Paradox game that was handed them by the West and Israel, while Israel played right into their hands.
As JoshuaPundit points out, while the Europeans are stupid, they are not as stupid as to fail to realize what they are doing, which validates another argument of mine that appeasing the West is a folly, because anti-Semites are not appeasable. He thinks that Israel should send the proposal and its proponents to hell. But, unfortunately, while this may recover some dignity, it will simply relieve the Palestinians from even the pretention of negotiations and will handle them what they always wanted at the UN: a terrorist state governed by Hamas. This will result in Israel being completely surrounded by genocidal enemies: Muslim Brothers in Gaza and West Bank, Egypt and, soon, Syria and Jordan and Hizballah (and Iran) in Lebanon (all of which, by the way, the West has brought to power and is now delusionally appeasing into friendhsip with the West).
In other words, with its strategic blunders of cooperation for so long in a game of “heads Israel loses, tails the Arabs win” Israel has, predictably, checkmated itself.
But I would not be surprised if the Netanyahu-Barak team will even now continue to play the same losing game and accept to “negotiate”, in the delusion that somehow those who have essentially decided that Israel’s existence is not in their interest, can still be appeased to save it.
EU Says It Will Reward Abbas For Pretending To Negotiate
No, I'm not exaggerating.
Jordan's King Abdullah just presented a proposal from the EU to unelected 'Palestinian' dictator Mahmoud Abbas with a European initiative for resuming negotiations with Israel, according to the al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper.
The initiative calls for the 'Palestinians' to return to the negotiating table even without their precondition of an Israeli freeze on all development in Judea and Samaria including East Jerusalem in exchange for an EU pledge to support the 'Palestinian' bid for unilateral statehood in the UN if negotiations fail within the next year.
There are no requirements for Abbas to scuttle the alliance of Fatah with the genocidal Hamas, nor any consideration of the fact that this abrogates the Road Map that the EU is also a signatory to as a member of the Quartet.
Naturally, with that kind of deal being offered, there's no incentive for Abbas to enter into any serious negotiations with Israel.All he has to do is show up and stonewall for a year, and he gets what he wants out of the EU.
This is one of the most disgraceful instances of perfidy, appeasement and outright Jew hatred advanced anywhere outside of the Muslim world since the run up to WWII. The EU is essentially saying that it is just fine with breaking its pledged word and supporting the creation an apartheid little reichlet with genocide against Jews as its official policy. And furthermore, not only will they back it with their UN votes, but with their wallets.
Apparently not much has changed since the 1930's in Europe when it comes to Jews.
Not only should the Israelis reject negotiations on this basis out of hand, but they should immediately declare the Road Map null and void and de facto refuse to accept any further EU participation in future negotiations with 'Palestine'.
They've proven themselves politically and morally unworthy of any trust or consideration whatsoever.
See also Fatah And Hamas Cement Unity Deal: "There Are no Differences Between Us"
Fatah's unelected dictator Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas Hamas leader Khalid Masha'al announced today after their meeting in Cairo that they had settled all their remaining differences and are now ready to fully implement their unity agreement.
"We want to assure our people and the Arab and Islamic world that we have turned a major new and real page in partnership on everything do to with the Palestinian nation," Mashaal said.
"There are no more differences between us now," added Abbas, who heads the Fatah movement.
Actually, the main difference was that Fatah was always willing to lie and hide it's ultimate agenda to gullible westerners and Israelis in order to make strategic gains while Hamas as a matter of principle was not. Both of them have always been violent terrorist entities with genocidal intentions towards Israel, but Hamas was simply more open about it.
For Abbas' part, he, his two sons and much of the Fatah old guard have already stolen enough money to keep them in obscene comfort already..probably over a billion in Abbas' case alone. They can always leave and take up their comfortable existence in Europe or the Emirates or even in Jordan as Hamas takes over, since most of them have Jordanian citizenship.The shiny new army General Keith Dayton built for Fatah courtesy of the American taxpayer to 'bolster Palestinian security' will of course come under Hamas command and turn their rifles of Israel,but then that was always going to happen eventually and anyone who supported the creation of that army and says in the future that they didn't see it coming is either a pathetic liar or a naive fool.
What I'm going to watch with interest is whether the EU and President Obama continue to supply aid to the 'Palestinians' now that the Beast is reunited once more. The laws of both entities forbid aid to terrorists or those aiding and abetting them, and Hamas is an officially recognized terrorist group by both America and the EU.
I think I know what the EU's answer will be, but President Obama's will be illuminating, especially to America's Jews with the elections coming up.
I hear Kurz's final words in 'Heart of Darkness' or in the film 'Apocalypse Now' echoing in my head.
FP: My prediction: Obama will fudge the issue until after the election and if reelected will resume support to the unity government. But Israel's existence is not an issue over which American Jews will dump Obama. They have not learned much from the Holocaust and given the increasing levels of US anti-Semitism, they will probably be taught another: I just came across an article that said anti-Jewish acts in the US are becoming so frequent that they are not reported anymore. That's always been an indicator of societal/civilization decline.
