Month: September 2014

SISI: EGYPT’S NEW PHARAOH ALTHOUGH U.S. RELATIONS AWKWARD, & SINAI OFFER REJECTED BY ABBAS, SISI TOUGH ON ISLAMIST THREAT

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 

 

Contents:

 

What Egypt's President Sisi Really Thinks: Daniel Pipes, Middle East Forum, Fall 2014— Former air marshal Husni Mubarak, now 86, had ruled Egypt for thirty years when his military colleagues forced him from office in 2011.

Egypt, Abbas, Refugees, and Peace: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, Sept. 4, 2014 — When the Egyptian government reached out to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas recently, one surprising and one predictable thing happened.

Should Washington Withhold Aid to Egypt?: Yehuda Blanga, Middle East Forum, Fall 2014— Two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the attendant weakening of the radical Arab camp…

AP Interview: El-Sissi, Egypt and the Terror Fight: Washington Post, Sept. 20, 2014 — Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi is feeling vindicated by the world’s alarm over Islamic extremism that is fueling wars and bloodshed across the Middle East.

               

On Topic Links

 

Egypt Set to Boycott Turkey Over Muslim Brotherhood Support: Moshe Cohen, Arutz Sheva, Sept. 29, 2014

Russia and Egypt Agree to $3.5B Arms Deal: Jewish Press, Sept. 17, 2014

Understanding the Israeli-Egyptian-Saudi Alliance: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 21, 2014

The Mirage of Political Islam: Mustapha Tlili, New York Times, June 3, 2014

                                                

 

 

WHAT EGYPT'S PRESIDENT SISI REALLY THINKS                                                                      

Daniel Pipes

                                               

Middle East Forum, Fall 2014

 

Former air marshal Husni Mubarak, now 86, had ruled Egypt for thirty years when his military colleagues forced him from office in 2011. Three years and many upheavals later, those same colleagues replaced his successor with retired field marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, 59. The country, in short, made a grand round-trip, going from military ruler to military ruler, simply dropping down a generation. This return raises basic questions: After all the hubbub, how much has actually changed? Does Sisi differ from Mubarak, for example, in such crucial matters as attitudes toward democracy and Islam, or is he but a younger clone? Sisi remains something of a mystery. He plays his cards close to the vest; one observer who watched his presidential inaugural speech on television on June 8 described it as "loaded with platitudes and very long." He left few traces as he zoomed through the ranks in three years, going from director of Military Intelligence and Reconnaissance to become the youngest member of the ruling military council and, then, rapidly ascending to chief of staff, defense minister, and president. 

 

Fortunately, a document exists that reveals Sisi's views from well before his presidency: An essay dated March 2006, when he attended the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. His 5,000-word English-language term paper, "Democracy in the Middle East," has minimal intrinsic value but holds enormous interest by providing the candid views of an obscure brigadier general soon and unexpectedly to be elected pharaoh of Egypt. While one cannot discount careerism in a term paper, Sisi's generally assertive and opinionated tone—as well as his negative comments about the United States and the Mubarak regime—suggest that he expressed himself freely. In the paper, Sisi makes two main arguments: Democracy is good for the Middle East; and for it to succeed, many conditions must first be achieved. Sisi discusses other topics as well, which offer valuable insights into his thinking.

 

Sisi endorses democracy for practical, rather than philosophical, reasons: It just works better than a dictatorship. "Many in the Middle East feel that current and previous autocratic governments have not produced the expected progress." Democracy has other benefits, as well: It reduces unhappiness with government and narrows the vast gap between ruler and ruled, both of which he sees contributing to the region's backwardness. In all, democracy can ac- complish much for the region and those who promote it "do have an opportunity now in the Middle East." In parallel, Sisi accepts the free market because it works better than socialism: "[M]any Middle East countries attempted to sustain government-controlled markets instead of free markets and as a result no incentive developed to drive the economy." It is reasonable, even predictable that Gen. Sisi would view democracy and free markets in terms of their efficacy. But without a genuine commitment to these systems, will President Sisi carry through with them, even at the expense of his own power and the profits from the socialized military industries run by his former colleagues?…

 

Sisi lays down three requirements for democracy to succeed in the Middle East: It must adapt to Islam. He describes "the religious nature" of the Middle East as "one of the most important factors" affecting the region's politics. Islam makes democracy there so different from its Western prototype that it "may bear little resemblance" to the original. Therefore, it "is not necessarily going to evolve upon a Western template" but "will have its own shape or form coupled with stronger religious ties." Those religious ties mean that Middle Eastern democracy cannot be secular; separating mosque and state is "unlikely to be favorably received by the vast majority of Middle Easterners," who are devout Muslims. Rather, democracy must be established "upon Islamic beliefs" and "sustain the religious base." The executive, legislative, and judicial branches all must "take Islamic beliefs into consideration when carrying out their duties." Presumably, this translates into the Islamic authorities under President Sisi reviewing proposed laws to safeguard Islamic values, regardless of what the majority of voters wants.

 

(2) The West should help, but not interfere. The West looms large for Sisi, who fears its negative influence even as he seeks its support. He has many worries: The great powers want a democracy resembling Western institutions rather than accepting a democracy "founded on Islamic beliefs." He interprets the then-named global war on terror as "really just a mask for establishing Western democracy in the Middle East." To meet their energy needs, Westerners "attempt to influence and dominate the region." The wars they started in Iraq and Afghanistan need to be resolved before democracy can take root. Support for Israel raises suspicions about their motives. Sisi's major concern is U.S. rejection of democracies that "may not be sympathetic to Western interests." He demands that the West not interfere when its adversaries win elections: "The world cannot demand democracy in the Middle East, yet denounce what it looks like because a less than pro-Western party legitimately assumes office." Translation: Do not call President Sisi anti-democratic when he pursues policies Washington dislikes…                                                                                                              

[To Read the Full Transcript Click the Following Link—Ed.]                  

           

Daniel Pipes is president of the Middle East Forum

and a CIJR Academic Fellow                    

 

Contents
                       

                                                    

EGYPT, ABBAS, REFUGEES, AND PEACE                                                                              

Jonathan S. Tobin                                                       

Commentary Magazine, Sept. 4, 2014

 

When the Egyptian government reached out to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas recently, one surprising and one predictable thing happened. The tale of this offer and its rejection tells us all we need to know about Palestinian politics and the changing political landscape of the Middle East. The Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reported today that in a speech given to members of his Fatah Party on Sunday, Abbas said that the Egyptian government had made a startling offer to the PA. The Egyptians told Abbas that they were willing to cede a 618-square mile area of the Sinai adjacent to Gaza for resettlement of the Palestinian refugees, an idea first floated by former Israeli National Security Adviser Giora Eiland. “They [the Egyptians] are prepared to receive all the refugees, [saying] ‘let’s end the refugee story’,” Abbas was quoted by Ma’an news agency as saying. The Palestinian leader noted that the idea was first proposed to the Egyptian government in 1956, but was furiously rejected by Palestinian leaders such as PLO militant Muhammad Youssef Al-Najjar and poet Muin Bseiso who “understood the danger of this.” “Now this is being proposed once again. A senior leader in Egypt said: ‘a refuge must be found for the Palestinians and we have all this open land.’ This was said to me personally. But it’s illogical for the problem to be solved at Egypt’s expense. We won’t have it,” Abbas said.

 

The remarkable thing about this is the decision of the Sisi government to embrace such a practical solution to the long, sad tale of the 1948 Palestinian refugees and their descendants. Like the rest of the Arab world, the Egyptians were never interested in resettling the refugees anywhere, let alone on a huge swath of the Sinai next door to Gaza. Not even during the 19 years during which Egypt illegally occupied Gaza and Jordan illegally occupied the West Bank and part of Jerusalem did either nation seek to ameliorate the suffering of the refugees by offering them the full rights of citizenship or a home anywhere but in the State of Israel. The same applies to every other Arab and Muslim country. All stuck by the demand of a “right of return” aimed at destroying the newborn Jewish state which was at that time absorbing an equal number of Jewish refugees that had fled or been thrown out of their homes in the Arab and Muslim world. Israel’s enemies purposely kept the Palestinian refugees in order to use them as props in their never-ending war on Israel.

 

Egypt’s offer was, of course, not merely aimed at finally doing the right thing by the refugees. The Hamas stronghold in Gaza is a threat to the Egyptian military government in Cairo because of its alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood. They also recognize how toxic the situation in Gaza—where hundreds of thousands of the descendants of the refugees live—and the need to get these people out of a bad situation that is only made worse by their exploitation by the Hamas terrorist government of the strip. Resettling the refugees could be the first step in neutralizing Hamas as well as in reforming the political culture of the Palestinians to the point where it might be possible for them to start thinking about making peace instead of sticking to demands for a return to Israel. That is something that could only happen after the demands in Hamas’s charter are fulfilled: the destruction of the Jewish state and the deportation/genocide of its Jewish population. But in making this proposal, Egypt, which was the first Arab country to make peace with Israel, wasn’t just seeking to deal with the threat from Hamas and its jihadist allies to the Sisi regime. It was making clear that the new unofficial alliance between Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan and Israel isn’t mere talk. These Arab countries haven’t suddenly fallen in love with Zionism. The Jewish state is very unpopular even in Jordan, which has a peace treaty with it and also signed an agreement to import Israeli natural gas this week. But all these moderate Arab governments understand that the real threat to their future comes not from Israel but from Iran and its Islamist allies in the Middle East, such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad.

 

PA leader Mahmoud Abbas is nominally in the same boat as these governments since he knows that Hamas’s goal is to topple him in the West Bank just as they did in Gaza in 2007. He also has an interest in defusing the Gaza tinderbox and offering some alternative to the “right of return” to a refugee population whose adamant opposition to peace with Israel is one of the primary reasons why the PA has rejected offers of statehood and peace with Israel over the last 15 years. If Abbas is serious about peace with Israel, as his apologists in the West and in Israel insist he is, this is an offer that he should have jumped at. But he didn’t, and from the sound of it, it was not even a close call. Why? Let’s first dismiss the idea that the offer was refused out of solicitude for Egypt as Abbas said. As Egyptians always used to say back in the decades when they were fighting wars against Israel, the Palestinians were always willing to fight Israel to the last Egyptian. Rather, the refusal reflects Abbas’s recognition that although Hamas has followed in the path of his old boss Yasir Arafat and led the Palestinian people to more death and destruction with no hope in sight, it is the Islamists who seem to represent the wishes of the Palestinian people, not the so-called moderates that he leads. Any acceptance of any refugee solution that does not involve “return” to what is now Israel is the political third rail of Palestinian politics. Indeed, the refugees themselves are adamant about their rejection of any solution short of “victory” over Israel.

 

That is why Abbas, though supposedly in favor of a two-state solution, has rejected it every time the Israelis have offered the PA independence over almost all of the West Bank, Gaza, and even a share of Jerusalem. As much as we are told that in the aftermath of the latest war in Gaza that the time of the moderates is upon us, Palestinian opinion polls indicate that they are still backing Hamas. That means they won’t make peace with Israel no matter where its borders are drawn. So long as the refugees remain homeless, when Palestinians speak of Israeli occupation, they are clearly referring to pre-1967 Israel, not the West Bank.

 

Egypt’s offer to the PA is a healthy sign that many in the Arab world are rising above their hatred for Israel and ready to make peace, if not for the sake of the Jews then to help them combat the Islamist terror threat. That is a remarkable thing that should be celebrated. The Palestinian refusal is, however, a very unremarkable confirmation of the fact that they remain unready and unwilling to make peace.            

                                                                                               

Contents
                       

   

                   

SHOULD WASHINGTON WITHHOLD AID TO EGYPT?                                                                                     

Yehuda Blanga                                                                                                                           

Middle East Forum, Fall 2014

 

Two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the attendant weakening of the radical Arab camp, and three-and-a-half decades after the conclusion of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty and the removal of the foremost threat to Egyptian security, Cairo's continued acquisition of thousands of tanks and hundreds of fighting aircraft seems to make no sense. Yet Washington's withholding of $1.3 billion in annual military aid following the Egyptian army's July 2013 ouster of President Mohamed Morsi sparked an angry retort, with the military regime threatening to turn to its former Russian patron. Why does Cairo continue to adhere to this anachronistic military and strategic raison d'être? Has the U.S. administration overplayed its hand by assuming that the threat of military aid suspension could be leveraged to obtain political influence? And what are the implications of this episode for Egypt and the Middle East as a whole?

 

Despite its 1979 peace agreement with Israel, Egypt has yet to internalize the idea that it is at peace with its neighbor to the east. What prevails between the two countries is a "cold peace" as the Mubarak regime made no attempt during its 30-year reign to further the normalization of bilateral relations or to modify public opinion and perceptions of Israeli citizens in particular and of Jews in general. Thus, "establishment Egypt" and, all the more so, the public at large still view Israel as a potential adversary with whom strategic parity is imperative. Former defense minister Muhammad Tantawi alluded to this in his remarks to the People's Assembly in February 1996: Peace does not mean relaxation. The endless development of military systems and the arms race prove that the survival is for the strongest. … Military strength has grown to be a prerequisite of peace.

