Friday, October 19, 2012

An ideological war we have yet to fight.

From the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, 18th October 2012, by Clifford D. May, President:

At the Aspen Security Forum this past summer, Peter Bergen, CNN’s intrepid national-security analyst and a director at the New America Foundation, gave a talk titled: “Time to Declare Victory: Al Qaeda Is Defeated.”

Since then, AQ and/or its affiliates have
  • launched lethal attacks on American diplomatic compounds in Libya and Yemen,
  • hoisted an al-Qaeda flag above the U.S. embassy in Cairo,
  • resurged in Iraq, and put boots on the ground in Syria.
  • They have bombed Christian churches in Nigeria and the mosques of Sufi Muslims in Mali.
  • They have battled African Union troops in Somalia.
  • Within the last week, Taliban terrorists shot Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old Pakistani, for the “crime” of advocating education for girls, and
  • bombed the office of moderate tribal elders in northwest Pakistan, killing at least 17 people.
In this light, it seems obvious to me that reports of AQ’s demise are at least premature. And I’m not alone.

“Obama was out saying, Hey, look, we have got al-Qaeda back on its heels,” investigative reporter Bob Woodward said on Sunday. “Well, anyone in the intelligence committee knows that’s not true.”

Bergen, however, is sticking to his story....On Tuesday, he and Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Lynch III (ret.), a Distinguished Research Fellow at the National Defense University ...argued that al-Qaeda’s offensive capabilities have been degraded and that without Osama bin Ladin, the organization lacks a “mythical mystique.”

...But degraded is not defeated.

And Bergen goes further: Even terrorists influenced by al Qaeda–like ideas have only killed 17 people in the United States since 9/11. About the same number of Americans are killed every year by dogs. In other words, in the United States during the past decade, dogs have been around ten times more deadly than jihadist terrorists. To win World War II, Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin did not feel it necessary to kill every Nazi. We should not impose a higher standard in the battle against al Qaeda.

Here, in my view, is what that misses: Ideas matter. The Nazis had ideas — vile ideas.... Not even the most rabid canines have that. Roosevelt and Churchill — and Stalin, too, I suppose — were keenly aware that the Nazi threat was at least as much ideological as military.

Indeed, in January of 1943, at the end of the Casablanca Conference, Roosevelt announced that he and Churchill had decided to adopt a policy crucial to Allied victory and Axis defeat — a policy, Roosevelt said, that would “not mean the destruction of the population of Germany, Italy, or Japan,” but would “mean the destruction of the philosophies in those countries which are based on conquest and the subjugation of other people.”

The jihadi philosophy/ideology is — no less than Nazism — “based on conquest and the subjugation of other people.” The late Father Richard John Neuhaus aptly defined jihadism as a religiously inspired ideology built on the teaching “that it is the moral obligation of all Muslims to employ whatever means necessary in order to compel the world’s submission to Islam.”

Most American and European leaders refuse even to discuss jihadism openly, much less pledge to destroy it. Some are concerned that to do so will offend Muslims by the tens of millions, turning them against us. Others, I suspect, find it impossible to accept that, in the 21st century, there are still those who believe in divinely endorsed wars, have no aversion to violence, and see conquest as the most virtuous of pursuits.

“Ideology,” Hillary Clinton said not long after becoming secretary of state in 2009, “is so yesterday.” Those who see America as the “enemy of God” are not convinced.

Proponents of the AQ-is-defeated theory also ignore the fact that Saudi petro-princes continue to spend billions to spread Wahhabism, a strain of Islam that disdains freedom and promotes hatred of infidels and apostates. Wahhabism plants the seeds of jihadism.

And of course it should be clear by now that the regime that rules Iran embraces a jihadi ideology. ...a pan-Islamic global revolution against the West their goal — a goal they have reaffirmed repeatedly over the past 33 years; a goal that will be greatly facilitated should they acquire nuclear weapons. It is in pursuit of this goal that they are forcing average Iranians to absorb the economic pain of intensifying sanctions.

Roosevelt and Churchill grasped what too many analysts in government, academia, media, and think tanks do not: To prevail against America’s enemies, kinetic warfare is necessary but insufficient. An ideological war, a war of ideas, also must be waged. And on that front, we have not yet begun to fight.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

More of this for another four years??!

From GLORIA, 14 Oct 2012, by Barry Rubin:

There are two problems with current U.S. policy toward the Middle East: both the analysis and response are not simply wrong, but rather make the situation in the region much worse.
The White House has
  • supported the antisemitic, anti-American Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Syria;
  • insisted the Brotherhood is moderate;
  • gave untrained, unreliable Libyans control over the U.S. ambassador’s security leading to his death;
  • denied that revolutionary Islamists attacked the U.S. embassy and ambassador in Libya for reasons having nothing to do with a California video;
  • apologized for the video in a way that escalated the crisis elsewhere;
  • wrongly claimed that al-Qaida is finished when it is still strong in several countries;
  • defined the Afghan Taliban, despite its involvement in the September 11 attacks, as a potential partner, etc.
...Now the errors are deepened and the lessons of experience once again rejected in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s latest defense of these wrong-headed policies ...
Her argument is that the United States should ignore violence and extremism while helping to build democracies. The problem is that most of the violence and extremism comes from forces that the Obama Administration supports or groups basically allied with those forces. The violence and extremism are the inevitable outcome, not a declining byproduct, of this process.
Everything she says lays a basis for disaster:

The U.S. government must not be deterred by “the violent acts of a small number of extremists.”