There are no positives here, but perhaps this will at least stop Netanyahu and Barak from taking another bait from the West and “negotiate” with the PA. But as I explained above, that may well end up in the West’s UN recognition of a Palestinian state governed by Hamas, with an army created by the West in a state of war with Israel.
Reality and strategy count, and those who ignore'disregard them won’t survive.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski delivers pessimistic message to Israel: Military option is unrealistic • Poland currently holds EU rotating presidency • EU members agree to expand sanctions against Iran.
FP: Serves Israel right for appeasing and relying on the international community. How stupid can one be to make such statements? Turns out Polish jokes may have some substance behind them. This is what happens when you become part of the EU. Meanwhile…
PowerLine: Uh-Oh: Don’t Look Now, But. . .
More bad news out of the Eurozone, where a German bond auction has failed miserably (Megan McArdle at the Atlantic has a good roundup, but what do you expect when Jon Corzine exits the Eurobond market?), and the Dexia bailout may be coming unraveled.
Meanwhile, while all eyes are fixed on the Eurozone, China may be on the brink of trouble: manufacturing activity is down to a three-year low, on top of reports of rapidly falling real estate prices.
And oh yeah—the American economy still ain’t looking so good, either.
But be of good holiday cheer…
… the Western decline accelerates.
Eyal Zisser: The army won't fight the protesters
From now on, the Egyptian street will set the tone.
FP: Islamism on its way, with US help.
Ali Abdullah Saleh left Yemen for Saudi Arabia, where he will sign a deal to leave office after 33 years in power • His deputy will take over and form an interim government with the opposition • Presidential elections to be held within three months.
FP: Another component of the caliphate?
FP: The answer to the question at the end is easy: They’ll vote Obama.
Jews are highlighted on President Obama’s new website. Check the "Groups" section and Jews, it would seem, are defined as 'faith-less' in comparison to other religious groupings.
President Barack Obama, besides being, well, perceived as ambivalent on the issue of Israel, its security needs and even its national ethos, could now be thought of as a waverer on Judaism as a religion.
Just over a month ago, the ZOA came out criticising Obama on his Rosh Hashana message:
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has again raised the issue of President Barack Obama’s attitude towards Jews and Israel, following the latest presidential Rosh Hashanah Message, addressed strangely to “everybody,” and in which he never actually mentioned ‘Jews’ or ‘Judaism’ even once, referred to ‘Jewish tradition’ only once, and said nothing about the Jewish contribution to American life or anything else.
I am going to guess that the Jews closest to him are uneasy with themselves being identified as those of faith. And certainly not as nationalists. They probably consider themselves as of the cultural/ethnic variety of Jewish atheist-socialists, skirting, just, the edge of assimilation in defining themselves as “Jewish? Yes, but...".
The site contains a strong political message on Israel:
From the beginning of his administration, Barack Obama has consistently exemplified America’s unbreakable commitment to Israel. He has worked tirelessly to ensure Israel’s security…The President has a deep understanding of the grave threats Israel…and recognizes Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people…
That is quite a remarkable presentation of the reality of Obama’s administration. Let us review the past few Obama years:
- Obama has not visited Israel since being elected.
- Obama has sought to wrench Jerusalem's new neighborhoods from Israel.
- Obama has termed Jewish residency in Judea and Samaria as "illegitimate".
- Obama brushed off Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu..
- Obama recently implied that Netanyahu is a liar and encouraged France's Sarkozy's personal hostility toward Netanyahu.
- Obama has not done much about Iran's nuclear weapons program.
- Obama has demanded that Israel's new borders must "start" at the Green Line, leaving open the possibility that the 1947 lines are still legitimate.
There's much, too much more.
Here's just one view:
From the get-go, Obama adopted a hostile posture toward Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu...At every chance, Obama sought to portray him as intransigent when it came to forging a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
• February 2008: When running for president, then-Sen. Obama told an audience in Cleveland: "There is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you're anti-Israel."
• July 2009: Mr. Obama hosted American Jewish leaders at the White House, reportedly telling them that he sought to put "daylight" between America and Israel...
• September 2009: In his first address to the U.N. General Assembly, President Obama declared "America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements." (There was no criticism of Palestinian terrorism, for minimal balance.)...Secretary of State Hillary Clinton berated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a now-infamous 45-minute phone call, telling him that Israel had "harmed the bilateral relationship." (The State Department triumphantly shared details of the call with the press.) The Israeli ambassador was dressed-down at the State Department, Mr. Obama's Middle East envoy canceled his trip to Israel, and the U.S. joined the European condemnation of Israel…
And many more examples.
Mr. Obama called for Israel to make territorial concessions to some approximation of the '67 lines before an agreement is reached on the existential issues of refugees and Jerusalem...the essence of his proposal is that Israel should cede territory, put itself into a weaker position, and then hope for the best. This doesn't even amount to a land-for-peace formula.
…And then there was that line that "we will hold the Palestinians accountable for their actions and their rhetoric." Applause! But can Mr. Obama offer a single example of having done that as president, except perhaps at the level of a State Department press release?
Between Jews being ‘faith-less’ and Obama being less-than-faithful to Israel, how will the US Jews be voting?