 

Accordingly, the Egyptian armed forces have conducted large-scale exercises that simulate a frontal attack on the country—usually from the east. In the three largest such exercises—held in September 1996, April 1998, and February 2009—Egyptian troops simulated parrying an Israeli invasion by transitioning from defensive to offensive operations, crossing the Suez Canal, and regaining full control of the Sinai Peninsula. As a result, the Egyptian defense establishment has pursued a policy of strategic parity with Israel, manifested in a prolonged and comprehensive modernization program that began in the early 1980s and continued for more than twenty years. By the end of the process, the Egyptian armed forces had been transformed into a modern Western military organization and had cast off the Soviet influence that dated back to the mid-1950s. As of 2014, Egypt has the tenth-largest military in the world with approximately 460,000 soldiers in the standing army…

 

Since 1979, Egypt—along with Saudi Arabia—has been one of two cornerstones of U.S. policy in the Arab world. It has served as a mediator in Israeli-Arab and Israeli-Palestinian peace talks; it has worked to moderate and counter trends toward radicalization in the Arab world; and it provides military support for U.S. forces stationed in the region. Egypt's geostrategic importance lies in the fact that it is a bridge between East and West, located as it is at the intersection of the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia, and most importantly through its control of the Suez Canal. In order to move quickly between the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf, the U.S. fleet transits the Suez Canal with permission from the Egyptian authorities. Any delay or restrictions would require the United States government to station naval forces near the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa and round it in order to reach the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean. As a result, Washington would appear to have a vital interest in maintaining good ties with Cairo, despite the regime changes there since 2011.

 

The other main component of the continued military assistance to Egypt has to do with benefits to the U.S. military industry. Every year since 1986, Congress has approved US$1.3 billion in military assistance to Egypt, the second-largest aid package after that given to Israel. But the Egyptian military does not receive this sum in cash: As in the Israeli case, a sizable portion of that largesse is paid out to American military contractors who assemble tanks and warplanes and send them on to Egypt. Since 1986, Washington has transferred 221 F-16 fighter jets with a total value of $8 billion to Egypt as part of its military aid package despite the fact that U.S. military advisors have been saying for years that Cairo had more than enough planes and tanks and does not need any more. Likewise, over a thousand Abrams tanks have been transferred to Egypt since 1992 at a total cost of $3.9 billion though close to 200 of them are in mothballs and have never been used. Such an arrangement can have economic benefits within Egypt as well: The Abu Zaabal tank repair factory (aka Factory 200) in Helwan is the site of a joint production of Abrams tanks that employs thousands of local workers…                                                                                                      

[To Read the Full Transcript Click the Following Link—Ed.]                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Contents
                       

                                          

AP INTERVIEW: EL-SISSI, EGYPT AND THE TERROR FIGHT                                                             

Washington Post, Sept. 20, 2014

 

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi is feeling vindicated by the world’s alarm over Islamic extremism that is fueling wars and bloodshed across the Middle East. The former army general has faced widespread international criticism for his ouster last year of Egypt’s first freely elected president and his ferocious crackdown on Islamists that has killed more than 1,000 and imprisoned more than 20,000. A year later, after el-Sissi’s election as president, his critics fear he is leading his country into autocracy, with pro-democracy dissenters jailed or silenced. But in an interview with The Associated Press — his first with the foreign media since he took office in June — el-Sissi insists all his actions were to combat militancy and save the country from civil war. He said Egypt is a model for fighting terrorism and that the U.S.-led coalition to fight the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria should take note. “More than a year ago, I warned that the region was heading to great danger from extremist thought,” he said. “It didn’t receive proper attention until the events in Iraq took place and the Islamic State swept over the Iraqi-Syrian borders.”…

 

Washington is looking for support by Arab nations for its strategy to strike the Islamic State group. But at the same time, it has been critical of Egypt’s crackdown on Islamists, withdrawing some military aid and straining a longtime alliance. El-Sissi makes his first visit to the United States as president to attend the U.N. General Assembly in the coming week. So far there are no plans for talks with President Barack Obama. El-Sissi said he is ready to help the U.S.-led coalition. Asked if Egypt might provide airspace access or logistical support for airstrikes, he said, “We are completely committed to giving support. We will do whatever is required.” But he appeared to rule out sending troops, saying Iraq’s military is strong enough to fight the militants and that “it’s not a matter of ground troops from abroad.” Most importantly, he said, extremism across the region must be tackled — not just the Islamic State. He warned that the greatest danger came from foreign fighters flooding into the region’s conflicts, saying they will eventually return to their home countries — including in Europe — and spread extremism there. He said they “must be prevented” from entering the region. He said Egypt and Algeria were cooperating “to restore stability in Libya,” but would not comment on reports Egypt had cooperated in airstrikes on militants in the North African nation. He confirmed for the first time that two deadly attacks on Egyptian troops in its western desert were carried out by militants who crossed into Egypt from Libya. He said any strategy must also deal with the causes of militancy by fighting poverty, improving education and moderating religious discourse. “When all that happens together, it will bring a decisive result.”

 

His comments seemed a contradiction: So far, Egypt’s main approach has been the heavy-handed crushing of Islamists, along with other critics, bringing it international condemnation. But the comments also pointed to a characteristic the career military intelligence officer has shown ever since he rose to prominence by ousting Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013: A self-confidence that he can dramatically change Egypt and that others will fall in line. His government is planning economic reforms that would reduce massive subsidies for fuel and foodstuffs and, he says, funnel the money instead into education and health. El-Sissi said Egyptians set an example for the region, saying they had supported the Brotherhood and elected them to power but then turned against them after Morsi’s year in office. He said Egyptians realized that the idea of political Islam advocated by the Brotherhood “won’t work in Egypt.” Millions joined protests against Morsi, leading to his ouster. If he had not stepped in to remove Morsi and the Brotherhood, Egypt “would be like all the countries that now suffer from widespread violence, internal conflicts and civil wars,” he said, referring to Syria, Libya and Iraq. In the face of criticism over a range of human rights concerns, el-Sissi argued that the need to establish security in Egypt — where Islamic militants have waged a campaign of violence — and repair the economy took priority. Rights groups have condemned a draconian law last year that effectively bans protests by requiring a police permit. Several democracy advocates have been handed long prison sentences under the law. “I would never say that what is happening in Egypt is ideal,” he said. “Of course, I want there to be a very large degree of freedom. But we want to do that without hurting our nation. Our nation is in very difficult circumstances. You see what’s going on in the region,” he said…

 

He argued the number of arrests was not high, saying “security agencies have shown great patience.” The protest law, he said, was the same as ones in Europe that require police permits. Egyptian police, however, rarely give permission for gatherings. Justifying the past year’s crackdown, he said the Brotherhood had “chosen confrontation.” But he said followers of the group could participate in politics in the future if they renounce violence. Parliamentary elections are to be held by the end of the year, he said. The Brotherhood and its political party, however, have been banned. “To anyone who doesn’t use violence, Egypt is very forgiving,” he said. “The chance for participation is there.” He also said he cannot interfere with the judiciary in the case of three journalists from Al-Jazeera English television who have been sentenced to seven years in prison over terrorism-related charges. Their trial was dismissed by human rights groups as a farce, and their convictions brought heavy international criticism. “If I had been in charge at the time, I never would have let the issue go so far. I would have deported them,” he said — though one of the three is Egypt. But he said that if Egypt is to have an independent judiciary, “We can’t accept criticism or comment” on court rulings…                                                                                                                                             

[To Read the Full Transcript Click the Following Link—Ed.]       

           

Contents                                                                       

 

On Topic

 

Egypt Set to Boycott Turkey Over Muslim Brotherhood Support: Moshe Cohen, Arutz Sheva, Sept. 29, 2014—Officials in Egypt are demanding an immediate and total boycott of Turkish goods, and even a breakoff of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Egyptian media reports said.

Russia and Egypt Agree to $3.5B Arms Deal: Jewish Press, Sept. 17, 2014—Russia and Egypt have reached a preliminary agreement for a $3.5 billion arms deals, according to a Reuters report.

Understanding the Israeli-Egyptian-Saudi Alliance: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 21, 2014 —Hamas’s war with Israel is not a stand-alone event.

The Mirage of Political Islam: Mustapha Tlili, New York Times, June 3, 2014—“You must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.”

 

 

 

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

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There is a Humanitarian Crisis in Kurdistan But Nobody Cares Because They Can’t Blame Israel

These are portentous days in the global village. With Gaza, after fifty days of violence, at least temporarily on the back burner, the world’s attention is returning to Iraq. Having fiddled while Mosul burned, Barack Obama’s studied foreign policy passivity was shattered by TV scenes of tens of thousands of Yazidi sect members fleeing advancing Islamic State murderers marching towards the key Kurdish town of Irbil.

Soon F-18s from a Persian Gulf carrier were bombing Islamic State targets, and today, after IS’s brutal You-tube beheading of American hostage James Foley, US spy planes and drones are overflying Syria, identifying targets for attacks on IS’s stronghold.

Having steadfastly refused to commit anything but a few US military observers in aid of hard-pressed Iraqi (and Kurdish) former allies, the plight of the stranded Yazidis, starving on a mountain-top through 40-degree C. days and cold nights, could not be ignored.
News of the approaching genocide, transmitted around the world by the media, caused Obama’s (and his UN Ambassador Susan Power’s) “responsibility to protect” doctrine, suppressed since having been invoked to bring down (from behind, of course), Libya’s Moammar Khaddafi, to be dusted off and brought forward once again.

That the nearby Kurdish city of Irbil, threatened by the Islamic State’s rapid advance, boasts a large American diplomatic station and a contingent of American military “observers”, may also have had something to do with Obama’s sudden decision to bring airlifted supplies
to bear on the Yazidis, and F-18 bombs and rockets on the Islamic State forces approaching Irbil. Another possible embassy destruction stirred repressed memories of the Benghazi disaster, itself the result of the initial “rescuing” of civilians (from Khaddafi’s tender
mercies, sparking the Libya war). A second, and larger, disaster could well sink Obama’s already plummeting approval ratings, and this just before the oncoming Congressional elections…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NETANYAHU: STRONG LEADERSHIP, NOT EMPTY RHETORIC, NECESSARY TO DEFEAT ISLAMIST THREAT

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 

 

Contents:

 

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Speech at the United Nations General Assembly, 2014: Algemeiner, Spet. 29, 2014 — Thank you, Mr. President. Distinguished delegates, I come here from Jerusalem to speak on behalf of my people, the people of Israel.

A World With Many Crises, Zero Leadership: Robert Fulford, National Post, Sept. 27, 2014 — Most of the world suffered from the economic crises that began six years ago. But it may be that the leaders of nations, and the potential leaders, were among the most deeply affected.

Obama’s Own JV Team: Max Boot, Weekly Standard, Oct. 6, 2014 — Last week brought a reminder of what the United States has lost since Bob Gates and Leon Panetta left the Obama cabinet. Both are straight shooters with a centrist, hardheaded sensibility.

Obama’s Containment-plus Strategy: Charles Krauthammer, National Review, Sept. 25, 2014 — Late, hesitant, and reluctant as he is, President Obama has begun effecting a workable strategy against the Islamic State.

               

On Topic Links

 

Emerson on Fox News: The New Global Jihad and the Threat against the US (Video): Investigative Project on Terrorism, Sept. 27, 2014

Syria Airstrikes Roil Rebel Alliances: Siobhan Gorman & Maria Abi-Habib, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 27, 2014

From Pen and Phone to Bombs and Drones: Maureen Dowd, New York Times, Sept. 27, 2014

Is Obama Striking an Alliance with Iran?: Ron Radosh, PJ Media, Sept. 26, 2014

 

                                                

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU’S SPEECH

AT THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 2014                        

Algemeiner, Spet. 29, 2014

 

Thank you, Mr. President. Distinguished delegates, I come here from Jerusalem to speak on behalf of my people, the people of Israel. I’ve come here to speak about the dangers we face and about the opportunities we seek. I’ve come here to expose the brazen lies spoken from this very podium against my country and against the brave soldiers who defend it. Ladies and gentlemen, the people of Israel pray for peace, but our hopes and the world’s hopes for peace are in danger because everywhere we look militant Islam is on the march. It’s not militants. It’s not Islam. It’s militant Islam. And typically its first victims are other Muslims, but it spares no one: Christians, Jews, Yazidis, Kurds. No creed, no faith, no ethnic group is beyond its sights. And it’s rapidly spreading in every part of the world.

 

You know the famous American saying, all politics is local? For the militant Islamists, all politics is global, because their ultimate goal is to dominate the world. Now, that threat might seem exaggerated to some since it starts out small, like a cancer that attacks a particular part of the body. But left unchecked, the cancer grows, metastasizing over wider and wider areas. To protect the peace and security of the world, we must remove this cancer before it’s too late. Last week, many of the countries represented here rightly applauded President Obama for leading the effort to confront ISIS, and yet weeks before, some of these same countries, the same countries that now support confronting ISIS, opposed Israel for confronting Hamas. They evidently don’t understand that ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree. ISIS and Hamas share a fanatical creed, which they both seek to impose well beyond the territory under their control. Listen to ISIS’ self-declared caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. This is what he said two months ago: A day will soon come when the Muslim will walk everywhere as a master. The Muslims will cause the world to hear and understand the meaning of terrorism and destroy the idol of democracy. Now listen to Khaled Mashal, the leader of Hamas. He proclaims a similar vision of the future: We say this to the West — by Allah you will be defeated. Tomorrow our nation will sit on the throne of the world.