The problem is not a “small number” of extremists—implying al-Qaeda–but a large number of them. Extremists now rule in Egypt, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Tunisia, and—despite camouflage—Turkey. They may soon be running Syria...

In Egypt, the Obama Administration began with the pro-Brotherhood Cairo speech (defining Middle Eastern identity as Islamic rather than Arabic; seating Brotherhood leaders in the front row) and then used its influence to push the military out of power in 2011 and encourage the Brotherhood.
In Syria, it backed management by the pro-Brotherhood Turkish regime and the choice of a Brotherhood-dominated exile leadership. In Bahrain, if not stopped by the State Department it would have helped bring to power a new regime likely to have been an Iranian satellite. Thus, inasmuch as the U.S. government has some role it has used it on behalf of America’s enemies. As an ally, Egypt is lost.

“But we have to stand with those who are working every day to strengthen democratic institutions, defend universal rights, and drive inclusive economic growth. That will produce more capable partners and more durable security over the long term.”

Yet the Obama Administration has definitely not stood with those people! It has not channeled arms to moderates in Syria but to the Brotherhood and tolerated Saudi weapons’ supplies to Salafists. It has done nothing to protect the rights of women or Christians. Moderates in Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt—as well as Turkey and Iran—know the Obama Administration has not helped them. The Turkish regime and the new governments emerging from the “Arab Spring” work every day to undermine human rights.

”We will never prevent every act of violence or terrorism, or achieve perfect security. Our people cannot live in bunkers and do their jobs.”

Yes, perfection is hard. But what does that have to do with sending the ambassador to Libya into a lawless city with no protection?
And of course you can’t achieve even minimal security if you refuse to recognize where unrest and anti-American hatred originate. For example, the Egyptian government knew that there would be a demonstration outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo and must have known the demonstrators would storm the compound. Their security forces did nothing to protect the embassy. Why? Because they want to stir up anti-Americanism and use it to entrench themselves in power, even as the Obama Administration praises the Brotherhood’s regime and sends lots of money.

”For the United States, supporting democratic transitions is not a matter of idealism. It is a strategic necessity.”

This is absurd. Are “democratic” regimes always better for American strategic concerns than dictatorships? That’s untrue in Egypt and many other countries in the last half-century. Moreover, that ignores the fact that the Obama Administration has supported transitions in a way strengthening the likelihood of radical, anti-American rule....

”We stand with the Egyptian people in their quest for universal freedoms and protections….Egypt’s international standing does depend both on peaceful relations with its neighbors and also on the choices it makes at home and whether or not it fulfills its own promises to its own people.”

In fact, Egypt’s people voted 75 percent in parliamentary elections and about 53 percent in presidential balloting for those opposing universal freedoms and protections. And if Obama won’t get tough the Brotherhood regime knows it can repress people at home and let terrorists stage cross-border attacks against Israel without concern for its international standing.

“We have, as always, to be clear-eyed about the threat of violent extremism. A year of democratic transition was never going to drain away reservoirs of radicalism built up through decades of dictatorship.”

Drain away? This year has empowered radicals!
An Obama Administration so far from reality subverts U.S. interests and makes the Middle East a more tragic and dangerous place. It is doubling down on their errors and will no doubt continue to do so if it has four more years to continue making costly mistakes. People in the region will pay for these errors in blood and so will some Americans.

Turkish-Kurdish-Egyptian Morass

From The Jewish Press, 15 Oct 2012, by Dr. Mordechai Kedar*:

The Iranian nuclear issue and the chain of disasters that the people of the Middle East have brought upon themselves, called the "Arab Spring," have placed Turkey in a rather bleak situation.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Photo Credit: by E.T. Studhalter
...Sunnis and the Shi’ites in the Middle East...are hostile to each other
  • ...on one side is the Shi’ite coalition that comprises Iran, Iraq and Hizb’Allah, which support the bloody, Shi’a-aligned Alawite regime, and
  • on the other side is the Sunni coalition whose members are Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as a few other countries who offer background support, principally Jordan and Egypt.
The war of Gog the Shi’ite against Magog the Sunni has been in progress since March 2011 on the soil of Assyria, modern Syria.
Today we will focus on the Turkish-Kurdish-Egyptian triangle, in which interests trump principles...

The whole regional alignment that Erdoğan and Davutoğlu planned has collapsed on the heads of the Turks who already are not cheering for Erdoğan as if he was the Almighty’s all-powerful deputy. In his distress, he searches out new friends, but – alas – it turns out that they are beggars, desperately poor. ....

The Syrian morass is about to drown the Assad regime in blood, fire and tears, but it may also pull Turkey into its bedlam as well. It is clear to everyone that the Assad regime will fall, and the question is who will be there to grab as much as possible of what’s left of Syria....