It looks like King Abdullah's visit to the territories yesterday was not simply a social visit.
Palestinian sources confirmed that Jordan's King Abdullah II, who visited Ramallah Monday conveyed to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas a European proposal to resume negotiations with Israel.Al Quds al Arabi has the same story.
The Palestinian sources were quoted as saying that "the European initiative calls for the resumption of negotiations on the basis of the Quartet statement issued last September, without the Palestinian insistence on the freeze of settlement. This is in exchange for a promise by the European Union, including France and Britain, to support the application for U.N. membership of the State of Palestine within the 1967 territories in September 2012 if negotiations with Israel fail over the next year. "
If this is a real EU offer, it will not help peace at all. On the contrary.
Given all this, a deal like that would give carte blanche for Abbas to pretend to negotiate, stonewall at every meeting for a year, and then tell the UK and France that he held up his end of the bargain - time for them to push for a state of "Palestine" at the UN that would include all the territory he demands without having to negotiate.
FP: Indeed. Since it is crystal clear that even if negotiations occur, they will lead to nothing if Israel does not cave; and since the Palestionian objective is to obtain UN recognition without peace with Israel, this is essentially a plan to pressure Israel into suicidal concessions with the threat of the UN recognition. I kept arguing that appeasing the West is a fool’s errand and this is validation.
Spengler: Egypt and Turkey: Middle East Basket Cases
There is no center of power, no reorientation, no neo-Ottoman empire, no Shi’ite crescent, no Arab Spring, no coherent description of what is occurring in the Middle East. There is only catastrophic social breakdown, civil unrest, despair and violence. If Iran gets nuclear weapons, they will be used. We cannot fix the Middle East. We can only protect ourselves from the fallout, starting with acquisition of WMD by a terrorist state. The last sentence of my book How Civilizations Die (and why Islam is Dying, Too) quotes Virgil’s warning to Dante in Canto III of the Inferno: Non ragionam da lor, ma guarda e pasa. Nothing to see here, folks. Keep moving.
FP: The PostWest.
Peace agreement will be preserved, Egypt assures Israel
Against the backdrop of a mass civilian uprising in Egypt, senior Egyptian diplomats have relayed a calming message to Israel declaring their commitment to preserving peace between the two countries, Army Radio reported Tuesday. The diplomats said the peace agreement with Israel was of strategic importance to Egypt.
Yitzhak Levanon, Israel's outgoing ambassador to Egypt, who recently returned to Egypt after being recalled in September when the Israeli Embassy was attacked by an angry mob, met with two senior Egyptian ministers who assured him that strategic ties with Israel would hold steady. Levanon was set to return to Israel on Tuesday.
Israeli officials had earlier expressed concern over the growing turmoil, telling Israel Hayom that "relations between our countries have actually improved recently, as evidenced by the Shalit deal, the release of Ilan Grapel, management of the gas pipeline issue, and ongoing cooperation in Sinai. We hope our cooperation will continue."
Egypt's calming message comes on the heels of the resignation of Egypt's government Monday, resulting from the rising civilian death toll and ever-growing rage from protesters who have streamed into Tahrir Square demanding an immediate end to military rule and the establishment of a civilian government.
FP: Given Egypt’s circumstances, who in his right mind can rely on any assurances by the Egyptian government (who was promptly disbanded)? Can Egypt control anything, particularly Sinai?
Thorium regulation bleeds hi-tech manufacturing jobs?
FP: Want to see decline? Watch.
Report tracks explosion of religious lobbying in Washington
Lobbying and advocacy by religious groups in Washington have exploded in recent decades, increasing fivefold since 1970 to become a nearly $400 million industry, a new Pew report finds.
More than 200 groups are doing faith-related lobbying and advocacy in the nation's capital, compared to fewer than 40 in 1970, according to the report. Put together, the groups employ at least 1,000 people.
The report, released Monday by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life, found that religious groups spend $390 million a year to influence U.S. domestic and foreign policy.
FP: Another indicator of decline.
Parent Complains NY Public School is Teaching Her 6th Grade Kid to Love Israel, and Hate Arabs (h/t Vicious Babushka)
It was supposed to be a special learning opportunity for the sixth graders at Public School 101 School in the Gardens in Forest Hills, Queens. A popular second-grade teacher was invited to their social studies class to give a lecture about Israel, as part of a unit on the Middle East.
But at home that evening, Elli Surico, 10, started talking about how great Israel is and asking why the Arabs wanted to kill the Jews, alarming her mother, Dana Milstein. It turns out that Elli and her family are both Arab and Jewish, of Moroccan descent, and Ms. Milstein found her daughter’s words deeply disturbing.
But that explanation was not enough for Ms. Milstein, who read a fact sheet that Elli had brought home from the day, and found it inappropriately one-sided and inaccurate.
The fact sheet praises the Jewish religion, but not Islam, and says the land that was to become Israel was barren before Jewish settlers arrived there, not mentioning the settlements of Arabs. It says that the countries surrounding Israel “seek to destroy Israel and the Jewish people.”
FP: When the truth is inconvenient, parents complain that it should not be taught. Collapse.