 

As Hamas’ charter makes clear, Hamas’ immediate goal is to destroy Israel, but Hamas has a broader objective. They also want a caliphate. Hamas shares the global ambitions of its fellow militant Islamists, and that’s why its supporters wildly cheered in the streets of Gaza as thousands of Americans were murdered in 9/11, and that’s why its leaders condemn the United States for killing Osama bin Laden whom they praised as a holy warrior. So when it comes to their ultimate goals, Hamas is ISIS and ISIS is Hamas. And what they share in common all militant Islamists share in common. Boko Haram in Nigeria, al-Shabab in Somalia, Hezbollah in Lebanon, al-Nusra in Syria, the Mahdi army in Iraq, and the al-Qaida branches in Yemen, Libya, the Philippines, India and elsewhere.

 

Some are radical Sunnis, some are radical Shiites, some want to restore a pre-medieval caliphate from the seventh century, others want to trigger the apocalyptic return of an imam from the ninth century. They operate in different lands, they target different victims and they even kill each other in their battle for supremacy. But they all share a fanatic ideology. They all seek to create ever-expanding enclaves of militant Islam where there is no freedom and no tolerance, where women are treated as chattel, Christians are decimated and minorities are subjugated, sometimes given the stark choice, convert or die. For them, anyone can be considered an infidel, including fellow Muslims. Ladies and gentlemen, militant Islam’s ambition to dominate the world seems mad, but so too did the global ambitions of another fanatic ideology that swept into power eight decades ago. The Nazis believed in a master race. The militant Islamists believe in a master faith. They just disagree who among them will be the master of the master faith. That’s what they truly disagree about. And therefore, the question before us is whether militant Islam will have the power to realize its unbridled ambitions.

There is one place where that could soon happen — the Islamic State of Iran. For 35 years, Iran has relentlessly pursued the global mission which was set forth by its founding ruler, Ayatollah Khomeini, in these words. “We will export our revolution to the entire world until the cry ‘there is no god but Allah’ will echo throughout the world over.” And ever since, the regime’s brutal enforcers, Iran’s revolutionary guards, have done exactly that. Listen to its current commander, General Mohammad Ali Jafari. And he clearly stated his goal. He said “Our imam did not limit the Islamic revolution to this country, our duty is to prepare the way for an Islamic world government.” Listen to its current commander, General Mohammad Ali Jafari. And he clearly stated his goal. He said “Our imam did not limit the Islamic revolution to this country, our duty is to prepare the way for an Islamic world government.”…

 

Ladies and gentlemen, the fight against militant Islam is indivisible. When militant Islam succeeds anywhere, it’s emboldened everywhere. When it suffers a blow in one place, it’s set back in every place. That’s why Israel’s fight against Hamas is not just our fight, it’s your fight. Israel is fighting a fanaticism today that your countries may be forced to fight tomorrow. For 50 days this past summer Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israel, many of them supplied by Iran… Yet Israel faced another challenge. We faced a propaganda war because in an attempt to win the world sympathy, Hamas cynically used Palestinian civilians as human shields. It used schools — not just schools; U.N. schools — private homes, mosques, even hospitals to store and fire rockets at Israel. As Israel surgically struck at the rocket launchers and at the tunnels, Palestinian civilians were tragically but unintentionally killed. There are heartrending images that resulted, and these fueled libelous charges that Israel was deliberately targeting civilians. We were not. We deeply regret every single civilian casualties. And the truth is this: Israel was doing everything to minimize Palestinian civilian casualties. Hamas was doing everything to maximize Israeli civilian casualties and Palestinian civilian casualties. Israel dropped flyers, made phone calls, sent text messages, broadcast warnings in Arabic on Palestinian television, all this to enable Palestinian civilians to evaluate targeted areas. No other country and no other army in history have gone to greater lengths to avoid casualties among the civilian population of their enemies…                                                                                                         

[To Read the Full Transcript Click the Following Link—Ed.]                                                                                            

                                                         

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A WORLD WITH MANY CRISES, ZERO LEADERSHIP                                      

Robert Fulford                                                                                                     

National Post, Sept. 27, 2014    

        

Most of the world suffered from the economic crises that began six years ago. But it may be that the leaders of nations, and the potential leaders, were among the most deeply affected. It now seems that during those hectic and desperate years political parties and politicians experienced a failure of nerve. They watched with horror as the structures of modern life appeared to crumble. Today we are short of real leaders, people who can credibly embody the goals of their societies. Perhaps one reason is the force of blows received in 2008.

 

In Canada, national party leaders are playing defence. If you notice the tone and content of Justin Trudeau’s public statements, it becomes clear that his most passionate desire is to save Canada from the depredations of Stephen Harper. (Is that how the great Liberal tradition was built?) Thomas Mulcair wants to save as much as possible of the NDP program that has failed spectacularly at every federal election since it was first promulgated at the Regina Convention in 1933. Harper, who has surrendered or diluted every conservative principle he brought to Ottawa an eon ago, now seems mainly defending his right to remain prime minister, as if nothing else mattered.

 

Prime Minister David Cameron recently has confronted both the referendum in Scotland and the outrages of ISIS. No doubt both issues have been taxing, but does it not seem odd that he appears more rattled by these events than Winston Churchill seemed to be in 1940 when the whole German army was only a narrow channel away from England? The political friendship between Germany and France, the key relationship in the eurozone, is currently endangered by the inadequacies of their leaders. Angela Merkel is sticking to the austerity program she’s favoured since the debt crisis surfaced in 2009. But now France has said it won’t be able to meet the EU deficit goals until 2017, if then. President François Hollande, whose popularity polls rate him lower than any predecessor since 1958, believes he’s reached the limits of austerity and the limits of the country’s tolerance. Alfred Grosser, a German-French sociologist and journalist, a long-time expert on Franco-German co-operation, says that relations between the two governments have reached their worst stage in decades. What those people need is leadership, he told a reporter. Hollande is weak, Merkel cautious and determined. Resolving the relations of the two governments, who need each other badly, will require an imaginative approach. There’s no such idea in sight.

 

A journalist covering Barack Obama’s speech at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday called his words “muscular.” After years holding a different opinion, he has indeed come to the conclusion that the United States must take world leadership, in this case against ISIS. But he seems still to be married to the idea that he can win by exhortation, as if terrorists and would-be terrorists might be swayed by his rhetoric. “You come from a great tradition that stands for education, not ignorance; innovation, not destruction; the dignity of life, not murder,” he said to young Muslims. “Those who call you away from this path are betraying this tradition, not defending it.” He sounds as if he’s running for another Nobel peace prize.

 

If Obama’s direction of American policy has seemed both erratic and reluctant to his dissatisfied fellow Americans, it looks even worse to the governments who might be America’s allies. Last week, his secretaries of State and Defence visited Turkey to ask for its collaboration. This won them nothing but outright rejection. Turkey will take no military action in Iraq. Not only that, it won’t let the Americans use the US air base in southern Turkey for bombing strikes. The Turks also declined to sign a communiqué urging stronger action against ISIS. Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952 but recently has shown considerable sympathy for terrorists. No one doubts that Turkey allowed foreign jihadis to cross its border when heading for Syria and Iraq. ISIS kidnapped 49 Turkish diplomats and their families in Mosul on June 11; after two months, the hostages were returned safely, leaving the Turks determined to avoid annoying ISIS. They are nervous, like the others. Could another president, having set out to enlist the leaders of a hoped-for coalition, have accomplished more with the Turks? Only if he had paid careful attention to relations with American allies during the last six years. Obama, and the world with him, are suffering for his belief that a foreign policy could be erected on good intentions.

 

                                                                                               

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OBAMA’S OWN JV TEAM                                                                                           

Max Boot                                                                                                                             

Weekly Standard, Oct. 6, 2014

 

Last week brought a reminder of what the United States has lost since Bob Gates and Leon Panetta left the Obama cabinet. Both are straight shooters with a centrist, hardheaded sensibility. Panetta has been making headlines with his criticism of Obama on 60 Minutes for pulling out of Iraq too soon (“I really thought that it was important for us to maintain a presence in Iraq”) and not doing more early on to aid the Syrian opposition (“we pay the price for not doing that in what we see happening with ISIS”). Meanwhile, Gates has been critical of Obama for prohibiting U.S. “boots on the ground” to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria: “The reality is, they’re not gonna be able to be successful against ISIS strictly from the air, or strictly depending on the Iraqi forces, or the Peshmerga, or the Sunni tribes acting on their own,” he told CBS This Morning. “So there will be boots on the ground if there’s to be any hope of success in the strategy. And I think that by continuing to repeat that [the United States won’t put boots on the ground], the president, in effect, traps himself.”

In retrospect, it is clear, the first Obama term—when Gates was at Defense (followed by Panetta), Panetta at CIA (followed by General David Petraeus), Hillary Clinton at State, Admiral Mike Mullen at the Joint Chiefs, and retired General Jim Jones at the National Security Council—was a golden age (by Obama standards) when there were grown-ups more or less in charge of U.S. foreign policy. Obama at first tended to accede to the advice of his more seasoned foreign policy hands because as a first-term senator he was acutely aware of his own lack of experience or credibility in the field. Thus, he delayed his Iraq pullout, maintaining 50,000 troops there until nearly the end of 2011; he tripled troop numbers in Afghanistan to pursue a more robust strategy against the Taliban; and he continued most of George W. Bush’s second-term counterterrorist policies while actually increasing the number of drone strikes in Pakistan. Even then, Obama’s caution often intruded in ways that undercut his stated goals: For example, he insisted on an 18-month timeline on the Afghanistan surge, which Gates, Clinton, Petraeus (then at Central Command), and others accepted only reluctantly as the price of having a surge at all. But, however reluctantly, Obama acted more toughly during his first two years in office than his campaign rhetoric would have predicted.

 

Ah, for those good ol’ days. Today, by contrast, U.S. foreign policy is shaped by Joe Biden, Chuck Hagel, John Kerry, Susan Rice, and John Brennan, among others, with deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes the most frequently quoted spokesman. It tells you something that the most hawkish of the lot is Kerry, but he has dissipated much energy and credibility in futile efforts to jumpstart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. His major achievement to date is to broker a power-sharing accord in Afghanistan between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah that may or may not hold together. Still, it’s hard to be too harsh on Kerry or any of the other cabinet members when clearly the driving force behind U.S. foreign policy is the president himself. Obama suffers from the not uncommon defect of the intellectually able: He imagines that he is always the smartest guy in the room and thus has trouble taking advice that does not accord with his own predilections. Driven largely by his own imperatives, the president pulled U.S. troops out of Iraq (after making only a token effort to reach a Status of Forces Agreement), failed for three years effectively to aid the Syrian opposition, declared and then ignored a “red line” in Syria, failed to provide assistance to the Libyan government after Qaddafi’s overthrow, did little to make Putin pay a price for his aggression in Ukraine, presided over a precipitous decline in defense spending that risks another “hollow army,” launched nuclear negotiations with Iran that relax sanctions while allowing centrifuges to keep spinning, and made numerous other unforced errors.

 

What happened? How did the centrist Obama of his early years in office give way to the dovish Obama of more recent times? My theory is that the turning point occurred on May 2, 2011. That is the day when Osama bin Laden was killed in a daring SEAL raid authorized by the president, who overrode the concerns of Gates and other more cautious advisers. This undoubted success puffed up Obama to think that he could manage foreign policy on his own and convinced him that he no longer needed to worry about attacks from the right: Who, after all, could claim that the president who “got” bin Laden was insufficiently hawkish?

                                                                                               

Contents
 

                       

 

OBAMA’S CONTAINMENT-PLUS STRATEGY                                                    

Charles Krauthammer                                                                                                  

National Review, Sept. 25, 2014

 

Late, hesitant, and reluctant as he is, President Obama has begun effecting a workable strategy against the Islamic State. True, he’s been driven there by public opinion. Does anyone imagine that without the broadcast beheadings we’d be doing anything more than pinprick strikes within Iraq? If Obama can remain steady through future fluctuations in public opinion, his strategy might succeed. But success will not be what he’s articulating publicly. The strategy will not destroy the Islamic State. It’s more containment-plus: Expel the Islamic State from Iraq, contain it in Syria. Because you can’t win from the air. In Iraq, we have potential ground allies. In Syria, we don’t.

 

The order of battle in Iraq is straightforward. The Kurds will fight, but not far beyond their own territory. A vigorous air campaign could help them recover territory lost to the Islamic State and perhaps a bit beyond. But they won’t be anyone’s expeditionary force. From the Shiites in Iraq we should expect little. U.S. advisers embedded with a few highly trained Iraqi special forces could make some progress. But we cannot count on the corrupt and demoralized regular Shiite-dominated military. Our key potential allies are the Sunni tribes. We will have to induce them to change allegiances a second time, joining us again, as they did during the 2007–2008 surge, against the jihadists. Having abandoned them in 2011, this won’t be easy. But it is necessary. One good sign is the creation of a Sunni national guard, a descendant of the Sons of Iraq who, fighting with us, expelled al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) during the Anbar Awakening. Only they could push the Islamic State out of Iraq. And surely only they could hold the territory regained.

 

Syria is another matter. Under the current strategy, the cancer will remain. The air power there is unsupported by ground troops. Nor is anyone in Obama’s “broad coalition” going to contribute any. Perhaps Turkey will one day. But Islamist president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not just refusing to join the air campaign. He has denied us use of his air bases. As for what’s left of the Free Syrian Army, Obama has finally come around to training and arming it. But very late and very little. The administration admits it won’t be able to field any trained forces for a year. And even then only about 5,000. The Islamic State is already approximately 30,000 strong and growing. Not that air power is useless. It can degrade and disrupt. If applied systematically enough it can damage the entrenched, expanding, secure, and self-financing Islamic State, turning it back to more of a fugitive guerrilla force constantly on the run. What kind of strategy is that? A compressed and more aggressive form of the George Kennan strategy of Soviet containment. Stop them, squeeze them, and ultimately they will be defeated by their own contradictions. As historian David Motadel points out, jihadist regimes stretching back two centuries have been undone by their own primitivism, barbarism, brutality — and the intense hostility thus engendered among those they rule. That’s what just eight years ago created the Anbar Awakening that expelled AQI. Mahdi rule in Sudan in the 1880s and ’90s was no more successful. As Motadel notes, half the population died of disease, starvation, or violence — and that was before the British annihilation of the Mahdi forces at Omdurman.