The Kurds are the Big Winners
After the First World War, when, under European influence, the superpowers divided up the Middle East into states, the Kurds were forgotten, neglected and betrayed. They were divided up among four states: Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran. No one took their national aspirations seriously, and everyone thought that the Kurds would abandon them. The fact that they suffered oppression in all of these four states, as well as having a unique language and culture, enabled them to preserve themselves as a living and viable ethnic unit with aspirations of brotherhood and independence that were expressed over the years in bloody battles for their freedom. But the sectarianism and the tribalism among the Kurds did not help them in achieving their shared goals.

The “Kurdish Spring” began twenty-two years ago, when Saddam Hussein was prohibited from flying his air force over the Kurdish district of Iraq. When the skies became free of enemies, it allowed the Kurds to develop social and political mechanisms that resulted in the creation of the independent Iraqi Kurdistan: A flag, political parties, media, elections, parliament, government, an economic system and more than anything else, the Pesh-Merga, an army that fiercely defends all that the Kurds have achieved. These are the components of independence that Iraqi Kurdistan has been enjoying for years with the protection of the United States, in spite of Turkey’s wrath. Iraqi Kurdistan has become a base for the organization, training and arming of the “Kurdish Workers’ Party”, PKK, which conducts bloody warfare against the Turkish government.

The actual independence that Iraqi Kurdistan has succeeded to establish, mainly since the downfall of Saddam in 2003, has encouraged and energized the Kurds of Turkey to struggle for independence from the yoke of the Turks. The declining efficacy of the Syrian regime since March 2011 has caused the Kurds of Syria to take up the idea of independence as well. Most Kurds in Syria live in the district of Hasaka in the Northeast section of the country, close to Iraqi and Turkish Kurdistan.

In recent months many Kurds have moved from Syria to Iraq in order to train and organize fighting units in Kurdish military camps (Pesh-Merga), and then return to Syria to defend their families there. When the Syrian Kurds also realize the dream of freedom, Erdoğan will have to cope with three Kurdish fronts: Iraqi, Syrian and local. He wants Assad to be overthrown, but is not at all gratified by what is already occurring in the field: the disintegration of Syria and the development of another Kurdistan in Syria.

Turkey supports the Arabs in Syria who are rebelling against Assad, so Assad – in revenge – is helping the PKK, the Turkish Kurds who are rebelling against Erdoğan. In return, the members of this Kurdish underground help the Syrian army in the difficult battle for Aleppo, and the alliance between Assad and the PKK is anathema to the Syrian Kurds, who want to overthrow him.

The Truth Comes to Light
Since the Islamic Party of Justice and Development came to power in Turkey ten years ago, it has changed the direction of foreign relations so that it faces to the East: the connections with Syria, Iraq and Iran have flourished, and Israel has paid the price. The policy of “Zero Problems” conceived by the foreign minister, Davutoğlu, was supposed to place Turkey in the role of the “responsible adult,” the regional mediator and peacemaker, who would be able to reward those under its authority with tempting economic agreements. Turkey cancelled the need for a visa for Syrian citizens, and Erdoğan and Assad were photographed together hugging and smiling. The Turkish economy flourished and had an amazing annual growth rate of 8 percent. It was all looking good, until the end of 2010.

The Iranian nuclear issue and the chain of disasters that the people of the Middle East have brought upon themselves, called the “Arab Spring,” have placed Turkey in a rather bleak situation: Iran is running afoul of the West and suffering from sanctions, and Turkey cannot function as the peacemaker and mediator between Iran and the West. Erdoğan’s suggestions to store enriched uranium in Turkey have remained undecided. The deteriorating situation in Syria is worsening internal tensions in Turkey between Kurds and Turks and between Muslims and Alawites, and causes a burden to the Turkish economy because of the arrival of approximately one hundred thousand Syrian refugees, so far. This figure might increase in the near future.

Repeated calls for the Turkish leadership to impose upon Syria a no-fly zone over the cities are not acted upon, and no one takes them seriously. Iran threatens Turkey with attack if it gets involved in Syria, despite the fact that companies in Turkey help Iran to bypass the international sanctions that are imposed upon it. Russia backs up Iran, and the United States does not volunteer to support Turkey as long as it is ruled by the Islamist party, despite agreeing to place in the area of Turkey a radar system meant to defend Europe from Iranian ballistic missiles. The complications with Israel and its refusal to apologize for killing nine Turkish citizens on the Mavi Marmara makes the Turkish leadership look weak.

The Turkish economy is weakening, foreign investments are declining, inflation is rising, Europe, also in crisis, is buying fewer products produced in Turkey and the Arab market has disappeared. Iran supplies oil and gas to Turkey, but the tension between them endangers their economic relationship. The urgent need for energy drives the Turkish leaders to press Israel and Cypress “to take Turkey into account” regarding the apportionment of gas from the bed of the Mediterranean Sea.

Europe does not support these Turkish demands, and there are dark shadows regarding Turkish relations with NATO: Turkey still does not forget or forgive Europe for refusing to accept it into the European Union, despite the fact that this refusal would have absolved Turkey from supporting Greece and would have saved it from some of its economic difficulties. Turkey does not support NATO in the issue of Afghanistan just as it did not support the West in its invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The crisis in Syria reveals the truth about the regime in Turkey, because it has placed itself in the forefront of the Sunni, anti-Shi’ite and anti-Iranian front. The slaughter of Muslims by Alawites drives Erdoğan mad; about once a week he makes radical statements against Assad and his regime. However, up until recently this talk has not been translated into direct military action, and it has been reduced to background support for Syrian opposition organizations, supply of weapons, equipment and money for the Free Syrian Army, establishment of training bases for Assad’s opposition and supplying intelligence about the movements of Assad’s army and his operational plans against them.