 

Or to put it in a contemporary Middle East context, this kind of long-term combination of rollback and containment is what has carried the Israelis successfully through seven decades of terrorism arising at different times from different places proclaiming different ideologies. There is no one final stroke that ends it all. The Israelis engage, enjoy a respite, then re-engage. With a bitter irony born of ceaseless attacks, the Israelis call it “mowing the lawn.” They know a finality may come, but alas not in their time. They accept it, and go on living. Obama was right and candid to say this war he’s renewed will take years. This struggle is generational. This is not Sudan 1898. There is no Omdurman that defeats jihadism for much of a century. Today jihadism is global, its religious and financial institutions ubiquitous, and its roots deeply sunk in a world religion of more than a billion people. We are on a path — long, difficult, sober, undoubtedly painful — of long-term, low-intensity rollback/containment. Containment-plus. It’s the best of our available strategies. Obama must now demonstrate the steel to carry it through.                                                                                                    

Contents                                                                       

 

On Topic

 

Emerson on Fox News: The New Global Jihad and the Threat against the US (Video): Investigative Project on Terrorism, Sept. 27, 2014

Syria Airstrikes Roil Rebel Alliances: Siobhan Gorman & Maria Abi-Habib, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 27, 2014—Thousands of civilians and rebels across Syria protested allied airstrikes against extremist militants that continued on Saturday, underscoring the challenge the U.S.-led campaign faces in dealing with complex ties among rival rebel factions.

From Pen and Phone to Bombs and Drones: Maureen Dowd, New York Times, Sept. 27, 2014 —The president was at the United Nations on Wednesday urging young people across the Muslim world to reject benighted values, even as America clambers into bed with a bunch of Middle East potentates who espouse benighted values.

Is Obama Striking an Alliance with Iran?: Ron Radosh, PJ Media, Sept. 26, 2014—Two new issues have emerged regarding the Obama administration’s policy towards ISIS, which was announced last week in President Obama’s speech to the nation. Both are connected to Iran: (a) the positions the administration will take regarding cooperation with it in fighting ISIS and (b) in negotiations regarding Iran’s nuclear centrifuges.

 

 

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

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Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org

 

 

Contents:  Weekly Quotes |  Short Takes On Topic Links

 

 

New Year 5775: a Few Thoughts: Baruch Cohen, CIJR, Sept. 24, 2014

Rosh Hashanah: Challenges and Optimism: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, Sept. 22 , 2014

The Virtues of Judaism: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Jewish Press, Sept. 24, 2014

                            

NEW YEAR 5775: A FEW THOUGHTS                                               

Baruch Cohen                                                                                                      

CIJR, Sept. 24, 2014

 

Rosh Hashanah is called the Day of Judgement. Taking the three steps that places him before God with every Amidah prayer, a Jew on Rosh Hashanah takes his/her stand before eternity. Anyone who ever wonders at the order of the universe, at its beauty, at the fact that something exists rather than nothing at all – any such person can confront eternity, for, even though a fleck of dust, he can know himself to be one. He therefore stands in judgment for the way he uses, or wastes, the small amount of time allotted to him. A Jew does not know who he is until he finds himself judged.

 

Rosh Hashanah stresses the universalist motif of Judaism: the prayers are not for the individual, or only for Israel’s people, alone. There is a wonderful Hebrew phrase: Heshabon Hanefesh, the taking stock of one’s soul, a kind of sitting in judgment upon oneself, an inner accounting. Tikun Olam – the mending of the world, is the center, the leitmotif of Rosh Hashanah prayers. There is a powerful plea not only for Israel, but for the redemption of the entire world. Rosh Hashanah stresses the universalist motif of Judaism. In truth, one prays for brotherhood, and for the entire world, for the annihilation of hatred and discrimination. The prayers of Rosh Hashanah oppose any forms of racism that menace the world today! The prayers are a clear and strong plea for the establishment – in the entire world – of brotherhood and peace. There is a poignant plea in those prayers for the establishment of righteousness and truth, for the spirit of brotherhood, and the conquest of tyranny and inequality. Rosh Hashanah prayers are universal for the redemption, not only of Israel alone, but of the entire world. In the words of the Psalmist, to rejoice with trembling is in itself a sublime lesson. On the Day of Judgement, motivated by profound and earnest meditation, we render an accounting of our life and actions. Through the sounding of the shofar, we recall Creation and Revelation of Mount Sinai, and anticipate Messianic advent and Return to Zion!

 

May good health, peace, and joy be bestowed upon the House of Israel, on the entire world, and upon all CIJR friends and supporters for the coming year 5775!                                                                                                                                       

 

 

(Baruch Cohen is Research Chairman of CIJR)                                                                                                                                        

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ROSH HASHANAH: CHALLENGES AND OPTIMISM                                          

Isi Leibler                                                                                                                           

Candidly Speaking, Sept. 22, 2014

 

On the eve of Rosh Hashana 5775, traditional Jews are engaged in teshuva — reviewing the past year and soul-searching with a view to enhancing our moral standards for the coming year. While we indulge in self-criticism, we must also condemn the pessimism of the prophets of gloom in our midst and remain optimistic and positive about the future. Last year was indeed an annus horribilis, but we successfully confronted our challenges and with the help of the Almighty will continue doing so.

 

Of course we are frustrated that, because of a variety of valid external factors, the Israel Defense Forces was inhibited from unleashing its full might and we could not totally eliminate Hamas. Indeed, unless the global community determinedly cooperates in the demilitarization of Gaza, we may soon face another round of hostilities. But the fact remains that, notwithstanding the tragic loss of 66 soldiers, the IDF achieved its goals and Hamas failed to achieve its key objectives. We should appreciate that by destroying the Hamas tunnels, the IDF forestalled massive casualties and abductions of Israelis civilians. We should, above all, be thankful for the miraculous success of Iron Dome which prevented major Israeli casualties on the home front. It has become clear to the nation that if Israel ceded the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority, Hamas would take control — either by an election or by a coup — and extend Hamastan to the entire area. Clearly, in the absence of defensible borders and total demilitarization, a Palestinian state is — currently — off the agenda.

 

Another positive outcome of the war is the unprecedented potential for realignment or a working relationship between Israel and a number of Arab states in combating Islamic terrorism. This prospect has gained momentum in the context of the regional chaos and explosive military successes of ISIS and other barbaric Islamic fundamentalist groups that have superseded al-Qaida. They represent evil incarnate and their beheadings and carnage shocked much of the Arab world, as well as the U.S. and the West. We were disappointed with the negative diplomatic stances adopted against us by the Obama administration during the Gaza war. However the achievements of ISIS further highlight the failure of U.S. policy in the region but may hopefully result in a more rational U.S. policy in relation to global jihad. It will undoubtedly reinforce support for us by the American people and Congress and deter President Barack Obama from future political forays against our interests…

The silver lining is that after 2000 years of dispersion, the Jewish state today offers a haven for all Jews. The desperation of the Jews in the 1930s when they were denied entry visas to any country and perished in the Holocaust will never be repeated. Many Jews, especially in Europe, unwilling to live like pariahs and seeing no future for their children in such societies, will emigrate. Diaspora Jews committed to Jewish continuity are also aware of the intermarriage rates ranging from 50 percent to 70 percent and the effect on whether their grandchildren remain Jewish. Hopefully, many will choose Israel where they can fully express their Jewish identity…Shana Tova and Am Yisrael Chai…                                                     

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                                                                                                                                                                                                    

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THE VIRTUES OF JUDAISM                                                                

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks                                                                                       

Jewish Press, Sept. 24, 2014

 

Who am I? What are the most important things in my life? What do I want to be remembered for? If, as a purely hypothetical exercise, I were to imagine reading my own obituary, what would I want it to say? These are the questions Rosh Hashanah urges us to ask ourselves. As we pray to G-d to write us in the book of life, G-d asks us what we intend to do with this, His most precious gift. How do we use our time? The shofar of Rosh Hashanah reminds us of many things. It recalls the binding of Isaac, when G-d told Abraham to stop and offer up, instead, a ram that had been caught by its horn in a bush. It reminds us of the Torah, given at Mount Sinai, when “the whole mountain trembled violently, and the sound of the shofar grew louder and louder.” It was blown to mark the Jubilee, the 50th year, when freedom was proclaimed throughout the land.

 

The shofar was the sound of victory at Jericho. It was blown in celebration when King David brought the Ark to Jerusalem. Jeremiah calls it the sound of war. Amos called it the sound of danger: “When the shofar sounds in a city, do not the people tremble?” Joel called it the sound of the End of Days. One of the psalms we say on Friday night calls it the herald proclaiming the arrival of the King: “With trumpets and the blast of the shofar, shout for joy before the Lord, the King.” Maimonides, though, calls the shofar of Rosh Hashanah a wake-up call. He says that without such a call, we can sleepwalk through life, caring about trivialities. The sound of the shofar wakes us up and makes us conscious of the fragility of life. Who knows how much time we have left? None of us will live forever. So how do we use our time?

Much recent research on happiness yields surprising conclusions. We can spend our days in pursuit of wealth, yet beyond a certain comfort zone where we do not have to worry, greater wealth is not correlated with higher levels of happiness. The status of a particular job has less to do with happiness than the fulfillment we receive from a job well done. The sources of happiness lie all around us: our family, our friends, the work we do voluntarily, the sense we have of being part of a community, the feeling we have that we are part of something worthwhile. A whole series of medical research projects has shown that faith, prayer and regular attendance at a house of worship actually have an effect on health and life expectancy. Not always, for surely we all know of deeply spiritual people who die tragically young. But for the most part, faith gives us an anchor in the storm, a compass as we navigate the future, a shelter when we are buffeted by the winds of circumstance.

 

Often in the highly charged debates between atheists and religious believers, it seems as if all religion is, is a set of beliefs. It surely is, but that is not all it is. Judaism is a way of life, a code of conduct, a calendar. It shapes our experience of time into a kind of rhythm. Three times daily prayer, Shabbat, the festivals and the Days of Awe function like paragraph- and chapter-breaks in the story of our lives. So we work, but one day in seven we also rest and spend more time than usual with family and friends. In shul we reestablish our links with the community. Through the festivals we relive the history of our people, and cure ourselves of the narrow sense of living for the moment. On Rosh Hashanah we ask, “Why am I here?” On Yom Kippur we try to make amends for the wrongs we have done, and rededicate ourselves to the things we hold holy…

 

Jewish faith, which suffuses all our acts but especially the act of prayer, tells us that we are not alone in the universe, that at the heart of being is One who created us in love, hears our prayers, and believes in us more than we believe in ourselves. Judaism helps us hear the music beneath the noise, the theme beyond the episodes, the meaning that links our days and years into a story of a life well lived because it has been lived in the light of high ideals. We will always fall short; everyone does. But we stand as tall as the values that inspire us, and those of Judaism are the highest ever asked of a people. So as you hear the shofar, think of what, in the year to come, you will live for. And may G-d write you, your family, and all Israel in the Book of Life.       