Turkey is being sucked into the increasing power vacuum in Syria, while on one hand it acts to overthrow the regime of Assad and the ‘Alawites, on the other hand it doesn’t want Syria to disintegrate. Erdoğan, like Netanyahu, also fears the spread of weapons of mass destruction into irresponsible hands, and the presence of Hizb’Allah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Syria is very troubling in this context. The Turkish parliament gave a green light to the government to go to war with the Assad regime, and Erdoğan speaks of war against Syria as if it is something that may happen at any moment. The downing of the Turkish jet in June of this year, the rumors of the execution of the pilots in cold blood, border incidents between the two states, in which civilians and military people from both sides are killed, might easily deteriorate into a wider conflict with many casualties, because in this case Assad will fight with the mindset of “Let me die with the Philistines.”

But Erdoğan has another reason to avoid an inclusive confrontation with Syria: the military.
A fairly large proportion of Turkish soldiers are Kurds, and they may refuse to fight or they may even sabotage fighting equipment and the actions of the Turkish military if they feel that Kurdish interests are endangered. The Kurdish soldiers will not fight against their brothers in Syria in order to prevent them from having a state, and in general it is not clear how much motivation the Turkish military has to go to an elective war with Syria on Syrian soil.

The opposition in Turkey accuses Erdoğan of harming relations with Syria in order to engage it in war and vanquish it, and then to go to elections in 2014 to win the presidency of Turkey. The opposition also accuses Erdoğan with intending to change the constitution in such a way as to make it into a presidential regime, which would award to the president most of the executive authorities, as in the United States or France. A war against the exhausted Syrian military would necessarily bring victory to Erdoğan, in the battle field as well as the ballot box. He of course denies that it is his intention to pit Turkey against Syria in a war, just to promote his name and his status.

The Role of Egypt 
In the context of the regional chaos that Erdoğan has gotten Turkey into, he seeks friends who will consult with him and support him. Egypt of the Muslim Brotherhood is a natural choice. The Turkish and Egyptian navies are holding a joint exercise these days. The exercise, which is called “The Sea of Friendship” (Bahr al-Sadaqa), is held in Egypt. The Turkish navy participates in the exercise with two frigates, a fast attack ship, a tanker, two landing crafts, two helicopters, a battalion of marine infantry and a naval commando team. This is the second time that the Egyptian and Turkish navies are training together. The declared purpose of the event is for the two fleets to develop cooperation and the capability for joint action.

A few days ago, on the 6th of October, President Mursi spoke in front of an audience of tens of thousands of military people, on the occasion of the 39th anniversary of the victory of the October War and one hundred days since Mursi assumed power. He is well aware of Egypt’s economic problems that force it to be dependent on the mercy of others and to carry out a policy that is not consistent with the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood. To strengthen Egypt’s independence he requested economic help from Turkey in the amount of a billion dollars, and he got it.

Mursi presented his achievements since he rose to power at the end of June as the first president of Egypt who was elected in free elections, but emphasized also the challenges that Egypt faces.

His detractors, despite this, say that Mursi is not perfect, and victory in elections is not a guarantee of proper performance. They accuse him of appointing his friends according to loyalty to the Muslim Brotherhood, not according to their abilities. The event of the 6th of October, which included a military march as part of the ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of Egypt’s war with Israel in 1973, was a demonstration of the Muslim Brotherhood’s power, both in Egypt and outside it.

Mursi said that he has achieved seventy percent of his goals. Egypt requested from the IMF (International Monetary Fund) a loan of almost 5 billion dollars in order to help strengthen the economy, and according to officials, the IMF demands Mursi to reorganize the system of subsidies as one of the conditions for the loan. The implication of this demand is higher prices, which may create tensions between the government and the people. Mursi prefers to receive the loan without exacting from the people a high price for basic food items. He blames Mubarak’s regime for corruption and stealing billions that belong to the people, but there is a limit as to how much Mursi will be able to blame Mubarak, because he was elected in order to cope with problems, not to whine about them.

For Mursi, Turkey is a model of success: an Islamic government, traditional society, developed economy, large and mighty military, strong international standing, friendly relations with both East and West. Between Mursi and Erdoğan there are differences of opinion regarding Syria, because Mursi claims all the time that foreign countries should not become involved with Syria, while Erdoğan calls for international involvement. Nevertheless, regarding what is happening in Syria, they see eye to eye and view with great distress and pain the horrors that are occurring there, recorded on video for all the world to see.

They are both Sunni Muslims, leaders of Sunni nations, and fear the role that Shi’ite Iran is playing in Syria particularly and in the Middle East in general. They are worried by the Iranian nuclear project, Iranian agitation, and the Iranian ability to undermine regimes from within and take over a country as happened, for example, in Lebanon and in Iraq.