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

Media-ocrity of the Week: “As the West continues to weigh its options, a strategic rethinking is necessary. First, it is imperative to find a way to work with the most effective forces on the ground: Mr. Assad’s Syrian Army and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah fighters. All of the West’s differences with the Syrian regime should be postponed until the tide of battle has turned. Indeed, an anti-ISIS coalition that includes Syria, Iran and Russia may be the only real key to a political engagement with Mr. Assad that could help bring about a peaceful resolution of the three-year-old Syrian civil war,”—Ahmad Samih Khalidi, an academic visitor at St. Antony’s College, Oxford, and a former Palestinian peace negotiator. (New York Times, Sept. 15, 2014)

 

“Hamas is ISIS. ISIS is Hamas,” —Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, drawing a parallel between the world’s growing anti-ISIS coalition and Israel’s own efforts to fight Hamas. Netanyahu said he applauded U.S. and Canadian efforts to battle a “common enemy” that is “threatening everyone.” Netanyahu added: “They have different minutiae of theological differences of ethnic origin. Who cares? They are part and parcel of the same militant Islamic scourge.” (National Post, Sept. 23, 2014)

 

"If you fight it (Islamic State), it becomes stronger and tougher. If you leave it alone, it grows and expands. If Obama has promised you with defeating the Islamic State, then Bush has also lied before him,"—Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani. Adnani said the intervention by the US-led coalition against I.S. would be the "final campaign of the crusaders," according to an English-language transcript of an audio recording in Arabic. "It will be broken and defeated, just as all your previous campaigns were broken and defeated," Adnani said in the statement, which urged followers to attack US, French, Canadians, Australians and other nationals. Addressing Obama directly, Adnani added: "O mule of the Jews, you claimed today that America would not be drawn into a war on the ground. No, it will be drawn and dragged … to its death, grave and destruction." The U.S. and allies launched an expansive attack on extremist fighters in Syria on Monday night as air strikes hit I.S. strongholds and another anti-Western group. Five Arab countries, including Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, helped carry out the air strikes in Syria, with some flying alongside the U.S. warplanes, according to an allied official. (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 22, 2014 & Wall Street Journal, Sept. 23, 2014)

 

"If America and Pakistan really want it, peace will come to Afghanistan," — Outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai, in his farewell speech on Tuesday. Karzai used the speech to take one last swipe at the U.S., capping a long-testy relationship with the accusation that the U.S. hasn't wanted peace in Afghanistan. "War in Afghanistan is based on the aims of foreigners. The war in Afghanistan is to the benefit of foreigners. But Afghans on both sides are the sacrificial lambs and victims of this war," said Karzai. Karzai's relationship with the U.S. has grown increasingly fragile in recent years, but the U.S.-Afghan relationship may get a reset on Monday, when President-elect Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai will be sworn in. The U.S. has spent more than $100 billion on aid in Afghanistan since 2001 to train and equip the country's security forces, to pave crumbling dirt roads, to upgrade hospitals and to build schools. More than 2,200 U.S. forces have died in Afghanistan operations since 2001. Nearly 20,000 have been wounded. The UN says that some 8,000 Afghan civilians have been killed in the conflict over the last five years alone. (Breitbart, 23 Sept. 2014)

 

"Those elections that the foreigners considered the fruition of their 13-year-old occupation are now seen as a historical shame," —Taliban message to NATO leaders earlier this month. Some in the Taliban movement supported Afghan President-elect Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, a Pashtun like most Taliban leaders, who draws most of his support from the ethnic Pashtun areas of southeastern Afghanistan. (Wall Street Journal, Sept. 19, 2014)

Contents

 

SHORT TAKES

 

IDF SHOOTS DOWN SYRIAN FIGHTER PLANE INFILTRATING ISRAELI TERRITORY (Jerusalem) —The IDF’s aerial defense system on Tuesday fired a Patriot missile and shot down a Syrian Sukhoi 24 fighter jet that infiltrated Israeli territory. This is the first time since the Lebanon War in the 1980s that the IAF has toppled a Syrian aircraft. The jet apparently took off from a base in eastern Syria and was toppled after it had reached an altitude of 10,000-14,000 feet. At that height, the plane was capable of launching attacks on the Syrian rebel forces near the Israeli border. Although Israel did not see any threat of attack on its own territory from that plane, its policy stipulates that any plane that breaches its territorial authority must be downed to avoid security risk. (Ha’aretz, Sept. 23, 2014)

 

3 TEENS’ SUSPECTED MURDERERS KILLED IN CAPTURE ATTEMPT (Jerusalem) —Israeli forces found and killed the two main Palestinian suspects behind the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens earlier in the summer, after a several month manhunt. Marwan Kawasme and Amer Abu Aysha were both killed during an early Tuesday arrest attempt in Hebron, the IDF said in a statement. The operation was carried out by the Shin Bet along with IDF soldiers and troops from the Yamam police anti-terror unit. The two were responsible for the abduction and killing of Naftali Fraenkel, 16, Gil-ad Shaar, 16, and Eyal Yifrach, 19, on June 12. (Times Of Israel, Sept. 23, 2014)

 

MORE THAN 130,000 SYRIAN KURDS FLEE INTO TURKEY TO ESCAPE I.S. OFFENSIVE (Ankara) —More than 130,000 Syrian Kurds fleeing an advance by IS have crossed into Turkey in the past three days and the authorities are preparing for more, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Monday. “We are prepared for the worst scenario, which is an influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees,” Kurtulmus told reporters in the capital Ankara. Residents fleeing the frontier town of Ayn al-Arab, known in Kurdish as Kobani, and its surrounding villages said the militants were executing people of all ages in the areas they had seized to create a climate of fear and slavish obedience. Some Syrian Kurds compared their plight to the Yazidi minority in Iraq, which came under attack from I.S. earlier this year. (Globe & Mail, Sept. 21, 2014)

 

AUSTRALIA STEPS UP SECURITY AFTER REPORTED IS PLOT TO ATTACK LAWMAKERS (Canberra) —Intercepted intelligence indicating IS could be planning to attack Australian lawmakers triggered a security alert at  the country's Parliament building Friday. Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that Australian Federal Police would ramp up security in the Parliament House building in Canberra after agencies intercepted intelligence pointing to attacks against lawmakers, including Abbott. The development comes a day after hundreds of police carried out raids in major Australian cities to disrupt an alleged plot by IS to snatch people off the streets and behead at least one. In an update to this story, on Tuesday an 18-year-old man who had made threats against Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was shot dead in Melbourne, reports say. (Fox News, Sept. 20, 2014 & BBC, Sept. 23, 2014)

 

DETAILS OF TERROR PLOT EMERGE AFTER OTTAWA MAN’S GUILTY PLEA (Ottawa) —He is the type of terrorist the government has been warning about: a fanatic who returned from a war zone with a plan to set off explosions in Canada. Yet Hiva Alizadeh, a 34-year-old living in Ottawa and trained in Afghanistan, never got a chance to execute his plan. The scheme had involved 56 detonation devices he’d built with instruction from Taliban-aligned fighters and smuggled into Canada. “If Allah wills, we will break their backs in their own country,” he was caught saying in Ottawa, on a wiretap, before his 2010 arrest. Such evidence was kept secret until last week, when Alizadeh – who had sworn an oath to al-Qaeda – entered a surprise guilty plea to terrorism charges in an Ottawa court. The plea got him a 24-year sentence. Globe & Mail, Sept. 17, 2014)

 

CANADA STARTS REVOKING TERRORISTS' PASSPORTS (Ottawa) —The Canadian government has begun invalidating the passports of Canadians who have left to join terror groups in Syria and Iraq, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced on Friday. The minister said his department had also revoked the passports of several Canadians who had not yet left the country but who had intended to travel to the region to enlist as fighters. Although he refused to disclose just how many of passports Canada had revoked he admitted there were “multiple cases.” The government reports about 30 Canadians are aligned with extremist groups in Syria and 130 are active elsewhere. (Arutz Sheva, Sept. 20, 2014)

 

ARAB BANK FOUND LIABLE OVER HAMAS ATTACKS, US JURY SAYS (New York) —In a historic verdict, an 11 member jury on Monday found Arab Bank liable for knowingly providing financial services to Hamas – the first time a financial institution has ever been held civilly liable for supporting terrorism. The Arab Bank trial took place in a federal court in Brooklyn for the last five weeks and revisited some of Hamas' worst terror attacks, including the August 2001 Sbarro suicide bombing in Jerusalem killing or wounding 130 and a range of 24 horrid terror attacks during the Second Intifada. 297 plaintiffs who were injured or are family members of those murdered in the 24 terror attacks from 1998-2004 financed via Saudi Arabia and Hezbollah’s al-Shahid Foundation sued the bank in 2004 for allowing itself to be used as a conduit for the terror funds. (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 22, 2014)
                                                                                                                                                LANCET 'HIJACKED IN ANTI-ISRAEL CAMPAIGN' (London) —According to senior British medical figures, the Lancet is being hijacked to campaign indefatigably against Israel, and used as a platform by alleged conspiracy theorists. In August, it published a controversial “open letter for the people of Gaza” that condemned Israel in the strongest possible terms, but strikingly made no mention of Hamas’ atrocities. The five principal authors have campaigned vociferously for the Palestinian cause over many years. NGO Monitor, an Israeli watchdog, points out that over the past 15 years, the journal has formed a number of partnerships with Palestinian groups, including the Lancet-Palestinian Health Alliance, Medical Aid for Palestinians and the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme. By contrast, there have been no comparable collaborations with Israeli groups. (Telegraph, Sept. 22, 2014)

 

FLEEING UNREST, UKRAINIAN JEWS ARRIVE IN ISRAEL (Tel Aviv) —Days before Rosh Hashana, 140 immigrants from Russia and Ukraine arrived in Israel, including refugees from war-torn Luhansk. Held by Moscow- backed separatists rebelling against Kiev, the Jewish community of that city has been scattered to the winds, with many taking refuge in Kharkov, Kiev and Dnipropetrovsk. Approximately 4,200 Ukrainian immigrants have come so far in the Jewish calendar year of 5774, an increase of 110% over the previous year, according to figures the Jewish Agency released on Monday. (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 22, 2014)       

                                               

 

CIJR Wishes all our Friends and Supporters:                                                         

Happy Rosh Hashonah, and a Happy, Healthy, and Peaceful New Year!

 

On Topic Links 

 

Dealing With Foreign Fighters Who Return Home Must go Beyond Imprisonment, Experts Say: Douglas Quam, Postmedia, Sept. 17, 2014 —With reports surfacing that some westerners fighting in Syria and other conflict zones have become fed up with what they signed up for, governments are wrestling with how to deal with this disillusioned bunch if they come home.

The Guns of August: Jonathan Spyer, Middle East Forum, Sept. 17, 2014 —Erbil has changed a lot since I was there last. In early 2013, on my way into Syrian Kurdistan, I had stopped off in the city for a few days to make preparations.

A Chance To Wish IDF Soldiers a Sweet & WET New Year!: Jewish Press, Sept. 23, 2014— Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is coming up and while most Jews will be praying in synagogues for a healthy and sweet year, the men and women in the IDF will be on duty protecting Israel from those who seek her destruction.

 

Rob Coles, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research/L'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme,   www.isranet.org Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284. mailto:ber@isranet.org

 

 

 

 

 

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Baruch Cohen: NEW YEAR 5775: a Few Thoughts

Rosh Hashanah is called the Day of Judgement. Taking the three steps that places him before God with every Amidah prayer, a Jew on Rosh Hashanah takes his/her stand before eternity. Anyone who ever wonders at the order of the universe, at its beauty, at the fact that something exists rather than nothing at all – any such person can confront eternity, for, even though a fleck of dust, he can know himself to be one. He therefore stands in judgment for the way he uses, or wastes, the small amount of time allotted to him. A Jew does not know who he is until he finds himself judged.

 

Rosh Hashanah stresses the universalist motif of Judaism: the prayers are not for the individual, or only for Israel’s people, alone. There is a wonderful Hebrew phrase: Heshabon Hanefesh, the taking stock of one’s soul, a kind of sitting in judgment upon oneself, an inner accounting.

 

Tikun Olam – the mending of the world, is the center, the leitmotif of Rosh Hashanah prayers. There is a powerful plea not only for Israel, but for the redemption of the entire world. Rosh Hashanah stresses the universalist motif of Judaism. In truth, one prays for brotherhood, and for the entire world, for the annihilation of hatred and discrimination. The prayers of Rosh Hashanah oppose any forms of racism that menace the world today! The prayers are a clear and strong plea for the establishment – in the entire world – of brotherhood and peace.

 

There is a poignant plea in those prayers for the establishment of righteousness and truth, for the spirit of brotherhood, and the conquest of tyranny and inequality. Rosh Hashanah prayers are universal for the redemption, not only of Israel alone, but of the entire world.

In the words of the Psalmist, to rejoice with trembling is in itself a sublime lesson. On the Day of Judgement, motivated by profound and earnest meditation, we render an accounting of our life and actions. Through the sounding of the shofar, we recall Creation and Revelation of Mount Sinai, and anticipate Messianic advent and Return to Zion!

 

May good health, peace, and joy be bestowed upon the House of Israel, on the entire world, and upon all CIJR friends and supporters for the coming year 5775!

 

(Baruch Cohen is Research Chairman of CIJR,
and a member of the Holocaust Memorial Center)

David Bensoussan: LA COALITION INTERNATIONALE CONTRE L’ÉTAT ISLAMIQUE : LENDEMAINS INCERTAINS

Comment expliquer le succès de l’État islamique, alias Da’ech, au Moyen-Orient ? Issu de la mouvance d’Al-Qaïda, ce mouvement s’érige en État islamique de l’Irak en 2007, se renforce en Syrie notamment avec l’arrivée de nombreux djihadistes étrangers, pour devenir l’État islamique en Irak et au Levant (EIIL) en 2013. D’autres djihadistes de Syrie ont préféré de dissocier de cette mouvance et leur faction, Jabhat Al-Nosra reste affiliée à Al-Qaïda depuis 2012.

Lorsque la révolte contre le président Assad a éclaté, beaucoup ont estimé qu’il ne resterait pas longtemps au pouvoir. La crainte du succès de l’alliance d’Assad avec l’Iran chiite a poussé la Turquie puis l’Arabie saoudite à armer et laisser passer les djihadistes de tous bords en Syrie. Pour discréditer les révolutionnaires syriens, Assad a libéré de prison des radicaux islamistes lesquels ont combattu l’opposition syrienne composée de rebelles laïques et de Frères musulmans. Qui plus est, la présence accrue de militants islamistes extrémistes a tiédi l’ardeur des puissances occidentales, les USA notamment, qui ont craint que les armements qu’ils livreraient ne tombent aux mains de ces mêmes radicaux islamistes.

Par ailleurs, les sunnites d’Irak ont subi de nombreuses discriminations de la part du gouvernement irakien majoritairement chiite. Après le retrait américain, ils ont accueilli ces radicaux non pas pour supporter leur cause, mais parce qu’ils ont été les seuls à offrir une opposition armée au gouvernement irakien et à son affidé iranien. Un autre facteur de l’expansion de l’État islamique repose sur sa propagande sophistiquée qui a réussi à embrigader de nombreux musulmans issus de pays musulmans, mais aussi des pays occidentaux.