Both of them control international waterways, the Suez Canal in Egypt and the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles in Turkey, and they both can cause disturbances in the marine traffic of the Shi’ite coalition and its supporters, Iran and Russia, on their way to the Mediterranean Sea, to support the Syrian regime. This apparently is the reason for the fact that the Turkish-Egyptian exercise was naval, and not land-based.

It is not clear if the strengthening connection between Egypt and Turkey will change the balance of power in the region, however it definitely must be taken into account when the subject is – for example – the naval blockade that Israel imposed on the Gaza Strip. What would happen if and when Mursi and Erdoğan decide to cash in on the sympathy they would earn (at the expense of Israel) by sending a shipment of “humanitarian support” to Gaza in the ships of the two navies? What would Israel do then? Would NATO do? And the United States?

*Translated from Hebrew by Sally Zahav.

Romney/Obama: Great Differences on Security Issues

From Secure America Now, 17 Oct 2012:
In the second debate of the presidential election, Mitt Romney offered American voters a compelling alternative to the current security policies of the Obama Administration.
Governor Romney forcefully presented and defended security positions that would put the United States on a very different course.
  • Governor Romney charged that President Obama's policies on Iran failed, and gave Iran four years to develop a threatening nuclear program.
  • Governor Romney challenged the Obama Administration's response to the attack in Benghazi which resulted in the murder of four Americans, including a U.S. Ambassador. Romney questioned why the Administration, especially UN Ambassador Susan Rice, repeatedly insisted that a video was the cause of the attack -- even days after it became clear that the video played no role in the deliberate assault to kill Americans.
  • President Obama claimed that he did identify the attack as being a terrorist act, within a day after the attack. Clearly, Rice's words and the transcripts of the President's own remarks state to the contrary.
  • From a policy perspective, Governor Romney painted a sharp difference between his own views and those of President Obama, in regard to the issue of illegal U.S. immigration. Governor Romney opposed President Obama's policy of granting amnesty to illegal aliens. Moreover, Governor Romney opposed issuing State drivers licenses to residents who are not legal U.S. immigrants.
  • Lastly, Romney opposed President Obama's statement in which the President expressed that he wanted to, "Create daylight" between the United States and Israel.
The final debate on Monday October 22 will address national security and foreign policy...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hypocritical Churches

From Word from Jerusalem, 16 Oct 2012, by Isi Leibler:
The recent initiative by a group of Protestant Christian leaders calling on Congress to reevaluate military aid to Israel is a nauseating example of applying double standards against Jews and Israel under the cloak of piety and hypocritical sanctimoniousness.
The signatories include leaders of the Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist and National Council of Churches. Although many of the rank and file members of these churches are supporters of Israel and unaware of these activities, their radical anti-Israeli leaders were obviously not inhibited from taking such action despite being aware of the role of their churches in demonizing, persecuting and murdering Jews over the past 2000 years.
One is tempted to suggest that some of the current Lutheran leaders have inherited the anti-Semitic poison of their 16th century founder, Martin Luther, who after failing to convert the Jews, called on his followers to murder these “poisonous envenomed worms” and set fire to their synagogues and schools . They have simply redirected his anti-Semitic obsessions towards the Jewish state in lieu of individual Jews.
These Protestant Christian groups share a common belief in the displacement of the Old Testament by the New, in stark contrast to the evangelical Christians who reject this approach and do not believe that permanent exile is God’s punishment for Jews’ rejection of Christianity.
The timing of this appeal to Congress to effectively end military aid to Israel magnifies their malice. Israel today confronts greater threats to its existence than at any time since its creation. It is the only country in the world whose neighboring countries would embark on a war designed to annihilate it tomorrow – if they felt they could succeed.
It is a time when a nuclear Iran poses a potentially existential threat to Israel; when Islamic fundamentalism has extended its influence and menaces Israel security at virtually every border; when the anti-Semitic Moslem Brotherhood, the creator of Hamas, holds the reins of power in Egypt and threatens to undermine the peace treaty with Israel; when Al Qaeda operates freely in the Sinai Peninsula and threatens Israeli civilians; when Iran’s surrogate Hezbollah, is pointing thousands of missiles towards Israel’s major population centers; when Hamas continues launching missiles from Gaza against innocent Israeli citizens; when Syria is engulfed in a bloody civil war between Al Qaeda, jihadist groups and Assad’s Alawites with 30,000 people already killed.
One must ask: Is this a time for “Christians” to call on Congress to limit military support for an embattled Jewish state?
And the utter humbug in which they sanctimoniously couch their approach by claiming that they wish “to help build a peaceful and resilient civil society” and “seeking a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians” – despite many having been at the forefront of BDS campaigns against the Jewish state.
They act as though Israel represents the obstacle to peace talks. Yet PA head Mahmoud Abbas refused to deal with the Israelis even after Netanyahu had implemented an unprecedented 10 month freeze on settlements in a futile effort to bring them to the negotiating table.
The church leaders complained bitterly about the settlements, which beyond the major blocs, amount to a minute proportion of the West Bank. They conveniently overlook the fact that two Israeli Prime Ministers offered the PA virtually the entire West Bank but were rebuffed without even a counter proposal. They also disregard events following the Israeli unilateral withdrawal from Gaza when the areas ceded were transformed into launching pads for hurling missiles deep into Israel.
Nor apparently were “Christian” sensitivities disturbed by the vicious anti-Semitic incitement and hatred as well as the sanctification of terrorist mass murderers not only by Hamas but also the PA, both of which to this day still deny that there is any Jewish link with Jerusalem.
And, if that were not enough, the bizarre behavior of these Christians is exacerbated by their blindness and insensitivity to what is happening to their own Christian kinsmen in the region. In Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran and most Moslem countries, freedom of religion other than Islam is absolutely prohibited. Christians are persecuted and no day passes without reports of pogroms and murders against Christian minorities especially Coptic Christians in Egypt. Tens of thousands of Christians fled Arab countries whenever Islamists assumed control.
Are they not aware of the mandatory death penalty which Islamic jurisprudence imposes on converts from Islam to Christianity or any other religion? Or the death penalty for blasphemy which is repeatedly applied against infidels?
Yet these “Christians” have the gall to call on Congress to restrict military aid to the sole democracy and only country in the region in which Christians and all faiths are guaranteed freedom of worship. A country in which Christians are to be found at every level of Israeli society including the Knesset, the Supreme Court, and academia.
Yet when it is suggested that these Christians are biased against Israel or motivated by anti-Semitism they will indignantly insist that they are merely seeking justice for the oppressed Palestinians suffering under Israeli occupation. They conveniently ignore the fact that granted security, the vast majority of Israelis yearn to separate themselves from the Palestinians and have no wish to rule over them.
To their credit, most American Jewish leaders have responded with indignation and anger at this primitive display of double standards against the Jewish state.
JCPA president Rabbi Steve Gutow accused the signatories of being “out of sync with mainstream values” adding “we eagerly await the day when these church leaders step away from the troubling fixation on hurting Israel and adopt an approach to peacemaking that fosters reconciliation rather than conflict.”
The Rabbinical Assembly, the international association of Conservative rabbis, stated that such callous and biased behavior by these Christian groups warrants a reevaluation of their organization’s interfaith activities.
They also assert that aside from the double standards employed in this call to Congress, the timing of such an initiative in the midst of the Jewish holidays and the absence of any prior consultation is an “egregious breach of trust” which challenges the merits of maintaining interfaith dialogue with such hostile groups.
And full marks to Abe Foxman and the Anti-Defamation League who withdrew from an October 22 interfaith event with these groups and called on all other Jewish groups to do likewise.
In a post Holocaust era in which Israel and the Jewish people are no longer powerless, there is no need to humiliate ourselves by sharing platforms with Christian denominations which behave towards us or the Jewish state like their predecessors behaved towards Jews in the Middle Ages.
Fortunately there are numerous other Christians like the many evangelicals who passionately love the Jewish state and Catholics influenced by the Vatican Council’s 1965 Nostra Aetate and who have demonstrated their strong support for Israel.

"60-second recipe" for peace in the Middle East

From YouTube, 4 Oct 2012, this "60-second recipe" for peace would be funny if it weren't so serious:

Concerned that U.S. policies toward Israel and Palestinians are hampering, not helping the peace process, an organization of Rabbis and peace advocates turn to Hollywood for a new script...a trilogy of satirical videos of which this is the first. For more information, please visit Real Peace Middle East

Monday, October 15, 2012

Obama’s failure in Syria eclipses the one in Benghazi

From the Washington Post, 15 Oct 2012, by Jackson Diehl:
...The deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi were a calamity....
The president’s handling of Syria, on the other hand, exemplifies every weakness in his foreign policy — from his excessive faith in “engaging” troublesome foreign leaders to his insistence on multilateralism as an end in itself to his self-defeating caution in asserting American power.
The result is not a painful but isolated setback, but an emerging strategic disaster: a war in the heart of the Middle East that is steadily spilling over to vital U.S. allies, such as Turkey and Jordan, and to volatile neighbors, such as Iraq and Lebanon. Al-Qaeda is far more active in Syria than it is in Libya — while more liberal and secular forces are turning against the United States because of its failure to help them. More than 30,000 people — most of them civilians — have been killed, and the toll mounts by the hundreds every day.
...[Obama's] serial miscalculations have had the consistent if unintended effect of enabling Syria’s Bashar al-Assad — first to avoid international isolation, then to go on slaughtering his own population with impunity.
Obama’s Syria policy began in 2009 with the misguided idea of reaching out to the dictator. Within a month of his inauguration, Obama reversed the Bush administration’s approach of isolating Assad. He later reopened the U.S. Embassy and dispatched senior envoys, such as George Mitchell.
The problem with this policy was not just the distasteful courting of a rogue regime but the willful disregard of the lessons absorbed by George W. Bush, who also tried reaching out to Assad, only to learn the hard way that he was an irredeemable thug. Yet Obama insisted on reversing Bush’s policy of distancing the United States from strongmen like Assad and Hosni Mubarak — a monumental miscalculation.
When the uprising against Assad began in March of last year, the administration’s first reaction was to predict that he could be induced to coopt it.
“Many ... believe he’s a reformer,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
That illusion caused the administration to stand by for months while Assad’s security forces gunned down what were then peaceful pro-democracy marchers; not until August 2011 did Obama say that Assad should “step aside.”
By then Syria was already tipping into civil war. The State Department’s Syria experts recognized the peril: If Assad were not overthrown quickly, they warned in congressional testimony, the country could tip into a devastating sectarian war that would empower jihadists and spread to neighboring countries. But Obama rejected suggestions by several senators that he lead an intervention. Instead he committed a second major error, by adopting a policy of seeking to broker a Syrian solution through the United Nations. “The best thing we can do,” he said last March, “is to unify the international community.”
As countless observers correctly predicted, the subsequent U.N. mission of Kofi Annan was doomed from the beginning. When the White House could no longer deny that reality, it turned to an equally fantastical gambit: Vladi­mir Putin, it argued, could be persuaded to abandon his support of Assad and force him to step down. The nadir of this diplomacy may have been reached on June 30, when Clinton cheerfully predicted that the Kremlin had “decided to get on one horse, and it’s the horse that would back a transition plan” removing Assad.
Needless to say, Putin did no such thing. The war went on; thousands more died. For the past three months, Obama’s policy has become a negative: He is simply opposed to any use of U.S. power. Fixed on his campaign slogan that “the tide of war is receding” in the Middle East, Obama claims that intervention would only make the conflict worse — and then watches as it spreads to NATO ally Turkey and draws in hundreds of al-Qaeda fighters. is Syria that is Obama’s great[er] failure; it will haunt whomever occupies the Oval Office next year.