La capture des puits de pétrole dans la région de Mossoul dans le nord de l’Irak permet à l’État islamique de vendre ce pétrole et à la Syrie et à la Turquie, ce dernier pays important la quasi-totalité de son pétrole de l’étranger. Les demandes de rançon d’otages étrangers et les raids dans les banques de Mossoul ont ajouté près d’un demi-milliard de dollars au butin de l’État islamique. Ce dernier se retrouve avec des avoirs de plus de 2 milliards de dollars, paye ses troupes grassement, lève des taxes dans les régions conquises et se livre à des atrocités sans nom contre les chrétiens ou les Yazidis.

Il est peu probable que des frappes aériennes seules puissent venir à bout de cette armée fanatisée. Le soutien à l’opposition syrienne « modérée » est une des solutions envisagées sinon que cette opposition est morcelée. Une coalition internationale vise à affaiblir l’État islamique en livrant des équipements militaires aux Kurdes du nord de l’Irak. Ceci irrite la Turquie qui a une minorité kurde importante sur son territoire et qui craint la formation d’un Kurdistan regroupant les Kurdes se trouvant en Turquie, en Syrie, en Irak et en Iran.  L’Iran aide quand même les Kurdes d’Irak même s’il est exclu de la coalition internationale contre l’État islamique, tout comme c’est le cas pour le régime d’Assad qui pulvérise régulièrement des populations civiles avec des bombes en tonneaux.

À l’heure actuelle, la majorité des pays de la région se sont exprimés contre l’État islamique et beaucoup d’entre eux craignent une influence accrue de l’Iran et des Frères musulmans dans la région. La Turquie demeure réservée, notamment du fait que ce pays veut soutenir en premier lieu les Frères musulmans de Syrie et non pas l’opposition syrienne laïque. La position du Qatar est ambiguë, car ce pays est soupçonné de financer des radicaux islamistes et notamment les Frères musulmans.

Les lendemains sont donc incertains. Quelle que soit l’issue de ce conflit, il est à prévoir qu’il aura des retombées néfastes en dehors du Moyen-Orient étant donné le fanatisme des djihadistes et les moyens d’action que l’État islamique met à leur disposition.

 

L’auteur est professeur de sciences à l’Université du Québec

BILAN DE L’ANNÉE 5774

 

LA MAUVAISE FOI DES JOURNALISTES DU QUÉBEC
Magali Marc

http://www.dreuz.info, 22 septembre 2014

           

Le 8 septembre dernier, le Premier Ministre, Stephen Harper a dit sur les ondes de Radio Canada, la chaîne de radio publique canadienne, une chose évidente aux yeux de tous :

 

«La plupart des médias sont de la gauche politique, surtout au Québec…Et ils tentent de convaincre les Québécois que l’identité québécoise est une identité gauchiste…»

 

Il n’en fallait pas plus pour que les chefs de meute médiatiques se ruent sur Stephen Harper pour le ridiculiser. Ainsi dans Le Devoir, Michel Beaumont se gausse du fait que le Premier Ministre canadien se sent persécuté par les médias. Tandis que Gilbert Lavoie du Soleil fait l’innocent et accuse M. Harper de boycotter les journalistes !

 

C’est de sa faute, il est de droite!

 

Mais M. Harper a raison de vouloir parler aux Québécois sans que son message soit filtré par les journalistes.

 

Les journalistes à La Presse, au Journal de Montréal ou au Soleil, les autres principaux quotidiens au Québec, ne sont pas nécessairement membres de partis politiques de gauche, mais ils ont tendance à suivre la ligne de gauche tracée par leurs collègues du Devoir. C’est donc le même phénomène que celui observé lors de la couverture du conflit israélo-palestinien (voir mon texte sur L’Intifada Médiatique) que l’on retrouve : un phénomène de moutons de panurge.

 

Ainsi, en 2010, le sociologue et auteur Mathieu Bock Côté osait signer un texte sans complaisance démontrant ce phénomène :

 

«On reproche souvent au Parti conservateur de considérer les médias comme ses ennemis, sans se demander s’il a des raisons objectives de s’en méfier. Pourtant, un peu partout en Occident, les partis conservateurs considèrent le système médiatique comme un environnement idéologiquement hostile. Avec raison. Reconnaître le parti pris progressiste de la classe médiatique ne consiste aucunement à en trouver la source dans une quelconque conspiration. On doit plutôt parler d’une sensibilité idéologique hégémonique …»

 

Mathieu Bock Côté continue en disant que la plupart des journalistes ne veulent pas être étiquetés comme étant «de droite» :

 

«Être de droite, c’est mal. L’étiquette suffit à disqualifier, surtout dans les médias qui n’appartiennent pas à la presse populaire.»

 

Dans le même ordre d’idée, le politologue Jean-Herman Guay écrivait en 2012, dans un texte où il décrivait le biais à gauche des médias québécois :

 

«Ce biais à gauche …oriente le choix des mots et des titres. Et puisque la chose publique – partis, budgets, projets de loi, personnalités – est presque toujours médiatisée par une caméra, la plume d’un journaliste ou le choix d’un chef de pupitre, il faut déduire que les partis de centre ou de droite – et qui sont fédéralistes – ont généralement un défi communicationnel supplémentaire. Qu’ils le reconnaissent ou non, les médias, et plus largement les intellectuels, sont des acteurs du système politique. Ils agissent bel et bien comme le quatrième pouvoir, celui de l’influence. Le résultat de leur travail ne tranche évidemment pas comme un décret, une loi ou un jugement, mais il contribue à transformer le réel.»

 

C’est exactement ce que disait M. Harper !

 

Malgré l’évidence, seul Éric Duhaime, chroniqueur montréalais bien connu pour ses réflexions percutantes, a osé braver l’interdit et donner raison à Stephen Harper sur sa page Facebook.

 

Vous avez dit «hégémonie»?

 

CANADA – 24 ANS DE PRISON POUR LE CHEF D'UN GROUPE TERRORISTE
Réd.

http://www.dreuz.info, 18 septembre 2014

           

Hiva Alizadeh, 34 ans, a plaidé coupable de l’accusation « de fabrication ou de possession d’une substance explosive dans le but de mettre des vies en danger ou de causer des dégâts matériels importants pour le compte d’un groupe terroriste », a indiqué la justice canadienne. Lors de son arrestation, aux côtés de deux autres hommes, la police l’avait présenté comme le principal animateur de cette cellule qui visait l’armée canadienne, entre autres.

 

Lors du démantèlement de cette cellule, la police canadienne avait saisi des plans, vidéos, instructions, livres et composants électriques destinés explicitement à la construction d’engins explosifs ». L’enregistrement d’une conversation dans laquelle Alizadeh et le radiologue, Misbahuddin Ahmed, évoquent l’attaque d’une base militaire au Canada figuraient parmi les preuves présentées au procès.

 

 

IRAK: L'EI A UTILISÉ DES ARMES CHIMIQUES
Réd.

i24news, 22 septembre 2014

           

Les membres du Parlement irakien de la province de Diwaniya ont affirmé que des militants de l'Etat ​​islamique ont tué plus de 300 soldats à l'aide de chlore à Saqlawiyah, au nord de Falloujah

 

"L'organisation terroriste Etat islamique a utilisé du chlore pour la première fois dans la région de Saqlawiyah après avoir pris en embuscade plus de 400 soldats, ce qui a entraîné la mort de nombre d'entre eux par asphyxie. Des cellules terroristes ont également fait exploser des voitures piégées près du quartier général des forces de sécurité", a déclaré Ali al-Badri, député du parti islamique Dawa, lors d'une conférence de presse au siège du parlement irakien.

 

Al-Badri a par ailleurs ajouté qu'il accusait le nouveau Premier ministre irakien Haider al-Abadi de ne pas avoir envoyé immédiatement des renforts pour sauver les soldats pris au piège.

 

Le chef de la coalition nationale de l'opposition syrienne Hadi al-Bahra a appelé lundi la communauté internationale à mener des frappes aériennes "immédiates" contre les djihadistes de l'organisation Etat islamique, qui ont lancé une offensive dans le nord-est de la Syrie.

 

"Nous devons lancer des frappes aériennes en Syrie immédiatement. Pendant que nous parlons, des centaines de milliers de civils dans le nord de la Syrie sont prisonniers d'un siège brutal mené par l'EI", a déclaré M. al-Bahra lors d'une conférence de presse en marge de l'Assemblée générale de l'ONU.

 

"Pour éviter la catastrophe, nous sommes prêts à nous coordonner avec nos alliés pour donner le plus d'impact possible aux frappes contre l'EI", a déclaré M. Al-Bahra, représentant de l'opposition syrienne "modérée".

 

Lire la suite.

 

USA: LE SÉNAT ÉLÈVE ISRAËL AU RANG DE PARTENAIRE STRATÉGIQUE DE PREMIÈRE IMPORTANCE

Danièle Kaplan

i24news, 20 septembre 2014

 

Un projet de loi améliorant les rapports entre Israël et les Etats-Unis est passé devant le sénat américain.

 

Après un retard de 5 mois la loi déclare Israël « partenaire stratégique de première importance » des USA, améliore le statut commercial d’Israël pour les licences d’exportation, augmente la coopération dans le secteur de l’énergie, la technologie de l’eau, la recherche et le développement, et élargit l’autorisation de déployer des stocks d’armes américaines dans l’État juif.

 

Par contre Israël n’est pas inclus dans le programme de levée des visas, ce qui aurait facilité les voyages d’un pays à l’autre, malgré les demandes d’Israël. Ceci n’est pas exclusif à Israël, les ressortissant européens doivent aussi obtenir des visas mais ce serait dû à la situation avec l’Etat islamique.

L’ébauche originale de la loi, appelée » the US-Israel Strategic Partnership Ac », a subi des coupes provisoires sur ce sujet.

 

La promotion d’Israël en tant que « partenaire stratégique de première importance »et non plus « d’allié principal extérieur à la zone de l’OTAN, » qui était le statut d’Israel pour les USA depuis 1988, améliore le statut juridique de Israël et définit Israël comme une position militaire stratégique dans la région

 

La loi apporte des garanties sécuritaires à long terme à Israël pour la décennie suivante, et augmente la contribution des USA pour l’armement de 200 millions arrivant ainsi à un total de 1.8 milliards de dollars, en plus du milliard de dollars attribué à d’autres projets militaires.

 

La chambre des représentants a voté une loi semblable en mars.

 

Le co-auteur de la loi, Roy Blunt (R-MO) a dit que c’était un succès biparties « pendant cette période critique dans la région du Moyen-Orient. »

 

« En déclarant dans la législation qu’ Israël est « un partenaire stratégique des Etats-Unis », la loi crée les bases pour augmenter la coopération USA-Israel dans une grande variété de domaines, y compris la défense, les services secrets, la sécurité intérieure,, la cyber sécurité, l’énergie, l’eau, l’agriculture, et les technologies alternatives à l’énergie »  selon le rapport de AIPAC .

 

 

REPORTAGE: « DU GOLAN ON PEUT VOIR LES JIHADISTES AVEC UNE PAIRE DE JUMELLES »
Axel Rehuv

Europe-Israel.org, 15 Septembre 2014

           

Dix heures du matin, après 3 heures de bus, Moshé 38 ans, brun, 1,85m  environ, vient me chercher  dans un 4×4 flambant neuf, à Kiryat Shmona, ville terminus des bus en provenance du centre d’Israël. Après un café et quelques pommes fraichement cueillies, Moshé m’explique que l’administration militaire a autorisé ma présence (suite à l’examen du site Europe-Israel.org) à la bordure du front nord. « La visite se fera en 3 étapes », « La zone est dangereuse car surtout en plein jour, nous pouvons faire l’objet de tirs de snipers » me prévient-il. Pas de quoi faire l’objet d’un casus belli déclenchant une guerre, mais suffisant pour perdre la vie. Il m’équipe alors d’un gilet par balles et d’un casque assez lourd.

 

Voici les trois zones, suffisamment près de la Syrie pour pouvoir tirer une analyse globale de la situation.

 

Lire la suite (avec photos).

 

A LA VEILLE DE LA NOUVELLE ANNÉE HÉBRAÏQUE
Daniel Gal

23 septembre 2014

           

A la veille de la nouvelle année hébraïque, j'ai pense que vous aimeriez lire ce bilan éloquent  du développement  d'Israël  durant  ces trente dernières années tel qu'il a été publie dernièrement par le  journaliste  israélien spécialiste en économie Sever Plutzker connu pour son sérieux. Très impressionnant et encourageant  tableau des résultats enregistres par Israel  entre 1984 et 2014 qui représente une réponse adéquate a tous les détracteurs de l'image d'Israël.

 

Pour nous tous, une bonne raison de se réjouir a l'aube de la nouvelle année:

 

 

                                    ANNEE 1984                           ANNEE 2014  

population d'Israel    4.1 millions                             8.2 millions

inflation annuelle       447%                                       1.5 %      

Intérêt bancaire annuel          771 %                          5%

 

Deficit gouvernemental 

par

rapport au P.N.B          17%                                        2.5%

budget de la defense

par rapport au P.N.B.   20%                                        5.5%

réserves monétaires   3.3 milliards $                      90 milliards $

exportations de

exportations                 10 milliards $                      90 milliards $

exportations

technologies                 0                                           28 milliards $

emploie féminin           30%                                      53%

productions de biens

et services                    30 milliards $                      320 milliards$

Produit national 

per capita                      7000 $                                 39,000 $

 

$ : dollars U.S

 

Articles recommandés :

 

Pub aux Etats-Unis: « les musulmans modérés d’hier sont les extrémistes d’aujourd’hui » : Jack Philip, JSS News, 22 septembre 2014.