Hezbollah’s CFO flees to Israel carrying stolen money, classified documents

From Al Arabiya News, Dubai, 13 Oct 2012:

Hezbollah’s CFO has fled over the border into Israel taking with him large sum of stolen money, classified documents and maps, local news media reported on Friday. The news website, Now Lebanon, cited Hezbollah officials saying that the 29-year old telecommunication engineer, Hussein Fahs, has crossed to Israel carrying with him $5 million in embezzled money from the group. Fahs is also head of Hezbollah’s operational communications network.

In September, Fahs, who is a native of southern Lebanon, was arrested along with four other Hezbollah members over the suspicion of embezzling the group’s funds and collaborating with Israel, Yoni Alpert’s Terror Watch reported. The operation to arrest the five was a collaborative one between Hezbollah and Iranian intelligence. Hezbollah, which has long been a staunch ally to both Iran and Syria, officially became part of the Lebanese government in 2011.
According to Al-Joumhouria newspaper, he was arrested while on his way to an unknown destination by 20 Iranian intelligence officers at Beirut’s Hariri Airport. At the time it was suspected that they stole at least $5 million in Iranian aid funds. Cases of Lebanese nationals collaborating and spying for Israel are not new. On Tuesday, Imad al-Zein, a Lebanese Military Tribunal Judge, issued eight arrest warrants against Lebanese citizens charged of collaborating with Israel, Lebanon’s National News Agency reported.

The eight arrested include seven women and one man and were all charged in absentia. They were also natives of southern Lebanon, a region known for being a Hezbollah stronghold.  Since 2009, Lebanon has arrested more than 100 people on suspicion of spying for Israeli intelligence, including high-ranking security and telecommunication officials, Nahar Net said.