Djihad en Syrie : le CARED dénonce des choix aberrants et dangereux : Réd., Les4Verités.com, 22 septembre 2014.

La coalition international contre l'État Islamique : lendemains incertains : David Bensoussan, isranet.org, 23 septembre 2014.

Shoah, génocide, Israël et l'Etat islamique : Yehuda Bauer, 124news, 22 septembre 2014.

 

 

AS U.S. PREPARES FOR LIMITED WAR AGAINST IS; ISRAEL, DESPITE HAMAS’ CLAIMS, VICTORIOUS IN GAZAN WAR

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 

 

Contents:

 

ISIS Strategy is to Lure US Into War: Charles Krauthammer, Newsmax, Sept. 19, 2014 — What was the Islamic State thinking?

‘The Fog of Cease-fire’: Elliott Abrams, Weekly Standard, Sept. 8, 2014 — For the moment, the Gaza war of 2014 is over.

The New Strategic Equation in the Eastern Mediterranean: Prof. Efraim Inbar, BESA, Aug. 28, 2014 — About 90 percent of Israel's foreign trade is carried out via the Mediterranean Sea, making freedom of navigation in this area critical for the Jewish state's economic well-being.

The IDF’s First Fully Digital War: Mitch Ginsberg, Times of Israel, Aug. 21, 2014— On July 22, a team of paratroopers, stationed in a house in Gaza, took fire from locations unknown.

           

On Topic Links

 

Was it a Mistake to Downsize and Deemphasize Israel’s Ground Forces?: BESA, July 21, 2014

No Canadian Boots on the Ground: J.L. Granatstein, Globe & Mail, Aug. 19, 2014

How the U.S. Stumbled Into the Drone Era: Warren Bass, Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2014

U.S. Needs a Discussion on When, Not Whether, to Use Force: Robert Kagan, Washington Post, July 15, 2014

                            

                   

ISIS STRATEGY IS TO LURE US INTO WAR                                             

Charles Krauthammer           

Newsmax, Sept. 19, 2014 

                                   

What was the Islamic State thinking? We know it is sophisticated in its use of modern media. But what was the logic of propagating to the world videos of its beheadings of two Americans (and subsequently a Briton) — sure to inflame public opinion? There are two possible explanations. One is that these terrorists are more depraved and less savvy than we think. They so glory in blood that they could not resist making an international spectacle of their savagery and did not quite fathom how such a brazen, contemptuous slaughter of Americans would radically alter public opinion and risk bringing down upon them the furies of the U.S. Air Force.

 

The second theory is that they were fully aware of the inevitable consequence of their broadcast beheadings — and they intended the outcome. It was an easily sprung trap to provoke America into entering the Mesopotamian war. Why? Because they're sure we will lose. Not immediately and not militarily. They know we always win the battles but they are convinced that, as war drags on, we lose heart and go home.

 

They count on Barack Obama quitting the Iraq/Syria campaign just as he quit Iraq and Libya in 2011 and is in the process of leaving Afghanistan now. And this goes beyond Obama. They see a post-9/11 pattern: America experiences shock and outrage and demands action. Then, seeing no quick resolution, it tires and seeks out leaders who will order the retreat. In Obama, they found the quintessential such leader.

 

As for the short run, the Islamic State knows it will be pounded from the air. But it deems that price worth paying, given its gains in propaganda and prestige — translated into renown and recruiting — from these public executions. Understanding this requires adjusting our thinking. A common mantra is that American cruelty — Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, "torture," the Iraq War itself — is the great jihadist recruiting tool. But leaving Iraq, closing Abu Ghraib and prohibiting "enhanced interrogation" had zero effect on recruiting. In fact, jihadi cadres from Mali to Mosul have only swelled during Obama's outstretched-hand presidency.

 

Turns out the Islamic State's best recruiting tool is indeed savagery — its own. Deliberate, defiant, triumphant. The beheadings are not just a magnet for psychopaths around the world. They are choreographed demonstrations of its own unbounded determination and of American helplessness. In Osama bin Laden's famous formulation, who is the "strong horse" now? We tend to forget that at this stage in its career, the Islamic State's principal fight is intramural. It seeks to supersede and supplant its jihadi rivals — from al-Qaida in Pakistan to Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria — to emerge as champion of the one true jihad. The strategy is simple: Draw in the world's great superpower, create the ultimate foil and thus instantly achieve supreme stature in radical Islam as America's nemesis.

 

It worked. A year ago, the world had never heard of this group, then named ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria). Now it is the subject of presidential addresses, parliamentary debates and international conferences. It is the new al-Qaida, which itself has been demoted to JV. Indeed, so eclipsed and upstaged is al-Qaida that its leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, scrambled to reveal the creation of a new India/South Asia branch. It announced itself this month with its first operation — a comically botched attack on a Pakistani frigate that left 10 al-Qaida fighters dead and the ship intact. While al-Qaida was being humiliated, a huge Paris conference devoted entirely to the Islamic State was convened by Secretary of State John Kerry. Like his other conferences, it failed. Obama's "broad coalition" remains a fantasy. It's more a coalition of the unwilling. Turkey denied us the use of its air bases. The Sunni Arab states are reluctant to do anything militarily significant. And not a single country has volunteered combat troops. Hardly a surprise, given that Obama has repeatedly ruled that out for the U.S. itself.

 

Testifying on Wednesday to the Senate, Kerry declared that the Islamic State "must be defeated. Period. End of story." Not the most wisely crafted of declarations: The punctuational emphasis carried unfortunate echoes of Obama's promise about healthcare plans and the word "must" carried similar echoes of Obama's assertions that Bashar Assad had to go. But Kerry's statement remains true for strategic and even moral reasons. But especially because when the enemy deliberately brings you into combat, it is all the more imperative to show the world that he made a big mistake.

 

                                                                                               

Contents
                       

   

‘THE FOG OF CEASE-FIRE’                                                                                   

Elliott Abrams                                                                                                      

Weekly Standard, Sept. 8, 2014

 

For the moment, the Gaza war of 2014 is over. Anyone trying now to figure out who won and who lost should recall the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah. Then, Israelis had a great sense of letdown because they had not “won.” They had not destroyed Hezbollah, and the organization loudly claimed a triumph: “Lebanon has been victorious, Palestine has been victorious, Arab nations have been victorious,” said Sheikh Nasrallah. An estimated 800,000 Hezbollah supporters gathered in Beirut for a rally celebrating the “divine victory.” But Nasrallah later said he would not have started the war had he understood how strong would be the Israeli reaction, and he has kept the Israeli-Lebanese border quiet for eight years now. Looking back, it’s clear that Israel won that 2006 exchange, which lasted 34 days. This round with Hamas lasted longer, 50 days, and it’s fair to say that “who won?” can best be answered in retrospect some years from now. As Daniel Polisar put it, it’s difficult right now to see through the “fog of cease-fire.” But there is ample justification to say that Israel won, for three reasons.

 

First, a good measure of who won is who achieved their war aims. Israel’s key goal was to restore “quiet for quiet,” and that is what this cease-fire deal does. Even Jodi Rudoren in the New York Times, whose biases against Israel are so clear in its coverage, had to acknowledge that Hamas “declared victory even though it had abandoned most of its demands, ultimately accepting an Egyptian-brokered deal that differs little from one proffered on the battle’s seventh day.” Hamas’s goals had been far greater, and it rejected that first Egyptian cease-fire proposal over a month ago precisely because those goals were not met. But in the deal just agreed on, there is no airport, no seaport, no “end to the blockade,” no freeing of Hamas militants rearrested by Israel (after their release months ago as part of agreements with the Palestinian Authority). What has Hamas gained by continuing the war another month? Israel agrees to extend the Gaza fishing grounds from three to six miles, and agrees to cooperate in efforts to ease humanitarian conditions inside Gaza. The former isn’t a very big deal; the latter is Israeli policy anyway. Throughout the conflict Israel kept the Erez crossing between Gaza and Israel open, kept on supplying the people of Gaza with electricity, and kept up a flow of trucks into Gaza carrying food and other necessities. Hamas may have gotten some promises from Egypt to keep the Rafah crossing from Gaza to Sinai open more often and allow freer passage of people and goods. This would benefit Gazans, but how much it benefits Hamas depends in part on whether Rafah and other crossings are henceforth manned by Hamas’s enemy, the Palestinian Authority (see below on that rivalry). And it depends in part on whether, to what extent, and for how long Egypt keeps those promises. Even a betting man would not wager much on General Sisi’s tender mercies.

 

If the cease-fire lasts, meetings in Cairo will begin after one month of quiet to address the “blockade” of Gaza. This will be difficult, as the United States found out when we unsuccessfully addressed the same issues in the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access that we negotiated between Israel and the PA. Today it will be even harder, because Hamas and not the PA controls Gaza. To take one example, concrete will be needed to rebuild damaged or destroyed structures in Gaza, but who will monitor its use so that Hamas cannot divert some to rebuild its attack tunnels? Who, on the ground in Gaza, will be reliable and honest and will resist Hamas threats? Posit that an EU mission will be offered, and think it through: Will the EU’s functionaries live in Gaza? Then how will they be immune from the creeping alliance with Hamas that the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) so clearly displays? Will they instead live in Tel Aviv or Cairo and travel to Gaza each day to work? Is that practical? The idea of a seaport in Gaza presents similar practical problems: Who will police it reliably and prevent its use by Hamas to import weapons from Iran? An airport in Gaza, another Hamas goal, should be dismissed out of hand. If countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland have trouble assuring airport security, an airport in Hamastan is an invitation to disaster. In fact there is a defunct airport in Gaza: It is called Yasser Arafat International and was opened by President Clinton in a gala ceremony in 1998. During the intifada in 2001, Israel “decommissioned” the place, and it remains a ruin, but its name is a reminder that terrorism and airfields cannot be allowed to mix.

 

The second reason to give this round to Israel is the damage that appears to have been done to Hamas as an organization. Militarily, it used up or saw Israel destroy the bulk of its rockets and missiles. Importing replacements from Iran will be much harder now that Egypt has closed the smuggling tunnels from Sinai, as will importing some of the materials needed to build more at home in Gaza. Hamas rocket fire was largely blunted by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system. Hamas’s great secret weapon, the attack tunnels into Israel, is gone. The known tunnels have been destroyed, and Israeli technology will soon be in place to discover any new tunnels being built. Perhaps a thousand Hamas soldiers were killed, perhaps more, among them several key leaders. And a good deal of Hamas’s physical infrastructure (warehouses, workshops, headquarters) was destroyed as well. Its top military leader, Mohammed Deif, may have been killed or badly wounded by an Israeli attack on August 19 and has not been heard from since that day. Politically, it’s clear that the PA will have some role in Gaza henceforth. It will at least be the Palestinian face in all the border passages, something Hamas has prevented since it seized control of Gaza in 2007. While it is unlikely that the PA can take great advantage of this and fully rebuild its own position in Gaza, its presence is a blow to Hamas that the organization is willing to accept (like going into a national unity government with the Fatah party in June) only when there is no alternative.

 

The harder question to answer is the political impact of the war on Hamas’s popularity in Gaza. The claims of triumph from Hamas leaders and activists tell us nothing about what everyone else in Gaza thinks. Why did Hamas lead them into war? Was it worth the sacrifice? By what right did they make this decision? And who is “they” anyway: Khaled Meshal, who lives in Qatar? Hamas military leaders? The consensus opinion was that Hamas’s popularity was on the decline in Gaza before the war, partly because of its failure to ameliorate Gaza’s terrible economic problems and partly because of the heavy (and Islamist) hand with which it ruled. During the war it executed people it called collaborators, often in ghoulish public ceremonies, a move unlikely to win it more real support among the many Gazans who are not backers of Hamas or the other terrorist organizations. One factor that led Hamas to start the war was precisely that it saw no other way to change its deteriorating situation. Today it is telling Gazans that the sacrifices were worthwhile because their situation will soon change and aid will flow. Promises will lift the public mood for a while, but what if they do not come true? What if life in Gaza next June looks no different than it did this June, before the war—except for the deaths and damage the war caused? Hamas will of course blame Israel, and perhaps to some extent Egypt, but what will Gazans be saying then about their rulers? Whether the war was a political defeat for Hamas remains to be seen, but the taste of its “victory” may turn sour fast for most Gazans…                                                                                                                                                         [To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                                                          

                                                                                               

Contents
                       

ISRAEL'S CHALLENGES IN THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN                    

Prof. Efraim Inbar                                                                                                         

Middle East Quarterly, Fall, 2014

 

About 90 percent of Israel's foreign trade is carried out via the Mediterranean Sea, making freedom of navigation in this area critical for the Jewish state's economic well-being. Moreover, the newly found gas fields offshore could transform Israel into an energy independent country and a significant exporter of gas, yet these developments are tied to its ability to secure free maritime passage and to defend the discovered hydrocarbon fields. While the recent regional turmoil has improved Israel's strategic environment by weakening its Arab foes, the East Mediterranean has become more problematic due to an increased Russian presence, Turkish activism, the potential for more terrorism and conflict over energy, and the advent of a Cypriot-Greek-Israeli axis. The erosion of the state order around the Mediterranean also brings to the fore Islamist forces with a clear anti-Western agenda, thus adding a civilizational dimension to the discord.

 

The East Mediterranean is located east of the 20o meridian and includes the littoral states of Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Gaza (a de facto independent political unit), Egypt, Libya, and divided Cyprus. The region, which saw significant superpower competition during the Cold War, still has strategic significance. Indeed, the East Mediterranean is an arena from which it is possible to project force into the Middle East. Important East-West routes such as the Silk Road and the Suez Canal (the avenue to the Persian Gulf and India) are situated there. In addition, the sources for important international issues such as radical Islam, international terrorism and nuclear proliferation are embedded in its regional politics. The East Mediterranean is also important in terms of energy transit. Close to 5 percent of global oil supply and 15 percent of global liquefied natural gas travels via the Suez Canal while Turkey hosts close to 6 percent of the global oil trade via the Bosporus Straits and two international pipelines. The discovery of new oil and gas deposits off the coasts of Israel, Gaza, and Cyprus and potential for additional discoveries off Syria and Lebanon, is a promising energy development.

 

The naval presence of the U.S. Sixth Fleet was unrivalled in the post-Cold War period, and Washington maintained military and political dominance in the East Mediterranean. Washington also managed the region through a web of alliances with regional powers. Most prominent were two trilateral relationships, which had their origins in the Cold War: U.S.-Turkey-Israel and U.S.-Egypt-Israel. This security architecture has broken down. In the post-Cold War era, Ankara entered into a strategic partnership with Jerusalem, encouraged by Washington. The fact that the two strongest allies of the United States in the East Mediterranean cooperated closely on strategic and military issues was highly significant for U.S. interests in the region. Yet, the rise of the Islamist Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) since its electoral victory of November 2002 has led to a reorientation in Turkish foreign policy which, under the AKP, has distanced itself from the West and developed ambitions to lead the Muslim world. With Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at its helm, Turkey supports Hamas, a Muslim Brotherhood offshoot; helps Iran evade sanctions; assists Sunni Islamists moving into Syria and mulls an invasion of Syria; propagates anti-U.S. and anti-Semitic conspiracies while the regime displays increasing authoritarianism at home. Moreover, Turkey's NATO partnership has become problematic, particularly after a Chinese firm was contracted to build a long-range air and anti-missile defense architecture. Turkish policy, fueled by Ottoman and Islamist impulses, has led to an activist approach toward the Middle East and also to strains in the relationship with Israel. This became evident following the May 2010 attempt by a Turkish vessel, the Mavi Marmara, to break the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza. In October 2010, Turkey's national security council even identified Israel as one of the country's main threats in its official policy document, the "Red Book." These developments fractured one of the foundations upon which U.S. policy has rested in the East Mediterranean.

 

Stability in the East Mediterranean also benefited from the U.S.-Egyptian-Israeli triangle, which began when President Anwar Sadat decided in the 1970s to switch to a pro-U.S. orientation and subsequently to make peace with Israel in 1979. Egypt, the largest Arab state, carries much weight in the East Mediterranean, the Middle East, and Africa. Sadat's successor, Husni Mubarak, continued the pro-U.S. stance during the post-Cold War era. The convergence of interests among the United States, Egypt, and Israel served among other things to maintain the Pax Americana in the East Mediterranean. Yet, the U.S.-Egyptian-Israeli relationship has been under strain since Mubarak's resignation in February 2011. Egypt's military continued its cooperation with Israel to maintain the military clauses of the 1979 peace treaty. But the Muslim Brother-hood, which came to power via the ballot box, was very reserved toward relations with Israel, which the Brotherhood saw as a theological aberration. Moreover, the Brotherhood basically held anti-U.S. sentiments, which were muted somewhat by realpolitik requirements, primarily the unexpected support lent it by the Obama administration. The Egyptian army's removal of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in July 2013 further undermined the trilateral relationship since the U.S. administration regarded the move as an "undemocratic" development. Washington even partially suspended its assistance to Egypt in October 2013, causing additional strain in relations with Cairo. This came on the heels of President Obama's cancellation of the Bright Star joint military exercise and the Pentagon's withholding of delivery of weapon systems. The U.S. aid flow has now been tied to "credible progress toward an inclusive, democratically-elected, civilian government through free and fair elections." Israeli diplomatic efforts to convince Washington not to act on its democratic, missionary zeal were only partially successful. These developments have hampered potential for useful cooperation between Cairo, Jerusalem, and Washington…  

[To Read the Full Article, With Footnotes, Click the Following Link—Ed.]           

                                                                               

Contents         

                                                                                                                                                                   

THE IDF’S FIRST FULLY DIGITAL WAR                                                               

Mitch Ginsberg                                                                                                                

Times of Israel, Aug. 21, 2014           

 

On July 22, a team of paratroopers, stationed in a house in Gaza, took fire from locations unknown. “There are terrorists in the area,” a radio operator on the ground said. “They are dynamic. We need you to help locate them.” The pilot of an aircraft, identifying himself by the call name Tzofit, chimed in: We are above you. We can see them firing. The pilot then presumably relayed the precise location of the gunmen to the troops, who responded by saying, to the rather surprised pilot, “The location you’re talking about, I’m inside on the second floor.” “You’re inside the house and the terrorists are in the same house, one floor above you?” the pilot asked, on a video released by the army. “Yes, exactly,” the infantryman said. Moments later the pilot spotted the operatives sprinting through a date orchard and down a street. “We followed them and destroyed them,” he told the soldiers on the ground. “If you destroyed them, then I’m relaxed, because they were firing at us,” the infantryman said. “I know. You can be relaxed,” the pilot responded. “We’re above you.”

 

The fact that the ground troops and the air force were able to communicate, accurately locate one another, and destroy the enemy is not entirely new. The technology has existed in theory for several years. But Operation Protective Edge, the first large scale operation in which the IDF’s Digital Army Program was widely used, saw a greater interconnectivity of forces than ever before – a fact that helped thwart an array of infiltration attempts, streamlined offensive missions, and, presumably, reduced the likelihood of friendly fire. Two officers from the IDF’s computers directorate, known as C4I (Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence), discussed the army’s digital trial by fire during the past month or so of warfare. “The command and control systems were used to unprecedented effect,” said Maj. Moran Mayorchik, the commander of the tactical connectivity department in the IDF’s C4I Directorate. Explaining how the systems work, she said that video and camera footage from a wide array of sources is funneled back from the field to a central core and from there streamed forward, either automatically or based on an HQ staff officer’s decision, to the appropriate commanders in the field.

 

The soldiers not only receive the relevant footage but can also keep track of enemy and friendly forces on a digital map. If they have questions about a certain locale, Mayorchik said, they can post queries into the system. For example, Mayorchik said, a battalion commander in the field, curious to know what is happening several blocks ahead, can ask for a view of a certain intersection, if available, or for input from other troops, in the air, land or sea. “And that situational picture is common to everyone,” she said. Cap. Nitzan Malka, the commander of the tactical forecasting desk at the C4I Directorate, noted the role of Radio over Internet Protocol.  Where once Special Forces troops had to carry a special radio to so much as speak with the air force on its own frequency – and other troops had to relay information back and forth through, at best, one HQ – today the frequency gap is bridged by RoIP technology. “Take Zikim,” said Malka. During that July 8 infiltration to Israel, a large squad of Hamas frogmen swam from Gaza to Israel. Navy radars picked up the movements on the surface of the water. The warning was passed on to the military intelligence directorate’s surveillance operators along the coast. A private, manning one of the screens on the Zikim base, spotted the men emerging from the water; the video footage and the warning was delivered simultaneously to infantry troops in the vicinity and to available aircraft. Both engaged the enemy, killing the infiltrators. “There used to be islands of communication,” said Malka, where each force in the field reported back to its headquarters from its distinct vantage point. “Today it’s connected.”

 

There are dangers, though. Commanders can be overloaded with needless information, an unnecessary and possibly fatal distraction during combat. The army, reliant on reservists in a time of war, can advance to a place where reservists are unfamiliar with the new systems and lack the time to learn. And new recruits, constantly fondling electronic toys, can neglect the basics of map-reading, which can prove especially necessary during a time of technical malfunction. Mayorchik acknowledged the dangers, but said that the advantages of knowing what lurks behind a dark corner, knowing “the color of the shirt the enemy is wearing,” creates a true “common language” between the forces in the field.  With the pace of technological advances today, she said, “the sky is the limit.”

 

                                                                               

Contents                                                                       

 

On Topic

 

Was it a Mistake to Downsize and Deemphasize Israel’s Ground Forces?: BESA, July 21, 2014—In December 2013, the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies held a conference to discuss controversial cuts in the IDF ground forces.

No Canadian Boots on the Ground: J.L. Granatstein, Globe & Mail, Aug. 19, 2014—Last week, Ottawa announced that it was sending two Royal Canadian Air Force transport aircraft to ferry supplies to Kurdish forces in Iraq battling the Islamic State advance.

How the U.S. Stumbled Into the Drone Era: Warren Bass, Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2014—On Sept. 7, 2000, in the waning days of the Clinton administration, a U.S. Predator drone flew over Afghanistan for the first time.

U.S. Needs a Discussion on When, Not Whether, to Use Force: Robert Kagan, Washington Post, July 15, 2014—Was the Iraq war the greatest strategic error in recent decades, as some pundits have suggested recently? The simple answer is no.

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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David Bensoussan: Isaïe – Lecture commentée

Isaïe – Lecture commentée

David Bensoussan, Le livre d’Isaïe, lecture commentée, Les Éditions Du Lys ISBN  978-2-922505-24-5  & Les Éditions du Marais, ISBN  978-2-923721-52-1, 278 p., 2014.

 

Comment aborder le livre d’Isaïe ? Ce livre abonde en réprimandes et en prophéties de malheur envers le peuple d’Israël, mais fait aussi état de la prophétie de retour d’exil, de la paix et de l’espoir messianique. Le vocabulaire est riche et la verve percutante. Les images fortes se succèdent à grand rythme avec grande intelligence. Le sarcasme et la révérence s’alternent. Les sujets et les thèmes abondent, les évènements historiques sont relatés dans des cadres géographiques précis. Cette profusion de thèmes enchevêtrés, de remontrances et d’espoirs de rédemption laisse le lecteur sur sa faim tant il est difficile de s’en faire une image d’ensemble qui soit précise et cohérente.

L’approche proposée dans la présente étude consiste à introduire le personnage dans son contexte historique. Dans une seconde partie, les thèmes qui parcourent le livre seront revus par le détail. Dans une troisième partie, les 66 chapitres formant le livre d’Isaïe sont résumés et commentés. Enfin, des remarques sur l’ensemble de l’œuvre suivent.

Il est important de préciser l’esprit dans lequel les thèmes du livre d’Isaïe sont analysés. Nous avons fait la lecture du livre d’Isaïe en tentant de la faire correspondre à l’histoire. Lorsque les spécialistes veulent diviser le livre d’Isaïe en auteurs distincts, ils ne s’accordent que sur les grandes lignes. En effet, la datation exacte de la rédaction du texte et sa partition attribuée à des auteurs ou à des époques différentes sont loin de faire l’unanimité des chercheurs. Aussi, vouloir attribuer les thèmes du livre d’Isaïe à des périodes historiques rigoureusement définies constituerait une tâche monumentale. Par contre, étudier les thèmes du livre d’Isaïe considéré comme un tout permet de mieux apprécier l’impact de ce livre au long des siècles. Tout comme l’approche documentaire de la Bible ne fait pas l’unanimité des chercheurs, nous considérons qu’en ce qui concerne les thèmes, c’est la Bible avec ses récits non linéaires, ses redondances et sa poésie qui a fasciné l’humanité jusqu’à ce jour. C’est donc cette lecture qui est proposée. L’esprit du texte en son entier tout comme celui de la Bible hébraïque dans sa totalité est celui qui a fait vibrer les commentateurs et de fait, ce sont les nombreuses interrelations entre les livres de la Bible hébraïque qui ont modelé des conceptions en propre et forgé l’échine de la résistance morale d’Israël pour faire face aux vicissitudes de l’histoire.

Isaïe invite ses auditeurs et ses lecteurs à s’imprégner de son rêve d’espoir, celui que l’on caractérise souvent d’espérance messianique. Une ère qui connaîtra la fin des souffrances, la rédemption d’Israël sur sa terre et une humanité unie en Jérusalem. Comment comprendre autrement la résistance du peuple juif au travers des exils difficiles, en dépit de l’enseignement du mépris de l’Église et de l’humiliation institutionnalisée de la Mosquée ? Les chapitres de consolation d’Isaïe ont représenté une lueur d’espoir unique en soi durant les persécutions du peuple juif. En lui ont résonné les versets d’Isaïe « Heureux ceux qui espèrent en Lui (30-18) », car « Il ne trompe jamais leur attente (49-23) » et ceux des autres prophètes qui, fut-ce même dans des moments terribles, le rassurèrent quant à son futur : « Oui, il y a de l’espoir pour ton avenir (Jérémie 31-16). » La droiture du peuple juif dut être remise en question de façon constante, car son absence expliquait la cause de ses malheurs et sa perfection représentait l’issue menant à la rédemption si tant attendue. En assumant le message d’Isaïe, le peuple juif a pris sur lui une responsabilité énorme, allégée seulement par la conviction qu’un jour il deviendrait une lumière pour les nations.

Le livre d’Isaïe est gravé dans la tragédie. Le génie d’Isaïe est d’avoir réussi à réinsuffler une énergie nouvelle basée sur un idéal de justice sociale et d’avoir ranimé les tisons de l’espoir de la rédemption d’Israël, espoir transcendé à la vision de paix et de justice universelles pour l’ensemble de l’humanité.