Many American Jews have rendered themselves unreachable

From, 12 Oct 2012, by Caroline Glick:
...for American Jews to vote for Obama next month they must act against their economic interests.
Obama's economic policies have taken a huge toll on the economic fortunes of American Jews who invest disproportionately in the stock market. His nationalization of the college loan business has given universities impetus to raise tuition rates still further thus dooming more young American Jews to starting their adult lives under a mountain of debt. And it isn't at all clear how they will be able to pay off this debt since under Obama half of recent college graduates cannot find jobs. Obama's gutting of Medicare to pay for Obamacare has harmed the medical choices for older Jewish Americans. His war on tax deductions for charitable contributions has placed synagogues, Jewish schools and nursing homes in financial jeopardy. So with economics ruled out as a reason to support Obama we are left with American Jewish values. But is Obama really advancing those values? What are those values anyway? Well, there's civil liberties. American Jews like those. But Obama doesn't. Take freedom of speech. Obama is the most hostile president to freedom of speech in recent memory. He has advocated implementing the so-called "fairness doctrine" for radio to stifle the free speech of his political opponents on talk radio. He has sought to undermine the freedom of the Internet through federal regulations and intimidation of Internet companies like Google. He has made repeated and outspoken attempts to intimidate individuals, groups and businesses including Google to bar freedom of speech as relates to criticism of Islam. He has purged the lexicon of the federal government of all terms necessary to describe jihad, Islamic radicalism and terrorism and so made it impossible for federal employees to examine, investigate, discuss or understand the nature of the greatest national security threat facing the US. Then there are women's rights. American Jews like those. True, Obama has distinguished himself as the greatest ally of abortion-on-demand ever. He even supported infanticide of babies who survived abortions when he served in the Illinois legislature. But, we women are a bit more than reproductive machines. We also work and raise families. And Obama's economic programs hurt women as much if not more than they hurt men. Aside from that, there are females who live outside of the US. American Jews have long been outspoken champions of women's rights around the world. But here Obama's record is arguably worse than any president in US history. Obama has abandoned the women most at risk of gender based discrimination, rape and murder - the women and girls of the Muslim world. Whereas the Bush administration liberated the women and girls of Afghanistan from the maniacally misogynist Taliban regime; the Obama administration is negotiating with the Taliban and setting the conditions for its return to power. If the signature image of the Bush administration's war in Afghanistan was that of women voting, the signature image of Obama's war in Afghanistan is the photo of 14-year old Malala Yousafzai. This week Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan for her defense of the right of girls to go to school. Then there is the cause of good governance. American Jews like that. But here too, Obama fails to live up to liberal values of clean politics. Every day seems to bring with it another scandal related to the Obama administration. This week we learned that the Obama campaign is illegally soliciting funds from foreigners. According to a report published by the Government Accountability Institute, some twenty percent of visitors to the Obama campaign's fundraising site "" are foreigners, barred by US law from contributing to political campaigns. So too, the website was registered by Robert Roche, a US businessman living in Shanghai with ties to Chinese state-owned companies. Roche is an Obama campaign bundler. 68 percent of the traffic on the site comes from foreign users. is currently managed by a Palestinian rights activist in Maine. Finally, there is the cause of Israel and US-Israel relations that American Jews are assumed to care about. After the fiasco at the Democratic National Convention when the widespread antipathy for Israel raging in the Democratic Party was broadcast on primetime television, the Obama administration has stopped even trying to hide its contempt for the Jewish state and its American Jewish supporters. Whereas the US refused to walk out of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's obscene address to the UN General Assembly last month, US Ambassador Susan Rice chose to absent herself entirely from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's address before the body. Adding insult to injury, last week Obama appointed Salam al-Marayati to represent the US at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's annual ten-day human rights conference. Marayati is the founder and executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee. As Robert Spencer recalled this week, on Sept. 11, 2001 Marayati gave an interview to a Los Angeles radio station accusing Israel of being responsible for the jihadist attacks on the US. He is an outspoken supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah. And Obama appointed him to represent America at a major human rights conference. So what is it that drives over two thirds of American Jews to support Obama? The only issues that come easily to mind are social issues -- particularly the two flagship causes of American Jews these days - abortion and homosexual marriage. While it is true that Obama shares their positions on these issues, it is hard to believe that these two issues have become the cri du coeur ...of American Jews. It isn't that it is wrong for people to support abortions on demand and homosexual marriage. And it isn't wrong for people to oppose them. There are reasonable, Jewish arguments to be made for a woman's right to abort her unborn children. But there are also reasonable Jewish arguments for constraining that right. There are Jewish arguments in favor of permitting homosexuals to wed. And there are Jewish arguments opposing such unions. Then there is the relative urgency of the issues. With the US economy in a rut and American national security increasingly imperiled, are abortion rights and gay marriage really the American Jewish community's top priorities? ...To be fair, there are some American Jews who have been willing to approach politics with an open mind. For instance, Susan Crown, of the Chicago-based Henry Crown business empire has transferred her support from Obama to Romney. In an interview with Chicago Magazine Crown explained that she switched candidates last May when Obama gave his speech calling on Israel to withdraw from Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and contract to within the indefensible 1949 armistice lines. Crown also said that her switch was due as well to economic and foreign policy considerations. ...The most disturbing aspect of the surveys of American Jewish voters is not that [many] are willing to vote for the most hostile US President Israel has ever experienced in order to remain true to their party. The most disturbing aspect of ...American Jewish ...devotion to Obama and the Democrats is that it indicates that ...[many] American Jews have abandoned their faculties for independent thought and judgment in favor of conformism and slavish partisanship. They have rendered themselves unreachable.

The anti-Israel President

This 7-minute video from the David Horowitz Freedom Center, 1 Dec 2011, is particularly relevant now, in the days before the next US election:

Terrorists in Gaza get a slap on the wrist

From "United with Israel", 14 Oct 2012:

The Israeli Air Force has been targeting terrorists who have fired over 40 rockets into southern Israel in the last month. They struck a terror cell which was on the way to a launching site to fire a missile into Israel – killing on and seriously injuring the second. 
In a separate strike, Israel killed the Palestinian leader of an al-Qaida-affiliated group in the Gaza Strip. Hisham Al-Saedni, also known as Abu Al-Waleed Al-Maqdissi, headed the Jihadist Salafi group Tawhid and Jihad (“One God and Holy War”). 
Sources have said that Saedni joined al-Qaida in Iraq at the beginning of the US-led invasion in 2003. An IDF source reported that this cell was involved in past terrorist attacks on Israel, and was in the last stages of preparing another attack.

One of the missile attacks on Israel exploded in the backyard of a family home in Netivot. Shrapnel from the rocket flew into the home and pierced the walls of a child’s bedroom. Thankfully, the child was not in the room and only one civilian was hospitalized for shock.
The IDF spokesman reacted by asking: “What if the child would have been there ?”
The air force has also targeted a terrorist center in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, a training camp belonging to Hamas’s Izzadin Kassam armed wing, and a terrorist tunnel in northern Gaza in recent days.

From Times of Israel, 14 Oct 2012, b